Halloween is fast approaching. Forget about witches, ghouls and zombies, a trip to the dentist can be enough to strike fear into the hearts of not just children, but some adults, too!
All jokes aside, this season is known for our overindulgence in sweet treats and sugary drinks. Avoiding the sugar high and eventual crash our children will no doubt experience after a night of trick-or-treating, should not be the only concern over our little ones lugging bags full of goodies home on October 31st. According to Public Health England, almost 1 in 4 five year olds in this country suffer from tooth decay as a result of sugary foods and drinks and inadequate dental care at home. In addition, on average three full days of school are missed per child as a result of dental issues.
At Victoria Road Dental Clinic, we care about making sure our nation’s kids have healthy teeth and gums and learn about the importance of caring for their dental health, developing healthy habits that they can carry with them into adulthood. With that in mind, we’ve put together some tips on how to stay healthy this Halloween.
Ditch the Pillowcases
The bigger the bag, the more sweets it will take to fill it. Swap out those pillowcases or large sweet bags for smaller ones that can fit considerably less sugary sweets in. Your kids will still feel like they’ve done well when they come home with a full bag, plus you’ll feel better knowing they’ll have fewer sweets to damage their teeth.
Fill Them Up
Make sure you eat a healthy and filling meal before heading out trick-or-treating. If your children are full from their dinner, they’ll have less appetite for snacking on the way round and hopefully won’t want to dive into their sweetie haul as soon as they get home. Or, if you are heading out before dinner, give them some healthy snacks like sandwiches, yoghurt or carrot sticks.
Talk With Them
Before Halloween comes around, have a chat with your children about healthy eating. Explain to them about looking after their bodies and their teeth by making good choices when it comes to food and drink and brushing their teeth and gums properly. Have a discussion about moderation when eating sweet treats and let them make a plan on how they might want to spread out their sweets so they don’t eat them all at once and maybe even donate some of their sweets to local homeless shelters or check if your local food bank accepts sweet donations. Your children will appreciate you being upfront with them and letting them be involved in the decision, rather than just hiding their sweets or throwing them away hoping they won’t notice!
Fun Alternatives to Sweets
If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters to visit your home or are hosting a Halloween party, instead of giving out sweets, you could opt for one of the following fun alternative gifts that will delight children just as much, if not more.
- Bouncy balls
- Glow sticks
- Crayons and colouring books
- Puzzle games
- Fake vampire teeth
- Dress up items such as eye patches or fake moustaches
If you’re providing food, but don’t want to give away sugary sweets, try some Halloween themed healthy options, such as:
‘Boonanas’ (that’s bananas with chocolate chips for eyes and a mouth).
Clementines coloured in with marker to look like pumpkins
Or, how about these String Cheese Witches Brooms?
You could even give out little bottles of water to help keep kids hydrated as they walk from house to house. Being scary is thirsty work! And if you have time, make up some healthy snack bags for them to take out. If you’re serving drinks at a Halloween party, stick to water and other sugar-free drinks, instead of sugary fizzy drinks.
Scary Movie Night
Want to avoid the whole trick-or-treating temptation altogether? Why not have a family scary film night where you all dress up in costume, whip up some healthy snacks with a spooky theme like these ‘Monster Teeth’, hit the lights and cuddle up to watch some Halloween favourites like Hotel Transylvania, Hocus Pocus or Casper.
Don’t Forget to Brush!
Make sure that before you all go to bed after a fun Halloween evening, that everyone brushes their teeth properly. Read this article from Colgate on teaching kids how to brush and floss correctly for healthy gums and teeth.
Finally, you can relax, you’ve avoided (well, as much as possible) the sugar monster for another year. It may be no easy task to keep your kids away from too many sweets and to get them to choose healthier options, but it’s always worth it to make sure they grow up with healthy teeth and a good understanding of the importance of looking after your oral health.
Victoria Road Dental Clinic is a first class dental practice in Ruislip, offering general, restorative and cosmetic dentistry services from friendly, expert dental practitioners. If your children are a little nervous at the thought of visiting the dentist, bring them along to Victoria Road. Our dentists are experienced in making patients, especially children, feel comfortable and confident during their appointments. To book, call today on 01895 636 121.
Dipesh Patel is the content writer for Victoria Road Dental Clinic and updates our blog regularly with helpful advice and new information.