Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Great American Smokeout, November 17, 2016

During the Great American Smokeout, held on the third Thursday of each November, the American Cancer Society asks smokers to quit even if just for one day. After 20 minutes of not smoking, heart rate and blood pressure decrease; after 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop. The longer a person stays smoke-free the more health benefits are gained.

image from
Smoking also affects the mouth and teeth in very serious ways. 

Smoking increases risk for:
  • oral cancer (cancer of the mouth)
  • esophageal cancer (cancer of the throat)
  • periodontal disease (gum disease that leads to bone loss)
  • cavities
  • tooth loss
  • black hairy tongue (Google an image of it)
  • dry mouth
  • bad breath
Diseases caused by smoking and second hand smoke are preventable. Quitting, if only for one day, is the first step to better health.

For more information about The Great American Smokeout and how to quit smoking, visit:,, This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you need medical or dental treatment, seek help from your doctor or dentist. If you smoke, QUIT!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bad eyesight? Back Hurts? Your mouth may be to blame.

Italian researchers reviewed studies that show a relationship between the health of the mouth and the health of the eyes. The mouth and eyes share a complex nerve pathway that runs through the head and neck. This nerve connection is a main reason for the relationships they found.

The studies revealed a strong correlation between Class II malocclusion, known as overbite, and myopia, near-sightedness. People with this dental condition were more likely to be nearsighted than people with other types of crooked teeth or people with straight teeth. Astigmatism (overall blurry vision) was also found to be associated with crossbite - teeth that don't fit together properly when the mouth is closed.

Research also showed that the pupils of people with jaw pain, like that caused by TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder, react differently to light than people without jaw pain. People with TMJ disorder were more likely to have poor posture and back problems, too. This is because the alignment of the jaw and muscles affects gaze and line of sight which can affect how people stand. Dry eye was also associated with TMJ difficulties.

So, in the future don't too surprised if your dentist asks you about your eyes and your eye doctor asks you about your teeth!

(The research review article was published in The Open Dental Journal, Volume 10, 2016, Oct. 31.  2016 Aug 31;10:460-468. eCollection 2016.
Dental Occlusion and Ophthalmology: A Literature Review.
Marchili N1Ortu E1Pietropaoli D1Cattaneo R1Monaco A1.)

This blog is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical or dental condition. For good health - see your dentist and doctor regularly - your eye doctor, too!

Friday, October 7, 2016

It's World Smile Day 2016!

Happy World Smile Day! The intent of World Smile Day is to engage in an act of kindness or good deed in the spirit of the Smiley symbol.

Although the traditional Smiley has no teeth showing, I hope you don’t mind if I pass along some tips on keeping your smile beautiful and healthy:

Brush at least two times a day for two whole minutes, once in the morning and once at night.

Brush each and every tooth (it’s called a tooth brush and not a teeth brush!) to get each and every surface.

Brush gently and use a soft tooth brush – you don’t want to hurt those all important gums!

Floss once a day to keep those in-between surfaces germ free, too.

Eat a healthy diet, low in sugar. Plaque germs that make acid on the teeth just LOVE sugar – Starve the plaque!

Watch what you drink – water is always your best bet. It has no sugar and keeps you healthy and hydrated.

If you can’t brush – rinse or sip some water, or chew some sugar-free gum.

Finally, think about someone you love and how each day is a gift. It will make you smile and a smile is a beautiful thing.
Yours in good oral health for better health,


For more on World Smile Day, visit:

This blog is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition. Visit your doctor and dentist regularly!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ask about it

Does your dental office do oral cancer screenings? Don't be afraid to ask. You may not even realize that you are receiving an oral cancer screening as a regular part of your routine dental hygiene visit.

About 50,000 Americans a year are diagnosed with oral cancers. Like every other cancer the earlier it is detected, the better the outcome. If you're not sure you are being screened for oral cancer, ask your dentist or dental hygienist to do an oral cancer screening. 

If you smoke and/or drink alcohol or have a history of other cancers, oral cancer screening is particularly important. The risk of oral cancer in people who drink alcohol heavily is about two to three times that of non-drinkers. Smokers are 80% more likely to get oral cancers. In people who smoke and drink, oral cancer risk increases by 70 times.

If you have pain in your mouth or face, have a sore in your mouth that doesn't go away or gets larger, or difficulty swallowing, tell your doctor or dentist. Know that you know your body better than anyone else. Don't wait - the life you can save is your own!

Did you know that drinking more than 21 drinks a week is an indication of alcohol abuse? If you feel that you have a drinking problem, get help!

For some great facts about oral cancer visit:

This post is not meant to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Visit your doctor or dentist!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Buck the Rules - Why You Should (Still) Floss

I don't usually just dash off posts to my blog - it takes me a while to decide what I want to write about and then even longer to write it. That may not be too hard to believe considering the length of time between my posts. So, while I just posted very recently, I wanted to take a moment to address the recent news about flossing because the story has been everywhere: TV, internet, and radio.

It is true that the federal government has dropped the hygiene recommendation of flossing due to a lack of research, or rather a lack of substantial scientific study. Well, this is one of their rules - and rules are rules, right?

However, if you are one of the two or three out of ten people in the U.S. who actually floss on a daily basis, keep right on flossing. Of course, if that does describe you, I am preaching to the choir because people who floss every day are already in the habit of doing it, know its benefits, and wouldn't consider stopping.

Floss and Brush (ym)
What is problematic is that this information can potentially discourage people who don't floss or floss infrequently from developing a terrific daily habit that has incredible health benefits. This kind of information, served up by the media with the maxim "Government Says Flossing Useless" is akin to what happened to eggs several years back - they're bad - don't eat them, no wait, they're good, no wait, we mean bad, no we mean incredibly edible - eat one a day. How about butter vs. margarine? Margarine is better than butter, nope, sorry, worse - just use olive oil.

Just because the government no longer recommends flossing because the studies don't meet their criteria does not refute what dental professionals and patients who floss know to be the truth - less plaque, stronger gums, gums that don't bleeds, less cavities between the teeth, fresher breath. If there is a lack of scientific evidence to support flossing, that may be the nature of the beast. Designing a study to quantify a practice that is largely technique driven is difficult and dental disease is caused by several factors. But no excuses, we will need to do more and better research to support what we know to be true: flossing helps keep the mouth healthy.

Until that happens, and it must, keep right on flossing and if you don't floss, why not start? Even though rules are rules, rules are meant to be broken, no?

This post is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. Please see your dental or medical provider for treatment. Stay healthy!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lung Cancer and Gum Disease

A new report released in June finds an increased risk of lung cancer in people with gum disease. The report, which analyzed previous studies, found that even after adjusting other lung cancer risk factors like smoking, drinking alcohol, and diabetes, there was still this increased risk.The risk was higher still in women with periodontal disease than in men. 
Health mouth, healthy body (Artwork: YM)

So what is periodontal disease? There are two types: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is early gum disease and is reversible. These are puffy, bleeding gums that can be healed with regular flossing and brushing. The second type of gum disease, periodontitis, means that the disease had gone into other structures of the gums, like the ligaments that help hold the teeth to the bone. In advanced periodontitis, teeth may be loose due to bone loss and the gums may be receding. This type of gum disease can not be reversed but can be managed. Daily brushing and flossing combined with regular dental visits and gum therapy can stop the condition from worsening. There is no pain with most gum disease and some people with gum disease may feel like their teeth have "shifted." Often, they have not been going for their regular check-ups and cleanings every six months. 

Up to one-half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Periodontal disease is 2.5 times more common than diabetes, yet people tend to neglect their teeth without really thinking about how it can affect the rest of the body. 

Given that lung cancer death is the number one cancer death in the U.S., this newly discovered risk is yet another reason to take good care of your teeth. Just think about it: two minutes of brushing two times a day may decrease your risk of dying from lung cancer. Isn't that worth it?

For more on this report visit:

This blog is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition. If you are worried about your health, go visit your doctor or dentist. Please take care of yourself!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Soda - Skip It

Below is an excellent article from about how drinking soda affects the body.

The effect on the teeth is just as dramatic. After drinking a soda, plaque germs will continue to make acid on the teeth for twenty minutes. If that soda is slowly sipped over hours, the acid attack continues. The acid in the soda also weakens and softens the enamel. (This occurs with diet soda, too.)

It is better to have soda with a meal
and to drink it all at one sitting.

For tooth health after drinking a soda, rinse well with water. Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before brushing.

Please view the article about soda at:

This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Please see your medical or dental professional if you aren't feeling well!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

And the survey says....

photo: YM
A recent survey of adults in the U.S. shows a knowledge gap when it comes to dental health. The survey, done for the Children’s Dental Health Project, asked 5 questions.
Among the findings, only 7% of adults correctly identified tooth decay as the most common chronic health condition affecting U.S. children and teens. Over 40% of adults felt they had little to no control over getting a cavity and only 18% stated that it was true that the bacteria that causes tooth decay can be transmitted from parents to their children.

While obesity and asthma are common childhood diseases tooth decay is more common, even though it is virtually completely preventable with regular oral hygiene and healthy diet. 

Additionally, 41% marked true that children’s teeth should be brushed starting at age 3 when in fact, baby teeth need to be cleaned from the time the first tooth emerges.
On a positive note, most of the adults surveyed recognized that the health of the mouth is important to the health of the rest of the body.

To view the survey visit the Children's Dental Health Project at: Survey reveals big gaps in the public's knowledge of dental health

Monday, February 1, 2016

National Children's Dental Health Month - Sweat the Small Stuff

Baby Teeth Are Important

Some people think that a cavity in a baby tooth is no big deal. Why even fill it? It's just going to fall out anyway. But baby teeth don't start to fall out until a child is six or seven years old. Some baby teeth remain in the mouth until a child reaches twelve to thirteen years old. Until that time those baby teeth perform all the same functions as the adult teeth and it is important that they are healthy and strong. Furthermore the baby teeth hold the space for the adult teeth coming in. Early loss of baby teeth can result in crowded or misaligned teeth.

By the time a child is six to eight months old the very first baby teeth have begun to erupt. It is very important to care for these teeth every day by wiping or brushing them after each meal. A tiny bit of toothpaste can even be used. The recommendation is for the first dental visit at one year of age, although many people wait much longer to take their child to a dentist. Unfortunately by that time, if the teeth have not been properly cared for, decay may be present. This is especially true if the child is given a bottle with milk, formula, breast milk or juice to sleep with at night. If a bottle is given other than with meals, it should have water in it only. It is not recommended to put a child to sleep at night with a bottle.

The problem with the bacteria that cause cavities is that after the initial cavity is formed, if the teeth continued to be neglected, the cavities will continue to spread. Just like with the adult teeth, this can result in serious pain and infection.

Children need their teeth to be healthy from the start so that their bodies can grow to be healthy and strong. When the baby teeth start coming in the child is beginning to eat solid foods and learning to speak. The period of time between the emergence of the first baby tooth until all the teeth are in at 3 years of age marks a period of incredible development. Likewise, the loss of the baby teeth and emergence of the first permanent teeth mark the beginning of another period of tremendous growth of the mind and body which takes the child all the way to adolescence.

February is designated as National Children's Dental Health Month to remind everyone that the smallest things, like baby teeth, matter a great deal to life long health.

Primary Teeth Chart;

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness or condition. If you need medical or dental care please see your doctor or dentist right away! You'll be happy you did.