Archive for October, 2011

Sacking the Halloween Candy: 20 Alternatives to Sticky Sweets

Choose an alternative to the cavity-causing sweets.

Looking to cut down your child’s sugar consumption? Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Dr. Binita Katheria recommends limiting the days when sweets are allowed. Following the advice of Food Rules author, Michael Pollan, Dr. Katheria says, “A good rule I follow is to eat sweets only on the days that begin with the letter S, like Saturday and Sunday.”

But this year, Halloween falls on a Monday and little ones will surely be hankering for their hard-earned candy all week long. According to Dr. Katheria, candy that is sour and sticky is especially bad for teeth since it not only sticks to the tooth, but the acid that makes it sour can weaken the top layer of enamel, making it easier for a cavity to start.

What to do? One way to help ease the post-Halloween sugar shock is to fill those neighborhood goodie bags with treats that don’t promote tooth decay. Here are 20 alternatives for the Halloween sack that are sure to make the little ghouls and goblins smile: (more…)

October 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm 1 comment

Tasty Lunches that Are Good for Kids and Teeth

Brushing, flossing, and eating are all good for teeth. Eating, because certain foods provide essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin D for dental as well as overall health. And with kids’ teeth, it’s what we don’t give them that can often make the biggest difference. Boot out the sugary foods and starchy snacks that contribute to tooth decay with the help of the following lunch-time alternatives:

Photo by Ken Hammond

Plain, low-fat yogurt with sliced strawberries and almonds. You know what they say about breakfast – you can have it for dinner, or lunch! In addition to being low in both acidity and sugar, yogurt is rich in calcium to help keep teeth strong. Fruits like strawberries have high vitamin C content for gum health, and almonds contain lots of fiber, great for promoting the flow of saliva, which protects tooth enamel.
Finger food tray. Mix things up with this fun lunchbox option. Kids love finger foods, like celery and carrots, which are packed with vitamin A, helping them maintain resilient tooth enamel. During all that crunching action, the kids will stimulate their gums and promote saliva production. In addition to the raw veggies, throw in some low-fat cheese triangles to get the goodness of calcium and protein in cheese, and finish off your food tray with some phosphorous-rich hard-boiled eggs, halved.

Photo: USDA

Turkey in whole-wheat pita. Lean turkey meat is also rich in phosphorous, which works with calcium and vitamin D for strong teeth. Starchy foods like potatoes and white bread raise acidity levels in the mouth, so less refined starches are a better choice for getting those essential carbohydrates. Try making a variation of the classic turkey sandwich by using whole-wheat pita bread, filled with some fiber-rich greens like spinach and kale. For a completely different lunch with similar selling points, dice up some grilled chicken and toss it in whole grain pasta with steamed broccoli. (more…)

October 19, 2011 at 4:04 am 3 comments

Success in Jamaica

The APD team saw about 160 preschoolers.

During their late September visit to Whitehouse, Jamaica as part of Great Shape! Inc.’s “1,000 Smiles Project,” the Alameda Pediatric Dentistry team treated as many as 90 kids a day.

The Jamaican kids were excited to see a dentist.

The team was headed by Dr. Sharine Thenard, who says Jamaican kids were excited to see a dentist. “I met a few teenagers who had never seen a dentist in their whole lives. Some children had perfect, healthy teeth. Others had really extreme cases of decay.”

Amanda, MaryAnne, and Dr. Thenard hard at work.

The challenging task of managing long lines of eager patients belonged to APD’s Financial Coordinator Christina Mendoza, who gave priority to those with abscesses, pain, or shaky teeth. Christina also formed lines for cleanings and other restorative work.

“I did my best to have everyone seen; if that was not possible I would make a list at the end of the day and those patients would be first in line the next day. As for the children, all were seen on the same day.”

Dr. Thenard, Christina, and six other team members, including registered dental assistants, a clinical manager, and office staff, set up their clinic in a church, moving pews over to position their dental chairs. They worked in hot, humid conditions with no AC or running water and intermittent electricity. (more…)

October 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm 2 comments


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