Halloween Candy Tips To Avoid Cavities, Weight Gain

Some Halloween candies can be unhealthy for trick-or-treaters, but dietitians and dentists say there are tricks to keep the holiday fun while decreasing the risk of cavities and weight gain.

"This is such a big adventure for them — let them have it, obviously with some caveats," said Dr. Rhea Haugseth, a dentist in Marietta, Ga., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, as reported by U.S. News and World Report.

Avoid cavity-promoting treats like caramels that stick to the teeth, or lollipops that bathe teeth in a long sugary bath, Haugseth says, as reported by U.S. News and World Report.

Instead, try to stick to dark chocolates. Some studies have suggested this rich treat is good for the heart.

Another way to prevent cavities is to have kids brush their teeth before trick-or-treating helps reduce plaque and bacteria, which interact with sugar to produce tooth-decaying acid, Haugseth told U.S. News and World Report. She added that kids should brush right after eating candy.

It's also a good idea to fill kids with healthy food before sending them out. Bethany Thayer, a spokeswoman for the American Dietitic Associated who works at Detroit's Henry Ford Health System, suggests giving children a healthy, filling meal right before the big event, according to U.S. News and World Report.

If kids are more interested in money than sweets, they can take their treats to one of the 1,500 dentists across the nation participating in a Halloween candy buyback organized by Operation Gratitude, according to U.S. News and World Report. Some dentists pay kids $1 per pound of Halloween candy, which Operation Gratitude sends to troops overseas. Last year, the program brought in 250,000 pounds of candy, Carolyn Blashek, founder of the California-based group, told U.S. News and World Report.
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