A HEALTHY HALLOWEEN
October. 26. 2016
Halloween is around the corner, which for most kids means bags of sweet treats! Even though it’s a fun time to dress up in Halloween Costumes for the kids and family, we cannot ignore possible dental issues following sugar consumption. Here’s few tips on how you can help your family stay mouth healthy on Halloween and year-around.
1. Time It Right
Eat Halloween candy with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
2. Be Selective
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. The length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Also, sticky candies such as taffy and gummy bears, cling to your teeth and take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
3. Drink More Water
Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated.
4. Don’t Forget to Clean Your Teeth
After enjoying sweet Halloween treats, brush and floss your teeth to get rid of food particles, that are decay-causing.
ORAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF PUMPKIN
September. 13. 2016
BACK AWAY FROM THE SPICED LATTE! BUT THE PUMPKIN CAN STAY!
Fall is coming and it comes as no surprise that the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the most popular seasonal drink of all time, is already here. Everything about the pumpkin screams fall and pumpkin enthusiasts eagerly awaits the release of this highly anticipated beverage every year.
But the Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t your average cup o’ joe. Recently, the beloved libation has come under fire for the large amount of calories and sugar it contains. While most health professionals are worried about the damage the Pumpkin Spice Latte can do to people’s waistlines, dentists are more concerned with the impact it could have on their patients’ teeth. The amount of sugar in Pumpkin Spice Latte, along with the length of time you spend sipping it down, is a recipe for tooth decay.
However, you can still satisfy your autumnal craving for pumpkin goodness by preparing and consuming it in different, delicious, healthier ways — and actually improve your dental and overall health while doing it. Health benefits related to consuming pumpkin are plentiful. This vitamin-packed fruit can please both your nutrition/fitness professional and your dentist by protecting your teeth and whole health. Pumpkin provides:
- Zinc: It plays a key role in healing wounds, which does wonders for damaged soft tissues inside your mouth, or gums that are healing from gingivitis-induced bleeding. Zinc is also considered an anti-plaque agent and is added to toothpaste to prevent buildup.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A aids in the flow of saliva, which is key for washing bacteria from the mouth. It also plays a key role in healing soft tissues.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is key for maintaining a healthy immune system and fighting off infections.
- Magnesium: Magnesium and calcium work together to create strong, protective enamel that can resist decay.
- Fiber: Pumpkins are packed with fiber, which is important for maintaining excellent overall health. Fiber helps with weight control, and fiber-rich foods help stimulate the flow of saliva, which is the best natural defense against tooth decay.
If you are looking for a way to get your pumpkin fix this season while keeping your teeth and physique fit, minimize or eliminate the sugar. Consider replacing your daily spiced latte with these healthy pumpkin preparations such as pumpkin seeds, pumpkin smoothies, baked pumpkin and pumpkin seed oil.
August. 11. 2016
Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it’s not always easy to clean every nook and cranny of your teeth, especially those back teeth you use to chew. Molars are rough, uneven and a favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide.
Still, there is another safety net to help keep those teeth clean, which is called a sealant.
What is a dental sealant?
A sealant is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. They keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity. In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.
How are sealants applied?
It’s a quick and painless process. A dentist will clean and place a strong bond on your teeth. Once ready, sealants will be applied onto the grooves of teeth, which will then be harden by curing light.
Who can get sealants?
Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. First molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which can be very beneficial for children and adults’ oral health in the long run.
DRY MOUTH – XEROSTOMIA
July. 25. 2016
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition related to the salivary glands, which help keep the mouth moist, thus preventing decay and other oral health problems. When the salivary glands do not work properly, the amount of saliva in the mouth decreases, resulting in dry mouth.
What causes dry mouth?
Prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most common cause of dry mouth including anti-hypertensives, anti-depressants, painkillers, diuretics, and antihistamines. Other contributing factors include stress, anxiety, depression, and nutritional deficiencies.
What are the signs and symptoms of dry mouth?
symptoms of dry mouth may include the following:
- Difficulty speaking and swallowing
- A burning sensation or soreness in the mouth
- Diminished or altered sense of taste
- Difficulty wearing dentures
- Tooth decay
- Stale or bad breath
How can you improve your condition?
If you have any of the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s important to contact your dentist so that he or she can properly evaluate and diagnose the condition. A variety of methods are available to help patients manage dry mouth including using saliva substitutes and over-the counter mouthwashes, gels, and sprays. To ease discomfort, it is recommended to brush and floss twice a day, to chew sugarless gum, to drink plenty of water, and to maintain regular dental visits. In addition, it is suggested to avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, citrus juices, dry foods, and overly salty foods.
FLUORIDE VARNISH AND DENTAL HEALTH
July. 8. 2016
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Everyday, minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization to repair the enamel layer leads to tooth decay.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride also helps speed reminalization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth.
In What Forms Is Fluoride Available?
As mentioned, fluoride is found in foods and in water. It can also be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinse. Getting topical fluoride vanish at a dental office is the most effective way to apply fluoride in higher concentrations.
The use of fluoride treatment is a widely accepted treatment for children during the regular dental visit. Childhood cavities is the number one chronic disease of childhood and is the root causes for most absences from school.
But what about adults?
It was found that adults are just as susceptible to cavities if not more. Adults who receive fluoride varnish treatment at their regular dental visits have reduced needs of fillings by as much as 30 to 50 percent. The process is very simple and takes only a few minutes to paint on a fluoride varnish to all the surfaces of teeth. Prevention has always been a part of the dentistry world and we are on the forefront in helping prevent cavities.
HOW CLEAN IS YOUR TOOTHBRUSH?
June. 22. 2016
Toothbrush Care: Cleaning, Storing and Replacement
Tooth brushing plays a crucial role for personal oral hygiene and effective plaque removal. The oral cavity is home to hundreds of different types of microorganisms that could cause oral and/or systemic infection and it is not surprising that these microorganisms are transferred to a toothbrush during use. Therefore, appropriate toothbrush care and maintenance are important considerations for healthy mouth and healthy you. Here are few general tips on how to keep your toothbrush clean and pristine.
Replace toothbrushes at least every 3-4 months. The bristles become frayed and worn with use and cleaning effectiveness will decrease. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adult brushes.
Do not share toothbrushes. Sharing a toothbrush could result in an exchange of body fluids and/or bacteria between the users of the toothbrush, which causes an increased risk for infections.
Thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing. Rinsing toothbrushes remove remaining toothpaste and debris. Store the brush in an upright position if possible and allow the toothbrush to air-dry until used again. If more than one brush is stored in the same holder or area, keep the brushes separated to prevent cross-contamination.
Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conductive to the growth of microorganisms than the open air.
IMPACTED WISDOM TEETH
June. 14. 2016
3 Major Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
The third molars, more commonly called the wisdom teeth, despite their friendly-sounding monikers, are notorious for causing pain and potentially dangerous dental complications. The potential of dangerously impacted wisdom includes damage to adjacent teeth, gum disease, tooth decay, or even cysts. While there are not always noticeable signs of impacted wisdom teeth, there are three major warning symptoms that could indicate the need for dental intervention.
1. Jaw Pain
The discomfort from impacted wisdom teeth can lead to pain through the jaw and into the skull, often resulting in terrible headaches. The pain could more intense while chewing, especially if the pain shoots to the back of the mouth or into nearby teeth.
2. Sore of Bleeding Gums
Impacted wisdom teeth can be a very serious affliction, and a person’s overall dental health may begin to deteriorate. Because jaw and tooth pain often extends throughout the entire area, the gums can also be affected. Tenderness and swollen gums in the back of the mouth generally indicate that the problem is in the wisdom teeth area.
3. Bad Tastes and Smells
The bacteria trapped in the soft folds of the wisdom teeth and gums grows rapidly and infections may begin. A person experiencing tooth decay or excessive bacteria will notice a bad taste in his or her mouth, even while chewing other food.
Other possible but less common signs of impacted wisdom teeth may include:
- shooting pain in the back of the mouth
- Swollen glands
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Ongoing earaches
SWEET TALK – XYLITOL
June. 9. 2016
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener that is found in birch tree bark, beets, corncobs, raspberries, and other natural sources. Its sweetness is equal to that of sugar, but it has about 40 percent fewer calories, making it a popular sugar-free substitute. Interestingly, xylitol not only cuts calories but it also cuts cavities!
How does xylitol prevent cavities?
Xylitol prevents the bacterium associated with dental caries, from attaching to teeth and tissues in the mouth. Xylitol cannot be metabolized by bacteria and as a result, it prevents creation of harmful, enamel-eating acids is drastically slowed.
How often should I use xylitol for it to promote better oral health?
Xylitol gum or mints used three to five times daily (for a total intake of 5 grams) is considered optimal. To maximize the frequency and duration of exposure, it is important to chew gum for approximately five minutes and to allow mints to be dissolved. It is recommended using xylitol immediately after meals and snacks to help reduce plaque, inhibit adhesion of bacteria to the teeth.
DIET AND ORAL HEALTH
May. 23. 2016
Eating Right for a Healthy Smile
Summer is almost here and happy and healthy body is what a lot of us wish for! Good nutrition is essential for good health, including the health of your teeth, and it can be maintained by a healthy diet.
What is Healthy Diet? and Why is it important?
A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and protein. A healthy diet
- provides nutrients needed for your body to function properly
- helps prevent diseases linked with being over weight, such as diabetes and heart disease
- helps you keep your teeth and gums healthy
Limiting or eliminating one of these groups can lead to vitamin or mineral deficiencies, which can impact your health. Then, how can we make changes in our diet to be more healthy?
Making smart choices when you snack can be a important first step. When you are choosing a snack, think about the followings:
- Make healthy snack choices, such as fruit, nuts or cheese.
- Eat sweets with meals instead of as snacks. Saliva increases during meals and helps weaken acid and rinse food particles from the mouth.
- Avoid beverages with added sugar. Sugar fuels the bacteria that produce acid and cause tooth decay, so avoid excessive intake of sugary foods and drinks.
TOOTH LOSS AND THE HIDDEN CONSEQUENCES
May. 11. 2016
As our population is both aging and growing, an increasing number of people are being affected by the loss of teeth. The most obvious effect of missing teeth is aesthetic. The way you look affects the way you feel, and the psychological and social consequences of tooth loss can also be profound.
However, tooth loss is not so much about teeth as it is about bone. Bone needs constant stimulation, which comes from the teeth themselves, to maintain its form and density. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes lose of bone – its external width, then height, and ultimately bone volume. As bone loss proceeds over the next few years, the gum tissue also gradually decreases. This causes impaired ability to chew and to speak. The more teeth lost, the more function is lost.
What can be done to replace missing teeth and avoid debilitating bone loss?
Treatments to replace missing teeth can be performed. A better treatment option to replace a single missing tooth is a single-tooth implant. To replace multiple teeth, implants, a fixed bridge or even a removable partial denture can be used.
May 6, 2016
MOTHER’S DAY EDITION: PREGNANCY AND ORAL HEALTH
Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Here are some facts regarding pregnancy related oral issues which may occur.
Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, causing swelling and tenderness, due to the changes in hormones. Gingivitis can become a more serious case of gum disease, so more frequent cleanings may be necessary during pregnancy.
Due to diet change or morning sickness, pregnant women’s tooth may be exposed to more risks of decay. At this time, it is critical that pregnant women maintain their routine schedule of brushing and flossing, building up their dental defense system against cavities.
Pregnancy tumors are overgrowth of tissue in the gums that happen most frequently during the second trimester. It is simply swelling, and not cancer, that happens during pregnancy which may be due to excess plaque. They usually disappear after the baby is born.
April 29, 2016
Baby Teeth Misconception
This past April Fool’s Day, while practical jokes had been played, the New York Times sought to debunk a series of misconceptions and falsehood in their feature called a Week of Misconceptions. One such misconception is related to the topic we are passionate about– teeth, specifically baby teeth.
The misconception states: Baby teeth don’t matter because they are going to fall out anyways.
The truth: baby teeth are in fact very important! Here are some facts to show why:
- Studies show that kids who get cavities in their primary teeth are much more likely to develop cavities in permanent teeth as well; these can lead to all sorts of dental problems.
- Some 20% of kids from 6 to 8 years old have untreated tooth decay, according to the CDC.
- Kids with tooth decay may experience pain, along with difficulty eating and speaking, and may have trouble focusing on schoolwork and other activities
- If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to an abscess, a type of oral infection which may require emergency-room treatment.
- A missing primary tooth can cause permanent teeth to erupt (come in) in the wrong places, or in poor alignment; orthodontic treatment may be needed to fix the problem.
Want to read more?
Visit the New York Times Week of Misconceptions
April 27, 2016
Can you guess the number?
1. The average human produces ______ quarts of saliva (spit) in a lifetime.
2. 100 years ago ____ % of the adults in North America were toothless.
C. 74 3.
If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning ____ % of your tooth surface.
4. The average amount of money left by the tooth fairy in 1950 was _____.
A. 15 cents
B. 25 cents
C. 70 cents
Did you pick the correct answers? Comment on our Facebook post at (www.facebook.com/sleavittdmd) to tell us your answers and your thoughts!
April 20, 2016
56 Names of Sugar
Oh sugar! The substance not many can resist. However, it is not without faults. Not only is sugar known to increase the chances of cavities, it can also leads to “metabolic syndrome.” If a person has at least three of the following: high blood pressure, high blood sugar level, high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol, or excess body fat around the waist, then this person has metabolic syndrome. These metabolic risk facts can cause an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Dr. Robert Lustig compiled in his e-book the 56 know aliases of sugar for the public to become mindful of sugar intake. A few are mentioned below. The American Heart Association says Americans consume about 22 teaspoons of sugar per day when the maximum intake for adult men should be 9 teaspoons, for adult women is 6 teaspoons, and for children is 4 teaspoons.
- Agave Nectar
- Beet sugar
- Brown rice syrup
- Date sugar
- Ethyl maltol
- Florida crystals
- Golden syrup
- Rice syrup
Origin of Dentures
The first dentures date back to around 700 BCE to the Etruscan people living in Etruria, what’s now Umbria and Tuscany, Italy. Teeth from other humans or animals were inserted into a gold band with metal pins and fitted on the other teeth. They were easy to produce and remained popular until mid 1800s.
Ivory dentures, from hippopotamus, walrus, and elephant, were popular in the 1700s. George Washington also wore dentures at the time. Contrary to popular belief, Washington’s dentures were not made of wood! They consisted of human teeth fitted into carved hippopotamus ivory.
In the early 1800s, the major source of teeth came from dead soldiers on the European battlefield. Following the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, so many teeth were removed that dentures with human teeth at that time were know as Waterloo teeth.
RISK FACTORS OF ORAL CANCER
Continuing our conversation regarding oral cancer, here are 7 factors that would increase the chance of oral cancer. Regular visits to the dentist can help you detect such cancers early, and changing a few potentially harmful habits may help reduce the chances of developing oral cancer.
Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer. The American Cancer Society attributes this to higher rates of alcohol and tobacco use, but also notes that more younger aged men are being diagnosed with HPV-related forms of oral cancer.
Risk of oral cancer greatly increases after age 44.
Tobacco increases your risk of oral cancer. Pipe smokers are also at higher risk of developing cancer in their lips. Smokeless tobacco can lead to many issues, serious ones include cancer of the cheeks, gums, and lips.
Heavy drinking, defined as average of two drinks or more a day for men and one drink or more a day for women, is associated with high risk of developing oral cancer. 7 out 10 oral cancer patients are heavy drinkers.
HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that is associated with around 10,000 cases of oropharyngeal cancer diagnosed each year.
People who have jobs working outside are more prone to developing lip cancer and should use UV protection.
April 6, 2016
ORAL CANCER AWARENESS
Your dentist is not only looking for cavities during those regular check-ups but also screening for cancer at the same time. A recent estimate by the American Cancer Society of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers in the US is about 40,000 a year. Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers occur most often in:
- the tongue
- the tonsils and oropharynx
- the gums, floor of the mouth, and other parts of the mouth
The symptoms of mouth or throat cancer can include:
- a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
- red or white patches
- pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
- a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
Once a year on this day, you may become skeptical. You may question everything that’s happening around you today. You may feel embarrassed, amazed, or impressed by the pranks. Sometimes, these pranks may also involve teeth. Well, we would like to point out toothpastes that would be sure to confuse your taste and smell.