September 19th, 2014
This week we answer 4 questions about children’s oral health.
1. Can my children have the kind of tooth sensitivity I have?
When adults have tooth sensitivity, the medical term for it is “dentin hypersensitivity.” If you’ve been reading our blog, you’d know that it’s a result of gum recession or exposed roots. (This kind of teeth sensitivity is often caused by improper brushing habits, gum disease or early stages of gum disease, and it can be made worse by what we eat or drink.)
To answer the question, however, it’s pretty unlikely your kids will experience this kind of uncomfortable feeling when they go to eat their favorite foods, or hot/cold drinks.
If they do mention having some kind of tooth or gum sensitivity, it might be from a cavity, which is of course a major source of sensitivity or pain!
What else might be causing some kind of sensitivity?
If a tooth breaks or cracks, our kids can also have some discomfort.
Look to make sure your children are not biting on ice, using their teeth as tools (biting things open, etc.), and make sure they wear a mouth guard when they play sports. If they show resistance to wearing a mouth guard, remind them of how common it is for professional athletes to now wear mouth guards! It can save their teeth (not to mention prevent damage to their jaw), so it’s definitely worth getting into the habit of wearing.
These are ways to prevent some of the most common ways we can crack or break our teeth, but even with these precautions, our children may experience discomfort in their mouth, or they may unfortunately experience injury to their mouth in general. Be sure to bring them in to us to discuss all their options if either is the case.
2. I know the value of going to the dentist, but why do we need to bring our young children in for regular visits?
Of course you want your children to have confidence when it comes to their entire health…and that includes confidence when it comes to smiling—both now and in the coming years. Our kids learn a lot of positive dental habits at a young age, and the idea of going to the dentist fits into this category as well.
But also recall that the most common childhood disease is actually cavities or tooth decay. Going to the dentist is one of the key ways we can look to prevent this with our children.
Find that difficult to believe?
Tooth decay actually affects one in four kids in the US that are between the age of 2 and 5. When you look at children a bit older, between 12 and 15, that ratio jumps to one in two, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since this kind of tooth decay can typically be prevented with habits and dietary choices, it goes to show how starting early is important.
It’s also possible that if baby teeth do decay, and as a result fall out sooner than they would have normally, the adult teeth don’t have as much room as they should when they come in!
That’s just one more reason to come visit the dentist, right alongside your other childhood doctor visits.
3. My child appears to be grinding their teeth. What should I do?
Come in and see us! Without giving specific recommendations, in general, we want to treat a child who is grinding their teeth differently in order to protect their teeth over time.
This may require wearing a custom appliance or mouth guard at night, but we’d also want to better determine what could be the cause of the teeth grinding. It’s good that these types of behaviors are being identified, but it’s also a situation where you should come in to the office to speak with Dr. Hagen to see the right solution for your child.
4. Speaking of which, as a parent, what should I be telling Dr. Hagen when it comes to my child’s oral health, or overall state of health, when we come in for a visit?
That’s a great question. We are all about two-way, transparent communication at Hagen Dental. Be sure to tell us any concerns you have, and that includes any questions you or your children may have.
You will hear us ask about medications that your children may be taking. See this blog for why that’s so important when it comes to their dental care.
Besides letting us know any concerns or questions you have, also tell us any other health conditions we should know about. It’s not that we are nosey, rather, this is about your child’s entire health, and the mouth can really give us insight about your child’s current state of health—that is, when we are informed!
The kind of information you’d want to tell us includes any medical conditions (including history), any kind of pain or abnormal mouth/gum issues a child has had, and things such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, or other health-related conditions you would discuss with your other doctors.
It might not seem to be related to dental care, but more often than not, it is. Have any questions about your children’s teeth or gums? Schedule a visit with us today.
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September 11th, 2014
Just like with other technology, we’ve had the latest and greatest when it comes to teeth whitening in our office.
Even if we have good oral hygiene, teeth do get darker as we age. And yes, it is true that even if you have oral health habits that would make the dentist smile, that doesn’t mean you don’t eat or drinks beverages that can stain teeth over time as well!
Teeth stains are different than “normal” discoloration as we age, but both can contribute to a less-than-perfectly-white smile.
Our Pearly Whites…Or Not Quite So Pearly White!
Discoloration can be broke down into intrinsic and extrinsic color. Think of intrinsic as our teeth’s natural shade. People born with a hint of grey, or brown or yellow teeth would likely be more aware of this, as their teeth have this as their natural shade. This would refer to a color or shade of that is not due to their habits over time.
And as you can likely guess, when we drink coffee or wine, or have a certain medicine that alters our teeth, the extrinsic part of our teeth is what is being affected. What also affects our teeth’s shade includes other behaviors we can control such as smoking, which is one habit that can greatly reduce any efforts at keeping our teeth white.
When we purchase an OTC whitener from a drugstore, there are quite a variety of brands to choose from based on your desired goals, as well as your tooth sensitivity.
They also come with varying levels of success in terms of whitening efficacy because the bleach in them will vary, and the trays or ways in which they are applied will also effect their ability to work on any given person’s teeth. They do, however, provide more whitening benefit than your whitening toothpaste since they will have more bleach in them in comparison.
No matter if you use OTC whiteners, or Zoom! Whitening at our office, if you do not take good care of your teeth, it will be hard to keep your teeth white…and it can even be hard to get them whiter through the use of bleach in general.
Knowing this, the difference between the OTC brands and Zoom! is the level of intensity, effectiveness, and safety.
With Zoom!, we apply hydrogen-peroxide formula to your teeth. Then, we cover your surrounding gum so that you can avoid teeth sensitivity, or so-called “Zingers”.
If you use a kit at home, this process can be harder to setup so that you can whiten without any sensitivity. If you have a cavity or gum that is pulling back from the teeth, you could be exposing harsh bleach to those areas…you can see why that might hurt! Next, Zoom! Whitening uses a ultraviolet light that we directly shine onto your teeth. This way, within an hour you can fight the discoloration and be on your way. With many OTC options, that whitening process could take several weeks, or up to several months.
Since it happens much quicker, is the Zoom! Whitening option safe?
Zoom! Whitening at Hagen is in fact safe. It it were not in your best interest, we would let you know. On the other hand, if you want to use an OTC agent, ask us before proceeding so we can talk to you about your options, including the effectiveness and the safety of your kit from the store. Our real concern would be to avoid over-use, general misuse, or doing some damage to your teeth or gums. We don’t want to see you in excruciating pain.
“I’m not ready for any teeth whitening, but what can I do to prevent as much stains as possible?”
Pigmented molecules in food and beverages are actually watch latch onto our enamel. You probably know some of these offenders that are chromogen-rich in particular:
- Black coffee
- Dyed sweets
- Red wine
- Deeply-colored sauces (such as soy sauce)
- Blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates or other dark berries
Certain gums and hard candies, in some situations, also fit into this category. If desired, you can avoid these foods and beverages. Also remember that smoking is very detrimental to any teeth whitening efforts.
Also on the list are foods with tannins, or with high acidity. These are things such as tea, pop or carbonated beverages with dye, sports drinks and acidic fruit. Some of these are not so brightly colored, but they still can work against our pearly whites.
Want to know more about our cosmetic dentistry procedures? Find out more here and let us know any questions you may have.
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August 25th, 2014
More than 90 percent of systemic diseases have oral symptoms, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Additionally, as much as 80 percent of adults in the US have gum disease.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the research as to why this might matter for the sake of our entire health.
A Look at the Science: Heart Health to Obesity
We’ve talked about before how gum disease can lead to loss of bone and teeth, and how bacteria that cause gum disease have also been found in arterial plaques, which contributes to heart disease.
What else does some of the latest research tell us?
Self-reported dental status has been shown to be connected with heart risk factors. One such study examining this connection was found in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The study looked are more than 15,000 people across nearly 40 countries to draw its conclusions.
Here is a glimpse of the study: 25 percent of the participants reported gum bleeding when they brushed their teeth. Around 41 percent had fewer than 15 teeth left. All the participants in the study had coronary heart disease in combination with at least another heart risk factor.
Ultimately, the research showed an association between the number of heart risk factors and gum disease across the sample.
While it has been debated whether periodontal disease is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease (which takes 600,000 lives per year), this study was one where you can see evidence of how self-reported gum disease and such cardiovascular risk factors are associated.
More Clues About Our Health
Besides moderate or more advanced stages of periodontal disease showing us clues as to whether someone may develop heart disease, oral health also affects our state of health in other ways. It can negatively affect pregnancy and birth; one example being that gum disease is linked to premature birth and low birth weight in babies. Osteoporosis has been linked, in some studies, with periodontal bone loss. Additionally, tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
And although the cause-and-effect tie can be debated, there is also research connecting obesity and gum disease now. In particular, the research published in the Journal General Dentistry says how chronic inflammation is in part to blame.
Still other research shows a tie between poor dental habits and an increase in our risk of cancer.
There is also HPV; research in the Journal Cancer Prevention says that poor oral health means a 56 percent bump in oral HPV prevalence.
Additionally, University of Texas Health Sciences Center researchers found dental problems are linked with a 28 percent higher prevalence of infection with HPV.
Another study was compiled by researchers from Brown University, the Forsyth Institute and Harvard University. These researchers said how they found that our body’s antibodies coming from certain oral bacteria is actually linked with doubled risk of pancreatic cancer. The researchers admitted that more needed to be studied to make any further claims, but it does show just one more example of how our oral health is tied to our entire health.
This list of some of the latest research is not to make you worry. It may surprise you to learn that research has also produced evidence that shows how just getting your teeth professionally cleaned once can reduce risk for heart attach and stroke. (Think of a lifetime of regular professional teeth cleanings!)
The health of our mouths truly can really tell us about our quality of life.
At Hagen, we are the best choice for all your dental care. Whether you haven’t missed a cleaning in your lifetime, or whether it has been years since you have been to the dentist, we are looking forward to seeing you. Give us a call today.
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August 22nd, 2014
How does oral cancer start?
Oral, or mouth cancer, can refer to any kind of cancerous tissue growth in our oral cavities, can come from neighboring anatomy (such as the nose), or it can simply originate in the mouth. As you may or may not know, cancer can be best understood as a result of a mutation of our DNA.
When our cells operate in these abnormal ways, we can see them as red or white patches on our soft tissue, or as spots in our mouth that simply won’t heal. Most oral cancers are cancer of the epithelial cells. We see this classification of cancer in the tissue in our mouths and/or lips in most cases.
What are some of the common warning signs of oral cancer?
This is exactly why you come in to see us on a regular basis—we are checking for the early signs of oral cancer through screening each time we see you. If we were to see unusual lumps or ulceration that are not healing, we would want to know more. These skin lesions can be on the tongue, lip, or around the mouth. They can be white, red, or best describes as “pale” in color.
In other cases, signs or symptoms are mouth sores, or even pain in more advanced cases. And still in other situations, people have issues with tongue movement. Many of us have had some sort of unusual feeling, or possibly a sore in our mouth at one time or another, so the best course of action is to come in and see us if you are concerned.
The key is early detection, which in the case of oral cancer, greatly improves one’s survival rate.
What causes oral cancer?
Approximately two thirds of oral cancers are actually due to our behaviors. You may have already heard how in particular, heavy alcohol use and tobacco are two behaviors we know contribute to a rise in likelihood for oral cancer. Part of the reason why tobacco is so harmful for us is that tobacco has more than 60 known carcinogens.
Also keep in mind that chewing tobacco is putting this exposure directly onto our tissue. Chewing tobacco/snuff also (intentionally) is designed to irritate our mucous membranes (for quicker absorption), which is even worse for our oral health.
With that said, be aware that the majority of new cases of oral cancer are HPV-related.
That also means more young people are getting oral cancer today, a fact that surprises many.
Poor oral hygiene habits, as well as cases of chronic infection, have also been found to result in increasing one’s chance of oral cancer. Other risk factors include ultraviolet light (from sunlight or tanning beds) and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). In some cases, these symptoms are
Seeing a dentist regularly, maintaining good oral hygiene habits over time, and avoiding tobacco are all very beneficial for us in terms of taking control of our lifestyle habits.
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August 11th, 2014
When we talk about what you can eat to keep your teeth for a lifetime, a more accurate description might be it’s what we don’t eat that can save our teeth!
What will also determine our level of oral hygiene, and whether or not we “keep our teeth,” is our routine behavior after we eat or drink. Take for example foods with a high sugar and/or starch make-up, such as a hard candy, a cookie, a piece of cake or even a slice of bread. (You could even put dried fruits or a banana on that list!, in some cases) When sugar or starches are left on our teeth, bacteria thrive. The acid that results will destroy our tooth enamel, and we are left with tooth decay.
It actually only takes 20 minutes for that acid to start damaging our teeth. Knowing this, we set out to find foods that are beneficial for our teeth.
Here are 4 foods that can help us improve our entire health, including our teeth.
1.Kale, spinach, collard greens, cabbage, romaine, and turnip greens.
Number one on the list is what can certainly be classified as the leafy greens category! These greens are one of the top ways we can eat to fuel our bodies and to protect our teeth. They have fiber, minerals, and are packed with vitamins.
Take Popeye’s favorite leafy green, spinach, for example: it is low calorie, but has vitamin A and C. If we don’t have enough Vitamin C In our diet, it’s possible that we can further promote gum issues such as bleeding gums. Look at it this way: Vitamin C can at least help us further support our bones, teeth and cartilage. If you haven’t been including them in your diet, look to include them in existing recipes you are eating, such as casseroles, in your next tortilla wrap or sandwich, or on top of your turkey burger as a bun.
Noticing a trend with green vegetables being good for your total health?
Another low calorie food with 25 calories per serving, broccoli is great for our entire health because it is packed with Vitamin C, and once again, has fiber which can aid in our digestion process. It also has potassium, folate and Vitamin A.
Other benefits of broccoli is that it can support our eye health. If you don’t like to eat this superstar vegetable raw, look up some new recipes with cooked broccoli and get creative. If you want, try out other veggies in broccoli’s family: cauliflower, cabbage, or brussel sprouts. You won’t be disappointed.
3. A handful of your favorite nuts and seeds.
Again, looking at the nutrient profile of most nuts, we find iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, Vitamin E, and more. We’re talking about a phenomenal source of plant-based protein, which can also be beneficial to some with specialty diets. Not to be forgotten in many nuts and seeds is calcium, which is of course important for strong bones and teeth…
Another benefit of nuts and seeds is they can be a great on-the-go, convenient snack. Just don’t crack the nuts with your teeth!
That’s right, onions! We wanted to give you a food you may have not have seen coming on the list.
Onions actually have compounds that can benefit our health, specifically, recent research has even given us evidence that onions help combat bacteria known to cause gum disease and cavities…
If that isn’t enough to convince you, they also have a high polyphenol content, which is a category of phytonutrient that can help us prevent disease. In fact, the polyphenol content in an onion is greater than that in garlic, leeks, (which onions are closely related to), and even bell peppers, for comparison. If that isn’t convincing you to add more to your diet, they also have been shown to risk of certain cancers, lower risk of cataract formation, reduce certain symptoms associated with diabetes, help our gut flora, and they reduce symptoms associated with osteoporosis.
While some people don’t like raw onions, you can always cook them. Once again, try to get creative by adding them in to recipes you are already eating.
There are yellow, red and white onion varieties, and don’t forget grilled or sautéed onions are a great way to add more flavor to almost any dish.
What else can we look to include in our diet? Good old water!
Water helps aid digestion, it keeps our skin moisturized, it boosts our immune system naturally, and it can also serve to increase our energy and relieve fatigue in general.
Take note of how much you are really drinking each day.
When we get enough water each day, it also “rinses out” our mouth after consuming sweets or anything that is starch-heavy. In this way, it naturally cleanses our mouths and helps combat decay.
Another benefit, besides avoiding “empty” calories for those looking to do so, is that by substituting water in for other beverages, we usually also help keep the acid exposure we are getting in check.
Tags: 4 Foods Good for Your Entire Health—Including Your Teeth, best dentist cincinnati, cavity, cerec, Cincinnati, Cincinnati dental, Cincinnati dentist, cincinnati Dr Hagen DDS, Cosmetic Dentistry, Dentist, dentist appointment, dentist in cincinnati west side, Dr. Lawrence Hagen
August 1st, 2014
You know we bring you fun facts on our Facebook page, and now we bring you 21 more fun dental facts you may not know:
1. You may be more than 10 times more likely to develop breast cancer if you have poor oral hygiene habits.
2. More than 3 million miles worth of floss is purchased each year in the US.
3. Flossing once a day increases your life expectancy by 6 years.
4. Less than 1 mm of original tooth enamel is removed for veneers.
5. Teeth start to form before we are born.
6. People prefer blue toothbrushes over red.
7. There are more than 100 million bacteria in one drop of saliva.
8. 25 percent of adults in the US have lost all their teeth.
9. Nearly half of all people say the first thing they notice about someone is their smile.
10. If you were to combine the number of children with cavities, that number would be greater than the number of people living in Los Angeles.
11. 3 out of 4 people in the US have at least one cavity before they turn 18.
12. It only takes 30 minutes after you drink soda for the acids to start wearing at your enamel.
13. An Elephant’s tooth can weigh over 6 pounds. They can measure one foot in length.
14. Bacteria from a toilet can go as much as 6 feet from the toilet when you flush…all the more reason to keep your toothbrush away from the toilet!
15. When we are right-handed, we tend to chew food on your right side, and if we are left-handed, we tend to chew on our left (but not always!)
16. In 1994, it’s said that a prison inmate in West Virginia took his floss, created a rope, and then used the rope to escape.
17. We create enough saliva (the natural cleanser in our mouth) in our lifetime to fill two full swimming pools.
18. We spend about 38.5 total days brushing out teeth our lifetime, on average.
19. In China, September 20th is an official holiday that is known as “Love Your Teeth Day.”
20. More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque…makes you want to brush, huh!?
21. A baby’s first primary tooth usually will erupt when she is around 6 months old.
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July 28th, 2014
Nutrition is one of the building blocks of our entire health, and that includes the health of our teeth and gums.
Babies, growing teens, adults, and seniors all have to take nutrition into consideration if we want to control as much as we are able to when it comes to our well-being and our health status.
To put something in perspective, consider this: tooth decay is actually the single most common chronic childhood disease today. But it is preventable through, you guessed it, the way we eat and nourish ourselves each day.
Here are 3 tips for how a busy person in today’s world can approach nutrition to better fight inflammation, prevent disease, and to set ourselves up for longevity.
1. Consider portion size—but also what’s making up your portions.
We often hear about portion sizes and that’s a very relevant factor for our waistlines. Eating too much can lead to weight gain, so keeping portion sizes in check helps us so we don’t end up over-eating. By that, we mean we are getting more than what’s required in macronutrients, most likely from tasty treats or meals that often don’t have high nutrient value.
- Don’t think of your teeth when you think of your TOTAL health? Well, take the connection between teeth and your total health serious. For example, Periodontal disease is a risk factor for coronary artery disease…and while the reasons are often debated, gum disease can signal inflammation, as well as increase it in the body. All in all, our mouth tells us a lot about our health.
We aren’t hear to tell you to exclude any food groups or specific foods—that is for you to decide—but portion control over time is major way to help us manage our weight.
At the same time, what’s on the plate matters just as much! Items that are high in sugar are worse on the teeth, and tooth decay from these kinds of foods can start in as little as 20 minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, typically nutrient-dense foods that happen to contain a lot of water (cucumbers, melons, fruit, kale, to name a few), do not result in that kind of rapid tooth decay. (Rather, they can even help us naturally cleanse our palates alongside our saliva.)
The bonus of many of our nutrient-dense foods, like leafy greens, is that we can eat a lot, we’re provided with many nutrients, we feel satisfied and “full,” and we aren’t overeating.
2. Try to plan ahead, and diligently prepare more meals and snacks.
Now you are ready to really ramp up the efforts to focus on less of the processed, artificial foods, and more on whole foods.
By this, we mean unrefined foods like vegetables, meat and poultry, fruits, legumes, nuts, or seeds. In the broadest of terms, many of these are foods you can think of that have “come straight from nature.”
You recognize that refined carbohydrates are negative for our teeth as the breakdown process creates acids that eat away at the teeth. You are now aiming to eat whole foods. But where to begin?
After all, some of us may be used to buying pre-packaged foods, or we just get the processed foods because they are convenient and nearly ready-to-eat, or they are just easy to put in a meal we are used to serving the family…
Set aside time to plan some of your meals in order to see how you can first get the necessary foods at the grocery store, and then how and when you can cook those meals. Consider preparing or partially preparing and storing meals for the week so that it’s easier and quicker at meal time.
Take for example someone who is trying to incorporate more fiber or vegetables into their daily lifestyle. One way they could do this is to make a normally time-intensive recipe by using a crockpot during the day. When they come home from work on any given day, they could have a meat and vegetable dish that is ready for them, and good for them.
A second alternative is to take the time to make snacks that you can have when you are on-the-go…this way we don’t pick up that sugary source of energy or the pop because we didn’t bring our own beverage somewhere.
You know you are going to get hungry at some time or another, so setting yourself up to have the high-nutrient choices available can help you in your efforts. From chopped veggies in a bag, to a homemade mixture of nuts and fruit, you can get creative. Last, having these more readily available to our kids means they are more likely to fill up on healthy snacks, rather than grabbing something else nearby. We can also ask them to brush their teeth after snacking since even “healthy” sources of carbohydrate foods still lead to starch and sugar exposure on the teeth.
3. Educate yourself and if you want, bring out your inner (health-oriented) foodie.
Have you ever picked up a new recipe book or bought a vegetable book that perhaps can teach you how to harvest your own garden?
Many of us will need to start making more meals on our own to be as healthy as possible, and help can come in the form of blogs or recipe books that can help you know more about what you are putting in your body. Whether it be popular niche foodie blogs, a cookbook, or breaking out Grandma’s old recipes, try to learn about what you are eating. It will give you a new perspective on what you choose to nourish yourself with.
Tags: best dentist cincinnati, cavity, cerec, Cincinnati, Cincinnati dental, Cincinnati dentist, cincinnati Dr Hagen DDS, Cosmetic Dentistry, Dentist, dentist appointment, dentist in cincinnati west side, nutrition and teeth connection
July 17th, 2014
Nutrition is extremely important when it comes to tooth formation, and our tooth (and jaw) structure itself. We want to have strong and healthy teeth so they can be resistant to decay.
But how else does nutrition impact our teeth once we are older?
Let’s reflect on our teeth makeup: enamel is on the outside. It is the mineralized “shell” to our teeth. Then we have dentin, also a mineralized layer, beneath our enamel. When our diet has a high nutrient density, we are able to “remineralize” our enamel and dentin. That’s just one reason why we want a “good diet” to be able to do so.
So far, we know a nutrient-dense diet is a good place to start. Some of the foods that deliver high nutrients, while limiting the acid we expose our teeth to, include these foods:
- Animal foods such as broths, meat, fish, eggs, etc.
- Limited fruit
What you do not see is processed foods, refined sweets or grains like oatmeal, sugary cereals, or crackers. Again, those are much more likely to lead to tooth decay then what you see above.
Most of those foods are high-protein. So does that mean protein is better for our teeth?
It is true that those foods shown above, with high nutrient densities, in some cases, do have a lot of protein in their macronutrient profile. Foods that don’t have much protein as part of its macronutrient profile can sometimes also be the foods that are worse off for teeth in general due to what else is making up that food, macronutrient-wise.
Let’s examine why that might be.
Take for example a candy bar that’s high in carbohydrates (sugar). It isn’t providing us with much protein, and at the same time, it’s also bad for teeth because of that high sugar content.
But, you can also think of examples that are quite contrary to this: take for example, a high-protein “energy bar.” These might have a high protein makeup, but then the chocolate they are coated in could also sit on your teeth if you were to not brush or floss after eating one. Said another way, it could have high protein, and also have high sugar! You can probably think of other examples.
When sugar is in what we deem a high-carbohydrate food, this is in fact worse on your teeth. On the other end, foods that are high in protein are often times, but not always, going to be better for your teeth as they (sometimes) lack the sugar in their makeup.
To sum it up, you might say that protein is good for your teeth—but another way to look at it is the absence of an excessive amount of (refined) sugar is what’s really good for our teeth!
…and, as stated, avoiding sugar also leaves us with many food choices that, in many cases, do have a protein-punch! Look to maximize mineral absorption and your daily intake of nutrients, both of which can be done through a diet that makes sure to get enough protein.
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July 8th, 2014
Did you know that cereals marketed towards kids have as much as 85 percent more sugar than those aimed at adults? They also have 65 percent less fiber than those cereals that are “for adults.”
With nearly one third of us eating cold cereals for breakfast, it’s time we examine exactly what we’re “running” on in the morning.
One cereal we can look to as an example is Cocoa Krispies. If we take a look at its first ingredients, we see Rice, Sugar, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Semisweet chocolate (which means more sugar!), and the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil…we will stop there, but the list of ingredients surely does not!
The list of ingredients goes on, but it’s good to take note of what we’re really feeding our kids for fuel in the morning. And, while we don’t mean to focus only on Cocoa Krispies, it does provide a good example of the problem: “sugar” itself appears three times throughout the ingredients list, and it’s part of the fourth most common ingredient as well.
A serving of this kind of cereal is about ¾ of a cup. But let’s take a closer look at that single serving, assuming that’s all that our children eat in the morning…
A single serving has 120 calories, and 12 grams of sugar in that serving.
12 grams of sugar is the same as 3 teaspoons of sugar.
Looked at another way, that is actually 39 percent of the cereal by weight.
Some of our most popular cereals that also have alarmingly high amounts of sugar include Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’n Crunch…to name a few. When we eat processed foods like this with extremely high sugar content, it’s almost like we’re eating candy to start off the day.
When you add several servings, instead of just keeping to 1 ounce, you actually could be doubling or tripling that amount of sugar intake as well.
We know some of the benefits of eating breakfast, in general, include a better memory, more energy, and an increased chance at better concentration.
These are all reasons to eat a nutritious, high fiber breakfast, but when you look at some of the cereals marketed towards children, they are simply highly processed grains that have been sweetened. In some cereals, they even have synthetic vitamins—talk about taking the idea of convenience too far!
Avoid Sugary and Non-Nutricious Cereals, and Better Avoid Harmful Acids on Our Teeth
Treat these often-salty and sugar-filled cereals just like they were candy or a treat: eat them in limited quantities. Also remember that many of the brands described truly lack any nutritional value.
As you know, when sugar and starches like these are left on our teeth, bacteria thrive. The acid that results will destroy our tooth enamel, and we are left with tooth decay.
A Better Breakfast Choice: Full of Vitamins and Minerals, but Also the Macronutrients Needed for Disease Prevention, Overall Health & Growth
Be sure to read your nutritional label, as there are many alternatives that are healthier options that provide vitamins, minerals, and even fiber (without any synthetic or artificial ingredients we may want to avoid) for our children. You could also choose whole foods instead of processed ones, which is sure to increase your nutrition content and be a better choice for your teeth and gums.
Have questions for us about a certain cereal and its effects on your teeth, or about a convenient, but also healthy, breakfast? Let us know and we will answer your questions.
Sources from this article include:
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July 5th, 2014
Although many say that dental floss was invented thanks to a dentist in New Orleans back in 1815, others say that the idea of floss really existed much earlier. They point towards anthropological evidence that people used sticks for interdental cleaning hundreds and hundreds of years ago…
Either way, our knowledge about the importance of flossing, and the actual floss we use, has come a long way since then…and it sounds like it has become much gentler on our teeth.
Even though we know floss is a great way to get rid of food and bacteria between our teeth, there is a much-debated question: when is the best time to floss—before or after we brush our teeth?
Let’s take a closer look at flossing to answer that question.
First, it’s vital to note that your toothbrush’s bristles simply cannot reach in between your teeth. Of course, that’s why you want to make sure you floss each day.
The grooming habit that’s been called by some as “the most difficult” is really not all that hard at all.
Here’s a breakdown of steps that take only minutes to complete:
- Start with about 18 inches of your preferred kind of floss
- Wrap the floss around your middle finger and then the rest of the floss around the opposite hand’s middle finger
- Taking the floss between your forefinger and thumb, gently glide the floss in between your teeth
- As the floss nears your gum, follow your shape of your tooth with the floss. This is done firmly, but still gently
- Take the floss and use it this way between your teeth, moving it up and down slightly, throughout your entire mouth, including “behind” your molars
- Over time, be sure to move the floss in your hands so that you can use the portion that has not yet been used between any teeth
Just by taking a few minutes out of your day, you are helping reduce the risk of bacteria entering the bloodstream and triggering inflammation in the arteries; there is evidence that this can occur, and it’s been suggested as a major risk for heart disease.
If you were to follow these steps to floss before you brush, then you would remove the plaque in between teeth. Then, when you brush your teeth, you would be actively removing the plaque on your teeth by brushing.
Flossing first means, in theory, we can utilize the fluoride in your toothpaste in between our teeth as well. (The idea is that since we just flossed, we have a greater chance of being able to “reach” in between the teeth with the toothpaste.)
Many people point towards the idea that brushing would help “wash away” the plaque in between our teeth, again, if you brush your teeth after flossing. In theory, that’s a possibility, but the reality is that flossing before or after you brush is suitable.
Let’s think about another scenario—where people brush their teeth first. In this case, people brush their teeth and then feel that the entire mouth is clean, so they don’t floss anymore! If that sounds like you, you should be sure to floss first.
Our conclusion: it’s more important that you are flossing at all, and that you are flossing the correct way–rather than before or after brushing.
And, if you are really a star, then yes, go ahead and floss gently more than once a day!
Want to know more about flossing? See our post on types of floss here.
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