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Having a healthier Halloween without losing the fun

Having a healthier Halloween without losing the fun
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The Halloween celebration is certainly an ideal reason to have a lot of fun and nobody wants to take the fun out of trick or treating. But, it is also a good idea to be somewhat responsible and in doing so, helping our children to stick to better eating habits during Halloween’s sweet extravaganza. By Sarie Liebenberg, dental expert

Here are a few tips and tricks to still let everyone have fun, without upsetting the tooth fairy:

    1. Create a budget
      Be cautious not to buy more than what is absolutely necessary -no need to end up with extra sweets in the cupboard.
    2. Eat a healthy meal before trick or treating
      Children will be less likely to overindulge in treats after a wholesome meal.
    3. Moderation
      Rather encourage them to eat small fun-sized sweets instead of huge chocolate bars.
    4. Drink plenty of water
      It is a good idea to give  kids a Halloween-themed water bottle that they can take with them when going on trick or treat. Water will dilute the sugar from all the candy. It also helps in washing away some of the food particles staying behind between the teeth.
    5. Timing of treats
      Where possible, limit sweets to after lunch and supper. Not only will children eat less sweets after a meal, but it’s also better for restoring the pH of the mouth. Every time after eating, the pH of the mouth decreases. Decay can develop when the pH of the mouth is lowered. When a meal and sweets are consumed all at once, the pH of the mouth will decrease, but will get enough time to increase again before the next meal and/or snack. This is far better than snacking and consuming sweets throughout the day  and in between meals.
    6. Avoid sticky/chewy sweets
      This includes sweets like gummy bears, caramels or similar sweets that easily stick to the teeth. It takes long for these types of sweets to dislodge from the teeth, even with brushing and sometimes it’s difficult to remove it from the deep grooves of the teeth.
    7. Avoid long lasting sweets
      Similar to the above, long lasting candy like lollipops take very long to dissolve, allowing plenty of time for the teeth to get covered with sugar and for the sugar to stay in the mouth for a lengthy period of time.
    8. Reduce sugary drinks
      Trick or treat will have sugar coming out of kid’s ears! Try to cut down on drinks containing sugar as well.
    9. Avoid sour candy
      These acid-containing sweets are extremely harmful to the teeth.
    10. Sugar free gum can help
      Chewing sugar -free chewing gum will increase the saliva flow. Increased saliva flow will dilute the sugar and help wash away some of the particles between the teeth. It is also instrumental in restoring the pH of the mouth. Saliva has antibacterial properties – the more of that the better! Avoid sugar-free options with chemical and artificial sweeteners and rather opt for Xylitol-based options.
    11. Choose healthier sweets
      Xylitol blocks the production of decay-causing acid. There are a number of candies with Xylitol options on the market to assist in healthier choices. (A word of caution – a person needs to be slowly introduced to prevent an upset stomach. Start by giving one serving of Xylitol per day. This can be in the form of chewing gum, candy or Xylitol granules as a sugar replacement. You also get toothpaste, mouth rinse and nasal spray containing Xylitol. Increase the consumption weekly to 2 and later 3, 4 and 5 servings. It’s been proven that 5 servings of Xylitol daily can decrease the risk of decay significantly.)
    12. Create treats made of healthy alternatives
      Cute treats made from fruit and vegetables can be an excellent opportunity for children to be creative when you have a Halloween party at home.
    13. Brushing and flossing is a must
      Everyone can easily be caught up in lots of fun, running around at night until they drop at! In doing so, we may completely forget about the normal night routine of brushing and flossing. Consuming more candy than usual calls for more diligent oral care. Make sure the little ones brush before they go to bed. It might be a good idea to let them brush before trick or treating, just in case dreamland opens its doors before they clean their teeth.
    14. Be more vigilant
      Often when we break our normal routine, we tend to give up all the good habits and the wheels come off altogether. Try to still do healthy meals and good teeth cleaning routines in spite of the unusual amounts of sweeties flying around.
    15. Donate leftover candy
      This is also a good opportunity to teach children to share and not have it in the house as temptation.

How to Have a Healthy Halloween

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