Tag Archives: dentistry news

Dreaming of Delicious Wines for Christmas?

cosmetic dentist nyc‘Tis the time to be jolly and what brings in the christmas cheer like a little bit of wine? With the New Year just about to happen, loads of celebrations are sure to be in order. Unfortunately, the extra wine consumption during this time of year isn’t good news for the teeth. And while we would hate to be the Grinch who stole Christmas wine (isn’t that what the story was about??), we would like to offer a few tips to help maintain your teeth white, despite the holiday cheer.
A study from the New York College of Dentistry revealed that white wine is just as much to blame for tooth
stains as red wine. The reason is very straightforward: both colors of wine contain a lot of acidity, the factor that offer that tart flavor. Acid erodes the enamel of teeth, causing rough area and grooves on the surface of the teeth that leave them susceptible to stains from other colored foods and drinks. Although white wine is colorless, it leaves your teeth vulnerable to stains from coffee, tea, or other colored things.

Wines are not the only high acid culprits. Citrus drinks just like grapefruit and orange, most sports drinks, energy beverages and sodas are also fairly full of acid, causing vulnerabilities in the teeth.

nyc cosmetic dentistSo what exactly is the answer? Stop drinking most of these wonderful beverages? Ruin your holidays by turning down the drinks? Actually, there are some less drastic measures you can take. Dental Life professionals have the following tips. Do not brush your teeth right after sipping your holiday wines; allow time for the enamel to harden again. Any time you do brush, do so lightly with whitening type toothpaste and a soft bristle brush. Have you ever wondered why wine is so often paired with cheese? Cheese actually helps coat the teeth with calcium to aid protect the teeth, particularly the hard cheeses. Enjoying some crudités such as cauliflower, broccoli, and celery are great options as well. They increase saliva, assisting to wash away the acids, and actually act as a natural brush as well.

So, the dental news for you this holiday is to be careful what you do when you enjoy those holiday wines. Take care of your teeth well, and you’ll keep that wonderful smile. And if you do feel your teeth aren’t looking their brightest, in might be time for an after the holiday trip to a cosmetic dentist. Manhattan area dentists are very well equipped to provide your teeth a profession whitening that will get those pearly whites back to sparkling.

Advertisements

A Look at Oral Cancer

oral cancer nycLives all around us are being touched by cancer. We all have friends, family members, or co-workers that have battled this ever-spreading disease, yet we try to ignore the possibility of it ever happening to us. However, ignorance is not bliss in this instance, and we should be aware of warning signs. This is true for the mouth as well. Oral or pharyngeal cancer affects almost 37,000 Americans each year, and is usually far-advanced before it is detected. Traditional methods of detecting oral cancer relied on visual check and physical palpitations by hand. New methods of detection are making dental news, making your Dental Life professional a key part of your cancer prevention regime. And while your dentist is not responsible for treating oral cancer, he is certainly a vital part of early detection and dealing with the effects of cancer.

Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use as well as HPV (human papillomavirus). Men over 40 are also more susceptible, but just because you don’t fall into one of these categories does not mean you are immune to oral cancer. Anyone can get oral cancer, so it is important to know the signs for early detection.

Symptoms of oral cancer can include:

●      White or red patches in your mouth

●      Loose teeth

●      Oral Bleeding

●      Mouth sores that do not heal

Keep in mind that these symptoms do not mean you have cancer. Many people have similar issues that are not cancerous at all. However, it is important to keep an eye on these issues and check with your dentist if they persist. More advanced signs of oral cancer can include:

●      Earaches

●      Lump in the neck

●      Difficulty or pain with swallowing

●      Numbness in the mouth

nyc oral cancerSo, what should you do if you are suffering some of these symptoms? Scheduling an appointment with your dentist is often a good first step. A dentist will not treat oral cancer, but he can quickly eliminate other factors that may be causing your symptoms. A dental visit may be all you need to put your fears to rest and ensure your mouth is in optimal health. After you have explained your concerns, the dentist will perform an examination of your mouth’s condition. This will involve a physical inspection, but may also include some of the latest technology in dentistry news, including an intra-oral screening light that helps make cancer easier to spot. With three different colors of lights, the tool allows your dentist to check for unusually high cellular activity, and monitor vein condition. If any sign of possible cancer is apparent, your dentist will refer you to a specialist for further investigation.

Oral cancer can lead to damaged teeth which can be addressed after the cancer has been treated. Cosmetic dentistry brings bright smiles back to cancer patients with the use of a number of progressive treatments, including dental implants. NYC cancer survivors have the benefit of many of America’s finest dental professionals. Remember mouth reconstruction is a crucial part of healing from oral cancer.


Mysterious Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning Mouth SyndromeMost people have experienced the several days of discomfort that comes along with a pizza or hot coffee burn their mouth… just imagine if the burning sensation persisted all day, every day. Burning Mouth Syndrome is a frustrating and somewhat mysterious condition that affects about 5 percent of Americans, primarily middle aged and menopausal women according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

The cause of Burning Mouth Syndrome is not clear but there are several possibilities including systemic conditions such Diabetes, or Sjogren’s syndrome which causes a dry mouth; and diet deficient in iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins D and B-12, or niacin. Recent research suggests that hormonal changes and possibly neurological damage that occurs during menopause may render the brain unable to turn off pain receptors in the tongue. Finally, cancer therapies including radiation and chemotherapy, as well as certain medications are also thought to be responsible for the characteristic symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome which are typically described as:

  • A dry, gritty feeling in the mouth
  • A scalded sensation often on the palate, lips and tip of the tongue
  • Bitter, metallic or other taste changes

nutritional deficiencyUnfortunately, because Burning Mouth Syndrome may have many contributing factors and manifests no physical signs, it can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. Currently there is no cure for this frustrating condition but there are medications available to help alleviate and manage symptoms. Patients may also find it helpful to:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep the oral tissues moist and lubricated
  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods
  • Chew sugar free gum (preferably with Xylitol) because it stimulates saliva flow
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol-containing products which can irritate the oral tissues.
  • Consult your physician if you are experiencing these symptoms prior to or during menopause.
  • Ensure that you are eating a balanced diet. Consult a nutritionist if necessary.

Burning Mouth SyndromeDon’t suffer in silence with this uncomfortable condition. Be sure to tell us about all of your medications, health conditions and symptoms and your dental team will work in collaboration with your physicians and other health providers to ensure that you are correctly diagnosed and that you receive the relief you need.


How Cavities Start

How do cavites start

Sweets are the biggest culprit in causing cavities

Finding a cavity during a routine trip to the dentist is a familiar- if unpleasant – experience for many people; but most don’t realize that tooth decay is actually a disease process caused by bacteria, which can transmitted between people. Properly referred to as dental caries, this common oral disease affects children and adults of all ages… and is mostly preventable if you understand how the disease begins and spreads.

A cavity is actually a hole in the tooth. The hole is the end result of an infection by bacteria that produce acids which dissolve tooth structure. The dentist fills these holes as they are discovered but unfortunately, placing a filling the tooth without reducing the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth doesn’t usually cure the disease, and new cavities are likely to develop. Over 500 varieties of oral bacteria are found in the mouth, including the acid-producing Streptococcus mutans which is largely responsible for cavities. When they are not thoroughly and regularly removed by careful brushing and flossing, bacteria reproduce and thrive in a sticky substance that allows them to adhere to and destroy tooth surfaces. The key to controlling the caries disease process is to eliminate or control the cause – that sticky bacterial colony known as dental plaque.

Citric acid cause cavities

Sugary or starchy foods that are left over in the mouth after eating provide a source of food for Streptococcus mutans, which creates acid as a waste product. Acids in the mouth break down and dissolve the minerals, primarily calcium in the teeth. As you probably are aware, brushing and flossing removes both the leftover food particles and the plaque, and is therefore a first line of defense against tooth decay. However, sometimes even people who have good oral hygiene develop cavities.

What is the explanation?

Flossing helps mouth healthBacteria are too small to be seen and can easily work their way underneath tiny cracks and openings that typically develop over time around old fillings, crowns and bridge work. Furthermore, when the molars are being formed, often deep and narrow grooves develop in the chewing surfaces. These grooves are wide enough to allow acids and microscopic bacteria to enter but too narrow to be cleaned with your tooth brush. That’s why even people who take excellent care of their teeth and have had great checkups for years still need periodic dental x-rays and professional examinations.

Because the risk of getting a cavity is directly related to both bacteria and the acid level in your mouth there are several steps you can take to prevent the caries process from starting:

  • Don’t allow sweet drinks or foods to linger in the mouth over long periods of time. The longer teeth are exposed to these substances the more time bacteria will have to feed on it and produce acids that will bathe and destroy the teeth.
  • Avoid sour candy and limit food and drink like soda, tea, and citrus fruits which increase the acidity of the mouth and harm the enamel.
  • Stay away from anything sweet that sticks to the teeth. Foods like fruit rollups or taffy are obvious problems, but even “healthy” foods like raisins can stick and become be a source of food for decay causing bacteria!
  • Brush twice and floss at least once daily to remove plaque.
  • If you can’t brush after eating or drinking, rinse with water.
  • Maintain regular dental checkups with periodic x-rays to check under fillings and between teeth where the dentist can’t see.
  • Consider placing sealants (a semi-permanent plastic coating) on molars when they first erupt around age 6; this will keep harmful bacteria from invading deep inaccessible grooves.
  • Make sure everyone in the family has had a checkup and is controlling their cavity risk factors when a new baby is on the way. Oral bacteria are transmitted between family members!
  • Fluoride helps to remineralize teeth that have been “softened” with acids. Use fluoride toothpaste and ask your dental professional whether you are at high risk for cavities. Fluoride or another type of mouth rinse may also be recommended in either an over the counter or prescription strength.
  • A one ounce piece of cheese eaten at the end of a meal helps neutralize acids.
  • Xylitol, a sugar alcohol found in many products or sold as a sweeter chemically interacts with bacteria, preventing them from reproducing and reducing the acidity of the mouth. Ask your dental professional how you can incorporate Xylitol products into your diet.
  • Specialized laser instruments are available to detect early cavities that are still too small to see. If detected early, in many cases these can be repaired (remineralized) without drilling and filling simply by adding minerals back into the dissolving tooth structure.

Tooth with cavity Managing dental caries is about more than just filling cavities. Though you may not have been aware of it, your dentist assesses your risk factors for tooth decay, including dietary and oral hygiene habits, family history and sometimes even body chemistry and saliva flow. A variety of techniques can be implemented at home and in the dental office to lower your risk for developing cavities and the dentist can make specific recommendations based on his assessment. Do you have a positive experience with any of the decay prevention techniques discussed in the article? We would like to hear from you!


Dry Mouth: Beyond Thirst

Is your mouth constantly dry and uncomfortable? Do you drink glasses and glasses ofDrugs can can dry mouth water in an attempt to hydrate your tongue, cheeks, and gums—but nothing seems to cure your ailments? Well, first things first: maybe you’re not thirsty! While dehydration is most obvious cause of dry mouth, there are other factors that commonly contribute—and they’re probably incorporated into your daily routine.

In its simplest regard, dry mouth is a result of inadequate saliva production. Saliva is produced to assist people in speaking, eating, and swallowing. Without enough saliva, any normal activities involving your mouth will continue to dehydrate your mouth. Throughout a day, you habitually and often unknowingly utilize your mouth, and in turn constantly deplete your saliva at practically all times. When your body isn’t producing saliva, the dryness builds up more and more, causing further symptoms detrimental to your oral health.

Red, dry, raw, cracked lips are some symptoms of dry mouthThe most common symptoms associated with diagnosed dry mouth are frequent thirst, dry/sticky tongue, sores, dry lips, cracked corners of the mouth, dry or burning mouth and throat, rawness of the tongue, hoarse voice, and even bad breath.

So dry mouth and it’s correlated symptoms are caused by a reduction in saliva—but if drinking a lot of water isn’t helping you produce more saliva, what inhibits your body from this natural function?

Various pharmaceuticals are the largest cause. Recent studies have found that many drugs, over the counter or prescription, have mouth drying and saliva inhibiting side effects. The ADA and other health organizations are trying to bring awareness to consequences and risks of over 500 drugs and their contribution to dry mouth. Many people ingest dry-mouth-causing drugs on a daily basis (nearly half of Americans) because it’s a common side effect of pain relievers, anti-depressants, blood pressure medications, asthma and allergy relief, and diuretics.

This poses problem because the people who take these drugs are usually especially dependent on their medications. Prescriptions and other meds greatly assist the daily functions of millions of Americans. But at the same time, they cause other problems that may have bigger consequences than users realize.

And other than discomfort, dry mouth can contribute to actual oral health problems. When your mouth is dry, it’s more susceptible to getting sores, which can become quickly infected without protection from saliva. Also, saliva helps prevent teeth decay by cleaning and coating your teeth, so dry mouth often contributes to decaying, chipping, and overall unhealthy teeth.

If you’re not on any sort of daily medication and dry mouth persists, there are a few other causes. Smoking and chewing tobacco have huge health risks, dry mouth among them. Also, neck or back injuries can cause nerve damage that inhibits the body from sending saliva production messages to the brain. Any medical condition that resulted in the surgical removal of salivary glands would also cause dry mouth.

If you have dry mouth, here are some dos and don’ts to help you cope:

DO: Maintain a daily oral health routine. Brush your teeth and tongue with toothpaste that has fluoride. And as always, remember to floss.

DON’T: Eat spicy, sugary, or dry foods. They’ll only add to the dryness.

DO: Chew sugar free gum or suck on sugar free candies and lozenges. This can help stimulate saliva production.

DON’T: Smoke or drink excessive alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.

DO: Try out mouth guards with gel to produce artificial saliva.

Most of all, DO tell your doctor or dentist. They can help you figure out the cause of your dry mouth case, suggest treatment, and possibly change your daily prescription to something with less harmful or annoying side effects. At best, DON’T let your dry mouth persist.