There are occasions throughout the year that a dentist dreads, for numerous reasons. One is Easter. One is Christmas. But the scariest one of all? It has to be Halloween. Dentists don’t have bunny phobias, reindeer allergies or a ghost intolerance. It’s much worse. They have to fight and battle against cavities. It’s not just dentists either that are none too keen on a holey tooth - most patients don’t like them either! So, with Halloween creeping up on us (with Christmas not that far behind) here are a few tips to keep our teeth, baby and adult alike, in tip top shape ready for the trick or treat bags:
- Brush twice a day (ideally after breakfast and last thing at night) with either a manual or electric toothbrush for 2-3 minutes. For children under two, use a very small amount of toothpaste - a smear. This is because small children tend to swallow toothpaste rather than spit it out. After the age of two, or when a child is able to spit out, a pea-size amount is suggested. A pea-sized amount would also be sufficient for an adult, but toothpaste is a preferential thing. After brushing, don’t rinse your mouth with water as rinsing washes off the fluoride from the toothpaste.
- Floss! Flossing is a good habit to get into as adult teeth come through. Ideally flossing should be done daily or every other day.
- A fluoride mouthwash can be a nice extra, but isn’t always a necessity and it certainly doesn’t replace brushing. A preferable mouthwash has fluoride and no alcohol. Most children’s mouthwashes have a suitable amount of fluoride for them and are clearly labelled with a suitable age range. Mouthwashes are available for those with gum issues, a dentist would be able to recommend a product and how best to use it.
- After trick or treating comes the best bit- eating all the goodies. To be even kinder to your teeth eat sugary foods/drinks after a meal. This is because your saliva will have begun to neutralize acids in the mouth and protect your teeth following your meal.
- It’s also best to eat your sweets in one go. Really! This is because, eating sweets in one go serves as one sugar attack. If you have a bag of sweets, and save them throughout the day, your teeth are under a constant sugar attack. Eat them all in one go and your teeth will thank you for it. The same with fizzy drinks too! Cheese is a very good food to eat following sugar as this helps the saliva neutralize sugar acids quicker.
We all like our sugary foods and drink and in moderation there is nothing wrong with that. By following the tips above, hopefully trick or treating will be even better!