‘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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Smile healthy school lunches

August 27, 2013

Children will be going back to school soon, and for parents, that means coming up with new ideas for packing school lunches. Steer clear of prepackaged foods, which are easy and convenient but full of sugar and additives that damage your child’s overall health as well as his/her dental health. Especially avoid packing lunches with foods like fruit snacks, juice boxes, and candy. These foods expose teeth to sugar, which over a long period of time leads to decay.

Start the school year off right by packing nutritious lunches that will keep your child’s mouth healthy.

Here are some healthy lunch ideas:

  • Fresh fruit (grapes, apple slices, berries, etc.)
  • Fresh vegetables (carrot sticks, cucumber, celery with peanut butter)
  • Low fat cheese
  • Bottled water (with fluoride added)
  • Low-fat white milk
  • Wraps with lean turkey, low-fat cheese, and veggies (such as lettuce, tomato, and/or cucumber)

Not only will healthier lunches help your child’s dental and overall heath, but a nutritious lunch will help them concentrate in the classroom.

 

Share your healthy lunch ideas in the comments below.


ADA launches new consumer website

June 10, 2013

The American Dental Association (ADA) has created a great online resource for dental health topics. The site mouthhealthy.org is easy to use and includes useful information including: healthy habits, top concerns, nutrition and “fact or fiction” information, and tips for every stage of life, from pregnancy, babies and kids, teens to adults and adults over 60.

In addition, there is a wonderful section for children, complete with videos, quizzes, games and other activities that will help them understand the importance of dental hygiene.


Is there anything I can do for my baby’s teeth to ensure he/she will have healthy adult teeth?

May 1, 2013
It's never too early to teach kids good dental habits!

It’s never too early to teach kids good dental habits!

The sooner you instill good dental health habits with your children, the more likely they will be to have healthy adult teeth. You can start when they are babies.

  • Gently wipe your baby’s gums with a clean cloth after feedings.
  • If you give your child a bottle during bedtimes or at naps, make sure you use only water in the bottle. A bottle of sweetened liquid, like milk, formula, juice or pop may lead to tooth decay.
  • You can begin brushing their teeth as soon as the first tooth comes in. Start with a little water and continue to clean the gums that remain toothless.
  • Help your child brush and use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Teach him/her to spit out toothpaste and to rinse with water.
  • Set a good example for your child! Brush your own teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Be positive about dental visits.

Source: Michigan Dental Association


Make brushing fun for kids!

December 4, 2012

You know the guidelines: Your kids should brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes to help prevent tooth decay, cavities and promote oral health. But how often do your kids actually brush for the full two minutes? To kids, two minutes can feel like an eternity! Here are some ways to make brushing fun and easy for parents and kids:

  • Brush with your child–Stand side-by-side in front of the bathroom mirror and brush together. Have fun. Let your child mimic your brushing technique.
  • Set a timer–Electronic timers are readily available, but if you can find a small two minute hourglass timer, even better.
  • Cute toothbrushes–Great-looking children’s brushes are in stores everywhere. Choose one that’s small enough for your child to hold comfortably, with a small, rounded head and very soft, polished bristles. Every few months you should replace it—particularly for preschoolers who tend to chew while they brush.
  • Tasty toothpaste–Use toothpaste made for kids … it’s a safe and non-abrasive version, in mild flavors that kids love.
  • Say ahhhhh!–Your child can’t say “ahhh” with his or her mouth closed. As you brush, suggest varying the pitch, tone, and rhythm of the “ahhh” to keep things interesting.
  • Bring a friend–At bedtime, invite your child’s favorite stuffed animal into the bathroom to watch the brushing.
  • Make a sticker poster–Hang a piece of bright construction paper on the bathroom wall. Each time your child has a thorough brushing, he or she can choose a sticker or star and put it on the poster.

Sources: Orajel and www.sheknows.com


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)