Vegetarians Need to Choose a Tooth-Healthy Diet

People are becoming vegetarians for many reasons. Personal health concerns like heart disease and cholesterol, social health issues like factory farming and disease, and environmental issues like global warming all give compelling reasons for people to give up meat.

But does giving up meat mean giving up on your oral health?

Nutritional Concerns

dreamstime_xs_11276330Many dentists, led by the Academy of General Dentists, have expressed concern that vegetarians may not be getting the nutrition they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Several nutrients vital to the health of your teeth and gums can be harder to get in a vegetarian diet, including vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium. The likelihood of deficiencies increases in vegans, who don’t consume any animal products.

Vegetarianism Improves Periodontal Health

The above concerns are primarily theoretical, but recent research has given some good news about vegetarianism and oral health–but also some bad.

A study that looked at the oral health of 100 vegetarians and 100 non-vegetarians in Germany found that the vegetarians had significantly better periodontal health with fewer signs of gum disease. They had shallower pocket depths, less bleeding on probing, less mobile teeth, and fewer missing teeth.

However, researchers found that vegetarians had worse dental health. They had more tooth decay and more eroded teeth. Researchers attributed the increased risk of decay to less visits to the dentist and less use of fluoride toothpaste, which sometimes contains animal products.

Maintaining Oral Health as a Vegetarian or Vegan

First, make sure you schedule your regular dental checkups and cleanings. This is crucial to everyone’s oral health.

Next, find a vegetarian fluoride toothpaste that you can use. This can take some time to find, but there are several options available.

Choose a diet that is healthy and full of calcium. Kale, collards, and other hearty greens can help you get the calcium you need. There are also many fortified products, including non-dairy milks and orange juice.

Be aware of which fruits and vegetables are acidic and can erode teeth. Rinse your teeth with water after consuming acidic foods.

If you snack regularly, as many vegetarians do, follow up a snack with water or by chewing sugar-free gum.

If you are looking for more tips on a healthy lifestyle for your teeth, please call 303-759-5622 for an appointment with a dentist in Centennial at Park Meadows Dental Care.

Do Dentists Influence Obesity Risk?

Yale researchers recently published data showing that the more dentists in a county, the lower the obesity rate. Their figures show a 1% drop in adult obesity rates for every additional dentist per 10,000 people in a county. But how can the mere presence of dentists lead to reduced obesity?

Correlation Is Not Causation

dreamstime_s_29651946The first thing to address before we get excited about this finding is that this study only shows a correlation, which is not the same thing as causation. In other words, just because two things seem to happen in the same time or place doesn’t mean there’s any kind of significant relationship between them. There are many correlations between things that have no relationship to one another whatsoever. Here’s a website that compiles crazy examples of spurious correlations.

And just because a correlation is rigorous, it doesn’t necessarily make it any more valid. To attempt to show that their correlation was rigorous, researchers in this study introduced corrections for many factors that are correlated with obesity, including:

  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Recreational facilities
  • Fast-food restaurants
  • Neighbor effect of adjacent counties

Although the correlation survived all those corrections, it’s still just a correlation. We can’t really talk about one thing causing another until we have a good mechanism that could link them. What could be the link between dentists and obesity?

How Dentists Could Reduce Obesity

There are many potential links between dentists and obesity, but we’ll just focus on two. One possibility relates to the way dentists help control gum disease, which is an inflammatory disease. By helping control inflammatory disease, they could reduce the impact of inflammatory disease on their patients, which could then in turn reduce obesity.

There’s a more straightforward way dentists could reduce obesity, too. People who go to the dentist more often are more likely to be told to avoid dietary sugar, especially soda, which is acidic and damages teeth, but also contains a very high number of calories. These people might eat less sugar, and, as a result, may be less obese.

So, it seems that there are a number of potential mechanisms, which makes it seem more plausible that dentists can help control obesity.

If you are looking for a dentist in Centennial or other areas of the southeast Denver Metro Area, please call 303-759-5652 for an appointment at Park Meadows Dental Care.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

If you are considering teeth whitening, you may wonder how long your results may last. The truth is that this depends on your teeth and your habits, but, in general, results can last six months, or longer, with proper maintenance.

Your Lifestyle Makes a Difference

dreamstime_s_35581712Teeth whitening is very effective at removing stains from your teeth, but it doesn’t fundamentally change the structure of your teeth, so all the same things that discolored your teeth in the first place will still lead to staining.

Try to quit smoking and cut down on coffee, tea, red wine, colas, and dark berries. All of these will reduce the length of time you enjoy your teeth whitening results. You can reduce staining by rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking staining foods.

Remember to brush twice daily to help reduce staining. Don’t overbrush, though, and be wary of teeth whitening toothpastes with abrasives. These can wear down your enamel, which will lead to yellowing of your teeth in time.

Keep Your Smile Bright

We offer free teeth whitening for life along with some of our dental procedures. This means that you have an at-home whitening kit that you can use to maintain your results. Whenever you start to notice the color of your teeth is dimming, you can use the trays to get your teeth back to their brightest shade.

If you use these trays properly, your teeth whitening can last forever.

Longer-Lasting and Better Whitening

On the other hand, some people don’t see the benefit they would like from teeth whitening. You may have one or more teeth that don’t get the color you want, or perhaps your teeth whiten unevenly. Maybe you don’t want to have the trouble of treating your teeth regularly to maintain their whiteness.

If you are looking for even better whitening results, porcelain veneers are the right choice for you. Porcelain veneers can whiten teeth that have staining deep inside that doesn’t respond to whitening.

Porcelain veneers also give much more long-lasting results. They can last ten years or more, with no additional whitening treatments, either from you or a dentist.

if you would like to learn more about your teeth whitening options, please call 303-759-5652 for an appointment with a Denver cosmetic dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care.

Take Gum Discomfort Seriously

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. It rarely comes on suddenly–it normally gives you plenty of warning, and when you see the warning signs, it’s time to see the dentist, because your gums, your teeth, and your overall health are in jeopardy.

Appearance of Your Gums

dreamstime_s_22994656Healthy gums are a light pink color. If they’re a red, nearly bloody color, you’re probably suffering from gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis will also make your gums swollen. Healthy gums slope evenly down to the point where they meet your teeth in an even, scalloped line. Swollen gums have a puffy appearance and normally have an uneven line on your gums.

Oral Hygiene Irritation

Brushing and flossing shouldn’t hurt. First make sure you’re brushing and flossing properly. Use a soft-bristled brush and only gentle pressure. Make small, controlled movements with the brush. For flossing, remember to ease the floss gently between the teeth, using back-and-forth motions to work it past the contact point of your teeth. If brushing and flossing still hurts, and especially if it causes bleeding, you’re experiencing gum disease.

Food-Related Discomfort

Eating also shouldn’t hurt your teeth or gums. Husks from popcorn kernels are notorious for their ability to slip between teeth and gums. Corn chips, potato chips, and other brittle snacks can form sharp points that poke your gums. Meat fibers and those from some types of fruits and vegetables can slip between teeth and cause gum irritation.  Occasional pain of this type isn’t necessarily a concern, but if it happens regularly or starts to happen more often, you should treat it as a warning sign.

What to Do about Gum Discomfort

When you experience gum discomfort, you should make an appointment with your dentist. You might be tempted to try to address this at home with a more strict oral hygiene routine. But this could make things worse. If your gums are already suffering, more brushing and the use of mouthwash could do more harm than good. After an evaluation of your gums, your dentist will tell you whether you need additional treatments or if increased home care is a good idea.

If you are concerned about the state of your gums in Centennial, Littleton, or other parts of the South Denver area, please call 303-759-5652 for an appointment at Park Meadows Dental Care.

Why Does Dentistry Cost So Much? Part 2

Once graduated, a dentist has a couple of options for going into private practice, they can start from scratch or purchase an established office from a retiring dentist. Both options are costly to the tune of $250,000-$750,000 depending on the area. Most have to make monthly payments on their office as well as student loans.

The cost of running a dental office is outrageously expensive. Monthly overhead for a practice is between 65%-80% after paying all the bills. Rent, debt service, payroll, taxes, insurance, materials, lab fees, office supplies, electronic filing and other monthly dues, malpractice insurance, association dues, marketing, phone lines and internet, continuing education, , technology, repairs and maintenance, etc…everything adds up to higher fees for the patient so that costs can be met.

Many patients assume they are “paying for their dentists new house” when in fact they are paying for their education, high costs of doing business and of course their expertise that they have worked hard for. The old saying “you get what you pay for” does apply here and patients should be aware of what kind of care they are getting. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Why does dentistry cost so much? Part 1

I’m going to do a series on my blog about the cost of dentistry and why it costs what it does. Dentistry is a professional service, not a trip to the grocery store. I cringe inside when patients say things like “well, I guess I’m paying for your new car”…I’m positive that the general public does not understand the costs involved to 1)get a dental education and 2)run a practice.

Let’s start with the cost of a dental education and what that entails. You are required to go 4 years of undergraduate at an accredited college or university. You have to take many difficult and time consuming courses that are heavily science based like organic chemistry and physics with their associated labs. I was not able to do much of anything outside of studying in college because I had to focus on getting a high GPA in very difficult courses to get into professional school. You are also required to take the DAT, Dental Admission Test, and score well on it to apply and have any chance of being accepted into Dental School. The cost of an undergraduate education is approximately $100,000 (and that’s for in state tuition) or more.
If and when you are accepted to Dental School, let’s use the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine as an example since this is the school I went to, the cost is approximately $56,000 per year for 4 years. If you do a residency program, which are on average 2 years, it’s an additional $30,000 per year for that.
So, to summarize, the cost of the education alone is approximately $320,000-$380,000 depending on what field you go into and where you attend school. Some schools cost more than that! Your debt load is HUGE coming out of school. I’m sure you can imagine the amount of money a dentist needs to make in order to service that debt alone, not counting the cost of buying or opening a practice from scratch…just food for thought:)

Affordable Dental Insurance

Unless you work for a large company, dental insurance is cost prohibitive and only covers a small amount each year. I have implemented an in house dental plan here at Park Meadows Dental Care. If you do not have dental insurance, you can pay a small enrollment fee and have access to lower costs making dental care less of a burden financially. For more information, give us a call at 303-759-5652.

Anyone can get on the plan, no pre existing condition clauses or nonsense to worry about. It is good for a year with the option to renew and can only be used here in our office. Since so many people are without dental insurance and in need of care, many people suffer and end up paying more later on because they put off needed work. Don’t be a statistic, be proactive in taking care of your oral health!

Dr. Berry

A Dentist That Cares

Kary BerryHi and welcome to my blog! I am the owner and sole dentist here at Park Meadows Dental Care. I have been practicing dentistry for 21 years. I have a lot of knowledge that I intend to share with you so follow me and check back here often! My office is located near Park Meadows Mall in south Denver and we are always welcoming new patients to our dental family. Please call us with any questions you have or if you are looking for a great dental team to help you through the maze of dental care.

There is a lot to consider and sometimes things can be confusing. If you are not comfortable at your dental office, with your dentist or dental hygienist, you should seek another provider. Dental care can be stressful and we do our best to make you feel at home and explain everything from dental procedures to dental insurance and everything in between. So, all the introductions have been made…what I really want to say is DON’T PROCRASTINATE on getting in to the dentist for a check up!

Regular visits are imperative to keeping time in the chair and costs to a minimum. It’s when you put off your dental care until something is bothering you that you end up spending more time and more money on your teeth and oral health. Finding issues when they are small is so much better than taking care of things when they become BIG PROBLEMS! Call us up today at 303-759-5652 and we will be more than happy to help you find an appointment time that works for you. I look forward to meeting you!

Dr. Berry

Will Porcelain Veneers Increase Your Chances of Getting Hired?

On a routine basis, people all over the world undergo various different types of cosmetic procedures to improve their looks. Often times these procedures promise to improve upon a problem area when the patient is unsatisfied with his/her looks. While the types of cosmetic procedures available today are almost innumerable, one highly popular procedure in the dental world is porcelain veneers.

Patients that opt to undergo cosmetic dentistry procedures such as porcelain veneers usually do so because they are not completely happy with how their smile looks. No matter if it’s due to discoloration, cracks, an uneven smile or missing teeth, cosmetic dentistry can be used to solve these problems. For some patients it’s one thing to be internally unhappy with your smile, but would you ever upgrade your smile to increase your chances of being hired?

While there are no definitive statistics showing that having a flawless smile will land you your dream job, studies have shown that more job seekers are undergoing procedures such as dental veneers in order to improve their smile in hopes of raising their chances of being hired. For some spending thousands of dollars for a better smile is well worth it, but in the end no matter if you have a perfect celebrity smile or one that is mediocre, there is no saying whether or not you are guaranteed to be hired.

Interested in porcelain veneers or some other cosmetic procedure to improve your smile? If so Dr. Berry is your go-to Denver dentist. After a few appointments you can leave our office with a flawless smile that you love to show off. Contact us today for more info or book your appointment.

How Much Do Porcelain Veneers Cost in Denver?

The price of porcelain veneers isn’t set city-wide and rarely do we find that two patients end up with the same total cost. The fact is that the price of porcelain veneers depends on a lot of different factors. For one, the number of porcelain veneers you require will determine a good portion of the total cost of the procedure. Porcelain dental veneers are usually priced per veneer so the more you need, the higher your cost will be. Any type of pre-procedure treatment you require such as teeth whitening will also raise the bill amount, as will oral sedation (should you choose to go that route).

While there is no saying how much your overall porcelain veneers procedure will cost without scheduling a consultation, history has shown that the number one reason patients often decide to skip having porcelain veneers is the cost of the procedure. Average costs range between $900-$1,500 per porcelain veneer, and some patients don’t have the means to pay such a hefty price all at once.

Since porcelain veneers are deemed to be a strictly cosmetic procedure by the dental insurance companies, it is rare that your insurance company will pay for it (or even a portion of it). This means that as a patient you are expected to pay the entire cost of the procedure. However, Dr. Berry likes to help any and every patient that walks through her office be able to afford the life-transforming cosmetic dentistry that they need.

If you’re interested in learning more about porcelain veneers and what the procedure would cost given the unique challenges of your smile, book an appointment now to speak with Dr. Berry. Contact us today!