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

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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

 

New Treatment for Gingivitis?

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 2.16.48 PMA recent Japanese study confirms that supplementation with DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) can improve the outcome for individuals with gum disease. According to estimates, gingivitis is the 2nd most common disease worldwide. Estimates are that 30-50% of American men and women have some form of periodontal disease, a serious oral infection that destroys the soft tissue and bone that sustain the teeth. The discovery that supplementing ones diet with omega-3 fatty acids could reduce dental disease holds remarkable promise!

The anti-bacterial properties of omega-3 fatty acids against oral pathogens were previously reported in a research project at the University of Kentucky’s College of Dentistry. According to that study, all three omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA and ALA) limited the growth of Streptococcus mutans, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Candida Albicans, even at low doses. Japanese researchers took the next step to buy involving 46 older men and women in a longitudinal study to determine if there were benefits to dental health if the patients were given omega-3. Participants were given either 2000 mg of DHA or a placebo each day of the study, as well as 81 mg per day of aspirin, a known anti-inflammatory agent. In patients that received DHA, both pocket depth and blood tests measuring inflammation decreased; this was not the case in those who were given the placebo, even though both groups were given aspirin. Further, the researchers discovered that individuals with low levels of DHA had approximately 1.5 times the rate of gum disease than individuals with the highest average DHA levels.

What does this mean to you? It means that, in addition to a commitment to twice-a-day brushing and flossing and twice-yearly visits to our office, taking an omega-3 supplement may very well be in your best interest. Here is a list of foods highest in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Flaxseed oil and flaxseeds
  • Fish, particularly halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines & shrimp
  • Nuts, particularly walnuts
  • Vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and watercress
  • Soybeans, including tofu

If you aren’t fond of any of the foods above or find that you can’t eat sufficient quantities to achieve the recommended 2000 mg of omega-3 per day, you can, of course, supplement your diet with omega-3 in liquid or capsule form, many of which are formulated to avoid any “fishy” taste that might keep you from making this a regular health habit.

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

Gummy Vitamins Can Gum Up Your Dental Health!

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 3.52.06 PMWho doesn’t remember the fun of Flintstones chewable vitamins? They tasted like solid Pixi Stix, yummy and sweet in a crunchy pill version: everything kids love! Those types of chewables have plunged in popularity due to the advent of “gummy” vitamins for children. Knowing how adults have a fondness for sticky, chewy treats, and how many adults avoid vitamin pills because they hate swallowing them, we now have dozens of choices for grown-ups, including fish oil and calcium supplements. No doubt, gummies are yummy.

However wonderful it is that vitamin manufacturers have found a way to get more adults to take their vitamins, the glucose, corn syrup and sucrose in them are terrible for teeth. There are easily 3-5 grams of sugar in each gummy vitamin. Even worse, the sugar, combined with the gelatin that creates that gummy texture, sticks to the teeth even if you rinse after eating the vitamin. That sticky sugar makes it extremely easy for bacteria to multiply and attack your teeth, resulting in cavities. Add in the enamel-eating citric acid and you have a recipe for dental decay.

For those who just can’t go without their gummy vitamin, I recommend these two tips:

1.  Take gummy vitamin with food, such as when eating breakfast

2.  Brush your teeth afterwards, which I hope you do after breakfast anyway.

Sneaky sugars in fun treats like gummy vitamins can do a number on your teeth. Enjoy your gummies but protect your teeth! We love seeing you in the office, but don’t love loading your beautiful smile with fillings!

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