The Truth About Sugary Drinks: From a Dental Student’s Point of View

At Mitchell Dentistry, one of our top priorities is educating our patients. A critical challenge is how to provide sometimes technical information that is clear, concise and easy to understand. Perhaps that’s why the American Dental Association (ADA) has a contest for dental students in health literacy. This year’s winner, Ida Gorshteyn, was just announced, and we understand why. Her essay entitled  “The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile” does an excellent job of presenting important information in an entertaining, informative way.

Ms. Gorshteyn says, “This essay was actually one of my first experiences with health literacy. It was eye-opening and educational to see firsthand how nuanced and actually difficult it is to write with a public health targeted audience and goal in mind.“

 We congratulate Ida Gorshteyn and hope you find her article helpful:

 The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile

By Ida Gorshteyn

UCLA School of Dentistry student

Winning Essay 2017

 Sweetened beverages have become a treat that many Americans have every day. The truth is that these drinks are not healthy, especially for our dental health and smiles. Everyone has harmful bacteria in their mouths that eat the sugars we consume. The bacteria get energy from the sugar, but in the process produce acid. The acid they make can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur.

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Some of the most common beverages that Americans drink actually have loads of sugar, even drinks that are marketed as “healthy” or “all natural”. If you think you’re safe with drinks like juice, think again! A glass of apple juice can contain a similar amount of sugar to glass of soda. According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10% of your daily calories. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp. Just one glass of that apple juice would put many people at (or just under) their entire daily limit.

Eliminating sugary beverages from our diets would be best, but reducing the number of sugary beverages you consume and substituting healthier options with less sugar is already a step in the right direction. Here is a list of drinks that are full of sugar and drinks that are better choices.

Lots of Sugar Better Choices 
 Soda Water
 Energy drinks Unsweetened tea
 Chocolate milk Milk
 Smoothies Plain sparkling water
 Fruit punch or juice Diluted juice

All of the drinks in the better choice column have little or no sugar. That means they won’t give the bacteria in your mouth a chance to cause trouble and make acid that can damage your teeth. Water can also contain fluoride, which protects teeth against cavities. The calcium in milk also helps keep your teeth strong. If you or your children are allergic to cow’s milk, try unsweetened milk substitute (such as almond, soy, rice) with added calcium.

If you find you can’t resist your morning cup of sweetened coffee, tea, or juice, there still are some things you can do to help protect your teeth. Here are some suggestions to consider.

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the bacteria more time to eat the sugar and to create cavities. Drink quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
  • Fluoride is your friend. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and has re-duced the number of cavities across the nation.
  • Brush and clean between your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day. Ask your dentist about the best way to do this. Help all kids under the age of eight to brush and floss well, and be sure to visit to your dentist regularly.

Knowing what drinks contain sugar and that sugar-sweetened drinks can hurt your dental health is a good start. Set some goals for your family to follow these tips. Good habits begin at a young age, so help your kids make healthy decisions about what they choose to drink. Set a positive example, and you will all have healthier smiles and a healthier future.

 

All of us at Mitchell Dentistry hope you take these suggestions to heart for your healthier, happier smile. As always, we are here for your questions and concerns. Let us know what you think about this essay, and if there are other topics you would like us to share with you.

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

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National Gum Care Month is here!

unknownThe month of September brings our attention to back-to-school, football season and for those up north, autumn leaves. But did you know that September is also National Gum Care Month? Don’t laugh…caring for your gums is as important as caring for your teeth, and at Mitchell Dentistry, we’re excited that there is a whole month dedicated to creating awareness about this topic.

Healthy Gums Matter

We all tend to be more attentive to what we can see: are my teeth white enough? Are my teeth straight enough? But remember that it takes healthy gums to support your healthy smile. Many people are at risk of gum disease, or suffering from it already, and they may not even know. During the month of September, learn what to look for to keep your gums healthy.

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Protect Your Body

Unhealthy gums can lead to many afflictions, all over the body. Through periodontal disease, bacteria and inflammation can enter the bloodstream, which can cause problems with

  • the brain and nervous system
  • the heart
  • blood
  • joints

Your overall health depends on healthy gums. Learn what the signs of gum disease are so you can recognize them and take action:

Symptoms to Watch For

Here are some symptoms to look out for so that you can take the next steps, and make an appointment with our office. Hopefully we can address some of these symptoms early on, before it is necessary for us to recommend a visit to your periodontist for further evaluation.

The most common signs of gum disease are tenderness, swelling, or redness in the gums. If your gums are receded from the teeth or your teeth feel loose, it is also a signifier that your gums may be unhealthy. Of course, if you notice bleeding, you should make an appointment with our office immediately.

Knowledge is Power

Our goal is to help spread awareness about healthy teeth and gums throughout the year. Because September is National Gum Care Month, this gives us an extra opportunity to pass on helpful information to our patients.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

To Floss or Not to Floss…

At Mitchell Dentistry, we encourage you to floss. In light of the latest news reports suggesting that there is little evidence that flossing works (http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/new-report-suggests-there-is-little-evidence-that-flossing-works-736960579572), we are compelled to let our patients and friends know that indeed flossing serves a very specific, and necessary, purpose.

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According to the American Dental Association (ADA), using an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reaffirmed flossing as “an important oral hygiene practice” in an August 2016 statement.

The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Flossing may also help prevent gum disease and cavities.

For a lighthearted look at what you can do with your floss should you decide that it might be useless, take a look at NBC’s follow-up story here:

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/different-uses-dental-floss-now-it-s-useless-n622846

After you’ve finished with a little chuckle, here are some great tips from the ADA on how to floss correctly and effectively, along with a helpful video:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing

Please take our advice and continue to floss – our team at Mitchell Dentistry only wants the best for you, and would never “string you along.”

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As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. And we love your feedback – how do you feel about flossing?

All the best,

Dr. Jim

Story Sources:

The above post cites information from NBC-TV News and the American Dental Association (ADA).

 

 

A Breath of Fresh Air

 

imagesSummer brings longer days, weekend barbecues, and July 4th fireworks – at Mitchell Dentistry, it also brings a bevy of dental appointments with our patients who are college students. Home on summer break, they can catch up on all their obligations at home, including taking care of their oral health. For most, an exam, x-rays and a professional cleaning are all they need to go on their way. Others have more serious needs.  One issue that comes up time and time again is the question of bad breath, or halitosis. Whether a summer romance has blossomed, or time is spent in close proximity to their friends, this is a concern shared by many teens and college students. The good news is that bad breath can often be prevented with some simple steps.

Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. If you do not brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.

Certain foods, especially ones like garlic and onions that contain pungent oils, can contribute to bad breath because the oils are carried to your lungs and out through your mouth. And in addition to several other negative effects, smoking is also a major cause of bad breath.

Based on our experience here at Mitchell Dentistry, and some helpful tips from the University of Florida’s School of Dentistry, here are some mythbusters that might help freshen your breath.

Myth #1: Mouthwash will make bad breath go away.

Mouthwash only gets rid of bad breath temporarily. If you do use mouthwash, look for an alcohol-free, antiseptic (kills the germs that cause bad breath) and plaque-reducing one with a seal from the American Dental Association (ADA). Also, remember to ask us for recommendations.

Myth #2: As long as you brush your teeth, you shouldn’t have bad breath.

The truth is that most people only brush their teeth for 30 to 45 seconds, which just does not suffice. To thoroughly clean all the surfaces of your teeth, you should brush for at least two minutes at least twice a day. Remember to brush your tongue, too — bacteria love to congregate there. It’s equally important to floss because brushing alone won’t remove harmful plaque and food particles that become stuck between your teeth and gums.

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Mitchell Dentistry emphasizes the importance of brushing your tongue to prevent bad breath.

Myth #3: If you breathe into your hand, you’ll know when you have bad breath.

We all do this, right? However, when you breathe, you don’t use your throat the same way you do when you talk. When you talk, you tend to bring out the odors from the back of your mouth (where bad breath originates), which simply breathing doesn’t do. Also, because we tend to get used to our own smells, it’s hard for a person to tell if he or she has bad breath.

If you’re concerned about bad breath, make sure you’re taking care of your teeth and mouth properly. Some sugar-free gums and mints can temporarily mask odors, too.

If you brush and floss properly and visit our office for regular cleanings, but your bad breath persists, you may have a medical problem like sinusitis or gum disease – so please call us if you suspect a problem.  We are here to answer your questions, and help you take care of it.

Enjoy your summer!

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

Sweet dreams: Sleep Medicine can help combat Sleep Apnea

“I don’t snore.” “Oh, no, not me!”

That’s exactly what we said until we got tested ourselves. It turns out that we, like millions of others, are afflicted with one of the nation’s most serious, yet overlooked, health issues: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Apnea literally means “cessation of breath,” an often life-threatening issue that can be resolved with oral appliance therapy.

At Mitchell Dentistry, the goal of sleep apnea treatment is to achieve healthy sleep.

At Mitchell Dentistry, the goal of sleep apnea treatment is to achieve healthy sleep.

We realized we had to get over any trepidation or embarrassment and learn how to deal with this issue. So we attended several continuing education classes and now know how to diagnose and in many cases, treat sleep apnea. First we learned how to administer a home sleep test that is read by a certified sleep physician. A copy of the report along with a recommendation is sent to the patient’s regular doctor. For mild to moderate cases, and even for some serious cases when the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is not tolerated, we can customize a sleep appliance that has demonstrated evidence-based positive results with many of our patients.

We learned about the severity of sleep apnea and strongly encourage our patients to get tested if you suspect anything. In fact, a study by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine shows that moderate to severe OSA is independently associated with an increased risk of stroke, cancer and death. Results of a 20-year follow-up study show that people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea were four times more likely to die, nearly four times more likely to have a stroke, three times more likely to die from cancer, and 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer.

We want to protect our patients! So for those who snore or wake themselves gasping for breath, please let us assess if a dental appliance is the best course of action that can help you or your loved one. Ask us more about it when you come in.

All the best from Mitchell Dentistry!

 

Your Hollywood Smile is Clearly within Reach

With the nominees announced and Academy Award season in full swing, our print, TV and online media channels are splashed with bright, star-quality smiles on a daily basis. And while we often think that whitening products and treatments are the only ways to capture that beautiful smile, we also have to consider straightening misaligned teeth. Award-winning smile As you may know, Mitchell Dentistry is a preferred provider of Invisalign, a clear aligner system for teeth which offers fantastic improvement previously only achieved with traditional braces. For 2015, the Invisalign G5 has a significant collection of new features and technology innovations. The benefits are applicable to both adults and teens, and make it easier to treat difficult issues, specifically deep bite, a challenging and very common type of orthodontic condition where the upper teeth excessively cover the lower teeth resulting in teeth that don’t line up properly. InStyle Magazine reports that celebrities like Zendaya and Coco Jones (actresses, singers and dancers) have been treated with Invisalign. More and more adults (even one of our patients who is 80 years old!) are opting for the new treatment as a discreet way to correct misaligned teeth.   invisalign-pic Ask us more about Invisalign next time you are in – soon you too can be Oscar-ready for your close up!

New Year, New Science: The Latest in Dentistry and Health

Dentists give new meaning to the term “spit and polish” dentalimage We recently read a report from Dentistry Today that says UCLA researchers are working on a test that could have the ability to diagnose diseases like diabetes and cancer. It’s also possible the test could diagnose neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases. That means your dentist may soon be on the front lines to discover a diagnosis that can save your life. It turns out that saliva contains many of the same disease-indicating molecules that appear in blood. As a result, the test looks promising for diagnosing Type 2 diabetes and gastric cancers, specifically. The researchers used genomics and bioinformatics to analyze 165 million genetic sequences. The most valuable information that the researchers can use in the future is that saliva has a high medical value. This means that as dentists, we may soon be able to take saliva samples that can be tested for numerous diseases. And if that happens, disease diagnosis will be much simpler for you and your loved ones. Of course the scientists still need to conduct more research to fully understand the functions of the various RNAs and how we can best use this information in the future. We will share more with you when the research becomes available! All the best for a Happy New Year & a Healthy Smile from Mitchell Dentistry!