Ouch! The best foods to eat when…

Ouch! The best foods to eat when…

Most of us love eating. We love sugary food, fatty food, crunchy, spicy, and salty foods. But are these the best things for us to eat when we are having oral health complications? We’ve compiled a guide full of yummy and appropriate foods for you to eat based on the oral health issue you currently face.

Braces

Braces are often a rite of passage for young people. Though the results are stunning the process can be daunting. Often they result in months and even years of a throbbing mouth. Each visit to the orthodontist is typically followed by several days of achiness.

Soft foods are your friend here. We suggest eating foods that are not easily stuck in your braces and pose the risk of breaking them. Food included in this list are bananas, mashed potatoes, yogurt, soups, and pasta.

Foods to avoid include crunchy foods like popcorn and tortilla chips. These can get wedged in the wires and cause bad bacteria to grow over time. Additionally, don’t snack on nuts or raw vegetables as these foods can damage and break your braces. We understand that the last thing you want is an emergency trip to the dentist because your wires snap!

Wisdom Teeth and other Oral Surgery

Many people have their wisdom Teeth removed at some point in their life. It is a relatively easy surgery with a relatively short recovery. However, it is still important to follow your doctor’s orders after the surgery. Eating things you shouldn’t can cause major oral health problems!

When you have your wisdom teeth removed you may experience soreness for 7 – 14 days. That means you may feel more comfortable eating soft and cold foods like smoothies. Since using a straw during your recovery period is prohibited, we recommend you stick to soup, applesauce, yogurt, and other things that can be eaten with a spoon.

Canker Sores

Even though you may love spicy or sour food, they aren’t your friend when you’ve got a canker sore. It is best to buckle up and opt in for bland options when you have a canker sore. Your body forms canker sores when you are short on nutrients like folic acid, vitamin B12, and zinc. Due to this deficiency you can reduce and even eliminate canker sores by eating foods that are rich in these resources. For example, you can eat salmon, which is rich in B12, leafy green vegetables to make up folic acid deficiency, and yogurt to replenish your bodies’ Zinc supplies.

If you suffer from canker sores often you should watch out for sneaky foods that are generally regarded as healthy but may contain too much salt or spice. Foods to avoid include coffee, tomatoes, and prepackaged snack nuts.

Dry Mouth

It may seem obvious that when you suffer from dry mouth it is best to increase your water and liquid intake; however there is more to the solution that simply adding moisture to your diet. We suggest filling your diet with high protein foods that aren’t too hard or crunchy. A good example of high protein food with plenty of moisture is fresh red meat. Foods that are dry and salty like bread or crackers can exacerbate the complications that come along with dry mouth. Soup, stew, and yogurt are also great additions to your ‘dry mouth diet’. Additionally, if you can avoid citrus and substitute in other fresh fruit you may be able to reduce dry mouth symptoms.

In general, there are several things you can do to maintain a healthy mouth and avoid complications. We suggest that throughout your lifetime you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, water, and protein. You should also avoid sugar as often as you can. Sugar is known to be a large contributor to tooth decay and bad health in general.

Are e-cigarettes bad for oral health?

Are e-cigarettes bad for oral health?

It is a commonly known fact that smoking cigarettes is bad for your oral health. Smoking causes tooth decay, tooth staining, gum disease, and in some cases even mouth cancer. Though traditional cigarettes are said to be worse for your mouth than smoking the new electronic cigarettes, new research shows that may not be the case.

If you smoke electronic cigarettes you may notice that you often struggle with bad breath. This is because electronic cigarettes contain the highly addictive and dangerous chemical called nicotine. Nicotine causes the mouth’s natural production of saliva to slow down, which often causes dry mouth, plaque build up, and even tooth decay.

Fortunately, e-cigarettes don’t contain many of the teeth staining chemicals that traditional ones do. For example, they don’t produce the smoke or contain tar which both stain teeth yellow. However, when e-cigarettes contain high nicotine level, the liquid does eventually begin to yellow and has some of the same staining effects.

The vapor created by burning the liquid in e-cigarettes was originally thought to be harmless to consumers but as more research is conducted it is becoming increasingly evident that this is not the case. In fact, “when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases”(Irfan Rahman, Ph.D.). This causes growing uncertainty regarding the safety of this wildly popular cigarette alternative. Little information regarding the ingredients in e-cigarettes is disclosed to the consumer. Most users have almost no information regarding the content of the product they are consuming on a daily basis, and many “e-juices” are produced overseas with little to no regulation.

Additionally, the Journal of Cellular Physiology published an article that stated over a period of three days the vapor created by e-cigarettes killed 53% of mouth cells. The deterioration of healthy mouth cells can lead to infection and a whole host of other oral health issues.

Overall, the extent to which e-cigarettes are detrimental to oral health is unclear. However, based on current research it is difficult to deny they cause damage if used regularly. We would recommend that our patients discontinue or severely reduce using e-cigarette products.

Make Oral Health Fun for the Family

Make Oral Health Fun for the Family

It can be difficult to explain the importance of oral health to children. Understandably, most are more concerned with playing than with the current and future state of their gums. We have compiled some creative ways you can teach your whole family how to maintain healthy teeth.

One idea to increase receptiveness to the twice daily brushing routine is to let your kids pick a 2-3 minute long song to play while they brush their teeth. This ensures that they brush long enough while also making the task sound a whole lot more appealing. Be warned, if tooth brushing turns into a groovy dance party, watch out for those toothbrushes becoming a hazard! A sand timer also works well if you aren’t able to play music.

Another way to add fun to oral health is by giving your child more control over the details when they brush their teeth. For example, you should change your toothbrush every three months, and you can make this a fun task for kids by letting them pick a toothbrush themed with their favorite TV characters or toys. This will help your child feel more invested and in control of their brushing routine. Additionally, you can allow them to choose the flavor of their toothpaste. Believe it or not, most kids aren’t thrilled with the taste of plain peppermint. They usually enjoy flavors like watermelon and bubblegum much more.

A great way to combine learning about oral health with gaining time management skills is to create a brushing calendar for kids in which they get a sticker each time they brush their teeth. Motivate them by offering a reward at the end of the month if there are no missed days!

On days when keeping up with oral health means actually going to a dentist appointment, we recommend making it a field trip day. For example, when you make an appointment with your doctor you can also plan something fun as a reward for your child’s bravery. After they get their teeth cleaned, head to the zoo or the park so that they will associate their dental appointments with sunshine and good times.

Finally, to continue education about the long-term importance of oral health with your child, try buying an oral health educational coloring book for kids so they can learn about eating nutritious foods and staying on top of their oral health while they play. If you your kids are tech savvy, there are also tons of great resources for learning at Mouthhealthykids.org. This website allows you to access fun quizzes and other oral health learning tools for kids.

What your Smile Says About You

What your Smile Says About you

Our smile is one of the first things we use to communicate with others when we have a conversation or meet someone for the first time. How we choose to present our smile to others can say a lot about our personality, health, and how we want others to see us. While clothes and other accessories may depict our style or what’s currently trending, our smile and the shine of our teeth give others a peek into our eating habits, genetics, and how comfortable we are with ourselves. Living in a society where we pride ourselves on the condition of how straight or bright our teeth are can be make looking at someone’s smile an interesting starting point in knowing the not-so-obvious traits a person has.

In terms of personality, how we smile in a social setting can tell us a lot about the people we surround ourselves with. A person who doesn’t show their teeth in a photograph may tell you that that person is shy or reserved compared to a person who shows all of their teeth and has a wide smile on their face, which most of the time, we interpret as confidence and expressing happiness.

Let’s go back and compare today to the 19th and early 20th century when it was customary not to smile in photographs. Everyone appeared to be somber, even children. It was hypothesized that because cameras where a new and developing technology, the exposure time to capture an image took as long as one minute and expressions couldn’t be held for the duration it took to capture a picture. A second theory as to why people didn’t smile in their photographs was due to the fact that they did not have good dental hygiene and, thus, were self-conscious about their smile.

As the decades went by, smirks began to sneak in and eventually smiling was an acceptable form of appearing in a photograph that lead us to where we are today. As dental hygiene methods improved, as well as quicker exposure times for camera technology, people began to show their pearly whites.

The color and shape of someone’s teeth are unique to the individual and it is natural for teeth to have a yellow tinge of color to them. However, modern dentistry has helped us improve the appearance of our teeth and now many people opt to have bright, white teeth and love to show them off in selfies. In fact, the Teeth Whitening Industry in 2015 made over $11 billion with an additional $1.4 billion spent on teeth whitening products according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Our teeth are often considered as a part of ourselves that we present to others. It is important to keep them in shape and take care of them just like any other part of our body. By scheduling routine maintenance and dental cleanings every six months and with proper daily brushing and flossing, you will keep those teeth white, bright, and camera ready well into your golden years.

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

All you Need to Know about Antibiotics

When we have a bacterial infection, our immune system kicks in to try to rid our bodies of harmful pathogens. While fighting off foreign bacteria, the immune system sends white blood cells and antibodies to find, destroy, and repair any damage that may have been caused which often results in us feeling sick. The problem with bacterial infections is that the bacteria multiply at a rapid rate making it difficult for the immune system to respond and treat the illness quick enough. However, modern medicine has developed a way to speed up the battle our immune system takes each time a bad bacteria invades our bodies. Antibiotics are prescribed when we are fighting off a bacterial infection and typically help speed up the recovery process.

Essentially, antibiotics work by targeting the pathogens causing the damage and killing the bad bacteria while also slowing down or putting a stop to their harmful multiplication cycle. This in turn allows our bodies to take care of the remaining infection and within a week or two we begin to start feeling like our normal selves.

The problem with antibiotics is that while it kills off bad bacteria, it also rids our bodies of good bacteria as well. Our bodies maintain a balance of bacteria naturally within our digestive system and sometimes when antibiotics are prescribed, this balance can be thrown out of whack. Many doctors, regardless of what bacterial infection you may be experiencing, often recommend to supplement your antibiotic prescription with yogurt to replenish good bacteria.

Another problem with antibiotics is that while they act as a miracle drug to many bacterial infectious diseases, many people do not complete their entire set of prescribed antibiotics. Sometimes we start to feel better after just taking a few days of antibiotics and because of that stop taking what remains in the prescription. This is troublesome because it gives the opportunity for pathogens that remain in our body to find ways to react to the antibiotic and mutate a resistance towards it, making it less effective and harder to fight off the next time we get sick. Unlike a viral infection where a virus is always changing it’s gene pool, bacteria are somewhat stable in their genetic makeup, until they find ways to mutate and combat antibiotics.

The over prescribing of antibiotics is also a cause for concern. It is estimated that 70% of illness causing germs are resistant to at least one antibiotic. In 2015 it was estimated that there were 50,000 deaths due to resistant antibiotic germs. The primary reason of resistant antibiotic germs is excessive use of antibiotics. When we are given antibiotics, it is important to finish all of the pills given to us and that when we are taking medication to be sure it is for something that our immune system needs assistance with in order to get better. Antibiotics have been used for years and have helped us cure many terrible bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, mouth infections, and much more. Without the advent of antibiotics, we would be living in a much more difficult world.

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween Can be Spooky for Your Teeth Too

Halloween is upon us and you want to know what’s spooky? Sugar is the biggest component to the cause of dental decay. Yes, that’s right, the sugar you and your families are about to soon get a lot of. Tricks and treats and you won’t need to smell their feet because cavities are just as near. What are some tips you can use so that you don’t lose out on celebrating Halloween?

1. Brush your teeth after you or your kids eats candy. Brushing your teeth is the easiest and most efficient way to get that candy off of your teeth. Sticky, chewy candy is the worst for oral hygiene and it’s important to get all that sugar residue off as soon as possible. If left on the teeth, the sugar will cause plaque to build up and teeth to start decaying.
2. Encourage your kid to rinse with mouthwash after eating the candy. If we remove even some of the sugar by mouth rinsing, we are reducing the risk of decay. If you’re not near your toothbrush, just a quick swish will do. Again it’s about neutralizing the sugar and getting the candy off of your teeth quickly after eating it.
3. Your kids don’t have to eat all of the candy, after a few weeks reduce the load so the candy consumption will not go on forever. While there are a few reasons to avoid eating all your candy in one sitting, try to think of it as preserving the stash. Your teeth and body will thank you if you don’t overload on the sugar all at one time.

Kids are most likely to develop dental decay for a lot of reasons, so be sure this time of year to be on top of their brushing. It’s so important to celebrate holidays with your family, use it as an opportunity to teach your little ones how to take care of themselves while still enjoying themselves. Upset tummies and tooth decay, be gone, because now you and your mouth are armed to the teeth with tips.

How Being Pregnant can Change Your Mouth

How Being Pregnant can Change Your Mouth

Being pregnant is such a magical time, bringing with it, glowing skin, luxurious hair, and fantastic nails. Those same hormones that bring you your pregnancy glow are the same hormones responsible for the changes you may also experience in your mouth. Due to this constantly changing hormonal state the gums become very sensitive, and pregnant women may find themselves more vulnerable to oral problems. These discomforts can manifest in a few different ways, but with a diligent maintenance routine, they’re easily manageable.
Pregnant women may find that they become more susceptible to gingivitis because of their changing hormonal state. It is a mild form of gum disease that causes your gums to be red, tender and sore or irritated. Keeping your teeth clean, with flossing and mouthwash diligently on top of brushing, should keep the susceptibility of the disease developing very unlikely. If for whatever reason you’re experiencing any symptoms that look like gingivitis, go to your dentist before the problem worsens. Gingivitis can become a serious issue if not treated and taken care of appropriately.
What you eat is also really important when you’re thinking about how to take care of your teeth. Being sure you’re stocked up on vitamins and healthy snacks are a great way to keep your Ph balance in check and keeps your teeth and bones strong and healthy. Also keep in mind that whatever you eat, you also pass down to your developing little one. Although cravings can be a humorous aspect of pregnancy, as your appetite increases with your growing body and baby, keep in mind that mindless snacking can be an invitation to plaque. Foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for both of you are things like, raw fruits and vegetables, and/or yogurts and cheeses. Your physician will be able to provide advice as to what foods to avoid and enjoy while pregnant.
Morning sickness is a less fun side effect of growing a little one, but it happens to almost every woman. Unfortunately, on top of being uncomfortable, vomiting can also be detrimental to tooth health. The rising acid levels eat away at your enamel, and some women who experience many months of morning sickness can also experience unpleasant mouth symptoms. If you are getting sick frequently, be sure to take extra care of your teeth and mouth. An easy swish with a mix of baking soda and water will neutralize any acid left hanging around and will protect the integrity of your teeth.
It’s safe to go to your dentist at any point during your pregnancy if you’re having uncomfortable symptoms or have questions about oral changes. Dentists, like doctors, are well versed in handling dental care at any point of a person’s life and if you’ve been with your dentist a while, like most of my patients have, they’ll be excited to see you during this beautiful and exciting time of your life. A little extra TLC will go a long way in protecting your new, slightly more sensitive teeth so be sure you’re flossing with every brush and not skipping.
Never hesitate to get your dentist’s opinion on anything that may pop up that you’re not sure about. Sometimes mild canker sores and ulcers can form due to the changing hormones, if you have a question, contact us! I’m always happy to see and answer any questions my patients may have so I can support and be excited for them on the next chapter in their lives.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

The link between your oral health and physical health is growing stronger every day as more and more research is completed. Many illnesses and diseases develop preliminary symptoms that are being found, firstly, in a patient’s mouth. One of the newest correlations found, is between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer – the 4th most common cause of cancer related mortality.

Pancreatic cancer is expected to rise to the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths, and even though it accounts for only 3% of new cancer cases each year, it’s lack of symptoms can lead to a late diagnosis. In this particularly aggressive form of cancer, and a late diagnosis is the difference between life, and death.

Thankfully researchers come bearing good news. Evidence indicates that chronic infections, and inflammation, of the gums is associated with an increased risk of cancer development. Frequent occurrences of periodontal disease may be one of the earliest forms of detection available for pancreatic cancer. Now before you become worried about the state of your health, keep in mind there are two types of bacteria that can cause periodontal disease. Participants with Porphyromonas gingivitis had a 59% greater risk of cancer development than those without. This study concluded that those who had poor oral health, may be at a predisposition for pancreatic cancer to develop.

While genetics still remain to be the most steadfast way of determining a person’s likelihood of developing cancer, the new research available from NYU concluded that periodontal disease, did, in fact, precede pancreatic cancer. This is important and exciting news for anyone with a history of illness. Being able to catch pancreatic cancer in its developing stages might be the best way to decrease its mortality rate.

It is important to acknowledge that these findings do not confirm that one causes the other, only that, in some, way they’re correlated. It’s more plausible to think that periodontal disease acts as a symptom of developing cancerous cells. Inflammation in the body is a known precursor for cancer development.

The medical field is expanding constantly, and rapidly, and we’re lucky to live in a country that is on the cutting edge of research. I’ve always known that the mouth is a glimpse into the rest of the body and being able to monitor my patients’ health more thoroughly is exciting and important to me.

Most of my patients have been with me for many years, their loyalty is my bread and butter. Keeping them healthy is my top priority and in hard cases like these, cancerous illnesses and the like, it breaks my heart to discover bad news. But with early detection, as this research detects, hopefully we can start winning more battles against pancreatic cancer.

Be sure you’re scheduling with me regularly especially if you notice inflammation in your gums. Keeping your mouth healthy is a necessary step in keeping the rest of you healthy as well.

Marijuana and Gum Disease, What’s Really Happening.

Marijuana and Gum Disease, What’s Really Happening.

As more and more information gets released about medical marijuana uses, one of the less than appealing aspects about its users, is the increased likelihood they’ll develop periodontal disease. A strong correlation between heavy users of the herb, and the increased incidences of gum disease (especially in young adults), has been noticed by researchers, doctors, and dentists alike. So before you light up, consider the harms associated with heavy smoking.

Since it’s recent, State-specific legalization, studies can, and will, be coming to more concrete conclusions about the positive, and negative, aspects of marijuana use. Those prescribed the herb are usually looking for safer ways to alleviate various pains and discomforts, without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. But like any medication, this, of course, is not without its respective challenges.

The mouth’s ecosystem is a series of routinely healing the attacks our environment takes on it. Foods, drinks, brushing and flossing habits, all greatly affect overall mouth care. Drinks and food eat away at enamel and create plaque. That, in it of itself, is already a difficult repair to naturally reverse itself. This is why we need to brush, floss and visit the dentist, because without those things we’re prone to disease and our health is adversely affected.

Anytime you introduce smoking to your habits, your mouth has an even more difficult time recovering. The hot smoke held in your mouth wreaks havoc on your gums that normal maintenance doesn’t help fully recover from. Studies show that with time, the mouth repairs itself quite well. Those who quit smoking in their late 20s had almost no signs of oral health problems in their 30s. But if you’re smoking every day, the mouth doesn’t have time or resources to properly heal itself.

The most common issue with marijuana use, is the dry mouth it causes with most users. There are a lot of medications and habits that contribute to dry mouth, but the effects of it are all the same. Dry mouth leads to less saliva production which helps keep the bacteria in the mouth balanced. ‘Cottonmouth’ can lead to periodontal disease for simply allowing the acid in the mouth to get out of control.

Some studies have found that the actual chemical THC found in marijuana can’t be completely broken down by the mouth and can lead to gum disease. As marijuana usage increases each year with its movements towards legalization, new and more comprehensive studies of side effects can be completed.

I recommend, if you are a smoker of any kind, that your visits to me are well maintained. I’m always invested in the health of my patients and being in dentistry as long as I have, you learn that the mouth can tell you a lot of secrets about a person’s health. Don’t be embarrassed about confiding your habits in me, together we can better monitor your health and figure out what’s working for you and not working for you.
The times maybe changing, but I’m not going anywhere. So be sure you’re checking in with me on a regular basis.

Straight from the Mouths of Smokers

Straight from the Mouths of Smokers

As more and more research gets released on the negatives health consequences of smoking, it comes to no surprise that oral health is on the front lines of assault in the mouths of smokers. The mouths of people who smoke are a difficult terrain for even the most experienced dentist to navigate. Patients who smoke up to a half a pack a day are 6 times more likely to suffer from Periodontal disease than those who abstain from smoking. Most procedures, like dental implants, which normally have a 95% success rate, are at a high risk of failing in smokers vs. nonsmokers. So before you pick up another pack, think about these few things:

1. Periodontal disease is a very real problem. Although most adults, at some point in their life, will suffer from some form of this, the likelihood of recurring infections and severity of the disease increases dramatically with smoking. Since smoking dries out the mouth, there is a higher buildup of plaque along the teeth, which leads to the formation of harmful bacteria. The first sign of gum disease is usually bleeding, but if you smoke, the gum has become hardened due to the inhalation of tobacco and chemicals. Because of this, smokers are less likely to show these initial symptoms. This allows disease to spread unnoticed and can wreak havoc on the soft tissues of the gum and can even lead to jaw bone infection.
2. Procedures like crowns and bridges can have a dramatically positive effect on your smile and they look amazing when first placed. If you smoke, the gum pulls away from the teeth and what once looked shiny and perfect, becomes deteriorated. Porcelain laminates also start to lose their luster much faster if you’re a smoker. Those cosmetic procedures aren’t cheap, and it’s a shame to see them go to waste.
3. Dental implants can replace damaged and lost teeth in the mouths of smokers, but smokers should know they have an increased risk that the procedure will fail. Especially in the first weeks of the healing process, which lasts between two and three weeks. Smoking in the post-surgical time period after implants are inserted delays healing and increases the likelihood of infection and complications.

Smoking is incredibly hard on all aspects of our health and places and immense amount of stress on our bodies. Your mouth and teeth are just one facet of this problem, but they often are the most visible indicator of poor health. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting before you run into oral complications. If you have no intention of quitting soon, be sure you’re paying extra time and attention to your oral hygiene. Schedule dentist appointments regularly and keep on top of attending them. I love taking care of my patients and aim to make sure they’re looking and feeling their best, reminding them of the consequences of their habit is a well-intentioned attempt to look after their wellbeing.