• 10 Tips for Dealing with Treats at Halloween

    The deluge of sugar-filled candy treats at Halloween can be overwhelming for both kids and their parents. Loads of sugar is definitely not good for a child’s oral health, and getting that message across without making candy seem even more irresistible can be tough. But if you follow the tips we have below, your child should be able to enjoy the fun of Halloween in all its sticky wonderfulness without their smiles ending up looking like the Jack-O-Lanterns on your front steps!

    Before your child goes trick-or-treating, be sure they eat a well-balanced meal. This will help reduce the likelihood that your child will want to fill up on candy on Halloween night.

    Beware of certain candy options. Chewy candies are tough on your child’s teeth because they get stuck in the spaces between their teeth and they can loosen or dislodge crowns, fillings, orthodontic appliances and space maintainer. Plus sour candies can break down the enamel on your child’s teeth because they are highly acidic.

    Be aware of starches and sugars that are hidden. While alternatives to candy such as cereal bars, flavored yogurts, fruit bars, pureed fruit pouches and juices can seem to be more friendly to your child’s teeth, they can actually be just as destructive on children’s teeth as traditional Halloween candy. Read the labels to see how much sugar is actually in the alternative.

    Set a regular time for treats. Constant snacking on candy can be very harmful to your child’s teeth. Set a specific time each day (right after dinner or when they get home from school) when it’s “candy time” for your child. This ritual treat time can last long after Halloween and help promote healthy thinking about treats and moderation.

    Pick a set number of treats. When your child returns from trick-or-treating or a Halloween party, sit down and go through their back of treats together. Have them choose a set number of treats that they want the most.  Letting children help decide what is a reasonable amount of candy to keep has benefits beyond good oral health.

    Put away the extra treats.  Donate them to a food bank, save them for future treat times or freeze them if you can’t bear to throw them out.

    Pick the best candy options for oral health. Good ideas include dark chocolate and sugar-free gum. Dark chocolate is loaded with good stuff for your child’s oral health, including antioxidants that can inhibit bacteria from sticking to the teeth, preventing infections in gums and battling tooth decay. Sugar-free gum made with xylitol promotes the growth of “good” bacteria that can make it touch for “bad” bacteria.

    Get swishy. Okay, we know that most kids aren’t looking forward to Halloween so they can eat dark chocolate and sugar-free gum. So if they are going to consume more traditional Halloween treats, be sure they drink lots of water during and after they eat their treats. Have them swish the water around before swallowing – it will help to dislodge particles of candy from between their teeth. Consider decorating a Halloween-themed reusable water bottle to encourage your child to drink lots of water.

    Double down on your child’s brushing and flossing habits. Let’s face it, the #1 way to protect your kid’s oral health from sugary sweets is to brush and floss regularly. Especially after their “treat times”!

    Figure out a healthy balance. You don’t have to deny your children some Halloween fun. Just be sure to balance those sugar-laden foods with healthy foods and talk about the difference between the two in their overall health.

    Sources: AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry), WebMD

  • Tips to Help Your Child Avoid Cavities from Their Baby Bottle

    Here are nine tips for baby bottle usage to help you keep your little one free of cavities.

    Avoid Sugary Beverages

    Sports drinks and fruit juices are packed with sugar and are not recommended for your baby’s bottle. That’s because lots of sugar leads to tooth decay and can create a host of dental problems as their baby teeth start to show. Plus, cavities in your baby’s teeth can sometimes create problems in their new adult teeth when they start to appear.

    Be Sure to Wipe Their Mouth After a Meal

    Fifteen minutes after each liquid or solid meal, wipe out your baby’s mouth with a clean, damp cloth. This will remove sugar and residual food and beverage than can increase the chance of cavities.

    Beware the Bedtime Bottle

    A bottle at bedtime might seem like a good idea for an infant, but it can negatively impact their teeth and gums. The sugar in formula, breast milk and milk can lead to infection if a bottle is regularly given to a child at bedtime. That’s because you won’t be able to wipe out your child’s mouth before they go to sleep, so that sugar will stay in their mouth all night. Try to develop a routine at bedtime that doesn’t involve a baby bottle, or if it does, use water in the bottle.

    Encourage a Drink Before Bedtime

    Encourage your child to develop a routine that involves them taking a long drink before they go to bed. This will help them avoid wanting a bottle at bedtime.

    Skip the Microwave

    Don’t heat a formula-filled baby bottle in the microwave. Granted, it’s more convenient and quicker, but your microwave won’t heat the formula evenly and may produce formula too hot for your baby to drink. Also, the plastic in your baby bottle may be damaged from the heat produced by the microwave.

    Use Warm Water to Heat

    Your best approach to warming a baby bottle is to use a pot on the stove filled with water. Be sure to use a pan that will allow you to completely cover the baby bottle with water. Use a low to medium setting, warm the water for five minutes, then put the baby bottle in the warm water and heat for up to two minutes. Squeeze a drop on the inside of your forearm before giving the bottle to your infant – it’s a good way to check the formula’s temperature.

    Walking and Baby Bottles Don’t Go Together

    Avoid letting your child walk around while drinking from a baby bottle. They are bound to fall when they are learning to walk, and a fall with a bottle in their mouth can result in a facial injury.

    Lidless Cups Should Be the Goal

    Around the time your child begins to walk (generally 12 to 18 months) is when you should start to wean your child off their bottle. Start by having them drink from a sipping cup at mealtimes, or even from a cup without a lid. There’s bound to be a good deal of spilled liquids initially, so start with water (or a beverage without sugar) because it’s easy to clean up.

    Regular Check Ups

    The #1 way to help your child avoid tooth decay is by making sure they see a dentist before they turn one. It’s important to have your child become relaxed about going to a dentist. It will make their check up every six months much easier and set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

    Source: Healthychildren.org

  • Whatever You Call A Soft Drink, It’s Bad For Your Teeth

    The soft drink has many names in the United States. On the East and West coasts, they call it soda. In the Midwest, many people refer to it as pop. And in the South, it’s often called Coke (even if it’s Pepsi). But no matter what you call a soft drink’s sugary concoction, it’s a recipe for disaster for your oral health.

    Why? Because a soft drink is full of acids and sugar byproducts that are acidic. The combination softens your tooth enamel, which is the first step on the road to a cavity. While sugar-free soft drinks are slights less impactful on your oral health, they are still acidic and can negatively affect your teeth.

    Soft drink consumption in the United States has been declining for many years, but Americans still consume an average of 400 12-ounce servings per person per year. That’s 3,200 teaspoons of sugar ingested annually! Long-term consumption of soft drinks over many years increases the odds that you’ll suffer tooth decay problems at some point.

    That consumption of all that sugar and the acid in soft drinks is especially damaging to the oral health of children and teenagers, whose teeth are still in the formative stages.

    So what should you do to reduce the impact on your oral health and protect your children’s developing teeth? Here are some ideas to implement in your household:

    Try different drinks: Skip the soft drinks and fill your fridge with beverages low in sugar and acid. These include water, milk and pure fruit juice. Unsugared ice tea is another good option to avoid sugar.

    Rinse, rinse, rinse: Be sure to reach for a glass of water if you do consume a soft drink. It’s a great way to flush all the sugar and acids deposited in your mouth by the soft drink you just drank.

    Grab the fluoride: Fluoride strengthens the enamel on your teeth and lowers the risk of cavities. So be sure to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and for an extra dose of fluoride, rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride.

    Get professional help: Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a dental hygiene visit to get all the gunk off your teeth that built up over the last six months. You can also request a fluoride treatment during your visit.

    While soft drinks are tough on your teeth, you can reduce their impact on your oral health by following our four tips.

    SOURCE: Colgate

  • Why Are All Mouth Guards Not Created Equal?

    Using a custom-fitted mouth guard in contact sports can both protect your teeth and enhance your sports performance.

    Mouth guards are designed to reduce the risk of a blow to the face injuring – or breaking – your teeth or hurting your tongue, lips, face and jaw. They generally cover the teeth in your upper jaw and are especially important for the oral health of any athlete involved in a contact sport – football, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, rugby, and boxing. Mouth guards can also prevent injury in sports that don’t feature constant contact, like baseball or basketball.

    While wearing any type of mouth guard is better than not wearing a mouth guard at all, certain types of mouth guards provide superior protection and have less impact on an athlete’s speech, breathing, and comfort while wearing the mouth guard.

    Did you know that athletes who don’t use a mouth guard are nearly 60 times more likely to suffer an injury to their mouth? And did you know that the mouth guard you choose can have a huge impact on how well your son’s or daughter’s teeth are protected from a blow to the face? Losing a permanent tooth can create a lifetime of problems for a young athlete, including impacting their smile, speech, eating and self-image.

    So what are the three main types of mouth guards?

    Stock: These mouth guards are relatively cheap and you purchase them already formed and ready to wear. However, they are usually bulky and ill-fitting and negatively impact breathing and talking. Those issues usually reduce an athlete’s performance.

    Boil and bite: You can purchase this type of mouth guard at most sporting goods stores and often at drug stores or big box stores like Walmart or Target. You soften them initially in boiling water, then insert them into your mouth so that the softened mouth guard can shape itself to your mouth.

    Custom-fitted: These are the best type of mouth guards because they are one-of-a-kind and made just for you. Your dentist will personally fit these to your mouth – it takes just 30 minutes for the fitting –  and the custom manufacturing takes less than a week.

    Among the benefits of a custom-fitted mouth guard from your dentist are:

    • Comfortable fit
    • Clear speech
    • Enhanced breathing
    • Better protection
    • Ease of drinking
    • Customizable colors
    • Different thicknesses

    Give your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry a call about making an appointment for a custom-fitted mouth guard. Your son or daughter involved in sports will thank you for protecting their mouth for a lifetime!

    SOURCE: American Dental Association

  • Brighten Smiles This Christmas With These 9 Stocking Stuffers

    Candy canes and chocolate are usual go-to items for stuffing Christmas stockings. This year, why not add some mouth-friendly items that will enhance your child or partner’s oral health and help brighten their smile?

    We have nine ideas for you this Christmas that are sure to light up the faces of the recipients.

    Chewing Gum With Xylitol: Putting gum infused with Xylitol in stockings will provide a double bonus. Chewing gum following a meal stimulates saliva in your mouth, and saliva is extremely efficient at acting as a buffer to acid and removing food particles from your mouth. And if the gum contains the natural sweetener Xylitol, the user will get a second benefit studies have linked regular use of Xylitol to reduced tooth decay.

    Toothpastes With Flavor: You’ve probably heard of bubble-gum flavored toothpaste, or mint-flavored toothpaste. But how about chocolate, ice cream, cupcake, or bacon-flavored toothpaste. In fact, you can even get pickle-flavored toothpaste (we say ‘ick’ to that)! Get your kids (and even adults) excited about brushing with a flavored toothpaste. Just make sure it contains fluoride, an essential cavity-fighter.

    Flavored Floss: Spice up your daily oral health routine with some flavored floss. Most floss is pretty boring, but change that this Christmas by putting flavored floss in stockings. You’ll find everything from cinnamon to banana and lots of other options. Remember, the best oral hygiene routine includes brushing and flossing. If flossing is something your family struggles to do, make it easier for them. Put floss picks in their stockings rather than regular string floss.

    Fun Toothbrushes: You should be replacing your toothbrush and your child’s toothbrush every three to four months. Give everyone a new toothbrush this Christmas, and then replace it again at Easter and just before they go back to school in late August. Buy toothbrushes that are fun and appropriate for the different members of your family. Be sure to get soft-bristled toothbrushes for toddlers. There are lots of favorite characters for school-aged children, and smart toothbrushes that play tunes or light up to help a child keep track of how long to brush.

    Colgate Wisps: These are tiny disposable toothbrushes that are perfect for when you’re on the go at work, school or even a night out with friends. They’ve been around awhile, but are so convenient and cute that they are always a good oral health stocking stuffer.

    Electric Toothbrush: This is a great alternative to a manual toothbrush. The basic models are very affordable and you can get them with oscillating, vibrating or sonic brush heads. Some even are themed for kids and play a tune for a couple of minutes to encourage the right amount of time spent brushing.

    Cool Toothbrush Holder: Stuff your child’s stocking with a toothbrush holder that’s sure to get their attention. You’ll find everything from robot to animal-shaped toothbrush holders available. Many depict a favorite character of the child’s and have space for both their toothbrush and toothpaste.

    Plaque-Disclosing Tablets: These are both functional and fun. You use them after brushing your teeth, and any areas that are colored red means you missed that area when you brushed or flossed, since the tablet has a red-colored ingredient that clings to plaque.

    FLIX – Interdental Stick: This is another go-to for cleaning your teeth in-between regular brushings when you’re away from home. FLIX will remove plaque, freshen your breath, massage gum tissue, reduce odor-causing bacteria, and provide a fluoride treatment.

    Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, FLIX

  • Tips to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

    It’s important to schedule your child’s first dental visit before their first birthday. At that point, children’s baby teeth are starting to appear and are susceptible to decay and cavities. Although their baby teeth are not permanent, decay in baby teeth can lead to an increase in the risk of decay to their permanent teeth once they start to develop.

    Many new parents are surprised by this recommendation, but they also don’t realize that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. In fact, 25 percent of kids had a cavity by age four in the United States. Cavities are appearing in children as early as two years old.

    Why Baby Teeth Are Important

    Parents who have never taken their child to the dentist often are surprised to find out that baby teeth (also called primary teeth) need to stay in place until they naturally fall out. Baby teeth are important for a number of reasons:

    Helping proper chewing

    Speech development

    Saving space for permanent teeth

    Supporting a healthy smile

    Preparing for the Initial Visit to the Dentist

    Preparation is a key to a successful first dental appointment for your child. Be sure to contact your dentist prior to your child’s first visit to discuss the procedures at the office so you avoid surprises. Have the dental office send you the forms you need to fill out for your child ahead of time. Or if they have online forms, use that option.

    Be sure to discuss your child’s first visit to the dentist in a relaxed and positive manner. They will pick up on any negative feeling you have about dental offices, so maintaining a patient and calm approach to their questions is important.

    Help your child practice brushing their teeth prior to the first visit so they will be used to the feel in their mouth of a toothbrush. Learn as much as you can about a child’s first dental visit and their oral health before you take them to the dentist for the first time. Delta Dental has a great set of resources on their website at www.mysmilekids.com. It’s filled with fun activities and interesting stories to teach kids about their teeth.

    Send a list of any medical issues that affect your child to your dentist, along with a list of medications they take. Keep the phone number for your child’s pediatrician easily accessible in case your dentist asks for additional health information.

    Finally, bring your child’s most-loved blanket, toy or stuffed animal so that they feel secure and comforted on their first visit to the dentist. 

    What to Expect At Your Child’s First Visit

    Make sure to schedule your child’s first dental visit early in the day so that they are alert and feeling fresh. Expect a bit of fussing from your child during the visit, but many parents are surprised how easily their child accepts the dentist’s examination. In fact, many kids like the novelty of the visit and the extra attention.

    Your dentist will check the development of your son’s or daughter’s teeth and look for any problems. They will do a thorough but gentle exam of your child’s teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues.

    This first visit is also a great time to chat with your dentist about tips for dental care for your child, including diet’s impact on oral health, risk of cavities, oral hygiene, use of fluoride, oral habits (thumb and finger sucking), and preventing trauma to their mouth.

    Developing trust with successful visits to the dentist will provide your child with an important foundation for their future oral health. This will reduce potential anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future. Most experts recommend that children see the dentist about every six months so don’t forget to schedule your child’s second appointment on your way out the door!

    Sources: Parents.com, KnowYourTeeth.com, Colgate.com, DeltaDentalIns.com

     

  • Alternatives to a Candy-Filled Halloween

    Every year about this time, when spooky ads abound and grocery aisles are fully stocked with individual-sized candy, you might be pondering whether you should stock up on the sugar-laden treats for the neighborhood kids or should you look for healthier alternatives that won’t negatively impact oral health and won’t evoke a look of disgust from the children?

    You can find tooth-friendly healthy food treats and fun non-food gizmos that will please the most ardent candy-lover you just have to spend some time looking for the right healthy Halloween items. These healthy treats that you drop into trick or treaters’ Halloween buckets can be delicious, good for them and don’t have to start with ‘c’ and end in ‘y’.

    From the Pantry

    Gone are the days when you could bake a batch of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies or popcorn balls and pass them out. Most parents are hesitant to let their kids enjoy anything that is not individually wrapped. But there are plenty of individual portion treats to satisfy even the most discriminating costumed child.

    Favorites from the pantry include:

    • Raisins
    • Pretzels
    • Juice boxes
    • Mini water bottles (they need them to help wash down the candy while trick or treating)
    • Plain cookies (graham crackers, Teddy Grahams, vanilla wafers, etc.)
    • Baked chips, baked tortilla chips
    • Popcorn
    • Lowfat granola or cereal bars
    • Sugar-free gum

    Believe it or not, a few random non-candy items in the sack are fun to discover for both parents and kids. Moms and dads delight in finding nutritious nibbles that they can borrow to put in Johnny’s lunchbox. The kids like the variety and often end up eating or drinking the nutritious treats while trick or treating for respite from all the candy.

    Party Store Goodies

    If you opt to generate a little more enthusiasm from your neighborhood gang, try the numerous non-food items that kids love. These items will often generate bigger smiles than the typical sugar-laden candy that is the norm on Halloween. Keep your eye out for small inexpensive gadgets and things that kids love to collect such as:

    • Decorative pencils
    • Small rubber balls
    • Erasers
    • Rubber ghosts, goblins, witches
    • Waxed lips
    • Glow sticks
    • Stickers
    • Key chains
    • Marbles
    • Tic-tac-toe or other small games
    • Bubbles
    • Chalk
    • Coloring books
    • Crayons

     

    So How Bad is a Bucket of Candy?

    OK, so you decide to wear your parent hat, remembering fondly the thrill of your own childhood when you came home after Halloween night and spilled out all your goodies onto the living room floor. Why would you want to deny kids this same memorable experience? Granted, there is nothing wrong with candy in small doses. The problem is that more kids today are overweight or obese and it is a serious health problem. Is Halloween the time or place to correct this national problem? No, but it sure doesn’t hurt to sprinkle a few non-candy items to help reduce the temptation to pig-out on candy.

    If candy you must, choose non-chocolate types that contain fewer calories without caffeine-like stimulants. Hard candies, jelly types, licorice are good examples of candy without the extra fat calories of chocolate and sans potential stimulants.

    A Dose of Parental Guidance

    As a parent, it is best to establish a plan of how all this candy will be consumed. Ideally, the distribution of the candy will be the parent’s responsibility, otherwise, you may find meals skipped in preference to candy fests. Dole it out in moderation. If you have a very active child who is of normal weight, you can be more generous but not so much that it affects their appetite. Remember, kids are growing and need lots of nutrients that are not found in candy. Candy needs to be considered a treat, to be consumed after satisfying the body’s need for vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

    SOURCE: WedMD.com, TealPumpkinProject.com

  • Play Sports? Guard Your Grin With A Mouth Guard!

    Reduce Sport-Related Mouth Injuries with One Simple Piece of Equipment

    Mouth guards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Your top teeth take the brunt of trauma because they stick out more, says Dr. Thomas Long, the team dentist for the Carolina Hurricanes professional hockey team. Your bottom teeth are a little more protected because they are further back.

    When Should You Wear a Mouth Guard?

    When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.

    While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

     Types of Mouth Guards

    The best mouth guard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-made mouth guard, you should still wear a stock mouth guard or a boil-and-bite mouth guard from the drugstore. Learn more about each option:

    Custom-made: These are made by your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions because they are individually created for fit and comfort. It’s worth the extra you have to pay when you consider the alternative thousands of dollars of costly dental work to repair or replace broken or chipped teeth.

    Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.  CustMbite MVP and CustMbite Pro are a boil and bite mouth guards that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

    Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

    Protecting Your Braces

    A properly fitted mouth guard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouth guard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks.

    Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouth guard that will provide the right protection. Although some mouth guards only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouth guard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth.

    If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

    Mouth Guard Care and Replacement

    Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouth guard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouth guards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.
    Between games, it’s important to keep your mouth guard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouth guard is always ready to go:

    Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

    Regularly clean the mouth guard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.

    During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouth guard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.

    Store and transport the mouth guard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.

    Never leave the mouth guard in the sun or in hot water.

    Check fit and for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing.

    Some mouth guards have fallen victim to family pets, who see them as chew toys. Store your mouth guard and case somewhere your pet cannot get to it.

     

    Sources: American Dental Association, Colgate.com

  • 8 Tips to Help Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb and Avoid Oral Health Issues

    Sucking their thumb, fingers or a pacifier is a natural reflex for most children. It helps them fall asleep, calm down, or to just feel good. When they are babies, it is considered harmless in terms of a child’s growth and speech development.

    But how long should it go on? Should a child still be sucking their thumb or a pacifier when they are ready for preschool?

    Generally, a child who is in the 2- to 4-year range will start to develop other coping skills beyond thumb or finger sucking, such as language development. These coping skills replace the need for a child to suck on a thumb or finger. But for some kids, thumb sucking or finger sucking is harder to kick, which could lead to problems for their growing mouths. Recent research shows that thumb or finger sucking can have an impact even at a younger age – as young as 2 to 4 years old on the mouth and the jaw.

    Remember, sucking their thumbs or fingers is a soothing activity that can help reduce their anxiety. For most children, growing up is filled with anxiety and change.

    So if your child is approaching preschool and still sucking away, here’s 8 tips on how to handle it correctly:

    Try to limit the time that your child sucks their thumb to their bedroom or in the house, not in public. Explain to them that this is a bed activity during nap time and at night.

    Don’t turn it into a confrontation. Try to recognize your child and praise them when they are not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing them when they are.

    If your child is hurt or injured, don’t prohibit them from sucking their thumb or fingers. They need that comfort zone to cope.

    Help your child practice self-awareness by pointing out to them when they are sucking their thumb or fingers. Offer them an option to soothe them, like a blanket or stuffed animal.

    Avoid the gross-tasting stuff that is sold to stop thumb and finger sucking. It’s just creates more anxiety, which is the initial reason why your child is sucking their thumb.

    Use creative methods to help your child understand that they are growing up and one day won’t suck their thumb anymore. Ask your child if their favorite cartoon character sucks their thumb.

    Don’t try a glove or a mitten on the hand as a quick-fix to thumb or finger sucking. This will just frustrate the child and cause more anxiety. Plus, they are old enough to just remove the glove or mitten themselves.

    Be sure to remember that a child will grow out of the need for thumb sucking or finger sucking when they are good and ready.

    SOURCE: WebMD

     

  • Can Gum Be a Cavity-Fighter?

    Chewing gum is a national obsession in the United States. More than $2 billion worth of gum is sold annually (that’s 1.74 trillion sticks of gum) and the average American pops 280 pieces of gum in their mouth each year.

    But is all that gum good for your oral health or is it helping create cavities? Simply put, it depends on what type of gum you are chewing (and unfortunately, much of the gum consumed in the United States is sugared gum).

    If you are chewing sugarless gum with something called Xylitol, then you are providing your teeth with a double-dose of goodness. Researchers have found through clinical studies that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after you finish a meal can help prevent your teeth from decaying.

    How does sugarless gum aid in cavity fighting? It encourages the flow of saliva in your mouth, which is a very good thing. Saliva is sort of the wonder potion for your mouth, washing away food debris, neutralizing acids that bacteria in your mouth produce (and which lead to cavities), and adding calcium and phosphate to help strengthen the enamel on your teeth. See what we mean saliva is amazing for oral health!

    Bacteria are especially impacted by avoiding sugared gum and instead chewing sugarless gum. Bacteria feed on sugar and use it as fuel to produce acids which eat away at your teeth. So avoiding sugar reduces the bacteria in your mouth and makes it a safer place to keep your teeth happy.

    Look for a sugarless gum that has Xylitol when you are purchasing your supply of sugarless gum. Xylitol is a proven plaque-fighter, and plaque is that sticky stuff in your mouth that turns to tartar and can impacts your oral health. Another good ingredient to look for in your sugarless gum is Recaldent, which is said to assist in remineralize and hardening of tooth enamel, making your teeth stronger and less likely to suffer from tooth decay.

    But remember, sugarless gum is not a substitute for brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. But chewing sugarless gum with Xylitol and Recaldent is a great way to boost your oral health care routine and increase the protection of your teeth.

    So the next time you are picking up a pack or container of gum, be sure to reach for the sugarless gum with Xylitol and Recaldent. You can satisfy your need for a sweet treat and at the same time enhance your oral health.

    Your mouth will thank you.

    SOURCES: American Dental Association and Colgate