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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The Most Compelling Reason to Floss Your Teeth

The Most Compelling Reason to Floss Your Teeth

There’s a proven connection between poor dental health and dementia. What’s that you say? Yes, it’s true. Here are links to two separate studies on that topic:

The study from the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry

The study from Kanagawa Dental College in Japan

You may wonder how it’s possible that poor dental habits could lead to a brain disorder as dramatic as dementia. After all, the primary reason to floss is to remove plaque to prevent it from building up between your teeth and around your gums. Left to flourish, plaque, which is a coating of bacteria on your teeth, can lead to bad breath, cavities, periodontal disease, and even tooth loss. You can’t avoid plaque—everybody gets it on his or her teeth. You can control it and remove it, however, by flossing and correctly brushing.

Your body “interprets” plaque just like it interprets a flu bug or a cold germ—it sets up the immune system to attack the problem. This immune response leads to inflammation in the body. Long-term inflammation leads to premature aging, which increases the risk of various diseases related to aging, such as dementia. In the Lancashire study, researchers posited that the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is present in gum disease and also present in the brains of those suffering from dementia, may enter the bloodstream through normal daily activities like eating, brushing our teeth or even through dental treatments. The build-up of this bacteria may cause at-risk brain cells to release more chemicals that kill neurons, resulting in changes in the brain as seen in patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

According to Lancashire senior research fellow Dr. Sim Singhrao, there also exists the possibility that the presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis may be the result of dementia and not its cause—in other words, the very presence of dementia contributes to a lack of dental care, which leads to gingivitis.

Whether the lack of dental care leads to dementia or vice versa, we all know that flossing and brushing are essential for good oral health.

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

How Brushing and Flossing Lower The Risk for Dementia

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.57.05 AMOne of the missions of our NYC dental practice is to provide relevant information to our patients to help them make wise choices about their dental habits. Recent studies show a link between dental health and the onset of dementia, which can be minimized through the simple practice of frequent brushing and flossing.

What is Dementia?
Almost everyone has a friend or relative who has developed dementia in his or her older years. Primarily occurring in the elderly, dementia is actually a “catch phrase” for several different disorders, of which Alzheimer’s is just one. Studies show that only about 3% of those between the ages of 65-74 have some form of dementia, while 47% of men and women aged 85 and older have dementia to a lesser or greater degree. There is no cure.

What the Nun Study Shows About Dental Health & Dementia
A longitudinal study was conducted at the University of Kentucky to discover if there was a connection between dental health and the development of dementia. Called the Nun Study, each year over a span of 12 years, researchers analyzed the dental records and brain function tests of 144 nuns, who were between 75 and 98 years of age at the beginning of the study. Autopsy studies of the 118 nuns that passed away during the study revealed the presence or absence of dementia in the brain. The results were astonishing. Of the nuns with no signs of dementia at year 1, those with either no teeth or fewer than ten teeth were found to have signs of dementia at autopsy.

How Chewing Affects Brain Health
Several studies have shown that the very act of chewing enhances brain function. Chewing increases blood flow to the brain, providing the brain with oxygen and glucose, both essential for healthy brain function. Obviously, if one lacks an adequate number of teeth, food choices lean towards softer—or even liquid—options. This decreases the amount of chewing at each meal, resulting in decreased blood flow to the brain. For a more detailed explanation of that phenomenon, click this link.

We all understand the role of brushing and flossing to ensure dental health. Now it’s clear that those two activities may very well lower your risk of dementia later in life.

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