The Candy Crush Is Coming – How to Manage the Sugar Wave

As a parent, what can you do to manage the sugary treats that may find their way into your child’s stash at the end of October – or any other time of the year? The answer to protecting the dental health of little ones is creative management and firm limits.

At Sunshine Smiles, we often find ourselves reminding parents and children alike of the danger of too many sweets. Dental decay is no fun for anyone – and childhood caries (cavities) are the leading childhood ailments. Parents have the responsibility to insist on good eating habits for their child, no matter how much begging happens for one more piece of candy.

To help parents get creative in managing their child’s sweet tooth, here are some tips we’d like to share:

  1. Set limits on the amount of candy your child can stash. Some parents set the threshold at 2 or 3 pieces for every year of a child’s age.

  2. Institute a candy ‘buy-back’ program. Offer your child a nominal amount of money for each piece of candy turned in – maybe five or ten cents. But be sure to specify that the money cannot be used to purchase more sweets.

  3. Bake treats – then give them away. Some candy lends itself well to a variety of baked goods. Come up with a few yummy recipes as a family, and then spend time re-purposing the candy into a special treat. Then share the baked goods with neighbors and friends.

  4. If you do allow your child to enjoy a piece of candy, set priorities – they must first eat a healthy snack. No healthy snack means no sweet treat. This helps train your child to respond to hunger pains with nutritious options.

  5. Scrap the candy altogether and take a trip to the supermarket to stock up on healthy treats. Let your child pick their favorites.

  6. If you’re going to have a sweet, choose chocolate or baked goods. They’re easier to swish out with water afterwards. Gummy or sticky candy is harder to remove from teeth.

Don’t let the candy crush overtake your child’s healthy habits or compromise their dental health. Adapt these tips to your household rules and don’t be afraid to set limits. As your partners in children’s dental health, Sunshine Smiles wants to see little teeth shine in October and beyond!