Doctors' Notes

Healthy Halloween Treats for Your Children

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You work hard year-round to instill good dental habits in your children. Still, the sweet temptations of Halloween can wreak havoc on your best efforts! But, kids need to have some old-fashioned fun in this modern age, so most parents can’t do away with trick-or-treating.

Good, common Halloween sense starts with the basics. Everything is good in moderation. I tell parents to cut down on the amount of candy they hand out. In America, we do everything in excess and kids will go to a house and get a huge handful.

The pH balance in your child’s mouth becomes more acidic for up to an hour after eating sweets. Whether your child eats one piece of candy or several in rapid succession, the acidity still takes the same amount of time to wear off. The longer teeth are in an acid environment, the greater the risk they will become decayed.

Avoid or limit these snacks:

• Sticky treats like gummy candies, jellybeans, raisins, and caramels
• Full-sized candy bars
• Non-candy snacks such as cookies, snack cakes, and artificial fruit chews

Teeth-friendly treats:

• Sugarless gum
• Nuts or trail mix
• Small bags of pretzels or popcorn
• Sugar-free cocoa
• Individual bags of pumpkin seeds
• Pre-packed cheese and crackers

Parents can think out the box and throw a halloween party instead. They can serve food such as mini sandwiches, nachos, and pizza.

Here are a few tips to safeguard against the effects of Halloween:

• Eat Halloween candy and other sugary foods with meals or shortly after mealtime.
• Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time.
• Avoid sticky candies that cling to your teeth.
• Maintain a healthy diet.
• Avoid beverages with added sugar such as soda, sports drinks or flavored
• Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
• Clean between teeth daily with floss.
• Visit your pediatric dentist twice a year.

Finding a happy medium is key. Just be careful with the frequency and type of treats being eaten. Simple pleasures such as treats is key to a healthy, happy life. Happy Halloween!

About Dr. Tanesha Francis


For over eight years, Dr. Tanesha Francis was in private practice in New Jersey, but recently opened her own office in Park Slope Brooklyn, Park Slope Kids Dental Care. She is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association and the New York Dental Association. She has volunteered her dental services to meet the needs of children locally and in other countries.