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Besides daily hygiene and regular dental visits, the best thing you can do for your kids' dental health is to see that they're eating a nutritious diet. And not just at mealtime—healthy snacking also promotes healthy teeth and gums.
Healthy snack foods are quite similar to their counterparts at mealtime: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. At the same time, you should avoid providing processed snacks high in sugar, salt, unhealthy fats and calories.
Managing snack choices at home is usually a simple matter of discipline and follow-through. When they're at school, however, it's a bit trickier as they may encounter snacks sold on school grounds or offered by fellow students that don't meet your definition of a healthy food. Public schools follow nutrition guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on snacks sold on school grounds, but many dentists don't believe the standard goes far enough to protect dental health.
So, what can you do to combat these less healthy snack choices your kids may encounter at school? For one thing, you can work with your child's school officials to exceed the USDA guidelines or turn off snack vending machines right before lunch to lessen kids' temptation to skip lunch.
You can also interact with your children to better manage their schooltime snacking. But rather than issue blanket commands about what they should snack on at school, help them instead understand the difference between nutritional foods and less nutritional ones, and why it's important to choose healthy snacks for their life and health.
Finally, don't send them to school empty-handed—pack along nutritious snacks so that they won't seek out vending machines or their classmates to satisfy the munchies. You can supercharge your efforts with a little creativity (like a dash of cinnamon in a bag of unbuttered popcorn) that make your snacks fun and more enticing than other school ground options.
It's not always easy to keep your kids from unhealthy snack choices. But with a little commitment, interaction and ingenuity, you can help steer them toward snacks that are tooth-friendly.
If you would like more information on boosting your child's dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Snacking at School: How to Protect Your Child's Teeth and Promote Good Nutrition.”
Most everyone knows that going to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help save your smile — but did you ever stop to think that it just might save your life?
That's what recently happened to 11-year-old Journee Woodard of Edmond, Oklahoma. The young girl was having a routine teeth cleaning when hygienist Rachel Stroble noticed something unusual: The whites of her eyes (her sclera) had a distinctly yellow tint. Dr. Michael Chandler, Journee’s dentist, confirmed the hygienist’s suspicions, and advised her mom to take her for further testing. The tests revealed that Journee had a tumor covering parts of her pancreas, gallbladder and liver; it could have ruptured at any moment, with devastating consequences.
The tumor was removed three days later in a 9-hour operation, and Journee is now recovering. As for her dentist, Dr. Chandler told reporters that he and his staff were just doing their jobs thoroughly. “It's hard to feel like I’m a hero,” he said (though others might disagree).
Is this a one-in-a-million case? Maybe — yet for many people, a family dentist may be the health care professional who is seen more often than any other. That can put dentists in the unique position of being able to closely monitor not only a person’s oral health, but also their overall health.
There are several reasons why that’s so. One is that most systemic diseases (such as diabetes, leukemia, and heart disease, for example) can have oral manifestations — that is, symptoms that show up in the mouth. If your dentist notices something unusual, further testing may be recommended. Dentists also regularly screen for diseases specific to the mouth — such as oral cancer, which has a much better chance of being cured when it is caught at an early stage.
But beyond checking for particular diseases, dentists often notice other things that may indicate a health issue. For example, if you complain of dry mouth or snoring, and appear fatigued in the dental chair, your dentist may suspect undiagnosed sleep apnea: a potentially serious condition. Many other signs — such as yellowed eyes, a pounding heart rate, or shortness of breath — can indicate potential problems.
Of course, we’re not even mentioning the main reason for regular dental checkups — keeping your smile healthy and bright; for many people that’s reason enough. How does Journee’s mom feel about keeping dental appointments? “I will never miss another dentist appointment,” she told reporters. “I will never reschedule.”
If you would like more information about routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”
Millions of children soon will head off to a new school year. Routine physical examinations, including hearing and vision tests, help ensure that students are in good health before school begins. When scheduling health care appointments, don't overlook a dental checkup for your child. A dental examination is as important as booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Some states may require dental checkups at three-year intervals; other states have no requirements. However, children need to see their dentist at intervals recommended by their dentist. Many parents and caregivers don't realize that serious tooth decay is an infectious disease for which there is no immunization.
More than one-half of all children aged 5 to 9 years have at least one cavity or filling. A painful tooth or chronic dental problem can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking and concentrating. Children with chronic dental pain may not always voice their problem. They may appear anxious, depressed or tired, but teachers may not recognize their pain. Dental problems also cause many children to miss school.
Regular dental checkups and preventive dental care, such as cleanings and fluoride treatment, provide children with "smile" insurance. Routine dental examinations uncover problems that can be treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal and restorations may be small. This helps prevent painful, chronic conditions and saves money.
When necessary, radiographs (commonly called "X-rays") are taken to see how the teeth are developing and to spot hidden decay. Every child should have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. Early examination and treatment may prevent or reduce the severity of malocclusions (or "bad bite") in the permanent teeth.
Because children's needs differ, your dentist is best able to suggest a schedule of visits for your child. The frequency of dental visits will depend partly on the child's eating habits, how clean the teeth are kept, past treatment needs, whether the child drinks fluoridated water, and other factors that can affect the likelihood of dental diseases.
This great info courtesty of Metlife Oral Health Library.
When you think of raisins do you think healthy? When I was a child my mother always told me that raisins are known as “nature’s candy” and that they are very good for you. But have you ever thought that they can actually cause cavities?
Recent research has indicated that by the time children reach kindergarten, over 40% of children already have one or more cavities. When you look at it from a pediatric dentist’s point of view, raisins are sticky and contain a lot of sugar which may cause your child to develop cavities! Of course raisins aren’t the only cause of cavities; it is the combined effort of many other things such as juice, junk foods, candies, lack of brushing and just not visiting the dentist every 6 months.
Everything has a list of pros and cons and it is important to remember that MODERATION IS KEY! With childhood obesity on the rise, it is good to know that one of the pros of eating raisins is that they are low in fat and cholesterol too! Raisins also happen to be high in fiber, iron, potassium and some calcium.
You may be asking….what about all that sugar? Isn’t there a lot of sugar in raisins? The answer is Yes BUT raisins contain NATURAL SUGARS which is much different than refined and processed sugars in sweets.
So what’s the bottom line? Well, your child can have raisins because there are many benefits to them but do not let them overindulge! Moderation is key so too much of anything can be harmful. Make sure your child brushes and flosses their teeth after eating sticky things like raisins…and you should do the same!
Have you been reminded that the rough and tumble play of children isn't risk-free? Has your child received an accidental blow to the mouth while jumping on a trampoline, playing sports or rough housing with friends? A mouthguard is recommended when doing all these fun activities.
Numerous studies have shown that mouthguards are effective in preventing dental injuries. But there's a catch: They only work when you wear them! A mouthguard can be purchased at your local drug store or Dr. Doyle can make a personalized one for your child.
It's great to thave fun, just remember to be safe while having fun this summer!