National Eat Your Vegetables Day!

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It's #NationalEatYourVegetablesDay - Did you know that eating veggies can improve your dental health?

The foods you choose, when and how often you eat them not only affect your general health, but also the health of your teeth and gums.

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry highlighted some great benefits to a healthy diet and how it effects not only your overall health - but your dental health as well.

Some of the best foods for healthy teeth are fresh fruits and veggies because of their nutritional and mouth health benefits. For example, crisp fruits and raw vegetables, like apples, carrots and celery, help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath. Many fruits and vegetable contain lots of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, that help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection. Leafy salad greens contain lots of folic acid, a member of the B vitamin family, which promotes a healthy mouth and supports cell growth throughout the entire body.

For healthy teeth and gums this, look for these fruits and veggies in your local grocery or farmers market.

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Apples and Citrus Fruit

While not a substitute for brushing and flossing, eating an apple or other fiber-filled fruits like oranges, carrots or celery can help clean your teeth. And while sugary apple juice may contribute to tooth decay, fresh apples are less likely to cause problems. This is because chewing the fibrous texture of apples stimulates your gums, further reducing cavity-causing bacteria.

Be sure your diet includes citrus and other fresh fruits rich in vitamin C, such as apples, pears, strawberries, pineapples, tomatoes and cucumbers -- all rich in vitamin C.

Carrots, Celery, and Root Vegetables

Just like apples and oranges, chewing raw carrots, celery and other hard root vegetables stimulates the gums to help clean your teeth! Carrots and celery are also good sources of beta carotene, which your body needs to create vitamin A -- a nutrient essential for building strong teeth.

Leafy Greens

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Leafy green and dark, multi-colored vegetables such as lettuce and kale, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, chard and other greens are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain and improve oral health. Nutrients found in these dark green foods include vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Phosphorus is stored in your teeth and bones to help your body balance and absorb calcium and magnesium.

In summary, a healthy and well balanced diet is highly recommended for your dental and overall health.

All About Wisdom Teeth

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WONDERING WHEN IT'S TIME TO GET YOUR WISDOM TEETH OUT? OR, WHY YOU SHOULD EVEN HAVE THEM REMOVED IN THE FIRST PLACE? LET’S GO OVER A FEW REASONS AND SIGNS THAT IT’S TIME TO GET THOSE THIRD MOLARS OUT.

1.   Preventive

One reason to have your wisdom teeth removed - to prevent issues from even arising. Getting wisdom teeth, or third molars, out before the become a “problem” can save you from a slew of issues down the road.

2.   Damage to Other Teeth

Did you know that your wisdom teeth can cause damage to surrounding teeth? That extra set of molars can push your other teeth around - causing mouth pain and bite problems.

3.   Alignment

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause problems with crowding of other teeth and even make treatment to straighten other teeth necessary. You do not want your wisdom teeth to crowd your mouth and throw off the alignment of your smile.

4.   Sinus Issues

Complications from wisdom teeth can lead to sinus issues like pain, pressure and congestion.

5. Inflamed Gums and Cavities

Tissues around your wisdom teeth can swell and may be hard to clean. Swollen gums can create pockets between teeth that help bacteria grow and cavities form.

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If you feel like you have been experiencing any of these issues, or want to prevent them before they start, schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharma to evaluate your wisdom teeth.

Oral Cavity Cancers – What Is It and Risk Factors

Did you know - April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

One type of cancer we see the most of in our office, and have helped patients treat, are Oral Cavity Cancers. In our office, when a suspicious oral lesion is found, a biopsy is often used to detect or rule out oral cancer — a disease that is treatable if caught early. A biopsy involves removing a very small tissue sample for laboratory analysis.

There are generally three types of tumors that can develop in the oral cavity:

  • Benign Growths
    These are not cancer – they do no spread to other parts of the body or invade other tissues

  • Pre-Cancerous Conditions
    Harmless growths that can turn into cancer overtime

  • Cancer
    These are growths that can spread to other parts of the body and grow into other tissues

While anyone is at risk for oral cancer, there are a few factors that can put individuals at a higher risk. 80% of oral cancer is linked to tobacco use – including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff. The best way to eliminate this risk is to cut out the use of tobacco products completely.

Poor nutrition and oral hygiene practices also can put an individual at a higher risk for oral cancer. Diet wise, be sure to include an ample amount of fruits and vegetables into your everyday diet. Additionally, practicing simple oral health habits such as proper brushing, flossing, and routine cleanings will reduce your risk of oral cancer.

A few other factors are gender, age, and exposure to UV light.

How to Diagnose

Early signs of oral cancer can seem like typical problems – such as a toothache or cold. If symptoms persist for several weeks or months, it is important to see your doctor so that, if oral cancer is present, it may be diagnosed as soon as possible

  • Some of the most common oral cancer symptoms and signs include:

  • Persistent mouth sore that does not heal 

  • Persistent mouth pain

  • A lump or thickening in the cheek

  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth

  • A sore throat or persistent feeling that something is caught in the throat

  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing

  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue

  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth

  • Jaw swelling that makes dentures hurt or fit poorly

  • Loosening of the teeth

  • Pain in the teeth or jaw

  • Voice changes

  • A lump in the neck

  • Weight loss

  • Persistent bad breath

If any of these symptoms appear or persist for weeks, your doctor may recommend tests to check for oral cancer. Here at Sharma Oral Surgery – we examine each patient and take a biopsy, if necessary, so we can treat the problem correctly and effectively.

Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns, 704-541-6070.

 

Dental Hygiene and Our Genetics

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Our dental hygiene and the health of our gums seems like a simple part of our dental care. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as two cleanings a year. Patients will often ask, why do I need to do more? Why do I have gum disease? Why am I losing my teeth?

So many factors can affect the health of our gums. Sometimes our own genetics effect our ability to keep our mouth healthy.

Do you know your Biotype? Your Biotype is determined by your genetics. Your Biotype is the best indicator of your ability to resist gum issues. What is a biotype? Your Biotype is a measurement of the thickness and elasticity of your gums. Biotypes are measured as Thin-Medium-Thick. A thin Biotype can be thought of as wrapping a gift in tissue paper, and the gift is your teeth. A medium Biotype can be thought of wrapping with wrapping paper. A thick Biotype can be thought of as wrapping a paper in cotton sheets.

If you know your genetic Biotype, you would know how to hold your gift, which is your dental health. Do you have to care for the gift with the worry that it might tear or can you pack it with your suitcase and know it will be fine?

Next time you are at the dentist, ask your hygienist what your Biotype is and begin to understand how your genetics can dictate what you and your dentist have to do to maintain your dental health.

All About Dental Implants

Of all the ways modern dentistry has to replace missing teeth, dental implants are by far the best. There is no tooth-replacement option that will give you a longer-lasting result. Implants also help preserve tooth-supporting bone that naturally deteriorates when a tooth is lost. Loss of bone is one of the major hidden consequences of losing teeth.

A dental implant most often takes the form of a small, screw-shaped titanium post that replaces the root-part of a missing tooth. The surgical procedure used to place an implant is actually quite minor and routine, requiring only local anesthesia in most cases. After a healing period, the implant is topped with a lifelike crown custom-made to match your existing natural teeth. Implants have a documented success rate of over 95%, which is significantly higher than any other tooth-replacement option.


How Implants Work

During a minor surgical procedure, your dental implant is inserted directly into the jawbone in the space vacated by the missing tooth. It will then be left to heal for a period of months before the final crown is attached. During this healing period, the implant actually fuses to the bone surrounding it.


Tooth Replacement Options Using Dental Implants

Implants can replace missing teeth in a variety of ways. They can be used to:

Replace One Tooth 

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When you have one tooth missing, a single implant is inserted into the bone to replace the root part of that tooth; a crown then goes on top to simulate an actual tooth. This treatment choice has the highest success rate, making it the best long-term investment for replacing a single missing tooth. Even if the initial cost is slightly higher than other options, it is the most cost-effective solution over time. An implant will never decay or need root canal treatment, and feels just like the tooth that was there.

Replace Multiple Teeth 

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When you have more than one tooth missing, implants provide an ideal replacement mechanism. You don't even need one implant for every missing tooth. Instead, implant teeth can act as supports for fixed bridgework. For example, if you are missing three teeth in a row, we can place two implants, one on either side of the gap, and a crown in between that has no implant underneath. That way, you won't need to use any of your remaining natural teeth as bridge supports, which could weaken them and make them more susceptible to decay.

Replace All Teeth Permanently

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Implants can support an entire arch of upper or lower replacement teeth that are fixed into the mouth and are never removed. Sometimes the new teeth can be supported by as few as 4 implants. It's comparable to the structure of a table, which only needs 4 legs to hold it up. In cases where jawbone density and volume have deteriorated, 5 or 6 implants might be needed to support a row of 10 to 12 teeth. Dental implant replacement teeth protect your jawbone, won't slip, and should last a lifetime.

Support Removable Dentures 

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Implants can even make removable dentures more comfortable, effective and healthier to wear. Traditional dentures rest on the gums and put pressure on the underlying bone. This accelerates bone loss so that the jaw shrinks and the dentures slip, particularly on the bottom. But today dentists can attach a removable denture onto implants, transferring that pressure into the bone structure rather than the bone surface. This prevents the dentures from slipping while you eat and speak, and preserves the bone directly beneath them.


Implant Care and Maintenance

There are only two ways an implant can lose attachment to the bone and fail once it has successfully fused: poor oral hygiene or excessive biting forces. Poor oral hygiene and/or a lack of regular cleanings can lead to a destructive bacterial infection called peri-implantitis. Flossing and brushing your teeth on a daily basis, along with regular professional cleanings, can prevent this. Excessive biting forces can come from either a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, or an insufficient number of implants to handle the forces generated by your bite. You should receive the correct number of implants so this does not happen. And if you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, a nightguard will be recommended to protect your implants. After all, implants are a long-term investment in your smile, your health and your well-being, so it's best to protect your investment.


If you have any questions about dental implants or interested in seeing if this is the right treatment for you - please give us a call at 704-541-6070 to set up a consultation with Dr. Sharma.