If you’re committed to providing your family nutritional, low-sugar snacks, you’re not only helping their physical well-being but their dental health too. If you have school-age children, though, you might be concerned about other snacks available to them while away from home.
To begin with, any potential problems at school with available snack items might not be as bad as you think. A few years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established new snacking guidelines for public schools. Known as the Smart Snacks in Schools initiative, the new guidelines require schools to only allow snacks sold on school grounds that meet minimum nutritional standards. In addition, these guidelines promote whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
Still, the guideline standards are only a minimum, which could leave plenty of room for snacks that don’t meet your nutritional expectations. And school-offered snacks aren’t the only ones available on campus: there are also those brought by other students, which often get swapped around. The latter represent tempting opportunities for your child to consume snacks that aren’t the best for dental health.
But there are things you can do to minimize the lure of these poor snacking opportunities at school. First and foremost is to educate your child on why some snacks are better for them than others. In other words, make nutrition an instilled family value—and, of course, practice what you preach.
You can also send them with snacks you deem better for them than what’s available at school. Of course, you’ll be competing with a lot of exciting and enticing snacks, so try to inject a little “pizzazz” into yours like a dusting of cinnamon or a little parmesan cheese on popcorn. And use a little creativity (even getting your kids involved) to make snack choices fun, like using cookie-cutters to shape whole-grain bread and cheese into shapes.
And consider getting involved with other parents to encourage school administrators to adopt stricter snack standards over and above the Smart Snacks in Schools initiative. This not only may improve the nutritional content of available snacks, but also transform a “family value” into a community-wide appreciation for snacks that promote healthy teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on dental-friendly snacking, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Snacking at School.”
Let our Raleigh, NC, dentist get you closer to a brilliant smile.
Sometimes your smile needs a little boost in order to bring back its vibrancy. Everything from the natural effects of aging to the foods and drinks we consume can take a toll on the whiteness of our smile. Our Raleigh, NC, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Ajamu Giscombe, knows that teeth whitening can be expensive and that some patients don’t want to sit in a dental chair for an hour or more when they can get awesome results from home.
There are two ways in which we can help you whiten your smile from the convenience and comfort of your own home. First, we can easily create custom whitening trays to fit your smile. Why choose custom whitening trays? If the trays are not fitted specifically for your mouth it can sometimes be a challenge to make sure that the gel is actually remaining in contact with your teeth and able to remove stains that are in more difficult spots such as between the teeth or near the gum line.
To make your whitening trays we will need to take impressions of your smile. It can take a week or two for your whitening trays to be ready, but then you can start your professional at-home teeth whitening treatment. Before you begin your treatment our Raleigh, NC, family dentist will provide you with instructions for how long to wear your trays each night. While many people will notice results within a week, if you have severe stains you may need several applications before noticing results. You can also continue to wear your trays every few months to maintain your beautiful results.
If you don’t want to wait to get custom whitening trays (perhaps you want a whiter smile for an important upcoming event) then you can also choose Opalescence Go, a professional at-home treatment that allows you to get a whiter smile without needing to wait for custom trays to be fabricated. The minute we give you your Opalescence Go whitening kit you are ready to start whitening. The trays are thin and comfortable, making it easy for anyone to wear. You can also choose the whitening gel strength that works best for you (10 percent or 15 percent hydrogen peroxide) based on your specific goals. In just a few days you’ll notice results.
Blue Ridge Dental Care is dedicated to helping you achieve that whiter smile conveniently and quickly in Raleigh, NC. If you want to learn more about our at-home teeth whitening system and whether it’s right for you, call our office today.
While we often associate tooth decay with cavities forming in a tooth’s visible or biting surfaces, the occurrence of this all too common disease isn’t limited to those areas. Cavities can develop in any part of a tooth exposed to bacteria.
Gum recession, the shrinking back of the gums from the teeth, can cause such exposure in areas normally covered by the gums. Because these areas are usually more vulnerable to infection when exposed, cavities can develop at or right below the gum line. Because of their location it can be difficult to fill them or perform other treatments.
One way to make it less difficult is to perform a crown lengthening procedure. While the term sounds like we’re increasing the size of the tooth, we’re actually surgically altering the gums to access more of the affected tooth surface for treatment. It’s typically performed in a dental office with local anesthesia by a general dentist or a periodontist, a specialist in the gums.
During the procedure, the dentist starts by making small incisions in the gums to create a tissue “flap” that can be lifted out of the way. This exposes the underlying bone, which they then reshape to support the gum tissue once it’s re-situated in its new position. The dentist then sutures the gums back in place. Once the gums heal, the decayed area is ready for treatment.
Crown lengthening is also useful for other situations besides treating cavities. If a tooth has broken off at the gum line, for example, there may not be enough remaining structure to support a crown. Crown lengthening can make more of the underlying tooth available for the crown to “grab” onto. It’s also useful in some cases of “gummy smiles,” in which too much of the gum tissue is visible in proportion to the tooth size.
Because crown lengthening often involves removing some of the bone and is thus irreversible, you should discuss this procedure with your dentist in depth beforehand. It could be, though, this minor procedure might make it easier to preserve your teeth and even make them look more attractive.