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Summertime in the City: What's Healthy and What's Not

June 2nd, 2015

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June is finally here and it will be hard for many of us to resist a cold drink on a hot summer day. With the many family barbecues and outings, you're sure to be in for a treat this summer. During the warmer months, there are many tasty foods and drinks at our convenience. However, some of these items aren’t so tooth-friendly. As we all know, it is important to limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks we intake to ensure a healthy smile. For the health of your mouth, which links to your overall health, try adding these healthy options to your plate and glass this summer:

Drink, Drink, and Drink more water:

A nice glass of water can be a refreshing drink as you relax by the poolside. Water is important for staying hydrated, especially when your active and the sun is shining. Your smile will also thank you if you rinse your mouth with water after meals. Water, particularly tap water, even has the benefit of containing fluoride.

Watermelon:

Watermelon, made of 92% water, is another tasty  and healthy snack that will keep you hydrated this summer. It contains  lycopene, which helps keep skin protected. Also, many foods that are mainly composed of water have fewer calories. Your kids may even enjoy making watermelon popsicles!

Milk:

Milk is a great alternative to sugary drinks because it has been found to reduce levels of acid produced by plaque bacteria. Milk helps remineralize teeth by providing calcium to keep your teeth strong.

Sugar-Free Gum:

Chewing sugar-free gum can help to stimulate saliva flow and ultimately help to wash away left behind foods. However, it is not clear whether or not xylitol, commonly found in sugar-free gum, actually lowers the risk of developing dental cavities.

Strawberries:

Strawberries are in season and packed with healthy ingredients. Strawberries contain malic acid, which is known to whiten enamel. They also contain many antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol, and promote eye health.

Cheese:

Cheese is full of calcium, the protein casein, and vitamin D, all good for the health of your teeth. Researchers have discovered that cheese helps increases the pH levels of dental plaque, helping to reduce tooth decay.

Pears:

Pears contain a wealth of fiber that will benefit your teeth. They help to produce saliva and lower plaque levels in the mouth.

Apples:

Crispy apples are full of vitamins and nutrients. Full of water and lots of fiber, apples help to scrub and clean the surface of your teeth.

Vegetables:

Veggies ranging from carrots rich in Vitamin A to dark leafy greens rich in iron, can make a great snack to chew on. Including vegetables in your diet is essential for the health of your teeth and body.

Cranberries:

Research has suggested that cranberries help lower the risk of cavities by helping to keep plaque from sticking to teeth. But, you may want to pay attention to the labels on cranberry products, as many of them can contain added sugars to compensate for their naturally tart flavor.

 

Some foods and drinks that are hard-to-resist, but should be avoided to keep strong and healthy teeth, include:

 

Soft Drinks, Sports Drinks, Sweet Tea, and Juice: Drinking a cold soda may sound refreshing, but it is damaging to tooth enamel. It can also dehydrate your body and make you feel more thirsty. Even sports drinks, artificially sweetened drinks, and concentrated fruit juice contain sugars for the bacteria in dental plaque to feed on and produce harmful acids. The acid then tears away at tooth enamel and can eventually lead to tooth decay. Highly acidic drinks can even cause heartburn and stomach pain. Sipping on these drinks throughout the day rather than at meal times should also be avoided because saliva production is not at its peak. Saliva is important for washing away bacteria and food particles.

Ice Cream:

The many flavors of ice cream are delicious, but unfortunately is full of sugar. Some individuals may also experience tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth results when the dentin underneath tooth enamel becomes exposed. This can cause pain, but can be treated. If you do have a taste for ice cream, try and select ice cream with less sugar.

Citrus Fruits:

As we all know, limes, lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are very acidic. These fruits contain citric acid and can be damaging to teeth if consumed frequently.

Vinegar:

A common practice, but an unhealthy one, is to mix vegetables with vinegar. This acidic combination can erode tooth enamel. Pickles are also very acidic.

Granola and Energy Bars:

These items may appear to be good for teeth, but often the dried fruit and other ingredients can be sticky, chewy, and hard to get off of teeth.

Candy: 

We all know that candy contains a lot of sugar, and should be avoided for the protection of your smile.

 

It is important to remember that if you do choose some of the not-so-healthy foods and beverages, consume them in moderation. Also, avoid snacking between meals, as acids can stick around for up to 20 minutes after eating. Not to mention, be mindful of the dyes used in many foods and beverages that can cause tooth discoloration. Practice good oral health habits and lean more towards a tooth-friendly diet.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://www.therabreath.com/articles/blog/fresh-breath-happenings/teeth-friendly-summer-food-ideas-34659.asp

http://greatist.com/health/healthy-teeth-foods

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-watermelon-popsicles-10713

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dwBqWs6_udQ/UBYvQhjW5TI/AAAAAAAACBY/YdNg1weBEVk/s1600/watermelon+popsicles.JPG

Foods That look Healthy, But Secretly Aren't

February 11th, 2015

There are several foods dressed up to appear healthy, when in fact many are unhealthy imposters, filled with sugars bad for your oral health! Sometimes, nutrition labels can even be misleading. For example, granola. Seemingly wholesome, granola and other energy bars, depending on their ingredients and proportions, can be as poor for your teeth as a plate of sweets! They often contains a good amount of fiber, protein and potassium. However, some recipes can include very high amounts of sugar and fructose corn syrup, which are tough on teeth. Although many delicious foods can be hard-to-resist, the health of your mouth and overall body depends on good nutrition. Poor nutrition can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease, halitosis, and other oral health problems. Here are a few seemingly healthy foods that may not be so beneficial for your mouth and overall health after all:


Smoothies

Smoothies can be deceiving because they are packed with healthy fruits and vegetables. In reality, smoothies often contain an excessive amount of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay. Most restaurants sell large sizes combined with added ice cream, sugar, and other ingredients not the best for strong teeth. If craving a smoothie, consider making your own and pack them with healthy ingredients!

Bran Muffins

Bran muffins can be healthy, however, coffee shops and bakeries tend to increase the portion size, sugar, and sodium content. According to Joan Blake, author of Nutrition & You, a bran muffin can have more calories and sugar than a doughnut! One bran muffin typically contains 350 calories or more, before adding toppings such as butter or jam. Some bran muffins have even been found to contain 600mg of sodium, which is approximately one-third of the recommended day's maximum!

Popcorn

Popcorn is a quick and easy snack, but full of high levels of sodium, fat, calories, and the chemical diacetyl. Diacetyl is a natural product that helps give artificial butter its flavor. It is linked to a chronic and even fatal lung condition called bronchiolitis obliterans. Kernels can also be easy to get lodged between teeth causing gum irritation. It is also important to watch out for uncooked kernels that can chip or crack teeth.

Frozen Dinner

Similarly, frozen dinners can be misleading and advertised as a weight-loss alternative. Yet, many frozen dinners often contain high amounts of salt, sugar, and fat. Frozen dinners typically lack many essential vitamins and nutrients. Replace these meals with a home-cooked dish as a healthier alternative.

Prepared Salads

It's hard to believe that a salad can be unhealthy. Be on the look out for prepared tuna salads, chicken salads, and salads loaded with high portions of dressings and mayonnaise. Although it depends on the portion size and ingredients, some salads can contain as many as 700 calories and 40 grams of fat. Opt for a bowl of healthy greens, with modest dressing and sugar content.

Fat-Free Foods

The label "fat-free" can sometimes lead us to believe the product is full of nutrients. Fat-free foods often have added sugar and flavor-enhancing sweeteners to make them taste better. Although there are many healthy fat-free foods, always check the nutrition labels to make sure you're getting a nutritious product in addition to fat-free.

 

Luckily, some foods help increase saliva flow, which protects teeth from tooth decay by neutralizing acids in the mouth. To prevent tooth decay, regularly practice proper oral health habits and choose healthy food alternatives. Also, minimize snacking, as acids can stick around on teeth for a half-hour after food consumption. Research has shown that individuals who eat unhealthy snacks between meals have higher rates of decay than those who eat an equal amount of unhealthy treats along with their meals.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Kim or Dr.PradhanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Oral-Hygiene-Basics/article/Mouth-Healthy-Eating.cvsp

http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/smart-choices/top-10-unhealthy-foods/view-all

http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/50-seemingly-healthy-foods-are-bad-you/slide/all

http://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/healthy-eating/secretly-unhealthy-foods

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/10-healthy-foods-that-arent-118588

http://www.mydiet.com/7-healthy-foods-that-turned-out-to-be-unhealthy/

Images:

http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/chewy-granola-bars-4.jpg

http://susansmithjones.com/sites/default/files/graphics/Smoothie2.jpg

http://www.michelsbakery.com/images/muffins.jpg

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/813B3KiPUML._SL1500_.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Tvdinner.jpg

http://worldtruth.tv/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/pf-changs-chicken-chopped-salad.jpg

http://static.caloriecount.about.com/images/medium/kraft-foods-fat-free-16323.jpg

 

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