H Charles Jelinek Jr DDS - June 2020

THE BEST WAYS TO HELP LOCAL NONPROFITS IN CHALLENGING TIMES

3 FoodsThat Promote Healthy Oral Health Food forThought It’s no secret that some foods are better for your teeth and oral health than others. We all know foods high in sugar and carbohydrates promote plaque and tartar buildup, as well as the formation of cavities and tooth decay. But some foods — many that we already know and love — promote healthier teeth and gums. Here are a few examples of tooth-friendly foods you may already have in the kitchen. CHEESE Findings published in General Dentistry, a publication of the American Academy of General Dentistry, revealed that many kinds of cheese can temporarily elevate pH levels in your mouth and stimulate saliva production, creating an inhospitable environment for the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. This makes cheese an ideal tooth- friendly snack or a great complement to any meal. Even better, cheese is high in calcium, which helps strengthen teeth. ALMONDS Packed with vitamin E, healthy fats, fiber, potassium, protein, and other beneficial nutrients, almonds are great for our overall health, and that includes our oral health. But be warned — avoid raw almonds! The dense structure and pointed shape of raw almonds can easily damage your teeth, particularly the premolars and molars toward the back of your mouth. The best way to reduce risk while still enjoying this healthy snack is to eat sliced and roasted almonds. Thinly sliced almonds are much softer and contain all the same nutritional benefits. Eat them by the handful, sprinkle them over salads, or add them to various baked goods. SPINACH Speaking of salads, you can’t go wrong with spinach. This leafy green is chock-full of so many nutrients, including vitamin A, zinc, iron, and potassium. It’s also high in calcium. If you’re not a fan, you can easily hide the taste of spinach in a smoothie. It adds very little flavor while still packing a nutritional punch. If you do go the smoothie route, however, just remember to keep added sugars to a minimum. Popular smoothie ingredients like fruit juices and frozen yogurt are sugar bombs, which are not ideal for good oral health. Try to keep your smoothie ingredients as simple as possible, using natural, healthy ingredients like spinach, frozen fruit, and plain Greek yogurt — another tooth-friendly ingredient.

Over the past several months, families, businesses, and nonprofits have had to navigate life in this challenging “new normal,” and it can be hard to support your favorite nonprofits when times are tough. Here are a few ways you can help these important entities, even when you don’t have resources to spare right now. DONATE While many people donate generously during the holiday season, remember that nonprofits need donations throughout the year, and different nonprofits need different things. A monetary donation can often go a long way, but never feel obligated to give money, especially when your budget may be tight. Instead, consider cleaning out your closet. What clothes, shoes, or other accessories can you part with? What about dishware or small appliances? When you clean out your home and donate unused items, you benefit those in the community who need them most. VOLUNTEER In a time of social distancing, volunteering may be discouraged, but nonprofits still need volunteers to operate. The good news is that many nonprofits need volunteers for positions that maintain social distance, such as driving. Food banks and kitchens need drivers to pick up donations or ingredients from donors and to deliver food to people in need, such as the elderly or those with disabilities. ADVOCATE Even if you don’t have time or resources to give, you can become an advocate for important causes around your community. While it might not seem like much, sharing information about local nonprofits on social media can make a genuine difference. Nonprofits need exposure, which is greatly boosted through community support. Sharing useful information about nonprofits — or sharing their posts — increases their visibility so more people will take action.

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