The Spooky Truth About Sugar: 10 Dental Tips for a Healthy Halloween
Trick or Treat.
Give me something good to eat.
Sugar, not costumed ghouls, monsters, or goblins, may be the scariest encounter to visit your family this Halloween. Sugar
is the primary ingredient in Halloween candy and the sweet taste of sugar tastes oh so good, no matter your age.
According to Statistic Brain, annual spending on Halloween candy in 2015 was $2.3 billion dollars. Statistics showed that
77% of Americans bought an average of $27 worth of Halloween candy in 2015.
Boo! The spooky truth about sugar.
The average person consumes approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar per day! Shown right. (Source: National Institute of Health). This amount grossly exceeds the World’s Health Organization recommendation to “limit added sugar(s) to a maximum of 10% of total daily caloric intake”.
Even more alarming is the fact that research has found that many kids consume up to 7,000 calories on Halloween. That is equivalent to 3 cups of sugar! (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
The spooky truth about excessive added sugar is an epidemic among kids and is also the #1 reason that kids develop tooth decay. Excessive sugar intake increases the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and obesity in both children and adults.
10 Dental Tips for a Healthy Halloween
- Make a plan
- Sort collected candy
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Eat before you sweet
- Stay hydrated
- Limit sweets between meals
- Brush twice daily
- Clean between teeth daily
- Visit your dentist every 6 months
- Donate excess Halloween candy
Make a plan
A bit of pre-planning can help make your kids night of Trick or Treating a fun experience. Select a few neighborhoods for your child to trick or treat. Limiting the number of neighborhoods your child trick or treats reduces excess amount of Halloween candy they can collect.
Sort collected Halloween candy
Following trick or treating, sit with your kids and help them to sort and select a handful of candies to keep and encourage them to donate the excess to a local Halloween candy buy back event.
Maintain a healthy diet
Gently remind your child that Halloween candy is a “treat” and can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced, healthy diet. Eating balanced, healthy meals will help to keep your child feeling full between meals and help to minimize the urge to enjoying a Halloween sweet treat.
Eat before you sweet
Instead, allow your child to pick a couple candies to enjoy once they finished eating their meal. This not only helps to minimize the pH in the mouth, but also helps to minimize the amount your child will want to eat on a full belly.
Stay well hydrated
Staying hydrated throughout the day will reduce brain “sweet treat” triggers that persuade you to think you want a sweet treat. Additionally, drinking water with containing dental fluoride can help prevent tooth decay.
Limit sweets between meals
Snacking between meals can increase your risk for tooth decay, especially sugar filled snacks. Sugary snacks drop the pH in the mouth significantly. When the pH in the mouth drops below 5.5, the outermost surface of the tooth, called enamel is subject
to erosion, aka demineralization. The longer period that the saliva in the mouth is below 5.5, the increased likelihood that a dental cavity will develop.
Brush twice a day
No matter if it’s Halloween or not, it’s important to maintain an effective daily oral care routine that includes brushing daily for two minutes, two times each day. Battery powered or electric toothbrushes are effective at helping your child effectively remove harmful dental plaque from their teeth and prevent developing gingivitis, inflammation of the gums.
Clean between teeth
Dental floss or single use dental picks help kids remove plaque and food particles from between teeth.
Visit your dentist every six months
Maintain professional teeth cleaning visits with your dentist every six months. Preventive dental visits include:
- Professional teeth cleaning to remove dental plaque, tartar, and stain from teeth & gums
- Apply preventive, dental fluoride varnish to teeth to help prevent tooth decay
- Take periodic dental x-rays to check for tooth decay between teeth
- Personalized, home care dental tips to help your child effective care for their teeth between dental visits
- Evaluate how the teeth align together, are dental braces recommended
- Dentist will examine teeth for tooth decay
- Apply dental sealants on newly erupted, permanent molars to help prevent tooth decay
Dentistry for the Entire Family is accepting new dental patients. Call (763) 586-9988 to schedule or request an appointment by email.
Donate your excess Halloween candy
Even if you limit the number of neighborhoods your child trick or treats, it’s still highly likely your kids will collect more than you’ll want them to ever eat. There are several charitable organizations that accept unopened, excess Halloween candy. Google “candy buy back near me”.