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Calcium is an important building block in our diets. The proper amount of calcium results in strong, healthy bones as well as strong teeth. Vitamin D plays a supportive role, and should be understood for it’s important role in helping the body absorb the incoming calcium. Many parents want to know if their child is receiving enough calcium to keep healthy and develop properly. This is especially true for those children who do not like to drink milk (8 ounces contains about 300 mg of calcium).

Guidelines For Calcium Intake

This amount needed varies by the age of the child:

-1 to 3 years old — 700 milligrams daily

-4 to 8 years old — 1000 milligrams

-9 to 18 years old — 1,300 milligrams

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only one in five children meets even the minimum standards for calcium intake. But most kids ages 9 to 18 do not get the recommended 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day.

Foods To Ingest For Calcium (Besides Milk)

Sometimes a refusal to drink milk is just a matter of taste. A good option is to try to use flavored milks, such as chocolate or strawberry milk (which has less sugar than juice or soda), and drinkable yogurt, which is loaded with calcium. Another good way to make milk taste better are by making milkshakes or healthy smoothies.

-Yogurt (8 ounces contains about 400 mg of calcium)

-Cheese (Think grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, or lasagna)

-Custard

-Rice Pudding

-Calcium-fortified orange juice

-Calcium-fortified soy milk

-Calcium-fortified breads and cereals

-Beans

-Broccoli

-Spinach

-Tofu

If your child is allergic to milk or is lactose intolerant, you may not be able to use many of the above suggestions to help increase their calcium intake. Luckily, there are many products and supplements available to provide the necessary calcium that your child requires.

Conclusion

Calcium is an essential part of a healthy diet for children and adults. The importance of the proper amounts of calcium found in our nutrition is vital to the proper development of a child. Without proper intake of calcium, growth can be stunted, teeth and bones may not be as strong. There are many options available to provide your child with the right amount of calcium. Find what works best for you and your family!

Undergoing orthodontic treatment can be a very challenging time for adults and young children. One of the big questions, after you find out how long you’ll have to wear them, is… Will I have to change what I eat?  Unfortunately, both children and adults will need to avoid certain foods or treats while undergoing orthodontic treatment.  Certain foods cause problems with orthodontic braces, and knowing what they are so that you can find alternatives, will make for an easier course of treatment. Eating or drinking the wrong thing can lead to brackets or wires breaking loose, tooth decay, and unsightly staining during orthodontic treatment.

Foods and Habits To Avoid

It is always recommended to follow a well balanced diet as this will give you the most benefit in your overall health as well as your dental health. The following are the types of foods to avoid to give you the best chance for orthodontic success: -Avoid Sticky and Sugary Foods. Cutting back on hard (nerds), sticky (milkduds), and gummy candies, white bread, donuts, oreos, etc. are always a good choice even without orthodontic braces. While wearing orthodontic brackets and wires theses sticky and acidic foods will stay trapped between the brackets and wires. This increases the likelihood of developing tooth decay during orthodontic treatment. The stickiness can also lead to broken wires and brackets. -Avoid High Acid/ High Sugar Beverages.  Soft drinks with high acid and high sugar can break down the bracket bonds and cause loosening of brackets, staining and decay. Alcoholic beverages have higher acids, dry out the mouth and cause tooth decay. Red wine may cause staining of the teeth and adhesive bond material around brackets. -Eat Smaller Pieces Of Food. Cut your food into smaller pieces and avoid biting into foods if possible. Break pieces off with your fingers or use a knife and fork. This will make them less harmful to your braces. Large pieces of something as seemingly harmless as an apple can have the effect of breaking down your brackets and loosening them. Broken brackets require increased visits to the orthodontist and can potentially delay results. Biting into large sandwiches, gnawing on ribs or chicken wings, nibbling on a cob of corn, can all cause loosening of brackets.  A good tip is to cut the apple into smaller pieces, take the meat off the bones and slice the kernels off the cob. -Avoid Hard, Crunchy, Chewy Snacks. This includes popcorn, corn nuts, hard pretzels, beef jerky, bagels, pizza crusts. These can break orthodontic brackets and once again delay orthodontic care. -Biting Or Chewing On Non-Edible Items. Nervous habits can do harm to our braces. These can include biting on nails, pens or pencils, using tooth picks. -Bubble Gum. Bubble gum is the enemy of braces. It gets stuck inside all the grooves of the brackets and wires. -Ice. Chewing ice can damage the bond between your teeth and your braces. There is also a good chance you can fracture your teeth as well. -Highly Staining Foods and Smoking. If you are wearing clear (white) porcelain brackets, or any elastics, they can stain from red wine, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and cigarette smoke. While it may seem like all foods are harmful there are plenty of healthy alternative snacks that do not harm your orthodontic braces. These can include yogurt, jell-o, pudding, cheese, and even chocolate bars (without nuts of course).

Orthodontics Conclusion

Orthodontic care will lead to an improved smile as long as you follow good habits. You need to be diligent in caring for your braces and maintaining good at home dental hygiene. Follow the instructions from your orthodontist, and avoid harmful foods and habits. Doing your best should help you avoid many problems, wasted time, embarrassing staining of teeth, and dental decay. Visit your dentist every 3 months during orthodontic treatment and continue with routine dental examinations.

Diet plays a big role in the maintenance of our teeth and gums. Many people are unaware of what foods are bad for our dental health. Did you know that carbohydrates are really just sugars in disguise? Luckily, our oral bacteria is unable to properly break down complex carbohydrates. However, simple sugars (monosaccharides) and links of simple sugars (disaccharides) can be broken down. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria break down these sugars producing acid as a byproduct. The acid sits on and between our teeth dissolving our teeth causing tooth decay.

Sugars That Cause Tooth Decay

-Sucrose. Also known as common table sugar (also sometimes called saccharose). Sucrose is found in most candy, is the sweetest of all the sugars, and is broken down by Streptococcus Mutans.  S.Mutans is able to uniquely break down sucrose into dextran. Dextran acts as the glue for the bacteria to stick to teeth as well as act as a reserve food source for the bacteria. This glue makes dental plaque stickier and harder to remove. Sucrose is found in sugar cane, maple trees, and sugar beets.

-Fructose. This sugar is found in nature in many fruits (berries, melons) and root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes). Fructose is not as sweet as Sucrose. Where Fructose becomes a problem for our teeth is when it is concentrated as high fructose corn syrup. At that point it becomes far sweeter than sucrose, sticky, and easily broken down by bacteria to cause decay. High fructose syrup is widely used due to its cheapness and its liquid form. Low cost makes it far easier to use in many commercial products.

-Glucose. This is the main energy source of our body. All of the other sugars ingested are broken down into glucose by the body. Glucose is broken down by bacteria as well and will cause  our teeth to decay.

-Lactose. Also known as milk sugar. It is found in many dairy products (milk, yogurt, and cheeses). This is one of the rare sugars that is not sweet to the taste but it can still be broken down by our oral bacteria to produce acid in our mouths and lead to decay. In infants, milk left pooled in the mouth by sleeping with a bottle, can cause decay and thrush.

-Maltose. Commonly found in bread, rice, cereals, and beer. Beer is especially dangerous as it contains sugar and is acidic. A detrimental combination for our teeth. Maltose, like lactose, does not taste very sweet.

Avoid Sugars?

Avoiding sugar in today’s modern world is quite impossible for many. As you can see above, sugars come in many forms and in a variety of foods. The key as always should be to take in sugars in moderation, and use thorough oral hygiene techniques. It is important to note that sucrose, has little nutritional benefit. Sucrose (white table sugar) should be ingested in moderation. Lactose, natural fructose, and maltose are found in products important to a good healthy diet so they obviously will not be avoided if we wish to be healthy.

Tips to Minimize Dangers From Sugar

-Moderation. Ingest sugars in moderation.

-Maintain Good Oral Hygiene. If you are eating lots of sugar be sure to brush if you can immediately following to remove and dissolve the majority of the byproduct acids. If you cannot brush, rinse thoroughly with water following eating sugars, and chew sugar free gum.

-Drink Water. This will lessen effects of acidic attack on our teeth.

Conclusion

Let’s face it, most of us are not going to hold to a strict sugar free diet so it is important to maintain good oral hygiene. This is doubly important for children who tend to eat more candies than  adults. As always remember to visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.