Exorcising that Halloween Grin

By Aaron Strickland, D.D.S. on October 09, 2017

Halloween apple and peanut butter teeth. White River Dental Columbus Indiana.

Halloween is around the corner, and that means costume makeup, sugary treats, and plenty of ghoulish giggles. While fun, holidays can be rough on your teeth. So, we’ve addressed two Halloween tricks that might steal your smile after the treats have disappeared and you’ve replaced the gourds with Thanksgiving décor.

Zoinks! Zombie Grins!

In an effort to make their costumes more realistic, some people paint their teeth. Such a practice prompts the question of whether this is something that can harm or stain your teeth.

Almost all tooth paints, whether DIY or professional, contain a common ingredient: food dye.  Food dye typically stains your teeth for a few hours unless you immediately brush it off. When eaten occasionally, it doesn’t pose any long-term health problems for teeth.

However, over a lifetime, food coloring — alongside other foods and drinks that stain your teeth — will dull and yellow your smile. And that’s when you chew food coloring mixed with food.

With tooth paint, you apply the dye directly on your teeth and allow it to sit there for hours at a time. So, it will discolor your teeth more than the food coloring in food and drink. But, again, as long as it’s used only occasionally and you thoroughly clean your teeth after you’ve finished using the paint, you’re unlikely to see any immediately-established, long-term problems.

Argh, Battling Pirate Teeth

For kids, Halloween is mainly about trick-or-treat. Maybe not even about that. It’s more about the candy, however it’s obtained. While delicious, candy is, of course, made with lots of sugar, which will feed the bacteria that damage teeth.

It’s therefore extra important that whenever you consume (lots of) sugary foods that you — and your kids — practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth after eating or at least before going to bed, and make flossing one a day part of your daily habit. Rinsing with mouth wash can also be helpful in battling bad breath and germs.

Salivating Selections

If you’re looking for some healthy (and dental-friendly) Halloween treats without the tricks, here are some fun ideas:

Spiders on Logs

Fill sliced celery with peanut butter and placed a few spiders around the “logs.”

Veggie Skeleton

Arrange your vegetable platter in the shape of a skeleton, using a small dish with dip for the head. Use pepper spears for the ribs and cucumber slices for the spine.

Field Pumpkins

Spear round carrot slices with a toothpick and then thread a piece of parsley and small scallion on top to create a leaf and stem. Place the “pumpkins” in hummus to make it look like they’re standing in a pumpkin patch.

Boonana Ghosts

Slice a banana in half, crosswise. On each end, make eyes and a mouth using mini chocolate chips.

Make Dracula proud and keep those fangs pearly white! Happy Halloween!

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