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3 Truths About Smoking & Your Health

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

dentist in cincinnati hagen dentalIt’s probably not surprising to hear that people who smoke regularly encounter quite a few negative side effects when it comes to their health.

Not only is your total health affected, but your oral health is also negatively impacted. Here are 3 ways your oral health is impacted when you smoke.

1. Smoking makes your teeth stained and yellow.

Many of us take pride in having that bright and dazzling smile to put on display. Our smile is—after all—what people notice first about us!

It’s not just vanity, though, depending on how you look at it: having a smile we are proud of actually gives us more confidence in social settings. When you smoke it makes it quite a bit harder to have a white, or a healthy-looking smile: specifically, smoking is one of the top ways to stain your teeth. Over time, it is not uncommon for people who regularly smoke to not just have stained teeth, but teeth that are quite yellow!

2. Smoking makes you more susceptible and likely to have gum disease.

Did you know if you smoke, your gums aren’t functioning as they normally would?

When you smoke, the bone and soft tissue in your mouth is impacted. What’s more is that blood flow to the gums can be significantly reduced. Smoking keeps your gum tissue cells from acting as they normally when it comes to our natural way of healing and repairing. That’s part of the reason why people who smoke are actually more prone to getting infections and gum disease.

People ask: are cigars or smoking from a pipe habits that are just as bad for our health?

The answer is that, yes, just like cigarettes, the smoke we expose our bodies to with pipes and cigars leads to more oral health problems, including more gum disease. The Journal of the American Dental Association reports how cigar smokers have bone loss (tooth and jaw) at the same rate as those who smoke cigarettes. Also, those who use pipes to smoke have a similar risk of tooth losstobacco and your oral health

3. …and smoking increases the risk of cancer.

People are aware that smoking puts you at greater risk for lung disease. And, while smoking directly contributes to gum disease (and oral disease in our body), it also puts you at greater risk for throat cancer and oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that if you expand the definition of oral and oropharyngeal cancers to include cancer of the larynx, the numbers of people who get diagnosed increases to about 54,000 individuals per year. What’s more alarming is that there are 13,500 deaths per year in the U.S. alone for those kinds of cancers (1, 2)!

Truths About Smoking

Sure, losing your sense of taste and smell and having bad breath are negative side effects of smoking, but if someone needs more of a deterrent, share this blog with them so they can see the tobacco-oral cancer connection.

In general, more than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health was issued more than 50 years ago (1, 2).

If you want to maintain good overall health—including oral health, you should avoid smoking. For those who already smoke, know that quitting before age 40 can reduce excess mortality attributable to continued smoking by 90 percent (5). Also, quitting before age 30 reduces risk levels by more than 97 percent (5). Those are good figures to know to motivate us into taking steps to quit a habit that has so many negative impacts on our well-being.



What to Know About Microbeads in Your Toothpaste

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

is this safe hagen dental microbeads

“What’s all this I’m hearing about microbeads?”

Microbeads are scrubbing beads that have commonly been used in a variety of exfolianting products. They’ve also been used to provide color in products ranging from soap to gum! Recently, more attention has been garnered for how they are used by popular brands in cosmetics as well toothpaste.

By definition, they are called “microbeads” because they are less than 5 millimeters in diameter—but many microbeads used in toothpaste, lip balm and makeup are much, much smaller.

“…But are microbeads in my toothpaste safe?”

The answer is that the polyethylene microbeads that are used in brands including Crest Toothpaste and others are microbeads that are safe (1). While you can always ask us when you have questions about any toothpaste or oral hygiene product, a general rule of thumb is that products that have the ADA Seal are products that have been independently evaluated by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs for their safety.

With that said, Crest (the brand receiving most of the attention for its use of microbeads) has committed to removing all microbeads in its toothpastes going forward. They have already removed microbeads in the majority of their toothpastes.

“What exactly is the concern with microbeads in my toothpaste?”

The microbeads used in the majority of toothpaste brands today are in fact safe—however, some people still prefer not to use toothpaste with microbeads as a precaution. The concern is that chemically, these tiny particles are plastic microspheres, and some people would rather see more biodegradable particles in their makeup, personal care products and in their toothpaste.

what to know about MICROBEADS

Taking a step back, know that polyethylene (which is what you would see on the list of ingredients in any product that has these kinds of microbeads) is an FDA-approved food additive. Microbeads are an inactive ingredient and they are not associated with any health risk.

Many of your favorite toothpaste brands have many toothpastes that do not contain any microbeads.

According to the Crest blog, they have a long list of toothpastes that have no microbeads whatsoever. The list includes:

  • Crest Pro-Health Advanced Smooth Mint
  • Crest 3D White Radiant Mint
  • Crest Sensi Repair & Prevent, Crest Pro-Health [HD]
  • Crest Whitening + Scope, Crest Baking Soda Peroxide
  • Crest Extra Whitening, Crest Cavity
  • Crest Tartar + Whitening (1)

You can see that’s quite a long list that offers you microbead-free brushing, if desired—and that is just Crest alone. As mentioned, it was recently announced that due to media attention as well as consumer concern and confusion, Crest is removing all of the microbeads by late February/March of this year. The majority of all Crest products, as well as others available on the shelf, are already microbead-free. Because of a growing consumer sentiment that reflected a preference to remove all microbeads, other brands that also made this pledge include L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.

Want to talk more with us about microbeads and whether or not they are safe for you and your family? Contact us online or give us a call today to schedule your next appointment at 513.251.5500.

References/Further Reading


Our Founding Fathers: The State of Their Oral Health

Friday, July 3rd, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Washington’s dentures in the collection at Mount Vernon

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

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

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

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

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

And one more myth…

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

The good news is that early childhood caries is preventable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The Nutrition Source.)

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

Everything You Need to Know About the Gum Disease Antibiotic, ARESTIN

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection. Gum disease can do damage to our gums, tissue, and even the bone around our teeth. When we lose and destruct the tissue and bone in this way, pockets tend to form around our teeth. This is when ARESTIN can be utilized to better the health of your mouth and gumline.

What is ARESTIN?

ARESTIN is an antibiotic you can receive through your dentist. ARESTIN works to kill the bacteria—right at the root of the problem—without any pain.

ARESTIN is made up of the antibiotic known as minocycline hydrochloride; this is what kills your bacteria, over time, so that your gums can heal quicker and more effectively than they would otherwise.

Why use ARESTIN?

As you know, bacteria is what causes gum disease and bacteria often build up around our gumline. ARESTIN is a targeted gum disease treatment that directly helps this combat this buldup. We would tell you if you were a candidate for this treatment.

In other words, ARESTIN is just one more proactive way you can reverse the damage and prevent future damage to your mouth.

How does ARESTIN work?

Getting ARESTIN is an easy process. Your dentist will place ARESTIN in the pockets below your gumline, which lets you have an optimal potency right where you need the treatment. After that point, your dentist will tell you if you need more treatments, and how often.

What happens after my ARESTIN treatment?

ARESTIN will dissolve on its own so there is no removal required. You’ll also want to keep any other future appointments we have with you to make sure your gums are as healthy as possible.

Arestin and other technology at Hagen DentalOnce your gums have been treated, you want to maintain a good oral health routine. For about 10 days, it is best to avoid using floss or any kind of picks that are normally used to clean between the teeth. We will discuss these, and other guidelines for taking care of your teeth when using ARESTIN with each individual person.

In general, after those first 10 days, this may mean we need to get in the habit of regular, daily flossing. It also means keeping up with your regular brushing habits. We can help you with other decisions that can help your oral health, and overall health. Ready to treat your gum disease head on? Tell us you are interested in this antibiotic today.


Gum Recession: What You Need to Know

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Ever heard of gingival recession?

This is a term for receding gums.

Your first worry if you hear your dentist talk about gum recession in your mouth could be the aesthetics! You might ask yourself, “I didn’t notice my gums were receding!”

The reality is that it can be progressive over time, so many people are unaware of the slow changes of gum recession that impact our mouth. You might have noticed, however, that your teeth were more sensitive to heat and cold—that happens as your teeth become more exposed over time!

Without any recession, our soft tissues are what anchor our teeth to the bone. Healthy gums are coral in color and our gum line is “snug” along each tooth. What many of us don’t realize is that gum recession does not have to happen as we age—meaning it is not inevitable! With intentional care, we can make sure our gum tissue does not “shrink” away from our teeth slowly over the years. A potentially more difficult, but still possible aspect, is to maintain bone density as we age.

Then how can gum recession happen, and why is it more likely to happen as we age?

The most common cause is gum disease. We can think of that as bacterial overgrowth. Even though we do have health bacteria, the bacteria in our mouth can be harmless (gram positive aerobic bacteria) or the harmful kind (gram negative anaerobic bacteria). When our mouths are exposed to a bacterial balance that is more gram negative in nature, over time that inflammation takes its toll on teeth and gum. Take away that harmful bacteria, and take away the source of the problem.

Imagine a mouth that does have this chronic inflammation of the gums—so while there would be no pain for you, over time, gradual recession begins to occur. Another difference we might not notice in our mouth is increased tooth mobility due to periodontal disease. Those are just two signs of gum recession.

And what else can lead to our gums receding? Here is a list of the major reasons why gum recession can take place:

  • Gum disease
  • Grinding of the teeth
  • Overly aggressive brushing
  • Excessive acid reflux
  • Bruxism which can loosen the teeth’s position

You may wonder: can we ever blame mom and dad for our teeth and gum or gum recession? First, it is true that some patients are born with thin gum tissue, making them more at risk of recession.

But that just means they are at greater risk—it doesn’t mean they will inevitably have issues related to receding gums.

Said another way, genetics does play a part in how thick or thin our gum tissue may be, but we ultimately can have a larger impact on the health of our gum in the majority of cases.

hagen dental cincinnati best dentist

When Shakespeare said “Long in the tooth” or “Long of tooth” he was talking about people who were generally older who had receding gums, and thus “longer” teeth.

If you do experience teeth mobility and a situation where your gingival health is a major problem, a soft-tissue graft surgery may be used. In this scenario, tissue is taken from one spot in your mouth and applied to the thinner places to cover the exposed roots. What kind of procedure you may have will take place after a conversation with us!

You’ll notice with our list of reasons for gum recession, we can do something about most of them. Having a consistent oral hygiene, restorations that rightfully fit our mouths, making sure we do something about bruxism or grinding if we suffer from it—these are a few of the steps we can take to make sure we don’t get “long teeth!”

If you feel like your roots are exposed, your teeth are looking longer than normal, you have teeth sensitivity, unexplained bad breath, swollen/bleeding gums, or if you’ve ever been diagnosed with periodontal disease, let us know!

Floss vs. Interdental Picks—Hagen Explains the Difference!

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

hagen dental cincinnati ohioWhat happens in your mouth…affects your body, and vice versa. Today we look at floss and interdental picks, one of the most important parts of taking care of your oral health

As many of you now, plaque that is not removed from your teeth hardens into tartar. In part, this is why you come in to us so we can remove it. When this tartar builds up, you may start to notice gum tissue swelling or bleeding when this occurs. Flossing and interdental cleaning aids let us remove this plaque between our teeth.

I floss, but I’m curious: what’s floss made of?

Typically the floss someone gets from the store is usually made from nylon or plastic. If you by the mint variety, it simply has been treated with flavoring agents. Floss comes in dispensers with anywhere from 10 to 100 meters of floss on each “roll.” Typically, we want to break off a piece of floss that’s between 18 and 20 inches.

What should I know about the kinds of floss?

Flossing is arguably the most important defense you have against plaque. No matter the type of floss you use, it helps clean and remove plaque. Here are a few of the kinds available from a dentist’s perspective:

  • Wide floss: this, like interdental picks (more on this below!), is commonly used by people with “larger” spaces between their teeth.
  • Waxed floss: some people prefer this kind since it “glides” between the teeth. It can also be ideal for those with closely spaced teeth.
  • Unwaxed floss: again, it may just come down to your preference, but unwaxed gives you a “squeaky” feeling when you use it against each tooth. For this reason, people like it because they say it feels less thick compared to waxed floss!
  • Bonded, unwaxed floss: now we are really getting specific! This kind of floss will not break/fray as easily as your “normal” kind of unwaxed floss. It will fray more easily than waxed floss, however.

These varieties show how you can select a type of floss that “feels” best for your mouth. What’s more is that there is no clinical difference in how the floss works at preventing disease, stimulating your gum, and/or removing plaque. We just want you to use whatever you prefer so that you are more likely to floss!

Then what are interdental picks?

Interdental picks are sticks (usually plastic or wood) that clean between your teeth. They are often described as an alternative to dental floss, but they are best used for people with large spaces between their teeth.

Another case where you might have heard of using interdental cleaning aids is for those who have braces, or even a missing tooth, or if you had gum surgery. (Ask us if you think you might be a a fit for using interdental picks over floss.)

We’ve talked to you before about how flossing actually gets up to a third of the surface area of your teeth. Interdental picks are aimed at doing the same by removing hard-to-get-to food, cleaning away plaque and stimulating gum.

Whether flossing or using an interdental cleaning aid, be sure not to be too abrasive on your gum line. Although there’s a wide selection of cleaners/floss available, you are sure to have a quality selection if you see the ADA Seal.

Want to learn about some of our featured services at Hagen Dental? Head to our new website to learn more