Tips For A Tooth Friendly Halloween

This annual festival can be a nightmare for parents trying to protect their kid’s teeth

Big familyHalloween seems to have caught on in the UK over the last few years. Traditionally more celebrated in the USA, it has now taken hold here in the UK and has also become a significant commercial concern with costumes, masks etc being widely available.

If you have children and care about their teeth, you are probably dreading the thought of them coming home with bulging bags of sweets and candy, and with that, the hyperactivity, tummy aches and also very likely, toothache.

As parents, we don’t want to spoil our children’s fun, and if the truth be known, we probably wish we had an excuse to take part too. As guardians of our children’s health though, it is right that we should be concerned amount the likely amount of sugar that will be concerned and in particular, the damage that it can do to their teeth.

In today’s Foxhall Dental Blog, we take a look at some of the ways that you can make Halloween more tooth friendly for your kids, without spoiling their fun!

Educate and encourage

To some degree, this will depend on the age of your children. A few quiet words about how sugar is harmful for your teeth might help them to understand why they shouldn’t over indulge. Encourage them to be moderate in what they collect and, more specifically, eat. This may not work but it is a good place to start.

Putting your foot down

Unless you go around with your kids, you may not be able to control what they eat while they are out, but as kids like to compare (and these days probably share on social media), there is every chance they will want to return home with the biggest bag of sweets possible.  You might not be popular for it, but perhaps allow them a few sweets as an immediate treat then ‘confiscate’ the rest from them and take control of what and when they can eat.

Offer ‘swaps’

There is perhaps little chance of not allowing them any sweets at all. Children though are often quite open to ‘bribes’ and this can be a good way to reduce their sweet intake. Offer to take some of the sweets from them in return for other little treats such as a trip to the cinema, a book or whatever their current passion is. This can be quite a successful approach. One note though; if you do this, please don’t eat the sweets yourself  and pass them on instead. They contain next to zero nutrition and may mean a trip to your Ipswich dental practice if you do eat too many of them.

Choose sweets wisely

Virtually all bar specialised sweets have sugar in them. There’s no getting away from the reality that your kids will eat a fair amount of sugar. Some sweets are more harmful than others though. Sweets that remain in the mouth for a long time, sour sweets (because of the acidity) and chewy sweets that stick to the teeth and gums for ages are amongst the worst. Chocolate, on the other hand, although usually high in sugar, will dissolve much quicker and cause less damage.

Binge or spread out the treats?

We have all told our kids to ‘stop eating those now and put them away’. This is understandable but in some ways, it is better to let them eat sweets all in one go (aside from the likely tummy aches) than it is to let them have a few sweets at regular intervals. This latter approach means that the mouth never has a chance to wash the sugars away before being bombarded with even more. Make sure that they have lengthy intervals in between eating their ‘stash’ of sweets.

Drink water

With sweet eating usually comes thirst. Make sure that they don’t add to their sugar intake with fizzy drinks. These are usually also very acidic and can damage the tooth enamel, increasing the chances of tooth decay even more. Take this opportunity to insist that, if they eat sweets, they must drink water. Not only will this dilute the sugars but also wash them away and help to prevent a build up of potentially harmful bacteria which feed off the sugars that we eat, and which can lead to gum disease.

Supervise brushing their teeth

At the end of a long Halloween night, there is every chance that your child will be hyperactive from the excitement (and quite likely the sugar too) and also very tired. The last thing they are likely to want to do is to spend much time, if any, cleaning their teeth. Don’t give them the opportunity to skip this and even if you don’t usually do this, watch over them when they brush their teeth before bed, making sure that they do it correctly and for at least two minutes of actual brushing, not including any talking in between!. Also make sure that they eat or drink nothing between this and going to bed with the exception of water. If you can do this, you will at least know that they have gone to bed with their teeth protected as best as you can.

All of us at the Foxhall Dental Practice hope you have a happy (and a little scary) Halloween and remind you that we are here to help in the event that any dental issues arise from this or for any other oral health issues. You can make an appointment for your children, or for yourself, by calling our Ipswich dental clinic on 01473 258396.