When Is OTC Not Enough For Your Dental Care?

A trip to the grocery store or pharmacy is usually all you need to replenish your favorite brand of toothpaste, mouthwash and floss. But what if re-stocking that old familiar brand isn’t really helping you as much as you need?blog post image_april 2017_from RevWell

As we grow older and our teeth and gums age along with us, sometimes those old familiar products are worth switching out – often with a prescription from your dentist. But how do you know when you should opt for something new? Let’s take a look.

Do you Have Sensitive Teeth or Gum Disease? If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity due to a receding gum line, you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste. Such toothpastes have higher levels of fluoride and can help lessen sensitivity and protect exposed tooth structure no longer protected by enamel or gum tissue. Typically your dentist would recommend prescription toothpaste for you if you have significant recession, or if you have recently been in for scaling and root planing.

Do You Get a Lot of Cavities, or Drink from An Unfluoridated Water Supply? If you get your drinking water from a well, or any other unfluoridated source, prescription toothpastes can be helpful. In fact, research shows the popularity of bottled water may be affecting children’s tooth decay.

Specialized toothpastes are also worth considering simply if you’re prone to decay. Excessive cavities can be a drain on your wallet, and the overall health of your mouth. Ask if there are ways (other than frequent visits to the office for repair) you can proactively fight your battle with cavity-prone teeth.

Do You Suffer from Dry Mouth? Most over the counter (OTC) remedies for dry mouth are effective for the majority of people. However, if you’ve been using an OTC solution for some time, and are experiencing limited relief, you might want to ask your dentist if there are other options. You should also ask your family doctor help you get to the root of the problem – which could be indicative of any number of benign or more serious concerns.

Are Frequent Mouth Sores a Problem? Elderly patients and those undergoing treatment for some diseases, such as cancer, can develop mouth sores. It’s not necessary to endure this pain for days and weeks on end, so ask your dentist or physician for a prescription mouth gel. Such gels work by forming a barrier that protects the nerve endings and shields them from overstimulation that can result in pain.

Do You Suffer From Persistent Halitosis? Many people don’t know this, but there are prescription mouthwashes that can be used to help combat persistent halitosis. As with dry mouth, however, it’s important to understand why you have bad breath. If you do not have gum disease and feel otherwise healthy, there could be more serious reasons for your halitosis. If bad breath is a concern for you, just let us know at your next visit, and we’ll let you know how we can help.

For the overwhelming majority of us, over-the-counter toothpastes, mouth washes and other dental hygiene products will do the trick just fine. Just know that your options don’t stop there and speak with our team if you have any concerns.

Meet Dr. Gart!

Meet Dr. Adam Gart! He is a standout dentist and one of the newest members of the Future of Dentistry team.

Dr. Adam Gart
Dr. Adam Gart

“As a doctor, I believe that personalized care is essential to oral health,” he said. “I knew I wanted to practice at Future of Dentistry when I saw that the team is always dedicated to putting the patient first.”

Dr. Gart earned his DMD from Midwestern University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Sacred Heart University with a degree in chemistry. He found his calling during college, when he spent a month shadowing a family member who is a dentist in France.

At Midwestern, Dr. Gart was ranked in the top 10 of his class academically. He earned the School Award for Implantology, the School Award for Oral Surgery, and a Section Award for Excellence in Patient Care.

That combination — outstanding technical skills and compassionate care — are exactly what we focus on at Future of Dentistry. It makes Dr. Gart a great fit for our practice!

We invite all our patients to give feedback after their visits. We’ve heard wonderful things about Dr. Gart since he joined us! Here are two examples from patients:

“I wish every dentist was like Dr. Gart, I would of started going years ago! He made me feel so comfortable and is very gentle and soft-spoken. You can tell he really cares about his patients and his work. Looking forward to my next appointment.”

“It was my first experience meeting Dr Gart. I had an abscess and he highly advised taking the tooth out ASAP. It took a little less than an hour. He was wonderful. Efficient and caring. He followed up with me himself the next day. Very impressed.”

We wanted to share these examples because they illustrate what we value about Dr. Gart.  Since he joined us, he’s become a trusted team member. He also has a great sense of humor! Outside of dentistry, Dr. Gart is an “outdoors type” whose hobbies include tennis, skiing and hiking. He is a longtime Massachusetts resident.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of Future of Dentistry’s patients, and I look forward to meeting more of you in the future,” said Dr. Gart.

Since he speaks French fluently, we asked him to translate for us: “J’ai eu beaucoup de plaisir a faire la connaissance de nombreux patients de FOD et j’ai hate d’en rencontrer un plus grand nombre encore!”

Myth-Busting: The Truth About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of the most misunderstood forms of cancer. Too often, patients believe that only tobacco use can lead to oral cancer. This is simply not true. You may be surprised to learn that this disease affects a wide range of people.

In fact, non-smokers aged 25 to 50 — who are otherwise healthy — are the fastest-growing segment of the oral/oropharyngeal cancer population.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) has changed the way the medical community looks at this disease. Several forms of HPV are linked to oral cancer. Research suggests that more young people suffer from oral cancer because of the virus.

Unfortunately, public awareness hasn’t quite caught up with science. The topics of oral cancer and HPV are often taboo, embarrassing or simply overlooked.

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Feeling lucky? Enter our contest in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

That’s why Oral Cancer Awareness Month is so important. Recognized nationally in April, it’s a chance to break down the barriers and spread the word about prevention and detection.

It’s also the reason we’re raffling off the gift basket you see in this blog. It’s chockfull of fun items, including a Visa “cash card” and gift cards to a local ice cream shop and pizza place. Most of these items have nothing to do with dentistry. It’s just a fun contest with a simple goal — raising awareness.

Here’s how to win the basket:

  • Pledge to be checked annually
  • Like/Share the oral cancer post on our Facebook page before the end of April 2017. (If you don’t use Facebook, you can call 781-245-2299 or email info@futureofdentistry.com to enter)

Anyone can win, whether or not they’re a patient at Future of Dentistry. The goal is awareness, for everyone. We’ll announce the winner during the first week of March.

The Basics

  • The same strains of HPV that infect genital areas can infect the mouth and throat, known as “oral HPV.”
  • Some forms of oral HPV are shown to cause cancer in the mouth, head and neck areas. Other types can cause warts in the mouth or throat.
  • Cancer caused by HPV often takes years to develop after the initial HPV infection.
  • HPV may go away on its own without causing any health problems. The key is to stay vigilant — routine checks for an abnormal symptoms.

Myths and Truths

Myth: You have to be a smoker to get oral cancer.

Truth: In the U.S. alone, about 9,000 people are diagnosed with oral/oropharyngeal cancers that may be caused by HPV.

Myth: Only older people get oral cancer.

Truth: More than a quarter of diagnoses are in patients under 55, and researchers believe that figure is growing.

Myth: Oral cancer isn’t as “bad” as other cancers.

Truth: Oral cancer is responsible for an estimated 9,700 deaths per year in the U.S.

Myth: Men carry HPV, but they can’t contract a disease from it.

Truth: Head and neck cancers are actually more common in men than women. Men are not exempt from HPV-related cancer.

Prevention And Detection

Early detection is a critical factor in oral cancer diagnoses. It’s essential to be checked regularly by a trained, well-equipped professional.

  • Stick to your schedule of preventative dental visits. As part of your annual cleanings and checkups, we test for oral cancer using visual and VELscope exams.
  • If you’re concerned about your risk factors, ask Future of Dentistry about saliva testing for HPV. It’s a screening tool we use to check for different types of oral HPV. It’s discreet, non-invasive and simple.
  • Ask your physician about the HPV vaccine for children, teens, and young adults. The CDC now recommends the vaccine for 11- to 12-year-olds, both boys and girls, to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections.
  • Oral cancer is more common among those with periodontal disease (gum disease). The best way to prevent and treat periodontal disease is to visit the dentist regularly and be diligent about your home care.
  • Don’t use tobacco products. This is a given for your overall and oral health. It’s also possible that tobacco use may interact with HPV, making it more likely to develop cancer — research is ongoing to understand all the causes.

Breathe Easier: The Last Of Cough And Cold Season

Although Spring is technically here, cough and cold season isn’t over — especially here in New England, where we could see snow as easily as sunshine during April. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy until “true Spring” arrives.flu-1006045_1920

  • New research suggests that regular dental visits may protect against pneumonia by reducing the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth. It’s another great reason to stick to your schedule of visits to Future of Dentistry, as well as your home care routine.
  • Many people develop cold sores at this time of year. Cold sores are viral, but two factors encourage them to surface: a weakened immune system and exposure to rapidly changing weather. We can’t control the latter, so take care of your health! Consistency is key: eat right, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep.
  • Sinus infections can cause pain in the upper teeth. If you’re uncertain about the cause of your pain, don’t wait — call our office at 781-245-2299.

If you do become sick:

  • Use sugar-free cough drops. The type with sugar will only encourage unhealthy bacteria to thrive in your mouth.
  • Stay hydrated. Illness often causes dry mouth, and so can OTC and prescription medications. Drinking lots of water is good for your recovery and it keeps the saliva flowing, which reduces your risk of cavities.
  • Toss your toothbrush, or if you use an electric brush, your toothbrush head. Some scientists say you can’t re-infect yourself with the same cold, but it’s not worth the risk.