A full Thanksgiving menu of mouth-friendly nutrients

by MikeMeehan 11/14/2018 1:54 PM

Nutritious foods show up in abundance during November’s festivities. If you’re searching for nutrients that’ll help your smile, learn where they might be hiding in your Thanksgiving meal.  Main dishesTurkey is rich in protein, which means it contains high amounts of phosphorus. Phosphorus is important for strengthening bones and teeth as well as mineralizing them to protect against cavities. Just make sure to keep floss handy in case turkey gets stuck between your teeth. If you opt for ham, your mouth will still be happy. Eating just three ounces of ham provides 15 percent of your recommended daily zinc, helping replenish tissue along the gum line. Watch out for the sticky, sugary residue glazed ham can leave behind. If you do eat ham with a sugar glaze, brush your teeth or drink water afterward. Side dishesThe green beans in green bean casserole are a great source of vitamins A, C and K. Vitamins A and C are good for gum health, while vitamin K helps protect against substances that break down bones. Avoid cavities by ditching the starchy fried onions on top and choosing a recipe with toasted almonds instead. Yams contain vitamins A and C, too. Unfortunately, if they’re prepared in a sweet, sticky sauce, they leave cavity-causing sugars in your mouth. After enjoying candied yams, drink water to wash it away.  DessertsThere’s nothing like a freshly-made pumpkin pie, and you might be surprised to learn that this pie variety isn’t all bad for oral health. While pie typically has high amounts of sugar, the pumpkin in this one provides a healthy dose of vitamin A to help strengthen enamel and encourage gum health. Plus, pumpkin pie doesn’t require added sugars and can be made with spices because pumpkin already contains a naturally sweet flavor.  Be careful about the crust, though, as it often contains starches that contribute to tooth decay. To keep your pumpkin pie mouth-friendly, make a nut crumble crust and replace white flour with nut flour. Or, for a sugar-free pumpkin pie alternative, try our pumpkin pudding recipe.   Drink plenty of water throughout the meal to help wash away any residue that gets stuck on your teeth. And after a day of enjoying Thanksgiving food, be sure to clean your mouth thoroughly by flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste. 

Tricks to outsmart your sweet tooth

by MikeMeehan 10/24/2018 10:02 AM

It’s Halloween night, and your kids have returned from trick-or-treating with their sugary loots. Before digging in, consider the cavity-causing effects that candy can have on teeth. Enjoying sweets in moderation and managing your cravings can help you avoid tooth decay. Start taming your sweet tooth by learning how much sugar is OK to eat. The Food and Drug Administration recommends no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, daily for those over the age of 3. Because the sugar contents of fun-sized candies vary from 2.4 grams to 14.5 grams, there’s no general rule for how many you can eat each day. Check the packaging and brand websites to calculate the number of candies you should limit yourself to. And remember to factor in the added sugars from all the other foods and drinks you consume. It adds up fast! If you reach your daily limit but the candy bowl is still tempting you, try these tips to defeat the craving:  1. Chew sugar-free gum. Popping in a stick of sugar-free gum instead of a bonbon helps in a couple ways. A study by Louisiana State University found that chewing gum may reduce snack cravings. It’s also useful for cleaning your mouth. Gum washes away leftover food particles and reduces acids that threaten tooth enamel.  2. Distract yourself when a craving hits. Taking a walk has been shown to reduce the urge to eat treats. Plus, it gets you away from the candy bowl. You know what they say – out of sight, out of mind. And if you don’t feel like taking a stroll, do an activity like giving yourself a pedicure. Pick something fun that rewards you for skipping the sweets.  3. Keep healthy substitutes close by. When you really want something sweet but already ate too much sugar, choose naturally sweet foods like fruits and vegetables. Apples, cherries, bell peppers, carrots and others will give you the taste you want along with the nutrients you need. 4. Eat at consistent intervals. You might have heard the saying, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Well, that’s especially true when choosing foods. If your tummy’s grumbling, you might make unhealthy decisions like reaching for a candy bar instead of a nutritious snack. Eat every three to five hours to keep blood sugar in check and maintain a level head. 5. Power up with protein. Low protein levels can cause you to start craving sugar. Your body wants an energy boost and sugar is a quick source. Plan to get protein throughout the day with foods such as beans, eggs, nuts, fish and lean meats.  Even with moderation, good oral health habits are still essential for avoiding cavities. Clean your teeth and gums after consuming sugar by brushing for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. If you aren’t able to sneak away to the bathroom, chew sugar-free gum and drink plenty of water.  

A savory recipe with healthy walnuts

by MikeMeehan 9/27/2018 10:23 AM

Enjoy fall with a savory recipe that everyone in the family will love. Walnuts are a hearty nut with a serious amount of nutrients. They contain heart-healthy fats and protein that have been shown to help with diabetes, weight management and inflammation. Roasted pears with blue cheese and walnuts Ingredients: 4 pears, halved, but not peeled or cored Extra virgin olive oil ¼ bunch of fresh thyme Salt and freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese ¼ cup walnut pieces Directions:Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange pears on a baking sheet with the cut sides up. Drizzle the pears with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Strip leaves from thyme branches and sprinkle over pears. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and spoon a generous teaspoon of blue cheese in the center of each pear half. Return to oven until pears are tender and cheese is soft, about 10 minutes. Roast walnuts in oven on a separate baking sheet until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Chop walnuts into smaller pieces. When pears are cooked, transfer them to a serving plate and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serve hot.

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