Enjoy Halloween Treats This Way

It’s Halloween, and whether you’re escorting youngsters to Trick-Or-Treat or handing out the goodies, this is a holiday that has all ages indulging in lots of sugar! I’m all for occasional indulgences, so enjoy those mini-Snickers, Milky Ways and candy corn without guilt.

Just remember, every time you eat something, your mouth endures an acid attack. The acid produced from sugar does the most harm. This is why it’s important to brush after treating yourself. If you can’t brush, chew sugar-free gum or swish with water. And, be sure to brush and floss before bedtime.

The hard part of Halloween, to me, is afterwards. What children accumulate or the leftover sweets tend to be eaten here and there. It’s better to have children eat some of their sugary loot as dessert. This way, they merely add to the acid attack that’s already in process in conjunction with mealtime. Rather than nibble candy later on (sparking a new acid attack), the acid attack underway just continues a little longer.

Parental (and Grand-Parental!) influence has much to do with helping children develop good oral hygiene habits as they grow. Be a good example of maintaining a healthy mouth between dental check-ups and brag about how great a clean mouth feels! You’ll enjoy your healthy smile as much as you enjoy that Tootsie Roll!

Let Your Smile Have You Looking Younger

Today’s dentistry now provides techniques, technology, and materials which create a flattering, more-youthful smile. Many are completed in just one or two visits with results that look totally natural and highly flattering! The following descriptions are some of the options available.

• Porcelain Veneers – Because front teeth are prominent in a smile, porcelain veneers are often applied to the top six or eight teeth.  These shell-like coverings adhere to the front of teeth to reshape and blend attractively with adjacent teeth. Today’s veneers have a highly-natural look and feel, even reflecting light as a natural tooth.

• Bonding – Advancements in bonding materials offer an exceptional way to reshape existing teeth in just one appointment. Bonding is typically used to fill in chips or camouflage flaws. Although the appearance is natural, we recommend going with the strength of porcelain veneers or crowns when front ‘biting’ teeth are involved.

• Tooth Whitening – Our office provides a whitening process that is safer on tooth enamel and longer lasting than kits sold in stores.  The Zoom 2 system creates a dramatically whiter smile and works well for even teeth that are deeply stained — and in a comfortable in-office process.  Zoom 2 is also lauded for being a comfortable process since most patients have minimal sensations from gum sensitivity.

Rather than have a smile that makes you look older than your actual age, arrange a free consultation to discuss the best options for your smile. Call toll free 1-855-9-Smile.

Problems With Tooth Loss Go Deep

As you dentist, I am always trying to help you keep your teeth healthy, but most of all, keep them in your mouth! Losing teeth is a terrible blow to your overall health, including:

•Wearing dentures can cause discomfort, reduced confidence, decreased ability to chew and enjoy foods, and a daily inconvenience.

•Research has shown that denture wearers experience a decrease in self-esteem and self-confidence. They also tend to unplug from society, don’t look at people in the face, smile and laugh less, don’t leave home often, wear no make-up, and eat out rarely.

•An underlying occurrence is bone loss.  Bone loss, over time, contributes to deep wrinkling and a sunken-in appearance around the mouth, a “witches chin”, jowls, and a severe reduction in biting strength.

•When tooth roots are missing from the upper or lower jaw, the bone begins to shrink, or resorb.  This resorption is even accelerated by the pressure of dentures. An indicator of bone loss is the change in the fit of your denture.  Dentures that once fit securely will eventually begin to loosen due to the change in the bone underneath the gum.  As the bone shrinks in size, the ridge under the denture slowly flattens out.

•Over time, the denture has less of a foundation, decreasing one’s ability to bite and chew comfortably. The biting strength of natural teeth is 250 pounds.  A denture wearer bites with 5 to 6 pounds.  A healthy diet of fiber, protein and vitamin rich foods becomes increasingly difficult.

Why let dentures and tooth loss have this much control over your life? Call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles to request a free consultation appointment. We discuss tooth replacement options that are practical and affordable, including the latest ‘All-On-4’ implant system!

Sugar Is Tough On Teeth, Period!

The average sugar consumption of Americans is 22 teaspoons a day. While anything you eat triggers an acid attack in the mouth, the acid produced from sugar is the most harmful. Unfortunately, sugar is hidden in a wide range of our foods – from canned tomatoes, salad dressings, and crackers. The average can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

While too much of anything is not wise, too much sugar is particularly detrimental to our bodies, beginning in the mouth! Over the years, to satisfy our sweet tooth without the harm, people began turning to artificial sweeteners. However, these have gotten a bad rap, beginning with the ‘saccharin scare’ from radical research. Actually, artificial sweeteners have been studied far more than most drugs (around 100 studies have been conducted on Splenda, or sucralose). These have never resulted in findings that are reason enough to omit them as sugar substitutes.

What we ARE finding is the overabundance of sugar in our foods. Added sugar is often listed in foods as high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup, malt syrup, molasses, honey, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, dextrose, or sucrose. Whew!

With the move these days towards ‘organic’ foods, many people are turning back to sugar as a ‘safer, more natural’ additive. In many instances, I applaud this. It’s much healthier to give your family plain oatmeal and allow them to sprinkle sugar on it rather than purchase pre-sweetened oatmeal. Just remember that sugar, in any form, is not kind to your teeth.

We advise artificial sweeteners over sugar whenever it’s practical. Yet, sugar is a part of our lives and we can’t help but treat ourselves to the real thing here and there. Just remember – it’s important to brush after consuming any sugary foods after eating. Or, at the very least, swish with water or chew sugar-free gum. This will help to clean your mouth and halt the acid attack that’s so damaging to enamel. This will also help you (and your family) to avoid treatment time and expense down the road. The ‘sweetest’ way to smile is with a healthy mouth!

Assess Your Risk For Dental Decay

You’d rather avoid a cavity altogether than have it repaired – right? Although daily home care and regular dental cleanings help prevent problems from occurring, some people are more susceptible to decay than others. The following can place you at higher risk:

High Levels Of Bacteria – All people have bacteria in their bodies; however, two kinds (abbreviated as SM and LB) are especially harmful to teeth. Those who have higher levels of these bacteria are naturally at greater risk for tooth decay. These bacteria are also contagious.

Poor Saliva – Saliva helps to move bacteria out of the mouth. Certain medications, age, or particular foods and beverages can contribute to dry mouth.

Deep Pits & Grooves – Back teeth, especially, have pits and grooves which can harbor bacteria. Some people have very deep pits and grooves, creating a warm, moist, dark hideout that is ideal for bacteria growth.

High Sugar Diet – Bacteria in your mouth thrive on refined sugar. From this, an acid is produced which attacks tooth enamel.

Exposed Tooth Roots – Aging, overzealous brushing, or an improper bite can cause gums to pull away from teeth, exposing tooth roots. While this distracts from the appearance of your smile, it also increases the potential for decay to occur in this susceptible area of the tooth.

Now that you know what “ups” your risk, here are some tips to help you prevent problems in the first place!

• Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water. If you smoke, this is another good reason to quit! If you take medications that are drying, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are alternative medications that are less drying to your mouth.

• Bacteria levels can be kept under control with the help of antibacterial rinses. Those that contain chlorhexidine are best for tackling oral bacteria. A concentrated fluoride varnish can also be applied to teeth for added protection.

• Teeth with deep grooves and pits can be protected in several ways. Sealants can cover these areas on a temporary basis. For extended protection, replacing fillings with inlays, onlays or crowns help to shield the tooth.

• Watch what you eat and how often you eat. Anytime you consume a food or beverage (other than water), your mouth responds by producing acid. This acid attacks tooth enamel. The acid from refined sugar is most harmful.

• Be committed to your daily oral care regimen. Twice daily brushing and flossing will improve your odds for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Your regular care visits at our office are designed to help you maintain a healthy mouth. We know your goal is to NOT have dental repairs to your teeth.  We hope these tips will enhance your “no cavity” goals!


Baby Boomers Find Oral Health Can Reveal Overall Problems

A survey commissioned by the Academy of General Dentistry found 63% of those age 45 to 65 with an oral symptom were unaware some are warning signs of adult onset diseases. For instance, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and health disease increases with age. Researchers believe that these diseases often manifest themselves in the mouth.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes, which usually begins after age 45. Initial indicators of this disease are bad breath and bleeding gums. However, only 29% of the baby boomers surveyed were aware of this connection.

After the age of 45, the risk for developing heart disease triples. Although heart disease is the leading killer of Americans, a sore and painful jaw is often overlooked as a warning signal. As a matter of fact, 60% of those surveyed were unaware these symptoms could be signs of a potential heart attack.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 44 million American adults have risk for osteoporosis, with a greater risk for menopausal and post-menopausal women. Yet, 97% of women do not discuss this with their dentist.

While the health and appearance of your smile is our emphasis, your overall well-being is also important. Please discuss any unusual symptoms you are experiencing or any change in your medical status.

Men Have Many Reasons To Tend To Oral Health!

Men need to rededicate themselves to their oral health! Men already face shorter life spans and have higher risk for heart attacks and cancer than women. Research also reveals that periodontal (gum) disease affects more men than women with men averaging greater tooth loss as well.

This state of men’s periodontal health is mostly due to men being less vigilant overall when it comes to oral hygiene. Plus, women are three times more likely to floss on a daily basis. Research published in the Journal of Periodontology found that women are twice as likely to have dental check-ups and more likely to complete recommended treatment. Thus, it’s not surprising that the study also showed that men have higher levels of plaque, tartar, and gums that bleed when probed.

A man’s overall health can also be compromised by their lack of oral care. Research reveals a connection with several serious health problems in men that may be associated with gum disease. One of these is impotence. Men with gum disease showed a higher risk of developing impotence due to inflammation associated with periodontal disease. This inflammation has been known to damage to blood vessels, which can lead to impotence. Men younger than 30 or older than 70 are especially at risk.

A separate study found that men with a history of gum disease are 14% more likely at risk for cancer than men with healthy gums. Specifically, men with periodontal disease are 49% more likely than women to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.

Men! Let’s do a better job at tending to your head-to-toe well-being! If you are not having 6-month check-ups and cleanings, schedule a full periodontal exam at your earliest convenience. During this time, you’ll learn what is needed to ensure your mouth is maintained at a healthy level to help you enjoy a full, healthy life.

Thinking Dental Implants? Tips For A Successful Outcome

For many reasons, Dental Implants are becoming the preferred tooth replacement option for today’s adults. Even though Dental Implants have the highest success rate of any in-bone implant in the body (including hip and knee implants), removal is occasionally necessary.

While it’s tempting to want to get the ‘best deal’ for implants, certain issues should be taken into consideration before selecting who will coordinate your treatment.

• One of the first decisions made by the Doctor is the type of implant that is best suited for you. This depends on the amount of bone you have available, the number of teeth each implant will support, and position of a lower jaw nerve and your sinuses. Without knowing precisely which implant type is best for these combined factors, the implants may require removal due to future problems.

• When a Doctor is only familiar with one or two implant systems, that’s the one he or she will likely recommend whether or not it is the best one to accomplish your goals and fit your specific needs. When an implant is placed that cannot adequately perform the role intended, failure down the road is not uncommon.

• The placement process can ‘make or break’ many implant cases. If an implant is placed at an incorrect angle, too shallow or too deep, it can create many problems, making removal eventually necessary.

• An implant can only be placed in a mouth that is healthy. If implants are placed where gum disease exists, the bacteria can cause implant failure. It is vital that the Doctor ensure your mouth is healthy before placement occurs.

However, one of the most typical causes of implant failure does not occur from what happens inside the dental office. It is from lack of proper oral hygiene at home. It is absolutely necessary the patient is dedicated to home care that maintains a healthy mouth so bacteria does not compromise your implants. If you have implants, be especially committed to your periodic exams and cleanings. Also, follow the home care instructions of your hygienist to keep your mouth healthy between visits.

By selecting a dental practice wisely (rather than a cheap price) and maintaining a healthy mouth once your implants are placed, you’ll enjoy a lifetime of smiles, laughter and eating foods you love! For a free consultation to discuss all types of tooth replacement options, call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles.

Losing Teeth Is NOT A Natural Part Of Aging

Your natural teeth are designed to last as long as you do, with proper care. It is a fact that denture wearers take more medications and have more gastrointestinal problems than those with their natural teeth. It should also be noted that denture wearers die ten years sooner, on average, than those with natural teeth.

When natural tooth roots no longer exist in the jaw bone, the bone begins to shrink in depth and height. The discomfort, inconvenience, and embarrassment experienced by most denture or partial wearers is due to this shrinking bone foundation. Denture adhesives only lessen the amount of movement for brief periods. When eating becomes difficult, people resort to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. Regardless of age, bone loss also causes changes in one’s facial appearance, including deep wrinkling and a sunken-in appearance of the mouth. This is why many denture wearers tend to look far older than their actual age.

Because Dental Implants are held by the jaw bone, they help to halt the bone loss that dentures and partials actually accelerate. Another benefit is how Dental Implants are ‘self-supporting’ so it is not necessary to crown an otherwise healthy, adjacent tooth to serve as a support for a bridge. With proper maintenance, they will provide as much pleasure and satisfaction as natural teeth.

If you are interested in replacing a denture or partial, call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles to arrange a free consultation.

Caution When Using Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

Once upon a time, if you had pain, you took aspirin. Now, drug options have greatly expanded. For most mild to moderate pain, over-the-counter pain relievers, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen are the first choice.

Because these medications do not require a prescription, many assume they are safe. However, these can have side effects and interact with other medicines, dietary supplements and alcohol. Because they contain the same ingredients found in many nonprescription and prescription drugs, you could be getting more of a particular pain reliever than you realize if taking several medications.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Naprosyn), and ketoprofen (Orudis). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain and inflammation by inhibiting production of the prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) that cause them. The down side is that they also block other prostaglandins that protect the stomach lining, regulate blood flow to the kidneys, and initiate blood clotting. Stomach inflammation, peptic ulcers, and intestinal bleeding are major hazards for NSAID users. People who take high doses for an extended time are at greater risk, especially older adults.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Anacin-3, etc.) relieves pain by affecting the parts of the brain that receive pain signals. Although acetaminophen reduces pain and fever, it has no effect on inflammation, but neither does it cause the bleeding and clotting problems associated with NSAIDs. Too, acetaminophen is metabolized by enzymes in the liver. Taking too much can lead to liver damage in susceptible people, such as those who drink alcohol regularly. Always check the labels of any medication to ensure you’re not exceeding the maximum recommended dose of acetaminophen.

For most, taking nonprescription pain relievers as directed is generally safe. The potential for trouble emerges when you add the following:
Some NSAID and acetaminophen products, as well as cold, sinus, and allergy remedies, contain a combination of pain relievers. Regular and long-term use of painkillers that combine analgesics can damage the kidneys.
Many prescription painkillers contain acetaminophen (Darvocet, Vicodin) or NSAIDS (Celebrex, Percodan). Do not take both prescription and over-the-counter painkillers without checking with the prescribing doctor first.
NSAIDs can interact with many drugs, including ACE inhibitors, anticoagulants, beta blockers, lithium, and methotrexate. Aspirin interacts with anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, insulin, and sulfa antibiotics. If you take any of these prescription medicines, check before using NSAIDs.
Herbal supplements such as garlic, ginger, feverfew, ginkgo, and ginseng can thin blood and should be avoided when taking an NSAID.
NSAIDs can interfere with absorption of folic acid. If taking NSAIDs regularly, take a multivitamin daily.