Halloween, Candy, and Cavities: A North Las Vegas Horror Story

Halloween in North Las Vegas

Halloween approaches, and we all know what that means: a tsunami of Halloween candy. I love Halloween in North Las Vegas, but as a dentist, I see the direct consequences of the massive sugar consumption.

To get an idea of just how much candy we consume this time of year, let’s take a look at the numbers.

Money spent on Halloween

Halloween candy consumption

Pounds of candy
GRAPHIC FROM: https://visual.ly/community/infographic/food/how-much-candy-do-we-eat-halloween

 

Why do I care? Because all that candy can have a massive impact, particularly on children.

Don’t Become a Victim of Halloween

The average kid that goes trick-or-treating can consume 7,000 calories from candy on Halloween. That comes out to about 675 grams of sugar, or about three cups. But it’s not just Halloween that I’m worried about. A day or two of binging might be something you can recover from, but general consumption of sugar is a massive problem as well.

The CDC estimates that the average child (ages 2–19) consumes 124 grams of sugar on a daily basis. Teenagers are the worst offenders, averaging 161 grams per day. It comes from processed foods, sugary drinks, and sodas.

‘But Dr. Soard, how much should they be having?’

The American Heart Association recommends that children consume fewer than 25 grams of added sugar daily.

While adults are responsible for themselves, children need a little more guidance. Young children, especially, need some extra help. Dentists have seen some disturbing trends as younger and younger children are getting more and more cavities.

40 percent of children ages 2–11 have had tooth decay in their primary teeth.
30 percent of children ages 2–5 currently have tooth decay.
20 percent of children ages 5–11 have at least one untreated, decaying tooth.

Tips for Preventing Cavities

My advice for cavity prevention applies to both parents and their children. Help them form healthy habits at a young age so that they won’t have to do damage control as adults.

Switch to Water
The name of the game in tooth decay is prevention. Switching from juice, milk, and especially soda and drinking mostly water is tremendously helpful. The damaging aspect of sugar (as far as your teeth go) comes from time.

The longer sugar is able to hang out in your teeth, the more it can react with bacteria in the mouth to produce enamel-destroying acids. If you’re drinking sugary beverages all day, that sugar has all day to work on teeth.

Ration Sugary Sweets, or Switch to Healthy Ones
On a day-to-day basis, avoid sugary snacks between meals. They’ll add some unwanted pounds in addition to damaging teeth.

But what do you do with your child’s Halloween horde? There are a few strategies, including rationing it out a piece at a time. I recommend candy buybacks to allow them to trade their candy for cash. Alternatively, donate it to the troops, nursing homes, or charity organizations directly.

Brush Twice per Day, for Two Minutes Each Time
Brushing should begin at whatever age the first tooth appears, and then never stop. We always follow the “2 x 2 rule”—brush twice per day, for two minutes each time. Combined with fluoride toothpaste, effective brushing should be the foundation of your morning and evening routines.

Also, you don’t have to floss all of your teeth…just the ones you’d like to keep.

Don’t Let Your Family Fall Prey to Tooth Decay

Halloween in North Las Vegas doesn’t have to be a sugar buzzkill. Instead of making it all about the candy, focus on fun games and activities that bring people together.

If you have questions about your child’s particular case, please contact our office and we will be happy to help you out.

~Dr. Zachary Soard

Top Tech to Go Back to School in North Las Vegas

back to school Las Vegas

When I was a kid growing up in Las Vegas, I had a box to keep my sharpened pencils in and always struggled to fit all my books into my backpack. Today’s students are sporting technology that would make a Bond villain jealous.

According to the Consumer Technology Association, 63 percent of Americans will buy some extra tech for school this year. In light of that, here are my top seven back-to-school gadgets for students in North Las Vegas.

Top 7 Tech Gadgets for School

Disclaimer: Recommendations below are my expressed opinion. I have no monetary investment or connection with the brands, products, or services mentioned below.

7. Chromebook
Many students are doing the majority of their schoolwork using a Chromebook, a limited laptop that lets them utilize Google for email, word processing, and backup. Chromebooks are great because they are inexpensive, easy to use, and have everything a student needs but limited access to things that might distract them from their studies. And even if the device is destroyed, students can simply log in on another device and their data will still be there in the cloud. A great option for value is the Acer Chromebook 14, but you can compare many top models to see which one meets your needs.

6. Carrying Case/Protective Cover
I would be terrified for my children to have a smartphone with no protective case, and I feel the same way about their laptops and Chromebooks. The biggest threats come from drops (particularly when in another bag) and spills, while we also have to consider utility. For my money, I like the TomToc laptop shoulder bag. It has soft padding all the way around, and the big winner is corner armor, a huge safeguard against drops. The material is spill resistant, and it has a shoulder strap and extra pockets to carry accessories. The trade-off is that it’s bulkier than other options.

5. Portable Power Bank
Laptops and cellphones have a limited battery life. This used to be a problem, but now it is mitigated by abundant charging options such as a portable power bank. Most are smaller than a phone and can charge devices up right quick. No longer will “my phone died” be an excuse for getting home late! I like the Anker PowerCore, a compact device that’s good for around three full phone charges.

4. Portable Memory
Most students frequently need USB flash drives to transmit data. It’s not necessary or even wise to get more expensive large-capacity drives (they get lost frequently); it’s probably better to get a few smaller drives so you always have a spare. I advise you to label flash drives with your student’s name, and choose products that are harder to lose. Take a look at this 5-pack of 16GB flash drives from SanDisk.

3. Amazon Kindle
While I love the feel of a paper book, I can’t deny the utility of the Amazon Kindle. Students will have immediate access to nearly every book in the public domain, able to carry every e-book they own with them wherever they go. Schools can also push PDFs and books to student devices with Whispercast.

2. Headphones
Not only do students need the ability to block out distractions, but parents need the ability to not listen to whatever it is their children are listening to. You have numerous choices regarding wires, design, features, and price points, though I suggest something with noise-canceling features like the Audio-Technica QuietPoint.

1. Philips Sonicare

You didn’t think I’d let you get away without talking about dental hygiene, did you? There are several great options for electric toothbrushes, but the Philips Sonicare Essence is a great starting point. I highly recommend a good electric toothbrush, as few people brush manually as effectively as they do with an electric toothbrush. They are especially great for children, who have a habit of not brushing as well as they should.

Head Back to School in North Las Vegas With a Smile

If your students haven’t been in for a regular cleaning lately, schedule one with our dental practice in North Las Vegas to make sure their smile is ready for the first day of school.

Don’t wait until the chaos of school begins to schedule your next appointment. Give us a call and book in advance to ensure a spot for you and your family.

North Las Vegas: Summer Fun Edition

Red Rock Canyon

North Las Vegas doesn’t always get the attention it deserves thanks to the monolith due south of us. My home and dental practice are here partly because it is more family-friendly than Vegas proper, less crowded, and less expensive.

You don’t have to miss out on any fun, though. There are still many great things to do in North Las Vegas.

The 5 Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in North Las Vegas

Skyline Helicopter Tours

Everyone gets a window seat on a Skyline helicopter tour! Nevada has some of the most beautiful scenery in the U.S., and it’s hard to fully appreciate it until you view it from above. See the neon lights of the strip, the beauty of Red Rock Canyon, or the alien volcanic formations of the Black Canyon just below the Hoover Dam. Skyline has an impeccable safety record and a sterling reputation, and their helicopter tours over the Las Vegas area start at only $95 a person.

Aliante Nature Discovery Park

Aliante Park is a nice little sanctuary in North Las Vegas. Great landscapes combined with a uniquely entertaining playground make this a great place to take the kids. A path loops around the park, and there are decent restrooms and covered picnic areas with charcoal grills. Just be on the lookout for dinosaurs among the rest of the wildlife. Rawr!

The Planetarium

At the planetarium, the stars are the star of the show! This facility, a part of the Cheyenne Campus of CCSN, is the only public observatory in Nevada. Future astronomers or those who are just sky-curious can enjoy a celestial presentation inside, followed by some telescope viewing if the weather permits. It’s a small theater and they won’t admit you if you’re late, so I recommend reserving seats and showing up early. Tickets are only $4–6!

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

If you feel the need for speed, then the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the place for you! Multiple tracks mean you can see everything from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to drag racing, truck races, and people with too much money racing luxury dream cars. You can even catch bull riding and spectacular Christmas light shows during the off season.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Do your kids like dinosaurs? Of course they do! Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a Smithsonian affiliate featuring interactive exhibits for young scientists and curious minds. While most adults will enjoy this place, too, it caters to youngsters. Various exhibits focus on subjects such as ancient Egypt, marine life, and dinosaurs (of course).

 

Share your family-friendly summer hot spots with our readers in the comments below! With four kids, my family is always looking for a new adventure!

~Dr. Zachary Soard