Halloween Candy: A trick or treat?

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Children’s favorite holiday is just around the corner, and it’s not surprising why! Candy, candy candy! Don’t let this holiday stress you out.  Here are a few tips on how to keep their teeth healthy and cavity free during Halloween this year.

Pick your favorites

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After your night of fun collecting candy, sort through the bag with your child and let them choose 5 of their favorite items to keep and find your local food bank to donate the rest. Most cities offer these donations to great causes like for our troops abroad.

Chocolate that’s good for you

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The best type of sweet treat to keep around is chocolate. Hard to believe, we know, but here’s why: time is of the essence when it comes to teeth and sugar.  Chewy treats and hard candy are particularly damaging because they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth.  These candies are also more difficult for teeth to chew, which is not good for their enamel. Sweets like chocolate that quickly dissolve in the mouth and can be eaten easily lessen the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. But remember, too much of any thing isn’t good, so try and limit this too.

Time it right

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Allow your children to eat their favorite candies right after a meal instead of a random time during the day.  Right after eating, saliva production is at its peak and can help cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth.  Saliva also helps rinse away food that can stick to your teeth and cause cavities.

Let water be your friend!

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After your children munch on a few of their goodies, give them lots of water. It’s the second best thing you can do for their teeth if they don’t have time to brush.  Water helps cleanse their teeth and prevents sugar from staying on their teeth, which can lead to cavities.

We hope that parents find these tips helpful.  Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns!  Visit us at www.zpdentistry.com or call us at (832) 321 7151

What are healthy snacks for kids teeth?

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“What are some healthy snacks my kids can eat?”  We get this question all the time at Z Pediatric Dentistry.  Parents can feel overwhelmed.

Summer

Summer is just around the corner and that means kids are home! Here are some tips to keep their mouths and your homes healthy no matter how hot it gets outside! Don’t worry parents, no need to get extra fancy here, just remember a few key items.

Keep snack time short

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Snack time, also known as a child’s favorite time of day, is an important part of their routine.  Keep snack time pretty short, about 15-20 min.  Don’t leave a plate of snacks out for kids to munch on all afternoon because the longer food sits on teeth, the more likely they are to get cavities.

Keep snacks healthy

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Anything with low amounts of sugar is your best bet for teeth to be strong and healthy.  Fruits, vegetables and protein like chicken or turkey are great options.  One of my favorite and easy snacks to make is an apple with almond butter, which is lower in fat but just as creamy and tasty.  You can try pita bread with hummus or even plain yogurt with fresh fruit (see list below for other suggestions and recipes).

Beware of hidden sugars!

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That sugar can really sneak up on you in foods you didn’t realize have large amounts in it.  The biggest jokesters are fruit juices.  While healthy and good in theory, it is much better to let your child eat the fruit rather than drink a glass of its juice.  Most juices have the same amount of sugar as a coca-cola, so skip flavored bevs and stick with water! (see below for other snacks you should avoid).
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  • Chicken kabobs with peanut sauce 
  • Orange cranberry muffins
  • Almond and Kale smoothie: (I make this every day in the summer and love it!)
    • 1 cup chopped kale (discard thick rib in middle of leaf)
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1 tbsp almond butter (more if you like nutty flavor)
    • 1 pitted date
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • ½ banana frozen (or room temp banana and add ice).
    • agave nectar to taste for sweetness*blend and enjoy

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  • Gold fish crackers
  • White bread
  • Gummy fruit snacks
  • Pre-made fruit yoghurt
  • Ketchup
  • Granola bars

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call our office at 832.321.7151 or visit our website !

What? Cough syrup can lead to cavities?

Flu Season

Flu Season is upon us and the sniffles and cough are miserable.  Even though that over-the-counter cough syrup seems easy, did you know that a spoonful of medicine can lead to tooth decay?

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Facts about most cough drops and syrups

Syrups have high amount of sugar

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High fructose corn syrup and sucrose are in most children’s medicines to improve their taste, however the side effects of these ingredients are not good for teeth! This high amount of sugar in them can stick to teeth and lead to cavities much faster

Flavored Syrups can have high acidity levels

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Some cough syrups are flavored with citric acid, which is also bad for teeth.  Acids eat away at your tooth covering, the enamel, and increase the chance of getting a cavity.  Even some antihistamines have high acidity levels, so beware!

Syrups can contain alcohol

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A few cough syrups contain alcohol as well, which can lead to dry mouth.  Your saliva is very important to keep your teeth clean and healthy.  Saliva helps wash away acids and sugars from your teeth, so taking medicine that lowers saliva will increase your chance to get tooth decay.

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What can I do?

Have no fear, you can still fight the flu and keep your teeth healthy! Here are a few tips in case you do get the flu this season

Avoid taking medicine before bed time

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Take liquid medication during meal times, not before bed. Saliva decreases at night, so taking syrups before bedtime will increase your chance of cavities.

Brush your teeth!

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Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after you take the medicine. This helps protect teeth from those sticky sugars.

Drink Water!

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If you cannot brush, drink water! It’s easy and just as effective to remove sugar from your teeth.

Avoid liquid medicines

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Request a tablet or pill form instead of the liquid to keep your teeth safe and healthy!

We hope that parents find this article helpful.  Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns!  Visit us at www.zpdentistry.com or call us at (832) 321 7151

Why should I take my child to the dentist?

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“Well, my child’s teeth will fall out eventually, why should I take them to a dentist?”

That is the most common question we hear and now you can learn why you should visit us sooner rather than later.

Long Term Benefits

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Visiting the pediatric dentist within the first 2 years of your child’s life can help benefit their psyche and early dental needs. Many fears stem from parents or family member’s negative experience at their dentist.  The sooner a child can familiarize themselves in a dental home, the less anxious they will be for future appointments.  It also gives us a chance to speak with care takers about good oral hygiene for the child, and we address habits and diets that can benefit them.  Also, if an emergency arises, you can rest assured it will be a short phone call before you are taken care of at your established dental home.

Not treating cavities can lead to damage on permanent teeth

cavities-tooth-decayCavities are holes made in teeth from bacteria. The longer you wait to treat those cavities, the greater the chance that bacteria (sugar bugs as we like to call them) will affect other teeth.  As children begin losing baby teeth, they enter a ‘mixed dentition’ phase, where they have both permanent and milk teeth.  If baby teeth have untreated cavities, that bacteria can spread to permanent teeth and could ‘make holes’ in them as well.

Cavities grow faster on baby teeth

baby teethBaby teeth differ from permanent teeth because their enamel (the thick outer white covering we see) is much thinner.  Cavities tend to grow and spread much faster than they do in permanent teeth, so it is important to get them treated as soon as they are diagnosed.  Infections spread quickly in children from their mouth to their necks and brains and cause abscesses and cellulitis (swelling of cheek and neck from infection) which are emergency situations.

Premature tooth loss can affect permanent teeth growth

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Losing a baby tooth due to cavities before it should naturally fall out can cause problems for the permanent teeth. It can lead to space loss in the child’s mouth and the natural eruption of permanent teeth.  While no one can predict if your child will need braces, preventing early tooth loss will benefit your child in the future.

Take action!

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Remember, you can never start too early! Visit
www.zpdentistry.com for more information about our office or call 832.321.7151 if you have any questions.