Halloween is gaining a stronger foothold in Australian culture, with many parents rightfully concerned about the effects of all those lollies on children’s teeth. But who doesn’t love a good dress up and a prowl around the streets with friends and family? We’ve put together a few little ideas for enjoying Halloween and looking after your teeth at the same time.
FOR TEETH AS MAGNIFICENT AS A VAMPIRE, NOT ROTTEN AS A CORPSE
- Pick Wisely: when choosing sweets, steer away from hard candy that could cause teeth to break or crack – and sticky candies that can attach to teeth for too long. Choose softer easy to chew lollies, or consider a plain milk chocolate (like a Freddo frog) it’s even better than a lolly as it doesn’t stick to teeth at all, it flows off nicely, and the kids love them! If you have younger children show them what to look for when they are choosing from the offerings on the day.
- Enjoy in moderation: It’s very easy to get carried away and over indulge on Halloween. With the latest advice suggesting the recommended daily allowance is 7 teaspoons of sugar (or 28 grams) it’s easy to see how Halloween treats can send this skyrocketing.
- Set Limits: Eating a constant flow of lollies all afternoon/evening isn’t a great idea. Although it’s easy for kids to wander consuming their haul on the walk, try to moderate consumption and save lollies to eat ‘when we get home’. That way, there will be less time for teeth to be exposed to those high sugar levels.
- Timing: When eating these types of food that can cause damage to your teeth, the best time is considered to be straight after a meal when saliva is still in production and able to wash sugars away.
- Brush, but not straight away: While it’s tempting to run for the toothbrush to remove all traces of a good time straight after consumption, remember that some types of foods can soften enamel, so being too quick to clean can mean you could be brushing away the protective enamel on your teeth. Wait a while and brush for a good two minutes before going to bed after the trick or treat excitement. Good brushing will lead to healthier teeth and your mouth will feel much cleaner and fresher. By looking after your teeth effectively, you will be doing all you can to prevent oral health problems in the future. This is important to remember all year round, not just on Halloween.
- Try a healthy alternative: Why not have fruits as a treat this year? You can create some scary healthier treats with a little imagination. Have a look here for some inspiration.
- Tips on Costuming: So, your Pirate wants a black tooth, and your ghoul needs a few knocked out? While you may have black eyeliner in your makeup bag that will work well to black out a tooth, it’s not your best idea to use on teeth. Try your local costume shop for some black out wax instead. The wax will come off readily with water and a toothbrush. Also, beware of commercial ‘novelty’ teeth, as some of these will contain high levels of lead.
- Enjoy yourself! Halloween is meant to be a fun, crazy family and friends event, your Little Pet Monsters will remember Trick or Treating forever. Follow these simple guidelines and have a great time!
We’ll make sure to say “fangs” next time you come in to see us.
Time your Sweets
Eat Halloween sweets with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
Keep Your Halloween Sweets as a Treat, Not a Snack
Snacking can increase your risk of cavities. Sugars sit on your teeth throughout the day and eat away at your enamel. Make sure to keep your Halloween sweets away and only grab one or two as a treat after a meal rather than eating it throughout the day.
Drink More Water
There have been many studies that show drinking tap water, or fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. It is important to drink plenty of water to rinse away the sugar after eating Halloween treats.
Stay On Top of Your Cleaning Regime
Sugary treats such as lollies and chocolates are sticky, and they can cause cavities easier because they stick to your teeth and it can be hard to get off your teeth. After eating sugary treats, a good tip is to wait 30 minutes before brushing. Some acidic foods soften your enamel, so if you brush right after eating them, you can risk hurting your enamel further while it is still sensitive.