News & Updates
Dentist San Francisco CA - Papillon Dental Arts - News & Updates
January 2017: Stress May Cause Bruxism, Fatigue, And Other Health Issues.
The Daily Mail (12/30) described how stress may cause six health issues, including bruxism. The Daily Mail stated research has found an association between stress and teeth grinding, which can cause headaches, jaw pain, and fractured teeth. The article advised seeing a dentist to discuss possible solutions, which may include using a mouth guard at night to protect teeth. The article also discussed how stress may contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, excessive sweating, hair loss, insomnia, and fatigue.
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on bruxism.
In addition, a study in the November 2016 issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that teeth grinding is associated with alcohol and tobacco use.
Ask us about night guards that are customized for your needs at our office.
December 2016: Your Dental Benefits: Use Them or Lose Them
When it comes to dental benefit plans, millions of people each year are ringing in the New Year leaving money on the table. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, only 2.8% of people with PPO dental plan participants reached or exceeded their plans annual maximum. Many people also have Flexible Spending Accounts, which help pay for dental and medical care with pre-tax dollars.
Whether you’re paying for dental care through a benefits plan or using an FSA, your current plans will most likely run out on December 31. Don’t let your hard-earned dental dollars go to waste. Here is a breakdown of what these benefits are, when you need to use them by and how to make the most of your benefits.
Dental Benefit Plans
Many people with dental benefits get them through their employers, though individual plans are also available through Health Insurance Marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act. Remember, when you buy a plan you and your employer are paying some premium – upfront dollars – that are wasted if you don’t see your dentist.
When You Need to Use Them By
Many insurance companies have a benefit deadline of December 31, and this means that any of your unused benefits don’t roll over into the New Year for most dental plans. Still, some plans may end at different times of the year, so check your plan document or ask your employer to be sure.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Plan
The key with this type of coverage is to take advantage of any benefits before they expire for the year.
Prevention is better than cure both for your health as well as your pocketbook. Most plans typically pay 100% for preventive visits, so if you have not had one yet, this may be a good time to schedule one.
Start thinking about using your coverage early. During a dental appointment that's over the summer or in the fall, talk to your dentist about what your dental needs are and what treatment you might need before the end of the year. (For example, a back-to-school appointment is a great time to bring this up.) Make any upcoming appointments early so you can take care of them before the holidays.
Once you've determined what your dental needs are, work with your dentist and benefits provider to figure out what is covered. Often, your dentist's office will look into this information for you. You can also call your plan using the 800 telephone number on your identification card, or go to their website for information.
Flexible Spending Accounts
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an account you can set up through your employer. During open enrollment, you choose how much money to put into this account, and a portion of this amount is deducted from each paycheck pre-tax. FSAs generally cover services or products that help keep your mouth healthy, including cleanings, braces needed for dental health reasons, benefit plan co-pays, dentures and more.
Many FSAs work like debit cards, and you can use that card to pay for various medical and dental expenses, including some products available at your local drugstore.
When You Need to Use Them By
Generally, you must use the money in an FSA within the plan year by December 31. However, your employer may offer one of two options that give you a little more time to spend what’s in your account:
Some provide a grace period of up to 2½ extra months to use the money in your FSA.
Others may allow you to carry over up to $500 per year to use in the following year.
Whether it’s at the end of the year or a grace period, you lose any money you haven’t spent. Check with your employer or FSA administrator to see what your plan allows.
Tips for Making the Most of Your FSA
Plan carefully so you don’t put more money in your account than you will spend within a year on dental or other health care costs.
As with dental benefit plans, talk with your dentist in the summer or fall during regular appointments to see if you have any needs or procedures that need to be completed. You may be able to use your FSA to pay for these needs or use your FSA to pay any associated co-pays or co-insurance.
Contact your FSA administrator for a list of covered services and products (usually referred to as eligible expenses). However, most FSA accounts cannot be used for cosmetic procedures and services like whitening, veneers or cosmetic braces.
Make any remaining dental appointments as soon as you know you need them to ensure your FSA dollars can be used in time.
November 2016: NIH: Dentists See “Striking” Differences Between Those Who Floss And Those Who Don’t.
In light of the news stories that have questioned the benefits of dental flossing due to a lack of research, the National Institutes Of Health (11/1) states in its November newsletter that dentists have “seen the teeth and gums of people who floss regularly and those who haven’t,” and “the differences can be striking.” The article notes that “red or swollen gums that bleed easily” can indicate “flossing and better dental habits are needed.” A dental health expert at NIH said, “Cleaning all sides of your teeth, including between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach, is a good thing.” While strong evidence showing the benefits of flossing “may be somewhat lacking,” the article observes, “there’s little evidence for any harm or side effects from flossing, and it’s low cost.” The article encourages people to talk to their dentist to address any questions or concerns about their teeth or gums and to learn the proper flossing technique.
The ADA has released a statement on the benefits of using interdental cleaners, and a Science in the News article titled “The Medical Benefit of Daily Flossing Called Into Question” discussed evidence about the impact of flossing on oral health.
MouthHealthy.org also provides resources for patients on flossing, including the correct flossing technique.
October 2016: ADA Spokespeople Provide Tips For Dental Health During Halloween.
U.S. News & World Report (10/27, Oliver) spoke with American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ruchi Sahota about the worst Halloween candies for teeth, which Dr. Sahota identifies as sticky, hard, and sour candies. Sticky or gummy candies stick to teeth, while hard candies allow sugar to linger in the mouth, both of which increase the risk of dental decay, says Dr. Sahota. In addition, sour candies may weaken tooth enamel since these candies are more acidic. Dr. Sahota says that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, may be the best option, “because it can more easily be washed away with saliva.” The article notes that “cavities aren’t just a problem on Halloween, of course,” and prevention on Halloween, and year-round, is “simple, and starts with good oral-care habits, like regular brushing and flossing.”
Vox (10/27) reports that Dr. Matthew Messina, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association, said, “The key is to minimize the amount of time sugar is on the teeth – something really sticky that’s hard to get off the teeth, like caramel, gives sugar more time,” adding that candy corn, like chocolate, can be brushed “off very easily.” Dr. Messina recommends consuming food and beverages in moderation and proper dental hygiene for oral health.
Visit MouthHealthy’s Kids’ Halloween Headquarters for additional information, including tips for a healthy Halloween and a newHalloween Candy Survival Guide.
FDA Update on Homeopathic Teething Tablets and Gels: FDA Warning - Risk to Infants and Children
ISSUE: The FDA is warning consumers that homeopathic teething tablets and gels may pose a risk to infants and children. The FDA is analyzing adverse events reported to the agency regarding homeopathic teething tablets and gels, including seizures in infants and children who were given these products, since a 2010 safety alert about homeopathic teething tablets. The FDA is currently investigating this issue, including testing product samples. The agency will continue to communicate with the public as more information is available.
Homeopathic teething tablets and gels have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or efficacy. The agency is also not aware of any proven health benefit of the products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children.
BACKGROUND: Homeopathic teething tablets and gels are distributed by CVS, Hyland’s, and possibly others, and are sold in retail stores and online.
RECOMMENDATION: The FDA recommends that consumers stop using these products and dispose of any in their possession. Consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels.
Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
Read the MedWatch safety alert, including a link to the FDA News Release, at:
September 2016: Study Finds Association Between Poor Oral Health And Heart Disease.
Men’s Health (9/23) reported that a new study from Finland suggests poor oral health may affect heart health. Researchers examined “the teeth and the arteries of more than 500 people,” finding that those needing a root canal were “nearly 3 times more likely to have acute coronary syndrome” than “patients with healthy teeth.” Study author Dr. John Liljestrand suggests the bacteria from the tooth infection may spread to other parts of the body, including the heart. Dr. Liljestrand recommends brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and regular dental visits to help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
In an article in the Omaha (NE) World-Herald (9/24), Dr. Robert Schwab, a physician specializing in internal medicine at Boys Town National Research Hospital, also stated that research suggests poor oral hygiene may impact overall health, including heart health. With this in mind, Dr. Schwab provides tips to promote heart and oral health.
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on root canal treatment, oral health, and heart disease and oral health.
Study Shows Taking Video Selfies May Help Improve Brushing Technique.
Lance Vernon, senior instructor at Case Western Reserve University, writes in the Conversation (UK) (9/6), that in the wake of studies questioning the value of flossing and regular dental x-rays, it may be time to “talk about something we can all agree on – toothbrushing.” A recent “very small study” in India looked at whether a video selfie may improve people’s brushing. The idea is that people may be “more self-conscious” about their toothbrushing while recording themselves, and so they may improve their technique. While the results are “complicated,” Vernon says it did show that people can take selfies of toothbrushing and others can use them to “analyze how well they brushed.”
The piece also appears in the New York Observer (9/8, Vernon).
Study: Teen “Night Owls” More Likely To Have Tooth Decay.
The Daily Mail (9/1, Reporter) reported that a new study finds teenagers who are “night owls” are “up to four times as likely to require fillings as those who prefer an early night.” The researchers suggested this may stem from the teenagers neglecting “to brush their teeth before falling asleep.” In addition, the study found teenagers who go to bed late are “more likely to wake up later and skip breakfast,” resulting in “increased snacking throughout the day.” Given this, the Oral Health Foundation is “encouraging parents to ensure their children understand the importance of brushing their teeth before bed, and the impact of tooth decay.” Dr. Nigel Carter, the foundation’s chief executive, said the combined effect of not brushing teeth regularly before bed and skipping breakfast is “a real recipe for disaster” for oral health and increases the “risk of developing tooth decay.” Dr. Carter said, “Problems in the mouth can affect the way our children communicate, their relationships and their wider general health, so it is vital they prioritize their oral health.”
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on oral health for teenagers.
August 2016: Study: Patients With Gum Disease May Be More Likely To Suffer Heart Attack, Stroke, Severe Chest Pain.
Reuters (8/23, Crist) reported that a study finds an association between gum disease and heart disease and stroke. According to the article, the “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.
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on gum disease for patients.