Better breakfasts for brighter smiles

by MikeMeehan 9/6/2018 1:32 PM

Before rushing off to school in the morning, many kids sit around the table to fuel up with the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, one of the more common breakfast options – cereal – might have some unintended consequences for teeth. Too much sugar at breakfast time isn’t a great way to start the day, and some cereals have more sugar than you might think. A report by the Environmental Working Group noted that 2 out of 3 cereals marketed to children had more than a third of the recommended daily sugar intake in just one serving. When these refined sugars come into contact with teeth, dental plaque reacts with them to create acids. Over time and with enough exposure, those acids can cause cavities.  The good news for parents is that there are lots of ways to avoid this cavity-causing effect. Opting for healthier cereals is a great place to start. Look for low-sugar options, preferably with four grams of sugar or less in one serving. You should also choose varieties made from whole grains to maintain nutrients like fiber, which stimulates saliva flow to help keep teeth clean. To navigate through the multitude of options, read the packaging, paying close attention to the valuable nutrition information that is typically on the back or the sides. Regardless of which cereal you choose, there are ways to minimize the effects it can have on your teeth. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, drinking milk after eating sugary breakfast cereals can help decrease your risk of cavities. It can also help to brush after your meal, to avoid drinking fruit juice and to only eat cereal at breakfast time instead of snacking throughout the day.  If you choose to limit the amount of sugary cereals you eat, make sure you’re still enjoying a hearty breakfast. Take a look at our list of alternatives that’ll give you the boost you need without hurting your teeth: Fruit – apples, berries, cherries, melons and pears  Dairy products – yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese slices Protein – chicken, ground turkey and fish Eggs – sunny-side up, omelets and crustless quiche Smoothies and smoothie bowls (but avoid using sugary fruit juices) Whole-wheat toast and whole-wheat bagels With slight adjustments to your morning routine, you can start off the day on the right note while curbing your risk for tooth decay. 

Seeing your family dentist before school starts

by MikeMeehan 8/2/2018 9:49 AM

Each year, 100 million Americans forego a dental visit, and that’s a big problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile. Before your calendar fills up with school activities, athletic events and more, schedule routine dental appointments for your kids (and yourself!). No matter how good your oral hygiene habits are, a dental visit provides benefits that regular brushing and flossing can’t, like removing tartar buildup.  Differences between plaque and tartarPlaque is a colorless film of bacteria that sticks to teeth. These bacteria create acids that decay teeth and irritate gums. Luckily, plaque can be removed with daily brushing and flossing. But when plaque stays on your teeth for too long, it hardens or calcifies along your gumline and forms tartar. Once this happens, regular brushing is not sufficient for removal, and that’s bad news for your gums. By pushing your gums away from your teeth, tartar creates pockets that allow bacteria to grow. If tartar isn’t removed with regular professional cleanings, it can cause gum disease, also known as periodontitis, and can even lead to tooth loss. How your teeth are cleaned at a dental appointmentDuring a routine cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a modified mirror to find unwanted residue and a metal instrument called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar. The scaler has a bladelike tip that allows them to scrape above and below your gumline as well as in between your teeth. They might also use a vibrating device called an ultrasonic scaler to shake plaque and tartar free. They can then wash away these bacteria with water. When they have sufficiently removed all plaque and tartar, they polish your teeth with an electric brush and polishing paste. The last step is a thorough flossing to make sure there’s nothing hiding between your teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly is an essential part of your oral health routine. Not only will it keep your smile sparkling, but it will also help spot dental issues early before they progress into more costly problems. Take a moment to prepare your family for a school year full of smiles by scheduling dental appointments today. 

Oral Health Reads for Your Bookworm

by MikeMeehan 8/8/2017 12:51 PM

It’s back-to-school time for the kids, and now that we’ve covered tooth care tips to keep their smiles bright, let’s back up those healthy habits with some good reading material. Besides the importance of reading and encouraging it for our back-to-school theme, books about oral health can work as a way to get your kids excited about taking care of their teeth. With some assistance from you, what they read can inspire them to be more independent when taking care of their teeth. Using books as a tool to teach dental health can be fun and helpful. Books can also work as a buffer for push-back from kids who don’t want to brush and floss. Books can also help calm fears if your child is apprehensive about a visit to the dentist. Add to your children’s library We’ve put together a list to add to your children’s bookcase: Brush, Brush, Brush by Alicia Padron, for children ages 1-3, may be helpful if your child is scared or fussy when the little toothbrush comes out. Because it’s a board book, it’s easy for little hands to grip. Cheerful pictures demonstrate each step of brushing, like putting toothpaste on the brush and rinsing with water. The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss, for children ages 2-5, might be the most recognizable book about teeth because it’s from one of the most adored children’s authors. It’s another good introduction to dental hygiene for the little ones. The book illustrates who has teeth and who doesn’t, and how to take care of your teeth. Going to the Dentist by Anne Civardi, for children ages 3-5, will teach your kids what to expect when they visit the dentist. This could help with any fear or anxiety. The book explains the different tools the dentist will use during the visit with an amusing and friendly tone. If you need a few more with this subject matter, there are similar ones from character favorites like Curious George and the Berenstain Bears. Famous author Mercer Mayor also has a book about visiting the dentist. Brush, Floss, and Rinse by Amanda Doering Tourville is for children ages 5-8. The book teaches readers about the importance of brushing and flossing. It describes how brushing keeps plaque and cavities away and explains how flossing keeps gums healthy. Other details in the book include when to get a new toothbrush and wearing a mouth guard for sports to protect teeth. For kids who don’t want to brush Here’s more titles to help if your kids are not cooperating when it’s time to brush their teeth: Pony Brushes His Teeth by Michael Dahl (ages 2-4) Ethan in the Kingdom of the Toothbrushes by Yael Manor (ages 2-4) Brush Your Teeth, Please by Leslie Mcguire (ages 2-5) For the first dentist visit These additional titles are helpful if your child is nervous about their first dentist appointment. Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth by Lucy Cousins (ages 2-5) Dentist Trip from the Peppa Pig series (ages 2-5) All these books will coincide with your kids’ upcoming back-to-school dental and vision appointments and provide preparation for the school year. There are lots more titles to choose from, so spend a little time at the bookstore and find the ones that best suit you and your kids. And if you’d like to complement your child’s reading with some educational videos, visit our Land of Smiles website, and click on Curriculum Videos.  

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