There’s nothing worse than the neighborhood dentist who dishes out toothbrushes in lieu of candy on Halloween—right? Trust us: dental floss is the last item you’ll find on our candy trays. But we do appreciate the mindfulness of Dr. Buzzkill.
The spookiest night of the year is just around the corner, and Americans are projected to spend upwards of $8.4 billion on sweet treats to celebrate. That’s great news for candy companies, but how is all that sugar going to affect your teeth?
So long as you’re properly brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist, one evening of indulgence won’t do you too much harm. Our dentist industry counterpart Harold Katz agrees:
There is nothing wrong with having some candy every once in awhile. Since Halloween is only ONE day per year, moderate candy indulgence will not ruin your health. At the end of the day, the secret is to continue with daily oral hygiene routines that fight tooth decay and the bacteria that cause bad breath and bleeding gums.
Keep these five tips in mind as you maximize that sugar high and minimize the impact on your teeth:
1. Not all candy is created equal.
Some candies are much more conducive to a healthy mouth than others. None should be eaten excessively, but knowing which ones are more benign can help you make responsible choices without sacrificing satisfaction.
|Dark chocolate||High sugar content|
2. Eat well beforehand.
Candy’s a treat, not a source of nutrition. Therefore, we shouldn’t eat it to satisfy hunger, just as we shouldn’t consume coffee or beer to quench thirst. Eating a healthy and hearty dinner prior to your Halloween festivities will prevent mindless candy consumption.
As Christopher Wanjek, author of “Bad Medicine” and “Food at Work,” tells, candy also comes with empty calories:
In the unlikely scenario of a single-night indulgence, of course there’s no serious health consequence. Gorge yourself, brush your teeth, and move on. But considering that a handful of candy is about 100 calories, you or your child will consume about 10,000 empty calories getting through that 5-pound sack of treats.
3. Establish rules.
Halloween is the perfect occasion to teach children about moderation. Agree on a portion of their prize that can be eaten after the roundup, then establish a schedule for consuming the rest. Consider dividing it into 30 parts—one for each day of November—or establishing a day of the week for Halloween candy. And be sure to make these deals in advance to avoid a very angry, sugar-fueled Frankenstein at the end of the night.
4. Demonstrate the effects of candy.
We often use disclosing tablets to reveal plaque buildup. Grab some of these for an impactful demonstration that’s as fun as it is educational.
5. Keep up the good habits.
One Halloween isn’t a welcome party for cavities. Simply stay mindful of your consumption and be sure to follow up with an extended brush and floss. Then stay committed to your daily hygiene habits.
Happy Halloween from Woodall & McNeill!