Mentoring Dental Students

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For the second year I have been asked to mentor dental students at my alma mater, Temple University. Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry is the only Dental school in the country with such a program. It’s called “Mentoring for Life,” and is intended to help guide dental students through school and transition them into the profession.

Once again I was paired with a very diverse group of students. Temple University has the distinction of being one of the most diverse campuses in the nation! I must say though, that regardless of their background, these students also have a lot in common. They are bright, hardworking and inquisitive. They are also nervous about their futures, much like I was at their age.

As I look forward to a year of getting to know my young charges better, I can’t help but feel that we are all in good hands going forward. The future of dentistry is bright with such capable young minds positioned to lead the profession. And the public should also feel comfortable knowing that the dentists being trained today will be the best the world has ever seen!

Any questions about this program or your oral health 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.

Dental Check-ups = Prevention

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Sometimes I feel like a broken record, constantly reminding people of how important it is to see their dentist for regular dental check-ups. Two recent experiences though remind me of how important it really is to “hold the line”.

A month or so ago I helped to deliver over a million dollars in donated dental services to more than 2,000 needy people in the Allentown area in one weekend! This event, called a MOM (Mission of Mercy)-n-PA Event, was staffed by over 400 volunteer dentists, dental hygienists and assistants. Many of the patients receiving care had not seen a dentist in years, and believe me, it showed. Most people were having hopeless and infected teeth removed – a result of years of neglect. It’s just sad that so much of this could have been so easily prevented.

The second case actually occurred in my own practice. A patient who visits me infrequently came to have her teeth cleaned. I hadn’t seen her in the office in over a year. Decay had started without her knowledge under a large filling in one of her back molar teeth. Now, instead of an inexpensive repair, the tooth needs to be restored with a crown and may even need root canal therapy.

There are lessons to be learned in all of this: An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure, especially at today’s prices! People also have to take responsibility for their own circumstances to the extent that they can. I can tell people to brush and floss, Even show them how to do it, but I can’t make them do it.

As your dentist, my goal is to help you achieve optimal dental oral health. Whenever you have questions about any dental care product, 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.

Halloween and the Surprising Truth about Cavities

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Yes, it’s that time of year again – Halloween – now second only to the Christmas holiday in the amount of money and attention we pay to it as a culture. Halloween – that time of year when children across the country dream of dressing up as their favorite character and scouring the neighborhood for as much candy as they can carry. And for parents – it’s a time for enjoying the festivities but in the back of their minds – the worry of “sugared up” hyperactive kids bouncing off the walls and the inevitable tooth decay and dental bills from all of that sugar.

But if you think that it all begins with that first candy bar you couldn’t be more mistaken. The truth is that your child’s teeth are at risk long before their first exposure to sugar. Tooth decay is actually the result of a bacterial infection, specifically lactobacillus. Infants are born without these cavity-producing germs but typically are infected by their mothers before the age of two through sharing utensils and toothbrushes.

Once infected, children will be prone to decay for the rest of their lives! Sugars and other starchy carbohydrates contribute to the problem because they are the bacteria’s favorite food. Bacteria easily turn these foods into acids that eat away at the structure of the teeth by depleting calcium. Once the decay process destroys enough of the integrity of the tooth structure, it collapses, causing a cavity or hole in the tooth.

Bacteria do the most damage when they “colonize” on the surface of the tooth and form a transparent sticky film known as “plaque”. Plaque is actually a bio-film and concentrates the acids produced by the bacteria on the tooth surface. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that bio-films cause 80% of all human illnesses! It may also surprise you to know that at least 4 million preschoolers (about 40% of all 2-5 year olds) suffer from tooth decay making it the most common disease in children, affecting even more kids than asthma and diabetes!

In recent years tooth decay has been on the rise in part for the following reasons:

  • Some communities have opted to discontinue fluoridating their community water supplies. (Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to the acids produced by decay causing bacteria.) This is particularly surprising in light of the fact that the CDC has stated that community water fluoridation is one of the top ten public health advances in the last 100 years!
  • There has been an increase in the use of bottled water, which typically does not contain fluoride.
  • The prevalence of high fructose corn (HFC) syrup used as a sweetener in most of our processed foods including juices and sodas. HFC syrup can actually be more damaging to our teeth than other sugars! Sodas are particularly harmful because they are acidic to begin with and lower the pH of the saliva, making it even more acidic.
  • Many of us get our drinking water from wells that may not be naturally fluoridated.
  • Access to care in underserved areas of the country, and in some underserved populations, continues to be an issue in this country as well as a throughout the world.

So here is a list of my top 10 things you can do to improve the dental health of your children:

  1. Make sure your child has a dental check-up by the age of one as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and has regular visits thereafter.
  2. Use fluoride supplements if your local water is not fluoridated. Your dentist or pediatrician can supply you with appropriate prescriptions.
  3. Limit exposure to sugar and starchy carbohydrates, especially around the holidays. And remember, it’s not the total amount of sweets consumed, but the number of exposures to sweets throughout the day that matters most. I recall the mother of a childhood friend who took control of the Halloween stash and periodically doled it out to my friend over the next several months following the holiday!
  4. Set a good example. Take care of your own smile by practicing good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing regularly.
  5. Make sure your child brushes twice a day (after breakfast and before bed) for two minutes each time. Choose a child size toothbrush with soft bristles and replace it every 3-4 months.
  6. Consider using Xylitol products. Xylitol is an all-natural sugar substitute. It comes from beech trees and other natural plant sources and is “non-nutritive” to the bacteria that cause decay. It is also completely safe. (Studies have even shown that expectant mothers that chew Xylitol gum give birth to children who have healthier mouths!)
  7. Never allow infants to sleep or toddlers to walk around with milk or juice drinks. This produces what dentists call “baby bottle tooth decay”.
  8. Avoid toothpastes containing fluoride for children under the age of two; they tend to swallow it. Use water or a non-fluoridated toothpaste.
  9. For children ages 2-6 years old, use a pea-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste, and make sure they spit it out after brushing. Any more than that is wasted.
  10. And remember – when in doubt, ask your dentist. With proper guidance, most children should be able to graduate high school today with no cavities!

There are many helpful references to this important topic, some of which have been used to develop this article. These include the ADA’s brochure: “Happiness is a Healthy Smile: A Message for Parents”, available through your local dentist, and Rebecca Feisenthal’s article in Parents Magazine: “The Surprising Truth About Cavities”, published in the October 2006 issue and available online at: http://www.parents.com/baby/health/baby-teeth/cavities/.

Other helpful websites where you can read more about this important topic include:
http://www.MouthHealthy.org (the ADA’s consumer site with a complete section on babies and kids)
www.choosemyplate.gov (for more information on healthy foods and drinks for your children)

Feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA with any questionsor concerns on this important topic, or to schedule your next visit so we can talk more about this. In the meantime, have a safe and happy Halloween!

Microbeads in Toothpaste – What you should know.

The ADA Speaks Out on “Good Morning America”

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I received the following issues alert from the American Dental Association (ADA) which I thought would be useful to you. I am reprinting this important information below.

ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) contacted the ADA for a segment that aired in September on microbeads (polyethylene) in toothpaste. All of the varieties of Crest ProHealth® toothpaste which have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance contain microbeads.

The ADA provided a press statement to the GMA producer indicating, “According to the American Dental Association, clinically relevant dental health studies do not indicate that the ADA Seal should be removed from toothpastes that contain polyethylene microbeads. Products with the ADA Seal have been independently evaluated for safety and effectiveness by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.”

Local news stations, including ABC 7 Chicago, have previously reported on microbeads from health and environmental angles. Procter & Gamble (P&G), the manufacturer of Crest ProHealth®, includes information for the public on their website and has indicated they plan to remove microbeads from toothpaste.

According to P&G, “While the ingredient in question is completely safe, approved for use in foods by the FDA and part of an enjoyable brushing experience for millions of consumers with no issues, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. So we will. Crest will continue to provide consumers with effective and enjoyable products which are designed to their preferences.”

The following are some responses prepared by the ADA on questions regarding microbeads in toothpaste:

  • Microbeads have been in the news lately. You may have heard about it in connection with toothpaste.
  • Microbeads are most often used as scrubbing beads in exfoliating skin care products.
  • The FDA has approved microbeads as a food additive, and small quantities, which appear as colored specks, are in some of Crest’s toothpastes, including Crest Pro Health, which has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
  • According to the ADA, clinically relevant dental health studies do not indicate that the ADA Seal should be removed from toothpastes that contain microbeads.
  • Products with the ADA Seal have been independently evaluated for safety and effectiveness by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.
  • While there is no clinical evidence that microbeads in toothpaste are harmful to your dental health, Crest is voluntarily withdrawing the ingredient from toothpaste in response to growing consumer preference.

As your dentist, my goal is to help you achieve optimal dental oral health. Whenever you have questions about any dental care product, 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.

See you soon!

7 Tips For Treating Dry Mouth

In July I wrote a blog about 15 drugs that can cause dry mouth (Xerostomia).There are actually hundreds of medications that can cause dry mouth, a particularly nasty problem that can cause rampant tooth decay, oral infections, difficulty in chewing and swallowing, and otherwise make people miserable. Xerostomia can also be especially difficult to treat, so I am suggesting a few simple things you can do to help in treating dry mouth to manage this malady.
biotene

  1. Sip water throughout the day.
  2. Suck on ice (but do not chew it!).
  3. Discontinue alcohol (including mouthwashes containing alcohol), caffeine and sodas – all of which can dry out the mouth.
  4. Humidify your sleeping area with a cool mist vaporizer.
  5. Keep your lips lubricated with lanolin or Lansinoh, an over-the counter (OTC) ointment.
  6. Use fluoride supplements to fight decay.
  7. Consider using Biotene (OTC) oral care products including their toothpaste, mouth rinse and mouth moisturizing gel.Taken together, the Biotene products constitute an “enzyme replacement system” which can be very beneficial for dry mouth patients.

I hope these simple suggestions help if you suffer from dry mouth. As always, please 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. See you soon!

Porcelain Veneers – The Best Thing I Ever Did!

porcelain veneeers patient, Dr. Larry Stone

I was thinking about this the other day and one of the best things I ever did (for myself that is) was to get porcelain veneers. My teeth were healthy, but discolored, retroclined (angled inward), worn down from grinding and had spaces between them. I already had orthodontic treatment to correct some of the spacing, but it just didn’t look right and I noticed this in a picture of myself with a good friend’s daughter at her wedding.

Being a dentist I sometimes take these things for granted, but speaking with some of my patients who have taken my advice made me realize what a powerful improvement veneers can be. Veneers are custom made, very thin, but strong shells of porcelain that are bonded to the teeth. They usually require very little preparation and therefore cause very little discomfort.

I’ve made hundreds of veneers for people over the years and can honestly say that no one has ever regretted having this done. I’ve included some before and after pictures of one of my patients so you can be the judge! If you have ever thought about doing something to improve your appearance please ask us about veneers. You may just find that this treatment is one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself!

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

Mouthwash Ingredients – Why you should avoid those containing CPC

Mourthwash Ingredients Dr. Larry Stone

I’ve known for some time that sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a detergent found in many toothpastes can contribute to apthous ulcers – those small annoying ulcerations in our mouths that mysteriously affect many of us. What I didn’t know until recently was that cetyl pyridinium chloride (CPC), the active ingredient in many mouthwashes, i.e. Crest Pro Health, Colgate Total, BreathRx, Scope, Cepacol and Viadent, can interact with SLS to cause staining and sloughing of the buccal mucosa (the inner lining of the cheeks).

Patients often complain of staining and are often at a loss as to why this occurs. Here is just another potential contributing factor in addition to smoking, coffee, tea, etc.

As it happens, Listerine is one of the few mouth rinses that does not contain CPC as one of its mouthwash ingredients, but rather relies on essential oils such as thymol, wintergreen, peppermint and menthol to kill the bacterial plaque responsible for gingivitis.

So now you know! Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

6 Reasons to Laugh

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Need a good laugh? We all do from time to time, especially as we age.

I was reminded of this by the unfortunate passing of Robin Williams last month. The problem is that talking or writing about the health benefits of laughter is rarely funny in and of itself!

Laughter is so important that many years ago I made a habit of attending the International Conference on Humor and Creativity held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Many of the ideas I gleaned from those conferences I tried to incorporate into my dental practice. I even had the opportunity to meet Steve Allen and his son, a practicing physician in Horseheads, N.Y. Then there is also the very interesting book by Norman Cousins, “The Anatomy of an Illness,” where he stated that “laughter is inner jogging.”

So, here it is, the six reasons why you need to laugh:

  1. Laughter increases blood flow, a positive thing for those of us that value life!
  2. Humor may raise the level of infection fighting antibodies in the body and boost the level of immune cells.
  3. Laughter can help mediate blood sugar levels in the body.
  4. People who laugh are able to relax and sleep better.
  5. Laughter can increase your personal satisfaction and help you connect with others.
  6. Laughter can lessen your depression and anxiety and will improve your mood.

Got any good jokes? Send them to me!

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

 

 

 

 

What you need to know about Triclosan

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Recently the news has been abuzz with reports about the purported health consequences of triclosan, an FDA approved antibacterial agent used in some of the Colgate toothpastes for years. I’m sure that Colgate’s’ competitors are having a “field day” with this development! I’ve even seen ads on TV touting products that specifically do not contain triclosan.

In any event, I am including the following letter from Colgate regarding the facts of the controversy and would specifically direct your attention to the arrows below regarding safety. For now at least, I am sticking with Colgate. If my opinion changes I will let you know. As always though, you are free to form your own opinions.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

Best wishes,

Larry Stone

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8 FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT COLGATE TOTAL®
Dear Colleague, Colgate
Every day you make recommendations for your patient’s home care
based on scientific evidence, your professional experience and patient
needs. Here are the facts:
1 Colgate Total® is the toothpaste most recommended and used by
dental professionals in the USA.*
2 Colgate Total helps prevent, treat and reverse gingivitis. It reduces
90% more germs that cause gingivitis than regular toothpaste.**
3 Colgate Total is one of the most extensively tested and
researched toothpastes in the world. Read More >
4 90 clinical studies, over 20 years and 20,000 subjects support
Colgate Total’s safety and efficacy.
5 A 2013 independent systematic review by the Cochrane Oral
Health Group
affirmed the superiority of triclosan/copolymer on
several measures of plaque and gingivitis compared to regular
toothpaste. It also concluded there was no evidence of any harmful
effects. The review included 30 studies of up to 3 years in duration,
between 1990 to 2012, involving 14,835 participants. Read More >
6 Colgate Total is accepted by the ADA and over 40 dental
associations worldwide. Read More >
7 Colgate Total is the only FDA approved toothpaste through the
rigorous new drug application process – the same process used to
review the safety of prescription drugs.
8 Regulatory agencies in the United States, Australia, Canada
and Europe have conducted their own reviews of Colgate Total, and
in every case, have affirmed its safety and effectiveness in
fighting gingivitis.
For more of the science and facts please visit:
See the Science
Safety and Efficacy
Systematic Review
Dr. Barbara Shearer, BDS MDS, PhD
Dr. Barbara Shearer, BDS MDS, PhD
Director, Scientific Affairs
Colgate
*Professional Tracking Study, Ipsos, 2013
**12 hours after brushing. Data on file.
©2014 Colgate-Palmolive Company, New York, NY 10022, USA.
This is an advertisement from Colgate-Palmolive Company.
For more information, visit colgateprofessional.com.
Colgate-Palmolive cares about your privacy. To learn more, read our Privacy Policy.
Contact Colgate-Palmolive at: Colgate-Palmolive 300 Park Avenue New York, NY 10022
To contact consumer affairs, click here.

8 Things You Can Do to Prevent Your Kids From Using Chewing Tobacco

ChewTobacco

8 Things You Can Do to Prevent Your Kids From Using Chewing Tobacco

Bill Tuttle was a major league baseball player who lost his battle with oral cancer in 1998 after a five-year struggle with the disease. A good friend and contemporary of Joe Garagiola, Bill endured five surgeries that resulted in his inability to speak or swallow and left him severely disfigured.

As a follow up to an earlier blog about tobacco associated oral cancer among professional athletes, here are 8 steps developed by the Oral Cancer Foundation you can take to discourage your kids from ever starting with “spit tobacco”.

  1.       Talk to them.

Parents who talk to their children are more likely to have a positive effect in influencing their behavior.

  1.       Make Your Feelings Clear

Let children know how you feel about their behavior with respect to tobacco usage.

  1.       Help Children Decode Ads

Many tobacco ads and products appeal to an increasingly younger audience. Help kids understand the truth of these ads.

  1.       Give Them a Reality Check

Let children know that most people don’t use tobacco products, including spit tobacco, and that it’s not the cool thing to do.

  1.       Emphasize Health.

Children are notoriously unconcerned about health. (Remember those days!). Educate them as to the serious health consequences of tobacco use.

  1.       Emphasize Addiction.

Some people feel that nicotine is as addictive as heroin! The advent of e-cigarettes and “vape-pens” only makes the problem worse. The younger children are when they start experimenting with tobacco, the more likely they are to suffer severe consequences.

  1.       Don’t Use Spit Tobacco Yourself.

“Do what I say and not what I do” is not an option here. The same applies to your daily oral hygiene practices.

  1.       Impose Consequences.

Children need to know that there will be consequences for unacceptable behavior, including the use of tobacco products. No exceptions!

 

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!