Smile-Friendly After School Snacks

AS MANY PARENTS KNOW when your child comes home from school, they often run straight for the pantry!

We understand that kids can be a bit hungry after a long day in the classroom and we want to help you provide snacks that won’t only fill their bellies, but will benefit their smile as well!

Try These Smile-Friendly Snacks!

Consuming a lot of starchy and sugary treats in the afternoon can do a number on a child’s teeth—not to mention ruin their appetite for dinner! Sticky, sugary snacks can adhere to your child’s teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing harmful cavities. In order to avoid snack-induced cavities and other oral health concerns, try these ideas instead:

Leafy Greens and Fresh Veggies

Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens have calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, and magnesium–all essential for healthy teeth and gums. Veggies like broccoli and celery are great too! In addition to being rich in vitamins, broccoli has been shown to create an acid-resistant teeth “shield.” As for celery, because of its fibrous material, it massages gums, cleans teeth, and encourages saliva production—making it a natural tooth scrubber!

If your kids like a little crunch in their snack, you could even try making homemade veggie chips! You can use anything from kale and spinach to sweet potatoes and carrots. Simply mix your veggies with enough olive oil to coat them, add any spices you’d like (garlic or pepper is always good!), and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, flip your veggies, and then bake until crispy!

Cheese, Milk, and Yogurt

Dairy is the go-to dental snack for a reason! Few other foods give such a great boost of calcium. Cheese and yogurt even help cut acidity, helping protect your child’s teeth from erosion caused by acidic fruit juices.

If your child doesn’t just want plain yogurt, fruit and yogurt parfaits are a great option to add some flavor and healthy vitamins to their snack.

Fruit High in Vitamin C

A lack of vitamin C can break down the collagen network in our gums, making them tender and more susceptible to bacteria and gum disease. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and kiwi are great sources of Vitamin C.

To make their citrus snack fun, you can make fun kabobs with some citrus, berries, and some of their favorite cheeses.

If you’d like some healthy and creative school lunch ideas, check out these tips from Martha Stewart!

Do You Have Anything To Add?

Do you have any healthy snack recipes of your own? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Thank you for your trust in our practice!

Top image by Flickr user Bradley West used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Tips To Soothe Your Teething Child

TEETHING CAN BE an uncomfortable process for both your little one and those who care for them.

We know our patients want to help soothe their babies as best they can through this time, so today we’re going to share our thoughts on teething and how you can help them through this process.

Each Child’s Teething Timeline Is Different

Although this is different for every child, you can expect your baby to begin teething between six and 12 months old—some teeth may appear as early as 3 months or even as late as 14 months, however. Whenever they begin to sprout their first teeth, it’s important to remember good oral care begins long before their pearly whites make an appearance.

Caring for your infant’s smile before their first teeth erupt is important because bacteria in the mouth can leave behind plaque that damage their incoming teeth. You can prevent plaque from adhering to your child’s gums by gently wiping them with a soft, moist washcloth or piece of gauze. We recommend doing this at least twice a day, especially after feeding your baby and before putting them to bed.

Keep An Eye Out For Teething Symptoms

Teething brings about a variety of signs and symptoms, but here are some of the most common that infants experience:

  • Fussiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Bumps in the gums

If your child begins to develop a persistent fever, diarrhea, or a rash in addition to these symptoms, however, contact their pediatrician.

Watch the video below to learn a bit more about teething symptoms and how long they should last.

Soothe Your Child’s Discomfort With These Tips

Cutting new teeth may not be the most pleasant experience for your little one, but there are plenty of ways to help soothe their discomfort.

Massaging their gums, for instance, counters the pressure from their incoming teeth and in turn eases teething pain. You can try using a clean finger, a small cold spoon, or a moist gauze pad or washcloth to see which your child most prefers.

Teething rings and toys are another useful tool in the teething process. Chewing on these provides the same pain relief as massaging by countering that pressure in the gums. Refrigerating (not freezing!) these toys before they chew will provide an additional cooling sensation to help soothe your child’s soreness.

Be sure to avoid numbing agents. They may seem like a good idea to ease the discomfort of incoming teeth, but the FDA has issued a warning about the potentially harmful effects of numbing agents containing benzocaine and lidocaine. Teething is a normal part of development that can be treated without the aid of prescription or over-the-counter medications. If you have any questions about how this applies to your child’s unique situation, give us a call or contact your pediatrician.

We’re Here Every Step Of The Way

The first few months of a child’s life is full of excitement and lots of changes! We understand that along with those changes come a lot of questions about how to best care for your growing baby. If you would like more information about how to care for your child while they’re teething, or if you have any other questions about their developing oral health, give us a call or make an appointment today!

Thank you for trusting us with your growing family! We love our patients.

Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Oral Health & Weight Loss Go Hand In Hand

A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is the best prevention for illness and chronic disease. It can also be just as effective as any medicine a doctor could prescribe. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or simply live more healthily, the good choices you’re making not only do wonders for your body and overall health, but they also have a beneficial impact on your smile!

Congratulations On Making Better Food Choices

Oral health depends on more than how many times a day you brush your teeth, it also depends on your diet! As you choose healthier foods for your body, you are also choosing better foods for your teeth.

If you’re trading chips and fruit snacks in for healthier snacks like cheese, veggies, and nuts, you’ve made the right choice! A diet low in sugar and processed foods can help you trim your waistline, fend off illness and prevent cavities.

Check out the video below to learn more about where added sugar could be hiding in your diet!

We See You’re Drinking More Water… Great Job!

Perhaps before you made your goal to live a more healthy lifestyle, you would reach for your favorite soda rather than water at mealtime. Did you know that one in four Americans get at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda? Not only can frequent soda consumption lead to weight gain, it also contributes to tooth decay!

Eliminating soda from your diet, or at least consuming it in moderation, is a good way to cut back on calories and cavities. And now that you’re starting to drink more water, you’re probably realizing how good it makes you feel, especially since it is calorie-free!

Keep Up The Good Work With Regular Exercise

By maintaining a healthy weight, you are protecting yourself from health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to name a few. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, these diseases often go hand in hand with periodontal, or gum disease. In fact, 91 percent of patients with heart disease and 22 percent of those with diabetes have gum disease.

So keep up the good work! Regular exercise does wonders for your body’s health and your smile reaps the benefits too!

One Last Tip For Our Wonderful Patients

It is widely known that almost nothing tastes good after you brush your teeth. So we recommend that you let good oral hygiene help you stem cravings!

If you’re experiencing a craving and want to avoid it, brush your teeth! Or even pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth. Not only will this help your craving pass, but you’ll be less inclined to eat after making your mouth minty fresh! Added bonus? Your pearly whites stay squeaky clean. Oh, and did we mention that two minutes of brushing burns around 5 calories? It’s not much, but it’s something!

Do you have any other questions about your dental health or a topic you’d like us to write about? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for being such wonderful patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Ever Wonder How Teeth Whitening Works?

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!

Teeth Get Yellow For A Number Of Reasons

Teeth becoming yellow over time is as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.

There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:

  • Tobacco use
  • Food and drink
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dental trauma
  • Certain medications

If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!

The Way You Whiten Your Teeth Depends On The Stain

There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper and happen inside the tooth.

You can remove surface stains on your teeth by using a whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpaste usually contain special abrasives that gently polish the teeth as well certain chemicals that can help break down stains. These toothpaste can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.

Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpaste. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.

We Would Love To See You At Our Office

At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options. We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.

Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!

Have any questions? Call us or let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading our blog!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

4 Fun Apps To Improve Your Oral Hygiene

OUR SMARTPHONES are never farther than an arm’s length away and help us do everything from track our calendars to track our calories. Today, we want to show you the wonders they can do for our daily hygiene routines with the help of these apps!

Dental Expert

We may only see you twice a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a “dental expert” by your side every day. The Dental Expert app acts as a patient’s guide to understanding different dental procedures. This app includes frequently asked questions answered by actual dentists. It also has sections discussing myths vs. facts and things that can improve your smile.

Brush DJ

Brushing for two minutes, twice a day is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. It can sometimes be hard to keep track of the time, so why not get some help from your favorite songs with Brush DJ!

Brush DJ is a free app that will play 2 minutes of music from your music library. It also has a visual display guiding you on where to brush and for how long. Brush DJ also lets you set reminders to change your toothbrush, floss and go to regular dental appointments.

Chomper Chums

Getting your child excited about brushing their teeth can sometimes take a bit of creativity. Luckily, Chomper Chums® has you covered. Chomper Chums is a dental hygiene focused app designed to help parents teach children proper brushing techniques while keeping them engaged and entertained.

Children earn rewards within the app for brushing their teeth which they then use to buy food or drinks for their virtual Chomper Chums pet. Don’t worry though, this is a free app and no actual money is used to buy their virtual pals’ treats! The app encourages children to choose healthy food for their on-screen friends as well, so they learn about healthy eating choices in addition to building better oral hygiene habits.

BracesHelp

BracesHelp is an iPhone app for people who have or are considering getting braces. This app has helpful tips, videos and pictures on how to care for braces. It also has information on what to do if you are having troubles with your braces. If used in conjunction with tips you receive during your regular orthodontic appointments, you will have all of the help you need on your smile makeover journey.

Have You Used One Of These Apps?

Or, do you know of other great dental apps for your smartphone or tablet? Comment and share below! And if you decide to try out one of the apps above, let us know how you like it!

We love giving our patients the resources to not only better educate them about their oral health and hygiene, but to make it fun! If you have any questions about these apps or other dental health topics, please feel free to reach out on social media or give us a call!

We appreciate you, our valued patients and friends.

Top image by Flickr user Brad Flickinger used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Battle Inside Our Mouths

EVERY DAY INSIDE YOUR MOUTH, there is an epic battle of good versus evil being waged over the ultimate prize: your teeth! And guess what… only YOU can protect them from the destructive forces that seek to harm them.

The Good Guys And The Bad Guys

Because tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body (it is made up of mostly minerals), we automatically think of it as a tough shield that nothing can get through. In reality, tooth enamel is porous!

When tooth enamel loses minerals, teeth are weakened and more susceptible to decay–we call this demineralization. If tooth enamel is demineralized enough, a cavity will form. But here’s the good news! The enamel can also be strengthened by receiving nutrients and minerals in a process we call remineralization. This constant dynamic of tooth enamel losing and gaining minerals is the battle that goes on inside your mouth every day!

So, who are the bad guys? Although there are a lot of good bacteria in our mouths, there’s also the cavity-causing bacteria found in plaque. They feed on sugar and other carbohydrates and produce harmful acids in the process. These acid attacks demineralize, or break down tooth enamel, and if left unchecked, can lead to tooth decay.

Check out the video below to learn a little more about plaque:

But all is not lost! You have a secret weapon in your ammunition… and that’s saliva! Not only does saliva wash out food debris and neutralize harmful acids, but minerals in saliva like fluoride, calcium and phosphate can be deposited back into tooth enamel, strengthening and defending it against bad bacteria. That’s why we call saliva the unsung hero of oral health–it works around the clock to protect our smiles and keep our teeth healthy and strong!

Whose Side Are You On?

This “battle” isn’t something that just goes on in your mouth without you having any say in it. You can promote tooth enamel remineralization and help your saliva fight off harmful bacteria by practicing mouth-healthy habits. In the end, you are the ultimate protector of your teeth!

The first thing you can do to defend your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria is eat a nutritious diet. Sugary drinks and treats, crackers, bread and processed foods are just what these bad bacteria love and eating these types of foods can lead to tooth enamel demineralization. On the other hand, foods like cheese, eggs, apples, celery, carrots, dark leafy greens and wild-caught fish promote enamel remineralization. So the next time you open up the fridge or pantry, make the mouth-healthy choice!

Another way to prevent demineralization is to brush with fluoride toothpaste! Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up. This cavity-fighting mineral protects teeth from bacteria by remineralizing tooth enamel and reducing plaque bacteria’s ability to even produce acid in the first place!

You Are Responsible For Your Oral Health

The battle to keep teeth strong and healthy depends on you! By eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can have a lifetime of healthy smiles. Keep up the good work, soldier. You’re doing great!

We’re grateful for our awesome patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.