Candy & Cavities: Essential Tricks For Your Child’s Oral Health

young african american girl holding halloween candy in a jack o latern( — A child’s Halloween dream, and the mounds of candy involved, can be their parents’ worst nightmare. But pediatric dental experts say Halloween can be a time to teach your children good oral health habits for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats (think moderation).

Here are their five best tricks for healthy teeth:

Halloween Candy vs. Cavities: Don’t Make Kids Choose

Don’t deny your children the Halloween experience. That can send the entirely wrong message — deprivation — and make candy seem even more irresistible, leading to other problems. They may end up sneaking sweets or eating too much candy once they’re out on their own. Instead, let them have the joy of Halloween in all its sticky goodness and the experience of going to a party or trick-or-treating.

Choose candy together. After your children get back from trick-or-treating or a party, go through their bags of Halloween candy together. Tell them to each pick the 10 or so (whatever number you decide, based on factors such as age) treats they want the most.

Get the unpicked treats out of sight.
You can donate them to a food bank or freeze them if you can’t bear to throw them out.

Teach your children about cavity-causing snacks. This can also be a good time to teach (or remind) children that it isn’t just excess sugar that can lead to cavities. Snacks such as pretzels, with starches that stay in the mouth longer, can also lead to cavities, as can fruit juices.

Healthy Lessons That Children Can Also Learn

Letting children help decide what is a reasonable amount of candy to keep has benefits beyond good oral health. The message isn’t “candy is bad,” but that candy and other sweets, in excess, can lead to cavities. Children learn two additional important lessons:

  • How to control their diet
  • What they eat relates to oral health, not just physical health

Preventing Cavities in Children: Set a Treat Time

With your child, set a time of day to eat Halloween candy. This ritual “treat time” may last long after Halloween and help promote healthy thinking about treats:

  • Children learn that eating sweets shouldn’t be an all-day feast. Moderation is key.
  • Knowing they have a specific sweet time can help make children less inclined to think about eating sweets at other times of the day.

Children’s Oral Health: Set Up a Teeth Brushing Schedule

No matter when treat time is, it’s crucial to brush soon after. If it is nighttime, for example, brushing and flossing teeth before bed will help sweep away the recent sweets. Fluoride mouth rinses for kids also help prevent tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association.

Until a child is 7 or 8 years old, a parent should help with teeth brushing, not simply supervise. Even after age 8, parents should supervise brushing. That includes friendly reminders to older children to brush and floss until they get to high school, when it should be a habit.

Use Disclosing Tablets, Swabs, or Solution

Some dentists use ”disclosing tablets” to spot bacterial plaque on teeth. These chewable tablets temporarily stain the plaque that builds up on teeth.

Parents can also use disclosing tablets, solution, or swabs to show children how well they are brushing or flossing their teeth — especially if they already have a cavity or two. A 12-pack of disclosing tablets is available over the counter and online for about $5.

You may want to schedule a disclosing session once a week or so, to keep your child on his toes.

Keep Teeth Brushing Fun

You should replace toothbrushes every three or four months anyway, so make Halloween an occasion for getting your child a new brush. Dentists say that when children like the toothbrushes, they are more apt to enjoy brushing. Children can choose from a variety of kid-sized brushes that feature cartoon characters and colorful designs. Young children typically can’t wait to use a new toothbrush.

  • Children also like to pick out their own toothpaste. Give your child the freedom to pick from gels or pastes, different colors, and different flavors. Just check the tube label to be sure it contains fluoride.
  • Check the condition of your child’s toothbrush from time to time. If it doesn’t look worn after weeks of use, he may not be brushing well.


Ladies only: Have you ever cheated on a significant other?

Get Your Glitter On!

set of glitter in plastic containers( — From Halloween to New Year’s Eve, the holiday season means glittering lights – in your home, on the street, and on you, too! Sparkle through the holidays with some well-chosen glitter, gloss, and shimmer makeup.

Glitter Makeup

Eyes: Look Modern

Sprinkled all over lids, glitter can look garish. But makeup artists agree that a small amount applied close to the base of the upper lashes is unexpected and modern. For this look, draw on a glittery liquid eyeliner from the inner- to the outermost corners of your lids. Then, using a finger or a cotton swab, dab a bit of matching powder eye shadow over the line. Layering powder on liquid not only produces a soft finish but also helps color last.

On Nails: Look Classy

Unlike specks of glitter suspended in clear polish, which can appear sophomoric—or, worse, like dirt—tone-on-tone glitter (think gold glitter in gold polish) looks sophisticated, says Joanna Schlip, a celebrity makeup artist for Physicians Formula, in Los Angeles.

On the Collarbone: Look Shimmery

If you plan to wear an outfit with a revealing neckline, “dust your neck and shoulders with a glitter-infused powder puff,” says Tina Turnbow, a New York City makeup artist. Remove any rogue glitter from your clothing with a piece of rolled-up tape.

Gloss Makeup

On Lips: Look Dressy

If you’re a minimalist at heart, kick up your look a notch with a gloss that’s opaque rather than sheer. For this effect, after prepping your face with tinted moisturizer or foundation and blush (you don’t want blemishes to detract from your lips), dab on several coats of a coral-tone gloss. Press a tissue against your lips so the pigment sinks into the skin (only the shine will be lifted), then regloss for added sheen.

If the thought of sheer gloss alone doesn’t say “dressy” to you, add drama by wearing it over a similarly toned but more opaque shade, suggests Robin Schoen, a New York City makeup artist. Basically, you’re creating an optical illusion (a 3-D–style contrast) that makes your lips look fuller. (A little glitter in that top gloss only enhances the effect).

On Lashes: Look Glossy

Consider smoothing a half-a-baby-pea-size drop of petroleum jelly just above your creases (on top of shadow) for a glossy, not gooey, finish.

On Cheeks: Look Balmy

Blending a little Aquaphor ($6 at drugstores), that classic thick, shiny balm, onto the tops of your cheekbones (over blush) will give you a natural glow, notes Turnbow.

The key to age-appropriate shimmer is using it to call attention to only those areas you would truly like highlighted (in general, the most defined areas of your face, like the brow and cheekbones). To get this look, sweep a shimmery powder in a C-shape around the outer corners of your eyes.

Shimmer Makeup

On Eyelids: Look Complementary

For goofproof glam, choose two complementary shimmer shadow shades. Use the lighter tone all over and the darker one in the creases, then add lots of mascara for contrast, says Schlip.

On Lips: Look Cutesy

A little loose pink shimmer dabbed on with a liner brush ever so slightly above your Cupid’s bow (no matter your skin tone) can give lips a curvier, cuter shape.

On Cheeks: Look Pretty

Uncomfortable with noticeable shimmer on your face? Prep your skin with a shimmer-infused primer or foundation, then spread regular cream or powder blush on top for a hint of iridescence.