Healthy Eating

Don’t Forget to Brush! These Thanksgiving Foods are Tough on Teeth

November 22nd, 2016


Thanksgiving is here, and with it comes a swath of seasonal treats that are usually enjoyed just once a year. Besides visiting family, Thanksgiving is a time for eating, and eating well. As your family enjoys this time together, keep your eyes out for a few Thanksgiving dishes that can harm your teeth, and turn your relaxing time off into a real tooth-ache.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple in many households, and seldom appears on dinner tables outside of turkey day. Despite its tart deliciousness, cranberry sauce is packed with sugar and offers little nutritional value at all. In fact, one of the most popular choices for cranberry sauce –canned cranberry sauce – has 121 grams of sugar per can, and no protein or fiber at all. All of that sugar provides nourishment and energy to bad oral bacteria that cause cavities.

As an alternative, try finding a recipe that calls for fresh cranberries, so that you can control the amount of sugar your family consumes this holiday season.



Stuffing is another Thanksgiving classic that can really harm teeth. That’s because most stuffing recipes revolve around bread. Starches like bread provide cavity-causing bacteria the energy they need to chip away at tooth enamel. Additionally, starches can be very sticky and stay on teeth long after a meal has finished, and cause further damage. The high amount of starch sadly makes stuffing unhealthy for teeth. Combined with the fact that stuffing is full of carbohydrates and lacks dense nutritional value, and you begin running out of reasons to eat it.


Try getting your stuffing fix by making a tooth-healthy breadless stuffing that uses beans instead of bread as a base! Beans are full of protein and fiber, which makes it a much healthier replacement for bread in stuffing recipes.

Fruit Cake

A seasonal favorite that appears on tables between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fruitcake sounds like it would be a healthy treat, the word “fruit” is right in the name after all! Unfortunately, fruitcake is full dried fruit, which can really damage teeth. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Dried fruit is also very sticky, and can stay on teeth longer after a meal in done. The sugar and the sticky consistency make fruitcake a no-no for healthy teeth. If you are looking for an alternative, you can make a fresh fruit crumble, which has much less sugar and isn’t nearly as sticky.


Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes can be a dental super food that provide valuable vitamins for tooth and gum health, but when prepared improperly, anything can be unhealthy. This is the case for sweet potato casserole, a dish that packs an unhealthy punch to teeth. Most sweet potato casseroles are made to be sweet dishes, rather than savory, and feature a layer of melted marshmallows on top. Because of this, they are loaded with added sugar, which hurts their nutritional value. Marshmallows are particularly bad for teeth, since they are packed with sugar and incredibly sticky – two components that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

If you really want sweet potato casserole this Thanksgiving, try making a more savory recipe that doesn’t add sugar or marshmallows. Sweet potatoes can be great for oral health, when they’re not drenched in sugar.


Have a Happy Thanksgiving

Whatever you decide to make your family for Thanksgiving dinner, we hope that you have a happy and wonderful holiday. Remind your family to brush twice per day for two minutes per session, and floss once per day to help keep cavities at bay this holiday season.

Top Five Healthy Snacks for the ‘On-The-Go’ Family

May 12th, 2016

Healthy snacks for kids

Caring for your child is a round’ the clock type of job that requires a lot of legwork and travel. Whether it’s ballet or baseball, it seems as if there’s always somewhere to be, and something to do. Often times, what’s lost in all of the after-school commotion is the quality of your child’s snack time. To encourage healthy snacking, we've made a list of the top five portable snacks that promote oral health!


1. Cheese and Dairy

Cheese and other dairy products such as milk and low-fat yogurts are low in sugar and high in calcium and protein, which are primary minerals that build stronger teeth and bones. Cheese can be cut into small cubes and easily packed in a backpack or purse for a quick snack on the go.


2. Nuts


Nuts are another car friendly snack that promote a healthy mouth. Nuts are rich in protein, which helps to build stronger teeth. Chewing nuts promotes saliva production that naturally protects and cleans your teeth by clearing the mouth of debris and acid buildup that can lead to cavities.  Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, or other salty snacks that your kids may crave


3. Fruits and Vegetables


Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and nutrients vital to your child’s overall health. They also promote saliva production, which can help prevent cavities. Healthy snacks such as celery, apples, kiwi, and cucumber slices are great substitutes for pre-bagged snacks that are high in added sugar and lack nutritional value. Try to limit the amount of acidic citrus fruits your child may eat, as acid eats away the enamel that protects your child’s teeth.


4. Lean proteins

Lean proteins like fish, chicken, and eggs have high amounts of phosphorous, another mineral key to the protection of teeth by promoting enamel growth. Snacks like chicken salad with nuts and celery, or a tuna sandwich will give your child a healthy boost before any after-school event.


5. Water

Water is one of the best tools we have in keeping our mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a snack for your child on the go, grab a water bottle instead of a juice box or sugary soda. Also, encourage your kids to swish water around in their mouth after they’re done snacking. Swishing water can help remove debris caught in their teeth that can lead to enamel loss, and acid buildup.

Sometimes, a parent’s busy schedule requires their families to spend a long time on the road. Eating on the road can be a tough terrain to conquer while maintaining your child’s health. Our team hopes that the snacks listed above will help you plan healthy snacking for your family.

If you have any questions about snacking for oral health, please give us a call!

Sports Drinks Not a Tooth-Healthy Alternative to Soda

March 17th, 2016

sports drinks and your teeth

Kids and teens love sports drinks.  In fact, studies have shown that these “thirst quenchers” are consumed by 62% of adolescents every day.  But are they good for your child’s body or teeth? And are they truly necessary for sports performance?  Here are a few facts:

Sports drinks contain more sugar than you may realize.

After water, the second ingredient in some popular brands of sports drinks is high fructose corn syrup. Some sports drinks contain as much as 19 grams of added sugar which means that bacteria present in your child’s mouth are being given exactly what they need to grow.

The high acidity of sports drinks can damage tooth enamel.

A 2012 study showed that sports drinks often have high acidity.  This acid interferes with the mouth’s ability to regulate a healthy pH and can lead to the wearing away of enamel.  While tooth enamel is literally the hardest substance in the human body, it’s no match for a steady stream of acid.

Sports drinks are full of salt.

Some sports drinks contain up to 200 milligrams of sodium per serving.  Keep in mind that a “serving” is usually 8 ounces, which means that a large bottle of the leading sports drink can have more sodium than a bag of potato chips.

Sports drinks can be high in calories.

Even though they generally contain fewer calories than soda, sports drinks can still be high in calories due to their serving sizes and the large amount that many kids drink.  Sports drinks make up 10-15% of the daily caloric intake of most teens and aside from their intended purpose, these beverages aren’t always consumed in conjunction with sports.

Sports drinks are best suited for intense physical activity.

If your child is participating in an intense game with constant movement and an elevated heart rate, a small serving of sports drinks may come in handy from time to time.  But most youth sports don’t involve that level of activity.  Fluoridated water is almost always a better choice.

The bottom line is that most kids don’t really need sports drinks.  Consuming what amounts to sugar water simply isn’t necessary for the majority of sports or outdoor activities.  We encourage you to read labels and be aware of everything your child drinks.  Keep your child hydrated and make certain that you child is drinking plenty of water.

Cutting Back on Sugar, Five Tips

February 18th, 2016

Too much sugar can be bad news for your health.  When left on your teeth, sugar gives bacteria the food it needs to thrive and create cavities.  Further, high sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes and poor heart health.  And while the average American consumes 22 grams of sugar a day (that’s twice the recommended amount), it’s surprisingly not hard to take a few simple steps to dramatically reduce your intake.  Here are 5 things you can do today to reduce the amount of sugar you consume:

1. Read food labels.

A lot of times, we don’t realize how much sugar that we are consuming because we simply aren’t aware of the sugar content of the foods we consume.  Being aware of sugar content will help you make better decisions about what foods you eat.


2. Eat fresh fruit…Instead of canned.

Many times fruit that has been processed and preserved has also had sugar added.  If you do eat canned fruit, be sure that it’s been packed in 100% fruit juice instead of those labeled “light syrup” which refers more to the thickness of the syrup used and not its sugar content.

3. Drink water, not soda.

A 12 oz. can of soda often contains over 39g of sugar!  You can kick the soda habit and dramatically reduce your sugar intake by simply choosing water instead.

4. Pack your lunch and avoid fast food.

Surprisingly, nearly every item on most fast food menus has added sugar, even hamburgers!  You can keep track of exactly how much sugar you are getting and avoid hidden sugars by packing your own lunch.

5. Try Xylitol.

A recent interest in more natural sugar substitutes has resulted in more people consuming products that aren’t just better for you, they can actually promote good health.  Xylitol, for example, has actually been shown to reduce cavities.

Thankfully, You Can Love Chocolate AND Your Teeth!

February 4th, 2016


chocolate and kids teeth


Like us, we’re sure you LOVE chocolate.  Plus, it’s almost a required gift for holidays like Valentine’s Day. And while candy generally doesn’t mix well with keeping teeth healthy, dark chocolate (the kind with at least 70% cocoa) can actually be a cavity fighter. That’s obviously fantastic news for chocolate lovers.

Of course, it’s always important to brush for at least two minutes, twice a day and to floss daily.  But you don’t need to worry about wrecking your teeth by indulging in chocolate from time to time.  Here are a few reasons why chocolate is a great candy choice.

Chocolate contains polyphenols.

Polyphenols are a class of naturally occurring chemicals that can limit oral bacteria. They are also able to neutralize the microorganisms that cause bad breath and prevent bacteria from turning sugar and starches into acid. Polyphenols have great promise for their apparent anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects as well as their ability to reduce hypertension and stroke.


Chocolate is high in antioxidants.

Antioxidants are a group of molecules that keep your body healthy on a cellular level and chocolate contains a lot of them. In fact, dark chocolate can contain up to four times the level found in green tea. High amounts of antioxidants in saliva have been shown to fight periodontal disease.

Tannins are abundant in chocolate.

Tannins are plant compounds that are found in many of the foods we eat. They’re also what give dark chocolate its slightly bitter taste and dark color. Tannins have been shown to help stop bacteria from sticking to teeth because their molecules bind to bacteria before plaque has time to form.


chocolate good for teeth

A flavonoid compound called epicatechin is found in high quantities in chocolate.

Flavonoids are a group of plant-based antioxidants that have been shown to slow tooth decay. A recent study by researchers at the University of California showed that a particular flavonoid calledepicatechin displays a remarkable ability to reduce cholesterol, blood clots and clogged arteries.

Again, chocolate should be at least 70% cocoa for most of these benefits to your teeth and body. However, almost any food can be eaten in moderation, as long as you remember to keep brushing regularly.

Subscribe to our blog for more tips on eating healthy and taking care of your smile!

Your Kids Will Love These Simple After School Snack Ideas

December 24th, 2015

One of the challenges of eating healthy is time.  Busy parents often find that warming up a frozen snack or opening a packaged sweet is easier than making something healthy. Add to the problem of convenience the fact that many kids can be choosy about what they eat.

We believe that having healthy teeth begins to a great part with healthy eating.  We also believe that choosing between snacks that are convenient, healthy and tasty is possible and we've put together a few recipes we think your kids will love.  They're simple and require little prep time.




It’s amazing how quickly children will gobble up vegetables, as long as they are served with dip. Keep a bowl of carrots, celery, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes available for grabbing after school. Most of these dips
will also taste delicious with Pita Bread or tortilla triangles, French
bread, or large pretzel sticks.

Ranch Dip is a favorite, but you can experiment with others.
Mix a 16oz. container of lite sour cream with dry soup mixes like tomato, vegetable or onion. Allow the dip to blend over night or mix it up in the morning.

Cream Cheese Dip

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese with chives
1 (5 ounce) container sharp processed cheese food.

My children really love hummus for dipping vegetables and/or Pita bread.
I’m not always able to make it myself. So to keep up with the demand,
I purchase 16 oz. tubs from the grocery store.

Keep a jar of marinara sauce (Prego is our favorite), in the fridge.
After school, warm up a small bowl of sauce and serve it with bread
sticks for dipping.


healthy after school fruit dip

Fruit Dips

Any of these dips taste delicious with apples, pears, bananas,
peaches or berries.

Fruit Dip #1
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fruit dip #2
Combine cream cheese and crushed pineapple to the desired taste and consistency. This also tastes delicious when made made with
canned mandarin oranges instead of pineapple. Drain as much of the
fruit juice as possible to avoid a runny dip.

Fruit Dip # 3
Mix cream cheese, apple sauce a dash of cinnamon and brown sugar.
Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Baked Cheese Bites

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
6 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Lightly grease a large cookie sheet.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Stir in the cheddar cheese and melted butter to form a firm dough. Roll pieces of dough into ropes as big around as a penny. Slice into 1/4 inch pieces. You may need to chill the dough until firm for better rolling.
Place the slices onto the prepared cookie sheet, 1 inch apart.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the bottoms of the coins are lightly
toasted and the tops are firm. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


health after school snacks

English Muffin “Pizzas”

Children enjoy making this one themselves!
Spread Spaghetti sauce on English muffin halves.
Top with sliced olives, deli slices, vegetables and grated mozzarella cheese. Heat in a toaster oven, or microwave until the cheese is melted.


One more idea...The Snack Zone
Just like adults…. when children arrive home famished, they will grab whatever is easiest. Often, it’s not the healthiest food options they gravitate to first. Keep a few of the above recipes prepared and ready to go. Assign a shelf or drawer in the refrigerator as the “snack shelf”
and jar or cupboard space for non perishables. This is where the kids
can grab a quick snack and don’t have to ask first. Then, stock cut fruit, vegetables, dips, cheese slices etc. A variety of healthy snack options will keep your little ones from getting bored and everyone will be happy.

Xylitol Is A Sugar Substitute That Can Reduce Cavities

November 26th, 2015

Xylitol can prevent cavities

It’s no secret that sugar is bad for teeth.  It gives bacteria nourishment and causes plaque to build up.  Because of this, sugar substitutes are always in high demand, especially ones with additional health benefits.  That’s why xylitol (pronounced 'zeye-luh-tall), a natural sugar substitute derived primarily from plants, is so attractive for those looking for a sweet alternative that’s actually good for teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has recognized the benefits of xylitol for preventing cavities.  Studies show that it reduces plaque, is antimicrobial, and lowers enamel attacking acid.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that's found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables.  It can often be extracted from berries, oats, and mushrooms and fibers like birch. Animal studies have found that xylitol had nearly nonexistent side effects compared to other artificial sweeteners.  It also has an extremely low caloric value compared to other natural sugars.

Where can I get xylitol?

Xylitol is currently available in mints, chewable tablets, toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum! Chewing sugarless gum is specially beneficial as the act of chewing increases the production of saliva in your mouth which helps neutralize acid as it washes it away.  While chewing gum can never replace brushing and flossing, the American Dental Association indicates that 20 minutes of chewing sugarless gum after meals can help prevent tooth decay.

Want more information on the benefits of Xylitol for healthy teeth? Check out this info sheet from the AAPD!

This Common Snack Food is Worse for Your Teeth Than Candy

September 10th, 2015

foods worse than candy

When we think of the foods most harmful to our teeth, we immediately think of candy.  Cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth that creates enamel attacking acids. This bacteria feeds on sugars that exist in nearly everything we eat, and candy is one of the most obvious culprits.  But other foods can be just as rough on teeth, if not worse.

You may have been “tricked”.

Chips and crackers are often substituted for sweets because we think they are better for our teeth, and even people who are vigilant about brushing can be less likely to consider the negative effects of starchy foods.  Unfortunately, it’s not only obviously sweet foods that can cause trouble for teeth, but potato chips, crackers, and other starches are bad news as well. They become soft or sticky when chewed, and stay lodged in teeth long after the meal. Although they don’t necessarily taste sweet, the starches in crackers and chips are broken down into sugar by enzymes in the mouth.

Starchy foods like Chips can be worse than candy.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has stated that starchy foods may even be worse for your teeth than candy because of the length of time they stay on teeth long after snacking has ended.   As part of a national survey commissioned by the AAPD, it was discovered that 96% of U.S. adults with children under 12 thought a cracker was better for teeth than a piece of caramel.  The AAPD went on to say:

“The truth is that starches can lead to cavities just as sugars can, and caramels dissolve more quickly from the mouth than crackers…A cracker may be more figure-friendly, but it is not a teeth-friendly snack.”

Experiment with healthier alternatives.

Instead of potato chips or crackers, apple slices or celery can provide that satisfying crunch. Are there picky eaters in your family? A small amount of protein-dense peanut butter as a topping adds flavor if you or your children aren’t impressed with the substitution. Whatever you and your children snack on, be sure to brush for at least two minutes, twice every day!

Greek Yogurt: Super-food For Your Family's Teeth

July 2nd, 2015

Greek Yogurt For Teeth

Greek yogurt is a dental super food.  Yogurt is more popular than ever as a healthy choice for those seeking to supplement their diet with a food that will help their overall health.  Several respected studies over the last few years have continuously shown that Greek yogurt has benefits far beyond digestive health.  Here are a few of the exciting ways that yogurt can help keep you smiling:

Greek yogurt helps gums.

A Japanese study of 1,000 adults revealed that the healthiest gums were found in those that ate the most yogurt.  Probiotics, the “good bacteria” found especially in Greek yogurt are the possible reason as these active cultures may help to slow the growth of cavity causing bacteria.  Healthy gums are essential to your overall health because gum disease can put you at an increased risk for a wide range of complications including heart disease.

Greek yogurt strengthens teeth.

Yogurt is high in calcium which helps to keep your teeth strong.  Calcium works by maintaining the density of your skeletal bones through years of deposit while your body is growing the most.  For this reason, children especially benefit from the calcium found in yogurt.  Once permanent teeth appear, calcium continues to help prevent tooth decay by keeping enamel strong.

Greek yogurt fights bad breath.

Researchers have discovered that eating six ounces of yogurt each day greatly reduces the bad breath causing compounds like hydrogen sulfide.  It turns out that the probiotics found in yogurt help to keep “smelly” bacteria in check.

Yogurt makes your mouth less acidic.

Cavity-causing bacteria love an acidic mouth.  Yogurt counters this by balancing your mouth’s PH levels and creating a less hospitable place for bacteria to thrive.

The best yogurt for your dental health is plain and sugar free.  Greek yogurts are an even better option because they often contain the highest amount of probiotics.  If you or your children crave a sweet addition to your yogurt, you might sparingly choose a small amount of fresh fruit or a natural sweetener.

3 Foods that Can Harm Your Child’s Teeth & 3 Easy Alternatives

June 4th, 2015

Snacks for healthy teeth

What your child eats affects their oral health.  The best thing you can do as a parent is to encourage your children to make healthier food choices.  Here are a few common snacks that can be detrimental to the health of your child’s teeth and a smile-friendly alternative for each of them.

Sodas & Sugary Drinks

Sodas and sugary drinks can be tough to avoid, but they’re also one of the most common threats to your child’s dental health.  The sugar in these drinks combines with the bacteria in their mouths and forms acids that attack the enamel on your child’s teeth, leaving them susceptible to decay.  Limit sodas and try to establish them as more of an occasional treat while you establish a water habit for your child. Add a lemon, lime or cucumber to their water to give it a more flavorful twist.

Ice Cream

Similar to sodas, ice cream can easily become a problem for a child’s oral health.  The high sugar content and extreme cold temperature weaken enamel which can lead to serious problems down the road.  A great alternative to an ice cream sundae is yogurt (low in sugar) with fresh fruit.  The fruit will provide flavor they are craving; plus, the many oral health benefits of yogurt are well-documented.

Potato Chips & Starchy Snacks

You might not think of potato chips as a particularly risky food, since they have little sugar.  However, these foods can easily get wedged and hidden between your child’s teeth.  Potato’s starch converts into sugar as soon as you consume them.  Instead, try eating different types of nuts.  Peanuts, almonds and walnuts, provide vitamins that strengthen children’s teeth and minerals that stimulate saliva production.

Of course, regular (6 month) dental checkups and cleanings are essential in keeping healthy teeth.  Until then, establish good eating habits to help improve your child’s oral health.

Soda's War On Your Child's Teeth

May 21st, 2015

Soda and Kids Teeth

Good news for teeth: Soda consumption in the U.S. is falling.  For the eighth-straight year soda consumption has decreased to its lowest level since 1987.  Many school districts have banned sugary carbonated beverages from their cafeterias.  Well-known politicians have attempted to limit access to large quantities of soda, and even the national “Let’s Move” campaign is urging kids to drink water instead of soda.

But there’s still a lot of soda being consumed, especially by kids.  Estimates have shown that one in five children consumes as many as four servings of soda every day.  Many teens drink as many as twelve soft drinks a day!

Soda is not only bad for your body, being a major contributor to obesity, but it’s incredibly damaging to your teeth because its war on them hits in two major fronts: acidity and sugar.  You may have seen the popular science experiment where an egg is placed in soda and left overnight.  Not only will the egg be permanently stained, but if left long enough the acid in the soda will completely dissolve the shell.  Just like in the experiment, every time you drink soda it bathes your teeth in acid that eats away the hard enamel protecting your teeth.

This is where the second attack occurs.  Soda is extremely high in sugar, containing more than 4 tablespoons in a 20 ounce bottle.  Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause cavities.   Teeth that are already softened by a constant washing of highly acidic soda are further damaged by this increase in bacteria.

The good news is that it’s never too late to make healthier choices.  Replacing soda with water is not only better for your teeth, but also better for your overall health.  You can also help reduce the effects of the occasional soda by rinsing with water after consumption and using fluoride toothpaste.   Don’t forget to brush two minutes, two times each day and make sure that you are up to date on your dental appointments!

You'll Be Surprised at the Hidden Sugar in these Foods

February 26th, 2015

Foods with hidden sugar

The processed food industry has made the job of cutting out sugar even more difficult for consumers.  Foods we wouldn’t necessarily consider full of sugar, even healthy foods, are often sugar bombs in disguise.  Reducing the amount of sugar your family eats is not only a great idea for keeping mouths healthy, but it can also have tremendous benefits to overall health.  Here are a few of the worst sneaky sugar offenders.



BBQ Sauce

Who doesn’t love great barbeque?  From ribs, to pulled pork, BBQ chicken and brisket, great barbeque is often accompanied by a great sauce.  But BBQ sauce can have a high sugar content, sometimes as high as 10 grams per serving.  That’s the equivalent of almost two and one half packets of sugar!

sugar hidden in granola bars

Granola Bars

Granola bars are often high in fiber and full of dried fruits and whole grains.  But be aware, many brands of granola are simply candy bars in disguise.  When shopping for granola bars, look for bars that contain less than 35% calories from sugar.  You’ll be surprised at how few of them fall under that number.  Many bars come in at nearly 50% calories from sugar.


dried fruit hidden sugar

Dried Fruit

One of the biggest surprises in our list of sneaky sugar foods is dried fruit.  That’s because it can be difficult to find dried fruits that don’t have sugar added for extra sweetness.  Raisins, dates, cranberries and even dried bananas are sometimes coated in sugar.  Be sure to check the packaging and only purchase dried fruits that don’t include the extra sugar.

hidden sugar in smoothies



What could possibly be more healthy than a smoothie?  Made the right way, using whole fruits and vegetables, along with unsweetened Greek yogurt, a smoothie can be a terrific choice.  But many smoothie bars will often add liquid sugars to the mixer just before blending.  Your best bet is to ask for a nutrition guide at your favorite shop and watch your smoothie being made.  Try to avoid fruit juices that are generally all sugar and no fiber.  Know what’s going in and don’t forget to ask questions.

With all of the hidden sugar in our food, it can be daunting to track it all down.  A great rule of thumb is to read labels whenever possible and become educated as to the various names for sugar.  Dextrose, corn sweetener, high –fructose corn syrup, fructose, maltose, sorghum and evaporated cane juice are all common names for sugars found in foods you might never suspect as being hidden sugar bombs.

When Fruit is Bad for Your Teeth

November 6th, 2014

Fruit bad for your teeth


With all of the junk food available to kids and adults, it's hard to imagine that something as seemingly healthy as fruit could ever be bad for your teeth.  And certainly there are a lot of foods that are high in sugar that would be considered far worse for your overall oral health.  Still, there are times when fruit may not be the best choice.  Here are a few examples when you may want to skip the fruit:

When it's dried.

Dried fruits have had most of their water removed and what's left contains a much higher percentage of sugar than fresh fruits.  And because you tend to eat more dried fruit based on the volume, you will consume a much greater amount of sugar when compared to eating fresh fruit.  This doesn't even take into account the added sugar that most packaged dried fruit contains.  Further, dried fruits like raisins and plums tend to be sticky and often stay stuck to teeth for a long time.  This provides bacteria plenty of what they need to grow.

When it's canned with syrup.

Most canned fruits are packaged in a thick, high sugar syrup.  Even those labled "light syrup" contain large amounts of added sugar because that description can refer to the consistency of the syrup rather than sugar content.  When eating canned fruits, look for those that have no added sugar or those packed in 100% fruit juice.

When it's juiced.

First, it's important to understand that fruit juice can be very good for you when it's part of a balanced diet.  However, juice can still harm teeth when too much is consumed too frquently.  This is because fruit that is juiced generally has much of the most nurtitious portions of the fruit removed.  When the pulp and fiber is taken away, what's left is mostly water and sugar.  What's more, fruit juices like orange juice is often highly acidic and can be tough on enamel over time.

As you can tell, fresh whole fruits are always the best option when eating fruit.  Whatever you eat, however, it's important to remember that nearly all foods can be enjoyed in moderation.  Be sure to brush and floss regularly.


Healthy Habits for your Kids

October 15th, 2014

Your kids’ teeth problems are usually quite common, and usually not serious. Most importantly, according to Colgate, all children’s teeth and gum issues are fixable.

You may have the toughest kid on the block, but even if your little boy or girl is able to handle themselves in the playground, your dentist will tell you that the enamel on their teeth isn’t nearly as strong.

Because the enamel on your kids teeth is fifty percent thinner than what coats your teeth, sugar can attack more readily leading to tooth decay. If the decay is not taken care of as soon as possible, cavities will develop. Regular dental checkups will solve the problem allowing your pediatric dentist to address the issue before it develops any further.

Dental Sealants are another way to prevent cavities from developing in your child’s molars. Those back teeth have tiny grooves and fissures that are impossible to brush. Dental Sealants are actually painted on to the teeth helping prevent tooth decay.

These days more kids are drinking bottled water. Unfortunately, bottled water does not contain fluoride, which is essential for replacing mineral loss in the enamel on your kid’s teeth. Fluoride can also help prevent dental caries. Ask your dentist about fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses for kids if you and your family do not drink tap water.

Although the holidays are just around the corner, and your kids are probably still enjoying their Halloween candy, it is imperative that you keep those treats to a minimum. If your son or daughter got into the trick or treat bag a few times too many, make sure they rinse well with water. Better yet, schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist just to be safe.

Diet is imperative to a healthy mouth. Show your kids the importance of healthy foods and make sure that you incorporate healthy choices at mealtime. Avoid sugary treats, especially soft drinks and candy, and keep those chips and other starchy foods out of the house.

When it comes to your kid’s teeth common sense prevails. Watch what your children eat, teach them healthy brushing and flossing habits, and make sure to schedule regular dental checkups with your pediatric dentist.

Remember the oral hygiene habits that you teach your kids today will help them keep their teeth for the rest of their lives.

What You and Your Kids Should Know about Tooth Decay

September 15th, 2014

According to your Web MD, quite a few things can cause tooth decay, and if you want your kids to grow up with less fillings than you did, pay close attention to the list below.

If your children have had lots of cavities in the past, chances are, they will have them in the future. Make sure that your kids practice good oral hygiene, and if you are unsure, schedule an appointment with your dentist who may be able to improve the way your kids brush and floss.

Every mouth is loaded with bacteria. Combine that with food it is like smearing acid on the tooth or teeth. Eventually acid will eat away at the enamel causing tooth decay. Keep your kids away from sugar and sticky dried fruits and make sure they rinse after eating.

These days it seems like sugar is added to everything, even so called healthy fruit juices. When you shop for groceries read the labels and try to stay away from starchy foods such as white bread that are loaded with sugar.

If your teenager has had fillings in the past, make sure that your dentist checks all old dental restorations. Poor quality fillings can leak causing plaque to form in the cracks and crevices.

Fruit is good for kids, but try to include citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits as part of a meal. If your children do eat citrus fruits make sure that they rinse after eating.

If your kids drink bottled water, they are not getting the fluoride that they need. Ask your dentist to recommend a good fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse as bottled water does not contain fluoride.

Nursing your baby too long will put your kids at risk. Recent research has indicated that prolonged breast and bottle-feeding could put children in the high-risk category when it comes to cavities.

Cavities under existing fillings can be a problem at any age, and if your teens have dental restorations, make sure that your dentist checks for fractures and breakages.

If your kids have braces, their risk of cavities is much greater. Metal mouth appliances make it difficult to brush and almost impossible to floss. Ask your dentist about floss threaders, which help the floss, get under the wires.

For more information on oral hygiene and tooth decay, schedule an appointment with your kid’s dentist today.

Seven Tips for a Healthy Mouth

September 1st, 2014

According to the American Dental Association and your dentist, taking your son or daughter to the dentist doesn’t have to be a nightmare, in fact, when you visit a dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry it can actually be a fun experience.

The most important thing to remember is to prepare your child before each dental appointment. Give your son or daughter a general overview so that they know what to expect. Say things like, “The dentist is going to look at your gums and your teeth, take a few pictures, and use a special toothbrush to clean your teeth.”

Make sure that you do not pass your own dental visit fears on to your kids. Even if you have a real dental phobia, it is imperative that you make sure that you tell your children that the dentist is there to help keep their teeth healthy so that they can have a pretty smile.

Your dentist recommends that you follow the procedures below in order to keep fillings and other dental procedures to a minimum.

Teach your kids to brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice each day, especially after dinner. Fluoride toothpaste should be kept to the size of a pea for children under three.

Make sure that your kids are brushing correctly. If you are unsure that your son or daughter has the brushing down pat, you may want to do it yourself until your child is about seven or eight years old, and make sure that you watch as they brush.

As soon as your kids have teeth that touch together start flossing. Bacteria and food can be lodged between the teeth and as your dentist will tell you, flossing is the best way to keep teeth and gums healthy.

Keep candy and sticky foods to a minimum. Because dried fruit and chewy treats can stick to the grooves and fissure, rinsing and even brushing may not get rid of the sugar.

Those sippy cups could be causing problems for your kid’s teeth. If your son or daughter must sip on something, go with water. Fruit juices and other sugary drinks when sipped are like bathing teeth in sugar.

Never send your child to bed with juice or milk unless brushing is planned before they go to sleep. If they are thirsty, water is your best bet.

Teach your kids to eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Your dentist will tell you that diet plays a huge roll in dental health.

If you would like more information regarding dental health for kids, schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist today.

Tooth Decay Could Be Genetic

June 1st, 2014

All people are susceptible to tooth decay, but infants, toddlers, adolescents, teens and tweens can be prone to cavities. In fact, the Center for Disease Control estimates that as many as 19 percent of children between two and nineteen live with cavities that are left untreated.

Children are twice as likely to get cavities because they do not brush and floss as they should. Dental caries, which can be passed from one to another, are actually communicable diseases that one family member can give to another because of cup and utensil sharing.

According to a Pediatric Dentist, there are a number of factors that could be contributing to your children’s tooth decay. Cavities form thanks to bacteria, sugars, and starches that accumulate on the teeth and gums. This dangerous mix creates acids that will deplete calcium, which is needed to keep your tooth enamel strong. The mouth germ, technically called mutans streptococcus is a germ causes plaque. Plaque coats your teeth with even more acid that adds to the tooth decay that has already started to form. Twenty seconds is all it takes for the bacteria to covert to acid after a sugary snack has been enjoyed. This happens several times during a meal. How you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Sucking on a hard candy all day is actually more detrimental than eating an entire bag of candy for lunch.

If you have been reading the Chicago Kids Dentist blog you will know how damaging sugar is to your kids teeth, but so are food items that most consider healthy. Fruit juice is highly acidic as is certain types of fish and bread. Carbonated drinks can also hurt teeth.

Of course, your kids don’t have to give these treats up completely. Ask your Pediatric Dentist about snacks that help produce saliva to wash away some of the dangerous acids. Keep snacking before bed to a minimum, and never give your son or daughter anything acidic before bedtime. Try giving your kids cheese following an acidic meal as it helps to neutralize the acids.

Before brushing, teach your kids to rinse after a meal. Wait approximately thirty minutes and then have them brush, as the acid works quickly making the enamel on your teeth more vulnerable if you or your kids brush immediately after eating.

These days, dentists understand how genetics affect teeth and gums. Just as your genes determine the color of your eyes, height and hair color, genes also affect teeth and gums right down to the hardness of the enamel. This explains why people who have impeccable oral hygiene habits find themselves sitting in the dentist’s chair more often than they would like.

If you would like more information on keeping your kids teeth healthy through adulthood, contact a Pediatric Dentist in your area who can help your kids keep their teeth well into the senior years.

A Chicago Pediatric Dentist You Can Count on

May 1st, 2014

You may have had a fear of the dentist when you were young, and may still be afraid to sit in the dental chair however, it is vital that you do not pass that fear on to your kids. Your kids do not have to fear the dentist, in fact, not all kids are afraid of the dentist; especially if you make sure that your children understand how important dental hygiene and dental health is. According to the Kids Dentist in the Magnificent Mile District in Chicago, there are a few things you can do to put your kids at ease.

Before making an appointment with a Chicago Pediatric Dentist do your research. You want to make sure that the dentist you choose for your kids is specially trained to work with kids.

Ask your friends and family members whom they take their kids to. If they have had the same Pediatric Dentist for years, it’s a good bet that your new dentist will be the perfect fit for your family.

Before you take your child to the dentist, pay a visit to the office. If all you see is a few metal chairs and some outdated magazines, keep looking. You want to be sure that your new Pediatric Dentist have plenty of toys, games, books and videos to keep your children occupied. The staff from Chicago Kids DDS has created a welcoming environment that is fun for both parents and kids.

The team of pediatric dentists that you choose for your kids will need to be well versed on the latest technologies continuing their own education with workshops and seminars. Choose a pediatric dentist or a team of dentists who can meet with parents and kids in order to teach them good oral hygiene. This includes teaching your kids how to brush and floss, proper diet, and the importance of regular checkups.

If you would like more information regarding pediatric dentistry, schedule an appointment with the best team of Kids Dentists in Chicago, after all the health and well being of your kids and their teeth and gums depends on it.

You Can Help Even During the Holidays

April 15th, 2014

Easter is just five days away, and by now, you have probably let your kids eat chocolate eggs to their hearts content, not to mention the marshmallow peeps and chewy jellybeans. It is hard to say no to your kids, especially during the holidays, but there are a few things that you can teach your kids, that will help them keep their teeth for the rest of their lives.

A healthy diet starts early. Feed your family lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and try to steer clear of starchy foods. Skip the soda and give them water. Even fruit juices are loaded with sugar. If you are having a tough time weaning them off juice, try watering them down. A balanced diet will help your kids develop strong bones and teeth. Try to include phosphorous and calcium, and do not forget about fluoride. If your water does not contain fluoride, talk to your Chicago Kids Dentist about fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Along with a healthy diet comes good oral hygiene. That first tooth that comes in needs to be washed with a washcloth. After a few more teeth erupt, show your children how to brush their teeth. There are specially made toothbrushes that are just for kids. Supervise your kids until they understand the importance of oral hygiene. Flossing can start about the age of four. Once your child reaches the age of one it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your Kids Dentist in the Magnificent Mile District.

According to Colgate, dental sealants are highly effective and when applied by your Chicago Kids Dentist can provide a barrier against tooth decay. Ask your Dentist in Chicago about dental sealants, which are applied to back teeth as this is where most dental caries begin. Dental sealants can be applied in a single visit and do not require anesthetic.

Your child’s teeth are just as important as the rest of their bodies and it is vital that you start them off right by teaching them good oral hygiene. The steps you take now will pave the way for a healthy mouth for the rest of their lives.

Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

February 15th, 2014

Healthy teeth and gums are much easier than they used to be, and thanks to the advancements from your Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist, your children can keep their teeth for the rest of their lives, as long as you and your kids practice good oral hygiene.

Start your kids early, as you will be creating good dental habits that will last for the rest of their lives. The minute the first tooth erupts, usually around the age of 6 months, wash with a damp cloth, or brush with a soft bristled baby toothbrush. Once your child reaches the age of two, they can begin brushing their own teeth with supervision.

Your Kids Dentist in Downtown Chicago can also paint your kids molars with dental sealants. Dental sealants prevent tooth decay and can last for quite some time. Ask your Chicago Miracle Mile Chicago Kids Dentist about dental sealants for your children.

Teaching your kids how to brush is important, but so is teaching them how often to brush. Brushing twice, and flossing once a day can greatly improve your kids teeth and gums.

Start your children off right with a healthy diet. Not only is it important for their overall physical health, but it is vital for oral health. Feed your kids whole foods, nuts, grains, dairy products, fish, and fruits and vegetables and their teeth and gums will thank you for it.

Once your kids start becoming involved in sports and recreational activities talk to your Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist about custom fitted mouth guards. Football, basketball, soccer, and wrestling are just a few of the contact sports that require custom fitted mouth guards. Other activities where you might want to consider mouth guards include all types of skating, water polo, hockey, baseball or any other activity that could hurt their mouth and gums if an accident should occur.

It is imperative that you schedule regular checkups for your kids. Teaching your sons and daughters about regular dental visits is vital if you want your children to learn good oral health habits. Contact your Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist today for a dental appointment for your kids today.

Taking Care of Your Kids Teeth During the Holidays

December 15th, 2013

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most dangerous when it comes to your kids teeth. Most folks over-indulge from November to the end of December making promises to the mirror that it will be diet time come January, but your kids teeth are an entirely different story.

Cookies, candies, cakes, gingerbread, candy canes, peanut brittle, and all of those sweet treats could mean that you will be spending most of January with your Chicago 60611 Kids Dentist, but it does not have to be that way.

Even if you do try to limit the amount of sugar your children consume, it is tough during the holidays, and it can be just as difficult to monitor everything your kids put into their mouths, especially when Grandma and Aunt Susie are in town.

While sweets are fine in moderation your Magnificent Mile Kids Dentist will tell you that sugar has been linked to tooth decay, pediatric obesity, and even heart disease. Some research has indicated that it can also be a trigger for Type 2 diabetes in children. According to your Kids Dentist in Chicago, it will not take long for tooth decay to set in, and if your kid’s teeth are problematic as it is, you could be asking for trouble.

Sugar produces an over abundance of bacteria, which feeds on the sweet treats that are eaten. Those harmful acids start to form and will begin to wear down the enamel on your kids teeth. Once the enamel starts to weaken, your children will be a target for gingivitis and cavities.

Those holiday parties and family gatherings can be tough, but it is possible for you and the rest of the clan to set up some reasonable limits. If a buffet is on the menu for Christmas dinner, make sure that you show your kids what sweets are allowed and how many they can have. Include lots of fruits and veggies and tell your children that they have to eat the good stuff before they can eat any sweet treats.

Your Kids Dentist in the Magnificent Mile in Downtown Chicago also recommends that you carry a couple of travel-sized toothbrush kits in your bag and encourage your children to eat cookies, candies, cakes, and other treats along with a healthy meal. Carbs, fruits and veggies produce saliva, which helps to digest the food more quickly.

It is nearly impossible to avoid those delicious sweet treats during the holidays, but you can be ahead of the game if you schedule an appointment with the best Kids Dentist in Magnificent Mile, Chicago Kids DDS.