Why You Need a Little Help Cleaning Your Teeth

clean and pretty smileToday’s toothbrushes feature ergonomic designs for hard-to-reach places and motors that do the manual work for you. Toothpaste contains ingredients like fluoride and baking soda that provide an extra kick to your hygiene routine’s cleaning abilities. Yet, the most advanced hygiene tools on the market are no substitute for the professional maintenance and care that you receive at your regularly scheduled dental checkup and cleaning. The idea to skip your dental exam can be tempting, especially when you strictly adhere to your dental hygiene routine and your teeth are bright and clean. Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explains why you should reign in that temptation for the good of your oral health.

A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning

Brushing and flossing your teeth is like dusting and sweeping your house; doing it every day helps prevent the excessive buildup of plaque on and between your teeth to keep your mouth clean and tidy. Instead of dust mites, however, dental plaque is made of hundreds of different kinds of oral bacteria that can threaten the sanctity of your oral health. If you miss a spot, you can risk more than a dirty corner; after 48 hours, plaque hardens into tartar, which is too stubborn for a toothbrush to remove (even a motorized one). (more…)

How to Not Stress a Dental Emergency

tooth emergencyProtecting your smile from infection and disease is fairly straight-forward; brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day to help control plaque buildup, and maintain a healthy diet to limit feeding the bacteria within dental plaque. Topped off with a regular schedule of dental checkups and cleanings (at least once every six months or sooner), these tenets can help keep your smile healthy and bright. Protecting your teeth from structural damage, however, is not as simple, considering dental trauma can often signal an emergency situation. Luckily, your smile isn’t helpless against damage; with a little preparation, quick action, and the help of your Astoria dentist, you can increase your chances of saving your smile in a dental emergency.

When Your Tooth Hurts                                     

Not all dental emergencies are the same, but regardless of the situation, your participation can help determine the outcome. If an injury is the source of your emergency, then your tooth’s trouble is likely no mystery. However, if your tooth aches suddenly, finding out why is a priority. If no damage is visible, carefully floss around the tooth to remove any potentially lodged debris. Call our office and schedule a visit with Dr. Leibowitz if the discomfort continues. In the meantime, an ice pack or cold compress can help relieve aching and reduce swelling. (more…)

Does Tooth Enamel Have an Achilles’ Heel?

strong toothYou’ve probably heard of tooth enamel before, but do you know what it is? As your teeth’s first and foremost defense against infection and decay, understanding enamel can help you better protect it from damage and the bacterial processes that erode it, thereby protecting your tooth from decay and possible annihilation. Although enamel is amazingly strong and resilient (it is the hardest substance that your body produces), it is still vulnerable. Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, takes a close look at enamel to uncover its impressive construction and its vital weakness that you can help protect.

The Strongest Substance Your Body Produces

Tooth enamel is not only the strongest substance that your body produces; it is also one of the strongest known substances on earth, second only to diamonds. The secret to enamel’s strength lies in its structure, which is comprised almost entirely of minerals, such as calcium and phosphate. This mineral composition contributes to the confusion that teeth are the same substance as bone, which also contains these minerals. However, the proteins that help shape your enamel, known as amelogenins, sculpt these minerals differently than those of your bones, forming strands that are thousands of times longer and stronger. (more…)

Is There a Connection Between Obesity and Gum Disease?

overweight stomachIf you consider obesity and gum disease, you might naturally assume that the eating habits that contribute to one could lead to or exacerbate the other. You would be correct, but research suggests there may be an even more profound link between being overweight and developing gum disease. As part of our dedication to your oral and overall health, Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explores this connection and what it may mean for your risk of developing damaging dental diseases.

What is Gum Disease?

While gum disease does not directly attack your tooth’s structure, it remains the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America and is typically a result of poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth is essential for controlling the bacterial buildup known as plaque. When this sticky biofilm accumulates along your gum line, some of the germs can manipulate your immune system, causing excessive inflammation in your gum tissue and paving the way for the onset of gum disease. Once it takes a hold, the disease works to destroy your gums and jawbone, deteriorating the supporting structures of your teeth. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Discusses TMJ Disorder

woman with a hurting jawDo you live with constant aches and pains in your head, face, neck, ears, or other craniofacial regions? Many people endure such discomfort for years without finding the correct diagnosis and treatment, often relying on prescribed and/or over-the-counter pain relievers. In many cases, the trouble originates with a dental issue, and therefore is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explains the condition known as TMJ disorder and how it can affect more than your teeth and gums.

A Troublesome Jaw

You are probably aware that keeping your mouth healthy by brushing and flossing every day is essential to maintaining its proper function. However, your mouth requires more than teeth and gums to operate. For instance, the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull, called the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), also allow for your jaw’s diverse range of movements. Whether from excessive pressure, a misaligned bite, or a traumatic injury, these joints and the muscles that surround them can become damaged or improperly balanced. The resulting discomfort can manifest itself in more than your jaws, often leading to severe and frequent headaches, earaches, and facial pain. (more…)

How the Germs in Your Mouth Can Fool Your Body

older woman thinkingAt first glance, the tiny microbes that live in your mouth may not seem like much of a concern. After all, they naturally reside in your mouth, and as long as you brush and floss your teeth, they should remain controlled. Even the most diligent oral hygiene routine, however, is subject to human error, and one minimal mistake can allow harmful oral bacteria the chance to wreak havoc with your dental health. To exacerbate matters, a growing body of scientific research suggests that the same mechanisms responsible for jeopardizing your oral health may also be partly responsible for other chronic systemic illnesses, including various heart diseases. When your soft oral tissues are diseased, bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body, potentially harming other tissues with their destructive behaviors. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, examines two oral bacteria suspected in the oral-systemic connection and how they can fool your body into harming itself.

The Manipulative Gum Disease Germ

When the bacteria in your mouth multiply and congregate, they form a sticky biofilm called plaque that adheres to your teeth and gums. Among these microbes is Porphyromonas gingivalis, a key contributor to the development of gum disease. The germ manipulates your immune system to survive, interfering with its inflammatory response to invading microbes. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Gives You One More Reason to Smile

beautiful woman relaxed smileRecently, we discussed the social significance of your smile and the importance of keeping it healthy and beautiful. A smile that you’re proud of is one that you will show often, and you can benefit more from the subtle nuances of its expressions. Aside from enhancing your communication skills, though, your smile can also provide one important benefit to your dental and overall health. Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explains how your smile can help you significantly lower your stress levels.

The Threat of Stress

You are likely aware that excessive stress can place your health at great risk. This is because your body’s stress response, commonly referred to as the fight-or-flight response, is like being on high alert. The phenomenon is a defense mechanism meant to protect you from harm, but in today’s hectic society, common everyday stresses can make you feel like you are always under attack. After a while, your mind and body can begin to wear down, and all aspects of your health can feel the effects, including your dental health. (more…)

Dentistry for Heart Health Patients in Astoria

elderly smiling coupleAt our Astoria dentist’s office, your oral health care is centered on you as a patient, rather than just on your teeth and gums. While keeping your mouth clean is always important, certain considerations must be taken into account when receiving professional dental care. For instance, you heart health, which is more related to your dental health than many people realize, can influence the care you can and should receive to correct your dental issues. Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, discusses some of the things you should know as a heart health patient undergoing dental treatment.

Special Considerations at the Dentist’s Office

A plethora of oral-systemic health studies suggest that the state of your oral health can affect your risk of endocarditis, an often life-threatening infection of the heart that occurs when bacteria in your bloodstream cling to damaged heart tissues. If you are undergoing dental treatment, there is a greater chance of the bacteria from your mouth entering your bloodstream and complicating your heart condition. Antibiotics may be necessary before your procedure, so be sure to inform Dr. Leibowitz of all existing conditions and current medications during your initial visit. (more…)

The Food Preservative that May Slow Tumor Growth

thumbs up smile (2)Many diverse cultures once believed that dental troubles, such as cavities and gum disease, were caused by a worm burrowing into your tooth. If a tooth hurt, it was attributed to the movement of the worm inside of it. That belief continued even into the 20th century, but since no one had ever found such a worm, they were unable to cure their dental woes. Luckily, we now understand a great deal about the afflictions that trouble our mouths, and can therefore investigate more successful methods of treating and defeating dental illnesses. In some cases, however, we find that the answers to some dental troubles may have been under our noses all along. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, discusses the results of one study that suggests a common food preservative, called nisin, may have the power to slow or even stop tumor growth that can lead to oral cancer.

The Dental and Health Benefits of Nisin

Nisin possesses antibacterial properties that make it effective against harmful microorganisms by altering their cells’ functions. However, experts have recently begun to examine if this same ability can be harnessed and used against other harmful cell types, specifically those of cancerous tumors. (more…)

Astoria Dentist on the Science Behind Dental Implants

man smilingIf you or someone you know has lost teeth, then you may be familiar with the importance of replacing those teeth to restore proper mouth function. With such a variety of options for replacing lost teeth, however, how do you know which is the right choice for you? Your dentist can answer that after a thorough examination, but regardless of the option that best fits your situation, you may want to consider enhancing your dental prosthetic by anchoring it to one or more dental implants. As an experienced dentist in Astoria, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz understands that some patients may not feel as though their dentures or dental bridges provide the same stability as their natural teeth, and offers dental implants to address this common grievance.

Understanding Tooth Loss

To understand the importance of dental implant restorations, you must first understand the long-lasting effects of tooth loss. Filling the gaps in your smile can help return your confidence and prevent your remaining teeth from shifting to take up the slack. However, traditional dental restorations do not address the loss of a tooth’s root, which can have devastating effect on your smile’s foundation. (more…)