The Strawberry and Basil Martini

21 02 2013

strawberry and basil martini

I am having dinner at Ristorante Settepani in Harlem observing people sitting at the table nearby enjoying their food, laughing, discussing, talking and just having a good time.  To me, the mouth is one of the most important parts of the body that we so often take for granted until it has a problem.  So, instead of just keeping all of this information to myself, let me share some of the insights I have with over 20 years as a dentist.

While sipping a very delicious strawberry and basil martini, I felt the cool pieces of strawberries on my tongue and the small strawberry seeds that when you bite down you feel them between your teeth.  It is fascinating to me just how sensitive the nerve endings in the mouth can on the one hand allow you to bit into a large hard apple, yet still be able to detect the very miniscule small strawberry.  Not to mention that our mouth is critical to bite, chew, and grind food down into small particles to enable proper digestion.

I observe a very intense discussion with a group at a table, where a lot of loud talking and laughing ensue.  Suffice it to say that I cannot hear the details of the conversation, but, what I note is how the lips, teeth and tongue come together in distinct ways to create different sounds.   In order to create the sounds “th” , “s”, “m”, … every letter in the alphabet and all of words that we speak,  it is critical that we use our mouths.  Have you ever spoken to someone who has no teeth, or wears ill fitting dentures?  They cannot speak properly or enunciate their words.

Finally, the laughter!  We take so for granted a beautiful smile.  But each and every one of us first made the connection with our significant relationship from the first look, that smile.  Even if you date online, you must show upload a picture if you want to get any response.  It is quite tragic to see people who place their hand in front of their mouths, or keep their mouth almost shut, for fear and embarrassment when they have missing teeth, or teeth that are broken down.

I will admit, I love to eat!  My passion is Dental Health.  I see little children from the first tooth that comes into their mouth, to older patients, who are trying to hold onto their last teeth, and the whole spectrum in between.   I would like to prop up the status of the MOUTH and give it the respect it is due.  I know that there is strong correlation between oral health and general health.  As our community sees increases in diseases such as diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, etc. the mouth, and oral cavity play such an important part.  As a New Yorker and foodie, I am confessing my oral fixations and hope to provide some positive “food for thought” about the mouth, the oral cavity, healthy food choices and healthy habits and try to live a little bit healthier.

A “Food Network”  Recipe for the Strawberry and Basil Martini

Ingredients
7 basil leaves with stems
1-ounce strawberry puree
1 cup ice cubes
2 1/2 ounces soju (Korean vodka)
1/2-ounce lime juice
1/2-ounce sweet and sour mix
1/2-ounce strawberry syrup
Directions

In a 16-ounce cocktail shaker, add the basil leaves and the strawberry puree. Muddle until the basil leaves are broken into pieces. Add the ice cubes, then add the soju, lime juice, sweet and sour mix and strawberry syrup. Shake vigorously. Strain the drink into a 7-ounce chilled martini glass and serve cold.

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





A Funny Thing Happened in the Subway

20 02 2013

false teeth

One of my patients had me laughing hysterically when she told me the story of a man she observed in the subway this week.  She said he seemed partially asleep as she was on the 2 train in the evening, however,  he woke up to sneeze.  As he was sneezing his denture projected out of his mouth and he caught it in midair in his hands.  He was so embarrassed, that he place his head down, held the denture in his hands for the next two stops, then when the subway doors closed again, he popped it back in his mouth, and proceeded to open a bag of potato chips and started eating them.  Well, envisioning the situation, it just seemed hilarious as she described the situation, however, it must have been very embarrassing for the poor gentleman.

We really take our teeth for granted, until we lose them.  I see patients everyday who come into my office, and, it’s been a very long time since their last dental visit.  When they come to see me, they are in pain.  It really sometimes takes some convincing to get them to save the teeth, instead of their normal reaction to extract them or have them removed.  Dental pain is some of the worst pain you can have, and patients are always ready do get rid of their teeth, to alleviate the pain forever.  I always let them know, that the interrelationship of the teeth together is so critical, and that once you start down the road to extractions, it really becomes a never ending spiral.  Because, at the other extreme, I have patients who I see in my office, usually middle aged who have lost many teeth.  At this point they ask the dentist to perform a miracle and try and save the few teeth they have remaining.  These are always the same patients who confess “I wish I had listened to my dentist when I was younger” at the time, because of pain, and sometimes finances, I just wanted them removed, and I did not want to listen to the dentist.

Each of your teeth are very valuable parts of the body.  You wouldn’t have pain on a finger or leg, and have the doctor remove the finger or leg?  There is a reason why our creator (whomever, that may be for you) decided that 32 teeth is what are necessary for proper chewing, speaking and digesting.  Once we start removing teeth, you are considered dentally crippled.  The sense of casualness that people have toward their teeth, and caring for their teeth worries me alot.  People are very casual about their teeth,  these vital parts of your body, until the day that you have none…you are in the subway…you sneeze…

Your teeth are some of the most important parts of your body.  It is so important that we always treat them as such!

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





Mandatory Toothbrushing? (Here is a reprint of an article from the NY Times Magazine from last weekend)

19 02 2013

Who Made That Toothbrush?

Jens Mortensen for The New York Times
By PAGAN KENNEDY
“I don’t have any of those toothbrushes that went to the moon,” says Dr. Ben Swanson, former president of the American Academy of the History of Dentistry. He was speaking from his basement, where he stores his trove of 40,000 artifacts related to dental history. Swanson once dreamed of owning every kind of toothbrush in existence, but ended up stockpiling only a few hundred. “I had to give up because there were so many of them,” he says. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to collect every specimen; the toothbrush is one of the most reinvented of human objects, with thousands of patents on file.

The story starts in China during the Middle Ages, when people began grooming their teeth with animal bristles. Legend has it that centuries later, William Addis, generally recognized as the first to patent the toothbrush, served time in Newgate prison in London, where he whittled down a bone and stuck it full of bristles.

Even when toothbrushes migrated to the corner store, many people preferred to rub their teeth with a rag. As late as the 1920s, “many Americans did not brush their teeth,” Swanson says. One reason is that those early toothbrushes could tear up your mouth — the tip of a boar bristle, under a microscope, resembles a spear. By the 1940s, synthetics offered a solution. One ad trumpeted: “For years, only hog bristle made fine tooth brushes. Then Science made round-end Prolon” — its soft bristles were designed to preserve the gums.

The advent of plastics also meant that toothbrushes could take any shape imaginable. And so brushes jingled and hummed tunes. They arrived on the drugstore shelf enshrined in hermetic tubes. They boasted “anti-soggy” bristles.

Asked to pick a favorite toothbrush from his collection, Swanson says he’s fond of a model that cleans both sides of the teeth at once. “You remember the Reach toothbrush with the angled head?” he says. “One year they came out with a brush that had two heads.” But the design failed to catch on. In the world of toothbrushes, apparently, two heads are not always better than one.

BRUSH HEAD

Vermin Supreme, a performance artist, has run for president many times; he espouses “mandatory-toothbrushing laws.”

You often carry a giant toothbrush to scrub away the decay that clings to public monuments. I’ve scrubbed many, many landmarks. I scrubbed the Kremlin back in ’98. We had a mandatory-toothbrushing parade; we had the text of the mandatory-toothbrush law translated into Russian. And we had like 30 Russians; we had musicians; we had the giant toothbrushes. The police came and told us to stop, and we stopped. It was a beautiful thing.

So what would these mandatory-toothbrushing laws involve? Secret dental police. Government-issued toothpaste containing an addictive yet harmless substance. Computer-dental-chip implants to keep track of you and your children for your protection. For too long this nation has been suffering a great moral and oral decay.

Over the last 25 years, you’ve pushed lots of politicians to answer tough questions about oral hygiene. That’s right. When I asked Bob Dole if he supported mandatory-toothbrushing laws, his response was, “As long as it’s locally controlled.”

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





DENTISTRY OF THE FUTURE

18 02 2013

dentistry of the future

There are dentists who are tooth mechanics and gum gardeners, and there are also dentists who evaluate the entire body and evaluate the relationship between the teeth and the rest of the body.  Some dentists understand that in order to make an impact and positive changes in a persons health, that they must be an active participant in their health care. There are dentists who really understand that it makes a difference what materials you use in a patient’s mouth, and the total impact it has on their body.  These holistic/ whole body dentists practice dentistry in a slightly different manner.  Some of the characteristics that distinguish this type of dentistry are the following:

1.            The patient must be an active participant.  “Doctor” means teacher; it is up to the doctor or any healing practitioner to help educate the patient, in order that the patient can make the decisions regarding their treatment.  Today health is more of a consumer product.  The patient and/ or the insurance company pay for a commodity, namely health repairs, which are to be supplied with very little input from the patient.

2.            Treatment should above all, do no harm.  Much of orthodox medical/dental treatment neglects this very important tenet, either by dispensing toxic drugs on a chronic basis, or by implanting toxins in the mouth.  Often more harm is done than if nothing had been undertaken.  Natural therapies attempt to rid the body of toxic substances and assist the body in healing.

3.            The body has a natural, innate desire to be in a state of homeostasis.  The chronic use of drugs suppresses symptoms and does not act curatively.  Natural therapies do not work o this suppressive level, but rather gently push and assist the body towards homeostasis.

4.            A person is more than a physical being.  He or she is more than can be measured by our inventions, which are extensions of our five senses- for example a microscope.  A person is a spiritual, electro-dynamic, energetic, psychological being, who thinks and feels.

5.  Disease is not a name; it is also not something localized which can therefore just be cut out, i.e. a cancer of the breast.  The cancer which is localized to a portion of the breast is a disease of the entire person.  It is a degradation of the entire immune system, or possibly a hyper functioning of the entire immune system.  It involves not just some localized tissue, but rather the entire being, especially at the “other body” level.

6.  Diet is what’s eaten; nutrition is what’s effective.  To e effective, food must be in a form which is vibrant.  It must be full of energy, and not dead.

The future of medicine and dentistry is exciting.  The use of a device like the Star Trek Tricorder for diagnosis is on the near horizon, and one can envision the day when disease will be remedied by exposure to different vibratory waves, audible and non-audible.  Imagine placing a metal implant in the mouth, and altering its electromagnetic frequency so that it can exist harmoniously within your energy field.  You have a dead tooth?  NO problem, exposure to another specific frequency will impart a new vibrational pattern, so that it does not interfere with the meridian it is on.

That is the future of dentistry.

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





HAVE A HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! GO AHEAD AND ENJOY YOUR DARK CHOCOLATE!

14 02 2013

valentines day chocolates

1)  Dark Chocolate contains theobromine which helps prevent cavities

Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. That means that dark chocolate, unlike most other sweets, lowers your risk of getting cavities if you practice proper dental hygiene.

2) Dark Chocolate is good for Your Heart

Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

3) Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Brain

Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.

Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Dark chocolate also contains caffeine, a mild stimulant. However, dark chocolate contains much less caffeine than coffee. A 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine, compared to the 200 mg found in an eight ounce cup of coffee.

4) Dark Chocolate Helps Control Blood Sugar

Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

5) Dark Chocolate is Full of Antioxidants

Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are implicated in the aging process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slow the signs of aging.

6)  Dark Chocolate is high in vitamins and minerals

Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





KISSING TRIVIA QUESTIONS

13 02 2013

kissing pandas

Here are some True or False questions.  Do you know the answers?

T/F     The Science of kissing is called philematology

T/F     Nearly 80% of all illnesses are somehow related to the mouth

T/F     You burn 26 calories in a 1 minute kiss

T/F     Pregnancy can cause tooth loss

T/F     In Naples, Italy in the 16th century, kissing was an offense

that carried the death penalty

T/F     Some sports drinks are more acidic than Coca-Cola

T/F     Ancient Egyptians never kissed with their mouths, instead

they kissed with their noses.

T/F     Plaque on your arteries can be the same plaque that is in your mouth.

T/F     Kissing helps reduce tooth decay because the extra saliva helps

to clean your mouth.

!EURT LLA ERA SREWSNA EHT

obamas kissing

 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





EIGHT BENEFITS OF TOOTH BRUSHING-THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR TEETH

11 02 2013

brushing

We are all aware that brushing your teeth on a regular basis prevents cavities and keeps you smiling.  But there are many other surprising benefits, including these eight that don’t have to do with your teeth!

  1. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, participants who did not brush on a regular basis had a 65 percent greater chance of developing dementia compared to those who did brush.  So don’t forget to brush!
  2. A study in the American Journal of Medicine found that regular brushing decreases the chance of stroke!  Wow – two very serious diseases can be curtailed with good oral hygiene.  And the list goes on…
  3. As any dentists, hygienist or physician can tell you, regular brushing (and flossing) helps to prevent gum disease.  But you may not know that along with causing stinky breath and unattractive smiles, gum disease is a major indicator of heart disease and the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
  4. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology has shown that increased brushing decreases the risk of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and COPD.  Why, Bacteria which form on the teeth make their way into the lungs and respiratory tract, wreaking havoc along the way.
  5. Dental researcher Dr. Caitia Gazola has shown that having healthy teeth and gums increases the chances of having healthy babies, while dental disease can cause underweight pre-term babies.  And men- you aren’t off the hook!  WE strongly suspect that not brushing your teeth regularly can exclude you from the whole pregnancy process!
  6. Prevention Magazine has reported that regular brushing can help you maintain a healthy weight!  Why? Brushing your teeth indicates to your brain that mealtime is over.  Plus – food just doesn’t taste as good with squeaky clean teeth!
  7.  Okay guys – here’s your turn.  Several studies have shown that men with poor oral hygiene are at greater risk for erectile dysfunction.  Scared yet???
  8.  Have a heart – a healthy one that is!  The American Journal of Medicine has linked dental health with heart attack risk.

So if clean teeth, fresh breath, a beautiful smile and fewer cavities aren’t enough, here are eight reasons why brushing your teeth on a regular basis can save your life!  Plus let’s face it – going around with a big piece of lettuce stuck between your chompers is not the most attractive look in the world!

brush or die

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.








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