12 Oral Health Tips for a Happy Halloween

Halloween dental tipsAfter just turning the calendar pages following Halloween, this means bags of free candy. It’s no surprise that parents and carers, with one eye on looking after children’s teeth, dread this time of year and the tantrums that result from rationing sticky candy and toffees.

But having a plan can help to stave off tantrums and look after your teeth, without having to ditch all the candy. And here are 12 top tips for making that happen.

#1 Time it Right

The best time to eat Halloween candy and any other sugary food is with or just after a meal. This is because saliva production is at its highest when we’ve eaten. Saliva cancels out the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth, as well as rinsing away food particles.

#2 Limit the Sugary Snacks

Ditch the bowl of easily-accessible candy on the kitchen counter that everyone can dip into at any time of the day. Snacking on sugary snack increases the risks of cavities and when combined with an extra hit of Halloween candy, it means double-trouble for your teeth.

#3 Be Selective

As well as frequency of nibbling on sugary snacks and candy, how long they stay in your mouth also impacts on your teeth. Unless it is a sugar-free sweet, choose candy that is eaten quickly and doesn’t stay in the mouth for long.

#4 And Avoid Sticky Candy Too

Avoid sticky sweets, like toffees, that stick to the teeth. Gummy sweets also do this and are best avoided. It takes saliva in the mouth longer to wash the debris off the teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

#5 You Don’t Have to Eat It All…

If you have mountains of candy, keeping hold of it all places temptation in your way. Sort through it, keeping hold of family favourites and donate the rest. There are organizations for sharing with kids that were unable to collect treats on their own, or some that send candy to troops overseas.

#6 Drink More Water

With all this sugar hanging around, you need to help your teeth by drinking more water. Don’t opt for expensive bottled water either; water from the tap is just as good.

#7 Say No to Sugary Drinks

Ditch the sugary drinks, even ones that boast sugar-free in their marketing message. Limit fruit juices too as these can be high in sugar and acidic, not a great combination for your teeth.

#8 Don’t Substitute Candy for Good Stuff

In order to function, your body needs a mix of foods but if you and your family are over-indulging on candy, it may be to the detriment of other important foods. Maintain a healthy diet and stay active too!

#9 Consider Chewing Gum

Sugar-free gum chewed for 20 minutes after meals can help to minimise tooth decay as it increases saliva flow in the mouth. Neutralising acid, this could be the post-meal tool that you need to stay away from the sugary candy too.

#10 Brush Twice Daily

With all the sugar-laden Halloween candy around, it can be tempting to brush your teeth at every opportunity, assuming that this is the best thing to so. But being overzealous can lead to problems too, especially if you do this over a long period of time. Stick with your normal, twice daily brushing routine for a minimum of two minutes each time, replacing your worn-out toothbrush every three months.

#11 And Floss

Flossing gets rid of debris between your teeth, important if a few sticky Halloween treats have been consumed. It doesn’t matter whether you floss before or after brushing, just do a thorough job and rinse your mouth after.

#12 Visit Your Dentist Regularly

As well as being a good habit to get into, visiting your dentist regularly also means you can seek advice on any issues, including how best to deal with the effects sticky and sugary Halloween treats!