It’s that time of year when our little ghouls and goblins make their way around the neighborhood collecting candy in celebration of Halloween. Parents don’t need to be afraid though, as long as they have a plan in place. While it’s unrealistic to keep them from eating their loot entirely, parents can determine how much and when.

It’s also a perfect time for parents to remind their kids of the risks of eating sweets without having good brushing and flossing habits. Nobody wants to end up with a mouth full of cavities after the fun of trick-or-treating! Following are some tips on how to balance the fun from the risks according to ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

1. Time It Right.

Eat candy and sugary foods directly after mealtime when saliva production is increased. It helps wash away acids and food particles from clinging to teeth.

2. Choose Carefully. 

Stay away from candies that stay in the mouth for long periods of time if they are not sugar-free. Avoid sticky, chewy and gummy candy that are harder to remove and increase the risk of decay.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Drink More Water.

Be sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein to “fuel” your body and to ward off the urge to snack on candy. Always drink plenty of fluoridated water to keep your body hydrated. Plus, it aids in rinsing stray food particles and bacteria, especially if you don’t have an opportunity to brush right away.

4. Have a Plan.

Don’t leave uneaten candy laying around. Choose your favorites and then consider donating to troops overseas through programs like Operation Gratitude.

5. Brush and floss at least twice per day.

Of course, it’s important to brush at least twice a day and floss every day. Regular dental visits are essential to maintaining the health of your mouth and teeth. You don’t have to be scared of Halloween treats wreaking havoc on your children’s teeth, instead use it to teach your child moderation and dental care.

If you have any questions regarding your dental health and what’s best for your child, ask your dentist. They are just as concerned about oral health and cavity prevention as you are!