New York City cosmetic dentist Debra Glassman, DMD, is well known for her sparkling smile as well as the signature feminine touch she provides to the smiles of her patients—many of whom are women. Of late, Glassman has joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of ProNamel Toothpaste, to draw attention to the deleterious effects that acid erosion can have on a smile and the surprising foods that can contribute to acid erosion.
She answered some questions about the new campaign, the latest and greatest in cosmetic dentistry, and what a healthy smile really looks like for Beauty in the Bag.
Here’s what she had to say:
Why does our oral health matter so much?
Taking care of your teeth is essential for so many reasons. By routinely flossing, brushing and using mouth rinse, you can decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers. Also, it’s especially important for pregnant women to take care of their teeth, because not doing so can lead to low birth weight in babies and even miscarriages.
What does a healthy beautiful smile look like?
While I see beautiful smiles every day, a healthy one results from regular brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist. I recommend flossing before brushing, so any leftover food particles can be cleared away in the rinsing process. It’s also a good idea to use a soft-bristled tooth brush and change out your tooth brush every three months; six months for electric tooth brushes.
What are some of the newest trends in cosmetic dentistry?
We’re seeing lots of of pre-filled whitening trays which are very user-friendly and especially great for travelers. These trays whiten teeth eight to 10 shades whiter through half hour-a-day usage over a 10-day period. Invisalign is also an invisible way to straighten teeth, and because of the trays and excellent technology, we can now speed the process up by 40-50 percent, making it quicker and more comfortable for patients.
We also have the ability to do crowns and bridges without using any metal and instead using all white, very strong materials. These substances look like natural teeth and make it easier for dentists to see future decay and diseases at a very early stage.
Do any of the over-the-counter products (whitening strips, for example) make a difference?
OTC products work if they’re the proper choice for the patient. For example, whitening strips work well on small teeth, because they cover the entire tooth and crevices between teeth. Strips are not good for larger teeth, because they can’t cover the whole area for whitening. Those with larger teeth should instead use gels so that all of their teeth are covered and the whitening will be even. As always, make sure to follow product directions properly. I also personally recommend using ProNamel toothpaste, which is specially formulated to strengthen tooth enamel and can help reduce your risk for acid erosion. It’s also the #1 dentist-recommended brand for protection against the effects of acid erosion.
What does acid erosion do to a smile?
Acid erosion is a condition where your tooth enamel can become weakened and softened, which can then be more easily brushed away over time. While only a dental healthcare professional can assess tooth enamel appropriately, the five signs of acid erosion that you should be on the lookout for include tooth enamel that is weakened, thinning, transparent/see through, yellowing, or dull. And what’s surprising is that everyday foods and drinks, even healthier choices like oranges, apples, and other citrus fruits that are high in acid, yet common in today’s modern diet, can increase your risk for acid erosion.
Fortunately, you don’t have to make any dramatic changes to your lifestyle or diet to reduce your risk for acid erosion. Ther are five simple, proven steps that everyone can take to help reduce their risk for acid erosion.
What are these steps?
1. Don’t give up healthy food in your diet, particularly fruit, but do take a fresh look at how you eat it.
2. Don’t swish, swirl, or hold acidic foods in your mouth for too long.
3. Many drinks, especially carbonated ones, can contribute to acid erosion. Try drinking through a straw or substituting the soft drinks with water or milk.
4. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking and make sure you’re using a soft-bristled tooth brush.
5. Consider using a fluoride toothpaste, like ProNamel, along with a fluoride mouthwash, to help protect your teeth from the effects of everyday acidic foods and drinks
How can you tell if you consume too many acid-rich foods in your diet?
All Americans should know their own Acid Truth—they should consider how many acid-rich foods they are consuming per day and how they can best take action to reduce their risk. That’s why I encourage everybody to visit www.pronamel.us to take a 4-question quiz to determine their own Acid Truth.