Monday, December 17, 2012

Vitamin D stands for “Defense” Against Dental Cavities

A healthy, balanced diet is important for our teeth and bodies. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, with a healthy dose of quality meats (protein substitutes), cheeses and good carbs are the best combo! Vitamins can certainly help offset any imbalances, too. Recently, several studies have revealed the importance Vitamin D plays in helping to build stronger, healthier teeth in children, and also safeguarding teeth against dental cavities throughout life. 
 (Image thanks to )
Plenty of research studies point out that vitamin D actually lowers the risk of dental cavities to as much as 50% in 3,000 children who were subjected to these studies from many different places, such as US, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada and Great Britain.

The benefits of Vitamin D can help people of any age. Pregnant women or mothers of little children should keep in mind that Vitamin D protects against dental cavities, so they should incorporate the supplement into their everyday diet. Pregnant women should take sufficient doses of Vitamin D to protect themselves and the baby, while parents should administer the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D to their kids. If you have questions, just ask your doctor or pediatrician. 

Here are some Foods Containing Vitamin D:

Shiitake & Button Mushrooms

Sardines, Salmon, and Tuna Fish

Cod Liver Oil




Orange Juice


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Baby Drinks For Healthier Teeth

A baby’s oral health is very important, and it gets them on the road to good oral hygiene. Hydration is a catalyst for this, as they need fluids for proper digestive health function to avoid constipation.

Dental Health Magazine posted information on the different fluids babies need for excellent oral and digestive health. They provide immunity for fighting sickness, strong bones, and healthy teeth. 
The first liquid a baby is acquainted with is often breast milk. This is great for building a tough immune system for the barrage of infections and diseases they’ll face in the first few years of their lives. If the baby is unable to drink breast milk, make sure to give them formula that has whey, as whey-based formula has plenty of protein to produce soft, healthy stools. 

Cow milk with full fat is a good source of calcium for babies. Children can start drinking pasteurized cow milk around one year old. Water is very important for babies from the age of six months, as it protects their oral and bodily health. 

Drinks to avoid include retail products with sweeteners because they promote tooth decay. Unsweetened juices promoting themselves as 100% natural often have white sugar, which also damage teeth and erode tooth enamel with their acidity; they can be given once a day in full form or 2-3 times daily when diluted by half with water. You can give your kids freshly-squeezed orange or apple juice without sugar to provide them with a multitude of vitamins.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Command Of Dental Health At Every Age

A smile is a gateway into one’s life. You can determine someone’s health, friendliness and care for their appearance when you see someone’s upturned lips. You can also think about your own health when you examine your smile, as you know how you take care of your teeth. You are the gatekeeper to better dental health and overall well being. posted an article about assessing dental health. There are various factors to consider, including your age, stage of life, and daily habits. These assessments are key for maintaining good dental and overall health.

People of all ages benefit from good dental health, with periodic professionals check-ups being an essential part. Outside of the dentist chair, parents should be diligent in their care for their kid’s dental health-- babies need regular monitoring for eruptions, and toddlers for discomfort and discoloration. School-age kids should be taught to check their teeth and gums for swelling, bleeding, redness and pain. Puberty brings cosmetic options, as fully-grown teeth can be straightened, whitened, or shaped.

Life stages also influence oral health. Puberty brings hormonal changes, growth spurts and other changes. Reproductive years need extra care for teeth—additional cleanings and check-ups. Those playing sports and participating in athletics should wear protective mouth gear and look out for injuries. Retirement age is synonymous with gum erosion, loosening teeth and bone loss, and poor dental health can be linked to worsening health problems in other areas—not to mention discomfort.

You can ward off poor oral health by maintaining good habits. Proper nutrition (healthy foods, for instance), regular brushing and flossing can prevent cavities and plaque from doing damage to tooth enamel, and it can also foster strong bones and healthy gums. Even if you’re late to practicing good dental health, it is never too late to incorporate new habits to improve your teeth and your bodily health.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Finding the Right Fit: Patients, Treatment Plans and Budgeting

In this economy, money is tight for most families. As dental professionals, our role lies in helping patients make dentistry a priority and to enable them to afford the quality of care that will allow them to achieve optimum oral health. Here are five ways to incentivize treatment plans, and help patients maintain a healthy relationship with your practice and their oral care. 

·         1 – Patient Financing Available
Financing can be a necessity, especially when it comes to configuring medical and dental expenses into your budget. If treatment is too expensive, patients may need credit options, which is why many offices offer financing through CareCredit. Patient financing through CareCredit provides patients with a suspended or reduced interest rate if they can pay it off within a certain amount of time.

·         2 – Make Fee Schedules Available Before Treatment
As healthcare providers, it is always in our best interest to provide fees and terms of payments in advance of treatment. This method “inform before you perform” helps patients prepare financially. It also establishes goals and solidifies the patient/provider relationship. 

·         3 – Provide Multiple Treatment Options
There is usually more than one plan or option to give patients choices when it comes to their treatment plan. Patients like having options. The truth is most patients will have the necessary treatment if they have the funds available for treatment. Often, the only set-back is funds. When patients are asked to spend money, multiple and affordable options help reassure that they are being presented with all of the information available so that they can make informed decisions. Also, it helps them to understand the timeline of a diagnosis and treatments options. For example, it would X to treat a cavity, but if the cavity goes untreated and becomes an abscess, then it would cost XX to treat or extract. This helps patients understand the conditions and consequences if the initial problem is left untreated.  

·         4 – Be Considerate of Patient Readiness
If the diagnosis is not good, patients may not be prepared to hear about the treatment plan or the expense to restore their oral health and smile. This is where dental staff can help build loyalty, by educating patients on the importance of ongoing and treatment, and by partnering and working on short term and long term oral treatment plans to get them back on track and smiling. Keep in mind that the circumstances and budget will vary from patient to patient. 

·         5 –Big Bonus: In-House Membership Programs
Many patients or even their family members are without dental insurance, which is why they are often happy to learn of in-house discount dental plans that make exams, cleanings, and dental treatment more affordable. American Dental Plan offers plans for individuals, couples and families for one low annual fee, and this helps patients save from 30-40 percent. ADP offers value added cost savings for patients as they bundle services into an attractive price, providing peace of mind. 

Regardless of the economy, patients and consumers are looking for affordable alternatives to traditional dental insurance to enable their families to afford the care they know they need. In addition, at a time when patients can download coupons for different dental care needs, and go from one dental office to another, you want them to build loyalty to your practice and to their oral care, short and long term. The best way to build the relationship and loyalty, is by giving them options, and by providing quality care. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stress: The Bigger Impact on Dental Health

In many past blog posts we have covered how oral health impacts our dental health. Poor diet, hygiene and improper dental care can lead to many conditions, such as: diabetes, heart conditions and even cancer, but there are emotional and psychological considerations that can impact our dental health as well. 

Stress is a part of everyone’s life. But the negative impact of stress can lead to a disorder called Temporomandibular disorder or (TMD). This is a common and often over-diagnosed condition, which results in problems with the jaw, and mandibular joints and hinges that control the movement of the jaw, and chewing. 

When people suffer from TMD, movement of the jaw and eating can be painful. Often times, this condition will cause a clicking of these joints on one or both sides. In addition, patients who have TMD may feel soreness in the jawline upon waking up in the morning. This is caused by clenching the jaw and grinding their teeth while they sleep. Many patients do not know they have TMD, and the best way to find out is by visiting a dentist who can identify the characteristics of the disorder. 

Common TMD symptoms include:
  •   Discomfort when yawning and limited ability to open the mouth very wide 
  •   Pain, tenderness and stiffness around the jaw, face and ears when speaking or chewing
  •   Popping and clicking noises upon opening and closing the mouth
  •   Discomfort with biting down on foods that are more difficult to chew
  •   Swelling of the face and jaw area on one side or both
  •   Aches and pains of the back teeth, head, neck and ears
  •   Consistent headaches and ringing in the ears
  •   Teeth and jaw clenching, intermittent pressure  and difficulty speaking
What Causes TMD?
There may be many causes for TMD, but stress can be a very common factor, which cause the symptoms and problems with the muscles and joints. Other common causes are: post-traumatic stress syndrome, injury or accident in the area, dislocation of the discs, ball and socket, and presence of arthritis. TMD can be temporary, but the discomfort can also last years if not diagnosed and treated. 

How Is TMD Diagnosed?
It is best to seek a diagnosis from a qualified dentist to determine if you have TMD or whether your condition is a toothache, sinus problem, gum disease or arthritic issue. Your dentist will take X-rays and examine your mouth to see if there are signs of TMD, to determine a treatment plan. To learn more visit:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Americans Scored Below Average on American Dental Association Dental IQ Survey

Recently, a survey by the American Dental Association confirmed that average Americans scored below average and were graded with a D in dental health. The survey, in a series of quiz questions answered by 1,500 adults, revealed that Americans have serious misconceptions about basic oral health, including how often to brush or when they should start taking children to the dentist.

The ADA released the survey results with the launch of their new fun, interactive site, which was created to provide dental health information and engage the public in their dental health.

The survey results shocked many. “The results of the survey were quite shocking and really show how important it is for people to become more involved in their own oral health,” said William R. Calnon, D.D.S., ADA president and a practicing dentist in Rochester, N.Y.

The site provides a lot of information, such as: nutrition, healthier habits and dental care from tips from pregnancy and babies, to teens, adulthood and all ages. The idea of the is to get families involved – kids adopting habits from parents is just as true in dentistry, if parents practice good oral hygiene, kids will pay attention and do the same.

Survey Results and Common Misconceptions According to May Survey

•Survey Result: 90 percent of respondents believe they should brush after every meal.

ADA Recommendation: Brush only twice a day.

•Survery Result: 65 percent of respondents believe they should replace their toothbrush twice a year. ADA Recommendation: Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.

• Survey Result: 75 percent of respondents did not know what age to take their child to the dentist for the first time. ADA Recommendation: A child’s first trip to the dentist should be within six months after the first tooth appears or before the child’s first birthday.

• Survey Result: 81 percent of respondents think that sugar causes cavities. The Truth: Cavities are caused by germs in the mouth that feed on sugar and then produce acid which attacks tooth enamel. In time, the acid attacks weaken the enamel to the point where a cavity forms.

• Survey Result: 59 percent of respondents don’t realize cavity-causing germs can be passed from person to person. ADA Reality Check: Yes, they can. Parents and caregivers can pass bacteria that cause cavities to their children by pre-chewing food, sharing utensils or licking a pacifier to clean it.

• Survey Result: 53 percent of respondents think you should floss twice a week. ADA Recommendation: Floss once a day. Tooth brushing doesn’t clean between the teeth so germs can grow there and cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Visit http://www.mouthhealthy.org, to check out this new resource for family and friends.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dental Plaque Can Pose Cancer Risks

As it goes in the dental industry, most of our focus is on the importance of caring for your oral health. When most people consider the consequences for the absence of brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist for routine exams and cleanings, the “C” word does not come to mind. If the prospects of cancer increased due to lack of oral care, more people would probably practice better dental care.

Unfortunately, and not just as a scare tactic, cancer is a risk for those who fail to keep plaque build-up at a minimum. Truth be told, plaque is a killer, and it has been linked through research and studies to tooth decay, loss of teeth and oral issues, chronic illness and heart disease. Plaque has the power to cause systemic issues that travel well beyond the boundaries of the mouth.

New research suggests that people who have more plaque on their teeth and gums are more likely to suffer and even die prematurely from cancer, based on this international study, recently published.
The findings, which appear in the edition of BMJ Open, show only an association between plaque, and a “raised risk of early cancer death, and not a cause-and-effect relationship.”
The study was conducted on 1,400 Swedish adults over a period of 24 years. Throughout the duration, of the 58 subjects who died, 35 cases did so from cancer.
Conclusive Results
Those with high amounts of dental plaque were 79 percent more likely to die prematurely, the study showed. However, the absolute risk of any person with dental plaque dying early of cancer was low.
On average, female participants were 61 years old when they died and men were 60. Women would have been expected to live around 13 years longer, and the men an additional 8.5 years, the study authors wrote, so their deaths could be considered premature.

Inflammation Plays a Role
Although the study only showed an association between plaque and cancer deaths, the underlying problem was inflammation, which could be considered the common denominator.
"Bacteria in the gums may trigger local inflammation, and these bacteria and inflammatory markers don't just stay where they are," said Dr. Joel Epstein, director of oral medicine at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. "They are measurable in the blood, so it becomes systemic and widely distributed."
These findings made sense to Saul Presser, a dentist in private practice in New York City.
"There have been reports recently of a connection between certain cancers and oral plaque accumulation," he said. "When one has a lot of dental plaque, this means that more microorganisms are present than if there was minimal plaque in the mouth. It has been shown that certain cancers can be related to some viruses and other microorganisms."

The Take Away
It is too early to say that this plaque directly causes cancer, he said, but "it would be wise for patients to minimise their oral plaque through good oral hygiene and regular dental exams and professional cleanings."
Epstein said the findings demonstrate the interconnectedness of the human body.
"This is interesting and impactful data that broadens the whole view of not being able to separate the mouth from other body parts," he said.

More information
Learn more about healthy teeth and gums at the American Dental Association.