Halloween is an increasingly popular celebration in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. The 31st of October is filled with fun costumes, spooky events, and every child’s favourite activity: trick or treating. Trick or treating has been a feature of Halloween for many years, with the nation’s kids going door to door and receiving bucketsful of sweets and chocolate from neighbours. Often, they will end up with a huge bounty of goodies that may taste delicious but are unhealthy and bad for teeth. However, it is possible to enjoy Halloween without causing lasting damage to teeth; just read Brite Dental’s handy guide.
Halloween treats: not so sweet for teeth
Sweets and chocolate are some of the main causes of tooth decay and poor oral health in children. Sugar in these treats can affect the bacteria in our mouths. We have both healthy and harmful bacteria, and some of these harmful bacteria feed on sugar to form acids. In turn, these acids destroy the tooth enamel which protects the inside of the tooth, leading to tooth decay. Some of the worst sweets for your teeth include chewy sweets, as their sticky texture will stay on the surface of the tooth for longer, and sour sweets, as they contain additional acids.
What problems does tooth decay cause?
Tooth decay can cause a variety of problems, from pain all the way through to the loss of a tooth. There are many symptoms of tooth decay, from sensitivity and toothache through to black or brown spots on the tooth and bad breath. If tooth decay is caught very early, dietary changes and fluoride gels may help. After that, a filling may be needed. For severe cases, a root canal treatment may be performed, or even an extraction of the whole tooth if it is too damaged to be saved.
How to keep teeth healthy
Here at Brite Dental, we have lots of advice to help keep fillings at bay, even during the Halloween festivities. The main way is to make sure teeth are brushed twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Flossing every day is a necessity, and after eating sticky, sweet food, make sure to rinse with water to remove some of the debris from the surface of the tooth. It can also help to eat sugary foods at mealtimes. In terms of alternatives, there are lots of ways to avoid large amounts of sugar. It’s easy to make your own Halloween treats with reduced sugar, such as chocolates with artificial sweetener. There are also plenty of sweets for sale in supermarkets that use sweeteners instead of sugar. You can also substitute refined sugar from natural sugars from fruit and honey; honey can still be bad for teeth, but it contains more complex sugars so takes longer for your body to break down. This means you have more time before the bacteria begin multiplying in your mouth.
If you are worried you or your children may have overindulged this Halloween or you simply want to book in for a thorough check up, drop us a line at your local Brite Dental branch today.