With Halloween just around the corner, children across the country will be getting ready to fill their buckets full of chocolate, sweets and snacks. But what is a great night for children could be a ghastly one for their teeth.
Letting children enjoy themselves but finding a compromise could benefit your child’s oral health in the short and long term.
The British Dental Health Foundation is offering the following facts and tips to help make Halloween a less scarier night for children’s teeth – and a better one for their dentists.
10 FACTS ABOUT CHILDREN’S TEETH
• Around a third of children at the ages of 5 and 12 have visible signs of tooth decay
• The main cause of toothache in children is tooth decay
• It is not the amount of sweets consumed that causes tooth decay – it is how often they are eaten
• Sugar causes the bacteria in plaque to produce acids. It is these acids which attack children’s tooth enamel and cause tooth decay
• Every time children eat or drink anything sugary, their teeth are under attack for up to one hour
• Saliva plays a major role in neutralising acids in the children’s mouth.
• Giving children 7-10 ‘snack attacks’ during the day means their teeth are constantly under attack
• Alkaline foods like cheese or milk can help to neutralise the build-up of acid in children’s mouths
• Dried fruits are high in sugar and are not necessarily a healthier option for children’s teeth.
For a healthy diet, the NHS advises that children’s sugar intake is limited to around 33g per day.
In addition to Foundation’s three key rules for good oral health, these following tips are recommended this Halloween:
FIVE TIPS FOR A HEALTHIER HALLOWEEN
• Limit the number of houses visited on Halloween
• Stop children eating sweets one hour before bedtime on Halloween
• Ensure you supervise your children brushing their teeth before they go to bed on Halloween
• Keep any sweets and sugary snacks for mealtimes only in the following days
• Take special care of children with braces – make sure their braces are cleaned thoroughly
For free, confidential and impartial advice about how to improve your oral care, contact the Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188 or email: [email protected] Alternatively, visit the Tell Me About section of the Foundation’s website at www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/caring-for-teeth/diet.