Summer Travel Alert: Drowsy Driving Can Be as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Drowsy Driving

As you get ready to hit the road this summer to enjoy your favorite vacation spots, be aware that drowsy driving can lead to serious consequences for you, your family and others on the road. There are many reasons you can become drowsy when driving, the most important of which is lack of proper sleep. It has been reported by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) that drivers are 15 times more likely to be involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident when they have excessive daytime sleepiness, a common symptom of sleep apnea.

AADSM further states that 12-18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and snoring, with millions more going undiagnosed – as many as 30-50 million more as claimed by The Institute of Medicine. Certainly sleep apnea and snoring prevent the person suffering with these conditions, and often those sleeping nearby, a good night’s rest. We have spoken in prior blogs about the remedies for sleep apnea, but for those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or those who can’t comply with a CPAP, oral appliance therapy may just be the ticket to a good night’s sleep.

Oral appliances look like a sports mouth guard and travel well. Not only are they quiet in comparison to a CPAP, they are very easy to care for. If you think you suffer from primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, ask me for a referral to a board-certified sleep physician. Once officially diagnosed, you can determine the best treatment option for you. We will be happy to fit you with an oral appliance should that choice work for you.

In the meantime, look for these telltale signs of drowsiness when driving:

  • Yawning constantly
  • Unable to keep your eyes open
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Nodding off
  • Daydreaming, wandering thoughts
  • Drifting into other lanes
  • Can’t remember the last few miles
  • Ending up too close to cars in front
  • Missing road signs
  • Driving past turns
  • Moving onto the `rumble strip’ or road shoulder

If any of these present themselves, switch drivers with someone more alert or pull over into a safe place and take a nap. Then walk around to wake up before driving again.

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 or schedule an appointment to be fit for your oral appliance to assist you in achieving a good night’s sleep.

Do You Grind Your Teeth at Night?

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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!

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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!

Don’t Like Flossing? Some tips to make it easier.

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Well, the good news is you’re not alone. Most people have trouble with flossing, So I’d like to offer a few suggestions that  I’ve found over the years may help.

  1. If you don’t know how to floss properly, then yes, you can hurt yourself and traumatize your gums. Call and stop by or ask the hygienist next time you are in for your “check-up” to make sure your technique is solid!
  2. Try a different kind of floss. If you don’t like what you are using then try something else. There are many different kinds of floss including waxed, un-waxed, tape, glide, flavored, unflavored, etc. Remember, it doesn’t matter what kind you use. The important thing is to remember to do it.
  3. Let’s face it, not everyone has the dexterity of a dental hygienist. II flossing is something you just physically cannot master, then consider using any one of a number of other devices available for getting In between the teeth. Some examples: GUM® Eez-Thru flossers, GUM® Proxabrushes, DenTek Triple Clean Floss Picks, DenTek Floss Threaders, the GUM ® Flossmate Floss Handle and Oral-B Super Floss®. No matter what the issue is, rest assured that there’s something out there to help.
  4. It’s important to floss at least once a day, but if you only floss once, when would be the best time? Night time of course, right before you go to bed. Why you ask? Because night time is the longest period during which you are not feeding the bacteria in dental plaque…those same bugs that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  5. And finally, don’t forget that flossing, as an integral part of your daily oral hygiene routine, has now been linked to achieving better overall health in many ways. By reducing infection and inflammation, meticulous home care can help reduce the consequences of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and possibly pre-term low birth weight babies.

So for all these reasons and more I hope you take your daily flossing seriously.

Please feel free to talk with me at your next visit about your flossing techniques. We will be happy to demonstrate effective flossing techniques. Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to schedule your next visit

Photo demonstrates Dentek Triple Clean Floss Picks in action.

Fifty Shades of Gray – A Reminiscence on Central High School

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Before I found out what the movie “Fifty Shades of Gray” was all about (obviously I did not read the book!), I thought they were talking about me. After all, this year I will be celebrating my 50th high school reunion–a very sobering thought. Gray or not, I’m just happy to still have hair!

I went to Central High School in Philadelphia, back when it was still an all-boys school. I am very proud to have had the privilege of attending Central and still carry that pride today. Although I was not one of them, the year I graduated we led the nation in Merit Scholarship Finalists (45). I did in fact receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central, one of the only high schools in the country legally permitted to grant that degree. Only four of my classmates became dentists, while there were over 130 attorneys and probably as many or more physicians.

About twenty years ago my only sister needed to have some gynecological surgery. A now retired classmate of mine, Dr. Larry Seidman, performed the procedure at Rolling Hill Hospital. During the surgery he found a lymphoma on my sister’s colon incidental to the procedure. He removed it and thus saved her life. I hope to see Larry and thank him again at our upcoming reunion.

Please feel free to talk with me at your next visit about the reunion. I will be happy to share my experience. Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to schedule your next visit

Cracked Tooth?

New Research Study May Help With Treatment

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I see cracked teeth all the time. Research suggests that the majority of adults have at least one posterior (molar or premolar) cracked tooth. Crack progression and related symptoms are a common concern in everyday dental practice.

I have therefore decided to renew my participation in the National Dental Practice Based Research Network (PBRN). The National Dental PBRN is a network of dental practices committed to advancing knowledge by conducting research in their practices. The current study we are participating in is the Cracked Tooth Registry Study. This study may help to determine not only the characteristics of cracked teeth but most importantly how to treat them.

You may be eligible to participate in the Cracked Tooth Registry Study if:

  1. You are an adult between the ages of 19-85
  2. You have a cracked posterior tooth (premolar or molar).
  3. You will remain in the geographic area for the next 4 years.
  4. We may contact you over the next 4 years.

To learn more about the PBRN, please visit: NationalDentalPBRN.org. You may also be compensated for your participation in this study.

Please feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA with any questions or concerns or to schedule your next visit so we can talk more about this. We will be checking out those teeth next time for any cracks!

Alzheimer’s and Dental Health

Alzheimers

Cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease, is a major concern of the aging population in America. It may now even be the third leading cause of death in America behind only cardiovascular disease and cancer. Although reporting numbers vary, it is safe to say that as of 2014, Alzheimer’s affects approximately 5.2 million Americans and 36 million people globally. Up until recently all of the research to prevent and treat this disease has been focused on identifying a single pathogenic target, and no single drug has been shown to stop or even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. But this may be about to change.

In a small study by Dr. Dale E. Bredesen at the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research along with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, it was found that using a complex, 36 point therapeutic program that involves comprehensive diet changes, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep optimization, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, as well as additional steps affecting brain chemistry, significant improvement in cognitive function has been achieved. (See Bredesen, Dale E., Reversal of Cognitive Decline: A Novel Therapeutic Program, Aging, Sept 2014, Vol.6 N9).

So what’s all this got to do with dentistry you ask? Well, one of the therapies involved in treating dementia with this protocol is reducing the amount of inflammation in the body. Inflammation was found to be a comorbidity in this study. And for those of us with teeth, it has long been known that infection in the gums contributes greatly to the total amount of inflammation in the body, exacerbating other systemic problems like diabetes. Ergo, healthier gums = reduced inflammation = better brain function.

Nine of the 10 people in this study showed significant cognitive improvement following Dr. Bredesen’s protocol. On a personal note, having watched my mother succumb to dementia in her later years, I was glad to see that dental health was recognized in this study as playing a vital role in contributing to cognitive health.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer’s Association web page. If you have any questions we can help with relating to reducing inflammation in your mouth, feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA with any questions or concerns or to schedule your next visit so we can talk more about this. Remember, brushing two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily are important ways to take care of your dental health.

Whiter Teeth for Life

Happy New Year!

WhiteningOffer

As we welcome the new year I want to make it something special…for you! Because many of our patients have expressed an interest in having a whiter, brighter smile, I am announcing a new program in our office that will keep your smile whiter for life. That’s right…FOR LIFE!  It is called “Whiter.Brighter. You. for life” and uses the POLA + whitening program.

This privilege, while absolutely free, does require some rules and regulations. You can see the complete details at the office on your next appointment or on our web site page on tooth whitening. You can also go to www.Polawhite.com for more whitening information on the POLA + whitening program.

Basically, any of our dedicated patients who have had their teeth whitened here in our office and who maintain their regular hygiene re-care appointment schedule will receive a complimentary “Pola” touch up whitening syringe of gel for life.

Any questions on whitening techniques or any other oral health issue related, feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA. Best wishes for a healthy new year!

Stranger Than Fiction – U.S. Senate Held Together by Candy

candy_drawerI was astounded to learn recently that the U.S. Senate is in reality held together by candy! Unbelievable, but true! (See the excerpt below from Senator Pat Toomey’s latest email newsletter.) And not only that, but Pennsylvania is one of the leading producers of candy in the country. (Think Hershey’s!) And to think that Pennsylvania now wields power over the U.S. Senate by controlling the “Candy desk” is just mind-blowing!

How this all happened is just too much for my simple mind to understand. I just hope that they stock the Senate bathrooms with toothbrushes and floss!

Happy New Year! Any questions on how to best protect you and your family from oral health problems related to too much candy, feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA. Or check back to earlier blog posts: Halloween and the Surprising Truth About Cavities or Candy and tooth decay – It’s raining candy; what’s a parent to do?

PatToomey

A Sweet Seat

This was a big week for Senate Republicans, but before we get into that, I want to talk about something a bit less serious, but important for Pennsylvania.

I am going to continue carrying out the tradition of the Senate “Candy Desk.”  For 50 years, one desk on the Republican side of the Senate chamber has been stocked with treats to share with colleagues. I am proud to announce that I am the newest occupant of this desk.

This is a sweet honor. I can now showcase Pennsylvania confectioners to the other 99 Senators in hopes of sweetening the bitter partisan atmosphere that has consumed the Senate in recent years.

This is also an important industry for our state. Pennsylvania is home to more than 200 confectionery companies, 10,000 confectionery employees, and produces $5 billion worth of candy each year.

I took a moment to discuss this new role; you can watch my video here.