Dr. Sam’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Still scrambling to find a holiday gift for your family/friend/co-worker/work wife/work husband/dog walker/hair stylist/manicurist/doorman? Luckily, there’s one thing that they ALL have in common… they’ve all got teeth that need some TLC.  Who wouldn’t want a gift that can give them a sparkling smile AND improves their overall health and wellness? Check out our fun picks below, suited to fit any budget or style.

And don’t worry, we fully encourage the “treat-yo-self” mantra when it comes to and ordering any of these just for you!

Electric Toothbrushes

At Gallery57Dental, we’re always recommending electric toothbrushes to our patients. It’s a better clean with less work! Plus, most of them have a 2-minute timer so you know exactly how long you should be brushing.

quipIf you guys follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, you should! My handle is @style.your.smile) you may have seen my story about Quip toothbrushes. Coming in at under $50, this is an awesome gift for anyone who likes a chic, minimalist look. I see you, rose gold handle! Plus, there’s a subscription service to get a new brush head every 3 months so you’re never stuck with old, yucky bristles. $45 for the brush, $5 billed every 3 months for replacement brush heads https://www.getquip.com/

sonicare    The brand I recommend most often is the Philips Sonicare. Any of their brushes are going to give you 7x better plaque removal than a manual toothbrush, but this HealthyWhite+ line focuses on removing surface stains to give you whiter teeth in just one week. It has 2 modes and 3 levels of intensity for maximum comfort and cleaning. 119.99 for the brush, travel case and charger https://www.usa.philips.com 

apa toothbrushIf you’re really trying to impress your gift recipient, go for the Apa Beauty Clean White Sonic Toothbrush. This brush is as much a décor item for your vanity as it a functional product. Carried by high end retailers such as NET-A-PORTER and Violet Grey, this brush delivers 40,000 sonic vibrations per minute to clean, whiten and massage the teeth. $250 for the brush, charger and travel protector  https://www.net-a-porter.com/

Whitening Products

When it comes to whitening, there are a bunch of different ways to achieve that luminous smile. One of these products is a sure way to tell your gift-getter that they brighten up your holidays!

optic whiteThe simplest (and least expensive) way is with a whitening toothpaste, such as Colgate’s Optic White High Impact. This toothpaste (which is under $10!) not only cleans teeth and fights cavities, but also contains the same active ingredient that is found in professional whitening products. $5.99 on Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Colgate-Optic-Impact-Whitening-Toothpaste

crest - Copy (2)  For a more noticeable whitening result, head to your nearest drug store and pick up Crest White Strips. I happen to be a fan of the FlexFit series, as they tend to stay in place a little better. This particular line is meant to be worn only for an hour at a time, so it’s a great gift for those constantly on the go! $75.99 for a 3-week supply https://crest.com/

kor - Copy  If you’re really looking to splurge, contact our office to give the gift of in-office whitening. It’s still the most effective way to whiten teeth in one session, plus it comes with custom fit whitening trays for at home touch-ups. Call us to find out more!  $475 and up(212) 246-8700  https://gallery57dental.com/

Stocking Stuffers!

 

A few more of my favorite items that are perfect for helping keep the teeth in tip-top shape through the New Year.

cocofloss  One of my new product finds is Cocofloss. It’s a multi-filament dental floss that actually scrubs between the teeth to better remove plaque than any other floss I’ve tried. It contains coconut oil to help soothe the gums AND comes in peppermint flavor just for the holidays! $22 for a pack of 3 https://cocofloss.com/

marvisFor the jet-setter, a set of fancy travel-sized toothpastes would make the perfect gift! The cinnamon flavor is especially festive this time of year, but the retailer also makes other contemporary flavors such as ginger, jasmine and licorice. $15 for set of 3 https://shop.nordstrom.com

Koffie strawIf your giftee is a coffee-lover, these reusable straws will help keep their teeth white and shiny long after the holidays are done. Koffie Straws are bent at the top to direct coffee, tea or other stain-inducing liquids behind your front teeth and they’re made from silicone so they can be safely used in hot beverages. Plus, they come in different fun colors! $12.99 for 2 straws and cleaning brush https://koffiestraw.com/

Pumpkin Soup That’s ‘Gourd For You

 

Nothing more comforting then pumpkin soup with some toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top to warm you on a chilly winter’s day. How often is something delicious also healthy? Well pumpkins are loaded with vitamins that include.Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin A which boosts gum health, strengthen teeth and promotes healing damaged gums. Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds fulfills 35 percent of your daily magnesium needs and tops the whole thing off. Enjoy this tooth friendly pumpkin soup recipe.

Ingredients

1.2 kg / 2.4 lb pumpkin (any), unpeeled weight (Note 1)

1 onion, sliced (white, brown, yellow)

2 garlic cloves, peeled whole

3 cups / 750ml vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium

1 cup / 250 ml water

Salt and pepper

Finishes:

1/2 – 3/4 cup / 125 – 185 ml cream or half and half (Note 2) or 3/4 cup / 185 ml milk (any type, I use low fat)

 

Instructions

  1. Cut the pumpkin into 3cm / 2.25″ slices. Cut the skin off and scrape seeds out (video is helpful). Cut into chunks.
  2. Place the pumpkin, onion, garlic, broth and water in a pot – liquid won’t cover all the pumpkin. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat and let simmer rapidly until pumpkin is tender.
  3. Remove from heat and use a stick blender to blend until smooth. If you don’t have a stick blender, use a blender – see notes.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir through cream (never boil soup after adding soup, cream will split).
  5. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle over a bit of cream, sprinkle with pepper and parsley if desired. Serve with crusty bread!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tooth Tips For Halloween

 

From Halloween candy to pumpkin lattes to candy canes… These holidays can be hard on your teeth! It doesn’t make sense to deprive you or a child entirely, we all know how that story ends, with an eventual binge!

Here are some tips for helping to keep your mouth healthy this season for children and adults alike!

First let’s ask ourselves…

How do sugary foods lead to cavities? When we eat foods filled with sugars or starches (about 90% of all food) bacteria in dental plaque is enables to produce acid which attacks our tooth enamel. This attack by bacterial acid can last 20 minutes or more and lead to a loss of tooth mineral and eventually to cavities.

Eat Candy with Meals

Halloween candy should be consumed with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. When acid is being produced in your mouth all day it is a problem. That’s why popping candies all day is problem, it doesn’t allow your mouth time to recover to a balanced PH.

Some Candies are Better than Others

Avoid hard candy that stay in your mouth for a long time. The length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay.

The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

Drink More Water

Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. Water will also help flush out your mouth and food particles.

Chew Sugar Free Gum!

Chewing sugar free gum after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria.

Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss

Electric toothbrushes tend to be more effective and gentle than manual. Check in with your dentist and see what they recommend.

Don’t forget, have fun !

Increased Cancer Risk For Women With Gum Disease

This one is for the ladiessssssss

As if I needed another reason to preach about the benefits of maintaining a healthy mouth, a study by the American Association of Cancer Research states that post-menopausal women who have periodontal disease are at an increased risk of cancer. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, this topic fits right into the conversation…

This finding is based on a study that examined over 65,000 women aged 54-86. The women self-reported if they had ever been diagnosed with periodontal disease over a 15 year follow up period. The results showed that those women with periodontal disease had a 14% higher risk of developing any type of cancer. The associations were especially high with esophageal and gall bladder cancer, and just behind them is an increased risk for breast cancer. However, no definitive relationship was made. Researchers are still unsure of the exact biologic process of how the bacteria actually cause a cancerous lesion, but there are a couple things they are sure of—First, it is well known that the bacteria which cause periodontal disease create inflammation in the body, even in very small amounts. Since the bacteria are sitting in the oral cavity, these strains are being continually inhaled and ingested throughout the day, and if they settle somewhere else in the body, can cause inflammation in that remote site. (There’s tons of literature on the role of periodontal disease in other co-morbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke—but that’s for another blog post!) Secondly, periodontal pathogens have been isolated from precancerous and cancerous lesions and have been shown to create a microenvironment that can promote cancerous growth.

A big limitation of the study? The percentage of patients with periodontal disease was self-reported, so the validity may be questionable. However, my guess is that the incidence of the periodontal disease is likely UNDER-reported in this study. Especially because we do not know the demographic or social background of these patients—or if they’ve ever even been to a dentist! They may have periodontal disease but have not been diagnosed, which would make the likelihood of the cancer-perio disease link even greater. On the flip side, both cancer and periodontal disease are both known to be more prevalent in older populations, so just getting older puts you at risk for both diseases and the reported potential relationship could be somewhat incidental. As the researchers pointed out, further studies are needed to prove a causal relationship between periodontal disease and cancer in older women.

The bottom line? Visit your dentist twice a year for regular check-ups and cleanings. Periodontal disease is something that can be diagnosed and managed. Good oral health leads to better overall health!

Can Stress Really Cause Tooth Loss

Dr. Samantha Rawdin discusses the link between stress and tooth loss.

This past week, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon hosted actress Demi Moore. As an avid Tonight Show watcher, I (not-so-shamefully) pride myself on having deciphered the interview sequence they take with their guests:

Guest sits down. Jimmy welcomes guest. Jimmy brings up interesting, obscure detail about guest. Guest tells funny story having to do with interesting, obscure detail.

But this time, the story particularly caught my attention since they started talking about how said guest lost her two front teeth! Due to stress!

If you happened to watch the interview, and saw the part where Jimmy and Demi start praising modern dentistry, I know what you’re thinking. I should be thanking Jimmy for calling me a genius.THANKS JIMMY! Really appreciate the shout out. (Yea, yea. I know. He called all dentists geniuses. But a girl can dream, no?)

So yes. Modern dentistry is awesome. We can do really amazing things to replace teeth and make them look natural and beautiful. (Hence why I love my job.) BUT they didn’t really get to the core issue here. Demi Moore’s teeth fell out due to STRESS. As New Yorkers, it seems we’re always stressed. Should you be worried that one day you’ll just be walking down the street, all of a sudden you feel something fall out of your mouth, and when you look down you’re surprised to see it’s your tooth? In short, no. That’s really not how it happens.

Stress can manifest itself in the oral cavity in a few ways. The most common is bruxing, clenching or grinding your teeth. (Collectively, we call these parafunctions.) This habit can happen either at night while you sleep or during the day– especially while working out or dealing with an aggravating situation. If you continue with this habit for long enough, it will start to wear down your teeth. This does kind of sound like what Demi was saying in that she “sheared off” her teeth… but if you’re guilty of any of these habits, you typically see wear distributed on most, of not all of your teeth.

Interesting that the rest of Demi’s smile appears to be intact, no? Well I have another theory. My guess is that Demi suffers from a super common condition called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria that is not removed by regular dental cleanings travels down the root surface of the tooth, causing the gums and bone to be resorbed and thus reducing the stability of the teeth. Periodontal health is intimately linked to overall health. Stress, and all of the other systemic conditions that it is associated with, such as cardiovascular issues, nervous system issues and GI problems, can all exacerbate periodontal disease. This loss of support of the teeth in combination with stress and parafunctional habits can, in fact, cause your teeth to literally fall out of your head.

But, this isn’t something to freak out about. These changes occur over a long period of time. Bottom line? Make sure you see your dentist for regular check ups. Tracking these changes over time is the best way to diagnose early and treat any issues you might have before you start dropping teeth like coconuts falling from a tree.

I give Demi a ton of credit. In an industry where you’re supposed to be flawless all of the time, it must not be easy to plaster a photo of yourself all over the internet, sans one front tooth. It would be a very vulnerable state for anyone, let alone a movie star. Kudos to Demi for bringing the dental consequences of stress to the forefront of pop culture at her own expense.

Broken tooth on vacation?

What happens when you break a tooth on vacation? Dr. Samantha Rawdin is on-the-job providing tips on how to manage this dental emergency:

You’ve been planning for months. Flights are booked. Bags are packed. You finally

arrive at your destination… and then your tooth breaks.

What’s a vacationer to do?! Well, it’ll depend on a few things…

If you’re in pain…

…you should seek help right away. If you’re in a hotel, ask the concierge. Usually

they can direct you to a dentist near by. If you’re not in a hotel, but still in the U.S.,

you can go to the American Dental Association website (www.ada.org) and utilize

their “Find-a- Dentist” tool. It has some advanced search options to help you narrow

down your results. If you’re out of the country, things can be a bit trickier.

Depending on where you are in the world, dental care can be very good or not so

good.

If you can get to a pharmacy…

…try to find a product that helps with toothaches—they’re usually found in the

dental aisle. They come in gums, gels and pastes and can be applied to the sensitive

area. Be sure to follow the instructions, as they can vary slightly among brands.

Can’t get to a pharmacy?

A piece of (sugarless!) chewing gum can help protect a sensitive area from irritants.

You can also try putting desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, directly on the

area and then covering it with gum. If you can find it, a drop of clove oil on a cotton

swab can have a palliative effect.

If you have a cap/crown/temporary/veneer that came off…

…you have a few options. Pharmacies typically have some sort of temporary cement

for at-home use. Again, be sure to follow the instructions. Before using, try to clean

the inside of the restoration as best as you can to remove excess cement or debris.

Then, try it in a few times so you know which way it goes. Mix up the cement, place

only enough inside the restoration to coat the surface in a thin layer and seat the

restoration. Bite down gently, but be sure to bite down all the way. Clean up any

excess with a cotton swab or toothpick before it hardens. If you can’t find temporary

cement, denture adhesive will work as well. Just be aware that you’ll need to replace

it a few times per day. If you’re not in pain and the temporary isn’t staying in well,

take it out before you go to sleep so you don’t swallow it.

And whatever you do, don’t use Krazy Glue! Still confused? Call or e-mail us. Even if

we’re not close by, we can probably at least help point you in the right direction.

And, of course, be sure to come see us as soon as you get home!

Getting Personal About HPV and Oral Cancer

Dr. Samantha Rawdin gets personal about HPV and Oral Cancer:

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and as a member of the medical community dealing directly with the oropharynx (including the mouth and throat), this is something that we feel our patients and readers should be aware of. Although it doesn’t always get the attention that other types of cancer receive, oral cancer is still a prevalent issue in the U.S. Almost 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and one person every hour of every day will die from it.

Tobacco use and alcohol consumption still remain the greatest risk factors for developing oropharyngeal cancer, but the fastest growing population of people being diagnosed are young, healthy, non-smoking individuals with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Now, this is where things get a little weird. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can occasionally manifest in the oral cavity. Since your dentist is usually the only one examining your mouth on a regular basis, finding one of these lesions can lead to conversations you wouldn’t otherwise expect to have with your oral health care specialist.

According to an article this week in the New York Times, more than forty-two percent of Americans bewteen the ages of 18-59 are infected with HPV. In adults aged 18-69, 7% have an oral HPV infection and 4% have the high-risk strains that can cause cancer in the mouth and throat.

The good news? Over 90% of HPV infections are gone from the body within 2 years.  But, just to be on the safe side, make sure your dental professional is doing a thorough oral cancer screening. And don’t feel bad about asking– it’s something that should be a routine part of their examination anyway. If you see or feel something that’s not quite right in your mouth or throat that sticks around for longer than two weeks, such as discoloration, swelling or irritation, make an appointment to see your dentist or doctor. If you are visiting them on a regular basis, changes will be easier to spot and may be easier to manage.

Can Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Make Your Teeth Whiter?

Dr. Samantha Rawdin clarifies the hype over charcoal toothpaste. Can it really make your teeth whiter?

In accordance with the DIY health remedies that have taken the Internet by storm recently, we wanted to take a closer look at one in particular—activated charcoal toothpaste. Up there with turmeric and matcha, activated charcoal is an increasingly popular wellness trend. It has well documented use in medicine as a detoxifying agent in treating poisonings and overdoses, but does it have a place in dentistry?

 

Activated charcoal is thought to absorb the stains and impurities that remain on teeth, which can make teeth appear whiter. However, there are no studies that prove this and the long-term effects of using charcoal, both on your teeth and systemically, are unknown. Plus, by just using the activated powder alone, you’re missing out on the benefits of using a fluoridated toothpaste.

 

What about all of the positive reviews online? Brushing your teeth for 3-5 minutes with any abrasive material is going to make your teeth appear whiter—especially if there was a lack of attention to oral hygiene habits previously.

 

So, until new research on activated charcoal tells us otherwise, stick with the traditional bleaching products for whitening. If you’re at the drug store and not sure what to buy, just look for the ADA seal of acceptance. It can be found on both toothpastes and at-home whitening products that are proven to be both safe and effective. If you’re interested in learning more about your options for tooth whitening, let us know. We’d be happy to go over them with you!

Tune into our Facebook Live Session Monday April 24th at 4:00 with Dr. Samantha Rawdin to learn the best options for teeth whitening.

 

 

Millennial’s Poor Oral Health Impacts Job Prospects

Are you a millennial looking for a job? Forbes says you may want to visit your dentist first… https://www.forbes.com/sites/dianahembree/2017/03/28/why-some-millennials-arent-smiling-bad-teeth-hinder-28-in-job-search/#c8642d359c6a
Here’s Dr. Sam Rawdin’s proven oral health tips for millennials.

This week, Forbes reported on an American Dental Association (ADA) study that showed 28% of millennials feel the state of their teeth and smile has a direct impact on their ability to interview for jobs. The ADA also showed that one third of millennials are reluctant to smile—that’s higher than any other age group! And, even though 80% plan to visit the dentist in the coming year, only 30% actually made the trip to the dentist over the last 12 months.

 

Why are millennials falling behind on their oral health care? It seems like a dental visit is analogous to… well… pulling teeth. What do we know about millennials? Falling within this age group myself, I can attest to the fact that convenience is key. We want necessary tasks done instantaneously in a way that’s super easy to access, preferably without the inclusion of human interaction. The thought of picking up the phone to make an appointment ensues the highest level of procrastination. And face-to-face interaction with strangers is basically out of the question…

 

Unfortunately, going to the dentist checks all of these boxes. You need to (most of the time) call to make an appointment, take time out of your busy schedule to actually get yourself to the office and then have to explain why your gums are bleeding during your cleaning to the hygienist (who, I promise, is NOT judging you!). I get it, it’s not the most glamorous situation and it’s easy to see why most avoid it. BUT, as I’m sure your dentist has told you in the past, biannual visits is still the best way to keep your teeth in a condition where you’ll be proud to flash your pearly whites.

 

We can’t cover the topic of convenient dental care without addressing the elephant in the room: money. Bottom line is that dentistry is expensive. Unfortunately, many millennials are earning entry-level salaries, paying off student loans and trying to hang onto a few dollars to go to that new restaurant so they can send a Snap Chat to their friends. C’mon, you know you’re guilty of that too… So, paying for dental care isn’t always at the top of the list.

 

Dental insurance can help, but there are a few inherent issues here. First, according to the ADA, millennials are less likely than any other age group to have dental insurance. Plus, yearly maximums for dental insurance are typically around $1,500 depending on the provider. These maximums have not really changed since the concept of dental insurance was made around 40 years ago. You know what has changed? Inflation. What this means is that if you’re coming in twice a year for regular cleanings, exams, and x-rays, you’re probably covered. However, if you need any other sort of extensive work done, you may need to pay out of pocket.

 

So what’s a millennial to do?

 

  1. Make an appointment to see your dentist. Many offices (like ours!) offer a form on the website that you can fill out to then be contacted via e-mail to get you scheduled. No phone call needed.

 

  1. Plan ahead based on your personal situation. If you have dental insurance, check to see if your provider is in- or out-of-network, if you’ll be responsible for a co-pay at the time of your appointment and what percentage of the cost of the procedures the insurance provider will cover.

 

  1. Ask the front desk if there’s an option for a payment plan or if they accept payment through companies such as CareCredit who allow you to pay over time. Most of the time, if you need to foot a big bill, the office will work with you.

 

  1. Don’t wait to go to the dentist, especially if you’re in pain. Chances are, the earlier a cavity or other issue is seen, the easier (and less expensive!) it is to fix.

 

If you’re not sure about any of these, overcome your aversion to human interaction and call us. We’re here to help! And, once you make your appointment, we may even agree to take a selfie with you when you’re ready to show off those pearly whites on all of your social media platforms.

Coping With Dental Anxiety

 

 

 

Dr. Andrew Koenigsberg of New York City’s Smilespecialists@gallery57dental discusses ways to alleviate dental anxiety:

 

Dental anxiety affects up to 20% of adults and can have serious health consequences. Fear of dental treatment may keep patients from seeking or delaying care until there is an emergency, often resulting in pain and additional oral health issues. Ironically, phobic patients may wind up needing more extensive treatment than they would have needed had the problem been treated in a timely manner resulting in increased treatment, trauma and expense.

Fortunately, dental anxiety can be managed by caring professionals. Dr. Camilla Mager, a New York City psychologist, suggests that the first step is to find a compassionate dentist who is willing to “openly communicate” with the anxious patient. The dentist should understand the person’s apprehensions, be willing to take some extra time and establish signals so that the patient can use if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Dr. Mager also explains that there are self-help techniques that help reduce and control dental anxiety before getting to the dental office. People can realize that they are choosing to seek dental treatment which gives a sense of control. They should acknowledge what aspect of the treatment they fear, (embarrassment, pain, bad memories), and challenge these thoughts. They should communicate this to the dentist who can reassure them that their concerns will be accounted for in treatment.

During the dental visit, Dr. Mager suggests several meditation/relaxation techniques. Before the appointment, a patient may decide on a “brave thought” to think about and mentally repeat during treatment. There are also “apps” available such as Budhify and Headspace that teach “soothing and calming” techniques. These should be practiced in advance and can be listened to during treatment.

Medications that control and reduce anxiety are available through healthcare professionals when other techniques aren’t enough. These medications are safe when used properly and often allow people to get care they otherwise might avoid.

 

 

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