Too much Halloween candy isn't a good idea for children ??? or adults!
Published: September 30, 2017
By: Lori Chandler Pruitt
Too much Halloween candy isn’t a good idea for children – or adults! But Halloween comes only once a year, and much of the fun revolves around trick or treat. What’s a reasonable amount? How might parents avoid getting – and giving – too much candy altogether?
“Eating too much candy can cause cavities,” says Dr. Angelica R. Rohner of Angelica Rohner Pediatric Dentistry. “But, you can’t forgo all of the fun of trick or treating! Generally, we suggest that if you are going to eat candy, you should only consume chocolates or treats that melt and don’t stick to the teeth. Any of the hard or sticky candies are best to be avoided.”
Dr. Mike Anglin of Michael S. Anglin, D.D.S. P.C., explains, “We are realists and we know kids will be kids and are going to participate in Halloween. We suggest kids eat candy in moderation and avoid hard, sticky candy that can break teeth and fillings and even be a choking hazard. Chocolate is soft and melts away quickly instead of sticking to the teeth. Brushing and flossing is a must to combat tooth decay especially during Halloween!”
Dr. Lauten Johnson and Dr. Emily Rousso of Pediatric and Adolescent Dentistry says the amount of time teeth are exposed to candy makes a big difference. “Try to limit the number of times per day your child eats candy,” they say. “Some families will allow their child to eat candy at mealtimes for the first week after Halloween; after that it’s time to move on and get the remaining candy out of the house.”
When kids get in from trick or treating, sort the loot and separate candy that can cause dental problems. Make a game of it, Rohner says. “While adventuring through the stash, separate the chocolates, sticky candies and any unsafe partially opened items,” she says. “It is up to the parent to decide what they want the child to have, but we suggest limiting what is kept to half of what they get. Then, they can donate the rest!”
After the sorting, Rohner suggests parents try to limit Halloween candy consumption to one or two small pieces as dessert after a meal at most once a day, then brush and floss afterwards.
Parents also can help cut down on the candy avalanche by giving out other things to trick or treaters. According to parents.com and several other websites, there are many online companies and retail stores that sell inexpensive Halloween items to give out. Those include temporary tattoos, fun accessories such as pirate eye patches, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, arts and crafts items like stickers, small containers of modeling clay, stencils, small boxes of crayons, small notebooks and coloring books, fun erasers, pocket toys and games, pencils, sidewalk chalk, finger puppets and more. Healthy snacks to give out include small boxes of raisins, sugarless chewing gum, baked crackers, pretzels and cereal bars. Anglin also recommends gift cards, toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss as well.
“Everyone wants to be that great house on the block all kids love to visit – try to make your own distinction as the house with a different fun giveaway!” Johnson and Rousso say. “Think of little toys you would see in a party favor bag and go with those: bubbles, stickers, etc. (but avoid little pieces that kids could swallow).”
Another great way to cut down on the candy your child eats is to donate it. Check with your dentist’s office about candy buy-back programs right after Halloween where kids can bring extra candy to the dentists’ office, get some cash (and maybe a surprise!) and feel great that the candy will be donated to troops overseas.
“It is so fulfilling to be shipping multitudes of candy, handwritten cards and photographs to our troops serving overseas,” Rohner says. It can be a good way to teach your child to share and give to others.”
Lori Pruitt is associate editor of Birmingham Parent.