Dental Health for Every Holiday

We have your holidays covered! Check out these tooth healthy tips for every holiday of the year.

4 Healthy Recipes For The Fourth Of July

4th of July is the best opportunity to fire up the grill and cook all your favorite foods to impress your family and friends! The following dishes are not only appetizing, but they’re healthier and don’t make you feel guilty if and when you indulge yourself.

#1 Grilled Guacamole with Roasted Corn

The roasted corn in this dip is smoky and comes with a hint of fresh basil. It is essentially a traditional Mexican guacamole with a southwest flare. This is a simple yet delicious pick for any gathering with friends and family that will drive your guests wild.

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#2 Broccoli Slaw

Want a coleslaw drenched with mayonnaise? Not necessary! The slaw in this dish is a crunchy side dish containing sweet dried cranberries, chunks of raw broccoli, and toasted almonds. Then it is all dressed up in a light yet creamy homemade buttermilk dressing which everyone will surely enjoy.

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#3 BBQ Slow-Cooker Baby Back Ribs

If you are health conscious and/or follow the Paleo Diet, then this savory baby back rib recipe will fit your tastes. Serve these ribs with a rich, tangy sauce. You can always customize this sauce according to your taste. Either way, you and your guests’ taste buds will go wild!

You’ll only need a few minutes of preparation time; your handy dandy crockpot will do rest for you. What more can you ask for? A tasty main dish and a hassle-free preparation all in one!

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#4 Goat Cheese Quesadilla with Grilled Onion, Corn, and Whipped Cilantro

Even if you’re not much of a veggie fan, you will love this entree. It features a cream cheese mixture and an herbed goat cheese that’s both delicious and refreshing in the hot July weather.

What’s interesting about it is that this dish is made on the grill, so you can have the cookout you want with a variety of food not traditionally made on the grill.

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Just A Reminder: It’s true that how often you consume food is just as essential as what you consume when it comes to preventing dental cavities. The reason for this is because the food you consume affects your teeth and the entire mouth even long after they are swallowed.

Overall insufficient nutrition can be a large contributing factor to gum disease. This, in turn, can also have other permanent effects on the mouth. Learning how food affects your dental health is a crucial step to leading a healthy lifestyle.

Top Tooth-friendly Halloween Treats and Tips

Peek-a-boo! Halloween is just around the corner. The annual holiday keeps families as they prepare sweet scares!

Halloween activities usually include scary stories, horror films, costume parties, pumpkins, pranks, haunted houses, and everyone’s favorite Halloween custom – trick-or-treating.

Since the late 1950s, trick-or-treating has been a popular activity among children in the U.S.. Children dress up in different costumes and go from one house to another to receive various treats.

Trick-Or-Treat and Your Oral Health

Treats given out on Halloween are commonly candies. Candy is rich in calories and carbohydrates and low in micronutrients.

According to statistics portal Statista, approximately 44.17 million people in the U.S. ate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in a 2016 consumer survey.

A report by Experian Simmons showed that 25 percent of US adults eat chocolate or hard candy. On the other hand, 96 percent of American children ages six to 11 eat chocolate or hard candy, with older kids having a higher frequency of eating candies.

These statistics are kind of alarming. Candy generally unhealthy due to their sugar content. Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to heart diseases, obesity, weight gain, and type II diabetes. Aside from its toll on general health, sugar is an enemy of your teeth. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar, which then leads to cavities and other oral-related problems.

Consuming chocolates, candies, and gums may yield worse results, especially when an individual is under orthodontic treatment like dental braces. Because of the metal brackets, sugar can find more spaces to stay within the proximity of your teeth. But the need to bite into that milky chocolate and get a taste of the sweet strawberry-flavored candy is irresistible. So, instead of fully eliminating candies, chocolates, and gums permanently from your diet, you can other options.

Have Braces? Stay away from Gooey, Sticky, and Hard Candies

Eating gooey, sticky, and hard candies can damage or even break off parts of braces. Candies like jawbreakers, lifesavers, gumdrops, caramels, and other similar treats can be especially harmful to children’s braces.

Take Extra Precaution when Eating These Candies

  • Gooey & Sticky: Sticky sweets are certified, cavity-causing culprits. Caramel and taffy can easily get stuck in the grooves and pits of the teeth, making it hard for saliva to break them down. The longer the sweets remain stuck in the teeth, the greater the likelihood of developing cavities.
  • Gummy & Chewy: Extra-chewy or gummy sweets are sticky; hence, they stay on the teeth longer, and they become stuck on the teeth and expose them to more damage.
  • Hard: Sweets you hold and suck in your mouth are bad because they stay in the mouth for more extended periods. This exposes the teeth enamel to sugars and acids longer. Furthermore, breaking or chewing on hard sweets can cause tooth and/or enamel damage.
  • Sour: These contain high amounts of malic, fumaric, and citric acids, which are all regarded as a few of the significant contributors of tooth enamel damage. In excess, sour candies can also cause oral sores.

Eat full, well-balanced, healthy meals

The healthier one eats, the harder it is to crave sweet, sugary pieces of candy. Eating full meals means being less hungry for sugary snacks afterward. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals means stronger, healthier teeth, gums, and general oral health.

If you find yourself munching on candy because you’re hungry throughout the day, instead drink a glass of water first. Sometimes when we are dehydrated, we’re simply thirsty. If within a half hour or so, if you still feel hungry, eat an apple, banana, celery sticks, or another healthy snack to avoid your sugary temptation.

Only consume candies in small amounts at designated times

It is best to extend the amount of time between eating candy. Eating a piece of candy every hour only ensures your teeth are consistently exposed to the harm of your sweet treats.

Avoid allowing children to snack on candy throughout the day. You have many other satisfying, healthy snack choices on hand to give your kids, such as veggies, cheese, fruits, yogurt, and peanut butter.

Choose to eat Halloween candy after consuming a meal

Because saliva production is most active during and after consuming a meal, eating candy during these times is ideal since the saliva production is already up and running.

Saliva helps break down food particles and wash away excess oral bacteria and particles harmful to the development of cavities and other oral-related problems. This is especially important when you eat sugary foods, oral bacteria’s favorite substances to feed on and multiply off.

Use candy as a reward system instead of as a snack

The problem with both children and adults is that they see candy as something they can consume whenever they feel like it. However, candy should be seen as a reward system. After finishing homework, children can be rewarded with a piece of candy or two. After cleaning the dishes, coming home from a long day of work, running a mile, or completing household chores, a piece of candy may also be rewarded.

The point is, candy isn’t something that should be eaten whenever, wherever. Let it be a treat as it’s intended to be.

Strictly limit your consumption of candy

The obvious way to avoid oral-related issues related to sugary substances is to cut back on or completely avoid the consumption of candy altogether. This, of course, won’t be ideal for most people, especially when it comes to holidays. Therefore, a limitation of the amount of candy consumed is often much easier.

Take note of how much candy you’re consuming. One piece can easily become ten pieces in just a matter of minutes. Not only is this harmful to the body in excess, but it also increases your chance of dental problems in the near future.

Thoroughly brush your teeth shortly after eating candy to avoid overindulgence

Besides reducing the chance of cavities, brushing your teeth after eating a piece of candy or two means you’ll crave candy less after brushing. This is because components of toothpaste make it to where sugary foods and drinks taste bitter and often unpleasant right after brushing.

Plus, with fresh breath and a freshly-cleaned mouth, most wouldn’t want to ruin the new sensation by placing a sweet, strawberry lollipop in their mouth. Mixed with the taste of minty toothpaste, candy doesn’t taste the same.

Take extra care of your pearly whites

After all that sugar consumption, your oral health will appreciate a little boost. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing after meals, and rinsing the mouth out with mouthwash twice a day is highly recommended.

Schedule a dental appointment after the holiday time to ensure things are still in order

After a long few weeks or even months of consuming candy, take your child to have a checkup and cleaning at the dentist.

Cavities or other oral-related issues can be spotted and treated now before problems worsen. Additionally, your child can have their teeth thoroughly cleaned of plaque and other harmful oral bacteria for a fresh start before Thanksgiving comes around the corner.

4 Halloween Alternatives for Better Oral Health

Luckily, there are many fun trick-or-treating alternatives for those who have orthodontic devices, who are very young and sensitive to the oral effects of sugar, or those who simply want a healthier set of pearly whites this upcoming holiday.

Pumpkin fun

Pumpkins are in season, so why not have fun with pumpkins? This may mean pumpkin carving contests with family and friends, pumpkin painting, or even pumpkin throwing games.

Another great pumpkin-related activity is to scoop out the pumpkin seeds, wash them thoroughly, and roast them in an oven. Adding different spices and herbs, such as garlic powder, cayenne powder, or paprika, can take pumpkin seeds to a whole new level. Even better, pumpkin seeds are great for bone and tooth formation, giving your pearly whites a little extra boost!

Spooky photo booth

Halloween’s all about dressing up, so a photo booth with friends and family can really make Halloween a holiday to remember. Dress up in different costumes, including previous years’ costumes or homemade costumes, and make a fun Halloween backdrop. Have fun taking pictures with silly faces, poses, and props. These will be great to look back on.

Also, consider having a Halloween costume-making contest to see who can make the best-looking costume within a given timeframe. Make this contest challenging by only allowing players to use toilet paper or felt paper and tape to come up with a costume. Recycled newspaper works well too. There’s sure to be lots of laughs!

Horror movie night

Opt for a relaxing Halloween night with horror or other Halloween-themed movies or TV shows. Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin, Monster House, and The Nightmare Before Christmas are great Halloween-themed options for kids.

For adults or older children/teenagers, scarier options may be more exciting. Other Halloween-themed shows on Food Network and other television programs may also be great picks for a candy-free Halloween night.

Healthier holiday foods

Who said Halloween only consisted of sweet, sugary treats? Make Halloween your own by offering family or guests fun, healthy alternatives, whether the foods are Halloween-related or not. A build-your-own-pizza bar is one great alternative. Also allow your kiddos to play with their food for this one night by shaping or arranging their food into Halloween-themed shapes such as ghosts, pumpkins, or spiders.

Food carving, arranging, or shaping contests are also fun! For older kids or for the whole family, pair up in teams, or singularly if preferred, to cook up a meal. Have a judge or set of judges to announce the winner(s) of the best meal. Competition is always fun!

10 Healthier Halloween Treats

Stretch Island Fruit Co. Fruit Strips

For a sugarless, fruit-filled snack, go for delicious fruit strip snacks from Stretch Island Fruit Co. You can buy packs containing large quantities of these individually wrapped snacks to ensure you’ll have enough to go around.

These strips contain natural sweetness offered from the fructose of the fruit with no need for added sugar. They’re very tasty too!

Cheesy Jack o’ Lantern Sandwich Thins

If you need a cute and healthy food idea for a party or to include in your child’s school lunch on Halloween, cheesy sandwich thins shaped liked Jack o’ Lanterns are perfect. Simply take a sandwich thin, shape the top layer of the sandwich bread with a Jack o’ Lantern face, and add orange/yellow-colored cheese in between. Grill if you’d like for a delicious grilled cheese version.

Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies

While they may not be Halloween-themed or sweet in flavor, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies are created with natural, all-real ingredients. These cheesy bunnies appeal to kids and adults of all ages and are perfect to pass out on Halloween night or give to children at Halloween parties.

Mini Boxes of Raisins

Surely, your child has brought home a box of raisins or two, of course, alongside their bucket-full of candy, after a long night of trick-or-treating. While some kids may think raisins are gross, others love these naturally-sweet snacks. They’re so much healthier than pieces of candy, that’s for sure!

Applesauce Pouches

Squeezable, spoon-free applesauce pouches are available in various brands and are individually sealed to pass out to kids. They’re tasty, children love to slurp them, and they offer a fun flavor for fall. Plus, who doesn’t love a healthy serving of applesauce?!

Snack-o’-Lantern Fruit Cups

Sure, fruit salad isn’t the most cutting-edge of all party desserts, but you can give it a cool, creative spin by serving it in hollowed-out orange with a Jack-o’-Lantern face! You may also wish to make a fruit kabob with festive, orange fruits (e.g., orange citrus, cantaloupe).

Banana Mummies

To entice every guest, you can prepare frozen banana mummies without the addition of nuts, eggs, gluten, soy, and dairy. For this recipe, you will just need cocoa butter, bananas, and coconut sugar. Coat the bananas in cocoa butter, then dust them with coconut sugar and freeze overnight.

Strawberry Ghosts

Children will gasp in delight at adorable strawberry ghost treats. Double boil a bag of white chocolate chips (and throw in a few drops of orange food coloring if you’re feeling festive), then put it in a regular Ziploc bag with the corner cut off, and pipe your favorite Halloween-themed designs on your strawberries. After a few minutes in the refrigerator, this spooky take on the chocolate strawberry will be ready to consume!

Creamy, Deconstructed Fruit Salad

Stay away from overly-sugary treats and go for one that’s healthy and delectable. Top sliced pineapple or oranges with whipped cream to maximize your daily intake of Vitamin C (and to add a dollop of extra sugary goodness without going over the top).

Keep your eyes peeled for other Halloween-themed treats, toys, and recipes!

Stores like Target are bound to have plenty of Halloween snack alternatives on one of their Halloween aisles such as Jack o’ Lantern-shaped pretzels, ghost-shaped veggie chips, and other healthy yet yummy bites. These make for perfect alternatives, and because they’re shaped in Halloween-themed figures, kids are more likely to consume these healthier snacks!

If you’re okay with going non-edible, you could also go for glow-in-the-dark bracelets, spider rings, fake eyeballs, sticky hands, mini rubber stamps, stickers, glow sticks, bubbles, and other tiny toys. These are also tooth-friendly, of course. Get creative!

Why is it valuable to eat healthy treats?

While nobody wants to spoil their child’s Halloween by saying candy is out of the picture, it’s still important to note how important oral health is.

Having good oral health and cleaning habits when they’re young is likely to stick with them throughout their teen years and beyond for a lifetime of healthy pearly whites. Always take the extra precautions to ensure your child’s teeth are where they need to be.

A well-balanced and nutritious diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity is the bedrock of good general health. Healthy eating constitutes eating heart-healthy fats, superior quality proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and water and minerals in the foods you consume while reducing saturated fats, processed foods, and alcohol. Eating healthier greatly helps the body’s daily functions, bolsters optimal body weight, and helps in preventing various diseases.

For healthy teeth and gums, it is a must to think before you eat. Always remember that it is not solely what you consume but also when you eat that can have an impact on your oral health, too.

Consume a balanced diet, and as much as possible, limit between-meal snacks. It is also very crucial to keep your doctor’s advice in mind when picking the foods you eat, especially if you are on a special diet. This way, you’re assured good general and oral health.

6 Tips For A Tooth-Friendly Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving is a special holiday. It’s the time of the year when we take a step back and reflect on everything we are thankful for. It’s time for breaks, family reunions, and a lot of feasting.

And when it comes to feasting, food comes on top of the list. Although digging into that perfectly-roasted turkey and pumpkin pie with walnut crust is tempting, eating food without remorse to calorie consumption and its effect on the body is a big no-no. This is especially true considering feasting on these foods can cause harm to your oral health.

What can I do to have a tooth-friendly Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a time of feasting. Of course, you can still enjoy everything on the table — yes, even the pumpkin pie — but do it in moderation.

Aside from doing things in moderation, here are some tips you can follow this Thanksgiving:

Reduce your sugar intake.

Instead of using sugar in your dishes, you can look for sugar substitutes or go completely sugar-free by making the most of your ingredients’ natural sugars. You may use honey or Splenda to replace the usual white sugar. But if you can’t seem to remove sugar from the recipe, use minimal amounts.

And if adjusting the ingredient portions does not work, simply minimize your consumption. Instead of taking two slices of pumpkin pie, just go for one.

Drink lots of water.

Water will help wash away food particles and reduce the risk of them sticking or being left in your mouth. By drinking water, you retain the moisture of your mouth and neutralize the acids.

Eat tooth-friendly foods.

Add celery, carrot, leafy vegetables, broccoli, yogurt, milk, cheese, sesame seeds, shiitake mushroom, raisins, and raw onions in your Thanksgiving foods. These foods are beneficial to the teeth.

For instance, celery and carrot can act like a toothbrush to your teeth by wiping away bacteria and plaque. They also stimulate saliva production and contain high levels of vitamins A and C which are needed for strengthening the teeth.

Stay away from acidic beverages.

Opt for water instead of acidic drinks including sodas, juices, or alcohol. Acids found in these drinks can cause enamel wear as acids can attack the teeth. But if you can’t stay away, again, consume in moderation and accompany the drink with water to neutralize the mouth.

Brush your teeth after eating.

When you are done eating, brush your teeth. However, it is advised to do the brushing at least 30 minutes after eating to give your mouth time to recuperate and neutralize the acids in the mouth.

Engage in proper oral care.

Proper oral care will not only help you have a safer Thanksgiving but the rest of your life. Your teeth get the oral care they deserve by following basic oral hygiene practices including brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouth wash.

Moreover, visit your dentist at least twice a year or every six months to get your teeth and other parts of your oral cavity checked. A dental visit will also give you the opportunity to get a professional cleaning which will help you rid of plaque or tartar buildup that could be harmful to your teeth and gums.

Additionally, a dental checkup can detect early signs of dental problems, and immediate treatment can be administered as soon as possible.

Why should I take it slow this Thanksgiving?

Eating too much involves a lot of chewing. When you consume too much food, your teeth and jaw will need to work harder to chew the food, causing stress on your jaw and increasing the likelihood of oral health complications.

Additionally, various ingredients make up Thanksgiving food including sugar. That pumpkin pie you are excited to take a slice of? It has about 133 grams of sugar — in one slice. And because Thanksgiving does not usually end with one slice, if you happen to eat the whole pie, you just gave your body almost a kilogram of sugar to burn.

Starchy foods like sweet potato casserole and potato and celery root gratin will not only be a feast to you but to the oral bacteria in your mouth. Moreover, acidic drinks like Coke can cause enamel wear which can result in the teeth being more susceptible to cavities. Taking it slow this Thanksgiving might seem boring, but in the long run, your oral and general health will thank you.

Psss…Love Football? Here are 4 Healthy Snacks For Football Season

Football season means sitting on the couch with a plate full of snacks. It’s not just football season; it’s snacking season as well. Hot wings, nachos, pizza, seven layer dip, you name it!

As great as this all sounds, many of the foods you eat during this fine time are terrible for your oral health.

If this is a problem for you, here are plenty of healthy alternatives that are just as tasty:

Spinach Artichoke Dip – Feeds 32 people; 2 tablespoons per serving

Who doesn’t love a good creamy spinach artichoke dip? It’s great for dipping tortilla chips, pita chips, and baguette slices!

  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16-ounce can of lima beans (drained)
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of a hot sauce of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon of capers (drained)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard

*Put these first eight ingredients into a food processor for about 15-20 seconds.

  • 1 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts (drained)
  • 10 ounces of chopped spinach
  • 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

*Add these five remaining ingredients to the other ingredients. Then, pulse five times and process for about 10 seconds until the mixture is smooth.

*Bake in the oven in a 1-quart dish at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 25-30 minutes. The top of the dip should be slightly browned and bubbly when ready.

Mini Taco Cups – Makes 12 taco cups

Ditch the overly-topped tacos and opt for healthier, bite-sized taco cups. They’re cute, and they’re just as tasty as the real deal while providing plenty of nutrients.

  • 9 tortillas (each cut into fourths, creating 36 tortilla pieces)

*In a sprayed 12-cup muffin tray, add 3 tortilla pieces into each muffin compartment. Overlap each of the three pieces so that they’ll cook into a cup. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until lightly browned.

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt

*Mix these three ingredients in a bowl.

  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/4 cup of diced peppers (yellow)
  • 1/4 cup of diced peppers (orange)
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 diced avocado

*Mix these six veggies together. Then slowly incorporate them itno the cream cheese mixture you previously made.

  • 1/2 cup of ranch dressing

*Add the veggie & cream cheese mixture into your tortilla cups, and drizzle lightly with ranch dressing on top.

Blue Cheese Apricot Balls – Makes 16 individual mini cheese balls

The combination of blue cheese and apricot are perfect to pair alongside chicken wings. In cheeseball form, the duo will make the crowd go crazy. Use these cheese balls to dip celery sticks, pita chips, or tortilla chips.

  • 6 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese

*Blend these two first ingredients until smooth.

  • 1 ounce worth of chopped, dried apricots (approximately 12 apricots)
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped, roasted walnuts (or any other nut you want to use)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt

*Stir these three ingredients with the cream cheese and blue cheese mixture.

*Shape into 16 mini cheese balls (or make one large cheese ball if you’d like)

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosemary)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped, roasted walnuts (or any other nut you want to use)

*Roll the cheese balls into a mixture of rosemary and walnuts to complete.

Baked Zucchini Fries – Serves 6

Are you a French fry addict? Fortunately, there’s a solution. Consider switching out greasy fries for their healthy baked zucchini counterpart. In turn, you will benefit from eating what you love while ensuring your body doesn’t get a grease attack.

  • 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of fresh, grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • A pinch of kosher salt & ground black pepper

*Mix these first four ingredients together in a bowl.

  • 4 zucchinis (cut each one into fry-sized, even pieces – be sure to cut lengthwise)
  • 1/2 of all-purpose flour
  • 2 beaten eggs

*Flour your zucchini, dip in your beaten eggs, and add your panko breadcrumb mixture

*Cook at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. Take out of the oven when lightly browned and crispy.

  • 2 cups of chopped parsley leaves (fresh)

*Garnish your zucchini fries with parsley for extra flair and flavor.

*Enjoy! Eat them by themselves, or dip them in a desired dip.

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