With the Halloween season almost over, researchers are doing more and more to study the effects of Halloween on children’s health. One such study, recently conducted by the American Dental Association in conjunction with PopCap Games, looked to children for their views on Halloween to see whether or not kids recognize the oral health dangers of Halloween.
Researchers from this unlikely pair surveyed trick-or-treating aged, or 5-13 year old, children in the U.S. to understand their views on the holiday. According to the study, approximately 94 percent of all children in the U.S. go trick-or-treating every year. 65 percent of these children also said that Halloween was their favorite holiday.
It would seem that children would be unlikely to be willing to change the traditions of this holiday, considering the amount of free candy the average American child brings home on Halloween night. But the study found that the majority of children were willing, and some would even prefer, to make changes to the types of treats given out every Halloween.
It seems that plaque-forming, teeth-rotting candy is not children’s most favored thing about Halloween. Most of the children who participated in the survey said that the best part of Halloween was the fun of going door to door, rather than the prize once they got there. The next highest incentive for participation in Halloween is getting to dress up in costume, and the least important Halloween activity is the stash of candy at the end.
Most children surveyed also said that they eat too much candy at Halloween, and the majority of children also realized that eating too much candy is bad for their teeth. Girls were slightly more likely to recognize that candy would be bad for their teeth. And, surprisingly enough, 42 percent of kids said that they were concerned about the cavities they might get by eating too much Halloween candy.
Most children also said that they would still enjoy Halloween if it was less about the candy and more about the other aspects of the holiday. Kids even said that they would prefer to receive a video game rather than candy.
Because of the results of this research, PopCap games announced earlier this month that they would be introducing a “stop zombie mouth” campaign. The campaign includes selling trading cards from the popular “plants versus zombies” game for adults to give out instead of candy. The company is also providing adults with coupons for a completely free copy of their popular “Plants Versus Zombies” game as another treat to be given out in lieu of candy.
There are plenty of other great treats that adults can hand out to kids on Halloween night, and it doesn’t have to be pennies and apples. Children love to receive small toys like bouncy balls and sticky hands or temporary tattoos. Some houses have also taken to handing out sugar-free gum, which is recommended by dentists to help reduce plaque after eating.
If you’re concerned about your child have oral health trouble after Halloween, check out our other article on how to make sure kids have a healthy Halloween, and be sure to stop by South Charlotte Dentistry for an appointment today!