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

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 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

Research Shows Oral Bacteria Link to Pancreatic Cancer

Porphyromonas gingivalis

Porphyromonas gingivalis

Most of us brush and floss twice a day for fresh breath and to keep away cavities, but there are more important reasons to keep a clean mouth: research studies have shown links between poor oral health and illnesses such as heart disease, premature birth, stroke, and diabetes. Recently, researchers have linked two specific dental bacteria, already known to be present in periodontal disease, to an increased risk for pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, individuals with both bacteria present in the mouth had double the risk of developing the disease. We want our New York dental patients to be aware of this study.

New York University researchers took oral samples of 732 individuals at the beginning of a 10-year study. During the study period, half of the 732 developed pancreatic cancer. An interesting correlation was discovered: Those with Porphyromonas gingivalis bacterium, a common “bug” found in those with periodontal disease (also linked to rheumatoid arthritis and infections in the upper GI and respiratory tracts as well as the colon) had a 59% higher risk for pancreatic cancer than those without that “bug” in the oral cavity. Studied individuals with the Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, a gram-negative bacterium common among periodontal bacteria, had an increased risk for pancreatic cancer of 119%.

The results of the study were presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Researchers cautioned that (A) it is uncertain whether or not the bacteria actually cause pancreatic cancer, and (B) they could not identify why the bacteria played a role in increasing pancreatic cancer risk.

It’s not all bad news. The good news is that, armed with this information, dentists and physicians may have an easy way to screen for pancreatic cancer, which is extremely important in a disease that shows very few symptoms until the cancer is too advanced to respond to treatment. The availability of an effective screening test for pancreatic cancer has been desperately sought for many years. Identifying the presence of these oral bacteria could provide that screening.

Researcher Dr. Jiyoung Ahn said, “Our study offers the first direct evidence that specific changes in the microbial mix in the mouth—the oral microbiome—represent a likely risk factor for pancreatic cancer along with older age, male gender, smoking, race, and a family history of the disease. These bacterial changes in the mouth could potentially show us who is most at risk of developing pancreatic cancer.”

Encouraged by the study, Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the UK Oral Health Foundation, added, “Further investigation into this association needs to be carried out but, if confirmed, there’s no reason why a saliva test to detect for pancreatic cancer could not be taken by your dentist. This would be an enormously important shift in diagnosis which could ultimately save thousands of lives a year.”

Oral health is fairly simple to maintain:

  1. Brush and floss at least twice daily.
  2. Use fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Cut back on sugary foods and beverages.
  4. See your NYC dentist twice a year.
  5. If you develop concerns about your oral health, such as the development of oral sores, bleeding when brushing or flossing, etc., make an additional appointment—don’t wait for your next 6-month checkup.

Your oral health is our primary concern. Here at our Lower Manhattan dental practice, we’re completely up to date on the latest technologies and treatments to attain and maintain excellent dental health. Call us today at 212-267-1884 to schedule an appointment if we haven’t seen you in the past six months or if you have any concerns about your teeth, gums or mouth.

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

Dental Health and Hormones

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 12.12.34 PMSome of the female patients at our NYC cosmetic dental practice have mentioned to us that their gums seem more sensitive around the time of their monthly cycle; when pregnant; during peri-menopause; and during menopause in women who receive hormone replacement therapy. In particular, they notice that their gums are puffy and may bleed with flossing. Does this describe you? Although some women never experience hormone-related changes in their oral health, if you do, this information will help!

Hormones and Oral Tissues
Hormones, particularly estrogen, fluctuate around the monthly menstrual cycle, as well as during puberty, pregnancy, peri-menopause and in women taking hormone replacement medication. A study led by Charlene Krejci, DDS, MSD, associate clinical professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, confirms that hormonal fluctuations allow increased bacterial growth in oral tissues. This added bacteria can increase a woman’s risk for bone loss, gingivitis and pre-term birth, as well as low infant birth weight. Gum disease, in particular, begins with a build-up of plaque on teeth and under the gums. If plaque is not removed during routine dental visits, irritation and inflammation occurs, and resulting toxins can eat away at the bones that anchor the teeth. The result: bleeding gums and, ultimately, an increased risk of tooth loss.

How The Study Was Conducted
Dr. Krejci and her colleagues reviewed a large body of literature from dental journal articles that reflected nearly 100 studies to ascertain how hormones are related to gum disease. According to Dr. Krejci, “There’s definitely a gender-specific connection between women’s hormones, gum disease, and specific health issues impacting women.”

Although it’s widely known that women who are pregnant have a higher risk for gum disease, similar short-term effects are also apparent during the onset of puberty, during peri-menopause, and while on birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.

What You Need to Know

  • If you are experiencing tender, puffy gums, it may be related to hormonal changes. Although you may notice some slight bleeding when flossing, don’t stop flossing! Do let us know if your gums become very sensitive. We can help!
  • The best time to schedule a cleaning is the week after your menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels are lower. Hormone-induced gum swelling can affect both the measurements of “pocket depth,” (which tells us about your gum health) and discomfort during cleaning.
  • Be more vigilant with brushing and flossing the week prior to your cycle. Although we advise all our patients to lower their risk of gum disease by brushing and flossing twice a day, it’s wise to be particularly thorough the week prior to your cycle, before a rise in estrogen may make your gums a bit tender.
  • Schedule fillings or dental procedures when hormone levels are lower, which is usually immediately after the end of your cycle. Be aware that estrogen also increases mid-cycle.
  • If you have known gum disease, get treatment prior to becoming pregnant to avoid an increase in gingivitis during pregnancy when symptoms may increase at the same time that treatment options are somewhat fewer.

We consider it a privilege to care for your dental health. Never hesitate to phone us if you have a concern. If we haven’t seen you in the past 6 months, please call us today at 212-267-1884 to schedule an appointment!

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

Best Supplements for Strong, Healthy Teeth

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 10.36.39 AMMany patients treated at my Manhattan cosmetic dental practice believe in the power of vitamin and mineral supplements. They take them because they know that sticking with the healthiest diet doesn’t always happen; that our soils are depleted of minerals compared with even 50 years ago, and because they want to maximize their health and well being. If you’re interested in identifying the best vitamins for your teeth, I have some suggestions.

Teeth are Bones

Most of us don’t think about teeth that way but it’s true: teeth are bones. As such, they require certain nutrients to stay strong. Those nutrients include Calcium, and Vitamins A, B, and D.

Calcium for Strong Teeth

You already know about the positive relationship between calcium and bones, right? Without adequate calcium, you have an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Fortunately, it’s easy to get enough calcium if you consume dairy, as milk, cheeses and yogurts are loaded with this important mineral. If you’re a vegan, focus on mustard greens, kale and similar dark greens, as well as nuts, beans and tofu.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is often called the “healing” vitamin because, without it, healing suffers. Those low in Vitamin A stores have weakened mucous membranes around their gums, and often are slow to heal from oral cuts. Vitamin A also contributes to a healthy flow of saliva. Vegans can find plenty of Vitamin A in orange and yellow foods like sweet potatoes, mangoes and carrots, as well as dark leafy greens like collard greens, kale and spinach. Carnivores can get their Vitamin A from liver, fish and egg yolks.

Vitamin B

Do you have receding gums? If you’re deficient in Vitamin B, you have a higher risk for that problem. Vitamin B deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies that affect the teeth and mouth. Ever notice a burning sensation in the mouth, particularly on the tongue? This can also reflect a Vitamin B deficiency, as can paleness in the tissue of the inner cheeks. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to avail yourself of adequate vitamin B, as it’s plentiful in animal foods and fortified cereals and beverages.

Vitamin D

Known as the sunshine vitamin, you can increase your Vitamin D stores by spending 15-20 minutes a day outside in the sunshine. Not a sun worshipper? Take Vitamin D3, called cholecalciferol. This is the same form of Vitamin D made by your body when exposed to sunlight. Supplements, purchased without a prescription, as usually made from the fat of lambs’ wool. Some Vitamin D supplements, such as D2 or calciferol, are made from irradiated fungus. It’s our policy that Mother Nature Knows Best, so we tend to stick with the D3 form when recommending additional Vitamin D to our lower Manhattan cosmetic dentistry patients.

If you haven’t seen us within the past six months, call our office today at 212-267-1884!

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

5 Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.00.36 PMWisdom teeth are something most people have to deal with at some point in their lives. Statistics say that, although not everyone develops a third set of molars (i.e., “wisdom teeth”), about 90% of people do have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, which often leads to extraction to avoid infection, misalignment of surrounding teeth and a host of other difficulties noted below.

The Facts About Wisdom Teeth

Our ancestors tended to have mouthes and very strong jaws because they ate most of their food raw. Over the centuries, however, our jaws became smaller as a result of dental care and a custom of primarily eating cooked food. Unfortunately, many of us still get that third set of molars, called wisdom teeth, but there’s often too little jaw space for those “extra” teeth. Hence, the teeth are unable to break through the gums, which causes them to become impacted below the gum’s surface.

Here are 5 unique warning signs that may be caused by impacted wisdom teeth:

  1. Mouth pain or stiffness
  2. Bad Breath or Taste
  3. Shifting of permanent teeth
  4. Pain or swelling in gums
  5. Swollen Glands

It’s wise to note that sometimes wisdom teeth cause problems that you may not feel. Wisdom teeth can lead to infections–studies show that approximately 25% of those with asymptomatic wisdom teeth develop gum disease (aka periodontal disease). When periodontal disease is left untreated, it can cause receding gums, gum pockets, bone deterioration and tooth loss. Studies show that periodontal disease can increase the risk for low birth-weight and premature babies, and to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The Bottom Line About Wisdom Teeth

If you’re having any of the above symptoms, schedule an appointment to see us. If we haven’t seen you in the past six months, schedule an appointment to see us. Sticking to a twice-yearly schedule of dental exams makes it possible for our Lower Manhattan dentists to keep a watchful eye on your dental health. Call us today at 212-267-1884. Your smile will thank you!

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