The hidden Sugars in our Food
WHEN WE THINK OF SUGARY FOOD, twe usually picture the obvious things – like candy, cake, ice cream, and soda. However, there is sugar hiding in many of the foods we buy every day at the grocery store. Even foods we don’t think of as sweet! This is bad news for our oral health, because the harmful bacteria in our mouths love all that sugar, whether we know we’re eating it or not.
Sugar’s Many Disguises
Unfortunately, finding the sugar in the food we buy isn’t so simple these days, because it hides behind many tricky-sounding names. Here are some of the terms to look for when checking ingredient lists:
The “-ose” words: Fructose, sucrose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, glucose. All of these are scientific names for types of sugar molecules.
The syrups: Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maple/rice syrup, etc.
The sugars: Brown sugar, malt sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, coconut sugar, etc. Whether brown or white, liquid or powder, sugar is still sugar.
The “natural replacements”: agave nectar, honey, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, 100 percent fruit juice. While whole fruit is definitely a healthier snack than a candy bar, fruit juice isn’t any better for your teeth than soda.
While these are the most common disguises sugar may take, there are plenty more. A good clue is in the “added sugars” line on the nutrition labels. Unfortunately, these sugars can be found in everyday foods we often think of as healthy (or at least not unhealthy), like Raisin Bran, fruit-flavored yogurt, ketchup, barbecue sauce, granola, and even most types of bread! This is why it’s important to always read the labels!
Our Recommended Daily Sugar Intake
With sugar hiding in so much of our food, avoiding it entirely can be a difficult task, but our teeth (and the rest of us) will be healthier and happier if we can keep the overall amount to a minimum. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) a day for women, 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for men. That might not seem like much, but the good news is that the longer you go with less sugar in your day, the less you’ll miss it!
Healthy Sugar Replacements
At least east as important as the amount of sugar we consume is how we consume it. The reason whole fruit is healthier than fruit juice is that the sugar in fruit comes with a lot of water and fiber, making it harder for our bodies to absorb. Whole fruit is also more filling, whereas we could drink the equivalent of several oranges in juice and still have room for bacon, eggs, and toast. That right there is the difference between natural and processed sugars!
But what about when you get those sweet cravings and fruit just won’t cut it? That’s when sugar-free sweeteners like Stevia, xylitol, and erythritol or low-sugar alternatives like applesauce, bananas, dates, and figs come in handy. You’ll also have an easier time avoiding those insidious added sugars if you stick to whole foods.
Let’s Check On Those Teeth!
Luckily for all of us, cutting down on sugar isn’t the only way we can take care of our teeth. We can also keep them healthy and bright by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling our regular dental cleanings. If it’s been more than six months since your last appointment, don’t hesitate to schedule your next one today!
Our practice has the world’s sweetest patients!
Time’s Running Out On Insurance Benefits!
ANOTHER YEAR IS COMING to a close, and that means another year of insurance benefits is about to expire. If you haven’t taken advantage of your dental insurance yet, that’s okay, but the year is almost over, so the time to use them is now. To help you prepare, we’ve put together some information about how dental insurance works at our practice.
What Dental Plans Typically Cover
Most dental plans will cover at minimum two dental cleanings and checkups a year along with Xrays when needed. Preventive visits are typically FULLY covered and prevention is key in keeping your mouth and body healthy and is a great way to avoid costly dental procedures down the road. In addition, many dental insurance plans will cover a big chunk of the cost for Invisalign teeth straightening. Straightening your teeth will lead to more confidence, beauty, and a healthier oral environment!
Do You Have Compatible Insurance?
We have a designated team member to deal with your insurance company. Whenever possible, we will bill and collect payments directly from your insurance company to minimize your out-of-pocket expense. Although we are an out of network office, we are an insurance friendly office and accept most major PPO insurance plans. When scheduling appointments please have your dental insurance information ready. We will verify your benefits and eligibility to make sure you are covered, and to let you know if you have an out of pocket expense. We will do everything we can to maximize your insurance benefit and minimize your out-of-pocket expense. We apologize in advance, but we do not participate with any DMO or DHMO plans.
Getting Everything Done On Time
Do not wait until December 31st to schedule a visit. The time to book is now!
If you have more questions regarding your insurance and how to use it, just stop by, call, text or email! We can answer all the questions you have and get you on the right path to affordable dental care!
Call or text: 212-759-7535
Take advantage of those benefits while there’s still time!
How A Nail Biting Habit Affects Teeth
NAIL BITING IS A HABIT shared by a third of all children and nearly half of teenagers! This habit, unfortunately, continues many times into adulthood. Compulsive behaviors don’t always have negative effects on a person’s physical health, but this one definitely does. In addition to leaving the nails torn and uneven with damage to the nail beds, nail biting leads to a variety of oral health complications as well.
Nail Biting affects on Teeth And Gums
You might think that your teeth are much tougher than your fingernails, but over time, nail biting can cause significant damage to both teeth and gums. Here are some of the biggest ways this happens:
- Erosion, chipping, and cracking: the grinding friction of teeth against nails can gradually wear the enamel away, or even cause teeth to chip or crack.
- Malocclusion and gaps: biting nails doesn’t just damage the teeth, it can actually be one of the causes that allow them to move, leading to malocclusions (problems with the bite) gaps and crowding.
- Gingivitis: a lot of dirt and germs get trapped under our fingernails, and when we chew on them, that bacteria and dirt gets transferred to our mouths, which can result in oral viruses and bacterial spread leading to gingival enlargement and swelling.
- Bruxism: a nail biting habit will increase a person’s risk of developing a chronic teeth-grinding habit, which comes with even more oral health problems, cosmetic concerns along with headaches and soreness.
Why Does Nail Biting Happen?
If nail biting has such unpleasant consequences, then why do so many people do it? It isn’t fully understood yet, but studies have indicated that it can be an effect of anxiety, boredom, or perfectionism. Similar repetitive behaviors include skin picking and hair pulling. Often, people may not even notice themselves doing it, and this can make it much harder to stop.
Tips To Help Break The Habit
Until more is known about nail biting and what causes it, it can be difficult to know the best things to do to break the habit, but here are a few strategies that can help:
- Trim your nails regularly so you don’t have anything to bite.
- Get a manicure! If your nails are pretty, you’ll be more motivated to keep them that way!
- Swap the nail biting habit with a more harmless way to fidget, like fidget spinners or a stress ball.
- Figure out your triggers. When you know what sets off the nail biting, you can plan ahead and do something different.
- Make stopping a gradual process. Choose one nail at a time to stop biting, and maybe cover it so you physically can’t bite it. Add more fingernails to the bite ban until there aren’t any left!
We’re “Rooting” For You!
The oral health of our patients is of course our highest priority, and that means we’re here to help you overcome habits that threaten your teeth and gums! If you need help kicking your habit, don’t hesitate to enlist ours!
We’re here to help you keep your oral health on track!
Top image by Flickr user Photo by Thomas used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
Goodbye Impressions, Hello iTero Scanner
FOR A LONG TIME, gooey dental impressions have been many patients’ least favorite part of getting dental work done. Luckily, impressions are a thing of the past, because modern technology has given us a better way to get a 3-D map of patients’ dentition! That better way is the iTero Element Scanner.
What The iTero Element Scanner Does
iTero Element is designed to put the latest technology at Dr. Davidowitz’ fingertips and makes having intraoral scanning molds of your teeth …dare we say…fun! We use the iTero Element for all aspects of dentistry from Invisalign, Clear Aligners, Retainers, Nightguards, Sportsguards, Veneers, Crowns, Bridges, Implant Restorations… and the list goes on!
Why We Chose iTero
As you all know, Dr. Steven Davidowitz loves modern technology that makes dentistry more precise, more pain free and more comfortable for patients. He has gone through a few variations of oral scanner devices as Luxury Dentistry NYC were pioneers in the field of digital scanning when it was first introduced. We have since upgraded to the newest, fastest, most comfortable and most precise digital scanner available today. The itero Element.
Come See Us
If you’ve been avoiding important dental work because you can’t stand the thought of gooey trays and dental impressions, then come on in! Thanks to the easy comfort of the iTero scanner, your teeth can finally get the attention they deserve! We can’t wait to see you soon!
The Battle Against Bad Breath
THERE is REALLY NOTHING WORSE than being in the middle of a social situation and suddenly realizing that you may have bad breath. Whether it’s a job interview or a first date, having bad breath can rob away a person’s confidence and ruin many wonderful moments.
How And Why Bad Breath Happens
Dietary and nutrition – Sometimes bad breath is the temporary result of eating a particularly pungent meal. Bacteria in our mouths break down leftover food particles, resulting in unpleasant smells and tastes. Simple dental hygiene practices like daily flossing, twice a day brushing, tongue-scraping, and chewing sugar-free gum will minimize the bad breath effect of food. But some struggle with a more chronic form of bad breath, also called halitosis. Halitosis can be caused by a variety of factors and is not always easy to get rid of.
Tooth decay and gum disease – Cavities and gum disease are both caused by the bacteria that produce nasty smelling chemicals, so poor dental health and halitosis often go hand-in-hand.
Medications – Many medications can cause dry mouth, and dry mouth leads to a host of oral health problems including halitosis because there isn’t enough saliva to wash away food and neutralize acids.
Mouth-breathing – Breathing through the mouth dries out saliva and leads to all the usual problems of dry mouth, including bad breath.
Mouth, nose, and throat and sinus infections – Infections that cause an increase in mucous can also increase the amount of oral bacteria and contribute to bad breath.
Tobacco products – Tobacco does not discriminate. No matter what form it comes in, tobacco will leave smelly chemicals in the mouth and is a main cause of dry mouth. It also increases the risk of gum disease or oral cancer, which are other causes of bad breath.
Pregnancy – Pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and morning sickness can cause bad breath.
Chronic conditions – In some cases, bad breath can be linked to conditions that have little to do with your oral hygiene, such as acid reflux, diabetes, or liver or kidney disease.
How To Stay Minty Fresh
The first defense against halitosis is your regular oral hygiene habits. Brushing, flossing, and cleaning the tongue all help get rid of smelly plaque and bacteria lingering in the crevices between and around teeth. Sugar-free gum and mints are great solutions for when you’re on the go (but they aren’t substitutes for brushing and flossing). Quitting smoking will also eliminate a major source of bad breath. If you’re in the habit of breathing through your mouth, try to breathe through your nose more.
Come See Us
If you’re still struggling with halitosis even when maintaining an impeccable dental hygiene regimen, there’s no reason to suffer in silence. Schedule an appointment with us so that we can discover the cause. We want to help you stay healthy and confident!
Thank you for being part of our practice family.