Shot of a young man kissing his wife while she prepares a healthy meal at home

Healthy Foods for Healthy Teeth

Everyone knows the secret to healthy teeth and gums is brushing and flossing every day – but did you know the nutrition in your diet can also play an important role in your dental health?

When most people hear the word “diet,” they think about losing weight. But a healthy diet is about so much more! Good nutrition can lead to better moods, more restful sleep, getting sick less often, staying active when you’re older, and ultimately living longer.

What is nutrition?

Good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from the foods you eat. The basic nutrients we get from food are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Nutrients are very influential in the human body.

Nutrients provide our bodies with energy. When you count the calories on the box of cereal or a fast food menu, you’re counting energy. Your body needs calories to run and jump, but also to perform basic functions like breathing and pumping blood.

They build and maintain tissues, organs, bones and teeth. Proteins are present in every cell of your body and help fight off infections. Fats are like a cushions for your cells. And minerals are what make your bones strong.

Nutrients help regulate necessary body functions. Good nutrition leads to healthy temperature and metabolism regulation, lower blood pressure and better organ function.

Which nutrients are good for my teeth?

Calcium. 99% of the calcium in your body is in bones. Calcium keeps your tooth enamel strong, which can prevent decay. Most people don’t get enough calcium in their diets, which can lead to health issues like osteoporosis later in life.

Vitamin D. Often known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is generally obtained through direct sunlight. So in the winter months, a lot of people lose out on this vitamin – which is a shame because vitamin D makes you happy! It is also important in helping your bones and teeth absorb all the calcium they need.

Vitamin C. If you want healthy gums, be sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C! Without enough of it, the tissues holding teeth securely in place weaken, teeth can become loose, gums can bleed, and gum disease could develop.

Antioxidants. Did you know you already have thousands of these things in your body right now? Antioxidants naturally exist in our bodies as well as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, wine, and chocolate. They fight off compounds called oxidants, which are found in air pollution, cigarettes and alcohol. If you have too many oxidants in your body, it can cause cancer – so getting plenty of antioxidants will help you stay healthy longer!

Probiotics. You also have thousands of these tiny organisms swimming in your stomach too! Probiotics are healthy bacteria that benefit your digestive system.

Which foods should I eat?

Too often we hear what foods we should stay away from, like bacon, popcorn, soda, pizza and candy. But almost anything you eat is okay in moderation, especially if you have a great oral hygiene routine.

If you have a sweet tooth or love fast food, you might want to schedule a visit with your family doctor to talk about your specific health needs. But there are plenty of delicious foods you can add to your diet today that will help you have healthy teeth, while improving your overall health!



Blueberries are scattered on a wooden table

What’s inside: Antioxidants, Fiber, Vitamin C & Polyphenols

Why blueberries are good for your teeth: Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fruit, which boost your immune system and help prevent gum disease. A cup of blueberries contains about 25% of the amount of Vitamin C you need each day and 14% of recommended fiber. They also contain polyphenols – beneficial acids that defend teeth against harmful bacteria.



Different types of cheese on a wooden cutting board. Dairy products. Milk processing. Diet food

What’s inside: Calcium, Protein, Vitamin B12

Why cheese is good for your teeth: Calcium found in cheese strengthens bones and teeth. Cheese also prevents plaque buildup by lowering the acidity in your mouth and might even prevent cavities. If you’re a fan of harder cheese like Cheddar, Provolone or Colby, you’re in luck – chewing produces lots of saliva, which produces helpful bacteria that naturally clean the mouth.



Yogurt in bowl with spoon on wooden background, top view

What’s inside: Probiotics, Protein & Calcium

Why yogurt is good for your teeth: Probiotics found in yogurt may help slow the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. And the sugar-free variety like Greek yogurt is perfect for balancing the pH levels, making it difficult for harmful bacteria to live in your mouth! Yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium, so this delicious snack just about does it all – strengthens teeth, cleans your mouth and fights cavities.



assorted nuts

What’s inside: Calcium, Fiber & Vitamin D

Why nuts are good for your teeth: Nuts are a wonderful source of healthy fats and protein, and different types contain different benefits. So it’s not wrong to indulge in that nut mix as a healthy snack option. Walnuts are probably the most nutrient-rich nut, with fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc. Cashews. almonds and brazil nuts are great at stimulating saliva glands, which help to clean your mouth naturally and prevent tooth decay.



Raw salmon fillet and ingredients for cooking in a rustic style. Top view

What’s inside: Vitamin D, Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Why fish is good for your teeth: Omega-3 Fatty Acids are excellent at reducing inflammation, and they’ve been linked to fighting arthritis, cancer, allergies, asthma, Crohn’s disease, diabetes and periodontal disease.

Yams or Sweet Potatoes

Raw sweet potatoes on wooden background closeup

What’s inside: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Fiber & Potassium

Why sweet potatoes are good for your teeth: Yams and sweet potatoes are often interchangeable in recipes and can be prepared a lot of different ways — some of them more healthy than others. But at the heart of every yam or sweet potato dish is a vitamin-packed starch that is low in fat and high in nutritional value. Great at regulating blood sugar, their anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent periodontal disease. Healthy doses of Thiamine and Niacin in a balanced diet can decrease tooth decay. And Vitamin A promotes saliva production, which is crucial for cleaning away destructive bacteria and food particles from between teeth and gums.


two girls pose for the camera holding a Smiles for Life poster, wearing lime green shirts and sunglasses

Smiles for Life

Whiten Your Smile and Help a Child!

Each year from March to June, Howard Family Dental is proud to partner with Smiles for Life – a charitable organization that raises money for seriously ill, disabled, and underprivileged children in their local communities and around the world. How it works is simple: You get your teeth whitened, and we donate your treatment costs to the Smiles for Life Foundation, plus Eagle University and WaterStep too! So if you’d like to whiten your smile and donate to children who need your help, make an appointment at one of our locations now. For more information, check out the video below.

Our Charities

WaterStep is a nonprofit organization that provides safe water to communities in developing countries through empowerment, equal access and transformative hope. They train people in developing countries how to use safe water solutions like water purification, health education, and well repair, empowering communities to take care of their own water needs for years.

Eagle University is a weeklong, immersive program that teaches students to build self-confidence, motivation and direction. At Eagle U, participants learn life lessons at the hands of those who have actually proven, by their performance, the success of the principles that they teach and set goals for future success.

Schedule Your Teeth Whitening Appointment!

If you’re an existing patient, call your preferred office to set up a teeth whitening appointment anytime between now and June. If you are not an existing patient, feel free to contact us:

Red heart in child kid and mother hands on old blue wooden table in vintage retro style


As part of Howard Family Dental’s commitment to service, both in the dental office and in our communities, we’ve proudly established the Howard Family Dental Foundation to fund programs that support the education and health care of youth in our community and around the world. In addition, the Foundation supports our team members and their families in times of crisis and educational endeavors.

As part of this mission, our team supports the Howard Hand in Hand program through St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital. Designed to provide support, education and guidance to children and teens with a family member facing a life-threatening disease, the Howard Hand in Hand program needs your helping hand to extend our services to more youth and grow the program.

Donating is simple! Give a Howard Hand to the youth of the Howard Hand in Hand program by making a cash, check, or now… an online donation! To donate, please visit any of our practices across Coastal Georgia and South Carolina to make an in-person donation or donate online by visiting the Howard Family Dental Foundation landing page on our website and click “Donate Now.” Your donation will be safely and securely processed through PayPal.

Howard Family Dental would also like to celebrate YOU for your generous donations! When making a donation in person or online, we encourage you to write the reason you donate and #GiveAHowardHand on your palm, snap a photo, and share it on social. Be sure to also tag us on Facebook (@HowardFamDental), Instagram (@HowardFamilyDental) or Twitter (@HowardDental).

We will randomly pick one grand-prize winner from posts using #GiveAHowardHand across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter every three months! To increase you and your friend’s chances of winning, we challenge you to tag five friends when posting.

For more information on the Howard Family Dental Foundation or on Howard Hand in Hand, please visit

Donation Request Form

Dark chocolate with cocoa on wooden table

Dark chocolate is good for your teeth.

We love dark chocolate. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Halloween or just an ordinary Tuesday, it seems to make everything better. But dark chocolate doesn’t just make us happy because it tastes great.

This delicious treat is one of the most complex foods we know and contains over 300 natural chemicals, including one called phenylethylamine, which arouses similar feelings to those we feel while we’re in love.

So when we say we love dark chocolate, it’s because we really might be in love with it!

Is dark chocolate healthy?

Short answer: Absolutely.

Dark chocolate is an antioxidant-rich superfood. It can improve your mood, reduce your risk of heart disease and may even help prevent cancer.

Dark chocolate may even make you smarter. One study found that eating dark chocolate every day can increase blood flow to your brain and help with cognitive thinking as you age. And we like any study that encourages us to eat more chocolate!

The best news of all, though, is that dark chocolate can help you lose weight, as long as you only eat 1-2 ounces, or 6-8 grams, each day.

So I can eat half a bar of dark chocolate every day?

We think you should talk that one over with your family doctor first. But according to everything we can find, it is perfectly healthy to eat raw cacao nibs, 1-2 ounces of an organic dark chocolate, or even half a dark chocolate candy bar you’d find at a gas station every day.

As always, we recommend you floss after and rinse with mouthwash – just to keep your smile free of leftover sugars that can stick to your teeth.

Is dark chocolate better than fluoride?

New studies show that dark chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque and tooth decay.

Dark chocolate is a good source of polyphenols, natural chemicals that can limit oral bacteria. They are also able to neutralize microorganisms that cause bad breath and prevent some bacteria from turning sugar and starches into acid, which love to wreck havoc on your teeth.

Antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to fight periodontal disease. And research suggests it might be better at fighting tooth decay than fluoride. There’s also a compound found in chocolate called CBH that could be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste someday.

Does that mean I can brush my teeth with chocolate?

Please don’t.

Is milk chocolate good for my teeth?

Short answer: No.

If you’re used to eating milk chocolate or other artificial chocolates, it’s time to put your foot down and shout, “It’s dark or nothing!” Because in reality, it’s cacao that has so many benefits, and dark chocolate is 70% cacao.

Milk chocolate contains milk and extra sugar to add sweetness and lower the cost of production. So some bars of milk chocolate contain as little as only 10% cacao.

So let’s stick to the real thing. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to find a bar of chocolate with around 70% cacao. And enjoy your new nightly tradition. And why not join us as we say it just one more time…


Woman showing her smile through magnifying glass

Bleachorexia & The Quest For Whiter Teeth

Teeth whitening is a billion-dollar industry. In 2016 alone, Americans spent more than $1.4 billion on over-the-counter teeth whitening products. And with the never-ending deluge of ‘grams, snaps and tabloids reminding us that our Hollywood idols have impossibly white smiles, this trend isn’t going anywhere. Some dentists have even taken to giving the obsessive quest for whiter teeth its own name – Bleachorexia.

History of Teeth Whitening

Even though whitening strips and bleach trays have only been around for 30 years, the quest for whiter teeth has been going on for millennia. In ancient Egypt, white teeth were a sign of wealth so they’d use twigs to apply a paste of wine vinegar and ground pumice stone to their teeth. Think that sounds gross? The Romans used urine to whiten theirs! In the Middle Ages, barbers acted as surgeons and dentists too, and they’d actually file teeth down before putting nitric acid on them!

Thankfully those days are behind us. Since the 1980s, dentists have been perfecting the art of whitening teeth with in-office whitening treatments and take-home whitening gels. But patients are often concerned with the cost of these treatments and will turn to inexpensive, over-the-counter alternatives which unfortunately—without the expert advice of a dentist or hygienist—can lead to some unintended dental disasters.

Dangers of Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

The problem with over-the-counter bleaching products is that they are not regulated by the FDA, and many people will leave trays on too long or use them too often. Using bleaching trays too often really does more harm than good because over-bleaching can remove the protective layer of your teeth called enamel. Ironically enough, teeth with less enamel are not only weaker and prone to tooth decay – they will also appear more yellow in color!

Bleaching fears are why many people turn to whitening toothpaste which—like all toothpastes—is abrasive. Toothpaste abrasiveness can be measured by its relative dentin abrasion (RDA) value, but these values are rarely printed on packaging. We always recommend talking to your dentist about which toothpaste is right for your teeth, but if you’re curious about the RDA of your favorite brand, there are many charts available online. The common belief is that toothpastes under 150 RDA are best for your teeth.

Remember that whitening products can make teeth more sensitive, as well as harm gum tissue, tooth nerves, and tooth pulp which can result in mild discomfort or severe pain. If you notice after home treatments that you have bleeding gums, extra sensitivity or discoloration, your best bet is to stop immediately and schedule a checkup with your dentist. Experts say the negative effects can be reversed, but sometimes caps and veneers will be needed to protect over-bleached teeth.

Teeth Whitening Tips

Teeth whitening, especially in-office whitening or at-home whitening gel, is very safe and effective in moderation. And our practices offer a variety of payment options to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. If you’re ready to whiten, we’ve got some tips that will help you do it right.

  1. Consult your dentist first. We understand that teeth whitening gum or inexpensive, store-bought bleaching trays might be easier on your bank account than a trip to the dentist. But in-office teeth whitening or at-home whitening gels are much safer and more effective than anything you can buy at the store. The whitening gel used by dentists is designed to absorb into teeth on the microscopic level through your naturally porous enamel layer and be retained by the tooth at the level of the dentin, where the actual color of the tooth is determined. Home kits don’t follow the same process,  and their active ingredients are generally combinations of hydrogen peroxide and/or varieties of bleach (to chemically remove stains and whiten the enamel) or abrasive pastes (to grind the stained layer of enamel off the tooth).
  2. Wait 6 months between treatments. As we’ve said, excessive brushing and over-bleaching can remove enamel and hurt your teeth over time. If you choose to use over-the-counter whitening products, please follow directions and consult your dentist about which products are best for you.
  3. Buy brand names you can trust and be skeptical of home remedies. Remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Crest, Colgate and other big names in oral care have been doing this a long time whereas bloggers and online retailers have less of an obligation to protect consumers. Use your best judgment and at least talk to your dentist before trying popular DIY whitening ideas like coconut oil pulling, brushing with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing apple cider vinegar on your teeth.
  4. Take care of your overall health. Acidic foods like pickles and citrus fruits can wear down enamel. And an unhealthy diet can contribute to unhealthy teeth and gums. So if you’re interested in a brighter smile, invest some time in your overall health. Drink water. Don’t smoke. Get some exercise. And don’t forget to floss. Because—believe it or not—flossing cleans more surface area of your teeth than brushing does.
  5. Invest in an electric toothbrush (and a water flosser too). For best results, we recommend you take the leap into the 21st century and invest in an electric toothbrush and water flosser, which have both been shown to improve oral health. Our practices recommend Sonicare toothbrushes and WaterPik flossers, and we offer discounts to our patients. All you have to do is ask!
Skye Cossio - Howard Hand in Hand

Skye Cossio, Howard Hand in Hand

For most families, the holiday season is a joyful, magical time filled with gifts from Santa, trips to see family and friends, and so much more. For others, the holidays take on a new feeling when families are dealing with sick spouses, aging parents or coping children. This is where Howard Hand in Hand at St. Joseph’s/Candler steps in – not just during the holidays, but year-round. In partnership with SJ/C, Howard Hand in Hand provides support, education and guidance to children and teens with a family member facing a life-threatening disease. Free of cost, this program helps children cope with and process their thoughts and feelings – often fear, sadness, anger, confusion – about how life has changed for them and their families because of an illness or disease.

Enter Skye Cossio. Skye is the social worker spearheading the Howard Hand in Hand support program. She’s taking Hand in Hand to new levels by growing the program through technological advancements and by facilitating support systems between children of the program. She now has extended capabilities to counsel children through a new video chat service. When the child is missing their ill mom at dinner because she isn’t at the table, or when dad has to tuck them into bed instead of mom, Skye can be there digitally to talk them through it. Skye also created a portal for peer support where she can facilitate connections between children in similar situations, but different geographical locations. She continues to work on programs and resources to grow the program as the pool of families in need increases year over year.

We caught up with Skye and asked her to share some stories of the families she’s been working with recently. Here’s what she had to say:

I am working with four new families this holiday season through the Howard Hand in Hand program. All of these families have mothers who are ill and fathers who are fortunately present in their lives to help take care of the children. These children range anywhere from 2 to 13 years old. Let me try and set the stage for you – while mom focuses on her treatment and road to recovery, dad is resuming his role as a father and husband; he is gaining his wife’s duties as mother and caretaker; and he is now in charge of all the inevitable needs of children ranging from a young toddler to an emerging teenager. In between all of the cooking, cleaning and chauffeuring, dad is also now in charge of shopping for the holidays – he is swamped and clueless. He is also in constant thought of: “What if my wife doesn’t make it? What if this is our new normal? What would life be like without her?”

It isn’t uncommon for me to step in and help not only the children cope with their parent’s illness, but also the spouse. I started by asking dad, “What do your kids want for the holidays this year?” Dad pondered and found himself stumped. With so much on his mind and his plate, I wasn’t surprised! I worked with dad to investigate – look through their rooms, tell me their interests and let me know if anything comes up in conversations. In the midst of his wife’s treatment, one dad received a note home from his tween’s gym teacher saying she suggested his daughter get a sports bra. Dad doesn’t know how to shop for those things! I made sure I was there to support him and to talk through how to take on these motherly duties, some of which may be a little uncomfortable, but need to be addressed now to prepare for the “what ifs” of their situation.

I am proud and so excited to say that the nurses of St. Joseph’s/Candler have rallied together to bring Christmas to these four families – four families who may or may not have Christmas all together again. The nurses have graciously bought gifts for the 2- to 13-year-old children who see Christmas as the only light this holiday season. We will try our best to make this light as bright as we can! We plan to dress in our holiday best (or tackiest!) and deliver the gifts to these families. At the end of the day, it isn’t even about the physical gifts, but facilitating togetherness and a festive atmosphere in an otherwise dark and challenging time.

I am also working with a military family who has a 6- and 2-year-old. They were assigned to the Savannah area, and soon after moving here, mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Similar to the four families I just told you about, dad had to resume the mom role. For this family, I provided my typical counseling to the children and also pulled in outsourced support services to help dad as well. The oldest child was not yet registered for the daycare lottery, so I worked with a local support service that helped us find not only a daycare, but a daycare that had mom and dad’s blessing. One of the children also developed a speech impediment because mom didn’t have enough energy to converse with the child during her treatment. I again sourced a support service to find the child a local speech therapist. For the holidays, I found a local photographer who is donating her services to take professional photos of the family. I am also working with a local author that is donating her time to help mom write letters for her children to open at milestones in their lives, just in case she can’t be there physically to celebrate with them.

Another amazing thing we were able to do for this family was to send them on an all-inclusive paid trip to anywhere in the country through a partnership with the Jack and Jill Foundation. The foundation graciously provided a two-day, three-night vacation for four where the family would stay in the nicest suite, dine at the best table in the restaurant and not have to worry about cancer or expenses. This trip will be something the entire family will fondly look back on and cherish for the rest of their lives.
It brings me great joy to bring some sort of “normal” to these children and families during such a heart wrenching and challenging time in their lives, and I can only continue to do so through the generous donations to the Howard Hand in Hand program. To date, I’ve been able to counsel over 77 children and work with over 157 families.

To learn more about Howard Hand in Hand, or to donate, please visit Howard Hand in Hand on

Spotlight: Dr. Sharnn Shepheard

Statesboro community – please join us in welcoming Dr. Sharnn Shepheard to your local Howard Family Dental office located on Northside Drive! Dr. Shepheard is a Georgia native and joins Howard Family Dental as a seasoned provider with over 28 years of clinical experience and an extensive background in research and education.

Dentistry was a childhood dream of Dr. Shepheard. He was inspired to become a dentist by his neighbor, Dr. Hutto, whom he genuinely admired. Dr. Shepheard considers dentistry his passion, not his job, and seeks to improve patients’ quality of life and enhance their self-esteem through the restoration, rehabilitation and preservation of their smile. In his free time, Dr. Shepheard enjoys golfing, reading and spending quality time with his wife, Alison.

Dr. Shepheard is a graduate of Morris Brown College/Atlanta University Center, where he majored in biology. He went on to earn his doctorate from Howard University, College of Dentistry. He completed his general practice residency at Harlem Hospital Center in New York, an affiliate of Columbia University. Dr. Shepheard also served as a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the National Institute of Dental Research of the National Institutes of Health, where he was published and awarded a National Research Service Award.


Make an appointment with Dr. Shepheard today!
Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes can cause serious tooth and gum problems. 

Diabetes affects 1 in 10 people in the United States and can lead to vision loss, kidney damage, high blood pressure and problems with feet and hands. People with diabetes are also far more at risk for periodontal disease than the general population, and experience almost 3 times the rate of tooth and gum problems. Research suggests that diabetes is the primary systemic risk factor for periodontal disease.

People with diabetes are often aware of the importance of podiatric (foot) and opthalmic (vision) screenings, but many do not realize the two-way relationship between oral health and diabetes. Tooth loss, for example, is up to two times more frequent in people with diabetes than non-diabetics. Periodontal disease can affect insulin sensitivity, lead to unhealthy blood sugar levels and damage the bone and gum that hold your teeth in place.

So if you have diabetes, paying special attention to your oral health can not only improve your quality of life and overall health, but it can also save you money. Statistics show that receiving dental care reduces average medical costs by about $2800 per year.

Dental Tips for People with Diabetes

The good news is that you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. By following our simple tips, you can help prevent some serious problems in your mouth.

  1. Take control of your blood glucose. Develop a healthy eating plan and get regular exercise if you’re able. Try to eat consistently. Focus your attention on carbs, portion control, and eating lots of fiber and non-starchy vegetables.
  2. Brush, floss, rinse and chew. We call these the Daily 4. Brush your teeth for two minutes two times daily. Floss your teeth before bed. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after meals. And chew gum to help your mouth produce helpful bacteria that attack plaque.
  3. Visit your dentist for routine checkups. Consider all the medical professionals in your life a kind of health management team. Start a conversation with your dentist about your diabetes and any symptoms you’re experiencing. Speak with your doctor about your oral health. Remember that health is holistic and there are many connections between your oral health and the rest of your body.
  4. Quit smoking. You can watch one of those ads here.If you’re still smoking, it’s time to stop. We know it’s difficult, but the evidence against smoking is inarguable. In fact, a federal court has ordered all major tobacco companies to begin running advertising over the next year that admits they made cigarettes more addictive and lied about the health risks associated with smoking.
  5. Talk with a diabetes educator. If you’re worried you’re not doing the best you can to manage your diabetes, you might want to consider meeting with a diabetes educator. As a member of your healthcare team, a diabetes educator makes managing your diabetes easier. They work with you to develop a plan to stay healthy, and give you the tools and ongoing support to make that plan a regular part of your life. You can find a diabetes educator near you at


Symptoms of Gum Disease, Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Since gum disease is often painless, you may not even know you have it until it becomes serious.

So if you have diabetes and want to monitor your oral health for the best results, watch out for the following symptoms. If you think you are experiencing any of these, schedule a conversation with your dentist to evaluate your gum health. Your problems may only be minor, but

  1. Swollen or tender gums
  2. Gums that easily bleed while brushing and flossing
  3. Receding gum line
  4. Difficulty chewing
  5. Chronic bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  6. A buildup of pus between teeth and gums
  7. Loose teeth or teeth that are drifting apart

Taking control of your oral health can help you manage or prevent diabetes. In addition to following our tips, regular conversations with your dentist about your overall health and symptoms can help them provide the best care for your future. If you’re diabetic or experiencing any of these symptoms, we’re always just a phone call away!

Free Dental Day - November 17 in Pooler, Georgia

Free Dental Day – November 17 in Pooler, Georgia

Howard Family Dental is proud to offer our annual Free Dental Day, held on November 17th, 2017. The staff and dentists at Howard Family Dental will provide one free service for both children and adults; choose a cleaning, filling or extraction. The event is first come, first served and is limited to the first 175 people.

Over the last few years, the event has grown and includes many community organizations. America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and Target Distribution brings food for individuals and families that are suffering with food insecurity. Walgreens staff will also be onsite providing complimentary flu shots. Strickland’s Funeral Home and Calvary Assembly of God generously allow parking and many local restaurants offer food donations for their volunteers.

Numbers will be handed out the day of the event, beginning at 6:30 am. The event is held at our Pooler location, 91 Brighton Woods Drive, every year the Friday before Thanksgiving. It is our way of giving thanks and appreciation to the community.

Last year, Howard Family Dental Free Dental Day served 225 people and completed $65,000 worth of services.


About Howard Family Dental:

Howard Family Dental is Coastal Georgia’s most trusted name in family dentistry. Locally owned and operated since 1980, our company has offices conveniently located to serve greater Savannah, Pooler, Brunswick, Hinesville, Statesboro, Beaufort, Bluffton, Richmond Hill and Rincon. The dentists and staff at Howard Family Dental offer a wide range of dental services catering specifically to your patient needs. Services include Crowns, Bridges, Periodontal, Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening, Invisalign and Sleep Apnea. For more information, call us at (912)629-9000.

About America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, Inc.:

America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia serves as a regional food bank, functioning as the food warehouse and distribution center to more than 280 non-profit organizations and churches in our area. Through food relief programs and collaboration with partner agencies, America’s Second Harvest distributed more than 10.1 million pounds of food last year to people in need in our community – children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness and others whose incomes are insufficient to meet their basic needs. To learn more about the fight against hunger in our community, call (912) 236-6750 or visit

Halloween celebration concept with candy corn and jack o lantern cup on wooden table.

The Worst Halloween Candy For Your Teeth

Binge-eating a pillowcase full of peanut butter cups and candy corn while you’re dressed as Wonder Woman is kind of the point of Halloween, isn’t it? But we all know that candy isn’t the healthiest snack on the block – even if you promise to brush and floss when you finally finish stuffing your face.

Sadly, the only candy out there that doesn’t contribute to tooth decay and cavities is probably sugar-free gum. But you’re not knocking on your neighbors’ doors in search of chewing gum, are you? Learn more about the negative effects your favorite candy can have on your teeth or—if you’re impatient—scroll to the bottom of the page to find out the worst!

Closeup of chocolate,peanut and caramel bar isolated on white with clipping path


Examples: Hershey Bar, 3 Musketeers, M&Ms & Peanut Butter Cups

If you’re a chocoholic, you’re in luck. As long as you’re eating a simple bar of chocolate without caramel or many other ingredients, you’re getting a snack that will wash off your teeth fairly easily. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, even has some health benefits! It’s an iron-packed source of antioxidants that may improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve brain function.

Chocolate is probably the best candy for your teeth. But remember, moderation is the goal here. Too much of anything is bad for you.

Sour candy isolated on a white background

Sour Candy

Examples: Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, SweeTarts & Pixie Stix

Sour candy has a higher acidic content than other types of candy. It’s probably no surprise to you, but eating something like Pixie Stix–which are nothing more than flavored sugar you don’t even have to chew–doesn’t provide any nutritional value and can lead to cavities in addition to blood sugar issues.

If you’re going to indulge with sour candies, try rinsing with a glass of water afterward to wash away the cavity-causing acidity contained in these mouth-puckering bites.

Lollipops in a variety of colors isolated on a white background

Hard Candy

Examples: Jolly Ranchers, Runts, Lemon Heads & Lifesavers

Hard candy like lollipops and jawbreakers is just as bad for you as sour candy, and for many of the same reasons. Because we often suck on hard candy to get it to dissolve, it is in our mouths much longer than other Halloween candy. This just leaves more time for sugars to attack and break down tooth enamel.

If hard candy is a habit for you, we don’t have a lot of good news to share. Try switching to sugar-free gum when you get that urge. And of course remember to rinse after you’re finished with hard candy, even if it’s just tap water.

Gummy bears

Gummy and Chewy Candies

Examples: Gummy Bears, Swedish Fish, Bit-O-Honey & Mary Janes

Like we mentioned above, about the only candy you really want to be chewing on is sugar-free gum. The mixture of sugar and gelatin in gummy bears and worms is very acidic and will wear down tooth enamel, which can lead to exposed nerves and sensitive teeth.

Hey. We love Haribo Gold Bears just as much as the next person, but let’s try and limit ourselves to one bag a week. We can live with that, right? Hopefully. Maybe. Let’s just say we’ll give it a shot.

Saltwater taffy on a white backgroundTaffy or Caramel

Examples: Caramel Chews, Saltwater Taffy & Riesen

The worst halloween candy for your teeth is a tie between taffy and caramel. These bite-sized, sticky morsels of pure sugar get trapped in the grooves of your teeth and are more difficult to rinse away with salvia or water than the average candy. When sugar like what’s inside taffy or caramel gets stuck to teeth, it creates excess bacteria in your mouth which allows acids to thrive and develop into tooth decay. Caramel also contains small amounts of saturated fat, which increases your risk of heart disease.

The worst part of very sticky Halloween candies is that they can pull out fillings, bridges or braces! If you’ve got an orthodontic appliance or fillings, it is best to just stay away entirely.


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