New Fluoride Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water be set at the lowest end of the current optimal range to prevent tooth decay.  The EPA is also reviewing the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water.

The new guidelines will reduce the possibility of children ingesting too much fluoride, while maintaining fluoride’s benefit in preventing dental decay.  The HHS proposed recommendation of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water replaces the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. The new recommendation is a result of recent EPA and HHS scientific studies seeking to balance fluoride’s benefit in preventing cavities while limiting any undesirable health effects. The EPA will also determine whether to lower the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water.

Dental fluorosis may occur with excess fluoride intake while teeth are developing.      Dental fluorosis in the United States is mostly in the mild form: lacy white spots on the outside of the teeth. The severe form of dental fluorosis, including staining and pitting of the enamel, is rare in the United States.

Today we have access to more sources of fluoride than were available when water fluoridation was first introduced in the 1940s. In addition to fluoridated water, we may receive fluoride from dental products (toothpaste and mouth rinses), fluoride supplements, and fluoride applied in the dental office.

For the full report of the new recommendations see:

Today the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce held its first Health & Wellness Expo at the Village Center. Over 50 exhibitors were on hand to answer questions, distribute information, provide screenings and education seminars. I also participated and answered questions about teeth whitening, missing teeth, implants, crowns and porcelain veneers.  It was wonderful to meet so many new people and see some old friends. I also had the opportunity to hear Dr. Raja Jaber speak on “Lifestyle Medicine,” an approach for patients to develop wellness skills such as the adoption of wholesome nutrition, better sleep habits, appropriate exercise, stress reduction and elimination of harmful addictions. The purpose of the Expo was to “promote good health” – and I hope good oral health too! For more on dentistry and lifestyle, see my webpage on holistic dentistry.

New regulations in Massachusetts require that preschools add toothbrush time to the school day.  Children who eat a meal at day care or attend for more than four hours will be supervised brushing their teeth and  educated about oral health.   The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care established the regulations to help prevent dental disease.  According to a 2003 study, one in four Massachusetts kindergartners have tooth decay.

So, brushing at school sounds good in theory.  But in practice?  How do two teachers help 30 four year olds without the motor skills to brush correctly?  How do they maintain sanitation? How do the children spit out? Avoid spreading germs?  Keep the brushes clean and replaced when worn? Avoid swallowing toothpaste?  Seems ill advised to me.  How about focusing on what the children eat for lunch instead?  Perhaps if the children ate an apple for dessert instead of Hostess Cupcakes they would not have so much plaque and dental decay.

More on children’s dental health on my website.

The family doctor may be a thing of the past, but the family dentist has not gone the way of the dial phone. So what is a family dentist? A family dentist is typically a solo practitioner whom you and your entire family can see for your dental needs. A family dentist does not work for a large practice where the dentist you saw at your last visit is no longer working or where you see a different dentist for each appointment, and there is a large and chaotic staff that only knows you as a number. A family dentist is part of the community and supports community activities. He/she is a fixture in the community and can be relied upon year after year to take good care of you and your family through good times and bad.

I’ve had the good fortune to have practiced at the same location in our beautiful Three Village area for over 20 years. I have seen my young patients grow up, marry, and become parents themselves, as other patients have aged and become grandparents. I have shared holidays, celebrations and some difficult moments with my dental family. My patients know they can always reach me, and my door is always open to take care of any dental emergency. I also act as an advocate for my patients. I may refer them to a specialist for particular procedures, such as periodontal or oral surgery, and I communicate directly with the referral doctor to be sure that my patients are well taken care of. I discuss recommended treatment with the patient and help them to make a decision that’s right for them. I call my patients after each visit to my office to see if they have any concerns. I am always available to speak to them on the phone or on email. I am responsible for the quality of the work that comes out of my office, and for the quality of the supplies and the cleanliness of the office. My office is a reflection of me. That’s why one goes to a family dentist!

Patients who come to my Long Island Family Dental Practice are often greeted with the wonderful smell of freshly baked bread. That’s because I love to bake – and eat – freshly baked bread. Usually I bake with whole grains – best for the teeth and gums – but have been known to make special treats like my Orange-Hazelnut Chocolate Bread. This recipe comes from the cookbook, Kneadlessy Simple, by Nancy Baggett. I have been busy making delicious no-knead yeast breads from this fabulous new cookbook. You’ll find some of Nancy’s bread recipes on her website or treat yourself to the book!

So stop by our family dental office for that great bread aroma and a slice of delicious whole grain bread!



Bread (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)



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