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by Jillian Aitken on October 27th, 2016

Ah... All Hallows’ Eve. A magical time of year beloved by children and adults alike. A time when ghosts, goblins, mummies, and vampires take over the streets after sundown, in search of sweet and delectable treats. Halloween easily occupies a spot in the top three most coveted children’s holidays. And why not? Free candy and fun costumes, what’s not to love? However, Halloween can also pose oral health risks. From tripping in a costume to eating candy not properly inspected by parents, this spooky time of year can teach patients -- both children and adults -- about the importance of being pre-emptive in their oral care, and how taking precautions can help avoid costly and traumatic dental visits. Below are some tips on how to have a Halloween filled with confectionery, fun, and more importantly, safety.

  1. Have a game plan.

    Prior to heading out, take a few minutes to talk about expectations. How long will this trick-or-treating outing last? How much candy can/will be eaten on the way home? Will there be a “one treat per day” limit? Or will that depend on the candy amount collected?

  2. Eat treats (only) with a meal.

    Enjoying a sweet treat after a balanced meal makes you (as a parent) a great role model. Make sure to enjoy the treat in a distraction-free environment, so your body can actually be aware of what it is having (sugar!), so it doesn’t crave it in a few hours. Talk to your children about why this candy is their favorite. Bonus points: What was their favorite part of the balanced meal before dessert?

  3. Use a small bag + ditch “non-favorites”.

    One solution to avoid waste is to use a smaller treat bag in the first place! A child will see the bag as “full”, and will be less-likely to want to fill an enormous bag with sweets. Another solution: a mid-November visit from with “The Switch Witch” -— she collects any remaining candy for something fun, like a small toy or movie passes.

  4. Finding the right fit.

    It is imperative that a child’s Halloween costume fits them properly, in order to avoid trips and falls. Over-sized shoes, high heels, long dresses or capes can all pose a safety risk. Ask this blogger: I fell down the neighbour’s stairs when I was 8 on Halloween —- my ghost costume was too long, and there was not enough light on the neighbour’s stairs.

  5. Avoid masks.

    This cannot be stressed enough! Masks obstruct a person’s peripheries and ability to hear what is occurring around them. A child may not be able to see what is happening around them, or hear oncoming cars before crossing the road. Instead, opt for a hypo-allergenic face-paint kit.

  6. Check your treats.

    A child must understand treats are not to be eaten -— not even a taste -— until Mommy or Daddy have gone through them. When home again, you can look at all your treats together, to make sure there are none that contain allergens, or are questionable.

  7. Set a treat time.

    To curb binging on Halloween candy -— although, who wouldn’t want a box of Smarties for dinner? -— it is best to limit snacking to particular times. Frequent snackers (of junk food) are at a greater risk for tooth decay; as the mouth has constant acidic conditions that wear away tooth enamel.

  8. Eat a balanced meal.

    Healthy meals and snacks should always come before candy and treats. When we are full from eating proper vitamins and minerals, we are less-likely to gorge on empty, sugary calories. As well, you will avoid the inevitable “crash” that follows consuming sweets. Send children out on Halloween with a full stomach. A satisfied appetite will indulge in less sweets.

  9. Brush, floss, and rinse.

    Sticky candy can get stuck in between teeth and cause tooth decay. Brushing and flossing after a snack is ideal, however, swishing with a glass of water after eating a sugary treat will help rinse away at least some of the sugars/acids. NOTE: Swishing with water does not replace brushing your teeth!

  10. Have fun with more than just candy!

    Show your family that Halloween is more than just candy! Enjoy the time being active outdoors together, and exploring your neighbourhood.

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Mint Dentistry is a Toronto dental office with locations on Queen Street West and in The Junction.

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Mint Dentistry Queen West

106-1153 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M6J 1J4

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Junction location

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P: 416-767-MINT (6468)
F: 416-763-5517

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Mint Dentistry Junction

3084 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M6P 1Z8

The number 40 Junction bus runs every ten minutes or better and stops at Quebec Ave. both eastbound and westbound. One hour and three hour free parking often available on side streets.

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Sat: 8am to 1pm once a month

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