The Impact of “Scary” and “Sweet” Candy on Your Teeth

It’s finally that time of the year, the leaves are falling, the weather is getting cooler, and Halloween is right around the corner! With the spooky season rapidly approaching you should know which candies are “scary” for your teeth and which ones are “sweet”.

The “Scary” Candy

  • Sticky and gummy candies (Laffy Taffy, gummy bears, caramel)
  • Hard candy (jawbreakers, lollipops, Jolly Ranchers)
  • Sour candy (Lemon Heads, War Heads, Sour Patch Kids)
  • Popcorn balls

These “scary” candies can cause a whole monster of problems from enamel loss to tooth damage. The sticky/gummy candies adhere to your teeth giving the sugar time to seep into all those nooks and crannies. beware-candy.jpgHard candy sits in your mouth slowly coating your teeth in sugar and can crack or break teeth as you chew them. The sour candies are super acidic and break down the enamel, weakening your teeth and making them more susceptible to cavities. Treats like popcorn balls have sharp kernels that can cause bleeding gums and other painful sores in your mouth.

The “Sweet” Candy

  • Semi-Sweet and dark chocolate
  • Candy bars with nuts
  • Any fun-sized candy bars

Now, any candy not in moderation can be harmful. However, these “sweet” candies are a safer bet for your teeth and gums. The chocolate and candy bars with nuts can be quickly and easily rinsed out with saliva or water. The fun-sized candy bars are smaller portions which means less sugar while satisfying your cravings!

Speaking of sugar, it can have a pretty sinister effect on your teeth, enamel and your gums. In our mouths, we have bacteria that when introduced to sugar, creates acid. The acid can stick around for up to 20 minutes! Be sure to eat the whole candy instead of munching on it to prevent further damage. Sugar also lowers the PH balance in our mouths making it more acidic. This acid can bond to and erode your enamel, Scary right? demineralization.jpgThis process is called demineralization, luckily our saliva is a base, so it helps prevent and restore some of the damage done in a process called remineralization.

Over time this acid wears our enamel down so much that the sugar can seep into our teeth causing cavities. When these cavities are left untreated, they can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. According to the ADA (American Dental Association), 91% percent of Americans over 20 have had cavities and 27% of them have experienced tooth decay.

Those are some spooky statistics! Thankfully there are some steps you can take to prevent the sugar from doing too much harm to those pearly whites. We suggest that after eating those “scary” treats, you chew some sugar-free gum. The sugar-free gum absorbs some of the acidic gunk stuck to your teeth, lessening its harmful effects on your enamel. It is also wise to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush. This keeps the sugar and acid from being ground into your enamel which can cause even more damage.

Always remember whether the candy is “scary” or “sweet” to eat in moderation, AND brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day also helps. Keep those beautiful teeth happy and healthy, schedule your dental check-up today!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

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

Why Sort Your Kid’s Halloween Candy

When you think of October, what comes to mind? Fall, pumpkins, or Halloween… Did you know that its National Dental Hygiene Month? It was created to increase awareness of the importance of oral care to your mouth and body.

The Daily 4

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

Brushing

You’ve heard it before, brush twice a day. For best results, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to create small, gentle circular motions to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

Flossing

How important is flossing? Brushing your teeth doesn’t completely clean your teeth. Flossing removes about 40% of plaque from your teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease will develop when there is plaque build-up.

Rinsing

Do you use mouthwash? It may seem tedious after brushing and flossing but it’s more beneficial than you think! Rinsing can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque.

Chewing

Chewing? Yeah, you’re probably thinking “how does that help my teeth?” Chewing sugar-free gum after snacks or meals stimulates saliva glands that help clean your teeth.

Dental Hygiene MonthAlso, this month is for giving our hygienists a special shout out! Every day they work hard to make our smiles healthy. Share your healthy smile, tag us and use #DentalHygieneMonth

With Halloween around the corner, you might be spooked on how to maintain your healthy smile. Of course, by now you know that candy isn’t good for your teeth. That doesn’t mean don’t have any, remember moderation is key! What are the chances of people giving out sugar-free candies? Slim- to none, cause that takes the fun out of trick-or-treating. But some sugary candies are worse than others. You can separate the candy into piles to limit sugar intake.

Gummy candy is clingy and it would take a while to be washed away. They stick to your teeth increasing risk for tooth decay. Some examples are taffy, gummy bears, or gummy worms. Sour candies are a double shock to your teeth, they have a lot of sugar and are highly acidic.

The number one concern for hard candy is biting into it breaking or damaging your teeth. Candy in your mouth for a long time can also bring more sugar into your mouth.

Surprisingly, dark chocolate is good for you it has less sugar and dissolves quickly. It also contains calcium making your teeth stronger and fights bacteria and plaque. Also, powdery candy is not sticky and dissolves quickly giving bacteria less time to cling to teeth.

Trick or TreatEven though the Halloween season is coming to an end, taking proper care of your teeth is never ending! Go through your kid’s pile of candy and make sure they are eating in moderation. Note that for yourself too, we know how tempting candy is!

Be sure to always brush twice a day, floss, rinse, and keep sugary snacks to a minimum. To celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month with us, schedule your dental checkups today!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

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

10 Ghoulish Disorders That Will Have You Flying to the Dentist

While most of us love a good horror story, in the world of dentistry, sometimes the truth is more frightening than any Hollywood flick! Curl up and dig in to 10 of the creepiest dental ailments you have ever heard of:

  1. Amelogenesis Imperfecta: Tooth Enamel Disease

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Amelogenesis Imperfecta is a congenital disease. Causing small teeth with very thin tooth enamel, a discolored smile is the tip of the iceberg here. These tiny chompers often suffer from painful sensitivity and lots of breakage. Diagnosed by your dentist, treatments are available for every level of severity.

Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center

  1. Hyperdontia: Extra Teeth

This rare condition affects a very small percentage of children. Sometimes tied to a genetic disorder, but can also occur for unknown reasons, a child develops extra teeth hidden in their gums. With extraction often the best course of action, left unattended these extra teeth can prevent or delay the eruption of permanent teeth and wreak havoc on the child’s bite. Yes, even those suffering from hyperdontia should still brush and floss twice a day!

Source: Colgate

  1. Papillon-Lefevre Syndrome (PLS): Premature Tooth Loss

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By the age of five, kids with PLS usually have many loose primary teeth. This can become a severe issue without regular dental care. But what’s the cause? The root of the problem stems from a missing enzyme causing a connective tissue issue. As skin infections are also common with PLS, routine care requires a team of specialists; usually including pediatricians, surgeons, dermatologists, among of course, dentists, periodontist and prosthodontists.

What’s even more frightening is the possibility of losing all permanent teeth… as a teenager! Such is so, as teens often choose to have any remaining teeth removed and wear dentures.

Source: National Organization for Rare Disorders

  1. Talon Cusps: Claw-Like Teeth

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Just as it sounds, these abnormal tooth sprouts look like the shape of an eagle’s talon at the back of a child’s tooth.  If left to fester, potential problems include crowding, gum irritation, bad bite, and of course the accumulation of plaque.

Dare not scrape these off! Talon cusps require common treatment from your dentist, such as grinding down or a root canal.

Source: Journal of the Canadian Dental Association

  1. Geminated Teeth: Mega Tooth

This is as if the tooth root has had twins. This anomaly manifests itself when two teeth develop from a single tooth bud. Turning into an oversized and disfigured tooth, your dentist will be on the lookout for the trouble it’s causing to nearby teeth.

Your dentist will be on the lookout for a bad bite, tooth decay in the area and overcrowding of neighboring teeth. Depending on size, it’s possible the tooth could cause little impact. However, most cases need extraction or other procedures to bring it down to normal size. Beware! These teeth aren’t easily flossed so using anti-bacterial mouthwash is advised.

Source: National Institute of Health

  1. Tonsilloliths: Tonsil Debris

Ever heard of tonsil stones? When this buildup of bacteria and debris gets trapped in and around your tonsils it’s no joke. Especially considering they range in size from a grain of rice to that of a large grape!

What causes this troublesome throat rubble? Chronic tonsillitis and poor dental hygiene are the usual culprits.  While not always visible, if they’re lurking you’ll likely smell it first! Bad breath, sore throat, and trouble swallowing as the most reported symptoms. Tonsils are delicate, and removing the stones requires the expert hand of a true professional.

Source:  Live Scicence

  1. Black Hairy Tongue: Like. It. Sounds…

Harmless as it may be, this fearsome condition will attract unwanted attention. If not from looks, the radiating smell will turn heads… and your stomach with a metallic taste. Caused by the building up of dead skin cells, this creepy accumulation does offer some relief in how it’s treated. Oral hygiene. Brush your tongue or using a tongue scraper daily should clear things up. If it persists, visit your dentist as reoccurrence risk runs high.

Source: WebMD

  1. Salivary Gland Stones: Clogged Salivary Glands

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Think kidney stones in your mouth. They’re painful and can cause neck swelling. As saliva is full of calcium, these startling stones store up in salivary ducts. The remedy is as easy as sucking on sour candy to get the saliva juices flowing again. Caution! Stones can grow large enough for surgical removal.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

  1. The Disgusting Truth About Your Toothbrush: dun dun dun!

Your toothbrush is a bacteria magnet. The dirty little secret it hides is really more like 10 million bacteria— including E. coli and Staph. Truly a terrifying thought! Here are some empowering tips to keeping your brush as clean as possible:

  • Replace your toothbrush after 3 months. Sooner if the bristles become frayed and always after the flu or a cold.
  • Not all toothpaste is created equal. Look for ones with triclosan or copolymer to help kill mouth bacteria.
  • Rinse the bristles after every use. Soaking in antibacterial mouthwash or hydrogen peroxide also helps.
  • In this case, sharing is not caring. Each brush is factory built for one mouth. Remember, 10 million bacteria…
  • Air dry between uses and don’t let toothbrush heads touch. Remember, 10 million bacteria…
  • Flush with the toilet seat down. We smell molecules of whatever it is giving off the stench. Remember E. coli…

Source: Huffington Post

  1. Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease: Virus

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Imagine having sores in your mouth, on your hands, feet, and even your legs. A very unpleasant condition, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is easily spread through coughing and sneezing. So, halt the spread with frequent hand washing, and while infected, keep the kisses under wraps.

This nasty virus is most common among children under 10 but adults can contract it as well. With symptoms lasting about a week, see a physician if the sore mouth and throat prevent drinking.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Spook ‘Em in Style!

When was your last dental exam? Call today or schedule your next appointment online!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Greenfield and Salinas Dental Implant Center

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

To Trick Or To Treat? That Is The Question!

HalloweenBlog

Halloween is a night full of spook-tacular thrills and terrifying fun!  It can also be a dreaded nightmare with the overload of candy that can spark the start of a cavity!  This year, why not try something new?  When you are gathering your cauldron full of trick or treat goodies, try and opt for some alternatives to the sugar jitters that are bound to commence!  There is no written rule that you HAVE to give out candy.  This year, let’s stand out from the crowd and spice it up a little bit.

Here are some unique alternatives:

  • Mini Play Doh
  • Snack Packs (pretzels, popcorn, fruit chews… etc.)
  • Temporary tattoos or stickers
  • Spooky vampire teeth
  • Halloween themed goodies (pencils, rings, toys, activity books… etc.)
  • Glow sticks
  • Mini juices or waters
  • Small chalk packs
  • Costume jewelry
  • Mini bubbles
  • Travel size floss and toothbrushes 😉

A couple of tips to keep in mind before the kiddos are ready to hit the town:

– Feed your child a well-balanced meal before they go trick or treating.
– Use smaller candy loot bags instead of pillow cases or large grocery bags

Now, let’s be real, we all know that Halloween is a time to indulge, a little (or a lot) in the sugary goodness.  Let this be a special day that your child can have a couple of pieces of candy out of their loot bag.  But limit the amount they consume.  Not to mention, no one likes a belly ache after too many sweets.  Just keep in mind, when your child comes home from the wicked Halloween trick or treating, go through their candy.  If there are any candy wrappers that are open or look to be tampered with, throw away without hesitation.  And don’t let your kids keep their candy stash!  If you are in control of it, you can monitor when they have a piece and how much they are eating.

If you only want to allow for a couple of pieces of candy, and get rid of the rest, consider these options:

  • Dental Office Candy Buy Backs
  • Donating the candy to the troops
  • Make your child a deal. For every piece of candy they hand over, give them a dime and then let them pick something special they would like to do with their earnings! Instant allowance! Perhaps a movie of their choice?  A dinner date?  Or a new toy?

No matter what the decision you choose to go with this year, we hope you have a safe and frightfully fun-filled Halloween!

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

5 Candy Alternatives That Will Keep Trick-or-Treaters Smiling

halloween-kidThe fall season brings an amazing amount of fun activities for you and your family. From the excitement of Halloween, to school fall festivals; kids and parents alike look forward to the cool weather and family memories. Unfortunately, Halloween and fall festivals can also do a number on your child’s teeth. Hard candies, sweet treats and sugary snacks can be cavities waiting to happen. Handing out Halloween candy doesn’t mean you have to hand out oral health disasters. There are a number of healthy alternatives to the candy bars and licorice- some that trick-or-treaters might even enjoy more than the sugar rush. The days of handing out apple slices and pennies to avoid contributing to tooth destruction are gone! Take a look at some of these creative trick-or-treat alternatives that will leave all the little ghosts and ghouls smiling throughout the year.

Applesauce Pouches

Applesauce is still a sweet treat, and not nearly as hard on the teeth. Not only that, they’re portable, affordable and a great way to avoid the mess of some other treats. You can get a pack of 48 pouches for about 35 dollars on Amazon, which is enough to give all the trick-or-treaters something healthy to smile about.

Mini LaraBars

Larabars are gluten free, vegan, kosher and only have about 8-11 grams of sugar per bar. They also come in mini form, making them perfect to hand out on Halloween. The great thing about these treats is that the kids won’t even know they’re healthy! LaraBars have flavors such as cherry pie, apple pie and cashew cookie and are just as delicious as the other mini candy bars that will be weighing down their bag. If you can’t find LaraBars, or they’re a little too pricey for you, granola bars of any kind will be a better choice than chocolate.

Vegan Rice Crispy Treats

Rice crispy treats are a delicious sweet treat for trick-or-treaters, but you don’t have to use all the sugary marshmallow to make them amazing. There are a number of recipes you can follow which swap out a few classic ingredients for something a little healthier in order to create the perfect Halloween snack. By using brown rice syrup instead of marshmallow, brown rice crisps instead of white rice and coconut oil instead of butter- you can make delicious, healthy treats that many claim are better than the original. Check out one the recipes here.

Sugar Free Gum

While sugar free gum may not be the most exciting item in your child’s bag, it’s still a quality alternative to all the junk they’ll be getting. You can get tasty sugar free gum such as Dubble Bubble and throw a few pieces in along with other healthy treats. Parents will appreciate the lack of sugar, and the kids (especially those kids who love their chewing gum) will be happy with a full bag of “candy.”

Toys

If you want to skip the food items altogether, many parents have opted to hand out toys instead. There are a number of items you can get in bulk for cheap such as pencils, erasers, stickers, mini water guns, temporary tattoos, mini play dough, sidewalk chalk, bouncing balls, bubbles and more. The possibilities are endless and none of these things will land your child in the dentist’s chair. If you’re thinking of skipping the candy and handing out toys, head to your local dollar store to find amazing deals on bulk items.

There’s also the option of handing out pre-made veggie and fruit snacks, however this may only be a good idea if you’re close with the surrounding neighbors. Parents are often a little leery of pre-prepared snacks and the time and money you spent might simply end up in the trash. These days there really are dozens of candy alternatives that don’t skimp on the flavor. Do your own research to find what works best for you and your family, have fun with it, and get everyone involved. Keep in mind that most trick-or-treaters will be over-flowing with the sugary stuff- so its good practice as a parent and oral health advocate to provide something that will keep their smiles healthy throughout the year.

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

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