Monthly Archives: April 2013

Should Elementary Schools Provide Preventative Dentistry Services?

As California educators struggle to boost student achievement across economic lines, teeth are holding them back.

Hundreds of thousands of low-income children suffering from dental disease, some with teeth rotted to the gum line, are presenting California school districts with a widespread public health problem.

Increasingly, dental health advocates are looking to schools to help solve the crisis. Several school districts, including Oakland Unified, are running innovative programs to provide dental care at no cost to students. Third-party insurers are billed whenever possible, but insurance is not a prerequisite for treatment.

school children at dentist

Meanwhile, a full-service dental clinic opened last year at Peres Elementary School in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood. The clinic offers everything from applying resin sealant to kids’ teeth — a vital preventive measure to stave off cavities and decay — to fillings and extractions. The West Contra Costa school district hopes to expand the model to other schools.

Dental disease is at “epidemic” levels among California children, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, and low-income children are disproportionately affected. They are 12 times more likely to miss school because of dental problems than children from higher-income families, according to a 2008 report by the Healthy States Initiative, a coalition sponsored by the Council of State Governments to study state health problems.

What’s more, students suffering from toothache tend to have lower grade-point averages than students with healthy teeth.

“The issue is huge,” said Gordon Jackson, director of the state Department of Education’s Coordinated Student Support and Adult Education Division, which oversees health, counseling and other support programs provided at schools. “Tooth decay remains one of the most chronic diseases for children and adolescents. As we’re having the conversation about California’s future and student academic achievement, we have to have a conversation about oral health as well.”

Inside the sleek new student health center at James Madison Middle School in Oakland, dental hygienist Linda G. Cannon has beamed her headlamp into the mouths of hundreds of students from the middle school and nearby Sobrante Park Elementary School.

Two days a week, during the physical education class period or the “sixth period” extra time, students spend about 50 minutes each in the baby-blue dental chair. With the whoosh of the suction tool as a soundtrack, Cannon screens for tooth decay, cleans teeth, applies fluoride varnish, which can help prevent tooth decay, and applies tooth sealant, an effective barrier to cavities, particularly on molars. The clinic doesn’t provide fillings or restorative dentistry to fix severe problems.

The Alameda County Public Health Department and The Atlantic Philanthropies, a New York-based private foundation, fund the dental services.

While Cannon said she’s starting to see signs of improvement in student dental health since the clinic opened in February 2011, the problem persists. “It sometimes looks like they’ve never been to the dentist,” she said.

Of the more than 400 students screened at James Madison in the past two years, nearly three quarters of elementary school students and just over half of middle school students showed signs of tooth decay, Cannon said.

While similar dental care programs operate in other districts, they are still a rarity in the state. Many other districts lack the resources to offer dental care, and still others balk at being asked to provide dental care on top of a rigorous curriculum.

Still, schools have a vested interest in addressing the issue.

Dental problems keep California students out of class an estimated 874,000 days a year, costing schools nearly $30 million in lost attendance based-funding, according to the 2007 California Health Interview Survey, an ongoing statewide survey by the Center for Health Policy Research at UC Los Angeles. The study is still considered the benchmark for children’s oral health.

Would you like to see this in your local Elementary Schools?

For any oral health concerns Contact Glasscock Dental

8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610 Charlotte, NC 28262

Mouth Cancer and the HPV Virus

oral cancer prevention

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is one of the most common virus groups in the world to affect the skin and mucosal areas of the body. Over eighty types of HPV have been identified. Different types of the human papillomavirus are known to infect different parts of the body. It infects the epithelial cells of skin and mucosa. The epithelial surfaces include all areas covered by skin and/or mucosa such as the mouth, throat, tongue, tonsils, vagina, penis, and anus. Infection with the virus occurs when these areas come into contact with a virus, allowing it to transfer between epithelial cells.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that those infected with HPV were 32 times more likely to develop oral or throat cancers. This finding dwarfs the increased risk associated with two acknowledged factors for developing these cancers: smoking (three times more likely to develop cancer) and drinking (2.5 times). Research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that HPV now accounts for more head and neck cancers than tobacco or alcohol.

If you have HPV or any oral health concerns Contact Glasscock Dental

8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610 Charlotte, NC 28262

The Effects Stress Can Have On Your Oral Health

Oral and psychological health issues are intimately related. Psychological well-being can affect oral health and oral health can affect one’s psychological well-being. Add to the mix is odontophobia, a psychological condition depicting an irrational and overwhelming fear of dentistry.


The perception of loss of control and helplessness are issues that create  fear. These perceptions stem from our limbic or primitive emotion system and  require reasonable and logical executive level cognition to overcome.   Unfortunately, some cannot summon such resolve.

Chronic stress can manifest orally through over salivation or dry  mouth.  Disrupting the pH balance in saliva can cause acidic saliva, which  causes tooth decay. Dry mouth from stress affects bacterial growth, and many of  the medications prescribed to reduce stress may cause dry mouth.

Many psychological issues result in fewer, if any, visits to the dentist. For  depressives, a visit to the dentist is not high on their list of concerns. This  can cause tooth decay or loss, causing additional depression. Additionally,  having an unsightly smile can reduce self-esteem, restricting a healthy level of  sociality, reinforcing or causing depression.

Recent studies by a team of neuro-scientists suggest there are dental markers that could indicate  Alzheimer’s and MMI or mild memory impairment, a pre-clinical stage of dementia.   These studies are nascent but show promising information leading researchers to believe there is a possibility that inflammation from periodontal  disease may find its way to the brain, affecting the hippocampus in particular.

For a stress-free dental experience Contact Glasscock Dental

8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610 Charlotte, NC 28262


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8 Expert Teeth-Whitening Tips

There are many causes for yellowing teeth, and just as many solutions to consider.

Follows these 8 tips of these expert teeth-whitening tips for a smile that shines like no other!


1.  Seek professional help

Probably the easiest way to get those pearly whites extra bright is through in-office (or chairside) teeth whitening. It’s the fastest way, taking around an hour, and also the safest form of teeth-bleaching. You also have to be sure to follow up at home with other teeth-whitening methods, as the results are not permanent.

2. Purchase an at-home teeth whitening kit

The second most effective choice for whiter teeth is to purchase an at-home teeth-whitening kit from your dentist, which includes a special mouthpiece. You can also remove deep and surface stains with these kits, which also use mild bleach to brighten yellowed teeth. To whiten, wear the kits for several hours a day, or through the night while you sleep. When time passes and you notice stains forming again, just pop in the mouthpiece once again for a night or two.

3. Daily maintenance

Dentists advise that you brush twice daily and floss at least once daily for good oral hygiene. By keeping up with your daily teeth-cleaning regimen, you can keep your smile pretty and avoid painful visits to the dentist. Upgrade to an electric toothbrush, which provides a more powerful and thorough cleaning.

4. Be gentle with the brush

Though drugstores give you the option of soft, medium or hard brushes, you should really stick to the soft brushes to avoid damaging your tooth enamel. Gently brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice daily, for best results.

5. Brush with whitening toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes will only remove surface stains and not change the color of your teeth like professional services. They have abrasives, special chemicals or polishing agents that aid in removing those stains. Whitening toothpaste is also a must if you have tooth-colored fillings, crowns, caps or bonding in your front teeth, for which bleaching is not recommended.

6. Salivate More

Foods like celery, apples, pears and carrots are not only healthy for your body, but also for your teeth. How? Eating these foods triggers lots of saliva, which helps to wash away other food debris on your teeth. The same applies for chewing sugarless gum. Saliva also neutralizes the acid that causes tooth decay. So, bring on the saliva!

7. Avoid drinks that stain

Dentists say that any drink that can stain a white cotton T-shirt can stain teeth, including coffee, dark, red wine, tea and sodas, and even fruit juice. Unfortunately, unless you stick to water and ginger ale, it’s almost impossible to avoid these stains!

8. Remember to rinse

We know it’s super hard to completely rule out wine, sodas and fruit juice, So, drink that glass of wine (or glasses), then rinse your mouth with water to keep stains from forming. Avoid brushing after drinking anything acidic though. The acid in wine and other drinks is enamel-damaging, and brushing will only worsen the damage. Also, don’t forget the cheese tray with your wine; calcium-rich foods help neutralize the acids that yellow teeth.

For more info on teeth-whitening Contact Glasscock Dental

8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610 Charlotte, NC 28262