The Practice of Dr. Michael Koumas

Is Charcoal Teeth Whitening Safe?

is charcoal teeth whitening safe? activated charcoal

Activated Charcoal has some miraculous medicinal properties, unfortunately, one of them is not teeth whitening, and it can actually do more harm than good. Activated charcoal has become a trendy ingredient because of its miraculous ability to absorb dirt and remove stains, despite its deep black color. Though activated charcoal is often used to purify water, treat food poisoning and even clean your pores, dentists do not recommend using it to whiten your teeth.

More Harm Than Good

Above all, using activated charcoal as a teeth-whitening method is discouraged by dentists because of its abrasive texture. Dentists have been cautioning patients that using activated charcoal for oral care can indeed have the opposite effect on teeth, contrary to what patients have read online or in magazines. It is believed that the charcoal particles can actually wear away and erode tooth enamel, which is crucial to protect your teeth. Keep in mind that once enamel is removed, it is almost impossible to get back.

There have been no studies conducted that support the belief that activated charcoal is safe for teeth whitening, and in fact, many dentists have proscribed patients from using it, citing its abrasiveness. Though some believe they have seen positive results from using activated charcoal, in reality, they are wearing their enamel away. Weaker and thinner teeth with eroded enamel are more prone to stains, making them look yellower in the long run.

Lack of Research

Teeth will become more sensitive and prone to breakage and decay once the enamel has worn away, another negative effect of using activated charcoal to whiten teeth. To warn consumers on the dangers of using activated charcoal to whiten teeth, the American Dental Association released an article speaking on the lack of clinical research and lab data to support any claims about the efficacy of activated charcoal to whiten teeth.

Teeth Whitening – The Right Way

The correct way to go about teeth whitening is to consult your dentist. They will be able to recommend a safe, effective method to have those pearly whites shining and ready to show off in no time. In-office whitening procedures, and even certain whitening toothpastes are safe and effective ways to go about teeth whitening. Be cognizant that there are many over the counter bleaching agents which claim to whiten teeth but can actually damage gums and teeth.

If you would like to discuss safe teeth whitening, contact local dentist Dr. Michael Koumas in Newburgh, NY.

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Myths About Teeth Whitening

Myths about teeth whitening.

Everyone wants to have a whiter smile, but making the decision to pursue whitening treatment can be tough. Myths and stereotypes can lead to negative connotations, inhibiting you from moving forward with treatment. Below are three misconceptions about teeth whitening:

Teeth whitening treatments at my doctor’s office are no more effective than those purchased at drugstores.
On the contrary, the maximum strength bleach that our dentists provide delivers the best and fastest teeth whitening results. Another factor that makes dentist-provided whitening kits most effective is the fact that the trays are customized to fit each individual patient perfectly which keeps the gel in closer, more precise contact with your teeth. Don’t waste your time at the drugstore when you can get a brighter, whiter smile from us in record time!

Tooth whitening harms enamel.
Despite this negative misconception, teeth whitening does not actually harm the enamel of a tooth. Bleaching works by opening the pores of a tooth. This allows for the peroxide to enter the inner structure of the tooth and remove stains. The pores will close again over time, leaving the enamel unharmed.

You can never drink coffee or wine again after whitening.
While patients are told to stay away from heavy staining and acidic foods, such as red wine and coffee, it’s not forever! Dentists recommend this just for the first few days after treatment because the pores in your teeth remain open and the chemical reaction takes place over the course of a few days.

Whitening treatments can be intimidating, especially if you are not properly informed. It’s important to know the facts when making decisions about your teeth. If you have any questions about teeth whitening, contact our office today at Newburgh Office Phone Number 845-562-1108

Tips for an A+ Smile

A healthy school lunch will not only give your child the energy they need throughout their school day, it will keep their teeth healthy too! Below are some examples of healthy foods that will keep your kid smiling all day long!

PB&J’s! While a popular choice, often times sugary jellies and nut butters are not great for kid’s teeth. Try switching to a natural peanut butter, and a preserve or fruit jam (aim for 5grams or sugar or less per serving). Use whole wheat bread as a healthy alternative too!

Cheese Please! Cheese is high in calcium which is probably one of the most important nutrients for your teeth. It is absorbed by tooth enamel and help block bacteria growth. Without calcium, your kid’s teeth could be in big trouble! Cheese also has protein, which is not only important for the growth and development of children, it also keeps their muscles strong and healthy making for a stronger smile.

Snack-Attack! Apples are great to munch on, they are high in water which help to dilute the sugars they contain. When you are chewing, the saliva production helps protect against tooth decay, pairing this with a low sugar nut butter makes an excellent snack! Edamame beans are also a great option, they are rich in calcium and are fun to eat too! Just make sure to get a salt free version to avoid too much sodium.

We want water! Although it seems simple, water is MUST. Often times we give our kids way to much juice and not enough water, and studies have shown that juice is just as bad for you as soda! Kids should be drinking 5-10 glasses of water each day, so encourage them to hydrate by sending them to school with a reusable water bottle they can keep filling up.

If you have any questions about what types of smile friendly foods your child should be eating, feel free to call our office today!

What Can Good Oral Health Prevent?

What can good oral health prevent.

When it comes to your teeth, practicing good oral hygiene should be at the top of your list. We only have one set of fully grown adult teeth that we use in every aspect of our lives. When we see family, friends and even strangers, one-third of the time our teeth are the first thing they notice. Having a well taken care of smile can make the difference in your social life. Aside from your teeth’s appearance, between meals and snacking, our teeth are constantly working for us. So, what are you doing to improve your teeth? Good oral health can prevent several undesirable dental traits and problems.

Making sure to brush your teeth for at least two minutes, scrape your tongue, floss daily and gargle with mouthwash twice daily can prevent bad breath caused from plaque and food build-up. Gum disease can be prevented by regularly flossing around the gums and teeth to loosen build-up and plaque that irritate the gums and cause cavities. Don’t let neglecting to maintain these oral health habits keep you from becoming a social butterfly.

Cavities are a pain. The toothache that comes from biting into a sugary treat can be enough to jumpstart your new oral health habits. In caring for your teeth, you can dramatically reduce the number of cavities that develop from the acid and bacteria left from foods, especially sweet ones.

Keeping your oral health in check may also inhibit costly dental procedures from accumulating. A cavity that is left untreated can quickly turn into a tooth in dire need of a root canal, and developing gum disease may require gum laser therapy or tooth extraction. Most certainly, teeth that are well taken care of will have less plaque build-up that causes bad breath, cavities and gum disease, and better oral health could potentially prevent overwhelming dental expenses in the future.

Want to know more about what good oral health can do for you? Give us a call to find out, and schedule your checkup today! Newburgh Office Phone Number 845-562-1108

National Ice Cream Month: Fun Facts About Your Favorite Summer Treat!

Fun ice cream facts.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Flashback to when you were a child on a hot summer day, when all of the sudden you hear that magical jingle that captivated all of our hearts; the ice cream truck! In the year 1984, President Ronald Reagan decided that from then on out, the Month of July would be recognized as National Ice Cream Month! Because really, what’s better than a big, cold, scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day? That was a trick question—there is nothing better. Whether it’s vanilla, chocolate, mint chip, or pistachio, there’s a flavor for everyone. Ice cream has that ability to brighten anybody’s day and for that, we’re eternally grateful. With that being said, let’s celebrate this month by highlighting some of the most fun facts about ICE CREAM!

#1: The best way to eat ice cream? In a waffle cone of course! However, it wasn’t until 1904 when an American ice cream vendor at World’s Fair in Missouri ran out of cups due to the high demand of guests, so he quickly rushed on over to a local waffle vendor and asked him to roll up his waffles so that they could hold the ice cream. The rest is history!

#2: Do us a favor really quick. Open your Freezer. Is there at least one form of ice cream in there? There should be! In fact, approximately 98% of all U.S families have ice cream in their homes at ALL TIMES! So, if your freezer is lacking, run to your local grocery store and pick up a pint so you’re not the odd one out!

#3: Brain freezes…. Ice cream’s arch nemesis. A brain freezes is a short-lasting sensation, normally lasting for about ten seconds, that often occurs when you eat or drink cold items in a short amount of time. The most tried and true way to get rid of a brain freeze? Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and wait it out!

#4: Did you know one that one of the biggest ingredients in ice cream is AIR? That’s right, air. Air is added cream to make the consistency lighter, while also improving the texture. It’s often said that the amount of air added to the batch will determine the overall quality (the more air, the cheaper the quality).

#5: Throwback to the year 1665, when the first documented ice cream recipe was handwritten in a recipe book. The ingredients? Orange flower water, mace, and ambergris, also known as whale barf. Let’s just say we sure are grateful for how far the flavors have evolved….

This month, we want you to enjoy all that ice cream has to offer. We challenge you to try a new flavor that may be out of your comfort zone; who knows…maybe it’ll be your new favorite. Give us a call at Newburgh Office Phone Number 845-562-1108 if you have any questions or concerns regarding your oral health!

Make A Difference on the Scale and Your Mouth

Make a difference

One of the biggest topics that people buzz about is losing a few pounds and making healthier decisions when it comes to food. But did you know that making those changes could not only make a difference on the scale but also in your mouth?

Here are 3 food tips that bring benefits to your body and your mouth.

  1. Meal Planning: When you’re meal planning, you are taking the time to choose healthier options. You won’t be wondering what your next meal will be and you won’t be choosing fattier, sugary foods. Keep in mind when you are planning to always have a protein, vegetable and grain. You will find yourself eating a fully balanced and healthy meal and saving money by not eating out.
  2. H20 on the Go: you might have chosen the soda over water, but lately, flavored water is the trendy choice. You can buy flavored water or create your own. Cut up some fruits like lemons and strawberries, add those to your water and let it sit overnight. The next day you can grab this flavor-packed water and not feel bad while drinking it. Not only are you staying hydrated, but you aren’t consuming all the sugar that comes in one can on soda.
  3. Snacking Smart: We all love to snack, but you may find that during your snacking time, you tend to choose unhealthy options. Surround yourself with healthy snacks that you won’t feel guilty about eating after and snacks that you will enjoy. Cut up some veggies on the weekend and create snack packs that are easy to grab on the go. Hard-boil some eggs, cheese sticks, individual yogurts, a variety of nuts, the list could go on. Mix and match and make different snack packs. If you are surrounding yourself with better choices, then you will be more likely to eat them!

These three tips might not seem like a big difference, but in the end you will notice that you look and feel healthier. Not only will your body thank you, but so will your mouth. If you have more questions about what foods are good for your body and your mouth, contact our office at845-562-1108.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait For Your Dental Implant

The sooner, the better.

You need a dental implant, but you are reluctant to get started. We understand that there is some hesitation and life gets in the way. However, here are a list of reasons as to why you shouldn’t wait.

  1. Stop your remaining teeth from moving. Your teeth help keep everything in place. When you are missing a tooth, and have a gap, your teeth will start to shift to fill in that gap. That could cause not only uneven teeth, but teeth that are harder to clean and, in the end, that cost you more to fix.
  2. Save Your Jawbone. When you are missing a tooth, your jawbone slowly starts to deteriorate and shrink away. The roots of your teeth keep the jawbone stimulated to maintain the bone mass. The longer you are missing the tooth, the more the bone will disintegrate, making the implant process more difficult.
  3. The appearance of your face. Living without a tooth can eventually change how you look, especially if you suffer from bone deterioration. The longer you go, your skin could begin to make your cheeks sag, which will make you look older than you are.
  4. The way you speak. When you are missing a tooth, it could make it hard to annunciate words, making you sound like you have a lisp.
  5. Your overall self-esteem. Getting a dental implant will allow you to feel like your normal self. You won’t have to worry about how you look or how you sound. The implant looks and feels like a normal tooth. No one will know that you have an implant unless you tell them.

These are just a few reasons as to why you should wait to get your dental implant. If you are experiencing any hesitations or have further questions, contact our office. We are happy to ease your mind and get you on track to a beautiful smile.845-562-1108

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What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer

What are you waiting for

One of the most important jobs we have is to examine, monitor, and diagnose oral cancer in our patients. Every year, nearly 52,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. More than 8,000 of those people will die. This is why it is crucial to get routine oral exams and keep a close eye on the state of your mouth.

To make sure that you stay educated and healthy, here is a list of the most important facts you should know about oral cancer:

  • 90% of oral cancers begin in the surface area of the mouth, tongue, and lips. We highly recommend performing regular self-exams, which your dentist can review with you!
  • Cancer found on the tongue, gums, lips, throat, or back of mouth is considered oral cancer.
  • Largest risk factors: Tobacco and alcohol use are two of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer.
  • Other risk factors: Pre-cancerous oral lesion, excessive UV/sun exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV), certain drugs and genetic syndromes.
  • If you are experiencing these common oral cancer symptoms, call our office: Sores that don’t heal, lumps inside the mouth, white or red patches on soft tissues in the mouth, bleeding, pain when swallowing or chewing, numbness, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, lumps in neck, hoarseness, and more.
  • To diagnose oral cancer, we will examine the mouth and neck, inquire about your exposure to risk factors, and possibly order biopsies and imaging of the head (CT, MRI, etc).
  • Pain is not typically present with early stage oral cancer, so it is crucial to get routine oral checks!

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment!845-562-1108

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