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Dr Christopher Ho Halloween Sugary Treats To Play Havoc On Kids' Teeth Interview

Dr Christopher Ho Halloween Sugary Treats To Play Havoc On Kids' Teeth Interview

The rising popularity of Halloween in Australia makes it a highly anticipated celebration now for many school children – but parents will be haunted by the harmful side effects that all of those extra sweets, lollies and chocolates are having on their kids' teeth.

A new study conducted by Oral-Bi and the Australian Dental Association (ADA), the Oral-B ADA Halloween Study, has found that a majority (83%) of adults say children celebrate Halloween much more now compared to when they were a child, and two thirds (66%) say that their children increase their consumption of lollies and sugary treats at Halloween. But despite the havoc this might play on the teeth of our little ones, 60% of Aussie parents say they don't alter their children's brushing habits that night.

-Trick-or-treating' and eating sugary foods rank as the two most popular aspects of Halloween – with a quarter of parents saying that their children are consuming more and more sugary treats at Halloween every year, yet in most households, children are never or rarely flossing – potentially contributing to future cavities as the sweets are likely to get stuck in between teeth and sit there, continuing the party overnight.

Australian Dentist and Oral-B spokesperson Dr Christopher Ho is on a mission to ensure Australian parents are safeguarding their kids' dental health during Halloween. He says: 'Nearly half (47%) of parents claim their children intermittently graze on sugary treats on Halloween and over subsequent days, yet this grazing in fact generates frequent acid attacks which can have a negative effect on teeth. If you can, keep sticky sweets that cling to teeth to a minimum, and limit consumption to few sittings rather than constant grazing. Your child's mouth needs time for the saliva to negate the effects of sugary foods and help plaque prevention".

'I recommend using Oral-B Stages power brushes as not only do they remove more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush for a thorough clean, the fun animations on the brushes make for a better experience, encouraging kids to enjoy brushing time. Unfortunately, the new research revealed that 61% of kids aren't using power toothbrushes, despite their proven benefits" Dr Ho continues.

Dr Peter Alldritt, Chairman of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) Oral Health Committee says: 'The results of the study show that while parents need to ensure their kids are maintaining positive dental habits throughout the year, such as brushing twice a day and flossing before bed to help protect against future cavities – this message is ever more pertinent when it comes to festive events like Halloween where sugar consumption can be very high."

'When children come trick-or-treating at the door this Halloween, why not surprise them with an inexpensive toy or novelty. It will teach children that sugar is not the only reward and might just save their teeth from one more acid attack" advises Dr Alldritt.

The Oral-B Stages range of power and manual brushes are specially designed to encourage kids of ages, from 4 months to 8+ years to take better care of their teeth.


Interview with Dr Christopher Ho, Dentist and Oral-B spokesperson

Question: Can you talk about the new research regarding children's overall oral health?

Dr Christopher Ho: The Oral-B ADA Halloween Study has found that a majority (83%) of adults say children celebrate Halloween much more now compared to when they were a child, and two thirds (66%) say that their children increase their consumption of lollies and sugary treats at Halloween. But despite the havoc this might play on the teeth of our little ones, 60% of Aussie parents say they don't alter their children's brushing habits that night!

-Trick-or-treating' and eating sugary foods rank as the two most popular aspects of Halloween – with a quarter of parents saying that their children are consuming more and more sugary treats at Halloween every year, yet in most households, children are never or rarely flossing – potentially contributing to future cavities as the sweets are likely to get stuck in between teeth and sit there, continuing the party overnight.


Question: How does Halloween impact a child's teeth?

Dr Christopher Ho: Halloween has become a regular outing for children, however over that day and subsequent ones, children increase their consumption of lollies and sugary treats. Now that is a lot more sugar for our young ones teeth! Halloween could be the worst day of the year for your teeth with all those additional lollies creating potential for increase in cavities, so it's important that parents are vigilant around this time – and all year round.


Question: What are some of the implications of indulging in extra sugary treats on children's overall oral health?

Dr Christopher Ho: The increased sugar intake could potentially lead to future cavities as the sweets are likely to get stuck in between teeth and sit there overnight. Children are very prone to cavities (caused by the decay, or softening of the enamel), often on the chewing surfaces where food gets trapped in crevices that kids are likely to miss while brushing so it's important to take extra care, particularly at Halloween when we know they will be grazing on even more sugary treats than usual.


Question: Should parents be altering their children's brushing habits, after Halloween?

Dr Christopher Ho: It's about good habits, and children should get into the routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes, combined with using floss to get out all the nasties from between the teeth. For kids, I recommend quality products like the Oral-B Stages power brush range. Not only do they remove more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush for a thorough clean, the fun animations on the brushes make for a better experience, encouraging kids to enjoy brushing time. Unfortunately, the new research revealed that 61% of kids aren't using power toothbrushes, despite their proven benefits.


Question: What are your tips for parents after a child has consumed many sugary treats?

1) Dr Christopher Ho: If you can, encourage kids to keep sticky sweets that cling to teeth to a minimum, and limit consumption to few sittings rather than constant grazing. Your child's mouth needs time for the saliva to negate the effects of sugary foods and help plaque prevention.
Encourage your little ones to drink more water. This reduces the acid that causes decay and helps keep the mouth clean – so pack a water bottle in the trick or treat kit! Have them opt for tap water whenever they can for the added benefit of fluoride.
2) In between treats, mix in calcium-rich foods such as cheese or nuts. Not only are these healthier options but they have an added bonus of minimising the acidity in the mouth caused by sugar, reducing the chance of erosion and cavities!
3) Make sure your child brushes for a full two minutes, twice a day with quality products like the Oral-B Stages power brush range. Not only do they remove more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush for a thorough clean, the fun animations on the brushes make for a better experience, encouraging kids to enjoy brushing time.
4) 5) Also ensure that your child has regular visits to the dentist throughout the year - a regular check-up will help identify potential issues earlier and a professional clean will help remove built up plaque.


Question: How can these issues be treated?

Dr Christopher Ho: Making sure that our kids don't constantly graze on sweets is important as they may have an abundant supply after their Halloween bounty, which they continuously eat over the subsequent days. Constant sugar and plaque attack is not good for our teeth! So make sure there are clear guidelines on how many should be eaten at a time and keep some stored away. We were all kids once and we need some instruction on how we should eat them rather than devouring them as quickly as possible!


Question: In saying that; how will that affect their teeth in the future?

Dr Christopher Ho: One attack isn't too much of a problem, but bad habits are a major one. Ensuring that our kids don't fall into these bad habits begins with parents instructing on how they should consume sugary snacks and then how to maintain their children's oral health is especially important.


Question: What is power brushing?

Dr Christopher Ho: Power brushing are rechargeable electric (power) brushes that provide superior plaque removal to that of manual toothbrushes. They incorporate a rotating oscillating technology that removes significantly more plaque and improves gum health. The brushes surround each tooth for individual tooth by tooth cleaning, and gives a dentist smooth clean feeling every day. They have been shown to be 100% more effective than manual toothbrushes and one of the most simple things to do for patients is to incorporate a power tooth brush into their daily routine.


Question: What are your top tips for encouraging children to start power brushing?

Dr Christopher Ho: Make it fun for children and the Oral B stages power brush range is as great way to start, with animations on the brush making it a fun start to their brushing. The brush even has a timer to let you know when you have reached 2 minutes of brushing. As children like to emulate their parents, I suggest parents brush their teeth at the same time and then the child can follow in a similar way. It makes it more fun for the kids!


Interview by Brooke Hunter



 




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