Halloween festivities are undergoing tons of changes in 2020. New social distancing and sanitation procedures may mean that trick-or-treating looks and feels much different – but one thing that hasn’t changed is Halloween candy.

Candy is a booming business. In 2019, Americans spent almost $2.6 billion on trick-or-treating candy alone! Every kid looks forward to diving into their Halloween candy, but all of that sugar can create a cavity nightmare for parents. As families all across the country stock up on trick-or-treating supplies, this is a great time to re-examine your child’s oral hygiene routine. See below for five expert tips to help your kids enjoy a healthy, fun, and cavity-free Halloween.

1. Put a limit on certain types of candy

Some types of candy are more harmful than others. Limit your child’s intake of sugary gum, sticky candies like taffy or caramels, and hard candies. Taffy and caramels are much more likely to get stuck between teeth, and the prolonged eating time of hard candies such as Jolly Ranchers and lollipops means that sugar is lingering in your child’s mouth. (This tip is particularly important if your child has braces, as sticky or hard candies can damage their orthodontia.)

2. Create a designated candy-eating time

Your child is at a higher risk of developing cavities if they are eating candy throughout the day. It’s less about the amount that is consumed at once, and more about how often sugar intake is repeated. For example, allowing your child to have five pieces of candy after dinner is much less harmful than letting them eat five pieces throughout the day. Setting aside time to eat candy after dinner also makes it much more likely that they will brush their teeth afterwards, ensuring that any sugar particles are washed away before bedtime.

3. Maintain good oral hygiene

Halloween candy is just the beginning! The end of October marks the start of the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner – and that means that kids will be snacking much more often. Use Halloween as an opportunity to reinstill good oral hygiene practices of flossing, brushing, and rinsing with mouthwash. The best oral hygiene routine will include all three steps, twice a day. If your kids are struggling to keep up, you can make it into a fun game with progress charts (and let them have an extra piece of candy in their nightly allowance as a reward).

4. Avoid sugary beverages

This is a great rule of thumb for all kids, but it is especially important while they are chipping away at their Halloween stash. In the weeks after Halloween, pay special attention to the kinds of beverages they are drinking. Limit their intake of soft drinks and high-sugar juices as much as possible to counteract the high sugar intake from Halloween candy.

5. Schedule a check-up with their dentist

Of course, no list of ways to prevent cavities would be complete without scheduling a check-up with the dentist. Even the best of oral hygiene routines can’t stave off every cavity, and catching decay as soon as possible is crucial for young mouths. Not only does this help protect their teeth during candy season, but it also provides an added layer of protection for their future, keeping them from needing more extensive dental work as they grow older.

Healthy, Cavity-Free Halloweens with Aurora Dental Group

No matter how your child goes trick-or-treating this year – whether it’s a small neighborhood gathering or collecting from bowls on front porches – make sure their oral health is protected! Don’t forget to schedule an appointment with Aurora Dental Group in the weeks after Halloween. We’ll help take the fear out of candy season and ensure that cavities are caught as soon as possible.