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Protect kids’ teeth on Halloween

Boy dressed as a bear with Halloween candy bowl

Halloween is the time of year when candy is everywhere, but there are things you can do to avoid an oral health nightmare for your little ones.

The American Dental Association’s Healthy Halloween Survival Guide can help scare away the tricks that sugary treats play on children’s teeth. Here are their top tips:

  • Stay away from sticky treats like gummy worms, licorice and taffy.
  • Limit sugary drinks, including too much fruit juice.
  • Think twice before picking hard candies, like suckers, which take time to dissolve.
  • Try eating a small piece of candy after a meal for dessert.

Regardless of how hard you try, kids will find a way to sink their teeth into something sugary, chewy and sweet. The best bet for avoiding tooth decay is to keep little ones on a set oral health routine. Some good general guidelines include:

  • Clean teeth every day. For infants, you can use a washcloth or infant toothbrush.
  • Make sure your child sees a dentist by their first tooth or their first birthday and every year thereafter.
  • Give children healthy snacks, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts, instead of candy.
  • Prevent baby bottle decay by only allowing milk or water in bottles.

You can also give out something other than candy to trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Temporary tattoos, mini-card games, costume jewelry, play-dough or mini-packs of crayons are all great options.

As you decorate and buy goodies this Halloween, use the tips above to help ensure that kids arrive at school healthy – smiling – and ready to succeed.

Nicoletta​ Kennedy is a digital communications manager at First Things First. You can reach her at nkennedy@firstthingsfirst.org​​.​

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