Cranberries and blueberries – why certain fruit extracts could provide the key to fighting tooth decay

By: Dental Health Org

🍒 New research shows that dark berries such as cranberries and blueberries contain nutrients that can protect our teeth and mouths from tooth decay as well as cancer and other diseases. Now, don’t forget to add these fruits to your diet! Discover their oral benefits via Dental Health Org. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

A handful of dark-colored berries may lower the risk of tooth decay, a new study shows.

Scientists have found that nutrients in cranberries and blueberries can be highly effective in protecting the teeth against a strand of bacteria responsible for accelerating tooth decay.1

These natural compounds, known as polyphenols, help fend off harmful bacteria in the mouth.

The study supports previous research by suggesting these are good for oral health by preventing ‘bad bacteria’ from sticking to the teeth and gums.

This could help reduce tooth decay, plaque and gum disease.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes polyphenols could eventually lead to new oral care products.

Dr Carter says: “The nutrients and fibre in fruit are vital for our health and wellbeing.  They help protect us against heart disease and cancer, as well as a range of other diseases.

“Cranberries seem especially good for our oral health, as their polyphenols stick around in our saliva and will continue to help our mouth, even after we’ve swallowed them.

“What is especially exciting is that these natural extracts are completely sugar-free. This means they can be added to oral care products in several ways.

“They can dissolve in water so can be used to create healthy drinks, as well as to reformulate unhealthy drinks packed full of sugar. 

“They also have wider applications for tooth decay prevention and control.  Mouthwash could benefit from this ingredient, as could toothpastes. More testing must be done but it will be extremely interesting to see whether manufactures make more use of polyphenols in the future.”

Dark-coloured berries are among the best dietary source of antioxidants. They provide a good supply of water and fibre, as well as other nutrients.

However, along with other fruit, they may also contain high amounts of natural sugar.

The recommended daily allowance of sugar for an adult is 90 grams or 22.5 teaspoons per day. This includes 60 grams of natural sugar and 30 grams of added sugar.

One portion of cranberries contains up to four grams of natural sugar (equivalent to one teaspoon) while a serving of blueberries is nearly ten grams.

Dr. Carter adds: “It is important to remember that the whole fruit contains natural sugars. This means it can still cause a risk to teeth when consumed in high amounts and too often.

“It is best to eat fruit at mealtimes like breakfast, or straight after dinner. This will limit the number of times which our mouth is exposed to sugar and acid.”  

Source: https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/cranberries-and-blueberries-why-certain-fruit-extracts-could-provide-the-key-to-fighting-tooth-decay?

Choosing the Right Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

When you want to whiten your smile, there are typically two options: drugstore kits or professional treatments. While some opt for the former as a quick and less expensive fix, the latter delivers more profound, lasting results.

Of course, not all professional whitening treatments are alike. There are two primary types to consider.

Option #1: Teeth Whitening Completed by Your Dentist

If you want powerful results, a professional teeth whitening treatment by your dentist is the best way to go. Your dentist has access to bleaching materials that are stronger than those available over-the-counter. This results in superior outcomes for your smile. When whitening your teeth, keep in mind that the results will vary from patient-to-patient and are dependent on the natural dentin color of your teeth.

While in-office whitening is known by several names—including power bleaching, power whitening, and chair side whitening—each approach offers similar advantages and disadvantages:

  • Advantages – In-office whitening is the safest and quickest treatment, producing results in just 60 to 90 minutes. Today, there are thicker peroxide gels available, which reduces the risks of gum and tooth sensitivity commonly associated with in-office whitening.
  • Disadvantages – While peroxide gels have improved, some individuals may still experience sensitivity or irritation of the teeth or gums. These symptoms usually dissipate within 24 hours of the treatment, but, in some cases, could last longer.
  • Pricing – Pricing varies depending on the length of treatment. Basic treatments may take just 1 hour and average around $650, whereas more advanced treatments that require more time at the dentist office can cost upwards of $1,200.

Option #2: Home Teeth Whitening Supervised by Your Dentist

To take advantage of professional level treatment at a lower cost and in the comfort of your own home, an at home teeth whitening treatment is a great option.

This involves a customized mouthpiece, which your dentist will create. You’ll put the teeth whitening gel in the mouthpiece and wear it for a few hours each day to maximize contact between your teeth and the gel.

There are several advantages and disadvantages worth noting:

  • Advantages – An at-home solution is not only more convenient (because you can whiten on your own time), but it’s also more cost-effective.
  • Disadvantages – While effective, at-home solutions produce results more slowly than in-office treatments because the whitening gel is less powerful. It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to achieve results. Additionally, patients have to visit the dentist approximately every week to ensure the mouthpiece fits properly and to check on the treatment progression.
  • Pricing – At-home treatments cost substantially less than in-office treatments, averaging between $300 and $500, including all materials and dental appointments.

Which Treatment Option is Right for You?

There are both advantages and disadvantages of each professional teeth-whitening approach. While the speed and cost of treatment will vary, both deliver great results. Choose which works best for your needs, schedule and budget and prepare to be impressed by your new and improved smile!

Sources:

https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/professional-whitening/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/cosmetic-dentistry/dentist-supervised-bleaching.aspx

8 Everyday Habits That Harm Your Smile

Your teeth are supposed to last a lifetime. But some common habits could be reducing the durability of your teeth without you even realizing it.

By recognizing the habits that can compromise the structure and health of your smile, you can take steps to protect it.

1. Avoiding Regular Dental Care

Many individuals skip regular dental cleanings or avoid getting necessary procedures due to anxiety, a lack of time, or other personal reasons. However, doing so can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other common oral health issues.

As such, you should be sure to visit the dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and also, as necessary, if you notice a change or issue with your teeth.

2. Brushing Too Hard

Brushing is an essential component of good oral health, but not when done incorrectly. Brushing too hard can wear down enamel, irritate your gums, increase your teeth’s sensitivity, and cause cavities.

By purchasing a soft bristled or an electronic toothbrush, you can avoid the damage while still cleaning your teeth and removing plaque.

3. Using the Wrong Materials to Clean Teeth

Have you ever had something stuck in your teeth and not had floss? If so, you might have reached for things like paper clips, toothpicks, or even pieces of paper that easily slide between your teeth. However, each of these items can cause gum and tooth damage.

You can easily resolve this problem by keeping a small container of floss or an interdental cleaner in your purse, backpack or car.

4. Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaw

Many Americans grind their teeth or clench their jaw, which can cause fractures or other damage and may lead to headaches and jaw pain. If grinding or clenching happens while sleeping, a night guard that cushions your teeth and reduces impact on your jaw can help. If it happens during the day, chewing gum may help to prevent it.

5. Biting Your Nails, Pens, Ice, or Other Hard Objects

When you bite your nails, chew on pens, or crunch ice or even hard candy, you could be causing splinters and cracks in your teeth. But that’s not all!

In fact, biting any foreign object can also introduce bacteria into your mouth and cause infections. By eliminating these bad habits, you can keep your teeth protected and eliminate additional germs in your mouth.

6. Using Your Teeth Improperly

How often do you bite open a package or try to cut something with your teeth? You may do it without thinking twice and probably more frequently than you realize.

Biting even just a thread off of your shirt could cause micro cracks that, over time, can lead to more serious structural damage. It’s easy to avoid this by grabbing for a can opener, knife, or pair of scissors instead.

7. Drinking Soda, Sports Drinks, and Alcohol

While everything is acceptable in moderation, soda, sports drinks, and wine can cause significant damage when consumed in large amounts. Sports drinks and soda, which contain acid and sugar that feed bacteria and erode enamel, leave teeth susceptible to cavities.

Alcohol contains acid that produces similar effects. Additionally, because alcohol dries out the mouth, it reduces saliva production and allows bacteria and plaque to thrive.

By limiting your consumption of all of these drinks, you can do your part to keep your teeth protected.

8. Tobacco Use

If you smoke cigarettes or cigars or use chewing tobacco, you’re also at risk. Nicotine not only yellows teeth, it also can cause oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is even worse because carcinogens directly contact gum tissues and can remain there for a long time.

While quitting any tobacco use is difficult, it’s worth it when you consider the oral (and general) health risks of daily, or even infrequent, use.

Transform Your Everyday Habits From Harmful to Beneficial

While the habits described above are harmful, there are simple ways to correct them. Transforming destructive habits into protective measures can keep your teeth looking great for years to come.

Sources:

http://www.nusmiledentalfl.com/blog/2014/november/everyday-habits-that-can-harm-your-teeth.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/your-teeth-bad-habits?

The Wise Patient’s Cheat Sheet on Wisdom Teeth Removal

There’s no way around it: the time has come for your wisdom teeth to be extracted. According to the horror stories out there, you are in for nothing but non-stop agony, but you don’t have to share the same fate!

Being proactive and fully prepared for what happens during and after surgery can minimize the pain and help ensure a smooth recovery. Make the experience easier on yourself by following these expert tips and tricks.

1. Read the procedure and recovery guidelines well in advance.

Understanding what to expect at every stage of the process can help you plan and gather items for your recovery more efficiently. Knowing potential complications that can arise—such as Dry Sockets, a painful condition due to blood clot failure, or Paresthesia, a numbness of the lip, chin and/or tongue—can also help you detect and address serious problems immediately. Be sure to raise any questions or concerns with your dentist at this time to save you from having to make calls while you heal.

2. Clear your calendar for recovery.

Many patients undermine their recovery because they did not realize the physical toll of a surgery such as this. Multi-tasking and strenuous activities can disrupt your healing time, or worse—distract you from costly complications. Put plans on hold and relax as much as possible. If you go to school or work during the weekdays, consider scheduling the surgery for a Friday for minimal disruption of your schedule, and give yourself the whole weekend to rest.

3. Enlist the help of family and friends beforehand.

Not only will you need someone to drive you to and from the dentist’s office on the day of the surgery, you may need extra support getting and preparing food, placing necessary calls, or completing important tasks and chores. Ask loved ones for help in advance, so they can adjust their schedules accordingly.

4. Stock up on supplies.

Gather items that can make your post-operative experience more comfortable. In addition to medications your dentist may prescribe for you, these essentials can help ease your pain:

  • Ice packs (or even a pack of frozen vegetables) to reduce swelling
  • Soft foods, such as yogurt, pudding or ice cream
  • Tea bags, an effective alternative (when moistened) to biting gauze when bleeding
  • Salt to combine with water for a safe mouth rinse that can reduce irritation

For a pleasant distraction from the pain, it’s also a good idea to pick up books, DVDs, music or other forms of entertainment.

5. Make a “Do Not Do” list.

After crafting your to-do list, write down a list of cautionary reminders as well. Avoid unnecessary discomfort and complications by remembering to steer clear of these major no-no’s:

  • Sipping from a straw; doing so can disrupt blood clotting and cause dry sockets
  • Eating spicy or hot foods, as they can exacerbate the pain
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol, as they can interfere with the healing process
  • Driving or operating heavy machinery; medications may impair everyday abilities

Get Your Dentist’s Advice

Last, but not least, take advantage of your dentist’s history of wisdom teeth removal to improve your own experience. He or she has probably seen and heard it all, and can provide additional recommendations based on your individual situation.

Source:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/05/23/the-survival-guide-to-getting-your-wisdom-teeth-removed

http://www.angieslist.com/articles/7-tips-prepare-and-recover-wisdom-teeth-removal.html

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/wisdom-tooth-extraction

Mind Your Meds: 6 Ways Medicine Can Sabotage Your Smile

Be honest: do you take the time to read through the lengthy medical pamphlets attached to your medications? If you thought the warning label on the back of the bottle had everything covered, think again! Often, there simply isn’t enough space to spell out every side effect on the container, and you could be overlooking important warnings to the detriment of your dental health. Should any of these oral symptoms suddenly arise, head to your dentist to find out if your medicine is to blame.

1. Discolored Teeth
Pearly whites turned gray, yellow, green, blue or brownish in color is one of the more noticeable reactions your mouth can have to certain medications. Antibiotics like acne-fighting tetracycline, as well as antihistamines and anti-hypertension medicine, have the potential to cause irreversible discoloration if left untreated by a dentist. Getting immediate help is even more crucial for pregnant and nursing mothers, as they can pass this tooth problem on to their babies.

2. Painful Sores
Otherwise known as “ulcers” or “canker sores”, these inflamed spots can pop up along the gumline and the inner lining of your mouth and cheeks. While they can be a one-time occurrence due to something such as a facial injury or food allergy, persistent cases can also be brought about by chemotherapy, radiation treatment, antibiotics, and medications to treat arthritis and epilepsy. Once a sore emerges, nothing can be done to speed up the healing time (between 5-10 days), but your dentist can prescribe medication to ease the pain.

3. Altered Taste
If you notice that food you normally eat starts to taste particularly metallic, bitter, or salty, read through the fine print of any medications you’re taking. Taste changes can be caused by a range of drugs, including antibiotics, blood thinners, antipsychotics, chemotherapy treatment, corticosteroids, muscle relaxers, and blood pressure medication, just to name a few. Rather than suffering through your meals, or letting your health take a hit, work with your dentist and doctor to identify and treat the cause.

4. Thrush (Fungal Infection)
White, painful and bleeding lesions in your mouth and throat are an unmistakable sign of a fungal infection commonly known as “thrush”. It is commonly caused by a weakened immune system, but corticosteroids, antibiotics and birth control pills can also trigger an outbreak. Because thrush can cause fever and spread easily to other parts of the body, it’s best to see your dentist immediately for diagnostic tests and anti-fungal medication.

5. Dry Mouth
Name the type of medication you use, and chances are it could cause dry mouth; hundreds of medications have the ability to inhibit saliva production. While dry mouth can leave you parched and more prone to cavities, chewing xylitol-based gum and drinking plenty of water can help combat the problem. Depending on the health benefits of the medicine you’re taking, it may be worth sticking to your current treatment and stepping up your hygiene to help manage your dry mouth condition.

6. Excess Gum Tissue (“Gingival Overgrowth”)
In some cases, blood pressure medication, seizure medicine, and certain immunosuppresants may cause gums to swell and start growing over the surface of teeth. This excess gum tissue can be a haven for oral bacteria, often resulting in tooth loss if left untreated. Being male and having an existing case of gingivitis are two known risk factors for this problem, but the chance of developing excess gum tissue can be minimized for anyone simply by seeing a dentist regularly for routine cleanings and exams.

Stop Problems Before They Start

The fact that medicine can have costly implications for your smile may be a bitter pill to swallow, but being proactive and diligent about dental care can help you steer clear of problems altogether. To help protect your oral health, read through all the medical warnings of any purchased/prescribed drugs before taking them, and double check its safety by calling your dentist.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-side-effects-of-medications?page=2

High-Tech Toothbrushes: Is It Worth Going Electric?

The verdict is in: electric toothbrushes are here to stay, and they mean business for your teeth! By now, you’ve probably seen them on the shelves, on TV or in magazines. Dentists endorse them, and most are ADA-approved — but if you still swear by your manual toothbrush, these benefits just might convince you otherwise.

The Pros Of Using An Electric Toothbrush

Making the switch from a manual to an electric toothbrush doesn’t change the amount of time it takes to thoroughly brush your teeth (approximately 2 minutes), nor should it alter your brushing technique, but this is where the similarities end. Some of the biggest advantages of electric toothbrushes over traditional toothbrushes are:

1. Effortless brushing.
Because a motor oscillates and rotates the bristles for you, it requires less energy to brush your teeth. Many even find the rounded handle of electric toothbrushes to be easier to hold, and with less force required, brushing can still be done thoroughly without using a tight grip. For the elderly, those with chronic arthritis, and children and adults with dexterity challenges, this alone can make electric toothbrushes the better choice for oral health maintenance.

2. Better cleaning ability.
Thoughtful bristle design coupled with the automatic power of electric toothbrushes makes it easy to remove plaque from hard to reach areas. The constant rotating and even pressure can also result in a more consistent cleaning than you might achieve with a standard toothbrush. Often, electric toothbrushes come with a variety of heads that you can experiment with until you find one that cleans your teeth the best.

3. Other hygiene-helping features.
Thanks to technology, electric toothbrushes come with many other bells and whistles that can help ensure proper hygiene. From timers that notify you once you’ve brushed long enough, to sensors that alert you if too much pressure is being applied or if the head needs to be replaced, electric toothbrushes can help you stay on track to meet multiple oral health goals.

4. Less plastic to be thrown away. 
Unlike manual toothbrushes, you don’t need to toss out the whole brush once the bristles are worn. Only the head of an electric toothbrush needs to be replaced, which means a lot less plastic that is thrown out in the long run. From an environmental standpoint, electric toothbrushes are also a better choice than battery-operated toothbrushes because they can be recharged.

Other Factors To Consider

Just as there are pros to using an electric toothbrush, there are a few cons to be aware of before making a final decision.

  • Price: Electric toothbrushes are significantly more expensive than manual toothbrushes; the price difference may cause some initial sticker shock. However, to keep costs down you can always purchase one electronic toothbrush and multiple detachable heads – for each member of the household.
  • Convenience: Those who are frequently on the go may find it slightly cumbersome to have to pack a charger.

If you’re interested in an electric toothbrush, however, don’t cross it off your list without trying a battery-operated toothbrush first. It’s similar in concept and feel, but much more affordable, and it can help you determine whether electric toothbrushes are worth the investment.

Comfort Matters Most

A toothbrush loaded with features won’t do you any good unless you’re comfortable with it. For the sake of your oral health, it’s worth considering all the toothbrush options available, but choose the one you believe will best help you maintain good hygiene…whether it be manual or powered. If you’re still unsure and need additional guidance, ask your dentist for help; he or she may recommend a particular brand based on your unique dental needs.

Sources:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/products/5-benefits-of-electric-toothbrushes.html

http://www.oralb.com/topics/power-toothbrush-or-manual-toothbrush.aspx