Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let Your Kids Enjoy Their Halloween Candy

Every year at this time you see a number of dentists who promote that they are accepting candy from kids in exchange for a gift or toy of some sort.

Candy, which has sugar as one of its main ingredients, is supposed to cause cavities. Technically, this is not accurate -- and here's why. Lactic acid is produced when chewing food. This acid decreases the pH of the mouth, creating an acidic environment, which can leave the teeth vulnerable to cavities. However, studies have shown that as long as children and adults practice good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice a day, eating candy isn't a problem.

What is a problem is nursing a sugary soft drink or sucking on hard candy all day. Coating the teeth in sugar for extended periods of time will cause cavities.

So enjoy your candy. Personally, I prefer candy corn!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Can bottled water cause cavities?

Fluoridated water has had an enormous impact on reducing tooth decay.

Children do receive fluoride from other sources, such as tooth paste, and when they have their dental check ups. Cooking with tap water, for example, and using it for baking and other food preparations also gives some benefit to children.

If the family chooses to use only bottled water, however, then a dentist should determine if the child needs a fluoride supplement. This is usually given in a chewable pill.

Caries, or tooth decay, is a complex disease process. Although fluoride in drinking water provides great protection against tooth decay, it is not a guarantee of preventing cavities. I would rather see children drink water bottled or tap water than fruite juices -- which can lead to tooth decay.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cosmetic Dentists Don't Have Advanced Training -- Bah!

In a recent press release issued by The Wealthy Dentist, Jim Du Molin writes:

Some dentists and dental specialists are highly critical of doctors who call themselves "cosmetic dentists." (In fact, the term "cosmetic dentist" is not recognized as a dental specialty by the ADA. Some states even prohibit use of the term in dental advertising.) "These individuals have NO advanced specialty training," complained a New York orthodontist. "I believe they reflect poorly on the profession," said a Florida prosthodontist. "Frequently the treatment they provide is about instant gratification and not in the long-term interest of the patient."

Pardon me, but I disagree.

If you go to any advanced cosmetic training like Larry Rosenthal or the gold standard of continuing educational institiues such as the Las Vegas Institute, you learn how to properly treat and diagnose cases. Contrast this with dental school, where students never learn the principles of cosmetic dentistry.

Dentists who say cosmetic dentists don't have advanced training have no clue what they're talking about.

Fortunately, the public is becoming more sophicated and knows that better options exist. They are leaving dentists who refuse to update their skills and continue to use decades old technology that they were taught in the 1950s in dental school. These dentists have lowered their care to nothing more than a tooth plumber status.

As this press release points out, politcs and conflict within the profession contiue. It is sad, but at least there are a many highly educated dentists who refuse to succumb to the problem.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Afraid of the Dentist? Don't Watch This Video.

First off, the patient was crazy to volunteer for a bony tooth extraction without first being sedated. And second, ALL types of orthopedic surgeries are brutal -- that's why doctors use sedation. Even I, a dentist, would request sedation if I had to have a wisdom tooth extracted.

And finally, from what I could see in this video, the extration proceeded as it should have -- it just would have been better if the patient had been sedated.

There is simply too much information on the Internet today and TV. Now you can watch colonoscopies and lasik eye surgeries. Pardon me, but seeing someone's cornea being cut is gross. I'm a doctor and I didn't want to think about what they were going to do to me when I had the procedure done.

When you visit the dentist, instead of going in with a treatment plan already in your head due to researching the Internet, let the dentist do his or her job.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sugarless Gum Prevents Cavities is Old News

The fact that the ADA recently awarded Wrigley sugarless gum its seal of approval really isn't news.

Dentists have known about the cavity preventing properties of sugarless chewing gum for years -- simply because chewing sugarless gum helps return the mouth to a neutral PH after eating.

In fact, if you're a certain age, you grew up listening to TV commercials for Trident sugarless gum – their tagline was, '4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum.'

Chewing gum after a meal is really a quick fix and shouldn't replace brushing and flossing twice a day and seeing a dentist regularly. In addition, for people
who have a high rate of decay, chewing sugarless gum will not help lower the rate at which cavities develop.

Why not? Well, because there's a whole science behind how cavities develop. The ADA really does consumers a disservice by dumbing it down to chewing gum.

In addition, people who chew gum excessively can develop a host of other problems including grinding down the teeth and jaw problems.