Tag Archives: society

I Think There’s Something in the Water

Raise a glass of cavity fighting goodness

You may not know that a simple glass of tap water is one of the best means of maintaing good dental health.

“No way”, you say? Way. That’s because there is something in the water. Fluoride specifically.

“Oh yeah. I forgot about that Dr. Matt. So what’s the deal with it anyway?”

This is the cavity fighting molecule... or maybe just a stack of balls

Fluoride can actually be found naturally in the environment. Seriously. In fact, in the 1940’s people started noticing that communities with fluoride naturally occurring in the water had much less tooth decay than communities without fluoride in the water.

This discovery led to many communities adding fluoride to the public drinking water resulting in one of the greatest achievements in public health since it resulted in a drastic reduction in tooth decay.

So how does it work? Basically fluoride helps reduce the rate at which a tooth

Thanks Mr. Fluoride man for keeping me cavity free!!

breaks down due to tooth decay, and it also helps to remineralize (i.e. rebuild) a tooth after a small cavity has started.

It’s simple and cost-effective since it only costs about 95 cents per person per year… that’s a good deal! Plus it adds no color, flavor, or smell to the water. No spoon-full of sugar to make this medicine go down.

Lots of us have had fluoride in the water as a part of our lives for several decades. Some of us just assume that cavities are no longer a problem, but forget why we don’t have dental problems as much as people in the past.

we do not help fight cavities

Fast forward from the early days of fluoridation to now. Bottled water. I bet people from back-in-the-day would flip out if they knew that people are selling water. I mean I get it and all… pure (maybe), convenient serving size, nothing but hydrogen and oxygen, status symbol. That’s all fine and good, but you may be missing out on the good ‘ole cavity fighter fluoride.

Most bottled water companies are so excited about making their product pure, that they take out the fluoride. What happens next is that people stop drinking tap water in favor of bottled water, and in doing so they are no longer getting fluoride to help prevent cavities.

So why am I telling you this? I just want the good people of Nashville to know that if they are drinking bottled water, they may not be getting the cavity protection that they once were.

“Aw man!” you say. Fear not… there is a website that can tell you which bottled water companies put fluoride in their water. And here it is .

So maybe there is something in the water… or not. Check it out and just know how it affects your teeth.

Stuff That May Be in Your Teeth is Back in the News… Again

This stuff looks cool, just not in your toof...

Quicksilver. A brand of car. A god. A planet. The lead singer for the rock band

"Uh this thing... Amal-gam... I just... can't handle it..." Really, you're not supposed to touch it

 

Queen. Liquid metal. Toxin. Filler of holes in teeth. Mercury!! Depending on what you think of when you hear mercury, it may or may not be a good thing. And therein lies the problem… no one can decide if it’s a good or a bad thing.

I’ve talked about this before, and I thought that the Food and Drug Administration had settled the debate once and for all. Alas no.

 

Dentist or Mad Hatter. You decide. P.S. nice hair dude

Dentist or Mad Hatter. You decide. P.S. nice hair dude

Let’s recap shall we.  Mercury is found in lots of things: thermometers, blood pressure meters, various types of light bulbs, and your teeth. It also used to be used to make hats. The thought was that the mercury made the hat makers crazy and thus the saying “as mad as a hatter.” Mercury makes up approximately 50% of the filling material amalgam, which has been used to fill teeth since it was first introduced in France in the late 19th century.

We are molars and we are storing your mercury. Our cousin lives in a thermometer.

It’s also a toxin. Yup. Toxin as in it is bad for your central nervous system, kidneys, endocrine system, and other organs. Long term exposure to mercury has been linked to several syndromes and neuropathies. It’s bad stuff.

So the concern now is whether the mercury contained in your fillings are causing

ADA Headquarters. The mothership of dentites everywhere

 

any of these health problems. Some say yes, some say no. Those who say that mercury is harmless include organizations like the American Dental Association, the Food and Drug Administration (sort of), dentists (not all), and the amalgam making people (I assume).

Those who claim that amalgam fillings are bad include a bunch of health do-gooders, and now some scientists and doctors. They may be right.

So now I’ll get to my point. The previous statement by the ADA and the FDA was that dental amalgam fillings are ok except for maybe pregnant women and children. Well, as of this week they may be revisiting this. Lots of petitions have been presented and doctors are now saying that the vapors released by mercury containing fillings may be harmful to everyone. See, even Katie Couric thinks there may be a problem… watch the video here

I’m not sure what to tell you. As a dentist I’ve always been told that these fillings are ok, but if I spill amalgam in the office, I have to treat it as a hazardous substance. However, it’s sill ok to put it in your tooth.

I’ve never told anyone to remove their amalgam fillings because of the mercury

Look out! There's a giant ball of mercury right behind you !

 

content, but I rarely use the material to fill a tooth. If the claims that the vapor from this material is bad, you may actually release more vapor during removal of the filling. That stinks because I remove that stuff all the time… maybe I’ll turn into a mad hatter.

 

So I guess maybe the FDA and ADA are going to look at this whole safety of mercury fillings thing again. Who knows what they will decide this time but I assume it will be more waffling… mmm waffles.

Let me know what you think. Are you concerned about the mercury  in your fillings affecting your health? Do you want to replace them with a non-mercury material?

If you have questions about  mercury, hats, or would just like to get together and sing a few Queen songs, give us a call at 615-298-2385 or mosey on over to our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com .

Floss on my friends, floss on…

 

 

 

A Mission Trip to the USA… Helping Those Who Can Not Afford Dental Care

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is an organization near and dear to my heart. It was founded in 1985 with the purpose of providing basic medical care to people in remote areas of foreign countries with no access to care. When RAM began, they airlifted doctors and dentists into the middle of nowhere to help people.

Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee with RAM founder Stan Brock

RAM founder Stan Brock has now realized that there is a health care crisis right here in America, and has focused RAM’s efforts on helping people here at home. Many of RAM’s “missions” are conducted in or near Tennessee and are often held in remote communities that are underserved by the health care community, and have a population that is very poor.

RAM relies on a corps of volunteers that include health care providers including dentists, physicians, optometrists, and veterinarians. Other volunteers are just workers to help with auxillary functions such as patient registration, instrument sterilization, and food prep. Mmmmm, loved those donuts.

Dental clinic at a RAM event in Harrogate, TN

The events are held in a large facility ,such as a gymnasium or a community center, which is transformed into a health care clinic for a weekend. Patients are treated on a first come first served basis and are permitted to see as many health care providers as needed.

Oh and by the way… ALL HEALTH CARE SERVICES ARE FREE! Zip. Nada. 0. So, you can imagine that there is a high demand, because it don’t get any cheaper than free.

The following videos had a big impact on me and moved me to volunteer with RAM. It was an amazing experience. PLEASE WATCH THESE VIDEOS!! You will cry (or you’re heartless), but it is so worth it…

RAM video part 1

RAM video part 2

Someone please get me a Kleenex. Ugh. This breaks my heart.

By the way, did you notice that Stan Brock was the dude on Wild Kingdom? He got to wrestle hippos and snakes and stuff like that so he’s a bad-ass.

Ok, here’s the good news… RAM will be holding an event here in Nashville. Now, Nashville isn’t exactly remote, but the service will be provided all the same. So as a Nashville dentist, I plan to participate.

Here’s the details…

Feb 19-20 Davidson County, Nashville, TN – McGavock High School D, Vis, M

D= dental    Vis= vision   M= medical… you get the idea.

They’ll need lots of volunteers so I hope you’ll sign up. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Happy Late Thanksgiving… Why Your Teeth Are Thankful

Hi. Welcome back. How was your Thanksgiving? I got to travel to Memphis to stuff my piehole and hang out with family. We also saw the movie “Tangled” and had dinner at a place that used to be a beauty parlor. The hair dryers were still there. True story.

Did you think about your teeth on this day that celebrates chewing? Of course you didn’t, that’s what you have me for. And I did think about your teeth and all that you may have put them through. But his time I have good news. I stumbled on a report that tells of research that shows that some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods may actually help prevent tooth decay.

This little dude actually lives in your mouth!!

First the bad news. While you are feasting away on Thanksgiving, millions of little friends living in your mouth are feasting too. They are called bacteria, and they cause cavities in your teeth. So while you were watching football after a belt-loosening meal, the bacteria in your mouth were just getting started on their feast.

The real meanie in this group of microscopic gluttons is known as Streptococcus mutans. This bad boy is responsible for most of those bits of silver in your mouth. Ole’ S. Mutans takes the food you eat and turns it into acid which destroys the enamel of your teeth.

Pass the cranberry sauce please, because this Thanksgiving staple can help prevent damage to your teeth. Researchers have found that compounds in cranberries can actually help prevent our leetle friend S. Mutans from producing acid. Nice. So basically the glob of molded red gelatin can be our ally in the fight against tooth decay.

Take That! you cavity-causing bacteria.

But wait! There’s more. Sit down and pour yourself another glass of red wine because this magic elixir also helps in the fight against S. Mutans and cavities. See red wine contains alcohol, so the bacteria just get drunk and fall asleep on the couch. No wait. That must have been me. Actually the red wine helps because it reduces the amount of acid that S. Mutans produces. So you get tipsy and fight tooth decay. It’s a win-win.

Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee fighting cavities!!

 

Well, dear readers, betcha didn’t know all that. So what have we learned? The main bacteria that causes cavities goes by the moniker Streptococcus mutans. Cranberry sauce and red wine help to combat cavities. An that Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee enjoys said red wine and napping.

If you live in Nashville and would like to discuss other means of obtaining better oral health, please feel free to contact our office at 298-2385 or check us out on the information super-highway at http://www.MusicCitySmiles.com .

 

The 70’s Called, They Want You to Take Better Care of Your Teeth

If you grew up in the 70’s or early 80’s you should remember these. I’m always on the lookout for great ways to communicate dental health to patients, and I think that these videos are great!!

This first one had me rolling on the floor. Who knew that the germs that cause cavities sound just like Louis Armstrong?!

Check out the yuck mouth video here…

And in this one an animated Danny Zuko tells us to exercise our teeth. O…. K.

Finally, a talking, hat-wearing Pac Man gives us oral hygiene instructions

Man, the last time I heard those I was sitting in a den covered in shag carpet in my Star Wars Pj’s.

Anyway, if you have any questions about dental care, or more vintage videos to share, or if you need a dentist in Nashville, please contact us at 615-298-2385 or check us out online at www.MusicCitySmiles.com

The Perils of Working in a Dental Office and Why I Need a Nap…

Ok, let’s talk about something other than teeth shall we…

When you work in a dental office, the rest of the world seems to think that you have lost the ability to shop for groceries. Consequently, your office becomes a repository for cakes, bagels, pies, brownies, doughnuts, hams, and all sorts of other foods that are not fruits or vegetables as they are delivered by patients, other dentists, labs, or other well wishers in the Nashville area.

All this makes for an expanding waist line and an ongoing battle over who will be responsible for taking home what leftovers remain. Aside from the obvious brushing and flossing after eating sweets, we all get a little sleepy after all this snacking and require a nap around 1:30 or 2 every afternoon. Alas, it never happens.

But wait!! A new study has shown that taking a nap at work can be beneficial!! Ladies and gentlemen of Nashville and dentist offices everywhere take note, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has determined that 20-30 minute power naps can be the perfect refresher in the middle of your work day.

This could be great! We’ve even got that reclining chairs to crash in. Or maybe we should just follow George Costanza’s lead…

Can You Guess the Celebrity Smile?

The Country Music Association awards are tonight in Nashville. This is a pretty big deal here in Music City and around the country. Get it… country. Anyhoo, there will be tons of celebrities strutting downtown dressed to impress in their finest attire and accessories.

As a Nashville dentist, I of course think that their most important accessory is their smile. So while most of you will be watching to see the dresses and the shoes, I’ll be checking out the grills for symmetry and the whitest whites. Maybe some of them out there have been to a cosmetic dentist to have a little, ahem… enhancement.

Ok, so I’m gonna give you all a little quiz to help you prepare to analyze smiles on the red carpet. I’m going to show you a smile, and you have to tell me which celebrity it belongs to. You can decide if they’ve had a little cosmetic dentistry to help them shine up on the stage…

Ok…………..GO!

The rest of your quiz can be found here…

For more information on finding a Nashville dentist, or on cosmetic dentistry in Nashville, please feel free to call our office at 615-298-2385 or visit our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com

So how’d you do on the quiz? What makes a great smile and do you think it is the ultimate accessory?