Archive for May, 2011

Vegetarians

Health concerns about fat and cholesterol these days have prompted many people to become vegetarians. As a result, nutritional deficiencies, that sometimes occur, reveal themselves during dental exams. Although vegetarian diets vary, some vegetarians, particularly those who do not consume any food of animal origin, can experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or complete proteins. They can, however, get all of the nutrients they need by eating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Anyone considering adopting a vegetarian diet should seek counseling from their dentist or a nutritionist to learn about substituting foods to get all of the necessary nutrients. Diet is a very important part of an individual’s medical history and patients should always inform their dentist if they adhere to a vegetarian or any other special diet.

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Chewing Gum – A Reason to Smile

Chewing gum in various forms has been around since ancient times. The Greeks, the ancient Mayans, and even Native Americans from New England chewed sap from various trees. Today the base for most gum products is a blend of synthetic materials and is as popular as ever. We tend to think about chewing gum as a kind of candy, but gum that gets the ADA Seal can actually protect the teeth. Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you chew after eating, this increased saliva flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids produced when food is broken down by the bacteria on your teeth. Over time these acids can break down the tooth enamel creating conditions for tooth decay. Chewing gum is no substitute for brushing and flossing but it works in conjunction with brushing for maximum effectiveness. When choosing chewing gum, look for gum bearing the ADA Seal. So far the only gum with the Seal are sugarless. The Seal is your assurance that the gum has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.

Eating Disorders and Your Teeth

It has been estimated that more than 10 million Americans currently are affected by serious eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. While anyone can suffer from an eating disorder, they are the most common in teens and young adult women. Eating disorders can rob the body of adequate minerals, vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients needed for good health. Eating disorders can also affect oral health. More and more dentists are becoming the first line of defense when it comes to spotting eating disorders in patients. Bad breath, sensitive teeth, and tooth erosion are just a few of the signs that dentists use to determine whether a patient suffers from eating disorders. Sometimes these disorders may not be discovered until it is too late and then irreversible damage has been done to the body as well as the teeth. If you know of someone suspected of having an eating disorder, encourage him or her to see their dentist as soon as possible.

Wisdom Teeth

Have you ever wondered about your wisdom teeth? As we grow and mature, we normally have three sets of teeth known as molars that develop in each quadrant of the mouth. The first molars usually appear at around six years of age. The second ones appear around 12 years of age and the third set of molars usually will try to grow in around 17 to 21 years of age. Since that’s considered to be the age when people become wiser, this set of third molars have the nickname, “wisdom teeth”. Actually, they are no different than any other teeth except that they are the last ones to erupt, or grow, into the mouth. Sometimes these teeth surface and have no room to develop. When this happens, some symptoms that may occur are: pain…infection in the mouth…facial swelling,,. and swelling of the gumline in the back of the mouth. At this point the teeth may be removed by your dentist before they become impacted. The extractions are performed under local anesthesia.