The Great American Smoke-Out!

Photo Reminder to Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst habits for a person’s health. According to the American Cancer Society, “36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world.”

Each year November 16th is set aside as the “Great America Smoke-out” in an attempt to encourage people to quit. Here are 6 helpful tips from the American Dental Association to make quitting easier:

Step 1: Have a Plan

Once you’ve made up your mind to quit smoking and set the date, develop a plan. There are free tools online at smokefree.gov and a toll-free number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, to help you succeed. Download an app to track your progress.

Step 2: Don’t Go It Alone

It will be easier to quit smoking if you have support from family and friends. Let them know you’ve decided to quit, ask for their support, and tell them specifically what they can do to help. Spend time with people who want you to succeed. Talk to friends who have quit and ask for their advice.

Step 3: Stay Busy

Replace your smoking habit with a healthy habit like exercise. Make plans for dinner or a movie with non-smoking friends. Instead of smoking, chew sugarless gum — it keeps your mouth busy and helps prevent cavities, too. Choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Step 4: Avoid Smoking Triggers

Stay away from people, places and things that tempt you to smoke. Some common triggers include stress, alcohol, coffee, and hanging out with people who smoke. Throw out cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, lighters and ashtrays, and go to places where smoking isn’t allowed.

Step 5: Avoid Other Tobacco Products

Other tobacco products like e-cigarettes won’t help you stop smoking. Smokers who used e-cigarettes to help them quit were 59% less likely to stop than those who didn’t. There are also no regulations on how many contaminants they can contain, there is a risk of e-cigarette explosions and fires, and more studies are needed to see how they affect your  health. Hookahs are also hazardous. One session is the same as smoking 100 cigarettes. Talk to your dentist or doctor about safe and effective quitting options.

Step 6: Reward Your Accomplishments

Quitting is hard. And, every hour or day you go without a cigarette is an achievement. Take it hour by hour, and reward yourself for small successes. With all the money you save on cigarettes, you can treat yourself to a stress-relieving massage or a pedicure!

As always, my staff and I are available to address any concerns you have about smoking and how you might quit. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

How to Eat Candy This Halloween

Trick or Treater with pumpkinWith Halloween fast approaching many of us are starting to think about all that candy! And yes, those dentists among us will again be considering all of the potential dental harm that could result from all that candy. But not to worry! If you have been doing your homework throughout the year – brushing twice a day and flossing all of your teeth once a day – you should not have to worry about the occasional (i.e. Halloween) splurge. Nevertheless, to minimize the possible harm from all those sweets, here are a few tips on how to eat candy:

Chocolate
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate is probably your best option. Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate, thereby offering fewer carbohydrates to the bacteria that reduce sugar to harmful cavity producing acids. Chocolate also washes off your teeth easier than stickier types of candy.

Sticky and Gummy Candies
These are the worst types of candy to eat. They are harder to remove and stay on the teeth longer, giving the bacteria more time to produce  harmful acids.

Hard Candies
Hard candies are also problematic. They can contribute to tooth fractures if bitten into and also permit sugars to be in contact with the teeth for a longer period of time.

Sour Candies
Sour candies are themselves acidic and if sweetened with sugar produce a double whammy of acids.

Popcorn Balls
Popcorn Balls are sticky, sugary and can be hard. They can get stuck between your teeth as well. A more acceptable snack would be popcorn by itself!

I could go on, but you get the idea! Minimize your exposure to sweets, play it smart and above all, have a great Halloween! If you want to learn more about healthy snacks for Halloween, visit MouthHealthy.org‘s recent article on 7 Tooth-Friendly Halloween Treats.

As always, my staff and I are available to address any concerns you have about any impact of candy or food on your teeth. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

Photo courtesy of MouthHealthy.org

 

Charcoal Toothpastes to Clean Teeth?

There are now more than 50 toothpastes available in the U.S. containing charcoal in one form or another offering health and cosmetic benefits not available in other toothpastes. Manufacturers are making claims that these dentifrices can reduce tooth decay, help with tooth remineralization and even improve whitening of teeth.

While only 4 of these toothpastes were found to contain fluoride, a recent exhaustive search of the literature found the truth on all these positive claims to be quite the opposite!

  1. There are no lab studies or any scientific evidence to support any of these claims. In fact, many of these products will do exactly the opposite!
  2. It is a well establishes fact that charcoal contains various polyaromatic hydrocarbons, some of which are regarded as human carcinogens!!

Avoid any toothpastes or other oral health care products containing charcoal in any form!
Feel free to discuss this with us at your next visit. As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about the proper way to brush. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

Tooth Brushing Mistakes You Make Every Day

  1. worn and new toothbrushesYou don’t clean at the right time of day
    If you were to only brush once a day when would be the best time? Night time of course! When you are sleeping is the longest period of the day when you are not eating, and therefore, feeding the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. As I speak to people every day, another mistake I encounter is that many people brush upon arising in the morning before breakfast. It’s OK to freshen your breath in the morning but remember to brush after you eat. After all, you wouldn’t take a shower before exercising at the gym and not after!
  2. You use the wrong brush
    Anything other than a soft brush has the potential to harm not only the teeth but the gums as well. Plaque is soft and can be removed easily. Remember, it’s not how hard you brush, it’s how thoroughly you brush. Always use a soft brush.
  3. You ignore the rest of your mouth
    Your tongue harbors food and bacteria in the tiny crevices between the “papillae” on the back of the tongue. Use a tongue scraper or your brush to get rid of these harmful bacteria. (It can improve your breath as well!)
  4. Not using proper technique
    Believe it or not, I was in dental practice for 2 years before I learned how to floss properly! Many people never really learned how to brush properly either and many dental professionals are guilty of paying “lip service” to proper oral hygiene without actually showing their patients how to do it properly. Always check with us if you have any doubts. Never “scrub” and don’t apply too much pressure.
  5. Not brushing long enough
    The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Two minutes is a long time if you’re watching the clock! That’s one reason why I’m a fan of electric toothbrushes is that they operate on a timer for 2 minutes so you don’t have to think about it.
  6. You don’t replace your brush
    You should probably replace your brush every 3-4 months, more frequently if the bristles become worn. Worn bristles won’t effectively remove plaque and bacteria. And don’t forget to replace your brush immediately if you’ve been sick! Bacteria and viruses from an illness can reside in the bristles and potentially re-infect you.

Happy Brushing!  As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about the proper way to brush. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

The Dangers of Do It Yourself Dentistry!

indian cornRecently there have been several reports in the news and posts on social media about how to perform “do it yourself” dental procedures. These are, at a minimum, problematic trends which can lead to serious consequences.

Among these are:

  1. Charcoal Teeth WhiteningI don’t know where this came from, but using charcoal or anything other than ADA approved products to whiten teeth can permanently damage tooth structure. Even using readily available over-the-counter tooth whitening products, without the supervision of a dentist, can be problematic. It’s not hard to wind up with a smile that looks like a row of  “Indian Corn” if you don’t know what you’re doing!
  2. Do It Yourself OrthodonticsReports of people using rubber bands to straighten crooked teeth is especially troubling. Rubber bands can work themselves under the gum causing inflammation and bone loss. Not only is this ineffective but
    extremely dangerous. It’s not uncommon to lose teeth with this technique. You should never try to straighten teeth without professional supervision!

    This brings me to another new and marginally legal technique

  3. Unsupervised “Mail Order” OrthodonticsThere are offices opening up in cities around the country that will either digitally “scan” your mouth or send you “One Size Fits All” impression trays so that you may take your own impressions at home, mail them in, and have the company send you aligners that will purportedly straighten your teeth. All this without ever being evaluated by an orthodontist let alone a general dentist. In my humble opinion, based on 43 years of knowledge, skill and experience, attempting to accomplish any of this without the supervision of a trained professional is sheer folly. Such an attempt would be in the same vein as “any attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Anyone who attempts to do their own dentistry may as well do their own brain surgery as well!

As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about dental procedures and how they can impact you and your family. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

Some questions to ask your dentist about sedating your child

family with childrenOn the “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” show, which aired July 9, 2017, reporter Kate Snow addressed the risks involved with dentists giving children sedatives. Two families in California were profiled, and their stories were truly heartbreaking. Although most of the time it is perfectly safe, sedation can carry risk no matter what the age. The smaller size of children can make them more vulnerable so becoming more educated on the procedure and its potential impact is a way to help allay your fears.

Please note: We do NOT  use anesthesia or otherwise sedate children In this office!

The American Dental Association, through their consumer website, Mouth Healthy, has put together a list of questions they strongly recommend you review with your dentist and anesthesiologist before, during and after any sedation procedure performed on your child.

Prior to the procedure:

  • Who will provide the preoperative evaluation of my child including their past medical history such as allergies, current prescription medications and previous illnesses and hospitalizations?
  • What is the recommended time that my child should be without food or drink prior to the procedure (with the exception of necessary medications taken with a sip of water)?
  • Will any sedation medication be given to my child at home prior to their coming to the office and,if so, how should they be monitored?
  • What training and experience does the sedation/anesthesia provider have in providing the level of sedation or anesthesia that is planned for the procedure? Does this training and experience meet all of the standards of the ADA Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists?
  • Does the staff assisting in the procedure have current training in emergency resuscitation procedures, such as Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, and other advanced resuscitation courses as recommended by the ADA Guidelines? Is this training regularly renewed?
  • Does the state dental board require a special sedation/anesthesia permit or license that allows for the sedation/anesthesia provider to administer this specific level of sedation or anesthesia in the dental office?

During the procedure:

  • In addition to the use of local anesthesia (numbing), what level of sedation or general anesthesia will be given to my child? Is it minimal sedation (relaxed and awake), moderate sedation (sleepy but awake), deep sedation (barely awake) or general anesthesia (unconscious)?
  • How will my child be monitored before, during and after the procedure until the child is released to go home? Are the appropriate emergency medications and equipment immediately available if needed, and does the office have a written emergency response plan for managing medical emergencies?

After the procedure:

  • Will the sedation/anesthesia provider give me instructions and emergency contact information if there are any concerns or complications after returning home?

As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about the practice of dentistry and how it impacts you and your family. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

7 Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

tongue-scraper-photoIn my last blog I discussed some of the causes of bad breath. Here are a few bad breath prevention methods recommended by the American Dental Association that you can follow to avoid these annoying breath problems!

  1. Brush and Floss
    Meticulous home care is essential to controlling the bacteria often associated with bad breath. Proper brushing and flossing are the first line of defense in preventing bad breath.
  2. Keep Your Tongue Clean
    Using a tongue scraper or brush to remove bacterial laden film from the surface of the tongue may be an easy fix for a breath problem. Don’t neglect this important step when doing your oral hygiene.
  3. Mouthwash
    While I’m not a huge fan of mouthwashes for the purpose of masking bad breath (it’s a little like ” sweeping the dirt under the rug”), they can provide temporary relief. Just don’t rely too heavily on them, and never as a substitute for good home care!
  4. Clean Your Dentures
    If you are a denture wearer, always remove them at night and clean the inside of your mouth as well as the dentures themselves. I would also recommend taking them out after every meal to remove odor causing food debris.
  5. Monitor Your Saliva
    Saliva has antibacterial properties that help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and yes, bad breath. If you suffer from occasional dry mouth, try chewing some sugar free Xylitol gum. The very act of chewing stimulates salivary flow. If it is a recurrent problem – see me!!
  6. Quit Smoking
    Smoking (as well as chewing tobacco) is one of the worst breath offenders. Giving up tobacco will improve your breath and your health.
  7. See Your Dentist Regularly
    Having your teeth professionally cleaned and your mouth examined by a dentist is the best way to rule out more serious causes of bad breath. Identifying the exact cause of the problem is key in selecting the right solution!

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to prevent bad breath, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Photo courtesy of MouthHealthy.org

Six Causes of Bad Breath

There are many reasons for having bad breath and while most are innocuous, bad breath can be a sign of something more serious! According to the American Dental Association, 50% of adults have had bad breath. Here are six causes of bad breath of which you should be aware.

  1. Bacteria – There are hundreds of bacteria that are indigenous to the human oral cavity. These bacteria help to initiate the digestive process but also contribute to Dental Plaque formation. Without good oral hygiene these bacteria will contribute to bad breath.
  2. Dry Mouth – Dry mouth (the absence of saliva) can be caused by many medications, problems with the salivary glands or simply by breathing through the mouth. Saliva has many anti-bacterial properties and without sufficient saliva, bacteria can overtake the mouth and cause odors.
  3. Gum Disease – Simply put, bacterial plaque causes gum disease. Bad breath is one of the subtle warning signs for gum disease.
  4. Food – Aromatic compounds in foods like onions and garlic are eliminated through the lungs, not the digestive tract! No matter how good your home care, these foods will cause breath problems!
  5. Smoking – Smoking causes bad breath as well as a whole host of other potentially more serious problems like gum disease and cancer. It also affects your ability to smell and your sense of taste.
  6. Medical conditions – Bad breath can result from sinus problems, liver or kidney diseases, gastric reflux or any of a host of other causes. In the absence of other obvious causes, referral to a physician may be needed.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to prevent bad breath, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.  Next blog- 7 Solutions to Bad Breath!

7 Habits That Are Harmful to Your Teeth (and What to Do About Them)!

  1. Nail Biting
    Nail biting may be less common today but I still see it quite often. It can cause teeth and fillings to chip and wear.

    Solution: Be mSugary drinksindful. Paint your nails with a bitter tasting clear polish available at your local pharmacy.

  2. Brushing Too Hard
    Toothbrush abrasion is one of the leading causes of “notching” along the gum line and gingival (gum) recession.

    Solution: Always use a soft toothbrush and never “scrub”. It’s not how hard you brush but how thoroughly. Plaque is easily removed if you are meticulous with your home care. This is also another reason why I now prefer electric brushes. They are less likely to cause damage!

  3. Grinding and Clenching
    Bruxism (grinding) and clenching, especially at night while asleep, is a very destructive habit. It causes tooth wear, fracturing of dental restorations and can contribute to jaw joint dysfunction and muscle soreness.

    Solution: If it’s during the day you can catch yourself and stop. Remember the Rule: Lips together- teeth apart! While sleeping you don’t have that control and therefore would need a Night Guard to protect the teeth and jaw muscles.

  4. Chewing Ice Cubes
    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that chewing ice cubes, “jaw breakers” or other rock hard objects has the potential to break things. I once broke a tooth trying to eat a frozen snickers bar!

    Solution: Don’t do it!

  5. Constant Snacking
    “Grazing” may not be so healthy for your teeth depending on what you eat. If you are frequently eating a lot of sugars or other refined carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth are constantly churning out acids which attack the enamel causing cavities.

    Solution: Snack on nuts and cheese if you’re feeling hungry. Better for you and your teeth.

  6. Using Your Teeth as Tools
    Teeth are for chewing food and nothing more! I see many emergencies from folks who thought they could use their teeth for something they weren’t intended for.

    Solution: Find the right tool for the job!

  7. Sugary and Acidic Drinks
    Sodas and energy drinks are the biggest culprits, especially if you sip on them throughout the day. The acids eat away at the enamel and promote an environment that decay causing bacteria love!

    Solution: Drink water. If you must have an occasional soda or energy drink, consume it at one sitting and rinse with water afterwards.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to protect your teeth, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Ten Tips To Treat Dry Mouth

Prescription drugsDry mouth  (Xerostomia) is a problem faced by many folks which can be difficult to diagnose and treat. The most common cause among adults is various prescription medications. Sometimes our well meaning physicians prescribe medications independently of each other, the result being a multitude of dry mouth causing medications that potentiate each other, making the problem that much worse.

There are over 400 medications that cause dry mouth! Please speak with us as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these problems. In the meantime, here are some tips to deal with dry mouth!

  1. Frequent sips of water will keep the mouth moist.
  1. Sleeping with a humidifier nearby will help moisten nasal passages.
  1. Only use alcohol free mouth rinses. (Alcohol dries out the oral tissues.)
  1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages, all of which can cause dry mouth.
  1. Chew Xylitol sweetened gum to stimulate salivary flow.
  1. Use over the counter (OTC) products like Biotene (toothpaste, mouth rinse, gum spray and   mouth moisturizer.)
  1. Avoid tobacco in all forms. Tobacco encourages the growth of oral bacteria   and irritates the nose and sinuses making them more vulnerable to infection.
  1. Check to make sure any medications you are taking do not cause dry mouth.
  2. Ask your dentist, physician about prescription medications that can increase salivary flow.
  3. See your dentist regularly!!

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding dry mouth, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Photo courtesy of cdc.gov