Choosing Halloween candy? A dentist weighs in…

CANDY is the real reason kids celebrate Halloween, right?

Sure, the costume part is fun. But the real excitement is running around and seeing how much loot you can gather.

For parents après Halloween there is always the question of what to do with that much candy.  You have some choices.

Back in the day...it was all about the candy.

You can…

A). Swoop in and take over all of the candy, hide it somewhere, and only dole it out on occasion.

B). Let the kids choose a few pieces to eat that evening, take the rest and put it in the freezer, and then donate it to a food bank around Thanksgiving.

C). Put it in lunchboxes. (Yes, some parents do this. Yikes!)

D). Put all of it in the pantry and let the kids eat it whenever they want it.

E.) Let the kids gorge on endless candy for the entire evening, then take what is left and pitch it.

We tried choice (E) one year when one of my sons was about 4 years old. He was mad for candy, unwrapping everything and stuffing his sweet little face.

So we let him.

The outcome? Not pretty, and just what you’d expect.

That guy grew up with an aversion to chocolate and most candies (except  gummy sour apple sharks). Sodas, too.

I’m not recommending this tactic, of course, but every kid is different and every family is different. You have to do what is best for you.

But be smart about the type of snacks and candies your younger kids eat, says Kimberly Patterson, D.D.S., M.S., assistant professor and pediatric dentist at the Midwestern University Dental Institute in Glendale.

Patterson says that parents should offer toddlers non-candy treats since their candy intake is difficult to monitor. Brushing at that age can also be a challenge. She recommends goldfish crackers and pretzels for children up to three years old.

For older kids, choosing the right kind of Halloween candy can reduce the risks of cavities and tooth damage. Patterson suggests avoiding anything sticky such as gum, taffy and caramels. She gives out KitKat bars–crunchy wafers with chocolate. Neither of which, she says, stick to tooth surfaces.

Of course, you can’t do much about what winds up in your child’s trick-or-treat bag. You can only make a decision on how — or if — you want to do candy control. The kids are going to want to try a few different kinds.

Of course, that’s the fun.

However, the best advice for kids of all ages, says Patterson, is to make sure everyone brushes their teeth before bedtime.

Especially on Halloween.

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2 responses to “Choosing Halloween candy? A dentist weighs in…

  1. We’re encouraging our young dental patients to share with the troops serving overseas. There’s a local organization that’s stuffing Christmas stockings with candy, snacks, DVDs, etc. They’re goint to try and round up some of the Halloween candy from the kids, and there’s a national program called Operation Buyback http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/

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