Halloween Tips to Sink Your Teeth Into
Halloween is all about horror, but if you’re a dentist, Halloween is the horror. Your entire career is devoted to preventing and treating tooth decay. And then tiny goblins seeking sugary goodies show up at your door on Oct. 31.
What’s a dentist to do? Close the door and shut off the porch light? Give out toothbrushes and floss? The professionals at Einstein Healthcare Network do what three out of four dentists do, according to the American Dental Association: they give out candy. But they follow it with a bit of advice: brush your teeth when you’re done.
Frederic Barnett, DMD, Chairman of Dentistry, said he wouldn’t dare refrain from giving out candy—not with two young sons in the house. “No way I could give out floss or toothbrushes, because my kids would be picked on or shunned in the neighborhood and maybe my house gets egged or worse,” he joked.
So, yes, he gives out candy. “Am I conflicted? Of course I’m conflicted,” he said, feigning distress.
“But so long as kids will brush the sweets off their teeth before they go to bed—and maybe a little bit of floss—it’s all good,” he said. “You have to live a little bit in life!”
Michelle Martino, a secretary in the dental department, has made the best of a bad situation by choosing to give out chocolate to trick or treaters.
“Chocolate isn’t so bad,” she said. “It’s not sticky, it’s not chewy or gooey—and then I make sure to tell them to brush their teeth.”
The American Dental Association concurs. According to its website, chocolate is the best snack to give out on Halloween, because it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy. Sticky and gummy candies stay longer on your teeth, and when the natural bacteria in your mouth feast on the sugar, a weak acid is produced. The acid contributes to cavities.
So the dental association recommends a chaser for all the hobgoblins afoot on Halloween night: drink water. It washes away the acid.
And, yes, of course, brush your teeth.