January 19 is National Popcorn Day, and it's the perfect time to both celebrate the wonders of this delicious treat and be aware of its effect on dental care, especially in children. While popcorn is a safe and healthy snack, some extra vigilance is required to make sure it doesn't cause any damage to developing teeth and gums. Here are a few interesting facts about the history of popcorn, as well as how kids can enjoy the treat responsibly.
Early History of Popcorn
Popcorn has a fascinating history that stretches back to Ancient Times. In 1950, 4,000-year old ears of corn were discovered in a cave in New Mexico, and it’s thought that the kernels on these ears were used for popping. In the 16th century, Aztecs used popcorn in some of their ceremonies and rituals, and they also used it to accessorize their apparel and decorate statues of gods. Cortes was first introduced to popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs.
Popcorn & Dental Care
While it’s interesting to learn about the earliest uses of popcorn, it’s also important to understand how it affects oral health. The hard kernels can break or chip teeth if children bite down on them. If a child has gaps in their teeth or has recently lost a tooth, a kernel could get lodged in the open space and be difficult — and painful — to remove. Popcorn also creates an abundance of lactic acid in the mouth, which can corrode one's teeth; this is especially detrimental to children since they have not yet developed a strong enamel coating to protect their teeth.
The best thing for your child to do is to brush and floss after eating popcorn. If this simply isn't feasible, like in a movie theater, have water and sugarless gum on hand to help rinse and cleanse their mouth until you get home. In addition to at-home dental care, schedule regular appointments with your dentist to stay on top of any oral health issues.
Popcorn is a tasty snack for anyone at any age, but kids should exercise extra caution when indulging. If you’re looking for a compassionate dentist to treat every member of your family, trust All About Smiles Family Dental in Ash Flat, AR. Dr. Steven Goacher provide all aspects of dental care to residents throughout Sharp County, including exams, teeth cleanings, and root canals. Request an appointment by calling (870) 994-7645, or visit them online to learn more about their services. For more tips and office updates, like them on Facebook.