Stay Cool, but Protect Your Teeth

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When the summer sun is beating down, what can you do to stay cool?

If you’re tempted to grab an ice cold soda or a tall glass of lemonade, you might want to think twice. The combination of acid and sugar in these drinks can harm your teeth. Water is an excellent way to stay refreshed and tooth-healthy. Milk is another good choice for keeping teeth strong.

What about a sports drink? Sports drinks are acidic, and many of them have a high sugar content — so they aren’t good for tooth enamel. Again, nothing hydrates like plain water, an option that never damages your teeth.

If you choose a beverage other than water, it’s best to drink it with a meal, and swish your mouth with water afterwards to reduce acidity. This tip applies to all acidic drinks, including fruit juice and diet soda.

One more thing: Acidic food and drink can soften tooth enamel, so wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. This will prevent erosion of tooth enamel over time.

The best advice for cooling down on a sizzling summer day? Grab a cold one — a cold glass of water, that is.

4 Dental Health Tips for College Students

College is one of the most life-changing experiences for your child and for you. Whether you are sending your first or fifth child off to college, the empty nest feeling is always bittersweet. You want to prepare them as much as possible so that their transition to college life is simpler.

The last few weeks of the summer you will be extra busy making sure everything is squared away with tuition, books, transportation, housing arrangements, bank and savings accounts, credit cards, spending allowances, and establishing doctors/dentists. There are a few steps you must take to keep your child on track with their dental health while they are in college.

Establish a Dentist ASAP

Your child will be busy with getting to know the ropes around campus and adapting to their new lifestyle. For a while, their priorities will be studies, friends, and adjusting to a new schedule and way of life. If your child will not be attending college close to home and will be unable to see their current dentist, it is best to establish a trusted dentist near their campus. Refer to online reviews if you need help selecting a dentist and aren’t able to ask a friend or colleague.

Review Dental Insurance Policies

If your child is currently covered under you or your spouse, you will want to be sure that your insurance continues coverage through your child’s tenure in college. If your child will no longer be covered after age 18, it is important to shop for affordable policies so they can continue to receive dental care.

Continue to Stress the Importance of Dental Health

Remember when we talked about priorities earlier in the blog? Well, dental care is included among the forgotten. Oftentimes, people (especially younger adults) are guilty of neglecting dental care because they don’t have any pain. As parents, we must stress the importance of dental maintenance and explain that the lack of pain is entirely due to regular dental care.

Here’s a simple comparison to share with your child: a well-maintained car will continue to be a reliable source of transportation. If you don’t rotate/replace tires, change fluids, and get maintenance check-ups, the car will slowly deteriorate and the car will break down, more than likely at an inconvenient time. The same can be said about our teeth. Just because nothing is wrong at the present time doesn’t mean that we can slack on our dental appointments and routine care.

Put Appointments on Your Calendar

Eventually you will want your child to be independent enough to make their own dental appointments. Until that happens, remind them to make appointments every six months. Add them to your calendar so that you can remind them to make arrangements to not be in class (and work if applicable).

We can help send your student off to college with a bright and healthy smile. Set up an appointment and/or contact us with questions!

Finding a job in federal dentistry

Almost 5,000 dentists work for the U.S. Public Health Service, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the military. Among the benefits with this professional choice:

  • a base salary
  • access to an assortment of nontaxable income and benefits
  • a competitive compensation package that grows with years of service and promotions
  • potential use of time to complete a residency or specialty program
  • access to continuing education and often an opportunity to expand skill levels in an environment not unlike a general practice residency

Capt. Sarah Wheeler shares insights about her lifestyle as a Dentist in the Air Force:

Lt. Sarita Ojha talks about serving in the Navy Dental Corps:

While you may already be familiar with the military and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (sometimes referred to as the VA), you may be less familiar with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are uniformed dental officers, serving in the Indian Health Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Prisons and the National Health Service Corps. While their uniforms are derived from the uniforms of the U.S. Navy, the Commissioned Corps is under the Department of Health and Human Services, overseen by the Surgeon General, rather than under the Department of Defense. While the Commissioned Corps is not an armed service, officers may have the opportunity to assist in public health responses to man-made and natural disasters. Officers receive the same benefits as their counterparts in the military.

Check out Federal Dental Services eNews, a quarterly ADA publication.

Find more information on these opportunities:

School Lunches: Squeeze Out the Juice

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Sending the kids back to school means it’s time to start packing those lunch boxes! And when you do, keep in mind that what your children drink can affect their oral health just as much as what they eat.

The scientific evidence is overwhelming that sugar is the most important dietary factor in causing tooth decay, and soft drinks are the largest source of sugar in many kids’ diets. But they’re not the only culprits: Even 100% fruit juices with no added sugar can promote tooth decay because of the sugar they naturally contain.

That’s one of the reasons why the American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with new recommendations for children’s juice consumption, based on the latest research. Here are the new guidelines by age:

  • Kids ages 7-18 should have no more than 8 ounces (1 cup) of juice per day.
  • Children ages 4-6 should have no more than 6 ounces of juice per day.
  • Toddlers ages 1-3 should be limited to 4 ounces of juice per day.
  • Babies under age 1, and children of any age with abnormal weight gain, should have no juice at all.

Again, these guidelines apply to 100 percent natural juice with no added sugar.

So what drink should you pack in your child’s lunchbox? Water is the most tooth-friendly beverage of all. Low-fat or non-fat milk are also good choices for school-aged kids.

If you have any questions about nutrition and oral health, be sure to ask your dentist. And have a happy, healthy school year.

Working together against oropharyngeal cancer

10788C_MDAnderson_LI_1200x627The American Dental Association (ADA) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have joined together to combine their efforts to prevent oropharyngeal cancers through educational outreach to increase HPV vaccination rates.

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of cancers of the oropharynx (throat: the tonsils, base of tongue/lingual tonsil) related to human papillomavirus (HPV) particularly among middle-aged men. These cancers typically cause no symptoms in the throat and patients are usually made aware of the problem by feeling a painless mass in the neck, which represents spread of the cancer from the throat. Because these patients already have an advanced staged cancer at presentation, they typically require extensive treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy which results in multiple major oral and throat acute and long-term side effects.

The ADA and MD Anderson Cancer Center are synergizing their efforts to end tobacco use, the principal cause of oral cavity (mouth) cancers. The organizations are hosting a symposium on oropharyngeal cancer entitled “Working Together Against Oropharyngeal Cancer,” to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 18, preceding ADA 2017 – America’s Dental Meeting in Atlanta.

Speakers from the ADA, MD Anderson, and the CDC, will present the latest on the rising epidemic of oropharyngeal cancer and the global impact of HPV-related cancers, the potential for the HPV vaccine and eliminating tobacco use to prevent cancer, an update on emerging techniques to treat oropharyngeal cancers, and an overview of the major long-term side effects of current therapies. Key components of the symposium will focus on opportunities for dentists and other providers to enhance oropharyngeal and oral cavity cancer prevention and earlier diagnosis as well as to facilitate treatment of these cancers and management of treatment side effects.

A panel of survivors will bring a face to oropharyngeal cancer and relate their personal experiences in the cancer continuum from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship along with their straight forward advocacy for HPV vaccination and ending tobacco use.

We invite all related medical professionals to join us in the conversation. Register today at

This article was written by Erich M. Sturgis, MD, MPH, Professor, Tenure, Department of Head & Neck Surgery and Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Professor, Tenure, Joint Appointment, Department of Epidemiology, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry Intern Spotlight: Abby Gribble

Oral health education is one of Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry’s most important values. We believe that education for our staff and patients is essential for optimal pediatric dental care.

We strive to pass down our values to our patients and hope that their time spent with us reflects in their dental health habits as they approach adulthood. For one of our long-term patients, completing her internship at CPD was a no-brainer. Her experience with us through her childhood resonated with her enough to choose us for this incredibly important experience.

Abby Gribble, a dental hygiene major at UNC Chapel Hill and former patient of CPD, spent some time with us this summer, honing her skills and immersing herself in all things pediatric dentistry. During her internship, she exuded professionalism and compassion with children, and was an exemplary part of our team.

Abby Gribble, a dental hygiene major at UNC Chapel Hill

Why did you choose CPD to complete your internship?

The only dentist I went to as a child was CPD, so when I needed an office to shadow this summer, the bright and happy office and smiling staff of CPD that I remembered as a little girl was the first place I thought of. As I consider my future career, I know combining working with children and dentistry most appeals to me, so CPD was a perfect fit.

What did you learn while job shadowing at CPD?

While shadowing at CPD, I learned greeting patients and parents with a welcoming smile goes a long way. Some children are nervous about coming to the dentist so helping them feel safe and comfortable is key. It is also important to explain that they need to take care of their teeth by brushing and flossing at home because often children don’t understand what cavities are and what can prevent them.

Abby Gribble with the Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry team.

What are you looking forward to as you pursue your career?

I am excited about actually being able to start working on patients because now that I’ve seen everything I’m ready to actually try doing it myself. I am also excited to work with children in the future, and this shadowing opportunity has helped prepare me for that.

Interning at CPD

Our doctors consider it to be an honor when students choose CPD for their job shadowing experience. Dr. Moore had the pleasure of working directly with Abby, as he does most of our interns. Below he shares his farewell wishes for each intern, as well as some updates for future interns.

“We have always invited interns to our offices and every summer we’ll have 2-3 throughout the practice. Many are former patients, which is the highest compliment for the practice, and the others are often referred by other dental practices.

This summer we will experience time with 3 interns.  Abby was at Mallard Creek and she’s enrolled in the Dental Hygiene program at UNC. Mallory is at the Davidson location, and she is interested in dentistry as a career following her graduation from UNC. Jay, who moves between the Mallard Creek and Billingsley locations, has graduated from Appalachian State University and hopes to attend Dental School in the future.

My hope for Abby, as it is with them all, is she is inspired by the experience in our practice and with our incredible group of doctors and staff to the point that she will be even more motivated to embrace dentistry as a career.”