Time lapse shows effect of sugary lollies
IT'S the Halloween horror story that will scare the daylights out of parents - a graphic depiction of what happens to children's teeth with constant, long-term exposure to "treats" without brushing.
The Australian Dental Association set up a macabre experiment to mark Halloween where it took three otherwise healthy extracted teeth then put them in solutions of water diluted with one serving of three different popular lollies.
The teeth were photographed before exposure, after 45 minutes in the solution, then after 24 hours, then finally after 48 hours.
The results were disgusting - discolouration, holes and demineralisation were apparent.
In more positive news, dentists say so long as good dental hygiene habits are maintained all year round, a night of trick or treating is unlikely to result in dental decay.
Australian Dental Association SA branch spokesman Dr Angelo Papageorgiou said the images showed how swiftly teeth could be damaged if good care was not maintained.
"When it comes to dental health, there's no harm in having the occasional treat - Halloween is no exception," Dr Papageorgiou said. "Problems arise when you're constantly exposing the teeth to sugar.
"Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in childhood, even though it's entirely preventable. The No. 1 cause of tooth decay is the consumption of sugary food and drinks on a regular basis."
Dr Papageorgiou said more than 70 per cent of children aged nine to 13 were consuming too much sugar.
He encouraged parents to be aware of how much sugar their kids were eating and warned many foods marketed as "healthy" were high in sugar, such as dried fruit, biscuits, fruit juice, muesli bars, cereals, flavoured milk, sweetened yoghurt, flavoured popcorn, canned fruit and banana bread.
"No one is saying your children should never eat these foods but you do need to be aware of how much sugar is in these foods and, more importantly, reduce the number of times they eat them; preferably as part of a meal," he said.