While children find delight in the treats of the season, dentists also caution parents about the damage those sweets can cause to teeth over time. Jonelle Grant-Anamelechi, DDS, MSPH, attending faculty member and pediatric dentist at Children’s National Health System, says that practicing good dental hygiene year round is important, and it’s especially important for parents to remain vigilant during times like Halloween. To help families, she is offering parents a list of healthy tips for Halloween (and really, year round!).
Steer Clear of Chewy Candies – Caramel, gummies, or chewy sweets like fruit snacks are among the most harmful Halloweentreats for oral health. These types of candies are particularly dangerous because they can smear and become lodged in between teeth and stick to teeth’s deeper grooves. When this happens, it’s harder for saliva and the tongue to naturally clear away the sugary residue, which can lead to cavities.
“Cavities begin to form when certain bacteria in our mouths have the opportunity to feed on sugar that’s left behind on our teeth,” explained Dr. Grant-Anamelechi. “This interaction creates acid and can lead to tooth decay.”
Beware of Hard Candies That Can Cause Breakage – Around Halloween, dentists also commonly see a spike in broken teeth caused by biting into hard candies, such as lollipops. These types of candies are almost as hard as children’s teeth, and when bitten into can cause or worsen existing tooth sensitives.
Treat Yourself to (Dark) Chocolate – Dark chocolate, a favorite for many parents to keep around the home, is rich in antioxidants and serves as a great substitute for other Halloween treats. Parents should also consider replacing sticky, chewy treats with items such as crackers and pretzels, or other small toys.
An Apple a Day May Help Keep the Dentist Away – Because avoiding all sweets isn’t likely, eating an apple after enjoying Halloween candy can also reduce the risk of developing cavities. Apples are considered “nature’s toothbrush,” and snacking on the fibrous fruit can help to quickly whisk away cavity-causing debris from teeth when a toothbrush is out of reach.
Make Brushing a Family Activity – Oftentimes children want to start brushing their teeth on their own around ages 4 or 5. However, it isn’t until ages 7 or 8 that they usually develop the right technique. On occasions like Halloween when a child might have consumed larger amounts of candy, parents should help with brushing. Use small, circular motions to reach the gums, as brushing in a straight line can just push debris from one tooth to the next. And, don’t forget the tongue, which harbors food and germs.
Go on an Adventure or Sing a Song – It can be challenging to keep children interested in brushing their teeth for the recommended two minutes. Try turning teeth brushing into an imaginative safari adventure – such as searching for an alligator or lion behind teeth. Singing a familiar song twice, such as Happy Birthday, also helps children stay focused on brushing for the recommended time.
Connect Dental Hygiene With Whole-Body Health – While parents commonly remind their children to wash their hands before eating or after playing outside, there is frequently a disconnect with including the mouth – and the germs it harbors – as a contributor to overall health.
“Just like covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough is important to stopping the spread of germs, so is keeping your teeth, tongue, and gums free of harmful bacteria,” said Dr. Grant-Anamelechi. “As moms, we need to remind our children that all parts of the body are connected and play a role in improving health.”
By Richela Fabian Morgan
Project #1: Notebook/Binder Decoration
Material: duct tape, notebook
Tools: parchment paper, pencil, scissors
Additional tool: bubble letter stencil (the one used in photo is a FREE printable)
1. Cover front of notebook with vertical strips of duct tape.
2. Fold the duct tape strips over the top, bottom, and right edges of the cover.
3. Trace letters onto the parchment paper.
4. Cover the traced letters with a strip of duct tape.
5. Flip over the parchment paper. You should be able to see the traced letters.
6. Using a pair of well-oiled scissors, cut out the letters.
7. Move around the cut letters on the notebook cover until you find an acceptable position.
8. One by one, remove the parchment paper on the back of each letter and adhere it onto the notebook cover.
Project #2: Pencil Case
Materials: white, blue, yellow, light blue, gold, orange, green, red, and fuchsia duct tape; 2 round neodyne magnets, key chain ring
Tools: self-healing cutting matt, corked back metal ruler, craft knife, parchment paper, 1/8" hole puncher
1. Place a parchment paper measuring 10" wide x 15" high on top of your worktable. Starting from the bottom, place 9 strips of white duct tape across the parchment paper. Be sure the strips overlap along the long edges by at least 1/8". Flip over and place the duct tape/parchment paper on your worktable in the landscape position. Peel off parchment paper. Starting at the bottom of the half-made fabric, place 6 strips of blue duct tape across it. Be sure the strips overlap along the long edges by at least 1/8". Trim down the fabric to 10" x 15". (See my instructional video on YouTube).
2. Place the fabric on your worktable in the portrait position, white side facing up.
3. Cut two strips of 6" white duct tape. Measure and mark 6" from the bottom left and right corners of the fabric. Starting at the two marks, vertically place each strip along the left and right edges. Be sure the strips are halfway on the fabric.
4. Fold back the vertical tape strips and pull up the bottom portion of the fabric. Push down along the outer edges to form the main pocket.
5. Trim the corners of the flap in a curved line.
6. Cut 12" strips of various colored tape. Trim the width of each trip to 1/4". Use these strips to decorate the front of the pencil case. Trim edges of strips that extend past the edges of the pencil case.
7. Flip bag over so the opening is face up. Place a magnet on the inside of the flap, centered and approximately 1/2" from the top edge. Cover with a piece of white duct tape.
8. Place a magnet inside the pocket, centered and approximately 1/2" from the bottom edge. Push it agains the top fabric of the pocket and cover from the inside with a piece of white duct tape.
9. Using the hole puncher, make a hole on the upper left corner of the pencil case near the top of the pocket.
10. Loop the key ring through the hole.
11. Close the flap and flip the bag over.
Project #3: Cell Phone Case
Materials: fuchsia and multi-colored chevron duct tape, bubble wrap, cell phone
Tools: self-healing cutting mat, ruler, scissors, ball point pen, pencil
1. Cut 2 rectangles from the bubble wrap that are 1/2 wider than your phone.
2. Trim down the height of the bubble wrap rectangles to 1" shorter than height of your cell phone.
3. Fold strips of fuchsia duct tape over the top edges of the bubble wrap rectangles. Trim down the left and right edges.
4. Place one rectangle on top of the other and line up the edges. Starting from the top edge, horizontally place 10" strips of fuchsia duct tape on the bubble wrap rectangles, overlapping the strips along the long edges by approximately 1/8". Flip over the bubble wrap rectangles. Fold the left and right edges of the strips over the rectangles, creating a pocket.
5. Horizontally place a strip of fuchsia tape halfway along the bottom edge of the pocket. Fold the strip under the pocket to close up the bottom.
6. Draw 8 flower petals on the parchment paper.
7. Cover drawn petals with chevron duct tape.
8. Flip the parchment paper so the drawn petals are visible. Using a pair of well-oiled scissors, cut out the petals.
9. Move around the cut petals on the cell phone case until you find an acceptable position.
10. One by one, remove the parchment paper on the back of each petal and adhere it onto the cell phone case.
Richela Fabian Morgan began her duct tape odyssey 8 years ago with a simple bi-fold wallet, before writing the best-selling crafting books Tape It & Make It, Tape It & Make More, and Tape It & Wear It. She is an indie crafter specializing in paper, adhesives, and found materials.
Her newest duct tape crafting book, Duct Tape Bags, is available nationwide. For more information, please visit, www.RichelaFabianMorgan.com and connect with her on facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, and YouTube.