Great Smiles of NJ - October 2022




While training to become a dentist, I spent some time working at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. That center is one of the best hospitals in the state for heart surgeries like valve replacements and transplants — and I actually worked on a lot of them! Yes, you read that right. In order to have open-heart surgery at Newark Beth Israel, you have to see the dentist. Without dental clearance, the surgeon won’t do so much as put on their gloves. You’re probably thinking, “Okay Dr. Weddle, what the heck can you learn about my heart by looking at my teeth?” The answer is, “A whole lot!” Like I’ve said before in this newsletter, the health of your mouth is connected to the health of your whole body. If you have gum disease (aka periodontal disease) that can cause inflammation that travels through your system and affects everything, including your heart. Your body responds to inflammation by going into fight or flight mode. That makes any health problems you’re dealing with much worse. You’ll be in more pain, and you’ll also be more prone to things like heart attacks, strokes, an irregular heartbeat, and even shortness of breath. “Yes, you read that right. In order to have open-heart surgery at Newark Beth Israel, you have to see the dentist.”

While working at Newark Beth Israel, I spotted the pattern right away. The majority of patients going into emergency heart surgery had gum disease, tooth decay, or an oral infection. Sometimes, I had to stay at the hospital until midnight working with a team of dentists to take care of their dental problems and get them ready for surgery. Even if you're not worried about having open-heart surgery any time soon, it’s a good idea to get checked regularly for gum disease. In last month’s newsletter, I told you how to avoid wasting your PTO on a toothache — and this is the best way to avoid wasting it on recovery for symptoms like irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, and chest pain. You may be able to avoid those problems altogether by fixing the inflammation in your mouth. If you’re gum disease free and still feeling awful, you might be able to control the inflammation in your body by changing your diet. Eating too much of certain foods like chips, cookies, and salty canned goods can cause inflammation, while other foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, and olive oil will fight it. The human body is pretty neat, isn’t it? I love learning about these things and how our entire system is connected. If you ever want to learn more about the role your mouth plays in your overall health — or if you just want to schedule a checkup to look for gum disease — give my office a call.

To your great smiles and better health,

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Hot Take: It’s Better to Binge Your Halloween Candy Even Dentists Approve!

Forget what you’ve been told about eating your family’s leftover Halloween candy piece by piece and stretching it out for months. If you’re only thinking about your teeth, the best way to get through your treats is in a single night’s binge.

Why? Well, because of the way our saliva works.

Now, Back to Candy Why does all of this mean you should binge Halloween candy? Well, if you eat all of your candy at once, you’ll limit the amount of time the sugar- turned-acid hangs out on your teeth. Think about it. If you eat all of your candy in one hour on Halloween night, then rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth, your enamel will be in danger for a few hours at most. But if you have one piece of candy every few hours for months … that’s literally days of erosion! Gobbling all of your candy is the way to go. Now, keep in mind that this advice is ONLY better for your teeth. Eating an entire bag of candy isn’t a great choice for your stomach or overall health. As a compromise, consider choosing your favorite 5–10 candies and enjoying them in one sitting, then passing on the rest of your treats. Win-win.

Your Mouth on Sugar Right now, the saliva in your mouth is full of a type of bacteria called streptococcus mutans. We know, we know — it’s gross. But it’s also fascinating! These bacteria are usually harmless, but they love to eat sugars and starches. That means they basically have a party when you pop a piece of Halloween candy in your mouth. They gobble up the sugar and turn it into something else: acid. The Acid Problem The sugar-to-acid process doesn’t seem too terrible on the surface. After all, plenty of things that are good for you have acid in them, like orange juice! But when acid sits on your teeth for too long, it can start to wear away the protective enamel. This turns your teeth yellow and can even cause cavities. The longer your teeth are covered in acid, the worse the results.


Have You Tried Them All?

If you regularly wake up with a sore jaw and painful headaches, then you might be clenching your teeth while you sleep. This is actually a dangerous problem you should address right away. Too much clenching and grinding can wear down your teeth or even break them, ruining your smile! So, what can you do? Mouthguards are a classic tool to prevent grinding, but they can also be a pain in the butt. You have to buy one, take it in and out every night, and remember to bring it with you on vacation. If your grinding issue doesn’t seem urgent, you may want to try these Mayo Clinic-approved natural remedies before booking an appointment with your dentist.

2. Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine. A 2016 study found that drinking alcohol almost doubles your chance of grinding your teeth! Coffee has an even worse effect, boosting the odds by 150%. If you cut down on these things, you might sleep better and grind less. 3. Practice good sleep hygiene. To do this, you’ll need to develop habits that promote better sleep, like going to bed and waking up at the same time each day; getting the recommended 7–9 hours of rest; sleeping in a dark, quiet place; and keeping electronics out of the

bedroom. All of these things will help you get quality, grind-free sleep. You can find more details at If you’re still in pain after trying these natural options — or if the state of your teeth is deteriorating — schedule a visit

1. Eliminate sources of stress. Stress and anxiety while you’re awake can lead to grinding while you

sleep. To improve your state of mind, try to delegate some of your responsibilities, take up a calming hobby like yoga or meditation, or build a relaxing

to your dentist right away. In the office, you’ll learn about the best option for you, whether that’s a mouthguard or something more permanent, like dental correction to repair and reshape your teeth.

bath into your nightly routine. If your stress is affecting other areas of your life, you might also consider seeing a mental health professional for help.


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Spooky Spaghetti and Eyeballs

Inspired by

If you’re like us, you get pretty excited when fresh fruit and vegetables go on sale. It means you can buy the good stuff and really stock up! Then you can freeze those extra berries for your smoothies and that broccoli for your stir-fry. This is a great money-saving strategy, but if you’ve done it before, you know freezing fruits and vegetables isn’t as easy as it seems. If you don’t do it right, you can end up with clumps of flavorless, stuck-together produce destined for the trash! It doesn’t have to be that way. Next time you’re freezing fruit or vegetables post-sale, use these two hacks to get flavorful, easy-to-cook results every time. 1. Break out the cookie sheet. Berries for smoothies and apple slices for pie tend to stick together when you freeze them, which turns them into one giant lump you have to hack apart to steal a serving. To avoid this, break out a cookie sheet after you’ve washed and sliced your fruit. Spread the pieces or berries out on the sheet and pop the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours or even overnight. When the fruit is frozen, pour it into a glass jar or freezer bag. Thanks to the initial freeze, nothing will stick together. You can pour a serving into your oatmeal or scoop it with a measuring cup hassle-free. For more kitchen hacks like this, follow @zerowastechef on Instagram. 2. Blanch, blanch, baby! Vegetables lose their crisp texture, bright color, and tasty flavor over time, even in the freezer — but you can hit the pause button on that process by blanching your veggies before you freeze them! Blanching is really simple: All you have to do is boil the vegetables for a short time, dunk them in an ice bath, and drain the water before freezing. (The University of Minnesota Extension has a great blanching guide listing times for each vegetable. Just search “University of Minnesota Blanching” online to find it.) You can combine these two hacks for fruits and veggies to ensure they’re tasty and easy to cook with every time. The Smart Way to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables SO THEY ACTUALLY TASTE GOOD


Directions • 24 oz frozen meatballs • 16 oz spaghetti noodles • 24-oz jar spaghetti sauce

• 2–3 slices of mozzarella cheese • Sliced black olives

1. Cook frozen meatballs according to package instructions, then keep warm in oven on low heat. 2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add spaghetti noodles. Cook until tender and drain. 3. In a small pot, heat spaghetti sauce over medium heat until warm. 4. After everything is cooked, mix noodles and spaghetti sauce together, then put the mixture into a serving bowl. 5. Slice the meatballs in half and mix half of the slices into spaghetti. Top the spaghetti with the remaining meatball slices with the flat sides up. 6. Cut slices of mozzarella cheese into circles and place one slice on each of the flat-topped meatballs. Then, put one black olive over each cheese circle to form the eyeballs. Serve and enjoy!

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908-561-0225 |


10 Shawnee Drive Watchung, NJ 07069


This Issue

1 2

A Crazy, True Story From Dr. Weddle

Why You Should Eat All Your Candy at Once Natural Ways to Quit Grinding Your Teeth Are You Freezing Your Produce All Wrong? Spooky Spaghetti and Eyeballs



Dentist-Approved Halloween Candy

Splurge on These Beneficial Candies NO TRICKS, JUST TREATS!

Halloween can be a dentist’s worst nightmare, but did you know that certain types of treats aren’t so bad for your teeth? This is no trick, so check out these dentist-approved and recommended candies for this spooky season. Chocolate It is one of the most popular Halloween candies out there and actually one of the healthiest! Chocolate is a better candy

prevent tooth decay and maintain healthy teeth. Sugar-free candy still satisfies your sweet tooth but with less of an impact on your teeth. This doesn’t mean consuming large amounts of sugar-free candy is better per se, because some sugar-free candies contain high levels of citric acid, which may erode the tooth enamel. So, be wary of your child’s consumption.

Candy With Nuts Basically, any type of candy with nuts is better for teeth than candy without. Most chocolate candy bars contain ingredients like caramel and nougat, which can be sticky and hard on the teeth, but the nuts actually help break down that stickiness. Nuts also encourage saliva production, which acts as a defense mechanism and washes away any bacteria lingering inside your mouth and fights off infection. Since nuts contain protein and

because it’s easier to brush off the teeth and contains less sugar than other candy. Dark chocolate is much healthier than milk chocolate because it contains less sugar than all of the other types of chocolate. To be considered “dark,” chocolate must be at least 70% pure cocoa. At that level, it contains bacteria- fighting compounds like antioxidants, tannins, and theobromine, which is a naturally occurring chemical that strengthens tooth enamel. Sugar-Free Candy We all know sugar is oral health’s biggest enemy, as it stimulates bacteria growth in the mouth. So, avoiding candy with excessive amounts of sugar is the best way to

fiber, they are good for your overall health, too. It’s not a bad thing to splurge on sugary candies for Halloween — it would be wrong to ask kids not to — but as long as they brush their teeth twice a day and floss regularly, they can enjoy them, no harm done.


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If you had a hole in your pocket, you’d want to fix it before you lost your money, right? Surprisingly, many of our patients who have dental insurance “lose” hundreds — even thousands — of dollars each year because they fail to use their FSA money and insurance benefits before the calendar year ends. Once these benefits are gone, they are lost forever and can’t be applied to the next year. So, if you are due for a checkup and cleaning or need additional dentistry done, give us a call at 908-561-0225 before the end of the year and schedule an appointment. Sew up that hole in your pocket before it’s too late!



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