A Sticky Situation This Halloween?
There’s nothing like the childhood joy of dumping a night’s worth of Halloween sweets on the carpet to see all your takings! Immediately popping your favourite chocolate bar into your mouth while pawing through the rest and trading the worst with your friends. It’s an exciting time for children, but as adults we need to consider the impact of this excess amount of sweets.
Sugar and Health
Sugar is damaging to our health overall. More specifically, it can lead to weight gain, heart disease a decrease in immune system, loss of nutrients, poor digestion and tooth decay. While all these health issues are important, we would like to highlight the specific risk sugar has on teeth.
Normally, there is natural bacteria that lives in the mouth which creates acid. This bacteria also thrives off sugar! When consuming sugary foods and drinks, this bacteria can multiply and can become even more acidic than usual. This can dissolve teeth, creating holes aka “dental caries”. To help prevent this, we recommend to brush 3 times daily, floss regularly and to have a well balanced diet. Also visiting a dental hygienist twice a year for a deep clean will help remove plaque and tartar build-up. Worst case scenario, a dentist can treat tooth decay with fillings, crowns or root canals.
When left to binge eat sugary treats, children are more at risk for tooth decay and plaque. See our diagram below with the most popular Halloween sweets and their sugar content!
Health care agencies recommend that children consume no more than 7 teaspoons of sugar daily. This is difficult to control at Halloween when one mini-size Skittles has approximately 3 teaspoons of sugar, a mini Twix has 3 teaspoons and a mini Crunchie has 3 teaspoons. So, two small sweets and that’s the limit for the entire day (not including the other sugars within regular meals).
What To Do?
- Replace sweets with some healthy alternatives (check out these fun recipes)
- Brush immediately after meals and floss regularly (try using a soft brush on the gums as well)
- Use a fluoride mouth wash regularly
- Visit a dental Hygienist
- Reduce snacking
- Set limits or specific times for sweets (after dinner only or as a reward for daily chores)
- Try the “Switch Witch”