Category: Dental Care

Sports Drinks, Energy Drinks and Your Teeth


Sports Drinks, Energy Drinks and Your Teeth

A common misconception is that energy drinks and sports drinks are a healthy choice. These drinks are especially popular among teens and young adults. Unfortunately, they cause damage to tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

Every time that we snack or sip on our sports drink we are not only feeding ourselves but the bacteria in our mouth. These bacteria produce acid which lowers the pH in our mouth and saliva.  These drinks also contain acid for flavoring adding to the acid problem. As our mouth becomes more acidic the mineral of our teeth begins to dissolve. Keep this up and small demineralized white patches will develop on our teeth. Eventually these patches become holes needing repair from our favorite dentist.

So why don’t we constantly get holes in our teeth? We have our own built in super hero – saliva. Saliva returns the lost minerals to our teeth following an acid attack. But it can only do so much.

Do we need sports drinks?
If you are training for less than 1-1.5 hours, then no! So, swap out the sports drink for water and you will be doing yourself a huge favor.  If you feel you must have flavored water then sit down, drink it and then move on. Don’t wander around sipping- you are constantly exposing yourself to increased acid levels.

Ways to protect your teeth while training:
1.Always brush and floss your teeth before exercising- this will remove the amount of plaque and bacteria present as a starting point.
2. Drink and eat as instructed during the training session.
3. Finish with a drink of plain water to rehydrate quickly and begin neutralizing the acid level. Also consider chewing sugar free gum to stimulate saliva flow.
4. If you need to eat after training consider having a dairy product, in particular some cheese to help prevent tooth decay.
5. Avoid brushing immediately after exercising, the enamel is softer after an acid attack and brushing can remove small amounts of the softened enamel.
6. Ensure you are brushing and flossing regularly- 2 times a day.
7. Have regular dental check-ups.

Sports drinks are not necessary in our daily life – we survived without them! However, they are a recommended training tool. Remember to care for your teeth when using them and keep your smile happy!


What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known and referred to as PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing an event that was traumatic, terrifying, life threatening, or threatened serious harm to oneself or a loved one. For example, many veterans report experiencing PTSD symptoms following exposure to combat as did many of the survivors and service individuals involved in the 9/11 attacks. Non-military individuals can experience PTSD as well and the condition can be caused by the witnessing or being involved in a car accident, witnessing or experiencing extreme violence, childhood neglect and physical abuse, sexual assault, experiencing a natural disaster, mugging or robbery, and so on.

Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while, but they don’t develop PTSD – with time and good self-care, they usually get better.  If symptoms persist, however, and the begin to get worse, last for months, or begin to interfere with everyday living, PTSD may exist.

What are the Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

In many instances PTSD symptoms will start within three months of the traumatic event; however sometimes the symptoms don’t appears until years after the event.  Symptoms often cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. The most common symptoms of PTSD reported include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event.
  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event or reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again.
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event.
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event.
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
  • Negative changes in thinking and/or mood that can include negative feelings about yourself or other people, feeling emotionally numb, and/or difficulty maintaining close relationships.
  • Changes in emotional reactions that might include irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior, overwhelming guilt or shame, and self-destructive behavior like drinking too much or driving too fast.

The intensity of symptoms can vary over time.  Some people report experiencing more symptoms when stressed in general while other report only experiencing symptoms when they run into reminders of what they went through.

Other Concerns With PTSD

PTSD can disrupt your whole life: your job, your relationships, your health, and your enjoyment of everyday activities.  Having PTSD can also increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Issues with drugs or alcohol use
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions

When to Reach Out For Help

If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they’re severe, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your health care professional. Get treatment as soon as possible to help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

For further information and behavioral health resources, go to

No Insurance Needed

Dental Insurance is NOT Required

A dental benefit plan or “dental insurance” is not required to see a dentist.

Can’t get dental insurance coverage through your employer? If not, you may be tempted to skip dental cleanings and other treatments. But good basic care lowers your risk of suffering a major, expensive problem in the future.

There are three ways to approach dental care if you don’t have employer-based coverage – purchase your own private insurance, opt instead for a discount plan or simply pay for services out of pocket as you need them.

Before going coverage-free, carefully review the cost of a dental benefit plan and add up the costs of routine services you and your family would likely need in a year, such as cleanings and x-rays, and compare them to the out-of-pocket costs of dental services in your area.

If you’re a single adult and you’re in good dental health, it may be unlikely that private insurance is worth it, after you do the math. It may make more financial sense to pay out-of-pocket for dental care than to pay a monthly premium.

If you forgo coverage and a problem arises, use your lack of insurance to try to negotiate lower fees with your dentist. Find a dentist you trust, explain to them that you don’t have insurance, and then see if you can work out an agreement for a lower rate on services.

Dental offices help patients make their oral health a priority with treatment plans and payment options: Cash, check, debit card, personal credit card, patient credit agreements, third-party financing plans and/or installments (usually reserved for long-term patients who dentists know well). Ns NeededRegular exams, X-rays and preventive care protect against advanced dental disease, saving individuals pain, dollars and time in the dental chair over the long term.

Reflections on An Active Lifestyle

I am part of the over 50 generation and as I think back to my childhood, I remember being active. I walked to school 6 blocks each morning, home for lunch, back to school and home after school. That would be the equivalent of about 2 miles a day. Activity didn’t stop then because after school the neighbor kids got together for informal games from kickball to ghost in the graveyard, biking and roller-skating. (It was skates then and not roller blades.) We also had recess which in the afternoon meant organized activities and just running around on the playground in the morning.

All of the above activities were enjoyable. It was not a boring exercise routine.

What changed as I became an older adult? I don’t get recess at work so that is gone and it is a bit far to walk to work each day and there is no more ghost in the graveyard.

What is the key to keeping active as an older adult? I believe the key is to find activities that you enjoy and do them and don’t be afraid to check out something new. I still like to walk during my lunch hour and on my days off and it enables me to get in shape and is a great stress reducer. Another activity I still enjoy is biking. In nice weather, it is a fun way to check out local rummage sales and keeps one from getting those big items. Winter brings the opportunity for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

The Benefits of Walking

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It’s the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.

Ginny Nyhuis of the Alzheimer’s Association points out any activity or diet that helps your heart also reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

• Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

• Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels

• Improve blood lipid profile

• Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity

• Enhance mental well being

• Reduce the risk of osteoporosis

• Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer

• Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!

Sole-Mate: A Friend By Your Side

The thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking. The best way to solve this is by finding a friend to walk with. You can plan walking paths that are convenient for both of you, or map out routes that take you places you’ve never been before. It’s a great way to exercise and spend time with friends!

For those of you who can’t out in the winter and walk, consider checking out the Fond du Lac Senior Center’s (151 E. First Street) walking videos with Leslie Sansone each Monday and Thursday at 3:45 p.m. It is a good mile exercise routine and only a $.50 donation is requested.

Jean Holzman

Senior Wellness Coordinator

Fond du Lac Senior Center


A Healthy $mile is Worth It!

A Healthy $mile is Worth It!

As a society, we like to put dollar signs on everything, so let’s try to put a dollar sign on a healthy smile. What is it worth these days?

Value to the Individual                                                                                                                 You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, a smile can be worth thousands of dollars. Studies show that a healthy smile made them more likely to be hired and receive a larger salary. Let’s say the larger salary offer is about 5 percent. AOL puts the average starting salary for 2012 college graduates at $44,259. Five percent of that is more than $2,200. Over 30 years and accounting for a 3.5 percent raise each year produces a big number.                                            Payoff to the individual: $114,238 over 30 years.

Value to the Employer
Dental-related work absences account for an annual loss of 164 million hours in productivity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the average hourly wage at $23.58. You can do the math from here. Payoff to all employers: $3.867 billion annually.

Value to our Future – Children and Communities
Poor oral health among children has been linked to lower academic performance, so let’s suppose that poor oral health keeps two kids per class per year from going to college. The $44,000 annual average salary for college grads drops to $21,000 for high-school grads.

The BLS estimates the income difference between high-school grads and college grads at more than $900,000 over a working lifetime. Multiply that figure by the 3 million kids who don’t go to college because of poor oral health, throw in a couple of billion dollars in social costs stemming from lower levels of education, and you begin to understand why communities are so desperately trying to improve kids’ oral health.                                                                                                                 Payoff to society: $60 billion-plus annually.

Total Value
The total value is a very large number.  So the next time someone tells you that a healthy smile is priceless, you may want to correct them. It’s not exactly priceless, but it is close!



Oral Health Tips for Moms to Be

Any woman who has been pregnant will tell you, MANY health changes come with carrying a baby. Your oral health is no exception! Here are five things to know when expecting.

Pregnancy gingivitis symptoms. Hormone changes can exaggerate the way gum tissue reacts to plaque. If that plaque isn’t removed, it may eventually cause gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. This can even lead to bone loss around the teeth. Symptoms: swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed.

Dry mouth. Dry mouth is a pretty common side effect during pregnancy, but it’s not one to take lightly. Good saliva flow helps clean your mouth, decreasing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Stay hydrated, brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing regularly.

Pregnancy “tumors” are nothing to worry about. Though these sound scary, they’re just benign growths resulting from swollen gums. They typically go away on their own.

It’s safe to see the dentist when pregnant! If you become pregnant and haven’t had a cleaning in the past year, see your dentist during the first trimester for a dental cleaning and guidance on maintaining your oral health during pregnancy. If dental work is needed, the second trimester is the safest time to get it done. If a dental emergency happens in the third trimester, the mom-to-be should consult her obstetrician before moving forward with any procedures.

X-rays should be avoided, but are acceptable, if necessary. Any procedure that can wait until after the baby is born – including X-rays – should. But emergencies happen; and when they do, dentists will take great care to expose moms-to-be to the lowest amount of radiation possible by protecting the woman’s neck and lap with a lead apron.

Dental Health Boot Camp

Your body is a machine. The foods you choose and how often you eat them affects your general health and the health of your teeth and gums, too. When you eat too many sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or non-nutritious snacks, you will get tooth decay. Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, but the good news is that it is entirely preventable.

Tooth decay happens when plaque come into contact with sugar in the mouth, causing acid to attack the teeth.

Foods containing sugar of any kind can cause tooth decay.  Common sources of sugar include soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries. This may contribute to gum disease. Severe gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Many researchers believe that the gum disease progresses faster and is more severe in people with poor nutrition.

Make good choices

For healthy living and for healthy teeth and gums, think before you eat and drink. It’s not only what you eat but when you eat that can affect your dental health. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.

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.
  • Limit the number of snacks you eat.

Healthy snacks

Choose healthy snacks like fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese. Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which harms teeth and cause cavities.

For good dental health

Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and visit your dentist regularly. With regular dental care, your dentist can help prevent oral problems from occurring in the first place and catch those that do occur in the early stages, while they are easy to treat.

Baby Teeth Aren’t Just For BABIES!

A child’s primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth,” are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Baby teeth typically begin to appear between age 6 months and 1 year. Primary teeth help children chew and speak. They also hold space in the mouth for permanent teeth or “adult teeth,” that are growing under the gums. Baby teeth are usually still around until age 11, long after being a BABY!

The American Dental Association recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months after the first tooth comes in and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a “well-baby checkup” for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking.

When teeth first come in, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, or a wet washcloth can be soothing. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your physician to discuss solutions.  Most children have a full set of 20 baby teeth by the time they are 3.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

Many factors can cause tooth decay. One common cause is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

Tooth decay is a disease that can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant. These bacteria are passed through the saliva. When the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby.

If your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of fluoride, they may also have an increased risk for tooth decay. The good news is that decay is preventable.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

  • Try not to share saliva with the baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers.
  • After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth by wrapping it around your finger.
  • When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and water. Be sure to consult with your child’s dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste before age 2.
  • Supervise brushing until your child is 6 or 7.
  • Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
  • If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean—don’t dip it in sugar or honey.
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.

To the ER…Or Maybe Not!

Dental Emergencies

There are a number of simple precautions to avoid accident and injury to your mouth. One way to reduce the chances of damage to your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue is to wear a mouth guard when participating in sports or recreational activities that may pose a risk. Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth. Cut tape using scissors rather than your teeth!

Accidents do happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.  Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients. Call your dentist and provide as much detail as possible about your condition. Remember, pain is a signal that something is wrong—a problem that will not disappear even if the pain subsides. If you’re concerned about visiting the dentist because you have limited or no dental insurance, ask your dentist if the practice offers a convenient outside monthly payment plan. If you need additional assistance, please contact Save a Smile.

Bitten Lip or Tongue

Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.

Broken Tooth

Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the area to keep any swelling down. Call your dentist immediately.

Cracked Tooth

For the Dental Patient: Do You Have a Cracked Tooth? (PDF)

Jaw-Possibly Broken

Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.

Knocked Out Tooth (adult tooth)

Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Remember to take the tooth with you! If it is a baby tooth, contact the tooth fairy.

Objects Caught Between Teeth

Try to gently remove the object with dental floss; avoid cutting the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, contact your dentist.


Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.