How to enjoy Halloween – without ruining your teethMarch 10, 2020 8:44 am
The spooky season is upon us, and with it comes an array of tasty – and sugary – treats. We all know that sugar is really bad for teeth, as it feeds plaque-forming bacteria and over time causes tooth decay. However, with candies all around, how is it possible to avoid this fate? There are a few sneaky ways to avoid or minimise the damage caused by Halloween candies. Read on for more.
If your child has a large haul courtesy of the local neighbourhood’s trick or treat run, ration it out so they only have a little at a time. This manages sugar intake and the accompanying sugar rush. Store any extra candy well out of reach of small hands! It’s also a good idea to eat sweets during or straight after meals, when saliva production is higher. Saliva in the mouth works to neutralise the bad stuff, helping teeth defend themselves naturally. This will all help keep a tooth cavity at bay.
- Choosing well
Make sure children avoid gummy sweets, as these stick to teeth and prolong harmful contact. Sour sweets are also a no-no, as the fizzy sugar coating contains extra tooth-damaging acids, usually tartaric acid. Trail mix and savouries like crisps can be better options. Chocolate is another option that’s the better out of a bad deal. You might also want to try non-food goodies, like crayons or small toys which can be funfor kids – without the tooth cavity afterwards!
If you really can’t keep the sweets at bay, then make sure consumption time is kept to a minimum, and that children drink lots of water to rinse the sugar out of the mouth. Avoid fizzy drinks, as even the sugar-free varieties contain harmful acids that encourage tooth decay. Fruit juice should also be avoided, as it provides a burst of sugar that your mouth will struggle to deal with!
Chewing sugar-free gum can also help older children avoid tooth decay. Chewing gum stimulates saliva, which helps neutralise acid in the mouth, and washes out bacteria and other bad stuff. Make sure it is sugar-free though, otherwise you’ll just compound the damage. For best effect, chew after eating candy.
Advice for grown ups
Parents can also be tempted by treats! Look after your own dental health and try not to buy too much, as it’s likely you’ll eat the leftovers yourself. Don’t buy it until the last minute, so the temptation to snack isn’t there. Make sure you eat sensibly (and include kids in that too) so you don’t want to fill up on sweet stuff. A good meal should include protein, whether animal or plant-based, a little carbohydrate, and a range of vegetables. Drink lots of water as we often confuse thirst with hunger. When you do have a treat, eat it slowly and really savour it so you don’t overeat. Donate or throw away any candy that’s left the day after. If kids complain, get them to choose their favourites first – then lose the rest. You’ll be glad that you did!
Make sure everyone eating candy brushes their teeth thoroughly, and not just on October 30th but throughout the whole year. For best dental health, it’s important to brush twice a day with a good quality toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Younger children should be supervised by an adult to make sure all teeth are brushed and none are skipped. Older children should be encouraged to floss, ideally once a day. Finally make sure you visit the best dentist in Dubai every 6 months. Children should see a pediatric dentist such as at Drs. Nicolas & Asp.
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