A Pediatric Dentist’s Guide to a Tooth-Healthy Halloween
By: Dr. Tara Groff, owner and pediatric dentist at Hanover Pediatric Dentistry
Halloween is an exciting time of year! Children enjoy dressing up in costumes and of course, eating the candy they get at Halloween parties or out trick-or-treating. Therefore, these are some tips that can help children have fun on Halloween while keeping their oral health in mind.
- Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, and sugar-free gum are better for teeth compared to gummies, caramel, sour candy or bubble gum, because they are less likely to stick in the chewing surfaces of teeth. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that can help prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth and help fight gum infections and tooth decay.
- Non-food alternatives, such as temporary tattoos, stickers, toothbrushes, rubber balls, pencils, key chains, etc. can be given out instead of candy.
- Before trick-or-treating, make sure children eat a well-balanced meal to reduce the chance they will fill up on empty calories and sugar.
- Practice moderation. Determine the number of treats your child can keep/eat beforehand.
- Sell the rest of the candy to a local dentist candy buy-back program. We have one at Hanover Pediatric Dentistry in support of Operation Gratitude (www.operationgratitude.com) from 11/1/19 until 11/7/19. We will give $1 for every pound of unopened Halloween candy (up to $10) and then send the donated candy to military personnel and first responders.
- Have children drink water after eating sweet treats. Suggest that they swish the water around in their mouths to help dislodge any particles that have gotten stuck in their teeth.
- Snacks like apples and carrots are good to eat after candy because they also can help dislodge any particles that have gotten stuck in teeth.
- Most importantly, don’t forget to have children brush and floss before bed on Halloween night!
With these tips, we can help children enjoy the fun of Halloween without compromising the health of their teeth!