Keeping Your Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

Many people are acutely aware that the holidays are a time of increased health concern. However, their vigilance often ends at the scale; it’s easy to neglect how all the sweets and indulgences of holidays affect our teeth as well as our waistlines. There are plenty of ways to be mindful of your oral health and keep your teeth strong during the holidays while still celebrating the season.

C0ntrol Your Sweet Tooth

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the holidays may be your favorite time of year. You want to avoid cavities, but you also want to indulge a bit. If this is true for you, you can enjoy some chocolates and your favorite desserts in moderation. But there are a few types you absolutely must avoid:

  • Hard candies: Avoid candies that take a long time to eat, such as candy canes and lollipops.
  • Dark Berry Pies: Intensely pigmented molecules from darker berries stick to enamel and can stain your teeth. The acidity from berries like blueberries, blackberries or cherries can harm enamel. Make sure to brush and floss directly after consumption if you can’t say no to the holiday indulgence.
  • Sticky candies: Like hard candies, sticky treats linger too long in your mouth and harbor bacteria. Indeed, sticky candies can stay on your teeth for hours.

Be Aware of Beverages That Stain Your Teeth

Remember that there are many drinks that harm your teeth as well. For example, eggnog and hot chocolate are both loaded with sugar, which result in plaque that attack the enamel. Also be mindful of mixed drinks. Darker liquors or sodas used as mixers stain teeth. Drinkers who prefer these beverages can usually say goodbye to their white smiles.

One of the most prominent teeth stainers year round, and especially through the holidays is wine. The main cause of staining is from ‘chromogens’. These are pigment-producing substances that can adhere to enamel and stain teeth. In addition, the tannins in red wine help the chromagens bind to the teeth. If you don’t want to avoid soda, liquor or wine, try to use a straw to augment your refreshment habits this holiday season. Drinking water in between beverages can also help to keep the teeth and mouth rinsed and avoid stains.

If you do want a treat or two during a holiday, avoid the options listed above and rinse your mouth right after you eat your snack. Also remember to follow a routine cleaning schedule with your dentist. Consider making a special trip after the holidays to check for problems and get your teeth back into prime condition. If you do develop a cavity or need any work done on your teeth, visit the Cosmetic Dentistry Center in New York City.

 

The Importance of Seeing Your Dentist Regularly

dr braverman dentistVisiting the dentist every six months is one of the most important things you can do for your health and looks. Not only does it keep your mouth feeling clean and looking great but it also catches problems before they become severe. If you were wondering why you should visit the dentist, here are a few reasons to make it a habit.

Preventing Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a staggering 47 percent of American adults have gum disease, and about 50,000 will develop oral cancer each year. However, you can limit these diseases’ detrimental effects with a routine trip to the dentist. During a checkup, the dentist can identify these two conditions. Early detection is one of the most effective ways to keep these diseases from causing considerable health problems.

Limiting Cavities

Although flossing and brushing regularly can limit the holes in your teeth known as cavities, a trip to the dentist is just as important. Using X-rays, dentists can see if you have any cavities, as well as identify potential problem areas. The dentist will also use a variety of tools to remove tartar and plaque from your teeth, which are the two leading causes of cavities.

Curbing Bad Habits

Many everyday habits can impact your oral and dental health, but you might not realize it until the dentist points it out to you. Little habits such as chewing ice, biting your nails, or even brushing your teeth too hard can have adverse effects on your teeth. During your dental visit, you can see the damage firsthand and find ways to curb the behavior.

Now that you know the benefits of making a regular trip to the dentist, it’s time to visit Dr. Mal Braverman of New York City Cosmetic Dentistry. Call 212-688-3838 to schedule an appointment today.

3 Candies to Avoid This Halloween

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Whether you go all out for Halloween or just stay in, most people agree this holiday provides the perfect excuse for chowing down on chocolate and candy. Most people can also agree that bingeing on sugar isn’t great for anyone’s teeth — or waistlines. But did you know that certain sweets are worse for your teeth than others? Take a look at these three candies that you should avoid this Halloween.

Lollipops

Lollipops and smaller hard candies stay in your mouth longer than other sweets, which gives bacteria a steady supply of sugar. Believe it or not, it’s better to eat candies quickly — the quantity doesn’t matter — than to suck on one hard candy for a long time. If you can’t resist having one, try to eat it quickly.

Sour Candy

Sour gummies, powders, and hard candies may taste delicious, but they’re terrible for your teeth. Why is that, you wonder? They’re acidic, and tooth enamel is sensitive to acid. Eating sour candy softens the protective layer on your teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities.

If you find yourself eating sour candy despite your best efforts to avoid them, make sure to rinse your mouth with water immediately afterward. You should also wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth so you don’t accidentally brush away small pieces of enamel.

Sticky Candy

We saved the worst for last! Sticky candy is terrible for your teeth because it just doesn’t want to leave your mouth. If you don’t brush right away, the residue can stay on your teeth for hours. Even after brushing, trace amounts may remain in tooth crevices. Bacteria will enjoy the feast, but you probably won’t enjoy the cavities.

If you’re due for a dental check-up or have a concern about your teeth, book an appointment with Dr. Mal Braverman at the New York City Cosmetic Dentistry Center. Don’t let those Halloween temptations ruin your smile!

You’ve Got a Cavity, Now What?

A cavity occurs as the result of tooth decay, which can affect both the outer coating and inner layer of the tooth. When carb-heavy foods stay on your teeth, the bacteria within your mouth turn those crumbs into acids, which begin to form plaque. Over time, plaque dissolves the enamel and creates holes in your teeth. Regular daily tooth care and regular visits to your dentist can prevent many cavities.

Signs of a Cavity

dr mal braverman dentist cavityCavities can be painful because they can expose the roots of your teeth. Some of the signs of a cavity include pain while chewing, especially if the pain is concentrated on one tooth. Cold or hot foods might also result in sensitivity or pain. When a cavity is deep enough, you might even spot a dark area or spot on the surface. If you run your tongue over your teeth and feel any chips or cracks in the enamel, this can also indicate a cavity.

What to Do

If you have these symptoms, it’s best to get an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. If you wait too long before seeing the dentist, the bacteria in plaque can continue to decay the tooth. This can require more extensive treatment, which is typically more expensive and painful than a simple filling. When you catch a cavity early, the filling process is fairly straightforward. Excessive decay can result in the need for a crown, or a cap over the tooth, along with a root canal.

When the pain is severe, try taking over-the-counter pain medication and using warm compresses against your jaw near the tooth that is bothering you. Orajel can temporarily numb the pain, but be careful when using this product close to a tooth with a cavity.

Keep up on regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits to prevent your risk of cavities. If you need a dentist in the NYC area, contact Dr. Mal Braverman to schedule an appointment.

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Long Enough?

Dental hygiene depends on effective daily habits, but in addition to choosing toothpaste that’s formulated for your teeth, picking out the perfect brush, and flossing each day, you also need to think about how long you brush. There’s a sweet spot, but it comes as no surprise that most people don’t brush their teeth for nearly long enough—ideally, everyone should brush their teeth for two to three minutes, but most of us only do it for 30 seconds. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you’re brushing long enough.

Do You Brush Every Tooth?

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If the answer is no, then you’re not brushing your teeth long enough. It’s essential to brush every tooth in your head from front to back and top to bottom. Keep in mind that you can’t do that if your brushing style involves randomly scrubbing your teeth. Brush your chompers thoughtfully, moving the bristles of your toothbrush in circles over your teeth.

 

Do You Brush Aggressively?

Take a look at your toothbrush. How are the bristles looking these days? If they’re all spread out and squashed, then you have an aggressive brush stroke, which suggests you don’t spend enough time brushing your teeth. How could you? Your teeth probably ache after half a minute. Harsh brushing is often the reason behind bleeding gums, too.

Do You Brush at Least Twice a Day?

Just a few decades ago, dentists hammered home the importance of brushing three times a day, but that feat proved impossible for any member of the population attending work or school. Today, the recommended daily minimum is twice a day. Needless to say, brushing your teeth less than that means you definitely aren’t brushing them long enough — or often enough. Don’t forget that in addition to brushing regularly, you should floss once a day.

If your smile isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, make an appointment with cosmetic dentist, Dr. Braverman at New York City Cosmetic Dentistry Center. He can make your smile just perfect.