Gentle Dentistry 173 Terrace Street, Haworth, NJ 07641 (201) 384-1611

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Posts for: March, 2015

JohnStamosBritneySpearsandHowtoRelaxDuringDentalTreatment

We're always tickled to see dentists represented in popular culture, especially when portrayed by an actor as handsome as John Stamos. On the hit television show Glee, Stamos played a dentist who made sure the glee club members cleaned up their act when it came to oral hygiene — though perhaps he used a bit too much anesthesia to achieve this admirable goal. While under his care — and lots of sedation — several Glee characters had music-infused hallucinations in which they danced and sang with pop star Britney Spears.

Far-fetched? No doubt. Still, it's worth mentioning that sedation has its place in dentistry. In fact, if you are someone who tends to get anxious or even fearful about dental treatment, you should know that sedation can help you relax both mind and body so you can feel peaceful rather than anxious in the dentist's chair. And that's the whole point: Fear of pain should not stand in the way of your getting the care that will keep you healthy and allow you to keep your teeth for as long as possible.

You may not know this, but when you are afraid, your threshold for pain is actually lower. You become hypersensitive to every sensation and sound, and you tense your muscles. Fear and anxiety trigger the release of certain chemicals that put you in “fight or flight” mode. In this heightened state of alert you experience more pain during and even after treatment.

The good news is that this response can virtually be eliminated with various oral sedatives and/or with nitrous oxide, which is inhaled. Both treatments will allow you to let your guard down and relax. Your apprehension and hypersensitivity to pain will disappear, even though you are still conscious. And when you are relaxed, we are better able to focus on the task at hand, knowing that you are comfortable.

The sedatives used in dentistry have been subjected to rigorous testing and have a strong safety record backed by decades of use. Several even have “amnesic” properties, meaning that you will remember little to nothing of your treatment — unless, of course, you end up singing and dancing with Britney Spears!

If you would like more information about sedation in dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Overcoming Dental Fear & Anxiety.”


By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
March 19, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Food  

There are some foods (and drinks) that your dentist has warned you about since you were a child, including sugary and sticky treats. But there are also certain foods that help promote good dental health. Put these foods on your grocery list today if your top priority is to keep your mouth healthy. Additionally, put a note on your appointment calendar to see your Bergen County, NJ dentist at Gentle Mouth Healthy Dentistry, P.A. for a checkup in the near future.

Vegetables
Whenever you’re trying to improve your health, eating more leafy green vegetables is a good idea. That’s because leafy greens are rich in vitamins (A, C and K) and minerals to help strengthen your tooth enamel as well as antioxidants that help combat bad bacteria. So if you want to improve your dental health, add more spinach, kale, greens, broccoli and leafy green lettuce to your diet as soon as possible.

Fruits for Good Dental Health
Some fruits aren’t recommended for your teeth, like blueberries and raspberries, because they can stain your teeth. But there are plenty of other fruits that promote good dental health. For instance, cranberries are rich in polyphenols that help resist the development of plaque on the surface of the teeth (though they can also stain teeth, so you should still be careful about eating them!). Apples and pears are good to eat because they stimulate saliva production when you’re chewing and saliva is a natural protection against plaque. Ask your Bergen County, NJ dentist for a list of more fruits to eat that are good for your teeth.

Calcium-Rich Foods
Add more calcium-rich foods to your grocery list if you want better dental health. That includes drinking more milk (try half and half milk since it’s lower in sugar) and eating more cheese. Cheese is also good because it neutralizes plaque acid when you chew it and boosts the production of saliva in your mouth.

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy
In addition to keeping your mouth healthy with diet, it's also important to maintain regular appointments with your Bergen County, NJ dentist. Contact Gentle Dentistry at (201) 384-1611 to set a time for a checkup and to talk to a dentist about more foods that are good for your smile.


By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
March 10, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  
ThingsyouShouldKnowaboutOralCancer

Last year, over 1.5 million people heard the words no one wants to hear: “You have cancer.” While only a small portion of those — about three percent — were diagnosed with oral cancer, their survival rate isn’t as good as with other types of cancers: 58% five years after diagnosis.

Here, then, are some things you should know about this deadly disease.

Oral cancer is an “equal opportunity” disease. People from all walks and stations of life experience oral cancer. The disease has caused the untimely deaths of Ulysses S. Grant, Babe Ruth and George Harrison, one of the original Beatles. However, you don’t have to be prominent or famous to acquire oral cancer: it can strike anyone at any age, especially people 40 years and older.

Oral cancer is difficult to detect early. Oral cancer usually appears as a small, scaly-shaped sore known as a squamous cell carcinoma. Appearing in the lining of the mouth, lips, tongue or back of the throat, the early stages often resemble other benign conditions such as cold or canker sores, so they’re easily overlooked in the early stages. To increase your chances of an early diagnosis, you should see your dentist about any mouth sore that doesn’t heal in two to three weeks; it’s also advisable to undergo a specific oral cancer screening during your regular dental checkups.

Tobacco and heavy alcohol use are strongly linked to oral cancer. Tobacco smokers are five to nine times more likely to develop oral cancer while snuff or chewing tobacco users are roughly four times more likely than non-tobacco users. People who are moderate to heavy drinkers are three to nine times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-drinkers.

You can reduce your risk for oral cancer. Besides quitting tobacco use and moderating your alcohol consumption, there are other things you can do to reduce cancer risk: a nutritious diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables; limited sun exposure with adequate sunscreen protection and clothing; and safe sexual practices to avoid contracting Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16), strongly linked to oral cancer. And above all, practice effective, daily oral hygiene with regular dental cleanings and checkups.

If you would like more information on prevention and treatment of oral cancer, 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 “Oral Cancer.”