This past Sunday, Gentech Dentist supported employees who ran in the annual Run Like Hell 5k/10k/half marathon. Portland supplied beautiful dry weather, and lots of fun was had.
With Halloween around the corner, it's important to think about your child's dental health. The tradition of going door to door wearing costumes and collecting treats is a lot of fun, but the consumption of the candy can be a problem -- and not just because overdoing it on the sweets can lead to stomach aches. A night of unchecked feasting can be very hard on your child's dental health. Take a look at some of the effects of candy on your children's teeth, and find out how you can protect your children from cavities without dampening their fun.Which Treats Are Toughest on the Teeth?
The holidays should be fun, but they shouldn't lead to new cavities.
Not all sweets are created equally. Just like your kids probably have their favorite treats and least favorite treats, so do their teeth. Sticky candies are some of the worst -- think caramels, taffies, and gummy bears. Even dried fruits can fall into this category, so beware of thinking of them as a healthier alternative. The problem with sticky candy isn't so much the amount of sugar they contain -- it's that they're so difficult to remove from your child's teeth. They won't be washed away by your child's saliva, the way a softer, less sticky sweet, like chocolate, might be. You may want to help your children brush their teeth on Halloween night, even if they normally do it themselves.
Sour candies are also pretty tough on tooth enamel. Sugary sweets damage enamel because the bacteria in the mouth breaks the sugars down into acids, which then erode the enamel. Sour candies are high in acids already -- they don't even have to wait to be broken down before they can start affecting the enamel. Of course, they contain sugars as well, so once the acid from the sour flavorings are washed away, the sugars are being converted to new acids. If you let your kids eat sour candies, remember not to have them brush their teeth immediately afterward. This may sound counterintuitive, but brushing teeth too quickly after eating something sour can just spread the acid around on the teeth. Wait a little while, or feed your kids a snack that helps to balance the pH levels in the mouth (cheese works), and then have them brush their teeth.
What You Can Do?
A checkup now could help you avoid Halloween cavities.
Make sure that you check your child's candy before you let them eat it. You're not only looking for open or potentially dangerous candy, you're also looking for tooth-damaging candy. You don't want your child mistaking a jawbreaker for a gum ball, for example, and biting down hard. So check to make sure that you know what they're eating before you allow them to have it. Let your child have a set amount on the night of Halloween, but make sure that they brush and floss carefully before bed.
As for the rest of the stash, you and your child can stop by one of our offices during our fifth annual Halloween Candy Buyback event to sell their extra candy and pick up a free toothbrush while you're at it! We have teamed up with Operation Gratitude to send unwanted treats to our troops overseas. Your child will receive $1 per pound (maximum 10lbs), and will be entered into a drawing for an iPod Touch!
If it's been awhile since your child's last dental checkup, the Halloween season is a good time to make an appointment.
The treats in that pumpkin bucket can be mighty scary for little teeth! Show your children how to help the troops by donating their unopened Halloween candy to be sent to our troops overseas!
Gentech Dentist will buy your unopened Halloween candy for $1 per pound!
Tuesday, November 1st – Friday, November 4th during regular office hours (T-Th 7am-7pm, F 7am-4pm)
Maximum of ten pounds per child. Children must be 16 or younger, must be present, and must be accompanied by an adult.
Each child will receive a new toothbrush and have a chance to enter a drawing for an iPod Touch!
The candy will be sent to Operation Gratitude in Van Nuys, CA. They make individual holiday packages and ship them to our soldiers stationed overseas. What a great way to brighten the day of an American soldier!
Visit any Gentech Dentist office to trade your Halloween stash for Halloween cash!
Immediate family members of Gentech employees are ineligible. For our office locations, click here.
Apply an ice pack, wrapped in a towel, to the area causing pain (on your cheek -never apply ice directly to your tooth). The cold can help numb the pain and reduce inflammation. However, if your toothache persists for more than a couple of days, it's best to call us and schedule an appointment.
Once your brushing routine is done, give your teeth a break from sugars for the night.
It's not just brushing your teeth that matters -- when you brush your teeth also matters. For example, when you brush your teeth at night, it should be the last thing that you do before you go to bed. You're going to be sleeping for around 8 hours, which is a long time to leave your enamel exposed to any sugars or acids. Your mouth also tends to be drier at night (especially if you sleep with your mouth open), which makes you even more vulnerable to cavities. So it's best if your teeth are as clean as they're going to be before you fall asleep.
Sometimes people make changes to their after-brushing and before bed routine without realizing how it could impact their teeth. Have you started taking a vitamin or supplement at night before you go to sleep, especially one of the gummy or chewable varieties? Have you been sick and taking a liquid antibiotic or cold medicine before bed? Have you gotten into a habit of keeping a glass of juice on your nightstand at night, in case you wake up with a dry throat? All of those things -- chewable vitamins, liquid medicines and antibiotics, and juice -- contain sugars, and if you've begun taking them or drinking them after you brush your teeth, you're allowing those sugars to have free reign on your tooth enamel all night long. Luckily, this is an easy fix. Take vitamins or medicine before you brush your teeth, and if you need a drink in the night, choose water.
Brushing Too Hard
Your teeth are hard and you have a powerful bite, so it can be difficult to imagine that the soft bristles on your toothbrush could be damaging your teeth. However, you actually can over-brush and end up cutting into and scraping your enamel. The weaker and more damaged your enamel is, the more vulnerable you are to cavities.
If you can't pinpoint a more likely cause for your cavities, it's entirely possible that your brushing technique is to blame. Don't be afraid to ask your dentist to help you show you the best brushing techniques. Everyone can use a refresher now and then.
You're Getting Older
You may need to take extra precautions to protect your smile as you age.
On the one hand, thanks to advances in dental technology, you're more likely than ever before to keep all or most of your own teeth for the rest of your life, instead of needing dentures in your golden years. On the other hand, as you age, your teeth do become more vulnerable to cavities.
Partly, this is because of gum disease, which is more common as you get older. Your gums can begin to recede and expose more of the tooth enamel. As the amount of tooth surface increases, so does the incidence of cavities. Another common problem as you age is decreased saliva, especially if you're taking medicine for high blood pressure or heart disease. You may need to increase your fluid intake to stay better hydrated and brush, floss, and visit your dentist more often.
If you seem to be prone to cavities, you can always ask your dentist to help you understand why you're seeing cavities now and what you can do to stop them.
We hope you have some amazing plans for the weekend!
Acid and Sugar
They may look tempting, but they're full of cavity-causing acid.
Sports drinks are often intended to appeal to people who don't enjoy drinking water, so it's perhaps not too surprising that they're sugary. However, it's not the sugar that's the biggest problem. The drinks are also highly acidic, which is the primary danger for teeth.
Acid can actually be harder on the teeth than sugar. The main problem with sugar is that the bacteria that occurs naturally in the mouth converts the sugar to acid, which eats away and weakens enamel. When you consume acidic foods or drinks, the enamel is exposed to the acid directly, without the need for bacteria to convert it. So, while it's easy to think of sports drinks as just more flavorful water, they're definitely directly harmful for teeth, whereas water is harmless or even beneficial.
How to Hydrate
Milk and water provide all the hydration most active children need.
For most children, milk or water is sufficient to provide the hydration that they need without the dental risks of sports drinks. Get your children a reusable bottle that they can refill with water from your home tap. Not only is this better for the environment than disposable bottles, it's also better for your children's teeth. In most communities, tap water is fortified with fluoride that will help your children develop strong and healthy enamel. Choose milk when your child needs more than just additional fluids -- the natural sugar and fats in the milk will help give your child the energy that they need.
For older children and teens that are athletes, sports drinks might be appropriate under some circumstances. Teach them to wash out their mouths with water after drinking the sports drink. This will reduce the amount of acid in their mouths and help protect their teeth until they can brush them. Keep in mind that brushing immediately after finishing an acidic drink is usually not a great idea, as the brush can actually spread the acid around. Rinsing the mouth out with water and brushing a bit later allows the acid to be diluted first.