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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Is Chewing Gum Bad for Your Teeth?

woman blowing bubble gumYou may have heard that chewing gum is bad for your teeth, but the act itself is not harmful. In fact, chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth, depending on the ingredients it contains. It is important to monitor the ingredients in your gum and the length of time your teeth are exposed to certain harmful ingredients. Namely, sugar.

When you chew gum that contains sugar, the sugar is dissolved in the saliva and is absorbed by bacteria in plaque. Once a bacterial cell absorbs the sugar, the bacterial cell is supplied with the energy it needs to multiply. If the bacteria isn’t removed with brushing, bacteria will fester, which can result in gum disease and tooth decay.

On the flip side, chewing gum that contains xylitol has the exact opposite effect. Xylitol is a sweetener that is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It has 40 percent fewer calories than sucrose (another name for sugar) and can be consumed safely by diabetics. Xylitol is also easily absorbed by a cell of bacteria, but once it is absorbed, the cell will try to expel it. Because its energy is used to expel the xylitol and not to reproduce, a bacterial cell that has come in contact with xylitol is less able to stick to the teeth, and it eventually dies.

What about other sugarless sweeteners?

Xylitol has a completely different chemistry than other sugarless alternatives, such as aspartame (NutraSweet®), sucralose (Splenda®), and saccharin. Sugarless sweeteners like these are too large to penetrate the bacterial cell. While they do not increase bacteria like sugar does, they don’t kill bacteria like xylitol does. What’s more, these artificial sweeteners can have negative effects on the health. They can falsely stimulate the appetite, thereby increasing fat storage and leading to weight gain. Aspartame has been linked to various diseases, including diabetes, depression, auto-immune disorders, and several types of cancer.

Xylitol gum creates a healthy environment in the mouth. After 5 weeks of chewing xylitol gum, plaque bacteria can no longer be found on teeth, and after about 6 months, bacteria is not detectable in saliva, on the tongue, or on the teeth. One of the best brands of xylitol gum is Spry™, which contains no sugars, artificial flavors, artificial colorings, or artificial preservatives. XyloBurst® is another brand of sugar-free gum that is sweetened exclusively with 100% all-natural xylitol.

If you are interested in the general and cosmetic dental services offered by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please contact our Beverly Hills office by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.

The Beauty of Porcelain Veneers

woman with beautiful smileThere are many different dental procedures to whiten, straighten, and otherwise improve a person’s smile, but there is only one procedure that will treat almost all aesthetic problems: porcelain veneers. Whether your teeth are discolored, stained, chipped, broken, gapped, or crooked, porcelain veneers will correct your concern.

Discolored and Stained Teeth

Although porcelain veneers are not often solely used for superficial concerns, such as discoloration and stains, they can whiten the smile if desired. Patients usually have a more prominent issue to correct and choose to have the veneers customized for teeth whitening in addition to closing their gaps or camouflaging a broken tooth. Since veneers are often placed on the front six or eight “smiling” teeth, they can make the smile look naturally whiter without the need to whiten the surrounding teeth. If the patient is only getting a few veneers placed and they would also like a brighter smile overall, Dr. Sands will recommend teeth whitening prior to placing the veneers.

Chipped and Broken Teeth

Since veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that fit over the front of the tooth, they can disguise virtually any imperfection. A single veneer is a great option to disguise a chip or crack in the tooth. Dental bonding is an alternative to fixing chipped teeth, but bonding can stain over time and will likely need to be replaced after several years. Porcelain veneers are very strong, durable, and resistant to staining. They can last up to two decades without the need for repair or replacement.

Crooked and Gapped Teeth

Invisalign and braces may straighten crooked teeth, but they cannot change the shape or length of the teeth like porcelain veneers can. Patients with “gummy” smiles can have their teeth instantly lengthened to provide a more balanced appearance to the smile. Teeth that are sharp and pointed are also instantly corrected for an even more beautiful result. The shape of each veneer is customized so that they can fit the natural tooth, closing any gaps and camouflaging any other imperfections.

Porcelain veneers are truly an all-encompassing solution for those who desire a complete smile makeover or for those who have more than one concern about the appearance of their smile. If you are interested in this procedure, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin B. Sands by calling (310) 273-0111. You may also conveniently fill out our online contact form for more information.

Tel: (310) 273-0111

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Contact Dr. Sands

Request an appointment for a complimentary consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands, or feel free to call our Los Angeles (north of Orange County) office at (310) 273-0111 for more information.