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How to Reduce Decay-Causing Bacteria

April 18th, 2018

YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD LATELY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING A HEALTHY PH LEVEL—hence health food store shelves flooding with alkaline waters, alkalosis foods and other products that help neutralize the body. You may not have heard how the importance of pH balance starts in the mouth.

If you’ve wondered why one kid who has poor oral hygiene never gets cavities, while your kid who brushes twice a day and sees the dentist
biannually is plagued with cavity after cavity, the culprit is likely pH. A healthy pH for saliva is in the 5.6-7.9 range. If the pH falls to 5.5 or below, there is a high risk of tooth decay and cavities, because bacteria thrive in an acidic environment.

What’s more is that acidic saliva can be detrimental not only to oral health, but overall health. A bacterial imbalance in the mouth can result in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney and lung complications, obesity and more. Many people simply don’t know what they are doing wrong and become frustrated that they can’t get theirs or their kids’ oral health in check, and fear the long-term implications.

Typically, a dentist will treat a cavity directly, but not the bacterial imbalance in the mouth. This is a reactive and short-sighted solution that allows the cycle of decay to continue. The CariFree assessment and elevated pH products directly address the decay-causing acids that are a feeding bed for bad bacteria.

“The CariFree assessment is a salivary test that gives an idea of a patient’s oral environment by looking at many different aspects of their biochemistry and DNA,” says Linda Golden, DDS. “We are then able to use the results to design a comprehensive oral protocol that can combat pH-related and other dental issues in a holistic way.” CariFree assessment and pH products are mostly geared toward children, but they can also prove beneficial for patients with dry mouth, acid reflux, depression, and other conditions.

Non-abrasive and safe to use every day, CariFree elevated pH products are highly effective and scientifically proven to prevent cavities through remineralization. Dr. Golden describes that patients may use the products that fit their lifestyle, but some patients may prefer to opt for a more pure and natural approach. Being a holistic practitioner, she has extensive knowledge and expertise to design a customized program.

“Dentists should be giving not only oral health guidelines, but nutritional and lifestyle as well,” Dr. Golden shares. Some alternatives to the products presented by CariFree that she suggests to her patients include alkaline water, coconut oil pulling, xylitol, lemon water, ozone and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).  She also advises a healthy diet of alkaline foods, like fruits, legumes and vegetables; and reducing caffeine drinks, alcohol, sugar, meat and processed foods, which are all highly acidic.

Teeth Grinding

December 7th, 2017

If you are waking up with jaw pain, tension headaches, or facial pain, you may be suffering from a condition known as bruxism. This means you could be grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Some people aren’t even aware they are grinding or clenching their teeth at night, until a visit to us reveals significant tooth enamel loss. Fortunately, there is a non-invasive and effective solution for teeth grinding, and the tooth enamel damage it can cause, in custom-fabricated nightguards.

Causes of teeth grinding

Tension, stress, and anxiety experienced during the daytime can carry over to an individual’s sleep, and lead the person to grind his or her teeth together or clench the teeth unknowingly. Sleep apnea is another condition that can result in bruxism. Regardless of the cause, however, frequent clenching and teeth grinding wears down the chewing surfaces of the teeth, reduces tooth enamel, and can result in a cracked or chipped tooth, crown, or filling.

Nightguards for teeth grinding

Custom nightguards are fabricated to fit like a glove and protect your teeth from the adverse effects of bruxism. Nightguards are created through a non-invasive process that simply takes an impression of the bottom and top rows of teeth. The result is a nightguard that is flexible, comfortable, and personalized to your mouth.

Benefits of nightguards

Nightguards are helpful to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of dental damage incurred as a result of teeth grinding. They can reduce the discomfort associated with a sore jaw, headaches, tooth sensitivity, ear pain, and facial pain that many patients experience as a result of clenching or grinding of their teeth. In severe cases of bruxism, patients can develop loss of hearing, jawbone misalignment, and TMJ. Therefore, customized nightguards can help prevent the progression of teeth grinding into these more serious conditions.

At-home tips to reduce or prevent teeth grinding

Although it’s important to wear your nightguard faithfully if you grind your teeth at night, you can follow a few self-care tips to help to prevent your teeth grinding from worsening.

  • Reduce tension and stress. Whether you take a warm bath before bed, listen to soothing music, or exercise, practice stress-relieving activities to wash away the tensions of the day.
  • Avoid alcohol. In some patients, alcohol increases teeth grinding tendencies.
  • Avoid caffeine. In some individuals, caffeine increases the likelihood of teeth grinding.
  • Focus on relaxing jaw muscles. Make a conscious effort to keep your jaw relaxed. A warm washcloth against your cheek, sticking your tongue between your teeth, and avoiding chewing pencils, pens, and gum are all ways to train the muscles of your jaw to stay relaxed.

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, visit Dr. Linda Golden and our team at Golden Dental Wellness Center for an evaluation at our convenient Manhasset office.

HPV and Oral Cancer

November 30th, 2017

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is best known as a sexually transmitted infection. In the United States, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, with 79 million Americans currently infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to increasing risk for cervical cancer, HPV is a contributing factor in some cases of oral cancer. Each year an estimated 1,700 women and 6,700 men develop oropharyngeal cancer, which affects the tongue and throat.

Connection between HPV and oral cancer

There are more than 40 strains of HPV that live in the skin and mucosal areas. Some of these affect the genitalia, while others are found in the mouth and throat. Of the strains of oral HPV, only one, called HPV16, increases the risk of oral cancer, the Oral Cancer Foundation reports. A retrospective study conducted found that oral cancer developed an average of 15 years after exposure to HPV, making it a relatively slow-growing form of cancer.

In general, 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetimes, while 99% develop no ill effects. Getting oral HPV is associated with multiple sexual partners and engaging in oral sex; however, even some individuals who have been with only one partner may contract the infection. Although overall risk of oral cancer from HPV infection is low, it is essential to be proactive about oral health.

How to prevent HPV-related oral cancer

Scientists continue to study how HPV infections lead to oral cancer, so little is known about the progression of the disease. However, one recent study found that poor oral health, including gum disease and poor oral hygiene, is associated with oral cancer risk. Thus, being vigilant about brushing and flossing your teeth regularly may reduce HPV-related oral cancer. Getting the HPV vaccine also protects against the oral form of the virus.

Another key way to reduce mortality from oral cancer is to have regularly scheduled appointments with at Golden Dental Wellness Center. Having Dr. Linda Golden examine your mouth at least two times a year increases the likelihood that a sign of oral cancer, such as a sore or patch, will be detected. If you’re concerned about HPV-related oral cancer, please give us a call at our Manhasset office for advice about oral hygiene and disease prevention.

Post-Procedure Care

November 16th, 2017

As with any surgery, post-procedure care is of utmost importance after getting periodontal surgery. Bleeding, pain, swelling, and other sensations are common and should be expected to a degree. This can manifest as small amounts of blood in your saliva, pain after anesthesia wears off, and swelling around the lips and cheeks. However, these symptoms should start improving after a several days.

Below you'll find recommendations from Dr. Linda Golden on what you should do to make your post-procedure experience as quick and painless as possible:

Don't smoke - After your surgery you should definitely not smoke. Smoking will inhibit your body's ability to heal the surgical site.

Don't drink alcohol - If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers, don't drink alcohol. And it is a good idea in general to avoid alcohol after surgery, since excess alcohol consumption suppresses immune system function and slows the healing process.

Take pain medication as prescribed or an alternative - Pain is to be expected for at least the first week after your procedure. If you choose to take the prescription medication that is prescribed to you, do so as directed. However some patients have found over-the-counter pain medication works for them. You may also consider natural herbs instead of pharmacological solutions. Try turmeric, arnica, or white willow bark (which is what aspirin is derived from, so the same warnings for aspirin apply to white willow bark.)

Eating with your surgical site in mind - It is best to chew on the other side of your mouth for the first several days so as not to irritate the surgical site. Avoid overly cold or hot foods as well. Softer foods like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and fruit will be more comfortable to chew.

Avoid brushing the surgical site - You can start brushing and flossing your teeth the day after the procedure but avoid the surgical site.

Don't rinse for the first 24 hours - After the first day has passed you can rinse with a mild mouthwash to keep your mouth, dressing, and surgical site clean.

We're here to answer any questions you have after your procedure and will help you as best we can. Pay special attention to any excessive bleeding or discomfort. Contact our Manhasset office immediately if you have tried addressing the issue on your own but are still having trouble.

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