Your Toothpaste Spit Shouldn’t Be 50 Shades of Red

Your Toothpaste Spit Shouldn’t Be 50 Shades of Red

 

OK, you’re brushing your teeth as usual but this time, when you spit, you notice a bit of pink in the spittle. While it might not seem like a big deal, it actually is. One of the first signs of early gum disease, called gingivitis, is bleeding in the gums, often noticed during brushing. Other signs include consistent bad breath and receding gums.

Obviously, the first thing you need to do if you notice the above in your own life, is to call our Lower Manhattan dental office and schedule an appointment. We’re pros at controlling and conquering periodontal disease before it leads to tooth loss. After a thorough dental exam, we’ll create a plan of action to get you back to dental health.

Prevention of gum disease is, however, the best route, inasmuch as I assume you’d like to avoid the “pink in the sink” phenomenon. If you follow these suggestions, I promise you a healthier dental profile!

  1. Stay away from tobacco! That includes vaping and other forms of tobacco use.
  2. Call us when you start a new prescription, as some meds contribute to gum disease.
  3. Buy an oral flossing machine and use it every day!
  4. Learn how to brush properly. Ask us or, faster, check out YouTube for videos
  5. Use mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol.
  6. Stay away from sweets
  7. Keep your twice-a-year appointments

To your health & beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists

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Happy Teeth, Healthy Holidays

Happy Teeth, Healthy Holidays

It’s that time of year that sweets are everywhere–at the office, in the coffee room, on a co-worker’s desk, and at every special event. Here are our NY cosmetic dental office, we see thousands of patients a year and, to a one, they want to keep cavities and dental erosion at bay. Here are some tips to foster a happy holiday season that will keep you smiling!

Celebrate Crudités! Those trays of veggies and dip can be a lifesaver both for your general health and your pearly whites! Not only are they super low in sugar, they contain water that washes away sugars from your tooth surfaces, require chewing that turns on the saliva spigot, and they actually “scrub” your teeth, due to their crunchy nature! Super Tip: Fill up on crudités first, to help you avoid the more sugary foods!

Check for Cheese! Cheeses of all kinds are your teeth’s best friend! Cheeses contain calcium and phosphorus, the building blocks of enamel! Super Tip: Enjoy the cheese without the fatty meats that often share space on the cheese board! Your waistline will thank you!

Nuts are Nutrition in a Tiny Package: Did you know that nuts are loaded with calcium and phosphorus? Especially beneficial are almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews, which help to fight bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Super Tip: Avoid nuts with coatings, such as chocolate and sugars!

Find the Fish & Fowl: Fish and turkey help keep your enamel strong and healthy by depositing calcium and phosphate, lost minerals, back into the lesions in your enamel that are caused by soda and other acidic foods and drinks. Super Tip: Skip the fatty dressings that go along with them, or have some raw veggies afterwards to clean your teeth!

Drink in Moderation: You knew that was coming, right? Alcohol bathes your teeth in acids, as does soda, including the sugar-free variety. Super Tip: Follow beverages with a glass of water, swishing a bit in your mouth, after each drink.

All of us at iSmile Cosmetic Dentistry, wish you a healthy and safe holiday season and a new year filled with happiness!

To your health & beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists

The History of Toothpaste

The History of Toothpaste

I’m willing to posit that over 99% of patients in my New York dental practice use toothpaste. The rest may use other dentifrices, such as baking soda, but most of us are “all in” for the tubes of cleansing agents known as toothpaste. Ever wonder where toothpaste comes from? Who suddenly thought, “Hey, I need something tasty that will clean my teeth”? To answer that question, here’s a short history on the development of toothpaste!

The Ancients Used a Form of Toothpaste
Even prior to the invention of the toothbrush, back in 5000BC, the Egyptians were using a paste to clean their teeth. No, it certainly wasn’t the flavorful paste we use today! More likely it was a combination of burnt eggshells and ox hoof ash, the mixture of which provided both whitening and abrasion. Ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as the wealthy in India and China, are known to have continued the tradition of tooth cleaning via combinations of crushed bone and oyster shells, and/or a mix of bark and powdered charcoal. The Chinese upped the ante to include salt, herbal mints and ginseng, in order to improve the breath.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-6-11-43-amKnown as the world’s oldest recipe for toothpaste, found in the basement of a Viennese museum, is a 4th century (AD) Egyptian document that recommends crushing together one part each rock salt and dried iris flower with two parts of mint and a pinch of pepper for a “powder for white and perfect teeth.”

Toothpaste in the 1800s
As difficult as it is to imagine a mouthful of soap, the early versions of toothpaste in the 1800s did, in fact, include various types of soap, particularly those with ground charcoal, which was readily available at the time. You may be surprised to learn that soap was part of most toothpaste recipes until 1945, when it was replaced with ingredients that made it easier to create a smooth emulsion, such as sodium lauryl sulphate, a product still used today. In the mid-19th century, chalk was added, along with Betel nut, which is still chewed in much of Asia today. Ironically, Betel nut has been discovered to be quite dangerous to ones health!

Toothpastes weren’t originally in paste form, but marketed as powders.  The first “creme dentifrice” in a jar was marketed around 1850, followed by the first collapsible tube of toothpaste in 1892. Fluoride toothpaste was introduced in 1914 as a method to prevent cavities.

In the 1950s, companies began marketing toothpastes to prevent or treat specific conditions, such as tooth sensitivity. Over time, to avoid the problems created by aggressive brushing, toothpastes were formulated with lower abrasiveness. Most recently, whitening toothpastes have become enormously popular, as have pastes containing Triclosan, known to lower the risk for plaque, bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay. Triclosan, however, has come under fire (see this Triclosan article in the NYT) as a suspected carcinogen.

Today’s Toothpastes
Internationally, there are nearly 50 brands of toothpaste marketed to consumers today to satisfy the public’s quest for fresh breath and clean teeth. Typically containing flavoring, sweetener, coloring and fluoride, as well as chemicals to maintain a smooth paste, foaming quality and moisture, toothpaste in tubes is used throughout the world.

What’s your favorite toothpaste?

 

To your health & beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists

The Mighty Lettuce Weighs in on Gum Disease

The Mighty Lettuce Weighs in on Gum Disease

Many of the patients at our Lower Manhattan cosmetic dental practice adhere to a low carb diet, eschewing bread and other carby foods to lose or maintain weight, and/or for other health benefits. What’s news is that German researchers at University of Freiburg have linked a restricted carbohydrate diet with an improvement in gum disease!

The 4-week research study involved 15 subjects: 10 who served as the experimental group and 5 as the control group. While the control group members ate their usual foods, the experimental group’s menu centered on a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins C & D, and low in carbohydrates. Gum evaluations were performed on each patient before the study began to create a baseline for each participant, and measurements were taken at the end of each week throughout the study.

Although the levels of plaque in the teeth of all participants remained constant regardless of diet, there was a significant drop (50%) in inflammatory parameters in the experimental group compared with the control group. This shows that a diet low in refined carbohydrates and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamins C & D can greatly reduce gum inflammation.

(To see the complete study, click this link)

To your health & beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists

Hooked on Hookah?

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.55.09 PMI don’t have exact numbers, but among our patients who gave up smoking are those who took up the hookah as a substitute, in hopes of enjoying tobacco in a less lethal form. Because waterpipes often use flavored tobacco (spiced chai, strawberry and cotton candy are apparently national favorites), and uses water in the pipe, it’s easy to think that a hookah exposes one to less tobacco and, therefore, lowers the risk of tobacco-related diseases. Truth is, that’s far from the truth.

Some Facts About Hookah Smoking:

  • Up to 34% of 13-15-year-olds and 20% of college students have smoked tobacco in a hookah.
  • There is no regulation of the amount of tobacco delivered in a hookah. In other words, you have no idea how much nicotine you’re getting.
  • There are no age restrictions to smoke at hookah cafes or to buy hookah paraphernalia.
  • Research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association last October shows that hookah smoking is connected to oral and esophageal cancer, dry sockets, and gum disease.
  • Other research connects hookah smoking to lung cancer and heart disease, similar to that of cigarette smoking.
  • According to the World Health Organization, one waterpipe session exposes the smoker to the equivalent of 100 cigarettes. In one hookah session, an average smoker takes between 50 and 200 puffs over the course of an hour or so. A cigarette takes 5-7 minutes to smoke, in 40-75 puffs.

The Bottom Line:

Smoking with a waterpipe is not safer than smoking cigarettes. Now that you know, please share this information with friends and family members who are fond of hookah smoking. Tobacco is dangerous to your health regardless of the delivery method.

To your health & beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists

Resin, Porcelain or Ceramic: What’s the Difference?

Resin, Porcelain or Ceramic: What’s the Difference?

Over the past 20 years, dental patients have benefited from advances in dental technology. Examples include traditional metal braces that have been supplemented with Invisalign, and manual flossing with its high-tech alternative, water flossing. The standard in dental fillings, that being the silvery metallic fillings we all recognize, have been marginalized as dentists and consumers alike find ceramic and resin dental materials superior to their ancestor.

CERAMICS OR PORCELAIN
Ceramics have been used since the early 1900s to create dental porcelain, although the formula has been made stronger over the years, and today’s products are more natural looking than previously. If you lost a tooth in the 50’s or 60’s, it’s likely it wasn’t replaced with an exact match, due to technology limitations at the time. Today’s ceramics have an infinite number of shades to match virtually any tooth color.

RESIN
Dentists were bonding teeth, i.e., applying crowns, back in the 70’s, although the practice didn’t reach popular levels until the 80’s, following the introduction of resin cement. Not only did resin cement provide a stronger (virtually unbreakable) bond for the crown, the results were much more attractive. This bonding method also contributed to the safe and reliable method of creating fixed bridges that functioned and looked just like the original teeth.

CAST GOLD TO ZIRCONIA
While porcelain’s inclusion in crowns and bridges was commonplace in the past, the result, though attractive, was fragile, since glass particles were part of the mix. To make the porcelain stronger, it was the practice to add metals, which, unfortunately, created a problem with appearance. At the present time, here at our NYC dental office, we have access to numerous blends of glass-infused ceramic cores that deliver strong teeth that are also beautiful and natural in appearance.

If you’re interested in a better smile, and/or you have missing teeth, schedule an appointment with one of our Manhattan dentists for an exam and a written proposal for a Smile Makeover. Call us at (212) 267-1884 to schedule your appointment.

To your health and beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists

New Scanning Technology Helps Dentists and Researchers

Lucia Cevidanes with 3D images in her lab.

Lucia Cevidanes with 3D images in her lab.

University of Michigan School of Dentistry researchers have recently released new software to improve the effectiveness of 3-dimensional images used to treat dental conditions. The software allows dentists and researchers to stack a series of scans obtained over a period of time to, according to Lucia Cevidanes, assistant professor in the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry and the project’s principal investigator “… more accurately track both a disease and the effectiveness of its treatment.”

The software is called SlicerCMF, which refers to its cranio-maxillofacial applications to analyze scans, or slices, of the mouth, jaws, face and head.  It works with several imaging tools, including MRI, CT, ultrasound and nuclear medicine.

What This Research Means to You
This software enables dentists and researchers to both find and measure changes in the jaw and soft tissues of the mouth to track the progress of dental disease/treatment, jaw growth, tissue healing rate and other parameters to assure the most accurate information available. The ability to identify specific biomarkers in the scans can help our Manhattan dentists to understand changes over time as well as whether these changes are positive or negative. This then leads to better and more effective treatments.

“I think what we have done is exciting,” Cevidanes said. “Our collaborative group is recognized nationally and internationally as being leaders in the field of registration, noting changes over time and quantifying them.  At the same time, (the software allows) visualization of those changes with some very nice color maps or color-coded visualizations.”

To your health & beauty,
Jeffrey Shapiro, DDS, PC and Glenn Chiarello, DDS
NYC Cosmetic Dentists