Saturday, July 8, 2017

What's New on the New Nutrition Labels

The New Nutrition Labels

What's new and what it means for your teeth

The nutrition label on packaged goods is changing to make it easier for people to understand the nutritional value of what they are eating and to be in line with current scientific knowledge.

This change, mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA,) reflects current research on what people actually eat or drink.

Food Serving Sizes Get a Reality Check, source:
For example, because people usually drink a can of sugar-sweetened soda in one sitting, the serving size of soda is being increased from 8 ounces to 12 ounces, the size of the can of soda. Twenty ounce bottles of sugar-sweetened beverages likewise will be considered only one serving. Other serving sizes will decrease. The serving size of yogurt, for instance, will decrease from 8 ounces to 6 ounces because data revealed that 6 ounces is the amount that someone typically eats in one serving. Any package that contains what might be considered one serving and could be eaten in one sitting must list the total amounts per package or have two labels, one per serving and one per package. (No more doing the math!)

Also changing are the nutrients that are listed. Some, like Vitamin A and C are being eliminated, while others, like Vitamin D and Potassium are now required. How fat is being listed is also changing. In addition to total fat, the type of fat is included.

Completely new to the label is a listing of added sugars. 

Obesity is a huge health problem. In the U.S. over 72 million adults and over 12 million children are obese. Not one State is within the national obesity rate health goal of less than 15%

Sugar is a major culprit. 

Added sugars should be no more than 10 percent of total calories. Any more than that prevents people from staying within daily calories limits and getting the valuable nutrients they need. There is no recommended amount of sugar in the diet and certainly no recommended amount of added sugar. Although sugar fuels our cells, our bodies make all that is needed by converting the food we eat into sugar. Additional sugar is simply not necessary in the diet.

Science has long known that the teeth are negatively affected by sugar as well. For good oral health the recommendation remains to eat whole fruits rather than juices and to strictly limit sugar sweetened beverages in the diet. Sugar along with plaque bacteria can cause cavities and sugar causes inflammation in the entire body, including the mouth.

Old label vs. New Label, source:
This change is a great way for everyone to monitor and cut down on sugar in their diets, should they care to do so. But changing the label in and of itself will do nothing unless people take personal responsibility for their own health and also learn how and what they should be eating.

Companies with packaged food and beverage sales over $10 million have until July of 2018 to start using the new labels and rules and smaller companies have an additional year. Be on the look-out for the new labels!

Are you reading nutrition labels to help make healthy food choices?


This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition or illness. Please see your doctor or dentist for treatment and any health concerns.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Flying or Diving this Summer? Avoid Tooth Squeeze!

Ever have tooth pain during a flight? You may be experiencing barodontalgia, also known as “tooth squeeze”. Tooth squeeze is not itself a dental disease but may indicate a dental problem. When air pressure changes, a cavity, poorly done filling or crown, or even sensitivity, can trigger pain. Pilots and flight crew are vulnerable to this condition but it can happen to anyone. 

Barodontalgia generally occurs on ascent and descent but can also happen during any flight over 5,000 feet in altitude and in pressurized as well as smaller, non-pressurized planes. The pain may persist or go away quickly and the type of pain can help identify the problem. A dull, throbbing pain may indicate a cavity while a sharp, deep pain may indicate the need for a root canal. Pain in the upper, back teeth may even indicate a sinus issue.
Plane - yml 2014

Divers also can experience tooth squeeze. Even dental recession can make a person susceptible. The change in pressure can cause a build-up of air in the tubules of the tooth and in severe cases even crack a tooth. Anyone planning to dive should wait a week after having dental treatment with anesthesia and anyone planning to take a flight in a small non-pressurized plane, should wait at least twenty-four hours before doing so.

If you are experiencing any kind of dental pain, you should see a dental professional right away. Don't ignore it regardless of whether it is persistent or comes and goes. The last thing you want to do while on vacation is end up in a dental chair!

Have a safe and healthy summer.

Source: Open Journal of Dentistry and Oral Medicine 3(2): 35-38, 2015 DOI: 10.13189/ojdom.2015.030201 Barodontalgia: Etiology, Features and Prevention Prajna V. Kini1 , Vinod Rakesh Jathanna2,* , Ramya V. Jathanna3 , Karthik Shetty2

This blog is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or condition. If you are experiencing a dental or medical issue seek treatment from a dental or medical professional right away.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy President's Day: George Washington's Teeth

Contrary to what you heard in grammar school, George Washington did not have wooden teeth. He did have dentures made out of a variety of materials including lead, gold, and brass, with teeth carved from ivory, hippo, and cow teeth. There were also some human teeth set into his dentures - other's and possibly some of his own. Some think that staining from red wine and foods in the tiny fractures of the fake teeth may have resulted in the wooden look of Washington's teeth. This rumor may also have come from the fact that his last dentist was a Dr. Greenwood. Washington gave Greenwood his very last real tooth, the only one he still had when he became president, as a gift when it, too, failed. Dr. Greenwood then wore this tooth displayed in a small glass case in a chain around his neck.

Sketch of Washington's dentures & dollar bill, ym
So what caused Washington’s devastating tooth loss?  Historical documents suggest he was particular about caring for his teeth to the point of obsession, and owned toothbrushes, tooth powders, tongue scrapers and other implements to clean his mouth. Still, he started losing his teeth in his twenties. By his own account, his tooth loss was caused by a bad habit of his youth - cracking walnuts with his teeth! The scar on his cheek is from an abscess that required draining, and in portraits of the president when he was older, there are obvious signs that the loss of his teeth had changed the look of his face.

Washington often complained that his dentures hurt and were ill-fitting and he was constantly in contact with dentists. A letter to his dentist that was intercepted by the British may have even changed the course of a battle. Because Washington directed his dentist to send him dental materials in New York, the British decided to not send troop reinforcements South.

Some historians speculate that Washington had a genetic disorder that affected his teeth.  He was tall compared to his family members and other men of that time. He also had other physical signs that indicate the possibility of a genetic defect. (Washington had no biological children of his own and was thought to be infertile - the children that he and Martha raised were from her previous marriage.) 

Washington suffered from many illnesses throughout his life including small pox, malaria and tuberculosis. He may even have suffered from metal poisoning from the medications he took or from materials, like lead, that made up his dentures. Indeed, the bloodletting that was used to treat his very last illness, epiglottitis (swelling of the cartilage that covers the windpipe when swallowing,) is suspected to be what actually caused his death at the age of 68 in December of 1799.

For more information about Washington, his teeth, and other fascinating facts about his life visit:,, and

This blog is for entertainment purposes only and not intended to treat or diagnose any medical or dental condition. Please see your dentist or doctor if you are having health problems. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Children's Dental Health Month - Baby teeth matter!

It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month! Here are some facts about children’s teeth and tips for childhood tooth care:

 Baby teeth are important: Just because children lose their baby teeth, it does not mean “decay is okay.” Children need to have healthy, strong baby teeth to eat, speak, and smile.

Babies are born with their baby teeth already formed under the gums. This means that baby tooth care needs to start in infancy, before the teeth appear in the mouth! A baby’s gums should be gently wiped with a soft, damp cloth after drinking a bottle or eating. This gets baby used to his or her mouth being cleaned. As soon as the first little tooth appears, it can be brushed with a soft toothbrush using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste.

Gum pain gels are not necessary and
can cause a rare but life-threatening condition called methemoglobinemia. It is better to let baby chew on a cold cloth or spoon if “teething.” This should relieve baby’s discomfort.

Always use a separate spoon to test baby’s food. Caregivers and parents spread their own mouth’s germs this way. This is especially important if a caregiver has cavities or gum problems.

Never put baby to bed with a bottle with formula, milk or juice. Don’t let a toddler walk around with a sippy cup with formula, milk or juice. These drinks are for meals. The sugar in them can destroy baby teeth pretty quickly. Children should only drink water between meals.
Lift the lip to check baby’s teeth at least once a month. White spots or lines near the gums may be the start of cavities. Baby teeth should be smooth and all one color. White, brown or black spots indicates cavities. If the teeth are being wiped or brushed daily, this should not happen.

Children start to lose their front teeth at about 6-7 years of age, so those front permanent teeth coming in are obvious. Not so obvious are the first permanent molars that erupt in the back of the mouth around the same age. If daily brushing and flossing aren’t already being done, that can hurt those teeth!

Flossing, too? Yes. While baby teeth usually have space between them that the tooth brush can reach, sometimes they don’t.
As soon as “teeth touch” they should be flossed to remove plaque germs that grow in between the teeth.

Baby teeth fall out over time and kids still have some of them until they are 12-13 years old. Baby teeth hold the space for the permanent teeth coming in.

Cavities are the NUMBER ONE chronic disease in children, more common than asthma. A cavity is a bacterial infection in a tooth!

Dental pain affects a child’s ability to learn and thrive. Dental emergencies cost parents and kids thousands of lost school and work hours. (Emergency room visits for dental issues cost Americans over $1.5 billion dollars in 2012!)

The cost of an amalgam (metal) filling can be well over $100 dollars - depending on how much of the tooth surface is affected, it can be much more. Composite (white) fillings cost even more. If a tooth needs to be “capped” it can run into thousands of dollars! Compare that to the cost of a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

Dental decay is preventable! Unless there is an underlying medical condition, cavities are caused by not brushing and flossing and eating or drinking sugar too often. A well-balanced diet helps the mouth and the body to stay healthy!

Preventing childhood cavities is so important and easy to do but young children need a hand. Pediatricians and dentists recommend the first dental visit by age one and that children up until age nine should have help and supervision while brushing.

c- ym 2017
Brush Morning & Night chart - ym 2017

This information is not intended to treat or diagnose any condition. If you think you or a loved one needs medical or dental treatment, please see a doctor or dentist right away!