Monday, August 25, 2014

End of Summer BBQ Health Tips

We’re sad to see that Labor Day is around the corner. But we are not willing to let summer go. Here are a few recommendations on how to put together a tasty BBQ menu that won’t compromise your oral health: 

·         Cheese please. Start with a cheese tray. The calcium in cheese sticks to your teeth, shielding them from acids in other foods. Cheese can even heal tooth enamel where a cavity is about to form. Serve with fruit and veggies.

·         Chips and Dip? Hmm. In your mouth, starches like potato chips, crackers, bread and pasta are as bad as sugars. Why? First, they easily get stuck in the grooves of your molars. Then, it takes a long time for starches to break down into sugars. Before you put these items on the table, consider that snacking on starchy foods for a long period of time (without brushing your teeth after) can be harmful to your teeth.

·         Go for Veggies: Veggies and fruits, such as apples, cucumbers, carrots, and celery, are great because they have high water content. They stimulate the flow of saliva, and that helps to dilute sugars and acids that may be lingering in your mouth from other foods. Your saliva can repair the enamel through a process called re-mineralization --as long as your teeth aren't being continuously bathed in acids.

·         Condiments: Are ketchup and barbeque sauce your BBQ staples? Dark colored sauces and condiments have the potential to stain your teeth. What’s worse, they contain lots and lots of sugar. A healthier alternative is a fresh salsa and garnishes like chopped onions, mushrooms or cheeses.

·         The Main Event: Consider adding fish, such as salmon, to the standard menu of hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken. The fatty acids found in salmon as well as sardines (docosahexaenoic acid), can help reduce gum disease. The fish oil has an anti-inflammatory effect that makes it harder for bacteria to flourish and multiply.

·         Dessert: Impress your guests with homemade popsicles made from real fruit. It is easy to chop fresh fruit or liquefy it in a blender and freeze it in a mold. The result is a healthy, naturally-sweetened summer treat. Experiment with flavors you’d never see in a store: blueberry, mango, strawberries, blackberries. Store-bought popsicles are typically high in sugar content. Just beware that kids tend to suck on popsicles, so sugar spends a lot of time in the mouth giving it plenty of time to start to damage teeth.

·         Beverages: Hydrate your guests with plenty of water. Try adding fruit, mint or cucumber slices to the water for a ‘spa-like’ beverage. Sparkling water is another popular summer option. It's sugar-free, calorie-free, and it hydrates.

·         And for the kids, milk is always a great choice. It’s rich in calcium, protects teeth and helps keep the jawbone strong and healthy.

Consider these helpful teeth-friendly tips when planning your next outdoor get-together! Happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Dental Download: August 22, 2014

This week, we learn that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide if only licensed dentists should be allowed to whiten teeth, discover what Curt Schilling has to say about smokeless tobacco and discuss the Text2Floss initiative. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. Text2Floss increases reach, adds new app: A little more than a year into the second phase of its development, Text2Floss, an initiative of the A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH), recently announced a new partnership and the release of an Apple products app. Now, researchers are looking at this innovative use of technology to reinforce preventive practices in oral healthcare. Text2Floss is an interactive educational tool that helps people develop positive oral hygiene habits using mobile technology. Brian Souza, managing director for the DentaQuest Foundation, an early partner with ATSU, told that Text2Floss can help patients manage their oral healthcare.

2. The US Supreme Court to decide on  teeth-whitening procedures: Teeth-whitening kits make a brighter smile readily available at any drug store. However, North Carolina’s Board of Dental Examiners has determined that teeth whitening is something only a professional dentist can handle. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether only licensed dentists should be allowed to use kits that typically include strips or trays that allow a peroxide gel to coat and whiten teeth.  Visit our website to learn more about teeth whitening.

3. Technology helps dentistry leave painful past behind: The items at Dr. H. Martin Deranian’s dental museum at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, exhibit some of old dental tools that once struck terror into the hearts of patients. Today, thanks to technology like intra-oral computer cameras, digital X-ray imaging, air abrasion and dental lasers, treatments are more efficient and more comfortable. Dental visits are no longer scary, and the dental industry’s ‘painful ‘reputation is being replaced by its focus on prevention.

4. JADA study: Dentists and sealants: Sealants are an inexpensive and effective item in the dentist's toolkit. While dentists have the right attitude about sealants, many still have questions about how and when to use them. Read more in in a new study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

5. Curt Schilling: Smokeless tobacco caused oral cancer:  Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said that it was his use of smokeless tobacco for 30 years that caused his oral cancer which required both radiation and chemotherapy. Schilling, who looked weak and sounded hoarse, made the revelation on Boston Sports Radio WEEI during the station's annual Jimmy Fund broadcast. Click here for more information about the risk of smokeless tobacco on your oral health.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Dental Download: August 15, 2014

This week, we learn about the lack of instruction on tooth brushing, discover the dental woes of an older population and discuss how the DentaQuest Foundation is helping strengthen community health dental programs. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. Dental woes of an aging population: Whether through physical frailty, cognitive decline, financial hardship or the inability to get to a dental office, older Americans often cannot take good care of their teeth, even if they were model patients in their youth. The needs of older dental patients today are more challenging than in the past. The task for the dental profession, dental educators and policymakers will be to develop new models of care, to prepare a workforce to provide that care and to conduct research with geriatric patients in mind.

2. Memphis organizations receive dental grants: Christ Community Health Services and the Memphis Health Center  have been selected by the Tennessee Primary Care Association to receive technical and startup assistance for dental programs. Community health centers are local engines for healthier communities. This work is part of a grant to the Tennessee Primary Care Association by the DentaQuest Foundation and its Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net initiative. The goal is to support the growth of community dental programs so they can serve more individuals and families in need of quality of oral health care.

3. Lack of instruction consistency hinders tooth brushing: What is "correct" when it comes to manual tooth brushing? According to the authors of a new study in the British Dental Journal, there are many different opinions as to which method is best and no consensus among professional bodies on the best method. In the U.S., the ADA has a clear, concise set of general brushing instructions on its website with an accompanying video. Read our brushing tips here. And, be sure to brush – and floss -- every day.

4. Taking charge of your dental electronic record selection: As the dental industry moves into a new era of more sophisticated dental software, including a new generation of dental electronic health records (EHRs), dentists, practice managers, and administrators are becoming increasingly confused about the evaluation and selection of these new technologies. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DentaQuest Celebrates Safety Net Centers of Excellence During National Health Center Week

This week, National Health Center Week, we celebrate the important work of America’s health centers. They are local engines for healthier communities. Learn more about community health centers here.

There are 44 million uninsured people in this nation and another 56 million who, although they may have health insurance, live in areas without access to doctors and basic health services. Federally qualified community health centers fill this need for over 22 million people at more than 9,000 sites located in all 50 states and U.S. territories. 3,000 of  those sites include dental services. National Health Center Week raises awareness of the access to care needs that exist in our communities and the importance of providing coordinated primary and preventive health care.

Community health centers truly represent the patient-centered health home: over 80 percent of community health centers provide primary medical, dental and behavioral health services under one roof, integrating and coordinating care of the whole patient.

DentaQuest is committed to the success of dental programs at community health centers, many of whom face significant financial challenges in their efforts to meet the mission of providing quality care to those in need. Our Safety Net Solutions (SNS) program has established relationships with over 300 community health center dental programs, working with health center staff and administration and providing technical expertise and assistance that is helping them balance access and capacity so they can provide quality care for more people.

This is challenging work. So, each year at the National Primary Oral Health Conference, the DentaQuest Institute celebrates the work of exemplary safety net dental programs. This year, we will honor five organizations as a John Rossetti Center of Excellence. Each has made significant contributions to high-quality oral health care. We congratulate these 2014 award winners:

The awards also honor the legacy of Dr. John Rossetti, a man who dedicated his career in the U.S. Public Health Service to the oral health needs of underserved people. Dr. Rossetti spent the later years of his career working as an Expert Advisor for the DentaQuest Institute’s Safety Net Solutions program, sharing his wisdom and expertise in the form of technical assistance related to safety net practice management for dental programs. The DentaQuest Institute named its annual Centers for Excellence Award after Dr. John Rossetti to honor safety net dental programs that continue his spirit of excellence in public health leadership. These are programs where leadership and excellence in oral health practice management has led to sustained improvement in access to care and the oral health of their patients.

This year, the John Rosetti Centers of Excellence awards will be presented on Tuesday, August 19th at the National Primary Oral Health Conference during the National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) and DentaQuest Institute awards luncheon.

We extend our gratitude to all who are working toward the common goal of helping community health centers succeed. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Friday Dental Download: August 8, 2014

This week, we learn how the Affordable Care Act is helping to create a dental clinic, discover a new electronic health record platform for dentists and discuss how the new health law might call for some workers to be automatically enrolled in coverage. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1. The impact of patient and payer mix on dental program sustainability: The DentaQuest Institute’s own Dr. Mark Doherty describes the importance of patient and payer mix on dental program sustainability. In safety net dental programs, payer mix has a huge impact on financial sustainability, and can be a significant challenge to manage.

2. Health Law Calls For Some Workers To Be Automatically Enrolled in Coverage: Newly hired employees who don’t sign up for health insurance on the job could have it done for them under an Affordable Care Act provision that may take effect as early as next year. Under the health law, companies with more than 200 full-time workers have to enroll new, full-time employees in one of the company health plans unless the employee chooses not to join. However, the controversial provision is raising questions.

3. iMedicor Launches Proprietary iCoreDental, Cloud-Based, Customizable Electronic Health Records Platform: iMedicor, Inc. announced the launch of a customizable, cloud-based dental Electronic Health Record (EHR) software system that provides dentists with powerful tools at their fingertips to make dental care delivery more efficient and less costly.

4. Dental visits are a good habit to start (again): While about two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) visit the dentist at least once a year, nearly half of them (47 percent) have gone three years or more without seeing the dentist at least once during their lives. According to the Delta Dental Oral Health and Well-Being survey, respondents reported feeling fear regarding a dental visit but despite the fear and reluctance, many Americans say they feel refreshed after the visit.

5. Obamacare pays for dental clinic: Health officials are putting the finishing touches on a $3.4 million dental clinic in Long Branch, NJ. The idea behind this clinic is to help alleviate uninsured patients winding up in hospital emergency rooms to find relief for their toothaches. Money for the expansion comes from a grant through the Affordable Care Act. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Dental Download: August 1, 2014

This week, we discuss new tools that could change the dental industry, learn why retirees can’t afford to lose dental coverage, and discover that good teeth could lead to a longer life. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1.    Texas Mission of Mercy: DentaQuest is honored to support the Texas Mission of Mercy this weekend at East View High School in Georgetown, TX. We will be doing presentations in English and Spanish on brushing, flossing, and gum disease and the importance of oral health care from birth to adulthood.  DentaQuest believes it is important for everyone to have access to dental care and the Mission of Mercy will help many uninsured or underinsured individuals receive care and stop living with the pain of dental disease.

2.    Good teeth could be a longevity marker: A new study from Boston Medical Center and Boston University that found that people who lived to be over 100 years old have better oral health compared to their respective birth cohorts suggests that oral health may be a marker for healthy aging. In addition, researchers found that centenarians’ offspring had more than half of their natural teeth remaining and reported excellent or very good oral health.

3.    Enhanced clinical guide helps dentists save natural teeth: Patients’ natural teeth can be saved with the help of a new and improved clinical resource, Treatment Options for the Compromised Tooth: A Decision Guide. The guide is designed to encourage dentists to assess all possible endodontic treatment options before recommending extraction of a compromised tooth. 

4.    Retirees can’t afford to lose dental coverage: One asset that is vanishing from many retirees’ futures is employer-funded health benefits. When faced with this issue and the exchange environment, retirees are overwhelmingly choosing to forgo dental coverage, a decision that can have serious consequences. Poor oral health can contribute to severe medical issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Yet about 75 percent of Americans 65 or older do not have dental benefits. When purchasing health benefits it’s important for individuals to consider prevention, not just treatment. With the purchase of dental health benefits, retirees’ can go to routine oral screenings and cleanings to prevent oral health issues.

5.    Viewing Dentistry in a New Light: New tools are coming soon that could replace traditional dental X-rays, screen for “hidden cavities” and avoid painful extractions, according to a professor at the University of California San Francisco. New optical techniques use light to take instantaneous digital images that can provide a better picture of your teeth and could one day zap cavities with a pinpoint precision.