Marc Liechtung provides valuable insight into oral health

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Oral health is often the window to your overall health. And some of your daily activities or habits can affect oral health. Therefore, it's wise to pay attention to your teeth and gums. Marc Liechtung, DDS, inventor of the Snap-on Smile™ and principal in New York-based Manhattan Dental Arts, a practice that specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, provides this valuable insight into oral health.

  1. Millions of Americans can crack a walnut with their teeth. While most adults exert about 20 to 40 pounds of pressure when their teeth make contact, millions of Americans exert as much as 250 pounds of pressure on their teeth—enough to crack a walnut. These teeth grinders are known as bruxers.
  2. Kissing can cause cavities. If you kiss someone who has bad bacteria in his/her mouth, their saliva could pass the bacteria on to you, thereby causing cavities. On the other hand, others believe that kissing may actually prevent cavities since saliva is the body's natural way of cleaning the mouth.
  3. Antidepressants may cause tooth enamel defects.  Their common side effect is dry mouth which can be helped by increasing your water intake.
  4. Pregnancy can cause gum disease.  Gum disease has been linked to premature birth.
  5. Bulimia and acid reflux can destroy tooth enamel. Enamel erosion is a major sign of bulimia.
  6. Soda and citrus drink overuse can be caustic to tooth enamel.  Phosphoric acid in soda and citric acid in citrus drinks can cause tooth enamel corrosion and the sugar can cause cavities.
  7. Most people don't know they have bad breath.  Test your breath by scraping your tongue with floss or a tongue scraper and giving it a sniff. If your mouth is clean, you won't have a telltale smell.
  8. Eighty percent of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease.
  9. One in four adults age 60 and older has lost all of his/her teeth.
  10. Swimming in overly chlorinated pools can wear away the enamel in frequent swimmers. 

Dr. Liechtung emphasizes that treatment for these oral healthcare problems can range from simple cosmetic services such as teeth-whitening to extensive full-mouth reconstruction. But remember that an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.

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