Looking after your teeth at Halloween
With scary season on the horizon, the temptation to overdose on the sweet stuff in life is strong.
A party here, a spot of trick or treating there…. it’s fun for you and the kids, but can play havoc with your oral hygiene.
We’re back this month with tips on how to enjoy a tooth-friendly Halloween.
Given that a quarter of five year olds in England have tooth decay, it’s more important than ever to keep up with good oral habits for a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Everything in moderation
We all love a sweet treat now and again. But the key with everything diet-related is all in the moderation.
While you and the kids may return from your neighbours’ houses with buckets full of sweets, it’s best to pick some favourites rather than eating them all. Try and limit the amount of trick or treating you do to reduce your sweet intake.
Stick to sweets at mealtimes
Contrary to popular opinion, it’s also better to eat sugary foods altogether, rather than spreading them out over several hours or days.
It’s best to keep sugary foods to mealtimes, to reduce the amount of time teeth are exposed to them. So try to stick to having sweets as a treat after a meal. Saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
Avoid sticky situations
Avoid sticky sweets, too, such as caramel, gummy sweets and fudge that stick to teeth and take longer to be washed away by saliva.
However, hard sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time - such as lollipops - also expose teeth to an increased risk of decay.
Avoiding drinks with sugar will also help cut down your sugar intake and potential for cavities over Halloween.
While we don’t recommend gum for young children, chewing gum is actually a good idea for older kids and adults. Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay.
Avoid sweets at bedtime
Make sure you and your children do not eat sweets an hour or less before bedtime. This reduces the risk of brushing enamel off the teeth which has been weakened by an acid attack.
We recommend brushing children’s teeth until around the age of 12. After that, make sure you supervise brushing to ensure it’s done properly. Use a fluoride toothpaste and we recommend an electric toothbrush to maximise brushing effectiveness. Oral B’s Junior Electric Toothbrush is our bestseller and helps encourage a lifetime of healthy brushing habits.
Brush last thing at night as the mouth produces less saliva overnight. Remember not to gargle with water after brushing, as that removes the fluoride that is added to your teeth from brushing and continues to protect them from acid attack.
For adults and older children, remember interdental cleaning to remove any sticky, sweet debris from between the teeth that could cause caries.
Vary the treats
Remember that Halloween does not have to equal sweets!
If you are hosting a party of special spooky dinner, why not add other non-sugary treats to the mix? We love Pinterest for ideas on making all sorts of Halloween themed foods, and why not offer cheese, nuts and breadsticks as alternative snacks?