Here’s how you can help your family stay ‘MouthHealthy’ on Halloween and year-round.
Time It Right
Eat Halloween sweets (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
Stay Away from Sweet Snacks
Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. Snacking on candy throughout the day is not ideal for your dental health or diet,.
Choose Sweets Carefully
Make sure your sweets are sugar free.
Avoid hard sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.
Avoid Sticky Situations
Sticky sweets cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like toffee and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
Have a Plan
It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. ‘Have your family pick their favourites and donate the rest.’
Drink More Water
Drink water, avoid a dry mouth this can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are sugar free. Even sugar free ‘diet’ fizzy drinks may be acidic which cause harm to your teeth
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your body is like a complex machine.The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.
Stay Away from Sugary Beverages
This includes fizzy drinks, sports drinks and flavoured water.When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.
Chew sugar free chewing gum
Chewing sugar free gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralise the acid produced by bacteria.
Brush Twice a Day
Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride containing toothpaste. Change your tooth brush 8- 10 weeks , or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
Clean Between Your Teeth
Floss your teeth once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
The regular advice and care you will receive from your dentist and the whole team will help you to stay healthy.
Acknowledgements to the American Dental Association
Undetected tooth infections could increase the risk of heart disease by almost three times, according to new research.
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research1, has found that people with untreated tooth infections are 2.7 times more likely to have cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease, than patients who have had treatment of dental infections.
With cardiovascular diseases being a contributor in an estimated 30 per cent of all deaths globally, leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, wants to encourage more regular dental visits, especially if we are experiencing toothache, sensitivity or bleeding gums.
Speaking on the issue Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “This research is very worrying as tooth infections are initially caused by tooth decay which is triggered by poor oral hygiene routines and a diet high in sugar.
“The major signs of root infection (usually known as a dental abscess) include pain, often when biting down on the tooth, and sometimes swelling. The tooth may also become discoloured. But sometimes infection does not immediately present with these symptoms and can go undetected for some time.
“Thankfully, maintaining good basic oral health and cutting your risk is very easy. By brushing our teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste; cut down on the amount of sugary foods and drinks and how often we have them and visiting our dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, we can help prevent disease, not only in the mouth but the whole body too.”
As well as looking after your oral health preventing gum disease can be boosted by a healthy diet, weight control, exercise and not smoking.
“Infections occur when decay reaches the centre of the tooth, the dental pulp, when the tooth dies a reservoir of bacteria spreads beyond the end of the root and can enter the bloodstream. Treatment for this would usually be a root canal treatment to remove all of the infected tissue and prevent bacteria spreading,” Dr Carter added.
“These new findings add to the existing links between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. It has previously been established that people with gum disease almost twice as likely to develop heart disease than people without it, this makes the need for good oral care even more important.
“Over recent years’ problems in the mouth have also been linked to other serious conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and problems with pregnancy, so it is vital that we see our oral health as a priority.”
The Oral Health Foundation welcomes more research into this matter as it may be a way to prevent many instances of cardiovascular disease around the world and ultimately save lives.
With thanks to the British dental Health Foundation
For many years it has been recommended that sugar free sweets are preferred to sugar containing sweets (candy). This was thought be better from the point of view of calorie intake and sugar which promotes tooth decay.Research by Professor Brand in Amsterdam has shown that this may be a false healthy image.
Sugar free may not necessarily mean tooth friendly. Sugar free candy contains citric and malic acid, which is used to create a fresh/sour taste. This is apart from the artificial sweeteners which themselves have a health concern. eg . Aspartame and saccharin.
While eating the candy the acid dissolves in saliva creating an acid environment, which promotes tooth decay. This appears to be a bigger problem with candy, which stays in the mouth for long periods such as chewing gum, lollipops and ‘boiled sweets’
It is therefore best to find ‘non acidic sugar free ‘ candy.
In conclusion sugar free candy is healthier than sugar candy, but it is best to be aware of the dental and general health risks of the alternative.
Everything in moderation.
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