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Find Out how Your Diet can Cause Cavities

September 16th, 2020

Sometimes food that’s good for your body isn’t necessarily the best for your teeth. Drs. Stern, Guzek, Shnaydman, Jutras, and Abdennour and our team want you to know which healthy foods can harm your teeth and gums, and what steps you can take to continue enjoying these foods, even when you’re dieting.

When you begin to substitute empty calories with whole foods, make sure you also remember to focus on your dental health. The majority of people tend to switch out sugary foods in favor of fruits and vegetables when they diet.

It’s worth knowing that most fruits are highly acidic and composed of natural sugars. Some of the highly acidic fruits to watch out for include apples, grapes, strawberries, pineapples, blueberries, oranges, and grapefruit. Moderation is key here, as with all other things. Fruits can be a great source of energy to help you through your day, but try not to overdo them.

Often, people also incorporate more leafy greens into their diets, which mean plenty of salads. Salad dressing is another item you’ll want to watch out for. Many dressings are filled with vinegars and sweeteners that include harmful acids, which change the pH of your mouth. When your mouth shifts from alkaline to acidic, your smile also turns to a higher risk for erosion and decay.

Rather than get rid of these foods altogether, simply change what you do after you eat them. Rinse your mouth out with water, brush your teeth, or eat alkalizing foods after consuming these acidic foods. Healthy alkalizing foods include dairy products such as eggs and yogurt, or any type of vegetable.

If you have questions regarding your current diet and its effect on your oral health, please contact our Worcester, MA office and speak with a member of our staff. If you’ve begun to make changes in your diet toward a healthier lifestyle, we hope these tips can help your make positive changes to your oral health. Our team at Worcester Endodontics wants a healthy lifestyle to be a top priority in your life.

Start Your Day Off with a (Healthy) Smile!

September 9th, 2020

If there’s one meal that can claim the title of “Sweetest Meal of the Day,” it’s almost certainly breakfast. Sugary cereals, syrup-covered waffles, oatmeal with honey, cinnamon toast (which is literally sugar poured on toast)—it’s hard to imagine another menu even coming close. But you’re trying to keep your diet as healthy as possible. What to do?

First, no need to deprive yourself of the occasional pastry or stack of pancakes. The real problem with breakfast isn’t so much sugar as it is added sugar.

  • Just a Spoonful of Sugar? What’s So Bad About That?

Nothing! Many healthy foods have natural sugars. Milk contains lactose sugar, and it also contains calcium and is enriched with vitamin D—both of which are essential for strong bones and teeth. Fruits get their sweetness from a sugar called fructose, and deliciously provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to our diets.

Even processed sugar is surprisingly low in calories. In fact, a teaspoon of white sugar has only about 15 calories. But this teaspoon is also rich in nutrients for cavity-causing bacteria. The oral bacteria in plaque use sugars and carbohydrates from food particles as a fuel source to produce acids. These acids erode enamel and lead to cavities.

Choosing breakfast foods without additional sugars, then, is an easy way to reduce the number of empty calories in your diet while safeguarding the health of your teeth. We have a few suggestions.

  • Be Selective with Cereals

If the word “sugar” or “honey” or appears on the box, that’s a hint that your favorite cereal is heavy on the sugar. But there’s a more scientific way to tell just how much sugar is in that spoonful.

While the colorful packaging and playful mascots are eye-catching, check the black-and-white panel with nutritional facts found on every box. If one serving equals 27 grams, and the sugar in that serving equals 15 grams, you know you have a problem. And cereals marketed to children are especially “rich” in added sugar.

But luckily, you don’t need to give up your morning bowl. Many cold cereals are available that offer whole grains, protein, and fiber without a lot of added sugar. Spend some time in the cereal aisle comparing, or, to make life easier, there are many online sites which recommend the best (and worst) cereals in terms of sugar content.

  • Use Your Judgment with Juices

Fruits are packed with important nutrients. Not only do they provide essential vitamins and minerals, they’re a great source of water and fiber. If you drink 100% fruit juice, you are getting the benefit of most of the vitamins and minerals found in fruit. (You’re also getting less of the fruit’s natural fiber, and more of the fruit’s natural sugar, so consider fresh fruit as an option occasionally.)

But when fruit juice comes with “cocktail,” or “punch,” or “ade” attached to the end of it, there’s often something else attached—added sugar. For natural fruit flavor and the least amount of sugar, stay with 100% unsweetened fruit juice.

  • Search Out “Surprise” Sugars

Remember the childhood excitement of searching through your cereal box for the prize inside? Fun! What’s not so much fun? The surprises you might find when you search through the labels on your favorite breakfast items—because added sugars make their stealthy way into many of our morning favorites.

When you compare plain, Greek, and low-fat yogurts, for example, the low-fat options are often higher in added sugar. A container of low-fat yogurt can provide 19 grams of sugar—that’s a tablespoon and a half!

And while you’re at it, be sure to compare the sugar content in granola bars. Some are full of nuts and grains, and some are full of added sugar.

Going out for a breakfast smoothie? Those can contain 70 grams of sugar and more. Making your own at home might be a little more time-consuming, but if you use fresh fruit as your sweetener, you can make sure that what you’re not consuming is added sugar. If you’re on the go, check out all-fruit options at your favorite smoothie shop.

Drs. Stern, Guzek, Shnaydman, Jutras, and Abdennour and our team aren’t asking you to eliminate sugar from your breakfast diet altogether. (Everyone loves a doughnut now and again.) But substituting some alternatives for your regular menu choices can reduce the amount of added sugars by tablespoons every meal. That’s another great reason to greet the morning with a smile!

I have halitosis. What can I do?

August 26th, 2020

Halitosis is the fancy, scientific word for “bad breath.” Drs. Stern, Guzek, Shnaydman, Jutras, and Abdennour and our team know there are several reasons why you may have halitosis; let’s look at a few:

  • Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) – There are five main types of gum disease, and each one can range from mild to severe. For example the most common one is gingivitis; it is caused by bacteria in the plaque that has been allowed to build up, usually as a result of poor oral hygiene. A more serious and uncommon type of gum disease is called necrotizing periodontal disease. It is most common in people who have a suppressed immune system.
  • Smoking
  • Dry Mouth – This can be caused by something as simple as a medication you take.
  • Food – Of course, if you eat something that is potent like garlic, it is going to give you bad breath.
  • Diseases of the Body – Some diseases such as sinus infections and diabetes, among a few other types of infections, can also cause you to have halitosis.

How to Get Rid of Halitosis

The most obvious answer to how to get rid of halitosis is to practice good oral hygiene, although, depending on the cause of halitosis it may not be that simple. If you have an infection that is causing the halitosis then you may need an antibiotic to clear up the infection and then the bad breath will go away. Here are more tips:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed.
  • Floss your teeth. The more plaque you get out of your teeth, the better chance you have of not getting cavities or bad breath.
  • Address any medical conditions that are not related to your teeth that can be causing the halitosis.
  • Ask Drs. Stern, Guzek, Shnaydman, Jutras, and Abdennour for a prescription mouthwash that kills bacteria.

Halitosis (bad breath) can be an embarrassing condition to live with, but there are plenty of ways to get rid of it permanently. Start by talking to a member of our team at our Worcester, MA office.

What are the alternatives to endodontic treatment?

August 19th, 2020

You have been recommended to Worcester Endodontics for an endodontic treatment — commonly known as a root canal — and now you may be wondering if there are any alternatives to this procedure? Before discussing other options, it’s important to understand exactly what this common procedure accomplishes.

What is the purpose of an endodontic treatment?

Endodontic treatment is done when a tooth’s pulp — the inside of the tooth that houses the nerves and blood vessels — becomes infected or inflamed. In order to eliminate any pain and save the tooth, the damaged pulp is removed, the area is cleaned, and the tooth is sealed.

What are my other options?

According the American Association of Endodontics (AAE), the alternative to endodontic treatment is usually the complete removal the damaged tooth. If you have a tooth extracted, the AAE recommends replacing it with a dental implant, a bridge, or a removable partial denture. Failure to replace the extracted tooth could result in problems with chewing and biting, shifts in your remaining teeth, and self-consciousness.

Here are more details on the most common types of tooth replacements:

  • Dental implants – According to the American Dental Association, dental implants are effective and common options for replacing teeth. The implant is made from materials that are compatible with the human mouth and the device includes an artificial tooth. The placement of the implant and artificial tooth can be completed in one day, although some patients may need to wait up to several months before an artificial tooth can be added to the implant.
  • Bridges – Bridges do exactly what their name suggests: they bridge the space left by one or two missing teeth. Your dentist will bond the bridge to your remaining, natural teeth in order to keep it in place. Bridges can only be removed or put in place by a dentist.
  • Removable partial denture – Much like bridges, removable partial dentures are made up of replacement teeth that attach to your natural teeth. These, however, may be removed and replaced by the patient on a daily basis.

The AAE notes that dental implants have the same success rates as endodontic treatments. Even so, nothing can fully replace the look, capabilities, or the feel of your own teeth, which is why endodontic treatment (preserving the natural tooth) with Drs. Stern, Guzek, Shnaydman, Jutras, and Abdennour is an important decision!

Don't hesitate to contact our Worcester, MA office if you have further questions!

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