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Browsing all posts from November, 2011.

Happy “Dental Appointment Tuesday!”

You’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year I heard all about “Small Business Saturday” and I even did my part by shopping at a great little bike shop in downtown Midland. I’ve decided to start a new holiday tradition: Dental Appointment Tuesday!

O.K. Stay with me here. I know it’s easy to get burned out on holiday cheer. However, it’s even easier to forget to keep up with preventive dental visits! Preventive visits (a.k.a.: getting your teeth cleaned) are perhaps the most important way to keep your teeth healthy. If you have your teeth checked a couple times per year it’s much easier to catch problems when they’re small. And remember, small problems are a) less expensive and b) less painful.

So what do you have to do to participate in the holiday extravaganza that is “Dental Appointment Tuesday?” On this Tuesday, November 29th, double check to make sure you have your next preventive dental visit scheduled. If you do, you’ve already had a great Dental Appointment Tuesday! If you don’t have an appointment scheduled, call your dentist to set one up! So there you have it! Celebrating Dental Appointment Tuesday is as easy as checking your calendar or making a phone call. Now you can feel good that you’re doing the right thing for your teeth and your health!

Dental Appointment Tuesday is also a great reminder for those who have dental benefits that run out at the end of the year to make sure you get any work that you were planning on for 2011 scheduled! You’ll have just over a month to get it done, so call your dentist before they run out of appointments!

So here’s to a new tradition! Dental Appointment Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a great way to make sure you’re keeping up with preventive dental appointments!

What’s that? You say you don’t have a dentist? Well, we’d love to be your Saginaw dentist! Call the office at (989) 799-9133, click on the “make an appointment online” link above or email me at: alan@meadfamilydental.com. I always answer my own email, so feel free to drop me a line with any questions!

Enjoy your holiday season and Happy Dental Appointment Tuesday!

 

Thanksgiving facts!

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Did you know…

  • They probably didn’t eat turkey on the first Thanksgiving (in 1621). Roasted goose and duck were most likely eaten.
  • The average American eats 13.1 pounds of turkey each year.
  • This year Americans will eat more than 45 million turkeys!
  • Michigan raises more organic turkeys than any other state!
  • It was not until 1941, that congress declared Thanksgiving as a
    national holiday. It was declared to be the fourth Thursday in November.
  • Cranberries are also known as “bounce berries” because they bounce!  I have not personally verified that…if I do I’ll let you know!
  • Fossil evidence shows that turkeys were found in North America over 10 million years ago.
  • Fifty percent of Americans put the stuffing inside the Turkey.  Are you an “in the Turkey” person or “out of the Turkey” person?  Personally…we do both!
  • The average American consumes 4.5 pounds of sweet potatoes per year.
  • More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.

So are you hungry yet?

Thanksgiving is going to require an awful lot of chewing, and chewing requires that your teeth are working the way they’re supposed to.  Are your teeth working like they should?  Are you going to enjoy your Thanksgiving feast?

Are you looking for a Saginaw dentist? If you haven’t had your “chewing apparatus” (aka: teeth and gums!) checked in a while, drop me an email at alan@meadfamilydental.com or call the office at (989) 799-9133.  We’ll get you in ASAP and make sure you’re all set for the holidays!

(originally posted on November 19, 2009, edited November 24, 2011)

Plaque vs. “biofilm” and the research that could change dentistry as we know it

a beautiful example of biofilm

You brush your teeth to get the plaque off of them, right? And if you remove the plaque then you won’t get cavities, right?

Um…kind of.

The model dentistry has been explaining to patients forever is that plaque causes cavities and that if you can just remove the plaque then you’ll have healthy teeth. Unfortunately, it’s really not that simple.

Unless you’ve just had your teeth cleaned, like 2 minutes ago, your teeth are actually covered in a biofilm. It happens if you brush three times a day and floss like a maniac or if you haven’t seen a toothbrush in years. Biofilms form on most any surface that’s wet. Slime on the hull of a boat, coated rocks in a stream and the plaque covered surface of teeth are all examples of a biofilm.

Biofilms are actually microscopic communities of bacteria and the slimy matrix they make to stick to surfaces. A biofilm will “mature” over time and then spread. The plaque that dentists and hygienists talk about is actually a biofilm that’s large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Dental plaque/biofilm is actually made up of many types of bacteria. Some of the bacteria (Streptococcus mutans, for instance) found in this biofilm are the bad guys that can eat sugar and turn it into acid which can then cause tooth decay. Other bacteria (Streptococcus sanguinis) found in the plaque are actually known to make the biofilm less hospitable to the acid loving bacteria. So it doesn’t necessarily follow that biofilm = cavities. Someone who does a good job of brushing and flossing will generally keep the size of the biofilm smaller and potentially makes the biofilm “healthier” by increasing the % of bugs that don’t produce acid.

less beautiful and more common biofilm

O.K. Doc…I’m following you. Not all plaque is bad plaque. So why can’t they get rid of the bad bugs and leave the good bugs? Well, I’m glad you asked! There was a preliminary study out of UCLA about a mouth rinse that can do just that! Since it’s a preliminary study that means that real clinical trials to prove efficacy haven’t been done. They have some promising results on a small group of patients treated with a mouth rinse that can supposedly target S mutans (the bad bugs) in the plaque. According to one article there will be clinical trials starting in 2012.

In the mean time, we need to fight those bugs the way we do now!

If you like this post, I’d love to hear about it! You can share any Mead Family Dental post with a “Like” on Facebook, a “+1″ on Google+ or you can even “Tweet” it with Twitter! All you need to do is hover over the heart shaped button next to the title of the post. Or you can leave a comment by clicking on the balloon shaped icon next to the title.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Saginaw, we’re always happy to accept new patients! You can request an appointment online or call the office at (989) 799-9133. And, as always, you can email me at alan@meadfamilydental.com. I always answer my own emails!

Two minute warning

I recently discussed beverage habits with a young woman who was in to have her teeth cleaned. We found several new cavities. How they looked and where I found them indicated to me that she has some dietary sugar problems. So I launched into my mind reader act.

“So, what kind of pop do you like to drink?”

She looked slightly impressed, but she seemed ready for my question.

“Well, I don’t drink much pop. I do drink a lot of Gatorade, though.”

Boom! There it was. Gatorade was her beverage of choice. I actually hear this a lot. Gatorade can’t be bad for your teeth! Gatorade is for athletes. Athletes are healthy. Plus, Gatorade isn’t fizzy, so there’s less acid, right? No problem.

Gatorade contains 14g of sugar per serving. Which is about half the amount of sugar in my traditional nemesis, Mountain Dew. However, it’s pH is listed between 2.2 and 3.1. Which is similar if not more acidic than Mountain Dew. So Gatorade has less sugar than pop, but is similarly acidic, even though it’s not fizzy.

I talked a bit longer to this patient. I told her that unless she wanted to see lots of me that she was going to need another plan.

She said, “O.K., I’ll just drink water.”

I asked, “do you like water?”

“Yeah.”

“So why do you drink Gatorade?”

“Well, it tastes better.”

“Here’s the deal. You can drink as much Gatorade as you want, but you have to limit it to 2 minutes a day.”

She looked at me, completely puzzled.

“I know,” I said. “It sounds silly. Having some sugars or acids in the diet is O.K., but you have to limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed to it. If you want to drink a bottle of Gatorade, I’ve got no problem with it. But you have to drink it in 2 minutes from start to finish. You need to set a timer.”

Kelly, my hygienist, jumped in and mentioned, “Gatorade ‘G2′ is sugar free, too. I don’t know about the acid content, but it doesn’t have any sugar.”

“So now you have a plan,” I said. “You get 2 minutes to have any sugary drinks you want. Then you need to chew some sugarless gum. For the rest of the day, you’ll look for sugar free options.”

“I think I can do that,” she said.

So there you have it. If you can change your diet in such a way, you can significantly reduce your risk for developing cavities. Do you need a 2 minute warning?

If you like this post, I’d love to hear about it! You can share any Mead Family Dental post with a “Like” on Facebook, a “+1″ on Google+ or you can even “Tweet” it with Twitter! All you need to do is hover over the heart shaped button next to the title of the post. Or you can leave a comment by clicking on the balloon shaped icon next to the title.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Saginaw, we’re always happy to accept new patients! You can request an appointment online or call the office at (989) 799-9133. And, as always, you can email me at alan@meadfamilydental.com. I always answer my own emails!