Why You Should Celebrate National Iced Tea Month

Baby, it’s hot outside! It’s the perfect weather for the official drink of June: iced tea. In honor of National Iced Tea Month, here are some healthy tea tidbits to brew on as you reach for a tall, cool one.

Tea may help fight cancer. All types of tea contain compounds known as polyphenols, which work in the body by protecting cells from damage, as well as preventing cancer cells from starting in the first place. Green tea contains more polyphenols than black tea, because it’s not processed as long. Much of the evidence in support of tea and cancer has come out of China, where tea is heavily studied because of its prominence in the Chinese diet. One recent study out of China concluded that green tea drinkers suffered less oral cancer, especially among men who smoked. Another study found a lower risk of lung cancer when drinking high amounts of tea, especially among non-smokers. Tea has also been associated with a lower risk of other types of cancer, such as bladder cancer.

Tea is kind to teeth. Drinking certain types of tea helps keep the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease from “sticking around” in the mouth. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that gum issues were reduced in Japanese men and women when they started drinking one cup of green tea a day. Another recent study found that Pu-erh tea and chrysanthemum tea provided benefits to tooth and gum health, by reducing certain types of pathogens that wreak havoc on the mouth. Finally, a study published in Preventive Medicine found that people who drank high amounts of green tea were less likely to lose teeth with age. Of course, the tea studied was unsweetened – adding sugar to your tea will override the benefits.

Tea drinkers may have lower rates of Type 2 diabetes. A study published in 2012 used data from 50 different countries and found a lower Type 2 diabetes rate in countries that consumed the highest amounts of black tea, such as Ireland and Turkey. The researchers speculate that the effect may be due to the fermentation process to turn green tea into black tea, which then creates unique healthful compounds. Another study done on mice demonstrated that green tea may help “blunt” the rise in blood sugar when the mice were fed a starchy diet.

Tea is good for your brain. Studies on green tea and mice have provided interesting evidence that the beverage seems to help with brain functioning and mood regulation. One study involving more than 7,000 Chinese people found that green tea consumption helped improve cognitive function, especially in the “oldest-old,” or those who were about 90 years old.

Tea is easy on your wallet. Next to water, tea is the most inexpensive beverage you can choose, provided you brew your own and avoid the “bottled” versions. There’s a common misperception that tea isn’t as hydrating as water, because of the caffeine. However, researchers have demonstrated that this is simply not true – the amount of caffeine in a glass of tea is not enough to cause you to lose more than you drink.

There are two potential downsides to adding tea to your beverage rotation: The added calories from sweeteners and the caffeine. Learning to enjoy your tea unsweetened, drinking no more than about 4 cups a day and perhaps avoiding tea in the evening so the caffeine doesn’t interfere with your sleep will help prevent these pitfalls.


Source: US News



Parents may pass dental fear on to children

Parents who are afraid to visit the dentist may pass the same fear on to their children, possibly keeping them from getting routine dental check-ups that are important to promote healthy teeth and a lifetime of good oral health habits.

That’s one of the key findings from a survey of children’s oral health conducted on behalf of Delta Dental, a leading dental benefits provider. On average, the survey found that nearly 30 percent of children are afraid to visit the dentist. But when their parents also fear the dentist that number jumped to almost 40 percent. Conversely, just 24 percent of children whose parents are unafraid of the dentist were still fearful of dental visits themselves.

“Parents who fear visiting the dentist should try to keep those feelings to themselves to avoid passing them on to children,” said Dr. Katina Spadoni, DDS, dental director for Delta Dental of Illinois. “It’s important that the parent or caregiver responsible for taking children to the dentist remains relaxed and calm.”

The top reason Illinois parents say their children are afraid to visit the dentist is due to the drills and dental equipment (18 percent). Other explanations include being afraid of having work done (13 percent), a bad past experience (9 percent) and shots and needles (8 percent).

During National Mental Health Month, Delta Dental of Illinois offers parents and caregivers three simple tips to help children feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair:

Start young: It’s recommended that children visit the dentist within six months of getting their first tooth – and no later than their first birthday. Starting at a young age allows children and parents to establish trust with a dentist and begin a regular dental visit routine.

Keep it simple and positive: If children ask questions before a visit to the dentist, avoid using words that could make them scared, such as drill, shot or filling, or counseling them that it won’t hurt, since they often aren’t aware it could hurt in the first place. Instead, explain that the dentist is simply going to check their smile and count their teeth. Try not to discuss any negative experience that you might have had so your child can form their own opinion through personal experience.

Call ahead: Tell the dentist ahead of time that your child may be anxious about the visit. Most pediatric dental offices will have toys or music that children can focus on instead of the appointment itself, helping them relax and making a trip to the dentist a fun and enjoyable experience.

“Parents need to help children understand why visiting the dentist is so important and help make their visits as comfortable as possible,” Dr. Spadoni said. “Kids who have negative experiences at the dentist may be less inclined to make regular visits as teenagers and grown adults.”



Read more: Star Courier

Dental hygienists overlooked as health-care providers’ roles expand

The Chronicle Herald’s June 3 editorial, “Druggists get booster,” discussed the expanded role of pharmacists in the health care system. The article brings to light the case for having more services delivered by health professionals at a lower cost to the health-care system. The question was raised about what services can be offered by other providers, dental hygienists, for instance.

The Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice includes clinical therapy such as the dental cleaning or scaling that many people have experienced. Perhaps lesser known are the health promotion and disease prevention services provided; blood pressure and oral cancer screening, risk assessment for dental tooth decay and gum diseases, smoking cessation and dietary education. Dental hygienists are also educated to administer local anaesthetic. During the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009, dental hygienists were considered as potential (with training) immunizers.

Until recently, dental hygienists in Nova Scotia were restricted to practice only under the direct supervision of the dentist in a dental practice.

For many people, accessing a dental office is not a reality. Think about frail, elderly or homebound seniors, the institutionalized, and those living in temporary shelters, or worse, without a home. In spite of a Children’s Oral Health Care program, there are families, which, for a multiplicity of reasons, including fear, shame, or lack of awareness, do not or cannot visit the dental office.

In 2009, the new Nova Scotia Dental Hygienists Act was approved and paved the way for dental hygienists to practise outside the walls of the private dental office. The legislation created the potential for dental hygienists to deliver oral health care, to the full extent of their scope of practice, directly to the public in a variety of community locales.

Long-term care facilities, Community Wellness centres and the recently announced (April 11) Early Years centres are ideal settings where dental hygienists have long been missing from existing collaborative health teams.

Unfortunately, the Insured Health Services Act and Regulations, which currently lists dentists and denturists, does not recognize dental hygienists as health-care providers.

They are unable to bill MSI, or other government-funded oral health programs, despite the fact that the same care provided in a dental office by a dental hygienist would be insured.

Due to this barrier, dental hygienists in this province who do see clients directly in alternate settings are in some cases offering free services to those in need.

A dental hygienist provides service in a long-term care facility where a physically and mentally challenged eight-year-old child is a resident.

Given the challenges, it would be difficult and costly to move the child to a dental office. The dental hygienist is asked to see the child, but she cannot make a claim to MSI and the parents cannot afford the care. The dental hygienist is faced with offering her service for free or refusing to see the child.

This is discriminatory to both the client and the professional and does not allow the public open access to the health-care provider of their choice.

Dental hygienists could best support the health care system if ways were found to utilize their full scope of practice in a system which stands up to the health-care mantra often used in Nova Scotia: “The right service, at the right time and in the right place by the right provider.”

We agree with the conclusion in the above-mentioned editorial on pharmacists providing flu shots and other services. The health-care system needs to have more services, which, with appropriate training, are delivered by health-care professionals other than the highest-cost care providers, and we would add in settings appropriate to the individual.

This piece was submitted by the College of Dental Hygienists of Nova Scotia. The CDHNS is the regulatory body for the 670 registered and licensed dental hygienists in the province.



Source: The Chronicle Herald

5 Tips for Not Dreading Teeth Cleaning


Despite incredible advances in dental technology over the past 50 years, many people still dread visits to the dentist-enough to put off going even when their teeth are throbbing with pain and their gums are oozing blood.

That second condition, bleeding gums, is of particular importance to people who have diabetes. Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection and inflames tissues, gums can easily become infected. The resulting disease, periodontitis, begins with redness, swelling, and bleeding. Even simple flossing or vigorous brushing can be enough to start blood flowing.

Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even the need for surgery to clean out infected pockets under the gums and reconstruct what’s left of the tissue. Periodontitis also creates a “gateway” condition where disease-causing agents can more easily enter the body. Because diabetes slows healing, not only the gums but other parts of the body are subjected to infections that take a long time to cure.

Another concern is that researchers think bacteria and inflamed gum tissue produce chemical changes in the body that can lessen the effectiveness of insulin. As a result, blood sugar levels can increase, leading to a vicious circle in which higher blood sugars create gum inflammation, which leads to higher blood sugars.

Even so, there’s a bit of good news: periodontitis can be treated, even reversed. But two steps are necessary for that to happen: 1.) You have to maintain lower blood sugars to reduce inflammation, and 2.) you must schedule regular dental examinations, including routine teeth cleaning.

But let’s assume that you’re already doing all you can to keep your blood sugars low. That makes focusing on gum health a priority.

While the standard recommendation is that you should get your teeth cleaned twice each year, for people with diabetes, the recommendation is four times per year-once every 90 days. The reason for the increased frequency is so that your dentist can monitor and remove plaque buildups that harbor infectious bacteria.

He or she may supplement teeth cleaning with a specially formulated mouth rinse, such as chlorhexidine gluconate, which works to reduce gum swelling and bleeding. Other recommendations may include using a sonic electric toothbrush to assist in knocking food particles from between the teeth and at the gum line, as well as the usual advice to floss.

But the problem for many people is getting to the dentist’s chair in the first place. However, there are some comforting pointers that may make it a bit easier for you to get there:

1. Teeth cleaning doesn’t require drilling or the use of Novocain or anesthesia. (The exception is gum surgery, which is a whole other topic.) While the dentist has to use sharp instruments to probe beneath the gum line and to scrape off plaque, at worst they are uncomfortable. Discomfort aside, it is highly unusual to experience deep or lasting pain during a tooth cleaning.

2. There will be some bleeding. Typically your dentist will work your teeth in four segments, starting with either the top or bottom teeth, front and back, then moving on to the opposite set, front and back. At the end of each segment of work, your dentist will ask you to rinse. This is when you might see a lot of blood as you spit into the chair-side sink. While nobody likes to see his own blood, this isn’t a bad thing. It confirms that you were right to come to the dentist because your gums easily bleed, and it shows that you’re taking the right step to remove the plaque that inflames them.

3. If you haven’t had your teeth cleaned in a long time, your first tooth cleaning session with a dentist might take an hour or more. But once you develop the habit of regular teeth cleaning, an efficient dentist can complete the job in about 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Your gums may feel tender for awhile after a cleaning. This doesn’t last too long, and it’s rare for a dentist to tell you to refrain from eating soon afterwards. One of the nice things about freshly cleaned teeth is the smooth feeling you get when you run your tongue over them. The cleaning has removed all surface film and gunk, and you can feel the difference.

5. Be aware that you’ll probably tense up during the procedure. This is a normal human reaction-after all, somebody is rummaging around in your uncomfortably wide-open mouth with strange metal instruments. So it’s no surprise that you may feel your leg, arm, and shoulder muscles bunching up as though they’re waiting for something bad to happen (which it won’t).

This is when you want to make a conscious effort to relax them, which you’ll probably be able to do for a bit. But unless you’re a master meditator or yogi, the chances are good you’ll tense up again. No problem-the goal here is to remind yourself to be aware that you can relax, and then do it as much as possible when you think about it.

Your muscles will appreciate the temporary relief, and you’ll teach yourself that it’s possible to sit in a dentist’s chair at least part of the time without worrying that something dreadful is about to happen.

6. Music can help to relax and distract you. Ask your dentist is he or she minds you wearing earphones during your cleaning. If your dentist prefers you don’t, it’s reasonable to ask what kind of music-if any-you’ll hear in that particular office. Whatever kind of music you listen to, make sure it’s soothing. That usually means no “1812 Overture,” or heavy metal, or an infectious I-must-get-up-and-dance salsa. (There are exceptions; just know yourself.)

Is going to the dentist a pleasant task? For most of us, not really. Will getting your teeth cleaned regularly lower your blood sugar? Probably. Is dental health an essential part of taking the best care of yourself as you manage your diabetes? Definitely yes.




Snack on some cheese for your teeth’s sake

What if we were to tell you that cheese is good for your oral health? A recent study from the Academy of General Dentistry found that the beloved dairy product can actually protect your teeth against acid, which eats away at the enamel. Researchers Ravishankar Lingesha Telgia, Vipul Yadav, Chaitra Ravishankar Telgia and Naveen Boppana, studied the pH of dental plaque in subjects after they ate different dairy products. While dentists and oral hygienists have praised cheese for its beneficial properties against bad breath in the past, this study focused on the differences between dairy products such as yogurt, cheddar cheese and milk.

Researchers studied 68 subjects who were between the ages of 12 and 15, with consent from their parents, and asked them to avoid brushing their teeth for 48 hours before the study. Then, the scientists determined the pH levels of dental plaque on their teeth in four different sites, which served as a base number to evaluate the effect the dairy products had on pH balance.

All of the individuals were then placed in a group that ate either cheese, milk, sugar-free yogurt or paraffin (placebo). After three minutes of swishing around the mouth or slowly chewing, each participant was checked for their pH balance at different intervals. Researchers found that cheese had the most lasting effect on the pH levels in the mouth – three times as much as milk and yogurt – and milk and yogurt’s protective effects only stuck around for 10 minutes, while cheese lasted for 30.

Your mouth is supposed to stay at a pH level of 5.5 or higher to ensure that your teeth’s enamel isn’t at risk of erosion. Foods that can decrease this balance in your mouth include coffee, soda, sports drinks and acidic fruit. If you have a pH balance that is higher than 5.5, you will have a lower chance of needing cavity treatment and having tooth decay.

“It looks like dairy does the mouth good,” AGD spokesperson Seung-Hee Rhee, told Science Daily. “Not only are dairy products a healthy alternative to carb- or sugar-filled snacks, they also may be considered as a preventive measure against cavities.”

Researchers believe that the increase in saliva flow from eating cheese could play a role in the better pH levels. Saliva works as a neutralizer to wash away acid in the mouth, similar to drinking water. Additionally, the somewhat sticky nature of cheese acts as protection for the teeth against acid and other foods that you consume.

These findings have concluded that cheese has the highest anticariogenic property among the dairy products tested, meaning they can suppress dental caries. However, milk and yogurt are still very beneficial in achieving a proper pH level in the mouth, and can also be used as a preventative measure against cavities. It’s important to make sure that you are consuming these dairy products without high levels of added sugar, which can cause erosion. If you frequently sip or chew these products, you can increase saliva flow and protect the teeth.

While it may not be best to include bleu cheese or stinky Romano in your daily diet, you may want to consider healthy snacks like stick or string cheese that are mild and can help you avoid cavity treatments. Cheese can be eaten during a meal or as a snack, but make sure to stick to a 1/3-ounce serving. Hey – now you don’t have to feel guilty about that evening glass of wine paired with delicious cheese.



Source: TheraBreath


Oral health tools for tots

Sophie the Giraffe by Vulli

A baby may begin teething as early as three months so good safe teething toys are a must. My grandson Marshall’s favorite teething toy is a charming giraffe named Sophie. She is made of 100% all natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea tree. Sophie has bright contrasting spots that are applied with food paint so she’s safe to chew. She’s really soft and has lots of chewable parts such as the ears, legs, and horns. Sophie comes in two designs, a small teether, approximately 4 inches and a larger teething toy approximately 7 inches (see photo). The larger toy is slender and flexible, and she laughs with a squeak when her body is squeezed.

According to the manufacturer, Sophie the Giraffe has been a huge success as baby’s first toy because its design stimulates all of baby’s senses from the age of three months. For example:

  • Sight: Sophie’s contrasting eye-catching spots provide visual stimulation
  • Hearing: Sophie’s squeaker stimulates hearing early on and later helps baby to understand cause and effect
  • Taste: 100% natural rubber and food paint are safe, and Sophie’s soft texture is perfect for soothing sore gums
  • Touch: Sophie’s soft feel stimulates physiological and emotional response that soothe the baby and promote healthy growth and well-being
  • Smell: the singular scent of natural rubber makes Sophie easy for baby to identify among other toys
  • Dexterity: Sophie’s shape and size are perfect for baby’s small hands, she is lightweight and easy for baby to grip

These toys are really amazing! Even more amazing is that Sophie is 52 years old. She was born in Paris on May 25, 1961. Vulli, a French company based in Rumilly near the Swiss border, produces Sophie and a plethora of other unique items. Staying true to the traditional means of production, which began over 50 years ago, involves more than 14 manual operations. These toys are free of BPA and phthalates. I encourage you to visit to their website (www.sophiegiraffeusa.com) and discover Sophie for yourself along with their other unique products.


Baby Banana Brushes by Baby Banana

We’ve all seen a toddler running with a toothbrush in their mouth, and we’ve all cringed. I like this product created by a grandmother/mother team after one of their children tripped and fell on his toothbrush puncturing the roof of his mouth. This fun brush is flexible and bendable to prevent injury. Made of 100% medical grade silicone, this “banana” is durable and dishwasher safe. The Baby Banana brush has small soft bristles to clean teeth and massage gums and is designed for children over 12 months of age.

Baby Banana also comes in a teether/toothbrush for children under 12 months of age (see photo). The “a-peel-ing” handles are easy for baby to hold. Also made of 100% medical grade silicone and dishwasher safe, the super soft bristles provide teething comfort and gentle cleaning for newly erupted teeth. In addition, Baby Banana offers the Sharky Brush and OctoBrush. You can check out all their products at www.babybananabrushes.com.

There are a lot of choices when it comes to the toothbrush/teether combo. Here are two of them.

Bite & Brush by MAM

While I have seen this name on a pacifier, I had no idea they had so many different baby products. MAM was founded in Vienna in 1976, and their first pacifier was sold

that same year in Austria. MAM’s products arrived in the United States in 2008.

Please visit their website (www.mambaby.com) to check out their wide variety of products, including training toothbrushes and read about their dental health initiative.

The Bite & Brush got my attention because of the design. It has soft bristles in an arch form designed for cleaning while chewing. The ring handle makes it easy for baby grab and hold, and it has different textures and shapes for teething. All products are BPA-free.


Infant Safety Brush by Tess Oral Health

Designed as an infant toothbrush and teething ring in one, the shape and size prevent over insertion. This safety brush has a ring handle for easy control and

extra-soft .006-inch bristles to ensure gentle cleaning. The brush comes in six

different colors in a box of 24.

Tess Oral Health has many other product offerings and home care kits that you will want to check out. They specialize in custom imprinted, personalized and branded oral hygiene products and kits. Check it out at www.tessoralhealth.com


Tooth Tissues by My Dentist’s Choice

Practicing dentists and parents of two little girls, Drs. Grace Lo and Jonathan Korn, created Tooth Tissues. These easy to use disposable tissues are textured for plaque removal from the teeth and gums. They have a neutral flavor so taste is not an issue

for baby. Tooth Tissues are fluoride, paraben, and sugar free, but they do contain xylitol. In fact, in 2012 Tooth Tissues obtained the distinction of being certified

natural by the Natural Products Association. The wipes are all bamboo and come in an oatmeal color.

As reported by the manufacturer, the complete ingredients are: water, glycerin, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, hydrated silica, xylitol, xanthan gum, sodium levulinate, sodium phytate, and potassium sorbate. (Sodium levulinate is a corn-derived preservative that is 100% natural and eco-friendly. Sodium phytate is a rice bran derivative that is a stabilizer. It is 100% natural and eco-friendly.) Check out Tooth Tissues at www.toothtissues.com.

Kid’s Tooth Gel by Spry

This all-natural gel was designed with infants and toddlers in mind. Now even our youngest patients can receive the proven oral health benefits of xylitol when they use

Kid’s Tooth Gel. According to the manufacturer, the ingredients are: purified water,

xylitol, calcium glycerophosphate, cellulose gum for thickening, and grapefruit seed extract as a preservative.

The gel can be applied to a cotton swab or a toothbrush and used to clean the teeth and gums. It only takes a few drops so it’s much less mess than toothpaste, and it’s safe to swallow. Spry has a wide variety of products that feature xylitol and are part of their Dental Defense System. Check out their website at www.xlear.com


Source: RDH Mag