Snacking Tips To Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy

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GOOD NUTRITION IS ESSENTIAL for a child’s healthy growth and development. It’s also important for their dental health! A good diet can help your child build strong, healthy teeth, while poor eating habits puts your child at a higher risk of tooth decay.

You may understand how important nutritious meals are, but one thing some parents struggle with is snack time. Here are our best tips on how to make sure your child’s snack time is tooth-friendly!

Not All Snacks Are Created Equal

Stay away from starchy, sticky or sugary foods during snack time, like dried fruit, crackers, chips and cookies. These types of snacks can stick to the teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing cavities. For snack time it’s best to opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and cheese.

If You Indulge, Do It During Mealtime

Don’t worry, we don’t expect you or your child to never eat sweets or starches. There is a better time to eat them than at snack time, however, and that is during meals! That’s because it’s not just important what you eat, but when you eat. At mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that can help wash away those starches or sugary treats, counteract acid-producing bacteria and remineralize teeth.

Watch Out For Added Sugars

Almost all foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars–like those found in milk and vegetables–are less worrisome, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to keep an eye out for when choosing snacks are added sugars.

According to the American Dental Association, added sugar consumption should be limited to less than 10 percent of total energy intake, ideally less than five percent. To put things in perspective, one can of soda is equivalent to three times the daily recommended sugar intake of a child!

Choose Beverages Wisely

On that note, we’d like to advise parents to choose their children’s beverages wisely. Soda and juice may be your child’s preferred drinks, but milk and water are much healthier choices. Good sources of calcium, like milk, aid in building strong teeth and bones and water helps to wash away food particles that may be clinging to teeth, thus protecting against decay.

Sip All Day, Get Decay

Whether your child is drinking milk, juice or soda, don’t let them sip it throughout the day. Constant consumption of either food or drink is harmful for teeth, because not only are you feeding yourself, you’re also feeding the cavity-causing bacteria that reside in your mouth. Limit snacking to once or twice a day and have your child sip on water. If they drink anything that contains sugar, have them drink it during mealtimes or all at once.

Your Family’s Health Is Our Priority

If you have any tips or healthy snack ideas that your kids love, leave it in the comments below! At our practice, we care about the health of your whole family. Proper nutrition, especially at snack time, will ensure healthy smiles for you and your children for a lifetime!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

 

Top image by Flickr user Larry Grubbs 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.

Common Dental Problems and How to Fix Them

Dental problems are never fun. Not being able to eat or speak properly can drastically decrease your overall confidence. If you are experiencing a dental problem, it is never too late to get it fixed. Brushing and flossing twice a day along with regular dental cleanings are essential in preventing dental issues.

Here are some common dental problems and how to fix them.

Tooth Decay
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. Over time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. Patients suffering from a toothache are likely to have tooth decay. Depending on the severity of the decay, the best treatment is either a filling or a dental crown.

Missing Teeth
Having missing teeth makes eating and speaking more difficult. There are multiple options for those who have missing teeth, including dentures, partials or bridges. However, dental implants are the ideal treatment because they are a permanent solution that looks and feels natural.

Discolored Teeth
Teeth whitening may be a great option if you have dull, discolored or stained teeth. It can also be used to help reverse effects of aging or stains from food and tobacco. Teeth whitening may be an excellent way to restore your smile, while contributing to a healthier and more youthful appearance.

Gum Disease
Over half of American adults suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection in the gums surrounding the teeth and is one of the main causes of tooth loss. Studies have shown that gum disease is also linked to heart attacks and strokes. Proper brushing and flossing twice a day can help prevent this disease.

Wisdom Teeth
About 10 million wisdom teeth are removed each year from 5 million people. Just because your wisdom teeth are not a source of pain doesn’t mean that there is nothing wrong. Most of the time, wisdom teeth need to be removed because they don’t have room to grow properly and may cause problems. Having the wisdom teeth extracted is often the best option for many patients.

Teeth Whitening: An Effective Way to Improve Your Smile

Teeth whitening may be a great option if you who have stained, dull or discolored teeth. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well.

Our dental team is devoted to helping you achieve and maintain a beautiful and healthy smile. If you are considering teeth whitening, contact us for a consultation.

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The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile. If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.

Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain
Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe. Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.

Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets
When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid. This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities. However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate. Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.

Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing
Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continuing to brush and floss.

Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth
Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth. Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.

Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay
Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age. People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age.

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception. It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact us.