What Else Can Your Smile Do For You?

smilesSmiling is a universal symbol of content and holds a host of benefits for your physical and emotional health. That alone should be reason to ensure that you have enough confidence in your smile to show it often, but a slew of research shows that your smile provides an important, although more subtle, benefit to your social life. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explores a few discreet advantages that your smile may hold.

Lighten the Mood

Although clichéd, smiling actually is contagious. Numerous studies have shown that when you smile, those around you can pick up on your positive demeanor and smile with you, even if they weren’t before. By spreading the joy of smiling to the environment around you, you can help lower your stress level and reduce your risk of stress-related illnesses. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Presents: The Cavity Quiz

cavity quizCavities, which are small holes that form in your tooth as decay eats away its structure, are often recognized for the discomfort that usually accompanies their presence. As children, many of us were told not to eat candy or other sweets because too much sugar causes cavities. The truth, however, is that even a small amount of sugar, as well as other fermentable carbohydrates, can lead to cavities without the proper care and preventive measures. The more you know about cavities and their true source, the better prepared you will be to protect your teeth from the destructive disease, so to assess your cavity–fighting readiness, Astoria dentist Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz presents the following cavity quiz.

Cavity Questions

Sugar’s true threat to your teeth is that it feeds oral bacteria. What threatening substance is the result of certain oral bacteria metabolizing sugar and carbs? (more…)

What Causes Gum Disease?

woman thinkingIf you brush and floss your teeth every day, and yet still develop gum disease, you may be inclined to wonder how these issues form in the first place. After all, the point of daily dental hygiene is to prevent these issues from arising, isn’t it? The answer is yes, but even the most diligent hygiene routine can let a few details slip past your attention. Considering the fact that over 80% of adults under age 60 have gum disease to some extent, this seems to happen quite often. To help you understand how gum disease can sometimes slip past the cracks in your dental defense, Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz explores how the disease begins in the first place.

An Irritating Presence

Like tooth decay, gum disease becomes a threat when oral bacteria gather and form dental plaque that sticks to your teeth and gums. Each of the over-600 different germs serves a purpose, many of which are harmless or essential to maintaining your mouth’s ecological balance. Others, however, can have devastating effects on your oral health, such as setting the stage for gum disease. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Discusses the Forgotten Dental Nutrient

holding magnesiumIn our last article, we discussed how maintaining a healthy and active body can be vital to your teeth and gums. Before that, we discussed some of the nutrients (calcium and vitamin D) that are essential for maintaining your mouth’s health. For instance, calcium is needed to help keep your jawbone healthy and strong enough to support all of your teeth. The mineral also helps increase your chances of cavity prevention, but it is not the only mineral that your mouth needs. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explores the forgotten nutrient of dental health—magnesium—and why it is needed for your body and mouth to continue functioning.

Your Body’s Dependence on Magnesium

Although not as often discussed as calcium or vitamin D, magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. Your bones contain about 50% of your body’s magnesium supply. The rest is shared between your body’s tissues and organ cells, with one percent travelling throughout your blood. Magnesium is critical for over 300 essential biochemical reactions, and the mineral is needed to maintain muscle and nerve function, steady your heart rhythm, and maintain a healthy immune system.      (more…)

Did You Know that Exercise is Good for You?

shutterstock_86502877Chances are, you already do, but did you know that regular physical activity can also benefit your dental health? It’s no secret that eating healthy can reduce your chance of forming cavities. After all, excessive sugars and carbs are major contributors to the development of tooth decay, and a healthy diet concentrates on regulating the nutrients you ingest. Studies also show that exercising on a regular basis can also reduce your risk of developing gum disease, which can wreak havoc with your dental health once it sets in. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explains the connection between keeping your body healthy and your mouth strong.

All About Control

Gum disease begins with oral bacteria, which form plaque and adhere to your teeth and gums. When plaque accumulates on your gum line, the germs release toxins that irritate your gum tissue and incite your immune system’s inflammatory response to harmful invaders. The inflammation continues throughout your gums, destroying the tissue that connects them to your teeth. When you exercise regularly, your body has a stronger control on your immune system and its ability to maintain order. One study, which examined the exercise routines and dental health of 2,500 people, suggests that participants who exercised at least three times per week were 33% less likely to develop gum disease compared to subjects who did not exercise at all. (more…)

Why Your Body Needs a Clean Mouth

clean mouthLast week, we discussed the importance of maintaining healthy nutrition levels for the good of your mouth. However, the need for fuel is not the only similarity between your mouth’s health and your body’s wellbeing. An influx of research has shown that poor oral health may be significantly linked to many serious illnesses, including lung disease, heart disease, and many others. As a testament to the importance of keeping your mouth clean, Astoria dentist Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz explains how oral disease develops and why its origins may affect the rest of your body, as well.

How do Oral Diseases Develop?

Most people have been taught since an early age to brush and floss your teeth if you want a clean mouth. The main goal of daily dental hygiene is to control the accumulation of dental plaque, which contains hundreds of different kinds of bacteria that can devastate your oral health if allowed to run amok. For instance, Streptococcus mutans is known to convert sugar and carbs into lactic acid, which destroys your tooth enamel to make way for bacteria to initiate tooth decay. The more germs accumulate, the more acid they can produce, and if not controlled, your teeth can soon become overwhelmed. Another microbe, called Porphyromonas gingivalis, has been singled out as a significant perpetrator of gum disease. The germ incites your immune system’s inflammatory response, causing your gums to swell and separate from your teeth. (more…)

What Constitutes Good Dental Nutrition?

good dental nutritionYour body is a complicated machine, and like any good machine, it requires a constant supply of fuel to operate properly. Different areas of your body require a diverse array of nutrients to accomplish various tasks, including your mouth. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day, coupled with regularly scheduled dental checkups, keeps your mouth clean, but what can you feed your mouth to keep it strong and healthy? To help you take better care of your dental health through your diet, Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz explains two important nutrients and how they serve your teeth and gums.

Calcium’s Double-Benefit

Calcium is perhaps best known for its importance in maintaining strong and healthy bones. Many people may believe that calcium benefits dental health because your teeth are also bone. This assumption is incorrect, but close to the truth. Your jaw, which actually is bone, needs calcium to remain strong enough to support your teeth, whose roots are embedded in your jawbone. Your teeth, however, utilize calcium in a slightly different manner. The enamel that surrounds and protects your teeth is made almost entirely of minerals, mainly calcium and phosphate. The precursor to tooth decay is acid erosion, which weakens your tooth enamel. When affected by acid erosion, enamel would be able to utilize your tooth’s mineral reserves to recover; however, acid also saps these minerals from your teeth. Drinking milk, eating cheese, or consuming other calcium-rich food and beverages will help maintain the levels of the mineral, strengthening your enamel, and decreasing your chances of getting tooth decay. (more…)

Pop Quiz! What’s in Your Mouth?

woman with questioning lookYour tongue, teeth, gums, taste buds, and saliva are the obvious tenants of your oral cavity, and hopefully you know the importance of keeping it all clean with a good oral hygiene routine. Yet, like all things in this vast and wonderful world of ours, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the inside of your mouth. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, tests your knowledge of the inhabitants that you can’t see milling about the inside of your mouth.

Meet the Germs!

How many different bacteria are in your mouth?

Experts have identified over 600 different kinds of bacteria in the human mouth. As you read this, those microbes equal upwards of 10-15 billion individual germs. (more…)

Is Your Headache a Mystery? Maybe it’s TMJ Disorder

The science of dentistry began with the care of teeth. As centuries marched on and our understanding of human anatomy and medicine grew, it became apparent that oral health involves much more than removing infected teeth. Today, dentistry involves the health of your entire mouth, including the structures that support your teeth and allow your jaws to move. For instance, if you have frequent severe headaches that seemingly have no cause, or sore muscles in your jaw and/or face with no explanation, then you may want to ask your dentist about them. These and other symptoms can indicate distress in the joints and muscles that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz has extensive experience treating patients with TMJ disorder, and as a general dentist in Astoria, he can help relieve your jaw pain, as well. To help determine if your discomfort is likely caused by TMJ, take a moment to answer our TMJ quiz questions below.

The TMJ Quiz

Have you recently incurred an injury to your mouth, face, or jaws?

TMJ disorder describes the discomfort associated with damaged or distressed jaw joints. If you’ve recently incurred trauma to your mouth or the area around your jaw joints and muscles, there is a likely chance that your discomfort is caused by damaged TMJs. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Explains What Makes a Mouth Kissable

‘Tis the season of many things for many people. Among those things is the excitement of ringing in the New Year, traditionally with a kiss from the love of your life. This year, you probably want the moment to be memorable for the right reasons. To help ensure your New Year’s kiss is a good memory, Astoria cosmetic dentist Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz explains what makes a mouth kissable.

A Stain-Free Smile

A quick check in the mirror and a toothpick can help you avoid showcasing remnants of your last meal stuck between your teeth. Other remnants from meals past, however, may not be so easily dealt with. Your smile is often one of the first and most-often noticed aspects of your face, and hopefully you’ll be smiling in abundance this season. Making sure your smile is composed of stain-free teeth is important to making it kissable. (more…)