The dangers of excessive sugar consumption

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Curious fact: Kids consume approximately 7,000 calories on Halloween.

Halloween is a celebration that comes from the ancient Celtic community, who celebrated the end of the harvest by the end of October at a festival called “Samhain”, whose etymological meaning is “end of summer”. The Celts believed that during this day, the dead returned to visit the mortal world. The Celtic year ended on the last day of October, when the leaves started to fall from the trees representing death and new life. Sweets and food were left outside the houses as an offering and candles were lit to guide the dead to find their way to the light with Lugh. With the advent of Catholicism, the festival was Christianized and called “All Hallow’s Eve”, or as we know it nowadays “Halloween”.

Halloween and dental health

Nowadays, Halloween has evolved quite a bit, changing the traditions observed in the Celtic celebrations. The most common and traditional thing about this festivity is to see the streets full of disguised children asking for sweets from house to house with the traditional phrase “Trick or treat”, which causes an increase in the consumption of sweets and sugar in children, harming not only their overall health, but also their dental health. 

The importance of dental and oral hygiene

Maintaining good dental health allows us to keep our gums, teeth, tongue and mouth clean and healthy with good daily dental hygiene. Our teeth will be able to perform their daily function and prevent any kind of complications and diseases.

Consequences of candy consumption

We all like to eat sweets and sugary foods, however too much sugar in our diets can be a source of severe dental problems. Since sugar is the preferred food for bacteria, a diet with too much sugar promotes bacterial growth in our teeth, increasing our risk of contracting a health problem, as a bacterial biofilm forms on the enamel of teeth. The main dental health problems caused by sugar are:

  • Gum inflammation. In addition to dental pain and tenderness, gum irritation causes tooth loss. It also causes bleeding, redness, and bad breath.
  • Increase in acid production. They act after meals and may erode the enamel
  • Dental caries. This is the most common dental problem in children and requires professional intervention.
  • Formation of tartar. It affects dental aesthetics and may cause other health problems.

How to preserve dental health?

To avoid the effects of sugar on your children’s teeth, we give you the following tips:

  • Follow a varied and healthy diet
  • Avoid eating between hours
  • Limit the intake of added sugars
  • Avoid sticky or chewable foods
  • Brush your teeth, at least once after each meal for at least two minutes
  • Use dental flosses and mouthwashes to keep your teeth clean
  • Visit the dentist at least twice a year

When should I visit the dentist?

Having good dental health is critical to maintaining well-being and comfort in your life. Not taking care of your teeth not only affects an individual’s health, but it also affects his or her self-confidence, as many symptoms, such as bad breath and tartar buildup in the teeth, can affect how he or she interacts with others in their social circle. Therefore, it is recommended to have a visit with the dentist at least twice a year, where you can have a check-up and dental cleanse to make sure you have a healthy smile. If you notice any type of discomfort in both gums and teeth, it is important to consult with your family dentist, as you could save yourself a more serious problem.

Real story

The faculty of dentistry at the Autonomous University of Paraguay exhibits the clinical case of a young 6-year-old patient who does not cooperate with her dental hygiene and completely avoids solid foods. The patient was diagnosed with tooth decay in both arches of the mouth, where multiple carious lesions and even tooth losses were observed. Doctors even mention that there may have been facial deformations due to the patient’s oral problems. To solve the issue, the doctors had to design a rather long and painful treatment, in which they also had to reconstruct the teeth with glass ionomer. Finally, the doctors were in charge of teaching the patient the basics on dental hygiene.

http://scielo.iics.una.py/pdf/ped/v45n3/1683-9803-ped-45-03-242.pdf

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Conclusion 

During Halloween it is very common to see an increase in the amount of sugar that children consume. As parents, we must establish healthy eating habits and behaviors. If we do not, the general health and, specifically, the dental health of your children can be seriously affected, having repercussions that will affect their well-being and happiness.

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