Super Bowl Snacks Your Teeth Will Love

 

Are you ready for the Big Game?  A Super Bowl get-together demands super snacks but not at the expense of your teeth.  That’s why we’ve put together a few tasty game day snacking ideas with healthy ingredients.  Of course, these are snacks, and none of them are perfect.  Regardless of what you eat, don’t forget to brush!

 

Spicy Jalapeño Dip

 

Super Bowl Jalapeno Ranch Dip

 

What’s in it:

1 16 oz.  tub low-fat sour cream
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch (or other brand) Fiesta Dip
1 jalapeno, seeded and cubed

How it’s done:

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.
Serve  the dip with raw vegetables such as carrots and celery.

What makes it tooth friendly:

This dip with a kick will make your veggies disappear.  Raw veggies require lots of chewing which stimulates and promotes healthy gums.  Carrots contain beta-carotene that your body uses to create vitamin A which works to build strong teeth.  The sour cream in this dip gives your teeth a boost of Calcium which also helps to keep your teeth strong.

 

Hummus with Cucumber

 

SUper Bowl Hummus

 

What’s in it:

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, one drained, one with liquid
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cucumber
1/2 tablespoon parsley

How it’s done:

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed except for the cucumber.
Blend for approximately 1 to 1 and a half minutes, pulsing as necessary.
Slice up the cucumber into thick pieces for dipping.
Place hummus in serving bowl and drizzle additional olive oil on top with some parsley for garnish.

What makes it tooth friendly:

Protein rich chickpeas don’t contain any saturated fat or cholesterol, making hummus a good choice for your overall health.  Chickpeas are also rich in folic acid, which keeps your mouth healthy by promoting cell growth throughout your body.  As to the cucumbers, not only are they a healthy alternative to chips, but they are rich in vitamins B and C and have even been shown to help freshen breath and naturally whiten teeth!

 

The Party Standard: The Meat & Cheese Tray

 

Super Bowl Healthy Snacks

 

What’s in it:
This party tray is a cheese buffet with Gouda, White Cheddar, Havarti and Chipotle Jack.
Shaped like a football field on a kale turf, it includes red grapes, whole wheat crackers and summer sausage.

What makes it tooth friendly:
The cheese on the sidelines plays quarterback in this party tray.  Cheese is a tooth powerhouse with tons of tooth strengthening calcium and a protein called casein which is amazingly effective in protecting the surface of your teeth. One note about the crackers, however.  We chose whole wheat crackers for their beneficial fiber, but all crackers can stick to teeth and promote bacteria growth.  Again, just be sure to brush after the game!

 

Baked Cheese Roll

 

Super Bowl Healthy Cheese Dip

 

What’s in it:
Goat Cheese Log
Grape or Olive Oil
1 small carton of Grape Tomatoes (sliced)
Basil Pesto
Balsamic Glaze
French Bread or Crackers

How it’s done:
Preheat oven to 350°
In a jelly roll pan or small casserole dish, add approximately 1/4 inch of grape or olive oil.
Place goat cheese in the pan and cover with pesto, then grape tomatoes.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
Serve with French bread or your favorite healthy crackers.

What makes it tooth friendly:
If cheese made from cow’s milk is a powerhouse, goat cheese is a touchdown.  It contains more protein and calcium than cow’s milk cheese and yet has less fat and calories per serving.  The higher calcium of goat cheese means even more protection for your teeth.

 

Healthy 7-Layer Dip

 

Super Bowl Healthy 7 Layer Dip

 

What’s in it:
3 Cups black beans
6 Oz. Greek yogurt (plain)
1 Cup shredded cheese
1 small can sliced black olives

Guacamole:
2 avocados
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 chopped chive
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 seeded and diced Jalapeño

Pico De Gallo:
2 small diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 seeded and diced Jalapeño
1 chopped chive

How it’s done:
Mix together all ingredients for the pico de gallo.
In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the guacamole layer.
The ingredients can be added in the following order (starting at the bottom): beans, yogurt, cheese, olives, guacamole, pico de gallo.

What makes it tooth friendly:
This dish has it all and it’s a great update of what is usually a calorie dense snack.  While tomato and citrus juices can be tough on your teeth because of their high acidity, the cheese and Greek yogurt help to balance that out.  Plus, this dish is high in vitamins E, A and C, which are all essential for a healthy mouth.  Choosing celery or another vegetable over chips would make this an even better choice for your teeth.

 

Remember, regardless of what you choose to snack on during the Super Bowl, be sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each time!  What will you be snacking on during the Big Game this year? Comment below and let us know!

Here Are Four Reasons Gum Health is Important

When we think of oral health, our focus tends to be on teeth.  But that’s only half the story.  Gum health is an integral part of dental and oral health and can also play a significant role in the overall health of your body.  Taking care of your own gum health and helping guide your children in good oral habits can provide a lifetime of benefits.  Here are four reasons your gums are so important.

1.They keep your teeth in place!

No matter how great the condition of your teeth they require healthy gums to support them.  Your gums serve as a seal around your teeth, protecting more sensitive tissues underneath.  When bacteria is allowed to sit on gums and teeth, small pockets begin to form over time which provides even more places for plaque to hide.  This continual erosion of gum tissues exposes teeth, increasing the likelihood of cavities and even loose teeth.

2.Having healthy gums may lower heart disease.

Gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular problems like heart disease and stroke.  Studies point to gum health as an overall predictor of heart health.  Experts aren’t sure exactly why this is and the link has long been a matter of debate.  What’s unquestionable, however, is that heart attack and stroke patients tend to also have gum disease.

3. It’s possible that having healthy gums can mean a better memory.

According to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, researchers have noticed a link between performance on memory tests and gum health.  Study participants with gingivitis, marked by swollen, sensitive gums, consistently performed poorly in memory tests when compared to those with healthy gums.  Apparently, remembering to brush and floss can help you remember where you put your car keys!

4. Healthy gums can keep your whole body healthy.

Bacteria in your mouth can find its way into the blood stream easily when gums are inflamed, meaning that your body is more susceptible to infections.  In fact, research has even uncovered links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis.  Using an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, reducing the chance of gingivitis and possibly keeping you healthier overall.

You Won’t Believe The Amount of Sugar These Foods Contain

The processed food industry has made the job of cutting out sugar even more difficult for consumers.  Foods we wouldn’t necessarily consider full of sugar, even healthy foods, are often sugar bombs in disguise.  Reducing the amount of sugar your family eats is not only a great idea for keeping mouths healthy, but it can also have tremendous benefits to overall health.  Here are a few of the worst sneaky sugar offenders:

 

hidden-sugar-in-BBQ-sauce

BBQ Sauce

Who doesn’t love great barbeque?  From ribs, to pulled pork, BBQ chicken and brisket, great barbecue is often accompanied by a great sauce.  But BBQ sauce can have a high sugar content, sometimes as high as 10 grams per serving.  That’s the equivalent of almost two and one half packets of sugar!

sugar hidden in granola bars

Granola Bars

Granola bars are often high in fiber and full of dried fruits and whole grains.  But be aware, many brands of granola are simply candy bars in disguise.  When shopping for granola bars, look for bars that contain less than 35% calories from sugar.  You’ll be surprised at how few of them fall under that number.  Many bars come in at nearly 50% calories from sugar.

 

dried fruit hidden sugar

Dried Fruit

One of the biggest surprises in our list of sneaky sugar foods is dried fruit.  That’s because it can be difficult to find dried fruits that don’t have sugar added for extra sweetness.  Raisins, dates, cranberries and even dried bananas are sometimes coated in sugar.  Be sure to check the packaging and only purchase dried fruits that don’t include the extra sugar.

hidden sugar in smoothies

 

Smoothies

What could possibly be more healthy than a smoothie?  Made the right way, using whole fruits and vegetables, along with unsweetened Greek yogurt, a smoothie can be a terrific choice.  But many smoothie bars will often add liquid sugars to the mixer just before blending.  Your best bet is to ask for a nutrition guide at your favorite shop and watch your smoothie being made.  Try to avoid fruit juices that are generally all sugar and no fiber.  Know what’s going in and don’t forget to ask questions.

With all of the hidden sugar in our food, it can be daunting to track it all down.  A great rule of thumb is to read labels whenever possible and become educated as to the various names for sugar.  Dextrose, corn sweetener, high –fructose corn syrup, fructose, maltose, sorghum and evaporated cane juice are all common names for sugars found in foods you might never suspect as being hidden sugar bombs.

Baby Teeth Are Temporary, So Are They Really Important?

We often hear people downplay the importance of primary teeth (also called “baby” or “milk” teeth).  The front 4 primary teeth generally last until 6-7 years of age, while the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13.  People mistakenly believe that since these teeth are temporary, that they do not matter in the long run.  This will often lead to the neglect of primary teeth and can cause permanent damage.

In truth, it is very important to care for the health of the primary teeth. Untreated cavities frequently lead to problems which have long term effects on developing permanent teeth. Here are four reasons why caring for primary teeth is so important:

(1) Proper chewing and eating.

A cavity free mouth often means that it’s easier to enjoy healthy foods without pain or discomfort.  It also means that children are more likely to chew their food completely and are less likely to develop bad eating habits.

(2) Providing space for the permanent teeth.

Primary teeth reserve space for the permanent teeth.  They help in guiding primary teeth into the correct position.

(3) Permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.

Like any muscle, your baby’s face and jaw muscles need exercise to help them develop; healthy primary teeth allow for proper chewing to build these muscles.  Without well-developed jaw muscles, your baby’s jawbones may not develop properly.

(4) Proper development of speech.

Missing teeth can affect the ability for a child to form words and learn to speak properly.  These speech problems can translate into difficulty later in life.

Aside from the reasons listed, there is a very practical reason for taking care of primary teeth: healthy smiles add to an overall attractive appearance which encourages a positive self esteem and good self image.

Fun Dentist Approved Stocking Stuffers

Once the big gifts have been purchased, it’s time to buy the smaller stocking-stuffers.  A lot of times, these little items are enjoyed long after Christmas and can be more functional.  But functional doesn’t have to be boring and healthy teeth can be a fun part of Christmas.  Here are a few ideas to encourage kids to brush for two minutes, twice a day!

Sports Mouthguard

Does your child play sports? Unfortunately, a lot of kids are playing sports without adequately protecting their teeth.  If you have a child who plays an active sport, consider getting a mouthguard for Christmas.  Even if they already have one, a fun new color or style can get kids excited about staying in the habit of wearing it.

A Band New Toothbrush

Everyone loves a new toothbrush.  For the holidays, pick one that will get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.  There are character brushes, brushes that light up and even brushes that play music while you clean your teeth!  Be sure and choose a soft-bristled brush with the appropriate sized head for smaller mouths.

A  Tooth Timer

If brushing the correct amount of time is difficult for your kids, consider getting a small timer to keep in the bathroom.  Brushing for two minutes can seem like a long time.  A timer can ensure your kids are brushing long enough and can even become a game!

A Fun Toothpaste Flavor

There are so many fun toothpaste flavors to choose from.  Try giving your kids something silly that you wouldn’t usually pick out.  There’s bubblegum flavor, chocolate, and even bacon!  Look for theADA seal on whatever you buy.

Silly Toothbrush Holder

There are a lot of fun toothbrush holders out there.  We’ve seen ones shaped like super heroes, animals and even rocket ships.  Get rid of the boring mug and replace your child’s toothbrush holder with something fun.

Four Ways to Show Your Teeth Some Love!

Your teeth are important!  Not only are they the first stage in eating and digestion, but a healthy set of teeth will keep you looking your best.  So perhaps it’s a idea good to say “Thank You” to your teeth for being so awesome.  Here are a few ways you can show your gratitude.

Sing to your teeth while you brush.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Listening to a song while you brush may help you brush your teeth better.  Most of us don’t brush long enough, so playing a song that lasts at least two minutes can help you brush for a longer period than you’re used to.  This is especially true with children.  The 2min2x.com website has great videos and songs that last exactly two minutes and are a great way to encourage longer brushing times.

Be gentle with your teeth.

Not only do most people not brush long enough, but they also brush too hard.  If your toothbrush shows signs of early wear and bending bristles, then it’s likely that you’re brushing too hard.  Be nice to your teeth and gums by brushing gently with a soft bristled toothbrush.

Give your teeth a drink of water.

One of the easiest, least expensive and most effective ways to care for your teeth is to drink more water.  Staying hydrated not only helps your overall health, but water can wash away food trapped in your teeth after meals, it can help balance the acidity of your mouth and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria.  Additionally, because bad breath is often caused by having a dry mouth, drinking plenty of water can help your breath smell better too!

Take your teeth to the dentist.

How often should you and your child go to the dentist?  Even if you take excellent care of your teeth at home, a regular six month visit to the dentist will help you avoid potential problems and clean areas that are difficult or impossible to get yourself.  Preventative care is always the best way to say “Thanks!” to your teeth.

The Dangers of E-cigarettes and Teen Oral Health

More teenagers have tried Electronic Cigarettes than adults, with statistics showing as many as 10% of high school students having tried the latest trend in smoking compared with only 2.7% of adults. E-cig use has exploded in the past few years, and many people claim to have stopped smoking traditional cigarettes because of them.  While many users also believe e-cigarettes to be safer than regular cigarettes, no definitive studies have proven that they are a safe alternative.

When looking at e-cigarettes and oral health, especially in relation to teenagers, it’s important to remember that an e-cigarette is still primarily a nicotine delivery device and there’s little debate as to the effects of nicotine on the body.

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is a stimulant that, when inhaled, is absorbed by the lungs into the blood stream and passed within seconds to the brain.  As a drug, nicotine works by both stimulating the user through low doses and relaxing the user in higher concentrations.   As evidenced by the large number of people addicted to tobacco products, nicotine is seen as one of the most addictive drugs available.  Interestingly, nicotine has a history of use as an insecticide but isn’t commonly used today because of it’s danger to animals and people.

How does nicotine harm oral health?

Nicotine is a chemical compound known for it’s vasoconstrictor properties, which means that it works by narrowing blood vessels and reducing blood flow throughout the body.  When blood flow is frequently reduced to the gums, there is a dramatic increase in the likelihood of periodontal (gum) disease.  Less blood delivered to the gums means less oxygen and fewer nutrients.  This can result in symptoms such as bleeding gums, redness, bad breath and even tooth loss.

Better than cigarettes?

The truth is, no one is completely sure about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes which can make them a particular concern for adolescents.  Many teenagers are smoking e-cigarettes because they feel they are safe or cool.  Regardless of how it’s delivered, however, nicotine is still a highly addictive drug that should be avoided by everyone, especially growing teens.   With few laws banning their use among young people, it’s important to educate your children about the potential hazards of this growing trend.

5 Brushing Blunders A Lot of People Make

We all know how to brush our teeth, right? Unfortunately there are times when we may actually do more harm than good. Here are the five worst toothbrush blunders:

 

Brushing teeth too hard

1. Brushing too hard.

Brushing with too much force can damage sensitive gums and wear away the protective enamel of your teeth. Try to brush as lightly as possible and consider using a soft bristled brush. Most people should avoid bristles labeled as “hard”.

 

Storing your toothbrush

2. Not storing your toothbrush properly.

Ironically, one of the worst places to store your toothbrush is in the bathroom! It’s humid and full of germs. Avoid leaving your toothbrush where it will stay damp or come into contact with a lot of airborne bacteria. If you use a toothbrush cover, make certain that it allows your toothbrush to dry and consider one that has an antibacterial coating. One of the best places to store your toothbrush is upright in a closed cabinet.

 

Sharing your toothbrush

3. Sharing your toothbrush.

Even if you’re not sharing with Fido, you should avoid allowing other members of your family to share your toothbrush. Bacteria can be transferred from mouth to mouth leaving you more susceptible to illness and even cavities. Make sure everyone has their own toothbrush!

 

Replacing your toothbrush

4. Using an old toothbrush.

Many people continue using their toothbrush long after it’s time to replace it. As a general rule, your toothbrush should be replaced at least every 3-4 months especially if you notice that the bristles have become frayed. You should also consider tossing your old toothbrush in the trash after you have had the cold or flu.

 

Not brushing long enough

5. Not brushing long enough.

Many people don’t brush long enough. You should brush for at least two minutes, twice each day. Try using the timer on your phone to get an idea of how long two minutes truly is. Children can be encouraged to brush for the proper amount of time by using some of the tools found on the 2min2xwebsite!

Tips for Common Dental Emergencies

Like all emergencies, dental emergencies appear out of nowhere and demand immediate attention. Knowing what to do when an emergency arises is key to having a positive outcome and preventing a bad situation from getting worse. Taking the right action, can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth. Just as we spend time learning first aid procedures for bodily emergencies, making a special effort to focus on handling dental emergencies means that you are prepared to take care of any situation, no matter what.

The best preparation is having a “Dental Home”.

 

Of course, the first (and best) step is to have an established dental home.  Whether an injury happens on the playground, in school or at home, having a dental home and maintaining regular dental check-ups and cleanings is the first and best way to be prepared.  Not only will you have an existing relationship already established, but you will also have someone to call who can provide guidance, care and support.  If your family doesn’t have an established dental home, we encourage you to give us a call today.

What are the most common emergencies?

 

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), here are a few best practices for the following scenarios:

  • If a baby tooth is knocked out – Contact the dentist ASAP.
  • If a permanent tooth is knocked out – Find and carefully rinse the tooth in cool water. Do not use soap or scrub the tooth. Simply rinse it in cool water. Replace the tooth in the socket, if possible, and hold it in place with a clean piece of gauze or a washcloth.  If putting the tooth back in the socket isn’t an option, place the tooth in a clean cup with milk, saliva, or water. Contact the dentist immediately.  Prompt treatment is required to potentially save the tooth.
  • If a tooth is chipped or damaged – Contact the dentist immediately. Find any tooth fragments. Rinse in cool water and place in a clean cup with milk, saliva, or water and take them with you to the dentist. Prompt treatment is critical for preventing infection and avoiding potential complications. If there is any injury to the mouth, treat with cold compresses to decrease swelling.

If tooth loss is the result of a more severe or complicated injury, call for emergency services to insure that proper care is given to the entire injury. Call the dentist en route to the hospital or immediately upon arrival.

An emergency situation is no time to try to come up with a plan of action. Instead, it’s best to be prepared well in advance of any unforeseen injuries. Maintaining regular six month check-ups can help lay the groundwork for handling potential emergency situations when you don’t have time to think about what to do next.

3 Times Fruit Is Bad For Your Kid’s Teeth

With all of the junk food available to kids and adults, it’s hard to imagine that something as seemingly healthy as fruit could ever be bad for your teeth. And certainly there are a lot of foods that are high in sugar that would be considered far worse for your overall oral health.  Still, there are times when fruit may not be the best choice.  Here are a few examples when you may want to skip the fruit:

1. When it’s dried.

Dried fruits have had most of their water removed and what’s left contains a much higher percentage of sugar than fresh fruits.  And because you tend to eat more dried fruit based on the volume, you will consume a much greater amount of sugar when compared to eating fresh fruit.  This doesn’t even take into account the added sugar that most packaged dried fruit contains.  Further, dried fruits like raisins and plums tend to be sticky and often stay stuck to teeth for a long time.  This provides bacteria plenty of what they need to grow.

2. When it’s canned with syrup.

Most canned fruits are packaged in a thick, high sugar syrup.  Even those labled “light syrup” contain large amounts of added sugar because that description can refer to the consistency of the syrup rather than sugar content.  When eating canned fruits, look for those that have no added sugar or those packed in 100% fruit juice.

3. When it’s juiced.

First, it’s important to understand that fruit juice can be very good for you when it’s part of a balanced diet.  However, juice can still harm teeth when too much is consumed too frquently.  This is because fruit that is juiced generally has much of the most nurtitious portions of the fruit removed.  When the pulp and fiber is taken away, what’s left is mostly water and sugar.  What’s more, fruit juices like orange juice is often highly acidic and can be tough on enamel over time.

As you can tell, fresh whole fruits are always the best option when eating fruit.  Whatever you eat, however, it’s important to remember that nearly all foods can be enjoyed in moderation.  And be sure to brush and floss regularly!