Don’t Eat In Bed!

August 22, 2012

Filed under: Health Matters — elmbrookfamilydental @ 11:13 am

Do you ever bring food to bed, or get up and eat late at night and go to sleep without brushing your teeth? I will admit that I am guilty of this. So, today I am writing this post because it’s something that I personally struggle with and need to fix, not only for weight reasons but also teeth reasons!

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

Did you know nighttime is the worst time of day to skip brushing and flossing? I mean, think about it, you’re about to close your eyes and your mouth for (hopefully) 8 hours. Just imagine the party all the leftover food particles and bacteria are having in there at night! At least during the day they get flushed out constantly while drinking water (because you should be drinking water!) If you’re only going to brush your teeth once a day (of course we recommend twice!) nighttime is definitely the best option. But isn’t it frustrating to brush your teeth, go to sleep with a minty fresh mouth, and then still wake up with breath that could scare a dragon away? There you go, there’s the reason for the second brushing in the morning. Or the first. Or whichever.

Still. Let’s talk about that nighttime snacking. This is going to sound funny – but did you know there is actually a diagnosis for constant nighttime binge eating? It’s called “Night Eating Syndrome” and I think I might suffer from it myself. Take a look at the symptoms:

People who suffer from night eating syndrome generally:

  • Skip breakfast, and go several hours after waking before their first meal.
  • Consume at least 25% of their calories after dinner. (Many sources would list this as after 9 or 10 pm; dessert is generally not included, if one is eaten.)
  • Late-night binges almost always consist of consuming carbohydrates. However, this eating is typically spread over several hours, which is not consistent with a typical eating binge as evidenced by other eating disorders. Episodes of late-night binge-eating can be repeated throughout the night, with many separate visits to the fridge or cupboard.
  • Suffer from depression or anxiety, often in connection with their eating habits.
  • These night eating episodes typically bring guilt rather than hedonistic enjoyment.
  • Have trouble sleeping in general; see insomnia.
  • Are more likely than the general public to sleepwalk.

(Source: has an article with some suggestions on how to stop NES.

Step 1

Eat breakfast and consume all daily calories 3 hours before bedtime. Often, people with Night Eating Syndrome do not eat enough food during the beginning of the day because they are not hungry after a night of bingeing. The guilt that is felt from overeating at night can cause an NES sufferer to avoid calories throughout the day. After dinner, you are left feeling ravenous and the cycle repeats itself. Break the cycle by consuming adequate calories throughout the day and avoid skipping a hearty breakfast.

Step 2

Increase melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that melatonin levels are lower in people with NES. A full stomach makes it easier to fall asleep, so those who do not naturally have enough melatonin to help them easily drift to sleep rely on food. Melatonin supplements can be taken to boost levels. Exposure to sunlight for at least 20 minutes a day leads to increased melatonin production.

Step 3

Learn how to manage stress. Night Eating Syndrome is associated with stress. The higher the level of stress experienced by someone who is prone to NES, the worse the syndrome can get. Talk to a therapist about stressors in your life and implement a healthy lifestyle to reduce stress levels.

Step 4

See a psychiatrist to get evaluated for depression. Night eating syndrome is often triggered by or related to depression, according to Jennifer D. Lundgren, PhD of the Penn Department of Psychiatry. NES can sometimes be treated with anti-depression medications, such as Zoloft.

Step 5

Visit an eating disorder specialist. If you cannot stop night eating syndrome, see an eating disorder specialist to help you determine the steps needed to overcome this disorder and form a healthy relationship with food. Prolonged and severe NES can lead to morbid obesity, which is a life-threatening condition


Read more:

I am a breakfast skipper. I usually only eat enough to hold me over until lunch. I know it’s not good, but I am afraid to consume a filling breakfast because I feel as though eating breakfast (and thus consuming morning calories) will just add excess calories on to my daily tally because I think I will STILL binge eat at night. However, I’m willing to give the steps a try. I fear for my waist line and my teeth. I’m willing to bet that NES not only leads to obesity but also gross caries of the teeth. I have heard before that brushing your teeth with minty toothpaste can cut down on binge eating too, so I’m going to try to implement a rule to not eat after I brush my teeth.

Anyone with me?

Mouth Sanitizer, What?

August 10, 2012

Filed under: Contests,Health Matters — Tags: , , , , , — elmbrookfamilydental @ 10:47 am

Last weekend I attended a blogging conference in New York City, called BlogHer. Networking alongside 4,999 other bloggers I was truly among my people. At the conference, lots of big name companies bring their products to show off and hand out to us bloggers so that we can try them out and tell our loyal readers all about them. One of the companies that was there had a product that I thought would be really good to write about here on our dental blog.


Oasis Consumer Healthcare already makes a product that we here in the dental world use and recommend to our patients, but they just came out with something new. The product is Halo Oral Antiseptic. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? I thought so too, but I listened to and watched their demo and now I am excited to give it a try myself.

The idea behind Halo Oral Antiseptic is that it is a preventative measure to help stop the spread of sickness from infectious airborne diseases. Here is what Halo has to say about their product and its testing:

“Halo is the first scientifically and clinically proven product to kill the airborne germs you breathe in. How can we say that? Because Halo went through rigorous scientific testing and clinical trials at Case Western Medical Center, ranked one of the 2012 Top 25 Medical Research Centers by U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT.”

grape-largeHalo Oral Antiseptic comes in 3 flavors… citrus, berry, and grape for children. One of the things that the Halo representative told me that is really sticking with me is its preventative use in daycare settings. He said that some moms spray it in their children’s mouth when they drop them off at daycare to help stop the spread of sicknesses that so easily pass from child to child. Since the product lasts for 6 hours, the coverage time takes care of most of the day! My kids are only in a day care setting 2 days a week and because each bottle has 35 doses, it will last me quite a while.

Does it really work: Check out this link for a video of it’s germ fighting power and see for yourself.

The question you might be asking now is, is it safe?

“The active ingredient is cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), an antiseptic that is well-known to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. CPC is completely safe and has been used commercially for years. In fact, it’s one of the most common ingredients used in over-the-counter products, and can be found in products ranging from liquids to lotions.”

Now for the exciting part… Halo gave me an extra bottle of their Oral Antiseptic to give away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is complete the mandatory entry on the Rafflecopter form below and you can earn additional entries by doing more things listed on the form.

Halo Oral Antiseptic retails for $12.99 per 35 dose bottle. You can buy your own bottle of Halo Oral Antiseptic at these places:

Smile! It’s good for your health!

August 1, 2012

Filed under: Health Matters — elmbrookfamilydental @ 11:33 am

Don’t be a crab. Why are crabs so crabby all the time? Just smile!


My beautiful niece, Mya

My 10 month old son, Gavin has a onesie that says “Don’t Bother Me, I’m Crabby!” with a picture of a crab. It’s funny because he’s usually smiling, but when he’s complaining, the shirt fits him perfectly. How many other people should be wearing a shirt like this on a day-to-day basis? You just never know when they will strike. The gas station. The museum. Look around, there are scorning people everywhere. Why are they so unhappy? Maybe they don’t feel good…and that very well could be because they are never smiling!

According to recent research, smiling is good for your health. Not only does it help relieve stress, but it’s actually good for your heart, too! People who were instructed to smile during this study had overall lower heart rates and also reported positive feelings during stressful tasks. You can read more about the study here.

If you need more reasons to smile, just take into consideration the people around you. Have you noticed that one bad mood in a room drags everyone else down? Don’t be the person everyone wants to avoid. Light up the room with your smile! I, for one, am tired of crabby people. Grin and bear it, just like the study suggests. You will feel better and so will those around you.

We here at Elmbrook Family Dental can help you maintain your beautiful smile. Are you on track with your dental cleanings? Call our office today at 262-784-7201 to schedule an appointment.

Pale is the new Tan

July 6, 2012

Filed under: Health Matters — Tags: , , — elmbrookfamilydental @ 8:00 am

I want to talk about a very serious issue today.  I’m writing this post before I leave for my vacation and scheduling it to be posted while I’m gone. It’s likely at the moment this blog post is published, I’ll be sitting on the beach in Ocean City, MD. When I was a teenager, I loved the sun. I have always thought that being tan equates with being beautiful and so my sunscreen application has always been minimal so that my tanning was maximal. Unfortunately being a very fair skinned blonde girl, this meant I suffered a lot of sunburns. This is not good. Did you know that one bad sunburn before the age of 18 doubles the chance of developing melanoma?

Warning: this video may make you cry.

Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, “Melanoma primarily affects individuals in the prime years of life, is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.” In fact, I recently lost a friend to melanoma. He was only 33. If you read the link, you’ll see that he took all of the normal steps and precautions anyone would after having an abnormal mole removed. Except some people don’t even get them checked out. Here is some info from the Melanoma Research Foundation about melanoma detection and screening:

Carefully examine your skin once a month. If you notice any changes, consult a dermatologist right away. If melanoma runs in your family, make sure all of your family members are checked regularly by a dermatologist once or twice a year. Protect yourself from UV radiation by practicing safe sun habits:

  • Avoid the sun during the peak hours (generally 10AM – 4PM)
  • Use sunscreen daily. Sunscreen should contain elements which block both UVA and UVB rays and should have an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and after sweating or swimming. Do not use a sunscreen to spend more time in the sun.
  • Wear protective clothing if you are going to be exposed to a lot of sun (or you are particularly sun sensitive). Wear a wide brimmed hat, long sleeved shirts/pants, and sunglasses.
  • Avoid tanning salons. Exposure to tanning salons increases your risk of melanoma.

If the risk of cancer isn’t enough to keep you out of the damaging effects of the sun, how about beauty?

The New England Journal of Medicine recently posted about a man who developed unilateral dermatoheliosis, or thickening and wrinkling of the skin on one side of his face. This man was a truck driver who spent many years of his life with one side facing the sun. See the damage for yourself:


I don’t know about you – but that’s enough for me to put a hat on the next time I sit in the sun!

So, while you’re out enjoying the beautiful summer weather, I encourage you to wear sunscreen, hats, sit in the shade, and do whatever else you can to avoid sun exposure.

Pale IS the new tan. Pale is beautiful. This is my new mantra. While I’m sitting at the beach next week under the umbrella slathered with sunscreen, I’ll be daydreaming about how my youthful looks will last well into my older years because of the extra steps I am taking to protect my skin.

To Pierce or Not to Pierce?

May 23, 2012

Filed under: Health Matters — Tags: , , , , , , , , — elmbrookfamilydental @ 11:10 am

Tongue. Labret. Monroe. Marilyn. Lip. Cheek. No matter where you stick it, facial piercings that involve the inside of the mouth are not good for teeth or overall oral health. It’s not just something that your dentist says because they don’t approve of your “looks”. That’s not it at all. The fact is that dentists treat problems associated from facial piercings every day…problems that could be avoided. Teeth are lost that are otherwise healthy, simply because of the impact of the piercing itself.

Tongue piercings are known to chip and break teeth. During normal talking the barbell can hit your teeth and over time weaken the enamel to the point of the tooth breaking. When eating, sometimes tongue rings get bit, which can cause molars to break. Tongue piercings can get infected, cause nerve damage, loss of taste, permanent numbness…the list goes on. Is it worth it?

Labret piercings, which is a piercing below your lower lip, are known to cause gum recession. Gum recession leads to loose teeth. Loose teeth lead to lost teeth. Permanent teeth. Is it worth it?

Monroe and Marilyn style piercings, which are through the upper area of the mouth (where a beauty mark would be) do the same. Gum recession-> loose teeth-> lost teeth. Your pretty piercing becomes your gap toothed smile. Is it worth it?

Lip rings are no different. Chipped teeth, gum recession. It’s all the same.

Tooth extractions are not always simple procedures, and the subsequent work needed to replace missing teeth can become quite costly. Eventually, your $50 oral piercing (which is the average cost) will become your $3000 problem. Is it really worth it?

Talk to us before you decide to have an oral piercing done. Call our Brookfield office today at 262-784-7201.

Bulimia and Teeth: How Much Damage Does it Cause?

May 4, 2012

Filed under: Health Matters — Tags: , , , — elmbrookfamilydental @ 11:35 am

While the detrimental effects of eating disorders on the human body are very well documented, it is often overlooked that bulimia can also have a serious effect on dental health, and it can happen quickly, within a matter of months. Bulimia nervosa is a physical and psychological disease which involves discrete periods of overeating (binge eating) which may occur several times a week or at its most severe, several times a day. During the binge, sufferers may feel completely out of control. They may gulp down thousands of calories often high in carbohydrates and fat. The amount of food consumed would be considered excessive in normal circumstances. After the binge comes purging designed to compensate for overeating and to avoid weight gain. Those behaviors may include self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, enemas, and diuretics. Studies have found that up to 89% of bulimic patients show signs of tooth erosion. ( The information contained within this blog post is intended to not only help suffers from this disease, but also anyone with a history of recurrent vomiting whether it be from pregnancy, acid erosion from GERD, or cyclic vomiting syndrome. If you suffer from any of these, please do not be afraid to speak with your dentist about it. Your health history will remain confidential and we will help devise a plan to save your teeth.

Stomach acid is highly corrosive on teeth and prolonged exposure can cause enamel breakdown and will eventually lead to tooth loss.


An example of lingual erosion of tooth enamel due to excessive vomiting
Image from

You may be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after a vomiting episode but please wait; the abrasiveness of toothpaste can only assist in the weakening of tooth structure. Instead, rinse with plenty of water. Baking soda can also be added to water for rinsing to help neutralize the effects of stomach acid.

Other things that may help:

Chew sugar free gum. Sugar free gum helps stimulate saliva production, which helps protect the teeth.

Brush with a high fluoride toothpaste. Your dentist can prescribe a highly concentrated fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride will help decrease sensitivity, strengthens teeth, and helps reduce enamel erosion.

See your dentist regularly. Please do not feel too ashamed to call. We will work with you to find a plan to save your teeth, repair any that are damaged, and prevent further damage. Call our Brookfield, Wisconsin office at 262-784-7201 today.