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Happy National Dentist Day

Friday, March 6th, 2015

It’s our kind of day today! We hope you have a day full of smiles.

Hagen Dental Cincinnati Happy National Dentist Day

Why Does Good Oral Hygiene Matter? Looking Beyond Our Mouth

Monday, August 25th, 2014

More than 90 percent of systemic diseases have oral symptoms, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Additionally, as much as 80 percent of adults in the US have gum disease.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the research as to why this might matter for the sake of our entire health.

A Look at the Science: Heart Health to Obesity 

We’ve talked about before how gum disease can lead to loss of bone and teeth, and how bacteria that cause gum disease have also been found in arterial plaques, which contributes to heart disease.

cincinnati dentist hagenWhat else does some of the latest research tell us?

Self-reported dental status has been shown to be connected with heart risk factors. One such study examining this connection was found in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The study looked are more than 15,000 people across nearly 40 countries to draw its conclusions.

Here is a glimpse of the study: 25 percent of the participants reported gum bleeding when they brushed their teeth. Around 41 percent had fewer than 15 teeth left. All the participants in the study had coronary heart disease in combination with at least another heart risk factor.

Ultimately, the research showed an association between the number of heart risk factors and gum disease across the sample.

While it has been debated whether periodontal disease is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease (which takes 600,000 lives per year), this study was one where you can see evidence of how self-reported gum disease and such cardiovascular risk factors are associated.

More Clues About Our Health

Besides moderate or more advanced stages of periodontal disease showing us clues as to whether someone may develop heart disease, oral health also affects our state of health in other ways. It can negatively affect pregnancy and birth; one example being that gum disease is linked to premature birth and low birth weight in babies. Osteoporosis has been linked, in some studies, with periodontal bone loss. Additionally, tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

And although the cause-and-effect tie can be debated, there is also research connecting obesity and gum disease now. In particular, the research published in the Journal General Dentistry says how chronic inflammation is in part to blame.

Still other research shows a tie between poor dental habits and an increase in our risk of cancer.

There is also HPV; research in the Journal Cancer Prevention says that poor oral health means a 56 percent bump in oral HPV prevalence.  

Additionally, University of Texas Health Sciences Center researchers found dental problems are linked with a 28 percent higher prevalence of infection with HPV.

Another study was compiled by researchers from Brown University, the Forsyth Institute and Harvard University. These researchers said how they found that our body’s antibodies coming from certain oral bacteria is actually linked with doubled risk of pancreatic cancer. The researchers admitted that more needed to be studied to make any further claims, but it does show just one more example of how our oral health is tied to our entire health.  

This list of some of the latest research is not to make you worry. It may surprise you to learn that research has also produced evidence that shows how just getting your teeth professionally cleaned once can reduce risk for heart attach and stroke. (Think of a lifetime of regular professional teeth cleanings!)

The health of our mouths truly can really tell us about our quality of life.

At Hagen, we are the best choice for all your dental care. Whether you haven’t missed a cleaning in your lifetime, or whether it has been years since you have been to the dentist, we are looking forward to seeing you. Give us a call today.

Oral Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

How does oral cancer start?

Oral, or mouth cancer, can refer to any kind of cancerous tissue growth in our oral cavities, can come from neighboring anatomy (such as the nose), or it can simply originate in the mouth. As you may or may not know, cancer can be best understood as a result of a mutation of our DNA.

When our cells operate in these abnormal ways, we can see them as red or white patches on our soft tissue, or as spots in our mouth that simply won’t heal. Most oral cancers are cancer of the epithelial cells. We see this classification of cancer in the tissue in our mouths and/or lips in most cases. 

Woral cancer cincinnati ohio what you need to knowhat are some of the common warning signs of oral cancer?

This is exactly why you come in to see us on a regular basis—we are checking for the early signs of oral cancer through screening each time we see you. If we were to see unusual lumps or ulceration that are not healing, we would want to know more. These skin lesions can be on the tongue, lip, or around the mouth. They can be white, red, or best describes as “pale” in color.

In other cases, signs or symptoms are mouth sores, or even pain in more advanced cases. And still in other situations, people have issues with tongue movement. Many of us have had some sort of unusual feeling, or possibly a sore in our mouth at one time or another, so the best course of action is to come in and see us if you are concerned.

The key is early detection, which in the case of oral cancer, greatly improves one’s survival rate.

What causes oral cancer?

Approximately two thirds of oral cancers are actually due to our behaviors. You may have already heard how in particular, heavy alcohol use and tobacco are two behaviors we know contribute to a rise in likelihood for oral cancer. Part of the reason why tobacco is so harmful for us is that tobacco has more than 60 known carcinogens.

Also keep in mind that chewing tobacco is putting this exposure directly onto our tissue. Chewing tobacco/snuff also (intentionally) is designed to irritate our mucous membranes (for quicker absorption), which is even worse for our oral health.

With that said, be aware that the majority of new cases of oral cancer are HPV-related.

That also means more young people are getting oral cancer today, a fact that surprises many.

Poor oral hygiene habits, as well as cases of chronic infection, have also been found to result in increasing one’s chance of oral cancer. Other risk factors include ultraviolet light (from sunlight or tanning beds) and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). In some cases, these symptoms are

Seeing a dentist regularly, maintaining good oral hygiene habits over time, and avoiding tobacco are all very beneficial for us in terms of taking control of our lifestyle habits.

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.

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

Easter Baskets That We Can Approve Of!

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Americans will eat more than 700 million marshmallow Peeps and bunnies this Easter!

In fact at Easter time, the marshmallow treats will actually outsell jelly beans.

preparing for easter.jpg

This year for Easter, we thought we’d go over some of the better choices for treats to eat while celebrating Easter, as well as some explanation as to why these are actually better for your health.

First, let’s take a brief look at some of the not-so-great treat choices.

The sticky, hard kind of candy quite literally sticks to our teeth. This also means they stay suck to all the crevices and grooves we have in our teeth, which happen to be the places where we are most likely to get decay and plaque buildup. Just imagine the acid and sugar are “sitting” on your teeth when you eat these hard candies…

Beyond sticky candy such as taffy, candy that is filled with caramel or coconut, or any other fillings, are also bad for the teeth. A good rule of thumb to consider is that the longer the food can stick to your teeth, the longer the bacteria can feed on it.

Hard candies can also be a problem since we end up sucking on them. Again, we are exposing ourselves to the acid and sugar for longer periods of time.

So What Can I Do For Some Substitutes?

Here’s an excuse to reach for that chocolate bunny: the chocolate (without those fillings!) is not going to stick to your teeth as much. While eaten in excess it surely isn’t good for your teeth either, it’s an option that you might say is better than some of the others!

Consider other “treats” altogether.

You can also consider other sweet or delicious things to cater to your sweet tooth without all the negative effects on your teeth. For example, what about a cheese plate for the family to share? Cheese can actually work to protect your enamel and keep away the bad bacteria!

Another fun treat can be to eat a few hard-boiled eggs, and the whole family can help make them if you make deviled eggs. Many of us are dying them for an Easter activity, so why not eat an egg or two while we are at it?

In general, in the baked goods we eat at this time of year, you can also look to substitute whole-wheat flour for the standard flour.

How come, and why is this a good move for your teeth? White flour quickly breaks down into simple sugar. In fact, this process occurs while the food is still in your mouth. And, as you probably guessed, bacteria in your mouth feast on this sugar! Then what we see is that acid is produced and in turn, works at breaking down your enamel…On the other hand, whole wheat flour does not produce simple sugar as quickly as white flour does.

Another way to get rid of some of the processed sugar in your diet is select Greek yogurts, (unsweetened) applesauce, bananas or even things like prunes to add the sweetening without the processed sugar. If it fits your diet, look for recipes that use these ingredients instead of just refined sugar.

Another option is to consider choosing candies with Xylitol if you can find them. Assuming you do not have any sensitivity to Xylitol, these candies do not have the sugar that leads to cavities!

“Well, I’m going to eat a few candies this Easter, even if it isn’t ideal…”

You may be saying that you are still going to have a Peep or two, and that’s fine!

At least wait an hour before you brush your teeth after you devour all that candy in your Easter basket this year! That may seem counterintuitive, but that’s because the acid is sitting on your teeth, and you actually could worsen the harmful effects by brushing the acid onto your teeth when you brush.

So instead of reaching for the brush immediately, a simple and effective way to clean your teeth after you sit down for a few Peeps this year is “swishing” your mouth out with water. This helps flush out the acid and sugar.

Don’t be afraid to try something new and give a few dental products in your Easter basket this year. Yes, candy can be eaten, but we can also take care of ourselves so that we have a great smile for years to come! 

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!

Three Steps to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

You brush your teeth regularly. You do your best to floss. And, you regularly visit the dentist to combat plaque buildup so that you can feel good about your smile.

What other ways can you tweak your habits to make sure you keep your smile healthy for years to come? By looking at your nutrition!

Here are 3 ways to consider improving the health of your teeth and gums – after all, we have to have this set of teeth for the rest of our lifetime.

1. Look at the clock.

How often do you snack throughout the day? If you know you regularly snack, aim to start brushing your teeth after you do.

Why does it matter? Saliva acts as our natural defense against plaque buildup.

Because less saliva is released when you eat snacks compared to when you eat a meal, you can end up doing harm to your teeth if you do snack throughout the day.

2. Look on the labels for sugar. 

We won’t suggest to cut out all sugar from your diet. Instead, a more realistic and long-term approach is to begin by educating yourself on how much sugar you are already consuming.

Start to record where your sugar is coming from: is it liquids or from your food? The main goal here is to simply take note of what’s on our labels. Those breath mints you’re using throughout the day may be mostly sugar that’s just sitting on your teeth, for example.

Next time you have more than one pop, remember that the sugar is going to act as an acid as it sits on your pearly whites! And even if the drink is diet or sugar-free, that highly acidic liquid will erode your teeth over time.

If you’re motivated to, set a realistic goal to live a lifestyle that allows you to cut back on some of that sugar in your diet to help your teeth (and waistline and energy levels) in the long-run. 


Still Time: Cheesiest Holiday Picture Contest!

Monday, December 17th, 2012

It’s the HOLIDAYs, and we’re excited about our latest contest: Cheesiest Holiday Picture Contest. In honor of all those family pictures you’ve taken over the years, it’s time to send in your cheesiest holiday picture to us! (Or two, if you want!)

Just upload your picture (remember, multiple submissions are allowed!) to one of your Facebook albums, and then be sure to post it on the Hagen Dental wall so we can see! Make sure to comment on your submission so your friends can know what you are up to.

Want a better chance of winning? Then make sure you get your friends to “like” and share your picture, too! (Hey, that shouldn’t be that hard, right?)

Then, in the New Year, we’ll name the patient we judge to have the cheesiest holiday smile. The best part: the winner will get to ring in the new year with a $50 gift card for Hagen Dental services — which is surely something to smile about!