Posts for: August, 2015
Barley malt, corn syrup, maltodextrin — these and over fifty other label ingredients are all names for refined sugar. Under its various aliases, this sweet carbohydrate is tucked away in three-quarters of packaged foods in the U.S.
Although in recent years the general health effects from too much sugar have gained the spotlight, its effect on dental health has been known for decades. Accumulated sugar in the mouth is a prime food source for bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
For both general and oral health, people have been looking to artificial alternatives to satisfy their sweet tooth. But do they have their own issues that can impact overall health? Here is an overview of some of the more popular brands of artificial sweeteners and their effect on health.
Saccharin — One of the most widely used artificial sweeteners, saccharin is often used under the names Sweet’N Low or Sugar Twin in low-calorie foods because it contains no calories. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) there are no associated health risks with consuming saccharin in recommended servings.
Aspartame — used commonly in beverages as Equal or NutraSweet, aspartame is unsuitable for cooking because its chemical structure breaks down under high heat. Although generally safe for consumption, it can affect people with a rare condition known as phenylketonuria that can’t adequately break down its chemicals.
Sucralose — marketed as Splenda, this sweetener is made by chemically altering refined table sugar so the body can’t process it. This may be one reason it has the most recognized natural flavor profile among consumers and is a market leader. It’s stable at high temperatures, so it’s often used in cooked or baked goods.
Stevia/Erythritol — this combination of an extract from the extremely sweet herb stevia and the sugar alcohol erythritol is marketed as Truvia. Unlike other calorie-free artificial sweeteners, this and other alcohol-based sweeteners have a low calorie level due to sugar alcohol’s characteristic of slow and incomplete absorption during digestion.
Xylitol — although all the previously mentioned sweeteners won’t promote bacterial growth like refined sugar, the sugar alcohol xylitol — often added to chewing gum and mints — has an added benefit: it may actually reduce levels of bacteria most likely to cause decay.
If you would like more information on the effect of sweeteners on dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artificial Sweeteners.”
Now that you got your dental veneers learn how to properly care for them.
Congratulations on getting a brand-new smile with dental veneers. It must feel great to be able to flash a gorgeous set of pearly whites. With your dental veneers comes a renewed sense of self-confidence in your appearance, and of course you want to keep it that way. That’s why it’s important to follow all instructions that your Des Plaines, IL dentist gives you to make sure that your dental veneers truly last.
Brush and Floss Normally
You’ll be pleased to hear that porcelain veneers are pretty resilient and can be cared for very similarly to natural teeth. This means that you should continue to brush with regular toothpaste twice a day and floss daily. Keeping up with your oral hygiene will ensure that your veneers last a long time and that your smile remains healthy enough to support your veneers.
Don’t Bite Your Nails
Bad habits such as nail biting or teeth grinding can put unnecessary pressure on your veneers, which can pull them off or cause damage. If your veneers come off you’ll have to spend some unexpected time seeing your Des Plaines dentists Dr. Roman Dziubyk, Dr. Marc Miller and Lorelei Grise' so we can replace your veneers. Skip all the drama by stopping these habits for good. Wearing a custom mouth guard while sleeping can often combat teeth grinding, and we would be happy to offer up some ways to keep those nails out of your mouth!
Don’t Use Teeth as Tools
Even though your veneers are made from durable, resilient porcelain it doesn’t mean they are impervious to all damage. This means nixing bad habits like opening bottle caps and packaging with your teeth. If you want to protect your new smile then grab those scissors the next time you can’t get into that tough plastic packaging and save your teeth for chewing your food.
Alter Your Diet
Speaking of food, there are a few changes you may want to incorporate if you want your veneers to have a longer life. To prevent damage, you will want to cut up hard, tough foods like apples or steak into chewable pieces to make it easier on your new smile. Furthermore, to keep your veneers looking pristine you should also avoid stain-causing foods and drinks like berries, coffee, wine and tomato sauce.
No oral care regime would be complete without routine visits to your Des Plaines dentists. Let Suburban Family Dental keep your veneers and your smile healthy and free of cavities and other common problems. If it’s time to schedule your six-month visit, pick up the phone and give us a call!
Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.
“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:
- Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
- Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
- Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.
Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”