Halloween Fun with Braces
October 25th, 2017
Halloween is a favorite holiday among children due to the festive games, imaginative costumes, and candy. Modern celebrations stem from a combination of traditions from Pagan and Christian traditions throughout the centuries. The original holiday was called Samhain and derived from the ancient Druids of Ireland. In their belief system, November 1st marked the beginning of winter, and Pagans began their Samhain celebrations at sunset on October 31st.
Modern Celebrations of Halloween
Children and adults love dressing up for Halloween, and this tradition comes from the ancient belief in spirits. From sunset on October 31st until sunrise on November 1st, the souls of the dead entered the physical world. Some spirits were benevolent and wanted only to cross over to the afterlife while others harbored malicious intents of revenge and trickery. Pagans wore masks and disguised themselves so that the malevolent souls would mistake them as fellow spirits.
Families left food and ale outside of their doors to appease the spirits. With the rise of Christianity in Europe, the church encouraged its members to offer food and money to beggars. In exchange, the beggars would agree to pray for the family's deceased loved ones. Eventually these traditions led to the development of today's customs where children dressed up and received candy from their neighbors while circling the community.
With all of the excitement and free candy on Halloween, it is easy to get carried away on a sugar high. Parents warn their children not to eat too many pieces in one night to avoid tummy aches and cavities. Our team at Dr. Elena S. Iacob especially wants to remind children with braces to be extra cautious about the treats they eat because some varieties can get stuck in between the brackets and damage the devices. Sticky candy, such as caramels, fruit chews, and gum should be avoided when wearing braces. Children can trade with their friends and siblings to get only safe candies. The following list offers some alternative treats that children with braces can safely enjoy.
- Solid chocolate, including milk, white, or dark
- Nougat-filled candy bars, such as Three Musketeers
- Candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms
- Powdery candy, such as Sweet Tarts or Pixie Stix
- Mint-flavored candy
- Malted milk balls
- Peanut butter crackers or cookies
When in doubt, children should ask their parents or Dr. Elena Iacob if a specific candy is safe. Halloween is a fun holiday for children, and having braces does not have to take away any of the excitement from tasty treats.
The Effects of Biting Your Nails
October 18th, 2017
Also known as onchophagia, the habit of nail biting is one of the so-called “nervous habits” that can be triggered by stress, excitement, or boredom. Approximately half of all kids between the ages of ten and 18 have been nail biters at one time or another. Experts say that about 30 percent of children and 15 percent of adults are nail biters, however most people stop chewing their nails by the time they turn 30.
Here are four dental and general reasons to stop biting your nails:
1. It’s unsanitary: Your nails harbor bacteria and germs, and are almost twice as dirty as fingers. What’s more, swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach problems.
2. It wears down your teeth: Gnawing your nails can put added stress on your pearly whites, which can lead to crooked teeth.
3. It can delay your orthodontic treatment: For those of our patients wearing braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
4. It can cost you, literally: It has been estimated that up to $4,000 in extra dental bills can build up over a lifetime.
Dr. Elena Iacob and our team recommend the following to kick your nail biting habit:
- Keep your nails trimmed short; you’ll have less of a nail to bite.
- Coat your nails with a bitter-tasting nail polish.
- Ask us about obtaining a mouthguard, which can help prevent nail biting.
- Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you get the urge to gnaw on your nails.
- Think about when and why you chew your nails. Whether you are nervous or just bored, understanding the triggers can help you find a solution and stop the habit.
- If you can’t stop, behavioral therapy may be an effective option to stop nail biting. Ask Dr. Elena Iacob and our team for a recommendation.
Do I really need to wear my rubber bands with my braces?
October 11th, 2017
Most of our patients at Dr. Elena S. Iacob will need to wear rubber bands at some point during their orthodontic treatment. The main reason our patients are instructed to wear rubber bands is to correct their bite. If your teeth do not fit together properly, Dr. Elena Iacob will recommend that rubber bands be used. Dr. Elena Iacob may also recommend using rubber bands to close or open spaces.
Rubber bands are a critical part of your treatment, and wearing them as Dr. Elena Iacob and our team recommend will help move your teeth into the desired position. Dr. Elena Iacob may ask you to wear your rubber bands full time, meaning that they should only be taken out when you brush and floss your teeth three times a day. Other times, you may be asked to only wear them part-time, like only during the day or only during sleep.
If you still have any questions about orthodontic rubber bands, we invite you to give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment appointment. Remember, wearing rubber bands as prescribed by Dr. Elena Iacob is an important step during your treatment, and can reduce the time you have your braces. If you lose your rubber bands or run out, stop by our Frisco office and pick up more!
Halloween Guidelines from the American Association of Orthodontists
October 4th, 2017
Fall can be a really enjoyable time of the year for you and your family. The kids are back in school, the leaves are changing, and Halloween approaches. This holiday is a lot of fun for kids, but Dr. Elena S. Iacob wants to remind you it can also be risky, especially for your child’s braces. If you have kids with braces, take a look at the following tips from the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) on how to keep your kids and their teeth safe this Halloween season.
Important Safety Tips
Trick-or-treating is a favorite Halloween activity for kids everywhere. While it is a great holiday tradition for children, it comes with some potential risks. To keep your kids safe while trick-or-treating, try following these simple guidelines:
- If you have young children, make sure they are accompanied by an adult at all times.
- You or your kids should always carry flashlights.
- For costumes, try to include a light-colored or reflective element that can be easily seen by oncoming traffic.
- Avoid costumes that include a mask, especially for younger children. These can pose a safety hazard for both the wearers and the people around them.
- Tell your kids not to eat any of their candy until they arrive home. Be sure to inspect all treats carefully before letting them dig in.
Following these guidelines can help you keep your kids safe on Halloween.
Halloween Treats to Avoid if Your Child Has Braces
If your kids have braces, you’ll want them to steer clear of certain treats on Halloween. Many candies can cause damage to braces, so it’s wise to avoid them while you’re celebrating this fun holiday. Here is a list of treats to stay away from:
- Hard candies
- Chewy candies
- Jelly beans
- Hard pretzels
Some of these treats may seem harmless, but all of them have the potential to bend or break your child’s braces. So it’s best to avoid eating them altogether.
Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats
If your children have braces, they may feel like they can’t enjoy any treats on Halloween. However, there are plenty of braces-safe treat options for them to choose from, including the following:
- Soft chocolate
- Peanut butter cups
- Gelatin treats
- Ice cream
- Root beer floats
- Apple cider
These are just a few braces-friendly alternatives to traditional Halloween candy. Helping your kids have a fun and safe Halloween—while at the same time protecting their braces—can be easy if you follow these simple tips and guidelines. Help your kids enjoy the holiday without having to visit Dr. Elena Iacob for repair work on damaged braces!