Goblins and zombies and ghosts, oh my! Halloween is the time for all things scary and that even includes the food. Considering how much sugar is in the average piece of candy, it’s no wonder your kid’s dentist is terrified of the spooky season. Try the five tricks below to turn tooth-destroying snacks into dentist- and kid-approved treats!
1. Turn “Boo!” Into “Moo!”
Cheese is a universal crowd-pleaser, and studies show that it can even help reduce tooth decay.
Instead of candy, consider treating your kids to low-fat yogurt or string cheese. After trick-or-treating, give them a glass of milk to wash down the candy they’ve eaten to balance the harmful effects of sugar.
2. Look for Candy Made with Xylitol
Many companies make hard-candies, lollipops and chewing gum with xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener known for its cavity-fighting properties. Xylitol inhibits the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Eating products made with xylitol is thought to even change the mouth’s environment, making it harder for decay-causing bacteria to survive on tooth surfaces. So, when your little candy monster moans for another sweet treat, give them a sugar-free lollipop made with xylitol. Overall, it’s a win-win for you, your kids and your child’s dentist. On a cautionary note, xylitol can be very toxic to dogs, so keep any candy with xylitol away from your dog.
3. Go “Bobbing for Apples”
When in doubt, choose nature’s candy and opt for firm fruits like apples and pears. Many grocery stores carry pre-cut apple slices in portioned baggies to make it seem like a special treat. Pair with peanut or almond butter for an indulgent snack.
Not all fruit is created equal, though. Avoid too many citrus fruits like oranges, clementines and grapefruit because of their high acid content.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark…Chocolate That Is!
Studies show that dark chocolate may actually be beneficial for oral health. How you ask? Cocoa beans contain antioxidants that prevent the bacteria in your mouth from turning into decay-causing acids. They also help fight bad breath and prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Be sure to choose chocolate that’s at least 60 percent cocoa. Milk chocolate doesn’t have the same benefits and contains more added sugar.
5. Treats You Can’t Eat
Last but not least, there are plenty of fun, easy ways to spoil your kids without giving them candy. Stickers, temporary tattoos, whistles, crayons and coloring books are all inexpensive prizes your kids will love and that will keep them distracted from wanting more candy.
Halloween is all about indulging, and these five tips can help you treat your kids sensibly without denying them. You’ll feel good about serving your little ones wholesome snacks, and chances are, they won’t notice the difference.