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.

 

 

Complimentary iSleep Evaluations To Celebrate World Sleep Day

On Friday March 17th between 9-4pm we are inviting our existing patients and the public to come and learn about the sleep disorder, Sleep Apnea, that is affecting millions of Americans, but far too often goes undiagnosed. Those who suffer from sleep apnea can stop breathing up to 50 times a night in severe cases. Left untreated, this condition can result in serious chronic illnesses like, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Brochures will be available on the topic as well the latest innovations available to treat sleep apnea, that are available right in your dentist office, known as mandibular advancement devices. Similar to a mouth guard, it pulls the bottom jaw forward to ensure constant oxygen to the airway. We will be offering complimentary iSleep evaluations to patients that day. Anyone who completes the questionnaire will receive a gift. Light refreshments will be served.  For further information, please call 212.246.8700.

Food For Thought During National Nutrition Month

Chew on this. Neglecting your teeth leads to tooth decay, periodontal disease, bone loss and even tooth loss. Nutrition plays a big role in all this. We need to eat the right foods to keep our teeth strong. March is National Nutrition Month, a good opportunity to take a bite out of your worst eating habits.

Here are some tips on what nutrients to include for healthy teeth and gums:

Protein– Include eggs, beans, peas and legumes in your diet. Cook up some lean meat poultry and eat approximately eight ounces of seafood a week.

Calcium – About 99 percent of our calcium reserves are stored in our bones and teeth and not getting enough can lead to periodontal disease. The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk and yoghurt. But certain green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium as well as sardines and salmon,which can boost your calcium intake.

Studies have shown that in order for calcium to fully absorb into the body it needs to be paired with phosphorus.

Phosphorus– Most dairy products contain both phosphorus and calcium, but unfortunately many calcium supplements don’t have phosphorus in them. Foods high in phosphorus include milk, cheese, yoghurt, red meat, beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains.

Iron – Our red blood cell count depends on iron to help the body’s immune system to fight against disease and infection. Fighting against gum disease and oral infection becomes difficult when the body is low on iron. Protect your immune system with iron rich foods like eggs, seafood, red meats and green leafy vegetables.

Fluoride – Dentists encourage their patients to use toothpaste with fluoride to fight tooth decay. Boost your fluoride supply naturally by drinking tap water, black tea and eating seafood.

Vitamin A – Essential for keeping your mouth’s saliva supply flowing, it helps maintain mucous membranes that coat your gums and cheeks, making them less vulnerable to disease. This vitamin can be found in Bugs Bunny’s favorite snack, carrots, as well as fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach as well as in proteins like egg yolks and fish.

Vitamin B – The best way to fight off mouth sores and oral inflammation with Vitamin B found in niacin and riboflavin. Foods such as poultry, fish, red meats, dairy products, spinach and legumes are rich with these vitamins.

Vitamin C- Gingivitis can develop without adequate Vitamin C. It also helps the body maintain itself as well as repair bones, teeth and cartilage and helps wounds heal.Put generous portions of oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, kiwi, peppers and broccoli on your plate.

Zinc – A mineral found in saliva, Zinc has been proven to fight against the growth of bacteria and plaque. Help increase the presence of Zinc with foods like cashews, red meat, pumpkins seeds, squash and legumes.

Cook healthy on us! Like or comment on any of our Facebook posts for the month of March and be entered to win a cooking class!

March-FBCampaign

 

The Truth About Sleep Apnea

DR. ROB RAWDIN EXPLAINS THE TRUTH ABOUT SLEEP APNEA:

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine labels sleep apnea as “A hidden health crisis costing America billions”. Sleep Apnea is a serious health condition where you actually stop breathing during your sleep. These episodes of not breathing can last for a few seconds or up to a minute or more. And the number of times this can occur during one’s sleep can be very few or more than 50 times in one night’s sleep. Sleep apnea is classified as obstructive or central. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the airway gets obstructed during sleep. If you are overweight this is more likely. When the muscles of the tongue, palate and throat relax during sleep they can cause the airway to collapse. Your brain senses the lack of oxygen and there is an arousal signal from your brain to start breathing again. In central sleep apnea there is a problem in the central nervous system. This is less common but more of a serious health problem.

It is estimated that there are as many as 30 million adult Americans that have sleep apnea that are not diagnosed. Many of these people may complain of daytime tiredness but left untreated the consequences of sleep apnea can be quite serious. There are many serious health conditions that can arise from untreated sleep apnea. The most prevalent are high blood pressure, cardiac disease and diabetes. Other conditions associated with untreated sleep apnea are stroke, asthma and other breathing disorders, insomnia, impotence, weight gain, depression and anxiety and possible complications in pregnancy. One can see from the potential health problems how this could cost billions in health care dollars. Low productivity at work and potential accidents at work or driving also significantly contribute to the cost of this serious health condition.

Sleep apnea is often not diagnosed due to several factors. Doctors don’t routinely screen for this condition and patients often attribute daytime sleepiness to stress and not always getting a full night’s sleep. Doctors and dentists should routinely screen their patients for sleep apnea. A simple questionnaire is all that is necessary to see if a patient potentially has sleep apnea. Snoring is very often a sign of sleep apnea. The next step is a home sleep test or a visit to a sleep lab. Once a diagnosis is made the treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. When someone has mild to moderate sleep apnea the treatment options include: an oral device made by a dentist that positions the lower jaw forward during sleep to prevent the airway from being obstructed, surgery of the palate/throat or a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. When someone is diagnosed with severe sleep apnea the treatment options include: CPAP or surgery.

Sleep apnea awareness has increased somewhat in the past few months. There have been several incidents where train operators have fallen asleep and caused terrible accidents. These operators were found to have sleep apnea after the fact. The NY MTA has decided to have all employees screened for sleep apnea. The trucking industry as well as airlines and other shipping and train corporations should be doing the same. Basically all businesses would benefit if their employees did not suffer from sleep apnea; more productivity, less sick days, and overall healthier and happier employees.

Sleep apnea is a serious health condition and often not diagnosed. Please ask your doctor or dentist about being screened. The benefits of treatment can literally add years to your life.

 

Robert C. Rawdin, DDS

Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics

NY Smile Specialists at Gallery 57 Dental

24 W 57th St., suite 701

New York, NY 10019

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Show Your 💖 Some Love Today

Kiss your Valentine with confidence this holiday, and everyday, by brushing and flossing regularly, while also maintaining your oral and overall health. Your good health is the greatest gift you can share with the people you love! 

February is not only has Valentines Day but also is American Heart Month.  Its the perfect opportunity to make a commitment to preventing heart disease while maintaining oral health. Heart disease leads to one in four deaths annually. Going to the dentist is one of the ways to protect your oral and heart health.

Research has shown the link between heart disease and gum disease. Studies have found similar bacteria in the mouths of patients with gum disease as in people with hardening arteries.While researchers are not completely sure how to account for this link, the working theory is that the body reacts to inflammation by elevating certain chemicals in the blood.  In the short run, these chemicals fight inflammation but in the long run can damage vessels in the heart and other organs. The chronic inflammation of gum disease may contribute to these inflammatory factors being constantly elevated.

Some of the signs of gum disease include bleeding gums during brushing or flossing, chronic bad breathe and loose teeth or gums that pull away from your teeth. 

What are the best tools for maintaining oral health? Visit your dentist regularly for an exam and dental cleaning and floss and brush your teeth twice a day. This will help keep your smile young and beautiful for years to come. Happy Valentines Day!

 

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