How to choose a dentist that’s right for you

how to choose a dentistThe best tip? Take your time and ask lots of questions

I’ve been exchanging emails this week with a friend who is in the market for a new dentist.

Like me, she expects good value for her money. She doesn’t want to feel like a cash cow and have unnecessary x-rays, procedures of questionable benefit, or expensive cosmetic dentistry.

She wants a dental office that’s clean and well managed, and a dentist she can feel comfortable talking to about costs. Someone who will answer her questions clearly and then let her decide what is best for her health and her … Continue reading

Whitening toothpaste abrasiveness

whitening toothpaste abrasivenessThe allure of whiter teeth

I’ve never whitened my teeth, and usually I’m happy with that. But sometimes I get the niggling idea that I would look younger and more sparkling if only my teeth were whiter. My life would be so much better!

Not true, of course, but we all have those unhelpful thoughts now and then, don’t we?

Having your teeth whitened professionally, by a dentist, is the safest way to go and offers the best result. However, it can be expensive.

There are many over-the-counter teeth bleaching sets available for a fraction of the cost—although still pricey, … Continue reading

How NOT to whiten your teeth

whiten your teethBad advice to whiten your teeth

I have a lot of fun on Pinterest and have been collecting different “pins” of home remedies for all sorts of minor afflictions. Some are commonly used, such as aloe for sunburn, but others can be pretty far out there, such as human breast milk to treat pink eye.

One by one, I research these remedies, and I am creating a “board” on my Pinterest page dedicated to the frugal home treatments I think have some benefit.

Mostly these home remedies do not have a great deal—if any—research to support their claims. University Continue reading

The S-RAY – Dental imaging without radiation

One of the great things about living in Seattle is that because we are home to so many biotech companies, I often hear about innovative devices before they’re on the market.

I like to see (sometimes) where health technology is taking us.

I just saw a news report on a new dental imaging x-ray that actually isn’t an x-ray because it doesn’t use radiation. Instead it uses ultrasound, and it’s called the S-RAY.

I’ve posted before about the dangers of too much radiation from imaging studies, including dental x-rays. Dentists frequently order x-rays every year, even though the American … Continue reading

Home remedies for chapped lips

chapped lipsDid you ever stop to wonder how the skin of your lips differs from the skin on the rest of your face?

The skin over your lips is very thin and highly vascular, hence their typical “vermilion” or red color. Your lips also have more nerve endings, making them very tactile and sensitive.

These anatomical differences make our lips attractive and nice for kissing, but they also make our lips vulnerable to dryness, sunburn and chemical sensitivities.

Painful and unattractive, chapped lips are especially common in the fall and winter because of the dry, cold air outside, the dry, warm … Continue reading

Sonicare toothbrushes and gum recession

So I finally got around to finding a new dentist.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my dentist of 20 years retired and, because I don’t have dental insurance, I was faced with the daunting task of researching local dentists to find one that 1) offered basic dental care and didn’t push teeth whitening, gum scaling or Botox; and 2) was willing to offer me a cash discount and work with me on keeping my dental costs down.

Now that I’ve found him, I hope he doesn’t retire soon!

I keep my teeth and gums very clean and … Continue reading

Fluoride in tap water

Recently, the US Public Health Service issued new recommendations to slightly lower the amount of fluoride that’s put in our community drinking water.

That’s because we have access to other sources of fluoride, mostly toothpaste and mouth rinses, so we don’t need as much in the water supply.

Related posts:

Since the early 1960s our tap water has been fluoridated, and the incidence of tooth decay has been significantly decreased. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hails community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievementsContinue reading

Health tourism – Dental care

health tourism dental careBienvenido!

Health tourism—traveling to another country for more affordable health care—has been an interest of mine for some time. I haven’t done it (yet), but many others have.

Last week I read an article in The Atlantic about the trend for Americans living near the Mexican border to seek dental care in Mexico. The story highlights one dentist, Dr. Jessica Nitardy, who lives in El Paso, TX, and commutes every day to her dental practice in Juarez, Mexico. Although married to an American, Dr. Nitardy was born and schooled in Mexico. Even so, the majority of her patients are, … Continue reading

Is mouthwash necessary for good oral health?

is mouthwash necessaryMouthwash possibly linked to oral cancers

Earlier this month, a group of dental researchers in Glasgow, Scotland reported a link between frequent use of alcohol-based mouthwash (3 times per day) and oral cancers, such as mouth, throat, tongue and vocal cords.

similar study came out of Australia in 2009. The theory is that alcohol “increases the permeability of the mucosa” to carcinogens, such as nicotine or acetylaldehyde (a breakdown product of the alcohol).

But other analyses have found no such significant link.

Certainly smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking and poor oral health are all risk factors for developing oral … Continue reading

A Brighter future for dental care

brighter dentist serviceDentist shopping made simple

A few weeks ago I posted that I was in the market for a new family dentist. Because I don’t have dental insurance, I am always looking for ways to keep my dental care within budget.

Friends have recommended several dentists to me, and I have been calling these offices and asking about cash discounts. It’s such a hassle and, frankly, a bit embarrassing. I’m not a haggler by nature.

I’ve gotten a variety of responses from “We aren’t accepting new patients” to “We only offer a new patient, first-time discount” to “We can give … Continue reading

Save money on dental care

Tips to save money on dental care

If, like me, you buy an individual health plan, most likely it doesn’t cover dental (or vision) care.

I have priced buying separate dental coverage, but over an average year the premiums exceed any savings, so I have always chosen not to buy it.

Also, like me, if you are going to be faced with a steep rate hike for your medical insurance next year, you will not want to spend the extra money on a separate plan.

Pediatric dental care must be covered per Obamacare rules, but not adult dental, … Continue reading

Obamacare and dental health

Dental health is important, isn’t it?

Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that all insurance plans cover “essential health benefits,” including vision and dental benefits for children.

Obviously pediatric eye and dental health are important to the crafters of the ACA; but what about adults? We have eyes and teeth, too!

Even though many preventive services, such as annual exams, mammograms, and even breast pumps are covered, routine eye and dental exams are not.

I posted a few months ago that I thought it a shame that preventive vision care had received so little support in health Continue reading

First aid for knocked out teeth

knocked out teeth 01A common tale of knocked out teeth

A friend of mine was stepping out of her car onto the sidewalk when she tripped on the curb and, unable to catch herself in time, fell face first onto the concrete.

She sat up and immediately put her hand to her mouth; her hand came away covered in blood and she felt her front teeth hanging in their sockets. Although not hurt otherwise, she fainted at the sheer horror of having just knocked out her front teeth.

Concerned onlookers immediately called 911, and she was eventually taken to the emergency room for … Continue reading

Toothpaste wars

crest sensitivity toothpasteBeware false advertising

As often happens on the internet, while looking for information about one thing, I stumbled across something else I found interesting.

In 2011, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Procter & Gamble for “false labels” on one of their toothpastes. The toothpaste, Crest Sensitivity Treatment & Protection, advertised “relief within minutes” from sensitive tooth pain.

The label promised that users did not “have to wait to enjoy all [their] favorite hot and cold foods.”

Who filed the claim against Procter & Gamble? Colgate-Palmolive, the makers of the line of Colgate toothpastes, including Colgate Sensitive.

The lawsuit … Continue reading

What’s in your toothpaste?

The other day I was in Target shopping for toothpaste, and I thought, “Wow, do Americans really need this many toothpastes?”

At first glance I couldn’t even find the toothpaste I normally use, no doubt because the packaging had changed. It’s probably “new and improved.” Aren’t they all?

Ignoring the hyperbole of “advanced”, “intense” and “extreme”, I started looking at the ingredient lists on the backs of the boxes. I know exactly which ingredients I want to see to get the most effective toothpaste at the lowest price.

For me, the most important ingredient in a toothpaste is fluoride. … Continue reading