Halloween can be a SPOOKY time for your kids teeth, so we sat down with Dr. Shari Carroll, the Beach Cities go-to Pediatric Dentist, to give us her tips on keeping kid’s teeth clean for Halloween to New Years and every festive, sugary meal in-between!
I am a firm believer that sweets for kids are okay in moderation. I always explain to my patients that they can eat a candy or cookie, but then you need to brush right afterwards. Most children are pretty happy with that deal!
For Halloween, I LOVE The Switch Witch You can read the book with your kids about the cool witch that trades their Halloween candy for a toy. I have patients that get to eat their treats on Halloween night and then in the morning, all the candy is gone leaving a toy in its place. What a cool idea!
In terms of the best types of candy, if you’re going to have it at all, I try to steer patients towards the non-sticky candies. Lollipops, jolly ranchers, sour patch kids, starbursts are so much worse, because the candy literally sticks in the grooves of the teeth. Chocolate treats such as a Snickers or a Kit Kat bar are a better choice over these sticky treats.
We all remember going to a dentist’s house as a kid where they handed out a toothbrush. Instead, my house is the house on the block where we hand out little toys instead of candy. So many parents thank me when they see their kids excited about something else and not sugar! One of my go-to toys are Neon Vampire Teeth which is similar to the cost of a bag of candy. Halloween Temporary Tattoos are also a fun, inexpensive toy to give out.
As we get further into November and December, I try to encourage less cookie decorating and more holidays crafting. A great idea is to have a holiday crafting party that doesn’t center around cookies and sweets. Michaels has kids Christmas crafts that are usually a big hit. Of course, some festive food events are a given during the Holiday season, but there are ways to keep it from becoming a total sugar-fest. My kids love making a gingerbread house, but we enjoy healthy snacks while we’re decorating, instead of consuming a dinner-sized portion of sticky gum drops. We also like to make healthy holiday snacks together. Some of my favorites are Candycane pizza and snowmen string cheese (I just draw a face on the string cheese wrapper). It’s east, fun and festive.
For more tips on keeping your kid’s teeth heathy this season, we recommend a visit to Dr. Shari at her beautiful, kid-friendly office in Riviera Village!