October 31 is the day our teeth worry about the most. All that sugar from Halloween candy means the potential for more cavities. But as a benefits administrator, what can you do to keep your employees healthy during this sugar-laden holiday?
What? No candy?
It’s easy to put out bowls of candy to celebrate Halloween, but candy is a major contributor to tooth decay and can be a real problem for people with more serious illnesses such as diabetes.
We won’t go so far as to tell you to give out apples to employees for Halloween — we don’t want you to get tricked — but in your role as benefits administrator, you do want to encourage wellness and healthy living in the workplace. Here are some ways to celebrate a healthy Halloween at work.
Healthy Halloween ideas for the office
If you have employees going into the office, try these healthy Halloween celebrations:
- Opt for dental supplies over candy. Leave toothbrushes, trial-size toothpaste and even floss beside any bowls of candy sitting around the workplace to remind employees to take care of their teeth.
- Host a Halloween party during lunch. Encourage employees to dress up, and provide a catered lunch or ask employees to bring a covered dish for a potluck.
- Hold Halloween-themed events that don’t involve food or candy. Hold a cubicle-decorating contest or get together to carve pumpkins.
- Don’t leave bowls of candy out all day. “Chronic exposure to sugar is much more detrimental to your teeth than a one-time exposure,” said Dr. Jessica Buehler, Director of Dental Affairs for Delta Dental. Instead, if you must provide sweets, only keep them out during for limited periods, such as around lunch.
Celebrating Halloween in the home office
If all or part of your workforce is remote, you can still offer healthy ways to celebrate Halloween:
- Hold a Halloween-themed teleconference with employees. Encourage employees to dress up. You can offer some tips for them to eat healthier and protect their teeth and gums. For example, you can share resources such as this flyer on chocolate and article on Halloween tips from dentists. For more wellness materials from Delta Dental, check out our wellness calendar.
- Encourage employees to share ideas on healthy alternatives to candy. These may include fruit, nuts, veggies and hummus, or cherry tomatoes with mozzarella. During Halloween, they can even make them Halloween themed.
- Promote smart choices. Remind your employees that they can still enjoy sweets as long as they opt for less harmful alternatives such as sugar-free lollipops, sugar-free gum and dark chocolate, which has antioxidants that may be good for your heart. Some sugar-free gum has xylitol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that can inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause cavities.
You don’t have to be a monster to protect your employees’ teeth. With some brainstorming and a little extra work, you can make Halloween fun and healthy for everyone.