BOUNTY OF BOTOX®: Make sure the only one at the Thanksgiving table this year with Wrinkles is the Turkey

Have you ever wondered what Botox® is all about? Do you want to look more relaxed and healthier before you have to face the in-laws this Thanksgiving? Then let me welcome you to the world of facial rejuvenation and one of its stars: Botox®!

So what exactly is Botox®? Botox® is a prescription medicine that is injected into the muscles and used to temporarily improve the look of both moderate to severe crow’s feet lines and frown lines between the eyebrows in adults. It is the only FDA-approved prescription medicine for this purpose.

What Botox® does is temporarily relax the muscles of the face that cause these moderate to severe wrinkles around the eyes and in between the eyebrows (also known as 11s). It can also be used to improve the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead, nose (aka bunny wrinkles when you laugh), lips and elsewhere.

Typically, men and women with fine, moderate or severe wrinkles on their face come to me for facial rejuvenation treatment. Botox® is the choice of treatment to smooth lines on the face and even give a slight eyebrow lift to open the eyes and face up, thereby giving a more youthful appearance. Also, many patients who have severe headaches and/or migraines, will get great relief using Botox® treatment as an adjunct to other therapies. The same thing goes for TMJ issues.

What can you expect when getting Botox® treatment?

  • You may get noticeable results with the first 48 hours, but typically its full effect will be seen within 7-10 days. These results will last up to 4 months.
  • Most patients say that getting injected with Botox feels like a tiny pinch and that’s it! Some patients don’t even feel the injections since I use ice beforehand to numb the area being treated.
  • The total injection time itself takes around 10 minutes. First I do a facial rejuvenation consultation with each patient. I analyze their facial musculature and we determine together what treatment is appropriate to reach his/her desired result.
  • I tell my patients “You’ll look like yourself, but like you’ve been on vacation!” People won’t know what is different about you. They might ask if you’ve had your hair done, or if you’ve lost weight. But you’ll just look refreshed and well-rested like you’ve been on vacation – that’s it!
  • There’s basically no downtime or recovery period. You may experience some redness and swelling at the injection sites, but it’ll dissipate within a half hour typically.
  • Cost consideration – be aware that you are not only paying for the cost of materials when it comes to Botox® treatment. You are also paying for the skill of the individual practitioner, and his/her expertise.

Also, be aware that “discounted” or “cheap” Botox® is most likely highly diluted, so it won’t last as long, and you’ll be going back to get injections more times throughout the year. Do you want to get injections in your face more often? I think not! My patients typically see me 3-4 times per year in order to maintain the well-rested look they desire. That’s it!

You may wonder about going to the dentist to have Botox® treatment. But let me tell you something, the day I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, I was a head and neck specialist – unlike MD (medical doctors) who have to further specialize. In fact, while I was still in school many years ago, I had medical doctors who were just learning how to do Botox® and dermal fillers asking me about the anatomy and nerves of the face because they weren’t familiar with it. For over 12 years now, my patients have been trusting me with their Botox® treatment, and everybody keeps on coming back for more!

So I hope you enjoyed this quick rundown of what Botox® is and what it can do for you. And be sure to get your Botox® treatment this month if you want to ensure that the only one with wrinkles at the Thanksgiving table this year is the turkey! Gobble, Gobble!

Toot-a-loo,

Dr. Meli

Is Chewing Ice Bad for my Teeth?: YAAAAAASSSSSS!!!!

This is a question I get asked quite often by my patients. “Is chewing ice bad for my teeth?”

The definitive answer is: YAAAASSSS!!!! Let me tell you about why people chew ice, and how in fact it can severely damage your choppers.

You probably started chomping on ice cubes in your drink when you were a kid and your mom had to tell you stop doing it because it was rude to make so much noise at the dinner table. Well, not only that, but you were consciously chewing on super cold and super hard stuff. Our teeth are not meant to handle so much stress when masticating (that’s the technical term for chewing). So as you can imagine, what happens over time if you continue to chew on ice, is that your teeth start to wear down and over time your bite gets all out of whack. Also, the severe cold temperature of the ice will cause the enamel on your teeth to expand and contract. Not only that, if you have any type of fillings, the material of your fillings will expand and contract at a much faster rate that the enamel of your tooth, thereby causing teeny tiny cracks in your enamel. Just like you see the cracks in the asphalt after years of winter and summer seasons passing, the same thing happens to your teeth. And eventually these micro cracks will turn into large cracks and you’ll simply break your teeth off!

Pagophagia is a form of the disorder pica and it involved the compulsive consumption of ice or iced drinks. Typically, it has been associated with iron deficiency anemia. However, once iron levels are increased, most people stop the ice chewing habit. It is purported that people with iron deficiency chew ice constantly in order to soothe the pain associated with glossitis ( an inflamed tongue) which is a symptom of iron deficiency. Usually the tongue is super red and irritated and can become painful. So the super cold ice numbs the pain, and hence leads to pagophagia .

However, if you’ve not been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, then why are you still chewing on ice? For some it may be generally soothing habit to calm them down in a stressful situation, much like biting your nails or gnawing on a pencil. For others they just love to visit the dentist so much that they try as hard as possible to do severe damage to their teeth so they can rack up some more dental chair time…..said no one ever! But it has been documented that due to peer pressure, children will grind and chew on hard things like ice to self-mutilate teeth because they are teased for having crooked and uneven teeth. So be sure to check up on your children and make sure they’re actually doing irreversible harm to their teeth.

Remember, our teeth are not meant to constantly chew on hard, cold chunks of ice! If you think you might be doing it because you have an underlying systemic disease like iron deficiency anemia, then call your medical doctor or your dentist to get checked out asap! And if you just can’t kick the habit then suck on the ice cubes instead – you’ll still get the pleasant cooling sensation you love without the long-term damage to your teeth.

Toot-a-loo,

Dr. Meli

HEADACHES PART 3: FIVE SIMPLE TIPS TO PREVENT THE ONSET OF HEADACHES

So I’ve written about how chronic headaches affect our daily life in Part 1 of this series, and also about minimally invasive treatment options your dentist can offer you in Part 2. Here in Part 3, my aim is to clue you into a few simple things you can do on a day-to-day basis to manage your headaches.

ERGONOMICS: Work smarter, not harder. It’s my mantra and I am conscious of it on a daily basis. It is well known that people who work in the dental field have a high prevalence of neck and back pain. IMG_8861Dentistry is a profession that has many physical demands. Yes, I am a scientist, an artist, a psychologist, a salesperson and a doctor. But I am also called upon to treat my patients in reverse, looking upside down in a mirror, into a dark, wet, tiny space with saliva spraying all over and a tongue that just won’t stay still! So I use every tool at my disposal in order to do so ergonomically. From my stool that positions my body, head and neck into a comfortable position, to the comfortable clothes I wear and magnifying loupes with high power LED lighting I am always cognizant of the fact that if I want longevity in my profession, I need to work ergonomically. The same thing applies to everybody else as well. Studies show that a proactive approach to ergonomic workspace, reduces musculoskeletal pain and eye strain, and increases work productivity. Maybe put your computer screen on an elevated platform directly in front of your face, or hold your smartphone in front of your face instead of turning your head downwards to look at it. Position your seat, with lumbar support, so that your spine is aligned. All of these simply ergonomic positions will be sure to help you avoid headaches and other aches and pain in future.

GET YOUR EYES CHECKED: Although you may not need special magnifying loupes to see the computer screen or your smartphone, be sure that you are not squinting all of the time. Get your vision checked by an ophthalmologist or optometrist and be sure to get fitted for glasses or contacts. Also think about getting a larger computer screen to work on. What may seem like a nuisance now – like squinting because your computer screen is blurry – can become a severe pain in the neck literally! And headaches are sure to follow.

WOMEN – WEAR A SUPPORTIVE POSTURE BRA: If you’re a woman and well endowed, then you’re causing extra stress on your upper back, neck and shoulders. Be sure to find a brassiere that not only fits you well, but is supportive to help relieve the strain. To see if you’re bra is supporting you properly, a simple trick is to place your fingers underneath your bra strap and see if that relieves the pressure on your neck and shoulders. If it does, than you’re not wearing the correct bra. The posture bra is designed to hold the weight of your breasts in the band and the back, not the straps themselves. So if you have marks on your shoulder from digging bra straps then you’re more likely to experience the neck and shoulder strain associated with not wearing the correct bra. Posture bras are designed specifically to support the weight of breasts and provide relief from neck strain, shoulder strain and muscle tension headaches.

USE THE CORRECT PILLOW WHEN YOU SLEEP: Support from pillows is essential in getting a good night’s rest. If you sleep on your back, your side or your stomach be sure to find the pillow that will give you the best support for your head and neck. This way your neck and shoulder muscles won’t be straining to support you while you rest. You can also try a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side, or under your knees if you sleep on your back, as well as a rolled up towel under your lower back to ensure proper support during slumber.

I know my patients are generally nervous when they come to see me for dental treatment. So in order to relieve their stress and make them as comfortable as possible, I give them a leg support pillow, a lumbar pillow and a neck pillow to support them. This way their experience is less stressful. In fact most of my patients tend to fall asleep and even snore while laying back in my chair, that’s how relaxed they are!

STRETCHING EXERCISES: I try to do these on a daily basis, especially during a long case. I get up for a couple of minutes in the middle of a long treatment with a patient, and this allows me to get my stretches in as well as allows the patient to rest their jaw for a bit. This way we both feel better after a short break. I like to stretch my neck, arms and shoulders. #11 in the diagram below is one of my favorites. And I do it at shoulder height, above my shoulders and below to thoroughly stretch my entire shoulder muscle. Try doing these a few times a day during working hours, and you’ll see how refreshed you’ll feel afterwards!

Stretching

I hope these 5 tips were helpful. You’ll see that if you incorporate these into your daily rituals, you will have less headaches and feel better overall!

Toot-a-loo,

Dr. Meli

HEADACHES PART 2: HOW CAN A VISIT TO THE DENTIST HELP ME?

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In my last blog, I talked about the consequences daily headaches have on our daily lives, such as decreased productivity at work, and increased dependency on pharmaceutical remedies. Wouldn’t it be great if there were other, more conservative treatment options available to us?

Good news! There are many things you can do to start treating the cause of the headache, and not just its symptom of pain.

STRAIGHTEN/ALIGN YOUR TEETH: As I mentioned in my previous blog, aligning your teeth will not only ameliorate your headache issue, but it will help you in other numerous ways. You will be able to chew your food better. Maybe you’ve been unable to bite into a hearty sandwich until now because your front teeth had a huge open space (open bite). Or you were scared to eat that crusty French bread because you couldn’t incise it due to your open bite. Once your teeth are properly aligned, you’ll be able to eat anything you want to again!

Also, you’ll be able to preserve any past and future dental restorations (crowns, fillings, bridges, partial dentures) for much longer. If your teeth hit in a malaligned position, then you concentrate the forces in a pinpoint area and the you’ll wear away your enamel or filling material much faster. You’ll also start to break the porcelain off your crowns and bridges. However, when your teeth are aligned in a healthy position, you’re causing less wear and tear, and your teeth in general will last much longer!

Finally, you’ll decrease your risk of getting gum disease (periodontitis). If your teeth are crowded and malaligned, then they essentially become food traps. This food that gets trapped there, feeds the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth, which then turns into plaque and tartar. Also, it’s much tougher for your to keep clean with flossing and brushing alone. Once tartar has formed, it travels down the root, underneath the gums. This is a chronic infection that doesn’t really cause any pain, but it eats away at the bone that houses your teeth. Also untreated gum disease is directly linked to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, diabetes, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and angular glaucoma.

BOTOX TREATMENT: Although not many dentists offer this treatment option, it is a very valuable one. After all, we are responsible for your head and neck health, and that includes the oral cavity as well.

It is a non-invasive, quick treatment that can have tremendous effects on your headaches. Botox allows us to relax your muscles, so if you clench or grind your teeth, it will minimize the effects of your habit. Also, if you are a migraine sufferer, who pays up to $300 per pill in order to get migraine relief, then this treatment will definitely minimize the number of days you’ll experience migraines. And instead, you may only experience a small headache instead, or no pain at all! I have patients that were paying thousands of dollars a month to take a single pill for each chronic migraine episode. Now instead, they only use it a few times a month if at all.

ORAL APPLIANCES: Once your teeth have been aligned, be sure to complete any necessary dental restorations, and then use a custom made oral appliance, such as a retainer or occlusal guard to maintain your bite in it’s correct position. If you’re planning on having any cosmetic dentistry done, such as porcelain jacket crowns or veneers, then having an oral appliance that you use at night is imperative! All of my patients that have cosmetic dentistry completed, are always prescribed and oral appliance in order to maintain the investment they made in themselves.

So, as you can see, there are various, truly minimally invasive treatment options that, as a dentist, I can and do offer my patients. Ultimately you’ll get a straight smile and wrinkle-free younger looking appearance overall – but that is just the icing on top. My main goal is to give my patients a healthy, functional smile; and if I can help them make feel better about themselves along the way, then it’s all the more fulfilling for me.

Don’t forget to check out Part 3 of this series coming next!

Toot-a-loo,

Dr. Meli

HEADACHES PART 1: HOW TO FEEL BETTER FASTER

headaches-1454330

We all get headaches, and as a population we are experiencing them with more severity and frequency than ever before. The stresses of life have increased exponentially over the years. Many of us sit in front of computers for work, look at our tablets and smartphones non-stop, and are on the go constantly.

So then we turn to pharmaceuticals, prescribed and over the counter, to help relieve the discomfort. But in doing so we are only treating the symptom, not the cause. Studies show the increased use of anti-migraine medications like triptans and ergot alkaloids. Although preventive therapies such as the use of anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers have increased in usage as well, they remain pharmaceutical solutions to an ever growing ubiquitous problem.

We take off time from work when we go to numerous doctor appointments, get myriad of tests, and they continue to all show no conclusive results as to the why we keep feeling so bad. We go to the chiropractor, the physical therapist, the masseuse, but achieve only temporary results. A study, which reviewed over 144 million patient visits, shows a persistent overuse of low-value, high-cost services, such as advanced imaging (i.e. CAT scans, MRIs) and the prescription of opioids and barbiturates.

So, we have decreased productivity not only from missing work, but also due to the constant pain we experience while at work. How can we stop this vicious cycle and actually get to feeling better and being more productive?

I recommend a visit to the dentist! The majority of headaches, and head and neck pain in general, is directly linked to your bite (occlusion). Not only can we alleviate the discomfort, but also fix the root of the problem – how your teeth come together.

If teeth are misaligned, then the forces from regular everyday chewing, as well as grinding and clenching (bruxism) will exacerbate those forces and how they affect the longevity of your teeth. When your teeth are not aligned in a healthy position, it will cause your enamel to wear and break off. Also, your facial musculature and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) will adjust to an malaligned occlusion, and that’s why you feel tightness in the muscles, and pain. This pain then radiates down into the neck and shoulders, as well as up to the head thereby causing headaches and/or migraines.

So don’t just treat your headaches by popping some pills, or getting a massage. Get dental care to align your teeth into their proper healthy position, then get an oral appliance to ensure that they stay that way and to protect your teeth for the future. Including a daily head & neck stretching routine, as well as limiting your time in front of the computer, or looking down at your smartphone or tablet, will greatly decrease your risk of getting a headache.

Be sure to check out the next installment in my series of how to conservatively treat headaches and neck pain without popping pills regularly. I’ll include other treatment options, as well as tips as to what you can do on a daily basis to keep yourself headache free!

Toot-a-loo,

Dr. Meli

Oral Cancer: 7 Easy Ways to Prevent Oral Cancer

 

Did you know: One person in the United States dies every hour from oral cancer? That’s a staggering amount if you think about it! Here’s some information about oral cancer including risk factors and what you can do to make sure you catch it in time before it becomes too late.

ORAL CANCER FACTS:

450,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer worldwide. Around 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in the United States this year. That means that 11% of oral cancer cases in the world occur in the U.S. It will cause around 10,000 deaths, meaning 20% of those diagnosed will die. Of the 80% that survive, only approximately 57% will be alive in 5 years.

Thankfully the survival rate of oral cancer has gone up from 50% to around 57% over the past few decades. But this increase is not due to early diagnosis, but rather from an increase in the effectiveness of treating HPV. This is because the newest risk factor linked to oral cancer is the HPV16 (Human Papillomavirus).

ORAL CANCER RISK FACTORS:

Historically, major risk factors have been age: anyone over the age of 40 is more likely to get oral cancer. Also lifestyle risk factors like tobacco use (smoking, chewing tobacco, cigars) and alcohol use (drinking wine, beer, liquor & oral rinses containing alcohol) increase your likelihood of getting oral cancer. If you have a history of any other type of cancer, then you’re at a higher risk as well. Also exposure to radiation, like the sun, increases the risk of cancer of the lips, especially the lower lip since that is the one that usually juts out the furthest on the face.

So, how can we decrease the risk of being diagnosed with oral cancer? Here are a few tips:

VISIT YOUR DENTIST REGULARLY. Make sure you get an annual oral cancer screening including the head and neck. This includes a visual examination of the oral tissues, underneath the tongue, back of the throat, the inside of the cheeks and lips, roof of the mouth, sides and back of the tongue. Also palpating around your jaw, beneath the ears and the lymph nodes in your neck.

I do one of these regularly once a year for all of my patients, but I do a visual screening every time I see a patient as well. My patients usually tell me “Doc, you ask me about the same area in my mouth every time I see you!” They seem annoyed, because I ask them the same questions every time I see something suspicious, but that’s simply my protocol!

STOP USING TOBACCO. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, marijuana or using chewing tobacco severely increases your risk of oral cancer, especially if you’ve been doing it for years. The physical damage of the heat from smoking damages your gums. This includes trendy vaping. The chemicals and toxins in a cigarette transform your saliva into a deadly cocktail and damages your cells, leading to oral cancer.

STOP DRINKING ALCOHOL. This one can be tough, I know. But moderation is key. Although drinking a glass of wine with 12% alcohol doesn’t seem harmful, when you add up the number of times that alcohol has passed through your lips and hit the tissue of your mouth, it adds up.

STOP USING LISTERINE.  Listerine actually as more than twice the amount of alcohol that wine does (26.9%). It also has other chemicals and coloring in it. Think about it: You rinse with Listerine, for 30 seconds straight, twice a day, for years, pushing those chemicals and alcohol straight into the cells of the tissue in your mouth. Of course your cells will be adversely affected! Studies have shown the link to long-term Listerine (and other alcohol based rinses) use and oral cancer. I tell my patients they can use Listerine if they dilute it with water, simply for the taste. But at that point its antibacterial property has been lost. So, my patients use only one mouth rinse with alcohol, that I prescribe to them if needed, for short-term use only. After that they use an alcohol-free herbal tooth & gums rinse that is all natural. This way I am able to eliminate one risk factor for oral cancer, while keeping my patients’ gums healthy!

WEAR SUNSCREEN & A HAT. I live in Florida, so I know my patients are outdoors for much of the year. Even just walking to and from our cars in the parking lot, we get a lot of radiation from the sun. And since our lower lip usually juts out the furthest on the face, I tell my patients to use a lip balm with sunscreen as well as wear a hat when they are outdoors. Also avoid indoor tanning beds!

GET YOUR TEETH STRAIGHTENED. If you have malocclusion – a bad bite – then you could be causing repeated trauma to an area in your mouth like biting your cheek or tongue. This constant trauma to the tissue, will cause the cells to change and can lead to oral cancer. So if you get your teeth aligned – straightened with Invisalign® – to a healthy bite, then you will decrease your chances of getting oral cancer.

DO A MONTHLY CHECK INSIDE YOUR MOUTH. Just like women do a monthly self breast exam, I recommend you check out the inside and outside of your mouth once a month. Look for any unusual lesions, bumps or lumps or discolorations, and don’t forget your lips!. Especially if you have a sore area that won’t go away or get better after 14 days, then visit your dentist immediately. You may need a biopsy to see if there is anything out of the ordinary.

So, the key to avoiding oral cancer is to modify your lifestyle and try to catch it early on. Usually by the time oral cancer is seen by the naked eye alone, it is in the late stages already. If it’s caught in the late stages, then it can require disfiguring surgery in order to save your life. That’s why I recommend a more detailed oral cancer screening, like Vizilite or Velscope – both of which allow us to see any changes in your oral tissues before it becomes too late. We have the tools to catch oral cancer early on, and although very few dental insurance companies will pay for this special examination, it’s worth your peace of mind to pay for it out of pocket on an annual basis. Your life may be saved by your dentist!

Melisande J. Wolff, DMD

8 Common Mistakes you make when Brushing your Teeth

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TOOTHBRUSH: You tend to brush in all sorts of ways, and our gum tissue is fragile. Be sure to pick up a toothbrush with SOFT or EXTRA SOFT BRISTLES only – this way you won’t damage your gums. If you’re having trouble keeping your mouth open while brushing, then look for a toothbrush with a smaller head on it. If your arm hurts after brushing, or you have manual dexterity issues or you’re just lazy, then get an electric or ultrasonic brush that’ll do most of the work for you.

METHOD: You want squeaky clean teeth, so you think brushing harder is better. WRONG! You should hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, so you feel the bristles going in between the teeth and up underneath the gums. Then, brush in a compact circular motion and sweep away from the gum. Do this with gentle pressure on both the inner and outer surfaces of each individual tooth. Then you can brush the biting surfaces at the end. This method applies to both manual and electric toothbrushes.

TOOTHPASTE: So you think using a whitening toothpaste is going to make them sparkly white, right? WRONG! Whitening toothpastes have tons of abravises and are way too harsh for your gums, and can wear away enamel over the long term, so avoid using them. Instead, use a regular toothpaste with fluoride, or an herbal dentifrice, without any sodium lauryl sulfate, which is what causes the foaming action.

TIMING: You need to brush for at least TWO FULL MINUTES for the fluoride to be activated in your toothpaste. Plus it takes at least two minutes to really cover all of the surfaces of your teeth while brushing. First set your timer on your cell phone for 2:00 minutes. Then, divide your mouth into four quadrants – upper right, upper left, lower left and lower right – and work your way from quadrant to quadrant as you watch the timer. Spend at least 30 seconds brushing the teeth in each quadrant.

LONGEVITY: You think it’s ok to keep using your toothbrush forever and ever and ever. WRONG! Bristles get broken and splayed and they are totally ineffective. Be sure to get rid of your toothbrush every 3 months, and get a new one that’s strong enough to stand up to the task!

FREQUENCY: You think brushing more often is better. WRONG! Brushing more than 3 times a day can be damaging not only to your gums, but your enamel as well. Keep your brushing frequency to no more than 3 times a day to avoid undue damage to your smile while maintaining its health!

AREAS: You think it’s ok to just brush your teeth. WRONG! Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well every time you brush your teeth. Tons of bacteria lurk amongst your tastebuds so you can use a special tongue brush, or gently use your toothbrush to brush the top of your tongue as the final step before you rinse out.

FLOSS: You brush before you floss. WRONG! You must floss first, then brush your teeth. Why? Imagine if you vacuumed the floor, then dusted and all the dust fell on the floor and you’d have to vacuum the floor again. That is exactly what you are doing when it comes to your mouth if you brush before flossing. The toothpaste is not effective if you haven’t flossed first to remove the funk that’s sitting in between your teeth and just underneath your gums on the surface of your roots. So FLOSS and then BRUSH your teeth!

Hope this has helped you with your daily oral hygiene routine. And remember, a healthy smile is always in style!

Toot-a-loo,

Dr. Meli

Top 5 Foods to Combat Bad Breath

Top 5 Foods to Combat Bad Breath

We’ve all had tasty meals where we absolutely looooooooved the garlicky pasta we ate, but then regretted it afterwards because of the bad breath it gave us. So, before you deny yourself that delicious pasta dish, think about what you can order for dessert afterwards to help get rid of that bad breath!

We all have bacteria in our mouths, and when we eat a meal, the food particles left behind act as an energy source for those bacteria. The bacteria then release a toxin that either attacks the soft tissue causing gum disease, or the hard tissue – your teeth – causing decay. Either way the release of the toxin leads to infection and bad breath. The foods listed below all help by combating mealtime for the bacteria and microbes that naturally exist in our mouths, thereby reducing and/or eliminating bad breath!

APPLES: Granny Smith apples were shown to have the highest phenol content, but any apple after dinner will do! Phenols are known to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Raw apples are great because not only do their phenols inhibit bacterial growth leading to bad breath, but when you chew on these crunchy foods, they physically cleanse the teeth and help prevent the buildup of biofilm that forms plaque. Maybe they should change it to “An apple a day keeps bad breath, gum disease and cavities away!”?

BERRIES: All berries are not only full of healthy anti-oxidants, but they also contain the abovementioned phenols which are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Studies have shown that fruit like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries inhibit the growth of C. albicans which is the fungus that leads to oral thrush – better known as a yeast infection. Also, strawberries and raspberries have been shown to be strong inhibitors of Salmonella.

CITRUS: Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, mandarins and tangerines are all citrus fruit. However the antimicrobial powers of these fruits come from the essential oils in the peels, not the juicy flesh inside. So after eating your Kung Pao chicken at lunch, be sure to eat the orange wedge they offer you, first on the inside, and then squeeze the rind to release those oils and rub it on your teeth and tongue to eliminate bad breath. Remember not to suck on lemons or limes as the acid will erode the enamel of your pearly whites!

PARSLEY: Parsley is tasty, cheap and has anti-microbial properties. Parsley comes in two varieties: curly or flat leaf. Either one works. Be sure to chew on that parsley garnish on your plate to avoid bad breath.

CELERY: Celery, or Apium graveolens, has been shown to have both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is also chock full of flavonoids. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps the body to prevent lung and oral cancer. And again, when eaten raw, this crunchy vegetable will physically cleanse your teeth as you chew.

I hope this was informative and helpful, so next time when you’re out on a date with your significant other, you can still order the pasta all’olio e aglio and kiss afterwards. Remember, a healthy smile is always in style!

Toot-a-loo,

Diva Dentist PB

To Toke or Not to Toke? : That is the Question

You are in the prime of your life, in your 40s-50s. You have had an especially stressful week at work, and you simply want to relax this weekend like you’ve always done. You unwind with a glass of wine maybe and light up a joint or your bong and take a few tokes to ease the stress. You’ve been recreationally using marijuana since college, and haven’t seen or heard of any serious health issues with its use…..until now perhaps.

image.pngStudies show that long term use of cannabis leads to gum disease. And untreated gum disease is directly linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, pancreatic cancer, angular glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. So even though you’ve been regularly going for your dental cleanings twice a year, that hygiene maintenance schedule may no longer be appropriate for you. And remember once you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, it’s a daily battle you fight to keep it at bay. I always tell my patients that we have a partnership to keep your gums healthy: your oral hygiene homecare routine and showing up for your scheduled hygiene maintenance visit is key to keeping your smile healthy. If you miss an appointment then be aware that the gum disease can come back very quickly, and even be worse than it was originally.

But the question remains:  is this true only when marijuana is smoked? What about if it is inhaled using a vaporizer? What about cannabis that has been ingested via edibles, tinctures, capsules or oils? In my opinion the inhalation of cannabis while smoking it, is the most likely culprit. However I’d be interested in seeing some studies done which include other forms of cannabis ingestion, especially inhalation with vapor. Today vaping is a huge trend, and to study vaping in general, with or without cannabis, would be integral to better understanding the long term effects on the oral cavity, of this highly popular habit. What do you think? Please feel free to share any anecdotal evidence you may have in the comment section below.

And remember, a heatlhy smile is always in style!

Toot-a-Loo,

Dr. Meli

Hello Brave New World

Hello and welcome to my first ever blog entry! I’m totally new to this, but super excited to be embarking on this new adventure.

I plan on not only sharing my professional opinion on various dental related, but also at times my personal opinion on various “life in general” topics.

My mission is to inform you about all the different things that could affect your overall oral health status and how it affects your body and lifestyle. I’m here to answer any questions you may have about your smile: tooth whitening, gum disease, root canal treatment or even Botox treatment!!!

Just let me know what topics you are interested in hearing more about, or make a comment on something I’ve blogged about. So yeah, that’s it! Let’s get started!

AldousHuxleyQuotes1.pngBy now you’ve read the quote in the picture. Everybody is always afraid of x-rays and the amount of radiation they emit. There has always been a need for taking dental x-rays on an annual basis, because unfortunately, as I like to tell my patients, I haven’t mastered the talent of having x-ray vision yet. However, being judicious with the number and type of x-rays you take, as a practitioner, is key. I always take the age of the patient, dentition, risk of decay, periodontal status and overall health history into account before I recommend any type of x-rays.

Living here in Florida, we get lots of radiation from the sun every time we walk to and from our cars in a parking lot. Thankfully with the modern technology that exists today, each digital x-ray emits up to 90% less radiation than old school traditional film x-rays. Also, if we have to retake an x-ray, we can do it within 3 seconds, because the image shows up on the monitor immediately. There’s no waiting for film to develop before I’m able to analyze it. I absolutely love the technology of digital x-rays because it makes our jobs faster, especially while doing long root canal treatments. The only downside I’ve seen is that the digital sensor can be slightly uncomfortable because it is not flexible and can be difficult to position. However, the benefits definitely outweigh the discomfort.

So don’t forget that if you refuse x-rays when I recommend them to you, be aware that due to my lack of “x-ray vision superpowers”, I will be unable to give you a complete exam and may not be able to diagnose infection or decay without the x-rays. And remember, a healthy smile is always in style!

Until next time,

Dr. Meli