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…)

What You Should Know About Tooth Decay and Root Canal Therapy

Did you know that over 90% of adults in America under the age of 60 have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth? Cavities are also the number one chronic disease among school-aged children in America. When caught early, tooth decay can typically be treated or reversed with minimal invasion. However, severe tooth decay typically requires a bit more effort to treat, if it can be saved at all. If the decay reaches the center of your tooth, called the pulp, then a root canal procedure may be necessary. Although root canal treatments have a bad reputation among certain people, they actually relieve the discomfort of your decayed tooth rather than cause more. To help clear the confusion about root canal therapy, Astoria dentist Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz explains the progression of tooth decay, and why a root canal treatment may actually help save your tooth.

The Formation of Tooth Decay

When you eat acidic foods or drink acidic beverages, that acid attacks and weakens your tooth enamel. When you eat or drink something sugary or loaded with carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth convert them into acid, which also attacks and weakens your teeth. Under this double acid attack, your teeth can soon fall victim to acid erosion and bacterial infection. (more…)

Spice Up Your Thanksgiving Meal and Help Your Teeth, All at Once!

Without herbs and spices to compliment our meals, eating would probably not be as enjoyable as many of us find it now. But did you know that some seasonings may do more than satisfy your taste buds? Certain herbs and spices are also beneficial to your health, including your oral health. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, herbs and spices will be used (and consumed) in abundance. To help you make the most of your feast this year, Astoria family dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, names a few spices with specific benefits to your oral health.

The Season(ings) for Healthy Mouths

  • Cinnamon—A crowd favorite, the smell and taste of cinnamon is often associated with the holiday season. It also contains antioxidants that help regulate things like blood sugar and cholesterol. Antioxidants are also known to help fight harmful bacteria and other free radicals that can damage soft tissue cells (like gum tissue). (more…)

Are You Prepared for a Dental Emergency?

By now, we hope that you know to brush your teeth every day, twice a day, and to floss at least once every day. The especially diligent will also regularly attend their dental checkups and cleanings every six months. These simple yet effective oral hygiene techniques are your best defense against destructive oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease, and can help keep your smile shining its brightest. However, when an emergency occurs, you may need more than good dental hygiene to save your tooth. To help prepare you for a dental emergency, your Astoria family dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explains proper emergency techniques.

Sudden Toothache

A tooth can ache for a number of reasons, but typically, none of those reasons are benign. If your tooth hurts, but there is no visible traumatic damage, try flossing to remove any food debris that may be lodged between them. If the discomfort continues, call our office immediately and arrange a consultation with Dr. Leibowitz. Apply a cold compress to your cheek, on the side with the aching tooth, to help relieve the pain and reduce swelling, if present. (more…)

Treat Your Teeth Right with Help from Astoria Dentist

As adults, most of us still relish the idea of gorging ourselves on sweets this season, but with age has come the knowledge of what leftover Halloween candy can mean for our health and our teeth. Luckily, you don’t have to completely miss out on reliving your childhood to protect your teeth. You can reduce your risk of developing tooth decay with these words of advice from Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, your Astoria family dentist.

Beware: Harmful Treats

Sugar is one of the main motivators behind the processes that cause tooth decay. When the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar, they excrete lactic acid over the surfaces of your teeth. These acids constantly attack and weaken your tooth enamel until it can no longer protect your teeth from bacterial infection. Candy corn, cookies, and cakes are all loaded with sugar and can increase your risk of developing cavities. Chewy snacks, like gummy bears and taffy, can wreak havoc by sticking to the surfaces of your teeth or lodging between teeth and continually feeding bacteria. Although the opposite of sweet, sour candies are also among the dentally dangerous treats to look out for. Sour candies tend to be acidic and can introduce acid to your teeth without the need of a bacterial middle man. (more…)