March is National Nutrition Month: Take Our Quiz!

Since March is National Nutrition Month, let’s review the importance of healthy eating habits when it comes to dental health. In addition to reminding you of tips you’ve already learned, taking this quick quiz will help you to discover new ways you can take control of your health-starting today.

Q: What happens inside your mouth when you eat sugary snacks?

A: When you eat sugary snacks, (or starchy foods that convert quickly to sugar), acids are produced that erode tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Q: True or False, some breads and cereals are acidic.

A: True. Even though citrus fruits and tomatoes are most often associated with acids, some cereals and breads are also acidic. Eat foods like cheese, chicken, nuts, and milk, then calcium and phosphorus is redeposited onto your tooth enamel.

Q: What is demineralization?

A: Sucking on mints, cough drops, and hard candies can cause a concentrated acid build-up. The result is loss of minerals from your teeth.

Q: Some sticky desserts cling to tooth enamel. How can you balance out potential damage?

A: Try eating sticky desserts along with your regular meal to balance out potential damage to your tooth enamel.

Q: Why are portion sizes so important?

A: When you label certain foods as taboo, it can be very difficult to avoid them. Indulging in a small portion makes it easier to manage your sugar intake.

Q: Why should you drink lots of water when eating a sugary snack?

A: Drinking plenty of water along with a sugary snack helps remove food and debris from your teeth. Of course, brushing afterwards is also a good idea.

Q: What is Xylitol?

A: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in some brands of gum. Many dentists believe it keeps harmful bacterial in plaque from metabolizing sugar, keeping acids from causing damage to tooth enamel.

Q: What effect do teas and colas have on your teeth?

A: When you sip teas and colas during the day, acids are deposited onto your teeth. Water is a much better alternative. However, if drinking bottled water you should check to see if it contains fluoride, which actually adds minerals to your teeth to reverse acid damage. If your bottled water does not contain fluoride then consider drinking tap water. It is estimated that 67 percent of American homes have tap water with proper fluoride levels for strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities.

Q: Why should you incorporate foods into your diet that contain calcium and Vitamin D?

A: Calcium and Vitamin D strengthen your teeth and bones, which can prevent tooth loss.

Q: Why are crunchy foods like crisp fruits and vegetables smart food options?

A: Fruits and veggies contain water that dilutes the sugars inside them. In addition, chewing on these foods stimulates saliva flow which washes away food particles and acids. Vitamin A in fruits and veggies strengthens tooth enamel while Vitamin C prevents gum infections. Another benefit? Fresher breath.

Conscious eating is a process. Make healthy eating a priority and begin making changes that will benefit your entire body- including your smile.

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It’s Time for Spring Cleaning!

March 20th is the first day of spring which means it’s time for…spring cleaning! Did you make a New Year’s resolution to keep your teeth clean and healthy? Then it’s a great time to check in and see how you have been doing.

Spring (Teeth) Cleaning Checklist

Did you choose a dentist?

This should be at the top of your list because it often takes at least several weeks to get in to see a new dentist. (Tip: Ask the office if they have a waiting list for canceled appointments. If another patient can’t make it, you may be able to come in sooner.) Ask family and friends for a recommendation if you don’t already have a dentist in mind.

Have you scheduled your next six month check-up?

Hopefully you have an appointment for your next cleaning and exam so that you can stay on top of your dental health. Prevention is the key to maintaining good dental health. When your dentist can identify an issue early then you have a better chance of handling it quickly.

Are you well-stocked on dental supplies?

Whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, the American Dental Association recommends that youreplace it approximately every 3–4 months, sooner if the bristles become frayed with use. Also keep your closet stocked with toothpaste and floss so that you don’t run out.

Have you improved the way you brush?

It’s important to brush twice a day for at least 2-3 minutes at a time, usually after breakfast and before heading to bed. If you are having trouble sticking to this resolution, keep a timer handy by the sink. Although it is easy to put it off, flossing is essential to remove plaque and debris from between teeth. Review Why Flossing Is So Important for tips on doing it properly.

Are you eating a healthy diet?

Your nutritional choices have a significant effect on your oral health. If you feel yourself slipping back into poor habits, read Healthy Foods for a Healthy Mouth  Part 2. It discusses foods to avoid as well as tips for making better choices.

Hopefully you have been able to stick to your resolutions for a healthy mouth. If so, congratulations! However, if you have struggled a bit then don’t get discouraged. Setbacks are normal. Many people find it challenging to stick to resolutions as the year moves on. That’s why it’s so important to check in and evaluate your progress. Don’t give up!  Just pick up where you left off and before you know it you will create the habits necessary to maintain a beautiful smile.

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Keeping Your Smile White on St. Patrick’s Day

People around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every March 17, the feast day of Ireland’s patron saint. It’s a great time of year to discover more about Irish culture and history. In honor of the holiday, let’s see if you know the answers to these St. Paddy’s Day questions.

*1) St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in which country?

*2) Name the Canadian province that considers March 17 a public holiday.

*3) What colors are found on the Irish flag?

*4) It is widely believed that St. Patrick died on March 17 of what year?

*5) Most people associate St. Patrick with the color green. What was the actual color associated with the patron saint until the 19th century?

*6) What beverage is dyed green in pubs throughout the U.S. every March 17?

*7) Where was the very first St. Patrick’s Day parade?

*8) How many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were of Irish heritage?

Bonus Question:  Lucky Charms cereal was introduced in 1963 with its spunky mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun. Can you recite the words to his famous rhyme?


*1) Ireland

*2) Newfoundland

*3) Green (symbolizing people of the south), orange (symbolizing people of the north), and white (representing peace that brings them together as one nation).

*4) 461 AD

*5) Blue. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the color green entered the picture. It is the color worn by fairies and immortals in Irish legends.

*6) Beer (For many years, if the dye used to turn beer green stained the pearly whites of revelers they were out of luck. Fortunately modern celebrants can whiten their teeth at the dentist’s office – an option not widely available until the 1980s.)

*7) Boston in 1737

*8) Nine

Bonus Question

Hearts, Stars, and Horseshoes

Clovers and Blue moons

Pots of gold and rainbows,

And the red balloon

That’s the luck of me lucky charms!

Their magically delicious!

(It may be magically delicious, but make sure you brush your teeth after eating it because it is filled with sugar!)

One more piece of St. Paddy’s Day trivia. You’ve heard the expression “Kiss Me I’m Irish,” but do you know where it comes from? There are a few interpretations, but one of the most popular has to do with the Blarney Stone. It is a s a block of bluestone built into the battlements of  a castle in Ireland. It was believed that kissing the stone brought good luck. If it wasn’t possible to kiss the stone, then the next best thing was to kiss a person of Irish descent.

Speaking of kissing, keep your teeth healthy and breath fresh by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once. And see your dentist a minimum of every six months for an exam and thorough dental cleaning.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Houston Welcomes the 2014 Livestock Show and Rodeo!

Bring your family to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR), hosted March 4-23 at Reliant Park. The 82nd annual spectacular will attract more than 1 million spectators during its three weeks of events. There is so much happening at the HLSR that everyone can find something they enjoy.

The Rodeo

Join the audience and cheer on the finest rodeo athletes as they compete for over $2.04 million in added money.

Houston Livestock Show

Thousands of Texas 4-H and FFA exhibitors will be in attendance, with livestock including everything from poultry to heifers. It’s the world’s largest livestock show, showcasing exhibitors ages 9 to 18 who work for months preparing for the competition.

Horse Shows

Join the masses visiting the Arena, where top horse competitions include the Ranch Rodeo event, breed shows, and two AQHA World Championship shows.


Make plans to attend a concert. You can check out some of the biggest names in music each day of the Stock Show. This year’s entertainers include country superstars like Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Eli Young Band. Pop performers Selena Gomez and Maroon 5 are also on the schedule.

The Fair

A major draw of the HLSR is the second largest fair in North America, located at the fairgrounds adjacent to the Stock Show, which includes the following:

  • Agventure. Learn about agriculture in Hall A of Reliant Center, where nearly every species of livestock will be found at free exhibits. Children can milk cows at the milking parlor or even take a pony ride.
  • Ranching and Wildlife Expo. The second floor of Reliant Center on the east end is home to various wildlife exhibits and educational seminars. Outdoor lovers will want to catch the auction for hunting and fishing trips.
  • Carnival. Don’t miss La Grande Wheel – the Western Hemisphere’s largest portable Ferris wheel. The hop on Sky Ride, a 1,700-foot gondola, and get a view of Reliant Park from 58 feet up in the air. The dedicated children’s area, Kids Country Carnival, has tons of kid-friendly rides and games.

The HLSR Scholarship Program

The HLSR has a comprehensive scholarship program. To apply for any of the scholarships, you must be a resident of the state of Texas and plan to attend a college or university in the state. Eligibility requirements vary by award, but there are no restrictions on the major field of study for any scholarship. Do you know a future dental student? Craig Armstrong, DDS encourages you to let them know about the program!

The American Dental Association also offers a variety of scholarships to ease school expenses, which include tuition, fees, books and supplies. Click here for details about any of these scholarships:

  • Dental Student Scholarship
  • Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship
  • Dental Hygiene Scholarship
  • Dental Laboratory Technology Scholarship
  • Dental Assisting Scholarship

See you at the Rodeo!

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