Archive for Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween frightfully sweet

Ben Delgado, 4, of Eudora, was getting his teeth cleaned at Growing Smiles, at 1425 Wakarusa Drive, in this 2008 file photo. Many parents are watching their children's teeth this time of year, with Halloween close at hand and lots of sweets being given out. Growing Smiles is hosting a "Halloween Candy Buyback" party on Nov. 3. The candy will be sent to overseas to military personnel.

Ben Delgado, 4, of Eudora, was getting his teeth cleaned at Growing Smiles, at 1425 Wakarusa Drive, in this 2008 file photo. Many parents are watching their children's teeth this time of year, with Halloween close at hand and lots of sweets being given out. Growing Smiles is hosting a "Halloween Candy Buyback" party on Nov. 3. The candy will be sent to overseas to military personnel.

October 29, 2008


On the street

Did your parents ration your Halloween candy?

Yes, of course. My sister and I would lay it all out and divide it evenly. Then we would trade for our favorites, but we could only have so much before we went to bed. It was supposed to last us until Thanksgiving.

More responses

Halloween health

The National Confectioners Association offers the following tips for parents:

¢ Eat before you trick-or-treat. Serve a nutritious dinner before your children set out for a night of candy-collecting. They will be happier and more full, which will help reduce the temptation to eat candy at each trick-or-treat stop.

¢ Sort and save. Allow your children to enjoy some of their Halloween bounty. Then work with them to portion out two or three treats in small bags. Create a week's worth of bags to accompany nutritious school lunches or to serve as after-school snacks.

¢ Mix things up. To give candy a healthy punch, consider making your own trail mix. Combine raisins, peanuts and even cereal with your child's favorite candy or chocolate treat.

¢ Practical pairings and portion control. Try pairing caramels with an apple or a snack-sized candy bar with a banana.

Halloween comes with sugar rush

With Halloween just around the corner, area health professionals are bracing for the biggest sugar rush of the year. Enlarge video

Children love Halloween for two reasons: Costumes and loads of candy.

Soon, their faces and fingers will be covered in chocolatey, gooey treats that they collected by the handfuls on Halloween night.

Even parents like to get in on the action.

According to the National Confectioners Association, 93 percent of children will go trick-or-treating this year and 90 percent of parents will sneak a treat from their kids' goody bags. Both children and parents prefer chocolate over anything else, including healthier alternatives such as pretzels, granola bars or fruit.

Ashton Temple, 12, and her mom, Laurie Temple, of Baldwin City, are no exception. Ashton's favorite candy is Twix, and mom likes Baby Ruth. Ashton said she wouldn't mind some healthy items, but definitely wouldn't want her bag to be filled with them.

This year, Lawrence resident Melissa Frieburger said she won't be handing out raisins because her family called them too "fuddy-duddy." So, she will be distributing mostly chocolate candy.

The average American consumes more than 24 pounds of candy a year, and the U.S. Census Bureau says a sizable portion is eaten around Halloween.

While kids and parents enjoy indulging in the holiday, it can be a health nightmare, according to doctors, school nurses and dentists.

"It's bad for you in a lot of ways. It's empty calories. It's bad for your teeth. It's a poor habit to get kids into," said Dr. Steve Bruner of Lawrence Family Medicine & Obstetrics.

Troublesome for teeth

While several Lawrence health professionals recommend giving children their candy sparingly over time, dentists prefer that children eat as much as they want for a couple of days and then be done.

"What's hard on your teeth is the constant exposure," said Dr. Kelli Henderson, of Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. "Having a little bit every day is far worse than going ahead and having a bunch one night and then brushing really well."

And baby teeth - which children generally have between the ages of 6 months and 12 years - are just as important to take care of as the permanent ones.

Henderson said baby teeth help children develop language skills, maintain a healthy diet and guide the permanent teeth into proper position. She added that baby teeth are more susceptible to cavities because the enamel is thinner. Henderson said she has seen children as young as 1 and 2 years old with cavities.

She advises parents to help brush their children's teeth up to age 8 and to begin flossing their teeth as soon as there are two in contact with each other. She also suggests using a fluoride rinse that will help remineralize weak spots in the enamel.

When a toothbrush isn't available after eating a sugary treat, she recommends children take a big drink of water or chew a piece of sugar-free gum.

Holiday glutton

School nurses often see the results of too much candy, especially this time of year: headaches, bellyaches and vomiting.

"I don't consider gluttony an illness. It's not contagious so they don't get to go home," said Angie Blair, school nurse at Quail Run and Pinckney schools. "I am probably not the nice nurse that everybody wishes they had."

So, how much candy is too much?

"It varies from kid to kid. I am a parent, and I can remember them getting a little green at the gills after eating too much," Bruner said.

"A long time ago, they used to try to get people to quit smoking by just making them smoke so much that they get sick. Maybe that works for sweets, too. I don't know," he said, laughing.


maxcrabb 9 years, 4 months ago

Has anyone noticed the creepiest aspect of this article?A clown is performing the dental procedure on this poor child.

Phil Minkin 9 years, 4 months ago

Halloween is a great learning tool. We teach kids how to beg and ruin their teeth and health.

denak 9 years, 4 months ago

This is the first time I have handed out candy. My kids are too old now so I am looking forward to all the begging kids.And if parents are really that worried about thier children's teeth, let them eat a few pieces for a few days and then have the candy magically disappear. For years my son's candy would disappear and then magically reappear four weeks later in his birthday goodie bags. Never hurt his teeth.Dena

Deja Coffin 9 years, 4 months ago

What happens at Grandma Jennie's house on Halloween night usually haunts me for the next few weeks but it's soooo good. Forget ghosts and goblins, just give me a weight scale the day after Halloween.

oneflewover 9 years, 4 months ago

It's halloween for Christ's sakes, let kids be kids for a few days. They will either eat the candy in a few days time or if they are like me, they will ration it out over time saving the best 'till last only to find that it has gone bad. Just don't supply these types of treats on a daily basis.

sdinges 9 years, 4 months ago

You can also ferret some candy away and stick it in stockings for Xmas. Chocolate freezes well.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 4 months ago

This will be the first year my 4 year old will actually be going door to door trick or treating. We usually just go visit the great grandmas and eat chili and homemade donuts. My daughter does have a birthday coming up in November so I definitely will be using Dena's idea. Thanks for the tip! Oh and I'll still be making a trip to Grandma Jennie's for homemade donuts...don't you worry about that!

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