On a surface level, Halloween may sound like a celebration of sweets, cavities, and tooth decay. However, at Bowen Legacy Dental, we want to consider the bigger picture. We don't demonize Halloween. In fact, we believe it holds a lot of importance in our children's lives and culture. Here are some tips for having a balanced (but still fun) Halloween.
Halloween best practices
Before trick-or-treating begins, set some reasonable boundaries in advance. Instead of letting young children go nuts on candy, establish a certain amount they can have. Not only will this prevent cavities and tummy aches, but it will eliminate the overwhelming feeling of abundance and make their choices more mindful. After trick-or-treating or munching on leftover candy, brush and floss and encourage your children to do the same.
A healthier, happier Halloween
Patients of all ages can enjoy sweets with a healthy smile. In fact, Halloween is not as cavity-causing as you may imagine! We recommend opting for dark chocolate above any other treat. Dark chocolate is on the lower end of the glycemic index and is a good source of antioxidants due to its high flavanol content. Plus, it's gentler on teeth. Rather than chomping on hard candy, highly acidic sours, or getting sticky with chewy treats, soft, melt-in-your-mouth options are easier to brush and rinse away.
If you and your children enjoy minty chocolates (such as York peppermint patties), you have double the luck! Researchers have shown that eating peppermint can aid in gastrointestinal pain relief. And, a preliminary study links peppermint oil (an ingredient in minty treats) with antimicrobial protection against oral bacteria. For the sweet tooth in your life, xylitol-sweetened candies are a great option year-round. According to research, xylitol may inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes cavities. Pass the candy, please!
Even walking door-to-door while trick-or-treating is a great way to stay active with a smile. Though it may feel like this holiday is all candy-focused, there are always adjustments you can make for a happy, healthy Halloween!
Halloween and long-term wellness
There are many indirect long-term health benefits associated with holidays like Halloween. After all, Halloween is a sanctioned opportunity for young children to hit various developmental milestones, including exhibiting mastery over their environment, testing interpersonal skills, and building social skills.
But, we especially love the holiday because it is a great opportunity for children to take ownership of their oral health and food intake. They will learn the importance of enjoying treats in moderation and practicing excellent hygiene—skills that will serve them their entire lives. Year-round, parents should model these behaviors for children of all ages. But Halloween is a particularly excellent time to teach responsibility and balance—two keys to developing healthy relationships with sweets and hygiene.
Book your next appointment
Although it may seem like dentists are against Halloween, at Bowen Legacy Dental, we appreciate how Halloween promotes happy smiles. If you have any further questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call Bowen Legacy Dental at 614-459-2300 today!