Our Current Blog Articles
September 12, 2018
Fall Dental Tips for You and Your Family
Summer is coming to an end (regrettably). The days are getting shorter, cooler and we’re looking forward to all things pumpkin!
For you to maintain optimum oral health in the coming cooler months, we thought we’d give you a few fall-friendly oral health tips that will hopefully help you plan your oral health care for this fall and winter with ease.
1. Cooler weather could indicate teeth issues
Do you suffer from sensitive teeth when it starts to get cooler out? Many people do. This could be your body’s way of signaling that there may be damage to your teeth or gums. Cold sensitivity could mean several things including; gum shrinkage, thin enamel or tooth bruising, or cracked teeth. If you are experiencing sensitive teeth this fall for more than three days, please call our office so that we can evaluate the problem and give you relief.
2. Halloween is coming! Manage your children’s candy consumption
Your children probably look forward to Halloween all year, but it’s important that you manage how much candy they consume from their trick or treating outings so that the candy they eat now doesn’t damage their teeth for the long haul. One tip to help you manage this is to only allow them to have candy at meal times. The saliva they produce after eating at meal times will help rinse the mouth and alleviate the mouth of any cavity-causing bacteria.
3. Schedule your end of year appointments now!
If your insurance allows you to have two exams and two cleanings per year, go ahead and schedule your last exam/cleaning appointment for the end of the year. We can look up when the last time you were in and make sure that we schedule your next cleaning in conjunction with what your insurance will pay for. Life gets super busy as it gets closer to the end of the year, so take a few minutes now to call us and let us help you get your cleaning appointments for you and your family pre-scheduled. It will be one less thing you have to think about as the year nears its end.
We hope these tips will help you have a fun fall and enjoy all of your kid’s Halloween treats in moderation.
August 2, 2018
Start the school year with a smile: 3 back-to-school tips
It’s the start of a new school year, and your kids are set with new clothes and school supplies. But don’t forget about oral health! Add these dental health tips to your back-to-school checklist.
- Take your kids to the dentist
Start the school year right with a dental cleaning and exam. Ask your child’s dentist about sealants and fluoride treatments to prevent decay. These treatments are easy ways to stop cavities before they start. And they can even improve your child’s performance at school. A third of children miss school because of oral health problems, according to Delta Dental’s 2015 Children’s Oral Health Survey.
- Pick the right snacks
Swap out lunchbox no-no’s with healthy alternatives. Instead of chips or crackers, try nuts. Salty snacks may seem healthy because they don’t contain sugar, but simple starches can be just as bad. These snacks break down into a sticky goo, coating teeth and promoting decay. Avoid candies and granola bars, offering crunchy snacks like celery sticks, baby carrots, and cubes of cheddar cheese.
- Make brushing and flossing fun
To keep their mouths healthy, kids need to brush twice a day for two minutes at a time. They should also floss every day, preferably after dinner. Try these tricks to make oral hygiene more exciting:
- Use a sticker calendar. Let your kids place stickers on each day to represent brushing and flossing.
- Play music. Collect your kids’ favorite two-minute songs and make sure they brush the whole time.
- Help your child pick a themed toothbrush in his or her favorite color.
- Provide a kid-friendly floss holder. These Y-shaped devices make flossing more comfortable.
July 10, 2018
Dentist builds awareness about oral cancer
By Michelle Manchir
When Dr. Josephine Chang Pallotto organized a 5K walk in 2017 to honor the memory of her mother, Susan Chang, who died as a result of a head and neck cancer in 2016, she remembers thinking at the time, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
She persevered, and dozens of supporters and community members came out to the Lansing, Illinois, event at a public high school and donated money to research for a cure.
On Aug. 25, with some experience under her belt, Dr. Pallotto will again honor her mother through another walk. This time, however, it’s moved near downtown Chicago with support from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Chicago Dental Society. The ADA will also be represented with a team there.
“This location will reach a lot more people,” said Dr. Pallotto. “This is my way of trying to create awareness on a larger scale.”
Those who recognize Dr. Pallotto’s name may remember seeing her speak at the opening session at ADA 2017 – America’s Dental Meeting in Atlanta. There, she shared the story of her parents’ immigration to the U.S. from Taiwan with nothing but a single suitcase for both of them in tow.
Her mother’s diagnosis, stage IV nasopharyngeal carcinoma, came after Dr. Pallotto graduated in 2011 from the New York College of Dentistry. Moved by her mother’s strength in enduring the illness and treatment, and with the desire to help find a cure for other patients of the disease, Dr. Pallotto organized the 2017 walk, which raised thousands of dollars for research.
This year, at least six other similar events are scheduled across the country, said Oral Cancer Foundation president Brian Hill. The money raised benefits oral cancer research.
In many cases, dental offices help support and come out for the events, and there are other instances in which dentists or hygienists help organize the effort.
Mr. Hill, a survivor of stage IV oral cancer, said he is encouraged by organized dentistry’s engagement with creating awareness about oral cancer.
“Dentistry is on the front line of finding oral cancer early,” he said.
To find out more about Dr. Pallotto’s walk or other oral cancer walks, visit OralCancer.org and click on the “events” tab. To view Dr. Pallotto’s oral cancer walk page, visit https://donate.oralcancer.org/event/chicago2018.
The ADA offers dentists resources related to screening for oral cancers.
In 2017, the ADA released a clinical practice guideline for the evaluation of potentially malignant disorders in the oral cavity. To download and read the entire guideline, go to ADA.org/OralCancer.
The ADA Science Institute maintains a webpage on ADA.org about oral cancers, with data about incidence and mortality; information about risk factors, signs and symptoms; as well as links to other resources, including an instructional video demonstrating the patient intraoral and extraoral conventional visual and tactile examination for oral cancer. Visit ADA.organd hover over “Science/Research” and then select “Oral Health Topics.”
*Provided by ADA News https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2018-archive/july/dentist-builds-awareness-about-oral-cancer
May 23, 2018
Sit, stay, brush: Golden retriever helps teach kids oral hygiene habits in Kentucky
Bowling Green, Ky.— A dentist and community educator, Dr. Matthew Riley knows elementary school students aren’t usually captivated by spiels on oral hygiene.
That’s why he brings his affable partner, a three-year-old golden retriever named Bennett, who helps the message sink in.
For the past year or so, Dr. Riley and Bennett have been making the rounds to grade schools in the south-central parts of Kentucky where he lives and works. There, the two teach children about oral hygiene techniques. The highlight of the show occurs when Dr. Riley brushes Bennett’s teeth.
“He behaves so well and is so inviting to kids,” Dr. Riley said. “I get dog-specific toothpaste. It’s a way to make oral health and oral hygiene interesting and fun.”
Dr. Riley adopted Bennett while he was still in dental school at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. On snow days, he found time to train the well-behaved boy, which has made the pup a trustworthy – and, yes, adorable – companion for the school programs. Bennett is close to receiving his certification as a therapy dog, Dr. Riley said, and in addition to the school programs also visits the assisted living facility where his mother works and makes regular appearances in Dr. Riley’s dental office.
An associate in Briarwood Dental in Bowling Green, Dr. Riley said he brings Bennett with him to the office when he knows a young patient with a big treatment plan could use the extra comfort (and after he gets permission from the children’s parents or guardians.)
“We have a special harness I put him in, and then he knows he’s going somewhere fun,” Dr. Riley said. “He loves the attention.”
Dr. Riley, who entered private practice right after graduating from dental school in 2016, said visiting classrooms is one way to contribute to community health. He also serves as dental director for his local public health department.
Dr. Riley said he knows the K9 assistance is a little unorthodox, but he thinks having Bennett is a way to make the oral health lessons engaging. Often after visiting a school, Dr. Riley said he hears from parents of students who were eager to brush their teeth that night, citing Bennett’s endorsement.
“It’s hard to teach kids oral health,” he said. “Here you have something that’s fun and exciting that they can remember.”
The effort has drawn attention of media, which featured him on one of his school visits on the local TV news, which was picked up by CNN. The clip has been featured on local news channels throughout the country since then.
The media attention has made Bennett, and Dr. Riley, even more popular in southern Kentucky. Dr. Riley said he’s been getting more and more requests from schools to visit. Dr. Riley said he’s happy to take the requests and will fit in all the visits he can on his days off from practice.
“This allows me to get to those kids I might not otherwise see,” he said.
Provided by ADA News - https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2018-archive/may/sit-stay-brush-golden-retriever-helps-teach-kids
February 9, 2018
Home Oral Care
- Home oral care recommendations from the ADA are based on data from clinical studies.
- While general recommendations may adequately address the needs for many patients, a dentist may tailor home oral care recommendations to fit the individual patient’s needs and wants.
- Home oral care is an important contributor to oral health and can help lessen the need for extensive dental intervention in the future.
Spending the right amount of time engaged in appropriate home oral care is undoubtedly essential to helping minimize the risk of caries and periodontal disease. An individual who visits the dentist twice a year for an oral exam and dental prophylaxis will spend approximately two hours per year in the dental chair. The time for that same person to brush and clean between his or her teeth each day might be estimated to be around 30 hours per year. Considering the amount of time that should be devoted to daily oral hygiene, it is important to understand the scientific evidence that supports home oral care recommendations made to patients.
In 2017, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs identified three aspects of home oral care that dentists should discuss with their patients:
- General recommendations that are applicable to most people;
- Personalized recommendations specifically targeted to meet the needs of the individual patient, especially patients at increased risk of caries and/or gingivitis; and
- Lifestyle considerations to enhance oral health and wellness.
The general and personalized recommendations were developed in accordance with a rapid evidence assessment methodology,1 meaning that the evidence examined was derived from existing systematic reviews. Lifestyle considerations comport with current ADA policy. This Oral Health Topic page is an executive summary of that work and relevant ADA policy.
General Recommendations for the Prevention of Caries and Gingivitis
1) Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
While a seemingly simple statement, the guidance for brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste weaves together a number of discrete components.
Review of the scientific literature, along with guidance from governmental organizations and professional associations found sufficient evidence to support the contention that twice-daily brushing, when compared with lower frequencies, was optimal for reducing risk of caries,2-4 gingival recession or periodontitis.5-7 It is important to recognize that in these studies, it was the frequency of tooth-brushing with a fluoride toothpaste that was evaluated rather than tooth-brushing alone.
Although the measures used to assess the benefit varied, studies examining the effect of over-the-counter (OTC) fluoride dentifrice on caries incidence in children and adolescents found the fraction of caries prevented ranged from 16% per tooth to 31% per surface versus placebo or no dentifrice, and concluded that fluoride-containing toothpaste was effective in caries control.4, 8, 9 In addition, high level evidence shows that 5,000 ppm fluoride (available with a prescription) results in significantly more arrest of root caries lesions than use of OTC levels of fluoride (1,000 - 1,500ppm).10
Data examining the question of optimal duration of daily tooth-brushing encounters relies on plaque indices which are surrogate measures rather than direct measure of caries or gingivitis. Understanding that the use of surrogate measures decreases the certainty with which a recommendation can be made, the available systematic reviews found a brushing duration of two minutes was associated with bigger reduction in plaque than brushing for a single minute.11, 12 Two minutes per whole mouth can also be expressed as thirty seconds per quadrant or about four seconds per tooth.
2) Clean between your teeth daily
While cleaning between teeth is important to maintaining oral health, it is a concept that must overcome several barriers to adoption. ” Flossing” is often used as a shorthand, common term for interdental cleaning, which can become problematic in the real world where many report a strong distaste for that activity.13 Some people presume flossing as ineffective or unnecessary, which can also make it harder for them to adopt the daily habit. Flossing is a technique-sensitive intervention14 as exemplified by the disparity in benefit observed when comparing study designs involving self-flossing and professional flossing.15 Where patients do not see positive results from flossing, they may not continue to do so.
Using flossing as shorthand for interdental cleaning can also be problematic in that patients may be unaware of alternative devices that may be more pleasant or effective for them. A meta-review, which included the available devices developed for this purpose (i.e. dental floss, interdental brushes, oral irrigators, and wood sticks), addressed the question “What is the effect of mechanical inter-dental plaque removal in addition to tooth brushing on managing gingivitis in adults?” The strength of the evidence on the benefit ranged from weak to moderate depending on the device in question.16
Thus, there may not be one “best” interdental cleaning method; rather, the best method for any given patient may be one in which they will regularly perform. A guiding principle which is relevant to interdental cleaning is: “best care for each patient rests neither in clinician judgment nor scientific evidence but rather in the art of combining the two through interaction with the patient to find the best option for each individual.”17
3) Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks
While eating a healthy diet is important for overall health and well-being, a review of the literature found little in terms of the effects of micronutrients on the risk of caries or periodontal disease. However, the conclusion of numerous systematic reviews on the effect of the macronutrient content of the diet, specifically of sugar, is that there is an association between sugar intake and caries.18-20 A review of the evidence supporting nine international guidelines recommending decreased consumption of sugar found consistent recommendations from all the groups while noting that they relied on different data and rationales.18
4) See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease
Viewed through the prism of the primary prevention of caries and/or gingivitis, a systematic review of the literature failed to arrive at consensus regarding optimal recall frequency to minimize either caries21, 22 or periodontal disease risk23 in part due to limited availability of studies addressing this topic. Nonetheless, in terms of the balance between resource allocation and risk reduction, it can be concluded that there is merit in tailoring a patient’s recall interval to individual need based on assessed risk of disease.21, 24
Previously, the ADA Healthy Smile Tips advised people to “Visit your dentist regularly.” However, dentists are doctors of oral health, which encompasses both the prevention and treatment of oral disease. The current recommendation goes a step further than its predecessor in articulating the duality of the dental visits. Dental care includes actions to reduce disease risk, as well as the formulation and execution of a treatment plan when disease is present.
Personalized Recommendations for the Prevention of Caries and Gingivitis
While generalized recommendations for home oral care may be appropriate to help optimize oral wellness for many patients, those found to be at elevated risk of caries and/or gingivitis, may ask their dentists to provide guidance on additional action steps that they can take to reduce their risk of oral disease.25 To help address this reality, the Council on Scientific Affairs recommends that dentists:
- Design a home care regimen with specific recommendations for oral hygiene. This may involve consideration of not only the person’s individual oral disease risk, but the needs and wants of the patient.
- Offer direction concerning lifestyle changes. This is addressed in the next section, entitled “Lifestyle Considerations.”
- Provide guidance on dental products and mechanical devices. This includes detailed suggestions that can help patients make decisions about dental hygiene practices and products. Patients may look to their dentists for guidance and recommendations to help discern among the plethora of home oral care products and mechanical devices that lay claim to oral health benefit. Dentists and patients can look to the ADA Seal of Acceptance program as a source of validated information regarding the safety and efficacy of many home oral care products.
After careful review of the available evidence, the Council on Scientific Affairs provides the following rationale to inform decision-making between dentists and patients on products and mechanical devices that can be considered as adjunct therapies and modalities for the prevention of caries and/or gingivitis:
For individuals with increased risk for gingivitis or periodontal disease, there is evidence that over-the-counter oral care products containing specific antimicrobial active ingredients can decrease risk of gingivitis. Systematic reviews found that mouth rinses containing an antimicrobial effective amount of essential oil(s) (with or without alcohol) or cetylpyrdinium chloride,26-28 and toothpastes containing triclosan or stannous fluoride,29-31 were associated with decreased risk of supragingival plaque and gingivitis.
2) Fluoride Mouth rinses
With regards to caries risk reduction, there is strong evidence supporting the use of fluoride-containing mouth rinses by children at elevated caries risk;32 and low level evidence on the benefit of adults using fluoride mouth rinse to decrease their risk of root caries.10
3) Power Toothbrushes
Powered toothbrushes provide effective removal of dental plaque and reduction in gingival inflammation.11, 33 Though there may be statistically significant improvement in dental plaque removal or gingival inflammation when comparing use of a powered toothbrush with a manual toothbrush, the difference may not be clinically meaningful.33 However, when brushing technique is a concern such as for patients with special needs, those who require the help of a caregiver for activities of daily living, or those with manual dexterity deficit, the use of a powered toothbrush has been found to provide substantive benefit in plaque reduction.34-38
4) Interdental Cleaning Devices
Recent analysis using NHANES data found that adults who more frequently reported using floss or other devices to clean between their teeth were found less likely to have periodontitis.39 Because of the barriers to interdental cleaning, it may not be effective to tell patients that they must floss and expect it to become a regular part of their oral home care routine. Instead, dentists can support effective home oral care by gauging their patient’s level of understanding, learning about their motivation, and then serving as a “coach” by communicating and promoting daily cleaning between their teeth.40 Discussing the various interdental cleaning devices can help educate patients on available options and provide them with some of the skills necessary to be effective stewards of their own oral health.
Lifestyle Considerations for the Prevention of Caries and Gingivitis
Dentists can provide, promote or direct patients to information about lifestyle behaviors and/or services that can aid in reducing their risk.
Beyond the general and personalized recommendations above, there are three specific ADA policies regarding aspects that fall under the rubric of lifestyle considerations with roles to help prevent caries and gingivitis:
1) Consumption of Fluoridated Water
Much of the literature evaluated in systematic reviews examining the association between consumption of fluoridated water and reduced levels of caries in primary and permanent dentition derives from studies conducted before the 1980’s.41 One experiment, in which a Canadian community discontinued its community water fluoridation to allow for the comparison of caries rates within a socioeconomically similar, adjacent community which maintained its water fluoridation demonstrated a significant increase in primary tooth decay and an increasing trend for increased decay in permanent dentition 2.5 – 3 years post cessation among residents who reported usually drinking tap water.42 In 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General expressed the view that community water fluoridation was an important component for developing a culture of disease prevention and helping to ensure health equity for all.43
2) Use of Tobacco Products
While the various forms of tobacco have a variety of health consequences, the oral consequences of cigarette smoking44 and smokeless tobacco products45 can include adverse effects on gingival health, enamel discoloration and erosion, and oral cancer. For these reasons, the ADA has long advocated for smoking and tobacco cessation initiatives both at the policy and practice levels.
3) Oral Piercings
The literature on the oral consequences of oral piercings show tooth fracture, tooth wear and gingival recession among the commonly reported adverse events,46 and the ADA established policy discouraging oral piercing in 1998.
This information was prepared & provided by the ADA Science Institute's Center for Scientific Information. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs reviewed and approved the content of this page.
Last Updated: January 18, 2018