It’s officially “spooky season”! And while Halloween is a great opportunity to celebrate all things ghoulish and ghostly, it doesn’t have to be a terrifying time for teeth.
While your little monsters will love the sugar-filled lollies and candies that are part and parcel of trick or treating, it’s important to make healthy choices for teeth and gums to avoid any dental nightmares.
To help you make it a healthier Halloween for your children, check out our ‘tricks and treats’ for better oral health.
The scary truth about sugar
Firstly, let’s look at the reason why high-sugar foods can be so damaging to teeth and gums.
Every time we consume sugar, certain bacteria that live on the surface of our teeth turn this sugar into acid. This acid stays on the tooth’s surface and causes it to weaken by pulling out essential minerals.
Over time, these repeated acid attacks cause the tooth’s protective layer of enamel to be stripped away, eventually resulting in a cavity - a hole in the tooth caused by tooth decay.
Tricks: Tips for Healthy Teeth on Halloween
Set a limit on sugary treats
While sweet treats like lollies and candies can be enjoyed in moderation, setting limits for how many pieces your children can have on Halloween can help to ensure they don’t put their oral health in danger.
Have a chat with your kids about this in advance and make sure sweet treats are supplemented by healthy snacks and proper meals.
Split up your sweets
Certain sugary foods are best avoided altogether if it’s not possible for your child to brush their teeth straight after. This includes foods such as lollipops, hard candy and toffees, as these tend to stay in the mouth for longer or get stuck in the teeth.
For this reason, consider creating separate lolly bowls for treats that can be enjoyed at home (followed by brushing teeth) and at school (for lollies that are quicker to consume).
Floss those fangs!
To help keep tooth decay and cavities at bay, brushing alone isn’t enough - especially with the extra sugar from those Halloween treats.
To keep your children’s teeth in the best condition and reduce the risk of future dental issues, daily flossing is an important oral hygiene practice to get into the habit of. Teach your little ones to floss correctly and make it a part of their everyday routine.
Treats: Ideas and Inspiration for Healthy Halloween Swaps
Popcorn is a healthier alternative to sugary lollies and candies - and with this fun Halloween twist, you can quickly and easily create a spook-tacular popcorn bowl that kids will love!
You’ll need some candy melts or food colouring to turn your popcorn a freaky colour (green or red is great), plus some edible candy eyes and colourful sprinkles.
Simply add your popcorn to a bowl, add the melted candy melts or food colouring and stir to coat the popcorn, then throw in your candy eyes and sprinkles.
Peanut Butter Spider Cookies
These low-sugar spider cookies are a delicious Halloween treat idea that won’t cause havoc for your little terrors’ teeth.
Here’s the recipe for these spooky oaty cookies that are sure to delight on Halloween:
- 200g crunchy peanut butter
- 150g slightly salted butter
- 300g soft light brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 280g porridge oats
- 220g self-raising flour
- 200g milk chocolate chips
- 1 black icing pen + 1 white icing pen
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan).
- Place sugar, butter and peanut butter in a large bowl, and whisk until combined and fluffy. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and beat until creamy.
- Add the flour and oats and mix until well combined, then add 3/4 of the chocolate chips and mix through.
- Divide the mix into 24 equally-sized dollops and roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and press them with the palm of your hand to form cookies.
- Bake for 12 minutes per batch until just golden.
- While still warm, top each cookie with four chocolate chips, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Use a black icing pen to add legs to your spiders, and a white icing pen to add wings to your flies.
Babybel Cheese Monsters
With calcium for healthy teeth, cheese is a good choice for kids’ oral health. And these adorable cheese monsters are sure to be a Halloween hit!
Simply use a sharp knife to carve a mouth shape into Babybel cheese pieces and stick on some edible goggly eyes to make a spooky face.