TIPS FOR A SAFER, HEALTHIER “TRICK OR TREATING & EATING” HALLOWEEN
October is here, and that brings three things to mind for parents and dentists throughout the nation: National Orthodontic Health Month, National Dental Hygiene Month and, of course, Halloween. With last year’s tricks, treats, monster cavities, and broken brackets and appliances haunting memories, The Smile Generation®-trusted dentists are gearing up to raise awareness on how to make Halloween fun, safe and sound for everyone. Avoiding candy entirely might seem like a great idea, but missing out on all the festivities and sweet treats isn’t exactly the best and ONLY method to enjoy a Happy Halloween. Smile Generation-trusted dentists, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) put together this list of HEALTHY TIPS FOR A SAFE HALLOWEEN so that you and your children can trick or treat away, plus have your candy AND eat it, too.
- Make sure your child wears bright colors or reflectors to easily spot him/her while trick or treating in the dark. Using a flashlight with new batteries is also a good idea.
- Educate your child on the importance of never going inside a stranger’s house; stay outside to get candy with everyone else. Also, it’s best to only visit houses with lights on.
- If you are unable to accompany your child, make sure he/she is trick or treating with at least one other adult and/or a large group of familiar friends.
- If walking around busy streets, it’s very important that your child understands how to use crosswalks and how to look both ways before crossing.
- Assign a time that your child will need to return home, and reward them for adhering to it.
- Before allowing your child to eat any collected candies, inspect them, removing ones that have a torn wrapper, are unwrapped or look suspicious.
- Healthier braces-friendly candy/treat options include: soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other kinds of candies that melt in your mouth. (Visit the AAO for other orthodontic-friendly recipes.) Caramel, taffy, bubblegum, jelly beans, popcorn and any peanut or nut-filled candies have been known to cause damage to braces.
- Healthier braces-free candy/treats options include: nuts, hard candies, sugar-free treats, dark chocolate or even powdered candy that can be eaten without chewing. After eating, the ADHA also recommends (those without braces) to chew on sugar-free gum to help fight cavities, neutralize plaque and strengthen teeth as well as wash away food particles.
- Overall, candies that should be avoided as much as possible are ones that are chewy, sticky, sour, really sugary and/or take long to dissolve in the mouth.
- Non-edible substitutes that are safe for everyone to enjoy include: crayons, toys and fun jewelry.
- In addition to limiting the number of total candies your child can have, designate a specific time when he/she can have candy each day. We suggest sometime late noon to early evening to avoid sugar crashes or a spoiled dinner!
- Make sure your child brushes his/her teeth for at least two minutes and flosses and rinses every evening and morning, especially after he/she has eaten candy. According to the ADHA, brushing for two minutes twice a day is crucial to maintaining healthy smiles.
Here are some tips on how to properly brush. Daily flossing helps remove plaque and food particles that the toothbrush cannot reach, especially under the gum line. Here are best practices on how to floss. Finally, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) can help prevent gum disease (gingivitis).
To learn more about the American Association of Orthodontists, visit: http://www.mylifemysmile.org/
For more info on National Dental Hygiene Month, visit: http://www.adha.org/national-dental-hygiene-month
View the infographic on our Pinterest page: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/351912444477289/