Halloween dental health, safety tips from experts

According to the National Retail Federation, approximately 3.1 billion dollars will be spent this year on Halloween candy.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — AAA representative Nick Chabarria says there are many things parents could do to help keep their kids safe this Halloween night.

Make sure to be visible to drivers while trick-or-treating by carrying flashlights or glow sticks. 

Look both ways when crossing the street, and use sidewalks when possible. 

Chabarria says for those who are driving on Halloween, it’s all about keeping your eyes peeled for the creatures out at night.

“We know that one of the biggest factors in pedestrian-involved crashes is speed,” Chabarria said. “So certainly while there are going to be more people out and about on the sidewalks, make sure you just slow down”

For anyone not looking to go out trick or treating but celebrate at a party, Chabarria advised the use of Uber or Lyft to get home safely. For parents preparing for Halloween trick or treating, Chabarria explained the importance of being visible on the sidewalks.

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“A great way to kind of make costumes more visible especially in low light conditions is to use reflective tape,” said Chabarria. “You can just put that on different parts of the costume that will make sure that your child is especially visible when it’s dark out or when it’s low light conditions.” 

Chabarria also had a few more tips, including:

  • Trick or treating in a group
  • Have a flashlight
  • Don’t walk distracted (avoid looking down at your phone)
  • be aware of your surroundings.

According to the National Retail Federation, approximately 3.1 billion dollars will be spent this year on Halloween candy. Dr. Garrett Sanders of Pediatric Dentist Associates and Orthodontics says parents should keep an eye on what their children eat.

“Not all candy is created equal from, like, a dental health standpoint,” said Dr. Sanders. “So what we would encourage is that you try to focus on when you filter through your kids’ candy, try to focus on chocolate-based, non-sticky and softer, textured, but not tacky candy.”

Dr. Sanders said chocolate candy like Reese’s, dark chocolate, Hershey’s, etc. won’t be as detrimental to teeth. “Those things don’t adhere to the teeth as much, they wash away with the saliva easier. And they’re not tacky. So, they’re not going to pull off dental restorations or anything like that,” Dr. Sanders said.

Opposed to hard candy like jawbreakers, Jolly Ranchers, candy that isn’t as soft can hurt healthy teeth. “They can fracture the enamel off, they can damage dental restorations, and they can cause pain, or if they have loose teeth, they can crack them, there are lots of things that can happen,” Dr. Sanders said.

The dentist also warned parents of choking hazards and advised younger children to stick to softer candies. No matter the size of the candy stash at the end of the night, Dr. Sanders advises parents to filter through the candy. 

While trick-or-treaters will continue to enjoy their candy, the pediatric dentist advises diligent brushing at the end of the night.

He also mentioned the importance of frequency. The longer your kids dig into their bag of candy spanning over weeks would lead to the higher risk of getting cavities, according to Dr. Sanders.

“A lot of times that bag of candy will last a long time. And it’s just constantly exposing the teeth to a lot of sugar.”

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