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Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Adding fluoride to public water supplies is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay and has played a major role in in improving the public’s dental health for more than 70 years.

"Fluoride’s effectiveness in preventing tooth decay extends throughout one’s life, resulting in fewer—and less severe̵—cavities," says former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy. Read on to learn more about what the 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proclaimed as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

What Is Community Water Fluoridation?    
Fluoridation of community water supplies is simply the adjustment of the existing, naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water to an optimal level for the prevention of tooth decay. Think of it this way: Water that has been fortified with fluoride is similar to fortifying milk with Vitamin D, table salt with iodine, and bread and cereals with folic acid. 

The number of communities who make the choice to fluoridate their water continues to grow. The latest data show that in 2014, 74.4% of the U.S. population on public water systems, or 211.4 million people, had access to optimally fluoridated water.

How Much Fluoride Is Recommended In Community Water Systems?
It is recommended that community water systems adjust the amount of fluoride to 0.7 milligrams per liter of water. Use the chart below to see what that amount is equivalent to. 

Fluoride facts
5 Reasons Why Fluoride in Water is Good for Communities
  1. Prevents tooth decay. Fluoride in water is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases – tooth decay. One study has shown that children who live in communities without fluoridation are three times more likely to end up in the hospital to undergo dental surgery.  
  2. Protects all ages against cavities. Studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste. Why fluoride is called nature's cavity fighter.
  3. Safe and effective. For more than 70 years, the best available scientific evidence consistently has indicated that community water fluoridation is safe and effective. It has been endorsed by numerous U.S. Surgeons General, and more than 100 health organizations recognize the health benefits of water fluoridation for preventing dental decay, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and the American Dental Association
  4. Saves money. When it comes to the cost of treating dental disease, everyone pays. Not just those who need treatment, but the entire community – through higher health insurance premiums and higher taxes. The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dental filling.
  5. It’s natural. Fluoride is naturally present in groundwater and the oceans. Water fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride to a recommended level for preventing tooth decay. It’s similar to fortifying other foods and beverages, like fortifying salt with iodine, milk with vitamin D, orange juice with calcium and bread with folic acid.
If you have specific questions about your family’s fluoride needs, please contact your family dentist, pediatrician or physician.

The above article is from

Palm Beach Smiles 
Michael Barr, DDS
650 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, Suite 1- Boynton Beach, FL 332426
(561) 736-2377

Monday, February 15, 2021

Teeth-Healthy Snacks for Kids With Growing Teeth

You don't need another reason to feed your child nutritious snacks. Though, you might be interested in knowing those wholesome foods that fuel your child's growing body also impact the health and development of their teeth. Understand how your child's foods affect oral health and find out which teeth-healthy snacks to keep stocked in your pantry or fridge.

A Teeth-Healthy Snack Plan for Kids
The eating habits your kids learn today will impact them for the rest of their lives. Teach them the "what," "when," and "how" of teeth-healthy snacking to set them up for years of nutritious choices.

What Are Teeth-Healthy Snacks?
With more options than ever before, it can be challenging to determine which kid-friendly snacks are the healthiest choices. When it comes to your child's teeth, foods high in vitamins and minerals, and low in sugar make the best snacks. Sugar feeds the bacteria in plaque and causes it to release an acid that attacks the enamel on your teeth. If left unchecked, these attacks can lead to tooth decay. Choosing naturally sugar-free snacks is an excellent starting point for teeth-healthy eating.

When Should You Snack?
Kids need regular snacks to fuel their growing bodies throughout the day. However, it's important to implement a schedule for meal and snack times, so they don't constantly graze. Acid attacks can occur up to 20 minutes after you finish eating before they are neutralized, so your kids' teeth need a break between meals. If you feed them a sugary snack, serve it alongside other teeth-friendly foods. This will reduce the effects of acid production and help clear the mouth of sugary food debris.

How Do You Limit the Effects of Sugary Snacks?
It's not practical (or fun) to eliminate sugar from your child's diet. Enjoying a slice of birthday cake or a bowl of ice cream is an integral part of growing up. But you can limit the effects of these sugary snacks on your kids' teeth. Start with making sweets a special occasion instead of a daily event. Your kids will be more excited to partake in the occasional treat, and their teeth will appreciate the break from regular sugar baths. Also, be picky about the types of sugar. Avoid hard and sticky foods like lollipops or fruit gummies that stay longer in the mouth and prolong acid attacks. Finally, follow up sugary snacks by brushing teeth twice a day and flossing daily to remove plaque and food debris.

Snacks Kids Can Eat for Healthy Teeth
Now that you understand how to build a teeth-healthy snack plan for your kids, here are some ideas for snacks your kids will love.
Vegetables and fruits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends filling at least half your child's plate with vegetables and fruits. These foods are high in water and fiber, which helps balance out any sugars they might contain. Plus, chewing on a crunchy apple or carrot helps stimulate saliva production and clear away food particles from your teeth. Some fruit and veggie snack ideas include:
  • Raw carrots and celery sticks dipped in hummus or ranch dressing
  • Sliced apples with sugar-free peanut butter
  • Spinach, frozen berries, and plain yogurt blended into a smoothie
Dairy. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt can be low in sugar and rich in calcium, which is excellent for strengthening your child's teeth. Plus, cheese is a naturally chewy food that helps stimulate saliva production. Meanwhile, yogurt can be easily rinsed from teeth after eating. Some dairy snack ideas include:
  • String cheese
  • Plain yogurt with berries
  • Glass of milk
Lean Proteins. Meat, poultry, fish, milk, and eggs not only contain valuable protein, but they are also rich in phosphorous, which can help strengthen teeth. Some lean protein snack ideas include:
  • Boiled eggs
  • Roasted chicken and veggie kabobs
  • Sugar-free beef jerky
Seeds and nuts. High in protein and minerals and low in sugar and carbohydrates, nuts and seeds can be a delicious teeth-healthy option. Plus, some seeds and nuts — like chia seeds or almonds — are high in calcium, strengthening teeth.
  • Dry-roasted almonds with sea salt
  • Chia seeds, unsweetened almond milk, and fruit mixed and set overnight into pudding
  • Trail mix with favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit with no sugar added
Water. Fluoridated water is arguably one of the most essential components of snack time. Fluoride helps teeth become more resistant to acid attacks, and water helps rinse away any leftover food debris. Plus, it replaces other kid drinks — like fruit juices, sodas, and sports drinks — all of which are high in sugar. Make water more appealing by infusing it with fruit or adding carbonation.

How to Make Eating Healthy Fun
If your kids are used to sugary and starchy snacks, it might be difficult to trade in cookies for carrots. Make healthy eating fun with some of these tips:
Cook meals together. Give your child ownership of the healthy eating process by including them in the prep work. Find a cookbook full of recipes that appeal to kids and let them choose one or two to make throughout the week. Older children can learn the basics of chopping and roasting vegetables. Younger kids can help you thread pre-chopped veggies onto skewers or layer fruit and plain yogurt for a parfait. Mixing up a veggie dip, wrapping up a turkey roll-up, or placing toothpicks into cheese cubes are all great activities for little hands.
Plant a garden. Start healthy eating habits right at the source: homegrown vegetables. Stick to a few vegetables that are relatively easy to grow, such as lettuce or peppers. Or even begin with a window-sill herb like basil or cilantro. When it's time to harvest the fruits — or veggies — of your labor, pick a delicious recipe together to make a snack the kids can be proud of.
Make healthy snacking convenient. Part of making healthy snacking fun is making it easy. A kid will rarely choose celery sticks when potato chips are available. So swap out that candy for fruit and those crackers for almonds. Then, make your healthy choices extra convenient by putting containers of pre-cut veggies and fruits in the fridge where your child can see them. If you have a pantry snack drawer, fill it with single servings of nuts, sugar-free beef jerky, and nut butters.
Keep going. Healthy changes won't happen overnight. Kids may need up to 12 exposures of a particular food before they decide they "like" it. So keep serving those carrots alongside other healthy options you know they'll eat. Additionally, try preparing foods in different ways — such as roasted broccoli instead of raw florets or plain chicken instead of chicken with taco seasoning. Some quick adjustments might help overcome any texture or flavor preferences.
Keeping children nourished and well-fed is no easy task, so great job pursuing teeth-healthy snack options for your little ones. By encouraging your child to eat healthy now, you are instilling lifelong habits. Simply stay patient and remember the goal: Children who learn to love foods that protect their teeth and help them grow.

The above article is from

Palm Beach Smiles 
Michael Barr, DDS
650 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, Suite 1- Boynton Beach, FL 332426
(561) 736-2377

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Gum Disease Pictures: What do Healthy Gums Look Like?

If you suspect you have gum disease and are experiencing some of its symptoms such as sore gums, it may help to compare your gums to the pictures of healthy gums and gum disease below, from gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. If your gums look like they’re in the early stages of gum disease, bring it to the attention of your dentist and hygienist at your next visit.

The most common way to identify gingivitis is to look for gum inflammation and bleeding.
Early Periodontitis Pictures
During the early stages of periodontitis, symptoms include noticeably receding gum and pockets between gums and teeth.

Advanced Periodontitis
As periodontitis progresses, tissue and bone that support teeth are lost, causing loose teeth.
Healthy Gums vs. Unhealthy Gums
If you have healthy gums, they will look firm and pink. Some signs of unhealthy gums include redness and swelling, gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, and gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth. There are a few factors that can undermine healthy gums, including tobacco use, malnutrition, poor oral hygiene, and poor immunity due to more severe medical problems. Also, certain medications, including some types of antihistamines, decongestants, and painkillers, can cause dry mouth, which can promote gum disease. 

It's important to remember that healthy gums aren’t just important for your oral health. Maintaining healthy gums can also be important for your overall health. Numerous research studies suggest an association between periodontitis and other more serious chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, there are now several studies that suggest an association between advanced gum disease and heart disease or stroke. 

How to Get Healthy Gums Again
If you have mild gum disease (gingivitis), you can regain healthy gums by paying attention to oral hygiene. Using an anti-gingivitis toothpaste like Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean helps reverse early signs of gum damage and gives you clinically proven healthier gums. But serious gum disease, known as periodontitis, requires more sophisticated treatment to restore healthy gums. Your dentist may use one of these techniques to treat severe gum disease and promote healthy gums:
  • Root scaling and planing: Removal of the plaque and tartar on your teeth above and below the gum line.
  • Gingivectomy: Removal of diseased gum tissue, and elimination of any pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria can easily grow.
  • Extraction: Removal of loose teeth, or removal of teeth that are badly decayed or damaged.
  • Flap surgery: Cleaning the teeth roots and repairing any bone damage.
How to Maintain Healthy Gums
Because a healthy mouth starts at the gums, maintaining an oral health routine focused on the health of your gums in crucial to the overall health of your mouth. When you have healthy gums, your teeth are well-supported by the tissue in your gums and your chances for long-term oral health are significantly increased. If you don’t maintain healthy gums, you are more likely to have gum disease, which can progress to a number of problems with your teeth and oral health. And as we talked about above, other long-term, chronic health conditions can be associated with periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease.

In order to help keep your gums healthy, there are several easy steps you should take on a daily basis. Here is a checklist you need for healthy gums:
  • Toothbrush: When selecting a toothbrush for healthy gums, look for a soft-bristle brush that has bristles of varying heights to reduce irritation. This will help the toothbrush stimulate your gums and get into hard-to-reach areas.
  • Toothpaste: The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Comprehensive all-in-one formulas such as Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste can provide a number of benefits that help care for your teeth and gums for a healthy mouth. You may also want to consider a toothpaste like Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean which is formulated specifically for you gums. It can reach and neutralize the plaque bacteria built up around the gum line that can cause bleeding gums and even gum disease.
  • Dental Floss: Flossing may be one of the most important things you can do to help prevent gum problems and maintain healthy gums. There are also types of soft floss that make flossing easier, so people with sensitive gums can have healthy gums. Another option: interdental devices such as dental picks and flossers can be used to clean between the teeth and promote healthy gums. 
  • Mouthwash: Using an anti-gingivitis mouthwash as part of your oral care routine can help kill the bacteria that cause plaque to maintain a healthy gums and teeth. And mouthwashes may offer you additional benefits like whitening, enamel protection, or cavity protection.
  • Gum Stimulator: Available at most drug stores, a gum stimulator can help you keep clean and healthy gums. This simple device features a rubber tip that is used to gently clean and stimulate gums for good circulation and to help prevent gum disease.
  • Regular Dental Visits: Regular visits to a dentist are important for healthy gums because the dentist can identify problems early before they become serious. Follow a regular oral care routine of brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day to maintain healthy gums. Some dentists may recommend an antibacterial rinse or mouthwash to help preserve healthy gums after you are treated for gum disease.
The above article is from

Palm Beach Smiles 
Michael Barr, DDS
650 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, Suite 1- Boynton Beach, FL 332426
(561) 736-2377