500px-First_house_for_trick-or-treatingSource: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/236785.php?trendmd-shared=0

If you want to let your kids enjoy Halloween with the minimum of harm to their teeth, let them gorge on their candy in one sitting, rather than rationing it out, say dentists in the USA.. Remember, one giant sitting does less damage to teeth and leads to fewer potential cavities than a small ration every couple of hours.

Dentist Mark Helpin, who works at Temple University, Philadelphia, USA, said:

“The frequency of eating candy, and other refined carbohydrates, and their stickiness, are big factors in creating the risk of caries (cavities).”

The likelihood of cavities becoming a problem in our mouths depends on the pH balance – the more acidic it is, the worse for teeth. Eating carbohydrates (sweets are full of carbs) makes the environment more acidic. It can take over an hour for acidity levels to go back to normal.

If you ration out the candy for every couple of hours in one day, for example, the child’s pH balance could be acidic for several accumulated hours. However, let them gorge themselves, and the undesirable oral acidic environment time will be much shorter.

Some people say you should simply not let your children eat any sweets at all. This would protect their teeth. This advice is if you want to allow sweets with the minimum damage – let them gorge themselves in one sitting.<br.
Helpin said:

“If I eat a piece of candy now, the pH in my mouth will become acidic, and it will take 30-60 minutes for it to become normal. If I eat 2 or 3 pieces of candy when I eat that first one, my mouth stays acid the same length of time that it would if I ate just that single piece. It’s still 30-60 minutes. If I keep eating candy throughout the day, there is acid in my mouth for a much longer period of time. The longer teeth are in an acid environment, the greater the risk they will become decayed.”

The worst thing you can do for your child’s teeth is give them one candy now, another an hour later, then another an hour after that, etc., throughout the day, Helpin said.

Dentists agree that meal times are best for dishing out sweets during Halloween. Give them the sweets as desserts, while their saliva production is high. Saliva helps rinse out the acidity in the mouth.

Make sure your children brush their teeth after eating candy, Helpin says. If there is no teeth cleaning stuff around, get them to rinse out their mouths three or four times – this helps get acidity levels down.

Swapping sweets for pretzels does not help reduce cavity risk, Helpin says.

“Chips and pretzels are also carbohydrates and they also will create an acid environment that can create cavities. These treats and snacks get stuck on your teeth, and that’s the stickiness factor.”
Dentists would like to encourage adults who give out sweets when children come knocking on their doors to seek out sugar-free, non-sticky ones.

American Dental Association Advice

Dr. Ruchi Sahota, American Dental Association consumer advisor said:

“Over time, if you don’t properly clean your teeth, the results might be tooth decay, gum diseaseand possible tooth loss. When these bacteria come in contact with sugar or starch in the mouth, they produce acid that attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. Repeated acid attacks can cause tooth enamel to breakdown, eventually resulting in tooth decay.”

Dr. Sahota also says you should get your kids to eat their sweets with meals, rather than in between them.

Sahota added:

“Sticky candies like gummies and taffy adhere to your teeth longer than something like chocolate, which easily washes away with saliva or rinsing. Hard sugary candies are held in the mouth longer, giving bacteria in the mouth more time to create acid that weakens tooth enamel.”
The American Dental Association (ADA) would also like to remind parents that some popular foods are possible alternatives that can be mixed in with the sweets, such as peanuts, raisins, fruits, or cheese. If you are giving away nuts, make sure to ask the child and the adult whether any of them are allergic to nuts.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has told its citizens that children like receiving non-food items when trick or treating, such as coloring books for kids and crayons.

If you chew a sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal your chances of having tooth decay drop considerably, the ADA informs.

Do not overdose on licorice

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is reminding people to be careful with how much licorice is consumed – it is possible to overdose on it. A study found that people over 40 who consume over 2 ounces daily for just 14 days can end up in hospital with arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm). The FDA says people of all age groups should be careful not to eat too much licorice.

Excessive licorice consumption can bring down potassium levels, a vital electrolyte that plays a role in electrical and cellular activity throughout the human body.

Potassium helps:

  • Balance acids and bases in body fluids
  • Breaking down carbohydrates into energy
  • Growing tissue and building muscle
  • In the production of proteins from amino acids
  • Maintaining normal electrical activity in the heart

Glycyrrhizin, a compound found in black licorice, causes a drop in potassium levels. Not only can very low potassium levels increase the risk of arrhythmia, but also edema (swelling), hypertension (high blood pressure), fatigue and congestive heart failure, the FDA informs.

As soon as you stop eating licorice your potassium levels should return to normal, Dr Linda Katz, of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition, says.

An Ohio dentist, Dr. Craig Callen says he is offering $1 for every pound of Halloween sweets to trick-or-treating kids . There is a limit of 5 pounds per child. Children who do this will also enter a raffle where they can win a bicycle. Dr. Callen is also giving out free toothbrushes to children who come in and trade their sweets for money.

Written by Christian Nordqvist

Copyright: Medical News Today