Chocolate is a “Super Fruit”

August 7, 2012 by admin · 5 Comments
Filed under: Health Related 

Fruits are considered “super fruits” based on their antioxidant capacity.  Polyphenols are linked to health benefits and the more a food contains, the healthier it is considered.  Chocolate and cocoa powder are made from the fruit of a cocoa tree.  More precisely, an extract is taken from seeds found in the cacao tree fruit.  Although these seeds are called cacao beans, they are actually fruit.

Researchers at the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition in Hershey, PA, compared powders from both cocoa and dark chocolate and other fruit drinks to determine antioxidant levels for each.  Fruit drinks included three commercially available brands for each:  acai, blueberry, cranberry, and pomegranate.  No fruit drinks made of more than one fruit were tested.  Polyphenol and flavanol content of the powders were then measured.

Dark chocolate had higher levels of antioxidants than the fruits and the cocoa powder.  The highest antioxidant level among the fruit powders was pomegranate.  Cocoa powders tested were comparable to pomegranate drinks for antioxidant levels.

Cocoa powder is often alkalized or “dutched” to mellow the flavor.  Alkalizing will reduce the antioxidant value of the cocoa.  Only natural, non-alkalized cocoa and chocolate were used in this study.

Medication-Induced Dry Mouth

January 17, 2012 by admin · 18 Comments
Filed under: Geriatric dentistry 

Leading dental and pharmacy organizations are teaming up to promote oral health and raise public awareness of dry mouth, a side effect commonly caused by taking prescription and over-the-counter medications.  More than 500 medications can contribute to oral dryness, including antihistamines (for allergy or asthma), antihypertensive medications (for blood pressure), decongestants, pain medications, diuretics and antidepressants.  In its most severe form, dry mouth can lead to extensive tooth decay, mouth sores and oral infections, particularly among the elderly.  Nearly half of all Americans regularly take at least one prescription medication daily, including many that produce dry mouth, and more than 90% of adults over age 65 do the same.  Because older adults frequently use one or more of these medications, they are considered at significantly higher risk of experiencing dry mouth.

The American Dental Association (ADA), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), and American Pharmacists Association (APhA) are collaborating to expand awareness of the impact of medications on dry mouth, a condition known to health professionals as xerostomia.

“Each day, a healthy adult normally produces around one-and-a-half liters of saliva, making it easier to talk, swallow, taste, digest food, and perform other important functions that often go unnoticed,” notes Dr. Fares Elias, immediate past president, Academy of General Dentistry.  ”Those not producing adequate saliva may experience some common symptoms of dry mouth.”

New salivary DNA tests to fight gum disease!

October 3, 2011 by admin · 10 Comments
Filed under: Dental Health, Periodontal disease 

One of the most significant advances in dental medicine, a simple DNA test, can now determine the specific type and quantity of disease-causing bacteria in your mouth!  These bacteria, if left untreated, can cause periodontal disease, tooth loss, and also affect your risk for developing other systemic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes (among others).

This new test is for anyone with symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal disease.  These symptoms include:  bleeding gums, bad breath, red or inflamed gums or loss of bone around the teeth.  Other indications for this test would be prior to extensive dental procedures and in some cases, surgical clearance (such as heart surgery or joint replacements).

This gentle oral rinse procedure is performed by swishing a small amount of sterile saline throughout the mouth and can be done in about 30 seconds.  The sample is then sent to Oral DNA labs, Inc. for processing.

The lab report that we get back will identify the bacteria associated with the gum infection and allow us to develop a far more powerful and effective treatment plan.  Through this state-of-the-art technology, we are now able to treat the cause of the infection and not just the symptoms.  The goal of therapy then becomes to reduce your overall bacterial risk for disease progression.  As with most diseases, earlier treatment and targeted treatment can help stop periodontal disease before irreversible damage occurs.

In addition to this bacterial DNA test, we can also offer you a genetic susceptibility test that will tell us if your genetic makeup puts you at greater risk for developing gum tissue infections.  This will further enable us to optimize your therapy and recare program.

If you or a loved one is in need of either of these tests, please call for more information.  It is our mission to offer you the most cutting edge, comprehensive dental health care available.

Study reveals dental benefits of Green Tea

August 29, 2011 by admin · 12 Comments
Filed under: Dental Health 

According to a recent study, there are dental benefits to drinking green tea.  Green tea contains flavonoids, and flavoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-cavity, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties.  Green tea also helps to neutralize an acidic balance in the mouth which, if allowed to persist, can cause etching of the teeth, ‘white spot lesions’ on the teeth, and promote cavities.

Drinking green tea will not stain your teeth as other kinds of tea will.  Soon there will be green tea extract in rinses and toothpaste to reduce bacteria and maintain a neutral pH in the mouth.

So go ahead and drink green tea to keep your mouth healthy.

Stay positive to prepare child for first dental filling.

October 21, 2010 by admin · 7 Comments
Filed under: Pediatric dentistry 

Going to the dentist is scary for many children, especially when they have their first cavity.  Here are tips for getting them through the procedure:

Answer questions. If your child wants to know what will happen, give her some honest details:  where she’ll sit, the noises she’ll hear and how her mouth will feel strange and ’sleepy’ for a while.

Emphasize the positive. Explain how lucky your child is to have a good dentist who can fix his tooth.  This isn’t the time to blame him for poor brushing or eating habits.

Use non-scary words. You don’t need to say ‘needle’, ’shot’, or ‘hurt.’  Instead, go with ‘little poke’, ‘magic wand’, or ’sleepy juice for your tooth.’

Share your experiences. Kids should know that cavities are very common and not hard for a dentist to fix.  If you’ve never had a cavity, find someone who has to talk to the child about how simple the procedure was.

Give your child some control. If she wants to wear certain clothes or bring a comfort item such as a stuffed animal, let her.

Stay calm. Even if you’re nervous, your child doesn’t need to see that- especially in the waiting room.

Plan something fun afterward. Go to the park or another favorite spot after your appointment, or set up a play date with a friend.  You can also take your child out for a special food treat.


Importance Of Flossing

September 22, 2010 by admin · 8 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Most people appreciate the importance of brushing their teeth at least twice a day, but many fall by the wayside when it’s time for daily flossing.

Cleaning your teeth properly includes cleaning between your teeth, and the best way to clean between your teeth, and the other places your toothbrush can’t reach, is with flossing.  Flossing removes bacterial plaque- the stuff that causes tooth decay and gum disease.

Practice the following flossing technique for best results:

1.  Break off about 18 inches of floss and wrap it around the middle finger of each hand, leaving a couple of inches of floss in-between to work with.

2.  Using your thumbs and forefingers, tighten the floss and guide it between your teeth, curving it in a ‘C’ shape around the base of each tooth- as deep in the gum as you comfortably can.  Slide the floss up and down the tooth two or three times, using a gentle rubbing motion.

3.  Move to a clean area of floss and repeat on both sides of each tooth, including the back side of the last teeth.

Don’t be discouraged if at first flossing feels awkward- it will come naturally after a few tries.  And please, ask our office to demonstrate the proper technique, and we’d be happy to recommend different types of floss to try, to help you find your perfect kind.  As well, there are alternative interdental cleaners you may find easier to manage.  Simply ask us to explain your options at your next visit.

Pain-Free, Decay-Free?

July 6, 2010 by admin · 2 Comments
Filed under: Dental Health 

Decayed teeth may or may not cause a toothache, depending on the location and depth of the decay.  For example, if the cavity is in the tooth enamel- the outer layer of the tooth- you probably wouldn’t feel a thing.  It’s only after the decay continues through the enamel to the dentin- the softer, mid-layer of the tooth that lies between the enamel and the pulp- that you will start feeling the toothache throb.

Catching the decay while it is on the enamel layer of your tooth or in the dentin usually ensures that any damage can be repaired, and your tooth can be saved.  However, once the decay makes its way into the nerve-filled pulp at the center of the tooth, the situation gets more complicated.  Depending on the degree of decay, you may need to undergo a root canal to save the tooth.  If the degree is large, the tooth may need to be extracted.

Saving yourself unnecessary discomfort, aggravation and money at the dentist can be as easy as following a consistent routine of flossing daily, brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and seeing your dentist regularly for a thorough cleaning and oral examination.  In many cases, we can see what you can’t feel, and can recommend treatment plans that will address small dental issues before they become big, uncomfortable problems.

Dental Needs Of Seniors

June 14, 2010 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Dental Health, Geriatric dentistry 

Seniors are living longer than ever, and happily, preserving their natural teeth longer than previous generations, too.  The inevitable inconvenience of tooth loss in senior years is fading, as seniors today are recognizing that vigilant oral hygiene combats age-related tooth loss.

The understanding that tooth loss is due to oral disease, rather than the result of how many years the teeth have been in service, is an enlightening moment for many.

In addition to regular dental cleaning and checkups, open communication is also part of the long-term oral health formula for seniors.  Many people require more medications as they age.  The downside to some medications is their effects on dental health.

It’s important that patients keep the dentist informed on their health conditions, and any medications they are on.  For example, many medications cause a decrease in the saliva flow, which can lead to a dry mouth, subsequent dental decay- often showing up in the roots of teeth where the gums have receded to expose them- and possible tooth loss.  It is imperative that dentists keep patients’ medical records updated- not only can this help explain some of the dental problems a patient may experience, it can also prevent potentially harmful drug interactions with the dental office.

There are different dental considerations at every stage of life.  Only with consistent dental care and regularly scheduled continuing care dental appointments, can we improve our chances of healthy smiles right into our twilight years.

Dental Care From (Before) Day 1

June 10, 2010 by admin · 3 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Pregnancy and its related hormonal changes exaggerate the effects from plaque irritants.  And the acids in plaque can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and if neglected, eventual tooth loss.  A healthy diet, daily tooth brushing and flossing, and a continued- even increased- schedule of regular dental hygiene visits are especially important for pregnant women.  Please advise your dentist if you are expecting, before your dental appointment commences.

Once baby arrives, you will need advice on dental care for his or her gums and primary teeth.

Believe it or not, research reveals that cavities are contagious, especially for babies and younger children!  Children can develop tooth decay from being exposed to certain bacteria passed on from their parents.  The transmission can come from sharing utensils, or any other activity that might transmit even a minute particle of saliva transferred from one mouth to another.  By keeping their own teeth clean, healthy and free of decay, parents can help reduce their children’s exposure to decay- causing bacteria, and therefore reduce the chances of cavities in their children’s early years.

Thumb-Sucking

May 5, 2010 by admin · 5 Comments
Filed under: Pediatric dentistry 

Although the sucking reflex is very natural and common in young children, the presence of such a habit in a growing child may influence skeletal and dental development adversely, causing serious orthodontic concerns.  Thumb sucking  and similar habits may  affect as much as 75% of young children, and up to 13% of children over the age of 10.

How Does The Damage Occur?

Typical thumb habits tend to protrude the upper teeth, as well as retrude the lower teeth.    The higher the frequency and longer the duration of the habit will cause corresponding increase in severity of the problem.

What Should Be Done?

At an early age, treatment may begin with simple behavior management using encouragement, positive reinforcement, and rewards.  if the damaging effects are slight, spontaneous correction may occur when the habit is stopped early enough.

In cases where the harmful habit persists beyond the eruption of the 1st molars (about age 6), a fixed habit breaker/ tongue crib is used.  It is important to help the child understand the appliance is intended as a ‘reminding appliance’ and not a punishment.  Again, positive reinforcement and rewards can be a powerful incentive to help a child who needs to wear such an appliance.

How Does It Work?

A habit breaker appliance works passively by allowing the lower jaw to continue normal growth without interference of a thumb habit.  When inserted early enough, there is a good possibility for auto correction.

How Long Should It Stay In?

In younger children, it should be left in place for at least several months after the habit has stopped, or until an open bite has closed, whichever is longer.  In older children, further orthodontic treatment may be necessary, though the appliance still should remain in place for 6-12 months after the habit is gone.

How Is A Habit Breaker Appliance Made?

An impression is taken of the upper teeth and the appliance is fabricated from that.

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