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Archive for April, 2015

April 22, 2015

Quick Healthy Tips for Parents

Snacks give kids important nutrients and help control hunger between meals.

Healthy snack ideas

  • “Ants on a log” (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
  • Fresh or canned fruit (canned in 100% juice, not syrup) with fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese
  • Vegetable “matchsticks” (thin sticks made from fresh carrots, zucchini, or bell peppers)
  • Whole-wheat bread or apple slices with peanut butter
  • Quesadillas (low-fat cheese melted in a whole-wheat tortilla)
  • Unsalted pretzels or air-popped popcorn
  • Baked (not fried) tortilla chips and salsa
  • Whole-wheat pita bread with hummus (dip made with chick peas)

Put fresh fruit in a bowl that’s easy to reach in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter. This will make it easier for kids to grab a healthy snack.

On the go

  • Take nuts and unsweetened dried fruits, fresh veggies, or fresh fruit in small baggies.
  • Pack low-fat string cheese sticks.

Set the rules

  • Teach your kids to ask before they help themselves to snacks.
  • Eat snacks at the table or in the kitchen, not in front of the TV.
  • Serve snacks in a bowl. Don’t let kids snack directly out of the bag or box.
  • Drink water or milk (fat-free or low-fat) instead of soda or juice.

April 22, 2015

Baby Teeth Matter

Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early can lead to a lifelong healthy smile, but did you know that just because babies don’t have any visible teeth, doesn’t mean they can’t get cavities? A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth. And those baby teeth that begin coming through the gums around 6 months help set the stage for future smiles by keeping space in the jaw for adult teeth.

Baby teeth

When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come. The ADA recommends that parents take children to a dentist no later than their first birthday and then at intervals recommended by their dentist.

Test your knowledge of children’s teeth…click here.


April 22, 2015

Healthy Habits

Brushing

Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of any good oral hygiene routine. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, always be sure to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily. Also, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Finally, make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. It makes no difference whether you choose a manual or powered toothbrush—just make sure to brush thoroughly twice a day, every day!

Flossing

Flossing goes hand in hand with brushing. By flossing once a day, you help to remove plaque from between your teeth in areas where the toothbrush can’t reach. This is extremely important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Click here to read about the best way to floss your teeth.


April 7, 2015

Keep Your Athletes Smiling this Spring

Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected.

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Knowing how to prevent injuries like these is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. In fact, studies show that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouthguard. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, you can experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

There are three types of mouthguards:

  • Custom-fitted. These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.
  • Stock. These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
  • Boil and bite. These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.

The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-fitted mouthguard, you should still wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard from the drugstore. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.

A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the best protection. Although mouthguards typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.

If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

Some tips for caring for your mouthguard:

  • rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste
  • occasionally clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
  • transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents
  • never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water
  • check for wear and tear to see if it needs replacing