• Oral Health Tips

    Is it inevitable for people to lose their teeth as they get older? Many people believe that to be true, but in fact, it’s a persistent myth. It’s normal to lose your baby teeth, but losing your adult teeth is not a normal part of the aging process. In fact, if you take care of your teeth, you can maintain good oral health throughout your lifetime. We’ve got some tips to help you make that happen.

    • First, embrace fluoride. Some people are skeptical about fluoride because they believe it to be dangerous. Misinterpreting data, people claim that fluoride causes everything from dementia to bone cancer. In fact, every major health organization is in agreement that fluoride is beneficial. By adding fluoride to the community water systems, the United States has reduced oral health problems significantly. Drinking fluoridated water and brushing with fluoride toothpaste protects teeth from decay.
    • Make good oral hygiene a habit. Brush your teeth for two minutes, two times a day. Floss between your teeth at least once a day, and follow it up by rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash. Visit your dentist every six months, so that any problems with your mouth can be caught early.
    • Just say no to tobacco. Don’t use any tobacco products at all. If you are a smoker, quit. If you’re having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor and get some help.
    • Limit your alcohol consumption. Drinking too much alcohol greatly increases your risk of oral cancer.
    • Keep diabetes under control. Diabetes can increase your risk of gum disease and other complications. At the same time, periodontal disease can increase blood sugar.
    • Pack your diet with nutrients. Limit sugar, eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, along with plenty of protein and calcium. Drink water to stay hydrated.
    • Try to avoid dry mouth. If you’re taking medication that causes dry mouth, ask for a different medication. If it is unavoidable, drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum. Saliva helps keep your mouth’s pH healthy.
    • See your dentist as soon as possible if there’s a problem. Sudden, changes in taste or smell should be reported immediately.

    If you’re a caregiver for an older person, assist in brushing and flossing if the person can’t do it independently. Schedule regular dental exams for the person in your care, and be aware of the way any medication may be affecting his or her oral health. Often, medication can impede a senior’s ability to practice good oral hygiene and can cause dental issues like dry mouth.

    If you need a dentist in New York, consider Park 56 Dental Group, where we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.

  • Does poor oral health impact brain function?

    The health of your mouth is a fairly accurate indicator of your overall wellbeing. We’ve long known that tooth decay is linked to certain health conditions, but did you know that poor oral health can have an impact on your brain function? According to two new studies, inattention to oral health may lead to cognitive decline in elderly people.  

    In 2010, a study concluded that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease by about 20 percent, and in 2014, researchers found a link between oral health and stroke risk. Now, scientists at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, are studying the link between oral health and cognitive decline. A recent review of 23 studies studying oral health and cognitive factors like memory and executive function found evidence of a relationship. Additionally, the Rutgers University team has completed two studies into cognitive decline and perceived stress, both of which have been published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 

    These studies focused on elderly Chinese Americans, a population at risk of poor oral health because of lack of dental care, exacerbated by a language barrier. In the first study, the participants, all over 60, were quizzed on their oral health and asked to complete five cognitive tests. The second study asked about dry mouth issues, then requested that the participants measure their levels of social support, social strain, and perceived stress. The researchers defined social support as how often the participants felt able to open up to or rely on family and friends, while social strain measured how often they felt there were excessive demands or criticisms from the same people.  

    Nearly half of the 2,700 people interviewed reported tooth-related symptoms, with over a quarter saying they’d experienced dry mouth. Participants did not report as many gum-related issues, but researchers believe this is simply because they find these issues less problematic.  

    The two studies found a link between tooth symptoms and cognitive decline, particularly global cognition and episodic memory decline. This is significant because episodic memory issues are linked to the onset of dementia. The studies also found that support from friends reduces perceived stress and made participants less likely to report dry mouth.  

    The takeaway is that perceived stress can impact oral health, which in turn can lead to cognitive decline. These findings seem to indicate a need for better awareness of the psychosocial health of the elderly, particularly immigrants. Intervention strategies that account for factors like stress and social support in addition to health conditions and behaviors, could help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  

    At Park 56 Dental Group, we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.  

  • What Does My Snoring Mean & What Should I Do About It?

    If you’re someone who snores, you probably already know it’s a problem. Snoring can disrupt your sleep as well as the sleep of anyone sharing your room, and can even have a negative impact on your relationship with your significant other. Unfortunately, if your snoring is due to obstructive sleep apnea, disrupted sleep may only be one of many problems you’ll face.  

    Snoring doesn’t necessarily indicate sleep apnea, but if you have sleep apnea, you will snore. Snoring generally happens because of airway obstruction, and even minor obstruction can cause you to snore. With obstructive sleep apnea, though, the airway obstruction causes the airflow to the lung to be significantly diminished.  

    • What causes sleep apnea? Weight is often a risk factor, but it’s only part of the story. If you’re overweight, it can contribute to “crowding” in the sides and back of the throat. However, the tonsils or the tongue can also cause anatomical obstruction, and this obstruction, combined with diminished muscle tone in the throat while you sleep, is a big factor in both snoring and sleep apnea.  
    • What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea? Someone with sleep apnea may gasp or choke while sleeping or have episodes of stopping breathing while asleep. During the day, apnea sufferers may experience sleepiness, headaches, fatigue, and behavioral changes.  
    • Is there anything that someone can do about snoring? To get a handle on your snoring, you might try losing weight and making some changes to your sleeping routine. Consider adding an extra pillow to keep your head propped up, and try not to sleep on your back. Don’t drink before bed, and on top of your allergies by taking allergy medication and maintaining a clean sleeping environment. This may help prevent congestion and obstruction that can cause snoring.  
    • If I think I have sleep apnea, what should I do? See your doctor as soon as possible. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues, increasing your risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and stroke. It can even affect your mental health, increasing anxiety, and depression.  
    • What will my doctor do to help with sleep apnea? Your doctor may suggest a CPAP machine to help keep your airway open, but there are also many other options available. Your dentist may be able to help, too, with solutions like a custom-made sleep appliance.  

    At Park 56 Dental Group, we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.  

  • What are wisdom teeth and should I get mine out?

    How much do you know about wisdom teeth? It might surprise you to know that pain related to wisdom teeth is one of the most common reasons people visit the dentist. The third set of molars to emerge from the gums, wisdom teeth can be problematic, causing pain, swelling, and infection even if your oral hygiene is good.  

    We all grow two sets of teeth over the course of our lifetimes, beginning with the baby teeth, which are gradually replaced with 32 permanent teeth. The last permanent teeth to appear in the mouth ae the wisdom teeth, which come in between the ages of 18 and 25. In days past, people erroneously assumed that wisdom also developed around that time, which is how they got the name. Wisdom teeth are the teeth furthest back in the mouth, and most people have four of them. Many people have fewer, maybe only one to three wisdom teeth and a lucky few have none at all.  

    Why do we grow wisdom teeth, if we don’need them? We probably used to need them, but with the evolution of our diet to food that doesn’t wear down the teeth as much, our other teeth have become larger. This means less room in the jaw and not enough space for wisdom teeth to erupt normally. As a result, they can become impacted, emerging at an abnormal angle. This causes pain, either by pressing on the second molar or by remaining partially erupted, which leads to a pocket in the gum where food can collect, causing infection and tooth decay.  

    If an infection is left untreated, it can spread into the face and neck, sometimes becoming lifethreatening. In some rare cases, tissue around the impacted wisdom teeth can develop cysts or tumors. Because impacted wisdom teeth never become fully functional, the best way to prevent them from becoming a problem is to remove them, usually through oral surgery.  

    Not everyone should have their wisdom teeth removed; if they grow in normally, there’s no reason to do it. Around the time that wisdom teeth normally emerge, your dentist will x-ray your mouth to check on yours. He or she will then be able to recommend removal, if needed, and determine the best time to perform the surgery, for minimal risk.  

    At Park 56 Dental Group, we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.  

     

  • How Sports Drinks Could Be Ruining Your Teeth

    Do you rely on sports drinks to keep you hydrated when you’re working out or playing sports? Sports drinks are helpful if you’re working out in extreme heat, for an extended period of time, or when you’re working out after you haven’t eaten for a while. Because of the electrolytes and carbohydrates in sports drinks, they’re very useful in replacing nutrients and providing energy in extreme situations. However, there’s research to indicate that regular consumption of sports drinks can be hazardous to your dental health.  

    A recent study of elite and professional athletes revealed that many of them have substantial dental problems, regardless of good dental hygiene. This study, published in the British Dental Journal, looked at 352 athletes, with 256 of those athletes on track to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Competing across different types of sports, including swimming, cycling, soccer, rowing, hockey, sailing, and athletics, the participants had an average age of 25 years old. Out of the 352, 344 completed a questionnaire regarding their dental hygiene, sugar consumption, whether they smoked or chewed gum, and when they last saw the dentist. Pertinent findings included: 

    • Most of the athletes brushed their teeth twice a day and saw their dentists regularly.  
    • 80 percent of the athletes consumed sports drinks while training or competing. 
    • 58 percent used energy bars, and 70 percent took gels.  

    The risk of dental problems seemed to be heightened by the changes in the makeup of the athletes saliva during and after intense exercise. Sports drinks, energy bars, and gels are marketed without guidance about oral health. While the researchers acknowledged that their findings were limited, especially because they had to rely on the participants’ honesty about their habits, they still concluded that these products have a negative impact on dental health. The sugar the products contain increases the risk of tooth decay, and the acidity of the products increases the risk of erosion. During the dental check-ups of the athletes, the researchers noted high levels of tooth decay and acid erosion.  

    What does this mean for the general population? Because dental problems are common, the CDC recommends fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water, thorough brushing and flossing, and regular dentist visits, abstention from smoking and limited alcohol consumptionWe would add that it also might be best to stick with water during most exercise periods, rather than hydrating with sports drinks that may damage your teeth.  

    At Park 56 Dental Group, we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.  

  • Dentists Give Their Tips for Getting Their Own Kids to Brush Their Teeth

    You eagerly await the arrival of your children’s first teeth and cheer every little pearly white as it emerges. By the time they’re old enough to take care of their dental hygiene on their own, however, getting them to properly do it can be like, well, pulling teeth. How can you get your kids to brush their teeth? Here, we offer some tips from dentists who have mastered the art of getting their own kids to brush 

    • Make brushing a family affair. Establish a routine in which everyone brushes their teeth twice a day, for at least 2 minutes each time. From the time they’re little, let your kids see you brushing because children love to imitate their parents. During tooth brushing time, you can demonstrate good techniques and how much toothpaste to use.  
    • Get a good look. When the kids are small, stand behind them and get them to look up at you. That way, you can look down into their mouths and see all of their teeth when you help them brush.  
    • Don’t stop reminding them just because they’re older. As long as they’re home, ask them if they’ve brushed their teeth, and talk to them about good dental hygiene and healthy eating. When they leave home, send them care packages that include new toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss.  
    • Give it a sniff. If you suspect your small child hasn’t brushed, ask to smell his or her breath for the scent of toothpaste. When your child is a teenager, teach this trick: sniff the floss. Teens are breath-conscious, so teaching them to floss their teeth and then smell the floss is a good way to help them gauge whether their breath is socially acceptable.  
    • Never give up on the routine. Those two minutes spent brushing are extremely important, so establish the routine and stick to it. If you need to set a timer or play music for two minutes to get your kids into the groove, do what it takes, and keep on doing it until it’s firmly established as a habit. For many kids, being able to brush their teeth themselves is a big accomplishment, so play up that angle and praise your kids for a job well done when you catch them practicing good dental hygiene.  

    At Park 56 Dental Group, we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.  

  • The Main Reason People Stop Flossing and What You Can Do About It

    Do you know how important it is to floss? You probably know that regular flossing is important to your oral hygiene, but do you actually do it? According to a recent survey, 31 percent of respondents admit to starting and then stopping flossing. Why do people stop, when they know it’s a good thing to do? Time seems to be the primary factor in the failure to floss.  

    Is this “no time” argument a reasonable excuse? Out of the people surveyed, only 13 percent floss their teeth after every meal, and for 36 percent of those flossers, this was not a daily habit. 64 percent of people who quit flossing didn’t report problems with their flossing routines, so issues encountered during flossing are unlikely to be the reason for quitting. Of those who did report problems, gum damage was the primary reason, at 33 percent. Lesser problems included teeth damage, ineffective cleaning, infections, and dental work problems. Few survey respondents, only 14 percent, believed flossing to be ineffective.  

    This survey was conducted by DentaVox, the survey arm of Dentacoin, which is a global organization. Other studies have also found that time considerations impact their flossing habits. In one survey from the United States, for instance, 55 percent of respondents reported that flossing is too time-consuming for them to do it regularly. 

    Ultimately, even though the excuse is a common one, it doesn’t hold water. Flossing is important to your dental health, and if you don’t make time for flossing, you’re opening yourself up to gum disease, tooth decay, and possibly expensive dental treatments. Isn’t that enough incentive to find the time?  

    How can people work flossing into their schedules more easilyStart by committing to flossing just once a day. You can work it into your morning or evening routine, but you can also do it just about anywhere. Any time you’re sitting, whether you’re at your desk or watching television, you can use single-use floss holders easily and effectively. If you tend to forget to floss, you might also consider keeping these floss holders beside your toothbrush, so that your memory will be jogged while you’re brushing your teeth.  

    At Park 56 Dental Group, we provide personalized, quality dental care in a spa-like environment. We offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.  

  • How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?

    There haven’t always been guidelines for how often you should visit the dentist. As recently as 50 years ago, many dental professionals focused on restoring smiles rather than keeping them healthy in the first place. 

    Then, dental and health organizations began to rally around the idea of setting standards for preventative dentistry. It is upon these standards—and the continuing evolution of dental care and advice—that dentists operate today. 

    Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months 

    The general rule of thumb is to visit the dentist every six months. This timeframe allows your teeth to benefit from frequent professional cleanings that can prevent gum disease and cavities. 

    With no evidence to work from, early dental and health organizations made their “best guess” when they recommended that people see the dentist twice a year. The advice ended up being spot on! Some of the first publicized references to this recommendation were found in early Pepsodent ads, such as this one from 1931, which advises customers to “use Pepsodent twice a day—see your dentist twice a year.” 

    Even if you take great care of your teeth at home—by brushing every morning and night, and never forgetting to floss each day—you still need to see a dentist regularly. First of all, those tartar stains that form on your teeth can only be removed with professional dental tools.  

    Plus, there’s always the possibility of developing cavitiesgum disease, or oral cancer, which don’t exhibit symptoms in their early stages. Frequent visits to the dentist give you a chance to uncover these problems and reverse them while they’re still in a manageable stage. 

    Consider Oral Hygiene, Eating Habits & Medical Conditions 

    While seeing the dentist every six months is a good recommendation for most people, it doesn’t apply to everyone. For instance, some individuals with a spotless dental record, flawless oral hygiene, and a healthy diet have a low risk for oral health problems. They may do just fine seeing the dentist only once a year. 

    Other people have a higher-than-average risk for cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. We recommend that the following groups visit the dentist more frequently: 

    • Smokers 
    • People prone to cavities or plaque buildup 
    • Periodontal disease patients  
    • Pregnant women 
    • Diabetics 
    • People with bacterial infections or weak immune systems 
    • People dealing with illness or high stress 

    These individuals may need to visit the dentist every three or four months for a short time, for several years, or throughout their entire life. More frequent dentist visits help to fight off infections, treat changes in the mouth, and prevent certain situations or lifestyle choices from causing more severe health problems. 

    Park 56 Dental is ready to serve as your dentist in NYC! At your next appointment, be sure to ask for advice about what dental cleaning schedule you should follow. For answers to your remaining questions, or to schedule a visit, please contact us at (212) 826-2322 today. 

  • Caring for Your Braces

    If you have invested in braces to straighten your teeth, it’s clear that having a healthy, beautiful smile is important to you. The trouble is that traditional braces make dental hygiene a bit trickier than usual. To help ensure your teeth don’t succumb to cavities while you’re straightening your smile, follow these tips to care for your braces. 

    Brush with Care 

    Food particles and plaque tend to accumulate under and around the brackets and wires of your braces. With the following brushing techniques, you can sweep away debris to help keep your mouth clean and cavity-free: 

    • Remove elastics, bands, and any other removable parts of your braces. 
    • Clean around the wires and brackets with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Start by holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle from the gum line. Then, tilt the bristles as needed to sweep away even the most stubborn particles. 
    • Brush for two minutes twice a day. Aim to spend 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth. 
    • Rinse with tap water, and examine your teeth and braces in the mirror. Check for any lingering food particles that require a little more attention. 
    • If you don’t feel like your manual toothbrush is doing a thorough enough job, consider investing in an electric toothbrush. Look for one with a round head and V-shaped bristles designed for use with braces. 

    Remember to Floss 

    Flossing once a day is important for everyone, including people with braces. Unfortunately, the wires make it difficult to floss between your teeth along the gum line. 

    One solution is to use a floss threader. This makes it easier to feed the floss under each wire. We also recommend using waxed floss, which is less likely to get caught and shredded up in your braces. You can also use self-threading floss, which features a stiffened tip that speeds up the process of flossing with braces or permanent retainers. 

    No matter which method you use, thread the floss carefully under the main wire of your braces before passing it through your teeth. Be careful not to snap the floss—simply move it up and down slowly against each side of the tooth. Then, remove the floss and re-thread it through the next wire. Repeat this process until you have flossed between all your teeth. 

    Schedule Follow-Up Appointments 

    Visit your orthodontist for routine checkups and adjustments to your braces. This is what allows your teeth to continue shifting into the ideal position. Also, keep up with regular cleanings and oral exams with your regular dentist to keep your mouth healthy and catch cavities early. You may also receive more useful tips for brushing and flossing with braces. 

    Traditional braces aren’t right for everyone. If you’re interested in finding out what Invisalign has to offer, please contact Park 56 Dental in NYC at (212) 826-2322. We’ll help you get the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted without metal braces! 

  • What You Need to Know About Getting Dentures

    Dentists work hard to save their patients’ natural teeth whenever possible. However, if yours are severely damaged or decayed, tooth extractions may be necessary. This is the first step toward restoring the appearance of your smile and making it easier to speak and eat. The next step is to choose a tooth replacement option.  

    Dentures are a popular choice, especially if you’ve lost all your teeth. Dentures are removable appliances that make your teeth look healthy and function naturally. You can smile, talk, and chew with confidence while wearing properly fitted dentures. 

    If you’re considering different tooth replacement options, here’s everything you need to know about getting dentures. 

    Types of Dentures 

    The most common choice is a conventional denture, which is fully removable and made to replace all your teeth. To prepare for conventional dentures, you will need to have any remaining teeth removed and allow your gums to heal before being fitted, which may take a few months. 

    Because of the delay in making conventional dentures, you may have the option of inserting immediate dentures the same day your teeth are extracted. This way, you aren’t left without teeth during the healing period. 

    If possible, your dentist will preserve some of your natural teeth to provide stability for your dentures while reducing the deterioration of your jawbone. In this situation, your dentist may recommend overdentures, which are complete or partial dentures that sit on top of or attach to your remaining natural teeth. The added support makes overdentures less likely to become unstable or require refitting. 

    Wearing Dentures 

    For the first few weeks, wearing new dentures may feel awkward. You might experience minor irritation or soreness along with increased saliva flow. These problems should dissipate as you become accustomed to wearing your dentures. If any problems persist, tell your dentist at a follow-up appointment so the necessary adjustments can be made. 

    Caring for Your Dentures 

    Good oral care continues to be important, even if your teeth have been replaced with dentures. Here’s what to do: 

    • Remove your dentures and rinse them with water to dislodge loose food particles. 
    • Gently brush all surfaces of the dentures with a soft bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive cleanser. 
    • Store your dentures in a cup of water when you’re not wearing them to prevent warping. 
    • Brush your gums, cheeks, tongue, and the roof of your mouth every morning before putting your dentures in to stimulate circulation and remove plaque. Brushing also reduces the risk of oral irritation and bad breath. 
    • You may choose to apply adhesive to improve the stability of your dentures. Use a product your dentist recommends, and follow the directions carefully for the best results. 

    Dentures are just one of several options for replacing missing teeth. If you have a gap in your smile, visit Park 56 Dental in NYC today. We’ll discuss whether dentures are right for you and explain any alternatives you’re interested in. Give us a call at (212) 826-2322 to get started!