For children celebrating Halloween, it is a fun time of costumes and candy that they look forward to all year long. Parents and caregivers also get involved early—finding the perfect costume is critical. One tip for making your Halloween healthier without spoiling all the fun is to offer to buy back the candy they have collected, so they are actually rewarded for giving. Another replacement option for candy is to look for products like mints and chewing gum that contain the sugar substitute xylitol, as it actually has been proven to reduce decay causing bacteria in the mouth not only of children, but also adults. And when you do let your children dig into their bags of treats, monitor what kind of candy they eat. Candy like toffee that sticks in the little nooks and crannies of teeth is particularly damaging. Eating chocolate is better, by a little, not a lot. Instead, confine the time your children eat candy and other sugars to mealtimes when their mouths are more likely to be exposed to both acids and bases. This is important because it takes saliva at least 30 minutes to an hour to buffer or neutralize the effects of acid. So eating one piece of candy per hour between meals means their mouths are always acidic—the perfect conditions for promoting decay. Follow-up these occasions with proper brushing particularly with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing—a valuable lesson that will benefit them throughout their lives.


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