Foods to Avoid this Holiday Season

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In the last entry, we covered good foods to eat over the holidays to help prevent a dental emergency. Now that you know what to eat, let’s look at what to avoid during the holidays along with healthy alternatives. Your diet can make or break your dental health, and we would like to help you make this season a healthy one.

Candy, Cookies and Cakes: The three C’s! With the holidays in full swing, chocolates, candy and sweets abound! Although tempting, try to keep consumption of these foods to a minimum. Sugar is a prime cause of the acidic environment that creates dental decay and wreaks havoc on your teeth. The acid produced by excessive consumption of refined sugar dissolves the minerals essential for healthy teeth. If you do choose to indulge, it is recommended to have all the sweets in one sitting as opposed to grazing on sugar throughout the day.

Sugary Cereals: Breakfast may get overlooked over the holidays, but when you are rushing out the door, scarfing down a bowl of your favourite processed cereal is risky. You will be amazed at how much sugar can get crammed into those little puffs and flakes! Try to eat oatmeal or bran and fibre based cereals, or even eggs. Make sure to brush your teeth before you eat, or if you have the time, half an hour after breakfast in order to avoid damaging your enamel.

Carbonated beverages: If you like that fizzy taste when you mix a drink, opt for soda water instead of a soft drink. Pop drinks are absolutely loaded with syrupy sugar. Even if you choose the sugar-free version, the drink will still be acidic and when consumed in excess can cause tooth enamel to erode. If you choose to throw caution to the wind and drink a sugary carbonated drink, use a straw to lessen the direct contact with your teeth.

Chips: As you know chips are made from starch-filled potatoes. When cooked into chips, the starch breaks down into sugar which is the arch nemesis of your teeth. If you are craving that salty, crunchy snack, try something new and bring a bag of veggie chips to your next holiday gathering. An added bonus: they are friendlier on the waistline as well!

Wine: Who doesn’t love a glass or two of wine during the holiday festivities? Just keep in mind that white wine can be very acidic and contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel. Try to limit your wine consumption to meal time, as sipping throughout the day causes more acid exposure than sipping throughout the evening. Red wine is vibrant in colour and can increase the risk of staining your teeth. Just be sure to not skip brushing your teeth before bed to remove any stains.

Coming up next time: Not all emergencies can be avoided. That is why they’re called ‘emergencies’! Stay tuned, as we will cover what to do if you lose or chip a tooth.

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Tips to Avoid a Dental Emergency this Holiday Season

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With less than a month until Christmas and New Year’s Eve, you probably have a lot on your mind. The last thing you want to worry about is a dental emergency. Over the course of 4 week instalments, I will list some tips and tricks on how to avoid a dental emergency over the holidays.

This holiday season, family and friends are the focus, so there tends to be plenty of get-togethers with rich foods on the menu. Everyone over-indulges during the holidays, but this can put us at risk for damaging our teeth. If this happens to you however, make sure that you see a dentist as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary damage and discomfort. Here is a list of top picks of good, teeth-friendly foods to eat this season.

Cheese – The holidays aren’t complete without a few appetizers including cheese platters. As you taste and sample different cheeses this season, you will be happy to find out that along with being calcium-rich, cheese also promotes healthy teeth! Cheese can also balance the PH in your mouth which can counteract an acidic environment and prevent acidic foods from damaging the precious enamel.

Nuts – With all of the snacks and treats this season, choose wisely. If ‘salty & crunchy’ is your food of choice, try swapping the chips out for some nuts. Peanuts for example contain calcium and vitamin D which are great for general as well as oral health. Another popular holiday nut is the walnut, which contains zinc, fiber, folic acid and iron among other vitamins, which help keep your teeth and gums healthy. This may give you an excuse to have a slice of fruit cake!

Fresh Veggies – Casual get-togethers during the holidays will often have a spread of fresh vegetables and dip. As long as you don’t over-indulge on the dip, this is a healthy choice for your body and your teeth. Broccoli and carrots in particular contain vitamin A which helps strengthen tooth enamel.

Turkey – Turkey is a popular protein choice for the holidays. It is also rich in phosphorus. Combined with Calcium and Vitamin D, phosphorus are building blocks that our body uses to make healthy teeth and bones. By eating enough protein, you can help reduce tooth decay, keeping your teeth happy and healthy.

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Signs Your Baby is Teething

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As unique as all snowflakes are, the same can be said for every baby’s experience with teething. Typically, your baby’s first tooth is not due to appear from between 3 months and 12 months of age, the average age being 7 months. . Symptoms can appear up to 3 months before their first tooth erupts. They may be miserable or breeze right through teething and show none, one, or a combination of the following symptoms.

Drooling – How does one little infant produce so much drool? Teething can cause excessive drooling. It is important to gently wipe away the drool from cheeks, chin and wherever else it may accumulate to help prevent chapped skin. The extra fluid can also cause your little one to cough and gag. If your baby has no other signs of a cold or flu, don’t be too alarmed.

Biting – As the teeth put pressure on the gums, a source of relief is counterpressure. Babies will bite or gum whatever they can find to relieve the pain of teething.Try providing a frozen teething ring, or facecloth. A teething cracker can help (with supervision) as well as cold foods such as apple sauce of yogurt. Avoid carrots, as they can be a choking hazard.

Not Feeding – The suction created in the mouth at feedings can exacerbate the pain of teething, so your baby may become fussy at feeding time. Babies on solid food may also refuse to eat during this time as well. This can be frustrating as now they will be cranky due to teething as well as an empty tummy. Always consult a pediatrician if this lasts for more than a few feedings.

Irritability – As the teeth come in, your baby’s mouth will feel achy. Some babies won’t even make a peep, and some will be completely miserable. Along with being irritable, your infant may also resort to ear pulling and cheek rubbing. This is because the cheek and ear shares the same nerve pathway as the jaw. This irritability can last anywhere from a few hours, to days, or even weeks. Consult your Dr. before administering any pain relief medication. If you suspect an ear infection, consult your doctor.

Sleep Problems – Prepare to work double shifts! Even if your baby is used to sleeping through the night, the discomfort of teething may disrupt his or her sleep schedule.

Wisdom Teeth: Tooth loss linked to Memory Loss!?

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A team of Japanese Neuroscientists conducted a study in 2010 exploring the link between tooth loss and brain function. According to their study, the less teeth one has, the more likely to have a worse memory. Time is also a factor, as they also found that the longer a person has been without teeth, the more likely they are to have cognitive decline.

Nozomi Okamoto and his team took a look at what factors may cause memory to decline as we age. The gums are not the go-to place to judge intelligence, but they are known as an indicator of general health. Research in the past has shown that periodontal disease is associated with the development of dementia. There is some evidence to suggest that inflammatory agents originating from gum disease may lead to inflammation in other parts of the body, including the brain.

Okamoto enlisted over 4,000 participants over the age of 65 from an area south of Kyoto Japan called Nara. Okamoto assessed the participants for Mild Memory Impairment (MMI), a preclinical stage of dementia. Additionally, he had two dentists count the number of teeth, and for the toothless, the length of time without teeth. In order to account for any other possible memory function factors, participants were also screened for levels of depression, alcohol intake, smoking habits, general lifestyle, education and medical history.

When such factors as education and lifestyle were controlled, having fewer teeth was still a significant factor in the performance on memory tasks. Participants who had been toothless for over 15 years were three times as likely to have MMI compared to the participants who had more teeth.

These recent findings although interesting and thought provoking are not met without caution. Okamoto only met with each subject across a few months. Most studies require researchers to follow their subjects across many years to conclude whether the relationship is directly related or not. Tooth loss may only be in indicator of mental function, but does it cause the decline, or is it a result of it? For example, Okamoto did not look at genetics, such as certain Alzheimer’s linked markers.

The association between tooth loss and memory may be due to poor dental health. Gum disease is usually characterized by high levels of inflammation in the gums and tissues that support the teeth. This is not just limited to the mouth, however, as unhealthy gums have already been linked to heart disease and stroke. This is possibly due to the same bacteria that inflame the gums entering the bloodstream, causing plaque buildup elsewhere in the body, including the brain.

Another possible explanation may be that the tooth loss itself causes the cerebral cortex to deteriorate due to the loss of sensory input. A study done with rats found that the more teeth were pulled, the more cells were lost in the area of the brain associated with memory formation (the hippocampus). Whatever the cause or effect, it is a good idea to take care of the teeth you do have as well as you can. Regular check ups combined with good home care can help you remain healthy, happy and as we recently found out, smart!

Why It Is Okay to Let Kids Indulge in Halloween Candy!

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There’s no reason to be spooked. Many dentists believe it is okay to let kids indulge themselves in candy this Halloween.

The reality is that if you’re going to eat candy, gorging is far better for your teeth than rationing. As far as oral hygiene goes, it is better to eat many candy bars at once than to eat one every few hours. In the first situation, acid will build up in your mouth, but your saliva will naturally neutralize this acid over the course of an hour or so. In the second scenario, you are constantly exposing your teeth to acid throughout the day, resulting in too much acid for the saliva to wash away.

Slowly snacking on candy, chocolate and sugary snacks every few hours, day after day, keeps your teeth bathed in enamel-corroding acid, the by-product of bacteria feeding on sugar and other carbohydrates in your mouth. This leads to dental caries, or cavities.

Gorging is also better because it is more likely to be followed by tooth brushing. People, especially children, are less likely to brush their teeth after every candy bar, particularly if they aren’t at home.

General Tips: Oral Health & Halloween
As a general rule, make sure you feed your children a meal before going trick-or-treating. This way, they will not crave treats as much. Make your kids count their treats and divide them into a few portions for everyday use as dessert after dinner. Do not let them have treats right after arriving home when they are hungry, or at school when they cannot keep their teeth clean.

Potato chips and pretzels are worse offenders than chocolate, because these cooked carbohydrates cling to your teeth and give mouth bacteria something to feast on longer. The worst thing for your teeth is stickiness and acidity that generates even more acid. These are normally the factors that really lead to cavities.

It is helpful to know that among candy, the sticky and sour kinds are the worst two types for your teeth. Sour candy tends to have more acid, so sour-tasting gummies are a double whammy. Also, those gummies that stay stuck in the molars till Thanksgiving are nothing but trouble!

Oral health is nothing to ignore, because tooth decay and gum disease are major public health problems. Stemming from inflammation and subsequent infections, tooth decay and gum disease are associated with poor digestion, heart attacks, strokes and cancers.

If you think candy is the only unhealthy element of Halloween, you need to consider this: Halloween is one of the top three major nights, along with New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, for dangerous binge drinking, according to an article published last year in the Journal of American College Health.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Coquitlam dental clinic at (604) 552–2241, or visit us at our clinic. Glen Dental Centre is located on Glen Drive across from Coquitlam Centre in the heart of downtown Coquitlam, BC. From cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, Invisalign, Invisalign teen, dental implants, family and children dentistry to laser and oral sedation dentistry, the Coquitlam dentist and his team are dedicated to providing you services in all aspects of dentistry.

For more information visit us at www.glendentalcentre.com

Happy Halloween to all.

Say Cheese! Cheddar May Help Prevent Cavities

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Study Suggests Cheddar May Help Prevent Cavities

It has long been believed that including dairy products in your diet is important for maintaining good health overall. Until now, there has been limited research on how dairy products affect oral health specifically. In the May & June of 2013 issue of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a clinical journal, a study was published that suggests consuming dairy and cheese may help protect teeth against cavities.

The study involved 68 subjects ranging from ages 12-15. The plaque pH levels were measured before and after the consumption of cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. A mouth pH level that is lower than 5.5 is considered acidic and puts one at risk for enamel erosion. A higher pH signifies a basic environment in the mouth and has been shown to lower the chance of a cavity forming.

The 68 subjects in the test group were sorted into groups. Each group would eat one type of dairy product: Cheddar cheese, milk, or sugar-free yogurt. Each group consumed the food, exposing the food to the teeth for 3 minutes. Researchers then measured the pH levels in the subjects’ mouths at 10, 20 and 30 minutes post-consumtion.

There was no change of pH in the mouths of the subjects who had consumed the milk or yogurt. Subjects who had consumed the cheese, however, showed a marked increase in pH at each time interval, suggesting that eating cheese helps to neutralize the acid in the mouth to create an alkaline environment. This suggests that cheese has anti-cavity properties.

The study also indicated that the reason the pH rose in subjects who consumed cheese versus milk or yogurt may be due to the act of chewing. The action of chewing stimulates salivary glands to produce more saliva in anticipation of digesting food. What’s more, various compounds found in cheese may adhere to the tooth’s enamel, further helping to protect teeth from acid erosion.

Before you run to the local deli or grocery store, make sure to take this research and advice in moderation. Eating a whole block of cheese will come with its own health risks, so stick to a piece or two after a particularly acidic meal, or have some cheese as a snack with fruit or crackers. If you are interested in adding more dairy items to your diet for better dental health, stick to options that do not include added sugar, as sugar is a known culprit for causing cavities.

E-Cigarette: Useful Tool to Quit Smoking?

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Many smokers resolve to cut down or quit smoking in the New Year. Instead of quitting cold-turkey, some people will opt for less harmful options than smoking a cigarette. Smoke-free options to quell a nicotine craving include nicotine gum, wearing a nicotine patch, nicotine spray, and also using a vaporizer or e-cigarette. Today we will be focusing on the e-cigarette. What is it, how does it work, and is it better than simply smoking a cigarette?

What is it anyway?

An electronic cigarette (or e-cigarette) is a portable, battery operated device that administers nicotine to the operator. Some e-cigarettes look exactly like a real cigarette, down to an LED light that glows when the user is inhaling the vapor. Other versions of the e-cigarette have a different, sophisticated look. Some e-cigarettes are disposable, while other versions are refillable and feature a rechargeable battery as well.

How does it Work?

An e-cigarette contains a battery, a heating element and a cartridge that contains a mixture of nicotine, flavor and other liquids. When in use, the element heats up the liquid turning it into vapor to be inhaled. When exhaled, instead of a smoke, vapor is exhaled. The smoke is virtually odorless, and if anything, smells of the flavor of the cartridge.

Is it better than Smoking?

As e-cigarettes are relatively new to the market, the long term effects of vaporizing nicotine have not yet been gauged. Using an e-cigarette can help by cutting down from the near 7000 different chemicals that are found in cigarettes. The vapor exhaled from an e-cigarette doesn’t contain smoke, and therefore does not harm those around the ‘smoker’, as the vapor exhaled is like that of fog from a fog machine. On the other hand, going from smoking to cigarette to and e-cigarette is like going from smoking one concoction of chemicals to another, and the long term effects are yet unknown. What’s more, switching to an e-cigarette will still give in to the craving of nicotine, trading one addiction for another. If you are interested in butting out for good and are considering switching to an e-cigarette, the best course of action is to speak to your doctor about the risks involved.

5 Ways to Save Money on Dental Care

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Dental work can add up quickly and seem very daunting. If you are savvy about your dental needs, you can save money over time. You can save money many ways including prevention, all the way to maximizing your work benefits. Keep reading to learn how.

Prevention Makes Perfect

As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure”. This is also true for dentistry. If you think of the higher-end procedures such as root canal therapy, crowns, bridges, dentures and even gum surgery, they have one thing in common: In most cases, the treatment could have been avoided by prevention. Taking proper care of your teeth at home using dentist recommended tooth paste, a good toothbrush, and a mouth rinse can keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. This, along with a regular check up and professional cleaning, will greatly reduce the instance of preventable oral diseases.

Don’t Put off Small Concerns

If you have a small ache or sensitivity, it is best to get this looked at with no delay. These small aches and pains are your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t completely normal. Acting quickly can be the difference between needing a filling, or a root canal and crown. Even if the discomfort you feel turns out to be nothing, the cost of an exam and x-ray is way less in the long run than waiting for a dire emergency to occur.

Prioritize Your Treatment Plan

At your next check up, if you don’t make it into the ‘Cavity Free Club’ and you require dental treatment all is not lost. When your dentist is going over treatment for you, make sure you have a clear idea of which treatment is most urgent. It will be more cost effective to get work done right away if the condition is expected to deteriorate. Although not ideal, if you are low on funds, you can ask your dentist if anything can be done short-term to tide you over until you can finish the treatment properly.

Maximize Your Insurance Plan

If you have a dental plan through your employer, you are paying for that plan. Every year that you pay for your dental plan but neglect to use your plan, you are throwing away hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars, as these annual maximums do not carry over. If you have an outstanding treatment plan, ask your receptionist how you can plan your treatment for the most coverage. Lower priority treatment can be saved until next year. Alternately, if you know that you need more than one crown for instance, you can plan which one(s) to get in each year. Make sure to save some benefit for your regular cleanings!

Quality is Key
It may be tempting to cut corners with dental work by going overseas or even merely price shopping. If you are given an estimate that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you pay rock bottom prices for dental work and the quality of work suffers, you may end up having to pay for the procedure again. Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

THANKSGIVING DENTAL CARE TIPS

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The holidays are all about kicking back, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying a great meal. Between football games and classic movies, family members bustle around the kitchen preparing all kinds of goodies. But what is that Thanksgiving meal doing to your smile? Follow the advice of your upper Arlington dentist to prevent holiday-related dental problems.

Thanksgiving: Great for Families, Bad for Teeth

Don’t let your Thanksgiving dinner hurt your smile. Here are some of the biggest Thanksgiving day offenders.

Hard Foods

Harder foods, such as bones, toasted breads, and nuts are notorious for causing dental damage. Avoid hard foods like baguettes, burned items, or hard candies—even if you are only trying to partake to be polite. Hard foods can damage fillings or dental work, or even cause dental fractures that could leave you sidelined with a serious dental injury.

Starchy Foods

Believe it or not, starchy foods like pies, rolls, and stuffing can be just as damaging as other dental villains. Because the oral bacteria that live in your mouth feed off of simple starches, eating starchy foods throughout the day will cause your teeth to accumulate more plaque and tartar than they would normally.

Heavily Pigmented Foods

Most people don’t realize it, but the things that you eat stick around in more ways than one. When you eat heavily pigmented foods, the dye in these foods can leach through and stain your teeth’s underlying dentin. If you are interested in keeping your teeth bright white, try to avoid pigmented foods like red wine, cranberry sauce, and brown gravy.

Seconds, Thirds, and Fourths…

Research has shown that acid continues to attack your teeth for up to twenty minutes after you eat, which is why enjoying seconds, thirds, and fourths could cause a day-long acid bath. To keep oral decay in check, try to limit your Thanksgiving eating to mealtime, and avoid the extra snacking.

Be Proactive With Dental Care

To keep your teeth clean and tidy during Thanksgiving, pack a toothbrush and dental floss so that you can brush and floss after dinner. If you decide to snack between meals, swish your mouth with water to dilute bacterial acids and to wash away food particles. As always, if you encounter any dental problems during the holidays, contact our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

What is Root Canal Therapy & Why is it Necessary?

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A lot of people hear the word ‘Root Canal’ and cringe without knowing exactly what it is and why it can be necessary. What exactly is root canal therapy, and why does one teeth need it when another tooth does not?

Root canal therapy is a treatment performed on a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. It is needed when the pulp (blood supply and nerve) of the tooth becomes infected or starts to die. The infection can be the result of advanced decay, or from trauma. When a tooth is affected by either of these scenarios, it can create an abscess when the tooth’s nerve starts to die. This is caused by any bacteria in your blood stream getting to this dying nerve tissue and feeding on it. Once this happens, the bacteria quickly multiply, and can ooze out of the tip of the root between the tooth and the jawbone causing the beginning of an abscess. The immune system will send defensive white blood cells in to fight the infection, but they are not able to get to the bottom of the problem, which is the tooth itself.

If your body has trouble fighting the bacteria, and the abscess continues to expand, this will create increasing pressure in the tooth. This is called an acute abscess and it is very painful. At this point, the dentist has two options. Either extract the tooth, removing the offending material from the body: no decaying, infected tooth means no infection in the body. The other option is root canal therapy: the tooth is opened up, the infected pulp is removed from the tooth and the tooth is sterilized. After sterilization a filling material is placed to seal off the tooth preventing further bacteria from invading the tooth and causing infection.

Call our Coquitlam dental office Glen Dental Centre at 604-552-2241 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

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