Conversations with the Dentist
There are times when you have a question about your dental health but don’t feel it merits an entire appointment. And there are times when we have something we’d like to tell you about but don’t have the time to call everyone. We created this section of our website so you can ask questions and we can answer them, as well as let you know about other office happenings.
You can browse our content by clicking on a topic to the right. Submit questions or comments here!
6 HEALTHY FROZEN TREATS FOR SUMMER
School’s almost out, the weather’s heating up, and your kids are craving those icy treats. Since a diet of ice cream and milkshakes isn’t what the dentist ordered, here are some suggestions for frozen delights that are less sugary and more nourishing.
Frosty Grape Skewers
Ingredients: Fresh grapes, any color
Wooden skewers, for assembling
Thread grapes onto wooden skewers, then freeze in a gallon freezer bag. Thaw ten minutes before enjoying.
Kids love to help thread the grapes onto the skewers and the end result tastes like a sweet slushy.
Summer Berry Froyo cups
1 cup whole plain yogurt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
about 20 raspberries
½ cup blueberries
Blend bananas, yogurt, raspberries and vanilla until smooth. Spoon into a muffin tin (silicone works best) and top with blueberries and raspberries. Freeze, then pop out and store in freezer bags. Thaw ten minutes before enjoying.
These charming, sweet-tart cups are perfect with breakfast on a hot morning.
Banana Mango Chia Pops
1 cup frozen mango
2 T chia seeds
Puree fruit in a food processor until smooth, then stir in seeds. Spoon mixture into pop molds and freeze.
These sweet speckled pops provide extra soluble fiber and a fun crunchy/smooth texture.
Probiotic Chocolate Nice Cream
Probiotic powder is optional in this creamy vegan ice cream.
Two bananas, broken into chunks and frozen
1 Tbls. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbls. natural peanut butter.
½ tsp. vanilla extract.
1 scoop unflavored probiotic powder (optional)
Puree banana chunks in a food processor until creamy. Add remaining ingredients and puree a second time, until the consistency is completely smooth, like soft serve. Enjoy immediately.
Pineapple Orange Carrot Pops
1 whole orange
1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into four big sticks
In a food processor or high-powered blender, puree all ingredients until smooth. Pour into pop molds and freeze overnight.
Put some orange veggies into your sweet treat! They add fiber, vitamin A and depth-of-flavor.
Frozen Watermelon Shapes
Fresh watermelon, whole or part.
Star, heart, or other simply-shaped cookie cutters
Wooden popsicle sticks, for assembling
Cut the watermelon into large rounds about ½ to 1 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter to punch out shapes, and insert one stick into the middle of each shape. Stack carefully inside a gallon freezer bag and freeze overnight.
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The Top 6 Foods to Spring Clean your Mouth!
Spring cleaning is about more than just your home. Our mouths deserve the same rejuvenation from time to time. And there is no better way to brighten that smile than by eating a healthy diet. Here are the top 6 foods that clean teeth naturally, often acting as natural abrasives to polish those pearly whites.
- Tea – Herbal teas, like green tea, contain polyphenol antioxidants that reduce plaque and prevent cavities and gum disease. Tea also contains fluoride, which helps strengthen tooth enamel and eliminates bad breath.
- Cheese – Cheese contains natural cavity-fighting agents, as well as vitamins that strengthen teeth. The calcium and phosphate in cheese helps balance pH levels in the mouth, preserves tooth enamel, produces saliva, and kills bacteria that cause cavities and disease.
- Fruits – Fruits, such as apples, strawberries and kiwis, scrub your teeth when you eat them. When the natural fibers of the fruits combine with saliva in the mouth, they help wash away food particles and stain-causing bacteria.
- Vegetables – Crunchy vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and cucumbers can help clean your teeth and gums by removing food particles that can build up into plaque.
- Fresh herbs – Chewing on herbs, like parsley, cilantro, and mint helps decrease odors caused by a buildup of bacteria.
- Water – Water cleans the mouth and produces saliva that deposits essential minerals that build tooth enamel. Water also keeps gums hydrated and washes away food particles from teeth.
Question: I’ve heard I need to do a new x-ray every year. Is that right?
Dr. A Says: The common refrain of ‘once a year’ is wrong, wrong, wrong. The frequency of x-rays depends largely on your personal dental history, which is determined by many factors. For example, have you had many decayed teeth? How’s your home care? How’s your diet?
People who have no fillings or very few fillings or decayed areas have earned the right to defer x-rays to, perhaps, 2 year intervals. Your dentist and hygienist can determine the interval based not on a pre-determined interval, but upon your particular need.
Have a question? Send it to us here.
Teaching Kids To Make Their Own Lunches
Busy, working parents face many hurdles in that early morning rush to get their little ones out the door. One of the biggest challenges? The daily packing of school lunch. What to make? Will they even eat what we make or simply go on a hunger strike until we meet their demands – a lunch of nothing but popcorn and fruit roll-ups? We have an idea to both take some of the pressure off yourself and to give your kids more responsibility: have them start making part of their lunch.
You may have heard that the more kids help with shopping and cooking a meal, the more likely they are to eat it. Let’s test the theory out!
A Few Tips for Prepping Ahead
- Take the kids shopping. Give them choices in the produce section for the upcoming week’s lunches. Shop the bulk bins and have them pick out the type of dried fruit, trail mix or grains they want to try. They just might surprise you!
- Have the right containers for the job. Many kids like storing their lunch in multiple containers. Imagine grapes in one container, cheese cubes in another, carrot coins and cherry tomatoes in yet another, and hummus and pita triangles on the side. The next day it will be a different combination.
- Prep extra staple ingredients while making dinner. Make another chicken breast for shredding, slice more bell peppers, or cook another cup of rice or greens for your child to incorporate into lunches.
- Avoid the morning rush hour. After dinner, start an assembly line on the dining room table, which may be easier for smaller kids to work on than counter tops.
Easy and Fun Food Ideas
- Lunchbox Quesadilla is an easy make-ahead lunch that older kids can prepare in one pan, and it’s a delicious way to use up leftovers.
- Deli-style rollups with ham, sliced chicken, or turkey. Easy and bread-free for a change of pace.
- Tuna or egg salad with whole grain crackers.
- Make a rice bowl Start with brown rice or quinoa (or both). Add a protein such as leftover chicken or cooked beans. Add veggies. Top with a sauce or dressing.
- Do the dip. Have your child package up single servings of salsa, dip or hummus and grab veggies, crackers or pita chips for dippers.
- Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato Pita Pockets packs whole grain pitas with a mixture of greens, tomatoes and mashed avocado for a satisfying and colorful midday meal.
- Pasta Salad using Leftovers Add veggies and voila!
- Apple Sandwiches with Granola and Peanut Butter Use Sunflower spread instead for a great nut-free alternative.
- Don’t forget the apple! They can be sliced at home and held together with a rubber band to decrease browning from oxidation.
While at first, you’ll need to be close at hand, making sure they’re packing the essentials (protein, fruit, veggies, whole grain, etc.) and to take over any sharp knife or stove activities, we believe the future payoff is worth the initial time investment.
Tips For Toothpaste Buying
So often we go to the store looking for toothpaste and find ourselves overwhelmed by all those red and blue boxes promising things like whitening! minty fresh! kills plaque! The question is, what actually makes a good toothpaste? What are the key ingredients and properties to look out for? Here is a handy guide to help answer those very questions.
What the best toothpaste has
- Calcium carbonate and silica – These two abrasive agents work on removing food, plaque, bacteria and stains from your teeth. But consider the level of abrasiveness. All ADA-approved toothpastes fall within certain limits, but the range is quite wide. Some dentists advise erring on the side of low abrasiveness.
- Enamel protection – Since the body cannot regenerate enamel, which is the thin covering on your teeth that keeps them healthy and protected from hypersensitivity, it’s important for your toothpaste to strengthen your enamel and protect it from acid damage.
- A pleasant taste and consistency – Long-lasting freshness and the texture of toothpaste is important. A medicinal taste or goopy consistency won’t make you want to brush those pearly babies.
Before you head to the store, here are some good things to know
- Use a Fluoride toothpaste – Experts say fluoride is important for preventing cavities and maintaining oral health. The label may list this as stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride or monofluoride phosphate (MFP).
- The ADA Seal of Acceptance – Look for any toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal to insure it’s been proven safe and effective.
- Most whitening toothpastes are over-hyped – Whitening toothpastes don’t whiten your teeth in the same way, say, take-home kits or cosmetic dentists do. Mostly, they do what other toothpastes do: remove stains from the surface of your teeth. When used twice daily they can make teeth appear whiter, but will not affect, long-term, any stain that goes deeper than a tooth’s surface.
- Sensitive formulas can help those with mild mouth pain – These work for mild cases of tooth hypersensitivity, but expect to wait 4 to 6 weeks before you feel any results. Also, keep in mind that these won’t work for tooth pain caused by cavities or tooth problems other than receding gums. If you’re in real pain, see a dentist!
- Avoid SLS if you have sensitive teeth or are prone to canker sores – Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can irritate the gums and lining of the mouth in some people. If you are prone to mouth sensitivity or canker sores, dentists recommend choosing a fluoride toothpaste that does not contain SLS.
- A little goes a long way – A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is all you need to get the job done. For kids, even less. Which means, more time between your next trip to the store!