On Halloween, it’s estimated that “kids can consume up to three cups of sugar eating Halloween candy. This equals almost 169 sugar cubes.” This doesn’t include the sweets consumed at events leading up to the holiday, such as Halloween parties.
Here’s the truth: Halloween parties that you’re attending or hosting this year don’t need more treats. Rather than adding to the excessive sugar consumption, why not provide healthier, tooth-friendly options at your next Halloween party?
The problem with sugar at Halloween Parties
Halloween parties seem to be the perfect excuse to go crazy with sugar. It’s easy to find sugar-filled candies, drinks, and desserts during these events. Some people would argue that Halloween parties only occur once a year, so the sugar intake isn’t a real problem. However, excess sugar consumption is already a daily occurrence for most people.
The American Heart Association estimates that the average person living in the United States consumes “17 teaspoons of added sugar every day.” The recommended amount is much smaller – six to nine teaspoons, depending on your gender.
Using Halloween parties as an excuse to eat more sugar likely means adding to this already highly daily total.
The impact of sugar on oral and overall health
What are the long-term effects of so much sugar? Overall health problems like acne, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer have all been attributed to a diet high in sugar. Additionally, excess sugar can have a negative impact on your oral health. Tooth decay, increased risk of developing cavities, and enamel erosion are all associated with high-sugar diets.
One reason for oral health complications is due to bacteria in the mouth. According to the American Dental Association, “Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths that eat the sugars we consume. The bacteria get energy from the sugar, but in the process produce acid. The acid they make can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur.”
Tooth-friendly Halloween party ideas
Small changes in your Halloween party planning can make a big difference when it comes to looking out for the oral health of your friends and family and even yourself.
- Limit sugary beverages.
- It can be easy to forget that punches, cocktails, and even juices served at Halloween parties are loaded with sugar. Keep in mind, a single cup of seemingly healthy apple juice may have nearly as much sugar as a soda. Opt for healthier beverages such as sparkling water, sugar-free variations of cocktails, milk, and water instead.
- Offer tooth-friendly foods.
- A typical spread at any Halloween party includes buckets of candies, trays of desserts, and a guaranteed belly ache by the end of the night. Add variation to your food choices by offering tooth-friendly options such as freshly cut fruits and veggies, meat and cheeses, and sugar-free dessert options.
- Give out prizes instead of candy.
- On Halloween night, children often end up with huge bags of candy. Make your Halloween party stand out but giving away fun prizes instead. Small toys, activity books, glow sticks, temporary tattoos, and stickers are all fun treasures that kids can play with, and they don’t increase their risk of developing cavities.
- End the night with toothbrushes.
- At the end of your Halloween party, consider giving away toothbrushes as a party favor. This will remind partygoers to brush their teeth after hours of devouring sugar in a kind and thoughtful way. If toothbrushes don’t make sense for your Halloween party, remind your guests to brush their teeth as they leave the party. Their teeth will thank you!
Halloween parties can be fun and healthier for everyone
A Halloween party that has healthier options is a great way to show everyone you care about their well-being. Although “healthy” and “Halloween” are hardly used together in a sentence, tooth-friendly Halloween parties are possible.
For more tooth-friendly food ideas, check out, “Recipe: Quick Pumpkin Pudding”.