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The Top Ten Ways to Wreck Your Teeth

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If you don't care about having healthy teeth and a great SMILE for a LIFETIME, here are the top 10 ways to wreck your teeth:

1. Think that If nothing hurts in your mouth, everything must be OK. This couldn't be furthest from the truth. After the age of 30, the number 1 reason to lose teeth is to gum disease. If the dentist or hygienist doesn't remove tartar from your teeth, your gums will become inflamed and bone may be permanently damaged. Not only will you have bad breath, but your teeth may also get loose and be permanently lost.

2. Drink acidic beverages with your meals. Many people think its OK to drink diet sodas because these beverages have no sugar. Little do they realize that acid softens the enamel (the outside layer of the tooth) and acid makes teeth more susceptible to wear and decay. Acidic beverages include regular sodas, diet sodas, Gatorade, Arizona iced tea and Energy drinks.

3. Don't wear a Night Guard to protect your teeth as you grind your teeth in your sleep. A high percentage of people grind their teeth in their sleep. This causes chipping and shortening of your teeth. This translates into a very AGED looking smile!

4. Use your teeth as tools. If you can't open something and you use your teeth, this is a great way to chip the edges of your teeth.

5. Don't floss your teeth. If you don't floss your teeth on a regular basis meaning once a day, you will be leaving bacteria and food between your teeth and underneath the gum line. This can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.

6. Use the hardest toothbrush you can find to aggressively do a great job of cleaning your teeth. WRONG!!! Although enamel is the strongest substance in the body, it can still be worn away with a hard brush. Plaque is soft. To get plaque off your teeth, use a soft toothbrush to effectively clean at the gum line taking 2 minutes to clean your mouth.

7. Smoke cigarettes. Smoking is bad for both your teeth and gums. It causes your teeth to yellow and smoking can make your gums more prone to developing gum disease with bone loss. Smoke to lose your teeth at an early age.

8. Abuse drugs. Illegal medications such as cocaine and crystal meth cause dry mouth. If your mouth is not well lubricated and buffered by saliva, you can get decay practically overnight. These substances also cause you to feel jittery and clench your teeth, thus chipping the edges of your teeth.

9. Drink lots of red wine, coffee and tea. If you want to yellow your teeth the fastest, eat a lot of colored foods such as blueberries and drink a lot of colored beverages!

10. Eat frequently throughout the day without brushing your teeth. Every time you eat, the byproduct of bacteria munching on the food you eat will cause an acid attack. Keep that acid coming, don't brush and don't drink a lot of water to wreck your teeth the fastest!

Diabetes, Minorities and Oral Health

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Researchers are trying to understand what makes minorities more at risk for diabetes. Nothing concrete yet, but it's a fact that diabetes is on the rise among African Americans and Latinos. African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to develop diabetes as whites of similar age and gender. Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely and Mexican-Americans are twice as likely.

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to produce or use insulin. The Western diet is high in processed and fast foods. Many fast foods have little nutritional value and often contain high amounts of sodium and fat. This type of diet increases the chances of one becoming obese and developing Type 2 diabetes.

Although science has yet to determine the exact cause of diabetes, research has shown that poor dietary habits and a lifestyle without much exercise will increase your chances of developing diabetes. So what do you do if you know because of your ethnicity, family history or weight that you may be prone to developing diabetes?

• Get your blood sugar tested
• Get your blood pressure checked
• Take all medicines as directed by your doctor.
• Follow a diet and exercise plan your doctor recommends.

Diabetes can also weaken your mouth's germ-fighting powers. High blood sugar levels can wreak havoc and let gum disease get out of control, which in turn will make the diabetes harder to control. Often, gum disease is painless and you many not even know you have it until serious damage is done. Regular check-ups with your dentist are the best weapon to detect gum disease early. Some early warning signs that you can watch for are:

• Bleeding gums when you brush or floss. Bleeding is never normal. Even if your
gums don't hurt, get them checked.
• Red, swollen, or tender gums.
• Gums that have pulled away from teeth. Part of the tooth's root may show, or your
teeth may look longer.
• Pus between the teeth and gums.
• Bad breath.
• Permanent teeth that are loose or moving away from each other.
• Changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite.

Diabetes affects 23.6 million Americans. If you have any of the above symptoms, please get an appointment for a check up. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, please know that this disease can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, teeth, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body. It is important to get your blood sugar under control to protect your long-term health.

Is Your Smile Aging You?

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Chips, cracks, stains and other signs of wear can add years to your face. Many of us are obsessive when it comes to our skin, noticing a wrinkle here and there or skin sagging, but most people don't give their teeth the scrutiny they deserve.

A smile can show our age and many times can make us appear older. A beautiful bright smile with teeth that have the proper length and contour are a sign of youth and can give the appearance of health. Many people grind their teeth during their sleep and are totally unaware. Researchers are not exactly sure why people grind their teeth but point to several factors--stress, genetics, behavior and even a bad bite. Most people swear that they don't grind, but often exhibit symptoms of their behavior. People that grind may get headaches, toothaches or have sore muscles in their face and neck. Dentists can also identify teeth grinders by the wear facets they leave on their teeth. If you have these wear patterns, you grind and chances are, that you are not going to stop. To protect your teeth from further wear, your dentist can make you a custom-made night guard. If you continue to grind without protection, your teeth will get shorter and shorter over the years. As teeth wear down, they don't give the lips and facial skin the support these structures need, thus giving the aged appearance that most people detest.

So, how can you look younger almost overnight?

One of the earliest changes that occur in an aging smile is the color of the teeth. As we age, teeth not only pick up color from coffee, tea, and smoking, but also many of the foods we eat can cause our teeth to yellow over time. Teeth whitening is a simple procedure that can create a youthful smile. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, bleaching is the most requested dental cosmetic procedure.

As we age, there is a loss of facial height between the tip of the nose and the tip of our chin. One of the most powerful answers to a more youthful face can be as simple as having your cosmetic dentist evaluate you for porcelain veneers. By restoring the smile with veneers you can add millimeters to the face of your teeth, lengthen the teeth, which in turn can restore facial and lip support making you look 10 or 15 years younger.

If you are interested in looking younger, ask your cosmetic dentist to do a Smile Preview of what your face would look like with more youthful looking teeth. This simulation can often be done very quickly. Below is a simulation of what making longer teeth and increasing the vertical dimension of the face can do. This patient's Preview was done at one of our Complimentary Smile Makeover Parties. He looks more than Ten Years Younger!!!


Can what I drink damage my teeth?

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Every day, billions of people from all over the world drink coffee, wine and tea. These drinks have been part of human history for thousands of years. Is it possible that these beloved beverages can actually be ruining our teeth?

In a word, yes!

Although many of us love to start the morning with a hot cup of coffee, and wine is a social lubricant for many a dinner party and high-class reception, these beverages can harm our teeth. In addition to the other health effects of caffeine and alcohol, these drinks have particular impact on our dental health.

So what is it about wine and coffee that make them so damaging to teeth?

The answer: acid.

Coffee and wine are both highly acidic beverages. The acid in these drinks interacts with the enamel in our teeth and causes the tooth enamel to break down over time.

Coffee and wine also can stain our teeth. If you're a heavy drinker of coffee or wine, your teeth are likely to show unsightly signs of your beverage consumption.

So what can you do? How can you enjoy a morning cup of coffee or an evening glass of wine without worrying about damaging your teeth?

Here are a few tips:

• Sip, don't slosh. Try to avoid the amount of contact that the drink makes with your teeth. While you're drinking your coffee, try not to slosh the coffee around in your mouth - don't cause your teeth to be in contact with the liquid any longer than necessary.

• Use a straw. If you're a frequent visitor to Starbucks or other coffee places, get a straw to drink your mocha frappucino. Drinking through a straw causes the liquid to pass by your teeth - reducing the amount of contact that the acidic liquid makes with your tooth enamel.

• Don't brush too soon after drinking. So you just had a cup of coffee/glass of wine. Your teeth are coated with a thin layer of acid, eating away at your tooth enamel. You might think that the solution is to go brush your teeth, right? WRONG. If you brush too soon after drinking coffee or wine, you might actually make the problem worse. The act of brushing your teeth will spread the acid around and disperse the acidic effects farther and deeper into your tooth enamel. Wait at least an hour after drinking coffee or wine - and drink some water - prior to brushing.

• Beware of white wine. Most people assume that red wine is the biggest culprit in damaging and staining teeth - but recent research suggests that white wine might actually be more harmful. Avoid the effects of wine by sipping your drink less frequently - and try not to "soak" your teeth. (Some of the worst effects of wine on teeth have been observed in wine tasters - who frequently "soak" their teeth as a side effect of sampling dozens of different wines.)

• Be cheesy. One of the best ways to counteract the effects of wine on your teeth is to eat some cheese - either along with or shortly after your wine drinking. Cheese contains calcium, which helps to prevent dental erosion - by eating cheese; you are helping to replace the calcium in your tooth enamel that is damaged by the acid in the wine. There's a reason why wine and cheese go together so well...

You don't have to give up drinking coffee and wine. But just be aware that there are risks to your teeth.

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make Your First Impression

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You are walking down a crowded city street and you look up and there coming toward you among all the faces is this woman who is walking confidently with a bounce in her step and she is smiling. The energy coming from this woman is contagious. You smile as you pass her by. You feel lifted. For that moment, your first impression of this stranger was very positive. Her gift to you, even as a stranger, was an inspired moment.
Clearly, the most influential attractive asset a person has is the power of a smile. It exudes warmth, authenticity, and confidence. Now imagine how that might affect a job interview. A sales call. A presentation. A speech. A healthy, bright smile reflects the self care in one's personal health and grooming - the mark of a sound personal lifestyle that can be advantageous to a person's career.

In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, University of California researchers found that more attractive people make more money. A healthy smile speaks volumes about how a person takes pride in their oral care, which also demonstrates their overall care and nurturing of their whole body health and well-being. This then carries over to less illness at work, being more productive and making healthier decisions at work.

People will trust someone more who exhibits proper self care. So, whether it's a potential employer or a potential client you have been pursuing for weeks - you want to put your best impression forward when meeting these people - because it will translate to more money (income) for you and your loved ones.

As a cosmetic dentist, I truly believe I am in the self esteem and life improvement business. Given that, I'd like to recommend these 5 important oral hygiene actions that will surely support your path to financial prosperity:

1. Be consistent with your 6 mos check-ups. If you have an important presentation, job interview, or speech to make - schedule a check up and cleaning right before these.

2. Look at your options for teeth whitening or if more extensive treatment is needed, have a smile makeover. If you weren't born with a beautiful smile there are steps to take to get the smile you've always dreamed of having.

3. Make sure your breath is at its freshest. No one likes to be close to someone who has bad breath. Most people don't realize that bad breath frequently starts with the tongue. Use a tongue scraper daily!

4. Brushing and flossing not only prevents gum disease and decay, but new research shows that it may also help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

5. Think about wearing a Night Guard. Many people nowadays grind their teeth during sleep. This wears down the edges of your teeth giving you a very aged appearance. If you want to have a beautiful smile and look younger than your age, protect the edges of your teeth!

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.


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