Posts for: August, 2016
The market for sugar alternatives has grown exponentially since saccharin was accidentally discovered in 1878. Today, saccharin has been joined by other FDA-approved zero-calorie artificial sweeteners, including aspartame (“Equal®” or “NutraSweet®”), sucralose (“Splenda®”) and rebaudioside A, derived from the stevia plant. You can also choose low-calorie alcohol sugars like erythritol or xylitol.
With rare exceptions, all these choices are widely considered safe substitutes for table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or other versions of this plentiful carbohydrate. Finding substitutes for sugar is a worthy health goal: besides its role in obesity, sugar is considered a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It's also a prime food for oral bacteria that cause dental disease. As bacteria consume sugar they produce acid as a byproduct. Acid softens and dissolves the mineral content in enamel, leading to erosion and the formation of cavities. While saliva normally neutralizes acid after we eat, constant snacking and higher quantities of sugar in our food make it difficult for it to control or neutralize acid in the oral environment.
Because most of us are hard-wired with a “sweet tooth,” it's difficult for many to cut back on sugar. Artificial sweeteners help reduce the amount of sugar in the diet with obvious benefits for general health. It can also make a big difference in your dental health by helping you prevent tooth decay.
One alcohol sugar may even go a step further. In addition to reducing the presence of sugar in the mouth, xylitol (found in chewing gums, candy and breath mints) also seems to reduce bacterial growth by interfering with their ability to ferment the sugar.
If you're considering using an artificial sweetener, get to know them first: some like aspartame aren't suitable for baked goods or cooking, while saccharine or sucralose are. People with a rare genetic condition called phenylketonuria also can't properly process aspartame in the body.
Be sure you also talk to us about artificial sweeteners' impact on oral health, especially the benefits of xylitol for dental care. Used in a wise and informed way, these sugar alternatives can improve both your oral and general health.
If you would like more information on artificial sweeteners impact on dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artificial Sweeteners: Satisfying and Protecting your Sweet Tooth.”
Wanting to give your smile a makeover? We can help!
Whether the changes you want to make to your smile are large or small, our Lakewood, CO dentist Dr. Thomas Nyvold is here to make sure that you get the dental treatment you want to achieve your dream smile. Find out more about the different procedures we offer to see which one will fit you best.
Dental bonding: If you have small imperfections like cracks, chips, discolorations and spaces between teeth this simple, non-invasive cosmetic procedure may be all you need. The same tooth-colored resin used to fill a cavity is also used to cover these flaws.We apply this moldable resin, shape it and then harden it with our special dental laser. It can even be completed in just one visit.
Teeth whitening: If you want to remove surface stains caused by food, drinks or smoking, teeth whitening can give you a great result. Our Lakewood, CO cosmetic dentist offers a variety of tooth whitening options. If you want a whiter smile before a big event, call T.E.N. Family Dentistry today.
Dental veneers: If you have more moderate aesthetic issues that dental bonding just can’t cover, the next best option is dental veneers. These ultra-thin porcelain veneers are designed to look just like your natural teeth and are applied to the front of your teeth using a dental resin. Veneers are custom-made to improve the overall shape, size and color of your smile. Once your teeth are prepared to accommodate veneers, the veneers can then be applied to your teeth.
Dental implants: Are you missing one or more permanent teeth? Looking for a long-term solution? Dental implants might just be the way to go! Implants are the only tooth replacement that are designed to look and function like natural teeth. With dental implants, we won’t have to prepare surrounding teeth like you would to have a dental bridge placed. That means less of your teeth are affected. With implants, from a single dental crown to an implant supported denture, we can help create a beautiful smile.
These are just a few of the cosmetic dental treatments that Dr. Nyvold can provide for you. If you want to change your smile for the better for the better and are wondering what the next step is, just pick up the phone and call T.E.N. Family Dentistry in Lakewood CO to schedule your consultation today.
Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.
“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.
Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.
Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.
Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.
If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.
When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.
Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.