Halloween is creeping up on us. Time for spooky decorations, pumpkin carving, parties and trick or treating.
Many people tend to put their dental health to one side during Halloween, often over-indulging in sugary foods. As dentists, we try to encourage everyone to have an enjoyable Halloween. However, following a few easy steps will make sure your dental health doesn’t get a fright.
Halloween can be a great opportunity for parents to teach their children good oral health habits that they can use throughout their lives. You don’t have to deprive them – just think moderation.
Dentists tend to have a bad reputation when it comes to sugary sweets. However, we’re not saying you can’t have any at all – we even enjoy some ourselves from time to time. The truth is, we just recommend reducing the amount that you eat.
There are also certain sweets that are better than others when it comes to your teeth. Hard boiled sweets are bad for your teeth. This is because they take a long time to suck, meaning your mouth is exposed to the sugar for a longer period of time. This also applies to sticky sweets like toffees, and even dried fruit!
The best sweets to choose are sugar-free options, dark chocolate and nut bars. If those don’t satisfy your sweet fix, try to choose sweets that aren’t sticky to prevent them getting stuck in your teeth. Sweets like candy sticks are a great choice as they dissolve quickly.
When it comes to consuming sugar, it is important to remember that it’s not the quantity you have, it’s how often you eat them. For example, eating 4 boiled sweets in one hour is better for your teeth than having the same amount of sweets in the space of four hours. This is because you are reducing the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the bacteria that’s in sugary foods.
When your teeth are exposed to sugary foods, bacteria develops quickly on your teeth which turns into plaque. If plaque is not removed, it will start to eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Enamel cannot repair itself and this can often lead to tooth decay.
We would recommend eating sugary foods at mealtimes only, as a dessert. This means you are controlling the amount of time your teeth will be exposed to the bacteria.
It is a great idea to either chew sugar-free gum or drink a glass of water after each time you enjoy something sugary. This also applies to acidic food like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, fizzy drinks and red wine. The sugar-free gum neutralises the acidity levels in the mouth, preventing your teeth from being under an acid attack. The chewing gum can also help to remove any plaque or food particles from around the teeth. Drinking water will do a similar thing, washing away any food particles and neutralising the acidity.
It is important to keep up your daily oral hygiene routine during the Halloween period, as well as other celebrations during the year like Easter, Christmas and birthdays. When you have a great oral hygiene routine, you will be automatically reducing your chances of developing tooth decay.
Make sure you are brushing your teeth, with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, for two minutes each time. If you are unsure of the correct brushing technique, ask your dentist to show you.
Brushing alone only reaches 60% of the tooth’s surfaces. Flossing once per day will ensure you are cleaning all surfaces of the teeth, making sure no plaque is left untouched. You can also use an alcohol-free mouthwash daily to keep your breath fresh.
If you would like more advice on keeping you and your children decay free over the Halloween period, Oak Mount Dental Practice in Didsbury can help you. Our friendly, professional dentists are full of knowledge that they are desperate to share with you to keep your teeth and gums nice and healthy. Call the practice on 0161 445 1211 to book an appointment.
Posted by Oak Mount Dental Practice
Website last updated: June 2022
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