Do You Know What Sugar Is Doing To Your Teeth?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that overdoing it with sugar can damage your teeth. But, understanding exactly what sugar is doing to your oral health is an integral part of preventing any further damage. For starters, it’s not sugar alone that causes damage to your teeth, it’s the chain of events that happen after you eat that donut.

Developing Cavities

Your mouth is full of hundreds of bacteria, the majority of which are actually good for you and help to maintain the natural ecosystem in your mouth. Though, there are some harmful bacteria lingering in there as well; bacteria that feeds on sugar, creating acids that destroy the enamel on teeth. In case you don’t already know, enamel is the shiny protective layer that coats your teeth.

These acids produced by the sugar-eating bacteria can cause cavities, which are essentially bacterial infections in teeth. When they’re not properly treated, the holes created by cavities can progress deeper into the tooth, eventually causing pain and possible tooth loss.

The On-Going War in Your Mouth

Acids are relentlessly attacking your teeth. But, there’s good news: the damage they cause is constantly being reversed. These unwelcome enamel attackers deprive tooth enamel of essential minerals, in a process often referred to as demineralization. Luckily, the natural process of remineralization replenishes those minerals and helps to reinforce the tooth’s strength.

Your nutrient-rich saliva helps this process along, aiding in tooth repair. Fluoride can also help to repair weakened enamel. Though, replenishing vitamins and minerals in your tooth enamel can only do so much when you’re consuming sweets and starches throughout the day. You have to limit your sugar intake if you want to give your enamel a chance at survival.

How to Repair the Damage

According to the experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center, there are several ways to prevent cavities and maintain the integrity of your enamel. Along with reducing your sugar intake, stimulating saliva will help to bathe the teeth in minerals. You can accomplish this by chewing sugar-free gum and adding fibrous fruits and vegetables to your diet. In addition, dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and dairy products contain phosphates that can help to strengthen teeth, and can be much wiser choices for snacks. Green or black teas also make great additions to your daily routine, since they contain substances that help to suppress harmful oral bacteria. Incorporating these herbal beverages into your daily routine can help to maintain a healthy balance in the mouth, as long as you forgo any added sugars.

Last but not least, fluoride is a popular mineral known for its ability to prevent tooth decay and reverse it in its early stages. Drinking plenty of fluoridated water and choosing an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste will help to clean out sugar-dependent germs for a limited amount of time. Additionally, the ADA recommends that you also receive periodic fluoride treatments from a dentist.

Staying on top of your daily oral care and taking steps in the right direction will play an important role in preventing the negative effects of sugar on teeth. Encouraging your kids to eat less sugary foods, brush vigilantly to remove harmful plaque, and add healthy foods that help to strengthen their enamel will ensure that they have a strong foundation for healthy teeth.

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Oral Cancer: What You Should Know about the Disease

You always think cancer won’t happen to you – then it does. Defined as the uncontrollable growth of cells, cancer invades and causes damage to surrounding cells. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx, appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that won’t go away. Like all forms of cancer, it can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion.

Like every illness and disease, there are symptoms that help doctors and dentists identify oral cancer. These include:

  • Swelling or increased thickness, lumps and bumps, rough or crusted over areas on the lips, gums, or other parts of the mouth.
  • The appearance of velvety white, red or speckled (both white and red) patches in the mouth.
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
  • Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain and tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck.
  • Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks.
  • Soreness, along with the persistent feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat.
  • Difficulty or discomfort when chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice.
  • Persistent ear pain.
  • A noticeable change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss

Are you at risk?

Statistics released by the American Cancer Society illustrated that men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, and men that are older than 50 face the greatest risk. An estimated 40,000 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States in 2014.

Additional risk factors for developing this disease include:

  • Smoking; Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe smoking all contribute to the development of oral cancer. Those who smoke are six times more likely to develop oral cancers.
  • Smokeless tobacco, including dip, snuff, and chewing tobacco products, increase your risk of developing oral cancer 50 times over. Users of these products usually develop cancer of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption. Those who drink alcohol are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-drinkers.
  • A family history of cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). Certain strains of this virus increase your risk of developing Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC).

You should also know that more than 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who don’t smoke and who only occasionally consume alcohol. So, just because you’ve abstained from tobacco products for most of your life, that doesn’t mean you’re safe from oral cancer.

That’s why skipping your regular dental exams is a really bad idea. As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist should conduct an oral cancer screening. This includes feeling for lumps on the head, neck, face, and oral cavity. While closely examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or abnormal discolorations in oral tissue, along with looking for any of the signs or symptoms listed above.

If anything out of the ordinary is spotted, your dentist will likely perform a brush biopsy to test a small sample of the tissue and analyze it for abnormal cells. It’s a virtually painless procedure. Though, if the tissue looks extremely suspicious, your dentist may decide to do a scalpel biopsy; a procedure that does require local anesthesia.

How is Oral Cancer Treated?Like many other cancers, treatment for oral cancer starts with removing as much of the abnormal cells as possible. This is typically followed by chemotherapy, radiation, and/or any other drug therapy used to destroy the remaining cancerous cells.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Oral Cancer?

Unfortunately, nothing is 100% when it comes to cancer. You can do everything right, and still be diagnosed with the disease. With that said, there are some things that can be done to better your chances of avoiding oral cancer:

  • Don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco, and only drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
    – Limit exposure to the sun. Repeated exposure to UV rays can increase your chances of cancer on the lip, especially the lower lip. When you are in the sun, remember to use sun block on your skin and your lips.
  • Additionally, you can take an active role in monitoring any regularities and detecting oral cancer early. Here’s how you can do that:

    • Conduct a self-exam monthly. Using bright light and a hand mirror, take a close look at your lips and gums. Tilt your head back and inspect the roof of your mouth, tongue, and under your tongue. Pull your cheeks out and examine the inside of your mouth, lining of your cheeks, and backs of your gums. Don’t forget to look at the back of your throat. You should also feel around for any abnormal growths or sores, and feel both sides of your neck for any lumps or enlarged lymph nodes on either side of your neck or on the bottom of your jaw.
    • Make sure you’re making regular visits to the dentist. Even though you’re regularly examining your mouth, there could be spots or sores that are difficult to see. As recommended by the American Cancer Society, you should be screened for oral cancer every three years starting at age 20, and every year for those over the age of 40.

    If you haven’t been screened before, ask your dentist for an Oral Cancer exam on your next visit. It’s a quick and easy procedure with the potential to save your life.

    Schedule your appointment for a routine cleaning with Kingston Dental Center in South County, St. Louis, MO today.

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Do You Need to Have a Tooth Extracted?

Not every toothache will require such drastic treatment. Your dentist will decide, after assessing the condition of your tooth, what route of treatment makes the most sense for you. Worst case scenario: the tooth will be deemed incurable and will have to be removed. Though, for many toothaches, this step is often not necessary.

A simple toothache doesn’t always mean a tooth needs to be extracted. In fact, more often than not, the issue can be resolved with a simple filling. In other cases, the pain they feel on their tooth may not be caused by their tooth at all. It could be a muscular condition, or referred pain from the joint in your jaw.

In any situation, it’s important that you don’t jump to conclusions. There’s no way for a dentist to come to a proper conclusion about whether or not you need an extraction without first examining the tooth. And, there’s no point in searching for the best price on an extraction unless you know that’s what you really need.

Treating the Pain

Your mouth and head have the highest concentration of nerves in your whole body, so it’s no surprise that several complications could be the culprit of your pain. As a first step, your dentist should work through all of your symptoms and potential treatment options.

Here are some typical conditions that can cause referred tooth pain:

  • Gum infection
  • Jaw alignment
  • Muscular spasms
  • Trigeminal neuralgia (infection of the facial nerves)

Textbooks are lined with cases where teeth were extracted, when that wasn’t what the patient needed to cure their pain. It’s important that your dentist works quickly to help you get some relief, but doesn’t rush to conclusions and put you through unnecessary procedures.

With that said, there are times where it’s clear that a tooth cannot be saved. The American Dental Association suggests that a tooth be removed due to trauma, disease or crowding. If a tooth cannot be repaired with a filling or crown because of damage caused by trauma or extensive decay, an extraction is the only solution. Additionally, teeth that don’t have enough bone support due to periodontal disease are also considered for removal. Also, in cases where abscessed teeth don’t respond to root canal treatment, the infected tooth will need to be extracted.

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Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Body

We all know brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist are essential for maintaining a great set of teeth. But, do you really understand the real impact of forgoing proper oral care? Several recent studies have revealed that, not only can oral bacteria impact the health of your teeth and gums, it can affect your entire body.

“Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by the more than 500 bacterial species found in plaque below the gum line,” says Joan Otomo-Corgel, president of the American Academy of Periodontology and associate clinical professor in the department of periodontics at University of California–Los Angeles.

This disease, which includes gingivitis, can cause swelling in the gums, irritation, and bleeding. It’s one of the most prevalent conditions in the world, impacting more than 743 million people. In fact, in the US alone, it affects one in every two adults and is 2.5 times more common than diabetes.

As this common condition progresses, it is also known to cause receding gums, damage to tissue and bone around the teeth, and you may even run the risk of losing teeth. But, even worse, periodontal disease is known to cause kidney damage, coronary arterial disease, peripheral arterial disease, and stroke.

In fact, in 2012 the American Heart Association released a statement recognizing the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. Though, they didn’t quite confirm the connection, citing that there is a definite need for further study.

Additionally, periodontal disease is known to have an impact on children born to mothers with the condition. There are endless studies linking periodontal disease to pre-term or low-birth-weight babies. Poor periodontal control has been found to lead to this and other issues, such as pregnancy, gingivitis, and diabetes,” says Sam Shamardi, a dentist at the Boston Center for Oral Health and clinical instructor in the Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s division of periodontology.

So, what’s the bottom line? It’s just as important to maintain your oral health as it is to care for your whole body. You may not realize it, but the condition of your teeth and gums has a direct impact on the health of your entire body.

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Warning: Your Hormones May Cause Gum Disease

Women are continually getting the short end of the stick – suffering from hot flashes, PMS, and now gum disease.

A new study revealed that fluctuations in women’s hormones during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can change conditions in the mouth and create a breeding ground for bacteria. Not only can this cause damage to your teeth and gums, the bacteria could enter your blood stream to cause bone loss, fetal death, and pre-term births.

The study’s publisher, Charlene Krejci, said “There’s definitely a gender-specific connection between women’s hormones, gum disease, and specific health issues impacting women. Although women tend to take better care of their oral health than men, the main message is women need to be even more vigilant about maintaining healthy teeth and gums to prevent or lessen the severity of some of women-specific health issues.”

So, what can you do to keep oral bacteria under control?

Some experts suggest planning certain dental procedures around your cycle.

Schedule a cleaning the week after your period, since swelling caused by estrogen receptors in gingival tissue can throw off results when measuring pocket depth (the space between teeth). A depth greater than 3 mm could indicate gum disease. Additionally, this swelling could make the cleaning more painful, because swollen gums are more sensitive.

The week before your period, you should take extra care to brush and floss properly. Hormonal changes don’t cause gum disease directly, but experts warn that they can worsen underlying conditions. Conditions are typically worse about two days before your period, with a condition known as menstruation gingivitis to blame.

For any oral procedures, from fillings to extractions, schedule an appointment for the days immediately following your period. This is the point in your cycle where hormone levels are at their lowest, and your gums are not as sensitive. Another surge in hormones will also occur before ovulation, between day 11 and 21 in your 28-day cycle. This temporary spike can also cause inflammation and discomfort.

Of course, there is never a bad time to visit the dentist. But, if you want to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, keep these suggestions in mind.

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Frequent Consumption of Sugary Beverages Causes Tooth Decay

We all know soda is bad for us, but do you really know what it’s doing to your teeth? The sugar in these delicious carbonated drinks combines with bacteria in your mouth to form an acid that attacks tooth enamel. These attacks last for about 20 minutes, and start over every time you take another sip.

The trauma of these recurring attacks weakens the enamel on your teeth. Since children and teen’s enamel isn’t fully developed, they’re even more susceptible to damage caused by these attacks. Clearly, the first step you should take to avoid developing tooth decay is to limit your intake of sugary beverages, including soda, sports drinks, and sweetened teas and fruit juices. Making sure you are consistently taking good care of your teeth, brushing and flossing twice daily and visiting your dentist regularly, will also help to lower your risk of developing tooth decay.

But, most importantly, you should work toward choosing beverages that will actually help you stay hydrated. Since most soft drinks contain sugar and caffeine, they can actually dehydrate your body even more. And it’s not just soda that can have a negative impact on your oral health: sports drinks and sweetened beverages like lemonade can cause damage to tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.

Dehydration is the leading cause of mid-day fatigue. Keep that in mind next time you’re feeling tired at work or school – instead of reaching for a caffeinated beverage, go for some fresh water. Not only is it great for your body, it won’t damage your teeth like coffee and soda can.

How to Keep Your Oral Health on Track:


  • Drink sugary beverages in moderation (no more than 12 ounces a day).
  • Drink soda and juices with a straw.
  • Swish water in your mouth after consuming sugary beverages to dilute the acid, if brushing your teeth is not an option.
  • Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day.


  • Sip on sugary beverages for a long period of time.
  • Indulge with a can of soda before going to bed.
  • Brush your teeth right after a meal; try waiting for at least an hour after eating or drinking.
  • Use soda, juice, or sports drinks as a substitute for a balanced meal.

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Your Gums, Your Body

By Sam E. Ruvinov, D.D.S.

You may have read numerous articles on the subject, but I’ll chance it and say it again…the health of your gums effect the health of your body!

According to the National Institute of Dental Research, nearly half of adult Americans have periodontal (gum) disease.  Very often, patients are aware of having periodontal problems.  First symptoms, at the early stage of the disease, could be sensitive gums and blood on your toothbrush.  The cause of periodontal disease is dental plaque that consists of billions of bacteria and their toxins.

In the mildest form of the disease, gingivitis, the gums redden, swell and bleed easily.  There is usually little or no discomfort.  Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene.  It is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.  Untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis.  With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line and infect gum tissue and bone.  Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms.  However, eventually teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.

One of the main symptoms of periodontal disease is bad breath.  Usually it is caused by poor oral hygiene in combination with chronically infected gum tissue and bone.

Recent studies have suggested a link between periodontal disease and heart problems.  Research showed dental plaque can lead to heart attacks.

The bacteria infusion also was associated with increased blood pressure and faster heart rate. “The more bacteria was used, the greater effects we saw.” said Mark Herzberg, a professor of preventive sciences, who presented the study results.  Getting into the blood stream of a person with chronic dental infection would be easy for bacteria.  Just eating the meal would be sufficient to work bacteria into your blood stream.

A preliminary study at the State University of New York at Buffalo linked bacteria common to gum disease to cholesterol deposits in coronary arteries.

An epidemiologist at SUNY at Buffalo, presented research showing a link between osteoporosis and dental problems.  Her analysis of nearly 2,600 postmenopausal women found a strong association between having weak bones and tooth and gum disease.

Although it may seem improbable, infection in the gums of a pregnant woman may lead to a more than sevenfold increase in her risk of delivering a premature baby of low birth weight. A study suggests that untreated periodontal disease may account for a large share of premature births for which no other explanation can be found.  A research team of periodontists, obstetrician-gynecologists and epidemiologists, found after a detailed analysis of 124 births, that the bacteria, rather than directly attacking the fetus, appeared to retard fetal growth by releasing toxins into the woman’s blood stream, thereby reaching the placenta and interfering with fetal development.  In addition, the infection stimulates the woman’s body to produce inflammatory chemicals, similar to those used to induce an abortion that can cause the cervix to dilate and set off uterine contractions.

It is much easier to prevent periodontal disease than cure it.  Regular dental visits (twice a year) are highly recommended.  Periodontal disease can often be prevented by nightly flossing and using correct brushing techniques. If left untreated for years, periodontal infection gradually erodes the jaw bones and causes teeth to loosen and fall out.  Don’t postpone your next dental visit. They’re your gums; it’s your body.
Call today for an appointment! (314) 487-0052.

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The WOW Factor

Wow FactorBy Ronald K. Greif, D.D.S., Originally printed in St. Louis Women’s Journal

Forget Veins and Wrinkles -This is the real WOW factor!

Focus on your smile and this will get the attention and the confidence you always wanted. So many men and women I work with come in to see me wanting to be rid of some painful condition. After doing so, they inevitably browse our”before and after” picture gallery of “regular people” (not movie stars) who had some work done on their teeth to give them that WOW factor.

One for one, as people see these “before and after” pictures, they are astounded by the way a beautiful smile can take 20 years away from a per-son’s face. Also, it always appears that the individual is allot more confident in the “after”picture- probably because they are. I can’t remember an”after” picture where a person now has a new enhanced smile, bright and aesthetic, and wasn’t significantly more secure and confident. Their smile showed it!

“Before” pictures undoubtedly show someone with a bashful or bland, tight lipped, semi-smile that always has a long story behind it. I don’t always know exactly how an individual’s “before” smile embarrassed or inconvenienced them in life, but I can relay some re-occurring themes.

One example is a woman who never smiled for family pictures and feared to show anything behind her lips. After open communications and accustom designed smile enhancement, the woman not only looked incredible, but acted different in smile, mannerism, and personality.

Other examples are beautiful women who I consult, that really hold themselves back by even a fear of people seeing them talking, let alone smiling or laughing. The funny thing is,that so many of these women thought that their individual situation was going to be either too expensive, or too painful, or too long, or too whatever, so they just lived with their own mental anguish. In fact, many women had a life changing smile in just one morning .Others who were afraid of going broke were astonished by an affordably budgeted enhancement plan. All are amazed at the comfort and short time frame that a smile can be changed.

Another common scenario is women or men who have had smile enhancement before the real smile enhancement boom(15 years ago or more), and don’t have subjective reality on the new ultra-natural styles of smile enhancements.

People often want to know specific techniques and ways for achieving goals and desires. My response is always laid out in a very predictable and understandable format that is communicated in plain terms with a clear under-standing of what the individual wants. Basically, the technology is available to make your goals real. Right now. This can be achieved person for person.Each “before and after” picture has proven the amazing results of smile enhancement. Extroversion, beauty in face and smile, confidence. This truly is the facial WOW factor.

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Wisdom Teeth

The last adult teeth to appear are the wisdom, teeth, four teeth at the corners of your mouth, which often appear around the age of 20. These teeth often come in badly aligned.

These can then crowd or damage adjacent teeth, even damage the jawbone or nerves. They may never actually appear above the gum line in which case they are called impacted. They may be more subject to decay and infection.

Wisdom teeth therefore often require extraction. Examination, including x-rays, will make it possible to determine the recommended course of action – best performed sooner rather than later. Extraction is easier when you are younger, and can prevent problems rather than waiting for them to occur.

The difficulty of removal depends on the exact situation with your wisdom teeth. An impacted wisdom tooth may have to be removed in small pieces.

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What You Need to Know About Your Silver Fillings

Silver fillings newspaper articleBy Ronald K. Greif, D.D.S., Originally printed in St. Louis Women’s Journal

When an individual goes to the dentist and a problem is discovered during the exam,three questions always arise. These questions being: How much will it cost me? Will it hurt? And, how quick can you fix me so I can get the checkout of here? These questions are very understandable, for when the role is flipped and I am the patient, I want to know the exact same things.

Often enough, when the patient comes into my office with a problem, they have a large silver filling present with all or much of the tooth broken off around the silver filling. Sometimes the tooth around the filling is totally gone with only the silver fillings standing up off the broken tooth base.

Of course, the individual wants to know how or why this happens. There are lots of reasons for this. From my observations and experience have come up with a successful way of avoiding many broken teeth and therefore avoiding pain and possibly whole the experience for the patient.

First of all, silver fillings aren’t just silver. They are a mix of silver, tin, copper, zinc,and mercury. The last element, mercury is what makes all the elements stable and cohere together. This works out okay and seems to do well for some years but, two problems arise.

The first is that the mercury in the filling material is the same mercury found in thermometers. As the heat rises(such as hot coffee, hot pizza, etc.) in the mouth with this material it expands and pushes the tooth away from the filling. As the temperature falls (with chewing ice, eating ice cream, cold beverages,etc.) in the mouth the filling shrinks or condenses. This has a push-pull effect on the tooth that can end up making the tooth sensitive or snap-ping the tooth off, such as what happens frequently with various patients.

Secondly, mercury is astron neurological toxin and has been proven to be health deterrent. When patients ask what is best for their teeth, I usually suggest few options. If the filling is fairly small I use a “resin”type of filling. Silver is okay for small fillings but, is not used because of the two points previously given.

If the filling is large I would use a porcelain or gold mate-rail that bonds to the tooth hand actually makes it stronger. My experience has been that “silver fillings” only fill the tooth where the cavity used to be and doesn’t really make the tooth stronger,such as with the gold or porcelain mentioned.

Price-wise gold and porcelain are more expensive, but Bifid that it really works out to be cheaper because the tooth doesn’t crack nearly as often in the future. This, in essence, means less cost for the patient is the long run.

My advice is to ask your dentist what kind of material he wants to use in your tooth next time he wants to do filling. If he wants to use silver, consider asking the dentist to use “white” or “gold”material. You’ll probably have stronger tooth for it.

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