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Smilelines, Issue #002
July 01, 2003

For Your Better Dental Health

Welcome to SMILELINES!

In an effort to provide superior dental care to our patients and friends, we publish SMILELINES, a monthly educational newsletter.

The goal of this publication is to provide news, information, resources and tips to you and your family, so that you can enjoy the very best in personal dental health.



1). The role of nutrition in dental health.

2). The new OralCDx test for early detection of oral cancer.

3). The new “glittering” sealants for kids.

4). Bad breathe - what causes it and how to avoid it.

5). The latest news about SARS.

6). The damage that colas and quick meals are having on teeth, bone density and overall health in teens.

>>Upcoming issues of SMILELINES will provide information on sports injuries, infant care, brushing tips, insurance benefits, orthodontics, and special considerations for seniors and more.


1.You are what you eat.

Nutrition is a subject that is commonly reserved for the medical community. But an awareness of sound nutritional principles can help you lead a healthier dental life as well.

People usually know that tooth decay is caused by bacteria and refined sugar in the diet. But did you know that eating a sugary treat late at night, and brushing before bed, does almost no good at preventing a possible cavity from forming?

When we eat sugar, it gets into our system and blood stream, and then returns two hours later in our saliva. This sugar then reaches the bacteria while we sleep, and can cause tooth decay that we aren’t even aware of.

What should you do? If you are going to have a snack at night, be sure to eat it at least two hours before bedtime. Then, when you brush and floss, most of the sugars will be removed, and you will have a much lower chance of getting decay.

2.Oral cancer update.

Every year, more than 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Traditionally, this cancer has been diagnosed visually by dentists in its more advanced stages and referred to an oral surgeon for scalpel biopsy. OralCDx from OralScan Laboratories ( is changing all that. The advent of this quick, painless and relatively inexpensive new screening tool now allows dentists to detect oral cancer sooner, and recommend less invasive treatment.

Our office now uses the OralCDx screening test for white or red pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth. If we see a suspicious area, we will advise you of this finding, and recommend the OralCDx test as a first line of defense. With early detection, the incidence of advanced oral cancer will be less, and that’s good news for everyone.

3.Multi-colored sealants for kids have arrived.

As much as adults usually try to hide the dental work they are having done, kids seem to do just the opposite. New brightly-colored sealants have come on the market and they seem to be a big hit.

Names like “Twinkie Star” and “Magic Fil” are becoming common in the dental office. Designed to seal out early decay, and prevent the need for a permanent filling, these composite materials are easy to apply and have the kid's approval. If your children are between ages 4 and 12, think about sealants as a way to prevent cavities. And now, with the new colors, the kids say “YES” to the procedure with a smile.

4.Bad breathe – causes and corrections.

Bad breathe – or halitosis – can be caused by many things. It may result from odor-causing foods, such as garlic or onions, or tooth decay, gum disease, use of tobacco, alcohol, sinus or respiratory infection, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth (xerostomia) or various medications – especially the antihistamines.

Even if you brush and floss after eating some foods, it still won’t help. The reason is that, once the food is digested, it gets into the bloodstream and is then exhaled later by the lungs. Mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily.

So what is a person to do?? The trick is to clean your mouth regularly, using a relatively new brush and floss. It is especially helpful if you do a thorough job before going to bed. If the bacteria are in your mouth all night long, then the next day the sulfurs and other compounds which they produce are also in your mouth, creating a foul odor.

An intra-oral irrigator can help. And some electric toothbrushes, such as SoniCare, are worth using. Ultimately, if a bad odor persists, please see a dentist to discover if you need your teeth cleaned, or if another – more serious problem – exists. Sometimes bad breath can be a sign of a medical disorder, such as chronic sinusitis, bronchitis, or even diabetes.

5.SARS Update

The latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( regarding severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) states that during November 1, 2002 through April 30, 2003, a total of 5663 SARS cases were reported to the World Health Organization from 26 countries, including the United States. A total of 372 deaths have been reported.

In the US, as of April 30, a total of 289 SARS cases were reported to CDC from 38 states of which 233 (81%) were classified as suspect SARS, and 56 (19%) were classified as probable SARS (more severe illnesses characterized by the presence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome). Of the 56 probable SARS patients, one patient was a health care worker who provided care to a SARS patient, and one was a household contact of a SARS patient. The remaining 54 probable SARS patients had traveled to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Hanoi, or Toronto. Thus, as of April 30, 96% of the probable US SARS cases have occurred among international travelers, with only 2 instances of secondary transmission associated with the cases. (Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 2, 2003)

6. Colas and quick meals damaging Teen’s Health

As quick meals in the form of “nutrition” bars and carbonated beverages help teens stay alert and on schedule at school or in part-time jobs, they also threaten to leave a generation with permanent damage to their teeth and overall health.

The problem is that these products not only weaken the enamel, which can lead to cavities, root canals and eventual tooth loss. They also have an adverse effect on bone density, because they commonly displace healthy foods such as milk, fruits and vegetables.

The use of sugary sodas is also a contributing factor in teen obesity, where 15% of adolescents ages 6 to 19 are now overweight. And the addiction to the caffeine in many sodas makes the prognosis for recovery even harder. Sodas, sugary snacks and caffeine are all bad for teens.

So what is the solution? If you have a teenager in the house, do not allow them to subsist on the empty calories of sodas and junk foods. Buy fruit, and provide healthier snacks, such as apples, bananas or grapes. Encourage the consumption of milk, and other calcium-based products, such as cheese and yogurt. And supplement with at least 1300mg of calcium daily.


All the Best :-)

Dr. Burch


P.S. If there is a subject that interests you, please pass it on to me, and I will gladly research it and include a summary in next month’s newsletter.

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