How to Trick and Treat Your Teeth for Halloween

Posted on October 27, 2015

SEATTLEOct. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- This Halloween, an estimated 84 percent of Americans will celebrate an annual tradition honoring ghosts and ghouls, and gorging on sweet treats with an evening of trick-or-treating. While the candy-filled tradition has been enjoyed by families for decades, it also presents an oral health challenge for children and their families. And that challenge could get more difficult. New analysis from Delta Dental of Washington reports candy giving will be up five percent compared to numbers reported in 2013.

Candy giving increase:

In 2013, 73 percent of parents gave out candy, based on a new 2015 Delta Dental survey, 78 percent of parents say they'll hand out candy this year.

Less parental looting: 

In 2013, nearly 80 percent of parents admitted to eating some of their kids' Halloween candy, this year marks a sharp decrease, with only 66 percent of parents saying they'll pilfer from the Halloween haul. Moms are 10 percent more likely than dads to raid their kids stash. 

Bad news for chocolate lovers:

While chocolate continues to top the charts this year as the most handed out Halloween candy, 14 percent fewer parents say they'll be giving it to trick-or-treaters. In 2013, 73 percent of parents gave out chocolate on Halloween, this year that number has dropped to 59 percent.

Fewer household rules on candy consumption: 

The number of parents limiting the amount of Halloween candy their child can eat at a time has decreased by 28 percent, from 89 percent in 2013, to 61 percent this year, according to the analysis.

On the heels of the analysis, Delta Dental of Washington has important tips for kids, parents and neighbors to help prevent candy-fueled cavities:

  • Eat dinner before trick-or-treating. If your children have full bellies, they may be less likely to overindulge in candy when they get home.

  • Enjoy Halloween candy after a meal to take advantage of increased saliva production and help wash away sugar and bacteria left by candy. But don't wait for bed time to brush. Get those teeth cleaned right away.

  • Avoid chewy treats. Avoid candies like caramel, taffy and gummies that stick to teeth. Cavities love these confections.

  • Don't be a sucker. Hard candies like suckers and lollypops provide a pool party of fun for cavity causing bacteria. Trade these treats for chocolate.

  • Chomp on chocolate.  Chocolate is a smile's favorite treat as it dissolves quickly – limiting contact with teeth.

  • Make sure your children drink extra water to stay hydrated during trick-or-treating and to help wash away sugar that may otherwise cause tooth decay.

  • Remind children to brush for two minutes and floss after they dig into their trick-or-treat bags. Practicing good oral hygiene will help keep their mouths clean and their teeth free of decay.

  • Think outside the candy wrapper. Alternate kid-friendly treat options such as sugar-free candy, Halloween-themed art supplies and old-fashioned bubbles are sure to please any trick-or-treaters.

  • Donate. For the older children, consider asking them to take a few of their favorite treats from their stash and donate the rest to a local food bank.

For fun and interactive Halloween activities for kids, visit Delta Dental's Tricky Treats page.

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