Horror of Halloween might be found in kids' mouths

COLGATE has unveiled not so sweet facts to consider whether or not we really want your kids joining Halloween trick or treating on Friday night.

According to new research from the toothpaste maker, Aussie parents will fork out an extra $22 million on sugary treats.

And as we know, sugary food and drink is the major cause of cavities.

The research reveals that during the Halloween period:

• Aussie children will consume  an estimated 22.3 million extra sugary treats or an average of 9 extra treats, in comparison to an average of at least one treat per day at other times

• Learning by example - children with an older sibling are estimated to eat 19 per cent more sugary treats

• The more the merrier - parents who have more than two children estimate each child will eat more sugary treats during Halloween

• Boys vs. girls - parents estimate boys indulge in 27 per cent more sugary treats than girls over Halloween

SPOOKY:  Halloween cupcakes
SPOOKY: Halloween cupcakes

Colgate says it isn't trying to be the grinch of October 31 but says parents should take special steps during such periods.

Dr. Sue Cartwright, scientific affairs manager, Colgate Oral Care says that there are ways to help protect children's teeth.

"During periods such as Halloween, when there is an increase in sugar consumption, regular brushing to remove sticky sugar from around children's teeth, and even using a toothpaste with sugar acid neutralising technology, will be useful in minimising possible long term damage."

The hard truth about our kids' teeth

The Colgate research has revealed that according to Aussie parents 780,000 Aussie kids in the peak age group for trick or treating (6-14 year olds) have at least one cavity.

While nearly all Aussie parents (96 per cent) try to manage their child's sugar intake on an ongoing basis, 4 in 5 (82 per cent) admit to allowing their child to have foods with considerable sugar content once a week or more.

"It's ok for children to enjoy a few sweet treats on Halloween but try and limit them to meal times and don't allow children to eat sweets continually.

"The constant bathing of the teeth in the acids that bacteria produce from sugar does the most damage".

"At the end of the day, the best protection is to emphasise good dental hygiene especially after children have consumed sugary treats - preferably the best brushing they have done all week."

Top tips to help children brush from Dr Susan Cartwright:

• Start early with babies- as soon as the first tooth erupts
• Make brushing a game- sing along, tell a story
• Make brushing a part of the bath routine
• Set the example - show children how you brush your own teeth
• Use age appropriate brushes and paste
• Always brush after the last food/drink has been consumed and at one other time in the day
• Always assist children under the age of 8 yrs