Strong Teeth in Children Starts with Healthy Eating!

Kids- strong teeth

Starting children off with good eating habits is important to a healthy life style, as well as having strong and cavity free teeth. Many people are unaware of the effects that children’s eating habits have on their teeth. Foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates, starches, and sugars can increase the risk of dental decay when consumed in moderate amounts or left on tooth structure for too long. My blog today is focused on providing tips on food and snacks that are good choices and foods that would be considered poor choices when it comes to nutritional choices to keep children’s teeth healthier.

We all know the outer aisles of the grocery store are the ones to stick to and where you will find most of the foods I encourage, but if you are purchasing any packaged foods be sure to read and check the sugar content.

Good Nutritional Choices:

  • Water is best- Soda, juices and even milk can contain large amounts of sugar, which when sipped on for longer periods of time can cause dental decay. Do not put your child to bed with any of these items either, as it will accelerate the risk of dental decay. It’s best to encourage your children to primarily drink water, if you don’t introduce them to other options daily then most children don’t mind water.
  • Fruits and Veggies– These are great options in place of carbohydrate snacks like granola bars, teddy grams, crackers or even gold fish. Melons, pears, celery and cumbers are great because they are high water content foods which help clean off the teeth. Hard crunchy fruits and veggies are also good because they help remove substances that get stuck on teeth. Bananas do contain a concentrated sugar though, so be sure to brush your children’s teeth right after consumption.
  • Vitamin C– Found in fruits such as oranges, limes, kiwis, cantaloupe, papaya and strawberries help kill bacteria in your mouth. It’s also found in the following vegetables: red, yellow, and orange peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Although these are good foods, be sure to wait 30 minutes before brushing after eating them, as the citric acid can temporally weaken the tooth enamel and leave the teeth vulnerable to erosion caused by brushing.
  • Lean meats, nuts and proteins– These items are a great source of protein which helps strengthen the outer structure of your tooth called enamel. Examples include, turkey, chicken, and white fish. Nuts are a great snack as long as your child is old enough to chew them and not choke and trail mix is great starting at age 4. Nuts and seeds contain natural fats that coat teeth and help them shield against bacteria, the oils in the seeds strengthen the enamel making them more resistant to cavities.
  • Calcium (Vitamin D)– This is important in building strong bones and teeth. Calcium mixes with plaque and sticks to teeth, protecting them from lingering acids, it also strengthens the bones around your children’s teeth, making them more resistant to periodontal disease as adults. Good sources of calcium include; low-fat milks, cheese, yogurt and broccoli. Aged cheeses like cheddar, swiss and monterey jack also help generate the flow of saliva.
  • Sugarless Gum– If your child enjoys chewing gum, be sure its sugar free, and if it contains Xylitol even better. Gum can be beneficial as the chewing stimulates saliva production. The saliva loosens plaque and can help prevent tooth decay. So if you are out and about and unable to brush, chewing 1 piece of sugarless gum for no more than 20 minutes is a nice option.

Poor Nutritional Choices:

  • Snacking- We all have a bad habit of snacking occasionally, but it is harmful to our teeth especially children’s. It’s best to limit snacking between meals to decrease risk of decay. Time between meals is important because it allows the mouth to keep itself clean, but when we continuously snack it changes the PH levels in our mouths and allows for bacteria to grow, causing plaque and tooth decay. If your child is a snacker, I would encourage you to limit  it to only one snack between meals where water is being drank at the same time and brushing after lunch when possible.
  • Sticky, Chewy foods, Sweets- Gummy snacks/ candies and vitamins, taffy, caramels, lollipops, hard candies, cough drops, potato chips, raisins, and honey all get stuck on the surfaces of your teeth which in large amounts without proper brushing can increase your decay risk. If you are going to give your child a sweet treat its best to give it to them right after a meal as the saliva is already working at cleaning the mouth. If sweet treats are used for potty training or incentives regularly I would encourage simple chocolate over the more sugary options and even dark chocolate if you can, as it has antioxidants. When it comes to dessert it’s all about moderate, so limit your child’s consumptions and be sure to brush their teeth right after.
  • Sugar sweetened drinks, Chocolate milk & Sports drinks- These should all be in moderation (no more than one a day) and for special occasions.

Medicine Children get sick and we try not to give them medicine but sometimes they need it to be comfortable and to get better. Some medicine contains sugar, which the bacteria in your mouth uses to make acids and can eat away at the enamel, so be sure to brush your children’s teeth after giving them any type of medicine orally.

In addition to picking the right foods and snacks for your children, be sure to continue brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing once a day and using Act Flouride rinse nightly. Also bring them to the dentist twice a year for their dental cleanings and exams and follow suggested dental treatment.





Is Vaping really better than Cigarettes?

That is the question many people are wondering. Years ago smoking was the cool new thing that everyone tried, now we know how harmful this life changing, cancer causing, addictive habit is.  Tobacco (cigarettes) affects your lungs, throat, causes oral manifestations and exposes people to second hand smoke. Vaping, also known as e-cigarettes are devices which contain no tobacco but instead use heat to vaporize a nicotine-laced liquid. The juice, which many people think is just heated flavored water, is actually a mix of propylene glycol, glycerine, nicoteine and flavoring agents. These have been approved by the FDA as “Generally Recognized As Safe” for consumption, but when heated it creates a group of compounds known as carbonyls, which includes compounds such as formaldehyde and acrolein.  There are now hundreds of different flavors and devices on the market that can be purchased online or at specific retail stores.  The E-cigarette industry has become a $6 billion industry worldwide, while the use of Tobacco has dropped from 42% in 1965 to nearly 21% out of every 100 adults in 2015.

The concern is that vaping is being advertized as a safe alternative to smoking and helping people quit. If used properly it can do just that, but if not its causing exposure to other harmful chemicals and leading to a new generation of tobacco smokers. E-cigarettes are becoming more regulated as the FDA has put new laws in place to help keep these devices away from teenagers, but you can get them off the internet at any age as long as you enter the proper birth date or click “yes” you are over 21. The biggest concern is with middle school and high school kids as a recent survey from the CDC found that 32% of high schoolers reported trying cigarettes, while 45% have used electronic vapor products (1). The newest model, the JUUL, has an intense amount of nicotine and is most common with younger kids because it looks like a USB stick and can be charged in a USB port of a computer. If you have younger children, talk to them about the potential long term risks of it becoming addictive and increased smoking risk. If you are pregnant, I would not suggest using e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking as they do not know all the potential effects on the baby at this time.

If you are using an e-cigarette make sure you do the following:

  • Make sure its temp controlled
  • Monitor amount of Nicotine – ask when buying and the goal is to decrease the amount when you’re trying to quit.
  • Make sure your device is newer and regulated as older ones can combust because of no temp regulations.
  • Research what “juice” you are using, the more complicated the flavor, the more chemicals and higher health risks.
  • Be aware that when you vape you are exposing the people around you to the nicotine and chemicals as well.

I feel that there is enough knowledge and research to know that Vaping is less dangerous than cigarettes if used properly, but remember it still contains nicotine which is the addictive part of the habit, and chemicals we do not know the long term effects of yet.  If you or your loved ones are using e- cigarettes, I would encourage you to do your research on the products you are using and ask yourself, “why am I using this?”


Does your gum recession bother you?

Gum recession is a very common dental problem that can happen to people of all ages. It occurs when the margin of the tissues that surround your teeth, and hold them in place start to wear away. This exposes more tooth and root structure, making them look longer, become more sensitive as well as lead to pocketing around your teeth, spaces between your teeth and affect your smile. Gum recession can happen for a number of reasons; aggressive brushing, grinding, plaque buildup along the margins, orthodontic treatment, lifestyle choices, and your genetics.  Your gums are meant to protect your teeth with two types of gingiva. The 1st type is attached gingiva, which is attached to bone and acts as a barrier to keep infection outside the body. The 2nd type is unattached gingiva, which is loosely connected to the bone and contains the blood vessels that supply the teeth and tissues; the edge of this gingivia is called the gingival margin.  If recession is left untreated it can destroy the supporting tissues and bone around your teeth and eventually lead to tooth loss. As we know healthy gums are essential for a healthy mouth and overall health, so treating your gum recession is important for a long lasting healthy mouth.

It important to know that once gingival tissue is gone, it’s gone, and does not grow back on its own. Thankfully, science and technology have come a long way and now there are options for people who suffer from gum recession. Traditionally, surgical gum grafting was the only option. Gum grafting is a surgical procedure, done by a Periodontist that involves taking soft tissue from a donor area and suturing it to the gingival area that needs more tissue to be healthy. Another, method for treating gingival recession is; Pinhole Surgical Technique, which involves manipulating the existing gum tissue over the exposed roots.

The Pinhole Technique is a surgical technique that was a breakthrough treatment discovered by Dr. John Chao. It is a technique that is a minimally invasive option in treating gum recession.  The Pinhole Surgical Technique has an amazing success rate as well as patient satisfaction and can only be done by a graduate of Pinhole Academy. I am lucky enough to say that I have been to the Pinhole Academy and Dr. Davies is a graduate of the academy, which means we are certified to perform this grafting technique at our office. The procedure and results are unbelievable and I’m so glad that Dr. John Chao opened an academy to teach dentists this life changing, incision-free, suture-free procedure for treating gum recession.  The procedure is done through a small pinhole in the gingival tissue that usually heals itself within a few days or less. Special designed instruments are used to gently loosen the gum tissue and pull it down over the exposed part of the tooth; collagen gets packed into the papillae to help stabilize the area during the 6 week healing process. There is no incision or suturing in this procedure but some patients can experience some swelling, bruising and bleeding.  I attached a video of the procedure to provide you with a visual depiction, but check out our official Pinhole website for more detailed information, including before and after photos.

If you look in the mirror and you have recession, don’t wait! Talk with your dentist, or call us about treating it today.  We want you to keep your teeth healthy and have a happy, confident smile!

Wishing you could have straighter teeth?


Malocclusion affects about 74% of American Adults. This not only affects the appearance of your smile, but it also can affect your periodontal health.  Why would malocclusion affect your periodontal health?  It affects periodontal health because plaque and bacteria become more difficult to remove with brushing, and flossing, leading to gum redness, and inflammation. This inflammation, if not treated, becomes worse and can lead to soft tissues damage, recession, periodontal pocketing, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss. It’s also important to remember that periodontal disease can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and complications with diabetes, pre-term low birth weight babies, and respiratory disease.  In addition, malocclusion can also cause wear and trama to teeth from unnatural stress and pressure on the teeth and jaw. This excessive pressure can lead to chipping of your teeth or notches along the gumline called abfractions.

How can you fix your malocclusion and have straighter teeth, allowing you to have an overall healthier mouth? Ask your dentist about Invisalign, clear aligners that are custom- made for you to gradually move your teeth into proper occlusion. Invisalign is generally comfortable to wear and easy to adjust into your everyday life during your treatment. Average duration of treatment is approximately one year, some take longer depending on the treatment case. These aligners are removable making homecare much easier for the patients in addition to being able to still eat your favorite foods. The aligners need to be worn 22 hours a day, you only take them out to eat, drink, brush and floss.

Invisalign is used for minor cases as well as more moderate and severe cases, but that would be determined by the dentist during your consult. So, if you’re unhappy with your smile or have difficulty keeping your teeth clean talk to your dentist about Invisalign options. Straighter teeth can mean healthier gums and easier dental cleanings. When teeth are straight they are easier to properly brush, and floss, decreasing plaque, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.


Happy Valentine’s Day!


Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day dates back to the 5th Century, but did not become the Valentine’s Day that we know today until the 1700’s. Valentine’s Day is also called St. Valentine’s Day and Feast of St. Valentine.  There are so many mixed emotions over this holiday as it has become more commercialized over the years, and the truth is, it’s really about spending time with the one you love, not about how much money you spend.  Many people get caught up in the high expectations of what the media has made us think it needs to be. There are so many ways to make it special and romantic without breaking the bank.

Need some last minute ideas? I have found some wonderful ideas online from Google and Pintrest:

  • Movie at home – check out Netflix, Redbox or On Demand
  • Coffee Date – go out to your favorite place or a new coffee bar
  • Cooking Date – choose a recipe and make together
  • Take out from a nice restaurant – enjoy at home with a nicely set table or while watching a movie
  • Go out to dinner a different night – avoid crowds & increased prices
  • Indoor Picnic – lay a blanket on the floor and enjoy some wine, cheese, mini sandwiches while listen to some music
  • Play a game -at home or out; example is Dave & Buster’s or an Escape Room
  • Star Gaze
  • Make your own card to exchange to your Valentine

Fun Valentines Facts:

  1. Approximately 50 Million roses are given on Valentine’s Day around the world.
  2. There are approximately 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards exchanged every year in the U.S alone.
  3. Candy hearts are a staple to Valentine’s Day – approximately 8 billion are produced, which would be enough to stretch from Valentine, Arizona to Rome, Italy and back again.
  4. Cupid is the son of Venus. Venus is the god of beauty and love.
  5. Penicillin was introduced on February 14, 1929.
  6. Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona receives approximately 1,000 letters that have been addressed to Juliet, as this is where the lovers Romeo and Juliet lived in Shakespeare’s play.
  7. The phrase, “to wear your heart on your sleeve” has a historical meaning! In the middle ages young people would draw a name from a bowl, the name they picked would be there Valentine and they would have to wear that name on their sleeve for one week.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and remember:

“All you need is Love. But a little Chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt” – Charles M. Schulz


Caring for braces


Braces; what most kids need during adolescent years and some adults have later in life to allow for proper occlusal function and gorgeous smile! There are two types of orthodontia, traditional braces and invisalign. Today’s blog is about how to care for traditional braces as they are the most common.  It’s extremely important to take good care of one’s teeth when in orthodontic treatment, not easy, I know as I had them when I was in middle school, but imperative to have the beautiful smile everyone dreams of when they come off.  There are many adjustments that need to be made with one’s homecare routine, as well as some eating habits.  It’s also important to stay on track with routine check-ups to be sure they come off as scheduled.

Proper oral hygiene is the most important topic. I’m sure your orthodontist and dental hygienist has reviewed this with you and/ or your child. Some of the common things we see with orthodontia patients are gingivitis, demineralization, and heavy plaque buildup.  These irritating conditions can cause serious long term dental problems and if they become extreme, braces may need to be removed before treatment is finished.

Homecare with braces does take a little longer but the outcome is worth every minute. I recommend using the following items daily; a WaterPik Waterflosser, a Sonicare electric toothbrush with toothpaste that contains fluoride & Act fluoride rinse twice daily. Additional aids that are helpful are Superfloss, Ortho flossers and Proxy brushes/ Interdental brushes.  If possible, the Waterflosser by Waterpik should be used every night before brushing. Brushing should be done ideally 3-4 times a day; before school/work, after lunch, after school and before bed to reduce the amount of plaque sitting on one’s teeth for a long period of time. To properly remove plaque around brackets the toothbrush head should be angled against them, be sure to brush the chewing surfaces and the backs of the teeth as well. Act Fluoride rinse, or the rinse prescribed by the orthodontist should be used in the morning and at night and nothing should be consumed for 30 minutes after.  If you do not have the waterpik waterflosser than it’s extremely important to make sure you are doing a nice deep “c” motion around your teeth and brackets as well subgingivally along the gumline using superfloss. Flossing should be done every night, as braces are known for trapping food in difficult places that are hard to clean.  The flossing process may take a while when you first start doing it but as time goes on you will get faster. It’s also common to have a little bleeding when you first start flossing but it should not last more than two weeks if flossing daily and properly.

There are some foods that should be avoided during orthodontia treatment as they can cause demineralization, increase the risk of decay, ruin wires, and pop off brackets. These issues can delay progress and mean additional trips to the orthodontists.  People who have habits of biting nails, chewing on pens or pencils or chewing any type of foreign object need to stop, as it can cause damage to wires and brackets too.

Examples of some foods to avoid include:

Sticky: Gum, Toffee, Caramels, Starburst, Jolly Ranchers, any other sticky food or candy

Hard: Nuts, Taco Shells, Hard Breads, Ice, Corn on the cob, Apples & Carrots (the last three if cut up are ok)

Sugary/ Acid: Soda’s, Lemons & Limes, Kool-Aid, Gatorade, Sweet Tea, Candy

Did you know February is National Children’s Dental Health Month?


Most people are unaware that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. February is dedicated to increasing awareness on the importance of good oral homecare in children. The ADA reports that children in the United States miss over 51 million hours of school each year due to dental issues, and even more surprising, approximately 17 million children go without dental care each year and pediatric dental disease is even higher, reaching approximately 44% of children before they are in kindergarten (1). This information is important because when children miss school, they miss out on very important learning skills, such as reading and writing, which are crucial stepping stones to a successful education. In addition to missing school, tooth pain can cause these children to become distracted during school causing them to have lower grades.

I have written past blogs on the importance of baby teeth and good homecare which I would encourage you to read, but for now the most important things to remember are; seeing a dentist regularly (every 6 months starting no later than age 3) and following dental recommendation for Sealants and X-rays. In addition to dental visits, homecare is the most important thing you can do daily with your child. Parents should help their children brush 2x daily using a very small smear of fl2 toothpaste (see photo below). Parents who have babies should be wiping their gums with a damp cloth daily to remove milk & bacteria that resides on the gums. You can even floss your children’s teeth with flossers. It’s encouraged that parents help brush & floss their children’s teeth until they are about 6 or 8 years old. A good diet is also important! Most people know that candy and soda are risks for decay, but did you know milk, fruit, and traditional snacks can be dangerous too? Children should not go to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, the milk pools and sit on their teeth causing baby bottle decay. It’s also important to monitor your child during the day and not allow them to sip on milk or juice continuously, water is ok as long as it is from a proper cup that does not require them to suck on it, straws are ok. The constant exposure to sugar causes the Ph in your child’s mouth to continuously be acidic and a breeding ground for bacteria to eat away at the enamel of their teeth. Continuous exposure to sugars, carbohydrates and acidic foods can increase the risk of cavities. Even natural sugars in fruits, veggies, and yogurts, if left on the teeth too long, can break down the enamel leading to a cavity. Carbs turn to sugars in the mouth (examples; gram crackers, goldfish, animal crackers, cheerios, and ritz crackers). If left on teeth it will break down the enamel. A few other beverages to be aware of are chocolate milk, gatorade, lemonade, and soda which are all ok occasionally with a meal, but continuously drinking them will breakdown the enamel and cause cavities over time. Finally, gummy vitamins are a great option for kids but they do stick to the chewing surfaces of teeth, so I encourage all vitamins to be taken with breakfast and brush teeth after.

Be sure to brush your teeth and teach your kids about proper oral hygiene to provide them with a lifelong oral habit that will give them a reason to smile!  A great website for fun kid dental activities is: