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‘TIS THE SEASON FOR everything pumpkin. As the poster child of fall, pumpkin doesn’t just star in our autumnal decorations, it shows up on our menus too. And as far as we’re concerned, that’s a good thing. Pumpkin is great for your oral and overall health!

Pumpkin: Fall’s Superfood

We’re glad pumpkin has so many health benefits because it sure is delicious! Pumpkins are high in fiber and are a great source of beta-carotene, which are both important for our health in various ways. They’re also full of potassium which can help lower blood pressure. But the reason we dentists love pumpkin is that it’s great for your smile!

Pumpkins benefit your oral health because they are:

  • A great source of zinc. Zinc is considered an anti-plaque agent and is often added to toothpaste to prevent buildup. It also strengthens teeth and bones and boosts gum health.
  • Rich in vitamins. Vitamin A found in pumpkin aids in the flow of saliva, keeping your teeth clean and protecting them from decay. Pumpkin’s vitamin C contributes to a healthy immune system, helping you to fight off oral infections.
  • High in magnesium. In tandem with calcium, magnesium strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay. Without magnesium, our enamel would be much weaker and more susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria.

Not All Pumpkin Treats Are Good For You

Now before you go running off to Starbucks for that pumpkin spice latte or the bakery for a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, there are a few things you should know. Not everything you encounter with pumpkin in it is going to benefit your health.

A lot of the most popular pumpkin snacks–pumpkin pie, bread and cake, in addition to the aforementioned treats–should actually be considered desserts because of their high sugar content. So when it comes to these sugar-filled pumpkin treats, consume them in moderation.

Here are some healthier ways to satisfy your pumpkin cravings this fall:

  • Baked pumpkin seeds–a guilt-free, vitamin-filled snack
  • Pumpkin smoothie–perfect for breakfast or as a dessert substitute
  • Pumpkin soup–a great way to warm up in the colder autumn weather
  • Roasted pumpkin–make it the main course, use it as a side dish, or throw it in a salad

Enjoy The Fall Season

Nothing says autumn more than the big orange fruit. When you’re eating all that pumpkin this fall, remember that you’re not only satisfying your tastebuds, but you’re also boosting your oral and overall health! So go ahead, eat more pumpkin.

Wishing a wonderful autumn to all our patients.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions

YOU’VE BEEN HEARING a lot about flossing in the news these days. Recent articles stating that flossing doesn’t do any good for your oral health have left many feeling shocked and confused. As your trusted dental professionals, we’re here to set the record straight!

It all started with an article by the Associated Press stating that the benefits of flossing have been unproven. Unfortunately, haters of flossing were quick to take up their torches and pitchforks against the practice. In response to the Associated Press article, the American Dental Association released a statement saying that flossing is “an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.” And we’re going to tell you why.

Here’s Why You Should Continue Flossing

While the effectiveness of flossing isn’t proven, it’s also not disproven. As we continue to gather evidence, flossing or cleaning between the teeth definitely reduces inflammation, bleeding of the gums and risk of decay among other things. Therefore, in helping to reduce gum disease it will also lower your risk for other systemic health conditions. Together brushing, flossing in conjunction with regular oral health dental check-ups with your dentist will improve your overall health. 

We Care About Our Patients

We only recommend flossing because we care about your oral and overall health! Through our years of experience, we’ve seen the difference that flossing can make. So, ignore the headlines and take it from the professionals: flossing works! Keep up the good flossing habits and we promise you’ll feel the difference.

Have any more questions about flossing or your oral hygiene? Call us or come in today!

GOOD NUTRITION IS ESSENTIAL for a child’s healthy growth and development. It’s also important for their dental health! A good diet can help your child build strong, healthy teeth, while poor eating habits puts your child at a higher risk of tooth decay.

You may understand how important nutritious meals are, but one thing some parents struggle with is snack time. Here are our best tips on how to make sure your child’s snack time is tooth-friendly!

Not All Snacks Are Created Equal

Stay away from starchy, sticky or sugary foods during snack time, like dried fruit, crackers, chips and cookies. These types of snacks can stick to the teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing cavities. For snack time it’s best to opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and cheese.


If You Indulge, Do It During Mealtime

Don’t worry, we don’t expect you or your child to never eat sweets or starches. There is a better time to eat them than at snack time, however, and that is during meals! That’s because it’s not just important what you eat, but when you eat. At mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that can help wash away those starches or sugary treats, counteract acid-producing bacteria and remineralize teeth.

Watch Out For Added Sugars

Almost all foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars–like those found in milk and vegetables–are less worrisome, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to keep an eye out for when choosing snacks are added sugars.

According to the American Dental Association, added sugar consumption should be limited to less than 10 percent of total energy intake, ideally less than five percent. To put things in perspective, one can of soda is equivalent to three times the daily recommended sugar intake of a child!

Choose Beverages Wisely

On that note, we’d like to advise parents to choose their children’s beverages wisely. Soda and juice may be your child’s preferred drinks, but milk and water are much healthier choices. Good sources of calcium, like milk, aid in building strong teeth and bones and water helps to wash away food particles that may be clinging to teeth, thus protecting against decay.

Sip All Day, Get Decay

Whether your child is drinking milk, juice or soda, don’t let them sip it throughout the day. Constant consumption of either food or drink is harmful for teeth, because not only are you feeding yourself, you’re also feeding the cavity-causing bacteria that reside in your mouth. Limit snacking to once or twice a day and have your child sip on water. If they drink anything that contains sugar, have them drink it during mealtimes or all at once.

Your Family’s Health Is Our Priority

If you have any tips or healthy snack ideas that your kids love, leave it in the comments below! At our practice, we care about the health of your whole family. Proper nutrition, especially at snack time, will ensure healthy smiles for you and your children for a lifetime!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

March 31, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
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Since your smile is one of the first things people notice, it’s no wonder people are willing to invest good money in protecting their pearly whites. Dr. Leix and her staff work to educate their patients on the importance of dental health and how it impacts the brightness of their smile long-term. Whether you’re considering professional teeth whitening or have already begun the process, it’s helpful to understand how your lifestyle can affect the appearance of your smile.


Several factors can cause your teeth to change colors, including diet and lifestyle. Here are a few examples:



  • Age
    Dentin is a hard tissue that is located directly underneath the enamel of your teeth. As we age, this dark layer becomes visible as the enamel wears down as a result of brushing.
  • Food and Drink
    Beverages like coffee, tea, dark sodas and red wine can cause tooth staining. These delicious drinks contain strong color pigments that can change the color of your teeth. Additionally, certain types of richly pigmented foods such as blueberries, strawberries or even ketchup can also cause tooth staining.


  • Medications
    Certain kinds of medications can cause tooth discoloration, including antihistamines and drugs for high blood pressure. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can also cause teeth darkening.
  • Smoking and Tobacco Use
    Tobacco product use can cause teeth to yellow and stain. Two particular chemicals in these kinds of products, tar and nicotine, are the main culprits.



Proper dental hygiene is always the first step in combating tooth discoloration. But sometimes, even when patients take the appropriate precautions, tooth discoloration can still occur. Professional teeth whitening can help restore that lustrous smile and get your teeth back to sparkling-white status. It’s also the safest and most effective whitening option. If you’re concerned about tooth discoloration and would like more information about our in-office teeth whitening process, contact us at 815-455-8186. 

As a family dental practice, Dr. Leix and her staff care for some of our tiniest patients and always encourage practicing good oral hygiene from an early age. But brushing and flossing alone aren’t enough to keep tooth decay at bay. Food and drink also impact your child’s dental health.

Sweet drinks like sodas, fruit juice and sports drinks are a favorite for many. While they’re generally ok in moderation, when it comes to tiny mouths, it’s best to steer clear. Over time, these drinks can cause cavities, tooth decay and even loss of tooth enamel. But added sugar in drinks isn’t always easy to spot. Here are a few sugar aliases that might be hiding on your drink labels:



  • fruit juice concentrate
  • evaporated cane juice
  • corn syrup 
  • maltose
  • fructose
  • sucrose
  • glucose 
  • dextrin 
  • honey
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • syrup
  • malt syrup
  • maple syrup
  • molasses



Knowing how to spot added sugar is half the battle. And the other half? Choosing beverages without sugar. Water and milk are hands down the best and healthiest beverage choices for your kiddo. Here are a few other ways you can help protect your child’s dental health:

  • Brush and floss teeth twice a day for at least two minutes.
  • Schedule annual exams with your family dentist.
  • If your child has a cavity, act quickly to fix the problem.

Being proactive about your child’s dental health greatly helps reduce the incidence of future dental problems. To learn more tips, click here, and then give us a call today at 815-455-8186 to schedule your child’s annual dental exam.