Get Well Wednesday: Upgrade Your Smile

<div class="media_block"><a href="http://ioneblackamericaweb.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/dentistdrkaren.jpeg?quality=99&strip=all"><img src="http://celebrityhottopics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/get-well-wednesday-upgrade-your-smile.jpg" class="media_thumbnail"></a></div> Do we really have to go to the dentist every 6 months? Absolutely; we recommend going every 6 months so that we can ensure...

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Do we really have to go to the dentist every 6 months?

Absolutely; we recommend going every 6 months so that we can ensure our patients are maintaining proper oral health. During that visit we can update X-rays, evaluate for pain, check if there are cavities or if you are in pain and complete an oral health screening.    

Does flossing really make a difference?

It truly does, there is a tight space that separates your teeth from each other. Food and food particles typically wedge in-between that space. Flossing allows us to eliminate those particles. When we remove those, we reduce our chances of developing a cavity on that surface of your tooth.

 Are there any health conditions linked to poor oral care?

The most common direct link to poor oral health and your systemic well-being is heart disease. The same plaque found around tooth surfaces are the same plaque that can accumulate in heart disease.

What is tooth sensitivity and how can you get rid of it?

Tooth sensitivity is a hyper-reaction that your tooth has to outside stimuli like hots and colds. This can occur, when you have had a filling recently or if the underlying surface of your tooth is exposed due to various factors. Seeing your dentist regularly can help to uncover the cause of your sensitivity, and in some cases a sensitivity toothpaste can help to calm sensitive symptoms.

What everyday tips can you share with us to keep a healthier smile?

See your dentist regularly

Floss and brush regularly

Consume fresh fruits and veggies

Listen to your mouth, if you feel pain, don’t ignore it!

Are at-home whitening kits as effective as going to the dentist?

They work well, but a dentist-assisted whitening works the best. If you do decide to whiten at home, it is key to eliminate things in your diet that may stain such as marinara sauce, red wine, coffee or dark-colored pops. Reducing your intake of these foods will assure that you gain your desired look.

Dr. Lever answers your Text Tom questions below:

IS IT ALRIGHT TO FLOSS OUR TEETH WITH THE CORNERS OF THE PAPER OR THE BROOMSTICKS ENDS OF STRAWS? THAT IS STILL FLOSSING, RIGHT?

I know it is convenient to grab the closest thing available. But use standard floss, it is safer and will not break off into the spaces between your teeth.

 WHAT ABOUT USING HYDROGEN PEROXIDE?

Hydrogen peroxide has many qualities that help our oral health. Peroxide is a good healing agent, so it works wonders for sores in the mouth and for usage after an extraction or even lifting stains. So yes…peroxide is a great product.

 DOES NICOTINE AND MARIJUANA SMOKING STAIN THE TEETH?

Absolutely, not only is nicotine and marijuana not the best for systemic health, it stains the teeth indefinitely.

I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND ABOUT THINGS THAT STAIN TEETH. BUT WHAT’S MORE SCARY IS TSP THAT IS IN TOOTHPASTE A CANCER-CAUSING AGENT. IT’S A CLEANER THAT IS USED 4 CLEANING OIL-STAINED KITCHEN CABINETS AND OTHER THINGS.

Trisodium phosphate in our everyday products is a growing concern. Seek out natural toothpastes that do not use TSP, especially if you are concerned about its side effects.

I HAVEN’T BEEN TO THE DENTIST IN YEARS DUE TO FEAR OF DENTAL WORK THAT STEMS FROM CHILDHOOD. ANY RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO FIND A DENTIST THAT IS VERY UNDERSTANDING?

Your fear is shared by many people around the world. Unfortunately, going to the dentist and dental visits evoke fear in so many. Try researching dentists in your area that cater to fear and are big on pacing you and your dental treatment. Communicate with that dentist and let them know about your fear. I am sure that your selected dentist will help you get over your fear and on to a healthy mouth.

HOW DO YOU CONVINCE AN OLDER PERSON TO GO TO THE DENTIST WHEN THEY ARE AFRAID OF THE PAIN INVOLVED? SHE NEEDS ALL OF HER REMAINING TEETH PULLED TO GET DENTURES?

Start by telling them that heading to the dentist will help in their overall health, longevity of life and quality of life. Find a dentist near to where you live to make it convenient for that loved one, and maybe even offer attending visits with them.

PLEASE ASK THE DOCTOR WHAT IS THE BEST PRE-AND POST TREATMENT FOR YOUR WHEN YOU ENJOY GIVING ORAL SEX TO A WOMAN?

A: Brush your teeth…safe sex is the best sex. There are oral sex dams that make oral sex safe. Consult your primary care doctor if they may have free samples or a local source for grabbing a few.

 HI DOC. I USE TURMERIC POWDER A LOT IN MY COOKING. DOES IT STAIN THE TEETH?

Good question as the use of tumeric powder is increasing as it has been known to have wonderful health benefits. The downside of it is that it does stain. After consuming a meal equipped with tumeric powder, rinse with a mouthwash and brush for 2 minutes. Extending your brushing to 2 minutes will ensure that you reduce plaque/ stains and bacteria in your mouth.

I MISSED THAT SEGMENT ABOUT THE WHITENING STRIPS. SO THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU BECAUSE I HEARD THEY ARE NOT AND THAT THEY RUIN THE TEETH ENAMEL.

It truly depends on your mouth. If you are cavity-free, have healthy enamel and want to alter the shade of your teeth, then it is thumbs up for usage. But, if you are unsure about the health of your mouth, then I would definitely advise consulting your dentist prior to using them.

 IS THERE A CORRELATION BETWEEN TOOTH DECAY AND HEART DISEASE?

Yes it is. The same plaque that is found in your mouth around the surfaces of your teeth, is the same plaque found in your arteries. The higher the plaque in your arteries, the higher your chances of developing heart disease. Eliminating at the source helps to decrease your chances of heart disease. Brush your teeth, maintain a healthy lifestyle and you are on your way. Great question!

WHY IS THE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH BETTER THAN THE REGULAR TOOTHBRUSH? IT SEEMS LIKE IT JUST VIBRATES FAST.

Electric toothbrushes are better as they oscillate and manipulate debris in your mouth at a more efficient rate/way than your hand can and a manual toothbrush. Love them and use them!

 WHAT NATURAL PRODUCTS CAN YOU USE TO WHITEN TEETH?

Activated charcoal is a good product that is natural and getting a regular cleaning helps to lift stains and whiten as well.

HOW DO YOU GET RID OF BAD BREATH EVEN WHEN GOING TO THE DENTIST AND GETTING YOUR CLEANINGS?

Consider an electric toothbrush, increasing the times you visit the dentist, and consuming more raw fruits and vegetables to balance the smell in your mouth. Strawberries, apples, carrots, added mint to your water, help with oral smells and balancing your breath.

ASK THE DENTIST HOW SHE FEELS ABOUT OIL PULLING.

Recently, I read an article published by the American Dental Association in support of oil pulling and doing it the RIGHT way. It seems that they are agreeing that oil pulling is a healthy practice when a person is doing it for at least 22 minutes a day. At the 22 minute mark, you have managed to eliminate the bad bacteria in your mouth. If you can swish for that long, then I give it 2 thumbs up.

WHAT WHITE STRIPS WORLD YOU RECOMMEND THAT WON’T MAKE YOUR TEETH SENSITIVE AND BRIGHT WHITE?

I love Crest White strips. But test them out first, do it for one day paired with a sensitivity toothpaste and see how you like the brightness and if you are extremely sensitive. As another option, try a whitening toothpaste out like a 3D White, they usually are not as harsh and work over time.

I CAN’T SMELL OR TASTE AND I THINK IT CAME FROM MY DENTIST NUMBING ME WHILE REPAIRING A TOOTH. I DO SUFFER FROM ALLERGIES BUT I’VE HAD THAT CHECKED.

Not being able to smell or taste is very tough. Have you gone back to consult with your dentist? I’m sure he’ or she will definitely be willing to investigate more. I would also suggest consulting an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor. Our senses are connected to nerve endings in our nose as well as other regions of the head and neck. It may also be a sinus issue. Prayerfully, this is a something can be resolved soon so these senses will be back to normal.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE ON PARTIALS VERSUS IMPLANTS?

I believe both have their advantages along with their fair share of pros and cons. Partials are appliances that come on and off, while Implants are fixed in your mouth. The majority of partials tend to be covered by insurance, where implants are not always covered. I would truly suggest digging deep in your heart and evaluate if you would like something that is removed or something that stays in. Also evaluate the financial side of both.

Dr. Karen Fields Lever was named America’s best dentist last year by the National Consumer Board. She’s also one of Chicago’s 35 under 35 for young professionals making an impact in their community. She is a wife, mother and entrepreneur and a proud Howard School of Dentistry alumna.

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