Thursday, January 30, 2014

Did you know? Mothers can pass cavity-causing bacteria to their babies

Every time a mother shares a utensil with her baby, she could be putting the baby at risk for tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), babies are not born with the harmful bacteria that can lead to cavities; instead, they get it from their mothers. This transfer often happens when moms put baby spoons in their mouths before feeding their child or allow a baby to put its fingers in their mouth. Mothers who have a history of dental problems are most likely to pass harmful bacteria to their children because they have an increased number in their own mouths.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that dads can also pass bacteria to their children, but not at the rate that mothers do. Moms who have not had cavities since their teens or earlier are less likely to put their children at risk, but it is still important to protect babies’ teeth. Studies have shown that infants who are exposed to tooth-decaying bacteria are much more likely to get cavities throughout their lifetime than those who do not get the bacteria until later in life. For more helpful tips about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist on your True Dental Discounts - dental plan.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Tips for Choosing a dentist that is right for you

Whether you have recently moved or are simply looking for a dentist that fits your family, there are many factors to take into consideration before selecting a new dental provider. Oral health is extremely important –both for your teeth and for your overall well-being – which means it is critical to find a professional that will meet your needs. Some questions to ask include:
  • Is the office staff friendly, professional and helpful? 
  • Does the dentist make time to answer my questions? Do I feel comfortable expressing concerns? 
  • Do the dentist and hygienists explain all procedures and discuss techniques that promote oral health? 
  • Is the office clean and neat? Are proper hygiene practices used, including wearing gloves and throwing out contaminated items? 
  • Is the office in a convenient location in relation to my home or work? 
  • Does the office make special arrangements for people with dental emergencies? 
  • Is information regarding payment plans and appointment schedules easy to understand? 
  • Was the dentist highly recommended by my friends, colleagues, or acquaintances? Does he or she have a reputation for being accurate, skilled and knowledgeable? 
  • Finally, is the dentist a True Dental Discounts participating dental provider, allowing me to receive discounts at all my appointments? 
As a member of the Aetna Dental Access program, you are eligible to receive 15 to 50 percent on most dental services. Why wait?

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Friday, January 24, 2014

What are taste disorders and their causes?

It’s easy to take your sense of taste for granted: you know grapefruits will be sour, mashed potatoes will be buttery and starchy, and ice cream will be sweet. But what if you could no longer experience those tastes as strongly – or at all? According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, nearly a quarter of a million people visited a doctor last year for problems with their chemical senses, including taste. Several types of taste disorders exist, including phantom perception, which causes a person to experience a lingering, unpleasant taste with no apparent cause; hypogeusia, which reduces a person’s ability to experience the basic types of taste – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami; and ageusia, which results in no tasting ability whatsoever. It’s important to note that complete loss of taste is not common; it is more likely that the person has a condition resulting in the loss of smell, which is closely related to the sense of taste.

Causes of taste disorders vary widely. Although it can be a congenital condition existing at birth, many people experience a loss of taste after certain types of injuries and sickness. According to NIDCD, these include: upper respiratory and middle ear infections; exposure to radiation therapy near the head or neck; exposure to insecticides or chemicals found in certain medications; injury to the head; and surgeries on the ear, nose or throat, including tooth extraction. Taste disorders can also be caused by tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. For this reason, it is important to visit your True Dental Discounts dentist every six months and take care of any issues in your teeth or mouth. It could mean the difference between tasting a delicious strawberry and chewing on a bland piece of fruit!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How sealants can save your child’s teeth from decay

One of the best-kept “secrets” when it comes to children’s oral health is the sealant. These decay-preventing treatments are simple, painless, and effective – yet only about one-third of children have them, according to the National Institutes of Health. Sealants are essentially painted on to a child’s teeth and act as a shield against harmful bacteria and sugars. This treatment is especially important for the back molars, as they contain deeper ridges and are harder to clean with a toothbrush. During the simple procedure, your child’s dentist will clean and dry the targeted tooth. A solution is then applied to roughen the surface of the tooth and help the sealant stick more effectively. Next, the tooth is dried and the liquid sealant is applied. Within a few seconds, the sealant hardens into the ridges of the tooth and is ready to start protecting your child’s mouth from decay. That’s it – really!

The NIH suggests that children who get sealants are able to save time and money later on because they have fewer fillings and other decay-correcting procedures. Best of all, with proper care, sealants can last up to a decade. During that time, if your dentist starts to notice any wear, he or she can reapply the sealant. According to the NIH, the most critical time to apply sealants is as soon as a child’s back molars erupt. This generally occurs between the ages of 5 and 7 for the first set, and again between 11 and 14 for the “12-year molars.” To learn more about sealants and guarding your child’s teeth against decay, talk with a dentist on your True Dental Discounts dental plan. It’s one of the most important investments you can make toward your children’s health.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I don’t wear glasses. Do I need to visit the eye doctor?

Yes. According to a recent survey by the American Optometric Association, 20 percent of adults who do not wear glasses or contacts have never been to an eye doctor. Many of them assume that since they do not have noticeable problems with their vision, it is not necessary to schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, this common misperception often has devastating consequences, particularly when it comes to glaucoma. The American Optometric Association reminds patients that glaucoma – a degenerative vision condition – often “sneaks up” without any signs of pain or other symptoms.

Although this condition is not yet curable, it is treatable, and the earlier treatment begins, the better the patient’s future quality of life. For this reason, it is extremely important for all adults to visit an optometrist regularly. The American Optometric Association suggests adults under 60 without vision problems should schedule an eye exam once every two years. After age 60, an exam should be conducted annually.

More frequent appointments may be necessary, depending on the person’s medical history and current health. If you have never been to the eye doctor, it’s easy to schedule that first appointment: Just call an optometrist on your discount vision plan. You will reap significant savings while also taking control of your health.

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