20 Smart Snacks for Healthy Teeth

Getting your kids to eat fruit, veggies and yogurt instead of candy, chips and ice cream might feel like pulling teeth. But it’s important to encourage them to eat “smart” snacks to help keep their smiles healthy and beautiful.

Using the “20 Smart Snacks” list below as a guideline, you can help your children have healthier teeth by loading your refrigerator and cupboards with nutritious foods. Then follow these tips whether you’re transitioning your older kids to a healthier, balanced diet or just getting started with a little one.

Be a role model for your kids. Your kids mimic what you do, so it’s crucial that you set the tone. Send the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables instead of sugary snacks that can cause cavities. And be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids; if you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow suit.

Get creative with snacks. Show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, too! Prepare tasty combinations that look and taste great, such as apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, meat and cheese rollups, and yogurt sprinkled with granola and bananas.

Involve your kids. When making your grocery list, ask your kids to brainstorm about what kinds of food they’d like to eat. This is a good opportunity to help them understand what’s good for their teeth and what’s not. Then go grocery shopping together and teach your kids how to read the Nutrition Facts label so that they can check the sugar content.

Prepare nutritious meals. Snacking smart is great for your teeth, but so is eating well-balanced lunches and dinners. Make sure to add fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Remember, your kids don’t have to swear off sweets forever! They can still have healthy teeth even if they eat an ice-cream sundae or chocolate bar now and then — just make sure that the bulk of the foods they eat are nutritious. Also remember to encourage your kids to brush and floss regularly, and be sure to make regular dental visits a fun and positive experience for them.

20 Smart Snacks List

Fresh Fruit

– Melons

– Pears

– Oranges

– Berries

– Pineapple

Raw Veggies

– Carrots

– Celery

– Cucumbers

– Broccoli


– Whole-grain bread

– Pretzels (unsalted or low-salt)

– Cereals (unsweetened)

– Plain bagels

Nuts & Seeds

– Pumpkin seeds (unsalted or low-salt)

– Sunflower seeds (unsalted or low-salt)

– Nuts (unsalted or low-salt)  

Meats & Protein

– Baked chicken or turkey

– Peanut butter (unsalted or low-salt)


– Cottage cheese (low or non-fat)

– Yogurt (low or non-fat)

Don’t Forget! If you eat sweets, eat them for dessert instead of munching on them throughout the day. And remember to brush and floss your teeth after every snack or meal!

Dr. Tim M. Verwest, DMD named 2015 top dentist

FORT MYERS, Fla. (February 23, 2015) – Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim M. Verwest, DMD has been selected by the Consumer Research Council of America for inclusion in the 2015 Guide to America’s Top Dentists. Selection is based on a points system which includes, experience, training, board certification, and professional associations.

Dr. Verwest professional affiliations include The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American and Florida Dental Associations and West Coast Dental Association, the Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the Lee County Dental Association.  He is often a guest lecturer for various organizations and has taught classes at Florida Southwestern State College.


Dr. Verwest is a board certified Diplomat of the National Board of Pediatric Dentistry with professional interests in the areas of pediatric pharmacology, biomaterials, and pediatric anesthesia.  He believes in lifelong learning and continues his education by taking courses in pediatric sedation, pediatric oncology, sealants, prosthetics, pediatric cosmetic dentistry, pediatric materials, childhood growth and development, and more.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for the last 24 years. Areas of service include comprehensive dental exams, cleanings, composite fillings, dental hygiene education, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, sedation dentistry, space maintainers, x-rays and tooth nerve treatment. For more information, visit www.DrVerwest.com or (239) 482-2722.

Smile Sponging: Dental Activity for Kids

Try our smile sponging dental activity for kids! Teach children all about their smile while working on their counting skills.

MATERIALS: Red or Pink Construction Paper, Printer, Sponges, Scissors & White Paint.

FireShot Capture - Smile Sponging_ Dental Activity for Kids_ - http___starsmilez.com_smile-sponging_

1. Print the large image of our smiling mouth on a red or pink piece of construction paper. (Click here for the template.)
2. Cut the sponge into different sized square pieces.
3. Have children sponge paint 10 upper teeth and 10 lower teeth into the mouth or have them count their own teeth and try to make it match their own smile.
4. Make sure to have them count out loud for you and practice their numbers!

MAKE IT MORE FUN! Add mint extract to the white paint to make the smiles smell minty fresh!

Show us your finished product on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll send you a FREE CHILDREN’S TOOTHBRUSH!

TIMELINE: Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy

Baby teeth DO matter!  Unfortunately, many parents assume since baby teeth will eventually fall out anyway, it’s not essential to care for them.  But that’s not true.  Dental decay in baby teeth can negatively impact permanent teeth and lead to lifelong dental problems.

Not only will poor dental hygiene plague your child in adult years, but it could also seriously affect their childhood.  The top dental problem for preschoolers is tooth decay, with 10% of 2-year-olds already suffering from one or more cavities.  That percentage increases, until by age 5, nearly 50% of children have cavities.

So start early! Make oral hygiene a top priority for your family, and set your child on the path for a life of healthy, happy smiles.


Keeping  Your Child’s Teeth Healthy


Toothbrush Painting: Dental Activity for Kids

It seems like a simple task — teaching kids to brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day. But when you break it down, it’s really a lot more than that. Sure, standing in front of the sink with a toothbrush and toothpaste in their mouth is great, but are kids really brushing correctly?

Try our toothbrush painting activity to teach kids how to brush the entire mouth – front teeth, back teeth, top teeth, and bottom teeth. Once they’re done painting their character’s entire mouth, remind them that they need to do the same with their teeth, making sure to brush each and every one.

MATERIALS: Yellow Construction Paper, Printer, Old Toothbrush & White Paint.

FireShot Capture - Toothbrush Painting_ Dental Activit_ - http___starsmilez.com_toothbrush-painting_

1. Print the large image of our smiling star or sun on a yellow piece of construction paper. (Click here for the templates.)
2. Using an old toothbrush, dip the bristles in the white paint.
3. Use the same motions you would use to brush your teeth to paint your characters teeth.
4. Make sure to fill in the entire mouth, giving your character a bright white smile!

MAKE IT MORE FUN! Add mint extract to the white paint to make the smiles smell minty fresh!

Show us your finished product on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll send you a FREE CHILDREN’S TOOTHBRUSH!

Parents: Win A CRUISE!

Attention Parents: Dr. Tim Verwest is giving away a cruise to one lucky couple! All you have to do is review us on Google+. The contest ends March 1st! Good Luck!review us on google+

What To Expect at Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

So your child just turned 1, and you’re scheduling their first visit to the dentist. Doesn’t it seem like the anticipation of this appointment is worse than when you’re going for yourself?

No need to chew those nails to the quick just yet. This dentist appointment shouldn’t be very nerve-wracking at all. (And you want to do everything you can to tame the stories of the “scary dentist.”)

Here’s what you should expect:

  • The first dentist appointment will most likely be short and informal. (Hopefully) there aren’t any dental problems to take care of just yet. Instead, this appointment will be more of a meet and greet with the dentist to get your child used to the idea of visiting regularly.
  • You’ll be asked to accompany your child into the room and will likely be asked to hold them while the dentist looks around their mouth. You can either hold them in your lap in the dentist chair or – if it’s easier – you can opt for a regular chair.
  • There are a lot of benefits of choosing a pediatric dentist – one of them being that they’re used to seeing only young patients, so they know how to interact with them to make them feel comfortable. Many dentists will tell kids that they’re “looking for sugar bugs” and then inspect their teeth, gums, jaws, and bite.
  • This might be where the first appointment ends, or your dentist will opt to clean your child’s teeth and apply a fluoride preparation. The dentist will then talk to you and your child about good oral hygiene habits, including toddler teething, thumb sucking, good foods to eat (see: no sugar!), etc. Ask as many questions as you can! You may even want to bring a list of questions with you.

Let Them Play! The Power of Play on Learning

Have you ever tried to teach a child to ride a bike using a series of computer-generated charts and diagrams?  I didn’t think so.  But why?  Because you understand the importance of using age-appropriate teaching tools.  The same concept applies when teaching young children oral health care.


Children learn best by doing, seeing, experiencing, and playing — a fact that anyone who has attempted to lecture to a classroom of preschoolers can attest to.

Experience is the best teacher.  By playing and experiencing, children learn about themselves, their environment, other people, and the world around them.  They learn to solve problems, get along with others, use their creativity, and develop skills.

The power of play cannot be replaced with simple instruction.

In a recent study conducted by Makuch and Reschke, they found that age appropriate games were more effective than traditional instructional procedures in developing effective dental health practices. Furthermore, combining the natural playing behavior of children with oral health promotion results more frequently in longer term healthy practices.

With childhood dental disease on the rise, it’s more important than ever to teach children proper oral health care at a young age.


Makuch, A., & Reschke, K. (2001). Playing games in promoting childhood dental health. Patient Educ Couns, Apr (43), 105-10.


ABSTRACT: Oral health behaviour is a result of a life-long learning process, this process can best be achieved by an interdisciplinary collaboration among dentists and professionals in other areas, e.g. psychologists, teachers and kindergarten teachers. The basis of our research is a childhood dental health promotion programme which consists of a tool of games for children in the age of 3-5 years. After development by an interdisciplinary research group, the effectiveness of this teaching and behaviour modification technique should be proved. This study describes a controlled field study, in which two forms of game play activities were compared to a control groups. The results showed that the use of games and shows aimed at a child’s developmental level can be more efficacious than the presentation of didactic information alone.

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month with Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD at the Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers. Join us for the monthly KIDding Around series on February 7 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Children will have an opportunity to win $25 dollar gift certificate to the Cheshire Cat Fine Toys while learning about oral hygiene and dental health.

“February is a big month for us to get our message out, we want everyone to have clean smiles,” said Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD of Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft. Myers provides free dental health and oral hygiene presentations to preschools, elementary, and private schools throughout February in Southwest Florida. Children learn the importance of healthy eating habits, dental facts, and the proper instruction on brushing their teeth, free of charge. This educational presentation equips children with the necessary tools and guidance to confidently understand the importance of dental health.

Pediatric Dentistry of Ft Myers, Dr. Tim Verwest, DMD, continues to provide pediatric dental care to children for over 25 years. Areas of service include comprehensive dental exams, cleanings, composite fillings, dental hygiene education, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, sedation dentistry, space maintainers, x-rays and tooth nerve treatment. For more information on dental presentations, visit www.DrVerwest.com or call 239-482-2722.

Kids Photo Contest!

Dr. Verwest is hosting a Kids Photo Contest! The contest ends February 28, 2014! Click the link above to find out more!