Scary and Not-So-Scary Halloween Treats: A Dental Perspective

It’s that time of year again, where goblins and ghosts haunt your streets in search of a tasty morsel or two. It’s the time of year that children love and dentists despise due to the vast amounts of sugary Halloween treats. Most kids hurry home and, after a thorough checking of their candy by an adult, dive into their sugary treats with complete disregard for their dental hygiene. After all, who’s going to stop and think about brushing and flossing at a time like this? This is Halloween, for Pete’s sake! It only comes once a year!

We parents can work together to make Halloween fun and not so devastating to your kid’s dental health. By choosing dental-friendly Halloween treats to pass out, both kids and parents can look forward to some Halloween shenanigans. Here we go over some of the healthier snacks and treats to give to your trick-or-treaters.

Not-So-Scary Treats

Most dentists will agree that it’s best to stay away from sugary treats all-together, however, they do understand that kids will be kids, so they have some healthier options to offer kids. Chocolate treats that don’t have sticky fillings are a good option. Sugar-free gum or cookies that won’t stick to kid’s teeth are good as well. Look for cookies that are soft and not filled. You could also choose to give away pretzels or goldfish crackers that are nutritious and not loaded with sugar. Pencils, stickers, notepads, bouncy balls, or yo-yos are also fun options that won’t damage their pearly whites.

Super-Scary Treats

As a general rule, anything sticky is horrible for your teeth. This includes anything gummy, taffy, caramels, or sugary nuts or coconut. Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers or suckers fall into the super-scary treat category as well, especially the suckers with the bubble gum or tootsie roll fillings. These are especially bad because your child’s teeth are exposed to the sugar for a longer time period as the candy dissolves. What’s more, if your child bites down on hard candies they could quite possibly chip or crack a tooth.

Candies such as Sour Patch Kids or any other highly acidic candy should be avoided at all cost. This acid can damage the tooth enamel and also feeds damaging bacteria in your child’s mouth.

If your child wears braces, you need to be especially careful about the types of treats your orthodontist approves of. Foods like gum, popcorn or other soft candies can become trapped in your child’s braces and either damage their braces or their teeth, and in some cases both.

Best Options for Dental Health

As we mentioned earlier, you can bypass the candy option all together and choose to hand out treats that are still fun but not edible. Rubber spiders, tattoos, raisins, crayons and mini-coloring or puzzle books are all great options, especially for kids with braces. And the best part of these types of treats is you don’t have to check them for tampering. They are safe as is.

If you have any questions or concerns about your family’s dental care, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you and answer any questions you may have.

Image courtesy of tifotter, creative commons.



Dental Coverage For Seniors Can Be Difficut to Find

It is no secret that aging is not a pleasant experience. It takes a toll on your general well-being including your teeth. Unfortunately, older people seeking dental services face considerable challenges because they cannot rely on their Medicare coverage.

According to an analysis by American Dental Association between 2011 and 2014, over a third of seniors with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, equivalent to an annual income of $23,000 had untreated tooth decay.

Dr. Michael Helgeson, CEO of Apple Tree Dental explained the cause of this is due to the fact that almost every senior after reaching the age of 65 has to pay for dental out of pocket.

Apple Tree is a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis and it operates a total of eight clinics in both California and Minnesota targeting underserved seniors. It also has mobile clinics that provide onsite dental care services at nursing homes and other elder care facilities.

“Medicare does not cover dental care unless it is among the services received in a hospital. However, a senior citizen can have some dental coverage under the Medicare Advantage Program, though it is very minimal and the range of services varies. The plan is more of a loss leader meant to attract people.” Says Dr. Judith Jones, a dentistry professor at Boston University.

Somehow, the elderly  are victims of success in dentistry. Water fluoridation daily tooth brushing along with regular dental visits have led to the improvements in oral health. Today, more than 60% of the elderly living in nursing homes still have their teeth unlike in the early 20th century when people in their 30s and 40s had lost most of their teeth.

But all teeth require care without which, teeth problems will lead to pain which in turn limits the type of food one eats. Conversely, loose the teeth allow bacteria to enter the body.

According to Jones, poor oral health is a source of suffering and embarrassment to low-income seniors without access to dental care.

With no insurance coverage and limited income, seniors are forced to skip dental visits even though they may have overflowing dental issues such as difficulty with chewing and biting, painful and dry mouths, not to mention damaged teeth which leads them, many times,  to avoid interaction or even smiling.

Medicaid, a program created by the federal government to provide free medical services for low-income people covers children dental care but adult dental coverage is spottier. Most states offer emergency dental care to all people with Medicaid but there are eight states that do not offer dental benefits to adults. This is according to a study by Oral Health America.

“It’s not a worthwhile investment for seniors to purchase private dental coverage due to the high premiums and copays.” said Marko Vujicic, vice president of American Dental Association Health Policy Institute.

Low-income seniors only have a few options when it comes to dental care. Federally funded  health centers may offer senior dental services based on one’s income and Apple Tree may try and help a small number of seniors living in their service regions but they are simply a band-aid of sorts.

Dr. Judith Jones recommends Medicare to add a dental benefit for seniors providing diagnostic as well as preventive dental services and seniors needing costly restorative work like bridges and crown can copay. More work still needs to be done in order to make dental care affordable for all seniors.

If you have any questions or concerns about your family’s dental care, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you and answer any questions you may have.


Should Your Kids Get Braces During the Summer?

Many parents and their children feel that summer is the best time to get orthodontic work done. Some kids complain that they do not like being trammeled with getting braces in the middle of a semester. Not only can wearing braces lead to self-consciousness as they interact with their classmates, the effort required for cleaning and maintaining braces throughout the day can also seem like a little too much for a newbie during a long day at school.

Obviously, as a parent, it is important to reassure your child that wearing braces is nothing to worry or be self-conscious about, and that your kids look just as awesome as they always did when they are wearing their braces. However, parents may have other concerns about kids getting braces during the school year. For example, they may worry that orthodontist appointments take their kids out of school unnecessarily and thus prevent them from learning as effectively as possible.

Should your kids get braces during the summer?

There are three key reasons why the summer time is often the best time for your kids to get their braces fitted. The three points below suggest that summer is the smart choice as it fits better with your children’s comfort, their ability to keep their teeth and braces clean, and their schedules.

1. Keeping things comfortable

Braces are designed to be totally comfortable once your child has settled into wearing them. However, for the first few days of wearing braces, your kids may find that they experience some initial discomfort and particularly that their mouth aches a little. Relieving this discomfort will be much easier when they can simply relax at home with an ice pack rather than having to concentrate on their school work at the same time. In addition, if your kids mouths are aching due to the use of braces, it is best for them to eat soft foods such as soups and smoothies rather than crunchy apples or things like breadsticks or hard candy bars. However, these soft foods may not be readily available in the school lunchroom.

2. Keeping the braces clean

Cleaning teeth with braces on involves a little more work than cleaning teeth without braces. Your kids will need to come to grips with brushing not only the teeth but the braces themselves several times a day – their orthodontist will be able to show them how to do this. It is especially important to clean braces after meals, as food can get caught in them. Thoroughly cleaning braces is much easier at home, when your kids have more spare time and are not rushing from class to class during the day.

Dr Mott

Dr Chris Mott

3. Keeping up with their classwork

Getting braces fitted usually takes a series of orthodontic appointments: an initial consultation, the actual installation of the braces and then a visit to check that everything is going smoothly. That is three afternoons out of school – more if your appointments are at an awkward time or if your orthodontist lives far away. Thus, having braces fitted during the summer will provide the minimum amount of disruption to your child’s learning.

If you have any questions or concerns about your children’s teeth or are wondering whether or not your child needs braces, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you as well.


Tips for Managing Stress in Dental School

Ah, dental school. That time in one’s life when reality sets in and dreams are realized. It is important to learn how to cope with stressful feelings and situations that you will experience while studying in dental school. Effective stress management will enable you to discover the real sources of stress, handle them effectively, and enhance your emotional well being. As you read the following tips, you will discover how to identify and categorize emotional stressors so you can manage them successfully.

Create a Chart

Prepare a simple chart to categorize stressful situations. Take a pen and create a 2 by 2 inch chart that will give you two vertical columns and two horizontal rows – a total of four squares or quadrants. At the top of the first column, write “Important”, and then write “Unimportant” at the top of the second column. Beside the first row write “Can Control” and beside the second row write “Can’t Control”. This chart will make it easy for you to have a quick view of all the situations that can cause emotional stress at any particular time.

List the Emotional Stressors

Write down the issues, circumstances, tasks, or events that could cause you to become worried or overwhelmed. For example, the following list includes some situations that could occur during the semester in dental school:

  • You have 4 examinations and a practical session one after the other next week.
  • This weekend is your sister’s baby shower.
  • Your roommate has refused to clean up his dishes for over two weeks and you are fed up with taking care of this chore for him.
  • The patient you were to examine to fulfill your Perio requirement refused to turn up for the appointment.
  • The Taylor Swift concert you bought tickets for has been cancelled because she needed emergency medical treatment.

Categorize Each Situation

After listing the situations on paper, you should place each one in the appropriate quadrant. In this example, your examination and practical session are important and you can control how you prepare for them, so place them in the top-left quadrant. Similarly, your sister’s baby shower may be considered important so you may place it in the top-left quadrant. However, if you discover that you would not be able to attend because of your forth-coming examination, you could apologize and find a way to make it up later.

Dr Mott

Dr Chris Mott

Another important situation is your Perio requirement. But the fact that the patient did not show up is beyond your control. So you should place it in the bottom-left quadrant and find an alternative way to meet this requirement. Next, move to the relatively unimportant issues like the behavior of your roommate. Since you can control the effects of your roommate’s behavior by taking to him or simply finding a way to clean up at a more convenient time, you should place this in the top-right corner. The only situation that is unimportant and out of your control is the cancelled concert. Hopefully, you could get your tickets refunded.

This method of managing stress in dental school is quite effective and should be used as often as required. When you are surrounded by many stressful situations, you can easily use this technique to separate the important from the trivial issues and your will find it much easier to address each situation one after the other. You will be able to focus more on productive tasks without getting overwhelmed by mundane issues.

If you have any questions or concerns about your future career in the dental field, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you as well.

Shreveport Family Dentist: Can Flossing Actually Benefit Your Teeth?

Shreveport family dentist: Can Flossing Actually Benefit Your Teeth?

So you’ve been flossing every day, right? Great! The real question is though, are you using the right flossing techniques to effectively clean the spaces between your teeth and along the gums? Probably not.

As anyone who has visited their Shreveport family dentist knows, flossing is a crucial part of dental hygiene. It enables you to remove plaque and food particles stuck between teeth and under the gum line where a toothbrush cannot reach easily. Considering that lodged food particles and plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease, adapting the right flossing technique is highly recommended.

Benefits of Flossing

Flossing your teeth regularly and properly can help:

  • Get rid of food debris and plaque in places where your toothbrush cannot reach
  • Prevent periodontal diseases
  • Prevent tooth decay caused by food particles lodged inside the teeth
  • Prevent bad breath caused by bacteria and decaying food particles in between the teeth
  • Prevent plaque build up
  • Keep your teeth extra clean and fresh

Which are the Right Flossing Techniques?

As stated earlier, proper flossing helps remove food particles and plaque in places where a toothbrush cannot reach easily. Below are the best techniques to follow when flossing your teeth.

  • Break off about an 18-inch long segment of dental floss. This is enough length to allow help you keep a clean segment in place as you move the floss from tooth to tooth.
  • Wrap most of the floss around each of your middle finger. Leave at least an inch or two to floss your teeth. Using the middle finger allows your index finger to freely manipulate the floss.
  • Slide the floss in between the teeth in a zigzag motion and take care not to let it snap as this may cut or bruise the gum tissue.
  • Curve the floss gently around the base of the tooth to form a “C” and then pull it upwards from the gum line up to the top of the tooth.
  • As you move on to the next tooth, unroll a clean floss section from one middle finger while rolling the used one into the other middle finger.
  • Repeat the procedure on all teeth on both sides (upper and lower)

Following the right procedure is the only way to reap maximum benefits from flossing.

Choosing the Right Type of Floss

According to Richard H. Price, DMD, the spokesman for the American Dental Association and former clinical instructor in Boston University, “Any floss that slips easily between teeth without hurting or damaging the gums is the floss for you.”

Therefore, waxed, unwaxed, nylon or high-tech Teflon types of floss are all suitable.

Remember that while oral irrigators are crucial in removing food particles caught in between your teeth, they shouldn’t in any way replace your toothbrush or dental floss.

Importance of Regular Dental Checkup

Shreveport Family Dentist, Dr. Chris Mott

Dr Chris Mott

Regular dental checkups help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Visiting a Shreveport family dentist at least twice a year is highly recommended.

During the visit, your dentist will check for any teeth problems such as cavities, plaque buildup, tartar, or gum diseases. The dentist will also check your tongue, throat, face, head, and the neck for any signs of swelling or growth.

Your Shreveport family dentist will also clean your teeth by using special tools, especially those used to remove plaque and tartar. He/she will remove stains and also floss to ensure that your teeth are left clean.

Dr. Chris Mott is a highly qualified and reputable local Shreveport family dentist who will perform a thorough dental checkup to ensure that your teeth and gums remain strong and healthy. Contact Dr. Mott today to get your teeth checked and get professional advice on how to treat your teeth.

Shreveport Family Dentist

Shreveport Family Dentist: How To Keep Your Teeth & Gums Healthy During The Holidays

The end of the year is filled with so much merry. Pomp and color fill the air as festivities take over the normal drudgery of life. Accompanying this festive season is an unending supply of sugary treats. And just because it’s the holiday season, you indulge yourself, and not a little.

With the holiday spirit starting in Halloween, spreading through Thanksgiving, then Christmas and New Year, it is no wonder there is such a plentiful supply of sugary treats. Something in the sweetness of all these cakes, cookies, and a world of candies seem to capture the spirit of the season. Yet at the end of the festivities you will still require your teeth, making it paramount that you practice good oral care with the help of your local Shreveport family dentist, Dr. Chris Mott.

In order to keep a handle on not overdoing the sugary delights, you can try put up some preventive measures. This could involve having a candy cop monitoring the consumption of treats for everyone, “pulling over” anyone who is seen overindulging. This would be a tough call, which leads you to option two which would involve a house-wide crackdown on anything sweet and sugary. You could prevent anybody in your vicinity from indulging in those heavenly delights. But that would take away a sweet piece of the festivities, not to mention, put you in danger of going into candy searching “rage” when you lose control. This would leave your teeth in a worse off state with sugar entrails. So where does that leave you?

Shreveport family dentist, Dr. Chris Mott, gives a good solution on how to indulge in your sweet delights whistle still keeping your teeth and gums in good shape during these festivities as well as throughout the year.

He advises that the best way to fight the acidic environment brought on by indulging is to brush at least twice a day for at least 2 minutes while flossing at least once a day. He insists that you should ensure every tooth’s surfaces have been cleaned. He says that this is the basic care which can then be supplemented using mouth wash.

While this may seem to be everyday sense to some, to a majority of us, our thoughts in the festivities are on how many candies will satisfy our sweet tooth and not on brushing. It goes a long way to be reminded that brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and using floss and rinsing off with mouthwash can play a big role in reducing the chances of tooth decay in this season.

A very interesting fact to know is that products that have Xylitol, have the potential to help prevent tooth decay. Xylitol is a natural ingredient that has the power to reduce plaque formation. It is a natural carbohydrate that mimics sugar in taste. It is said that using a Xylitol product at least five times a day gives the best results helping you get a clean bill of health from the Shreveport family dentist, Dr. Chris Mott. The good news here for us sweet lovers is this: that besides being used in products like toothpaste and mouthwash products made by companies like Biotene, Xylitol is used to make mouth watering treats like lollipops, caramels, gourmet chocolate, peanut butter and toasted toffee. The list does not stop there but also includes jell-o puddings and orbit gum, and many more add on to the list.

This means that having an assortment of sugary products made from Xylitol helps reduce plaque formation when you use them regularly. That is the best news for the festive season and the need to maintain healthy teeth and gums.  

It is possible to keep your oral care in the clear by following simple, everyday steps as advised by the shreveport family dentist. This season and through the year you will have not just a beautiful smile to show, but a healthy and attractive mouth to go with it.