If you’re a patient at Michael S. Roessler Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, you know we like getting to chat with our patients. Holidays are always a fun time for us to share our plans, decorations, and costume ideas. It’s not uncommon this time of year for the conversation topics to turn to children’s oral health and nutrition, especially when our patients know their kids, grandkids, kids’ classmates, and trick-or-treaters will be taking home pounds of candy to eat.

Don’t fear – there’s no need to go to extremes and just throw out all the sweets! Still, there are some healthy Halloween treats you can buy or help your kids choose over other options. Take a look below for some Halloween tricks, treats, and tips. Then call 847-652-9147 if you have any oral health questions for our Mundelein team.

These Tempting Tricks Disguise Themselves As Treats

Though we don’t necessarily recommend getting rid of every piece of candy, there are some types of candy that are worse than others when it comes to teeth. These are usually:

  • Sticky or chewy
  • Hard
  • Sour

Sticky, chewy candy builds up on, between, and in the grooves of teeth. Here’s what happens then: bacteria in mouth + sugar on teeth > acid; acid eating through enamel + time > cavities.

A piece of this candy every now and then can’t do much damage if you brush and floss. Imagine eating it multiple times a day for many days or weeks and giving bacteria hours to form tooth-destructive acid as the sugar continually sits on teeth. You get the picture. And you probably understand why candy that’s already acidic can be worse.

Hard candy can also allow sugar to sit on teeth when your kids suck on it. It can also damage teeth, so it’s important to avoid this or have your kids be cautious to prevent any holiday dental emergencies!

These Sweets Aren’t So Spooky … Sometimes

Your kids still have plenty of better options, even if you sort through their candy and remove items from the list above. Although you do want to be mindful of fruit acids and food buildup from starchy snacks like pretzels, these options have less decay-causing sugars and acids to worry about, especially if your kids stick to a good oral hygiene routine.

Here are a few of these options to eat in moderation. (And remember to be careful for any allergies.)

  • Snack packs of trail mix
  • Snack packs of chips (not potato), crackers, sandwich crackers, popcorn, and pretzels
  • Milk chocolate, like chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, and chocolate-covered nuts
  • Raisins, dried cranberries, or mixed dried fruit packs
  • Yogurt-covered raisins and nuts
  • Tangerines/mandarins
  • Real fruit juice boxes
  • Fruit leather

These Terrific Treats Can Be Enjoyed Without Terror

Now, for the healthy Halloween treats! If your kids end up with these in their bags, consider them lucky! They can munch on them without worry that their teeth will be at risk. You can pack them in their lunches too. And you can buy them for trick-or-treaters instead of the other options they’ll have plenty of.

  • Individual peanut butter packs
  • Snack packs of almonds
  • Dark chocolate (plain or with nuts)
  • Apples (not bruised or sour!)
  • Sugar-free gum, especially with xylitol

Don’t want to deal with edible treats at all? These treasures below are great non-candy Halloween treats that kids will love. Just search online for any of the following, or head to a party shop, discount store, or dollar store to pick some up or get inspiration.

  • Glow sticks
  • Bubbles
  • Small games
  • Puzzles
  • Modeling clay/Play-Doh mini containers
  • Balls
  • Fake mustaches
  • Vampire teeth
  • Jewelry (glow and light-up is a hit with girls and boys)
  • Lip balm
  • Arts and crafts
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Small toys
  • Keychains

These Tooth Tricks Can Banish Bad Bacteria

Whether you want to help prevent cavities during this candy-laden time of year or throughout the year, here are some simple tricks and tips to keep in mind.

  • Brush in the morning and at night, using a toothpaste with fluoride
  • Floss once a day
  • Ask our team about office fluoride treatments or sealants at their checkups
  • Drink water/rinse with water after eating
  • Choose set times of day and a set number of candy for your kids to eat
  • Put up the candy bag for young children
  • Trade your kids’ “bad” candy for better treats or non-food treats
  • Start teaching them now about good oral health practices and good choices for their teeth

If you’ve already talked to your kids about their sweets decisions for Halloween before they go out collecting candy, you’ll be a step ahead. You might check out the Mouth Monsters from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Their themed coloring pages can give little ones the chance to learn about dental health and show off their artistic skills! You can even remind them daily by putting their masterpieces on the refrigerator.

We hope you’ve gotten some great ideas for healthy Halloween treats – and that you have the knowledge to avoid the “tricks” if you’d like. For more nutritional advice about teeth, or to request your family’s checkups in Mundelein, call 847-652-9147 today. Enjoy your treats this Halloween!