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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 dentalDental Care Marielaina Perrone DDS 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!

 

Kids love a good bowl of cereal for breakfast in the morning. Parents have been serving it to their children for decades. The problem is, that most popular cereals have more sugar than

Honey Smacks Cereal Marielaina Perrone DDS

Highest sugar content by weight for children’s cereal

three large chocolate chip cookies!

A new study has found that one cup of over 40 of the most popular kids breakfast cereals, has more sugar than three chips ahoy brand chocolate chip cookies.

The cereal with the highest sugar content by weight is Kellogg’s Honey Smacks. A one cup serving of Honey Smacks cereal contains more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie.

In defense of the makers of these cereals, they have lowered sugar content over the years from much higher levels in the past, but more needs to be done to make them a healthier breakfast. Starting the day with high carbs and no protein allows for an initial sugar rush and a subsequent “carb-crash”. Kids need to be able to focus in school, and a good breakfast can help with that.  Kids should not be loading up on sugar first thing in the morning. Not only is it bad for their overall health but also their dental health. This high sugar, carb meal has spread to other meals as well, and is linked  to the childhood obesity crisis we are seeing worldwide, especially in the United States. A balanced breakfast of fruit, protein and carbs is what is recommended for maximum performance.

What Can Parents Do to limit Sugar intake at Breakfast?

First of all, they can make better choices at breakfast time. There are plenty of better cereal and breakfast options. A few good alternative cereals include:

-Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats: Unfrosted Bite- Size

-General Mills Cheerios Original

-General Mills Kix Original

- sprinkle the cereal over a bowl of yogurt, or have a handful of fruit and nuts with your cereal to add protein and vitamins.

Four Steps for a Healthy Morning

1. Foods with fiber or protein will sustain your child until the next meal or snack.

2. Include a serving of seasonal fresh fruit or vegetables (frozen works as well).

3. Skip the fruit juice—just eat the fruit! Fruit juice is high in acid and sugar content which are both bad for your dental health.

4. Don’t be afraid of “dinner for breakfast.” Many cultures include hearty options on breakfast menus.

Most children’s cereals fail miserably at meeting the federal government’s proposed voluntary guidelines for foods nutritious enough to be marketed to children. Sugar is the top problem, but many also contain too much fat or sodium or not enough whole grains.

The bottom line: Most parents say no to dessert for breakfast, but many children’s cereals have just as much sugar as a dessert (or more). Simple-to-prepare, healthy breakfasts for children can include fresh fruit and high-fiber, lower-sugar cereals. Better yet, pair that fruit with homemade oatmeal. Always have your children brush their teeth after breakfast, try leaving a toothbrush and toothpaste in a cup by the kitchen sink!

The top 10 worst, ranked by percent sugar by weight:

1 Kellogg’s Honey Smacks 55.6%
2 Post Golden Crisp 51.9%
3 Kellogg’s Fruit Loops Marshmallow 48.3%
4 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries 46.9%
5 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original 44.4%
6 Quaker Oats Oh!s 44.4%
7 Kellogg’s Smorz 43.3%
8 Kellogg’s Apple Jacks 42.9%
9 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries 42.3%
10 Kellogg’s Fruit Loops Original 41.4%

To keep your family healthy and safe, visit your physician regularly for annual check ups and visit your dentist to ensure your children are not developing tooth cavities from poor nutritional choices in the mornings.