Dental Advice at Halloween – Trick or Treat?
Of course we’ve always had Halloween. But it used to be different. What used to be bobbing for apples, a turnip lantern and even “indoor fireworks” if you were lucky, has gone all….American? With those other dubious American imports- junk food, obesity and grey squirrels, Halloween has changed into an unrecognisable pumpkin-fest; And for teeth (and dentists) the worst bit of it all….. Trick or treating!
Some of the callers at my door are genuinely scary; the groups of hoody-clad teens more so than the mini- witches and vampires. As a dentist seeing what my kids bring home in their bags can also be terrifying!
Help your children make good choices about Halloween sweets so their smiles stay healthy, even after the fangs and monster makeup are removed. Whether the giver or receiver of “Trick or Treats” here’s a few dental tips:
Eat beforehand – Trick or treating on an empty stomach leaves lots of room for lots of sweets. If your kids are going out, feed them well beforehand!
Non-Sweet Treats – As a treat-giver maybe consider some of the “non-sweet” variety. Around 25% of US homes go down this route, giving small toys, fruit or even money. I’m unsure how well this will go down with your local hooded adolescents…..
If you are going down the sweets route:
Chocolate- YES! – When it comes to Halloween sweets, chocolate is one of the best options to give to trick-or-treaters (and to maybe nibble on yourself). Chocolate melts fast and washes off of teeth easily, making it harder for bacteria to cling to enamel and create cavities.
Hard sweets- NO! – Avoid handing out hard chewy sweets; these break teeth, can pull out fillings and stick on the teeth for hours promoting decay- stay away from these dental disasters…..
All at once – When they bring the bag of “dental-doom” home, just eat the sweets in one go! Don’t be tempted to stash sweets away for further nibbling tomorrow or the next day- think of their teeth (and your waistline)! It’s best to get it over and done and bin all the excess sweets when your kids go to bed!
Remember to clean your teeth before bed- Sometimes the most obvious things just have to be said….