6 Tips for a Healthy Halloween
By: Melissa Levine, D.D.S, Director of Pediatric Dentistry
It’s almost Halloween! A time for ghosts, goblins and lots and lots of candy. As kids all around the country prepare for an evening of trick or treating, parents should consider how to keep their children's mouth happy and healthy.
Melissa Levine, D.D.S., Associate Professor of Dental Medicine and Director of Pediatric Dentistry at Touro College of Dental Medicine, has some tips for parents:
- Whether store bought or homemade, make sure costumes fit well. If a costume is too long, children are more likely to trip and fall which can result in a broken tooth.
- To create a toothless grin for a particular costume, only use materials specifically made to black out teeth.Don’t use makeup which is not approved for oral use, like eyeliner.
- Feed kids dinner before going out trick or treating so they're not so hungry and less tempted to eat their candy stash as they are acquiring it. Munching on candy all evening long will subject teeth to a prolonged acid attack making them more susceptible to decay.
- When choosing treats to eat, avoid the "sticky" stuff. Candies that stick to teeth take much longer to get washed away by saliva and stay around for unnecessarily long periods of time which can lead to cavities.
- Trick or treating is hard work! Before everyone hits the hay after a busy night, make sure everyone brushes and flosses. Remember little kids need supervision to clean their teeth efficiently. They don't necessarily have the manual dexterity to do it well themselves.
- Kids are likely going to end up with more candy than anyone needs. Let your kids have fun and enjoy some sweets, but there’s absolutely no need to finish it all. Donate or throw out leftover candy in early November - there's no need to be snacking on these treats all month long.Check to see if your dentist has a buyback program. Many dentists will weigh the candy and exchange it for cash or small gifts. This way, kids still get to enjoy the holiday without all the extra sugar.
Learn more about Touro Dental Health's Candy Exchange Party on Nov. 1, 2018 for a change to trade-in your excess candy for a goody bag of prizes, as well as enjoy fun activities, crafts and healthy snacks.