4 Daily Do’s for National Dental Hygiene Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month! We appreciate our hard-working dental hygienists every day of the year. Dental hygienists play a critical role in promoting oral health, and they make your twice-yearly visit to the office fun and seamless. This month, health care professionals across the nation are spreading the word to help dental hygienists maintain healthy smiles.

Take part by helping your little ones remember these four daily care basics: [Read more…]

Happy National Dental Hygiene Month

Photo: makelessnoise/CC BY 2.0

October is National Dental Hygiene Month! This month, health care professionals across the nation have been spreading the word to help dental hygienists maintain healthy smiles. We know you spend a lot of time helping your little ones brush their teeth, drink plenty of water, and develop a healthy attitude toward going to the dentist. It’s not always easy, and we’re here to help!

Our award-winning blog is full of fun and useful information on every aspect of kids’ oral hygiene. Here are some of our readers’ favorite topics: [Read more…]

Healthy Gums for a Healthy Mouth

Photo: Healthy Smiles

For September’s National Gum Care Month, we joined dental practitioners and healthcare advocates across the nation to highlight the importance of healthy gums for a healthy mouth. What do healthy gums look like and why are they important? Here are some essential facts about gum health for your family:

What do healthy gums look like?

Healthy gums are pink in color, but this can vary based on complexion to include tan or light brown. Healthy gums are also firm versus swollen or puffy.

Why are healthy gums important?

While cavity prevention is often the first thing that comes to mind for mouth health, healthy gums are also important. Your gums are a thick tissue that surround and protect your teeth. Healthy gums are not just important to your mouth, but your overall health. Studies show that those with periodontal disease have a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease. [Read more…]

Fun Facts: Pets Have Baby Teeth, Too!

It’s fun to tell kids that puppies and kittens are a lot like their owners in this way—they have two sets of teeth in their lifetime: baby teeth and adult teeth. Of course, the process of losing baby teeth happens a lot more quickly for our furry friends. Here are more fun facts about the temporary chompers of our beloved household animals:

  • If you’ve ever had a puppy or kitten, then you’ve probably felt their baby teeth. They’re sharp! These pets have sharp but brittle baby teeth to help them chew food while their jaws are still developing. It also helps to wean them off of mom’s milk as mom nudges them toward other sources of food.
  • Puppies begin to get baby teeth (called deciduous teeth by vets) when they’re about three to six weeks old, and these make way for permanent teeth when they’re about four to eight months old. Adorable, right? [Read more…]

Is Diet Soda Better for You than Regular Soda?

Photo: Bunny Jager/CC BY-SA 2.0

Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, and neotame, among others. You’ll recognize them in sugar substitutes such as Sweet n’ Low, Equal, and Splenda. However, according to PBS, research sheds the following doubts on the integrity of artificial sweeteners:

They can change how your body processes real sugar. That’s because taste receptors signal the body to release hormones to digest sugar, even when it’s fake sugar on the tongue. With long-term exposure to artificial sweeteners, the body’s metabolism can be altered.

They can change your body’s gut bacteria for the worse. One study, published in Nature.com, states that this alteration can even induce glucose intolerance.

They can place you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in BMJ, neither artificially sweetened beverages nor fruit juice are likely to be healthy alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. [Read more…]

Bubble Tea Is as Unhealthy as Soda

Photo: Abi Porter/CC by 2.0

Also known as boba tea, bubble tea is an Asian drink that consists of tea mixed with fruit, flavored syrups, or milk accompanied with tapioca pearls. Originally a beverage of Taiwan, it’s become quite popular for both adults and children in the U.S. in the last decade. However, experts have been sounding the warning bells, stating that boba tea can be just as unhealthy as soda. Here are some stats:

  • KABC reports that a 12-ounce serving of boba tea contains almost 90 grams of sugar. That’s more than double a 12-ounce can of Coca Cola, which contains 39 grams of sugar.
  • The Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance launched the “Rethink Your Asian Drink” campaign, stating that boba tea has more sugar than a Snickers bar. The coalition has also reported a 68 percent increase in diabetes in Asian and Pacific Islanders in L.A. County between 1997 and 2011. [Read more…]

5 Ways to Care for Your Teeth When Pregnant

It’s a new year, and for those who are pregnant, a time to prepare for new life. Taking good care of your baby begins with you during this important stage. When you’re expecting, even your teeth could use some TLC. Here are five ways to care for your teeth when pregnant:

  1. Switch to a softer toothbrush. This will help you to apply gentle pressure to your gums. According to BabyCenter, “about half of moms-to-be have swollen, red, tendergums that bleed when flossed or brushed.” This is due to pregnancy gingivitis, or mild inflammation of the gums during pregnancy. Rising hormone levels can be partly to blame for your gums’ sensitivity to bacteria in plaque. This leads us to the next point…
  2. Take good care of your gums. Did you know that periodontal disease during pregnancy is linked to premature birth and low birth weight? Along with periodontal disease, the March of Dimes cites gingivitis and tooth decay as conditions that pregnant women are more susceptible to. We’ve got a secret weapon for your gums—floss! [Read more…]

Halloween Candy Survival Guide

halloween-fairyAll year long, kids look forward to the magic and fun of Halloween. Parents enjoy the costumes and trick-or-treating, too, but the thought of all that candy can be troublesome. Whether you raid the candy bags to the benefit of your coworkers, sell the candy at a buyback, or ration it in some other way, much of the sweets will end up with your kids. To help you sort through the Halloween bags with them, here’s a summary of MouthHealthy.org’s rundown of common candies:

Chocolate: Of all the Halloween candies your kids will receive, chocolate is best because it washes off teeth more easily. Choose dark chocolate when possible, as it has less sugar than milk chocolate. Chocolate can also be good for you. Read our article, A Delicious Secret, to find out more.

Sticky and Gummy Candies: “Be picky if it’s sticky,” MouthHealthy advises. We agree. Sticky and gummy candies are harder to remove and could result in cavity-causing bacteria staying on the kids’ teeth longer. [Read more…]

3 Reasons You’re Half as Likely as an Olympian to Have Cavities

The 2016 Olympic games in Rio are over, and you now know which U.S. champions brought home the gold, silver, and bronze medals. Here’s something you don’t know about the Olympians, whether they don from the U.S. or another part of the world: three-quarters have gingivitis.

Overall, Olympians have high levels of poor dental health, including cavities and dental erosion. In fact, as an American adult, you’re half as likely as an Olympian to have cavities, as Ars Technica reports. That deserves a gold medal, in our book!

The findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, come from a 2013 study conducted of 302 Olympic athletes who competed in 25 sports at the 2012 Olympics in London. Does the data seem puzzling to you? We thought it might, as high-level athletes seem to epitomize strong physiques and excellent health that enable them to compete. Here are some of the reasons why Olympians may be thriving in their sport but suffering in the oral health department: [Read more…]

Brush Your Teeth for Longer Life Expectancy

According to the Stride Health article, “Men Are Closing the Longevity Gap-Here’s Why,” healthier lifestyle choices are helping men live as long as women, with life expectancy for U.S. males going up by 4.6 years between 1989 and 2009. Not smoking, controlling stress with strategies like meditation and exercise, and visiting the doctor regularly have been key to decreasing the gender longevity gap.

Another important tip to live longer: Take better care of your teeth! Our own Dr. Sharine Thenard was interviewed for the above article, and here’s what she said about the connection between healthy teeth and life expectancy: [Read more…]