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Does Sugar Really Hurt Your Teeth?

September 12th, 2017

Everyone knows eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, but few are aware of exactly how that happens. It's not the sugar itself that does the damage, but rather the chain of events that takes place after you eat that piece of cake. Your children may be more inclined to heed your warnings about the effects of sugar on teeth if they know about the continuous tug-of-war taking place inside their mouths. Here's how taking certain actions can prevent tooth decay from hijacking your family's oral health.

How Cavities Develop

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NICDR), the mouth is full of hundreds of bacteria, many of which are beneficial to the oral ecosystem. However, certain harmful oral bacteria actually feed on the sugars you eat to create acids that destroy the tooth enamel, which is the shiny, protective outer layer of the tooth. Cavities are a bacterial infection created by acids, that cause your teeth to experience a hole in them. Without treatment, cavities can progress past the enamel and into the deeper layers of the tooth, causing pain and possible tooth loss.

A Constant Battle in the Mouth

Your teeth are frequently under attack by acids, but the good news is this damage is constantly being reversed. Acids leech minerals from the enamel through a process called demineralization. Fortunately, the natural process of remineralization replaces those minerals and strengthens the teeth all over again – and your saliva is a key player. Saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphates to help repair the teeth. Fluoride is another mineral that helps repair weakened enamel. However, replacing lost minerals can only do so much to prevent the effects of sugar on teeth if you eat lots of sweets and starches throughout the day. Limiting your sugar intake is vital if you want to give your mouth a fighting chance to fix the damage.

Ways to Remineralize Tooth Enamel

Experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center offer several tips for preventing cavities. In addition to cutting down on sugar, stimulating saliva flow is recommended to help bathe the teeth in minerals. Chewing sugarless gum and incorporating fibrous vegetables and fruits into your diet are good ways to salivate. Cheese, yogurt and other dairy products also contain calcium and phosphates to strengthen the teeth, and are much better choices for snack time than sugary or starchy treats. Additionally, green and black teas contain substances that help suppress harmful oral bacteria, so adding a few cups to your daily routine – without sugar, of course – can help maintain a healthy balance in the mouth.

Finally, fluoride is a mineral that not only prevents tooth decay, but also reverses it in its early stages, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). So drink plenty of fluoridated water and brush regularly with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste such as Colgate Total®, which cleans out sugar-dependent germs for up to 12 hours. The ADA also recommends professional fluoride treatments from a dentist.

Constant vigilance is the key to preventing the negative effects of sugar on teeth. Encourage your kids to limit their sugar intake, brush away bacteria-filled plaque regularly and consume healthy foods that strengthen the teeth. Add regular dental visits and fluoride treatments to the mix, and you and your loved ones have the best shot at winning the battle against tooth decay.

Blog courtesy of Colgate.

Do you Snore? We can help!

August 29th, 2017

Dental Insurance: The "Tooth" of the Matter

August 27th, 2017

There’s a lot of misinformation about dental insurance/dental benefit plans. Dental insurance is not really true insurance. It’s a benefit that’s offered usually as an add on to medical insurance. The craziest thing to realize about it is that the dental benefit maximum has not increased in 50 years. Do you know of anything else that hasn’t changed in 50 years? There are a few plans that offer a little bit more, but when Delta Dental started in 1954 the annual maximum was $1000. Most dental insurance plans still have that same yearly maximum of $1000.

At Nathanson Dental, we always want to make sure that patients get the full benefit of their dental insurance, however we make our treatment plans based on what the patient needs, not what the dental benefit allows. And often times we don't even know what the benefit allows, as the insurance company won't disclose that information. The insurance part is always a question, and our staff is highly skilled in being able to help you maximize your benefits. Rather than thinking of your dental plan the same way you think about your medical insurance, it's helpful to think of the plan as a rebate, a coupon, or a reduction in the fee. Although the plan does help, we always want to do what’s best for our patient’s long term health and insurance companies don’t always share in that goal.

We never want money to stand in the way of the patients getting the treatment they need or want so we offer several affordability options to help. We have interest free in-office financial plans and utilize third parties like Care Credit and Lending Club that we actually pay the interest for on these services. Many patients have benefited from these options. We lay out the treatment plan that addresses the patient’s needs and then have the discussion of how to make sure it fits into their budget. We want patients to get the care that they need to stay healthy long term. This has always been our bottom line and what we want for everyone in our practice.

For many, learning how little their benefit covers may be shocking. Our skilled staff is trained to help you ask the right questions, and get the most from your benefit. As a courtesy, we offer complimentary benefits checks and will process all insurance on your behalf as an out of network provider.

Don't let your dental benefits get in the way of the dental care you need. Call one of our trained staff today. 410-891-8547

Advanced Dental Technology

August 21st, 2017

Dr. Nathanson has always wanted to provide patients with the best dental experience possible. That’s the reason he became a dentist. One of the exciting things about having Dr. Romay on our doctor team is that she is going to be doing a lot more of the restorative and general dentist procedures so the practice can start expand more of our work in orthodontics, such as Six Month Smiles and Invisalign, and dental sleep medicine, treating sleep apnea with oral appliances. This is where Dr. Nathanson will be spending more time with patients. "I will of course still be doing the general dentist side of things, because I love that as well," he says, "but having the opportunity to devote more of my time to these two areas is something I find very exciting." They’re both very challenging fields; dental sleep medicine is really expanding and more people are really learning about oral appliances as an alternative to CPAP. There are many sleep apnea patients who use the cpap because they think it’s the only option. There are alternatives and we are happy to be able to provide one for them which has changed the lives of many of the patients we’ve worked with.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has what they call a Qualified Dentist Designation. Any dentist can join the academy, but there’s certain criteria that needs to be met to named a Qualified Dentist in dental sleep medicine and we am happy to say that Dr. Nathanson just got the letter making this my first step to achieving Diplomate status! For patients who really need this service, this designation gives them a credential to look for when they’re on the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine website. "It’s a way for me to set some higher standards for myself," according to Dr. Nathanson. "I need to do more continuing education to become a diplomate, documenting more cases. It’s a very exciting process and I really feel like I’m going to learn a lot and become a much better practitioner."

Dr. Nathanson is committed to providing the best for his patients, and part of that is use of our dental technology. Aside from expanding the practice in orthodontics and dental sleep medicine, use of the dental laser and the CEREC one day restoration system that we have here at the office really adds to the patient's experience. With the Waterlase dental laser, there are many procedures we can do without anesthetic. The things that make a tooth hurt during treatment, such as using a conventional dental hand piece that causes friction, vibration, and what are called micro-cracking, don't happen with use of the laser. In many cases we can do procedures for fillings and certain surgical procedures without anesthetic and it’s also a much more conservative way to treat teeth and gums where the healing is a lot faster. We use the Waterlase here on a daily basis. The other device that comes to mind is the CEREC – one day crowns and one day porcelain fillings. For anyone who’s out there that’s ever had a crown, they know there's a lot of time involved. First is the preparation - getting a temporary plastic crown that stays a couple of weeks; sometimes it stays on and sometimes it doesn’t, and then come back in for the delivery of the actual permanent crown. The nice thing about CEREC is that we can do the whole treatment in one day. One of the exciting things about having Dr. Romay here is that she’s really going to be taking on a lot of that work and really utilizing our technology to the fullest, making it available to more patients.

American Dental Association Academy of General Dentistry American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine WCLI Institute
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