Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is Red Wine Good for your Teeth?

            We have heard in the past that red wine can be good for heart health. Some research has shown that reservatrol, a chemical found in red wine, can be potentially beneficial for those with heart disease. However, the amount of reservatrol needed was so large that obtaining its desired benefits through red wine was nearly impossible. There is a new study from universities in Madrid and Zurich that suggests drinking wine could lead to stronger teeth, healthier gums, and fewer cavities. They believe there are compounds found in red wine that could have an antimicrobial effect that kills damaging bacteria. But before you start drinking too much, let’s take a closer look at some of the potential implications.
            The first concern I have with being reliant on red wine to help your teeth stay healthy is how little data there is to support it. A few studies over only a few years can be very short sighted and miss some of the long term effects. At this point, instead of thinking red wine is good for your teeth, I would feel more comfortable saying red wine isn’t bad for your teeth.
            Red wine, along with a few other beverages like coffee and tea, can lead to staining or darkening of your teeth. However, this staining does not put you at higher risk for tooth decay. Sometimes we are able to clean all of the stains during a routine dental exam and cleaning, but over time it may more permanently stain the teeth. Using whitening toothpaste may help limit the stains, but professional teeth bleaching can help keep the teeth white.
            At this point, it is a little too soon to say that drinking red wine will lead to fewer trips to the dentist. While there are some potential positive effects, I would still recommend doing all of the usual home care methods of brushing, flossing and rinsing to limit your trips to the dentist.

For more information, visit us at www.brownandkupper.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Do your Eating Habits Affect the Health of your Teeth?

With Halloween right around the corner, it seems like we are constantly snacking on sweets both at home and at work. Our first concern may be packing on a few extra pounds, but all of this snacking can put you at a higher risk for tooth decay. Hopefully we can share a few helpful hints to reduce the possibility of developing cavities during this time and throughout the year.
Plaque is a term we use to refer to a sticky film of bacteria that adheres to your teeth. It forms as a result of different bacteria attaching to your teeth after eating or drinking.  If you do not properly clean all surfaces of your teeth, the plaque bacteria use the sugar we ingest to make acid. This acid attacks the enamel for up to 20 minutes after consuming sugar filled food or drinks. So if you eat or drink throughout the day over the course of a few weeks or months, your teeth are exposed to acid attacks over and over. These repeated attacks often result in tooth decay and the need for intervention by the dentist.
So how can you reduce your risk of tooth decay? Below are a few easy things to remember that can limit the possibility of developing cavities:

1. Limit sugary snacks and drinks between meals. This includes energy drinks and sports drinks.
2. When you do have sugary snacks and drinks, try to have them with your meals and not throughout the day or during snacking.
3. Chewing sugar free gum or gum with xylitol for 20 minutes after meals has been shown to reduce tooth decay. This doesn’t mean you can substitute gum for your normal brushing.
4. Drinking tap water throughout the day can help prevent tooth decay because it contains fluoride and can help rinse away any sugary drinks.
5. See your dentist regularly. They can help personalize a plan to limit your risk of decay. And if you do develop a cavity, they can help find in early.

For more answers or tips on good oral health, visit us at www.brownandkupper.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Basics of Dental Implants

            In most cases where a tooth is lost, a dental implant is the best choice and the standard of care. Even though the initial investment is substantial, in most cases it will save you money and time in the long run when compared to other options. Below we will run through the basics of dental implants to help you gain a better understanding of what may be involved.

What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a metal post, typically titanium, which substitutes for a tooth’s root. It is placed in the jaw bone and allowed proper time to heal to become sturdy. Following healing (3-6 months depending upon a number of factors) a crown can be fabricated to be attached to the implant to mimic the natural tooth. This can be done to replace a single tooth, support a bridge, or even stabilize a denture.

Who can receive dental implants?
Dental implants are a viable option for patients of all ages who have lost teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, or trauma. People with dentures are also candidates if they need more support to hold their denture. However, the placement of a dental implant is a surgical procedure and you must be in good general health to allow for proper healing. There must also be adequate jaw bone at the site for the implant, but there are procedures available to improve the quality of bone if needed.

What are some limiting factors that may exclude you from receiving dental implants?
If you have a history of bruxism (clenching and grinding), diabetes, smoking or leukemia there is a higher failure rate of implants. While there is still debate on the subject, a history of taking bisphosphonates over an extended period of time limits your chances receiving dental implants.

How do I care for my dental implant?
The main reason implants fail is poor oral hygiene. While an implant cannot get a cavity because there is no natural tooth structure, an implant can fail if the area is not properly cleaned. Like all other teeth, it is essential to brush and floss the area if you want to protect the implant and implant crown.

For more information, visit us at www.brownandkupper.com

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.