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21 Quick Dental Facts You Won’t Believe!

Friday, August 1st, 2014

You know we bring you fun facts on our Facebook page, and now we bring you 21 more fun dental facts you may not know:

1. You may be more than 10 times more likely to develop breast cancer if you have poor oral hygiene habits.

2. More than 3 million miles worth of floss is purchased each year in the US.

3. Flossing once a day increases your life expectancy by 6 years.

4. Less than 1 mm of original tooth enamel is removed for veneers.

5. Teeth start to form before we are born.

hagen dental cincinnati ohio dentist6. People prefer blue toothbrushes over red.

7. There are more than 100 million bacteria in one drop of saliva.

8. 25 percent of adults in the US have lost all their teeth.

9. Nearly half of all people say the first thing they notice about someone is their smile.

10. If you were to combine the number of children with cavities, that number would be greater than the number of people living in Los Angeles.

11. 3 out of 4 people in the US have at least one cavity before they turn 18.

12. It only takes 30 minutes after you drink soda for the acids to start wearing at your enamel.

13. An Elephant’s tooth can weigh over 6 pounds. They can measure one foot in length.

14. Bacteria from a toilet can go as much as 6 feet from the toilet when you flush…all the more reason to keep your toothbrush away from the toilet!

15. When we are right-handed, we tend to chew food on your right side, and if we are left-handed, we tend to chew on our left (but not always!)

16. In 1994, it’s said that a prison inmate in West Virginia took his floss, created a rope, and then used the rope to escape.

17. We create enough saliva (the natural cleanser in our mouth) in our lifetime to fill two full swimming pools.

18. We spend about 38.5 total days brushing out teeth our lifetime, on average.

19. In China, September 20th is an official holiday that is known as “Love Your Teeth Day.”

20. More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque…makes you want to brush, huh!?

21. A baby’s first primary tooth usually will erupt when she is around 6 months old.

Want to Have Healthier Teeth? Look at Your Nutrition

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Nutrition is one of the building blocks of our entire health, and that includes the health of our teeth and gums.

Babies, growing teens, adults, and seniors all have to take nutrition into consideration if we want to control as much as we are able to when it comes to our well-being and our health status.

To put something in perspective, consider this: tooth decay is actually the single most common chronic childhood disease today. But it is preventable through, you guessed it, the way we eat and nourish ourselves each day.

Here are 3 tips for how a busy person in today’s world can approach nutrition to better fight inflammation, prevent disease, and to set ourselves up for longevity.

1. Consider portion size—but also what’s making up your portions.

We often hear about portion sizes and that’s a very relevant factor for our waistlines. Eating too much can lead to weight gain, so keeping portion sizes in check helps us so we don’t end up over-eating. By that, we mean we are getting more than what’s required in macronutrients, most likely from tasty treats or meals that often don’t have high nutrient value.

Hagen Dental Nutrition Dental Oral Heath What to Know
Don’t think of your teeth when you think of your TOTAL health? Well, take the connection between teeth and your total health serious. For example, Periodontal disease is a risk factor for coronary artery disease…and while the reasons are often debated, gum disease can signal inflammation, as well as increase it in the body.  All in all, our mouth tells us a lot about our health.

We aren’t hear to tell you to exclude any food groups or specific foods—that is for you to decide—but portion control over time is major way to help us manage our weight.

At the same time, what’s on the plate matters just as much! Items that are high in sugar are worse on the teeth, and tooth decay from these kinds of foods can start in as little as 20 minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, typically nutrient-dense foods that happen to contain a lot of water (cucumbers, melons, fruit, kale, to name a few), do not result in that kind of rapid tooth decay. (Rather, they can even help us naturally cleanse our palates alongside our saliva.)

The bonus of many of our nutrient-dense foods, like leafy greens, is that we can eat a lot, we’re provided with many nutrients, we feel satisfied and “full,” and we aren’t overeating.

2. Try to plan ahead, and diligently prepare more meals and snacks. 

Now you are ready to really ramp up the efforts to focus on less of the processed, artificial foods, and more on whole foods.

By this, we mean unrefined foods like vegetables, meat and poultry, fruits, legumes, nuts, or seeds. In the broadest of terms, many of these are foods you can think of that have “come straight from nature.”

You recognize that refined carbohydrates are negative for our teeth as the breakdown process creates acids that eat away at the teeth. You are now aiming to eat whole foods. But where to begin?

Start small. 

After all, some of us may be used to buying pre-packaged foods, or we just get the processed foods because they are convenient and nearly ready-to-eat, or they are just easy to put in a meal we are used to serving the family…

Set aside time to plan some of your meals in order to see how you can first get the necessary foods at the grocery store, and then how and when you can cook those meals. Consider preparing or partially preparing and storing meals for the week so that it’s easier and quicker at meal time.

Take for example someone who is trying to incorporate more fiber or vegetables into their daily lifestyle. One way they could do this is to make a normally time-intensive recipe by using a crockpot during the day. When they come home from work on any given day, they could have a meat and vegetable dish that is ready for them, and good for them.

A second alternative is to take the time to make snacks that you can have when you are on-the-go…this way we don’t pick up that sugary source of energy or the pop because we didn’t bring our own beverage somewhere.

You know you are going to get hungry at some time or another, so setting yourself up to have the high-nutrient choices available can help you in your efforts. From chopped veggies in a bag, to a homemade mixture of nuts and fruit, you can get creative. Last, having these more readily available to our kids means they are more likely to fill up on healthy snacks, rather than grabbing something else nearby. We can also ask them to brush their teeth after snacking since even “healthy” sources of carbohydrate foods still lead to starch and sugar exposure on the teeth.

3. Educate yourself and if you want, bring out your inner (health-oriented) foodie.

Have you ever picked up a new recipe book or bought a vegetable book that perhaps can teach you how to harvest your own garden?

Many of us will need to start making more meals on our own to be as healthy as possible, and help can come in the form of blogs or recipe books that can help you know more about what you are putting in your body. Whether it be popular niche foodie blogs, a cookbook, or breaking out Grandma’s old recipes, try to learn about what you are eating. It will give you a new perspective on what you choose to nourish yourself with.

What’s the Connection Between Protein and Our Oral Health (If Any)?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

cincinnati dentist hagen

Nutrition is extremely important when it comes to tooth formation, and our tooth (and jaw) structure itself. We want to have strong and healthy teeth so they can be resistant to decay.

But how else does nutrition impact our teeth once we are older?

Let’s reflect on our teeth makeup: enamel is on the outside. It is the mineralized “shell” to our teeth. Then we have dentin, also a mineralized layer, beneath our enamel. When our diet has a high nutrient density, we are able to “remineralize” our enamel and dentin. That’s just one reason why we want a “good diet” to be able to do so.

So far, we know a nutrient-dense diet is a good place to start. Some of the foods that deliver high nutrients, while limiting the acid we expose our teeth to, include these foods:

  • Animal foods such as broths, meat, fish, eggs, etc.
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Limited fruit

What you do not see is processed foods, refined sweets or grains like oatmeal, sugary cereals, or crackers. Again, those are much more likely to lead to tooth decay then what you see above.

Most of those foods are high-protein. So does that mean protein is better for our teeth?

It is true that those foods shown above, with high nutrient densities, in some cases, do have a lot of protein in their macronutrient profile. Foods that don’t have much protein as part of its macronutrient profile can sometimes also be the foods that are worse off for teeth in general due to what else is making up that food, macronutrient-wise.

Let’s examine why that might be.

Take for example a candy bar that’s high in carbohydrates (sugar). It isn’t providing us with much protein, and at the same time, it’s also bad for teeth because of that high sugar content.

But, you can also think of examples that are quite contrary to this: take for example, a high-protein “energy bar.” These might have a high protein makeup, but then the chocolate they are coated in could also sit on your teeth if you were to not brush or floss after eating one. Said another way, it could have high protein, and also have high sugar! You can probably think of other examples.

When sugar is in what we deem a high-carbohydrate food, this is in fact worse on your teeth. On the other end, foods that are high in protein are often times, but not always, going to be better for your teeth as they (sometimes) lack the sugar in their makeup.

To sum it up, you might say that protein is good for your teeth—but another way to look at it is the absence of an excessive amount of (refined) sugar is what’s really good for our teeth!

…and, as stated, avoiding sugar also leaves us with many food choices that, in many cases, do have a protein-punch! Look to maximize mineral absorption and your daily intake of nutrients, both of which can be done through a diet that makes sure to get enough protein.

Are We Jump-Starting the Day…With Sugary Cereals?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

 

Sugary Cereals Impact On Health Hagen Dental Cincinnati

Did you know that cereals marketed towards kids have as much as 85 percent more sugar than those aimed at adults? They also have 65 percent less fiber than those cereals that are “for adults.”

With nearly one third of us eating cold cereals for breakfast, it’s time we examine exactly what we’re “running” on in the morning.

One cereal we can look to as an example is Cocoa Krispies. If we take a look at its first ingredients, we see Rice, Sugar, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Semisweet chocolate (which means more sugar!), and the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil…we will stop there, but the list of ingredients surely does not!

The list of ingredients goes on, but it’s good to take note of what we’re really feeding our kids for fuel in the morning. And, while we don’t mean to focus only on Cocoa Krispies, it does provide a good example of the problem: “sugar” itself appears three times throughout the ingredients list, and it’s part of the fourth most common ingredient as well.

A serving of this kind of cereal is about ¾ of a cup. But let’s take a closer look at that single serving, assuming that’s all that our children eat in the morning…

A single serving has 120 calories, and 12 grams of sugar in that serving.

12 grams of sugar is the same as 3 teaspoons of sugar. 

Looked at another way, that is actually 39 percent of the cereal by weight.

Some of our most popular cereals that also have alarmingly high amounts of sugar include Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’n Crunch…to name a few. When we eat processed foods like this with extremely high sugar content, it’s almost like we’re eating candy to start off the day.

When you add several servings, instead of just keeping to 1 ounce, you actually could be doubling or tripling that amount of sugar intake as well.

We know some of the benefits of eating breakfast, in general, include a better memory, more energy, and an increased chance at better concentration.

These are all reasons to eat a nutritious, high fiber breakfast, but when you look at some of the cereals marketed towards children, they are simply highly processed grains that have been sweetened. In some cereals, they even have synthetic vitamins—talk about taking the idea of convenience too far!

Avoid Sugary and Non-Nutricious Cereals, and Better Avoid Harmful Acids on Our Teeth

Treat these often-salty and sugar-filled cereals just like they were candy or a treat: eat them in limited quantities. Also remember that many of the brands described truly lack any nutritional value.

As you know, when sugar and starches like these are left on our teeth, bacteria thrive. The acid that results will destroy our tooth enamel, and we are left with tooth decay.

A Better Breakfast Choice: Full of Vitamins and Minerals, but Also the Macronutrients Needed for Disease Prevention, Overall Health & Growth

Be sure to read your nutritional label, as there are many alternatives that are healthier options that provide vitamins, minerals, and even fiber (without any synthetic or artificial ingredients we may want to avoid) for our children. You could also choose whole foods instead of processed ones, which is sure to increase your nutrition content and be a better choice for your teeth and gums.

Have questions for us about a certain cereal and its effects on your teeth, or about a convenient, but also healthy, breakfast? Let us know and we will answer your questions.

Sources from this article include:

  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/14/ten-worst-breakfast-cereals.aspx
  • http://blog.fooducate.com/2009/07/26/cocoa-krispies-immunity-cereal-40-sugar-by-weight-trans-fats-inside-the-label/

 

Floss–When’s the Best Time: Before or After Brushing?

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Although many say that dental floss was invented thanks to a dentist in New Orleans back in 1815, others say that the idea of floss really existed much earlier. They point towards anthropological evidence that people used sticks for interdental cleaning hundreds and hundreds of years ago…

Either way, our knowledge about the importance of flossing, and the actual floss we use, has come a long way since then…and it sounds like it has become much gentler on our teeth.

Cincinnati Dentist

Even though we know floss is a great way to get rid of food and bacteria between our teeth, there is a much-debated question: when is the best time to floss—before or after we brush our teeth?

Let’s take a closer look at flossing to answer that question.

First, it’s vital to note that your toothbrush’s bristles simply cannot reach in between your teeth. Of course, that’s why you want to make sure you floss each day.

The grooming habit that’s been called by some as “the most difficult” is really not all that hard at all.

Here’s a breakdown of steps that take only minutes to complete:

  • Start with about 18 inches of your preferred kind of floss
  • Wrap the floss around your middle finger and then the rest of the floss around the opposite hand’s middle finger
  • Taking the floss between your forefinger and thumb,  gently glide the floss in between your teeth
  • As the floss nears your gum, follow your shape of your tooth with the floss. This is done firmly, but still gently
  • Take the floss and use it this way between your teeth, moving it up and down slightly, throughout your entire mouth, including “behind” your molars
  • Over time, be sure to move the floss in your hands so that you can use the portion that has not yet been used between any teeth

Just by taking a few minutes out of your day, you are helping reduce the risk of bacteria entering the bloodstream and triggering inflammation in the arteries; there is evidence that this can occur, and it’s been suggested as a major risk for heart disease.

If you were to follow these steps to floss before you brush, then you would remove the plaque in between teeth. Then, when you brush your teeth, you would be actively removing the plaque on your teeth by brushing.

Flossing first means, in theory, we can utilize the fluoride in your toothpaste in between our teeth as well. (The idea is that since we just flossed, we have a greater chance of being able to “reach” in between the teeth with the toothpaste.)

Many people point towards the idea that brushing would help “wash away” the plaque in between our teeth, again, if you brush your teeth after flossing. In theory, that’s a possibility, but the reality is that flossing before or after you brush is suitable. 

Let’s think about another scenario—where people brush their teeth first. In this case, people brush their teeth and then feel that the entire mouth is clean, so they don’t floss anymore! If that sounds like you, you should be sure to floss first.

Our conclusion: it’s more important that you are flossing at all, and that you are flossing the correct way–rather than before or after brushing.

And, if you are really a star, then yes, go ahead and floss gently more than once a day!

Want to know more about flossing? See our post on types of floss here.

What to Know About Diabetes and Its Impact on Your Mouth & Teeth

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

A little over 8 percent of the US population has diabetes today, although as many as 7 million people do not know they have diabetes. Being able to control your glucose levels is the best way to maintain good oral health if you have diabetes.

Read on to see what you should know about the connection between oral health and diabetes.

What do brushing and flossing have to do with diabetes?

With diabetes (and we mean pre-diabetes, type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes), high blood sugar is an issue that affects your entire body! Your teeth and gums are no exception.

dental care diabetes cincinnati ohio hagen dental practice ddsLet’s take a closer look at exactly what happens when you have high blood sugar, and how it can lead to complications if you don’t have good oral health habits.

It’s true that dry mouth can become a problem because of the medications you are on when you have diabetes. Also, that problem can be made greater when your blood sugar levels are high!

With less saliva to naturally “wash away” the starches and sugar in your mouth, acids are more likely to sit on the teeth. Acids in plaque do damage to your enamel. In turn, we don’t have to tell you how this puts you at higher risk for developing cavities!

Diabetes also reduces the ability to fight bacteria in general.

…That means if you aren’t staying on top of your daily habits, tartar will quickly build up. Imagine this combination of plaque and tartar!  

We can see how our gingiva gets very irritated under those conditions. So how would you know this might be happening your own mouth? If you have gums that are swollen, or if they bled easily, come see us.

When we don’t treat gingivitis, it leads to periodontitis…This actually means we are putting our entire mouths at risk. Periodontitis will eventually cause gums to retract from your teeth. You don’t want to lose your teeth because of periodontitis, but just know that periodontitis is actually often more severe in people with diabetes because of the lowered ability to fight infection.

The process continues: an infection you get in your mouth can also make your blood sugar levels rise, and as you know, this makes diabetes harder to control. Not only this, for people who are diabetic, healing happens slower, meaning infections must be taken serious to avoid additional complications.

What we want you to know is important to realize is the role you play with your health! You CAN control your daily oral habits. If you continue to monitor your blood sugar levels, maintain good oral hygiene habits, and then visit your dentist regularly, you can do your best to avoid developing gingivitis, cavities, or other complications.

Do you have diabetes? Be sure to let us know when you visit. Visit us here to schedule your next visit with us

Most Commonly Asked Questions: Dentures

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

hagen dental cincinnati dentures.jpg

Q: What’s all this I’m hearing about Overdentures?

A: Millions of people are missing enough teeth to require dentures. Overdentures are what we like to call “the answer for slipping dentures.” Many people have grown accustomed to, or put up with slipping or wandering dentures—but there’s a better way!

Overdentures are an effective way to ensure that your dentures stay secure and in place. Your dentures or bridge are anchored with an implant to make sure there is no issue of loose-fitting dentures. What we find is that people have renewed confidence, better chewing, improved speech, and increased comfort with Overdentures.

Q: What are the other benefits of denture stabilization in my mouth beyond just aesthetics?

A: Overdentures are a great solution because they have long-term durability. Besides renewing your confidence, keep in mind that often times we see benefits to health and diet once you are able to restore proper chewing habits. The cost and upkeep associated with denture adhesives is a thing of the past!

In many cases, Overdentures will allow you to retain many of your natural teeth, which can be a positive in terms of keeping your jaw bone healthy/avoiding bone loss in the jaw if those teeth had to also be removed. Other benefits of Overdentures include:

• Better stimulation of your jaw bone—which can slow and stop the shrinkage process that is seen when teeth are missing in the mouth
• Better stability and comfort, resulting in less embarrassment and less sores that result from chewing and talking
• Better ability for your lower facial structure to hold its natural shape, enabling you to avoid premature aging due to your teeth/bone loss

Q: My dentures fit me just fine. Do I still need to visit the dentist regularly?

A: The answer is…yes! Just because you have dentures does not mean you should no longer visit the dentist regularly. Remember we are also checking for any signs of gum disease by looking over your jaw, gum, as well as tongue. Since your mouth can be a great indicator of your overall health, we can also ensure you do not have oral cancer.

Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of oral cancer cases are discovered later than they need to be. If you still come in to your dentist regularly, we are able to make sure your dentures are still fitting well, and we can help solve any denture-related problems you may be having.

Q: It’s exciting to hear that this kind of dental treatment can serve as a stable foundation for my teeth. What else should I know?

A: Dentures are often not talked about as much as our other treatments—but be sure to ask us any questions you have when you come in to visit us. For people with missing teeth, Overdentures provide you with a premier, top-of-the-line solution so you can keep smiling and living a healthy life. Get in touch with us today.

A Dentist’s Perspective: 6 Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

questions for hagen1. Why are we supposed to go to the dentist every six months?

By visiting the dentist twice a year, we’re ideally able to catch issues before anything potentially serious changes with our oral health.

Over time, most of us have grown accustomed to hearing how twice a year, or every six months, we need to visit the dentist! The reality is, no two patients are alike, and we all have a different health background, so this isn’t always what’s recommended…

In certain cases, we will actually recommend people to come in and see us more often, but the typical duration between visits is 6 months. (For those who need to visit more than twice a year, keep this in mind: your health and wellness should not be determined solely by what your dental plan covers!)

We do this so we are able to combat the tartar buildup during that timeframe, and use our diagnostic tools to make sure nothing is abnormal.

2. Hagen Dental offers the latest technology, including Zoom! Teeth Whitening. What’s the difference between this form of whitening and the store-purchased, at-home kit?

As you may or may not know, store-purchased, at-home kits have varying levels of success for people in terms of how much they whiten. Your whitening toothpastes help keep your teeth white on the surface, for the most part! Store-bought bleaching kits do have a stronger amount of bleach in them than whitening toothpastes.

However, when we use the Zoom! Whitening, we apply hydrogen-peroxide formula to teeth, covering up the surrounding gum to avoid any sensitivity you may have. (That’s a key difference right there!) Next, we shine ultraviolet light onto the teeth. It’s an ideal choice for those of you who are busy, but still want the latest and greatest to fight discoloration.

We are happy to offer this procedure, since in just over an hour, you can have a safe and effective tooth whitening procedure that gets rid of the DEEP stains on your teeth, unlike certain, store-bought, at-home kits. Ask us if you still have questions about the safety or efficacy of an at-home whitening kit bought from a store.

3. Hagen also offers CEREC. What is CEREC and what can it do for me?

CEREC is the term that stands for the ceramic reconstruction of your teeth. CEREC is the only method that offers single-visit chair-side restoration—meaning you can just come in once and be done with your procedure. That’s pretty big news for a lot of us!

Because only one procedure is needed, it’s ideal because it is fast, safe, and provides a natural-looking restoration that will stand the test of time. How so? Well, as you may have guessed, it is made of ceramic materials. If you have a decayed or broken tooth, this offers a metal-free solution, and no need to wait 2-4 weeks to get it!

Last, many people are excited about CEREC since it will match the color of your teeth. So your teeth will look great and they will last longer with this technology!

4. What should I know about my child’s oral health? 

One of the great things about starting dental care early is that your children will be accustomed to the process sooner! Typically it is recommended to have your first dental visit around age 3. At Hagen, we make sure your child is as comfortable as possible—we know they might be anxious when they first come in.

We like to say that if your child has not been to the dentist yet, but is old enough to know how to tie their shoe, you should know your child also has the ability, and should know how to brush their teeth as well.

5. Why do we need X-rays at the dentist?

Recall that X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation. For dentists, we see them as another diagnostic tool to watch the ongoing status of your oral health. (For those worried about radiation specifically, as a comparison, you can get more radiation from your every day background radiation that you would get from an average X-ray today in our office. That’s because we use digital X-rays which have less radiation than traditional X-rays.)

X-rays are an extremely effective way to show decay and infections beneath the surface. We’re better able to see any issues with bone loss, your jaw, and anything unusual happening with the soft tissues with X-rays. If you have a cavity or tooth decay, for example, we are able to see this when we read your X-ray. Again, how often you need them will vary by patient, especially if you have any issues going on with your oral health/jaw, or if you tell us you are having any specific problems.

6. I’m an athlete. Why do you recommend I wear a mouth guard?

It’s not just a coincidence that NBA players and other professional athletes wear mouth guards—they do this because a mouth guard can save your teeth!

While losing a tooth might be the worst outcome you can imagine, actually other dental injuries from sports include broken teeth, nerve damage, concussions, and you can even break your jaw. Wearing a mouth guard today is becoming more and more of the norm because of these potential consequences.

Now, on to the part that is a little less scary…mouth guards—which we can make right here in the office—greatly absorb the shock that your teeth or jaw can encounter in sports. Having the right kind of mouth guard, and making sure it fits are really the crucial things you need to know.

Part of what sets Hagen apart is our comfortable, but positive, environment where people feel safe to ask any questions they have. When you come here you can feel it!

And what about questions you should ask YOURSELF before visiting the dentist? Just make sure you ask yourself if you are willing to do your part to make sure your mouth stays—or gets back to—being healthy! So what do we mean by this statement? This translates to being proactive and telling us when something is wrong, justly preparing for any procedures, or just being honest about your health when we ask. We have a feeling this isn’t a problem for our readers. For more on our services, visit our Services tab here.

How to Evolve Your Palate

Saturday, 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!

Why Does the Dentist Ask You What Medications You Take?

Thursday, 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 

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.

Abnormal Bleeding

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!

Taste-Altering

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. 

Gum Reactions 

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!