Sugar and Your Teeth

by MikeMeehan 1/15/2018 10:47 AM

When you reach for a cookie or a piece of candy and you place that sugar-filled food in your mouth, you might only think about how wonderful and delicious it tastes. Now I’m going to challenge you to think of it from a different perspective. Here’s what happens to your teeth when that sugar enters your mouth. Bacteria in your mouth There’s good bacteria and bad bacteria in your mouth. The harmful bacteria uses the sugar from the cookie or piece of candy to create acid. Acid hurts your enamel The acid that was just formed from the bacteria and sugar in your mouth will now work to destroy the enamel of your teeth. Enamel is like a protective coating on your teeth. But the acid removes important minerals on your enamel, and eventually causes it to weaken and form a hole in your tooth, also known as a cavity. A cavity forms With the destroyed enamel and hole in your tooth caused by the acid, that cavity can actually continue to spread into the deeper layers of your tooth. This is when you will feel pain or sensitivity. Reverse the damage Even though this process is happening when you eat sugar, there are other things going on in your mouth to fight against a cavity. Saliva is working hard to repair your teeth through a process called remineralization. The minerals in your saliva, calcium and phosphate, help to replace the minerals attacked by the acid. Fluoride in your water or in your toothpaste do the same thing to help your enamel. Other steps to take Besides cutting back on sugary foods and beverages, there are other steps you can take. If you’re eating sweets, try to do so during a meal. Avoid sticky foods because they will stick to your teeth and that gives them more time and opportunity to do damage. Sticky foods include starchy foods like crackers and chips. Drinking and rinsing with water can help. Choices like cheese or other dairy foods have calcium and phosphates. Those minerals help your enamel, like described above. Also, chewing sugarless gum or eating fresh fruits and vegetables, like celery, increases saliva production. And, of course, there is our ever constant reminder to brush twice a day for two minutes to prevent cavities. We care about the health of your smile and sugar is a big deterrence from keeping your smile cavity-free. Remember what’s going on in your mouth when you chew on that candy bar!

5 Things to Know About Glaucoma

by MikeMeehan 1/11/2018 10:20 AM

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it’s one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. And according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, of the 60 million people in the world that have glaucoma, an estimated half of those people don’t know they have it. With January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, here are five things to learn about the disease. Use this information as a way to start your research and develop knowledge on how this disease can affect you and your family.  Glaucoma usually has no symptoms The symptoms of glaucoma can vary. What’s frightening is that you could have glaucoma without knowing; it can develop slowly and without pain. There could be no warning signs until you start to notice a loss in your vision. But as much as 40% of your vision can be lost without you noticing. With some forms of the disease, the condition could happen quickly, and there could be symptoms like blurred vision and halos around lights. Glaucoma can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam While it’s scary to think that glaucoma can develop without you realizing, remember this disease can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam from your eye doctor. With early detection, there is treatment available that can control the disease and reduce the risk of vision loss. Regular eye exams are so important for detection of this disease because any vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. People over the age of 60 are at high risk If you’re over the age of 60, you have a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Other factors can increase your risk, so talk with your eye doctor and discuss these variables. The most common forms of glaucoma affect older people, but the disease can still affect all age groups. If you have a high risk of glaucoma, it’s extremely important to get a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor every one to two years. Family history increases your risk According to the AOA, the exact cause of glaucoma is not known. We do know that the condition is “usually associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye.” We also know that it’s hereditary in some families. Read more about this and other risk factors. There are different types of glaucoma While we often might just use the general term glaucoma when referring to it, there are different forms of the disease. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common. You can learn more about the different types of glaucoma and how they’re different on the Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Now, with these five things to know about glaucoma, consider your vision health, talk to your family, and make an eye doctor appointment. 

Start the Year With This Plan for Your Dental Health

by MikeMeehan 1/4/2018 3:21 PM

For the beginning of the year, we thought we’d start with an outlook for your dental health. You can use this plan for the year ahead to keep your smile, and your family’s smiles, healthy. It’s often the custom on January 1 to start a new perspective or set new goals. Consider making your dental health a part of that. Review your benefit plan (or get a plan) A good place to start is reviewing your benefit plan. Familiarize yourself with coverage, limitations and maximums. Notice the services listed under preventive, basic and major. There are many different designs of dental insurance plans, with many different variations, so it’s best to study your plan and call customer service with any questions, or discuss treatment plans with your dentist. If you don’t have dental insurance yet, you can search for plans and pricing on Delta Dental’s Individual and Family Plans website. Find a dentist Maybe you already have a dentist, but maybe you’d like to look for one closer to home, or maybe you need to find an in-network dentist. Whatever the reason, if you need to find a dentist, try our provider search tool. You can find a dentist through our website or you can use our mobile app. You will get the most out of your benefits with an in-network dentist. Delta Dental network dentists agree to accept predetermined fees, which are usually discounted from typical charges. They also agree to no balance billing, which means Delta Dental network dentists agree not to bill patients for the difference between the contracted fees and their typical charges. Make an appointment If you set the time and date, you’ll be more likely to go, right? Now that you have your 2018 calendar in front of you, plan accordingly, and pick days and times that won’t be at risk of a cancellation or postponement. Commit to twice a day for two minutes You’ve reviewed your insurance plan and you’ve got your dentist appointments set, now for the homework. Commit to brushing your teeth twice a day, every day, and for at least two minutes. Brushing for two to three minutes allows enough time for the fluoride in your toothpaste to do its job. Also, two to three minutes is approximately how long it takes to brush every tooth. Take care of any issues, before they get worse If you’ve been delaying a dentist visit, or if you have some concerns or discomfort but have been pushing them aside, you can make this one of your resolutions – go to the dentist. Don’t wait anymore, it could make any issues worse and more costly. Regular dental visits mean your dentist can address concerns early and treat them before they become serious. That’s why most plans cover 100 percent of the cost of preventive services like exams and cleanings. According to a new poll, 20 percent of Americans plan to make improving their oral health a resolution and 15 percent will make going to the dentist one. We hope you’re part of that percentage, or we hope you will add to that number by following this dental health plan for 2018. 

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