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Genes & Your Teeth: What Did You Inherit From Your Mother?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. And while we love to spend this day in celebration for all our mothers have done for us over the years, one can’t help but wonder… What genetic features did I inherit from my mom – both “good” AND “bad”?

Features That ARE Related To Genes

Genes play a major role in the size and layout of your jaw. This means things like overcrowding of teeth, gaps, overbites, underbites and other misalignment issues can run in the family (1).

Gum disease, though not completely controlled by genetics, does seem to have a hereditary factor. Basically, some people in the population are more predisposed and are naturally at a higher risk for inflamed gums than others (1,2). Like any genetic predisposition, it does NOT guarantee your fate. It just means you might have to work a little harder than others. Proper hygiene habits can still keep gum disease at bay, so keep up your healthy dental behaviors!

cincinnati dentist

The color of your teeth is in part related to genetics. Genes play a role in the tint of your teeth, as well as how likely your teeth are to becoming stained. This is because the porous nature of the enamel is an inheritable trait. The more porous your enamel, the more likely stains can occur. Keep in mind that lifestyle and dietary choices will also play a factor here. Drinks like coffee, tea and red wine, along with certain medications can change the color of your teeth (3).

Problems That Are NOT Related To Genes

Although it’s tempting to blame our dental problems on our parents, things like cavities, decay, and gum disease from poor dental habits are more a lifestyle factor than a heredity issue. Anyone can develop cavities, decay, and inflammation in their mouth if they don’t stick to regular and proper oral hygiene practices.

Oral cancer is only minimally related to genetics, so if this one runs in your family, don’t stress. Lifestyle choices such as tobacco and alcohol use are the top risk factors for oral cancer. This means you can help prevent oral cancers by quitting tobacco, cutting back on alcohol, and eating a balanced diet (1).

Take Control: What You Can Do

Be thankful for traits and characteristics that you inherited that you love. After all, these are things that make you uniquely you!

Accept things you cannot change, and investigate options for the things you can. If crooked teeth or misalignments run in your family, ask us about corrective techniques such as Invisalign. If you are unhappy with the color tint of your teeth, talk to us about cosmetic dental procedures to whiten the enamel safely.

Keep your stress low. Taking steps to reduce your stress levels can positively impact your overall health, as well as the health of your teeth and mouth, which will minimize inflammation and disease (2).

No matter what your age or dental health history, start taking your proper dental hygiene habits seriously today! This is the best way to prevent more issues in the future and keep your teeth and mouth healthy for the rest of your life.

healthy teeth tips

Poor oral hygiene increases your risk for dental issues and oral disease no matter what your genetics. Although some individuals are more predisposed to develop tooth decay and issues than others, no one is immune from taking good care of their teeth. This means regular flossing and brushing, plenty of hydration, regular dental checkups, and reducing your overall sugar intake.

These habits and lifestyle choices play a much larger role in the long term outcome of your oral health than the genes you inherited from Mom or Dad. So let Mom off the hook this weekend, and have fun celebrating!

Call Hagen Dental Practice Today

Ready to schedule your next checkup? Or have a question about Invisalign, dental health, or teeth whitening services? We are here for you! Give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

Sources:

1. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/are-oral-health-issues-genetic.html

2. http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-20/issue-1/feature/genetics-periodontal-disease.html

3. https://www.newbeauty.com/hottopic/blogpost/6038-ask-an-expert-do-genetics-make-your-teeth-more-prone-to-stains/

 

The Common—And Not So Common—Causes Of Tooth Sensitivity

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Why do teeth become tender and sensitive? Why can some people bite into a nearly sub-arctic temperature ice cream treat with no issue, while others wince in pain, or avoid the treat all together? Can you avoid this happening to you? Eliminating some of the reasons tooth sensitivity develops can help lessen your pain or help you avoid this problem developing.

Here are some of the reasons teeth become sensitive:

Brushing Too Hard

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing with too much force can start to wear and tear on your teeth and gums. This excess force and friction wears down the protective enamel layer of your teeth, which can eventually expose more sensitive tissue or nerves. These habits can also cause gum damage or recession, exposing the very sensitive root tissue below the gum line. Avoid these issues by switching to a soft bristled brush and brushing in a circular, gentle motion along your teeth. Often times, people brush too hard because they are in a hurry. Slow down and show your teeth some TLC (1,2).

Eating Too Many Acidic Foods

If your teeth have already become sensitized, and nerve or root tissue is exposed, acidic foods will irritate these areas and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Acidic foods include things like tomato sauce, citrus fruits, kiwis, pickles, sour candies, and soft drinks. Avoiding these foods can help you avoid the painful stimulation they cause (1).

Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding your teeth, which most commonly occurs at night during sleeping, wears down the enamel and can damage the gum tissue, leading to gum recession. Just like with brushing too hard, exposing the more porous middle layer of the tooth under the enamel means unprotected nerve fibers can be reached by irritants. If you think you’ve been grinding your teeth, or you’ve been told you are a grinder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hagen to discuss finding a mouth guard to prevent the grinding (1).

Using Certain Toothpastes

Certain toothpastes can lead or further promote sensitivity. Because people can react differently to the same product, some people might develop sensitivity from a paste that another person is not bothered by. If you noticed the sensitivity start after switching to a new whitening paste, you should switch to a different brand of paste, a different product that doesn’t contain any whitening agents, or ask us if you have questions.

Overusing Mouthwash

Mouthwash is a good part of your oral hygiene habits. However, some people overuse their mouthwash, leading to enamel wear, dentin exposure, and sensitivity of the teeth. If you think this is the cause of your sensitivity, try cutting back to swishing just once or twice a day, or try a brand that is alcohol free. And don’t forget to be proactive with your brushing and flossing so that you don’t miss the extra mouthwash rinses. (Once again, ask us for more guidance specific to you.)

Gum Disease

Gum recession, gum inflammation (gingivitis), and other forms of gum disease can all present with tooth sensitivity. In this case, you most likely will notice the sensitivity at the gum line, where unprotected tooth tissue is exposed to the elements: anything you eat and drink. In the case of gum issues, it is vital to schedule your next dental appointment right away, so that Dr. Hagen can help get your gum disease under control and talk to you about treatment options to deal with the gum disease, or procedures to seal the exposed tooth.

A Recent Dental Procedure

Procedures such as root canals, extractions, or crown placement can all cause sensitivity after the event. However, these symptoms should only be temporary. If the sensitivity persists, be sure to schedule a follow up visit to rule out infection or other complications (1).

A Cracked Tooth

A cracked or even chipped tooth can cause pain. This pain can vary, but is typically severe enough that it feels worse than just sensitivity. In a case like this, Dr. Hagen will need to analyze the issue to determine what type of treatment will be available to fix or remove the cracked or chipped tooth (1).

Contact Hagen Dental Practice for All Your Oral Health Needs

Do you think one or more of the issues listed above relates to you? Call us at (513) 251-5500 to learn more about how to prevent, deal with, or end your tooth sensitivity!

Sources:

  1. http://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/10-biggest-causes-of-tooth-sensitivity.aspx
  2. https://www.danmatthewsdds.com/5-unusual-causes-tooth-sensitivity/

 

Minerals and Vitamins for a Healthy Smile

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

the health of your teeth hagen dental

Good oral hygiene practices are essential for a healthy smile. But have you ever wondered if your diet supports the best building blocks to keep those teeth strong? Mineral deficiencies can lead to weak bones and teeth. Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D are all important minerals and vitamins when it comes to preventing tooth decay and oral health issues. Check out these lists of foods that support you in your quest for strong, healthy teeth.

Calcium — Your teeth and jaw are formed and kept strong with the use of lots of calcium. Regular intake of this mineral helps keep your teeth enamel and jaw bones strong and healthy. Most of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones (teeth included!), while some circulates in the bloodstream for other uses. Consuming too little calcium can put you at risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and you will leech calcium from the bone to use for other body functions.

Sources of Calcium: Kale, tofu, chia seeds, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach and kale, dairy products, cauliflower, cabbage, almonds, bok choy, figs, and sesame seeds.1, 6

Phosphorus — Calcium and phosphorus work together to maximize the strength of bones and teeth. Without phosphorus, calcium can’t do it’s job properly. The combination of these two minerals is essential in children, whose bones and teeth are developing and forming their hard structure.

Sources of phosphorus: Pumpkin seeds, romano cheese, salmon, shellfish, almonds and other nuts, pork, beef, tofu, eggs, grapes, citrus fruit, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and lentils.4, 8

your teeth health hagen dental cincinnatiMagnesium — Magnesium helps to build strong enamel for your teeth, as well as proper tooth formation. It also helps prevent the formation of cavities. Magnesium also works well alongside calcium for many functions.

Sources of Magnesium: Dark chocolate, green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and swiss chard, black beans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brown rice, cashews, salmon, raisins and avocado.2, 3, 7

Vitamin D — Vitamin D regulates the body’s balance of calcium and phosphorus and can promote their absorption. Vitamin D also helps to decrease inflammation of gums which is associated with periodontal disease.

Sources of Vitamin D: Natural sunlight (your body produces vitamin D with exposure to sun! This is your BEST source of D), shellfish, fish such as salmon, catfish and mackerel, eggs and butter.4, 5

These lists aren’t the only places to find these great bone builders, but they are a great place to start. See something new? Be adventurous this week and try a new recipe. Try to incorporate some of these foods in your regular diet alongside your other dental care routine. You’ll enjoy them knowing you are helping build and maintain a healthy smile.hagen dental cincinnati ohio

Set Up Your Next Dental Visit at Hagen Dental Practice

Have any questions you want to know the answer to? We’d love to answer any of the questions you have! Schedule your next visit with Hagen Dental by calling us at(513) 251-5500.

Sources/References used directly in this article:

1.http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/oral-health/6-vitamins-and-minerals-your-mouth-needs/

2. http://www.123dentist.com/important-minerals-and-vitamins-for-your-oral-health

3.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/17/magnesium-benefits.aspx

4. https://www.dhsv.org.au/dental-advice/teeth-tips-and-facts/calcium-vitamin-d-and-phosphorus

5.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/12/vitamin-d1.aspx

6. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/non-dairy-sources-calcium

7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

8. https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-phosphorus-foods.php

Getting Into the Valentine’s Day Spirit—The Healthy Way

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

dentist in cincinnati hagen dental ddsAs we get into the Valentine’s Day spirit, here are two main ways we can stay heart-healthy and happy this February.

Exercise for Your Heart

Whether you have a special someone in your life this Valentine’s Day or not, one thing is still true: cardio (or cardiovascular) exercise is important for the health of your heart because it increases your heart rate and increases your blood circulation.

Besides being good for your heart, cardio makes us feel better, strengthens our bones in many cases, reduce stress and anxiety, helps us sleep better, and research has shown it adds years to your life expectancy. (Source.)

When we maintain our cardiovascular fitness, we are “working” our heart, which makes sure that is stays strong.

As you likely know, there are quite a few different varieties of cardio exercise. Whether it’s cycling or running (which just might be our favorites) or another form such as an organized sport team you play on, get in cardio exercise so that you can work your heart muscle just like you would want to work any other muscle in your body!

Not only are you helping your heart stay in shape, but with regular cardio, you can help support your metabolism, help manage your weight, improve your ability to recover from workouts in general, and for those with diabetes, cardio actually can help you manage your condition.

Pro tip: use a heart rate monitor to really see how hard you training. Many of the heart monitors today are very affordable and some can even get data from your wrist.

dentist west side of cincinnati hagen dental dds

Eat for Your Heart

Eating for the health of our heart involves eating foods that support our nutritional needs, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. This also means eating in a way that doesn’t spur too much inflammation in the body.

While Valentine’s Day may mean a time to reach for some candy treats including sour candies and hard candies, just remember when we eat foods high in added sugar, over time, we can do damage to the body.

And yes, we also have to mention how the constant sugar on your teeth is harmful—and not to mention it sometimes can even result in a broken or chipped tooth!

But when it comes to our diet, more specifically, too much sugar can mean your body is not getting the nutrients it needs. That is because sugar contains calories that lack nutrient value, but at the same time they can still be quite high in calories. Additionally, when we eat lots of sugar regularly, it can result in insulin resistance (2). You can also think about it this way: while inflammation is a natural response in our body, if we have too much of it—which can happen when we eat too much sugar—it is thought to play a role in heart disease, certain cancers and in obesity.

Smile- and heart-friendly options that you can choose instead of all the hard, sour or gummy candies that can be popular around Valentine’s Day include:

  • Fun finger foods that can still be healthy such as stuffed mushrooms
  • “Tater tots” made from sweet potatoes
  • Fruit skewers: fruit that you put on kabobs—think blueberries, strawberries or another fruit if you are sticking to a color theme
  • Watermelon or another melon “cut out” using a heart cookie cutter. If you put these on kabobs, you can call them “Cupid Kabobs”
  • Mini smoothies made with no added sugar. You can even top it off with a red or heart-themed straw!

Healthy Choices: That’s Something We Love to Hear!

Whether you choose some of these more healthy and fun alternatives or not this Valentine’s Day, find what works for you by looking for lifestyle changes that you can sustain. Be sure to look to incorporate nutrient-dense foods that support your level of activity! It’s never a bad idea to educate yourself on just how much added sugar you’re consuming! This alone might be motivation so that you can cut back on sugar-added drinks that offer very little nutrients.

References/Sources

  1. http://www.livescience.com/36723-exercise-life-expectancy-overweight-obese.html
  1. http://whole9life.com/2010/06/sugar-sugar-sugar/

What’s the “Wisdom” in Wisdom Teeth?

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

wisdom teeth hagen dental

Wisdom teeth are our third molars, and the last of our teeth to come in. These are the teeth that that are the most distal of our molars. Most of us have 4 wisdom teeth, meaning we have a third molar in each quadrant of our mouth, but in some cases, we have fewer, or even more, in rare cases!

Why the name?

Since the third molars come in much later than our other teeth, we are believed to be much wiser when they come in, and hence the name.
At around age 12, the third molars begin to develop in the back of the mouth, behind the other sets of molars. Around age 14, these teeth continue to develop. When there is not enough room for them to fully emerge, we refer to this as “impacted.” As much as 90 percent of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

This is why as a young adult, we are watching the status of your teeth as they come in to avoid infection and to be sure that no adjacent teeth are damaged. At around age 17, these third molars are still growing in many people.

Why do so many people get their wisdom teeth removed during the high school years?

It’s actually easier to remove wisdom teeth when someone is younger because the roots are not fully formed and there is less chance of any nerve damage. It’s also preventative to make sure no jaw-related damage happens or any complications occur with adjacent teeth. 

There’s something to be said for the “wisdom teeth” name and the timing of when the molars start to come in: research has shown that the brain continues to grow and develop through adolescent years.

Those who named the teeth “wisdom teeth” were spot-on in thinking that the eruption of wisdom teeth coincides with the transition from youth to adulthood.

If they have not been removed yet, your wisdom teeth can be in one of three stages:

  • Erupted: Just as it sounds, the wisdom teeth are fully erupted. If there is proper alignment and there is no other reason to remove, they may remain in your mouth.
  • Partially Erupted: The wisdom teeth are partially visible at this point.
  • Impacted: This is when the wisdom teeth are trapped in the jawbone and cannot erupt.

When people think of wisdom teeth, they often think of getting them removed. That’s because wisdom teeth can sometimes form a cyst and there can be damage to the roots of the nearby teeth, as mentioned. They can also do damage to the alignment of adjacent teeth, cause pain, and cause issues with the jawbone. It’s important to evaluate your wisdom teeth in terms of your overall health when you come in to see us.

For optimal oral health, you will want to prevent the following, which are signals wisdom teeth could be coming in:

  • pain
  • infection
  • damage to adjacent teeth
  • gum disease
  • tooth decay

Part of the benefit of seeing us regularly is that we can monitor the status of all your teeth, including your wisdom teeth. Your oral exams and x-rays with us will make sure we know if treatment is your best option.

Ready to learn more? Give Hagen Dental a call today at (513) 251-5500.

What You Didn’t Know About Sleep Apnea in Toddlers & Kids

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

hagen dental dds

Do you know what the signs of sleep apnea in children are?

Signs of disturbed sleep in our children and toddlers include:

  • Snoring
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Tossing and turning in bed
  • Chronic mouth breathing while asleep
  • Night sweats
  • Waking up with headaches or irritability
  • Daytime hyperactivity
  • Difficulty concentrating

Whether it’s a child that just seems much too sleepy throughout the day, or one that always has “bags” under her eyes, there are lots of other subtle signs that some degree of sleep apnea might be occurring in our kids.

Interrupted Sleep is Just as Bad for Adults as it is For Kids

The term “sleep apnea” is actually derived from the Greek word that means “without breath.” Just as it sounds, it is a serious condition! Just think: our children can actually be pausing their breathing cycles as they sleep.

For children between 2 and 8—and even beyond these years—having disturbed or interrupted sleep can have major implications on their health. Some research has even suggested that sleep disordered breathing directly impacts cognitive flexibility, self-monitoring, planning, organization, and self-regulation of affect and arousal in our children. Pediatric sleep disorders not only wreak a heavy toll on our children’s ability to thrive, but it’s not guaranteed that kids will just “outgrow” their sleep disorders.

If you suspect that your child might have sleep apnea or some kind of disturbed sleep, let us know. The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are actually more common in children than you may realize. Of course, sometimes, it might not mean sleep apnea, but you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Hagen to find out.

The Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea by Dr. Hagen

One solution, whether your child suffers from snoring, sleep apnea, or a combination, is using a custom-fit dental sleep appliance. As recommended by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, this is a treatment that can greatly help children.

At Hagen Dental, we can diagnose and assess the severity of any form of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. After we take a look at your symptoms as well as risk factors, we can construct the appropriate sleep appliance that is best for you/your child.

The Mandibular Advancement Device, also known as MAD, is comparable to an athletic mouth guard. The Tongue Retraining Device, TRD, is a splint that will hold your child’s tongue in place while they sleep.

You will be able to have a solution that is small, light, and easy to put in and take out—which means children will actually use it. The goal of both devices is to keep the airways open as much as possible throughout the night. More than 90 percent of those who use the sleep appliance have successful improvement.

Over time, these devices are adjusted as needed. Besides seeing an improvement in sleep in many those who wear the small devices, many are also able to reduce or eliminate their snoring altogether! For kids, this can have great effects on their health and quality of sleep for a lifetime.

Ready to learn more? We would be happy to answer any of your questions: give us a call today at (513) 251-5500.

Did the Pilgrims and Native Americans Have Good Oral Hygiene Habits?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Pilgrims and Native Americans Oral health

Back in 1620, when the Mayflower landed on the shores of Cape Cod, people did not have the access, or information, that we have in terms of our overall health and wellbeing. In fact, the life expectancy of people during this time was anywhere between 35 and 40 years, on average. Today our average life expectancy is around 78.

Oral hygiene routines were much different for our ancestors.

Today we call the settlers who landed on Plymouth Harbor the Pilgrim Fathers, or simply the Pilgrims. Back then, the pilgrims did not have toothpaste, or even what we’d recognize as a toothbrush (more on that to come!). In fact these two core components of good oral hygiene habits had not entirely been refined yet. Nylon toothbrushes were only created in the 1930s and fluoride-enriched toothpaste came in the 1950s.

Having a reliable way to clean teeth would have been a luxury then, although Pilgrims did learn some from the Native Americans.

Pilgrims would use salt, sticks or other objects they had access to in order to do their best to clean their teeth. According to some historians, some even used hog’s hair, or other animal hair, to make what would resemble a toothbrush.

These brushes were an effort to try to clean at the buildup on their teeth. Knowing all of this, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that Pilgrims faced mouths full of decay!

How did Native Americans Compare to the Pilgrims When it Came to Dental Health?

Compared to Pilgrims, it has been reported the Native Americans had less plaque and dental decay, generally speaking.

Some Native American tribes took care of their teeth by using combinations of herbs and sage—they used these in ways comparable to how we use toothbrushes today. Also, a tarragon and sage combination worked as a breath freshener for the Native Americans. It’s also been recorded that certain Native American tribes took the Cucacua plant and made a paste that was used in a way similar to our current-day toothpaste.

And what else contributed to the difference in oral health between the two groups?

Diet! Recall that these first Pilgrims had just come across the Atlantic, on a ship where they had relied on food that could be preserved as long as possible. Compare that to how Native Americans were maintaining a steady diet off the land, or more of what we might see as whole foods today. When you compare the salted dried meat, dried fruits and hardtack (the Pilgrims’ diet) to that of meat, nuts, berries, and other vegetables (the Native Americans’ diet), you can see why the Native Americans were better at combating gingivitis and tooth decay.

You can see how far we’ve come since the time of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians’ harvest celebration, or what we know of as the “first Thanksgiving.” We know one thing: we sure are thankful this Thanksgiving to have good teeth care in reach!

How Acid Reflux Can Damage Your Teeth

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Dental erosion: it’s when acids wear away at the enamel on our teeth.

Eating lots of acidic foods is one of the major reasons we see erosion. Once this erosion occurs, the teeth can look shiny and a bit deficient compared to the parts of our teeth that do not have erosion.

When we lose or damage our enamel, it cannot be brought back. This erosion is a problem because our enamel is what gives our teeth their structure, and shape. We then see the underlying dentin being exposed.

Hagen Dental DDS BlogIt’s safe to say that most of us want to avoid any loss of tooth structure. So what are some signs you may have tooth erosion? Here are a few:

  • Sensitivity
  • Change in tooth form/shape
  • Cracks in the edges of teeth
  • Small dent-like appearances on your teeth
  • Discoloration
  • “Transparent” looking teeth

Knowing that acid reflux directly contributes to teeth erosion, let’s examine acid reflux a bit more.

What’s acid reflux and how does it happen?
We have a muscular ring between the end of our esophagus and our stomach. This ring is what helps keep our day-to-day stomach acid within the stomach, where it helps us digest properly. In some situations, this sphincter muscle does not work as it should, and as a result, our stomach acid comes up into our esophagus. (Sometimes you’ll hear this muscle called the LES, short for the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.)

But is this muscle all to blame as the cause of acid reflux? The answers is that as much as 90 percent of most heartburn cases are due to the foods/beverages we eat, meaning that for many of us, we are able to avoid or keep our heartburn to a minimum.

Besides being a major culprit for teeth erosion, acid reflux also contributes to bad breath. That’s just one more reason to be aware of how we to work to avoid acid reflux.

One of the ways to avoid tooth erosion (and of course the discomfort) that come with acid reflux is to look at the foods you are eating, as well as when you are eating them.

Although it varies from person to person, we compiled a list of some of the biggest offenders.

  • Meats, with especially acid sauces or chicken/buffalo wings
  • Grains, especially those with tomato sauces added
  • Dairy, including sour cream and even ice cream
  • Specialty drinks such as coffee, liquor, wine or tea
  • Fats, certain oils, and sweets. This can be chocolate, donuts, butter cookies, or even potato chips.

This list shows that across all categories of food, we can find highly acid foods and drinks that can contribute to acid reflux.

So what’s missing from this list?

You guessed it: juices, fruits, and vegetables. Most of us recognize how orange juice, lemons, lemonade, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, tomato or raw onions are some of the foods that are also on this list.

In general, look to neutralize the acid in your stomach when acid reflux does occur, and also be sure to tell us if you are having a problem. If you do have extreme gastric-related issues, or a chronic problem with acid reflux, we can also help. Also be sure to tell us if you smoke, since that’s a major contributor to acid reflux that leads to teeth erosion for many people. Link to hagendds.com

Look to cut back on the number of acidic foods you are snacking on throughout the day. This way, you are minimizing the amount of time acid is exposed to your teeth.

From 1 to 100—Taking Care of Our Teeth Throughout Life

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Do you want to live until you are 100?

Take a moment and imagine the state of your teeth and overall health at that age…

Truth be told, it can be hard for us to even imagine life at that age, let alone the state of our oral health at that point.

Start by imagining the current state of your teeth. Let’s imagine you are cavity-free and have healthy teeth and gums. Also imagine that you have very little tooth sensitivity, you have good daily oral health habits, and you feel confident about your smile each day.

Now just envision how much longer we want this state of oral health to last. With that in mind, let’s examine how we can maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime.

Childhood: Setting Our Families Up For Good Health

One of the great reasons you have a family dentist is the guidance we can provide you for your baby as she grows. You will truly lead the process for children until they take over the daily oral hygiene process for themselves.

One tip is keeping beverages away from young children at night. Bottles and sippy cups leave sugar or other substances exposed to our children’s teeth…all night long if they take it with them to bed! When our baby’s teeth are exposed to that sugar or beverage all night it can speed up decay.

Adolescence: Adult Teeth Are In

These are the years that many of us get our wisdom teeth removed. Also at this stage, we have our adult teeth fully in, and we’ve become accustomed to taking care of them. We’re starting to create dietary habits that can have a lasting impact on our health, including our oral health, at this time.

Flossing can seem like a pain to children who haven’t yet made it a part of their routine, but the bacteria in-between teeth is just as important to get rid of as the bacteria we’re removing when we brush. Let children know that 30-40 percent of our teeth’s surface area is in-between teeth.

Young Adulthood

During this stage of life, many people are moving away from home to go to college, or to start a career. It’s during some of these transitions that we sometimes see lapses in regular dentist visits. Just as you’d look for a new physician or other doctor, make it a point to continue caring for your mouth during these exciting times.

Midlife: Our Past Habits Become Increasingly Evident 

Unfortunately for some, it’s at this point in many people’s lives when there can be some regret about a lack of oral hygiene in one’s past. That’s because at this age, those habits have really caught up to us. (Of course our blog readers are far less likely to have to worry about that!)

Luckily, Hagen Dental has the latest and greatest when it comes to technology and services to be sure you have the smile you deserve. We make sure you still can have a healthy mouth you can be proud of at any age.

hagen dds cincinnati ohioSenior Years

Over the years, it’s possible that our gums have receded. It’s also possible that certain medications we’ve taken over time have lessened the saliva in our mouths. Our saliva helps naturally “clean” our mouths, so over time, some of those medications may have negatively affected our teeth and gum by this stage in our lives.

Beyond inflammation or tenderness, we also see bone loss at this stage.

If gum disease eats away at the bone enough, our faces can change in appearance. If the tooth is gone, the bone reacts as if it has no reason to be in that space. That’s when we see some notable changes in the lips and cheeks area of seniors.

With longevity in mind, the best thing we can do is to regularly see a dentist to prevent and to manage what we can for the sake of our total health. Second, and just as important, is a commitment to protect our teeth each day, especially if we want them to last for the long haul.  

The Wonders of Xylitol Gum—Is it All True?

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Xylitol Gum

Can tasty chewing gum also be good for our teeth and actually prevent tooth decay? We explore Xylitol chewing gum, and where you can get it.

 

What is Xylitol?

Some of us may have baked with it, and others may have noticed it is an ingredient that’s been added into some children’s toothpaste…Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is found in small amounts in vegetable and fruit fibers.  

Because it is a sugar alcohol, it isn’t a sugar, or alcohol. You can think of it as a carbohydrate that acts similar to sugar. After all, most of us have heard of, or want to know about Xylitol, because of how it sweetens.

As a sugar substitute, Xylitol has received attention because of how it lacks some of the harmful effects that table sugar has on our health. It’s actually as sweet as table sugar, but it is metabolized as fewer calories. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, which is appealing to people with certain diets, such as people with diabetes. 

Where does Xylitol come from?

As mentioned, it can be found naturally in plants. It also can be manufactured. Because it’s not classified as an artificial sweetener, food or beverages that contain Xylitol can use the words “all natural” on their label.

How does Xylitol benefit our health in comparison to other sweeteners?

Back in the 1970s, researchers looked at typical chewing gum versus Xylitol-sweetened chewing gum. What they found is that the bacteria in our mouth prefer sugar or disaccharides. Xylitol, on the other hand, is non-fermentable and has a 5-carbon structure (most carbohydrates are six-carbon monosaccharides). Researchers saw how Xylitol acted in a way where it actually worked to stop, and actually prevent bacteria reproduction.

In simple terms, that’s partially because of the unique structure it has: the Xylitol does not “link” with the other sugars in our mouth. Combine this factor with how Xylitol acts as a natural way to bring saliva into our mouths, and we have a healthy combination that helps prevent tooth decay.

What else should we know about Xylitol as a substitute for regular chewing gum?

Hagen dental

Xylitol is approved by the FDA as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If you’re looking for some of the preventive benefits of Xylitol gum, or maybe looking for a substitute for your Halloween candy this year, here are a few places that carry it:

  • Whole Foods Market
  • Trader Joes
  • Select Kroger stores in the specialty aisle
  • Online, such as Amazon or other health outlets

Be sure to confirm on the nutrition label it is Xylitol-containing gum. When consuming Xylitol, keep in mind some people can have side effects such as an upset stomach, bloating, or diarrhea because of how Xylitol is digested. (Also keep in mind it could take large quantities of consumption in order to have any negative side effects, but speak to us, or your primary care physician if you have any questions.)

Read this PDF on Xylitol for more information.