Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

The FDA has issued amalgam fillings harmless, however some people are not convinced. Amalgam fillings are silver and color and have a mixture of mercury, powdered silver, tin, and copper.
The reality is that there are few things in the dental industry that have gotten more attention than these fillings. In December of 2010, the FDA advisory panel got together again to reevaluate the safety of amalgam. They decided to uphold the prior statement, however they advised the FDA to continue in the evaluation of the safety of these fillings.

Amalgam fillings have been used 150 years. They have been the fillings of choice for so long because it is a very soft metal.

So you may be asking yourself what is the big concern over amalgam fillings. Well some critics have suspect that the fillings lead to neurological problems in fetuses and young children. The FDA acknowledges that the fillings do release very low amounts of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. The FDA concluded that the levels were too low to have any health implications to children above the age of 6. They also stated that the amount of mercury was so low that it did not affect the quality of breast milk to any amount that would affect the infants.

However, despite all this the FDA reclassified dental mercury from a class I device to a class II device. A class II needs special considerations and the dentist needs to warn the patient of any potential side effects.

There are alternatives to amalgam fillings and the truth is most dentists do not use them anymore. There is a new composite resin material that is used in place of the amalgam fillings. In addition to being safer this new style of filling is also white so it blends in perfectly with the other teeth.

Some people with amalgam fillings are concerned about the potential health risks and are seeking treatment to have their old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with newer white composite fillings. Having this done can be expensive, especially if you have more than a couple cavities; unfortunately dental insurance does not cover this, but there are options like discount dental plans, provided by that do help to offset the costs of amalgam removal by 20-60%.


Maintaining a Tooth-Friendly Diet

Eating heavily affects your dental health.  Dental health is important because it fosters healthy teeth and gums.  Some foods are tooth and gum friendly and actually prevent tooth and gum disease.

Learning what foods are good for your teeth is the 1st step in maintaining a healthy dental lifestyle.  The things that you eat affect your mouth, teeth, and gums – but more importantly it also effects your teeth and gums.

There are foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, unsaturated fats that all are beneficial foods to eat.  However there are a few foods that really are above the rest, when it comes to dental health.

Milk is an important food to keep your teeth healthy.  Milk is loaded with calcium and  is extremely important for tooth and bone development in children and teens.

But the benefits do not stop there they continue as you get older.  A diet that is loaded with calcium also is show to prevent tooth decay.  When diets are lacking calcium, the body  uses minerals from the teeth and bones leaving your teeth and bones vulnerable.

In one study it was shown that having a daily intake of less than 500mg of calcium almost doubled the likelihood of developing periodontitis.

The FDA recommends that women younger than age 50 should take 1000 mg of calcium daily and 1200mg for women over 50.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential part of dental health.  Vitamin C works to repair connective tissue and help fight off infection.  A study was conducted and it shown that those who eat less than the recommended 75-90 milligrams each day are 25% more likely to get gingivitis compared to those who only consume 3X the recommended dose.

If you eat one orange a day it will help you meet the in maintaining  your Vitamin C intake.

Fruits & Vegetables
Crunchy foods are also good for your teeth, so make sure you put some crunch apples, pears, celery, and carrots into your lunch.  These foods work to remove bacteria and plaque from your mouth.

While you may think that tea would be bad for your teeth a study conducted has shown that black tea actually destroys cavity causing bacteria.

Eating the right foods will help your teeth, but it is not a total solution.  It is also important to brush after every meal, plus in the morning and at night.  Also floss at least once a day and use a fluoride mouth wash to help restore your enamel.

Effects of cancer treatments on oral health

Most cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are aware of the risks and side effects associated with the treatment, but not all are familiar with its effects on oral health. According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer suffer from painful oral complications after receiving radiation therapy. Radiation in the head and neck regions of the body can cause patients to develop dry mouth, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay, and lesions. They may also experience difficulty swallowing.

Although most of these effects are caused by radiation, chemotherapy may also result in damage to the oral cavity. To prevent these effects, the American Dental Association suggests that a patient’s oncologist and dentist work together before and during treatments. Patients undergoing cancer treatments should typically brush their teeth gently twice a day and may need to use a special saliva-replacement product to combat dry mouth. An increase in the frequency of fluoride treatments may also be recommended. The most important thing for patients to remember is to maintain constant and proactive communication with their dentists and oncologists.

Both health professionals care about their patients’ well-being and can benefit from coordinating their treatments. If you are anticipating cancer treatments in the near future, talk to your True Dental Discounts dental plan dentist for individualized advice and recommendations. He or she will perform a full oral examination and work with you to maintain your healthy smile.

What happens if I have a taste disorder?

If you’ve talked to a dentist on your discount dental plan and suspect you may have a taste disorder, he may recommend you visit an otolaryngologist (also known as an ear/nose/throat doctor) for further testing and diagnosis. An otolaryngologist can measure the lowest concentration of taste you are able to experience. He or she will also conduct a comprehensive examination of the ears, nose, and throat and review your dental records.

If you do have a taste disorder, there are many possible ways of restoring your senses. For instance, your doctor may recognize that the disorder is caused by a medication you have been taking and prescribe a new one. Or, the disorder may be a result of severe allergies or a respiratory condition that can be cleared up. Until then, however, the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders gives a few suggestions to improve your eating experience with a reduced tasting capacity:

  • Eat foods that vary in color and texture. This reduces the bland quality of some meals.
  • Add herbs and spices to boost the flavor of your food. Garlic or spicy peppers can make a big difference. Do not try to increase the flavor by adding extra sugar or salt, however, as this can have negative consequences on your health.
  • Add cheese, bacon bits, butter, olive oil or toasted nuts to mild-tasting foods like vegetables if your diet permits it.
  • Avoid eating dishes that combine a bunch of flavors or foods, like casseroles. These make it difficult to distinguish individual tastes and can become bland.

No matter your strategy, it is important to work with a trusted health professional to regain your sense of taste. Although helpful in increasing the enjoyment of foods, the sense of taste also plays a crucial role in keeping you healthy. A person relies on taste to avoid eating spoiled or poisonous foods, and loss of taste can lead to many other serious health issues. People who lose their sense of taste often change their eating habits, adding too much salt or sugar in an attempt to regain flavor, and develop heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. In rare cases, loss of taste can also indicate the presence of degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Talk to a doctor if you have concerns and make sure you stay alert for any changes in your health.

Useful Oral Health Guidelines for Caregivers

Thousands of people in America are responsible for the care of a relative with disabilities. In particular, developmental disabilities can make it difficult to provide a person with appropriate dental care. To aid caregivers in this task, the American Dental Association offers several tips to make brushing and dental exams a smoother process:

  • Choose a well-lit location that allows you to clearly see the person’s mouth and teeth;
  • Schedule brushing and dental appointments at a time when the person is most responsive and comfortable;
  • Explain ahead of time what you are going to be doing. Use a calm and encouraging tone to avoid alarming the patient;
  • Move slowly and deliberately;
  • Follow a routine: If you typically begin brushing on the bottom left-hand side of the mouth, start there each time and continue in a patterned fashion;
  • Support the person’s head and pay extra attention to any signs of gagging or choking;
  • Give encouragement and help the person learn to independently care for their teeth;
  • Talk to a dentist who treats developmentally disabled patients to find out how to deal with situations in which the patient cannot open his or her mouth. In many situations, you can carefully use a special prop.

It is important to find a dentist who is familiar with the special needs of a patient with disabilities. Look for someone who is calm, understanding and friendly, and make sure the office is equipped to care for your individual family member. It is wise to sit down for a consultation prior to scheduling the first appointment so the dentist can get to know your family member and talk to you about his or her potential needs. Finally, always remember to choose a dentist on the True Dental Discounts, dental plan to receive significant discounts.