Halloween is quickly creeping up on us, which for many people is a favourite holiday full of spooky fun. Unfortunately, for many children especially, Halloween also involves stockpiling bags and bags of sweets, accumulated on trick or treat missions around the neighbourhood. For many parents, it’s a tricky balance between allowing the kids to have fun in celebrating the traditions of the event, while trying to care for the kids’ teeth and keep those cavities away! These tips will help you keep a healthy mouth during this sugary time.
Choose soft, chewable sweets
When purchasing sweets for trick or treaters, choose soft and chewable rather than sweets that are hard. Sucking on hard sweets means that the sugars are coating the teeth for a longer period of time, playing a large role in tooth decay.
Eat sweets near mealtimes
If sweets are going to be consumed, it should ideally be around mealtimes, when saliva production increases. Saliva helps to wash away bacteria and neutralise acids that are left in the mouth after eating sugary treats.
Avoid sticky sweets
Refrain from purchasing sticky sweets like gummy bears and toffees, which stick in the grooves of the teeth. These sticky substances are difficult to wash away and put the teeth at higher risk of decay.
Encourage your children to drink water regularly and particularly after they consume sugary treats. Like saliva, water helps to wash away bacteria and acids, but it also has the added benefit of containing fluoride, which helps to prevent tooth decay.
Maintain regular eating patterns
Children should be encouraged to eat normal meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner and avoid snacking on sweets throughout the day. You don’t want them filling up on sugar and not feeling hungry for their normal meals!
Brush at least twice per day
Brushing twice per day should be a normal routine anyway, but during times of high sugar consumption, brushing is especially important in order to remove plaque and bacteria. If you can, encourage your children to brush their teeth after they eat sweets.
Visit the dentist
Dental appointments should be made every six months for a routine check-up, but if you are concerned about the state of your child’s teeth after Halloween, it never hurts to check in early for an examination. Catching problems early always makes them easier to treat.