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6 Foods & Recipes for Better Oral Health

6 Foods & Recipes for Better Oral Health

By now, everyone knows to avoid sugary foods and dark sodas to keep our teeth bright, healthy, and sparkling, but what about specific foods we can choose to promote better oral health? Your food choices can either lead to tooth decay, or put you on a trajectory to good dental health.

“The teeth and gums mirror what’s going on in the rest of your body. Therefore, what you consume influences the health of your smile,” Dr. Shawn Frawley said in an e-booklet by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. “That’s why it’s important to think carefully about making the right food choices.” Here are 6 foods and recipes that won’t throw you off the track of good dental health.



1. Cheese

Cheese contains calcium and phosphorus, which are good “superheroes” that fight against tooth decay. As we age, acid breaks down enamel, which is the translucent layer that protects teeth. “Though as adults our teeth are already formed, it’s helpful to eat calcium and phosphorus to rebuild the tooth enamel,” Deepinder Sahota, DDS, a consumer advisor spokesperson for the American Dental Association based in Fremont, California told Prevention. This recipe for lightened-up four cheese pasta will give you that calcium and phosphorous kick that’s great for your teeth, and for your body in general!


What you’ll need:

  • 1¼ cups skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 1½ tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar
  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups cooked whole-wheat spiral pasta
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower (about ½ a medium head), steamed



What you’ll do:


Grab a medium saucepan, and combine milk, cream cheese, flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. For a little kick, throw in some cayenne pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until mixture comes to a slow boil, 5-7 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining cheeses and mustard until cheese melts. In a bowl, toss pasta with cauliflower; pour cheese mixture over top, and stir. Serve immediately. You’ll have 7 servings, so feed the family or have leftovers for a quick and healthy lunch later!

2. Apples

According to New York City cosmetic dentist Timothy Chase, as you snack on apples, and other crunchy fruits and veggies, you’re actually cleaning your teeth while you eat. Speaking to USA Today, Chase also mentioned that you’re pulling double duty because these snacks massage the gums, which increase blood flow, making your gums healthier too. And one more huge perk is that apples and those types of foods lead to an increase in saliva, which boosts oral health as well. Here’s a nice summertime spin on a salad with apples–Cookie + Kate‘s kale salad with apple, cranberries, and pecans.

What you’ll need:


  ½ cup pecans

  8 ounces kale

  4 to 5 medium radishes

  ½ cup dried cranberries (or cherries)

  1 medium Granny Smith apple

  2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled


  3 tablespoons olive oil

  1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

  1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard

  1½ teaspoons honey

  Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


What you’ll do: 

Preheat the oven to 350, and spread the pecans on a baking tray. Toast until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5-10 minutes, turning them once or twice to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Remove the tough kale stems from the leaves, and discard the stems. Use a chef’s knife to chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant. Thinly slice the radishes (this is easier to do if you first chop off the root end so you can place the base of the radish flat against your cutting board), and add them to the bowl. Coarsely chop the pecans and cherries and add them to the bowl. Chop the apple into small pieces and add it to the bowl as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. In a smaller separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss until the salad is evenly coated with dressing. For best results, let the salad marinate in the dressing for 10-20 minutes before serving.


3. Pineapple

Frawley explained to that pineapples can actually work as a natural teeth-whitening agent because they contain bromelain, a natural stain remover. Bromelain also eats away at plaque, making for a healthier mouth since plaque wrecks tooth enamel and causes decay. Again, pineapple increases saliva, becoming an ultimate tooth-cleaning food. So wake up and start your day with this recipe for pineapple oatmeal from CC Recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • shredded coconut

What you’ll do: 


Combine the milk, water, salt, oats and pineapple in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium and stir occasionally until mixture comes almost to a boil. Within 5-7 minutes, most of the liquid will be absorbed and the oats will be done. Then stir in brown sugar, vanilla extract, and raisins. Pour oats into bowl, and top with shredded coconut. Feel free to get creative and throw in blueberries or any other fruit you’d like!


4. Dark green vegetables

We all know plenty of reasons to fill up on veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale, and now Women’s Day is adding another. All of these deep green veggies have a mineral compound, which forms a film over teeth, protecting against stains caused by foods that aren’t as tooth-friendly. Try this caramelized broccoli from Food & Wine for a delicious tooth protector!

What you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads of broccoli (1¼ pounds total), stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


What you’ll do:


Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover and cook over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, which will take approximately 8 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook about 7 minutes. The broccoli should be tender and the water will be evaporated. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper, and cook another 3 minutes. The garlic should be golden brown. Season the broccoli with salt and black pepper to taste, drizzle with the lemon juice, and serve.

5. Fish

According to WebMD, says the benefits of fish regarding dental health come from the omega-3 fatty acids. And if fish aren’t your thing, try flax instead. “People who consume diets high in omega-3s are more resistant to inflammation and infection,” Anthony M. Iacopino, DMD, PhD, stated. “We also think they may be more resistant to gum disease.”


Gum disease causes inflammation, making it one of the biggest threats to dental health. It damages the tissues that connect the tooth to the bone. By reducing inflammation, the goal is to reduce the gum disease threat as well. Try Cooking Light‘s salmon with mango-kiwi relish to fight inflammation.

What you’ll need:


  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • Cooking spray


  • ½ cup diced peeled mango
  • ½ cup cubed peeled kiwifruit
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice

What you’ll do:


For the salmon, combine first four ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add the salmon to the bag, seal, and marinate 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the salmon and discard the marinade. Coat your pan with cooking spray. Cook the salmon for 5 minutes on each side, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Prepare the relish while the fish cooks. Combine the mango and remaining ingredients. Serve over salmon and enjoy!


6. Onions

Your friends won’t be happy about this one, but your teeth will. Onions receive negative attention for causing bad breath, but according to the Acevedo Dental Group, onions contain thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates. These sulfur compounds cause a decrease in bacteria, protecting your mouth from tooth decay. Onions should be eaten raw to get the full benefit, and there are many ways we can work onions into out diet. Try this asparagus, pecorino and red onion salad from Anne Burrell via Food Network.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch pencil asparagus, tough bottom stems removed
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup coarsely grated aged pecorino
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

What you’ll do:


Cut the asparagus, including the tips, into very thin slices crosswise, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the red onion and pecorino. Then toss in the vinegar, olive oil, and salt. The salad will be fairly heavily dressed. The vinegar will “cook” or tenderize the asparagus. Do this about an hour before serving to let the flavors marry. Enjoy!


Take a Bite Out of Summer

WHEN THE WEATHER HEATS UP, the first thing we want to grab is a refreshing snack and/or beverage. Often we are in the park, out on the lake, or simply in a position with limited options. When making these decisions unprepared, we often do not think about how what we’re ingesting affects our smiles. Here’s a handy list of foods and beverages that may do unexpected damage when we’re out having fun.

Watch Your Intake:


I don’t know about you, but the first thing I reach for when I spring out of bed is a coffee. And we all have those days where we need a little help to maneuver the day. That’s where caffeine and our beloved coffee come into play. The problem is, teeth are porous and coffee can significantly dull your pearly whites. Consider lightening up your coffee with cream or milk. And for those of us with lactose intolerances, non-dairy creamer works, too!

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Problems

Would you like to know how to take a perfectly healthy vegetable and make it an offender? Soak it in vinegar and sugar! It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to know that brine is not healthy for your teeth. Enjoy your pickled fare, but do so in moderation.

Sports Drinks

During the summer months, everyone is outside a lot more, and much more active in general. We need to replenish what we sweat, but are you relying too heavily on sports drinks? Many are touted as “healthy,” but beware…The sugar and acids wreak havoc on your teeth (and weight!). Watch the sports drinks intake, and remember that water is your friend.

Diet Soda

Much like sports drinks, diet sodas have been hailed as the healthier alternative to full-flavored sugary soda. But even though they are sugar-free, the acidity they contain is harmful to tooth enamel.

Barbecue Sauce

Keeping in mind the porosity of teeth, barbecue sauces contain loads of sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, and sometime other dyes that contribute to staining and other damage. Tread lightly!

Helpful Tips:

  • Don’t swish around or hold sport or fruit drinks in your mouth.
  • After drinking or eating, tooth enamel is softened, so wait an hour before brushing your teeth so you don’t harm the softened enamel.
  • Eat more fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers and celery. They are much healthier all around!
  • Any time you are unable to floss and brush after eating, chew sugar free gum and/or rinse your mouth with water.

Enjoy your summer! And if you have any questions about this information, please contact us and let’s discuss!


Nail Biting 101

nail biting

Also known as onchophagia, the nail biting is a nervous habit that can have serious consequences. Stress, excitement, or boredom can trigger it, and approximately half of kids between ten and 18 have been nail biters at one time or another. According to experts, 30% of children and 15% of adults are nail biters, but most stop by the time they turn 30.

Here are four reasons to put a stop to the habit:

  1. It’s unsanitary: Fingernails harbor bacteria and germs, and are almost twice as dirty as your fingers. And swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach issues.
  2. It wears down your teeth: The added stress of biting nails can lead to crooked teeth.
  3. It can delay your orthodontic treatment: For those who wear braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
  4. You’ll literally pay for it eventually: It has been estimated that up to $4K in extra treatment can build up over a lifetime.

Our team recommends the following to kick your nail biting habit:

  • Trim your nails often; short nails leave you nothing to bite. .
  • A bitter-tasting nail polish will deter biting. .
  • Consider using a mouthguard to discourage nail biting. .
  • Try operant conditioning. Snapping a rubber band on your wrist when you bite your nails will associate the action with pain, eventually dissuading you from biting your nails. .
  • Be cognizant of when you are biting your nails, and try to understand what is triggering the action. .

If you’re having trouble, please ask your orthodontist for recommendations.


April Marks National Facial Protection Month

April Marks National Facial Protection Month

April, also known as National Facial Protection Month, is upon us, and for Dr. Jim Whitehead and our team at Whitehead Orthodontics, that only means one thing: it’s once again time to remind our patients to protect their faces and pearly whites.

According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually. To us, that’s simply unacceptable. By simply wearing a properly fitted mouthguard or other form of protection, kids and adults alike can greatly reduce their chances of traumatic facial injuries.

Here are five ways to ensure you and your child’s can protect your mouth this spring:

1. Make sure you or your child wears a mouthguard for contact sports such as baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse.

2. Remind him or her to wear a helmet

3. …and protective eyewear

4. Wearing a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin will help

5. Make sure your child is alert, even as a spectator

We hope these tips are helpful. Dr. Jim Whitehead will tell you protective gear is vital for anyone engaging in contact sports or activities. If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact us at our Lexington, SC office.

Stay safe and have fun this spring!


The Importance Of an Early Orthodontic Evaluation

When should I bring my child in for their first orthodontic examination? This is a very common question that parents often ask, and the recommendation from the American Association of Orthodontists is age 7. “I agree and feel the ideal age for a child’s first orthodontic exam is age 7. When we are fortunate enough to see a child at this age, we can closely monitor the eruption of their permanent teeth and follow the growth of the jaws through these critical years of development. This allows us to catch problems early while they are developing, rather than after they have already developed, thus we can much more effectively manage these issues and may be able to prevent more invasive treatment needed in the future” Says Lexington, SC orthodontist Dr. Jim Whitehead.  When orthodontic problems are left undiagnosed and untreated,many of these issues can result in severe and permanent dental health problems. These may include abnormal wear of tooth surfaces or enamel, inefficient chewing, and even excessive stress on gum tissue and supporting bones which can lead to gum recession and/or bone loss. Early treatment of these problems not only protects the teeth, but can be more cost effective for the family to fix these problems before they can cause damage.

Why Early Care?

Early treatment or Phase I treatment is typically provided between the age of 7 and 10. The treatment aims at eliminating bite problems that can damage the teeth or gum tissues or making treatment down the road less invasive thus minimizing tooth extractions or jaw surgery. Here are some of the reasons why Dr. Whitehead would recommend early orthodontic treatment:

• Protruding front teeth (buck teeth)

• Crossbites

• Harmful oral habits

• Jaw growth discrepancies

• Crowded teeth

Only a complimentary examination with Dr. Whitehead at our Lexington, SC office can determine if early orthodontic treatment is needed for your child. Should any treatment be indicated, Dr. Whitehead can clearly explain the diagnosis, the reason for the early treatment recommendation, and discuss all the treatment options with you. Our state-of-the-art Lexington, SC orthodontic practice provides the most effective, efficient, and affordable treatments available anywhere. Call us today to schedule your complimentary examination with Dr. Whitehead.


Make Sure That Your Invisalign Treatment Is Successful By Following These Tips


At Whitehead Orthodontics we understand that going to the orthodontist and getting braces can cause a certain level of apprehension and fear.  Our mission is to make each and every one of your appointments comfortable, painless, informative, and fun, which is why our highly trained staff will take all the time they need to address your concerns and make sure you are well taken care of. We take the time to inform our patients about every facet of the procedure, what to expect, and what to look forward to after the braces or Invisalign process begins.

Dr. Whitehead has what he calls an “open doctor” policy, which means he will be personally available at any time through your treatment with braces or Invisalign to answer any and all questions you may have.  This personal connection directly with Dr. Whitehead is just one of the aspects about our office that our current patients love.

The very first step in getting the smile of your dreams is to visit us for an initial consultation. This appointment is where Dr. Whitehead will discuss your concerns and the issues with your smile and bite, and the treatment options that are available for you.  Dr. Whitehead will discuss the different ways to move your teeth and the pros and cons of wearing traditional braces verses wearing Invisalign clear aligners.

If Dr. Whitehead determines that you are a candidate for Invisalign, you can join the other hundreds of millions people worldwide so far that have used Invisalign to correct their smiles.  Of course, the success of your Invisalign treatment is dependent of how well you follow the recommendations from Dr. Whitehead.

Here are some tips that you can follow to make your Invisalign treatment as successful as possible.

Keep Your Aligners in Your Mouth!

The length of treatment varies case by case, but in order to stay on track with the treatment length that Dr. Whitehead predicted, the aligners must be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day!  This is the biggest factor in how successful your treatment is going to be and how gorgeous your smile will turn out at the end of your orthodontic treatment.

Keep Your Teeth and Aligners Clean!

Similar to traditional braces, excellent oral hygiene is very important during treatment with Invisalign.  Proper brushing and flossing will ensure your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible when they are moving, but with Invisalign you must remember to brush and rinse your aligners as well.  Healthy teeth and gums ensure that your smile comes out as beautiful as possible.

Wear your rubber bands!

Many people think traditional rubber bands are worn with braces only, but that is not true.  Dr. Whitehead will often have Invisalign patients wear rubber bands as well to achieve the desired bite correction.  Wearing the rubber bands as Dr. Whitehead recommends will ensure your bite fits in a healthy was as your teeth are straightening out.

Are you ready to get started?  Call Whitehead Orthodontics and schedule a complementary consultation with Dr. Whitehead today!


The Buy One, Give One Toothbrush… Bogobrush!

WHAT IF YOUR TOOTHBRUSH could be a force for good in the world? Pretty high expectations, right? But that’s exactly what the developers of Bogobrush are trying to do.

It’s Like The Tom’s Shoes Concept

The makers of the Bogobrush re-imagined the toothbrush while adding the philanthropic component. To be clear… We’re not affiliated with Bogobrush. We just like the concept of helping others.

BOGO stands for Buy One, Give One. For each brush you buy, another is given to someone in need! Millions of people lack access to dental care. This project takes a small step toward remedying that problem.
Environmentally friendly, without compromising dental health. The biodegradable design means less plastic toothbrushes in landfills.
Now, brushing is more than just a chore… It’s keeping you AND someone else healthy!

Founded By A Brother/Sister Team


Want To Learn More?

The makers of Bogobrush are working hard to launch the product. You can learn more about Bogobrush from their website. There is also an additional video about their progress that you can watch. And, we’re interested in your opinions about this idea.

Thanks for being our valued patient.


3 Top Reasons An Orthodontist Was The Right Choice For You

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT some dentists offer various versions of orthodontic treatment. This has prompted some patients to ask what the difference is between a dentist and an orthodontist? And, why should new patients choose our practice for orthodontic treatment?

1. Orthodontists Have Additional Education

Orthodontists first graduate from dental school (that’s right, we’re fully qualified dentists too!) and then continue on to an additional two (or more) years of training in specialized orthodontic care.

During that time, orthodontists learn more about the bones and muscles of the face, jaw, teeth, and spine… The whole complex network that makes up your smile.

2. Orthodontists Look At The Full Picture

Orthodontists look at your bite and the overall harmony of the bone structure in your neck, jaw, mouth, and face. Misaligned bites can cause long-term problems like migraines, bad posture, grinding teeth, and lost teeth. We also look at the root cause of misalignment and work towards creating smiles that will stay healthy for life.

3. You Benefit From Our Specialization

Yes, our team is trained to understand dental health, and that certainly comes into play in your treatment.

However, what we spend our time on day after day is orthodontics! We’ve seen many cases come and go, and have the experience to truly understand your case.

We see a lot of re-treatment cases, when orthodontic therapy from another source didn’t do a thorough enough job. In fact, many orthodontists’ re-treatment cases make up about 30% of their patients. In orthodontics, we know that it’s not about a quick cosmetic fix—it’s about doing it right, and helping patients achieve optimum health and balance.

How Is Our Practice The Right Fit For You?

Are you ready to start orthodontic treatment? Give us a call! And if you’re already one of our awesome patients, we have a question for you: What are the reasons that our practice was the right choice for YOU?

Let us know! Your reviews and comments are always helpful to us.


Losing baby teeth

The question often arises about the timing of when baby teeth are supposed to be lost and the appropriate age that permanent teeth should grow in. As an orthodontist, Dr. Whitehead is an expert on tooth eruption sequence, problems that may arise from altered eruption, and techniques and preventative treatments to prevent tooth eruption problems from occurring in the first place.

Children lose their baby teeth in order to create space in the mouth for their permanent teeth to grow in. This process can start as early as age 4 or as late as age 7. Generally, the earlier your child started teething, the earlier their baby teeth will start to fall out.

The process of replacing all baby teeth with permanent ones can take 6 years or more. Usually, teeth fall out in the same order in which they grew in. The first year, you can expect the lower, then upper middle teeth to fall out, followed by a brief break in tooth loss. When the loss begins again, the upper and lower first primary molars are the next to go, followed by the lower cuspids. The upper cuspid and the upper and lower primary molars are the last baby teeth your child will lose.

It is possible for children to lose a baby tooth too early, before the permanent tooth below it is ready to erupt. If your child loses a tooth before age four, you should take him or her to a dentist, so they can check for any underlying disease. Additionally, it is a very good idea to have the child checked by the orthodontist so we can perform an exam and take appropriate x-rays. When teeth are lost early, it may cause the surrounding teeth and bite to shift, which may lead to more severe problems at a later age. As a leading lexington sc orthodontist, Dr. Whitehead may recommend placing a custom-made spacer to serve as a placeholder for the adult tooth until it is ready to grow in. On the opposite end, if your child reaches age 8 without losing any baby teeth, there’s probably nothing wrong, but it’s a good idea to consult your Lexington orthodontist for X-rays to be sure.

One tip for getting through this process in as pain-free a manner as possible is to encourage your child to gently wiggle loose teeth, and not yank them. Pulling a tooth out abruptly and breaking the underlying root leaves your child’s mouth vulnerable to infection.

Most children find losing their baby teeth to be quite fun. Ideally, the biggest decision a parent will need to make is how much money the Tooth Fairy should bring in exchange for each tooth! If you have any questions about the sequence of eruption of your child’s teeth, or why a tooth hasn’t fallen out by a certain age, contact Whitehead Orthodontics at 803-996-5100, and schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Whitehead, your Lexington orthodontist!


Tips For People With Braces

Whether you are wearing the Invisalign trays or traditional metal braces, good oral health is an essential part of living with braces.  By taking proper care of your braces you will be able to avoid complications while they are on and the end results will be amazing.  At the end of the day, the key factor is to walk away with a beautiful smile, so think of these braces as an investment rather that a pain in the neck.. As you embark on the all-important quest for the perfect smile, there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind.   In order to make this transition smoother here are some tips.

Always carry a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss handy.    Whether you are wearing the Invisalign trays or traditional metal braces, you will need to brush your teeth after every meal.  It is vital to brush/floss after every meal in order to remove any food debris from the wires, which will help you avoid plaque build up and discoloration.  We recommend carrying a travel size brush and toothpaste that can be easily transported in a pocket or purse.

Always carry a container of dental wax with you. This is especially important for those wearing traditional metal braces as the wire can often leave your mouth sore and calloused.  Having some handy dental wax on hand is the perfect solution to ease the irritation, especially after a recent tightening.

If applicable, always keep a spare set of rubber bands to replace when the old ones break through out the day.

Always keep lip balm on hand as well.  It is not uncommon for your lips to become dry, especially after an alignment, so it is vital to keep some reliable lip balm to keep those lips hydrated.

Bottom line, the better you take care of your braces the quicker you will achieve that picture perfect smile.