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.

6 Ways to Keep Your Smile Bright for the Holidays

Hermey the ElfIt’s that time of year again! Hermey, Santa’s Elf, who aspires to become a dentist, has offered a few suggestions along with the ADA for keeping that smile bright for the holidays:

  1. For those of us with unused dental benefits for the year, it’s still not too late to take advantage. If  you need treatment, or if it’s been more than 6 months since your last cleaning, call today to get an appointment before the end of the year.
  2. Consider “Smile Friendly” stocking stuffers. Tooth brushes, floss, and tooth paste make great stocking stuffers! You might also consider the gift of an electric toothbrush. Most of the stores have great deals at this time of year. We also have rebate coupons for some of the more popular brushes here at the office!
  3. Hum a Christmas Carol or any song of your choice while brushing. We’re supposed to brush for 2 minutes and most songs are about 2 minutes long. (Most people don’t brush for 2 minutes unless they are using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer!) And don’t forget to floss in between all the teeth at least once a day.
  4. Don’t open gifts with your teeth (or otherwise use them as tools). Most of the chipped front teeth I encounter are the result of some unintended use, i.e. biting fingernails, chewing ice, etc.
  5. For whiter teeth, you can use over the counter toothpastes or whitening strips, but for best results, have it done in the office. The toothpastes whiten mostly by using abrasives, which ultimately wear the enamel away. This can leave teeth actually looking gray or darker from the exposing the underlying tooth structure.
  6. Stick to your routine! With all the holiday parties and sweet treats, don’t deviate from your normal home care routine. Brush and floss regularly to keep the Grinch at bay!

I’d be more than happy to address any of your concerns regarding the health of your teeth, or provide you with rebate coupons on electric toothbrushes 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.

Happy Holidays!

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.

Defining Oral Health – I Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself!

For decades it seems, I’ve been trying to convey to people the importance of oral health. I’ve tried to personalize it, sensationalize it, communicate it in any meaningful way I could, perhaps not giving enough importance to the reality that “oral health” may mean different things to different people.

And now, finally, the FDI World Dental Federation launched a new definition of “oral health”. As defined by FDI, oral health:

Orral health

  1. Is multifaceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex.
  2. Is a fundamental component of health and physical and mental well-being. It exists along a continuum influenced by the values and attitudes of individuals and communities.
  3. Reflects the physiological, social and psychological attributes that are essential to the quality of life.
  4. Is influenced by the individual’s changing experiences, perceptions, expectations and ability to adapt to circumstances.

This “new” definition of oral health perfectly describes my passion for dentistry. This is basically why I get up and come to work every day!

I’d be more than happy to discuss any of your thoughts regarding oral health 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.

To Floss or Not to Floss? That is the Question!

dental flossRecently the Associated Press (AP) published an article entitled “Medical Benefits of Dental Floss Unproven”. This was a very interesting and well researched piece of journalism. It seems that the research in favor of flossing is not as solid as one would have hoped. This may in part be due to the fact that dental floss has been used in one way or another for over 100 years. It’s not surprising that research criteria were not as strict a century ago as they are today. It’s also disappointing though, that even the more recent studies involving flossing are not as rigorous as modern science requires.

That being said, it will remain my recommendation to continue daily flossing as it is my personal belief that proper use of floss not only prevents periodontal disease (the number one cause of tooth loss in adults), but also helps prevent tooth decay between the teeth. Let’s face it, no matter how well you brush, you can’t get a toothbrush in between your teeth to remove bacterial laden plaque. That I can prove!

I can remember my 10th grade history teacher proving that pigs can fly through the use of logic! Common sense however tells us that this is not the case. I suggest that we apply the same common sense to the question of flossing. For now…at least until additional research is done. After all, floss is cheap enough and only takes a minute or two to do.

Until I’m convinced otherwise, I’ll stand by my current recommendations:

  1. You don’t have to floss every day- just the days you eat!
  2. You don’t have to floss all your teeth- just the ones you want to keep!

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

What To Do About Dry Mouth – 10 Recommendations

dry mouth“Dry mouth”, or xerostomia, is an annoying condition that I am seeing almost daily in the office. Dry mouth is actually a symptom of an underlying problem and not a disease in itself. It is usually caused by medications but can also be related to various systemic diseases, chemotherapy, radiation to the head and neck, dehydration and certain life style activities such as tobacco use.

Most people who have dry mouth are generally aware of it. Symptoms include problems swallowing and chewing, alterations in taste, bad breath, dry lips, trouble wearing dentures, rampant tooth decay, and thick and sticky saliva to name a few.

Beyond annoying symptoms that dry mouth can present, there are more important reasons to be concerned. It is important that we maintain adequate amounts of saliva in our mouth in order to neutralize acids produced by plaque, moisten food to enable swallowing, and control the bacteria that lead to decay and gum disease.

So here is a short list of things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth:

  1. Suck on ice during the day.
  2. Drink water frequently.
  3. Sleep with a humidifier in the bedroom.
  4. Minimize alcohol consumption.
  5. Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco.
  6. Check with your physician to rule out systemic causes and to see if any medications causing dry mouth can be changed.
  7. Use prescription fluoride products obtained through the dental office.
  8. Make liberal use of over the counter products. (See me for a complete list!)
  9. Use only non-alcoholic mouth rinses.
  10. Avoid caffeinated beverages and soda.

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.

Root Canal Awareness Week

The Simple Truth About a Root Canal

Root CanalWhoops! I missed it too! Root Canal Awareness Week was March 27 to April 2 and indeed, this week celebrated its 10th anniversary according to the American Association of Endodontists. With all of the days and weeks devoted to the myriad of causes and issues that occupy our consciousness these days, I’m really not that surprised to see a week devoted to root canal treatment.

The reason I decided to write about it, however, comes from the fact that so many people fear it and associate it with pain. I am reminded of this fact constantly by patients and there were several recently that made comments to this effect.

The simple truth, however, reveals a much different story. Root canal treatment (or endodontic therapy as we dentists call it) is actually a painless procedure when done properly. I believe that people’s fear of it stem from the fact that toothache pain is one of the major symptoms necessitating root canal treatment. In other words, the close association of tooth pain and endodontic treatment confuse many people into believing that they are interchangeable, when in reality, root canal treatment is what is needed to eliminate the pain of an infected tooth!

If you have any questions regarding this tooth saving therapy don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit or in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA.

CariVu – A new view at tooth decay

We are pleased to be introducing CariVu™ to our practice. CariVu is a new fiber optic trans-illumination technology from Dexis that will help us with better and earlier diagnosis of tooth decay (caries), between your teeth. Earlier detection of course, leads to more conservative and less expensive treatment options.

carivuThe CariVu technology is painless, and allows us to produce Images that are radiation free. The technology works by bathing the tooth in safe, near-infrared light which makes the tooth’s enamel appear transparent, while porous lesions trap and absorb the light. Images read like familiar X-ray images.

This new technology, in conjunction with your periodic exam, x-rays and hygiene visit will help to improve your overall dental health.

Please ask us about CariVu or any of oral health issue the next time you are in the office or in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA.

12 Things That Can Harm Your Teeth

HealthySmilesBlogHaving healthy teeth is not only important to your overall appearance but your oral health contributes to your overall well being. Here are 12 things you can avoid to maintain and/or achieve better oral health.

  1. Sugary Foods and Drinks
    Food and drinks that are sugary promote an environment that is conducive to the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  1. Lack of Water
    A dry mouth is the worst environment for decay, allowing the bacteria to multiply and preventing saliva from buffering the acids they make.
  1. Nail Biting
    Habits like nail biting can cause excessive wear and chipping of the front teeth.
  1. Heavy Brushing
    Using anything other than a soft toothbrush will cause erosion and unnecessary wear of the teeth.
  2.  Acidic Foods and Beverages
    Acidic foods and beverages dissolve tooth structure and also promote an environment that promotes the harmful bacteria in the oral cavity.
  1. Neglecting Baby Teeth
    Primary teeth are essential to maintaining the space and relationships needed to ensure proper development and eruption of the permanent teeth.
  1. Using Your Teeth as Tools
    Using your teeth to open bobby pins, beer bottles or to bite string, etc. can chip teeth and cause excessive wear.
  1. Thumb Sucking
    Prolonged thumb sucking beyond the age of 4 can result in a narrow arch form, protrusion of the permanent front teeth and orthodontic problems in general.
  1. Smoking
    Smoking not only is related to oral cancer, but constricts peripheral blood vessels and contributes to periodontal disease.
  1. Chewing Ice
    Chewing ice leads to cold sensitivity and cracked teeth.
  1. Grinding
    Grinding (or bruxism) causes excessive wear, fractured teeth and contributes to jaw joint problems.
  1. Failure to Wear Athletic Guards
    Engaging in contact sports while not wearing the appropriate athletic mouth guard can lead to quite severe traumatic injuries to the teeth including tooth loss.

If you have questions, please ask us about any of these issues the next time you are in the office or in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA.

We’re always here to help.

Happy New Year! from Dr. Larry Stone

HappyNewYearAs we begin the New Year I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a healthy and successful 2016. No doubt it will be an interesting and exciting year, especially with a presidential election looming ahead.

The New Year always brings changes, and dentistry is no different in that regard. The familiar adage: “The only constant is change” applies to all. At the ADA meeting last October in Washington, DC, I attended a program entitled “The Future of Dentistry”. There are changes coming not only in how dentistry is delivered but in new materials and technologies as well.

As always, we will do our best to keep up with new developments and to keep you informed of the advancements in the science and art of dentistry that have been scientifically shown to produce positive results and good outcomes.

I look forward to seeing you in the New Year. If you have any questions in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have about any issue in the field of dentistry.