Halloween is all about scary fun, getting dressed up in a creepy costume and trick or treating to collect a bag of goodies. Eating too many sweets, however, and the truly horrible part of the holiday will be the damage caused to your children’s teeth. It would be ridiculous and unworkable, of course, to try and ban sweets altogether at Halloween, and the result would probably be that your kids simply sneaked away and ate even more sweets when you weren’t looking. The truth is that if you’re responsible about what you eat and about cleaning your teeth afterwards it’s possible to enjoy the sweets and Halloween and still emerge with a set of white, healthy clean looking teeth.
The worst thing to do is just stuff all the sweets you get into your mouth without stopping to think – not only will you damage your teeth but you’ll also probably end up feeling sick as well. The following tips will allow you to enjoy Halloween whilst also looking after your smile:
Meal Time – Eat your sugary treats at meal times (after you’ve polished off all of your vegetables of course). The saliva which is produced by the stimulation of eating will protect your teeth by working to balance the acids in your mouth and helping to rinse away food particles, rather than leaving them to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your mouth.
Boiled Sweets – Try to avoid hard boiled sweets which stay in your mouth for a long time. You may think that you’re only eating two or three sweets, but the fact that each one takes ten or fifteen minutes to melt away means that your teeth are being bombarded with sugar for a much longer period of time, and this can only encourage occurrences of tooth decay.
Sticky Sweets – Try to steer clear of sticky sweets which attach themselves to the surface of your teeth. The sticker they are, the longer it will take for your saliva to perform the vital role of washing them away.
Drink Water – Drinking water which has been fluoridated can help in two ways. Firstly, it will rinse your mouth and remove damaging particles of food, and secondly the fluoride present will help to strengthen the enamel and lessen the likelihood of decay being caused.
Healthy Foods – Besides the sweets, which should be seen as a once a year treat, try to maintain a healthy and varied diet. Just like the rest of your body, your teeth and gums will be healthier the better your diet is.
Sugary Drinks – Bearing in mind the amount of sugar which is going to be present in your Halloween haul of sweets, it’s best to avoid washing them down with beverages such as fizzy minerals, sports drinks and the like, which are loaded with added sugar. Rinsing your mouth with these will merely increase the risk of decay.
Sugarless Gum – Chewing sugar free gum after meals for twenty minutes, or after a sweet eating session, will boost the production of saliva with all the oral health benefits this brings. A simple stick of gum will help to clear the damaging particles of sweet foodstuff from your teeth.
Brushing – It is more important than ever to clean your teeth twice a day and to do it properly. This means spending at least two minutes, paying equal attention to all parts of the mouth, replacing your brush on a regular basis and using the recommended brushing technique – small circular motions rather than over-vigorous scrubbing.
Floss – The chances are that some of those sticky sweets have managed to become trapped between your teeth. Brushing alone won’t be good enough to remove these hard to reach particles, so it’s vital that you make use of dental floss to get rid of every last bit. The same is true of rinsing with mouthwash after you’ve finished brushing and flossing.
By following these few simple steps it’s possible to enjoy Halloween and all that it brings without paying the price in decayed and painful teeth. After all, the scariest part of Halloween isn’t meant to be your next trip to the dentist…..