Category Archives: Uncategorized

Saliva: The Original Mouth Guard

Saliva is a surprisingly big deal, especially when it comes to oral health. Saliva serves as a neutralizing agent in your mouth, it quiets enamel-eroding acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. It is your best line of defense against acids, sugars, and bacteria that aim to wear away your enamel.

What you might not have known about saliva is that there are two types. The first type of saliva is stimulated saliva. This is the kind that appears in your mouth when you smell French fries, or when you bite into a delicious cheeseburger. It makes up 70-90 percent of the two to three pints (!!!) of saliva that we each generate daily. It looks like water, helps to break down starches and balances the pH in your mouth.

The second type of saliva is unstimulated saliva. It is the saliva that is always in your mouth, keeping it from drying out and wrapping itself protectively around the surfaces of teeth. It is necessary for our mouths, and while it may be less glamorous that the saliva that arrives when our favorite dinner is headed our way, it is just as important.

Saliva is vital to keeping teeth and gums happy and healthy. Lack of saliva could result in tooth decay and loss of taste. Talk to your dentist about a treatment plan if you experience dry mouth.

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5 Vitamin C Rich Foods to Improve Your Dental Health

We all know that vitamin C is useful for our overall health. From beating the common cold to promoting good eyesight, it’s known as something of a cure-all vitamin. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that increasing your vitamin C intake can be beneficial for your oral health as well. Vitamin C helps to strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation, both of which are key ingredients in the recipe for healthy gums. Furthermore, vitamin C increases collagen production, which keeps gums strong, elastic, and less susceptible to periodontal disease. So, which foods should you be eating more of to gain the full benefits? Here are 5 to get you started.

Bell peppers

Many people believe that when it comes to bell peppers, all colors are created equal. In terms of their flavor this might be true, but if you’re looking for the highest vitamin C content, pick red bell peppers over their green or yellow counterparts. Feel free to eat as many as you like, too. A full cup of bell peppers is only worth about 45 calories, so you can snack guilt-free!

Kiwi

Did you know that in addition to being significantly less acidic (and therefore better for your teeth) kiwi fruit has about twice the vitamin C content of lemons and oranges? Kiwi is also high in fiber and an enzyme called actinidain which helps to break down protein, easing digestion and overall intestinal function.

Strawberries

In addition to being a delicious summer treat, strawberries are loaded with vitamin C. But that’s not all! Strawberries are also rich in flavonoids, which can counteract bad (or LDL) cholesterol in the blood and help unclog plaque from the arteries. Sweet!

Broccoli

Turns out your mother was telling you to eat your broccoli for a reason! Besides their high concentration of vitamin C, they could also help you fend off cancer due to a high sulfur content found in most cruciferous vegetables.

Kale

Finally, this trendy superfood has received quite a bit of press in the last few years, and for good reason. It’s high in vitamins C, A, and K, as well as fiber and iron. Don’t like the taste? Stick it in a fruity smoothie and drink the benefits!

Filling your diet with these vitamin rich foods will not only help your teeth and gums, but your overall health. As with everything, however, practice moderation; there can be too much of a good thing! Consult your dentist for advice on how much vitamin C you should be getting, or for more dietary tips for a healthy smile.

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A Breakdown of Dental Insurance

Why doesn’t my dental insurance pay for this? This is a frequently asked question when it comes to dental coverage. It is common for patients to be unsure of what their coverage actually covers and why they have certain limitations.

Dental insurance can be very confusing, so, here are a few basics to help you better understand dental insurance.

UCR (Usual, Customary, and Reasonable)

There are different dental insurance plans that you might have. One plan is the UCR plan. UCR stands for, usual, customary, and reasonable. This means a couple of different things for your coverage.

Under a UCR plan, patients get to pick which dentist they see and the plan pays for an established percentage of the dentist’s fee or they pay the plan sponsor’s “customary” or “reasonable” fee limit. These plans do not necessarily reflect the prices of dental procedures. Often times the limits in place do not take into account the price of dentistry in that area or region. Dental insurance companies do not have any regulations on reimbursement levels, which means that there is a lot of room for fluctuations.

Annual Maximums

Whoever provides your plan for you, whether it is through your job or a private company, they are the ones who set the annual maximums. Annual maximums are the final set of reimbursement that is part of your plan. That number is how much your insurance will cover.

Preferred Providers

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to dental insurance is that some insurance plans will request that you pick a dentist from their list of preferred providers. This usually means that if your previous or current dentist is not on the list, then you will have to switch to a different dentist.

Least Expensive Alternative

Dental insurance also has something called, “least expensive alternative treatment.” This phrase means that, your plan may not offer any coverage for expensive treatments or procedures, but they will cover the least expensive alternative. It may not be the best option for your oral health, but the cheaper option is what they will cover. It is best to discuss with your dentist the best option for you.

Preexisting Conditions

Some dental insurance plans may not cover any preexisting conditions that you had previous to joining that plan. This can be difficult because they may still require treatment. Try to find a plan that allows you to still receive treatment for a preexisting condition or talk to your dentist about what other options you have.

Treatment Exclusions

Your dentist might recommend a preventative treatment, like sealants, and your insurance may not cover it. While these sorts of procedures can save you money in the long run, your insurance may not cover them because they are not necessary. The same may go for certain procedures that your insurance does not deem as necessary.