Very soon, schools, streets and houses will be filled with ghosts, ghouls and goblins, all trying their best to spook, startle and scare us! It is a scary time of year as all sorts of vampires, zombies and other fiendish characters will be wandering the streets looking to satisfy their thirst for…sugar!

Halloween can bring great fun. But as a parent, the prospect of our children consuming such large quantities of sticky, sweet, sugary candy is quite frightening! After all, when was the last time you heard anything about the positive health benefits of processed sugar!

Getting children to eat healthier is always a challenge. Many schools have been helping by removing chocolate bars, chips or soft drinks from vending machines on their property. But children still have no trouble finding sugary, starchy foods. And we spend Halloween literally giving these foods away!

We know that candies, candy bars and other similar confections have contributed to the increasing epidemic of childhood obesity.

But they are also contributing to the increasing problem of tooth decay amongst young children. In fact, conditions associated with tooth decay are one of the most common causes for children of all ages to miss school! Given that missing too much school can result in lower grades, it is understandable that we approach Halloween with some fear and trepidation!

Still, not everything about Halloween and all that candy should make your hair stand on end! Moderate amounts of treats can usually be overcome by proper cleaning of your little vampire’s fangs!

So encourage your children to brush after eating. Remember, the longer sugary foods are allowed to remain on their teeth, the more damage they can do. Brushing after every meal and snack can often be your best defense. Two minutes per session is the recommended amount of time. And do not forget to floss at least once per day!

So let’s all have a frightfully, scary Halloween. Let your children enjoy some sugar, but do your best to make sure it is a moderate amount.

Because limiting the amount of sugar your kids eat is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon