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The Ugly Truth about Candy

August 3rd, 2017

Candy tastes great, but it isn’t a nutritionally sound snack that adequately fuels your child’s growing body. Additionally, candy can severely harm your child’s teeth and lead to cavities and oral health disease. But, not all candy effects teeth in the same way. In fact, candy has numerous ways in which it can damage teeth and lead to tooth decay.

Hard Candy

Hard candy is very popular, and comes in nearly every flavor and size imaginable. But, be vigilant when letting your child eat hard candy, because it can crack their teeth. Hard candy also tends to stick around longer than other candy, which exposes teeth to sugar for longer. Extended contact with sugar can lead to more cavities because sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel.

Sticky Candy

Like hard candy, sticky candy can get stuck in tooth crevices and stay around long after it’s been swallowed. Sticky candy is difficult to remove from teeth, and gives cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away enamel.

Sour Candy

Sour candy can leave teeth susceptible to cavities more so than any other candy. This is because sour candy contains a high amount of acid. In fact, the elevated acid content is what makes it so sour. The acidity can eat away the enamel of teeth, and leave them vulnerable to cavities.

Some Better Options

Gum Sweetened with Xylitol

While it’s not exactly candy, gum sweetened with Xylitol can actually clean teeth as it is being chewed. Xylitol sweetened gum is sugarless, and stimulates saliva production which naturally cleans teeth of debris and leftover sugar.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is a better sweet option, since it washes away easier than other candy, and is less destructive to enamel. But, dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate for oral health because it contains less sugar than milk chocolate and can actually help keep cavities away! That’s because it contains a flavanoid called epicatechin. Epicatechin has shown to slow tooth decay and also reduces cholesterol, blood clots and clogged arteries.

Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring chemicals that limit bad oral that attacks teeth. The polyphenols in dark chocolate also reduce bad breath!

Remember to Brush Twice Daily

It’s important that your children brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time if you want to keep cavities away. This is especially important when consuming foods that contain high amounts of sugar.

Schedule an appointment with our office if your child begins experiencing tooth pain, since this could indicate a cavity. We will thoroughly evaluate the state of their oral health, and provide a treatment plan that works for them.

How Did We end up with Gold Teeth? The Weird History of Dental Crowns

July 20th, 2017

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Dental crowns – or sometimes called dental caps – are prosthetic devices places over broken teeth to strengthen and improve their appearance. Crowns are used to prevent weakened teeth from fracturing, as teeth replacements, or to cover a root canal, dental implant or a weak tooth. Crowns help keep teeth functional, and prevent improper bite alignment from occurring. How – and when – did we start fixing broken or missing teeth?

Old Asia

The first known example of using dental crowns dates back 4,000 years in Southeast Asia – on Luzon, an island in the Philippines. The Philippine skeletons revealed basic golden caps and gold tooth replacements. Scholars have found that modifying teeth with gold was popular among chiefs and the political ruling class of the period. The appearance of gold teeth was a symbol of wealth, power and status.

Ancient Italy

Around 700 B.C., the Etruscans – an ancient Italian civilization which operated in what we know as Tuscany today – also employed the use of gold as dental crowns. Luxury and wealth were important to the Etruscans, and it’s evident in their teeth. Etruscan skeletons revealed the use of rudimentary dental crowns made out of gold and put on top of teeth. Researchers have also found Etruscan remains with artificial teeth held in place by wrapping them with gold wire, and banding them next to existing teeth. This is actually the first example of dental bridges! Because of their ingenuity and willingness to experiment, the Etruscans are credited with being the first cosmetic dentists.

European Innovation

Europeans began experimenting with modern dental techniques in the 1400’s. During that time, they carved dentures from bone or ivory, and replaced teeth with their creations. Around the 1700’s, human teeth were a popular replacement for missing or broken teeth because of their natural appearance and obvious function. However, they did not work well as replacement teeth because bodies would quickly reject the tooth and they would fall out. Around 1770, the first porcelain dentures were made, and by the 1800’s porcelain dentures were the standard for replacing teeth.

Porcelain Crowns Hit the Scene

In 1903, Dr. Charles Land introduced the all-porcelain jacket crown – an invention he patented in 1889 that is the first modern rendition of the dental crown we know today. The porcelain jacket procedure consisted of taking a broken tooth and rebuilding it with a porcelain covering (the jacket) to make it appear new again. The porcelain jacket crown was very effective for the day, and widely used until the 1950’s, when a stronger solution – the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown – was introduced.

How We Fix Broken Teeth Today

Today, dental crowns can be made from porcelain, ceramic, gold alloys and base metal allows. If your child has a broken tooth, then visit our office immediately. A broken tooth is a serious dental problem that needs to be treated by a team of dental professionals. Our office will be able to treat your child, and inform you on how to avoid an oral emergency in the future.

Cool Down with these Mouth-Healthy Summer Treats

July 6th, 2017

As the summer unfolds, your family will surely encounter long and hot days that seem to last forever. One way to fight the heat, and refresh your family is with some cold summer treats. Below are some of our favorite summer treats that will help cool you down and improve your oral health.

Yogurt and Fruit Popsicles

Yogurt is high in calcium and casein, but it also contains a high amount of healthy bacteria. Healthy bacteria in yogurt helps fight the bad bacteria that can stick to your teeth, and lead to cavities. The best news is that yogurt and fruit popsicles are a fun way to get a healthy serving of calcium and super easy to make. We suggest choosing a fruit that is high in vitamin C, which helps boost gum health. You can use strawberries, blueberries, papayas, currants or kiwis.

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen fruit

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

3 tablespoon honey

Directions:
1 – In a blender, combine frozen fruit and 2 tablespoons of honey and purée.

2 – In a separate bowl, combine yogurt with one tablespoon honey and mix.

3 – Place alternate layers of yogurt and fruit puree in small paper cups, or ice cube tray. Place a popsicle stick in the center of the cup, and put them in the freezer until they are solid.

Frozen Blueberry and Yogurt Smoothies

This recipe is similar to the above, but is blended into a smoothie and perfect for cooling down this summer. These blueberry smoothies are packed with protein and calcium, and are fantastic for teeth. Additionally, blueberries are a great source of manganese, which plays a very important role in the growth and strength of bones and teeth.

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

Directions:
1 – In a blender, combine banana, blueberries, and yogurt.

2 – Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

Carrots

As carrots are eaten, they stimulate saliva production that helps prevent the buildup of bad bacteria that can lead to cavities. Carrots are a great handheld snack that can be taken anywhere. Plus, we think that carrots are best when eaten cold! We suggest packing a small baggie of baby carrots in the refrigerator and serving it to your child as a quick bite to cool them down. You can make this snack even tastier (and more kid-friendly) by packing it with a bit of yogurt-based dip!

Water

Water – especially water with fluoride – helps strengthen and clean teeth. With every sip, water cleans teeth by ridding them of any leftover foods or acids. It also washes away bacteria and sugars that can eventually lead to cavities. Water has zero calories, and helps restore the pH balance in your mouth to fight unhealthy levels of acid. When your child is playing outside, or participating in team sports, water is the perfect mouth-healthy refresher.

Visit Our Office

A proper diet is key for a healthy mouth, so it’s important that you pay attention to your child’s nutrition. To help fight cavities, limit the amount of sugar they consume, and feed them more mouth-friendly options. Also, be sure that they brush their teeth twice per day and floss once per day, to remove any food debris that can cause tooth decay.

Schedule an appointment with our office if you would like to know more about a mouth-healthy diet, and other ways that you can help fight cavities this summer.

3 Steps to a Sparkling Summer Smile

June 26th, 2017

As summer approaches, schedules are going to hasten as many families travel or children go to camp. As activities heat up, it’s easy to fall out of a healthy oral routine. But, there are a few simple ways that you can keep your smile healthy all summer long. This summer, follow these three steps to get a sparkling smile.

Drink More Water

Water can drastically improve your overall health, and does a lot to promote a healthy mouth. Did you know that saliva is 99% water? Or that saliva is critical in the fight against cavities? This makes it imperative that you drink plenty of water so that you can keep your enamel strong, and stay cavity-free. When you are low on saliva, you will most likely experience dry mouth – a condition that makes it hard to swallow and chew because of a lack of saliva. By drinking enough water, you help prevent dry mouth and ensure that your saliva is produced at an optimal rate.

Water also helps prevent cavities by rinsing food debris away from in between teeth.

Eat Mouth Healthy Foods

Certain foods can clean your teeth as you eat them, and promote improved oral health. For instance, apples can help cleanse and clean teeth, and fight bad breath. The fibrous content of apples cleans teeth by acting as a toothbrush and scrubbing away plaque from teeth, and removing other food debris. The acid in an apple helps kill off bad bacteria that encourages bad breath.

Similar to apples, carrots are full of fiber and clean teeth by scrubbing plaque as you eat. Carrots also stimulate saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth. In addition to cleaning teeth, carrots also contain multiple B vitamins, which fight gingivitis!

Brush Twice per Day

Food debris left on teeth encourages bacteria growth that eats away at enamel and causes cavities. This is why it is important to brush twice per day, for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day to clean debris from the hard-to-reach areas of your child’s teeth. Brushing and flossing is the most important way to keep your mouth healthy, and fight plaque buildup.

Visit Our Office

As your child’s school year concludes, consider scheduling a dental checkup with our office. The summer is a perfect time for us to evaluate the state of their smile, and help them get into healthy oral routines that they will practice all year round. Visit our contact page, and call our office to schedule an appointment.