Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Blog Has Moved

Hello loyal readers.   My blog has moved.   You can find it at www.dentistlove.com.  
Happy reading...


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

If Red Wine Stains, White Should be Fine, Right? Think Again...

I'm sure you've heard (especially if you've had your teeth whitened) that dark liquids like red wine and cola can stain your teeth.  True.  You want your teeth to be white and "white" wine should be a good, non-staining choice, right? False.

A study at New York University College of Dentistry revealed that white wine may actually make teeth more susceptible to stains (if you drink it - or soak cow teeth in it for an hour, as they did in the study).  White wine contains acids that can create ridges in the teeth which allow staining agents to get deeper into the teeth.

Of course, red wine is still worse than white wine on the staining scale, especially if you drink it second.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In The Footsteps of Sy Sperling: 1-800-DENTIST edition

I am currently visiting New York City.  My wife broke a crown, so we needed to find a dentist for her.  If only we knew a way to find a great dentist.  Oh, wait... I called 1-800-DENTIST, got referred to a great dentist and she was able to be seen right away. To paraphrase Mastercard, the phone call was free and the results were priceless.

Thankfully, my hair is all my own.  However, I feel another paraphrase coming on. This time, it is Sy Sperling: I'm not only the CEO of 1-800-DENTIST, but I'm also a client.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If a Monkey Can Floss....

"Flossing is hard."  "Flossing hurts."  "Flossing takes too long."  "I can't remember to floss."   I've heard them all.  This video falls under the heading "so easy a monkey can do it." Leave it to a monkey to set a good example.....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Notch on Green Tea's Belt: It Helps Your Gums

Green tea has been getting a lot of great press lately.  It gets credit for helping your heart and preventing cancer (providing you drink it, of course). I have also seen it make an appearance in shampoo and face cream (which you probably shouldn't drink).

Now a study that has been published in the Journal of Periodontology indicates that drinking green tea can help your teeth and gums. Gum health was better in the green tea drinkers than it was in the non-drinkers. The benefits might be attributable to the presence of the antioxidant catechin.

Green tea works hard for your health, but it can't do it alone.  Let your dentist help.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do You Like Brad Pitt's Smile?

Last week I attended the Chicago Dental Society's 144th Annual Midwinter Meeting, which took place in, you guessed it, Chicago. In winter. A survey was given and the responding dentists said that the the celebrity smile most men ask for is that of Brad Pitt (a change from 2006's Tom Cruise). For women, the most requested smile belongs to Julia Roberts. Movie stars do seem to have nice teeth. Does that mean if you call 1-800-DENTIST and take care of your teeth you might become a movie star? You never know....  

In another survey response, 17% of responding dentists feel that the Tooth Fairy should pay $5 per tooth! With this economy and that rate, the Tooth Fairy might want to stock up on Super Glue.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Visit Your Dentist, Not Your Junk Drawer

We hear the news stories every day. We know the words: economy, deficit, unemployment, stimulus... Yes, times are tough, but don't take it out on your mouth and your health. A woman in Colorado has actually been using Super Glue to keep her teeth in her mouth. "Self help" in dentistry involves brushing and flossing, not this.

We know why dentistry isn't cheap (and shouldn't be) and why dentistry is a good investment. Sure, you can wait a bit for the dream smile if you need to, but get basic care. I hope you know by now that if you don't have one, 1-800-DENTIST will help you find a dentist near you. Many will invite you in for a no-cost evaluation and will discuss financing options for care you may need. Super Glue sold separately.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is 600 a Crowd? Ask Your Saliva.

In addition to helping us fight tooth decay, saliva is also home to over 600 types of bacteria. Scientists (again with the scientists) have found that the variety of bacteria in the saliva is not as related to diet and environment as they had suspected.  Because of all the colonies of bacteria, saliva actually contains more DNA than blood does.

The article mentions one of the benefits of saliva. Humans are not as good as animals at detecting toxins, so we vomit more than other species. Saliva helps to guard against the damage of the acid when we throw up (Charming, I know.).

Most bacteria don't help us at all. They are just along for the ride. So keep your mouth clean and visit your dentist regularly before a new species gets named after you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why Don't We Have Shark Teeth?

Have you ever wondered why sharks have several rows of teeth and we have only one? Neither have I, but scientists have. Genetic researchers have isolated a gene in mice that controls tooth development and placement. When they "turned off" the gene, the mice developed extra teeth.

In humans this could provide a weapon against abnormal teeth development and cleft palate, which occurs in 1 in 700 live births.  Also, the potential to grow new teeth in adults could add an additional choice to dentures or dental implants.

Tonight when you pick up your toothbrush, be happy you don't have mouse or shark teeth. Also, they don't have the ability to call 1-800-DENTIST to find a great dentist.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Follow-up: Some Help For "Mountain Dew Mouth"

In my last post I mentioned an ABC News story that referred to the poor oral health of some of the residents of eastern Kentucky. It seems as though that story motivated some people and some organizations to help to ameliorate the situation

PepsiCo, the makers of Mountain Dew, have made a promise to donate a fully-equipped mobile dental clinic to aid the residents in the area. This will be in addition to the one a local dentist is already using.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Read About What Soda Could Do To Your Teeth

I'm sure we've all heard the claim that if you leave a tooth in a glass of cola the tooth will dissolve. If you hadn't, you have now.

A few days ago I saw a news story about the incredibly bad dental health of children in eastern Kentucky. The rampant tooth decay there is being blamed partly on their consumption of large amounts of soda (specifically Mountain Dew, which has 50% more caffeine than Coke or Pepsi and is claimed to be "used as a kind of anti-depressant for children in the hills.").

A sad fact in the story is that the Central Appalachian region leads the nation in toothlessness. A bright spot in the story is Dr. Edwin Smith, who travels the area in a mobile dental clinic he financed himself. For many families, this is their only option for seeing a dentist.

Situations like this are the reason the National Children's Oral Health Foundation exists. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Help Protect Children's Teeth With Dental Sealants

We've talked about the importance of proper oral hygiene for "baby teeth." Yes, they will eventually fall out, but proper care for them sets the stage for the "permanent teeth," which are certainly not immune to decay. 

Hopefully a good brushing and flossing routine will be a habit by the time those permanent teeth arrive. They will be used for a much longer time than baby teeth. Your dentist can bolster the home care and help prevent decay by applying dental sealants to those workhorse molars. The first permanent molars typically appear around age six.

If you are an adult who is prone to tooth decay, dental sealants might be right for you as well.  Ask your dentist about them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Brushing and Flossing Should Be Like Frog and Toad: Friends

Since my last post was about teaching your children the importance of proper brushing, I would be remiss if I didn't follow it up with stressing the importance of flossing. Just like brushing, it should be done frequently and properly. Teach your kids to floss every time they brush.

Ideally, flossing should begin as soon as there are two teeth together.  Typically, children can begin to learn to floss by themselves starting at age two or three.

To help you, 1800DENTIST.com has a step-by-step flossing guide for kids. We're nice like that.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Teach Your Children The Importance of Proper Brushing

While it is very important to see your dentist at least twice per year, the most important part of taking care of your teeth should be occurring at home: brushing and flossing properly and regularly. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes at least twice a day. Use a timer or play a song to get your child used to brushing for the proper amount of time. Many toothbrushes have timers or lights built in to help you.  

Getting your children into the the brushing habit early can help prevent tooth decay and more serious problems later in life. It is important to set a good example, so make sure you practice what you preach.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

National Children's Oral Health Foundation

Did you know that economically disadvantaged children are twice as likely as their peers to have dental problems? It is estimated that 5 million children have dental problem that negatively impact their eating, sleeping and classroom performance.

I am on the board of the National Children's Oral Health Foundation. It is a group dedicated to getting proper dental care for children who are less fortunate. The Foundation started in 2006 and has formed a network of dental providers, non-profits and others interested in improving the overall health of children nationwide. It has started work in developing nations as well.

Contact them to learn more and to find out how you can help. Also, call your dentist's office to find out if they are involved.  If you don't have a dentist, call 1-800-DENTIST today.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February is National Children's Dental Health Month

Happy February, also known as National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). It is a great time to make sure your family is current on visits to the dentist. 

NCDHM began as a one-day event in Ohio in 1941. It gradually expanded until it became an entire month in 1981. Many of my blog posts this month will focus on children's dentistry and oral health, from helping your own kids to ways to help those who are less fortunate.

There are many resources to help create awareness and promote good oral health for children, both at home and in school. Some can be found at 1800DENTIST.com.  If you need a dentist for your child or for yourself, contact 1-800-DENTIST today. 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

If a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, How Much is a Video Worth?

There are things we know and things we don't know.  We all know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words."  If you read this blog regularly, you know I have already used thousands of words to remind you to see your dentist regularly and take care of your teeth.

Now I am going to test the aforementioned adage by using a video to get my point across. I hope it works. There are things we know and things we don't know. Perhaps you didn't know what 28,000 teeth look like. Now you know.

Don't get so sucked into YouTube that you miss your next dental appointment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chronic Bad Breath? See Your Dentist.

Bad breath (halitosis) is a common social problem. Many people cover their mouths when they speak, and people spend a fortune on mouthwash, gum and mints. It may be more efficient and less expensive to visit the dentist and tackle the problem at the source.

Of course, bad breath can be caused by a variety of things. Diet is a major factor, with temporary unpleasant odors being caused by the well-known work of onions and garlic. "Morning breath" is caused by the mouth being closed and dry during sleep, so you can't benefit from the cleaning effects of saliva. Symptoms from these causes can usually be handled by cleaning the mouth and tongue.

However, chronic bad breath can be a sign of a more serious problem. Periodontal disease or dental work that is in need of restoration can cause halitosis that is relatively constant. Gum, mints and mouthwashes will only mask it temporarily. The dentist can help you find the root of the problem.

Some dentists have a device called a Halimeter to measure bad breath. They also have products, such as BreathRx designed to help you fight bad breath at home. So visit the dentist, fix that bad breath and move your hand away from your mouth.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dental Fluorosis: Too Much Fluoride is a Bad Thing

Dental fluorosis is a condition that occurs when the body takes in more fluoride than it needs. It is most common in children whose teeth and gums are still developing (typically before age 7). The result is discoloration of the teeth. In a mild form, the teeth get white lines or patches.  In more extreme cases, the enamel can turn yellow or brown, and the teeth can become mottled.

Fluoride is readily available, so it is important to monitor fluoride intake. Fluoride can be ingested from sources such as tap water, toothpaste and vitamins. Make sure your children use small amounts of fluoride toothpaste and rinse thoroughly to avoid swallowing it.

As with any oral health issue, consult your dentist regarding prevention or treatment of dental fluorosis.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Early Detection of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer posts some big, scary numbers. It strikes approximately 35,000 people annually in the US, killing 7,500 of them (that's more than skin cancer).  I mentioned in a previous posting that dentists are trained to detect oral cancer.

There is also a device called a ViziLite that helps dentists detect oral cancer early, before white patches are visible.  A ViziLite exam may be covered by insurance.

Early detection and treatment can give the patient an 80% or better chance at survival.  That's the kind of number we like to see.  You can do a self-examination for oral cancer.  However, to get access to the latest technology and to have the best chance at early detection of oral cancer, see a dentist regularly as well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mints That Can Prevent Cavities in Children

Saliva helps to clean your teeth.  It washes away food particles and it allows teeth to absorb minerals that help to strengthen enamel.

Scientists have developed a substance called CaviStat to help in the fight against cavities. CaviStat contains an amino acid that can duplicate the remineralization effects of saliva. Studies have shown it to be more effective than fluoride at preventing cavities in children.

And now some good news for your child's sweet tooth: CaviStat now comes in chewable mints called BasicMints.  A study of BasicMints showed reduced cavities in children who ate them after brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. The study was funded by Ortek Therapeutics, the company that has licensed CaviStat. Ortek is working on getting FDA approval for BasicMints.

Ask your dentist about them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugurate A New Dentist in Your Life

Today is Inauguration Day.  It is a day of change.  Out with the old and in with the new, etc. This is a good time to implement that New Year's Resolution you made to see a dentist regularly.  Or, if you didn't make one, make one now.

Following up on the "out with the old and in with the new," perhaps it is time to find a new dentist to replace the one you have disliked for the past eight years. If you don't like your dentist, you won't make an appointment.  If you don't make an appointment, your teeth will suffer.  If your teeth suffer, well, you see where this is going.... 

Come on, preserve, protect and defend your teeth and your overall health. Say it with me: I (state your name), do solemnly swear to call 1-800-DENTIST today.... 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Exercising as a Resolution? Watch Those Sports Drinks.

Many people put "exercise"at the top of the list of New Year's Resolutions. It is great to take care of your body and improve your health.  However, don't let the pursuit of the perfect physique hurt your dental health.  Be careful what you drink when you exercise.

Studies have shown that sports drinks can do significant damage to the enamel on your teeth. They even rank above colas as a cause of tooth decay. The acids in the drinks can break down calcium, which helps to strengthen teeth and prevent gum disease.

So, as you are gritting your teeth to do that one last crunch, remember that plain old water won't hurt those teeth while it keeps you hydrated.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

If You Don't Like Needles, You Can Try Hypnosis

One thing that many people dislike about dentistry is the needle that is sometimes used to administer anesthesia for certain procedures. Perhaps they wouldn't mind as much if they got relaxed by a voice instead of an injection. Hypnosis could make this a reality.

Hypnosis for dentistry, which was first reported in Egypt thousands of years ago, is gaining popularity. Dentists from all over the United States come to the USC School of Dentistry to take classes that teach them how to use hypnosis in a dental practice. 

In addition to relaxation for dental procedures, the hypnosis can be used to affect behavior outside the dental office as well. Perhaps all patients will soon be flossing regularly.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Read This if You Take Osteoporosis Drugs

A new study has shown that use of drugs such as Fosamax, commonly used to treat osteoporosis, can lead to the death of bone tissue (osteonecrosis) in the jaw.  These drugs are known as bisphosphonates, and they are designed to reduce the activity of cells that cause loss of bone. 

The study was conducted at USC by Dr. Parish Sedghizadeh, assistant professor of clinical dentistry with the USC School of Dentistry. He hopes that more studies confirm this so more dentists and doctors will discuss it with their patients.

Be sure to ask your doctor and dentist about this, especially if you are having dental work done. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Want to Express Yourself? You Can Decorate Your Retainer

You may have opted for low-key by going the invisible braces route. However, now, with the last step - the retainer - you can get a little bit creative. 

Many dentists and orthodontists now work with labs that allow you to choose from a variety of designs and artwork to adorn the acrylic portion of your retainer. Hopefully this will make putting the finishing touches on your new, wonderfully-straight smile a bit less arduous. 

Since the design can't be seen while you wear the retainer, don't expect hooting and hollering from people on the street.  This little piece of your smile is just for you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year = Reset Dental Insurance Limits

I saw this post on Twitter today: "have to go to the dentist this morning - like to get the deductible out of the way as early in the year as possible."  I think it is a good sentiment. If you have dental insurance, you might as well use it. We often get the "use it or lose it" messages about our insurance and/or FSA accounts toward the end of the year.  Why not get a jump on things by calling today to schedule your next dentist appointment?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Improved Oral Hygiene is a Good New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year. Have you made any resolutions? Most people do. Many resolutions involve getting in shape and improving your health. Focusing on your dental health and getting the smile you've always wanted can improve your life in many ways. You can become more confident in your appearance, which can make you happier, which can lead to health benefits.

The link between good oral health and your overall health has been demonstrated. Good oral hygiene will also help your general health. Whether it is for purely cosmetic reasons or for improved health reasons, seeing the dentist can be a great resolution.

Have a happy and healthy 2009!