Boo! Sugar Bugs Are Lurking this Halloween

Trick or treat! Yes, the day is here: Halloween, the enemy of dentists everywhere. Or is it?

As your dentist, Dr. Roberts has some opinions about Halloween. We want you to teach your kids about moderation, healthy choices, “everyday” foods and “sometimes” foods. We would never advocate an entirely sugar-free existence for most children. Restricting access to candy only serves to make it that much more attractive. What we do recommend is teaching children about making good choices.

Here are some tips for a healthy Halloween:

  1. Use a smaller trick or treat bag. Put away the pillowcases and go with a small bag or pail. There’s no need to gather enough candy to last until next Halloween! You can make this fun for younger children by buying a small bucket that matches their costume, or helping them decorate their own trick or treat bags.
  2. Fill up before you go out. Feed your kids a hearty, healthy dinner so their bellies are full and satisfied, and take bottled water with you to trick or treat.
  3. Don’t allow snacking between houses. Tell your children that all candy must be inspected at home (you should do this anyway!) and is not to be eaten “on the go.” This will keep them from overindulging.
  4. Let your children participate in making a candy plan; use this as a teaching moment! Talk about healthy eating habits and eating sweet things in moderation. Come to an agreement about how many pieces of candy they can have each day, or how much they will keep and how much they will donate to a homeless shelter or care package for troops overseas. Offering them ways to be of service and giving them choices can ease the sting of “giving up” some of their candy.
  5. Keep the candy out of reach so they can’t sneak secret snacks when you’re not looking, and be sure they always brush their teeth after a candy treat!

Halloween is one day out of the year, and a little indulgence isn’t going to derail an entire year’s work. Make healthy choices part of your lifestyle, and allow your children (and yourself) occasional treats. Focus on responsible choices and moderation, and your kids will grow up with some valuable life skills!

Cardio and Perio

The possible link between gum health and heart health has been researched and debated for many years. While there is no proven link between gum disease and heart disease, there is much anecdotal evidence that the two diseases often strike the same people.

Many cardiologist point to the mouth as a “warning signpost.” This is because the risk factors that can lead to periodontitis, such as smoking, age, and diabetes, can also lead to heart disease. This does not mean one causes the other, but it does mean a person with serious gum disease may also be at risk of heart disease, and vice versa.

If you know you have or are at risk of heart disease, be sure to tell your dental professional so we can be on the lookout for periodontal disease. Likewise, if you come to us with a periodontal problem, we may encourage you to talk to your doctor about your heart health. At Dr. Roberts Family Dentistry, we’re concerned not just with your oral health but with your whole health; we believe healthy teeth and gums are a major contributor to a healthy lifestyle in general.

Risk factors of both heart and gum disease include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and inactive lifestyle. Addressing these risk factors and making efforts to live an active, healthy lifestyle will lower your risk of heart disease and gum disease, and will generally improve your quality of life.