A dentist’s Halloween survival guide
Halloween is here, bringing with it the stress of fashioning a suitably scary costume for our offspring and making sure they don’t devour their weight in sugar.
We can’t help with the costume, but we can impart some advice on how to make trick-or-treating less of an ordeal for your teeth.
1. Indulging your sweet tooth very occasionally is unlikely to impact your dental health, as long as you’re taking great care of your teeth all year round. This means brushing twice a day; flossing once a day; regular trips to the dentist; and giving sugar a wide berth for the most part.
2. When the American Dental Association asked dentists what they hand out to trick-or-treaters, 76% answered ‘candy’! Party bag staples such as bouncy balls, stickers, glow bracelets all make great alternatives. However, if you are going to stick with something sugary, opt for chocolate instead of sticky sweets – it’s easier to wash away so less damaging to teeth.
3. You should definitely steer very clear of hard sweets. Not only do they contain a lot of cavity-causing sugar, but there’s also the added risk of cracking a tooth!
4. Children often come away from Halloween with a sizeable stash of sweets, which you may want to ration over the coming days or weeks. The best time to enjoy sugary foods is with a meal. This limits the number of ‘acid attacks’ your teeth are subjected to throughout the day.
5. Eating first also increases saliva production, which neutralises acidity. It’s your mouth’s natural defence against tooth decay. You can boost your saliva flow by drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum.
There’s also the option of ‘helping’ your children to demolish their Halloween haul. Many hands make light work – and healthier teeth!