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Halloween is just around the corner, and although candy consumption is almost unavoidable this time of year, the Academy of General Dentistry(AGD) wants parents and children to know that there are both good and bad candy options, both of which may find their way into children's trick-or-treat bags this fall.
"Of course, dentists do not advocate that children eat large amounts of sugary treats, but it is that time of year, so we want to clarify for parents which treats are better for their kids' teeth and which ones may increase the risk of developing cavities," says AGD spokesperson Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD.
Chewy/sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit can be difficult for children and adults to resist, and even more difficult to remove from teeth. "These candies are a serious source of tooth decay, particularly when they get stuck in the crevices between teeth, making it nearly impossible for saliva to wash them away," Dr. Sherwood says.
Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly. The good news: Saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth. Dr. Sherwood recommends that patients wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after consuming sour/acidic candies; otherwise, they will be brushing the acid onto more tooth surfaces and increasing the risk of enamel erosion.
Sugary snacks, including candy corn, cookies, and cake, allcontain high amounts of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.
Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth. "A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities," Dr.Sherwood says.
Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities as it not only dislodges food particles from between the teeth but also increases saliva—which works to neutralize the acids of the mouth and prevent tooth decay.
Dark chocolate and its antioxidants, according to some studies,can be good for the heart and may even lower blood pressure.
"Parents should closely monitor their children's candy intake this Halloween—and all year round—and continue to promote good oral health habits," Dr. Sherwood says. "Kids also should be brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes."
Teeth and Calcium
Mom said it when you were in grade school, and she was right on this one: Drinking milk builds strong bones and teeth. Calcium is vital in childhood and through your teens, when teeth are formed, but the value of this nutrient doesn't stop once you get your wisdom teeth. A diet with adequate calcium may preven against tooth decay. When a diet is low on calcium, as a majority of American's diets are, the body leeches the mineral from teeth and bones, which can increase your rist of tooth decay and the incidence of cavities. A study that appeared in the Journal of Periodontology found that those who have a calcium intake of less than 500 mg, or about half the recommended dietary allowance, were almost twice as likely to have periodontitis.
The jawbone is particularly susceptible to the effects of low calcium. It can weaken because of low calcium intake, which in turn causes teeth to loosen, leaving you at greater risk for gum disease.
Eating two to four servings of dairy per day will help you meet the RDA for calcium.
I haven’t been to the dentist in years; what should I expect?
Feeling apprehensive or guilty for not visiting a dentist in over a year is common, but coming back to receive dental care is easier than you may think. Our dental team provides caring, non-judgmental, personalized service, and knowing this you can truly feel at ease making your first appointment back.
During your first appointment back, we will focus on three prominent dental issues including gum disease, cavities, and wear and tear by utilizing a full mouth series of X-rays and a comprehensive exam.
The full mouth series of X-rays are taken every three to five years, or as needed. A full mouth series may be a panoramic X-ray and bitewings (a set of four images focused on your molars that checks for cavities) or a set of X-rays that views the entire anatomy of every tooth. The set of X-rays prescribed will depend on your individual needs.
A comprehensive exam by the dentist will review your medical history and dental concerns, and confirm any periodontal diagnosis. An evaluation of any decay, breakdown or broken fillings, or areas that are at risk for future problems will also be reviewed. This assessment will include both a study of your x-rays as well as a visual examination by the dentist.
After the appointment, a team member will review any recommended treatments, payment options, insurance coverage, and scheduling. The time spent at your first visit back is an important step in the right direction, and we are committed to making this visit as comfortable and easy as possible! Call us today to set up your appointment!
It's time to rethink about what we give our kids to drink!!
Who's coming in for their dental cleaning this month? If you don't have an appointment give us a call, appointments are filling up fast! 360-779-3958