Monday, August 25, 2014

Should Expecting Mothers Visit the Dentist?

            In the past, many dentists were hesitant to treat pregnant patients. As a result many women did not receive timely dental care they needed. However, dental treatment during pregnancy is typically beneficial and there is now a shift towards continuing routine dental care during pregnancy.
            You obviously want to make all the right decisions during your pregnancy, and it is normal to question what dental services should be performed when you’re expecting. Dr. Howard Minkoff, the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, believes that dental X-rays, antibiotics, and local anesthesia are not contraindicated in treatment of pregnant patients. And since 2006, a few state dental organizations have issued guidelines saying that dental care is safe and effective at any stage of pregnancy. This includes diagnostic X-rays, cavity restorations and root canals. This is definitely a shift from what was thought in the past.
            When pregnant, the risk for gingivitis (gum inflammation) is typically a little higher because of a change in hormones. If not properly treated, the gum disease can lead to dental infections and even tooth loss. Just as importantly, there is evidence that a mother with active tooth decay can spread the cavity causing bacteria to hear child and perpetuate poor oral health.
            Finally, we worry that dental pain may cause pregnant women to self-medicate incorrectly. While physicians recommend acetaminophen over ibuprofen for pain control, an overdose of acetaminophen can negatively affect the liver and thus endanger the fetus. There are already enough challenges during pregnancy, and having to deal with dental pain is one more issue that can hopefully be avoided.
            As the shift towards more routine dental care during pregnancy continues, we understand that patients may still continue to have concerns. When in doubt, or if you have a history of other conditions, we will always error on the side of caution and consult with your physician. But we believe that keeping your mouth healthy will help aid in a safe pregnancy for you and your family.

For more questions and answers, check out our FAQ section at 

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Is My Child Old Enough to Bleach Their Teeth?

            More than ever before, dentists and dental professionals are confronted with questions about teeth bleaching for children and young adults. While opinions may differ, we would like to help educate the parents and the patients of their options when it comes to bleaching their teeth.
            Many parents are concerned with whether or not teeth bleaching effects the strength of the tooth enamel in any way. The active ingredients for bleaching in the United States are typically carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, and neither will weaken the enamel or increase the risk of cavities. However, improper use or too high of concentrations can lead to tooth sensitivity and irritation of the gums. This can be very difficult to predict, but to reduce the risk of these situations; we always recommend consulting with a dental professional before beginning any type of bleaching regiment.
            In younger patients, the nerve inside the tooth is larger and more susceptible to sensitivity. The nerve, or pulp chamber, is typically larger during the teenage years and gradually shrinks as we age. There is no evidence that shows irreversible long-term damage to the pulp chamber when proper bleaching techniques are used, but teenagers have the highest risk of developing sensitivity during and after use of teeth bleaching products.
            So how do you know when or if it is OK for your kid to start using over-the-counter or doctor prescribed teeth bleaching products? Your safest play is to check with your dentist first. They can help with the decision using x-rays and by knowing the particular person’s clinical history. Based on the individual circumstances and knowing the desired results, a personalized plan and timeline can be developed that will reduce the likelihood of tooth sensitivity and gum irritation for the patient.

For more information, visit us at  

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is Fluoride in Tap Water a Good Idea?

            The Cincinnati Enquirer recently released an article discussing how a Cincinnati charter is reopening a debate on water fluoridation. The article says “A task force revising the Cincinnati city charter uncovered a forgotten provision that may give Cincinnatians a unique voting right to remove the chemical from their water supply.” I am not too familiar with the political system or how this may turn out, but I strongly believe that fluoridation of the water will greatly improve the health of you and your family’s teeth.
            While some may argue against fluoridation for various reasons, there is no arguing against the efficacy or fluoride in the drinking water. The Enquirer goes on to say, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century due to its ability to prevent tooth decay.” Not only is this safe and effective, but it actually saves you money. A lifetime supply of fluoridated water ends up costing less than just one dental filling.
             So what are the arguments against fluoridation of drinking water? Too much of anything can be bad, and too much fluoride during the formative years can actually damage the teeth. But the amount of fluoride required far exceeds anything that could be found in drinking water. There is also a movement to live more natural or holistic and fluoride is another chemical that is added to the system. However, to prevent tooth decay, only one part per million of fluoride is needed. This equates to roughly 1 drop of fluoride per 10 gallons of water.
            From an oral health and an overall health standpoint, keeping fluoride in the water is a great idea. Just a tiny bit can go a long way in limiting tooth decay and in turn prevent infections and abscesses in the mouth.

For more information, visit us at

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Does Drinking Water and Staying Hydrated Improve Your Oral Health?

            Over half of out body is composed of water, so it should come as no surprise that staying hydrated can help you stay healthy. Along with everything else, it is vital in keeping your mouth, teeth and gums healthy. During the summer, dehydration can sneak up on you when you are outside enjoying the weather. So it is important to remember to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, and as an added bonus it will promote good oral health. 
            Water helps to prevent bad breath. We know that one of the most common causes of bad breath is dehydration. When the rest of your body is short on water, you may not have enough saliva in your mouth. And when you run low on saliva, it gives bacteria that cause bad breath the opportunity to thrive and survive.
            Water also helps to prevent cavities. It can help cleanse the teeth of unwanted food remaining after a meal and is a very effective dental tool in assisting to clean your teeth when you don’t have a toothbrush or any other traditional instrument available.  Water will even improve the quality of your saliva. The saliva in your mouth is absolutely critical in your body’s ability to fight tooth decay. Any shortage of your saliva can increase your risk of developing cavities.
            It seems like a simple task to stay hydrated throughout the day, but when you are busy at work or keeping up with your family’s hectic schedule, it is easy to forget about yourself and your water consumption. Making an effort to drink more water will improve your overall health, your energy, and even keep your mouth and teeth much healthier.

If you have any other questions, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.