As one of the year’s most popular holidays in the country quickly approaches, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the leading authority on children’s oral health, is urging parents and caregivers to be aware of the treats their children consume on October 31st and throughout the Halloween season.

With $2.6 billion – more than $25 on average – expected to be spent on Halloween candy this year, it is no surprise that children will over-indulge. If your child ate their weight in gummy candies, fear not, there are ways to fend off the Mouth Monsters, who may still be sticking to your children’s’ teeth.

“Many kids will get candy on Halloween so we advise to limit access to the candy so that it is eaten at specific times, rather than snacking throughout the day,” stated AAPD President Dr. Kevin Donly. “This keeps the acidity level under better control.”

Check out the below tips to keep your little jack-o’-lantern’s smile in top shape!

  1. Can’t trick your child to ditch the treats? Help them pick the healthiest options.
    • Chewy, sticky candies like gummies, caramels and bubble gum are the most terrifying this season! Stick to less sticky and less acidic treats like pretzels or crackers to keep those chompers’ healthy. To indulge a sweet tooth, encourage dark chocolate – tons of antioxidants! – or sugar-free gum made with xylitol which promotes the growth of tooth protective bacteria.
  2. Beware of Mouth Monsters – brush them away
    • After a long night of trick-or-treating, don’t neglect the proper oral care for your child. Brush that candy – and the mouth monsters that come with it – away with at least two minutes of brushing and flossing before bed. And remember, Mouth Monsters are not just a Halloween terror, they can prey year round, so make it a routine!
  3. Boo! Cavities and fillings can be scary – but there are alternative options!
    • You did your best to manage your child’s candy consumption, but the sugar won and your child has a cavity. Fear not – a new, painless treatment option called silver diamine fluoride (SDF) might be a solution for your child! SDF is a liquid brushed on a tooth to minimize advancement of decay and help delay filling the cavity. Your pediatric dentist will need to monitor the cavity periodically to ensure it has stopped growing, so be sure to continue regularly scheduled appointments!
  4. Trick or Treat for the right Dental Home for your child
    • More than 15 million children under the age of 18 have some kind of special healthcare need, putting them at an increased risk of oral health problems. Do your research and find a pediatric dentist who is specialized in treating children with special needs. There are many different tactics available to help keep your child’s mouth monster free!

View the official press release here.