National Nutrition Month

photo of sugar pouring out of a soda canApparently March is National Nutrition Month! I know- it seems like there’s a month, week or day for almost everything! But it does give me the opportunity to discuss some dentally relevant nutritional information, namely added sugars and sugary drinks.

Obviously I’m not qualified to offer nutritional advice, but being a lifelong sugar addict, I do feel that it’s my obligation to speak out about sugar. In 2016 the American Dental Association adopted a comprehensive policy on nutrition supporting the World Health Organization’s recommendation of limiting added sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons a day for adults.

This format doesn’t provide enough space to list all of the medical, let alone dental, reasons why we should limit our sugar, but I’m happy to see that public policies like Philadelphia’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax are not only raising awareness but also beginning to show results.

For more information on how what you eat affects your teeth, please visit the ADA’s website – mouthhealthy.org. As always, I invite you to call with any questions. Feel free to contact us at Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA or call us at 215-230-7667.

6 Ways to Make Your Mouth Extra Kissable for Valentine’s Day

I am happy to share this post from the ADA’s Mouth Healthy website which explains why bad breath may not be your only concern when kissing this Valentine’s Day.

Photo of kissing couple behind a heartFrom the “Kiss Me” messages on tiny candy hearts to romantic songs on the radio, a kiss is probably on your list this Valentine’s Day. Before cozying up to your loved one this year, make sure your mouth is in good health because, as it turns out, a kiss is more than just a kiss.

Kissing stimulates saliva, which can help fight cavities. However, if the person you’re kissing has poor dental and overall health, you run the risk of getting unwanted germs, illnesses or diseases instead of candy, flowers or cards this Valentine’s Day.

Here’s what you need to know about making your smile a vision of love for February 14.

Cavities Can Be Contagious

Whether through kissing or something as simple as sharing a fork, the bacteria that causes cavities can spread to another person. Brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth once a day for cleaner kisses and a cavity-free smile.

Beware Bad Breath

Bacteria is a big culprit of bad breath, so regular habits like brushing and flossing are especially important. Other ways to stay fresh are over-the-counter antimicrobial mouthwashes or chewing sugarless gum. Both can freshen your breath instantly and get saliva flowing—especially after you eat foods with a strong scent. (And look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on both!)

Share a Life (But Not a Toothbrush)

For many couples, a big relationship step is keeping a toothbrush at each other’s place. Just make sure you each have your own because sharing toothbrushes also means sharing germs.

Brighten Your Smile

Nothing is more attractive than a confident smile. If whitening makes you feel better about yours, talk to your dentist about which option is best.  There are a number of over-the-counter whitening products, or you could get an in-office treatment at your dentist.

Smoking Isn’t Attractive

Smoking is bad for your breath and stains your teeth – not to mention terrible for your overall health. Smoking affects how well you smell and taste. People who use tobacco twice as likely to get gum disease as someone who doesn’t smoke. Smokers are also more at risk for oral cancer. Give yourself a gift this Valentine’s Day and quit today.

Don’t Forget About the Dentist!

A good relationship with and regular visits to our office can help keep your mouth at its best all year long. We can help keep you healthy, discuss any concerns and give more advice on keeping your smile fresh. As always, I invite you to call with any questions. Feel free to contact us at Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA at 215-230-7667.

More from MouthHealthy

Share the love with these downloadable valentines!

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

 

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.

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!

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

 

How to avoid dentai issues due to holiday stress

Holiday stress

The holiday season can be stressful and even difficult for some, me included. I also see a lot of folks at this time of year with dental manifestations of stress. So, here are some suggestions on how to hopefully stay on an even keel and perhaps enjoy this time of year a little more and better preserve your dental health:

  • Reduce stress by continuing to exercise and by trying to remain more tolerant. For me, this means sticking to my Pilates class schedule, walking as much as I can, and trying to avoid antagonizing my sister!
  • Stick to Healthy Habits. Exercise and watch your caloric intake and alcohol consumption. Trying to keep my weight gain to a minimum can be a challenge but at least I’m paying attention to it. A few lighter meals thrown in can make all the difference when you know you are facing elaborate dinner parties!
  • Stick to a budget. Financial woes can be among the most detrimental stressors affecting anyone. Don’t get overextended  trying to make things better for everyone around you. It just seems to come back to bite you in the end.
  • Relax your face and jaw muscles. I always see a lot of folks with stress-induced  jaw pain around this time of year. It’s usually related to spasms of the masticatory (chewing) muscles related to stress. Remember the rule: Lips together and teeth apart! A little facial massage can often help. Tell me if you are clenching or grinding. In addition to damaging the teeth, these habits can also cause scores of seemingly unrelated symptoms. I have some easy exercises and tips for reducing  clenching and  preventing the damage that can result from grinding.

I hope these tips help you to enjoy your best holidays ever!

In the meantime, I’d be more than happy to address any of your concerns regarding the health of your teeth. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.

Procrastination and Fear! What running and dentistry have in common.

JoggingI just read a very enjoyable article by Mark Remy in the August issue of Runner’s World (“Drill, Baby, Drill,” pp.26-28). In the article Mark likens “speed training” to a dental visit. Not exactly flattering, but both can be equally anxiety producing and both necessary for improvement, whether it be for your performance as a runner or for your health. (I ran both in high school and then in college at Temple University many years ago).

It’s been estimated that there are 80 million suffering from dental phobia in this country. That’s almost ¼ of the population! The psychologists have a term for it. It’s called  “experiential avoidance”. Basically, it’s a process involving excessive negative evaluations of unwanted private thoughts, feelings, and sensations, an unwillingness to experience these private events, and deliberate efforts to control or escape from them. Sounds like a dental visit for a lot of people I know!

The bottom line is, procrastination tends to compound itself.  The longer we put something off, the worse it becomes in our mind, which itself is a form of suffering.  A dental visit is rarely as bad as one might have imagined before actually experiencing it. All these years in dentistry has taught me one thing for sure, ignoring your dental health is a certain way to ensure painful and costly problems. Be true to your teeth, or they’ll be false to you!

I’d be more than happy to discuss any of your concerns regarding trips to the dentist and how we can help you during your next visit. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.

Coffee Anyone?

Coffee and Health

I’ve been a coffee drinker for years and really haven’t given it too much thought. Just like you, I’ve read the articles for and against this practice every few years. However, a recent article in the publication General Dentistry (Gen Dent 2016; 64 July/August): 20-23), published by the Academy of General Dentistry, finds that moderate coffee drinking ( 3-5 cups/day) may be more beneficial than detrimental to dental patients!

On the plus side, recent studies have shown that coffee drinkers:

  1. Are 72% less likely to develop hepatocellular carcinoma than non- coffee drinkers
  2. Show decreased alanine transferase levels (a biomarker for liver damage)
  3. Are less likely to develop metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
  4. Are less likely to develop Alzheimer and Parkinson’s Diseases
  5. Show decreased levels of depression
  6. Show decreased instances of blood clots and strokes

On the negative side, coffee drinking can increase the chances of miscarriages and can certainly stain tooth enamel and tooth colored fillings. Since my front teeth are porcelain veneers and incapable of staining, I think I’ll stick with my coffee habit. I just wish I could find a cup of coffee as good as the French coffee I had last summer!

I’d be more than happy to discuss any of your thoughts regarding your coffee consumption the next time you are in the office. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding your oral health, don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.