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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

As we are in the middle of the Holiday season there are lots of tempting treats to pick on. Most are okay in moderation but some are likely to create problems for your dental health. Issues that could be created include tooth decay and even fractured teeth. Below are a listing of some to be careful of:

1. Popcorn. An old favorite usually enjoyed at the movies but around holiday time regular old popcorn becomes coated in caramel. Normally popcorn presents challenges for teeth due to biting on popcorn kernels and popcorn husks getting stuck between teeth. Those pesky popcorn kernels have been known to cause broken teeth and fracture fillings. Add the caramel and it is a recipe for disaster as the caramel masks the kernels and sticks in and around your teeth. This can break a tooth, or create an environment ripe for development of tooth decay. So think twice and beware if  indulging in this holiday favorite.

2. Dried Fruit. Seems like this would be a healthy snack but the sugars in the dried fruit are concentrated and their dry texture makes them stick longer to teeth. This allows acid producing bacteria in your mouth to have a chance to work on your tooth enamel. Be smart, and floss after or chose fresh fruit instead.

3. White Flour Crackers. We love these crackers with cheese spreads as a pre holiday meal snack. Did you know the bleached white flour turns almost immediately into sugar, which is food for the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid filled environment for tooth decay. Choose whole grain versions of these favorite crackers for better dental health as well as general health.

4. Candy Canes. A traditional favorite that can also cause fractures to teeth if you choose to bite into them. Sucking on hard candy makes the sugar acids linger longer in your mouth. Break off a small piece, and drink water after.

5. Christmas cookies and fudge.These are hard to pass up, especially at a party! Remember that very high sugar content, white flour and the stickiness are the contributors to tooth decay. Try eating some carrots or celery directly after you partake in these sweet treats.

6. Peanut brittle. Some peanut brittle is harder or stickier than others. You can pull out a crown or filling or break a tooth. Try moistening a small piece in your mouth to soften it before chewing. You will certainly need to floss after this snack!

Dental Hygiene Tips for Holidays

-Drink Water. Plenty of it to swish and rinse your mouth.This will reduce the acid producing sugars and food debris from holiday snacking.

-Crunch on raw veggies. They will help clear the stickiness and stimulate salivary flow.

-Brush and Floss After Snacking. Brushing and flossing after snacking will neutralize the acid build up and not allow the tooth enamel to be broken down.

Enjoy the Holidays, just use your judgement to make good choices. You can still eat the special foods you love, just do it wisely. Remember, smiles are contagious, spread some holiday cheer with your beautiful smile!

At Thanksgiving we have a lot to be thankful for…great family and friends to share the holiday with, good health, and good food. Our Thanksgiving traditions center around a bountiful, hearty meal. This Thanksgiving we will all sit down to a bountiful feast but did you know not only can it be delicious but also healthy for your teeth and gums? A delicious Thanksgiving feast can include various vitamins and nutrients that are important to our oral health. These include Vitamins A, C, D, phosphorous, and calcium. Eating a nutritious meal will benefit not only your oral health but your entire health as a whole.

Best Thanksgiving Foods to Eat for Good Oral Health

-Turkey is high in phosphorous. The phosphorous is not only healthy for developing teeth but can actually help rebuild and re mineralize teeth and bones of the jaw.

-Sweet potatoes are filled with nutrients including vitamins A, C, and B6. Sweet potatoes are thought to be much healthier and nutritious than regular white potatoes as they are digested faster by the body.

-Green and winter vegetables are great sources of vitamins A and C. These vitamins are important for gum health and repair of periodontal diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis).

-Cranberries contain flavonoids. These can prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth and forming plaque. Bacteria (and their acid byproducts) are responsible tooth decay and periodontal disease. Most cranberry side dishes contain high amounts of sugar. Try sweetening with agave, stevia, or splenda.

-Pumpkin pies are loaded with vitamin C and Calcium. Vitamins that are important for gum health and developing teeth and maintenance of bones. Remember, pies have high sugar, so make sure to brush after!

Health for your entire body including your smile starts with good nutrition and prevention. We all have so much to be thankful for, so let’s hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!!

Dental Hygiene - The practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent oral disease, by regular brushing and flossing and visits to a dentist.

Halloween time is a fun time for the whole family…the weather begins to turn, leaving cooler weather for lots of quality family time. It also means its time to pick out Halloween costumes for the kids and family as well as looking forward to collecting bags full of candy from the neighbors and at school. In those bags of candy lies an unsuspecting hazard…Sugar! Sugar consumption without proper dental hygiene leads to tooth decay.

But this time does not have to be a time being scared of possible dental issues following Halloween. It can give parents and children alike a chance to learn new dental hygiene tricks to maintain their dental health throughout the year.

Dental Hygiene Tips

By following the dental hygiene tips below, parents can help prevent tooth decay for their trick or treaters while teaching them good dental hygiene habits:

1. Be Selective. Not all of the Halloween treats are scary. A good dental hygiene tip is to encourage kids to eat candy that melts fast and can be eaten quickly. Try to avoid gooey, sticky sweets (like caramels) that can linger on in the mouth and on the teeth. This will allow the bacteria in the mouth to produce more acid which will cause tooth decay. Remind kids after eating any sugary candy to brush their teeth or at the very least rinse their mouths out with water. This will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. A really good idea might be to buy a new toothbrush that is Halloween related as a final “treat”.

2. Hide the excess candy. Do not just leave the Halloween candy around the house after the Halloween trick or treating is over. Store it in a secret place out of reach from kids and adults.

3. Avoid grazing. If you maintain dental hygiene tip #2 this should not be an issue. The idea is not to just keep picking at the candy throughout the day. This reduces the time the sugars are in the mouth decreasing chance of tooth decay. A better idea is to hold back candy and use it as an after meal treat. Then have your child immediately brush and rinse to neutralize the sugar and acid production. Another option, if you cannot brush or rinse is to give them a sugar free xylitol gum. The gum will help increase salivary flow which will also help to neutralize the acids in the mouth.

4. Eat a Healthy Meal first. Have children not fill up on snacks and Halloween candy but fill up on a healthy nutritious meal first. This will give them less temptation to overdo their candy consumption. This is a good dental hygiene tip for all year and not just Halloween time.

So there you have it, a few easy dental hygiene tricks to allow you and your family to fully enjoy the Halloween time. Candy is not necessarily the enemy, the enemy is not maintaining a diligent dental hygiene regimen. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

Back to school for kids is always a nervous and exciting time for children and parents alike. What teacher will they get? Will their friends be in the in class with them?

One often overlooked item is school lunch and their associated snacks. Most schools these days have certain policies of trying to be more healthy and better educate kids and parents in nutrition.

As you head back to school, keep in mind what kind of foods and beverages you are giving your children to keep them energized going through their day. Many research studies have shown the importance of nutrition and its role in academic success. A good lunch (and healthy breakfast) can give kids the energy they need to stay focused throughout the entire school day.

Some parents choose to pack their children’s lunch box with fruit juice and other sweet drinks such as Gatorade. Cookies, fruit gummies, and candy bars are also chosen quite often for kids lunch snacks. Most children have little to no chance to practice dental hygiene while at school. As a result, these children are placed  at an increased risk for tooth decay. Remember that it is not just how much sugar our kids consume that causes tooth decay it is the length of time the sugar is left in the mouth, and sticky sugars stay the longest.

Tips For Choosing Healthy Lunches and Snacks

-Involve your kids in decisions.Make a grocery list, get kids excited about shopping for items for their lunchboxes. Teach them the proper food choices to make and understand why bad choices are bad for them. Also, gives them control of what they are eating. A child who chooses their lunch and helps prepare their own food is more likely to eat it. Colorful, fun wrappings, baggies and containers make items more visually appealing too.

-Think High Protein. Chicken, tuna, and egg salads can contain a lot of protein, which is great for a mid day pick me up. Do not use heavy amounts of Mayonnaise, as it is high in fat content. A good substitute many kids love is plain regular or greek yogurt, or olive oil mayo.

-Make Whole Wheat, whole grain choices. Try whole wheat bread, pitas, bagels, or sandwich thins to keep sandwiches interesting and healthy. Brown rice, wheat or brown rice pasta,with beans, veggies or cheese,  are a great alternative as well. Whole grains stick with you longer than white flour breads, and are not converted to sugar directly in your mouth as white flour and white rice are.

-Vegetables can be FUN! Vegetables can be made interesting for children by pairing them with fun dips. These dips can include low fat ranch, peanut butter, and hummus. Bright colorful pasta salads, and colorful veggie/bean salads are delicious and satisfying.

-Keep warm foods warm, cold foods cold with a Thermos, or ice pack. Use a thermos to pack favorite soups (like chicken soup or even meatballs) and leftovers and keep them warm until lunchtime arrives, many snack containers come with convenient re freezable inserts to keep foods cool. Kids love hot meals at lunch in winter time, and cool, refreshing treats in summer.

-Make sandwiches interesting. Use a cookie cutter to create fun sandwich shapes like dinosaurs, stars, or even hearts, you can even shape fruits such as pineapple and melon with cookie cutters.

-Avoid sweets and candy. Instead of sweets or candy, try fun packs of squeezable applesauce, fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, baked potato chips, wheat pretzels and cheese as snacks.

-If kids buy lunch at school review the school lunch menu at the beginning of the week with your child, and decide with your children the days that they would like to buy lunch and what choices are best for them.

-Chew Gum after meal. A chewing gum that is sweetened with xylitol is an excellent way to help prevent cavities.  Chewing gum, helps pull some of the stickier items out from between teeth, it also increases saliva which reduces the acid content in the mouth, and the xylitol inhibits cavity causing bacteria. It is easy to pack a piece of chewing gum in lunch box for a child to chew for a few minutes ( or have them count to 50) after lunch, and a napkin to place it in after chewing. Make sure to instruct them to dispose of gum when discarding other lunch trash, and NOT to bring it to recess. This habit will reduce sugar and acid content in mouth, and lower the risk of tooth decay.

Hope everyone has a great school year and keeps up their dental hygiene and schedules dental examinations as needed.