Oklahoma tornado relief
May 21, 2013—The American Dental Association would like to express its sympathy to the victims of the recent Oklahoma tornado. To make a donation to those affected or apply for an emergency grant via the ADA Foundation, please visit the ADA resource page here.
The Oklahoma Dental Association is currently a donation site for the American Red Cross. Items needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, bottled water, diapers, hand sanitizer, and individually-wrapped snacks.
Those wanting to donate may call 405.848.8873 for more information or are encouraged to bring donated items directly to the ODA headquarters in Oklahoma City at 317 NE 13th Street.
Drop that pacifier!
May 6, 2013—Should you suck on a pacifier before giving it to your baby?
A new study in Pediatrics, journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reports that parents sucking their infant’s pacifier may reduce the risk of allergy development.
The ADA wants parents to be aware that licking a pacifier can transfer the cavity-causing bacteria from parents to children—increasing the possibility of tooth decay as they grow.
"A child's teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to erupt," said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Maine and a pediatric dental spokesperson for the ADA. "Cavity-causing bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans, can be transferred from adult saliva to children, increasing their risk of getting cavities."
Sharing eating utensils with a baby, or the parent sucking on a pacifier to clean it, can also increase the likelihood of transmitting decay-causing bacteria.
The ADA recommends that parents protect the dental health of young children by promoting a healthy diet, monitoring their intake of food and drink, brushing their teeth or wiping gums after mealtimes, and by having infants finish their bedtime or naptime bottle before going to bed. The ADA recommends that children receive their first dental visit within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age.
Community water fluoridation "benefits all"
April 22, 2013—"A lifetime of cavity prevention can be obtained for less than the cost of one dental filling,” said U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., when speaking about the health benefits of fluoride.
In a letter presented during the 2013 National Oral Health Conference, Dr. Benjamin praised community water fluoridation for its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay in both children and adults, noting that “each generation born since the implementation of water fluoridation has enjoyed better dental health than the generation that preceded it.”
One of the most important things about community water fluoridation is that it "benefits all" residents of a community, she said.
“These benefits are not limited by a person’s income level or their ability to receive routine dental care.”
For more information about fluoride, visit MouthHealthy’s Fluoride page.
April is National Facial Protection Month
April 1, 2013—April is National Facial Protection Month. That's why the ADA, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and American Association of Orthodontists are teaming up to remind parents, coaches and athletes to play it safe and always wear a mouthguard during recreational and organized sports.
Remember: Mouthguards don’t just protect your teeth. They also cushion blows to the face and minimize the risk of injury to your lips, tongue and jaw.
Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the best protection. Although mouthguards typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.
Oral cancer exams save lives
April 1, 2013—Did you know almost 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year? And that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.
This year the American Dental Association, American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, American Academy of Periodontology and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have joined the Oral Cancer Foundation in its campaign to remind everyone that regular oral cancer examinations from your dental professional are the best methods to detect oral cancer in its early stages. Regular dental visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.
In between dental visits, it is important for patients to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see their dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks:
- a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
- red or white patches
- pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
- a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
- difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
- a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
For more information about oral cancer, its diagnosis and treatment, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation.
Dental amalgam is a safe and effective filling option
March 28, 2013—The March 28 episode of “The Dr. Oz Show” contained a segment that portrayed dental amalgam, or silver-colored fillings, as a health risk.
The American Dental Association wants you to know that not one credible scientific study supports the claims made on the show. The show also ignored that major U.S. and international health and scientific organizations, including the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and the ADA, all agree that, based on extensive scientific evidence, dental amalgam is safe and effective for patients.
Dental amalgam is one of several safe and effective choices available to dental patients. It is a durable, cost-effective, long-lasting filling material, making it appropriate for restoring back teeth, and more affordable than gold or tooth-colored fillings made of composite resins.
Ultimately, the best dental filling is no dental filling. Prevention is the best medicine. You can dramatically decrease your risk of cavities and other dental diseases simply by brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste; flossing daily; eating a balanced diet; and visiting the dentist regularly.
For more information on dental amalgam, please read the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs statement. The Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Alzheimer’s Association have previously posted public statements about the safety of amalgam based on scientific evidence.
What you eat affects your dental health
March 1, 2013—A healthy mouth is more than just brushing and flossing. Your eating patterns and food choices also play an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
This March is the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day,” highlights the importance of making informed food choices and developing personalized healthful eating plans. For more information about National Nutrition Month, including information on reading food labels and healthy snack ideas for kids, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for tip sheets and more.
Remember, for good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including: whole grains; fruits; vegetables; lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish, dry beans, peas and other legumes; low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.
For more information, visit MouthHealthy Nutrition.
Celebrate National Children's Dental Health Month
February 1, 2013—Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. The premiere event of NCDHM, Give Kids A Smile Day, is Feb. 1.
The ADA launched the GKAS program nationally in 2003 as a way for dentists across the country to join with others in their community to provide dental services to underserved children. The program initially began as a one-day event in February, but has since grown to local and national events year-round.
Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
To find out if there is a GKAS program in your area, visit the American Dental Association's GKAS program-finder.
To download fun oral health worksheets and games, visit the For Kids section on MouthHealthy.
Hurricane Sandy update
November 1, 2012—The American Dental Association would like to express its sympathy to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, a devastating storm that has affected more than seven million people across the Eastern seaboard.
In the wake of such a disaster, you may know people who require medical attention, including dental emergencies. However, some dental offices have also been damaged by the hurricane. So if you are a patient from one of the affected states who cannot locate your dentist, your state or local dental society may have resources for referrals and treatment here.
For additional information and resources on coping with disasters such as Sandy, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Dental X-rays remain a valuable tool in detecting oral health problems
September 15, 2012—A study published in Cancer, the peer-viewed journal of the American Cancer Society, found that people diagnosed with meningioma, a generally non-cancerous tumor, are more likely to report that they’ve received certain types of dental X-rays in the past.
There are several important things to understand about this study:
- This finding doesn’t mean that dental X-rays cause these tumors; much more research is needed.
- The results rely on the individuals’ memories of having dental X-rays taken years earlier. The ability to recall information is often imperfect. Therefore, the results of studies that use this design can be unreliable because they are affected by what scientists call “recall bias.”
- The study acknowledges that some of the subjects received dental X-rays decades ago when radiation exposure was greater. Radiation doses were higher in the past due to the use of old X-ray technology and slower speed film.
The American Dental Association's long-standing position is that dentists should order dental X-rays for patients only when necessary for diagnosis and treatment. Since 1989, the ADA has published recommendations to help dentists ensure that radiation exposure is as low as reasonably achievable. As precautions against radiation, ADA encourages the use of abdominal shielding (e.g., protective aprons) and thyroid collars on all patients. In addition, the ADA recommends that dentists use E or F speed film, the two fastest film speeds available, or a digital X -ray.
Dental X-rays are a valuable part of detecting oral health problems at an early stage. Many oral diseases can’t be detected with a physical examination alone. Dental X-rays help provide information about a patient’s oral health such as early-stage cavities, gum diseases, infections and some types of tumors. How often dental X-rays should be taken depends on the patient’s oral health condition, age, risk for disease and any signs and symptoms of oral disease that the patient might be experiencing. If you have concerns the ADA encourages you to talk to your dentist, but eliminating X-rays altogether could be detrimental to your oral health.
New program aims to improve school lunches
August 21, 2012—It's back-to-school time and school lunches are making headlines. Nutritional standards are getting a boost this year courtesy of the National School Lunch Program.
Passed by Congress in 2010, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act led to the adoption of the National School Lunch Program, which aims to make school lunches more wholesome and nutritious by offering more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And with tens of millions of kids being fed healthy school lunches each day, the program is well on its way.
The new standards encourage schools to provide 1/2 to 1 cup of fruit per day, 3/4 to 1 cup of vegetables per day, and adopt new age-based calorie ranges. For a full list of school lunch standards and more on nutrition, visit Mouth Healthy’s Nutrition Page.
FDA warns against using benzocaine products in children under 2
May 31, 2012—When a baby is teething, mom and dad want to help stop the pain. For this reason, gel and spray products are available that contain benzocaine, a topical anesthetic. However, the Food and Drug Administration has warned that these products should not be used for children under 2, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional. The reason? Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious, and sometimes fatal, condition called methemoglobinemia.
What is methemoglobinemia? In simple terms, it’s a disorder in which the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry is greatly reduced. Although it can occur in older children and adults, children under 2 appear to be particularly at risk. That’s because since 2006, the FDA has received 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia, and 15 of these have been in children under 2.
According to the FDA’s consumer update, here are some of the symptoms of methemoglobinemia:
- pale, gray, or blue colored skin, lips and nails
- shortness of breath
- rapid heart rate
The ADA’s Seal of Acceptance Program currently has two topical benzocaine-containing pain relief products that bear the ADA Seal, neither intended for children under 2. These products are Benzodent Dental Pain Relieving Cream by Chattem, and Professional Strength Kanka Mouth Pain Liquid by Blistex. Both products contain 20 percent benzocaine and contain the following label statements:
- For the temporary relief of pain due to minor irritations of the mouth and gums caused by dentures or orthodontic appliances or minor injury to mouth and gums. Kanka also says that it can be used to help relieve pain from canker sores.
- Children under 2 years of age: consult a dentist or physician.
- Children under 12 years of age should be supervised in the use of this product.
- Keep out of reach of children.
For more information on these and other oral care products that carry the ADA Seal, visit the ADA Seal page on MouthHealthy. Products that bear the ADA Seal have undergone a rigorous, independent, scientific review to ensure that they meet ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.