Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sports drinks can be bad for your teeth

            Gatorade, Powerade, and a number of other sports drinks have gained popularity over the years. Their original intent was to provide hydration for athletes looking to replenish their fluids and electrolytes after training or competition. When used in this capacity, these drinks are safe and effective for people of nearly all ages. But as they surged in popularity, many began to drink sports drinks throughout the day. Misuse of these drinks can lead to other health problems like tooth decay and obesity.
            So how can sports drinks be bad for you? The purposes of sports drinks are somewhat misunderstood as drinks that provide nutrition for children or adults. The reality is they are loaded with sugar and are very acidic. This leads to an increased risk for tooth decay, erosion of the enamel, and even obesity. While it is generally understood that sodas and concentrated juices can be bad for you, sports drink don’t have the same persona. This leads people to overuse or incorrectly use these drinks, and the health concerns can quickly follow.
            One alarming area where we have found sports drinks to cause serious dental issues is with young adults going through braces or Invisalign. With braces on the teeth it is more challenging to remove the sugar deposits on the teeth. With Invisalign it is even more concerning if they drink sports drinks with the retainers in place. The Invisalign then acts as a reservoir for the sugary and acidic drink to attack the teeth. Be sure you discuss some of these factors with your dentist before you begin any orthodontic treatment.
            Sports drinks can be very beneficial when used in the correct setting for recovery following exercise. But be sure you and your child understand the proper use of these drinks and how to clean up afterwards. This can save you a lot a issues with your teeth and health moving forward.

For more information, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Why does my jaw hurt?

            The Today Show recently did a segment titled: “Why does my jaw hurt? 4 odd symptoms women over 40 shouldn’t ignore.” Obviously we believe anyone with jaw pain should visit the dentist, regardless of their age. But it is interesting that the article was directed to women over 40. Even if you are in excellent health and take good care of yourself, you are still getting older and certain risk factors increase with age.

What should I do when I first experience jaw pain?
            If the area is sore, it is possible you aggravated or sprained a muscle or ligament associated with the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). And like most acute injuries, your jaw requires rest and anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Alieve). It would also be helpful to rest the muscles by avoiding gum and chewy foods for a few days. If the symptoms do not subside within a week or two, then you should come in for a more thorough exam.

What if I have jaw pain and tooth pain at the same time?
             If both the teeth and jaw hurt at the same time, it is possible the problem could be related to the jaw or an individual tooth. You can sometimes experience referred pain because the nerves to the teeth are closely related to the nerves of the TMJ. Your first option would still be rest and anti-inflammatory medication. But if it is more than a day or two, I would recommend coming in for an exam to help determine what the cause could be.
What is the most serious concern if you are experiencing jaw pain?
            Jaw pain can be associated with heart attacks, but it is more frequent in women than in men. I don’t recommend going to the emergency room any time you experience jaw pain, but you need to be aware of all of the symptoms and your risk factors. So if you are experiencing jaw pain with some of the more traditional heart attack symptoms, it would be a good idea to call your doctor or 911 if serious enough.

For more information, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Update on Oil Pulling:

            Here we are a few years after oil pulling first became popular. The craze has definitely subsided quite a bit but we still field some questions from time to time. In case you missed the initial trend: oil pulling involves swishing with coconut, olive, sesame, or sunflower oil for 20 minutes before spitting out. The belief is that it can help remove toxins from your mouth and body. Here is our take as dental professionals.
            We still haven’t seen any long term studies proving the benefits of oil pulling are backed by scientific evidence. Does that mean it can’t be proven effective in the future? No. But we can’t recommend anything for your oral health when we are unsure of its short and long term effects.
            There is one study the ADA (American Dental Association) referenced that compares the benefits of oil pulling to chlorhexidine rinse (a prescription strength anti-bacterial mouth rinse). This particular study found oil pulling more effectively reduced the presence of streptococcus mutans in the mouth. However, this did not investigate whether or not the reduction produced a clinical benefit to the person.
            Even if some scientific data is shown that oil pulling can help make the oral cavity healthier, it is unlikely I would recommend its use over traditional home care options. Oil pulling calls for swishing for up to 20 minutes at a time. I believe you are better suited to spend those 20 minutes using a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a fluoride mouth rinse.  You could use all of these tools using less time and have a more predictable and proven outcome.
            We will continue to follow the studies that become available involving oil pulling and their benefits. But until proven otherwise, I would recommend sticking with traditional methods.

For more information, visit

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


Friday, June 10, 2016

What is fact and fiction with dental insurance?

            It can be very challenging to navigate all the nuances of dental insurance. With so many carriers and different plans within those carriers, it can be overwhelming. Below we discuss a few of the facts and fictions involving dental insurance that you should know.

Fiction: Insurance companies pay the fees that a dental office charges.

Fact: It has been our experience that some insurance companies tell their customers that “fees are above the usual customary rate.” We believe that the “insurance benefits are low.” The reality is that you get back only what your employer, puts in minus the profits of the insurance company. We aren’t saying insurance companies aren’t entitled to some profit, but it should be known what their methods are.

Fiction: The new plans that are offered are basically the same as the plans that have always been available.

Fact: The new plans are referred to as PPO’s or DMO’s. They are simply discount plans. These plans require the dental office to discount their fees nearly 50%. If an office chooses to take these plans and take care of daily overhead, the dentist must choose less expensive or faster options for treatment. This increases the chance that the treatment may not provide the same long term results as when an office is not restricted by the insurance company.

Fiction: Once you hit your annual deductible, the rest of the treatment is free.

Fact: Dental insurance doesn’t work the same as medical insurance. It is more comparable to a coupon or discount. It rarely pays for the entire service and the percentage it will pay is vague and open to interpretation by the insurance company. The big difference from medical: once you have reached your yearly maximum, it no longer pays on anything.

Fiction: My insurance pays for any work I need to have done.

Fact: Not all recommend procedures will always be covered by your insurance. When your employer selects a dental plan, it is decided which procedures may or may not be included. The lack of coverage by your insurance company does not mean it is not needed.  It just means the chosen plan does not cover the recommended procedure.

            This can be very confusing and frustrating. If you have any questions or concerns on which dental plan may be best for you and your family, feel free to contact us and we can hopefully help you in deciding which one is best for you.

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

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What is in my water?

            There is some debate over drinking tap water versus drinking filtered or bottled water. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But as dentists, we encourage children to drink fluoridated tap water to help them develop strong teeth. Since the introduction of fluoride into tap water, communities have seen a dramatic decrease in childhood cavities.
            In Butler County, the fluoride content is 0.97mg/l. The regulatory limit is 2 mg/l. So we are well below the amount that could potentially cause any harm. And while there is a small amount of chlorine in our water, we are even further away from the regulatory limit. Bottom line, our water is well controlled and within a healthy limit.
            But the question can still be asked: Is bottled water safer than tap water? This is not necessarily true. Both the tap water and the bottled water are regulated to ensure their quality. The Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of all public water systems, and bottled water is monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. So depending on the source of the water and its treatment process, some bottled waters may contain more or less substances than your tap water. You can go online to check on the water quality information in your area.
            What should you do if you don’t have fluoride in your water? We typically recommend some type of fluoride supplement if you are not getting any fluoride in your tap water. Fluoride is very important during the developmental years to help form strong and healthy teeth. Depending on the age of you or your child, and depending on their dental history, we will make specific recommendations to help keep their teeth strong. Sometimes it is a prescription toothpaste and sometimes there are ‘fluoride trays’ that can be used as supplements.

For more information, visit us at

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.