Fight the Sugar Bugs on Halloween

Cynthia Dermody
Big Kid
4

Halloween Guide

boy sitting next to jack o lanterns

Photo by abjbrewer

Our kids are going to eat lots of candy on Halloween. They just are, whether we order them not to or try to control their intake. It's dark out there. There are pockets for hiding. My 6 year old knows how I feel about him eating candy, but this is a night for indulgence and insubordinance.

The other day after bringing a goodie bag back from a birthday party, he snuck up to his room and ate about eight Hershey's Kisses and one package of Nerds before I even knew he was gone. He didn't even try to hide the evidence; he just threw the wrappers under his bed where I found them the next day.

He knows I'm not going to beat him for eating candy without permission, but I am going to scowl and give a time out and refuse to buy him any more in the near future.

But he doesn't care because the instant gratification was so worth the flimsy little punishment I handed out, and of course, Halloween was coming up. I'm pretty tough about consequences, but he knows all to well that I'll suspend my moratorium on sweets for at least that one night because deep down I'm a softie.

Which brings me to my real fear when it comes to eating too much candy -- soft teeth. In other words, decaying and rotting teeth from sugar bugs, as we call them. We've found that term is much more effective that saying, "Grab your brush, it's time to chase all those mutans streptococci and lactobacilli from your mouths, kiddos!"

Unfortunately, good oral care is our only hope for minimizing the damage of spook night on our kids' teeth and gums.

Cafe Sheri recently posted some terrific tips on how to protect your child's teeth this Halloween.

If your little kids brush their own teeth, this might be one night where you take the wheel and give their mouth a good go-over.

And here's one more to add -- wait at least a half hour after eating candy before brushing, especially if your child will be eating lemon or sour candies with citric acid. If you brush when the citric acid is still on the teeth, brushing acts like sandpaper, scraping off the protective enamel. In the meantime it's best to just swish around some water, or nibble on some cheddar cheese, which also interferes with teeth eating bacteria.

Do your kids break your Halloween candy rules and overinduldge?

 

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