What Are Healthy Halloween Treat Options?

group of kids dressed up for halloween trick or treat

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means trick-or-treating and Halloween candy. But be careful with that candy! Instead of chomping on sticky, gummy, and hard candies, why not try these healthy Halloween treat options.

Chocolate

This is a treat that you may be able to find in your kid’s trick-or-treating bag. Chocolate is probably the best kind of candy out there for your teeth. This is because it is soft and unlike those hard candies, it melts in your mouth so that you aren’t putting your teeth at risk for a chip or break. Additionally, chocolate actually washes away after you’ve eaten a lot better than other candies so food particles won’t stick in between your teeth. Instead of getting stuck in the crevices of your teeth, chocolate can easily get washed away with a glass of water.

Pumpkin Treats

Yes, pumpkin may be something you more easily associate with Thanksgiving, but pumpkin is also classically associated with Halloween so why not indulge in pumpkin treats this Halloween. Pumpkin is very high in fiber and vitamin A and therefore helps to strengthen your teeth’s enamel and to keep your gums healthy. There are many pumpkin treat recipes out there that ditch the sugar to make the treats much healthier. The lower the sugar, the better the treat will be for your teeth.

Dark Chocolate-Covered Apples

When you think of apple treats during the fall you probably think of caramel or candy-coated apples. Dark chocolate-covered apples is a healthy take on this classic Halloween treat, but makes it much much healthier for your teeth. As mentioned above, chocolate is a much better alternative to caramel or candy which are both very high in sugar. Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and its soft texture allows the chocolate to be easily washed away after you’ve eaten the treat. Meanwhile, apples are considered nature’s toothbrushes because the fibrous texture of the fruit will stimulate your gums and stimulate saliva production, which helps to remineralize your tooth enamel.

Spider Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

This Halloween take on a classic sandwich that is super fun for kids. Using whole wheat bread, take round cookie cutters to cut the whole wheat bread into an even number of rounds. Then, spread natural peanut butter and low sugar jelly on each round. Next, take eight pretzel sticks and place four on each side of half of the rounds so that they look like spider legs. Then, put the other half of the rounds on top of those with the pretzel sticks on them so that they look like the bodies of spiders. Finally, put a tiny bit of peanut butter on raisins and stick two on each of the spider bodies so that you give the spiders eyes. What’s great about these is that they are super fun for kids to make and may even make them forget they’re not eating candy!

Happy Halloween From Henson Family Dental!

We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween holiday. If you have any other questions about healthy Halloween treat options, give us a call! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Best Foods for Your Dental Health

There are other ways to take care of your dental health apart from just consistent, twice daily brushing and flossing. One of those ways is by maintaining a healthy diet. Although there are some obvious foods that you should avoid in order to maintain good oral health, here are some foods that support bright, healthy smiles!

kale growing under a blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Dark, Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens are excellent for your teeth because they are full of the necessary vitamins and minerals that you need to keep your teeth strong (like vitamins A, B, and folic acid).

Nuts

Nuts are full of fiber and protein, which means that they can actually wick away plaque from the surface of your teeth as you eat them!

Apples

Apples are also full of fiber, so they keep your teeth clean as you crunch down on them! Serve them up with a little peanut butter for a delicious, protein-packed snack that’s good for your smile.

Dairy

Cheese, yogurt, and milk are all great for your teeth because they’re packed with calcium which supports healthy bone density.

Crunchy Veggies

Carrots, celery, and other crunchy vegetables support your dental health. Not to mention that they are also portable, filling, and go great with hummus and yogurt dips, which are also great for your teeth!

Ginger

Looking for an easy way to spice up your diet without harming your teeth? Ginger contains a ton of antimicrobial properties that can help fend off plaque and other bacteria from the surface of your teeth.

Foods to Avoid

The main foods that you should avoid if you are trying to maintain or improve your dental health are anything that contain a high amount of sugar or acid, like soda, candy, pastries, or citrus. All of them promote bacteria growth and increase your chances of developing cavities and tooth decay if you do not consistently brush and floss your teeth.

Visit Us at Henson Family Dental

Along with diet and regular brushing and flossing, visiting your dentist twice a year is the best way to ensure that you are taking care of your dental health. Visit us at Henson Family Dental for your twice annual cleaning and examination! Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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Do Cavities Always Hurt?

man wth a beard wearing a denim jacket holding his jaw with tooth pain

If you’ve been to the dentist and found out you have one or more cavities, you may have thought, “Surely I would’ve known or felt something if that were true.” The fact is, you won’t always feel a cavity when you have one. It all depends on how far along your tooth decay is. Let’s take a dive into how cavities feel as well as what other things might cause toothaches besides cavities!

How Cavities Feel

When you have an early-stage cavity, the decay has only gone so far as your tooth enamel, or the outside layer of your teeth. Chances are you won’t feel anything with a cavity like this. But, when the decay gets worse and burrows down into the inner portions of your tooth where there are soft tissues and nerves, that’s when you can start to feel something. This might just be a little sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, it could be a mild ache, or it could be severe pain.

Other Causes of Tooth Pain

Yes, while serious cavities are a common cause of tooth pain, they’re not the only cause. There are a number of other dental conditions that might result in a not-so-pleasant ache in your mouth. For example, if you have a condition called bruxism where you grind your teeth, that pressure could cause sore gums and jaw pain. A cracked tooth and tooth sensitivity from receding gums can also result in tooth pain.

Since cavities may not always hurt, it’s a good idea to keep up with your regular visits to the dentist so they can keep an eye on developing issues. After all, you want to catch any problems BEFORE they start causing you pain so you don’t have to deal with something more serious.

To schedule your next dental appointment, contact Henson Family Dental today. We’d love to look after your smile, and we’re happy to answer any additional questions you might have about cavities and cavity prevention!

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Can Baby Teeth Get Cavities?

Many don’t think about the health of baby teeth. The assumption is that since baby teeth eventually fall out, they don’t need to be cared for. Nothing could be less true. Baby teeth are especially prone to cavities. In fact, by the age of five, 60 percent of children have had a cavity. Baby teeth are important and need to be cared for to set kids on a healthy path for life.

young girl showing off her baby brother's teeth and smile

Cavities & Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are susceptible to tooth decay for a number of reasons. First, children tend to not brush properly or for long enough. They may fight parents on allowing them to brush. Young children often don’t floss. This can also lead to food particles becoming stuck in between teeth and leading to plaque and tartar. Finally, children tend to love sweet treats. Many of the foods marketed to children are processed snacks like crackers, cookies, and cereal. All of these early childhood staples are hazardous for the health of teeth, especially if proper dental hygiene is lacking.

How to Prevent Cavities in Baby Teeth

For starters, don’t underestimate the importance of baby teeth or dental hygiene for young kids. We set our children up for a lifetime of healthy teeth if we begin and teach good habits early. Bring your child in for a dental appointment as soon as they turn a year old or get their first tooth. Make sure they are brushing twice a day, especially before bed. If they are under the age of six, you’ll need to help make sure they are brushing properly and for long enough. Choose snacks for your child that are low in refined starches and not overly processed. Vegetables, grains, fruits, and lean protein sources are best. Save sweets for special occasions only, and always make sure to brush after.

What to Do If Your Child Has a Cavity

If your child complains of tooth pain or you suspect they may have a cavity, call our office. We will get them seen as soon as possible. Because children’s cavities are common, we are highly experienced in helping. Treatment for a cavity is easy and painless if caught early. Don’t delay getting a cavity checked out. In a baby tooth, infection and abscess could develop and damage the health of the permanent teeth that have yet to grow in.

Contact us today if it’s time to schedule your little one for a dental appointment. We make sure our smallest patients feel comfortable and have fun when they’re with us. We’ll see you soon!

Is Fluoride Safe for Kids?

Brunette girl in a wet white shirt drinks from a stream of water flowing from a stone fountain

At Henson Family Dental, we know how important it is to establish healthy dental habits in your kids from a young age. Encouraging your children to brush twice daily for two minutes each time, floss each day, and visit our office regularly can ensure that their developing teeth grow healthy and strong. Often, parents ask Dr. Henson and our team about the safety of using various dental products on their children. Fluoride is a topic that frequently comes up, so today we want to talk about why fluoride is a safe, effective tool for fighting cavities in patients of all ages.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that can be found in the earth’s crust. Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water for its cavity-fighting benefits. Fluoride helps strengthen teeth by hardening enamel both in children and adults.

How Does Fluoride Work?

Fluoride works through a process called remineralization. After you eat, acids produced by bacteria that consume food particles begin to wear away at enamel. Over time, this process can result in cavities. Fluoride deposits calcium and phosphorus, minerals that work to strengthen enamel before cavities can develop.

Is Fluoride Safe for Kids?

Yes, fluoride is safe for children in small amounts. If you live in an area where fluoride is added to the water supply, your kids will receive the benefit each time they take a drink of water. As your child develops their first teeth, Dr. Henson may recommend a toothpaste with additional fluoride depending on their needs.

Occasionally, young patients develop fluorosis as a result of ingesting too much fluoride. If you notice small white spots on your kid’s teeth, this may be fluorosis. However, if your children are using the correct amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush and spitting it out, the chance that they will develop fluorosis is very low – and the chance that fluoride will protect them against cavities is very high.

To ask our team any additional questions about the safety of fluoride or to schedule your next appointment, contact us today!

5 Tooth-Healthy & 3 Tooth-Decaying Foods

The healthier you eat, the healthier your teeth! Here are five foods that promote superb oral health, as well as three snacks we recommend limiting to maintain a happy, healthy smile.

5 Tooth-Healthy Foods

Block of cheese with a big wedge cut out filled with calcium to promote healthy teeth

1. Cheese

Cheese is a terrific boost for your teeth because it’s high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. Cheese also contains a protein called casein that strengthens tooth enamel and acts as a buffer against acids and bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Calcium also stimulates saliva production and replaces important minerals that your teeth may have lost.

Aerial view of cluster of red apples with yellow highlights that help keep teeth clean with fibrous texture

2. Apples

Apples are a great snack because of their fibrous texture. Chewing on apples stimulates your gums, and increases your saliva flow, which neutralizes acids in your mouth and washes away food bacteria.

Closeup of silver colander filled with leafy greens that support healthy teeth

3. Leafy Greens

Full of vitamins and minerals, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli are high in calcium, which helps build tooth enamel. They also contain folic acid, which has numerous health benefits, such as reducing gum inflammation.

Aerial view of brown almonds in a white custard cup that promote healthy teeth

4. Almonds

Almonds satisfy your crunchy craving guilt-free because they’re low in sugar and high in protein and calcium, which helps keep your teeth strong and reduces the risk for tooth decay.

Cluster of orange carrots with green stems that promote saliva production when eaten

5. Carrots

Carrots are another yummy food to munch on because they are high in fiber and beta carotene, which is needed to make vitamin A, a necessary ingredient for when your mouth is forming tooth enamel. Eating raw carrots can also stimulate saliva production and wash away residual food particles in your mouth that can cause cavities.

3 Tooth-Decaying Foods to Limit

Aerial view of colorful candies in a clear jar on a marble counter

1. Candy

Whether it’s chewy or hard candy, the sugar in candy feeds your oral bacteria. When feasting, bacteria produce acid that dissolves enamel and makes teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Candy also easily sticks between teeth, which leads to plaque buildup. If you need to indulge your sweet tooth, opt for dark chocolate and be sure to drink plenty of water afterward.

Aerial view of orange Pringles chips that can damage teeth with sugar content

2 & 3. Potato Chips and Popcorn

It may be difficult to resist salty, crunchy snacks like popcorn and potato chips, but you should probably think twice before you reach for that next handful. Chip and popcorn particles often linger between your teeth and under your gumline (especially with continued snacking!) encouraging bacteria growth and gum irritation.

Ask our team for more dietary tips to promote a healthy mouth. How is the quality of your oral health? Contact us today to schedule a cleaning and checkup!