The Dangers of Crunchy Munchies

Blog Title-Hard Candy2

Easter means many things to different families everywhere, but one thing that remains consistent is the appearance of candy! Whether it’s hidden in eggs or just passed around, it comes at a nice nearly halfway mark in the year from Halloween. Sweets make for some excellent treats, and there is no reason not to indulge (in moderation of course)! However, all candies are not created equal, and it may be worth knowing which ones you can have relatively guilt free, and which could spell trouble for your wonderful smile.

When it comes to Easter indulgences, chocolate may make it onto the nice list – we know, this is great news to many of you. The less forgiving candies are the ones that make that all-too-familiar CRUNCH! Hard candies, like lollipops or jolly ranchers, can be an awfully tempting treat to bite. But best case scenario is they can pack hard-to-reach pieces of sugar into your gums that end up sitting there, as saliva can have a difficult time breaking them down. Worst case scenario, that crunch sound may be coming from a broken tooth, and sending you straight from your Sunday activities into our office.

We do love seeing our patients, but not at the expense of their healthy smile! It happens more often than you think, and it’s not just because of the sugar – even some who are prone to absentmindedly crunching on ice have discovered the dangers of biting down on crunchy munchies when they find a piece of their tooth broken off. Your teeth are durable for normal eating and chewing, but anything that causes too much stress can run the risk of chipping or breaking one of your pearly whites. Before you try to impress your friends with breaking that jaw breaker in half, remember that it’s earned that name for a pretty good reason.

Even if you resist that satisfying crunch, there are still a few other points of concern for hard candies that you don’t run into with other options (like chocolate!). Hard candies that you suck on tend to spend a concentrated period of time in a single location, which over-exposes particular areas of your mouth to sugar and lead to a very concentrated build-up of acid, which can be a quick way to damage the enamel. Consider this next time you find yourself unwrapping that tootsie pop or after-meal mint, and perhaps enjoy a stick of gum instead. It’s not often that the solution for a sweet treat is yet another sweet treat, but you’re in luck because this time it is! After enjoying your holiday treats, consider enjoying a piece of sugar-free gum – the increased saliva productions while chewing can actually help dislodge and break down the remaining sugar in your mouth.
Overall, we don’t want to take the enjoyment out of candy-filled holidays – enjoy your time with your friends and family, and definitely don’t be afraid to pop open that plastic egg and see what treats hide inside. If you do find yourself going crazy for the crunchy candies, we hope you chew safely…and if things go wrong, you always have your friends at our office to set things straight (:

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

Fast Food During The Holidays

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During the hectic holiday season, fast food is an easy go-to. We already know that sweets and sugary desserts are not good for our teeth or our waistlines. However, even the savory fast foods can wreak havoc on our teeth!

Some problems that may arise are:
– Acid erosion
Staining
– Decay

Refined carbohydrates, such as in white based pizza sauces and pastas, contain simple sugars that are able to quickly dissolve, causing acid that attacks tooth enamel.

Heavily pigmented foods such as certain spices and sauces within Chinese and Indian foods, as well as tomato based sauces, contain properties that can easily stain your teeth. It has been suggested that if you are going to be eating any of these foods, you begin your meal with a green vegetable such as spinach or broccoli. Green veggies form a protective film on the surface of your teeth that creates a less porous surface for staining foods to be able to adhere to. Therefore, your teeth have a slight barrier to stop those yummy sauces and spices from staining your teeth!

Starchy and fried foods (probably the worst items to consume health-wise) also stick to your teeth very easily. These foods are highly processed with lots of preservatives, none of which are good for your teeth.

Even when you think you are reaching for a healthy pre-made sandwich; take a look at the ingredients contained within. Some contain hidden sugars and calories, as well as an overload of salt. High amounts of salt, sugar and calories not only cause harm to your tooth surfaces and enamel, they can also contribute to high blood pressure or even a stroke! So the next time you reach for what you think may be the “smart option” take a little peak at the ingredients, especially those contained in the spreads or sauces. If there are high amounts of sugar or salt, you may want to consider a different option.

Large amounts of meat or tough-to-chew foods also need to be consumed in moderation. Even though the protein is good for you, when you over-indulge in chewy and tough meats, you can negatively impact your jaw joints or even cause misalignment of your jaw as well as headaches, and tooth aches. While you eat these types of foods, try to distribute them equally on the chewing surfaces within your mouth, alternating which side you are chewing on.

The convenience of fast foods is great! It’s always nice to be able to quickly grab something to satisfy your appetite. Perhaps after reading this, we can all be a little bit more mindful when we go to grab a quick bite. Take a couple extra minutes to choose what you are going to eat. A well balanced diet is a healthy diet. If you are going to consume fatty and sugar-filled foods, do so in moderation. Consider more healthful choices like fresh veggies and lean meats with a side of water! Then when you get to your sweet treat, it won’t be so detrimental to your teeth!

So remember; always, always brush your teeth twice a day, be sure to regularly floss and schedule regular dental check-ups! Bon appétit!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

A Time To Give Thanks

A Time to give thanks

As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, here is a little insight as to how to not over indulge when turkey day hits!  We all know the famous expression “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!” or “You eat with your eyes first!”  This is usually the case with most of us when it comes to sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner.  Let’s just put this out there…  Gorging yourself on snacks, cakes, pies, and starches just means a really big stomach-ache and a miserable rest of the night, not to mention the potential for damage that it can have on your teeth and gums!

This year, why not give your smile the attention that it deserves?

Instead of the incessant snacking on all of the empty calories, head over to the veggie tray!  A variety of veggies can do wonders for you!  Not only for your oral health, but also for your health in general.  Reaching for a nice healthy snack is a great decision!

When you are loading up your plate with all those delicious foods, try and plan out your plate.  Be mindful of the items you are scooping on as well as how much of what, you are dishing.  Instead of piling on mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing and marshmallow covered yams, try this combination instead; A bigger scoop of green beans, some turkey, yams (minus the marshmallow), a smaller portion of the potatoes (minus that extra butter) and a little fruit salad on the side without the whipped topping.  Your plate will be well balanced with more appropriate portions and without all of the sticky, bad-for-your-teeth toppings.

Thanksgiving desserts are a must for most! After you have yourself a small slice, if you are able to excuse yourself and go rinse your mouth and (if at all possible) brush and floss your teeth, you will be well on your way to a happier and healthier smile!  If you brush those teeth and gums after eating the sweets and dinner, they are not able to sit on your teeth allowing time for bacteria build-up and all that comes along with the damaging sugar ingredients that cause harm.

With proper oral health care and limited portion control when eating, you CAN quite literally “Have your cake, and eat it too!”

Aside from eating, here’s something fun to do.  Sit down with a friend or loved one and think about a couple of specific moments when someone’s smile impacted you, or when your smile meant something to someone else; even as little as holding a door open for a stranger and the exchange of smiles that was made at that point in time.  This will open up a conversation about smiles and positivity!  And really, what could be better than that?!

All-in-all, we hope you have a wonderful and love-filled Thanksgiving!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

The Importance of Dental Hygiene and Back to School

importanceAh, the hustle and bustle of going back to school!

As we head back into school mode, there are lots of things on the “to-do” list to get done before the first day rolls around.  Every student should be equipped with these essentials:

  • Backpack
  • Notebooks
  • Markers, pens, pencils
  • Dental cleaning

Dental cleaning?!?  Yes!  Healthy teeth, gums and proper dental hygiene are as crucial as everything else on the list in preparation for the coming school year.

Studies have shown dental related issues are a main reason that children miss school. If you maintain and stay on top of your oral health care you are setting yourself up for future success! There is no age limit when it comes to having a healthy mouth and smile.*

As your first day of school swiftly approaches, no matter what grade you are going into, first impressions are always looming in the back of your mind.  And first impressions are huge!  No one needs to have a big chunk of cereal in their teeth or stinky breath on their first day back. Your buddies will never let you live it down. When your teeth are well taken care of, brushed, flossed, with clean fresh breath, you are well on your way to a GREAT first impression!

A friendly smile says a lot about a person.  When you have a clean, attractive smile you’ll exude confidence. When you are feeling confident, you promote a positive sense of self which can help spark a conversation or attract another person’s attention.  You’ll have a lunch buddy in no time!

Not to mention, those school pictures that wind up being permanent fixtures in the yearbook (and on your fridge at home). With a dashing smile, you will have no regrets when you look back years later and think, “Man!  That is one good looking smile!”

If you are due for a dental cleaning and polish, now is the perfect time to go in for an appointment!  This goes above and beyond your daily standard brushing and flossing.  A good dental cleaning will remove all of the plaque or tartar buildup that may have accumulated over the past few months.  Any sort of gingivitis will be examined and taken care of. A nice polishing of your teeth will finish up your look.  Afterwards, your teeth will feel AMAZING!  Your teeth will literally be squeaky clean!  There is no better feeling than a smooth fresh tooth surface.

We all get those first-day jitters when going back to school.  It’s completely natural.  But when your alarm clock goes off the morning of your first day back, you eat your breakfast, gather your belongings, and you brush and floss your teeth, you will have one less thing to worry about before you get to class!

So just remember, before you walk out the door for your first day of school, make sure that you have spent at least two minutes brushing those pearly whites, flossed each and every tooth, and maybe even given a quick once over with some mouth rinse.  You are bound to have a great first day back with smiles all around!

*Source:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21330579

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

and

696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

How to Help Your Kids Create Good Oral Hygiene Habits Now

Feb Blog Image

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and we’re dedicated to raising awareness!

In America, 51 million hours of school is missed every year due to oral health issues. Although every month should be important when it comes to a child’s dental health, February is the one dedicated to it. Here are things to keep in mind when helping children become conscious of just how important dental hygiene is and exactly how to start creating good habits right away:

  1. Keep the sugar intake to a minimum
  2. Floss, floss, floss
  3. Brush twice a day
  4. When you brush, make sure you hit the 2 minute mark
  5. Visit your dentist regularly

Have you ever seen that amazing “magic trick” when you ask your child “Did you brush your teeth?”  And they respond with a “yes” only because their toothbrush is wet?  Then come to find out, there was no brushing going on, they merely stuck their toothbrush under the faucet and wiped their front teeth once, maybe twice. Now is the perfect time to kick this bad habit!  Dental health can be fun for kids (and adults)!

Here are 4 ways to incorporate some fun and giggles into children’s daily oral care:

Toothpaste – a plethora of choices

Let’s start off with toothpaste.  There are gels, pastes, and so many different flavors; such as cinnamon, vanilla, bubble gum, and variety of different mint flavors.  Let your child choose which one they would prefer.

Flossing – 40% of cleaning your teeth comes from flossing

Floss comes in different flavors as well and also had a variety of textures.  There are waxed, woven, and even the hand held pick form to name a few.

Toothbrush – the master tool

Choosing a toothbrush will probably be your child’s favorite thing to do.  Not only are there options as far as handheld or battery operated, there are TONS of different designs now!  Your child can pick their favorite cartoon character or stick to the basics-like their favorite color.

Brushing Timer – brush 2 min 2x a day

While the tiny sand timers you flip upside down are always fun for kids to watch, there are now toothbrushes with built in timers. The brush will alert timer markers with a beep or a vibration for 2 minute duration, some even play a popular song.

Giving Kids Something to Look Forward To

This is the perfect way to create a morning and nighttime routine to get your child excited about developing healthy habits.  Getting your child involved in the decision making of choosing some cool and fun dental products makes them more apt to look forward to brushing and flossing daily.

Starting off good oral hygiene practice at a young age will propel your kids into the future for a lifetime of healthy pink gums and bright shining smiles!  A healthy smile is a smile you can be proud of!

Download Dental Word Search

References

http://www.ncohf.org/resources/tooth-decay-facts

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/still-not-flossing-more-reasons-why-you-should

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B

Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501