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Five Splurges You Should Never Cut Corners On

 For many people, saving money has become the ultimate pursuit. Between savings apps, rebate programs and extreme couponing, finding a good deal has never been easier. But there are times when cutting corners to cut costs isn’t the best idea. Here’s a list of five things you should never scrimp on.

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Do You Even Go Here? Why We Get Wisdom Teeth, and Why We Remove Them

 Even if you’ve never gotten your own wisdom teeth (or third molars), chances are you’ve heard of them, or you’ve heard friends or family regale you with tales of their extraction. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that grow in the very back of your mouth.

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Artificial Blood Vessels Could Extend the Life of Root Canals

 For patients who have undergone the procedure known as a root canal, the fear and stress surrounding the procedure may not end when the procedure does. As many root canal patients have learned, often getting a root canal is not the final word in healing an infected tooth. That’s because in some cases, when the natural pulp of the tooth is removed, the tooth itself loses strength and may eventually break.

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Fewer Adults Missing Work Due to Oral Health Problems, But Children Still Falling Short

If you’ve had a toothache before, you probably already know how hard it can be to focus on anything but that pain in your mouth. Maybe that’s why in 2016, a full 21 percent of American adult respondents to a Delta Dental survey reported missing at least one day of work due to oral health problems.  But believe it or not, that number is an improvement from previous years. Here’s what those results really mean, and why dentists think it’s changing.

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Summer Break Doesn’t Have to Mean a Break from Good Oral Hygiene

Summer break is the hardest time to get kids to stay on top of their oral health care routines. At least that’s what 30 percent of parents told Delta Dental in its May 2017 Children’s Oral Health Survey. The survey asked 1,588 parents about a variety of topics related to their children’s oral health, including the toughest times for children to maintain healthy habits.

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9 Clever Household Denture Tablet Hacks

If you are one of the millions of Americans who wear dentures, partials, or even temporary retainers, you probably have a box of denture cleaning tablets in your medicine cabinet. Denture tablets are those effervescent discs that have become the gold standard in cleaning oral appliances between uses. But did you know that denture cleaning tablets are good for more than cleaning oral appliances?

There are actually lots of cool uses for denture tablets that you may not know about. Whether you’re having trouble tackling a tough stain, or have just found yourself with way too many extra tablets after upgrading to dental implants, don’t ditch those tablets! Here are some clever hacks you can use on your denture tablets to make life easier!

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That’s Not Fair! The Worst Fair-Foods for Your Teeth

Summer is finally here, and for many families that means it’s amusement park and carnival season! But while these venues are known for many things (Rides! Games! Prizes!) one thing they’re not known for is their healthy dining options. So, how do you know what foods to avoid when your choices are all less than nutritious? Check out this list of what not to eat at the fair this summer!

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Hold the Juice Please!

It’s no secret that most kids love fruit juice. After all, what’s not to love? It’s sweet and refreshing, and since it’s made of fruit, it’s good for you, right? Not so fast, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. While 100 percent fruit juice really is good for children in moderation, it’s also packed with natural sugars which experts say are fueling an epidemic of obesity and dental caries in young children. As a result, the AAP has once again revised its guidelines for serving 100% fruit juice to babies, toddlers, and young children.

In a recent memo released by the AAP entitled "Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations," the AAP announced that it now no longer recommends giving fruit juice to babies under the age of one unless clinically indicated, a change from their previous recommendation of allowing juice at six months of age. The new recommendations state that children between the ages of one and three years of age should drink no more than four ounces of juice per day, and six to eight ounces a day for children ages four to six years old.

So, what’s behind these new guidelines? Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas says it’s a combination of skyrocketing childhood obesity and cavity rates.

"According for the Centers for Disease control, childhood obesity rates in America have more than tripled since the 1970’s, and the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation says childhood cavities are now the number one most common childhood disease in the world," said  Hill. "The kicker is that both are completely preventable."

So, how bad can fruit juice really be? After all, if it’s 100 percent fruit, it should be healthy, shouldn’t it?

"Remember a few months ago when Starbucks took a lot of heat for their Unicorn Frappuccino, which had 59 grams of sugar in a 16 ounce serving? Look at a 10 ounce, single serving bottle of 100 percent apple juice with no sugar added," said Hill. "It has 33 grams of sugar. If you do the math, the Unicorn Frappuccino had 3.8 grams of sugar per ounce, and apple juice with no sugar added has 3.3 grams of sugar per ounce. That’s a lot of sugar!"

In addition to the new age guidelines, the AAP now also recommends that children not drink juice from sippy cups or bottles that can be drank from throughout the day. Instead, children should be given fiber-rich fresh fruits in lieu of fruit juices, and breast milk, water, or cow’s milk should be offered to children to drink.

"The reason they recommend not using bottles or sippy cups is because these containers allow children to keep drinking juice throughout the day instead of drinking their serving in one sitting and moving on," said Hill. "If they take one sip from a bottle every 30 minutes throughout the day, they’d pretty much have sugar on their teeth the entire day. For the same reason, the AAP does not recommend allowing children to have juice at bed time, as the sugar will sit on their teeth all night as they sleep. For bedtime drinks, you should only give water."

So, how can you get your juice-loving children to scale back on their favorite beverage?

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Chew on This! Chewing Gum Could Save You Money and Your Teeth

Chewing gum is one of those controversial products that people either love or hate. For some, it’s considered low brow and rude to chew gum, while to others it’s simply an enjoyable way to freshen your breath or distract yourself from that cabinet of sweets calling your name after dinner. But while many liken even sugar-free gum to candy, sugarless gum can be a useful tool in helping to maintain excellent oral health.

Recently, a study conducted by the Institute of Empirical Health Economics and published in the American Journal of Dentistry revealed that upping your consumption of chewing gum by just one piece per day could save approximately $4.1 billion dollars a year in tooth decay related costs, with $2.07 billion of that in the United States alone. According to Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas, this is because chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva as you chew, helping to neutralize the acid left behind by the bacteria in your mouth.

"The excess saliva produced by sugarless gum helps keep the teeth clean, preventing the breakdown of tooth enamel, which leads to tooth decay and cavities," said Hill. "In fact, increasing your saliva flow can even strengthen your teeth, because saliva contains phosphates and calcium which work to reinforce enamel."

The study used data from 25 different countries around the globe to calculate both the cost of tooth decay in each nation, as well as the potential savings that chewing sugarless gum could accrue over time. According to the study, a staggering 60 percent of all dental care costs are directly related to cavities, with 90 percent of all adults possessing at least one cavity.

Though the study was funded by chewing gum manufacturer Wrigley, the American Dental Association backs the study’s findings, stating that chewing one piece of sugarless gum for just 20 minutes following a meal can reduce your risk for cavities if used in conjunction with regular flossing and brushing.

Hill believes this study could be a huge boon to people who love chewing gum but maybe aren’t as meticulous with their oral health care as they could be.

"Chewing gum is a fun way to take care of your teeth," said Hill "It kind of feels like you’re having something you shouldn’t be, but in reality, you’re actually strengthening your teeth. You still need to take care of your teeth the old-fashioned way, but it’s always nice to find out there are things you can have for a change, instead of finding out there are more things you shouldn’t be having."

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Overweight People at Higher Risk for Periodontal Disease

You probably already know that carrying a little extra weight is bad for your health. Being overweight can cause everything from diabetes, heart disease to high blood pressure and heart attack. But now, a new study conducted by researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok, and Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Tokyo, Japan has found a link between being overweight and an increased risk of periodontal disease.

Conducted in Bangkok, Thailand, the study followed 160 adults, 113 of whom were considered either overweight or obese and evaluated the oral health of each participant. What researchers found was that many of the overweight participants had higher instances of oral diseases such as periodontitis than participants with a lower BMI. The overweight participants also had higher levels of white blood cells and C-reactive protein, which are markers in the blood which are usually synonymous with inflammation.

The study, which was published in the journal Oral Diseases, also found that participants who were considered overweight were also 4.2 times more likely to have gum disease than participants who were at a healthy weight, and those who were considered clinically obese were nearly six times more likely to have gum disease. Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas is not surprised by the study’s findings.

"Very often you find that when a patient is very overweight or obese, they are neglecting other areas of their health as well," said Hill. "This includes their oral health."

Hill also believes that because periodontal disease is caused by inflammation and many of the participants in the study had elevated levels of C-reactive proteins, that inflammation may be putting obese patients at a higher risk for periodontitis and other ailments.

"If your gums are already inflamed, they are by nature at a higher risk for periodontitis, because periodontitis is caused by bacteria that enters your body via the inflammation of your gums," said Hill. "This causes an accumulation of plaque along the gum line, which can harden and begin to break down the bones of the teeth, causing tooth loss."

But while researchers are not quite ready to say for certain that periodontitis is caused by excess weight, the connection cannot be denied. For now, dentists like Hill believe that these findings are one more reason for patients to keep their weight under control.

"With all the health problems associated with obesity and being overweight, you can add periodontitis to the list of things that are not worth risk," said Hill. 

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6 Things to Consider with Aging Teeth

Getting older is a natural part of being alive. As we mature, our skin thins, our bones may weaken, and our body tends to slow down. As a result, we need to change our routines to accommodate these changes in our bodies. But did you know that as we age, our teeth change, too? In fact, there are many ways we need to adapt our oral health care routines as we get older.

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Netherlands Designer Repurposes Human Teeth as Fashion Accessories

Ever wonder what to do with your lost teeth once they’ve fallen or have been pulled out? If your kids lose teeth, their teeth probably spend the night under a pillow and then are either thrown away or saved as a childhood memento. Most adults just leave pulled teeth at the dentist’s office, and those teeth are then sent on to dental schools, research firms, or simply incinerated as medical waste. But a designer named Lucie Majerus based in The Netherlands is doing something a little different with old teeth: she’s wearing them! Dr. Stephen Hill explains.

If you’ve never heard the term "human ivory" before, you’re not alone. Human ivory is simply repurposing human teeth to be worn as jewelry.  Lucy Majerus, a Dutch designer got the idea to repurpose human teeth into "ivory" in response to the black-market poaching crisis facing animals like elephants and rhinoceros who are still being illegally killed for their tusks and horns. Human ivory repurposes fallen or pulled teeth by polishing them with a stone polisher and reshaping them into beads for jewelry. Larger teeth like molars can be made round, while incisors can be made into teardrop shaped beads.

It sounds gross and unsanitary, right? But Majerus insists that by the time the consumer gets his or her human ivory jewelry, the teeth themselves are perfectly clean. Majerus begins the jewelry process by bleaching the teeth. From there, they are cleaned again during the reshaping and polishing process.

The final result looks nothing like teeth. In fact, if you saw someone wearing it walking down the street, you’d probably never guess it was made of human teeth! But while it looks kind of cool, it’s up to the consumer to decide if they really want to wear teeth as jewelry. The line includes everything from necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and for men, cufflinks and lapel pins. Customers can purchase jewelry made of strangers’ teeth, or if you’d like, you can send your own teeth to Majerus for a custom made, commissioned piece.

The artist says she hopes the project inspires people to see the value in themselves, and while we don't disagree with that, there’s a better way to do that. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss, get regular cleanings and exams. Take care of your teeth while they’re still in your mouth, and they’ll be the most beautiful accessory you have.

To schedule your exam and cleaning, give Dr. Stephen Hill’s office a call at 469-640-9550.

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Don’t Let Sensitive Teeth Ruin Your Summer

Nothing is better on a balmy day than cooling off with a rich, creamy ice cream cone or a juicy slice of watermelon. But for millions of people with sensitive teeth, these cool, refreshing desserts are off the table. That’s because sensitive teeth can make what should be an enjoyable experience into a painful one. But you don’t have to stand by and suffer. There are many options you can try to help decrease the sensitivity of your teeth and get back to enjoying those cold, delicious summer desserts again!

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The Worst Foods (and Drinks!) For Your Teeth

You may have heard the concept that there are no bad foods when it comes to dieting, but that phrase doesn’t quite apply to your oral health. Unfortunately, when it comes to your teeth, there are bad foods or at least some foods that are worse for your teeth than others.

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Could Your Coffee Be Helping Your Teeth?

If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans who indulges in an occasional cup of coffee each day, no doubt you have heard about all the reasons you shouldn’t be drinking it. After all, coffee causes coffee breath,  stained teeth, dry mouth and enamel erosion. But now, evidence suggests that drinking coffee may not be all bad. Researchers at Rio De Janeiro’s Federal University recently discovered that certain kinds of coffee can actually stop tooth decay.

It’s one of the most popular beverages in the world, transcending languages, cultures and continents. But though despite its universal popularity, coffee has universal drawbacks, too. But before you toss that cup of dark roast like a bad habit, relax! Coffee isn’t all bad! In addition to some pretty impressive health benefits for the rest of your body, including lower risks for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, among other things, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has revealed that if drank black and without sugar, coffee from the coffee canephora bean, present in about 30% of the world’s coffee blends, may actually help prevent tooth decay.

This is because these beans contain an antioxidant called methylpyridinium, which is created during the coffee bean’s roasting process. This antioxidant helps kill a naturally occurring oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, which is the primary bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay. But don’t just start tossing back lattes and expecting a perfect smile. .

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Setting the Record Straight About Flossing

Last summer, when the Federal Government removed the practice of teeth flossing as an official dietary guideline, many Americans were left wondering if they’d been wasting their time and their dental floss.  Since first becoming a dietary guideline in 1979, flossing has become a staple of many Americans’ daily oral health routines. Used to remove plaque and food debris from between the teeth, flossing may also help prevent everything from cavities to periodontal disease to even heart disease. Not surprisingly, many dental professionals worried that the Federal Government’s new omission might cause patients to stop flossing, especially those who didn’t read beyond the headlines. 

When the Associated Press released an article in August of 2016, entitled "Medical Benefits of Dental Floss Unproven," floss-haters across America rejoiced and likely tossed their dental floss. But for many, that celebration has been short lived, because though the article claimed that the benefits of flossing had not been studied adequately enough to earn it the title of dietary guideline, the lack of research keeping it from that distinction did not outweigh the actual benefits of flossing. In order for something to be considered a dietary guideline, it must be backed by a minimum amount of scientific studies; something which had never officially been done for teeth flossing. Thus, despite years of proven anecdotal evidence, the Federal Government dropped the recommendation pending more valid scientific data.

"But you’d never know that if you didn’t read more than just the headlines," said Dr. Stephen Hill, an Allen, Texas dentist. "Some headlines implied that flossing was useless, or a waste of time- which simply isn’t true- and that caused a lot of confusion."

But why is that? Well, for starters, according to a study by the Media Impact Project, only about sixty percent of Americans actually read more than just the headlines. 

"That means anyone who just read the headline to this article or any of the dozens of articles about it may have gotten the wrong idea about flossing- and never attempted to learn more," Hill said. 

This is especially troubling because according to Hill, flossing is still absolutely integral to good oral hygiene, but the crux of the issue is that the AP was unable to locate any studies to support this, and that’s why the guideline was dropped. Explains Hill 

"Imagine if there were no study saying that brushing your teeth is good for you, or that exercise is good for you," Hill said. "If you brush your teeth and exercise, you already know they’re good for you because you see and feel the results. But the way the announcement was made, it seemed like there was suddenly new evidence refuting the benefits of flossing when it was just a discovery of a lack of qualifying data."

So, what does this mean for the future of flossing? Hill for one would like to put this particular piece of misinformation to rest. 

"Yes, you still need to floss at least once a day, every day," he said. "No article or study will change that. Brushing alone only gets about seventy percent of the plaque and food from your teeth, but most people cannot fit a toothbrush between their teeth. Flossing is still the best way to the remaining thirty percent."

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Coffee Drinkers Not in the Clear Just Yet

Coffee. It’s a staple of the American diet. In fact, the National Coffee Association estimates that 150 million Americans drink coffee each day, to the tune of about 3.1 cups of coffee a day- and that number only increases as we get older. It’s not hard to see why either. After all, in addition to its rich taste and boost of energy, it’s also been shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, MS, colorectal cancer, heart disease, and even cavities. But up until recently, it had one major caveat: staining your teeth. That could all change, however, with the introduction of a new product called CLR CFF, a clear coffee that promises all the benefits of coffee, but without the dental stains. But is this miracle drink all it’s cracked up to be?

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The Truth About Your Toothbrush

Did you know that one of the most important tools we use each day can cost as little as a few dollars, and has been around for less than a century? I’m speaking of course about your toothbrush. Tooth brushing implements have been found dating as far back 3500-3000 BC when Babylonians and Egyptians used ‘tooth sticks’ to clean their teeth. Centuries later, the Chinese would chew on fragrant wood to freshen their breath (around 1600 BC) and later in the 15th century, they’d also develop the first natural bristled brushes from the hair on pigs’ necks! The original Chinese design got a bit of an overhaul when it was brought to Europe centuries later, where Europeans often swapped out the pigs’ hair for something softer, such as horsehair or feathers- however, these materials were not preferred by everyone. Those who did not use brushes instead cleaned their teeth with a soft cloth and a paste of baking soda, soot, or salt. Following its migration to Europe, the toothbrush remained mostly the same until around 1784, when a shape more reminiscent of our modern shaped brush was developed.  The design didn’t change much again until in 1938 when DuPont developed the first nylon bristled brushes, which have been used around the world ever since.

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Last Call for Drinking at the Dentist’s Office?

For many people, going to the dentist’s office can be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, dental anxiety has led to entirely new frontiers in dentistry, known as sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry allows the patient to be awake but sedated during their dental procedures, but it comes at a cost- a cost many insurance plans won’t cover, and some patients cannot afford. In Texas, some dental practices have come up with another way to try and curb dental anxiety: by serving patients (and their guests) alcohol during their visit. But the gesture, which may seem like a brilliant idea to some, and a recipe for disaster to others, is coming under fire in the Texas Senate in the form of Senate Bill 404 (SB404) which seeks to abolish this trend in the Lone Star State.  Dr. Stephen Hill, an Allen, Texas dentist, shares his thoughts about SB 404, and what is at stake if it passes or doesn’t pass.

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Fusion vs. Gemination in Teeth

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never heard of the rare conditions known as tooth fusion or germination, and understandably so. It is estimated that only about 2.5 percent of Caucasian and 5 percent of Asian children experience either of these dental issues, and most people never hear about either condition unless it affects them or their child. So, what are germination and fusion and should you be concerned if your child is affected? Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas sheds some light on these little know dental phenomena.

Though most are born toothless, the average child eventually grows twenty baby teeth before losing them to make room for their permanent adult teeth.  Sometimes, however, that number is off thanks to rare conditions known as fusion and germination.

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