Dental Health

Smoking, Kids, and Cavities

January 11th, 2017

We all know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, pregnancy complications, and is a major risk factor for periodontal disease (advanced gum disease.)

Recent studies have also linked periodontal disease to increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious diseases. Smoking can also affect pint-sized patients who inhale the cigarette exhaust that others puff into the air! A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology takes the first look at the influence of passive smoking on the oral health of children.

Researchers compared children whose parents smoked with kids whose parents did not. The study’s findings revealed that smokers can indirectly harm the oral health of their children! Researchers measured saliva for levels of the chemical cotinine, a major product of nicotine processing, in the body. Cotinine generally stays in the body longer than nicotine. The level in one’s saliva correlates with that in the blood. Children who had been exposed to parental smoking had greater levels of the substance in their saliva than the children whose parents were non-smokers. What’s more, youngsters who had higher saliva levels of cotinine also fared worse on oral dental exams.

Nicotine addiction is a tough habit to break. So if you do smoke, be thoughtful of others and never smoke near children. Obviously, compared to cancer, cavities may seem almost insignificant, but painful tooth decay in children can distract them from their studies, can lead to the loss of permanent teeth or systemic infections and even, in rare cases, death.

Cavities in baby teeth may also lead to long-term problems in adult teeth.

That said, parents and grandparents, next time you need motivation to stop smoking...think about your kids’ and grandkids’ teeth.

Give them something to smile about...your health, and theirs.

Dr Mike


December 12th, 2016

Dental sealants can prevent decay in the most vulnerable areas—the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth.

Fast, Painless and Proven Effective!

Brushing and flossing help prevent decay by cleaning the smooth surfaces of your teeth. The brush brissles are too small reach deep into the grooves, but the bacteria can easily reach these areas. Sealants help prevent decay by “sealing out” bacteria and food from those impossible-to-reach nooks and crannies.

They’re Not Just for Kids!

Some insurance companies have recognized the adult benefits, and they have started offering coverage! Even if insurance companies do not cover the service, often the out-of-pocket expense is less then a copay on one filling!

The sealant is applied to grooves and fissures of tooth surfaces, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. They require no anesthsia. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants can last several years before a reapplication is needed.

Dr. Mike

We Can Prevent Needless Dental Emergencies!

December 1st, 2016

Study authors recently showed that tens of thousands of dental patients were hospitalized over a 9-year period for a preventable condition. Your regular care in this office can prevent dental infections!

A first-of-its-kind study found that hospitalizations for untreated tooth abscesses are on the rise. The study of 61,439 patients hospitalized for oral infections was conducted by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Their findings were published in the Journal of Endodontics. The number of patients hospitalized for dental infections—that could have been prevented with in-office care—rose nearly 42 percent!

“Over 89 percent of the patients with dental infections were hospitalized after an emergency room visit, indicating a lack of regular preventive care,” noted lead researcher, Andrea Shah.

Study co-author, Kelly Leong, warned, “By the time these infections require hospitalization, they are serious, and though it is rare, they can even be fatal.”

According to the study, “Left untreated, these abscesses can...spread infection to nearby bone and facial tissue, potentially eroding the bone and requiring surgery to clear the infection and reconstruct the bone.”

The researchers pointed out that, “[Oral] infections can be detected with a simple dental [x-ray] and clinical exam. Preventive care every six months would help stop the infection (P. Gingivalis) from getting out of control.”

Preserve Your Well-Being...and Your Wallet!

Your typical bill for an average 3-day stay for treatment of an abscessed tooth—could run you about $14,245! Yet the cost of a preventive dental exam, restorative filling or even a root canal pales in comparison!

Early on, you may have no symptoms; however, an oral infection can progress rapidly. If it’s been more than six months since we’ve seen you and your family, please schedule your oral exam today!

Dr. Mike

Dental Abscess


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