Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day Barbecues Usher in Summer: How to Protect Your Teeth

As we enter the summer season, many of us head outdoors for various activities, many of them culminating in a cookout/barbecue with family and friends. These occasions bring us much joy and pleasure as we spend our leisure time watching the kids at the pool or a ballgame or at a park for a family picnic. But did you realize that the foods and activities associated with summer can put your teeth at risk?

3 Summer activities that can harm your teeth


The chlorine in the pool water is acidic and can damage tooth enamel. To prevent enamel erosion make sure you drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth after swimming. Make sure you use a tooth paste with the ADA seal of approval, these toothpastes will provide the proper levels of fluoride to help remineralize the enamel.

Sports Activities: 

Simple activities can lead to tooth injury. All it takes is a fall or getting hit in the mouth, while playing catch, or during a family game of badminton, etc. These injuries are unexpected but common, you can protect yourself and children by wearing mouthguards while engaging in sporting activities.
If your summer fun leads to a broken tooth visit your dentist to prevent further discomfort and damage, He/she may repair small chips with a bonded composite restoration, but severe cracks or fractures could lead to a need for root canal treatment and in some cases loss of the tooth. If a tooth is lost many times a dental implant can be immediately placed to restore your smile.


The mouth watering foods served at the numerous cookouts attended each summer can have hidden side affects on your teeth. Although not all summer foods are bad for your teeth, some are actually beneficial to the health of your teeth and gums. Below is a short list of good and bad foods for your teeth.

Iced CoffeeMany people enjoy starting off their day with a cup of coffee, and iced coffee and summer go hand-in-hand. However, because the outer layer of your teeth is very porous, coffee is one the worst stain offenders. Avoid black coffee by adding a splash of milk or creamer to lighten it up. Drinking through a straw will also help keep your pearly whites white.

Corn: Corn-on-the-cob is a summer staple at barbecues and cookouts. Unfortunately, corn is also one of those things that gets stuck in the areas between your teeth. Make sure to brush and floss your teeth shortly after eating corn to ensure there’s no remnants left behind.

There’s nothing like a handful of frozen or fresh blueberries to cool off on a hot summer day. Not only are they delicious, they’re jam packed with cancer-preventing antioxidants. The downside for your teeth? The dark blue stains easily. Try to brush shortly after; if you can’t brush, at least rinse your mouth out with water to prevent the stain from setting in.

Popsicles: The perfect summer treat, popsicles in flavors like cherry, blueberry, watermelon, or grape are also known to stain your tongue, gums, and teeth. Opt for flavors like lemon or vanilla, which won’t do as much damage to your mouth.

Barbecue Sauce: Most barbec

ue sauces contain some combination of sugar, tomato paste, vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup, and brown dyes – all things which will contribute to breaking down and staining the enamel on your teeth. Try not to smother your grilled foods in it, and brush your teeth as soon as you are done eating.

The acid from the foods we eat can tear away at our teeth, but select dairy products can actually reduce the acid your mouth. Cheese is high in calcium, which makes teeth and bones stronger, but it also contains casein, a protein found in milk that is helpful in fortifying the tooth’s surface.

Crisp, crunchy fruits and vegetables: 
Most raw, fresh vegetables and crisp fruits are good for your oral health because their fibrous nature requires helps cleanse the teeth while chewing. All this chewing causes an increase in saliva production. In fact, celery is a great tooth-friendly food choice because it helps to clean out the mouth and break down the food for digestion. 
The reason celery is so great is because it breaks down into fibrous strands that naturally clean the teeth while chewing. For the best oral benefit, you should eat the fruits and vegetables in their raw state. 

Water: We know that iced tea and soda drinks are always flowing at the family cookouts, but might we suggest a healthier way to quench your thirst that is also good for your oral health? No surprise here, it is water!
The best way to drink water is with a few ice cubes, but if you need something a little more flavorful, try adding some fresh fruits to the water and let it sit for a few hours. Fruit-infused water can be incredibly beneficial to your health as well as your teeth. Serve it up in a nice pitcher, and you are good to go!

Raw Onion
You may be wondering why we are suggesting eating onions as they typically give you bad breath after eating them, but have no fear, a toothbrush is near! As far as the benefits go, the onion is known to eliminate bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease, so go ahead and add a few slices of these to your burger!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Your Tooth's Enamel: What You Need to Know!!!!!


Your teeth are covered with a strong coating of enamel, which, as a result, plays a very important role to their protection from decay and discomfort. And although it's the hardest substance in your body, enamel is actually pretty fragile. A number of things, from the foods you eat to the amount of force you use when brushing, can cause it to wear away.
Because it can't be replaced, your best option is to do what you can to prevent tooth enamel loss.
1. Skip the Soda
Soda may taste sweet and refreshing, but it's bad news for your teeth's enamel in large amounts. Most sodas are full of sugar, which contributes to the production of decay-causing bacteria. Even diet soda or unsweetened fizzy drinks, like seltzer, can lead to tooth enamel loss because they are so acidic. Kicking the soda habit can be challenging, but if you give yourself plenty of other options – such as water or unsweetened tea – you'll soon find you no longer miss it.
2. Watch the Citrus
Too much of a good thing is bad for you, and that includes your dental health. Although citrus fruits are high in vitamins and fiber, for example, they are also fairly acidic. Consuming a lot of oranges, grapefruits or beverages flavored with lemon juice can therefore take its toll on your teeth. Keep in mind you don't have to give up citrus fruits for good; just keep an eye on how many you eat. More importantly, drink water at the same time to rinse away its abrasive juices.
3. Go for Dairy
Some foods wear down your enamel, whereas others build it back up – as long as it hasn't been lost entirely. Cheese and dairy products help protect your teeth in two ways, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. First, eating cheese produces saliva, which helps rinse away debris and acidic residue during your meal. Cheese is also high in calcium and phosphate, both of which can help remineralize enamel that has become weaker.
4. Chew Gum After Meals
Chewing gum after meals also helps stimulate the flow of saliva, which washes acids off of your teeth and protects the enamel constantly during the day. Some types of gum are better for you than others. If you're hoping to protect your enamel, though, pick a sugar-free gum.
5. Drink in Moderation
Whether you prefer beer, wine or a cocktail, it's best to drink in moderation for the sake of your teeth (and overall health). Some alcoholic beverages are high in sugar, whereas others – such as red wines – tend to be very acidic. Alcoholic drinks are also dehydrating, which means they can dry out your mouth and reduce the production of saliva, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). When you do drink, dilute your beverage by sipping water alongside it.
6. Time Your Teeth Brushing
Brushing your teeth twice a day helps reduce your risk for cavities. But brushing too soon after a meal, particularly after eating acidic foods, can contribute to enamel erosion and the sensitivity that awaits underneath. To protect your teeth from enamel loss, wait at least 30 minutes before your brush. Use a toothpaste containing fluoride and check that is has the ADA seal of approval.
7. Brush Gently
When you do brush, remember to be gentle. Brushing too vigorously can lead to enamel erosion, too. If you're particularly concerned about enamel loss, try using an extra soft toothbrush.

8. Rinse Often
As with alcohol, taking sips of water while you eat sugary or acidic foods can help prevent enamel loss as well. It's also a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water when you're still waiting to brush for a while after dinner.
9. Treat Certain Conditions
Some medical conditions can damage your enamel in the same way. For example, the acid that washes up into your mouth when you experience GERD can erode your teeth very easily. Conditions such as bruxism (tooth-grinding) can also wear away the enamel. Treating the biological habits that affect your teeth can go a long way toward protecting them.
10. Work with Your Dentist
Ultimately, one of the best ways to protect your teeth's enamel is to work with your dentist. He or she can detect any erosion and offer tips on ways to reduce it. If it's been a while since you've been in a dentist's chair, book an appointment with one today.
Article from Colgate by Amy Freeman

Friday, May 13, 2016

Oral Cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with mouth and throat cancers each year. Oral cancer can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissues, check lining, and the hard or soft palate. As with many forms of cancer, early detection can improve the chances of successful treatment. By taking a few minutes to examine your entire mouth, you’re taking an active role in detecting signs of oral cancer early. To minimize the risk of developing oral cancer, avoid all forms of tobacco and heavy use of alcohol.

Maintaining Oral Health During Cancer Therapy

Cancer therapy can cause oral complications that compromise periodontal health, so a visit to your
periodontist is important to help keep your gums healthy during this difficult time.

Oral Complications

Common side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation to the head and neck, and
bone marrow transplantation can negatively impact your overall health and quality of life. Radiation
and chemotherapy kill cancer cells, but they can also hurt normal cells. Complications vary for every person, but common complications include:
• Inflamed gums and mouth ulcers
• Dry mouth
• Difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing
• Erosion of tooth enamel
• Loss of taste
• Jaw stiffness
• Delayed healing

Pretreatment Evaluation and Daily Oral Hygiene Routine

Before beginning your cancer treatment, an oral evaluation by a periodontist is important. Identifying
and correcting potential problems in your mouth may prevent them from intensifying or interfering with your cancer treatment. In addition to pretreatment care, your periodontist will probably recommend a daily oral hygiene routine. This routine will provide comfort, reduce the risk
of infection, and minimize the effects of the complications caused by the cancer treatment.

Special Considerations

Even though pre-
treatment and daily oral hygiene can go a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy and comfortable during cancer treatment, sometimes it is hard to keep the negative effects at bay.

Chemotherapy and radiation can decrease your salivary secretion causing excessive dryness in the
mouth, and a dry mouth can increase your susceptibility to infection. Therefore, it is important
to keep your mouth moist by sipping cool water, melting ice chips in your mouth, chewing sugarless
gum, applying lip balm to your lips, and using a humidifier in your bedroom to reduce oral dryness at
night. Ask you dental professional about mouth wetting agents and saliva replacement products.

If a dry mouth or vomiting is a side effect of your cancer treatment, then it is important to protect your enamel (the outer surface of the tooth). Your periodontist can prescribe fluoride trays, which will
prevent the tooth enamel wearing away as a result of vomiting or increased oral bacteria from dry
mouth. You may also want to consider asking your oncologist to prescribe anti-nausea medication
during your cancer therapy to treat nausea and vomiting.

The relationship with your periodontist is as important after your cancer therapy as it is before
and during your treatments. This continued relationship will help you maintain a comfortable, confident
smile for years.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Gum Disease: A Risk Factor for Other Chronic Diseases

What Happens in Your Mouth Doesn’t Necessarily Stay in Your Mouth

Research has shown that there may be an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, among others. Scientists believe that inflammation may be the cause behind the link between periodontal disease and other
chronic conditions. Inflammation, the body’s reaction to fight off infection, guard against injury, or shield against irritation, initially intends to have a protective effect. Untreated chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to the destruction of affected tissues, which can lead to more serious
health conditions.

If you think or know you have one of the inflammatory conditions listed below, it is important to talk with both your physician and a dental health professional, such as a periodontist, to help reduce your risk of further disease progression. Dental professionals and medical professionals will often work together to manage their patients living with, or at risk for, the following diseases:

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading killers of men and women each year. Research has shown that inflammation is a major risk factor for developing CVD, and that people with
periodontal disease may have an increased risk for CVD. Though more research is needed to better
understand the connection between periodontal disease and CVD, don’t be surprised if your periodontist asks you about your heart health or if your cardiologist or physician asks you about
your periodontal health.


Periodontal disease can be a complication of diabetes. Researchers have found that people with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. However, the risk isn’t just one way; people with periodontal disease may find it more difficult to control their
blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk for diabetic complications. If you are living with diabetes, it is crucial that you pay close attention to your periodontal health.

Pregnancy Complications

Studies have shown that women with periodontal disease may be at an increased risk of pregnancy
complications, such as delivering a preterm or low birth weight baby. More research is needed to determine the exact relationship, but expectant mothers should consider having a periodontal evaluation to ensure that their periodontal health is at its best.

Respiratory Diseases

Research has suggested that bacteria found in the mouth can be drawn into the respiratory tract and cause an inflammatory response in the lungs, commonly known as pneumonia. In addition, periodontal disease may also worsen existing chronic lung conditions. Anyone with lung or
respiratory problems should consider a complete oral health examination to determine if gum disease is present.

Since periodontal disease has been shown to have a connection with other chronic diseases, you should try to keep your teeth and gums healthy. First, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss your teeth at least once each day. Additionally, you should receive a comprehensive periodontal exam each year from your general dentist or your periodontist. Doing so can help ensure
that your periodontal health is at its best, which can help keep your entire body healthy.

Gum Disease Found to be Underestimated in the US

According to a 2010 study by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the prevalence of periodontal disease in the United
States ma y have been underestimated by as much as 50 percent. This means that more
Americans may have periodontal disease than previously thought, and therefore may be more
susceptible to other chronic inflammatory diseases such as CVD, diabetes, and respiratory
diseases. If you think you may have periodontal disease, talk to a
periodontist for more information.