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A Mom’s Guide to Fluoride” featuring information from ADA member Dr. Brittany Seymour, an assistant professor of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, was recently posted on MouthHealthy.org.

“Our children deserve the healthiest start to their lives,” writes Dr. Seymour, who has a three-year-old daughter and also serves on the ADA National Fluoridation Advisory Committee. “A healthy smile is one of the best gifts we can give them.”

Information for parents available online:http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/babies-and-kids/moms-guide-to-fluoride/?source=promospots&content=rotator&medium=mom_fluoride.

12 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

Girl in witch costume trick or treats

Halloween is around the corner, which for most children means bags of free candy and a chance to build a stockpile of sweets for the winter. No surprise, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges. “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween but it’s important to have a plan,” says ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

Here’s how you can help your family stay MouthHealthy on Halloween and year-round.

Time It Right

Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.

Stay Away from Sweet Snacks

Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. ”Snacking on candy throughout the day is not ideal for your dental health or diet,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says.

Choose Candy Carefully

Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.

Avoid Sticky Situations

Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

Have a Plan

It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. “Have your family pick their favorites and donate the rest,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says. “Look for organizations that help you donate candy to troops overseas, like Operation Gratitude, or see if your dentist has a candy take-back program.”

Drink More Water

Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.

Stay Away from Sugary Beverages

This includes soda, sports drinks and flavored waters. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.

Chew Gum with the ADA Seal

Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria. “You might even want to think about giving sugarless gum out as a treat instead of candy,” says Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty. Find one with the ADA Seal.

Brush Twice a Day

Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Remember, replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

Clean Between Your Teeth

Floss your teeth once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

Visit an ADA Dentist

Regular visits to your ADA-member dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early, when they are easy to “treat.”

Patients With Gum Disease May Be More Likely To Suffer Heart Attack, Stroke, Severe Chest Pain, Study Indicates.

Reuters (8/23, Crist) reports that “a study of more than 60,000 dental patients” indicated that “those with gum disease were twice as likely to have had a heart attack, stroke or severe chest pain.” Researchers found that “even after taking other risk factors for cardiovascular disease into account, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking,” individuals “with periodontal disease were still 59 percent more likely to have a history of heart problems.” The findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Coverage Continues: Evidence Indicates Children Strongly Benefit From Sealants.

MDLinx (7/27) covers the ADA News story reporting on the August edition of The Journal of the American Dental Association that contains “a systematic review” that demonstrates using sealants is effective to prevent and manage occlusal caries in children and adolescents. In addition, the American Dental Association (ADA) Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) have updated the “clinical practice guidelines.” The article’s lead author, Dr. John Timothy Wright, said, “The guidelines show that sealants are more effective in managing pit and fissure caries than fluoride treatments, such as varnish.”

 

Presi-dental Health: 4 Strange (But True) Tales

Hail to the Chief—and his teeth! You may remember their smiles and expressions from portraits and photographs, but do you know the stories behind them? Read on for some fascinating facts about our commanders in chief.

George Washington
Photo: Library of Congress

George Washington Never Wore Wooden Dentures

Tooth decay and tooth loss plagued George Washington throughout his adult life. The Journal of the American Revolution states the father of our country had his first tooth pulled at 24 and had only one left at inauguration. Mount Vernon, Washington’s estate, says his troublesome teeth made the president self-conscious and reluctant to speak in public.

While it’s true Washington wore dentures, they were never wooden. He had many pairs made with many different materials, including: hippopotamus ivory, bone, gold wire, copper screws, lead and even human teeth. His wife, Martha, also had a partial denture. “Well aware of her husband’s travails, Martha regularly urged her children and grandchildren to tend to the care of their teeth,”Mount Vernon states.

 

President Grover Cleveland
Photo: Library of Congress

Grover Cleveland Had Top-Secret Oral Cancer Surgery – On a Yacht

Near the beginning of his second term in 1893, Grover Cleveland faced two major issues. Nationally, the country was entering a depression. Personally, a bump in his mouth had formed, grown and was diagnosed as cancer. To prevent nationwide panic, a clandestine plan was hatched.

On June 30, Cleveland boarded a yacht in New York Harbor with six doctors. In a 90-minute surgery the next day, surgeons removed the cancerous tumor, five teeth and part of his upper left jaw. Cleveland sat in a chair attached to the mast of the ship. His only anesthesia was laughing gas and ether. Four days later, Cleveland got off the yacht in Cape Cod and finished recovering at his summer home. He was later fitted with a rubber prosthesis that helped him speak normally again.

 

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Photo: Library of Congress

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Dental Emergency or UFO Coverup?

On February 20, 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower was eating a chicken wing in Palm Springs, California, when the cap on one of his front teeth popped off. He spent his Saturday night at an emergency dental appointment, and the unexpected trip caused led to many false reports (including an Associated Press report that he had died of a heart attack).

It also birthed a UFO conspiracy theory. Some believe the dental visit was a cover up for a secret meeting with aliens at Edwards Air Force Base. “In the most recent version of this story, alleged in several books dating back to the late 1980s, two aliens offered to share their knowledge with earthlings if Ike would eliminate America’s nuclear weapons,” according to the Bulletin of Dental Education (July 2004).

Thanks to Eisenhower’s long military service and time as president, his dental records are thorough and document many troubles with that particular crown. Still, the theory lives on with believers because the dentist who treated Eisenhower passed away without leaving record of the visit.

 

White House dental office
Photo: Harry S. Truman Library & Museum

The President Doesn’t Go Far to Visit to the Dentist

In fact, the dentist comes to him. The White House has had a dental office since the Hoover administration. President Barack Obama told Jimmy Kimmelhe first learned about it when he thought he had a loose cap. “Got the whole chair, everything is all there set up in the basement,” he said. (The image above is what the room looked like in 1948, when Harry S. Truman was president.)

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