3 Summer Treats for a Healthy Smile

Summer Text with Palm is about vacations, group activities, family time, and great food. With the warmer weather comes the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. You may even be growing your own. Choosing the right snacks can both satisfy your sweet cravings and help your smile shine.

Strawberries

Strawberries are the perfect choice for boosting your oral health. Candy lovers and sweet addicts can snack on strawberries in place of surgery, teeth-eroding junk. Packed with vitamin C, this summer super food is a good source of calcium, which is essential for all of our bones- including our teeth.  Just one cup of strawberries is filled with maximum amounts of magnesium, folate and potassium: all necessary for a glowing smile!  To top it off, strawberries are also known to help clean your teeth. The seeds can work as tiny scrubbers helping to remove some plaque build-up.

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Summer BBQs are never complete without giant slabs of juicy watermelon. Not only is it a tasty and refreshing treat on hot days, watermelon is also great for your teeth.  Being mostly water, this fruit stimulates saliva flow, which is very effective in maintaining a healthy, bright smile.  Watermelon, like strawberries, is also packed with antioxidants and tons of Vitamin C which are great when going through any kind of recovery. Snacking on watermelon will also fill you up with Vitamin A, which is great for your skin and a fantastic complement to your beautiful smile!

Yogurt

Ok, yogurt IS available all year long. Packed with probiotics, calcium and protein, stick with no added sugar flavors for the healthiest choice. Healthy doesn’t mean boring, try mixing in those fresh strawberries for the perfect sweet and creamy snack. Beat the heat by turning them into frozen yogurt pops. Kids and adults will love this healthy swap!

Maintaining your smile is as easy as keeping your regular dental check-ups and having a little mindfulness. Look for small, healthy swaps, and embrace the delicious fresh options summer can bring to your family’s table.

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

650-756-0938

Easter Hard Candy

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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 (:

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, that 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 it. 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!

Here’s What You Should Know About Dental Myths

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With the magnitude of information available to us these days, it’s harder than ever to separate facts from myths; especially when it comes to your health. There are a million dental related myths that might steer you in the wrong direction when it comes to a healthy smile. It’s important to be informed and know the facts. Here are a few common dental myths, followed by the facts.

Oral Hygiene Only Affects Your Teeth

Many people hear the phrase “oral hygiene” and they think of the simple act of brushing or flossing. While oral hygiene is important for keeping your teeth healthy, poor oral hygiene can be linked to several other health problems- including heart disease. Taking care of your mouth actually means taking care of a lot of things within your body. Untreated periodontal disease contributes to more low birth weight babies than both drinking and smoking combined.  Having poor oral hygiene can cause a multitude of problems– not all of them related to your teeth.

You Shouldn’t Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out Until They Start to Hurt

Typically, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and your dentist will generally advise you of the same. If you wait for your wisdom teeth to become painful, they might have already done other damage to your gums or teeth. Many people believe that as long as they have no pain, there’s no reason to have an unnecessary surgery. In rare cases, wisdom teeth can stay intact as long as they are not interfering or causing damage. One of the most common reasons to remove wisdom teeth is because they are so difficult to keep clean and rather than incurring costly repairs to those teeth many dentists will suggest having them removed.  Frequent exams are necessary in this case to monitor and maintain your health. It’s generally better to have your wisdom teeth removed before any pain, rather than take the gamble.

White Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Teeth are actually not meant to be pure white. Tooth color can vary widely, for example, depending on your race, pigmentation varies greatly.  Also, as you get older, your teeth will naturally take on a more faded color as things do with time, however they can still be perfectly healthy. A color beyond a light yellow could be cause for concern, but generally the pinkness of your gums is a better indication of oral health as opposed to how white your teeth are.

If Teeth Look Healthy, and Are Not Hurting, There is No Reason to Visit a Dentist

The most common mistake people make regarding their dental health is skipping regular preventive visits because they do not see or feel any problems. Even in the absence of a visible problem or discomfort, regular visits for x-ray exams, cleaning and necessary restorative care are necessary to maintain your teeth and gums for life. Discovering diseases in the mouth earlier rather than later will typically reduce cost, recovery time and severity of dental treatment that may need to be performed.

It’s important to educate yourself on the facts surrounding whole body health and well-being. Muddled information and common misperceptions can leave people confused. The best way to combat myths and augment dental health is to see and speak with your dentist regularly. Have open dialogue and productive conversations about what is and is not true. Being informed, savvy and educated will keep you and your dentist smiling.

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210

Daly City, CA 94015

Phone: 650-756-0938

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

Treat Trick-or-Treaters to a Healthy Treat This Season

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The 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.

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210

Daly City, CA 94015

Phone: 650-756-0938