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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.

Wishing Everyone A Happy, Healthy, And Prosperous New Year 2015



It is Holiday time again…holiday parties, office parties, and social occasions with friends. Time to get yourself ready for these holiday events with a bright, shiny smile and clean, fresh breath.

Start with the Basics for Best Holiday Dental Health

The basics include brushing at least twice a day (for at least 2 minutes each time) and flossing daily. This is the foundation for a healthy smile and fresh breath. Brushing and flossing properly allow you to remove the food debris and plaque that builds up each day from our daily activities. This plaque and food debris, if left, will eventually cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath.

Tip for fresh breath: Brushing your teeth and flossing work very well to reduce bad breath, but did you know there was another way to freshen your breath? Tongue cleaning or scraping removes dead cells and unwanted food particles from the folds of your tongue. The debris on your tongue is responsible for a good portion of bad breath.You can buy a specially designed tongue scraper or just use a separate toothbrush after brushing your teeth. Studies have shown this can improve breath by as much as 20%.

Choose Healthy Snacks this Holiday

Make a conscious choice this holiday to choose healthier options. These options can include a carrot, a stick of celery, or even an apple. These types of snacks also work well to help clean stickier foods and plaque off your teeth. They also have an added benefit of increasing salivary flow which will help neutralize acids and wash away bacteria from your teeth, gums, and tongue.

Tip for fresh breath: Chew on some garnish! You will usually find garnishes of parsley or mint on a holiday tray of food. Parsley is a breath saver because it contains chlorophyll, a well known breath deodorizer. Chewing on a few raw mint leaves will freshen your breath very quickly.

Choose the Right Drinks

As many of us are aware drinking certain beverages will lead to staining of our teeth. These beverages include soft drinks, black tea, coffee, and red wine. If you do choose to partake in these beverages try to use a straw to limit exposure to your teeth, or swish and swallow water directly after. This will not only help reduce stains but also lower the acid and sugar exposure on your teeth. Drinks high in sugar dry your mouth and make you thirstier, a dry mouth generally leads to bad breath.

Tip for fresh breath: Choose to drink water instead! Water will not stain your teeth and it helps keep bad breath under control because it washes away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. It also helps you avoid “dry mouth,” another cause of bad breath, by staying well hydrated. A good tip is also to try drinking green tea: gargling or rinsing your mouth with green tea suppresses the growth of bacteria that cause mouth odor as well as decrease your risks of tooth decay.

Quick Tips For a Pre Holiday Freshen Up

Some mouth rinses or breath fresheners may actually worsen a bad breath problem by irritating oral tissue with their high alcohol content. For an emergency freshen-up, try a quick rinse with a mix of water and a few drops of peppermint oil. Or, you can eat a piece of sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum. Sucking on a piece of sugarless candy or chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva flow, which will help to wash away food debris and bacteria that cause bad breath. A breath spray can also help. most are minty and cover odors briefly, but you can try something like closys which actually neutralizes mouth odor.

If you follow these tips throughout the holiday season, you may find that not only will you enjoy your holiday festivities, confident in your bright smile and sparkling fresh breath, but also that you have improved your oral health for the coming new year. Remember the holidays are a time to smile joyously so feel comfortable knowing you have healthy teeth and fresh breath. Enjoy the holidays!!

May Everyone Have A Safe, Happy, And Healthy Christmas 2014