November 20th, 2013
Here are 5 things you may not know about your regular visit to Dr. Hagen.
1. The Hagen team looks at your tongue.
Maybe you remember the dentist or dental hygienist taking a look at your tongue, or asking you to move your tongue around so he can see your entire mouth…
But did you know that Dr. Hagen is looking at your tongue as one source of information about your overall health?
For example, a noticeably gray or brown tongue can mean there is an issue with your digestion. Or, if the tip of your tongue is abnormally red, it could indicate a heart problem or a thyroid-related problem. Last, a tongue with a strong yellow-green color can indicate a gallbladder or liver issue.
It’s just one other way a dentist can “see” into your overall health.
2. The light’s there because of just how dark it is in your mouth.
You may wonder how if our tongues are an abnormal color, how we wouldn’t notice that change ourselves! The answer is that changes in our mouth can happen incrementally, so we end up not noticing…
But for the trained eye of a dentist, these things stand out. Despite that trained eye, it is pretty dark in our mouths—so that’s why a dentist must use a bright light when it comes to our examination.
Imagine all the recesses and small areas in your mouth…keep in mind that areas of early decay don’t necessarily show up on an X-ray. The Hagen team doesn’t want to miss anything, so a good old light helps out.
3. There’s more to that toothbrush you leave with, than you might think!
Approximately every three months (or sooner if you have bacterial disease or gingivitis) we need to change out our toothbrushes. Going to the dentist is one way to remind us it’s time to make the switch. So while it’s a nice freebie to get along with your visit, it also serves as a reminder that it’s time to throw out the old toothbrush.
4. Dr. Hagen is checking for cancer.
We tend to overlook or ignore spots or bumps in our mouths. And with oral cancer being one of the deadliest forms of cancer, it makes your dentist visit a vital time for the Hagen team to check for anything unusual going on in your mouth.
Dr. Hagen is trained to look for any signs of cancer—that includes everything from recent difficulty wearing dentures to a mouth sore that bleeds easily, to swelling in the neck. Read more about oral cancer here.
5. We might be “probing”—but it is for good reason!
By this we mean two things. First, our conversation with you can help your overall health.
We love speaking with our patients, and we enjoy hearing about your lives each time you come in. Remember, even positive health habit changes can affect your teeth in ways you might not expect… While we are screening for signs of cancer as mentioned, we are also concerned about sleep apnea, TMJ, and diabetes and hypertension, to name a few of the more common problems we help with. What you tell us about your lifestyle makes this process more beneficial for our patients.
Second, you might wonder why we seem to “poke” at your gums. The reason is that as the foundation of your teeth, the gums tell us if there is any gingivitis or gum disease. While we strive to be gentle, we are checking to make sure the foundation of your mouth is still strong when we practice what’s known as periodontal probing.
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Interested in hearing more about how we can help with sleep apnea? Set up an appointment with us now.
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October 28th, 2013
Halloween is right around the corner. We aren’t here to say “no” to candy altogether, but there are a few things we want you to know about your favorite candy!
Let’s take a quick look at your candy of choice…
There’s sweet candy, and then there’s sour. You likely know how sweet candy can undermine your oral hygiene efforts since it is packed with sugar.
But what about the sour variety?
Sour candy can be quite acidic. Think of sour candies as the ones that seem to “burn” your gums and cheeks when you chew on them. Well, that acid breaks down your tooth enamel. And this so-called “acid attack” on your teeth happens fast—in as little as 20 minutes. Once this protective teeth enamel is weakened, you are much more prone to tooth decay.
A lot of times when we eat candy, we end up chewing or sucking on it, resulting in a concentrated dose of acid and sugar on our teeth.
We don’t mean to scare you, but highly acidic candy does more than just erode your teeth. It can make them soft and even diminish your tooth size. Needles to say, that’s why frequently eating lots of candy can be bad for your overall health!
The reason we aren’t suggesting you or your family go without candy this year is because the real key to having a cavity-free mouth is day in and day out oral hygiene.
One night of eating candy doesn’t necessarily sour all your hard work.
Families can aim to reduce the amount of acidic and sugary foods that we consume, and this is something we can aim for all year long. With that said, some of these candies are almost as bad for your teeth as battery acid! We aren’t sure that’s worth the taste.
Here are a few recommendations to be able to enjoy Halloween this year, but also to make sure we protect our healthy smiles:
- Limit the number of sour candies you eat, especially the sticky, hard kind;
- Overall, try not to suck or chew candies for a long period of time; this is because the acid and sugar are “sitting” on your teeth;
- If you are going to eat a lot of candy, try to do so only on Halloween. Otherwise, you are simply “spreading out” the potential damage that candy has over a period of time. Remember, it is about our everyday oral habits over time, so frequency matters;
- Consider “swishing” your mouth out with water after you eat your candy.
- Replace some of your candy with sugar-free gum (with Xylitol), so you don’t feel like you are sacrificing or missing out. This gum doesn’t contain the sugar that leads to cavities, and it can help increase saliva that works to naturally rid your mouth of acids.
Try and wait about an hour before you brush your teeth after you eat candy. That’s no matter if it’s Halloween or not! Since the acid is sitting on your teeth, you don’t want to accelerate the harmful effects by brushing the acid onto more tooth surfaces in your mouth.
Do you have sensitivity to cold, hot or even sweet drinks, perhaps due to tooth decay from candy or sweets? Be sure to let us know when you come in for your visit. Click here to set up your next appointment with us now.
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October 11th, 2013
It’s time to brush up on how to help our kid’s develop healthy oral health habits. Here are five proactive measures you can take to protect your children’s smile:
1. Consistently model good oral hygiene habits.
You aren’t aiming for perfection, but what you should do is strive for consistency when it comes to your own oral health habits. Kids truly take notice, as they do with other behaviors they watch and adopt.
Consider taking time out to floss with them—the time will go by faster, and this way, you know they are doing it correctly. And nothing works better than reinforcing kids and telling them a “job well done” when they, too, show commitment to their health.
2. Make tooth-brushing time a positive time.
Sometimes kids start to dread the entire process in which brushing teeth and flossing happens to take place. Oral hygiene routines generally take place before school, and once again before kids have to go to bed. If you take a positive approach to the process as a whole, the getting-ready-for-school and going-to-bed tasks won’t be perceived as such a dreaded process that they want to avoid each day.
Consider setting a timer for 2-3 minutes, and encourage children to see if they can “outlast” the timer. Some toothbrushes even have a timer on them. Just make sure that they don’t end up brushing their teeth harder if this “game” mentality is adopted.
3. Explain to children what sealant’s DON’T prevent.
Sealants are a very thin layer of plastic filling material used to protect harder-to-reach areas in the mouth. Sealants are used to literally “seal off” these crevices and grooves that our floss and a toothbrush have a hard time reaching. By doing so, sealants help prevent bacteria growth in these areas. Sealants do not prevent teeth decay in others areas, however. When used in combination with good daily habits, they can act as a preventative measure to help molars remain decay-free.
4. Let children take “ownership” of their oral health.
Consider taking your child with you to the store to pick his or her toothpaste out themselves. Or, if you prefer, let them pick out their toothbrush from the children’s oral health section. Either way, this helps reinforce the idea of responsibility, and taking control of one’s cavity-free mouth! It also helps reward children for being involved in healthy habits.
5. Don’t shy away from taking the time to talk with Dr. Hagen.
Even if you’re doing your best to supervise your children as they brush, or perhaps you are already flossing with them, there are others issues that we are here to help clarify for you. Take, for example, your child’s specific fluoride needs.
Another important point of communication with your dentist can involve antibiotics. Discoloration, as well as other issues, can occur from prolonged use of certain antiobiotics. Not only that, but certain children’s medications also have a large amount of sugar in them. If the lines of communication with us are open when they need to be, we can work together to combat preventable problems. Talk with Dr. Hagen to learn more.
Remember, start small. And don’t forget to encourage along the way.
Taking these five tips into account, you will be well on your way to helping your children create their very own “bedtime ritual.” Be sure to look for other ways to make health education more interesting for your child. Take for example, this video on how to brush properly.
Your goal is to incrementally build positive habits, not necessarily expect our children to immediately adopt a daily regimen that we can even struggle with.
Have other tips you use when it comes to modeling and reinforcing positive hygiene habits with your family? Let us know on Facebook at facebook.com/hagendds.com.
Be sure to schedule your next appointment for the family before the end of the year! Get in touch with us by clicking here.
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August 29th, 2013
Many of us have heard someone blame a cavity—or two—on their genes! It’s true that almost all aspects of our health are affected by heredity, but how much does our family history really affect whether or not we have “bad teeth”?
First, let’s define “bad teeth.” Many of us think of having so-called “bad teeth” as getting cavities, having gum disease, or developing severe tooth decay. In today’s world, most of us who develop cavities or tooth decay in our younger years end up with these problems—generally speaking—because of letting sugar sit on our teeth and/or drinking a lot of sugary drinks, not checking in with the dentist regularly to catch and combat preventative problems, and because of having poor dental habits over a period of time.
When you look at these common risk factors for developing tooth decay and for getting cavities, all of these are something we can control ourselves!
Translation: having crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw, and the baseline health of your teeth and gums is in fact something that’s due to genetics. With that said, there is much more to the story. Being predisposed to something thanks to mom and dad doesn’t mean you can’t alter the eventual health of your mouth with your ongoing hygiene habits.
Thanks to genetics, this also means we can inherit teeth and gums that come in correctly aligned and “perfect” looking—but you can STILL get cavities if you don’t take care of your teeth!
So how else is our smile affected by genetics, you ask?
Believe it or not, the natural tint of our teeth is actually determined in part by your genes as well. So if you have extra white enamel (that’s the coating of your teeth), then you have your parents to thank. And as you know, certain prescriptions and foods can change your enamel color over time. Once again, for the majority of us, how we treat our teeth over time will end up being just as an important factor when it comes to the color of our teeth.
All in all, while it’s true that you may be a bit more likely to get gum disease, or have another condition that leads to tooth decay, remember that good habits—such as coming to the dentist regularly—play a much more important role in determining the health status of your mouth over time.
Have a question about dental hygiene habits? Or are you just wondering if a myth you have heard about teeth is true or not? Let us know on Facebook, where we have fun facts of the day and ongoing contests you can be a part of. To find out more about Hagen Dental, visit hagendds.com.
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August 20th, 2013
#1: What’s the right way to use mouthwash?
Your first step is to break out your good old toothbrush and floss and to use them as you normally would. Next, simply measure out the amount of mouthrinse that the bottle indicates is right for you, or that we told you to use. You will now swish that liquid amount around in your mouth. Usually we recommend about 30 seconds or more. After you spit out this liquid, you typically should not rinse, eat, or drink for 30 minutes after to get the best preventative results from mouthwash.
#2: Can my mouthrinse really keep me from getting cavities?
We want you to know that no mouthwash, or mouthrinse, can ever truly replace your good old toothbrush and floss.
With that said, mouthrinses can be used to freshen your breath, to reduce how fast tartar forms on your teeth, to control tooth decay as well as the film of bacteria that form on your teeth. Not only this, but mouthrinses can help reduce gingivitis…but remember, this is in combination with your good old toothbrush and floss! We don’t want to ever recommend you to change your specific dental hygiene habits without coming in to talk to us about it, but PLEASE make sure you do speak to us first before consistently using any alcohol-based mouthrinses!
How is it possible that a mouthrinse can do some of these things? Let’s take a look at what’s often found in mouthwash:
- antimicrobial agents that help reduce plaque–this is what is fighting your oral bacteria;
- fluoride which can help reduce tooth decay on your enamel;
- astringent salts and odor neutralizers, serving to inactivate or to mask odors in your mouth.
While it’s best for us to see your gum condition so we can tell you what kind of mouthwash would actually do you good, we can tell you about the different varieties of mouthwash.
Many people are just interested in using the so-called “cosmetic” mouthwashes. These are aimed at controlling and reducing bad breath in the short-term. If you’re going to use mouth rinses to help get that fresh-tasting mouth you are after, that’s fine, but don’t expect it to really change the course of the cavities that may already be formed in your mouth.
There are also types of mouthwashes that include fluoride, many that are referred to as antiseptic mouthwashes, and those that are combination mouthrinses. If you aren’t sure what kind of mouth rinse you have or you’ve purchased in the past, most found at the store are just aimed at removing some excess food particles and covering up bad breath. Other mouth rinses that are stronger are available by prescription.
Your best bet is sticking to your normal hygiene routine, and speaking with us about what’s right for you next time you come in for a visit.
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July 27th, 2013
One of the greatest things about our mouth is that we can actually evolve our tastes, more specifically our palate, over time.
What does our “taste” actually come from? It stems from the more than 10,000 taste buds we have in our mouth. Each of our taste buds has between 50 and 100 taste cells within it, which is what is being stimulated whenever we eat. These are what send the signal to our brain that ultimately says, “This food is yummy!”
Beyond just what our taste buds detect—texture, smell, temperature, and the overall context in which we eat all help determine how we feel about foods and beverages we consume.
We wanted to share with you five ways you can help improve—or as we like to see it, evolve—your palate over time:
1. Start with a deep smell! Yes, you read that right! While intentional slurping is actually done in many situations to truly taste food, that might come across as a bit rude to those you may be dining with…so instead, stick with taking a deep smell of your current favorite beverage.
Say it’s coffee, for example. All you have to do is cup your hand over your mug, put it a bit closer to your nose, and take a deep smell. You may even close your eyes as you do this. Now simply take note of the aromas or anything that comes to mind that would help you describe this smell to a friend or family member. Doing this kind of a practice will help you with the next tip: taking steps to be more mindful when it comes to what you’re consuming.
2. Be mindful…and slow down. Many of us end up eating on-the-go, or even while watching TV, or perhaps while reading the newspaper. While some factors are hard to change in our lifestyle, it’s important to be able to think about food as we eat: our digestive processes can actually be as much as 40 percent less effective when we don’t pay attention to what we put in our mouths! Next time you have a chance, try to really savor the food as you eat, which may also mean you need to slow down, and turn off your devices or phone, at mealtime.
3. Add some spice to your life. Many of us might not spend much time preparing food in our kitchens…but whether you’re a chef or a newbie at cooking, try to add some new spices to what you eat! It’s not just all baked goods—you can even add it to some of your regular drinks, such as your morning coffee. Just adding in some new spices can really stretch your taste buds and palate. Many spices and herbs have even been shown to benefit our health. Next time you go grocery shopping, stop in the spice aisle and try something new—they even have great combinations already pre-mixed and ready to add in to meals.
4. Try new foods. When we say try new foods, we also mean new food combinations of foods, and of course overall meals. Who doesn’t love an excuse to try out a new restaurant? Here is your chance. The goal is to get out of any kind of a routine we are in, where we end up eating the same thing over and over! Remember the rule that you have to try something at least three times before you know whether or not you like it—that’s your taste buds coming into play again.
5. Start watching how much salt you’re using. Did you know the more salt you use over time, the more you’ll continue to need to keep stimulating your taste buds to the same extent? Not only this, it’s never a bad idea to at least take a closer look at how much salt is really in your diet.
Since we really don’t want to take in more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day, just try to get an estimate of how much you’re taking in, and don’t forget the sodium found in beverages! Not only could you be staying on top of potential health problems (high blood pressure!), but you will also be re-gaining control over what activates and stimulates your taste buds to begin with.
Interested in learning more about the overall state of your mouth? That’s what we are committed to. Get in touch with us!
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July 11th, 2013
Why is when you go to the dental office we ask you to tell us if you are taking any medications?
It’s because many common medications (and that includes vitamins and supplements) can have an effect on your oral health, so we want to be as informed as possible as we take a look at your teeth and gums!
What are some possible side effects? Here is a starter list:
Dry mouth is one of the more well known side effects of certain medications, especially since the effect is noticeable right away for many as they start to take a medicine. In addition, as many as 400 often-prescribed medications can result in dry mouth.
More than discomfort, dry mouth can quicken tooth decay since you are lacking the normal, natural cleansing effects of saliva in the mouth. For this reason, we like to at least know if we should keep a watch—or prescribe a special oral regimen—so that we can be as preventative as possible to lower your risk of severe tooth decay.
You may have heard that aspirins can help certain people have reduced blood clotting—which is why you hear they may help prevent strokes and/or heart disease.
We like to know if you’re taking any of these anticoagulants because it can affect how you bleed during oral surgery, or for certain treatments for gum disease. In other words, we’d like to know of any situations we should be aware of in these cases!
Has your dentist ever asked you if you’ve experienced anything abnormal since the last time you came in for your dental examination? If you’ve been experiencing what can best be described as a bitter taste in your mouth, that can mean something unusual is going on. At the same time, some medications will cause this bitter or metallic taste—or even the ability to taste in general! If we know what you’ve been prescribed, we’re better able to tell you what’s the real cause of these changes in your taste.
Believe it or not, certain medications have been shown to lead to the development of sores, discoloration, or even inflammation in your mouth’s soft tissues. Other medications, such as certain anti-seizure medications or immunosuppresants, can actually enlarge your gums. If any of these are a problem, we can help set you up on a regimen that can help you manage these problems.
So next time we ask you about any medications or supplements you regularly take, you’ll know why–we like to see a holistic view of your health at Hagen Dental! At our office, our goal is to help find the right oral health regimen based on all of your health!
Are you having any other unusual tastes? Or do you feel it’s time to visit the dentist again regularly? We’d love to have you as a patient. Visit our website here and be sure to pass this blog along to friends!
Tags: cerec, Cincinnati, Cincinnati dental, Cosmetic Dentistry, Dentist, Dr. Hagen, teeth, why the dentist asks you your medications
April 10th, 2013
Diane von Furstenberg and Babe Ruth are two people who have been in the public eye that were affected by oral cancer.
This month is Oral Cancer Awareness month, and while we like to keep the Word of Mouth Blog upbeat, it’s a good time to have a more serious conversation about the topic of oral cancer.
Many times our image of someone who may be affected by oral cancer is of someone who was a smoker, or possibly a very heavy drinker. In actuality, the amount of people who have oral cancer because of those two reasons is on the decline. But that’s not to say that oral cancer itself is on the decline—sadly, one person dies from oral cancer every hour of the day. Also unknown to many is that currently women are at a greater risk than ever before.
So why is this? In part, it’s because the majority of new cases of oral cancer are HPV-related, which in turn has meant that more and more young people are getting oral cancer…in other words, the “face” of oral cancer as we know it is changing.
But there is some good news: we currently have a great deal of technology that aids in cancer screenings today. This proves just how important it is to visit your dentist since he or she is trained to examine you and look for signs of oral cancer.
More than 60 percent of oral cancer is discovered much later than it needs to be—but imagine if we all could regularly see dentists—that percentage would be lower.
That being said, if you notice any of the following signs of oral cancer, call Dr. Hagen immediately:
• A mouth sore that bleeds easily
• A mouth sore that does not heal (longer than about two weeks)
• Patches you see on your mouth or lip that are red, or white, or a combination
• Repeated, abnormal bleeding in your mouth (that’s not gingivitis)
• Any feeling on the mouth or lips that is not normal to you: pain, tenderness or even numbness
• If you are having a hard time, or even pain, when swallowing
• Difficulty wearing dentures
• A lump or swelling in or around your neck
Do you think someone else should know this information? Be sure to pass this blog along to your family and friends. Remember that since visiting your dentist regularly helps with early detection of oral cancer, you could be saving a life!
Interested in setting up an appointment with Hagen Dental? Visit our site here. We’d love to hear from you. Or connect with us on Facebook.
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