How to Take Care of Your Children's Oral Health on Halloween

Halloween candy can affect children's oral health. But don't be alarmed, with our tips you'll know how to take care of them and avoid complications.
How to Take Care of Your Children's Oral Health on Halloween
Vanesa Evangelina Buffa

Written and verified by the dentist Vanesa Evangelina Buffa.

Last update: 30 October, 2022

We’re close to Halloween, a celebration that’s extremely popular, especially among children. Here are some tips so that Halloween doesn’t become a risk for your children’s oral health.

Halloween is a celebration that involves fun, costumes, and lots of candy. So many sweets make little ones overflow with joy and enthusiasm, but also put the integrity of their teeth at risk.

So that Halloween treats don’t affect the oral health of children, you’ll need to take certain measures. Responsible consumption of candy and extreme oral hygiene are strategies that help reduce complications in the mouth.

Find out how you can take care of your children’s oral health on Halloween and, at the same time, enjoy the festivities.

How does Halloween candy affect children’s oral health?

The large amount of sugar contained in the candy and treats that children consume on Halloween makes them very harmful to their oral health. This substance is used by bacteria in the mouth to grow and multiply.

When bacteria accumulate on oral surfaces, they form a sticky, colorless film called “bacterial plaque”. By metabolizing sugars, these germs produce acids that lower the pH of the mouth, destroy the hard tissues of the teeth, and irritate the gums.

If these residues aren’t removed by toothbrushing and saliva, the acidity in the mouth becomes lower and lower, the minerals in the teeth are lost, and cavities appear. Sticky candies, with high amounts of processed sugars, remain attached to tooth surfaces for a long time, favoring the action of bacteria and the development of the disease.

A little girl eating halloween candy.

The worst Halloween candies for children’s oral health

Most commercial candies and sweets have a high content of refined sugars. This ingredient, as we’re mentioned, promotes the proliferation of harmful bacteria and the production of tooth-destroying acid.

While all candy is a risk factor for tooth integrity, there are some characteristics that make certain candies especially more harmful. Hard candies and lollipops, for example, take a long time to consume and linger in the mouth, making them more harmful.

The sticky consistency of some candies, such as jelly beans or chewy candies, is another factor that makes these sweets more harmful. Their remains get trapped in the teeth, making cleaning difficult and favoring the appearance of dental lesions.

Acidic sweets are another bad option, especially if they’re coated with sugar. They lower the pH of the mouth more and more and thus destroy the teeth.

You should also pay attention to foods and drinks that contain sugar, but its presence isn’t as evident as in sweets. The hidden content as a preservative or added flavoring also damages the teeth. Ice cream, potato chips, ultra-processed snacks, pastries, and soft drinks are some examples.

It’s important that you pay attention to the sweets your child will consume and avoid those that are more dangerous for their teeth. Chocolate and sugar-free chewing gum are sweet options that are less harmful.

The purer the chocolate, the better. It will have fewer added sweeteners and will protect teeth.

Sugar-free chewing gum is one of the best commercial alternatives to take care of your children’s oral health on Halloween. They stimulate salivary production and help contro l plaque and prevent cavities.

A little boy wearing a halloween costume with melted chocolate on his fingers.

Tips for taking care of teeth on Halloween

Although eliminating candy consumption on Halloween would be the best solution to take care of children’s oral health, it would take much of the meaning out of the holiday. There’s no need to be a party pooper and eliminate candy, but instead, use some strategies to help avoid mouth complications.

Consuming candy responsibly and taking care of dental hygiene helps reduce the risk of mouth disease. These are tips to keep in mind for Halloween festivities:

  • Classify the sweets that children bring and avoid the most harmful ones: Choose chocolates, sugar-free gum, or candies that dissolve quickly.
  • It’s better for children to eat their sweets in one go, rather than snacking on them all the time.
  • It’s a good idea to offer the treats at the end of meals, as at that time, there’s more saliva production. In addition, if the child has eaten well, they’ll have less desire to eat sweets.
  • Offer the child plenty of fluoridated water when they eat their treats. This helps to rinse their mouth and dilute the sugar.
  • Pay special attention to tooth brushing, and trying to clean the mouth after eating sweets. Complement hygiene with fluoride toothpastes and dental floss.
  • Take your little one for check-ups with a pediatric dentist every six months.
  • Choose fun and healthier options for trick-or-treating: Sugar-free popcorn, fruit pieces decorated with scary motifs, or homemade sugar-free cookies may be less harmful options.

Have fun and take care of yourself!

The arrival of Halloween generates a lot of excitement and expectations among the little ones. Several days before the party, they prepare their costumes and bags to go out to trick or treat and collect surprises.

This celebration can be used by families as a learning moment. The event can be an opportunity to teach children about the responsible consumption of certain products, and the importance of taking care of their bodies and their health.

There’s no need to prohibit or eliminate sweets altogether. Just accompany and teach your little ones to enjoy the party without neglecting their oral health.

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