This Halloween Don't Play Tricks on your Teeth

31 Oct 2012

Hallowween for most children means bags of free sweets and a chance to build up the stockpile of sweets for the winter. Being one of the most fun times of the year for families, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges.

Here is a list of suggestions to help parents maintain good oral health for their children around the Halloween holiday and throughout the year.

  • Consume Halloween candy and other sugary foods with meals.
  • Saliva production increases during meals and helps neutralize acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
  • Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time.
  • Besides how often you snack, the length of time food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to prolonged acid attack, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
  • Avoid sticky candies that cling to your teeth.
  • The stickier candies, like toffee and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
  • Drink more water.
  • Consuming optimally fluoridated (tap) water can help prevent tooth decay.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and make sure the meals you eat are nutritious.
  • Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you "fill up" affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.
  • Avoid beverages with added sugar such as soda, sports drinks or flavored waters.
  • When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, first thing in the morning and at one other time.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  • Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.
  • Decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
  • Visit a dentist for more information on maintaining your oral health.

For more information on looking after children's teeth, click here.

Happy Halloween from the Dental Health Foundation.