What’s scarier: running into your dentist on Halloween – and being reminded of the horrors you’re visiting on your teeth – or being a dentist? It can’t be much of a treat to decide that professional responsibility requires you to drop toothbrushes into the maws of sugar-seeking ghosts and pumpkins.
“But have some compassion,” Rachel Tepper Paley writes on Bon Appétit’s website. “It’s not like Halloween, a holiday devoted to society-sanctioned cavity worship, makes life easy for a person whose life work is oral hygiene.”
Paley talked to a few dentists to find out what the holiday looks like to them, and she found that some pay particular attention to the days just after Halloween.
Alex Naini, a Vienna, Va., dentist, offers neighborhood kids money, toys or books in trade for some of their haul, then sends the candy to troops overseas. She does give out candy, but nothing too sticky. She throws in some apples, she told Paley, in an attempt at good dental karma.
At his office, CJ Wagner, a pediatric dentist in Fox Point, Wis., gives kids Halloween-themed toothbrushes. At home, he hands out candy he and his wife like so at the end of the night they can gather up the leftovers and enjoy “all the things that a dentist should not have in his house.”
After Halloween, it’s smart to sort your candy. Dentists told Paley that you can enjoy your sugar but that you should stay away from hard candy and gooey sweets. Go for soft chocolate and peanut butter cups, perhaps, with thorough tooth-brushing, flossing and mouth-rinsing at the end of the evening and the days ahead.
Maybe your dentist isn’t so spooky after all, as long as you keep a toothbrush at hand.