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Don’t leave money on the table!

If you have a flexible spending account, or FSA, time is running out to spend down your balance.
FSAs, which are typically offered as a benefit through your employer, give you the option of putting money directly from your paycheck, tax-free, into an account so they can be used to pay medical-related expenses throughout the year. The max contribution this year was $2,650 per person.  Dental appointments are generally covered so if you still have money available now is the time to call us for an overdue cleaning or any outstanding treatment.  Call us NOW at 703-548-8584.

Thanksgiving Dental Tips

5 Thanksgiving Dental Tips
Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. Mullaney and the entire team hope you are able to spend quality time with your family and friends while enjoying a feast of foods. Keep in mind, this celebration is no time to slack on your dental care! Having to deal with a filling or dental emergency could put a damper on the holiday season. To help you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, we’ve compiled these five tips:

Five Thanksgiving Dental Tips
Shorten Your Meal Time. Perhaps the most damaging aspect of a typical Thanksgiving meal is its length. Enjoying the company of friends and family for hours is an important part of the day, but try to avoid dragging the meal out too long. Continuing to expose your teeth to the acids in food makes it easier for cavity-causing bacteria to build up in your mouth. Instead of passing the time by munching, focus on sharing stories, watching movies, or playing games.

Stay Hydrated. It’s always a good idea to drink lots of water, but especially when you’re eating lots of rich, sweet foods, staying hydrated can help wash away debris and prevent plaque formation. In addition to providing a light rinse for your mouth between bites, drinking water helps improve your saliva flow, which further fights cavities. Water is also an excellent replacement for more damaging drink options like juice or soda.

Brush and Floss. You need to be especially diligent about dental hygiene on Thanksgiving. Even if you go to a friend or family member’s home for the holiday, make sure you bring a toothbrush and floss. About thirty minutes after you’ve finished eating (so that your teeth have time to produce important protective minerals), quickly duck into the bathroom to brush and floss. If brushing your teeth proves difficult at another person’s house or you forget your toothbrush, at least floss. You can also bring xylitol gum to chew after the meal, which could help wipe away leftover food particles on your teeth, improve your saliva flow, and assist with your digestion.

Ditch the sticky sides. Cranberry relishes are a dentist’s worst nightmare; they’re acidic, sweet, and stick to your teeth for hours to come, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to infect your gums and eat through your enamel. Other sticky offenders are pecan pie and mashed potatoes. If one of these is your favorite, just make sure you swish with water after eating and brush your teeth to wipe away the gummy remains.

Make a Post-Holiday Cleaning Appointment. We all know the holiday season can be bad for your weight, but the desserts and long meals are also tough on your teeth. If you’re concerned about cavities or gum disease, this winter might be the perfect time to schedule a cleaning appointment.  Gina will thoroughly clean your teeth and Dr. Mullaney can examine your mouth for any signs of disease. That way, you can prevent issues before they become more uncomfortable or costly. We can also perform cosmetic treatments to give you a brighter smile for holiday photos or celebrations.

Be Thankful For Your Dental Health
Having beautiful, healthy teeth is certainly something to be thankful for this holiday season. Keep them that way by using our Thanksgiving dental tips and coming in for regular check-ups. Contact Dr. Kathleen Mullaney  with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

 

E-Cigarettes and It’s Effects on Wound Healing

A new study  says patients should be banned from vaping for two months before surgery to avoid complications.  Author Dr Jeffrey Spiegel, chief of facial plastic surgery at Boston Medical Center, said: ‘Based on our findings, e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes as it relates to timely wound healing,’ this new study shows vapes have the same effect on injured flaps of skin as does nicotine from traditional cigarettes. Providers, and patients, need to understand the risks of both types of smoking so they can make the best decision to keep the patient as safe as possible before and after surgery.’
In experiments on rats, Dr Spiegel and colleagues found vaping affected skin wound healing, causing damage similar to that of conventional smoking.
Both forms resulted in more of the tissue dying, which delays wound healing. They said the same would apply to humans.
It follows a warning by other American experts two years ago that nicotine in e-cigarette vapor increases the risk of blood flow-related complications – just like smoking real ones.
The study, published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, is the first direct evidence that they were correct.
Dr. Spiegel said the adverse effects of traditional cigarette smoking on wound healing has been well established in the surgical field.  He added: ‘Smoking and vaping appear to be equally detrimental to wound healing and to be associated with a statistically significant increase in tissue death.  ‘The results suggest vaping should not be seen as a better alternative to cigarette smoking in the context of wound healing.
‘Surgeons are advised to appropriately counsel their patients and to regard those who use e-cigarettes as having equivalent pre-operative healing risk as those who smoke cigarettes.’
Shaun Desai, a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, welcomed the findings and said patients should be screened for e-cig use before surgery.
He said: ‘This study presents evidence of the detrimental potency of e-cigarettes in rats, but there is a paucity of clinical evidence in humans.
‘Often, patients may not volunteer this information, mistakenly thinking vaping, because it is not smoking traditional cigarettes, is not relevant medical history that needs to be shared.
‘Similarly, until further studies are completed, all e-cigarette use should be stopped four weeks prior to any surgical procedure, as recommended by the current literature for traditional cigarettes.’

“Excerpts from the article recently published in Daily Mail UK”

HPV and Oral Cancer

FDA Approves HPV Vaccine For Men And Women Aged 27 To 45.

The New York Times (10/5, Grady, Hoffman) reported that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the HPV vaccine “for men and women from 27 to 45-years-old.” The article noted that the vaccine “had been previously approved for minors and people up to age 26.” The HPV vaccine “works against the human papillomavirus, HPV, which can also cause genital warts and cancers” including “tumors affecting part of the throat – called oropharyngeal cancers” which are on the rise.

CNN (10/5, Lamotte) reported that Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said, “HPV vaccination prior to becoming infected with the HPV types covered by the vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90 percent of these cancers, or 31,200 cases every year, from ever developing.”

The Washington Post (10/5, McGinley) reported that the approval “represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range,” said Dr. Marks.

 

HPV is linked to Oral Cancer and oral cancer is on the rise in the US- we complete a visual inspection for oral cancer at each visit and once a year we use our Velscope machine for a more in depth screening.  This screening is quick and painless!

Consuming Sugary Drinks May Increase Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease, Research Suggests


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Newsweek (7/24, Gander) reports that new research suggests “drinking sugary soda could raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.” The article reports that “scientists at Columbia University of New York studied rates of Alzheimer’s disease in older people and found a link between sugary drinks and the neurodegenerative condition,” although “more research is needed to prove whether Alzheimer’s is caused by these drinks.” The findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2018.

Another drink wreaking havoc on teeth is sparkling water like LaCroix.  We are finding higher incidents of cavities in adults who sip these drinks all day.  We would love to discuss your daily soda/sparkling water habits to make sure you don’t get into any trouble- ask us at your next visit and lets discuss!

Diabetes, oral cancer and women

Diabetes-

A new study found that there is an  increased risk of cancer for women with diabetes vs men.

Previous research identified the link between diabetes and cancer risk, but this study looked at whether that risk differs between men and women.

The takeaway: Among people with diabetes, women have a 6 percent higher risk of cancer than men, the researchers said.

And based on the researchers’ analysis of data from 47 studies, diabetics of both sexes are at greater risk of cancer than people without diabetes.

For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the cancer risk is 27 percent higher compared to other women. And men with diabetes have a 19 percent higher cancer risk than men who don’t have the blood sugar disease, the findings showed.

The researchers also examined specific types of cancer in people with diabetes and found that, compared to men, women have a 15 percent higher risk of leukemia, a 14 percent higher risk of stomach cancer, a 13 percent higher risk of oral cancer, and an 11 percent higher risk of kidney cancer.

But women have a 12 percent lower risk than men for liver cancer, according to the report.

“Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the sex differences in the diabetes-cancer association,” the study authors concluded.

The report, from Toshiaki Ohkuma of the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues at the University of Oxford in England, was published July 19 in the journal Diabetologia.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.7 million deaths in 2015. About one in four women and one in three men will develop cancer during their lifetime, the study authors noted in a journal news release.

(excerpts from Health Day July 20, 2018)

Why we don’t use silver fillings


amalgamandcomposite

Since amalgam(silver colored) fillings are not bonded to your teeth, they do not strengthen teeth which have been weakened from the cavity and associated loss of healthy tooth structure. A tooth restored with amalgam does not reinforce your teeth and it is common to see cracks and ultimately fractures of your teeth caused by the way the tooth is wedged with a metal filling between its cusp tips. Also, amalgam fillings require additional removal of healthy tooth structure in order to fit the minimum criteria of depth and size for the amalgam material to perform satisfactorily.

As composites have evolved, they have become the restoration of choice for fillings. In our office, we only use composite restorations for fillings because we can perform a better, more conservative, safer, and more cosmetically pleasing treatment. If placed properly, a composite filling can last longer than amalgam fillings and accomplish conservative treatments not possible with amalgam fillings. Composite fillings only replace the portions of your teeth that have been damaged and no additional reduction of healthy areas of your teeth is required. Additionally, composite restorations are bonded to your teeth. When properly placed with maximum bond strength, the composite restoration can strengthen the weakened tooth.  If you have questions or concerns about your old amalgam filling we would be happy to answer them at your next appointment! Call us NOW to schedule.

Sunflower Seeds and the All Star Game

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It’s All Star Game Time!

The All Star Game will bring out some of the best baseball players to the mound, and I bet you will see lots chewing on sunflower seeds- that can’t be bad right? Wrong! the seed itself is not bad for your choppers—it’s the hull that’s the problem.  With a hard outer shell you are biting through this shell to get to the small hull and that’s where the damage can happen. You can crack a tooth on these shells so best to opt for the hulled seeds to keep yourself from needing any emergency dental work while the all star game is going on!

Better for you Popsicles!

Who doesn’t love popsicles in the summer!  Instead of sticking to the sugar-laden store-bought kind, make your own with yogurt. Dairy can increase pH levels and prevent cavities. All you need is a blender, some yogurt, fruit and ice pop molds to stick in the freezer.  Keep your teeth safer with this recipe and with anything moderation, brushing and flossing are still the key!

2 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait® Original yogurt French vanilla
2 cups cut-up fresh fruit such as blueberries, bananas, cherries, grapes, papaya, peaches, oranges or raspberries
1 tablespoon honey
  • In blender, place all ingredients. Cover; blend until smooth.
  • Divide mixture among 6 (5-oz) paper cups. Cover cups with foil; insert craft stick into center of each pop. (Or fill ice pop molds according to manufacturer’s directions.) Freeze about 6 hours or until frozen. Enjoypopsicles

 

Tooth errosion and GERD

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Stomach acid—with a pH that’s lower than vinegar—that regurgitates into the esophagus and mouth can dissolve tooth enamel and create erosive lesions near the back of the mouth. While many people with GERD recognize it by the uncomfortable heartburn symptoms, some patients only experience GERD while they sleep and may not know they have it. Some patients complain of not sleeping well but do not even realize they are suffering from GERD.  Sometimes while doing your dental exam we see an increased loss of tooth enamel on your back teeth that is unexplained and we may advise you to check with your Doctor to be tested for GERD. Your Docor will prescribe a medication that will help inhibit the production of acid, which will in turn help with your GERD and help to save the enamel on your teeth.  If you have concerns about GERD and the condition of your teeth ask us at your next visit.