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Oral Hygiene and Your Overall Health Poor oral health has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. But by changing certain habits, you can improve the health of your mouth and teeth and lessen your risk.

By Clare Kittredge
Medically reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD

How well you care for your teeth and gums has a powerful effect on your overall health. Neglecting your oral health lead to more than just sore teeth and bad breath — it can open the door to all sorts of health problems, including some pretty nasty diseases like oral cancer. Researchers have found possible connections between gum problems and heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and even problem pregnancies.

“You cannot be healthy with an unhealthy mouth any more than one can be healthy with an infected foot,” says Richard H. Price, DMD, spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA) and a former clinical instructor at the Boston University Dental School.

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Oral Health

A number of dietary habits and lifestyle factors can affect oral health, including:

Sugar consumption. “Having a sugar-laden diet will contribute to tooth decay and gum problems, as the bacteria in the mouth thrive in this environment,” producing tooth and gum-destroying enzymes and acids, says Dr. Price, who retired after 35 years as a dentist in Newton, Mass.

Smoking. Dental care experts have long known that smoking cigarettes and cigars and using tobacco products can cause periodontal disease (gum disease), tooth decay, and oral cancer. Cigars can also cause periodontal disease and throat, or pharyngeal, cancer. “The smoke from tobacco has a toxic effect on gum tissue, and can interfere with blood flow,” Price explains. “Smoking also stains the heck out of teeth, is a direct cause of oral cancer, and can contribute to bad breath.”
Drinking alcohol. “Drinking can contribute to oral problems indirectly by resulting in a dehydrated mouth, which can allow bacteria to run rampant,” Price says. In addition, people who have alcohol addiction issues are probably less likely to consistently follow good dental care habits, he says.
Changes in weight. For those who wear dentures, changes in body weight tend to affect the way dentures fit, Price says. “Just as weight gain or loss affects the way clothes fit, that gain or loss also affects the gum pads on which dentures rest,” he says. To help maintain a healthy weight and fight tooth decay, the ADA advises people to eat a diet rich in high-fiber fruits and vegetables.
Medication. “Some medications, for example, some antibiotics, can cause internal staining of teeth, such as tetracycline staining, depending on the age at which you take them,” says Price. Also, “there are 200 to 400 medications, prescribed or over-the-counter, that have the side effect of drying up saliva. A dry mouth is more prone to gum disease and tooth decay, as well as bad breath.”
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

To maintain your oral health — and overall good health — Price says you should see your dentist regularly to head off any problems early. You should also practice good oral hygiene at home by carefully brushing and flossing your teeth regularly in order to prevent plaque from accumulating and causing problems. There is nothing a dentist can do that a patient can’t undo by neglecting their dental care, says Price.


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Which is Better???

Manual versus powered toothbrushes

The Cochrane review


Background. In a report released in January 2003, The Cochrane Collaboration Oral Health Group provided a systematic review of the effectiveness of powered versus manual toothbrushes, which generated much interest in the popular press.

Methods. The Cochrane researchers developed and implemented search strategies for the Cochrane Oral Health Group’s Trial Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. They contacted manufacturers for additional information. Trials were selected if they met the following criteria: compared power versus manual toothbrushes, had a randomized design, drew participants from a general population without disabilities, provided data regarding plaque and gingivitis, and were at least 28 days in length. Reviewers evaluated only studies published in 2001 or earlier. Six reviewers from the Cochrane study independently extracted information in duplicate. Indexes for plaque and gingivitis were expressed as standardized values for data distillation. Data distillation was accomplished using a meta-analysis, with a mean difference between powered and manual toothbrushes serving as the measure of effectiveness.

Results. The searches identified 354 trials, only 29 of which met the inclusion criteria. These trials involved about 2,500 subjects and provided data for meta-analysis. The results indicated that only the rotating oscillatingtoothbrush consistently provided a statistically significant, although modest, clinical benefit over manual toothbrushes in reducing plaque and gingivitis.

Conclusions and Clinical Implications. Some powered toothbrushes with a rotation-oscillation action achieve a significant, but modest, reduction in plaque and gingivitis compared with manual toothbrushes.

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CLEARsmile, a New Complete Oral Hygiene Device, Announces Support for National Children’s Dental Month



CLEARsmile, a New Complete Oral Hygiene Device, Announces Support for National Children’s Dental Month

CLEARsmile, a new complete oral hygiene device designed to replace the toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, wants to raise awareness with the public about how important a healthy smile is by supporting National Children’s Dental Month. CLEARsmile will fill a need by providing to children a consistent and effective way to a clean mouth.

The CLEARsmile

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) March 01, 2014


CLEARsmile is a new oral hygiene device, developed by Dr. Igor Reizenson, that was invented to replace the traditional tools that support oral health. During the span of his career, Dr. Reizenson started to imagine his ideal oral hygiene device after working with certain groups of clients, including young children and the elderly. According to the American Dental Association, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Reizenson created CLEARsmile because he believes we can do more to improve the oral health of the segments of our population with dexterity problems.

“CLEARsmile is an up-and-coming device that will be able to help kids and their caregivers maintain a healthy smile more predictably and consistently,” said founder Dr. Igor Reizenson. “The goal of CLEARsmile is to become the new standard for oral health maintenance, ultimately replacing the traditional toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.”

The biggest challenge the CLEARsmile faces is funding. According to a study done by a Harvard Business graduate, getting CLEARsmile to the prototype stage will cost about $750,000. To raise the necessary funds, Dr. Reizenson has turned to the crowd-funding site, Crowd-funding enables people with a great business idea to ask the general public for the funding they need to set up or expand. The business sets a target for the money it needs to raise and explains how it will use the cash. People can then make pledges for small amounts of money in return for a reward if the target is reached.

“Please be a part of getting this device into the marketplace by participating in the CLEARsmile project crowd-funding campaign on starting on July 14, 2014,” Reizenson said.

For more information about CLEARsmile, please visit and visit their new blog at

About Dr. Igor Reizenson: 
In 2001, Dr. Reizenson received his DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. He then advanced to the prestigious General Practice Residency Program at Veterans Hospital of Western New York. In 2007 Dr. Reizenson was recognized by the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels” as one of America’s top 25 inventors of the year for a patented oral hygiene device called ClearSmile. He is the founder and CEO of ClearSmile LLC. Dr. Reizenson is a long standing member of the American Dental Association, as well as the Georgia Dental Association.


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Dental Technology Trends

Dental Technologies and Trends to Watch in 2014

Dental Technologies and Trends to Watch in 2014

Another year has passed and once again we see an acceleration of change in our industry. New and enhanced equipment, technologies and materials continue to make the life of the dentist easier, and the experience more pleasant for the patient.

Here are five keys areas that will continue to redefine the dental visit. These are the trends I see as a practicing clinician that I believe to be most important for the modern clinician.

Guided Surgery

There is no question the impact Cone Beam technology has had on dentistry. Diagnosis and treatment planning will never be the same. The biggest impact, however, is in guided surgery.

What is happening here is more than just a simplification of the steps involved in placing a dental implant. This technology represents an ability to truly have the restorative outcome drive the position and placement of the implant. Companies such as Sirona or Materialise have allowed us to digitally plan the entire surgery before performing any actual work. This technology eliminates the classic headache of getting an implant case back from the surgeon and trying to figure out what to do because the implant was put where there was bone instead of where the final position of the tooth should be. Guided surgery allows for better precision across the board, especially in cases which a less experienced provider is placing the implant. An added benefit is guided surgery requires a fraction of the time compared to free-handing the surgery.

Better precision, better outcome, better experience. That’s a win-win.

Laser Dentistry

Early in the millennium, lasers made a dramatic entrance with promises of revolutionizing dentistry. Well, to be blunt, the technology didn’t quite do that.

It’s not that dental lasers didn’t work in an amazing and fantastic way, they just didn’t replace the rest of the equipment in our operatory, and they came with a price tag that left a hint of bitterness when they weren’t being used. Today, lessons have been learned. Lasers are less expensive, smaller in profile and actually work the way they were designed.

We have learned much about how lasers can aid in periodontal therapy, allowing us to do more than simply resecting a fibroma. Replaceable tips have usurped the tedious process of stripping the fiber cord. And with digital impressions more popular than ever, gingival cord is no match to achieve good hemostasis and a clear field for your image when compared with what a diode laser can do.

Chairside CAD/CAM Dentistry

Speaking of digital impressions…In 2013 I predicted that digital impressions would see a huge transition with an increase in public acceptance and new machines arriving on the market. In 2014, we will not only see that trend continue, but will add the ability to fabricate restorations in the office with more options than ever.

Digital impression systems such as the 3M True Definition Scanner or the TRIOS from 3Shape can connect to a variety of milling stations that work with most modern materials such as lithium disilicates. What is not happening here is “hurry-up” dentistry that compromises quality and esthetics. These CAD/CAM restorations are amazingly accurate, and the esthetics will be as good as you take the time to make them. Keep in mind that the lab you use has most likely made the transition to CAD/CAM a long time ago. These concepts are not new to dentistry, but they are making profound waves in the office like never before.

Digital Communication

Our patients are more and more living their lives online, and we need to be able to reach them there. However, I’m still not a fan of the practice Facebook page. It requires a ton of work, and unless you are paying for sponsorships, your message can easily be lost in a sea of baby pictures and political rants. Besides, how many hygiene tips can you post in a year, and how many do your patients really want to see? Still social media can’t completely be ignored, and review sites such as Yelp will continue to grow too.

However, I believe the biggest potential for online change is through services such as Sesame Communications or DemandForce. These companies allow you to send appointment confirmations via email and texting, and the patient can reply remotely without having to call you back. You can maximize internal marketing with email newsletters or birthday greeting, all without the cost of postage. Patients also can receive surveys about their visit, enabling feedback for you and your staff to improve on patient care. Some of these services allow a patient to access a personal account online, showing appointments, insurance information, copies of recent digital images, and more. These software-based services are being integrated into practice management software as well, making patient communication, easier and more seamless than ever before.

Renaissance Dentistry

At the very heart of all of this, our role as dentists is changing. We cannot simply show up, do some fillings and go home. Dozens of years ago the general dentist did it all, from lab work, to root canals, to extractions. Then specialists became prominent, but the pendulum is swinging back the other way, and more and more dentists today will require a unique understanding of all aspects of dentistry.

It’s not about being an expert at everything, but to be aware of all specialties to make good clinical and business decisions. You don’t need to set up your own computer network to know you need to have an office with digital x-rays and digital communication. You don’t need to understand how the Omnicam works to be able to maximize quality and efficiency with CAD/CAM dentistry. You don’t have to place your own implants to be able to intelligently talk about restorative options for a patient, and to choose the best system for the case. The modern dentist needs to know about the specialties in order make intelligent decisions about which technologies to implement for specialty care and even then which cases still require the skills of a specialized expert. Welcome to the Age of the Renaissance Dentist.

Do have your own predictions for 2014? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think will be the Hot Topics this year!

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Recent News

Dr. Reizenson of CLEARsmile was recently featured as one of 13 medical device and technology experts, discussing the #1 challenge that MedTech companies face when scaling.

Click here for the article, or on the image below.

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