Keep sugary treats to special occasions like Halloween

27 October 2016

Nobody dresses up like Dracula every day, so keep sugary treats to special occasions like Halloween
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is looking forward to the one day of the year where everyone can dress up as their favorite ghost, monster, cartoon or comic book character or celebrity: Halloween. It’s also a day where all of us – yes dentists as well – might enjoy a sweet treat. However, the ADA would also like to remind everyone that, much like Halloween is a special occasion, sweet treats should be limited to those events, where possible.

Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, said: “Sweets, candy and sugary drinks and snacks are an established part of the Halloween party. Like all festive occasions, Halloween provides all of us, kids and adults, whether gym junkies or couch potatoes alike, an opportunity to indulge a little.

“We hope Halloweeners confine the consumption of these treats to special occasions such as Halloween. We also hope that they give their teeth immediate attention after consumption of those treats to avoid any damage to teeth.

“Imagine if everybody dressed up as a zombie, witch or vampire every day of the week. While Harley Quinn, the most memorable and beloved character in the hit Hollywood movie Suicide Squad, making an appearance in the office might be an amusing sight for a while, the novelty would wear off quite quickly. We hope Australians take the same view when it comes to sugary treats.”

Other tips the ADA recommends to ensure that sugar related acid attacks on teeth are minimised on Halloween are:

• Limit the amount of sugary treats children can have;

• Ensure that children do not snack on sugary treats over a long period of time;

• Rinse your mouth with water after eating anything sugary;

• Chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva, which can neutralize the acid attacks;

• Check the nutritional information of snacks that are marketed as ‘healthy’ – many foods contain high levels of sugar. Examples are dried fruit, biscuits (sweet and savoury), fruit juice, muesli bars, crackers, cereals, flavoured milk, sweetened yoghurt, fruit bars, fruit slice, flavoured popcorn, canned fruit, baked goods and banana bread;

• Ensure that children brush their teeth well before going to bed;

• Give children alternatives such as cheap toys and trinkets – there are many other ways to have fun on Halloween in addition to sweets. Use this as an opportunity to be creative; and

• Have a sugar break the week before and the week after Halloween.

Dr Alldritt concluded, “The only crooked mouths we want to see on Halloween are those on pumpkin Jack-o’-lanterns, so that everyone can continue to enjoy sweet treats at all future Halloweens”.

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