Brush Up on Back-to-School Oral Health

As the summer starts to wind down and our focus starts to shift from beach days to backpacks and binders, it’s also a valuable time to remember our kids’ oral health. Whether you’re sending your student off to college or just starting his journey in kindergarten, incorporating a dental exam into your child’s back-to-school preparation is essential. Here’s your back-to-school oral health checklist.

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The Fluoride Debate

There’s no shortage of controversial topics on the news most evenings, but there’s at least one topic that shouldn’t be as controversial as it seems. It’s the great debate many towns across America are facing these days: to fluoridate or not to fluoridate the water - that, as they say, is the question. So, who’s right: The anti-fluoride activists who claim that fluoridating the water supply can cause everything from low IQ to cancer, or the medical community who say fluoridating the water helps reduce dental caries (cavities)? Decide for yourself.

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Wise Investment or Waste of Money?

Self-brushing toothbrushes. Waterpiks. UV teeth-whitening lights. With so many oral health innovations on the marketing – and so many more coming out each year - it can be overwhelming to consumers to know which products work, and which ones just aren't worth the investment. After all, why spend $200 on a whitening kit if it’s no more effective than your $4 whitening toothpaste? Here, we'll go over some of the more popular at-home products to help you decide which ones to buy.

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Don’t Try This at Home: Leave This Repair to the Experts

There’s a certain sense of accomplishment you can only get from completing a do-it-yourself (or DIY) project – especially if that project is something you’ve never tried before. But sometimes in life there are DIY projects that you really shouldn’t do yourself, not just because they’re too difficult, but also because they can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Such is the case with many at-home dental treatments. While some may promise results that rival a professional job, the risks involved make them not worth the effort. Here’s one dental treatment you should definitely not try at home.

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Botox From the Dentist?

You may never have known about it, but across America, there’s a controversy that’s been brewing for years involving a very popular cosmetic filler. That’s because, depending on where you live, your dentist may be able to inject you with the cosmetic filler Botox - and not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Here in California, dentists cannot inject patients with Botox for cosmetic purposes. Many other states have the same law. This was done to protect patients from practitioners who may not have the skills and training to administer Botox. However, dentists arguably know the muscles and nerves around the mouth and face better than any other type of doctor, including plastic surgeons.

The good news is that your dentist can inject you with Botox for medical purposes! In fact, you may never have realized it, but Botox can be used to help alleviate the pain from some very common dental issues.

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How Much Pain Is Normal with New Braces?

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_486598651.jpgBraces are one of those necessary evils that nobody particularly wants but almost nobody regrets getting once they come off. The good news is that they usually work really well - and they don’t stay on forever (despite how it feels sometimes!). The bad news is that, unfortunately, they aren’t always the most comfortable or easy-to-clean oral appliances. If you’re hesitant about getting braces because of a fear of potential discomfort, check out this blog about what to expect when you get braces.

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Common Questions About Dental Implants

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_294243569.jpgWhether you are already missing teeth or you are facing the loss of a permanent tooth, an increasingly popular solution is the installation of dental implants. A dental implant is a permanent prosthetic tooth (crown) that secures via a metal post that is implanted into the jaw. When properly installed, the crown looks and feels just like a natural tooth. But in order to achieve a flawless installation, there are some steps you should take before you even lose the tooth your crown is replacing. If you’re considering dental implants, here are some facts you should consider.

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How to Cut Costs at the Dentist

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_331734899.jpgThe new year is in full swing, bringing with it new goals, new resolutions and, yes, even new insurance plans. For many Americans, a new policy, or changes to an old policy, can be very stressful, especially if your coverage has changed.

One area where coverage can often be seriously lacking is in dental care. In fact, even though more Americans have dental coverage today than ever before, out-of-pocket costs have never been higher. So even if you do have insurance, there’s a good chance you’re still paying more money out of pocket than you would have 20 years ago for the same services. For an individual, these costs can be hard to manage - but for a family, they can be devastating.

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Forensic Scientists Find Links Between Teeth, Environment

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_776608750.jpgMany things get stuck in our teeth - caramel, popcorn, spinach - but did you know that for some workers, evidence of their job can get stuck in their teeth, too?

A team of scientists at Gujarat, India’s Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, under the helm of forensic odontology student Dr. Riddhi Thanki, Rajesh Babu and Dr. MS Dahiya, found a connection between the hardened plaque deposits found on teeth and certain environmental factors.

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721 Hits

Don’t Be Afraid to Floss

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_273038321.jpgThere’s no topic discussed at a dental exam that seems to make people more uncomfortable than flossing. As you may already be aware, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends we floss our teeth at least once a day. This is because string dental floss can reach between the teeth in ways brushing or water flossing cannot. In fact, when you don’t floss, you’re only cleaning about 60 percent of your teeth! That’s right - flossing alone cleans about 40 percent of your teeth’s surfaces.

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These Vitamins Can Help Oral Health

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_338422418.jpgA trip down the vitamin aisle at your local pharmacy can be an overwhelming experience. With literally hundreds of brands and types of vitamins to choose from, it’s hard to know which one you need to address your specific health needs. Do you go with a generic multi-vitamin? A probiotic? A chewable? And how do you know what dose to take, or if you’re already getting enough of certain vitamins from your diet or other medications?  

The best advice we can give you about vitamins is to speak to your physician about which supplement is best for you, but if you are looking for a vitamin to improve your oral health, here are a few that have proven benefits. Remember: If you’re interested in trying any of these vitamins, speak to Dr. Abelar or your physician to see if they would be a good fit with your lifestyle.

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Smile Insecurities Affect Career Aspirations, Study Says

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_125240636.jpgA recent study by the American Dental Association has revealed some startling statistics about millennials and oral health. According to the study, titled "Oral Health and Well-Being in the United States," 29 percent of lower-income individuals and 28 percent of millennials admitted that insecurities about the health and appearance of their teeth have negatively affected their ability to interview for a new job.

"These numbers are very disheartening to hear, given the difficulty younger workers and lower-income workers have experienced entering the work force," says Dr. Martin Abelar, a dentist in San Diego, California. "These are definitely people we should be rooting for in the job market."

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The 3 Types of Teeth Discoloration

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_85060831.jpgIf you’ve ever lost an adult tooth, you already know your options for replacing that tooth are limited. Dentures, partials or bridges give you the look of having a tooth where one is missing, but they aren’t permanent and can still cause a great deal of insecurity to wearers. Dental implants are a more permanent solution, but their high cost can be prohibitive to some budgets, and they do carry a risk of implant failure that can cost the wearer portions of his or her jawbone. But a new procedure under development at Columbia University may provide a solution that patients will really want to sink their teeth into.

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1855 Hits

What’s That Spot?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_333000893.jpgWhen you come in to the dentist's office for a teeth-whitening procedure, you probably have a few expectations: a whiter smile; a calm, relaxing environment; and an attentive, professional staff. What you may not expect is tooth sensitivity. But many patients experience this side effect during or after a whitening procedure. While for some the pain is manageable and only temporary, for others it can last from several minutes to several days. If you are considering a whitening procedure and either have experienced sensitivity in the past, or would like to reduce your risk of experiencing it in the future, try these tips before you whiten.

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573 Hits

Permanent Birth Control Device Blamed for Tooth Loss

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_608251319.jpgBritish soap opera star Samantha Womack recently made headlines for undergoing a deep-cleaning gum treatment called Bone One Session Treatment, or BOST, that claims to cure periodontal disease in just one session. Womack claims that after one four-hour sitting, her gums were completely cleaned and essentially cured of periodontal disease. But is this possible? Dentist Martin Abelar of San Diego, California, weighs in.

"The BOST procedure consists of gently pulling the gums away from the teeth to reach underneath the gum line and clean out the bacteria that is hiding inside," he says. "The dentist will actually DNA test the bacteria in each pocket and develop a treatment to kill that specific type of bacteria."

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Quality is Something to Care About

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-12.jpgRoot canals are one of the most feared procedures a dental patient can undergo, but the root canals of today are a far cry from the painful procedures they used to be. Today’s root canals are quicker, less painful and have a higher success rate than procedures performed decades ago. In fact, many of today’s root canal procedures are about as simple and painless as getting a regular filling. Unfortunately, despite their reduced pain and higher success rate, there are still failed procedures - but a team from the UCLA School of Dentistry and UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have teamed up to try to improve the success rate of the root canal using particles known as nanodiamonds.

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Can This Four-Hour Deep Cleaning Cure Gum Disease?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_414838231.jpgWith an estimated 488 million business trips taken each year, averaging four nights away each, it’s safe to say that we are a country on the move. But while all that travel can bulk up your air miles account, it could be doing some severe damage to your oral health. Whether you travel for work, or you’re lucky enough to travel for pleasure, there are some things you can (and should!) do to make sure you are taking proper care of your teeth while you’re on the road.

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Root Canals May Soon Be Enhanced With Nanodiamonds

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_477715900-1.jpgIt’s no secret that parents worry about their children, and kids' health and wellness is probably most parents' No. 1 worry. If there was a way to prevent kids from needing painful procedures down the road, most parents would happily take advantage of it. The good news is, when it comes to oral health, there is a scientifically proven way to protect the teeth of school-aged children from cavities and decay!

Dental sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay by close to 80 percent in molars, where nooks and crannies make them especially prone to problems. Unfortunately, the CDC reports that only 43 percent of children ages 6 to 11 have received sealants, and those who haven’t have three times more cavities than those who have had the simple treatment.

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Traveling for Work? Don’t Skip the Oral Health Routine

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_263484728.jpgWhether you’re a first-time parent or a seasoned pro, it’s impossible to know everything there is to know about raising babies. This is especially true when it comes to caring for your baby’s teeth. Perhaps that’s why nearly 35 percent of children don’t see their family dentist for the first time until after their second birthday, more than a full year after the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's (AAPD) recommendation of age 1.

But even the most diligent parent can still have questions about their children’s teeth and still may not know when their children should meet certain oral health milestones. One particular milestone that many parents may miss, or may not realize the importance of, is the discontinuation of the baby bottle. Though it may not seem dental-related, extended use of baby bottles can be harmful past the age of 1. Dr. Martin Abelar of San Diego, California, explains why.

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1014 Hits

When Should Babies Say Bye-Bye to Bottles?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_144116677.jpgTeeth. From the outside, they probably don’t look like they’re all that complex. After all, they’re so small, it’s hard to imagine there's much going on inside of them. But believe it or not, these small but mighty bones are more complex than they look – and a lot different from the other bones in your body. Whether you’ve always wanted to know what goes on inside your teeth, or you never really thought about it before, knowing what’s going on inside your teeth can help you understand why it’s so important to take care of them, and better understand what’s going on in your dental procedures.

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776 Hits