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Remember: How often sugar is consumed, rather than how much affects the chance of decay. It takes saliva up to an hour to neutralise the acid. This means every time sugary foods or drinks are consumed, the teeth are under attack for an hour. If children are constantly snacking on sweet foods, their teeth never have a chance to recover completely.
When buying candy for Halloween, look for treats that can be eaten quickly, like miniature chocolate bars. Encourage your child to eat a small treat in one sitting followed by a glass of water and a thorough tooth brushing. Don’t allow your child to graze on sweets, as this will increase the amount of times sugar comes in contact with teeth.
Let’s face it: children love sweets, especially at Halloween. And who can blame them? As parents, we don’t want to spoil their fun during this festive time. So here are some simple tooth-friendly tips to avoid scary dental decay.
Monitor their consumption.
Set some ground rules and only allow treats in moderation.
Reward good behaviour.
When your children stick to the rules, reward them. You could offer an outing to their favourite place, a movie, a new toy, etc.
Set a good example.
Offer healthy treats such as popcorn and cheese sticks, and non-edible treats such as themed stickers, bubbles or vampire teeth.
Avoid sticky sweets.
Gummy bears, caramels, jelly beans and chewy sweets can stick to the teeth and make it harder for saliva to wash away the sugar.
Avoid hard sweets.
These pose a double-danger to teeth. Sucking the sweets provides long exposure to the sugars that fuel cavity-causing bacteria. Even worse is crunching the candy, which may actually break fillings or teeth.
Try “safe” sweets.
Soft, non-sticky sweets such as chocolates and M&Ms are safest for teeth – in moderation, of course!
Go for dessert.
It’s best to eat sugary treats at the end of mealtime while there is still plenty of saliva in the mouth, because saliva helps to wash away the sugars and acids.
Chew sugar-free gum.
Encourage older children to chew sugar-free gum, which helps to neutralise harmful bacteria on the teeth, which, in turn, helps prevent cavities.
Floss and brush.
Make brushing fun with Halloween-themed toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Book a dental check-up.
Get your child’s teeth checked regularly for any signs of tooth decay.