Summer Snacks that Are Harming Your Teeth

damaging snacksDuring the warm summer months, there are tons of yummy foods available for us to snack on – fresh fruit, delicious salads, and mouthwatering barbeque. But not all of these foods are healthy for your teeth. At our Austin dental office, we’d like to talk about smile-friendly summer snacks.

As we all know, limiting the amount of sugary foods and drinks we consume is important for dental health. In the summertime, many people are quick to turn to soda, sweet tea, and sports drinks to quench their thirst. While most of these can succeed at making us less thirsty, they can also contribute to tooth damage. Instead of choosing all the sugary options available, opting for water is a smarter decision that your smile will thank you for. If you must have a soda or sports drink, try drinking it with a straw to limit how much of the liquid gets on your teeth.

Another popular beverage of choice during the summer is iced coffee. Regular morning coffee drinkers tend to drink more iced coffee when the weather is hot. The problem is that iced coffee isn’t typically just enjoyed in the morning, but rather throughout the day. By doing this, you’re increasing the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the sugar and acid, and allowing the opportunity for more damage to occur as well as staining.

Even though citrus foods are delicious, they aren’t the best snacking choices for a strong and healthy smile. Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are extremely acidic. The acid in these foods can damage tooth enamel which can eventually lead to decay and cavities. A good way to avoid this damage is to rinse with water after eating an acidic fruit. The water will neutralize that acid and it won’t have a chance to harm your teeth.

One last smile-damaging snack of summer is barbeque. This doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid all cookouts this year, it just means that all of us at our dental office in Austin encourage you to moderate the amount of barbeque you eat, specifically the sauce. Barbeque sauce is acidic, and as we’ve already covered above, acid is bad for your teeth. Not only that, the dyes used in many sauces can cause discoloration.

So instead of loading up on fruits, soda, and barbeque sauce this summer, make more smile-conscious choices like fresh vegetables, water, and calcium-rich cheese. Not only will your summer snacks taste awesome, it will make your dentist in Austin, and your smile, happy.

Serving patients in Austin, Westlake and Cedar Park.

 

Want Lower Medical Bills???

Treating gum disease is linked to improvement in overall health!  According to Reuters Health in New York, there is a new study showing that people who were treated for gum disease (periodontal disease) had lower healthcare costs and fewer hospitalizations for other medical conditions compared to those whose gum disease went untreated. For this study Dr. Majorie Jeffcoat, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and her colleagues analyzed claims from two Pennsylvania insurance companies to determine if costs were lower over time for patients who had their gum disease treated. “We wanted to see if it pays from a financial point of view, to treat the disease,” Jeffcoat said. Records for 338, 891 patients found significant reductions in both healthcare costs and hospital stays over a five year period with conditions such as type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke or rheumatoid arthritis. On average, non- dental healthcare costs for people with diabetes or stroke were about 40% lower if there gum disease (periodontal disease) was treated. For those with coronary artery disease costs were about 11% lower. Women who were pregnant and had been treated for gum disease had medical costs that were 74% lower than those with untreated gum disease. Ryan Demmer, who has studied periodontal disease at the Columbia University school of Public Health, said it’s plausible that microbes in the mouth can cause problems elsewhere in the body.

Bacteria in the mouth has been found in brain tissue, heart vessels, joints and many other parts of your body. Tooth loss and gum disease increase the results of Alzheimer’s disease.  Gum disease increases the risk of head and neck cancer. Cavities are caused by acid-loving bacteria and often spread from parents sharing food with their children, and even by two people kissing.  High levels of disease causing bacteria in the mouth can lead to clogging of the carotid artery and increased risk of heart attack. Poor oral health may worsen respiratory illness by promoting the growth of harmful bacteria that can be transported to the lungs. When germs reach the lungs, they can multiply and cause pneumonia, bronchitis, and aggravate existing lung diseases such as COPD.  Women who have gum disease have higher incidences of breast cancer. Pregnant women with gum disease have only a 1 in 7 chance at giving birth to a healthy child of normal size, in fact most of them end up premature.

So it’s your decision, but coming in to your Austin dentist, getting your teeth cleaned on a regular basis can improve your health AND help your pocket book in the long run!

Healthy Body

Are You Sleeping with A Killer?

sleep apneaWhen people sleep in the same room, there’s always a chance that someone will not get a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s because one of the individuals steals the blankets, or the other one is a loud snorer, co-sleeping can sometimes be less than ideal. However, with all of the possible causes of a restless night, only one can actually kill you. At our dental office in Austin, we want to create awareness for one of the scariest disorders that can haunt our sleep: Sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a term used to describe what happens when an individual stops breathing, sometimes several times, during the night. Often confused with simple snoring, sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that can lead to some pretty scary health problems. Unfortunately, it is often times not sufferers who realize they have this disorder, it’s the person they share a room or bed with.

Sleep apnea has been linked to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Car accidents caused by drowsy driving
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • And much more

While sleep apnea has a strong correlation with obesity, even some fit individuals can experience it. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, making it difficult for an adequate supply of air to get through. This often causes the sleeper to awake suddenly, gasping or choking for air. What’s even scarier is that this can happen several times a night and can cause people to stop breathing completely, sometimes for a few minutes at a time.

Some other common symptoms of sleep apnea besides snoring can include excessive daytime sleepiness and even unintentionally falling asleep during the day, feeling as if you never get enough sleep, waking up choking or gasping for breath, and chronic fatigue. All of these symptoms don’t need to be present to indicate sleep apnea and only a sleep study can officially diagnose the disorder.

Once your disorder is diagnosed, there are a few treatment options available. From a CPAP, which is a mask that’s worn during sleep and forces air into the nose or mouth, to a mouthpiece worn at bedtime to keep the airway open, at our Austin dental office, we urge anyone who has any symptoms of sleep apnea to undergo evaluation and follow the treatment that’s right for them. Don’t settle for sleeping with a killer; get checked and start treatment as soon as you can.

Serving patients in Austin, Westlake and Cedar Park.

Dental Urban Legends: What’s the Truth?

dental urban legendWe’ve all heard of some good urban legends throughout our years – alligators in the sewers anyone? What makes an urban legend a classic is when it’s believable. But at our dental office in Austin, we don’t really like those urban legends about dentistry – especially when they scare our patients. So we’re here to expose the truth behind some common dental urban legends.

One of the more well-known legends is that if you leave a tooth in a glass of Coca-Cola overnight, it will be totally dissolved by morning. While soda can be detrimental to your teeth if consumed habitually, a cup of Cola won’t do that kind of damage overnight. It does, however, contain acid and could stain or cause enamel to wear away.

Here’s another myth that really hurts the feelings of our team members at our Austin dental office. Some years ago, people tried to blame tooth sensitivity on too many professional cleanings and “scrapings.” This is not only silly, it can be detrimental your oral health if believed. Tooth sensitivity is often caused by brushing too hard, eating too many acidic foods, gum disease, or tooth grinding. To keep sensitivity away, we recommend regular cleanings with your dentist in Austin to ensure that all dangerous plaque buildup is removed, your gums are still healthy, and that your smile is strong and not prone to sensitivity.

A dangerous misconception relates to baby teeth. Many people think that baby teeth aren’t important, so it really doesn’t matter if they fall out before they’re ready or get cavities. The truth is, it’s crucial that baby teeth stay healthy and in place until they naturally fall out. Baby teeth are place holders for permanent teeth, and by keeping them healthy and secure, adult teeth will erupt as nature intended and extensive dental problems later on can be avoided.

There are plenty of other legends and myths that we simply don’t have room to cover here. If you’re interested in learning more about what’s actually true and what’s just as true as the alligators in the sewer, call our dental office in Austin. We’ll set the record straight and get your teeth sparkling clean. Serving patients in Austin, Westlake and Cedar Park.

Don’t Let a Dental Issue Ruin Your Vacation

dental emergency while on vacation

When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to deal with is a dental emergency. They can be painful, and, sometimes, just a pain. There are several ways you can help prevent a dental issue while on vacation, but if one does happen, our dental office in Austin has some tips you can try so that you can stop worrying about your smile, and start getting back to relaxing.

Before starting out on your vacation, begin thinking about some of the snacks you may encounter while you’re relaxing poolside or during movie nights. By avoiding some common dangerous foods for your smile, your chance of a dental emergency decreases. Keep the popcorn away, leave the sticky sweets at home (or even better, at the store), and let your ice chips keep your drink cold but don’t crunch them. Simply making wise food choices can keep your smile in its best shape for vacation, and for life.

Another way to help keep dental problems away is to see your Austin dentist before you leave. A checkup is a great way to make sure your teeth are healthy and that there are no potential problems waiting to ruin your vacation. Even if you do get your teeth checked before you head out, there is no guarantee that a dental emergency won’t happen. So if one does, our Austin dental office wants to provide you with some helpful tips.

What To Do in Case of a Dental Emergency

 

  • Knocked Out Tooth – First, find the tooth if you can. When you do find it, make sure to hold it by only the crown and don’t touch the roots. Try inserting the tooth back into the socket without using too much force. If you can’t get it in, put the tooth in milk and get to a dentist. The tooth has a higher chance of being saved if it’s replaced in the socket within an hour.
  • Lost Crown – Apply a little clove oil to the tooth if you have pain. Coat the inside of the crown with some over-the-counter dental cement and try slipping it back over the tooth. Never use super glue!
  • Chipped or Broken Tooth – Rinse your mouth out with warm water and any broken pieces as well. If you’re bleeding, a piece of gauze applied with some pressure will help stop it. A cold compress can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Lost Filling – Over-the-counter dental cement can be used to fill the cavity. You can also try sugarless gum, but be sure to avoid anything with sugar in it as it will cause pain.

 

Before you head out on your well-deserved vacation, make an appointment with our dental office in Austin. Once we’ve completed the exam and wished you bon voyage, remember to watch what you eat while you’re away, and if something does happen, you now know what to do so you can get your smile back to health and yourself back to relaxation.

Serving patients in Austin, Westlake and Cedar Park.

 

Background Image