Category Archives: Smile

Improve Your Smile. Porcelain Veneers Can Make A Beautiful Difference!

In about anything these days, what defines ‘quality’ and enhances longevity begins with the material — from clothing to tires to furniture and on and on, your investment in the very best pays off by giving the results you most desire.

When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, the materials used and the skills of the dentist are significant components of getting the most from your investment. Most of us have seen people who have had obvious dental work – NEVER the goal! In cosmetic dentistry, the goal is to create a beautiful smile that looks like you were born with!

Smile enhancement typically focuses on the front 6 – 10 teeth most visible in a full smile. These are the teeth you want to have the most natural look and feel possible in shape, shade, opalescence (the way light is reflected) and luminosity (the opaqueness).

In most cases, we use porcelain veneers to re-create appealing smiles that are balanced to facial features. Porcelain is the closest thing in durability and appearance to natural teeth and provides the best longevity of all dental materials. Additionally, porcelain resists staining better than other materials.

When replacing fillings, porcelain can be also be used for inlays or onlays to give the most natural appearance. When laughing, for example, using porcelain means the ‘tops’ of teeth won’t reveal signs of dental work. It can be precisely shade-matched to blend into existing teeth and, again, with excellent durability.

Yet, we all know even the best materials can disappoint when applied by substandard skills or inexperienced hands. For example, investing in a beautiful cashmere coat can be a waste of exquisite material if cheap thread is used and the workmanship is shoddy.

Choosing the right cosmetic dentist for you begins with a consultation appointment. During this time, you can ask questions, such as:

• What advanced training have you had that qualifies you in cosmetic dentistry?

• How will you check my bite after this treatment to ensure a proper fit?

• How do you select the dental lab who creates the veneers (or other ‘restorations’)?

• How long have you been in dentistry and what do you do to fine-tune your skills as new techniques and materials come available?

Also, visit the dentist’s web site Smile Gallery to see some examples of before-&-after’s. Look for patient quotes on the site to see if their words are reassuring to you personally.

Patient of Dr. Ban Barbat

When visiting the dentist’s office, look to see if he or she has displayed examples of their work, either in framed photography of actual patients or in albums in the reception or consultation rooms. A dentist who is skilled and experienced is confident showcasing her work!

Porcelain veneers will give you a beautiful result, if in the right hands. Your new smile should make you FEEL wonderful and inspired to share it often! An attractive smile should also get complimented by others, even strangers! That’s a terrific feeling and a sure sign that your investment was a wise one!

Discuss your smile during a free consultation. Call 586-739-2155 to arrange a time when we can sit together and determine what may be best for you.

While you’re here, we can also have our Financial Coordinator explain easy payment plans that can help you make affordable, monthly payments while enjoying your fabulous, new smile!

 

Let Teeth Whitening Improve Your Smile!

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint on a house will do to improve it’s appearance. Or having an old vehicle given a new paint job. Or even having a piece of furniture refinished.

To no surprise, having your teeth whitened also gives a smile a tremendous pick-me-up. And, what’s even better, whitening teeth is affordable, quick and long-lasting.

However, there is a significant difference between teeth whitening systems offered by dentists, such as Zoom 2, versus what is sold over-the-counter. Although you can purchase a quick-&-easy whitening kit everywhere from the grocery store to the drug store, are you really getting a reasonable amount of whitening for the money you’re being charged?

There are four factors to consider when you’re thinking of whitening your teeth:

• Degree of whitening – If you have just mild surface yellowing, a drug store whitening kit may be all you need. However, to truly make a difference in teeth that have yellowed, grayed or browned or those with deeper stains, a professional level of whitening is needed. These are designed to go deeper in the tooth and lighten beyond what is just surface staining. Our Zoom 2 system tackles very deep stains to provide a significant level of white.

• Longevity of whitening – When you whitening your teeth, you certainly don’t want to lose the look after several months. Yet, that can happen when you use kits that only tackle surface discoloration. Although we advise our Zoom 2 patients to take measures to lessen the staining effects of red wine, coffee and blueberries, the longevity of whitening is far beyond what OTC kits can offer. Remember, with store-bought kits, you’re only treating surface stains. With Zoom 2, you’re getting down deep into the tooth to lighten. This helps you enjoy a whiter, brighter smile for a long time.

• Safety and sensitivity – Because Zoom 2 is administered in a dentist’s office under a dentist’s supervision, the safety of your teeth and gums is an important part of the process. Trying to maximize the level of whiteness through a kit’s limited potential is risky. Zoom 2 is designed to create minimal, if any, sensitivity to gum tissues and is safe for both teeth and gums. When drug store kits’ directions are not followed to the letter, you risk the well-being of your smile. Mishaps to tooth enamel or gum tissues can be costly to repair. It’s best to stick with a dental professional.

• Quick and easy – While many store-bought kits require a brief amount of time, the process may require time spent every day for a week or more to accomplish noticeable whitening. Our Zoom 2 process requires about an hour. You just sit back and relax and we’ll do the rest!

Whiter teeth are an affordable way to make flaws in a smile less noticeable. Plus, white teeth project a healthy, well-cared for smile that sends a positive message to others.

Your whiter, brighter smile is just an hour away! If you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of a professional, dentist level whitening system, call 586-739-2155. We’ll discuss the process and cost and gladly answer any questions.

Frequent Headaches Or Migraines?

If you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines, you probably live with a shadow of dread hanging over you. Often, these seem to pop up with no predictability. And, they often arrive at the worst possible moments. They can be dreadful interferences to being active, having a career, raising a family and social involvement.

For a moment, imagine the wear and tear your automobile’s tires and body structure endure when one wheel is out of alignment. Now, imagine the wear and tear your head receives when your bite is misaligned.

Like the interworking components of a car, there are many integrated parts that comprise our dental make-up, each part designed to integrate harmoniously with the others. When one component is off-kilter, however, it tends to create a domino effect.

Bite alignment goes far beyond how teeth meet together. Think about the intricate combination of muscles, joints and teeth that come in to play each time we smile, speak, chew, or even yawn.

In this light, it’s easier to see how upper and lower teeth meet could be the cause of headaches, jaw pain, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and clenching teeth, dizziness, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, fatigue and more.

As a Neuromuscular Dentist, I have an advanced understanding of how  the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) relies on the harmonious unity of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. This includes the levelness of the teeth that distribute the forces of the bite. A bite that is tilted will misdirect these forces and result in an abnormal wear and tear similar to that of a tire being out of alignment.

In Neuromuscular Dentistry, we understand how to incorporate its principles in treatment to resolve problems — many of which patients have been suffering with for years.

We have treated patients who have wandered from doctor to doctor for years, seeking solutions that fell short. Many were lead to believe their unexplained pain was related to stress, hormones or poor posture. Too many were prescribed medications or led to believe the problem was imagined.

In our office, we utilize advanced computer technology to capture information for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. This also provides a basis for appropriate treatment and allows patients to monitor their progress during treatment.

When the delicate balance of everything that makes up your smile and beyond is in proper position, years of headaches, migraines and other symptoms can disappear – for good! Begin with a no-cost consultation to discuss your personal situation and learn the options to help you live life without the dread of headaches! Call 586-739-2155.

Afraid Of The Dentist? Tips To Help You Achieve The Smile You Desire!

Fear of dentistry is a common problem, maybe more than most people realize. Some surveys estimate that, worldwide, anywhere from 13% to 24% people struggle with it. In the U.S., an estimated 75% of adults have some level of fear associated with dental visits. Of those, 5 – 10% can be categorized as dental phobics, adults who are so fearful of dentistry that they avoid treatment until pain forces them to seek care.

For most who deal with dental fear, however, it is manageable. Once the individual has found a dentist he or she trusts, many relax. A few other things can help fearful patients get through their dental visits without a white-knuckled grip on the treatment chair. These include:

• Soothing Office Environment: When a dental office doesn’t have a look, feel or smell of a dental office, it can relax anxious patients from the get-go. For example, our Reception Area features a beverage bar and wide screen monitor of beautiful nature videos set to soothing music. We’ve had many patients comment on the relaxing sensation they get from watching and listening to these clips.

• Well-managed Appointments: A long wait in a reception area can cause anxiety to build up. We want your brief wait to be a “catch your breath” opportunity, allowing you to relax. Our goal is to ensure our patients feel they are a priority from arrival through check-out. This is why we are so committed to seeing patients within 10 minutes of their appointed time. In some instances, emergencies or unpredictable situations can cause delays. However, we try to keep the waiting patient informed when this occurs to prevent anxiety from building.

• Relaxing Distractions: When patients listen to music or watch a movie, their focus is often taken off the treatment they’re receiving. For fearful patients, this can help. As you are being seated in the treatment chair, ask about music and video choices. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at our vast inventory of selections!

Dr. Barbat with happy, relaxed patient.

• Good Communication: While some patients prefer to be distracted from what’s taking place in their mouths, others feel more confident knowing each step. Before, during and even after a procedure, we keep patients informed of what we are doing so they feel a sense of control. During this process, we may also use monitors to show images of areas being treated and to explain the treatment’s advantages.

• Oral Sedation: Some patients prefer the added relaxation of Oral Sedation. This deep relaxation aid is in pill form and takes effect even before the patient arrives. Although the patient can walk to the chair and is not ‘officially’ asleep, Oral Sedation does provide a dozing state throughout treatment. Recovery is quick and most people have little or no memory of the procedure after.

• I.V. Sedation (Twilight Sleep): We have certain patients who wish to be “put under” for certain dental procedures. For these, we recommend I.V. Sedation, or “twilight sleep.” This is a deeper sleep-state of sedation that is administered in the vein by a trained professional. As patients snooze, the procedure is completed while they are carefully monitored by trained staff and safety equipment throughout (as with Oral Sedation as well). I.V. Sedation typically erases all memory of the procedure after but does require more recovery time than for Oral Sedation.

• Committed Team: Our entire office – from the administrative team to the clinical staff to the doctors who administer your procedures – are all ONE when it comes to creating a welcoming, respectful and compassionate environment for patients, especially those who have dental fears. We understand that these fears may be the result of an unfortunate experience in another dental office. However, some people cannot pinpoint why these fears exist, they just know they are there.

Our unified goal is to have patients smiling as they enter our front door and smiling as they leave. We know that, even for patients who have dental fears, your dental visit can be a positive experience. We also know, however, that we must first get you in the door so you can experience that!

Begin with a friendly conversation with our phone staff by calling 586-739-2155. Then, ask for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this, we’ll relax in comfy chairs in a private consultation room that is removed from the clinical side of the office. You can share your concerns and ask questions, which I’ll answer thoroughly.

If you’re too uneasy about coming in for a consultation, ask for a phone consultation. We can discuss your needs over the phone and you can determine when a personal visit is the next step. If you like, we can also put you in touch with several patients who, like you, once had dental fears and now enjoy healthy smiles. Hearing from someone who has ‘been there, done that’ can often help.

Don’t let imagined complications keep you from achieving the smile you desire. Imagine your life with a healthy, attractive smile. With our help, we believe you can achieve your goal while getting dental fears behind you!

Inlays & Onlays Explained

Keeping natural teeth is important for reasons in addition to just creating an appealing smile. A natural tooth provides a number of advantages both above and below the gum line.

It has been shown that people who have their natural teeth live an average of ten years longer than people who wear dentures. And, it is a fact that, when a natural tooth is lost, the next to be lost will be one adjacent.

When most people think of having a cavity in a tooth repaired, a ‘filling’ is typically the anticipated procedure. However, large cavities of teeth that have an overload of decay or previous fillings are often crowned. A crown (or ‘cap’) covers the entire top and sides of the tooth to protect the remaining structure. This helps preserve the tooth along with its roots that are so beneficial to the health of the jaw bone that supports them.

In the past, many dentists used a silver ‘amalgam’ material to fill the portion of the tooth that was removed.  Because of the concerns surrounding the suspected hazards of amalgam’s mercury content, non-amalgam filling materials became the standard choice for most dentists.

Non-amalgam tooth-colored fillings contain no mercury and provide a more tooth-like appearance. Yet, there are times when a filling is not quite right and a crown may be more than is needed. This is where inlays and onlays are a better option.

Inlays and onlays are ideal when a large, biting surface area of a tooth needs repair. Inlays and onlays are like porcelain puzzle pieces. They are custom-designed to fit precisely into the tooth, similar to how a puzzle piece fits snugly into a jigsaw puzzle.

The procedure begins with removing the decayed area and preparing the tooth. You are fully numbed during the procedure. While you relax, a mold is made of the area to be replaced with the inlay or onlay. A temporary ‘restoration’ will be provided to protect the area while a dental lab creates your final porcelain inlay or onlay. Once the restoration is ready, you’ll return to our office to have it ‘seated’ into placed and secured with a special dental adhesive.

The porcelain used in inlay and onlay construction provides exceptional durability and provides a highly natural feel and function with exceptional longevity. During both appointments, your comfort is a priority. If desired, oral sedation can be added to treatment for added relaxation.

When a tooth needs repair beyond the adequacy of a simple filling (or less than the need for a full crown), an inlay or onlay may be the ideal remedy. If this is best for your individual situation, I’ll be happy to explain the procedure, comfort options, treatment time and estimated cost.

Call 586-739-2155 to request a no-cost, no obligation consultation.

Avoid Losing Teeth By Decisions You Make Now

Imagine standing on the side of the road, stranded beside a car that has stopped running. For most of us, there is a sense of dread for this type of situation since we know the time, expense and frustration that comes with correcting the problems involved.

Now, imagine learning that the car is stranded because you failed to add necessary fluids, fell behind on oil changes and ignored warning lights.

As a dentist, I see a fair number of patients who have lost teeth. While some have lost them due to an accident or injury, most have lost them because of inadequate oral hygiene, failing to have regular dental care, and poor health choices (such as smoking).

For those who have lost teeth due to these choices, any one of them will tell you if they could go back in time, they would have taken better care of their teeth.

A tooth lost must be replaced or else neighboring teeth will shift. This shifting can cause chipped, broken or worn teeth. As the fit of upper to lower teeth moves out of its proper position, it can lead to headaches, migraines, night-time grinding and clenching, dizziness, ear ringing and sore jaw joints.

With poor oral hygiene and lack of regular dental check-ups, continued tooth loss is almost assured. As each tooth is lost, the one adjacent to it is at the highest risk to be the next you’ll lose. It’s a vicious cycle.

Teeth are easy to take for granted, They are hard and strong, giving the appearance of being ‘rock solid.’ They can weather an enormous amount of force. Yet, teeth are a natural part of our overall makeup. and do have vulnerabilities. This is why cavities and breaks can occur.

The main reason we recommend crowns for teeth at risk is to save the tooth. While the portion of a tooth you can see is important, it’s the portion beneath the gum line that we are even more concerned about.

Tooth roots nurture and ‘feed’ not only the tooth, but the jaw bone that supports them. Without these roots in place, the bones begins to atrophy. In dentistry, this is known as resorption. Simply put, it’s a melting away of jaw bone where tooth roots were once held.

As the bone shrinks, a number of things begin to occur. The tooth roots adjacent to the area of resorption are more vulnerable. The tooth above or below elongates, creating risk for damage mentioned prior (chips, breaks, etc.).

Facial changes can be seen as the bone thins further. For example, when the mouth appears collapsed into the face and the chin points, this is referred to as a ‘granny look.’ This occurs due to severe resorption of someone who has lost all of their teeth.

Earlier facial changes can also be seen when someone is missing natural teeth. Deep wrinkles form around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turn downward even in a smile, jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles, and the nose moves closer to the chin.

As unfortunate as these changes in appearance are, trying to eat properly when the jaw bone has declined is worse. People who wear dentures or partials often struggle when chewing or biting when their denture lacks a high foundation on which to balance.

When the bone shrinks, the ‘arch’ where tooth roots were once held begins to flatten. This is a slow but continual process that gives a denture an ever-decreasing surface. After a while, even denture adhesives or pastes are of little help.

To replace missing teeth, we often recommend dental implants. Implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bone, halting the rate of bone loss. Because they are supported by the jaw, implants restore the same, dependable foundation your natural teeth once had.

Another advantage of dental implants is their ability to ‘stand alone.’ Since implants are held by the jaw bone, they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as with crown-&-bridge combinations. This means you won’t need to have otherwise natural, healthy teeth crowned for the mere purpose of supporting a bridge.

To correct a common misconception, an implant is NOT always needed for each missing tooth. In many cases, one implant can support a bridge of two or more teeth. When a full arch of teeth is needed, several strategically-placed implants can provide adequate support.

All-On-4 Dental Implant System is one example of several implants supporting a full arch of teeth.

If you’ve lost teeth, the best way to halt the process is to replace those you’ve lost (and the sooner, the better). Then, be ultra-committed to your oral health. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Drink plenty of water and limit snacking and your intake of sugar and carbs. If you have teeth at-risk, have them crowned or other necessary repairs.

In our office, we respect all patients. We pride ourselves on being a ‘lecture-free zone’ and are here to support each individual, regardless of what brought them here. For those who have lost natural teeth, our goal is to restore them to a healthy, confident smile they’ll feel good about.

Begin with a free consultation to discuss your oral health needs and the smile you’d like to have – and share, often! Call 586-739-2155 and ask to meet with me personally. I look forward to meeting you!

 

Soft Drinks & Your Smile

It’s MAY already? The year is flying by. Not always a bad thing! After a Michigan winter, May’s warming weather reminds us that we’re ready for some fun in the sun.

With outdoor gatherings and activities, you’ll often find a cooler of drinks nearby. Before you pull that tab, though, consider that those soft drinks can lead to costly, time-consuming dental repairs.

“Soft drinks.” Now, that’s a misleading name for what they can do to teeth and gums. Colas can contribute to a number of health problems, including an ability to cause cavities and enamel erosion. Yet, most people are unaware of just how erosive the acids from cola can be. Even sugar-free soft drinks can cause a similar erosion level as those containing sugar.

The acidity levels in colas have been compared to that approaching the levels in battery acid. Colas are so acidic because they are infused with phosphoric acid that adds flavor. Phosphoric acid is inexpensive and widely available and is a common ingredient in fertilizers, detergents and industrial cleaners. In certain uses, it is accompanied by arsenic.

Phosphoric acid is so erosive it can remove rust from aircraft carriers and ships. Imagine the damage that can be done to your teeth and bone health.

When you add the erosive acids in a cola to the acids that occur naturally in the mouth each time you consume food or beverages, the boosted levels of acidity have tremendous potential to erode tooth enamel. Symptoms of dental erosion include temperature sensitivity, pain, transparent teeth, cracking and darkening of teeth.

As bad as the erosion factor is on teeth, it’s often the way colas are consumed that ramps up the damage. Take, for example, someone sipping on a cola for a period of time. Remember, every time we eat or drink, an acid attack begins in the mouth as part of our digestive process. This ‘natural’ acid flow is active for about 30 minutes after eating or drinking ceases.

So, when you sip a cola for a half-hour period, the acid attack lasts that long PLUS another 30 minutes. When you combine the sugar and acid in the drink to your digestive acids, you reduce surface hardness of tooth enamel for an extended period of time.

Because soft drinks can weaken tooth enamel, they become more vulnerable to decay. In this state, it is also easier for teeth to become stained. The caramel color in many colas easily contributes to the yellowing of teeth.

The U.S. has the highest per-capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks in the world. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans drink more than 50 gallons per capita of carbonated soft drinks annually. In addition to tracking the consumption of carbonated soft drinks, the organization also monitors consumption of bottled water, coffee, tea, milk, fruit drinks, beer, wine and spirits. Of all those they track, carbonated soft drinks make up the largest segment.

Health concerns about soft drinks have led many schools to remove sodas from drink machines and cafeterias. Obviously, dentists are also urging children, teens and adults to steer clear of sodas.

While it is important to stay hydrated, especially when participating in sports or working outdoors, colas are the opposite of hydrating. Colas not only contain phosphoric acid, they contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic that causes water depletion. It has been shown that consuming carbonated drinks during hot weather can result in dehydration and heighten the risk for heat stroke.

Don’t let the commercials about “refreshing” soft drinks fool you. You can do your smile and your overall health a favor by reaching instead for a bottle of water. If you prefer flavor in your beverage, add apple, strawberry, cucumber or orange slices to chilled, filtered water.

Rethink your cola consumption this summer and what you ice down in your cooler. Colas are no friend to your smile. Bypass the soft drinks for water and avoiding cavities, tooth erosion, and the need for fillings, crowns and other repairs that can be costly and time-consuming.

 

NEURO-MUSCULAR DENTISTRY MADE SIMPLE

Do you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines? Frequent headaches affect nearly 50 million Americans. And while many sufferers search for a solution, many fail to connect the dots between these headaches and their dental anatomy.

Amazingly, the position of how our upper and lower teeth meet is a typical cause for headaches, jaw pain, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and breaking teeth, dizziness, fatigue and more. All of these symptoms can be due to one’s bite being off, perhaps by only a millimeter (1/25th of an inch).

Your dental make-up is an intricate composition of muscles, joints and teeth and plays a major role in your overall comfort and health. Because humans are incredibly adaptable, the body’s muscles, bones and joints can function although these are not in ideal alignment. This is as true with the bite as with other parts of the body, such as when one leg is shorter than the other. However, there are times when the body cannot adapt, which is just as true with dental problems.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is a modern advancement based on the understanding that the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) need to be in a comfortable resting position for the ultimate comfort of the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. When this occurs, all structures work together harmoniously.

The levelness of the teeth is just as critical.  The forces of the bite must be distributed down the length of the body. If the bite is tilted, then the forces are misdirected. This can cause as much of a problem for a patient as if the hips are not level.

When dentists are trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry, they have a unique understanding of its impact and how to incorporate it into restorative and esthetic treatment in order to help patients avoid future problems or correct those they may have been dealing with for years.

In my office, we have successfully treated patients for symptoms not normally associated with what people consider a dental problem can occur. Some examples are:

  • One patient was unable to close his eyes without falling for 27 years. This was resolved immediately when his bite was properly aligned.
  • Another patient who couldn’t turn his head to the left due to neck pain regained full range of motion once his bite was restored properly.
  • A patient who required massive amounts of pain pills for neck and back pain and headaches stopped taking them once his bite was restored.

As mentioned earlier, humans adjust to flaws. Yet, having flaws for years confuses the body’s perception of comfort over time. Unexplained pain is often attributed to other aspects of the patient’s life, such as stress, hormones or posture. Some are told it’s all in their head. They are given drugs or sent for therapy to deal with these problems, having no awareness that the source may be dental.

Today, advancements in computer technology enable dentists trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry to capture information for more effective treatment. It also gives visual ‘proof’ of treatment requirements so patients accept the authenticity of the diagnosis.

Neuromuscular Dentistry is such an important part of all implant, restorative (crown-&-bridge, partials, etc.) an cosmetic procedures in our office, so much so that we have invested in advanced technology. This allows us to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and determine the ideal resting position of the mandible (lower jaw). Throughout treatment, patients can monitor their progress by comparing before-&-after data.

Many people do not realize that bite misalignment is often due to more than crooked teeth. We’ve seen patients who’ve experience years of migraines, simply because of one crown being too high. The delicate balance in the mouth when it comes to the muscles, joints, bones and teeth working together is amazing.

If you have frequent headaches, migraines, jaw soreness, ear ringing, dizziness, tingling fingers, pain in the neck or shoulders, jaw popping or difficulty opening the mouth fully, bite misalignment is likely the culprit. These problems will only worsen without treatment.

To discuss your options and the diagnostic process, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to request a no-charge, no-obligation consultation. I’ll gladly answer your questions so you can determine the best course of action for your specific needs.

 

Vitamin C And Your Smile

I have always been health conscious and committed to a balanced diet. However, there was no other period in my life that I was more focused on what I put into my body than during my pregnancies,. Like most moms-to-be, I was very careful about my food choices and took a pre-natal vitamin to supplement what my diet may have lacked.

Today’s busy adults are not always diligent about eating a healthy diet that provides adequate fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Many eat too fast, not chewing our food properly for the digestive process to begin. Too, most of us do not drink enough water.

To supplement what we may not get in our diets, many adults take a multi-vitamin.  While vitamins bolster your overall health by making sure you’re getting the elements you need, remember that your smile needs an ample supply as well.

According to the Journal of Periodontology, consuming at least 180 mgs of vitamin C a day gives your gums and teeth a healthy boost. Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory that uses collagen to bind cells to build connective tissues – beneficial to gum tissues. Vitamin C has even been shown to increase bone regrowth, helping to restore healthy teeth.

Want to get your C the natural way? Good sources of vitamin C are coconut water, citrus fruits, broccoli, red peppers, brussel sprouts and tomatoes.

If you aren’t getting sufficient vitamin C through your diet, look for non-acidic alternatives available over-the-counter. These forms of vitamin C come in powder or chewing gum. We prefer you avoid most chewable vitamin C products, however, since they can be highly acidic. This level of acidity can damage tooth enamel, leaving you susceptible to decay.

Keeping your gums healthy is not only necessary for maintaining good oral health. Studies now show that the bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissues. As it travels throughout the body, it can trigger inflammatory reactions. This has been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis and impotency.

Signs of gum disease are tender gums that bleed when brushing, swollen gums, gums that deepen in color, receded gums and persistent bad breath. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment and is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Keeping your mouth healthy means you enjoy fresher breath and helps you avoid periodontal (gum) disease and cavities. In addition to a healthy, balanced diet and vitamin supplements, your 6-month dental cleanings and exams give you added support.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, call promptly so treatment can be scheduled without delay. Or, if you haven’t had regular dental cleanings, call 586-739-2155 to schedule.