Healthy Dental Tips For the Spooky Season!
Halloween is lurking around the corner, but so is the coronavirus, making traditional Halloween parties trickier. This year, big parties and parades, creepy haunted houses, and gathering in crowds to trick-or-treat are off the table for many, or at the very least, downsized and held outdoors while social distancing. While the traditional ways of celebrating Halloween may look different this year, your family can still stock up on Halloween candy and dress up for some squeamishly spooky fun.
Treat Your Teeth
The problem with sweets is that all that sugary goodness can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. When you snack on sugary treats, be sure to rinse your mouth well with water afterward or brush your teeth if possible. Avoid hard, chewy, or extra sticky candies like the plague to avoid damaging dental plaque!
Eerie Count Chocula
Chocolate is a better choice when getting your sweets on, as it melts quickly and doesn’t stress the chompers like taffy, caramel, or other hard, sticky candies typically do. It’s easier to clean chocolate off the teeth unless they are filled with caramel or nougat fillings. Candy season can also be made more tooth-friendly by drinking plenty of water to keep saliva levels optimal. Saliva helps wash away oral debris to reduce harmful plaque. Supply your child with mini water bottles and sugar-free gum when brushing their teeth is not possible. Help your family stick to a healthy diet in general, so teeth and gums stay strong during the treat-laden holiday season for the next three months.
Frightful Family Fun
To protect your child’s wickedly cute smile during this pumpkin season, you can do what some parents do and limit daily candy consumption! Some spread out a trick-or-treating haul throughout the month and make sure they clean their teeth after eating sugary goodies. Others limit treats to a few days around Halloween itself. Having your family eat their candy right after a meal can help minimize plaque and tartar. Whatever works best for you and your family’s traditions, remember to instill in them the lifelong habit of cleaning their teeth after enjoying sweet treats.
Creating Safe Halloween Smiles
Here are some spooktacular ideas to enjoy scaring your loved ones with some wicked good fun!
Tip: If a costume comes with a mask, consider wearing a safety mask under it. Double the mask, double the protection!
- Go all out this year by making or buying fun costumes for your family and taking lots of pictures to share on social media, send to extended family, or display in an album or on the wall!
- Join friends and extended family in a “virtual costume contest” and award prizes and treats that can be dropped off or delivered by your favorite delivery company (Instacart, Walmart or Amazon).
- Host a cool Zoom Halloween party, complete with scary music, games, or dance party for older kids.
- Buy your child’s favorite Halloween candy, plastic spiders and bats, spooky stickers, Halloween-themed pencils, and mini tubes of toothpaste and flosses and let them trick-or-treat door-to-door INSIDE your house!
- Check out your neighbors’ Halloween decorations while driving around, or masking up and walking around to wave at them from the sidewalk. If the neighbors are game, you can use Facebook or NextDoor to vote on the best decorations.
- Paint scary pumpkins and place them around the house or by your doorstep. For extra spooky fun, paint teeth on them and practice “brushing” with your little ones armed with a new superhero or other character-inspired children’s toothbrush just for them.
- Have a Rotten Witch Teeth guessing contest! Fill a clear jar with candy corn and have your kids guess how many wicked witch “rotten teeth” there are!
- Take your family to a drive-thru Halloween haunt! Instead of Christmas lights, you’re getting spooked from frightful Halloween decorations.
- Have a haunted skull glow-in-the-dark scavenger hunt! Fill plastic skulls with mini dental floss and toothpaste, sugar-free candy or gum, glow sticks, bracelets or necklaces, vampire teeth, or plastic spider rings to hunt for in the yard. If you can’t find skulls, mini plastic pumpkins or mummies are also fun!
- Decorate a Halloween candy tree (artificial or real) with creepy lights and treats, including travel-sized dental floss, glow sticks, toothpaste, and more (see ideas above), so kids can grab their own goodies from your porch or yard.
- Parade your child through the neighborhood to show off their cool costume and wave at your neighbors. When you come home, treat your child to a Halloween toy or goody bag instead of trick-or-treating.
- Have some scary family movie nights or a Halloween night macabre marathon with healthy treats. Spooky apple smiles (cored and quartered apples decorated with blanched slivered almond “teeth”), Clementine pumpkins (peeled and topped with a celery stick stalk), and banana ghosts (peeled bananas with chocolate chips for eyes and mouth) are a fun way to enjoy sweet treats safely!
- Anonymously drop off a Halloween goodie bag or decorated pumpkin on the doorsteps of a few friends, family or neighbors to spread some spooky cheer, contact-free! After dark, tip-toe silently to the front door, ring the doorbell, and then “ghost” them by dropping off a ghoulish goodie and hiding or running away.
Harrowing Halloween Fun for Families
Download one of these fun pumpkin carving stencils like Billy the Bicuspid, Count Bicuspid, Frankentooth’s molar, and more as well as Activity Sheets or Coloring Sheets:
https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/resources/activity-sheets/halloweenFrom our dental family to yours, no matter how you celebrate Halloween this year, make it safe, healthy, and fun for all!