3 Handy Snacks for Healthy Teeth on the Go

Life is busy, and sometimes families need to snack while away from home. But, you don’t have to sacrifice your oral health just because you’re snacking on the go. Here’s our favorite handy snacks for those eating away from home.

Nuts

Nuts are another handy snack that promote a healthy mouth. Nuts are rich in protein, which helps to build stronger teeth. Chewing nuts promotes saliva production that naturally protects and cleans your teeth by clearing the mouth of debris and acid buildup that can lead to cavities. Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, or other salty snacks that your kids may crave.

Apples

Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue as they’re being eaten because of their fibrous texture – particularly the skin. This helps fight plaque buildup, and helps remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue. We suggest adding apple slices into your child’s diet as a dessert substitute. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits.

Cheese

Cheese is high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Try adding a couple of slices of cheese to your child’s lunch every day to give them more calcium and casein. Or, you can buy them string cheese since it is a fun snack that kids love to eat!

Don’t Forget to Pack Water

Water is one of the best tools for keeping mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a snack for your child on the go, grab a water bottle instead of a juice box or sugary soda. Also, encourage your kids to swish water around in their mouth after they’re done snacking. Swishing water can help remove debris caught in their teeth that can lead to enamel loss, and acid buildup.

A Healthy Diet Helps Teeth

A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We can discuss healthy, delicious dietary options that kids love, and strengthen teeth.

4 Keys to a Healthier Mouth this Year

2019 is here, and with it comes a new year to tackle oral health success! Here’s our keys to a healthier mouth this year.

1 – Enjoy a Mouth-Healthy Diet 

Fibrous fruits and vegetables actually scrub teeth as they are being consumed, which helps remove bad mouth bacteria that lead to cavities and tooth decay. When eating fibrous fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them thoroughly and leave the skin on – which is a huge source of fiber. Good sources of fiber are: apples, kiwi, berries, bananas, carrots and celery.

The general rule of thumb for mouth healthy food is the more fiber and water content, the better!

2 – Drink More Water 

Saliva naturally cleans the mouth, and a dry mouth will likely lead to halitosis – which is basically ongoing bad breath. Nobody wants to have bad breath, but halitosis can be combatted by adding more water to a diet, which will keep saliva flowing and naturally clean teeth of food debris and excess sugar.

3 – Floss Daily 

Brushing twice per day is a great way to clean most of the surface area of teeth, but it doesn’t clean all of it. The AAPD recommends that everyone floss once per day, and to floss between every tooth. Flossing clears food debris from the cracks between teeth. Food debris can fuel bad bacteria that cause plaque buildup and cavities. Try to floss with your child at first, so that you can show them the ropes. Once you’re confident that they can do it on their own, implore them to floss nightly before bed. 

4 – Visit Our Office Every Six Months 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that children visit the pediatric dentist every six months to ensure that they are keeping their mouth as clean as possible. This regular checkup allows dentists to check on any potential oral health issues, and gives parents a chance to learn more about the overall health of their child, and how they can improve their oral health. Missing a checkup appointment can allow untreated oral health problems like cavities and tooth decay to worsen into more serious ailments that are more difficult and costly to fix.

The Perfect Mouth-Healthy Stocking Stuffers

Stocking are usually hung with care and full of sweet treats that aren’t exactly great for teeth. But we have some recommendations for our favorite mouth-healthy stocking stuffers that can give your child a leg up on oral health this holiday season.

Toothbrush

Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months, depending upon the health of the bristles, which makes Christmas the perfect time to resupply your child’s toothbrush stock! When choosing a toothbrush, try to find one that is easy for your child to hold, and that will comfortably fit into their mouth. You’ll also want to find one with soft bristles that won’t be agitate their gums and look for the ADA seal of approval to ensure that you’re buying one that has been thoroughly evaluated and approved by a respected institution. Toothbrushes are perfect stocking stuffers to help your child keep their mouth healthy during the holidays!

Sports Guard

Mouth guards are composite inserts that act as a cushion for teeth and the facial area. Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. The great thing about mouth guards is that they come in every shape, color and size. If your young athlete is playing sports next year, then protect their teeth by getting them a proper mouth guard.

Dental Floss Picks

It can be difficult to get young brushers to understand the importance of flossing, and the act of flossing can be tough for children with small, uncoordinated hands. But there is a solution that can get young children to floss more regularly: floss picks. Floss picks are small, toothpick like devices that have a string of floss mounted on a handle that makes it easier for people to floss. Floss picks come in large packs of 50 or 100 and are ideal for getting new flossers to floss regularly.

Children’s Book about Teeth: Just Going to The Dentist

Sometimes, it can be difficult for young children to visit the dentist. They may be anxious about meeting strangers, or afraid of dental care in general, but it’s important to remind them how essential and important it is to visit the dentist every six months. Mercer Meyer’s “Just Going to the Dentist” is the story of a young critter visiting the dentist for the first time and explores some of the common tools and procedures in a regular dental checkup to help dispel fears of visiting the dentist. This book is perfect for young children that have anxiety about visiting the dentist and does a great job of explaining why it’s important to schedule a regular checkup.

Gum Sweetened with Xylitol

Instead of candy canes or chocolate bars, try stuffing your child’s stocking with something that tastes great AND cleans teeth – gum sweetened with Xylitol! This mouth-friendly gum benefits teeth because Xylitol stimulates saliva production. Saliva works to clean teeth by naturally clearing debris that can buildup and cause cavities. It also regulates oral acid levels and helps to prevent plaque buildup which can lead to tooth decay. Saliva is also very high in calcium and can help strengthen enamel – the first line of defense against cavities!

Have a Healthy Holiday Season!

We hope that your family has a happy and healthy holiday season, and that you all take care of your oral health over the break. If your child has an extended break, then schedule an appointment in our office for a regular checkup. The holidays are a great time to get ahead on your children’s oral health.

5 Important Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth

You may wonder to yourself “what makes something mouth-healthy,” or, “how can I tell if something is healthy for my teeth and gums?” Well, below is a list of our favorite vitamins and minerals for healthier teeth and gums.

Calcium

Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and it aids in a number of processes, including building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Calcium can be found in dairy products like milk and cheese, and we strongly suggest getting calcium from cheese. That’s because cheese has a protein called casein, which is vital for building strong tooth enamel.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps heal gums, and fight gum inflammation. It does this by helping the body produce more collagen, which aids in cell repair and expedites the healing process. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruit and kiwi. However, all of the fruits are very acidic, so be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after enjoying them.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a fantastic mineral for overall health, and it plays a critical role in building strong teeth and bones. Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium, which is critical to building strong teeth and tooth enamel. You can find magnesium in nuts, whole grains, beans, seeds and dark leafy vegetables.

Vitamin A

One of the absolute best vitamins for overall oral health is vitamin A. That’s because it helps keep saliva flowing, which naturally cleans teeth of damaging acids and prevents dry mouth. Vitamin A also promotes the healthy mucous in the mouth that coats cheeks and gums, which makes them less susceptible to infection and disease. Foods that are rich in vitamin A are carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes and fish.

Vitamin D

Without adequate vitamin D, the healthy power of calcium is severely diminished. Vitamin D acts as a communicator, and signals the intestines to absorb calcium into the bloodstream. Adequate vitamin D and calcium make bones and teeth denser and far stronger, which helps prevent fractures and cracks. You can find vitamin D in eggs, fish and dairy products like cheese and fortified milk.

A Mouth healthy Diet is Critical to Oral Health

One of the best ways to care for your teeth and mouth is by getting the right nutrition. Visit our office to talk more about the importance of a mouth-healthy diet, and how the right diet can improve your family’s oral health.

The Ultimate Tooth Care Kit for Holiday Vacation

Thanksgiving gives families the chance to travel across the country to visit loved ones from afar, and enjoy collecting around a table to eat an incredible feast. If your family is traveling this Thanksgiving, be sure that everyone packs the right oral health kit to take care of their teeth while away from home.

1 – Tooth Brush & Travel Case

Everyone should brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. When traveling, buy a small travel case or cover for the toothbrush to keep the head clean and the bristles in good shape while it is stowed away.

2 – Tooth Paste

You can’t really brush your teeth without toothpaste, so toothpaste is a must for any traveler. Look for a travel-sized tube that can easily fit in a small storage bag, and check to make sure that the toothpaste contains has the ADA seal of approval. Finally, children should avoid whitening toothpaste, which can contain harmful abrasives that can scrub away enamel.

3 – Dental Floss

Brushing only cleans about 1/3 of the total surface area of teeth, which leaves most of the teeth unclean. When creating your tooth care kit, pack dental floss and make sure to floss once per day, and clean between every space in their teeth. You can purchase travel floss, or a set of floss picks for easy flossing on-the-go.

4 – Tools For Oral Appliances

Oral appliances require special care to keep them clean of food debris, and operating properly. If you or a family member has an oral appliance, be sure that they pack a proxabrush, which is a tool designed to clean teeth and oral appliances. Proxabrushes are similar to toothbrushes and have a cone-shaped head with fine bristles.  

Also, those with oral appliances can floss their teeth with the help of a floss threader, which provides a way to floss behind brackets and in-between teeth, where food debris constantly gets stuck.

Incorporate Oral Health Into Your Schedule 

Vacations can, surprisingly, be tight on time. When planning a vacation, schedule a 10 to 15-minute window for the whole family to take care of their teeth, every morning and night. By blocking off a time in advance, you set clear expectations with your family that oral health time is serious, and everyone will plan on attending.

Try to make it a fun activity in the morning and the evening with your kids! Talk about what you enjoyed that day and what you’re looking forward to on the rest of your vacation. Having more than one person involved with your brushing routine will give you and your family members more accountability and make you more likely to stick with it. 

5 Halloween Costumes that are all about Teeth

Halloween is such a fun time of year for communities to celebrate the changing season, and for children and families to get into costume. This year, we thought we’d share our favorite Halloween costumes that are all about teeth.

1 – Tooth Fairy 

Our favorite dental character, the Tooth Fairy, makes an excellent costume choice for any young child going trick-or-treating this year! Tooth Fairies get to wear wings, a crown and carry an awesome wand or staff that can also feature a tooth!

 Dentist 

Many children admire their dentist! A dentist costume is easy to assemble, and you can make it more fun by grabbing a funny dental facemask. You can buy scrubs for children at most costume stores.

3 – Teeth 

There wouldn’t be any dentists without teeth! You can buy teeth costumes of all sizes and shapes, and you can accessorize your child’s costume with toothbrushes, dental floss, or toothpaste!

 Vampire 

One of our favorite Halloween characters is the vampire! Vampires make great costumes for kids, and give them the chance to have some fun with sharpened teeth. We advise getting your child an upper mouth guard that features fixed vampire teeth, and avoiding vampire teeth caps, which can become dislodged and accidentally swallowed.

5 – The Oral Health Family 

Our favorite costumes are ones that get the entire family involved, so why not dress up as the oral healthy family? This themed costume involves you and your children dressing as toothpaste, a toothbrush, a tooth, and floss, or a combination of those four.

Think Mouth-Healthy this Halloween 

Halloween is an excellent time to meet your neighbors, and for your children to gather heaps of candy. But, candy is terrible for teeth, so be sure that you are in charge of their candy consumption, and prevent them from binging on candy or eating candy right before bed. Additionally, make sure that your child maintains a positive oral health routine this holiday season.  

All About Spit: How Saliva Cleans Teeth

Spit may seem like a gross subject, but it’s actually quite fascinating! The truth is, saliva plays a pivotal role in cleaning teeth, and maintaining overall oral health, making it worthy of a further look.

What is Saliva?

Saliva is a liquid made of water, mucus, proteins, minerals, and an enzyme called amylase made by the salivary glands in the mouth, cheek, and tongue and lips. It is mostly comprised of water, which makes drinking water critical for maintaining adequate levels of saliva needed for oral health.

The Problem: Food Left over in the Mouth 

Food debris left on teeth can cause some serious problems for oral health. Sticky, starchy food like bread, sticky granola bars, chips, or gummy snacks will expose teeth to sugar for longer periods of time, and cause a sustained acid attack on tooth enamel. After tooth enamel has eroded, teeth become much more susceptible to decay and cavities. To prevent sustained acid attacks, food debris needs to be washed away from teeth and gums.

How Saliva Helps 

Saliva helps prevent cavities from forming, and aids in protecting against gum disease. It naturally cleans teeth by washing away bits of food debris and preventing a prolonged acid attack on tooth enamel. Saliva also contains antimicrobial agents that help combat bad bacteria that fuels cavities.  

Saliva also keeps the mouth at a healthy ph balance, and without adequate saliva, cavities and gum disease can occur much more easily.

Saliva is Mostly Water 

Saliva is 99% water, so drinking water is the best way to stimulate saliva production. The amount of water a person needs everyday varies, but eight, 8 oz glasses of water everyday is a good place to start. Talk to your doctor about how much water you and your family members need to stay adequately hydrated.

Routine Oral Care is Best 

Adequate saliva production is a great way to help keep teeth clean, but it is no substitute for proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session It can be tough to convince your child to brush for the full two minutes, but there are some fun ways to help them achieve better brushing results. Go Online to find tooth-brushing videos for children.

Call our office to schedule an appointment for your child so that we can checkup on the state of their mouth. The summer is a great time for a quick visit that won’t cut into their valuable class time.  

How to Keep Your Smile Healthy on Vacation

Summer time vacations can be a great time to get away with your loved-ones for some crucial family time. But, a jam-packed Summer schedule can leave us with less time to take care of our teeth at home, which is why we’ve decided to help families keep their smiles healthy while on vacation! 

Drink Water

Water is one of the best tools available to keep teeth naturally clean, and maintain a healthy oral ph balanceIt also helps ensure that saliva is produced, which aids in ridding the mouth of damaging acids and food debris. Also, swishing water helps remove food caught in teeth that can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup. When travelling away from home, be sure that everyone drinks plenty of water. 

Make Time for Oral Care

Vacations can, surprisingly, be tight on time. When planning a vacation, schedule a 10 to15-minute window for the whole family to take care of their teeth, every morning and night. By blocking off a time in advance, you set clear expectations with your family that oral health time is serious, and everyone will plan on attending.  

Pack the Essentials! 

1 – Tooth Brush

Everyone should brush his or her teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. When traveling, buy a small travel case or cover for the toothbrush to keep the head clean and the bristles in good shape while it is stowed away. 

2 – Tooth Paste

You can’t really brush your teeth without toothpaste, so toothpaste is a must for any traveler. Look for a travel-sized tube that can easily fit in a small storage bag, and check to make sure that the toothpaste contains has the ADA seal of approval.   

 Dental Floss

Brushing only cleans about 1/3 of the total surface area of teeth, which leaves most of the teeth unclean. Try to get everyone to floss once per day, and clean between every space in their teeth. You can purchase travel floss, or a set of floss picks for easy flossing on-the-go.  

4 – Xylitol Gum

Chewing gum that is sweetened with Xylitol is a great way to freshen breath, and help protect enamel after a meal. Gum sweetened with Xylitol can helps enamel by stimulating saliva production that clears teeth of residual acid from a recent meal.  

Visit Our Office

We love helping busy parents find solutions that keep their families’ oral health in focus. Schedule an appointment with our office so that we can thoroughly evaluate your child’s mouth, and provide them with oral health tips and treatment options that work to build a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Garden Goodies that Teeth Love!

 

June is hot, and the perfect time to add more garden vegetables to your mouth-healthy diet.  This month, try incorporating some of these gifts from the garden that teeth – and taste buds – love!

Cucumber 

Cucumbers are light and refreshing vegetables that are super versatile and tasty. They are packed full of water, which helps the body produce saliva that helps naturally keep teeth clean and bacteria-free. Additionally, the skin on cucumbers is packed with fiber, which naturally scrubs teeth and helps promote strong tooth enamel. We suggest cutting cucumbers in discs with the rind on, and serving them in salads, or using them as healthy dippers. 

Carrots 

A rabbit’s – and mouth’s – best friend is the carrot. That’s because carrots are absolute dental super foods. They are packed with vitamin K, which helps mineralize tooth enamel and fight tooth decay. They also contain a high amount of vitamin A, which promotes the healthy mucous in the mouth that coats cheeks and gums, which makes them less susceptible to infection and disease. You can bake, sauté, or eat carrots raw – they’re incredibly versatile and good to have around for a number of dishes. For the most benefits, eat carrots raw as a healthy snack. 

Bell Peppers

Beautiful vegetables that come in all colors and sizes, bell peppers are incredible gifts from the garden that make any dish sing – and they’re incredible vegetables for overall oral health. Bell peppers are packed with vitamin C, which is a strong antioxidant that helps heal gums, and fight gum inflammation. You can add raw sliced bell peppers to salads or incorporate them as fun finger foods. They are also excellent when sautéed together with other healthy greens.

Kale 

Kale may be one of the healthiest gifts that your garden has to offer. Iit can help you build strong teeth and bones. Kale is full of magnesium, which helps the body absorb calcium, which is a key building-block in teeth and enamel. Kale is also high in calcium and protein, both of which strengthen teeth. If you want to find a true dental super food, then try kale. You can place it in a salad, lightly bake it and make healthy chips, and it also makes an excellent addition to a fruit smoothie.

Healthy Diets Help Teeth  

Your oral health goals will be much easier to attain with proper dieting that focuses on incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Fundamental oral health processes depend upon adequate vitamins and minerals, and a well-rounded diet is the best way to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. 

If you’d like to discuss your family’s diet and how it affects your teeth, then schedule an appointment with our office. We’ll help you plan a diet that will help your family achieve their oral health goals.

The Perfect Oral Health Routine

Consistency is key to getting a healthy, bright smile. By getting into the perfect oral health routine, you can get a radiant smile that you’re proud to share.  

Brush Regularly 

This one seems like a no brainer – but you must brush twice per day for two minutes at a time. When brushing, be sure to brush behind your teeth and pay attention to your back molars. Brush after you’ve had breakfast in the morning, and after dinner at night. This will help keep your teeth free of any unnecessary food debris that can lead to tooth decay. Rinse your mouth with clean water after lunch, which will also combat food debris build-up.  

Use the Right Toothpaste 

For more than 50 years, the American Dental Association has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that you spit all of it out and rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing. When shopping for toothpaste, avoid abrasives, and look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging to ensure that you’re getting the best toothpaste available.  

Floss Daily 

Brushing your teeth only does so much, and you need to clean the sides of teeth, and the areas in between teeth. Make sure to floss below the gum line, where dental plaque can go unseen and unreached by toothbrushes. If left untreated, plaque buildup near the root of teeth can lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. It’s normal for gums to bleed at the beginning of a new flossing routine, but it should subside as flossing continues.

Keep Your Toothbrush Operating Properly 

A fully functional toothbrush is pivotal in the battle against plaque and cavities. If you’re unsure about the state of your toothbrush, check the bristles on the head. If the bristles are flayed outward, then it’s time to get a new toothbrush or replace your toothbrush head. An average toothbrush will last anywhere between 3 to 4 months. 

Schedule a Dental Checkup Every Six Months 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the pediatric dentist every six months. This helps your child get ahead of any potential oral health concerns, and helps them learn more about maintaining a healthy mouth. 

Schedule an appointment with our office today so that we can evaluate your child’s oral health. A first-visit is always stress-free, which helps us introduce our dental team to your child without worry or anxious feelings.