Saturday, December 21, 2013

Benefits of chewing gum on teeth

In season with the approaching holidays, I would like to elaborate a little more on the oral benefits of chewing sugar-free gum.  Sugar-free gum can actually play a helpful in one's proper oral care routine.

Tooth decay is a prevalent and leading chronic disease among children, and among adults in certain geographic and socioeconomic areas.  Hence its importance that dentists and dental hygienists realize the impact of teeth decay, and how to promote oral health education and how to help protect one's teeth from dental caries.

Family Bellevue Dentist Sugar Free Gum
Orbit Sugar Free Gum
One such method to lessen the risk of tooth decay is by chewing sugar-free gum.  In chewing the gum, it promotes and stimulates salivary flow (ie. increased saliva production from the Submandibular gland and the Parotid gland).  Saliva production is increased up to ten times the normal rate; this helps protect teeth by washing food debris away from the teeth, and also neutralize the acids found in food/drinks by raising the pH levels.   Saliva also protects the mucosal lines of the oral cavity by promoting sufficient hydration and thus helps prevent desiccation (drying).

A good time to chew sugar free gum are between the times one brushes during their teeth in the morning and at night. This could be as much as a 12-15 hour gap where one's teeth is more susceptible to tooth decay.

Examples of sugar free gum include Orbit and Trident.

If you have any questions on the role of sugar free gum in one's diet, be sure to consult with your Bellevue family dentist or hygienist.  Happy holidays!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Peter Chien
(425) 614-1600

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Foods and Treats, dental eats?

Holiday treats, oral health, from Bellevue Family Dentist
Holiday Treats and Oral Health, a Dentist perspective

Now that the holidays are upon us, there are likely plenty of foods and drinks that tempt our appetite.
Have you wondered which how these tasty treats affect our oral health?

Let's take a look at a few foods and drinks, and how they affect your teeth and gums:

The good ones:
Sparkling Water - Water is great for your body and teeth and gums alike. It hydrates your body and teeth alike, and also helps wash away plaque and bacteria away from your teeth.  As long as the sparkling water does not contain sugar (if it contains flavors, that's okay), Dr. Chien and your dental hygienist at Bellevue Family Dentistry in Bellevue, WA recommends you drink away!
Chewing Gum (sugar free) - Chewing gum promotes salivary flow, which helps remove bacteria and plaque off the teeth's enamel.  Studies have shown that chewing gum is correlated with lower risk of dental decay and cavities.
Sugar free and pure cocoa - Coca has been to have a power positive affect one's cardiovascular health, and it has also shown be cariostatic (halts development of dental decay).  Try mixing cocoa with hot water and a splash of sweet and low for a delicious sugar free drink that is good for your teeth!

The not so good:
Milk - Though milk is good for the development of strong teeth and bones due to its high calcium and Vitamin D content, milk contains lactose, a type of sugar.  Infants and toddlers should be kept from drinking milk at night during bed time to prevent baby bottle decay.  Otherwise drink milk during the day and be sure to brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
Candy cane - This popular candy is made 100% from sugar and sugar products. It really adheres to the teeth's enamel and promotes plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Cookies and cake - Often loaded with sugars and unhealthy fats, it can be unhealthy for the body and teeth, increasing the risk of cavities.  Try to find sugar free and low fat cookies and cake when possible.
Coffee - People sometimes have a tendency to load their coffee with sugars and high fat milk sweeteners.  Plus coffee can promote extrinsic tooth stains that may be difficult to remove, even during a dental cleaning.
Regardless of times though, be sure to always brush and floss your teeth daily to help prevent cavities and gum disease.

If you have any questions about how some of the above foods and drinks can affect your teeth during these holiday times, your family dentist in Bellevue is here to address your concerns. 

Warm Regards,
Dr. Peter Chien
(425) 614-1600

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Dental handpieces

Dentist Bellevue dental handpiece
You may be wondering what type of equipment your dentist uses when he/she works on your tooth.  The "drill" is actually called a hand piece, and there are two types of "drills" or dental handpieces your dentist typically uses, the high speed and the low speed.

The high speed handpiece is controlled by a sensitive amount of air pressure placed on the foot control.  The maximum speed of the high speed handpiece is 350,000 rpm and requires 32 psi of air.

The high speed is typically used for:
  •  Initial cavity removal and preparation
  •  Preparation of a tooth for a crown.  
  •  It also used sometimes during a surgical preparation for a tooth during a surgical extraction.
The low speed handpiece is used for other operations, and has a speed range of 0 to 8,000 rpm and requires 40 pis of air.  The actual speed is also controlled by pressure on the foot control.  Unlike the high speed, the low speed handpiece can change direction of rotation (forward and reverse).  Such uses of the low speed include:
  • Cavity refinement/removal
  • Removal of decay
  • Finishing and polishing of an amalgam and resin restoration
  • Drilling pins and posts to assist in retention of a large filling
  • Prophylaxis (dental cleaning)
  • Laboratory grinding, finishing, and polishing
If you have any questions on the dental handpiece, be sure to ask your family or cosmetic dentist.

From your dentist in Bellevue,
Dr. Peter Chien
(425) 614-1600