Scary and Not-So-Scary Halloween Treats: A Dental Perspective

It’s that time of year again, where goblins and ghosts haunt your streets in search of a tasty morsel or two. It’s the time of year that children love and dentists despise due to the vast amounts of sugary Halloween treats. Most kids hurry home and, after a thorough checking of their candy by an adult, dive into their sugary treats with complete disregard for their dental hygiene. After all, who’s going to stop and think about brushing and flossing at a time like this? This is Halloween, for Pete’s sake! It only comes once a year!

We parents can work together to make Halloween fun and not so devastating to your kid’s dental health. By choosing dental-friendly Halloween treats to pass out, both kids and parents can look forward to some Halloween shenanigans. Here we go over some of the healthier snacks and treats to give to your trick-or-treaters.

Not-So-Scary Treats

Most dentists will agree that it’s best to stay away from sugary treats all-together, however, they do understand that kids will be kids, so they have some healthier options to offer kids. Chocolate treats that don’t have sticky fillings are a good option. Sugar-free gum or cookies that won’t stick to kid’s teeth are good as well. Look for cookies that are soft and not filled. You could also choose to give away pretzels or goldfish crackers that are nutritious and not loaded with sugar. Pencils, stickers, notepads, bouncy balls, or yo-yos are also fun options that won’t damage their pearly whites.

Super-Scary Treats

As a general rule, anything sticky is horrible for your teeth. This includes anything gummy, taffy, caramels, or sugary nuts or coconut. Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers or suckers fall into the super-scary treat category as well, especially the suckers with the bubble gum or tootsie roll fillings. These are especially bad because your child’s teeth are exposed to the sugar for a longer time period as the candy dissolves. What’s more, if your child bites down on hard candies they could quite possibly chip or crack a tooth.

Candies such as Sour Patch Kids or any other highly acidic candy should be avoided at all cost. This acid can damage the tooth enamel and also feeds damaging bacteria in your child’s mouth.

If your child wears braces, you need to be especially careful about the types of treats your orthodontist approves of. Foods like gum, popcorn or other soft candies can become trapped in your child’s braces and either damage their braces or their teeth, and in some cases both.

Best Options for Dental Health

As we mentioned earlier, you can bypass the candy option all together and choose to hand out treats that are still fun but not edible. Rubber spiders, tattoos, raisins, crayons and mini-coloring or puzzle books are all great options, especially for kids with braces. And the best part of these types of treats is you don’t have to check them for tampering. They are safe as is.

If you have any questions or concerns about your family’s dental care, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you and answer any questions you may have.

Image courtesy of tifotter, flickr.com creative commons.

 

 

Operation Gratitude Sends Donated Halloween Candy to Our Troops!

Halloween is here again. Another opportunity has come to say a big thank you to our troops for their selfless service to our nation. As you look forward to wearing your specially crafted costume and collecting different kinds of candies from neighbors, family, and friends, we would like to take a  moment to let you in on a wonderful opportunity for you and your kids to donate your Halloween candy to our troops overseas through a charity known as Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who assemble and send over 250,000 care packages to our troops overseas. They also send care packages to service member’s children who are left here at home, first responders, wounded heroes, veterans, as well as new recruits. Their  goal is to show support and boost the morale of those who do so much for all of us and our country. To date, Operation Gratitude has sent over 1.5 million care packages!

Send Halloween Candy and Other Gifts to Our Troops

You can send a wide variety of candy bars to show your appreciation to our troops. Unlike previous years, you don’t need to differentiate between chocolate and non-chocolate candy or spend time sorting various types of candy. The only types of candy Operation Gratitude cannot accept at this time are the powdery candy varieties like Pixy Stix because they make the packages very messy. In addition to candy, you may send toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, Beanie babies, handmade hats, scarves and paracord bracelets if you would like to add a little something special in addition to your Halloween candy.

Package the Candy in a Nice Box or Carton

Using a box that is not larger than 24” x 24” x 20”, package your candy neatly and send it to Operation Gratitude. To keep loose candy safe in transit, line the boxes with big bags or put the candy in Ziploc bags. In each box, add a completed donation form, which you can download from their website. This form will give the volunteers details about the total number of packages, the total weight of candy and the toothbrushes you are sending, and make it easy for them to send an acknowledgment to you after they receive your package. You may also include letters or cards for our troops in your package.

Send Your Package Early

Send your package as soon as possible. Make sure it gets to the Operation Gratitude volunteers on or before November 15th so it can be included in the annual care packages that they will send to our troops this year. Consider the number of days it will take for your candy to arrive at their office and send it early to avoid delays. The best time to send your package is immediately after you gather the candy. Put together all the packaging materials now so you can send the candy to them before the deadline runs out. They don’t want any of the candy you send to get wasted.

Ship it or Bring it to Their Office

Ship your candy boxes to their address at:

Operation Gratitude

21100 Lassen Street,

Chatsworth, CA 91311,

(818) 469-0448

Please don’t ship candy boxes to any other address apart from this one. To confirm that your package was delivered to their office even before receiving a notice of acknowledgment from us, you can use the tracking facility offered by your shipping agent. For those who live close to their address in California, you may bring your gifts in person while their volunteers are on duty. You may also send your package through a dentist, school, business or club in your community that collects candy on behalf of Operation Gratitude.

Now, that you’ve all the information required to package and send your Halloween treat to show gratitude to our troops, make sure you prepare to get as much candy as possible during the event and follow the steps required to package them and ship them out. They will deliver your candy as promised.

Follow Operation Gratitude on Social Media

To receive current updates on all of our activities at Operation Gratitude, you can check out their official Facebook page and Halloween Candy Give back page if you have not done so before. Here you will find insightful tips, news updates and other information that will be useful to you.

If you have any questions or concerns about your family’s dental care, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you and answer any questions you may have.