With summer's arrival and kids home for the better part of three months, patients and parents sometimes ask me for suggestions of healthy snacks (and not just for kids). It can be easy to fall into the trap of junk and processed food, but with a little thought and planning these healthier options are definitely doable. I certainly enjoy chips and salsa or occasional potato chips as well. Pretzels were always my go-to when I got home from work. We enjoy taking advantage of summer's seasonal foods as well for both snacks and meals. Here are ten of my favorites.
Specifically walnuts. Full of fiber and protein, omega-3 fats and antioxidants, it doesn't take much for these to keep you feeling full longer. I read that studies show just 1 ounce of walnuts 5 times a week can cut heart disease risk by almost 40 .percent. Nuts, in general, are an easy snack to grab on your way out the door. Walnuts tasted like dirt to me at first, but you get used to them.
Along with drinking water, some foods offer great hydrating effects and watermelon is one, containing more than 90 percent water. Watermelon also contains lycopene, which helps to protect the skin from damaging sun, as well as antioxidants, and vitamins A,B6 and C. We have probably had watermelon at every summer barbecue.
Sweet, full of vitamins and 1 cup contains as much as 8 grams of fiber. Raspberries are one of my favorites for breakfast.
Sweet yet tart, Blueberries are full of antioxidants and fiber. I like them fresh, but frozen are great for throwing in a smoothie.
Cherries just remind me of summer. We used to go pick them when I was a kid and I'd eat them right out of my bucket before I had finished filling it up. Of course, as a kid I was unaware that cherries contain cancer-fighting flavonoids and anthocyanins that help increase fat burning, as well as melatonin that may help sleep.
There is nothing like fresh homegrown tomatoes in summer, sliced with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I like them paired with some mozzarella and a little basil. Tomatoes also contain lycopene, the phytonutrient that gives them the red color and helps protect the skin from sun. Tomatoes contain plenty of vitamin C and are about 94 percent water content too.
Cucumbers actually have a higher water content than watermelon at 95 percent. They're low calorie and versatile. Try them as a replacement for crackers with cheese. I was skeptical at first too.
We can't keep enough avocados around our house. They go with just about everything from sandwiches and burgers, to salads and eggs. Of course, guacamole and chips are a must.
Full of fiber and essential nutrients that your body can lose when you've been outside in the sun, spinach makes a great salad base for lunch or dinner, added to eggs, on a sandwich. I recently learned that spinach contains 157 mg of magnesium per cup.
If you're like me, you probably think celery has no taste. But it's a great vehicle for other things. You can top it with cream cheese or peanut butter or anything you can think.Celery is 95 percent water, contains fiber, vitamins A,C,K, B, folate and potassium. Celery is one tha I eat almost daily.
Most of these foods, except for nuts, contain a lot of water so they make excellent snacks in the summer when it is even more important to stay hydrated. Spending excessive time in the sun and sweating can deplete your body's electrolytes-potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. These foods are all healthy choices for your teeth as well as your body
There was a time, not so many years ago, dentists did not have available the dental materials and technology they have today and thus patients did not have the choices when it came to fillings. Silver fillings were used exclusively throughout dentistry. Tooth-colored fillings opened up possibilities because they were able to restore and also mimic the appearance of natural tooth.
Today’s composite resins, or tooth-colored filings, not only restore fractured or decayed teeth but may also be used to change the size and shape of teeth as needed. This has become a relatively simple solution for fixing teeth and improving patients’ smiles.
Tooth-colored fillings are used more often now than amalgam or gold fillings, likely due to the natural look. They are durable and fracture-resistant in small to mid-size fillings and can be placed in either front or back teeth. In addition to this composite being used for fillings and for perfecting size and shape of a tooth, it’s also a good choice for discoloration and imperfections on a tooth.
Tooth-colored composite material is a non-invasive, cost-effective option with immediate results. The results can be a nearly perfect match to the natural tooth enamel. You can see an example of tooth-colored composite here on our website.
How often do you reach for a soda? Our culture promotes fairly regular consumption of soda despite the increasing negative publicity. Whether you are at a backyard barbecue, a movie theater or just on the go, it's all too easy to grab a soda. It's been the norm for so long most of us cannot recall a time that sodas weren't readily available. That's due, in part, to convenience, but it seems that society finds this a difficult addiction with which to part.
As a dentist, I have always been aware of the primary effects of drinking soda on oral health, erosion and tooth decay. The acid causes erosion of the protective layer on teeth called enamel. The sugar can lead to cavities and tooth decay. This is certainly a simplified explanation, yet combined with poor oral hygiene, the damage can be significant. We've heard this before and I have mentioned it before. But those are not the only negative effects of soda on the human body. As if you needed more reason to kick the can of soda habit, here goes. Soda can have tremendous negative systemic impacts as well. I see articles and studies on a weekly basis that illustrate this point.
I recently came across a 2014 article on how soda effects your body from Experience Life Magazine. Perhaps you have heard that one 12 ounce can of soda contains an unbelievable 10 teaspoons of sugar. Within 20 minutes of that first sip and the blood sugar spike, the liver reacts to the glucose and stores it to capacity. Once capacity is full the sugar converts to fat. Incidentally, there have also been stories reported of an increase in fatty liver disease in children. How disturbing is that? Although unproven, I suspect that there could be a link to soda consumption.The caffeine in some sodas will increase heart rate and blood pressure and, of course, disrupt sleep. After about 40 minutes, as the brain chemical dopamine rises there is a feeling of "high" that's been compared to amphetamines, cocaine or heroine. The caffeine will give you the urge to pee and the phosphoric acid in the soda binds to calcium, magnesium and zinc in the body so those nutrients will soon be flushed. What a waste! Then about an hour after that first sip, the sugar crash hits. Now you are likely moody, lethargic and probably craving more. The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks also affect the addiction centers of the brain. That sounds like a vicious circle to me.
If you simply Google "effects of soda" you will find numerous articles on the topic and none of them have anything positive to say about drinking soda. If you find that you do have a so called addiction to soda, it might be a good idea to look at ways to curb that habit. You may be pleasantly surprised by the effects of stopping that soda consumption.
Gum recession is a condition I get asked about a lot. It’s a concern of many patients. Sometimes a “toothy” looking smile can be due to gum recession. When gums recede they pull away from the tooth and expose some of the root. This can appear unattractive but can also be a discomfort. Gum disease can certainly play a huge role in causing gum recession, but another cause is simply genetic predisposition. Whether you have thick or thin gum tissue makes a difference. Thinner gum tissue is more susceptible to wear as you age whereas thicker gum tissue is much less vulnerable to inflammation and trauma. Incidentally, I have wondered if there could also be a link to canker sores and thinner gum tissue, but that is a topic for another time. The role of gums forming a tight collar around the tooth’s enamel anyhow, is to protect the tooth’s roots and bone from a potentially traumatic area of eating and chewing foods and brushing teeth. Gums are attached to the teeth, but if compromised by disease or trauma can recede and expose the root portion of the tooth. Some patients do not realize they have gum recession and others may experience sensitivity to hot or cold.
One of the main causes of gum recession is periodontal disease (gum disease), a bacterial infection that can eventually lead to bone loss. If this occurs, small pockets are created and can attract more bacteria which can lead to further gum and bone damage. Poor dental hygiene is a major reason for gum disease. A lack of regular brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings often leads to sticky plaque, containing toxins and further leads to infection and inflammation. The plaque, if left untreated, can then form tartar. This can initiate a whole host of problems, potentially affecting overall health.
Another major cause of gum recession is actually, believe it or not, aggressive brushing. Brushing teeth vigorously in a back and forth motion can put excessive wear on the gums. I have also had a few patients who had this problem with electric toothbrushes. While it isn’t the case for all who use an electric toothbrush, it can occur. I recommend a soft-bristled brush and remind patients just as our hygienists do, to brush in a gentle circular motion.
Gum recession can also be the result of a tooth emerging in the wrong place without adequate bone support or insufficient amounts of gum tissue. This could be a natural occurrence or due to orthodontics.
Whatever the cause for gum recession may be, there are ways of treating it. After examining a patient’s gums, sometimes it can simply be a matter of altering the oral hygiene routine. The biggest factor in determining how to proceed is in whether the gum recession is continuing to progress or is stable. It is imperative to have the mouth healthy and free from inflammation to avoid recurrence. For some patients, we may do a procedure of scaling and root planning to remove sticky plaque, tartar and reduce or eliminate inflammation. Afterwards, we might use a tooth-colored restorative composite for a small area. There are also various types of gum grafting for more extensive cases of gum recession. The main thing is that there are appropriate solutions for each patient.
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