Tuesday, October 16, 2018

How Halloween Treats Can Play Tricks on Your Teeth - Using Alternatives to Candy for Trick-or-Treating

It seems that every major holiday has its candy, but perhaps none more so than Halloween. Whether your kids’ stash comes in a pillow sack or a pumpkin named Jack, candy isn’t the reason for the season. Go ahead and bone up on the history of trick-or-treating while and learn about some healthier alternatives you can offer at your house this Halloween.

The tradition of dressing up and going from house to house in search of sugar is a relatively recent American invention. In the 1930s and early 1940 — mostly during World War II — ringing doorbells while in costume began to pop up in various places. The war’s sugar rationing meant fewer sweets and more other kinds of treats such as toys, fruit, coins, and nuts. One inventor, Forrest Mars (son to Frank Mars, who we can thank for the Milky Way, Snickers, and 3 Musketeers candy bars), anticipated a cocoa shortage during the war. To ensure access to ingredients, Mars partnered with Bruce Murrie, son to a Hershey executive, for a new kind of candy. The little chocolate drops covered in a smooth candy shell first were sold exclusively to the U.S. military and issued as soldier’s rations. Now 77 years later, M&Ms are found around the world in a variety of colors and flavors. 

As the war progressed, government leaders put a halt to the Halloween holiday that once was celebrated with parades and city-wide celebrations. Resources were needed for the war, and the country’s mood had darkened, putting an end to treats as well as tricks. 

“Even ringing door bells has lost its appeal because it may be disturbing the sleep of a tired war worker who needs his rest,” wrote James Spinning, a school superintendent, in 1942.

House parties became the preferred way to celebrate the holiday with a focus on games. Kids and adults wore costumes evocative of Hollywood’s classic characters — cowboys, Indians, clowns, witches. The Andrews Sisters, who sang the war’s hit song, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (of Company B), saw the tune repurposed to become “The Boogie Woogie Boogie Man.” 

Once the war ended in 1945, trick-or-treating made its great return. Candy makers began to promote their products as an affordable, convenient way to appease the kids. It wasn’t until the 1970s that pre-wrapped, factory-made candy became the standard, as parents had begun to fear that homemade treats could be tampered with

These days factory-packaged treats are preferred for much the same reason — plus increasingly large neighborhoods and children wandering in droves (plus parents willing to drive their kids to where the best treats are) put the pressure on supply and demand. Handing out a hundred Bit-O-Honey is infinitely easier than rolling up a hundred popcorn balls by hand. 

“For the past several years, we’ve teamed up with our neighbors to give out candy,” said Jordan Bumgartner, who lives in Wilmington. “We turn off the lights at one house and get together at the other’s house and pool our candy supply. We sit out on the porch and socialize, which is fun, and no one goes broke trying to keep up with all the kids.” 

Candy Everybody Wants

When it comes time to choose which candy to hand out or which candy to pull out of your kids’ treat bucket consider the following:

  • Chocolate is a preferred treat because it washes off teeth easier than other types of candy, according to the American Dental Association. Also darker chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate.
  • Sticky candies are some of the worst for teeth. They’re harder to remove and give cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away at the enamel. Super sticky candy can even pull out fillings or loose teeth.
  • Hard candy presents two threats: the duration of time pieces are in your mouth mixing sugar with saliva and the chance of breaking a tooth while chomping down.
  • Sour candy often combines factors like hardness or stickiness along with high acidic content. The acidity can weaken enamel. 

Alternative Treats

When considering alternatives to candy, also be mindful of age groups. Toddlers may mistake small toys like bouncy balls or erasers for candy pieces. So what are some good things to give? 
  • Juice boxes (refreshing and available in organic/low-sugar options) 
  • Dried fruit leather (also available in organic/low-sugar options) 
  • Stickers (cheap, plentiful, and available in all kinds of shapes, colors, patterns, characters, etc)
  • Glow bracelets (great for safety too) 
  • Dress up/play-pretend items (fake mustaches, sunglasses, temporary tattoos) 
  • Hand sanitizer (choose cool colors and kid-friendly scents) 
  • Character bandages/first aid (boo boos are made better with cartoon characters) 
  • Games and toys (miniature mazes, doodle pads, yo-yos, figurines, coin purses) 
Make a Trade

Encourage your kids to use candy as cash. Make a plan so that they can trade you candy for other treats — maybe a gift card to a store they really like, a few power ups in an online game they’re playing, a trip to a museum, or maybe that puppy they’ve been asking you for (though we don’t recommend a puppy every year). 

Help your kids put together a care package for the troops. The Soldier’s Angels and Operation Gratitude programs are two ways to give. 

Care to share. While some kids have the best costumes and adults to take them trick-or-treating, others don’t. Find ways to distribute the candy wealth equally such as pooling all candy within a classroom or church or youth group.

At the End of the Night

No matter how much candy comes home, remember to celebrate by brushing your teeth! Make it a family event rather than a punishment. Try brushing in rhythm to a Halloween-flavored song like China Anne McClain’s “Calling All The Monsters,” Will Smith’s “Men In Black,” or for the really little ones The Higgleoos’ “The Monsters Ball.”

All of us at Your Community Dental wish you a happy and safe holiday!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Is It Safe to Brush Your Teeth When a Boil Water Advisory is in Effect?

Have you ever wondered whether it is safe to brush your teeth with untreated tap water when a “boil water advisory” has been put in place?

A boil water advisory is a public health measure that suggests the possibility of bacterial contamination in the water system, making the water unsafe to drink tap water without boiling it first, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It is NOT safe to use contaminated water to brush your teeth! Instead, use boiled or bottled water.

To treat water, fill your pot with water and heat it until you see bubbles reach the top. Once you notice a rolling boil, let it continue boiling for one minute before you turn off the heat and let the water cool. Store the water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

If you do not have means to boil your water, you can use unscented household liquid bleach to disinfect your water — provided that the water is clear. Add one-eighth of a teaspoon of unscented household bleach to one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly and then wait at least 30 minutes before drinking it. Store the disinfected water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

If your tap water is not clear, use a clean cloth to filter the water first. Use one-fourth of a teaspoon of unscented, household bleach to per gallon of water. Again, store the disinfected water by pouring it into a clean container with a cover.

Keep in mind, however, that if the boil water advisory in effect is a result of high turbidity — lots of particles in the water — bleach is not a viable disinfectant. If the advisory in effect says there are Cryptosporidium parasites in the water, bleach will not be very useful. Boil water instead.

Your Community Dental reminds you that if a boil water advisory is place that humans and animals should not drink any untreated water. You may take a shower while taking care not to swallow any water, and do laundry or wash dishes if using the hottest settings. If hand-washing dishes, add a teaspoon of bleach to each gallon of water used.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

This Is Why Dental Implants Might Be Right for You

Your Community Dental is committed to the philosophy of restorative dentistry, which is reproducing or repairing teeth and adjoining bones and tissue, through the use of metal and ceramic materials. Though dental implants have been around, in some form, for more than 40 years, it’s surprising how many people today don’t know the procedure is an option to replace a missing tooth or even multiple teeth. Implants are the closest in comparison to natural teeth. They are just as secure, long lasting, and easy to manage.

Dental Implants and How They Work

An implant is a titanium “root” which can be planced into the jawbone in order to support a crown, bridge or denture. Ceramic crowns, onlays or veneers address the appearance of the “new tooth.” Over time, the human body completes the process, by growing bone and tissue around the tooth. This provides the artificial implanted tooth with even more stability and permanence.

Treatment generally is a three-part process that takes several months, according to the American Dental Association:

Step 1) The dentist surgically places the implant in the jaw, with the top of the implant slightly above the top of the bone. A screw is inserted into the implant to prevent gum tissue and other debris from entering. The gum then is secured over the implant. The implant will remain covered for approximately three to six months while it fuses with the bone, a process called “osseointegration.” There may be some swelling, tenderness or both for a few days after the surgery, so pain medication usually is prescribed to alleviate the discomfort. A diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup often is recommended during the healing process.
soft foods diet

Step 2) The implant is uncovered and the dentist attaches an extension, called a post, to the implant. The gum tissue is allowed to heal around the post. Some implants require a second surgical procedure in which a post is attached to connect the replacement teeth. With other implants, the implant and post are a single unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery. Once healed, the implant and post can serve as the foundation for the new tooth.

Step 3) The dentist makes a crown, which has a size, shape, color and fit that will blend with your other teeth. Once completed, the crown is attached to the implant post.

Top Oral Care Tips for Implants

Dental implants can be an option at just about any age, as long a patient has healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant and is committed to maintaining basic oral care. Implants do not require any further care than one would provide for natural teeth, such as rinsing, flossing, and brushing a few times a day.

“Dental implants are very successful and long lasting but as with any surgical procedure, there might be complications,” writes Dr. Anveeta Agarwal, a consultant oral pathologist. “The best way to avoid dental implant failure is to make sure you practice good dental hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups and cleanings.”

Dental implant care tips include:

  • Practice good oral hygiene – brush twice a day and floss once daily. Using interdental brushes, brushes that slide between teeth, can help clean the hard to reach areas around your implant. 
  • Quit smoking – smoking can weaken the bone structure and can contribute to implant failure. 
  • Visit your dentist – cleanings and exams every six months can help ensure your implant is in good condition, and that it stays that way. 
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods – don’t chew on hard items such as ice and hard candy because they can break the crown and your natural teeth.

The American Dental Association considers two types of implants to be safe. They are:

Endosteal implants — these are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post-individually, or grouped on a bridge or denture.

Subperiosteal implants — these consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. As with endosteal implants, artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts.

Though some patients may be reluctant to undergo dental surgery — as well as the idea of having titanium pieces applied to the jaw — dental implants offer a viable tooth replacement option when other attempts have failed. Patients may have tried bridges or dentures and been unhappy with the results, but dental implants are a healthy alternative.

“For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible, due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging,” states Colgate. “In addition, ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.”

Additionally, implants serve a cosmetic function. Missing teeth may impact a person's ability to get a job. 

"Poor oral health can significantly diminish quality of life in a number of ways – the most obvious being a person’s ability to eat, sleep and speak," according to a 2016 report from the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative. "However, there are also social and economic consequences that can impact a person’s job readiness and performance, and ultimately the economic stability of communities. A survey of North Carolina adults revealed that the impact of oral health on job readiness is greatest among those from low-income households."

Price Range 

Because dental implants can be used for one or more teeth, and the replacement teeth can vary in size and complexity, assigning a cost-point for the procedure can be challenging. At Your Community Dental we usually see prices fluctuating anywhere from the $1,000 to the $3,000 range. Before making any final decisions on payment though, it is a good idea for a potential patient to consult with a dental practice and insurance company in order to clarify how much of the cost may be covered. 
At Your Community Dental we provide information about payment, including insurance, Medicaid, and our in-house saving program online and we are happy to discuss this information with you in person or over the phone.

Other Options

In addition to dental implants, Your Community Dental offers traditional dentures, bridges, partials, which replace teeth. Cosmetic options we offer include teeth whitening and veneers, which are porcelain and permanently bonded to your natural teeth. They can enhance tooth shape, color, length and size. Dental bonding is used to repair teeth with a tooth-colored resin (stable plastic material) that enhances your smile and can be done in one quick and easy visit.

Your Community Dental is Here For You

It is our practice to have private consultations with our patients to discuss your teeth, your options, and your treatment. Our dental practice embodies family dentistry by treating our patients like family and working with you to make you smile!

Contact us today at 910.342.9210 to schedule your appointment!