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Tip of the Week: How to Give Your Child a Sweet And Healthy Halloween with Dr. John Rothchild, DDS and Kevin Boehm

According to the United States Government, 36 million children go trick-or-treating every year. Most trick-or-treaters have high expectations for their favorite candy treats every Halloween and even though the treats are delicious, they can be very damaging to a child’s teeth. ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. John Rothchild, DDS, explains that there are alternative options to passing out candy on Halloween. Treats such as fruits and granola bars are a better option, as sugary candy may cause cavities.

“Apples are great because they can be dipped in caramel and provide that small amount of sweetness, if consumed in moderation” says Dr. Rothchild. “If that doesn’t work, try handing out tickets to the movie theatre so kids can still enjoy a treat.”

Although healthy alternatives are a good idea, the truth is candy is what children expect and look forward to this time of year. For those that want to keep the tradition going, candies or gums with Xylitol sweetener are the best choice. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that tastes good and prevents teeth decay by killing the bacteria that causes it. Dr. Rothchild offers these tips to keep Halloween healthy.

· No Chocolate Zone – 80 to 100 calories in most candies are from trans fats and added sugars. Candies with more sugar, such as hard candies, have less fat while candies with less sugar, such as chocolate bars, have more fat. Granola bars and fruit snacks are a healthier alternative.

· Stick to Your Limits– Both types of candy, hard and soft have excessive amounts of sugar in them and can stick to teeth and cause decay. Try to limit sugar intake as much as possible.

· Hard Facts – Many grocery stores begin receiving their Halloween candy assortment 6 months in advance. This increases the chance of stale candy which can cause severe tooth damage if bitten into. If the candy seems harder than it should be, avoid biting into it.

· Good Cop, Bad Cop – Parents want to let their children enjoy the holiday and eat the sweet treats they receive, but try allocating a specific amount of candy for children to eat and then disposing of the rest.