Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Eating Season, with feasts, leftovers, and of course, desserts! As always, brushing is key protecting your family’s teeth. Make sure to stick to your established brushing routines even though eating patterns maybe different than usual.
But there are also other ways to make your gatherings and meals better for both teeth and overall health. Consider alternative recipes for making old favorites, or starting a new food tradition by serving something entirely different. Here are some options to consider:
These are a Thanksgiving staple for many families, but traditional preparation often includes up to a cup of brown sugar, plus sticky marshmallow topping. Why not try a different, healthier take this year by roasting instead? Toss your cubed sweet potatoes with olive oil, honey, and cinnamon and bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Honey blends differently with vegetables than processed sweetener, and helps bring out the natural sweetness without coating teeth in sugar.
You really can’t do Thanksgiving without it, but canned varieties and many traditional recipes contain excessive amounts of — you guessed it — sugar. Not that we dentists don’t love cranberries… research suggests that they inhibit the formation of glucan, the sticky molecular foundation that plaque uses to collect on your teeth. For a healthier alternative, the website WellnessMama.com has a no-refined-sugar recipe that is a tasty way to get your annual cranberry fix.
Fruits & Veggies
These should always be a go-to snack, and holidays are no different! Blogs and social media sites are great sources for creative presentation ideas to get kids engaged with healthier holiday snacking. We’ve shown a few of our recent easy favorites from Pinterest above.
Whatever is on your plate, all of us at Meyer & Johns Dental are thankful to be your dental care home, and wish you a safe, festive Thanksgiving holiday.
It’s the picture of childhood innocence: A tired toddler down for a nap, holding a love-worn blanket and sucking their thumb. Whatever gets them to sleep… right, parents? However, if this sweet scenario continues for too long, it may have negative effects on your child’s teeth, speech, and jaw development.
Sucking is a reflex that is present from birth, but research shows that extended thumb-sucking may cause issues. The good news is that most children break the habit on their own, usually between age two and four. The bad news is that if they don’t, you will need to take action.
What’s the Big Deal?
All babies go through an appropriate oral stage of development. But if thumb-sucking is allowed to go on until the child’s permanent teeth begin to develop, it can block front teeth from fully erupting, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Additionally, it can cause them to push forward (overbite) or the two middle teeth toseparate (malocclusion or gap teeth). These problems sometime occur more severely on one side, since children usually suck the thumb on their dominant hand. When the thumb-sucking is particularly forceful and extends over a long period of time, those forces can even potentially impact the growth of the jaws. Speech experts also note that the habit may be a risk factor in developing an interdental lisp. This correctable articulation difficulty occurs when the tongue protrudes forward between the front teeth, causing “S” and “Z” sounds to be produced as “th”.
How to Correct
It is most important to remember that thumb-sucking is a method of self-soothing. As such, it often occurs when children need comfort, feel insecure, or are anxious. Therefore, you should focus on correcting the cause of the child’s anxiety. Unchecked oral fixation can lead to negative habits in teens and adults, including biting fingernails, comfort eating, smoking, and even alcoholism.
The ADA’s consumer site offers several tips for helping your child stop thumb-sucking, including:
Praise for keeping their thumb out of their mouths
Rewards for progress and success
Seek your dentist’s help – Have Dr. Meyer or Dr. Johns explain thumb-sucking’s negative effects to your child at your next appointment.
There’s still one week left in February, and still plenty of time to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month! It’s the perfect excuse to discuss (and practice!) good dental habits with your kids.
What It Is
National Children’s Dental Health Month began as a one-day event in Ohio during the 1940’s. In 1949 it became an officially-observed national recognition day, followed by expansion to a weeklong event in 1955. The program became a month-long event in 1981 and since has grown into a focused nationwide program.
Thanks to the observance, positive messages and dental health knowledge reach millions of people in communities across the country and beyond. According to the American Dental Association, local events often include poster, coloring and essay contests, dental health fairs, free screenings, museum exhibits, classroom presentations and dental office tours. The American Dental Association hosts a web page full of resources for parents and educators, including free coloring and activity sheets.
Why It’s Important
As we’ve discussed in posts HERE and HERE, the teeth habits that are established early will last a lifetime. This observance gives you a perfect opportunity to engage your kids in developing proper brushing techniques. And while Meyer & Johns Dental pays special attention to our young patients, the most important factor in their oral hygiene habits is YOU – because parents with healthy teeth have children with healthy teeth!
Also This Month
According to the American Dental Association events page, “National Tooth Fairy Day” is celebrated on August 22 each year. However, it is also widely recognized on February 28 – an anomaly for which there is no recorded explanation. But when it comes to talking about teeth, Meyer &
Johns Dental always believes that “More is Better”. So why not celebrate twice? Next Wednesday, wish someone a Happy (1st) Tooth Fairy Day 2018! #NationalToothFairyDay