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Month: February 2018

The Influence Of Female Hormones On Oral Health

· Family Dentistry · Comments Off on The Influence Of Female Hormones On Oral Health

Female hormones have the ability to affect a woman’s health from monthly migraines and mood disturbances to acne and increased energy. Because of the moment-by-moment fluctuations in the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, together they can cause a myriad of health issues in women.

Have you ever noticed that your gums are increasingly more sensitive around your cycle? Or perhaps you’ve even scheduled with your local dentist around this time because you thought you had a cavity, only to mistake it and find that your hormones were the culprit of your oral panic!

Find out how hormones influence your oral health in each stage of life.

How your hormones can land you in your local dentist office

Hormones affect your oral health because these fluctuations can increase or decrease the blood supply to the gums, as well as how your body responds to toxins in correlation to plaque. Because hormones play such a wide and vast role in women’s health, they can directly leave women more susceptible to oral health issues such as periodontal disease.

How hormones influence oral health through the stages

Hormones may always affect a woman’s health but in terms of oral health, there are specific stages where hormones are the most abundant and active.

  • Puberty – Puberty presents a host of changes, but mainly a flood of sex hormones throughout the body. The fast influx of estrogen and progesterone affects a woman’s gums by increasing blood flow to the tissue leaving it tender, swollen, and somewhat red. Because of the increased inflammation to the gums, it may cause the gums to bleed more readily during brushing and flossing.
  • Pregnancy – Similar to puberty, during pregnancy hormones rapidly fluctuate. Pregnant women are prone to a condition called pregnancy gingivitis and as a result of increased progesterone can have increased plaque buildup. The condition causes swollen and bleeding gums, so getting a routine dental cleaning early in a pregnancy can help reduce the risk of getting it.
  • Menopause – As women age, they are at risk for many other health issues and often have to combat it with medication. The combination of medications and decreased hormones, can leave a woman with dry mouth, burning mouth, and increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures in food and beverages. With the decrease of estrogen during menopause this causes contributes to bone loss which can affect her oral health and make her more susceptible to periodontitis.

Other hormonal influences

Both a woman’s menstrual cycle and oral contraceptives factor into the state of her oral health. A woman can experience inflamed, bleeding, and red gums, canker sores, and swollen salivary glands during her monthly cycle, and can cause what’s referred to as “menstrual gingivitis” and clears after her period has started.

Birth control pills can also cause swollen gums when they are first started, but because they help balance hormones, they can help reduce the inflammatory response in gums.

Zen Smiles – your local dentist

Whatever stage of life you’re in, at Zen Smiles we want to help address any oral health issues you have related to fluctuating hormone levels! And, we’re always here for a routine dental cleaning!

Schedule with us today!

Can The Juicing Trend Sabotage Your Smile?

· Family Dentistry · Comments Off on Can The Juicing Trend Sabotage Your Smile?

If you take a stroll, or Uber, around Miami there is no shortage of night clubs, Cuban cuisine, and juice bars! While food trends come and go, the juice trend — not even being food — has seemingly stuck. Miami boasts some of the best juice bars including Miami Juice, Raw South Juice, The Juicery Bar, Jugofresh, and Juice And Java.

With all the varieties of juices that clever minds concoct, we can’t help but wonder how it affects oral health? Sure it’s brimming with beautiful phytochemicals and protective antioxidants to not only support your immune system and your skin, but what are the impacts long-term? Will the juicing trend send people running to their local dentist for a emergency teeth cleaning or teeth whitening treatment? Find out more about how the juicing trend may influence your oral health.

Juice Bars and Your Teeth

The juicing community may have you believing that if you’re not consuming a $10.00 green juice per day, your health is suffering. It is chock full of wonderful nutrients, but at the end of the day you may want to do a little more research into what’s going into the emerald green elixir!

Because of the nature of the actual vegetables that are being juiced and having a green and sometimes bitter taste, fruits and fruit purees are added to sweeten the deal and hook the drinker! Fruits contain a natural occurring sugar called fructose which gives them their delicious appeal, however it’s the sugar that can wreak havoc on your pearly whites. The harmful effects of sugar are often associated with soda and wine, but green juices fit alongside those other beverages. A standard green juice composed of apple, kale, celery, and lemon have an average of 42 grams of sugar per eight ounces. This is high, as the daily recommended amount of sugar is 25 grams. So, you’re getting almost twice the amount of recommended sugar in just one juice!

…But the sugar in juice is natural, it can’t be too harmful

The fructose is naturally occurring, but the bacteria in your mouth does not discriminate! When you consume juice, the sugar within it likes to stick around. The longer you go without brushing or rinsing your mouth with water, the longer the insidious little bugs have to do tooth decay damage. The bacteria will consume the sugar that’s been left behind and digest it and turn it into acid. The acid, overtime, breaks down and demineralizes the tooth enamel causing tooth decay including cavities.

Can I still enjoy the juice bar every once in a while?

Green juices aren’t all bad, and they have a lot of positive benefits. It’s when the juice is left to coat your teeth when it because an adverse situation. Here are a couple of tips to combat the sugar:

Rinse your mouth with water after the juice, or sip it along with the juice.
Brush your teeth afterwards.
Drink the juice all in one sitting instead of throughout the day constantly exposing your teeth to sugar.

If you do brush, wait at least a half hour before you do so. The acids weaken the enamel and if you you it immediatly after a juice it’s like brushing the acid further into your teeth — it can cause more damage.

Green juice is a wonderful and delicious option but it’s always good to know what is going into your juices including how much sugar, and to take preventative measures accordingly.

Zen Smiles

At Zen Smiles, we would love to chat more about how to make the most of green juices and your oral health! As always, come see us for a teeth cleaning twice a year and brush twice a day and floss at least once for optimum dental health.


Schedule an appointment today!

All About Bad Breath

· Family Dentistry · Comments Off on All About Bad Breath

Face-to-face conversation — it’s not as prevalent as it once was. There was once a time when goods and services couldn’t be ordered through a click of a button and delivered minutes later to your doorstep. As we are further removed from social interactions, the less chances we have at finding out we have bad breath! Have you ever had a coworker, as friendly as they are, lean in for conversation only to have the worst coffee breath? Or, perhaps you’ve been standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you turns to make conversation, and you slowly back up a couple of inches because their breath is terrible. These social cues are being missed because face-to-face conversation is disappearing, leaving people with bad breath unaware that they have it! As long as bad breath sufferers are seeing their local dentist twice a year, this may be the only social interaction that saves them from a life of halitosis (bad breath).

What your local dentist says about bad breath

Bad breath isn’t a simple cut and dry answer, as it can be caused by a myriad of things. Causes of bad breath include the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene – Poor dental health habits combined with the absence of local dentist visits, creates the perfect sanctuary for bad bacteria to camp out in your mouth, causing bad breath. This is why your local dentist makes the firm case for brushing and flossing twice a day — not only does it remove food debris that can cause bad breath, but it prevents a whole host of dental health issues.
  • Tooth decay – Cavities are linked with poor oral hygiene habits and breakdown the enamel due to an overabundance of acid from bacteria. With tooth decay you may also suffer from inflamed gums and infection adding to an ecosystem that’s already thriving on bad bacteria.
  • Dry mouth – Saliva is the beautiful fluid that washes away plaque, bacteria, and food debris, keeping your mouth healthy. When there is an absence of saliva, your mouth doesn’t have the ability to shed and dispose of the unwanted particles leaving bad breath in its wake.
  • Medical conditions – A host of medical conditions can cause bad breath including people who suffer from eating disorders and chronic dieters. People who are in kidney failure will have a foul, fishy odor or breath that is reminiscent of urine or ammonia. Prolonged vomiting or someone with an obstructed bowel, has breath smelling of feces. Chronic sinus and lung issues may also leave a person with prolonged bad breath. Because bad breath can often be a symptom of something more sinister, it is crucial to see your local dentist regularly for a check-up and teeth cleaning.

How to alleviate bad breath

The most important piece of treating bad breath is finding the root cause of it. If you have chronic coffee breath, it can be as simple as drinking water alongside your coffee or rising your mouth when you’re finished drinking it. If you love garlic and onions, yet they cause bad breath, you may just have to accept that you’ll smell like them! For temporary relief, chewing gum, mints, and breath spray are very helpful is masking foul smells.

Proper oral hygiene will also work wonders in addressing bad breath — and this includes brushing and flossing twice a day and scheduling routine teeth cleaning visits with your local dentist. Changing your diet will also improve your breath. If you currently consume a highly processed diet full of abundantly sugary and starchy foods, this creates more bacteria and acid, causing bad breath. Make adjustments by limiting your sugar consumption and add colorful vegetables into your diet.

If you suffer from chronic bad breath and take the above measures, it would be important to have a conversation with your dentist and seek out medical advice. Again, bad breath can be a symptom of more serious health conditions and poor oral health has been linked to an increase in diabetes and heart disease.

Zen Smiles – your local dentist

At Zen Smiles, you don’t have to suffer or be embarrassed about your bad breath. We’re here to not only give you regular teeth cleanings that help it, but to help you address your bad breath and find the root cause through face-to-face conversations!

Schedule an appointment today!