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July 3rd, 2015

Our Founding Fathers: The State of Their Oral Health

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

found

Much of American legend says that George Washington had a set of wooden teeth. The story goes that he lost his first (adult) tooth when he was 22, but by the time he became President, he had just one tooth left! By that time, he was 57 years young.

So how did he actually lose his teeth over the years?

John Adams was said to have claimed it was Brazil nuts that he would crack his teeth on. Today, we know it’s never a good idea to use your teeth as “tools” or to chomp or crunch down on items (food or otherwise) that can traumatize the teeth.

Historians said he could have faced major decay because of mercury oxide as a result of being treated for smallpox and malaria. In all likelihood, it could have been a combination of these factors, as well as a lack of modern oral care and technology.

Although urban myth continues to say he had wooden teeth, he actually had a set of teeth carved likely from dairy cattle, elephant ivory or even hippopotamus. These face-disfiguring dentures were very uncomfortable and apparently were very ill fitting.

When Washington was sworn into office as the first President of the United States, he actually had swollen, burning gums. When his dentures would open and shut, they would clack and creak.

Washington was often in pain due to his oral decay, and it’s believed he would take pain killers (of that age) for this constant pain he experienced. It’s interesting because Presidents of that time were never supposed to show any sort of weakness or signs of pain.

George Washington’s dentures in the collection at Mount Vernon

George Washington’s dentures in the collection at Mount Vernon.

But what about the other Founding Fathers’ oral health and habits?

George Washington wasn’t the only one who lost many of his teeth: so did Benjamin Franklin. Franklin is said to have taken mercury pills for an illness, and as a result, he lost several teeth.

As far as daily oral health habits,  John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and James Monroe would have all likely brushed their teeth each day.

People during the 1700s would use a form of mouthwash, and sometimes a tongue scraper. Toothpowders were made of pumice, borax, roots and herbs and sometimes even burnt bread or tobacco! In actuality, these tooth powders could actually destroy the tooth enamel. For the “mouthwash,” our Founding Fathers may have used a solution that was a mix of herbs, resins of balsam, or myrrh.

And one more myth…

It’s a myth that Patrick Henry, famous for his “Give me Liberty, or give me death!” speech actually died of a toothache. In reality, he may have complained of a toothache, but he did not die of a toothache. He actually died due to cancer.

One thing is for sure: we know much more than we did during the time of our Founding Fathers, and we also have greater access to care and state-of-the-art dental technology to keep our smiles looking great for a lifetime.

Sources

http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/false-teeth/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/29/upshot/george-washingtons-weakness-his-teeth.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0

Lloyd, John; Mitchinson, John (2006). The Book of General Ignorance. New York: Harmony Books. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-307-39491-0. Retrieved July 3, 2011.

Glover, Barbara (Summer–Fall 1998). “George Washington—A Dental Victim”.The Riversdale Letter. Retrieved June 30, 2006.

Dentures, 1790–1799, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum and Gardens

Mary V. Thompson, “The Private Life of George Washington’s Slaves”, Frontline, PBS

“The Portrait—George Washington:A National Treasure”. Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved January 21, 2011.

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June 23rd, 2015

What Effect Does Rigorous Exercise Have on My Teeth?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Rigorous exercise may affect our teeth and mouth in ways that we would not expect.

study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013, examined 278 athletes during the 2012 Summer Olympics, and found that most of them actually had very high levels of tooth decay and gum disease.

hagen dental cincinnati dentist“Higher risk for dental erosions, exercise-dependent caries risk, and load-dependent changes in saliva parameters point out the need for risk-adapted preventive dental concepts in the field of sports dentistry,” reported the study.
But what about studies that looked at people who all had a higher degree of access to quality dental care, which some in the Olympic study did not have?

For this kind of information, we turn to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that elite athletes often use “training strategies that coincide with risk factors for dental caries and erosion.” (Source.)

Just what were those habits that were looked at?

The study, which was aimed at identifying specific risk factors for dental caries in elite triathletes, looked at nutrition, to start.

Researchers found that nearly 84 percent of these endurance athletes consumed sports drinks when they trained.

About half of them took small sips, often from a bottle, meaning often the teeth had prolonged exposure to sugar, which feeds bacteria of the mouth. Although that was only part of the story, the study also showed how this kind of nutrition contributed to some of the athletes’ mouth’s having a pH below 5.5. Having that “off balance” pH level in the mouth can contribute to erosion and caries.

Another recent study included 35 triathletes and 35 non-exercising controls. This study found that athletes had an increased risk for dental erosion, but not caries—although their risk for caries also increased as training time each week increased.

In other words, in this research, the more they trained, the higher risk they had for caries.

Keep in mind that these “extreme” athletes, such as triathletes, are exercising for an average of 9 hours per week. It is less of a surprise, then, that there was a high degree of carbohydrate consumption in these athletes, including sports drinks, gels, and bars.

Many people also tend to breathe heavily through their mouth during exercise. Mouth breathing reduces the flow of saliva and dries out your mouth. This too allows bacteria to thrive—so you can see why for people who train for multiple hours per day, this could affect their dental health.

Based on such findings, it would seem like a smart idea to brush your teeth after prolonged exercise such as cycling, swimming and/or running, especially if you had carbohydrate-rich snacks during the prolonged training period. But it also begs the question: does exercise really do the body—or our teeth/mouth—good?

The answer is yes, it does do the body good! And this research should not suggest that we cut back on our exercise or training regimens.

Just because these studies suggest you are at a heightened risk for dental erosion as an endurance athlete, it does not mean that this risk outweighs the benefits received from these activities. In fact, research has shown time and time again that exercise is the single best preventive measure for many diseases! That should not be forgotten.

Instead of worrying about the potential uptick in risk, we need to make sure our daily habits work to undo any saliva- or nutrition-related issues due to prolonged, intense training regimens.

Be sure to be intentional and consistent with your dental health, just as you would be about your training.

As researchers also pointed out, exercise alone might not be the factor that is affecting the oral health of these participants, as the number of people in the studies was notably low.

What you can do as an endurance athlete to help prevent tooth decay:

  • Talk to your Dentist about your rigorous training schedule when you go in for your regular visits.
  • Floss your teeth in the morning and at night.
  • Drink lots of water, and stay hydrated—which most athletes actually do! Also remember that staying hydrated does not guarantee any kind of change of pH in the mouth.
  • Examine the sugar content in your favorite training snacks to make sure you are aware of how much sugar you are consuming.
  • Continue to brush your teeth each day, but know that citric acids in sports drinks or gels will soften your tooth enamel, so in some cases, it is not ideal to brush your teeth directly after consuming.

Have questions on anything you are reading? Let us know; after all, this blog is general advice that is not specific to any one person. Find more www.hagendds.com

References

http://www.mensfitness.com/life/intense-exercise-could-be-bad-your-teeth#sthash.IkyPbMO3.dpuf

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/12/27/proper-exercise-breathing.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=frese+dental+erosion

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June 16th, 2015

5 Father’s Day Gifts for a Healthy Dad

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Whether dad is health conscious or you’re looking to make sure he steps up his healthy habits, here are 5 gift ideas to give Dad the gift of health.

 1. Citrus Zinger Water Bottle

Drinking water will never be boring again with the Citrus Zinger Water Bottle. This water bottle lets you take your favorite fruit, and add some of its flavor to your water. (Of course we’d recommend something such as blueberries or strawberries to keep the citrus to a minimum on you or dad’s teeth.) You will be sure Dad stays hydrated with this gift!

gift ideas2. Vitamix (or another blender)

One of the great things about blenders is that you can easily make smoothies or other recipes, and the clean up is minimal. Dad certainly knows that sometimes making your own version of your favorite recipe means you are able to make it extra healthy. At the very least, we are more aware of what we are putting in our bodies when we make it ourselves.

With a high-powered blender for dad, he can make healthy and refreshing drinks, guacamole, homemade nut butters such almond butter, smooth soups, pesto, hummus, and lots of other whipped dips and delights. (Sounds like you might just benefit from the gift as well!)

3. Sonicare UV Sanitizer Platinum Electric Toothbrush

Talk about a toothbrush that will have the family talking! You may already know that Sonicare has patented technology that removes 6 times more plaque between teeth compared with a manual brush.

This Sonicare brush has a pressure-sensored handle that lets you know when you are brushing too hard. It also has a timer to encourage Dad to make sure he brushes his teeth thoroughly. Dad will love it, and his teeth will, too!

cincinnati dentist and your health4. Fitbit Flex

The Fitbit Flex (or another activity tracker) will help Dad track all his activity, reinforcing him and giving him support to meet his step goal each day. The Fitbit Flex allows Dad to see an estimate of how many calories he’s burned, and he can even monitor his sleep. Set him up with the smartphone app and he can sync with his wristband throughout the day, so he won’t even miss a step!

5. Weber Grill Basket

Dad likes to grill? Check. Dad likes his vegetables? Check. Would Dad like to grill his veggies? The answer is mostly likely yes! Now he can with the Weber Stainless Steel Grill Basket. Before this basket, it could be a bit hard to put vegetables (or even fruit) on the grill, but now it is easier than ever.

At Hagen Dental, we support your total health—including your oral health. Visit us online at http://hagendds.com/ to learn more about Dr. Hagen, DDS and the Hagen Dental team.

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June 5th, 2015

The ‘London Look’

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

hagen dental dds

You may know of the phrase the “London Look,” thanks to the Rimmel London ads often on TV featuring Georgia May Jagger, the daughter of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger. The slogan is meant to feature Jagger’s makeup, but for those who have seen the ads, they cannot help but think it represents another part of her appearance: her gap between her two front teeth!

What is the term for gaps in our teeth?

This term, formally known as diastema, is the term given to the space between teeth, in this case, the two front teeth.

Jagger is one of several celebrities that notoriously embrace this gap including Anna Paquin, Michael Strahan, Woody Harrelson, Madonna and Samuel L. Jackson.

Reasons why gaps in our teeth can occur include:

  • Gum disease that results in bone loss, or movement between front teeth
  • Oversized tissue that extending from inside of your upper lip to the gum just above 2 upper teeth
  • Habits such as thumb sucking that have affected teeth
  • Spaces causes by swallowing reflex over time

For many, the look can be a signature to them—meaning they have come to embrace the look in some ways…but what if, for a number of reasons, you want to fix the space that exists in your teeth?

Snap-On SmileTM Can Fix Gaps Between Your Teeth

Snap-On SmileTM gives you the ability to lose the gap or keep it when you want to. Featured previously in one of our blog posts, this custom-made, removable insert improves the cosmetic appearance of your teeth without any adhesives or glue. You can use it to hide diastema, missing teeth, chipped teeth or even discoloration. All you have to do is snap it over your teeth! This option avoids tooth drilling, shots, bonding, and best of all, it is affordable. Other benefits of Snap-On SmileTM   include:

  • Painless procedure
  • An easy process
  • Not invasive
  • You have choice over style and shade of your new smile—all of which will give you a natural look
  • Suitable for those who have an old-fashioned, removal partial denture

Ask us to learn more about achieving a great smile that you can have the ultimate confidence in with Snap-On SmileTM ! Thousands of people have used Snap-On SmileTM   to do just that!

To learn more about this option, you can check out our previous post or you can set up an appointment with us today at Hagen Dental.

 

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May 28th, 2015

What Do the Results of X-rays Really Mean?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

what to know about your x-rays by Hagen Dental DDS

Dentists use x-rays as a diagnostic tool for in-depth demonstration of your entire oral health.

Everyone’s mouth and state of oral health is different, but that’s why typically you have bitewing X-rays done once a year, and Panorex X-rays once every three years. (See more on that here.) If you have decay or periodontal disease that is detected or another known issue or risk factor, that might affect frequency of your x-rays.

Then what do the results of your x-rays really mean or show?

1. We have a baseline for the state of your oral health.

X-rays provide us with a complete demonstration of everything going on in your mouth. Remember x-rays allow us to see how decay and infections below the surface. This can help us as we work together to see a plan that ensures you are comfortable, and have confidence with all aspects of your oral health and smile.

If we can precisely determine and detect the amount of tooth decay you have, we are also able to watch that change over time. Digital X-rays will capture images of your entire mouth and those images are immediately available on our computer screen. With no development necessary, we can compare current images to older images, meaning we can see even the smallest changes that have occurred in your mouth.

2. We can see what the eye can’t always see.

Yes, we look at your tongue, teeth and gum when you visit us, but a clinical exam does not have the full power of a dental radiograph. When we use x-rays, we can better determine decay or cavities before they are visible to the naked eye. Here is a list of what x-rays allow us to better evaluate or uncover:

  • Developing or missing (or extra!) teeth
  • Abnormalities to the teeth
  • Tumors or cysts
  • Jaw issues
  • Hidden dental decay
  • Dental abscesses
  • Any bone loss from periodontal disease
  • Tarter build-up
  • The state of current fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Determine if there is enough bone for any necessary dental implants

What you could call a “normal” x-ray can show us that someone has no tooth decay, no damage to their bones, and no injuries to their teeth. Additional “normal” results show no cysts or signs of growths or anything such as an abscess. If we see tooth decay, signs of bone loss, cavities, any sort of damage to the bone, jaw fractures, changed in teeth placement, or any growths, we will be sure to talk about it with you. X-rays can save much time and unnecessary discomfort by seeing changes or problems early.

Want to learn more about our digital X-rays to make sure the pictures of your teeth, bones and soft tissues are up-to-date? Give us a call at (513) 251-5500 or visit our website here

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May 11th, 2015

The Ultimate Guide for Oral Health During Your Pregnancy

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

what to expect for your teeth when you are expecting
Did you know that having good dental hygiene habits during your pregnancy contributes to your baby’s health?

It’s true: oral care for expectant mothers is important for both you and your baby. With so much to think about during pregnancy, here is a guide detailing what you should know during your pregnancy.

1. Tell Dr. Hagen you are pregnant!

When you come to visit us, let us know the great news that you are expecting. When you let us know that you are pregnant, we’re able to walk you through the optimal oral care for the remainder of your pregnancy.

Typically, as a precautionary measure, specific dental treatments are adjusted, or altogether avoided, during your first trimester and the second half of your third trimester. Depending on the nature of the dental work, certain procedures may be recommended during points of your pregnancy if it will reduce the chance of an infection that can negatively affect your baby’s health or your pregnancy. Elective dental procedures, such as teeth whitening, should be postponed until after you have your baby.

2. Don’t skip your regular dentist check-ups with us.

Preventative dental care during pregnancy has been proven to protect you and you’re your baby’s health. If possible, come in to see us during your first trimester—but do not worry if that period has passed—it is still worth it to come in and see us!

Your dental visit will allow you to ask us any questions you have on how to handle tender gums, and we will also make sure you are working to prevent the plaque bacteria that can be a problem during this time.

3. “Pregnancy Gingivitis” is not a myth—but it is preventable.

You are well aware that there are hormone level changes during pregnancy. Your changing hormones often cause gums to swell or bleed abnormally, which is why the condition even has been termed Pregnancy Gingivitis. As much as 40 percent of women will develop gingivitis at some point during pregnancy.

For those that have gingivitis going into their pregnancy, they may also find that gums become even more tender and swollen. In some cases there can be severe bleeding that comes with Pregnancy Gingivitis.

Another possibility is “tooth mobility” during pregnancy, where bone and ligaments that support your teeth can be temporarily loosened. Several studies have suggested there a link between gum disease and premature birth, so when in doubt, come in and see us. When you do come in to see us for preventive dental work, it helps you avoid problems associated with gum disease, or any oral infections.

4. Don’t forget good daily care.

It goes without saying that brushing and flossing are important during this time, especially with the increased risk of gum irritation and/or inflammation. Talk to us about solutions that can help if you have trouble with morning sickness. Depending on your specific challenge, one solution might be a bland toothpaste during your pregnancy. We can recommend the ideal brand for you based on your entire oral health!

5. Don’t neglect your nutrition.

Phosphorus, Vitamins A, C, D, calcium, protein, and more… these are just a few of the vitamins and nutrients that are important to a health smile for your baby!

It’s no secret that during pregnancy you are eating nutritious meals. The principles of great nutrition are the same during your pregnancy, and absorption of those nutrients translates into positive growth and development for your baby. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of your pregnancy, so eating a nutrient-filled diet is inherently good for your teeth, and also important for your baby.

6. After your baby is born, continue your good habits.

Continue your good oral health habits after you give birth. Because tooth erosion or an inflammatory response may have occurred during your pregnancy, oral health habits after you give birth are just as important. If you had any problems during pregnancy or if any treatments were delayed due to your pregnancy, be sure to come back and see us as scheduled.

Have any questions? Keep in mind you should ask us if you have any specific questions so that we can have your unique periodontal health evaluated. Schedule an appointment with us today.

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April 29th, 2015

The Top 2 Surprising Mistakes Parents Make With Their Kids’ Teeth

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

The number one chronic childhood illness today is tooth decay in children, or as we might call it, pediatric dental disease.

Decay in our children’s teeth can cause issues with eating, speaking, and even learning. It also can result in bacterial infections or in certain cases, malnourishment. We probably don’t have to tell you that pediatric disease can negatively impact kids’ confidence and self esteem, their growth, and of course their quality of life.

Here we explain two major mistakes parents may accidentally be making when it comes to helping support kids’ teeth health and development.

1. Giving a baby a bottle overnight—or right before bed!

Baby’s first teeth are important because they help ensure adult teeth come in as correctly as possible.

You may be surprised to learn that when a baby takes a bottle to bed, the milk sugars can cause serious tooth decay. The upper teeth can be affected, but also other teeth as well. This can be a major problem at any time, but is often seen in toddlers between one and two. It can be an even trickier problem with those who refuse to give up their coveted nighttime bottle!

The good news is that early childhood caries is preventable.

The first step to take is to no longer let baby fall asleep with her bottle. Consider this: the protective coating of baby teeth is only half the thickness of an eggshell! Even if you do not notice any signs of tooth decay, there may be issues occurring along the gum line.

Even if a baby does not take her bottle to bed, but simply goes to sleep after her bedtime bottle, there can still be tooth decay that occurs. That’s because of two contributing factors. One, there is reduced saliva while the baby sleeps, which is our body’s natural way of “rinsing” the mouth. Second, the milk sugars, even if she isn’t sleeping with the bottle in her mouth, can still be settled on the teeth, all night long.

To help cut down on the sugar being exposed to your baby’s teeth, consider watering down the formula a bit with water. Over time, more and more of the drink can be water. In some cases, parents will actually have the baby get used a drink that is made up of more and more water, mixed with the formula, before bedtime. In those cases, the “regular” formula can be given a bit earlier in the evening. If you have no luck with doing so, at least try to give your baby a bit of water after she drinks her normal bottle. Water does not hurt the teeth enamel and will help cleanse the teeth!

Another possibility is to take a small piece of gauze in your hand, and very gently “wipe” the baby’s teeth with your finger holding the gauze. Then, you can brush her teeth in the morning after the first feeding of the day. It might not always be practical, but it can surely cut down on so-called “bottle mouth.”

 hagen dental2. Too many sports or energy drinks—even if they claim to be healthy!

Especially during the spring and summer months, we want to make sure our kids stay hydrated, whether they are playing outside, or on a sports team. Most of us would not give our young children a Coke while they play sports, but surprisingly, some of the most common sports drinks we do give them can be just as sugar-filled, and just as harmful to their oral health.

Harvard School of Public Health compared a can of cola to an energy drink brand and found that the energy drink brand still had a whopping 21 grams of sugar. The leading brand of cola had 42 grams of sugar. Many nutritionists recommend no more than 16-17 grams of sugar per day for a child.

Another way of looking at it: 40 grams of sugar is about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

When our kids consume these beverages, often times, the sugar settles on their teeth for hours after. If they really are a bit dehydrated, this short-term dry mouth can further accelerate the impact sugar has on their teeth. Even though it can be difficult, check out the label when in doubt so you can choose hydrating options that have little or no sugar in them.

Instead of cutting out all sports, juice, or “energy” drinks suddenly, try to slowly encourage the switch, and pack water for kids so that they don’t see the transition as so sudden or as “boring.”

Here is a breakdown of some other common drinks—not just sports drinks—and how much sugar they have:

  • Coca-Cola: 10 teaspoons
  • Pepsi: 10 teaspoons
  • Mountain Dew: 11 teaspoons
  • Welch’s 100% Grape Juice: 15 teaspoons
  • Minute Maid Orange Juice: 10 teaspoons
  • Capri Sun-Fruit Juicy Red: 11 teaspoons
  • Snapple Iced Tea Peach: 8 teaspoons
  • Glaceau Vitamin Water Essential: 5 teaspoons
  • Odwalla Serious Focus-Apple Raspberry: 14 teaspoons
  • Starbucks Mint Mocha Chip Frappuccino with whipped cream: 14 teaspoons

(Source: The Nutrition Source.)

Looking for more information on your children’s health, including their oral health? Set up your next dentist appointment with us today—we can’t wait to meet you and your family.

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April 12th, 2015

7 Famous Smiles We Love

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

famous smiles a blog by hagen dental

It takes 43 muscles to frown, but only 2 to smile.

With that said, we wanted to highlight a few of the most well known smiles!

1. Mona Lisa

You’ve probably heard of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting, since after all, it’s been called the most famous smile of all time. The Mona Lisa smile is one of the most intriguing and talked about smiles of all time, despite how she’s not even showing any teeth! It’s said that the “Mona Lisa” is actually a spelling error, and it should be “Monna Lisa,” which in Italian, is a short form of Madonna.

The painting lives in a dedicated, climate-controlled room that cost $7 million to build within the Louvre museum of Paris. Reports claim the painting is considered priceless, so it can’t be insured. The most popular belief is the woman Leonardo painted is Lisa Gherardini.

If you look close, the 24 year old has no eyebrows! A much-talked about question is why (or how) Mona Lisa appears to be smiling one moment, but the next she appears to be serious.

Is the Mona Lisa smile magical or can it be vanishing right in front of our eyes?

The answer is that much of what we see depends on lighting, visual pathways and even where we look on the painting.

2. Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple began her career at age 3, and won over people’s hearts in movies such as Heidi and Curley Top. She also sang the song “You Gotta Smile to be Happy,” which could make just about anyone smile. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “As long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.” She will be remembered as the first child star and for her radiant smile.

3. Princess Diana

Very full of life and known to be shy, Princess Diana of Wales had a beautiful smile. The so-called “People’s Princess” was a fashion icon and also a philanthropist. She was very much covered in the media and many photographers aimed to get a photo of her bright smile.

4. George Clooney

No list of famous smiles would be complete without actor and director, George Clooney. George is frequently named as one of the most good-looking men in the world, and his smile helps him earn such honors.

5. Michael Jordan

“Air Jordan,” as he is sometimes called, is surely one of the best basketball players of all times—and he also has a great smile. With so many athletic accolades to his name, it is no wonder so many of MJ’s photos on the court and off, show him smiling!

6. Audrey Hepburn

Both an actress and humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn is one of the top fashion icons of all time. We think part of what makes her so fashionable, even to this day, is her one-of-a-kind smile.

7. Julia Roberts

No such list would be complete without Julia Roberts. Her smile has garnered so much attention because it is natural, symmetrical, and she has healthy, enviable gums.

Looking to increase your confidence when it comes to your smile? Give us a call at (513) 251-5500. Find our website here.

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March 31st, 2015

The Complete Guide to Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Dry Mouth

“It seems like my mouth is drier than normal.”

This is what someone may think or say when they are experiencing abnormal dry mouth.

Chronic dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is when we have a lack of saliva or when we have a reduced amount of saliva.

While the actual incidents of chronic dry mouth increase as people age, dry mouth is not a normal part of aging.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a sticky, parched and potentially gritty feeling in the mouth.

But also know that the following are other symptoms of dry mouth:

  • Bad breath
  • Different sense of taste (or a taste disorder)
  • Lipstick sticking to teeth
  • Increased need to drink water
  • Inflamed tongue
  • Cracked lips
  • A red or raw tongue
  • A dry feeling in your throat
  • Abnormal difficulties in chewing or speaking

There are many reasons why we can experience dry mouth, and dry mouth is more common than you would think. The simplest explanation for dry mouth is an inadequate function of our salivary glands.Why Dry Mouth Occurs

Over the counter and prescription drugs can impact the saliva in our mouths. Take for example blood pressure medications and antihistamines, just two examples—of as many as 400 medications—that can alter the saliva level in the mouth.

But there are other health-related reasons that can result in dry mouth:

  • Radiation treatment for head and neck cancer
  • Salivary gland disease
  • Emotional stress
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Chemotherapy
  • Nerve damage
  • Snoring or breathing through your mouth
  • Other medical conditions including diabetes, HIV/AIDs and Sjogren’s syndrome

Talk with your dentist about the medications you are taking and any other changes in your health to help determine the cause of your dry mouth. Remember that when we age, particularly over the age of 50, our body’s thirst sensation may reduce. If we aren’t drinking enough water each day, this can contribute to dry mouth.

The Negative Effects of Dry Mouth

Saliva helps us chew, start digestion, protects our teeth from decay, and helps heal sores that are in our mouths. It also helps prevent infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth. Accelerated tooth decay can develop if we have dry mouth, and our ability to digest properly can also be affected if we have trouble chewing.

What We Can Do

Do you feel a sticky or (abnormal) dry feeling in your mouth? When it’s out of the norm, be sure to tell us about it. Not only is dry mouth uncomfortable, but it can lead to serious health consequences and it can also signal a health condition you need to be aware of. When you see us, we can take a look at any medications you share with us to help determine the cause, as well help you with steps to ensure you are careful and protective of your teeth. We can also potentially suggest a prescription-strength fluoride gel that can help prevent dental decay.

Before you come in to see your dentist, be sure to also:

  • Avoid drinks with caffeine which can further dry the mouth out
  • Drink water and sugarless drinks
  • If you have a humidifier, use it at night
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol which dry out the mouth
  • Be careful with spicy or salty foods which can cause pain in a dry mouth

Want to know more about Hagen Dental? Visit us here or give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

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March 15th, 2015

Green Tea: Good or Bad for Our Teeth?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

is green tea good or bad for teeth

The short answer is that brewed, unsweetened tea (in moderation) is good for our teeth. 

According to the General Dentistry, a clinical, peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, drinking green tea does not lead to any teeth erosion.

This is quite different from when we drink pop, certain energy drinks, or sports drinks which are packed with enamel-damaging acids. (More on dental erosion here.)

Less Tooth Decay and Less Inflammation

This same study also supported the finding that green tea can have a positive effect on our gums, too. Specifically, drinking green tea every day resulting in less gum recession and less gum bleeding. A separate German study found that people even saw greater gum health when they simply chewed green tea extract! (We’ll just stick with a glass of green tea!)

Better Smelling Breath

Green tea also cuts down on microbes that contribute to bad breath. In fact, in one study, green tea was better at reducing bad breath when compared to mints, chewing gum and even parsley.

What are some of the other benefits of green tea? After all, it’s been called one of the healthiest beverages we can consume…

The Other Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has many important nutrients, including compounds known as polyphenols. These are natural plant compounds and they include catechins, theaflavins, tannins, and flavonoids. These polyphenols have been shown to have positive benefits on our health, including being powerful antioxidants.

In part, this means they can help reduce the formation of free radicals in our body, which can help protect cells and molecules from damage. Assuming we choose a quality brand, these compounds we get from green tea can also support enzyme function and help stimulate our cell receptors. Studies have shown that flavonoids can help improve our insulin sensitivity as well.

While you can almost never go wrong with water as your beverage of choice, green tea in moderation is an alternative with health benefits that much research has supported.

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