Halloween History from your Rochester Dentist

As you get ready for your Halloween night festivities, imagine back to 100 years ago. All Hallow’s Eve looked quite a bit different in the early 1900s. Tricking reigned, and treating was just a glimmer in the eyes of future candy moguls.  Trick-or-treating, known to bring children joy (and thought to keep dentists in business) is actually a relatively new ritual. Your Rochester dentist, Dr. Gilly Calcagno, wants to wish you a happy Halloween by telling you about how Halloween traditions have evolved over the years.

Halloween and Cavities: Still in the Honeymoon Phase

Tonight, more than a few parents will be muttering to themselves we better make an appointment with the dentist as they watch their kids binge on tremendous candy hoards. The tradition of dawning spooky, cute, or funny costumes, and walking door-to-door to collect candy from generous neighbors, began in the late 1930s.  It didn’t take long for trick-or-treating to become a national phenomenon. In those days, however, candy was not connected to Halloween. Treats such as fruit, nuts, and coins were the normal booty for young ones celebrating Halloween in that period of history, and there was likely less talk of holiday- induced cavities back then.

History of Trick-or-Treating

In the 1950s, candy companies began to get wise to the sales opportunity involved with connecting their products to Halloween night.  Manufacturing miniature or fun size versions of candy bars became a growing trend, specifically designed so that people could give individually wrapped treats more economically. Still, up until the 1970s, apples, popcorn balls, cookies, and cakes regularly accompanied candy in trick-or-treater’s buckets. A tide turned in the 70s, due to frightening news reports of tampering with Halloween treats. From there on, anything homemade or unwrapped was strongly discouraged. Sealed candies became the cultural norm .

Beware of Goblins, Ghouls, and…Cavities

Sugar doesn’t directly cause tooth decay, but without sugar, S. mutans (the bacteria that cause tooth decay) would not be able to cause much damage. S. mutans metabolize sucrose into lactic acid, which damages your tooth enamel. Enjoy your Halloween with children, friends, and loved ones, but be sure everyone that indulges in candy brushes, flosses, and rinse. Halloween celebrations  don’t have to go along with cavities.

Don’t forget to keep up with your dental checkups, especially during this time of year when sugary treats seem to be in constant supply. If you’d like to arrange an appointment, contact our Rochester dentist office at (507)281-3659. We are happy to provide patients of all ages with comprehensive dentistry  in Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, the 55902 zip code, and surrounding communities.