As dentists, we’d rather you didn’t let your kids go trick or treating at all – but we also know our draconian opinion isn’t going to endear us to anyone. So when it comes to Halloween, we say bring it on – although not without first offering our best advice on dealing with the deluge of sweets come 31st October.
Put the focus on the frights
Halloween’s main appeal lies in the dressing up and the getting gory – so spend time with your children planning your costumes, taking photos and giving your front door a spooky makeover. Anything to take the focus off the sugar attack that’s coming!
Put out a less sugary snack
We know, we’re such killjoys! But you never know, putting out something healthier might make you a hero in the eyes of visiting parents – and may inspire them to follow your lead next year. Raisins, low-sugar muffins and mini bags of crackers, pretzels or popcorn could work; you could even decorate mini bottles of water to help wash all that sugar away from their teeth.
Get with the frequency
When it comes to the damage sugar does to your teeth, it’s actually frequency rather than quantity that matters most. The fewer times kids’ teeth are exposed to sugar, the better, especially if that exposure is timed alongside their meals, when protective saliva will be going into overdrive. Letting children binge on their trick-or-treat booty, for one evening only, is better than allowing them, say, one of those sweets every couple of hours during the next few days.
Make sure they brush – but later
If your children are sharing out the sweets after trick-or-treating, don’t make them brush their teeth straight away. Sugar temporarily softens the tooth enamel, so brushing straight after eating can have an abrasive ‘sandpaper’ effect that can actually damage teeth. Ideally, wait an hour before brushing, by which time the mouth’s natural pH level will have restored itself.
For personalised advice and help with keeping your children’s smiles cavity-free, make sure you book them in for a regular dental check-up and hygiene appointment at Rhiwbina Dental. We’ll offer lots of positive encouragement to help with everything from brushing technique to diet advice. Call us today!