Sunday, October 6, 2013

Your Mouth: The Gateway to Health

Perhaps you have heard the saying that our eyes are the windows to our souls, but it is also said that our mouths are the openings to our overall health.

The health of our teeth and gums are big indicators of our general health. The problems that begin in our mouths may provide clues that connect to other health issues.

American Dental Plan has blogged about this topic before, because of the significant connection between your oral health and how it affects the rest of your body. 
Think of your mouth as the gateway, and it is a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque to grow and become more harmful if the care-taker (you) does not brush, floss and see the dentist regularly to keep it under control. Hygiene is the key to neutralize acids, ward off inflammation, cavities, infections, and gum disease and to prevent larger health issues, such as:

  • Heart disease and Endocarditis: A build-up of plaque can lead to inflammation, infection, clogged arteries and a stroke. In addition high levels of bacteria and germs can spread through your blood stream causing infection in the lining of your heart (endocardium) and can lead to Endocarditis, damaging heart tissue.
  • Premature birth: Severe gum disease can lead to premature birth and/or low birth weight.
  • Blood sugar and diabetes: There is an increased chance of gum disease for those who have diabetes and issues controlling their blood sugar levels.
  • Osteoporosis: When people experience issues with their tooth and periodontal bone loss, this may also be an indicator that other bones in the body are becoming weak and brittle.

These and other health issues are all potential risks when there is an absence of consistent oral care and hygiene. What can be the best preventative approach to protect you? Follow these practices:
  1. Brush your teeth twice a day
  2. Floss ever day 
  3. Maintain a healthy diet 
  4. Minimize high-fructose corn syrup, starches and sugars from your diet 
  5. Replace your toothbrush every 90 days 
  6. Visit your dentist and dental hygienist every six months for cleanings and exams 
You are the gate-keeper to your oral health. If you are over-due for a cleaning or check up, make sure to get back on a routine to ensure better health.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Milk and Cheese, Good Diet Choices for Oral and Bone Health

Two recent studies show the benefits of milk and cheese, and how these dairy products can aid against the development in tooth decay, and promote healthier teeth and bones. 

According to an article published by, a study conducted by the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Illinois indicated that a small glass of milk with breakfast in the morning can help reduce plaque acids by more than 50 percent.  Each of the 20 adults in the study group were provided a bowl of cereal, followed by either: milk, fruit juice or a glass of water, producing pH levels of “6.48 for milk drinkers, 6.02 for water and 5.83 for apple juice,” concluding that milk was the best choice for teeth. 

                                    Milk and Cheese Help pH Balance and Oral Health

Additionally, revealed the results of a new study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, which claimed the consumption of dairy products and cheese helps protect teeth against cavities, and promote better bone health.  
This study used a sample of 68 teens, ages 12 – 15, and again, after consuming cheese, sugar-free yogurt or milk, their pH levels were measured 10, 20, and 30 minutes after consumption, and found that of the three products, cheese produced the highest pH levels. "The higher the pH level, the lower the chance of developing cavities," explains Vipul Yadav, MDS, lead author of the study.

So go ahead, wear a milk mustache and be cheesy, it’s good for your smile!

"It looks like dairy does the mouth good," proclaimed Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Seung-Hee Rhee, DDS, FAGD.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Are Silver Filings A Health Hazard? Find Out

Amalgam, a popular dental filling, is the product of combining silver and mercury. With concerns about Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis being caused by mercury poisoning, some believe that the mercury in amalgam leaking from fillings could be a culprit. 

Medical experts and health organizations are not seeing links between the diseases and amalgam. The American Dental Association is maintaining their stance on amalgam being safe for dental filling material. Those statements are backed up by the Public Health Service and the World Health Organization. 

 Silver Fillings: Not Harmful to Health (Photo Courtesy eHow)

Several medical studies examining the effects of inorganic dental filling mercury on humans have ruled out any connection between amalgam and effects on the body. Experts cite the elemental, inorganic nature of the mercury in amalgam as a product that cannot be detrimental to human health. They add that one form of absorbable mercury, methyl mercury, can be absorbed into the digestive system and might cause cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease.

And many people are easily influenced by rumors and hearsay regarding amalgam—even when confronted by scientific facts claiming their health will not be affected. These falsities come in the form of articles that claim that chewing gum causes poisoning from mercury dental filling leaks as well as videos of supposed mercury vapor emitting from a person’s mouth. The latter is easily dismissed, as mercury cannot vaporize in one’s mouth unless the human body is at 673 degrees Fahrenheit.

For those seeking alternatives to amalgam fillings, there are several. Porcelain has the distinction of looking like tooth enamel and bending well to the shape of the teeth, though it is more expensive than the silver-and-mercury material and does not last as long. Resin is less resilient compared to porcelain and is primarily for minor cavities. 

If you have silver fillings and you are considering replacement for cosmetic reasons, American Dental Plan can help you save on dental care. Check out our list of benefits and providers in Arizona.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dental Implants: Benefits Extend Beyond Aesthetics

It is proven that people who have nice teeth smile more, while individuals with missing teeth or a lot of decay do not smile very often. Just the mere act of smiling, even if others are not present to witness it improves attitude. The loss of one’s teeth impacts more than just mood or attitude. Missing teeth can make it difficult to eat a balanced diet, because some foods are hard to chew. Bone loss from missing teeth causes facial features to change, and people tend to get that hallow look in their cheeks.
People who do not have all of their teeth would love to consider dental restoration, cosmetic repairs and implants. But there are greater benefits to oral restoration using benefits than just a great smile. 

(Dental Implant Photo

What are dental implants?
Dental implants are comprised of titanium and they work as a tooth root attached to a special crown which screws into the jawbone to maintain the structure of a natural tooth. They are the best alternative and replacement for missing teeth. They actually help maintain the same infrastructure of the mouth as real teeth, so that is the main difference between crowns, dentures and bridges, which are more superficial in structure.
It’s true, implants are more expensive, but consider the long term benefits:
  • Dental implants help prevent bone loss 
  • They enhance the quality of your life: Get a beautiful, natural looking smile that lasts a lifetime. 
  • There are no eating or food restrictions with implants, and you can chew all foods without issues
  • You can actually taste and enjoy the flavor of foods  which is not the case with dentures
Dental implants are the best replication of our actual teeth, so it is permanent and not subject to some of the issues experienced with crowns (gum swelling, gingivitis, irritations)
When considering oral restoration, consider dental implants. The best way to find out if they are within your financial reach is to meet with a specialist and get a treatment plan and learn about financing options.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

National Chidren's Dental Health Month Call To Action: Teach, Educate and Care for Your Kids' Teeth

Did you know February is National Children’s Dental Health Month? Teaching our children the importance of good oral care is a necessary part of parenting. The earlier you start educating your kids, the better.

If it is easy for dental care to slip our minds as adults, then most likely, it is much easier for our children to forget.

Think about it, for many of us, we may not even visit the dentist until there is discomfort - an ache or pain. We all know what that means, if there is pain, then decay or cavities may be at the “root” of the problem. Remember, root issues can lead to “rotten” results, which means bigger bills in the long run.

Most kids do not know the little signs leading up to bigger dental problems. They only know there is an issue when pain is involved, which is when they will communicate and complain to parents to inform them.
For the little ones, tooth decay is preventable if we follow a few simple rules as parents:

·         Avoid putting babies to bed with bottles filled with anything but water
·         Do not let toddlers carry sippy cups filled with sweetened drinks all day
·         It is best to quench their thirst, but not to keep re-filling with milk and/or sugary drinks, because they can cause decay.
At American Dental Plan, we offer a discount dental plan that can help you save up to 40% on dental care for your entire family. Yearly membership fees start as low as $59! And, with over 750 participating independent dentists throughout Arizona, you are sure to find a location to accommodate you and your family.
When is the best time to start setting dentist appointments for your tots? The answer is – as soon as their teeth start growing in. If a child has healthy baby teeth, chances are he or she will have healthy adult teeth as well.