Surviving the Holiday Dental Woes

It’s time for good cheer, gift giving, and making merry this holiday season. There are so many things to consider such as what gifts you’ll get for friends and loved ones, what you’ll wear to holiday parties, and how to navigate family get togethers. It’s been said that the holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Indeed there’s a lot to consider. However, sometimes we forget about our health, more specifically oral health.  All those sugary cookies, desserts, and sweet treats you’ll be eating over the holidays this year can take a toll on your teeth.

Here’s are four easy steps to combat the holiday dental woes.

Step 1: Put a limit on sugar consumption (ahead of time).

We all are familiar with the infamous relationship between sugar and oral health. Sugar plays a very large role in our overall food consumption here in the United States. The effect of sugar on our overall health can be quite sobering if you dare to look into it. Consequently, sugar’s impact on oral health is staggering. The truth is sugar in and of itself does not cause harm to your teeth. Rather, it’s the unfortunate chain of events occuring after eating that delectable sugar cookie that causes the harm. You see, unhealthy bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar molecules. This process is what creates plaque buildup that eventually leads to tooth decay. Therefore, eating less sugar during the holidays would be a smart way to avoid suffering from cavities, or worse tooth loss. Put a limit on how much dessert you will eat. Eat your dessert on smaller plates so it feels like you’re eating more.

Step 2: Plan to drink more water.

Water can be described as the magic elixir of life. It can do wonders for your body including hydration, flushing toxins out of your body, and aiding in digestion. Additionally, water can help rinse your mouth out and pass any extra sugar digestive tract preventing it from sitting in your mouth and attracting bacteria. Drinking more water also helps to fill up your belly and give you a more full feeling which can deter overeating.

Step 3: Brush.

It may seem extra hard to get your twice daily tooth brushing in during the holidays. But it can make a big difference. Brushing your teeth twice a day especially after eating sugary foods and consuming acids, will help keep your smile bright and clean. Remember to make your each brushing time last for two minutes in order to reap the maximum results.

Step 4: Schedule your dental cleaning after the holidays.

Just in case you do build up extra plaque during the holidays, you can clear it out with a dental visit. Plan ahead and schedule a visit with your dentist to coincide with the holidays. Having a dental visit right after the holidays will help you to remain accountable to yourself in order to be prepared for the visit. Also, the timing of the visit right after the holidays will ensure you have a teeth cleaning done right as the new year kicks in.

You don’t have to let your oral health take a back seat during the holidays. Be proactive with yourself and your family so that you can survive the holidays with a healthy smile.

5 Foods That Can Whiten your Teeth

Most of us know that there are certain foods that can stain your teeth such as coffee, tea, and red wine. On the opposite side of the coin, there are foods that can help whiten teeth over time. These foods are not only healthy for your body, but also quite helpful for your teeth. In addition, these foods are natural and easy to come by.

Apples, Carrots, and Celery

There’s a reason why mothers tell us to eat our fruits and vegetables. Apples, carrots, and celery act as a natural stain remover. They increase saliva production which is our own personal cleansing agent for the mouth. They also kill bacteria that causes bad breath. Most importantly, biting down on these crispy fruits and vegetables causes a healthy crunching action that helps to scrub your teeth crystal clean. Other types of fruits that help to naturally whiten teeth are oranges and pineapples. The tartness found in these fruits also promote saliva production.

Strawberries

Don’t let the red hues fool you. This tasty treat actually contains a natural chemical that can clean your teeth and remove plaque. Malic acid is present in strawberries and it is said to be a ‘natural astringent to remove surface discoloration’ according to  Dr. Irwin Smigel, president of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics. Eat them in salads, desserts, and cereal or mash them up with some baking soda for an extra tooth brushing from time to time.

Seeds & Nuts

Exfoliating is good for the skin and also good for your teeth. Chewing up seeds and nuts causes a light abrasive that can be good for removing debris and plaque from your teeth. Almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and the like are a good healthy snack to grab and your teeth will love the cleaning action as well.

Baking Soda

This pantry staple is the mother of all fixings. It’s good for just about everything. Baking soda not only does wonders with various cooking recipes, but it also is a great natural cleaning agent for your teeth. There’s a good reason you’ll find this ingredient in many commercial toothpaste products. Baking soda is actually a form of salt and works really well for scrubbing off plaque and surface stains. Try switching up your morning routine by brushing with baking soda.

Water

We call it life’s elixir. We need it for our very survival. Not only does water keep you hydrated, but it can help act as a ‘rinse’ during our highly coveted coffee breaks. As we mentioned earlier in this article, coffee, red wine, tea and other dark beverages can stain the teeth, but try swishing water around in your mouth before, during and after to prevent staining. We recommend sticking with plain water instead of carbonated or sparkling water as bubbles can erode tooth enamel and actually harm your teeth.

If you’re looking for natural ways to whiten your teeth, try them all. They are tasty, healthy, and great for your teeth. While it’s important to take responsibility for your oral health and seek natural ways to promote oral health, we recommend being consistent with a dental care professional for regular maintenance and to complement and promote overall wellness and your perfect smile.

How To Achieve A Holiday-Ready Smile

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes parties, cookie swaps, plays and plenty of get-togethers with friends and family. It’s so easy to get swept up in the gifts and the shopping and the food that you can inadvertently put your own appearance on the back burner. All that coffee and tea you’ve been swigging to get through the craziness of Black Friday is now showing its effects on your teeth. Take a good look in the mirror: do you see yellow and brown tints or spots that really detract from your smile? If so, you could benefit from some teeth whitening to get them looking more attractive. After all, you’ll be meeting and greeting lots of people this holiday season.

You spent a lot of time and effort on planning your outfits and jewelry for all the holiday parties you’ll be attending and hosting this month, and your smile should match your spectacular attire. If you think it’s too late to get a holiday-ready smile, think again. Check out these things you can do now to get a brighter smile.

Use a Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is good to have on hand, but it works gradually and it’s not as effective as whitening trays or strips. Definitely, use it as a complement to your oral care regimen so you can remove stains and prevent stain build-up over time.

Nix the Coffee and Soda

For all you coffee and soda lovers out there, this can be a tough one to swallow. But if you cut back, or at least sip through a straw to minimize contact with the teeth, you will reap the rewards in the form of better-looking teeth. After drinking, rinse out your mouth with water.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits

Maintaining a healthy diet can also do wonders for your teeth. Fill your plate with celery, carrots, and apples for extra vitamin C, which works to improve your saliva production. The more saliva flowing in your mouth, the better it works to wash debris away from the teeth.

Use an At-Home Whitening Kit

Pick up a kit or some strips from the store if you have a few days or a week before that party. They’re fairly affordable and have been known to lighten stains somewhat; however, they contain a mild peroxide which works minimally at dissolving surface stains. For better results, go pro.

Schedule a Professional Appointment

If you’ve gone through all of these suggestions and they haven’t quite worked, or you need something more immediate, make an appointment with your dentist for in-office teeth whitening. This is the most effective and quick way to achieve the results you need. Prepare to see amazing effects that can brighten your teeth several shades in just one appointment.

Dr. Demetriou offers in-office teeth whitening for fast, effective, long-lasting results. Call us today at 978-794-0010 to make an appointment before all those holiday parties!

5 Low Sugar Dessert Recipes We Found Online

If you have a sweet tooth but are conscious of preventing cavities, you may dread having to give up dessert. But you don’t have to! There are plenty of low-sugar recipes out there that you can try. They’ll satisfy your sweet tooth yet won’t do as much damage as those heavy-sugar desserts that you may be accustomed to. Check out these five recipes we found online:

1. Nutty Carrot Cake Bars

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • Fluffy cream cheese frosting (see below)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil
  • In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder. Add carrot, 1/2 cup of nuts, eggs, oil, and milk.
  • Stir, then spread mixture evenly in pan.
  • Bake 15 to 18 minutes. Spread with frosting and sprinkle remaining nuts.
  • For frosting, beat 1/2 cup frozen light whipped topping, 1/2 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese, and 1/4 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt.

2. Mixed Berry Crumble Pots

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3 cups mixed berries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease four ramekins. Mix rolled oats, date sugar, and coconut oil, placing berries at the bottom of the dish. Place mixture on top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Chocolate Thins

You’ll need:

1 cup dark chocolate squares
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

Toppings like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds or unsweetened coconut

Directions

Line a flat tray with parchment paper. Melt chocolate over low heat with a double boiler. Add coconut oil and cacao powder and combine. Pour onto the tray and sprinkle with toppings. Freeze for half hour.

4. Peanut Butter Cups

You’ll need:

7 ounces dark chocolate squares or 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup all-natural peanut butter or sunflower butter

Melt chocolate in double boiler, melting coconut oil into chocolate. Line a baking pan with cupcake liners and scoop mixture into each. Put in freezer for a couple of minutes so it sets. Add a teaspoon of peanut butter in middle and flatten with a spoon. Place melted chocolate over that and return to freezer for 15 minutes.

5. Blueberry Muffins

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar substitute
  • 1 cup low-fat lemon yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons 1% milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 12 muffin cups. Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda in large bowl, then whisk. Add blueberries and lemon peel. In a smaller bowl, beat egg, then add oil, sugar substitute, yogurt, milk, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Contact Dr. Demetriou

Have you been going overboard on the sugar lately? Make an appointment now! Call us at 978-794-0010. Enjoy the recipes!