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.

How Long Should Your Teeth Last?

Portrait of family keeping their hands one another at home

Last week our local paper, The Intelligencer (Sunday, October 25,2015), ran a terrific article by Sarah H. Kagan, PhD, RN entitled “Getting Older Doesn’t Mean You Have to Lose Your Teeth”. Dr. Kagan is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing where she specializes in geriatric issues. Being married to a geriatric nursing specialist has also given me the opportunity to learn quite a bit about older folks. God willing, I may someday even become one myself!

Basically, Dr. Kagan espouses what I have been telling my patients for years – which is despite the fact that we humans only get 2 sets of teeth, “baby” or primary teeth and “adult” or permanent teeth, those permanent teeth should be just that…permanent! In other words, with the knowledge and technology available to us today, people should be able to keep their teeth for a lifetime.

Now the interesting question becomes: What constitutes a “lifetime”? The February/March issue of TIME Magazine featured an infant on the cover with the headline: “This Baby Could Live to be 142 Years Old”!

Do I think that even under the best of circumstances we could keep our adult teeth for 142 years, or even 400 years as Aubrey DeGrey has suggested – once we find a cure for cancer? NO, I don’t, even though tooth enamel is the 7th hardest naturally occurring substance known to man!

Given the fact that my father and grandfather both lost all their teeth and wound up wearing dentures, this is a concern to me. In fact, it used to give me nightmares! But no more, now that we have dental implants widely available. If for some reason, despite my meticulous home care, I should lose my teeth, I would get dental implants.

Just as people who need new hips or knees can get hip and knee replacements, most patients who lose teeth can have them comfortably replaced with dental implants.But for now, let’s take care of those pearly whites that God has blessed us with.

For more on how to take care of your teeth, visit my earlier post on four dental lessons you can learn from your car, or 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 this or any other issue in the field of dentistry.

What Exactly is “Occlusal Disease”?

And what does it have to do with tricycles?

trike

Dentistry has traditionally diagnosed and treated three basic conditions relating to our teeth and their support systems:

  1. Tooth Decay (dental caries),
  2. Periodontal disease (diseases affecting the supporting structures of the teeth – the gums and bone) and
  3. Occlusal disease – those conditions affecting how the teeth meet when biting.

Occlusal disease has been without a doubt, the least understood of the three.

Fundamentally, the human jaw works like a tricycle, with the jaw joints acting like the rear wheels and the front teeth, like the front wheel, serving to guide or steer the lower jaw. A person’s occlusion or “bite”, as it is commonly called, just refers to how the upper and lower teeth meet when you close. Our back teeth have many hills and valleys which we call cusps and fossae. These cusps and fossae are supposed to interdigitate with each other like teeth on gears wheels. When they don’t, bad things happen!

Common symptoms when teeth don’t meet evenly and work together may include: uneven tooth wear, teeth and fillings that chip and break, sore jaw muscles, jaw joint problems, grinding, increased sensitivity to cold, and more. Patients and dentists alike are often puzzled by symptoms they can’t readily connect to a problem with the bite. Even worse, patients are often skeptical of treating these conditions, especially when they don’t understand the benefits.

The most overlooked and underutilized of all dental treatments is the occlusal adjustment or occlusal equilibration. It is simply the mechanical adjustment or smoothing of the biting surfaces of the teeth to allow the teeth to meet harmoniously. It is painless and is often all that is needed to correct a bad bite. For additional information you can search the American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry’s websites, or simply ask us the next time we see you.

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 this or any other issue in the field of dentistry.

Tooth Sensitivity

tooth_sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we see on a daily basis at the office. There can be many different causes for dental sensitivity including overzealous brushing, using a toothpaste that is too abrasive, unsupervised “whitening”, frequent consumption of acidic beverages (i.e. soda), deficiencies in the structure of the teeth, and so on.

Treatments for sensitive teeth can include using a desensitizing toothpaste, use of prescription strength fluoride toothpastes and rinses and application of any one of a number of desensitizing medicaments in the office.

While sensitivity is not usually a sign of a more serious dental problem, it can be! If you find yourself experiencing this annoying symptom, please bring it to our attention as soon as possible.

Also, we are currently participating in a federally funded National Practitioner Data Bank Research Network Study of sensitivity. If you are having problems with sensitive teeth you may qualify as a compensated subject in this observational study. You will be treated as anyone else with sensitive teeth and will not be subject to any experimental treatments!

You can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have regarding sensitivity and to schedule an appointment.

4 Dental Lessons to Learn From Your Car

Car Maintenance Checklist_Dr. Larry Stone

Now that it’s summertime and our thoughts turn to vacations and road trips, a recent post on the American Dental Association’s website for consumers caught my attention. It discussed how Americans tend to take care of their cars pretty faithfully, and yet, we don’t often perform the same routine maintenance on our teeth.

The following lessons from MouthHealthy.org draw from ways we maintain and preserve our cars to make them dependable. Getting oil changes, stopping for gas and going through the car wash are the things we do without a second thought to keep our car in tip-top shape. The same should be true of our teeth. Prevention is certainly the best medicine when it comes to taking care of the things you depend on most. Be sure you are getting the most mileage out of your mouth by using these strategies in your dental care routine.

Watch What Gets In Your Grill
A grill on a car keeps harmful things from getting under the hood. Think of your own grill, your mouth, as a filter system for your entire body. Everybody’s mouth is full of germs—some good, some bad. The bad ones can cause cavities and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Severe gum disease is also associated with other medical problems, like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full
You wouldn’t put just anything in your fuel tank, so be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth. Keep your engine running with a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.

Practice Preventative Maintenance
Your car won’t get very far without fresh oil and proper tire pressure. Your teeth also need regular care. Daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to keep your mouth healthy.

Get a Tune Up
Taking your car in for a tune up can extend the life of your vehicle and catch small repairs before they turn into big fixes. Regular visits to your dentist and good dental habits can prevent many dental diseases and will keep you smiling for years to come.

Be sure to ask us at your next visit how you can best keep tune up your mouth. You can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have and to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.

Bucks County Veteran ID Card Discount Program – Helps Veterans Afford Area Services

veteransdiscountvendorwindowsticker

A recent article by a colleague practicing in central Pennsylvania reminded me of my time in the service. I don’t talk about it that much, but for 2 years after completing my dental education I served as a Senior Assistant Dental  Surgeon with The United States Public Health Service. I was assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard for two years and provided dental care to enlisted personnel at small boat stations throughout the Great Lakes. Most of my patients were young, fairly healthy enlisted men and their dependents.

Being in the service doesn’t pay much and I think we all know how much our veterans have suffered following their service to this great country. It’s estimated that 150 million Americans did not see a dentist last year and that in Pennsylvania alone there are dental health professional shortage areas in 64 of our 67 counties.

I’m proud to say that Bucks County has tried to alleviate some of the inequities experienced by our veterans by Instituting the Bucks County Veteran ID Card Discount Program. By presenting the appropriate paperwork to the Bucks County Recorder of Deeds veterans will be issued an ID card entitling them to discounts at local businesses throughout the county- including my office. In addition, I keep a list of resources in the area that may be able to assist all those less fortunate in accessing dental care.

There’s no reason why our veterans, those who have given so much to this country, should have to go without dental care when they need it the most. If you want to help and have a service or product to offer, call the County Recorder of Deeds to volunteer for this worthy program.

If you are a veteran in need of dental services, Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have and to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you.

Do You Grind Your Teeth at Night?

bruxism_teethgrinding

A comprehensive study reported in the American College of Chest Physicians journal found that more than 8% of the population grind their teeth at night at least once a week. Half of those that grind also experience significant consequences including muscular discomfort on awakening, sleep disturbing tooth grinding and the necessity of extensive dental work. Additional consequences of nighttime grinding (also known as sleep bruxism) can include headaches, jaw joint discomfort, and premature loss of teeth due to excessive attrition and mobility.

Sleep bruxism has also been associated with snoring, moderate daytime sleepiness, heavy alcohol consumption, caffeine drinkers, smoking, a highly stressful lifestyle and those with anxiety. Possibly the most serious association with sleep bruxism, however, is those people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a potentially life threatening condition!

If you think you may be grinding your teeth at night or if your sleeping partner tells you that you are grinding or snoring, please let us know the next time you are in the office.

It may just save your life!

Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have and to schedule your next visit.

Saliva- What Your Spit Can Tell Us About You!

saliva

Don’t be surprised if we ask you to spit in a cup at your next dental visit! Salivary diagnostics have been slowly improving as the science grows. Human saliva is now used to diagnose many conditions such as multiple sclerosis; Sjogren’s syndrome; sarcoidosis; metabolic bone disorders; cardiovascular conditions; periodontal disease; genetic disorders; and fungal, bacterial and viral infections.

Our medical colleagues are also using saliva to determine the presence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, HIV infections, cardiovascular disease, and to monitor drug use.

The advantages of using saliva as a diagnostic aide are numerous. It is non-invasive; it can be self-administered, and because saliva does not clot, samples can be stored and transported more easily. In addition, testing saliva can offer immediate results and is preferable for infants, children, geriatrics and for remotely located populations.

We are currently using salivary diagnostics in dentistry to help identify patients with HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infections, susceptibility to periodontal disease, Xerostomia (dry mouth) and those with a high caries index. We can then use the results to make intelligent recommendations for treatment and/or prevention. Please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions at your next visit.

So, now you know! Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have and to schedule your next visit.

The Tooth Fairy Is Having a Good Year!

Tooth Fairy_Dr. Larry Stone

In a recent article published in Dental Products Report it was noted that The Tooth Fairy paid a record $255 million for lost teeth in 2014! I’m not making this up – it’s true!  Delta Dental reported this in the Original Tooth Fairy Poll® based on Delta Dental estimates.

Apparently children are also benefiting from a recovering economy with the average gift from the Tooth Fairy reaching a new high of $4.36 in 2014, up from $3.50 the previous year. In fact, Tooth Fairy reimbursements have tracked with the movement of the S & P 500 in 11 of the last 12 years!

Some other notable findings from the 2014 Original Tooth Fairy Poll include:

  • The Tooth Fairy visited 81% of U.S. homes with children who lost a tooth.
  • The Tooth Fairy was more generous with first-time tooth losers, leaving more money for the first tooth in 40% of homes.
  • The Tooth Fairy was stingiest with kids living in the Midwest ($2.83 per tooth) and most generous with kids living in the South ($5.16 per tooth).
  • Kids with younger parents received more money on average from the Tooth Fairy.
  • Children who received a gift as opposed to cash most often got a toy, game, toothbrush, toothpaste, book, doll, stuffed animal or dental floss.

According to executives at Delta Dental, the Original Tooth Fairy Poll helps promote good dental hygiene habits that encourage healthy smiles, and I might add, a very busy schedule for the Tooth Fairy!

It’s never too early to start good oral hygiene habits in your children. Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to schedule your next visit and we can talk about your children and their teeth!