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Are You Confused About Soluble and Insoluble Fiber? Part 1

Are you a frequent follower of this site?  If so,  then you already know of the concern that we have for the education of our readers so they know about all things related to their health, both their overall general health as well as their oral health.   We want to keep you informed about things we feel will eventually result in changes in your oral and overall general health that you’d likely not appreciate.  Having said that, let me tell you that our article today is the first in a multiple article series devoted to the overall health benefits of fiber for both your general health and your oral health – and this includes every member of your family.   My goal for this article series is to make sure you are familiar with the nutritional substance called fiber, how your body uses it, what sources in which it can be found and the affect it has on your overall general health and, most important from a dental / periodontal standpoint, how it affects your oral health.  So, let’s get down to business and begin this week’s installment on fiber confusion.

The basics and types of fiber

Whenever I want to learn something new or expand what I may already know about a topic, the first thing I find necessary  is to understand what it is.  So, it follows that the first thing I  need in this case is a definition for fiber and the two types that are available to us.    According to  Wikipedia, “…dietary fiber or roughage is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants.  It has two main components … soluble and insoluble…” .  I suspect that you’re wondering why one needs or cares about this indigestible portion of what you eat.  Well, I would love to address that issue by explaining the difference between the two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.  I think once you know what they do, it will be quite clear to you and you’ll better understand why you should care.

Soluble Fiber

This type of fiber actually draws water to itself and then forms a gel-like substance that slows down digestion.  This digestive slow-down basically retards the emptying of the stomach and this helps to give you that “filled up” feeling that lasts for longer periods of time,  One of the benefits of this slow-down allows you to control weight a bit better.  If you’re diabetic, you also get an added perk — it helps to control blood sugars and allows an added  effect on insulin sensitivity.  For those of you who suffer from higher cholesterol levels, the soluble fibers have been found to help decrease the LDL, also known as “bad” blood cholesterol because it interferes with the ability of the dietary cholesterol to be absorbed.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is pretty important, too, as it provides the bulk needed to produce the laxative effect our bodies need to eliminate waste.  These fibers don’t dissolve in water so, when they travel through the digestive system, what comes out is pretty much very similar to what went in..  This bulk producing fiber helps to eliminate constipation and aids in the speeding up of food and waste removal from your body.

Enough on this topic for now. In the next installment, we will talk about the foods from which you can get these fibers and how to bring them into your diet if you don’t already eat them.  In the meantime,  your Periodontist in Long Island can help to identify and treat gum disease in any member of your family.  Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease and periodontal disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.  

Do You Know the Connection BetweenGum Disease and Other Systemic Diseases?

Greetings to all of my faithful readers!  I’d like to ask you several questions (a show of hands is not necessary) about an issue that has major implications on not only your own health but also the health of your loved ones.  If you have been following my Google page and / or this blog site, you already know that we care enough to make sure you obtain the information necessary for you to understand the health risks you and your loved ones face with gum disease and systemic disease.  That being said, now let’s get to those questions I mentioned above.

Here Are The Questions

How many of you know someone who suffers from osteoporosis? How many of you know people who suffer from respiratory disease?  I don’t know if you’ve noticed it but there seems to be an increasing number of people with whom I come into contact who suffer from some sort of asthma, COPD, pneumonia and many other respiratory maladies.  And, here’s one that I see as really increasing : Cancer! How many people do you know who are currently dealing with cancer right now or who have dealt with it in the past?  Just in case you haven’t already guessed, these are the three systemic diseases we will be briefly discussing because I want you to know how these are related to gum disease.  

Osteoporosis

Although, osteoporosis has always been considered a woman’s disease, it is important to know that it is a disease from which men can suffer.  This disease affects the bone density of your entire skeletal system – regardless of gender! Simply put, it takes the calcium from your bones that is needed to keep them strong and healthy and it uses that calcium for cells all over your body to enable them to perform the functions for which each of those cells were designed by the Creator.  The purpose of this article, we want to focus on researcher findings that shows a possible relationship between gum disease and osteoporosis.  Researchers  generally feel that there is a link between osteoporosis and bone loss, specifically jaw bone loss.  What does this mean for you and your loved ones? Quite simply, this means that the jaw bone, being the basic support or foundation of your teeth, suffers loss of strength due as the bone density of the jaw bone erodes as osteoporosis develops and progresses! One might compare this loss of strength in your oral foundation to the loss of strength you would experience if, for example, underground erosion is wearing away at the foundation of your home.

Respiratory Disease

Did you know that your oral tissues are a breeding ground for multitudes of bacteria, and when you have gum disease, some of those bacteria aren’t friendly to your respiratory system.  Researcher has found that bacteria found growing in your oral tissues can be aspirated into your lungs.  What happens after they are aspirated? They basically set up housekeeping and multiply, causing respiratory conditions like pneumonia!  This phenomina has been found to be particularly strong in people with periodontal disease.

Some Cancers

How many people that you know are now suffering from cancer or who have suffered from cancer in the past?  If you’re like most of us, you’re likely noticing increasing numbers of people that you know are being diagnosed with various types of cancer.  At this point in our discussion, we would like to supply you with some research data that will likely reveal the seriousness of this and heighten your awareness of your cancer risks, especially for the male gender.  The research community has found that men having some degree of gum disease have a 49 percent higher risk to develop kidney cancer. Men having gum disease were also found to have a 54 percent higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer and 30 percent higher risk for developing cancers of the blood! The ladies have their fair share of increased cancer risk and there have been many studies that link higher risks for breast cancers and other reproductive system cancers for women as well.

What does this all mean for you and your family?  It means that establishing a continuing dental routine is vital for each and every member of your family.  It means having everyone evaluated in terms of the present condition of their oral health. It means getting everyone up to speed on a good daily regimen for getting and maintaining good oral health. It means getting treatment for any existing gum disease and keeping up with those vital routine dental followups. It means calling Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or visiting him on the web at http://drscharf.com.  He wants to be your Periodontist on Long Island and he wants to tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

 

 

Flossing: Do You Know How Old This Dental Routine Is? Part 2

Welcome back!  For those of you who were with us last week, you may recall that we were discussing some fossil findings that revealed the use of toothpicks by early cavemen appeared to date back over 2 million years ago.  Today, we are going to conclude this topic with some interesting background information which should help you understand a little more about our interest in the early development of man.  I think you will benefit from this interesting historical information on flossing your teeth your teeth.  So, let’s get started.

Just a Bit of Review

To briefly review last week’s discussion, we talked about what is believed to be a new species of man found in fossils by Louis and Mary Leakey in Tanzania and that other researchers also found similar remains in Cova Forada Neanderthal that supported the fact that toothpicks were being utilized by early man not only for dental hygiene but also for palliative care of periodontal disease pain.     Today, we will discuss why I find these earliest documented cases of the palliative treatment of dental disease so interesting and thought provoking.

Cultural Organization of the Neanderthal

Researcher and co-author in the Cova Forada study , Marina Lozano, views this data as a positive step toward the beginning of understanding the Neanderthal species.  Because this species of early man seemed to have experienced a wide range of environmental and resource adaptations and because these adaptations seemed to have expanded into the area of palliative medicine, the collective appetite of science has been piqued.  When this data is viewed in conjunction with their complex cultural organization which included symbolic behaviors like burials and the utilization of feathers and claws as personal ornamentation and garments, it only serves to cause the inquisitive mind to delve deeper, especially since they also seemed to have possessed a very thorough understanding of the natural resources found in their environment. As a matter of fact, we have discovered that the Neanderthals from El Sidron Cave in Spain seemed to have developed an ability to utilize medicinal plants as they expanded their knowledge of various primitive medical treatments.   Researchers feel that the utilization of toothpicks made of plant materials seemed to mitigate painful gums and served to be a type of rudimentary dental treatments.

While using these primitive toothpicks may be considered an early method of oral hygiene, the dental evaluations of the fossils at Cova Forada suggest evidence that medical treatment for painful gums was also being experienced over 2 million years ago.  While our flossing methods and materials used have changed a great deal over the millenia, the reasons for doing so certainly have not. It is still vital to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day as well as having regular dental evaluations and treatments to achieve and maintain the best oral health possible to get and stay healthy as we age.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist on Long Island.  Please call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him online at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Flossing: Do You Know How Old This Dental Routine Is? Part 1

Hello!  Are you among those who have wondered who penned some of the ideas currently being touted by dental professionals for good oral hygiene?  Has the thought that some of those dental hygiene recommendations that your dental professional encourages you to include in your daily oral hygiene routine seem “out there”?  Well, to be truthful, I have had these thoughts but today, I would like to talk a little bit about some of the history of flossing your teeth your teeth.  

First, a little background

I recently read an article that piqued my interest.  I love getting into the history of things and why they are as they are.  This has always helped me to learn and to incorporate what I learn into my life repertoire of life experiences.  So, since inquiring minds need to know, into it I dove and this is what I found out about flossing and its history.  It seems that approximately  2.8 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Pleistocene period of human development, a species of the tribe Hominini lived.  Fossils of these early people were uncovered by Louis and Mary Leakey in the early 1960’s at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.  At that time, the speculation held that these fossils were from a new species whom they called them Homo habilis (meaning “handy man”).  It was speculated that this slightly larger-brained species of early man was responsible for creating the thousands of stone tools that were also found at Olduvai Gorge.

Dental Microwear-texture Analysis Reveals Diet

Part of the evaluation of these fossils included dental microwear-texture analysis that was performed to determine a number of things, one of which was that their diet did not consist of primarily rough-textured foods.  This texture analysis seemed to point to the fact that their diet consisted of a foods that placed them somewhere between various species utilizing tough-textured foods and leaf-textured foods.  In this analysis, they lookedv at the percentages of the tooth surface structure that contained “pits”,  which is defined as the frequency and depth of dental damage that results from the consumption of certain foods across the species.  This is a widely used and accepted measurement for reliability.

Fossils of Neanderthals

The Leakey’s findings were collaborated by some other researchers who examined the Cova Forada Neanderthal fossil  with the belief that these species of homids did in fact utilize toothpicks made of various materials to ease the pain of periodontal disease.  These fossils and findings are believed to be the earliest evidences found that document cases of palliative care in the primitive treatment of dental disease! Marina Lozano, co-author of the study as well as a professor at the Universitat Autoonoma de Barcelona says, “this disease usually causes bloody and inflamed gums, so the systemic use of toothpicks could mitigate sore gums.  However, in the case of Cova Forada, the toothpick was not only used as a primitive method of dental hygiene, but it is associated with a dental disease and with the clear intention to alleviate the pain, and that makes it unique”.

Next time, we will conclude this discussion on the ancient history of flossing.  But, in the meantime, remember to brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily and keep up with those vitally important dental evaluations and treatments.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist on Long Island so call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him online at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

 

Snacking Tips To Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy

GOOD NUTRITION IS ESSENTIAL for a child’s healthy growth and development. It’s also important for their dental health! A good diet can help your child build strong, healthy teeth, while poor eating habits puts your child at a higher risk of tooth decay.

You may understand how important nutritious meals are, but one thing some parents struggle with is snack time. Here are our best tips on how to make sure your child’s snack time is tooth-friendly!

Not All Snacks Are Created Equal

Stay away from starchy, sticky or sugary foods during snack time, like dried fruit, crackers, chips and cookies. These types of snacks can stick to the teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing cavities. For snack time it’s best to opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and cheese.

If You Indulge, Do It During Mealtime

Don’t worry, we don’t expect you or your child to never eat sweets or starches. There is a better time to eat them than at snack time, however, and that is during meals! That’s because it’s not just important what you eat, but when you eat. At mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that can help wash away those starches or sugary treats, counteract acid-producing bacteria and remineralize teeth.

Watch Out For Added Sugars

Almost all foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars–like those found in milk and vegetables–are less worrisome, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to keep an eye out for when choosing snacks are added sugars.

According to the American Dental Association, added sugar consumption should be limited to less than 10 percent of total energy intake, ideally less than five percent. To put things in perspective, one can of soda is equivalent to three times the daily recommended sugar intake of a child!

Choose Beverages Wisely

On that note, we’d like to advise parents to choose their children’s beverages wisely. Soda and juice may be your child’s preferred drinks, but milk and water are much healthier choices. Good sources of calcium, like milk, aid in building strong teeth and bones and water helps to wash away food particles that may be clinging to teeth, thus protecting against decay.

Sip All Day, Get Decay

Whether your child is drinking milk, juice or soda, don’t let them sip it throughout the day. Constant consumption of either food or drink is harmful for teeth, because not only are you feeding yourself, you’re also feeding the cavity-causing bacteria that reside in your mouth. Limit snacking to once or twice a day and have your child sip on water. If they drink anything that contains sugar, have them drink it during mealtimes or all at once.

Your Family’s Health Is Our Priority

If you have any tips or healthy snack ideas that your kids love, leave it in the comments below! At our practice, we care about the health of your whole family. Proper nutrition, especially at snack time, will ensure healthy smiles for you and your children for a lifetime!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

How Can You Save on Your Healthcare Costs?

Hello again to all of my faithful followers!  Are you like most of us concerned with living expenses and the never-ending task of balancing your budget?  If that is you, the topic of our discussion today of controlling healthcare costs may be of interest to you.  If this topic interests you, then I invite you to follow along with me today as I pass along some information I recently read about how control your healthcare costs.

A Recent Study Data Released

I recently read an article on a study, published in The American Journal of Presentive Medicine (AJPM) that reported some interesting  and eye-opening data on healthcare costs nationwide.  What they reported  I considered to be good news for everyone especially since the publishing of this data meant that the scientific community supported it.   Sometimes that support is hard to come by!  This research was conducted by United Concordia Dental and Highmark, Inc by renown researcher Marjorie Jeffcoat, D.M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) School of Dental Medicine in an attempt to help employers and their employees save money and, ultimately, stay healthier.

The Study Itself

The research analyzed  data collected over a five year period in order to study the correlation between good oral health and good overall health.  Claim information that was provided by Highmark, Inc and United Concordia was used to evaluate over 330,000 people from 2005 to 2009.  These participants had both Highmark medical insurance and United Concordia Dental coverage as well as gum disease with at least one of the following medical conditions: type 2 diabetes, cerebral vascular disease, coronary artery disease with or without pregnancy.

The Research Findings Reported

Here are some of the interesting things found in this research.  When appropriate treatment of gum disease was provided, they found  statistically reduced annual medical costs of 40.2 percent or $2,840 annually for participants with diabetes; they found 40.9 percent or $5,681 reduced annual costs for those participants with cerebral vascular disease; 10.7 percent or $1,090 reduced annual costs for those having coronary artery disease and 73.7 percent or $2,433 reduction for those participants who became pregnant.  They also found that hospital admissions were significantly reduced 39.4 percent for those with type 2 diabetes, 21.2 percent for those with cerebral vascular disease (stroke) and 28.6 percent for those with coronary artery disease (heart)!

Your Takeway

Per Dr. Jeffcoat, “…this study shows reduced hospitalizations and health care costs are possible when individuals with gum disease and at least one chronic condition, or who are pregnant receive treatment for their gum disease….”  For you, this means that having routine dental examinations and treatment for each and every member of your family can save hundreds of dollars annually in health care costs as well as keep them healthy so they can avoid or postpone those chronic health condtions mentioned above.  So call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or visit him at http://drscharf.com.  He  wants to be your Periodontist on Long Island and he wants to explain to you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

 

 

 

How To Help Prepare Your Child For The Dentist

THERE’S NOTHING BETTER than seeing a child’s smile light up a room. While parents understand the importance of keeping that smile healthy by regularly visiting the dentist, some children are a bit apprehensive about making that visit.
There Are Many Potential Causes For A Child’s Dental Anxiety

There may be several reasons why your little one isn’t too excited about visiting the dentist. It could be fear of the unknown, or maybe a friend or a sibling has told them a scary story about what happens during a dental visit. A parent’s own apprehension about visiting the dentist can even influence their child’s opinion about their upcoming dental exam.

Whatever the case may be, we want to help you prepare your child for his or her upcoming visit and help relieve some of that stress!

Try These Tips To Help Prepare For Their Next Visit!

Start early. The AAPD recommends children see the dentist by their first birthday or whenever teeth appear. Not only is this important to ensure their teeth and gums are healthy, it will help them grow used to seeing the dentist on a regular basis.

Visit a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists receive extra training beyond dental school to help them become experts at treating children and helping them feel comfortable during their appointment. Pediatric offices are also kid-friendly and provide lots of accommodations to ensure your child’s visit is as pleasant as possible.

Explain what will happen during their visit. Fear of the unknown can be a significant contributor to stress leading up to a child’s dental visit. When you explain the basics of what will happen during their visit, they’ll know what to expect when they arrive at the dentist’s office.

Stress Can Affect Your Child’s Oral Health

Not only will decreased stress make their appointment more enjoyable, but lower overall stress will help their oral health too!

Studies have shown that children who experience greater levels of stress than their peers tend to develop a greater number of dental cariesHigh levels of stress increase the amount of salivary cortisols and cavity-forming bacteria in the mouth, making it more difficult for them to ward off cavities.

Stress can come from any number of sources in a child’s life. It may be the result of a big move or it could be caused by pressures at school such as difficult classwork or trouble with friends. Whatever the source, if you notice your child seems stressed, there are plenty of ways to help such as:

  • Spend quality time with your child daily
  • Ensure they get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet
  • Talk with your child about what may be causing their stress
  • Schedule wellness visits with the doctor and follow-up visits to the dentist and let them know what they can expect at these visits

We Can Help Your Child Have An Enjoyable Visit

As your child continues to grow, we want to ensure they develop a happy, healthy smile. We strive to help them feel comfortable during their visit so they can develop good oral health habits for a lifetime. If you have any questions about how you can prepare your child for their next appointment, let us know! We’d love to help you prepare them for the most enjoyable visit possible.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Why Is My Mouth Dry?

SALIVA IS ESSENTIAL not only for our oral health, but for our overall comfort. We all experience a dry mouth every once in awhile and know how bothersome it can be. But what does it mean? And what should we do if it persists?

Saliva Has An Important Role In Our Oral Health

Our bodies are constantly producing saliva to provide our mouths with moisture–we generate two to four pints of saliva a day! Saliva aids in digestion and allows us to taste and process food. It also protects our mouths by washing away food debris and strengthening our teeth against cavities!

Dry Mouth Can Be Caused By A Number Of Things

Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands are not working properly resulting in an inadequate flow of saliva. It can leave us feeling thirsty and hoarse and our mouths sticky and uncomfortable. We may have problems speaking or trouble tasting and swallowing. It also causes bad breath. Needless to say, not having enough saliva is no fun!

Our mouths may get dry occasionally due to nervousness or stress. More serious and persistent cases of dry mouth, however, are the result of a number of other things, such as:

  • Certain medications like antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants, diuretics, among others.
  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Illnesses including Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, to name a few.
  • Medical treatments that can damage salivary glands, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Dehydration and conditions that cause dehydration such as fever, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, blood loss and burns.

 

Talk To Us About Dry Mouth

More than just discomfort, having a dry mouth raises your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and infection and should therefore be taken care of as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, we can help determine the best course of treatment. In the meantime, try some at-home remedies such as chewing on sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. And as always, drink plenty of water!

We’re committed to you–our amazing patients!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Do You Love Your Gums? Part 4

Hello again to all of my faithful followers! I’m so glad you returned for the final segment of this vitally important topic. Today, we’re going to finish this series with some information about how the inflammation that we talked about in part 3 actually works to compromise your oral structures and the rest of your body. With an interest in educating you about gum disease to protect and preserve the good health of every member of your family as they age,  we are inviting you to follow along with us now as we conclude this discussion about why you should love your gums your gums.

The Basics About Inflammation

As you may recall from part 3 of this series, we talked about inflammation as being the source of the development and progression of gum disease.  Also as mentioned previously, irritants like plaque and various bacteria get under the gum line and the battle for your continued good health begins.   Using terms like “battle”, “assault” and “enemy” will emphasize the fact that there really is a conflict going on in your mouth.  That conflict is between the offending irritant and your body’s natural defense system, commonly known as your immune system.  The human immune system is designed to locate, contain and destroy  enemies that would destroy the peace of precious oral tissues if allowed to proliferate unchecked. It is absolutely essential that YOU win that war and not the external invaders!

All Supported by Research, Past and Ongoing

For those of you who don’t know, the fact that inflammation is at the root of many serious and major health conditions has been researched for decades and the research is ongoing.  The research community is linking more and more disease processes to chronic inflammation and establishing that link is the first step to healing and irradicating some of those serious health issues that rob us of time with our loved ones and quality of life as we age.

 

Inflammation Upsets the Balance

The human body is an amazingly designed machine and, as designed by the Creator, worked quite well to establish and maintain a high quality of life for our early ancestors.  There are many systems included in the design work together to promote growth and good health but they also work together to identify, contain and destroy invading enemies.  There is a delicate balance among these “operating systems” and when inflammation is chronic and becomes widespread that delicate balance gets upset.

Did you know that the inflammation that begins under the gum line in your mouth effects far more than just your smile as it progresses?  Did you also know that there are over 500 different bacteria that research has found in dental plaque? Some of these bacteria are good and play nicely with other good bacteria in the body but some are bad and wreak havoc anywhere and everywhere they go.  

So, How Does Damage Happen?

In the basic original design, bacteria existed for many purposes.  To go into any real discussion in this area is a science of and by itself, so just to keep it simple, we’ll just say that many types of bacteria flow through the body via the blood stream.  When the bad bacteria that started the inflammatory reactions move through the body, it begins to confound the various systems and causes them to perform in a different way than designed.  When chronic inflammation gets into the blood stream, things like elevated cholesterol begin the process of plaque creation.  This plaque in the blood stream attaches itself to the walls of your blood vessels and a narrowing of those blood vessels begins.  Now you have the beginnings of cardiovascular disease which can worsen to cause heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems and circulation issues.  Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes also are some pretty major recipients of the chronic inflammation that is coursing through your blood stream. This enemy inflammation can also cause arthritis and those associated problems to worsen and all of this happens AFTER you start losing boney structures in your mouth!  

Loose teeth, missing teeth, cavities, red and swollen gums, gum tenderness and “pink toothbrush” are all signs of advanced gum disease or periodontal disease and this needs professional attention sooner rather than later.  Call me, Dr. Scharf, at (631)661-6633 or visit me on the web at http://drscharf.com.  As your Periodontist in Long Island in Long Island, I can evaluate your oral health and then tell you how I can treat gum and periodontal disease  with a laser rather than a scalpel.

 

How Everyday Habits Affect Your Teeth

TOOTH ENAMEL HAS the pretty cool reputation of being the hardest substance in the human body. So it may come as a surprise to know that while enamel is super tough, it can also break quite easily! The truth is that our teeth are not invincible, and a lot of everyday habits can put our oral health at risk.
Watch Out For These Tooth-Damaging Habits

Many of these habits seem harmless, but over time they can do a lot of damage to that beautiful smile of yours!

Nail Biting

We may refer to closely-matched sports games as “nail-biters,” but that doesn’t mean we should actually be biting our nails! Nail biting can cause teeth to chip or break as well as lead to enamel damage. The front teeth are often the first to suffer wear and tear from nail biting.

Due to the increased pressure on teeth during orthodontic treatment, biting your nails with braces can put you at greater risk for tooth resorption (a shortening of the tooth roots) or tooth loss. For the sake of teeth everywhere, let’s keep the term “nail-biter” as a manner of expression rather than a label for ourselves!

Using Your Teeth As A Tool

That darn packet of ketchup just won’t open! While your teeth may seem to be the perfect solution, using them as a tool will cause more harm than good. As strong as your teeth may be, they are not meant to be used as pliers or any other sort of tool. Doing so can lead to fractured or broken teeth and even tooth loss. As a side note, tooth damage puts you at greater risk of decay and cavities!

Gnawing On Pens And Pencils

You may be solving a difficult problem or simply thinking. Before you know it, the end of your pen or pencil is in your mouth. This oftentimes unconscious habit is an important one to be aware of. We don’t realize how much pressure we’re placing on our teeth when we bite down on something that isn’t food.

Chewing on your pen or pencil puts you at risk for broken teeth and even damage to existing dental work. Constant chewing on hard objects can compromise dental restorations such as fillings or crowns. When it comes to this bad habit, we say stay away!

Chewing Ice

Are you an ice chewer? Chewing on ice is another huge culprit behind chipped, cracked and fractured teeth. The cold can weaken teeth even further, leaving them more susceptible to breakage.Chewing ice cubes doesn’t just chip teeth, it chips away tooth enamel as well, causing serious damage over time. Even your blender needs special blades to crush ice! So next time you’re tempted, just remember your teeth aren’t equipped to crush ice cubes.

Do Your Chompers A Favor

Your teeth are made to chew food and nothing more. If you’ve got one of these bad habits, do your chompers a favor and work on quitting. If you have successfully broken one of these habits, tell us how in the comments below!

Our patients rock!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.