Halloween is the highlight of the year for many children, but it's no secret that all that candy can wreak havoc on their teeth (with consequences that could actually be deadly.) Don't fear! We've compiled some fun and easy ways to turn Halloween from a dental health nightmare into a wonderful opportunity to spread oral health awareness. Here are four ways to make Halloween less scary (for your teeth!)
- Reduce the emphasis on candy. It's difficult for kids (and sometimes adults) to show restraint when sweets are involved, so it's up to us to provide better options that are still fun.
• Offer trick-or-treaters candy that will do the least amount of damage to their teeth: chocolate (without sticky caramel) and sugar-free gum, especially brands that also contain xylitol. Chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva production and xylitol is an alternative sweetener that helps fight tooth decay. For more information about the best candies to choose and, even more important, which to avoid, check out this handy article from The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists.
• Once the trick-or-treating is done, many dental offices participate in candy buy-back campaigns and donate the candy they collect to Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to troops stationed overseas. Check with offices near you to see who is participating. (If your dental practice would like to learn more, click here.)
- Offer healthy alternatives. In addition to "healthier" treats, the American Dental Association has lots of great ideas of fun alternatives to candy that any kid would love to get.
Of course, our favorite option is to provide kids with the tool they absolutely need to keep their smiles healthy: a new toothbrush. Kids should replace their toothbrush every three months (but likely don't) and many kids who may show up at your door don't have their own toothbrush or share one with family members. Offer a new toothbrush with these printable oral health tips to anyone who wants them. Just be sure to include something fun too, in order to avoid being a victim of the "trick" part of trick-or-treat!
- Participate in our Wear Your Wings Challenge to spread awareness of the #1 chronic untreated childhood disease: tooth decay. Halloween is the perfect time to don a costume, so why not be the Tooth Fairy? (Especially if you're going to hand out toothbrushes!) Wear Your Wings in a short video to educate your friends about oral health, then challenge three other people to do the same. If you're not sure what to say, click here.
Post your video to social media and you could win your choice of a Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Professional water flosser or a $100 VISA gift card. (Just be sure to tag America's ToothFairy and include #WearYourWings and #TrickorTeeth in your post.)
- Share oral health awareness on social media. How are kids supposed to know how to take care of their smiles if their parents don't know? We've created fun graphics and sample posts to make it easy to educate everyone you know about proper oral health. Download our Halloween social media kit and post to social media during the week of Halloween and on National Brush Day: November 1st! Or simply follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share our posts throughout the week.
BONUS! Speaking of National Brush Day, if you're still trying to wrap your head around the alarming thought that some kids don't own a toothbrush, there is no better time to join our Smile Drive campaign! It's a fun and easy way to collect oral hygiene products including toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and rinse for families in need. And what better day to hold a Smile Drive than National Brush Day?! Learn more by clicking here.
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