With Halloween fast approaching, it only makes sense that you’re worried over your child’s oral health care — and maybe even your own. Up to 32% of people are concerned by the look of their teeth. When Halloween comes around, this number can skyrocket. Between the caramel chews, hard candies, and oodles of sweets, there’s never a more important time for dental health care than right now.
In an effort to be a healthier, more responsible parent, you might be tempted to replace some of these sinful sweets for something a little healthier. But are these alternatives really healthier than their chocolatey counterparts? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Halloween candy alternatives to see if they’re really worth it.
Raisins have always been a popular alternative to the traditional Halloween candy. Sweet, sticky, and low in calories, this is still a great option if you’re trying to keep your child away from caramel. You might also be tempted to invest in other dried fruits like apricots and figs, to name a couple.
But like caramel, raisins are sticky. These dried fruits have a tendency to stick to your teeth long after you’ve enjoyed the snack. This means that all the sugar and acids present in the fruit will hang out in the crevices of your teeth. This can lead to plaque build-up and even tooth decay.
If you’re eating raisins this Halloween, be sure to practice dental care habits: rinse your mouth with water, brush your teeth, and be sure to floss.
Whole-grain granola is known for giving campers the energy they need to survive on long treks through the wilderness. Because of its association with healthy living, granola has also become a healthy snack. But this yummy treat is often high in calories and sugar, especially if you toss in a few pieces of chocolate to improve the taste. Paired with the hard crunch of the dried granola, this means that you might be causing just as much harm to your child’s teeth than regular candy.
Granola bars are another top offender. Even though these treats often have high levels of fiber, they’re often packed with teeth-damaging sugar. According to Business Insider, harder granola bars are also coated with an additional layer of sugar for extra crunch.
If you still want to indulge in a little granola this Halloween, try making your own! It isn’t recommended that you pass out homemade granola to trick-or-treaters, but this treat is wonderful for your family and guests. Make it especially festive by adding in fall favorites like pumpkin seeds. Just be sure to avoid the particularly crunchy parts of the granola.
Popcorn is a Halloween staple, but that doesn’t mean you should eat the entire bag. A growing number of dental care professionals are warning against microwaving your favorite snack.
The real problem lies in the popcorn’s kernel. If they don’t pop properly in the microwave or on the stove, these hard pieces are nearly impossible to bite through. This can cause some serious damage to your pearly whites, including cracking, chipping, and worse. But even if you don’t crack your tooth on a kernel, it’s still common to get pieces lodges in the crevices of your teeth. Be sure to brush and floss to get rid of any lingering pieces and to clear your mouth of salt. Dental care professionals also recommend steering clear of kettle corn, chocolate-covered options, and other fun flavors because of the high sugar content.
At the end of the day, just about any food can damage your teeth without proper dental care. If you’re looking for healthier snacks to pass out on Halloween, try giving out fresh fruits like apples and oranges. You can also pass out sugar-free gum for a lasting treat that tastes delicious.
Just like all good things, sweet snacks and Halloween goodies should be eaten in moderation. Even though popcorn and raisins seem like good alternatives, they might not be all they’re cracked up to be. Before Halloween comes knocking on your doorstep, don’t forget these important tips to stay healthy this holiday.