A Visit from the Tooth Fairy Can Be a Learning Opportunity

by MikeMeehan 2/28/2018 9:44 AM

It’s fun to celebrate a visit from the Tooth Fairy, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to talk about and focus on dental health with your kids. While we give a special shout-out to the Tooth Fairy and all the hard work she does collecting little teeth from under pillows, we also want the message of her day to be about keeping all those teeth clean and healthy.  The Tooth Fairy is a big celebrity at Delta Dental. While she works collecting teeth at night, you might also see her working one of her side jobs – visiting area schools with the Land of Smiles® program. She loves teaching kids about how important it is to keep smiles healthy and bright.  3 messages for kids When your child has a tooth loose, or is ready to leave a tooth under the pillow, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate healthy habits and a healthy smile. Tips for the kids can be simplified to 3 main messages:  1. Brush twice a day 2. Brush for two minutes 3. Floss daily The Tooth Fairy can visit and leave reminders and gifts even if there isn’t a tooth to pick up!  A few things to look for Common mistakes for little ones include overusing toothpaste and brushing too hard. As a parent, here are some things you can do to help mentor your little ones. -If under the age of 6, supervise and help your kids while they brush. Sometimes kids lack the coordination to effectively reach all their teeth. -A small, pea-size amount of toothpaste is best. Too much toothpaste is unnecessary and can create lots of foam, which makes brushing difficult. -When done, children should spit out toothpaste ― swallowing it can lead to fluorosis, a cosmetic condition in which spots may appear on the teeth. How to encourage healthy dental habits And if the kids aren’t too thrilled about brushing, try getting them excited to brush their teeth with these ideas: -Develop a fun ritual around brushing. Sing a song about brushing teeth or “brush” the teeth of your child’s stuffed animals. -Place a stepstool near the sink counter that allows your child to see the basin.  -Have fun choosing a cool toothbrush. Let your child pick from the great selection of colors, characters and gizmos available today. -Grab your own toothbrush and brush with energy. Show your children just how fun it is to brush – they’ll want in on the fun. By playing a positive, active role, you can encourage your kids to learn good habits for a lifetime of dental health. And to celebrate a visit from the tooth fairy, along with the money the tooth fairy leaves, she could also leave a new toothbrush or a personalized note with a dental health tip, like, “Don’t forget to brush twice a day for two minutes!” Or how about reading a fun tooth-themed book together? Want more information on children’s dental health? The Delta Dental Oral Health Library is a great resource. You’ll find lots of articles that focus on children’s dental health, including infant, toddler and adolescents.

Get A Fit Smile!

by MikeMeehan 2/7/2018 11:49 AM

We talk about staying fit, working out and eating healthy, so why not consider the “fitness” of your teeth? Your dental health is an important part of your overall health. Along with building strong muscles, take these steps to build strong enamel. Limit sugary foods and drinks – Bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars found in certain foods and drinks. These bacteria then create acids that attack and wear down tooth enamel. Looks like that root beer float isn’t so sweet when it comes to your teeth. Eat foods high in calcium – Calcium-rich foods counter these acids by rebuilding enamel and helping bones and teeth stay strong. To help get your daily calcium fix, reach for snacks like cheese, broccoli or yogurt. Use fluoride – To protect teeth, fluoride helps strengthen enamel and repairs the first stages of tooth decay. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. You can also get a dose of fluoride through certain mouthwashes, fluoride treatments at the dentist and from most tap water. Don’t brush too hard – Resolve to brush for the full two minutes – just don’t brush too fast or too hard. To avoid wearing down the enamel, brush gently, use an oval-shape motion and stick to a soft-bristle toothbrush. Treat conditions that cause decay – Treating heartburn and certain eating disorders can help diminish the enamel-eroding effects of stomach acids. Teeth aren’t the only things to consider. Healthy gums are just as important when it comes to oral health. Here’s how to keep yours in good shape. Brush and floss daily – Brushing twice a day and flossing once daily can help prevent and sometimes even reverse gum disease. Pay attention to the gumline when doing both. Visit the dentist regularly – Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar and reach plaque that you may have missed. Your dentist will also be able to identify signs of gum disease early so you can treat it effectively. Last, but certainly not least, stop or avoid smoking. Smoking makes it harder to fight gum disease by weakening the immune system and makes it more difficult for gums to heal when they’ve already been damaged. With these tips, you can have a winning smile all year round.

Smile Snacks for Your Football or Oscar Party

by MikeMeehan 1/31/2018 11:07 AM

Whether you’re hosting an awards show party or throwing a game-day bash, you can help your friends take care of their smiles as well as their taste buds. Reconsider the trend Rosé, champagne and prosecco may be a trendy choice and a fun idea for an award show party or to celebrate your favorite team winning the big game, but these drinks can be hard on tooth enamel. Prosecco, champagne, and rosè have high acid levels, so opt for sparkling water or even a dry martini instead. Cheese – both appetizing and helpful A fancy cheese tray – or even just slices of good ol’ cheddar – is an easy choice. It can also protect your teeth if you do decide to indulge in champagne and the other celebratory drinks described above. Cheese is always a crowd pleaser, and you can dress it up with a charcuterie board including prosciutto, salami and chorizo. Throw in some healthy garnishes, such as almonds and pickles, and you’ve got a spread that’s sure to impress. But skip the crackers and crostini. Foods that are high in carbohydrates break down into sugars that can harm your enamel just like the sugars in cookies and candies. A veggie tray will save the day Instead of opening a bag of chips, which are also high in carbohydrates and starches, put a veggie tray on the menu. Vegetables will provide the same satisfying crunch your guests crave while keeping their smiles healthy. If you’re looking for something different than the usual celery, carrots and broccoli, try parsnips, jicama, snap peas, artichokes and asparagus. Berries for sweetness For a little something sweet, opt for berries drizzled with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has lower sugar content than milk chocolate and white chocolate, so it’s a good choice for dessert.

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