Dental Tips from a Hygienist

A few do’s and dont’s for National Dental Hygiene Month.

As we finish the last week in October, which is also National Dental Hygiene Month, Olivia Zabel, R.D.H, a hygienist from the Metro Detroit Jewish community, shares a few tips to help spread the importance of oral health.

“Electric toothbrushes are key,” Zabel said. “[But]I always tell my patients I don’t care what you use as long as you do something when it comes to flossing.”

For those who celebrate Halloween and take their children out for trick-or-treating, Zabel says there are a few things to keep in mind after the kids collect their candy.

Olivia Zabel
Olivia Zabel

“Chewy, sticky and gooey candies like Skittles, Starburst and Sour Patch Kids are the worst for your teeth. Chocolate candy is almost better because it melts and dissolves away and doesn’t stick to your teeth like the other stuff does.”

When you do sit down to eat candy, Zabel also recommends keeping the frequency as low as possible.

“So, if you’re going to eat 10 pieces of candy, it’s better for you to do it in one sitting than it is to eat 10 pieces over two hours.”

If you’re worried about sugar intake in general, Zabel adds that you can use xylitol, a lower-calorie sugar substitute with a low glycemic index.

“Xylitol can help prevent cavities. The only thing to consider is that there can be some GI upset if you eat too much of it, but it’s a good alternative. You can also stick to sugar-free candies.”

No matter what, Zabel says after eating candy to drink water, floss and to brush your teeth.


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