GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Dentists and Halloween don't typically mix, but dressing up at this office is always a tradition, one this year inspired by Dr. Scott Van Dusen's mission trip to Africa.
"This just happened to be the first year we dressed up as African animals," Dr. Van Dusen said. "We did pediatric dentistry on orphan and poor kids in South Africa."
While the costumes are all in fun, Halloween is something dentists take very seriously, especially when it comes to young teeth.
“After they've finished eating the candy is to be sure they rinse out with water before they brush," Dr. Van Dusen said.
He knows it can be hard to separate children and candy, so that’s why limiting the amount of candy children eat and doing plenty of flossing and brushing are so crucial.
"None of it is good for them. You know, some of the stickier kinds are going to stay with them longer,” Dr. Van Dusen said.
From chocolate to Sweet Tarts, there's no shortage in candy for trick or treaters, especially if they can visit more houses.
"Don’t just send them out and say, 'Have fun. We'll see you in a few hours.' Know where they're going and who they'll be interacting with," Grand Junction police spokesperson Kate Porras said.
Local law enforcement says parents should know which houses their children visit and go through the candy when they get back, looking for anything that may have been tampered. Porras says children and parents should be especially aware of homemade treats, and children should only be eating those if parents know who they came from and trust the source.
Even if it’s not their trick-or-treat sack, candy can be with children all night long, serving a crucial role with Halloween costumes.
"We have candy wax fangs, excellent for a costume as well as wax lips and wax mustaches," Candy Time Shoppe and Novelties salesperson Josephine Epping said. "We also have candy blood for those vampire-type costumes."
Still, dentists say if it's just this one day out of 365 days every year, consistent home care and regular check-ups can help keep teeth healthy, and kids can likely get away with a little bit of candy action this Halloween.
"It’s always a good idea to get some little floss picks and floss between their teeth," Dr. Van Dusen said.
Dr. Van Dusen says no matter how much candy kids eat, night time brushing is the most important thing parents need to do because all of the sugar will sit and rot on teeth overnight if not brushed off.
If you and your kids are going to avoid some candy this Halloween, you may want to consider Sweet Tarts and sour candy. Dr. Van Dusen says the acidity in those types of candy can take enamel off of the teeth.
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