Thanksgiving Foods for Healthy Smiles

by MikeMeehan 11/22/2017 10:42 AM

As you gather around the table this Thanksgiving and you look at all the delicious food, some of those dishes might be good for your oral health. Here are some traditional Thanksgiving sides that have the added bonus of being good for your teeth and gums. And if these vegetables aren’t usually included with your holiday meal, consider adding them for the benefit of all those smiles gathered around your table. Sweet potatoes Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, and this vitamin helps maintain your teeth and bones. Sweet potatoes have vitamin C and vitamin E too. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that fights inflammation. Vitamin C also reduces inflammation, and it strengthens gums, protects against gingivitis, and fights infection. Two helpings of sweet potatoes, please! Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach Look around for the greens on the table because you know those are great choices. Brussels sprouts are in season – a good reason for them to show up on the Thanksgiving table! Like other leafy green vegetables, brussels sprouts are full of calcium. Calcium is famous for strengthening your bones and teeth, while it also strengthens your enamel. Vitamin C, good for your gums, is also in brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach. Broccoli and spinach are an excellent source of vitamin A too. I mean, you really can’t go wrong with the green veggies – so good for your oral health and overall health. Carrots and celery While you’re all waiting for the turkey to cook, put out some snacks like raw carrots and celery. Because they’re so crunchy, they increase saliva production and reduce the risk of cavities. Also, carrots have vitamin A. This vitamin keeps the mucous membranes in your mouth healthy. Celery is a good source of vitamins A and C. Added bonus of celery – it works as a natural toothbrush! When you bite down on celery, its texture scrubs the surface of your teeth, brushing away food particles and plaque. So keep these snacks around for after dinner too. Choose wisely While some of these vegetables and healthy choices might get covered up in some unhealthy choices like gravy and butter, consider having different versions available. Baked sweet potatoes instead of mashed with butter. Steamed spinach and broccoli instead of in a casserole. And if you’re still into the pumpkin craze, and a pumpkin pie might be included in your traditional fare, pumpkin also has some mouth-friendly nutrients. Keep in mind your ingredients and read the labels on the store-bought items.

3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Oral and Vision Health Habits

by MikeMeehan 9/13/2017 11:35 AM

Let’s make this one easy. You already have good oral and vision health habits like visiting your eye doctor and dentist, brushing and flossing your teeth, and eating healthy foods to keep your teeth, gums and eyes strong. For self-improvement month, let’s take those habits and improve them a bit. With these small improvements, you’ll make a big difference in your oral and vision health. Brush for a full two minutes, time yourself!You’ve mastered your brushing technique, hitting all the tough-to-reach spots. You brush every morning, every night, and sometimes in between. Now, are you sure you’re brushing for two to three minutes? Try using our mobile app with the toothbrush timer, or try playing a song (average length is three minutes). Two minutes can seem like a short amount of time, but watch the clock, you might not be brushing long enough.Brushing for two to three minutes allows enough time for the fluoride in your toothpaste to do its job. Also, two to three minutes is approximately how long it takes to brush every tooth. But don’t think brushing harder, or faster, can make up for shortened time. If you brush too hard, or apply too much pressure, you could hurt your enamel and gum tissue.Can I sneak in one more small improvement with this one? Brush your tongue! It only adds another few seconds! Due to its rough surface, your tongue can be a hiding place for bacteria that causes bad breath. Rest your eyesThis is a fast-growing vision problem affecting everyone – digital eye strain caused by blue light from our computer screens, phones, and other devices. To improve your vision health and prevent this condition, the easiest step you can take is to limit your time in front of a screen, or, at the very least, take frequent breaks. Breaks should be every 20 minutes and at least 20 seconds. Another prevention step to consider is using glasses with blue-light filtering lenses. Because this condition is becoming commonplace, vision providers are offering this option for your lenses. Improve your techniqueYou’ve advanced your oral health care by including flossing in your routine. That’s fantastic, but we’re going to push you a little bit further to improve your flossing technique. While you’re gliding the floss between your teeth with a gentle sawing motion, improve this technique by curving the floss along the gum line and sliding up and down. This improvement will help to clean not just in between your teeth, but along the gum line.Flossing protects your gums and helps to prevent disease. If you’ve already mastered your flossing technique, consider making improvements to your brushing technique too.  These three suggestions are a quick way to improve your dental and vision health­ – brush for two minutes, give your eyes a break from blue light and improve your flossing technique. And if you’re looking for more ways to improve, see last week’s blog about adding more fruits and vegetables to your menu.

Wellness Wednesday Recipe: Healthy Carrot Muffins

by MikeMeehan 4/12/2017 10:54 AM

Searching for a healthy Easter snack? The Easter Bunny and your kids will love these whole-wheat carrot muffins.  Ingredients 1¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour 1½ teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 cups peeled and grated carrots* (that's potentially a lot of carrots—about 3 large or up to 6 small/medium) ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts ½ cup raisins (I like golden raisins), tossed in 1 teaspoon flour ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup maple syrup 2 eggs, preferably at room temperature 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (also called raw sugar), for sprinkling on top Instructions Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, grease all 12 cups on your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and doesn’t require any grease). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Blend well with a whisk. In a separate, small bowl, toss the raisins with 1 teaspoon flour so they don't stick together. Add the grated carrots, chopped walnuts and floured raisins to the other ingredients and stir to combine. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oil and maple syrup and beat together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the yogurt and vanilla and mix well. (If the coconut oil solidifies in contact with cold ingredients, gently warm the mixture in the microwave in 30 second bursts.) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a big spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with turbinado sugar. Bake muffins for 13 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. If you have leftover muffins, store them, covered, at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze leftover muffins for up to 3 months. Recipe and photo credit: http://cookieandkate.com/2015/healthy-carrot-muffins-recipe/

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