Food For Your Teeth

Take care of your body and teeth.

Take care of your body and teeth.

We know that our food choices have an effect on pretty much everything; our hair, skin, sleep and even our mood.  But did you know that our diet has an impact on our smile, too?  The following foods have shown to improve your smile:

Milk:  Because milk is rich in calcium, it helps to keep your teeth and jawbones healthy and vitamin D helps your body to absorb it.  Are you trying to avoid dairy?  Try almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk which are all fortified with the same amount of calcium and vitamin D as regular milk.

Wild salmon:  This healthy fish is naturally rich in vitamin D.  Try it on the grill, broiled or baked.

Broccoli: This vegetable is a great source of nondairy calcium, plus it has vitamin C, which has been proven to help prevent gum disease and gingivitis.

Bell peppers: All colors — green, yellow, orange, red — are packed with vitamin C. When you eat them raw, they’re like nature’s toothbrush. They stimulate your teeth, massage your gums and help dislodge debris before bacteria can take hold.

Unsweetened green tea:  Drinking a cup of unsweetened green tea after a meal can help in removing food stuck in your teeth plus the tea’s antioxidants may help reduce the risk of periodontal disease.

What should you avoid?  Avoid sugary beverages like soda, white starchy foods like bagels and pretzels, and dried fruit which can get stuck in your teeth and cause decay. If you do indulge in them, drink a glass of water or chew on a piece of sugarless gum to rid your mouth of debris until you can floss and brush.

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Are you taking medications on a daily basis?

drugs_rx_37211043_mWe all know that many medications have side effects, but some medications can even affect oral health.

In most cases, the oral side effects of medicines resolve shortly after you stop taking them. It’s imperative that I know all medications you are taking, so be sure to update your medical history form when you are in the office for your next visit.  Whether the medication is prescription or over-the-counter you should know whether there are side effects on oral health.

Some common oral side effects include:

Dry mouth – antihistamines and other drugs can cause saliva to decrease and leave your mouth prone to soft tissue inflammation, pain and infection. Tooth decay can also develop, and chronic dry mouth can create problems for people who wear dentures.  To alleviate dry mouth start drinking more water or using sugarless lozenges or gum to stimulate the flow of saliva. There are also Xylitol-based mouth sprays that are perfect for hydration.

Gum tissue overgrowth — also referred to as “gingival hyperplasia,” gum tissue overgrowth is associated with anti-seizure medications, immunosuppressant drugs – those taken by organ transplant patients and calcium channel blockers taken by heart patients. Studies suggest that gum tissue overgrowth can be controlled if meticulous oral hygiene is started at the same time or before medication is taken. Tissue overgrowth can complicate oral hygiene. Sometimes, a gingivectomy (a procedure used to remove excess tissue) may be necessary.

Soft-tissue reactions — oral sores, inflammation or discoloration of the soft tissue can result from taking medications prescribed for blood pressure control, immunosuppressive agents, oral contraceptives and some chemotherapeutic agents. I can recommend an oral hygiene program which can limit the discomfort associated with such side effects.

Abnormal bleeding — reduced blood clotting is a result of aspirin and prescribed anticoagulants, like heparin or warfarin. These medications are prescribed to treat strokes or heart disease, but can cause bleeding problems during oral surgery or periodontal treatment. If you’re having dental treatment, please tell my staff and me that you are taking these medications, so we can take measures to limit the effects of the specific medicine you are taking.

Tooth discoloration – taking tetracycline products when teeth are developing can cause permanent staining in those teeth. Cosmetic dentistry techniques such as veneers, crowns, bonding procedures, or, in some cases, bleaching may be used to lighten teeth with tetracycline stains.

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Porcelain Crowns

imagesPorcelains crowns are the finest option in tooth restoration. Years ago, it was common to see metal framework around a crown. Over time, the framework became visible as a patient’s gum-line would recede with age, revealing an ugly grey line at the top of the crowned tooth. Because the metal showed through, it was difficult to make crowned teeth look natural for more than a few years. Flash forward to today. We now have both all-porcelain crowns (which are highly cosmetic and used on your front teeth) and porcelain fused to metal crowns (which are incredibly durable and can be used on any tooth). Since each one is custom-made specifically for you, today’s crowns are a perfect replacement for teeth compromised by trauma, grinding, clenching, decay or infection.

One advantage of porcelain is that it can be exactly shade-matched to your teeth –regardless of whether you have other crowns or only your natural teeth. With today’s technology, only you and I will know you have a crown!

If there’s anything you don’t love about your smile; it can be transformed with porcelain. Give me a call, and get your smile back today!

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Composite Fillings

1-2For over 150 years, cavities were filled with a mixture of metals, including silver and mercury. While it was perfectly normal to see dark grey areas in a person’s mouth when they smiled, modern dentistry has made silver fillings a thing of the past. Now, we use composite material to fill your cavities. Composite fillings are made from resins that are shade-matched to your teeth, so they become invisible when applied.  These mercury-free restorations are designed to mimic your natural tooth structure, and they are incredibly strong and durable. Not only are they impossible to detect to an observer, composite can be shaped to create contour or replace missing parts of your teeth (like a piece that fractured off, for example). Composite can also be used to correct esthetic concerns, like a gap between the front teeth. Smile with confidence; no one will ever know you’ve had a cavity!

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ZOOM! Whitening

zoom-teeth-whitening-NYCThis in-office tooth whitening procedure drastically lightens tooth color in less than 2 hours. Coffee, tea or red wine stains, or even general discoloration; be gone! For your safety, and to ensure an optimum result with Zoom! whitening, we require that patients undergoing this treatment have a professional cleaning, exam and full-mouth X-rays. We also reserve the right to suspend whitening options on patients with active periodontal (gum) disease, because the whitening material could damage their tissues. Other exclusions could apply.  We also offer take-home whitening kits; you can manage your own whitening in the privacy and convenience of your home. Custom trays and professional strength whitener/bleaching make this result far superior to drug-store brands.

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We do veneers!

Porcelain-veneers-procedure3-1024x744A veneer is a very thin sheet of porcelain, usually no thicker than a baby’s fingernail, that’s adhered to the front and sides of your existing tooth. Seen on many popular makeover shows, veneers can correct misshapen, discolored or poorly aligned teeth. In multiples, they can act as instant orthodontics, correcting crowded or crooked teeth in as little as two visits. Simply imagine your teeth a certain size or shape – or even show us a photo of someone’s teeth that you admire – and your smile can be transformed with veneers. In our office, we offer the Lumineer® brand of veneers. Visit to learn more about the beauty and quality of these restorations.

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Digital X-Rays

ContentImage-634-4201-DEXIS_Platinum_FrontViewDental x-rays have been in the news lately, but the study in question is about older, traditional radiograph (x-ray) equipment. At our office, we have been using the latest technology, digital x-rays, for the last ten years. Digital x-rays are safer because they use far less radiation and still provide our staff with incredible clarity and detail.  In addition, these x-rays can be enlarged to help advise our patient to any findings on the images.  Also, our office determines our patient frequency and type of x-rays required based on their individual needs.  We have followed the procedure for years, which is the same policy that the American Dental Association has recommended.

These x-rays are one of the many valuable tools we provide our patients to ensure they receive the best oral care!

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Perio and You.

images (2) Periodontal disease, sometimes called gum disease, is the number one cause of tooth loss in America. Since most patients experience no pain, they are shocked when their teeth become mobile and fall out. For years, everyone assumed that tooth loss was caused by old age; studies have now proven that bacteria is the culprit. Because bacteria is now linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, low infant birth weight, certain cancers and inflammation; the health of your gums could not be more important. If your gum tissue is puffy, swollen or any color other than light pink, you may be at risk for serious health problems. Bleeding when you brush? Call us today and get back on the road to good health.

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Oral cancer, should I be concerned?

downloadLike many Americans, you may be unaware of how serious this disease is; an estimated 43,250 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year.  April is Oral Cancer Awareness month, and the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) has invited us to join them in their national screening campaign to increase awareness.  An oral cancer screening is included as part of the examination Dr. Petrusha provides for all our patients at their periodic appointment with our hygienist.  We encourage you to call and schedule an appointment.  With your participation, we are dedicated to our part in reducing the death rate from this disease.

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Cavities in Preschoolers on the Rise

I love having children as patients.  They come into our office and bring such fun and energy.  But, I am starting to see an increase in cavities among the smallest of my patients.  However, with the right care, the costly and often painful dental problems are very preventable.  I suggest you start brushing even before your little one has any teeth, the gums should be wiped with clean gauze after each feeding to get rid of bacteria. Once the first tooth has emerged, begin brushing your child’s teeth and gums with a soft bristled toothbrush and a little water. Toddlers, and even infants who are teething, may enjoy the soothing vibrations of an electric toothbrush. Select one with a smaller head made for young children. Many even include timers so the brush turns off automatically when brushing time is over.  Not only is brushing important for cavity prevention, but I also believe limiting preschoolers from snacking on sugary treats is vital, too.  Babies and toddlers might not be eating snacks, but drinking sugary fruit juices from a bottle.  Be mindful, that while bottled water is more popular than ever, your children benefit from the fluorinated tap water that can help defend against cavities.  Do you have questions or concerns about your child’s teeth?  Give our office a call; we are here to help.

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