‘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.

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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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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)


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)


Foods for good oral health

June 25, 2012

Many of the foods you eat to build strong muscles and bones also help build strong teeth and gums.

Dairy products—Provide calcium and vitamin D for strengthening teeth and bones.

Breads and cereals—Contain B vitamins for growth and iron for healthy blood, both contribute to healthy gum tissue.

Fruits and vegetables—Include vitamin C (among other important vitamins), which is essential to maintaining healthy gums.

Lean meat, fish, poultry and beans—Supply iron and protein for good overall health, as well as magnesium and zinc for healthy teeth and bones.


Guide to dental floss

May 21, 2012

If there’s one thing my patients need to do more of, it’s floss. Regular flossing removes plaque buildup between teeth a toothbrush can’t reach, preventing gum disease.

 Types of dental floss:

  • Unwaxed floss—a thin nylon floss made of about 35 strands twisted together. It fits into tight spaces if your teeth are close together, but it can be prone to shredding or breaking.
  • Waxed floss—a standard nylon floss with a light wax coating. It is less likely to break, but the wax coating may make it harder to use in tight spots.
  • Dental tape is broader and flatter than standard floss and comes in waxed or unwaxed versions. People with more space between their teeth often find dental tape more comfortable to use than standard floss.

Using a “flosser”

Flosser

Dental flossers like this make flossing easier.

If you have trouble reaching the back of your mouth or gripping traditional floss, try a flosser. A flosser is basically a piece of floss on a handle. Like toothbrushes, flossers come in a variety of shapes and colors (even battery-powered!). Look for one with a long handle for easier holding and a compact head that makes it easier to reach behind the back teeth—a particularly tricky spot to clean. Dental flossers also come in a variety of kid friendly colors and cartoon characters.

 The best type of dental floss is the one that is most comfortable for you. The easier to use, the more likely the patient will floss on a regular basis.

Source: Oral B