‘Smile healthy’ holiday gift ideas for all ages

December 17, 2013

Here are some ideas for gifts and stocking stuffers that are not only fun, but will help protect the smile of a friend or family member:

‘Smile healthy’ stocking stuffers

  • Sugar-free gum or mints
  • Single-use toothbrushes, preloaded with toothpaste (Ex: Colgate Wisps)
  • Travel size dental floss, mouth rinses, toothpastes, toothbrush and toothbrush holder (can be packaged nicely in a travel bag too!
  • New toothbrushes (cartoon characters and bright colors are popular for children
  • New toothpaste and/or mouth rinses in fun flavors
  • Hourglass timer in fun colors for kids to time brushing
  • Tooth fairy pillow/box
  • Sports mouth guard (in team colors)
  • Zoom! Whitening pens
  • Electric toothbrush
  • A gift certificate for professional Zoom! teeth whitening

Another idea is to offer to pay for (or a portion of) a dental procedure your loved one has been putting off due to lack of funds or dental insurance.


A cavity-free Halloween

October 22, 2013

Halloween is just around the corner! I recently came across a candy alternative for school parties or your trick-or-treaters … involving fruit: http://underconstructionblog.typepad.com/under_construction/2010/10/halloween-fruit.html. For more tips and ideas, read my blog article, “A cavity-free Halloween

Smiles By Baker

Americans are projected to spend $2 billion on candy this Halloween. Try to avoid the sticky, chewy, hard and crunchy treats. Soft and sticky candies stick to the teeth, giving the decay-causing bacteria time to decay your teeth. Hard candies dissolve slowly in your mouth, coating your teeth with sugar for a long period of time. They can also chip your teeth and cause choking in younger children. Some Halloween candy alternatives:

  • Animal crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Stickers or temporary tattoos
  • Pencils, pens or erasers
  • Small packs of crayons
  • Bubbles
  • Plastic jewelry
  • Play-Doh
  • Lip balm

Can you think of any others? Post a comment with your ideas for alternatives to Halloween candy.

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Halloween treats: Tips for parents

October 24, 2012

Halloween is the perfect time to teach children moderation in eating. Help kids include their sweet treats in a healthy eating plan, set limits on when and how much candy they can have, and stick to those limits. Inventory your children’s candy, and don’t let them eat too many treats at once. Most candy has a long shelf-life. Put the “treat stash” out of children’s reach and limit them to eating about two pieces of candy a day.

Teach kids that sweets can fit into their diet in limited amounts, maybe as part of a certain meal, as a snack with a fruit, etc. Combine a treat, such as a miniature candy bar, with a healthy snack like an apple. Make sure the child eats the apple first so they are less hungry for the treat. This provides them with the health benefits of the apple while teaching them healthier eating habits.

If your child comes home with too much candy and sweet treats, arrange a buyout. Pay a nickel or dime for each sweet treat they “sell” you, and let them “earn” money for a toy or game they want to buy. Remember that sugary Halloween candy contributes to tooth decay. Tooth brushing and flossing are extremely important after eating sweets or any foods that stick to the teeth.

(Source: Clemson University)


Apple orchard season is here

October 19, 2012

Apples have been called nature’s toothbrush because they stimulate the gums, increase saliva flow and reduce the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria. Their rough, fiber-rich flesh, makes them the ideal food for cleansing and brightening teeth. Chewing also stimulates the saliva flow, which washes away food particles.

Apples can actually help scrub away stubborn stains over time. Their cleansing effect on your teeth may be noticeable—if ever so slightly—especially if you’re a coffee drinker. Start eating an apple a day as a between-meal snack and see if you notice a difference! Be sure to follow it with a glass of water to rinse away the sugar, acid, and any plaque it may have removed from your enamel.

(Source: Prevention Magazine)


Smile friendly Easter candy

March 28, 2012

Easter Bunny listen up!

Candies to avoid completely:

  • Hard candies like suckers, jaw breakers and Jolly Ranchers because they are in the mouth longer, exposing teeth to sugar over a longer period of time, which leads to decay.
  • Chewy candies such as jelly beans, fruit chews and gummy bears. They can weaken or pull out sealants and fillings.

Dentist approved treats:

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Chocolate bunnies (plain chocolate won’t stick to teeth like other candies)
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Toothbrushes (cartoon characters and bright colors or an electric toothbrush)
  • Stickers or temporary tattoos
  • Coloring books/crayons
  • Comic books/magazines
  • Lip balm

Tips to eliminate cavities:

  • Eat just a couple pieces a day
  • Brush and floss after eating candy

Surviving the holidays without cavities

November 22, 2011

The holidays are just around the corner, which means Thanksgiving and holiday parties full of sugary treats and candy. Try to avoid the sticky, chewy, hard and crunchy treats. Soft and sticky candies stick to the teeth, giving the decay-causing bacteria time to decay your teeth. Hard candies dissolve slowly in your mouth, coating your teeth with sugar for a long period of time. They can also chip your teeth and cause choking in younger children. Instead of sweets, donate fruit, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, or bottled water (with fluoride) for your child’s class party. Drinking water after eating sugary sweets will help rinse sugar away.

The Michigan Dental Association offers the following healthy tips:

  • Serve a balanced meal before the festivities begin, so children won’t be tempted to fill up on candy before they get home.
  • Offer the holiday candy as a substitute for dessert after lunch and dinner, or a few pieces along with a healthy snack.
  • Mix in healthy snacks along with candy, like vegetables, yogurt or milk, which is good for dunking cookies and washing down sweets.
  • Model healthy habits to your children by practicing restraint when dipping into the candy jar yourself.
  • Remember that dessert can be part of a healthy diet. Moderation is the key.
  • Make sure your children brush and floss their teeth after enjoying holiday treats.

A cavity-free Halloween

October 17, 2011

Americans are projected to spend $2 billion on candy this Halloween. Try to avoid the sticky, chewy, hard and crunchy treats. Soft and sticky candies stick to the teeth, giving the decay-causing bacteria time to decay your teeth. Hard candies dissolve slowly in your mouth, coating your teeth with sugar for a long period of time. They can also chip your teeth and cause choking in younger children. Some Halloween candy alternatives:

  • Animal crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Stickers or temporary tattoos
  • Pencils, pens or erasers
  • Small packs of crayons
  • Bubbles
  • Plastic jewelry
  • Play-Doh
  • Lip balm

Can you think of any others? Post a comment with your ideas for alternatives to Halloween candy.