From ancient tales, The word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word Hallowe’en means “Saints‘ evening”. It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day). In Scots, the word eve is even, and this is contracted to e’en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved into Hallowe’en. Although the phrase “All Hallows'” is found in Old English, “All Hallows’ Eve” is itself not seen until 1556.
Great Britian and Ireland thousands of years ago celebrated October 31st as a time to honor their ancestors; they often dressed up in costumes to scare ghosts away, since this time of year was also when the veil between the living and dead was supposed to be thinnest. Since that time, Halloween has become an anticipated celebration all around the world,
But in celebrating this, when kids dress in costume and go door to door asking for candy as treats , these happy and energetic kids doesn’t realize the sugary sweets can also wreak havoc on their dental health. Sugar builds up and can eat through the protective enamel on their teeth, causing cavities.
Halloween offers a chance for you to teach your children how to stay safe and minimize the damage they do to their teeth.
Here are some tips to keep this time of year pleasant:
- “Best among the group” candies to consume.For your teeth, chocolate might be the best option for keeping damaging sugars to a minimum. Dark chocolate in particular has a compound in it that has been shown to harden enamel and good for heart as well.
- Say No to Taffy and other Sticky Sweets.Caramel and taffy are terrible options for teeth as they stick and allow sugar to eat its way through enamel between brushings.
- Eat Candy During Mealtime.The production of saliva during meals helps to wash away bacteria and damaging sugars, but still, that is not a reason to skip brushing.
- Dinner Before Trick-or-Treating. A healthy meal before heading out will keep the kids from craving the sweets that they collect until you can make it home to check them.
- Create a daily Candy intake limit.The average trick-or-treat take can last a month or longer if you teach your children to control the intake. It will also allow you to deal with the plaque that candy causes in a more manageable timeframe.
- Minimize Sugary Drinks. This includes soda, flavored waters and sports drinks. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased. Halloween gives you a chance to trade candy for the sugary beverages that most kids make a part of their regular diet. Offer to exchange a couple pieces of candy for their favorite soda and you won’t be exacerbating an already prevalent problem.
- Water is best friend. Drinking water helps clean the teeth and gums and minimizes the build-up of bacteria.
- Be More Vigilant about Eating Healthy.The temptation this time of year is to “slack off” on the healthy foods and let your kids enjoy their holiday treats and foods. However, this should be the time instead to discuss how to eat healthy with your children and promote moderation of sweet and sugary foods.
- Consider non-candy Halloween treats. Look herefor ideas of non-candy Halloween treats.
- Consider dentist-approved healthy alternatives to Halloween candy.
Instead of chocolate this year, try handing out these tasty, healthy treats:
Snack bags: pretzels, goldfish.
Sugarless chewing gum with Xylitol
Nut and seeds (almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
- Donate your extra Halloween Candy. We will gladly accept buy back unopened candies for donation to “Operation Gratitude” There is a national website here, where you can check an learn more details of this program for our veterans, troops and frontline workers.
- Daily Maintenance is the Key.This is not the time to let your kids go to bed without brushing and flossing their teeth. Every hour that sugar stays on their teeth, higher chances are of it to penetrate through protective layers.
- Keep your Dentist Appointments.It is important for kids to visit their dentist regularly to maintain the health of their teeth. By developing the habit of having their teeth cleaned, they will keep them healthy long into adulthood.
Call our office today to schedule dental cleanings and dental exams for your whole family. Both are necessary to help avoid tooth decay, gum disease, and more.
Happy Halloween from team @ A&M Dental Arts!