​It’s October 31. Halloween. A holiday synonymous with splurging on candy. Nobody knows this better, it seems, than children, who have seen Halloween-timed retail displays of candy in everything from grocery stores to big-box retailers. 

Today – kids might mumble while gleefully stuffing their mouths with chocolate, candy corn and other assorted sweets – is their day. 

The obvious challenge for parents – beyond not swiping pieces of their children’s best candy from the day’s haul – is to teach their children the benefits of nutrition and of making candy and other sweets exceptions to a healthy diet, not the staples of an unhealthy one. [For more resources for this, be sure to check our earlier blog on obesity and diet.] 

It’s probably no coincidence that tomorrow, the day after Halloween, just so happens to be National Brush Day. This day is devoted to parents making sure their children hold fast to the task of brushing their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. There are a number of organizations and groups informing this effort. A survey recently released by the Ad Council states that 75 percent of kids “forget” to brush their teeth; it has launched a tooth-brushing campaign, Kids’ Healthy Mouths (their Facebook page highlights National Brush Day). And, Healthy Kids, Healthy Teeth also is on Facebook, where you also can find all manner of great tips and instructional videos for kids and parents. 

If you could use a checklist for maintaining a healthy mouth, check the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene page. We also have it in Spanish.  

It’s certainly important that children learn the benefits of keeping their teeth healthy at an early age. But, there are long-term benefits, as well. 

DHMH also has information related to good dental health and how it can impact heart health, for example. And that’s a lifelong element of health maintenance, particularly as we age.