THUNDER BAY – Halloween is an enjoyable holiday for many children, but it can also throw off hard-fought healthy habits, say the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and Ontario Dental Association ODA).
“Halloween is fun for kids and parents, but it is also a time when the good habits children have learned about healthy eating are not always followed,” said Dr. Ved Tandan, President of the OMA. “Ontario’s Doctors want to offer a few simple tips that can help keep children and parents on track while still enjoying Halloween.”
The ODA reminds parents and children to think about avoiding cavities this Halloween when indulging in treats. Simple and easy-to-remember oral health-care tips will help keep kids healthy and happy long after children bring home their bounty of sugary treats from trick or treating.
“We recognize that on Halloween, children will enjoy eating candy. But along with the fun, parents should remember to encourage healthy habits for good oral health,” said Dr. Gerald Smith, President of the ODA. “Tooth decay is a cause of concern for dentists especially around this time of year. Parents can help reduce the stress and health impacts associated with cavities by encouraging a routine that involves oral health care.”
Ontario’s doctors and dentists have a list of fun alternatives to a sugar-filled Halloween; we encourage you try some of these suggestions and use Halloween as an opportunity to speak with your children about practicing good oral hygiene and healthy eating.
Tips for a Healthier Halloween:
- Healthy alternatives: Offer alternatives to candy to trick-or-treaters. These can include stickers, small games and a Halloween-themed toothbrush, or snacks like raisins and peanut-free granola bars;
- Never trick-or-treat on an empty stomach: Feeding children dinner or a healthy snack before heading out the door to collect a bag full of treats can help limit snacking. A full stomach will make them less likely to dig into their bag before they get home;
- Eat candy after meals: Save the sugary treats for just after mealtimes, as the amount of saliva produced at this time will help protect the child’s teeth;
- Ration or use candy as currency: If your children receive a lot of goodies, keep them out of reach and only dole out a few pieces at a time. Another way to limit the amount of the amount of candy your child has is by asking if they’re willing to exchange a portion of the candy for something else, such as a toy, book, game or even money that they can use to purchase a special item;
- Practice good oral hygiene: Have your child brush and floss their teeth after eating sugary treats.