With the October month upon us Halloween is in full swing. Although a relatively new holiday in Australia, it is becoming increasingly popular with young kids, as the thought of dressing up as their favourite characters and getting free candy entices them. As parents, how do we help our kids maintain proper oral health care without depriving them of the fun?
Dental appointments in November see an increase in
cavities, and tooth decay – and its not just because of all the extra sweets
during Halloween, although this does have a large contributing factor!
Cavities are caused by acidic bacteria in the mouth that feast on carbohydrates in our diet, so yes, sugar is apart of it, but it is also caused by chips, crackers and other high carb foods. To blame a week of a higher sugar intake on extra cavities is wrong, as it can take a while for cavities to form.
Here are the 5 ways to help your kids enjoy Halloween, but also look after their teeth
1. Time their treats
Timing is everything when giving your kids their Halloween treats. Saliva production increases during meals, which helps cancel out acids in your mouth. Eating sugary snacks shortly after mealtime can help reduce the effects of tooth decay due to this increase in saliva. Limiting yours kids snacks to only after mealtime helps prevents them from grazing on their stash between meals, and over consume too much sweets.
2. Ensure they maintain their oral health routine
It seems normal right? Make sure your kids brush and floss their teeth twice a day. But this is important!
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.
3. Keep up their water intake
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.
Try and limit your kid’s intake of fruit drinks and smoothies that are viewed as healthy, but tend to be high in sugar and bad for your teeth.
4. Be careful of prosthetics for teeth
A vampire costume isn’t complete without fangs, but is the adhesives really that good for your teeth?
Be cautious of fake teeth or prosthetics & read the labels carefully to avoid any potential choking hazards for children
For young children who are losing baby teeth, it is best to avoid these false teeth or prosthetics in case they promote tooth loss. Choose the sweets wisely
5. Choose the sweets wisely
Try and avoid giving your kids hard and sticky candy like gummy bears & hard candy, as sticky candies like gummy bears take longer to be washed away by saliva, which can cause great risk of tooth decay. Hard candies can actually break teeth.
Sour candies can be acidic, and the acidity can weaken and damage the enamel of their teeth. The best type of sweet is chocolate as it washes off teeth more easily than other sweets.
Here are just 5 examples of ways you can help your kids enjoy Halloween, but still look after their teeth.
If you have any more questions or concerns, our team here at Everton Park Dental are always happy to answer any of your questions! Click here to contact our friendly team.