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What is a network, what does PPO mean, what is a HMO, and what does Indemnity mean?

The world of insurance is complicated, sometimes needlessly so. One topic we discuss with clients on a daily basis is networks, or more simply “who accepts this plan?” It’s confusing, so let’s start by explaining what a network, HMO, PPO, and Indemnity plan is.

Network is the easiest of these to understand because it is a word used outside of the insurance industry. In insurance a network is a group of doctors that sign an agreement with that network. Doctors (providers) are then bound to the network, which typically requires them to charge members of that network a reduced rate for their services. In return for lowering their prices, network providers (doctors) can expect to receive more customers. Some dental insurance companies keep premiums down by only offering plans that use a network.

Larger networks typically have smaller discounts, while small networks can offer deeper discounts. This is the primary difference between a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) and a HMO (Health Maintenance Organization). HMO’s generally have less options because less providers are part of the HMO, but the discounts are deeper. PPO’s generally have more providers in more areas, because more doctors agree to the network’s terms and discounts.

HMO’s tend to have less providers but it can also be the most affordable. This is because HMO’s control all aspects of the healthcare. The downside of HMO’s is choice, as you are strongly encouraged to go to a HMO provider.

PPO’s exist to offer clients as many options as possible while keeping premiums down. PPO’s use a network (or multiple networks, the Spirit PPO uses the Careington and DenteMax) that actively recruits doctors to provide care under the PPO. So PPO’s generally have more options than HMO’s, but there are, however many doctors who prefer not to be part of any network.

For clients who want more choice, an Indemnity plan allows them to see any dentist. The Spirit Indemnity plan will pay any dentist a set amount for each procedure. The payments are based on 90% of Reasonable and Customary in each area, meaning that 9 of 10 dentists charge that amount or less. So the Indemnity plan provides coverage with no networks to worry about. The Spirit Indemnity plan is perfect for people who want the freedom to see any dentist.

If you have any questions about this or topic or any others relating to Dental insurance, click to chat or give us a call (800) 620-5010. To see the options we provide in your area click here.

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Adding EyeMed Vision to your Spirit Dental Plan can save you big money

Add the optional Spirit EyeMed coverage to your dental insurance and you'll save if you wear glasses or contacts. Without coverage, an exam and prescription glasses can cost $300 or more. You have EyeMed access to thousands of private practice and retail-affiliated network providers located in convenient neigborhood locations across the country.

Spirit Vision Coverage Highlights

Spirit Dental & Vision’s vision plan is available through the EyeMed Vision Care Network. EyeMed is a leading vision benefits company, offering the following features:

  • Savings on eye care and eyewear 
  • Quality standards for care and materials 
  • Access to thousands of providers nationwide, including the nation’s top optical retail brands 

Copays for Exams Lenses and Frames

  • Eye Exam $10 Copay (Once every 12 months.)
  • Eye Glasses/Lenses $20 Copay (Once every 24 months)
  • Frames $0 Copay (Once every 24 months)

Contact Lenses

  • Contact Lenses (Once every 24 months instead of lenses and frame)
  • Contact lens wearers will pay up to $55 for standard contact lens exam, including fit and follow-up, or receive 10% off retail price for premium contact lens exam, fit and follow-up.
  • Plans include a $100 retail allowance that can be applied toward the purchase of conventional or disposable contact lenses. 
  • If the member chooses conventional contact lenses with a retail price over $100, he or she will receive 15% off the balance. Medically necessary contact lenses are paid in full after the copay. 
  • Replacement contact lenses can be ordered online and conveniently delivered to members’ homes through www.eyemedcontacts.com

Additional Discounts

Spirit Vision members will also receive unlimited additional discounts on purchases made at participating provider locations, including:

  • 40% off additional complete pairs of eyeglasses
  • 15% off additional purchases of conventional contact lenses
  • 20% off non-covered items like cleaning cloths or nonprescription sunglasses

Other non-vision insurance discounts

Coatings and lens treatments can be added for the costs below:

Lense Options

Member Cost

Polycarbonate lenses

Scratch-Resistant coating

Solid or gradient tint

Ultraviolet coating

Anti-Reflective coating

Standard progressive (add-on to bifocal)

Lens options not listed

$40

$15

$15

$15

$45

$65

(20% off retail price)

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New version of Spirit Dental indemnity plan introduced

The Spirit Indemnity Dental Insurance plan helps individuals and families cover the costs of dental care. 

Covered dental services include exams, cleanings, fillings and extractions, as well as crowns, root canals, bridges and dentures.

The policy pays for covered dental expenses based upon a percentage of the reasonable and customary (R&C) fees for those covered expenses after the deductible has been satisfied. 

The percentages are: 

  • 100% for Preventive Services, 70% for Basic and 10% for Major Services in the 1st year.
  • In the 2nd year of coverage, Basic Services increase to 80% and 50% for Major. 
  • In the 3rd year, Basic Services increase to 90%

Highlights of the plan include: 

  • The right to choose your own dentist.
  • Calendar Year Maximums - $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000 per insured
  • Two dental exams and three cleanings are included per calendar year
  • One series of bitewing x-rays per year
  • Space maintainers
  • Sealants (children to age 16)
  • One topical fluoride treatment per year to age 16

Major services include:

  • Simple extractions
  • Implants (endosteal only), up to the allowance for the lowest cost covered traditional procedure
  • One diagnostic x-ray, full or panoramic in any 3 year period
  • Oral surgery
  • Endodontic treatment
  • Periodontic services
  • Restoration services; inlays, onlays and crowns
  • Prosthetic services; bridges and dentures
  • Basic fillings
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New Spirit Careington Maximum Care PPO Dental Plan

The Spirit PPO Dental Insurance plan helps cover the costs of dental care. Covered dental services include exams, cleanings, fillings and extractions, as well as crowns, root canals, bridges, and dentures.

This policy pays you for covered dental expenses for Careington (Maximum Care) PPO Provider or Non PPO providers (Out-of-Network) based on the contracted fee amount negotiated with Careington (Maximum Care) organization after the deductible has been satisfied.

The percentages are: 

  • 100% for Preventive Services, 40% for Basic, 20% for Major and 10% for Ortho Services in the 1st year. 
  • In the 2nd year of coverage, Basic Services increase to 80%, 50% for Major and 25% for Ortho Services.
  • In the 3rd year, Basic Services increase to 90%, Major Services increase to 60% and Ortho Services increase to 50%. 

Highlights of the plan include: 

  • Spirit Dental allows you to select your own Careington (Maximum Care) dentist.
  • Calendar Year Maximums - $1,200, $2,500 or $3,500 per insured
  • Two dental exams and three cleanings are included per calendar year
  • One series of bitewing x-rays per year
  • Space maintainers
  • Sealants (children to age 16)
  • One topical fluoride treatment per year to age 16

Major services include:

  • Simple extractions
  • Implants (endosteal only), up to the allowance for the lowest cost covered traditional procedure
  • One diagnostic x-ray, full or panoramic in any 3 year period
  • Oral surgery
  • Endodontic treatment
  • Periodontic services
  • Restoration services; inlays, onlays and crowns
  • Prosthetic services; bridges and dentures
  • Basic fillings

Children Orthodontia benefits include:

  • Orthodontic care for the proper alignment of teeth is provided only to dependent children who are under 19 when treatment is received
  • Coverage is 10% 1st year, 25% 2nd year and 50% 3rd year with a $1200 lifetime maximum per child
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Give Kids a Smile Day a big hit in Delaware

"Give Kids a Smile Day" was a big success in Upper Darby last week. Over 200 appointments were made to have children's teeth screened during the event held in Upper Darby, Delaware. This was the first year that the event was held in the upper Darby area. Eight dentists from Darby and nearby Philadelphia participated in the event.

The goal of the event is to administer immediate care then help children find a local dentist that they can see on a regular basis. The organizers want to identify children without Delaware dental insurance get them set up with dental care services year round. "We looked into a lot of mouths and solved a lot of potential problems for children this week", said the organizers.

The Give Kids A Smile program began in 2003 under sponsorship of the (ADA) American Dental Association. Dentists and other dental professionals donate their time and services to provide exams, treatments and education. The program started out as a local one day event but has expanded into both local and national events 365 days per year. Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1500 events, all because of the efforts of 40,000 or more  annual volunteers.

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Taking care of baby teeth

 A child's primary teeth, sometimes called "baby teeth," typically begin to appear when a baby is between six months and one year of age, are as important as the permanent adult teeth. Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the child's first birthday. Consider a dental visit at an early age is a "well baby checkup" for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other potential problems such as thumb-sucking.

 Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

 

 

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Dental access for low income families in Connecticut increasing dramatically

Low-income children from the state of Connecticut are accessing dental care at a higher rate than most other states according to a new report. The report found that children in the state's top ten cities are seeing the dentist as often as their peers with private Connecticut dental insurance. 

Overall, about 300,000 young people in low-income families are getting dental care through the Husky A program. In Hartford and New Britain, that's 75 percent of the kids who are on welfare.

The key to the success in the increase in access has been a higher medicaid reimbursement rate paid to participating dentists which has made it more attractive for them to serve medicaid patients. Reimbursement rates for dentists hadn't been adjusted since 1993. In some instances the rates increased by 100 percent. For a cleaning the amount the dentist get went from only $24 to $65. 

Another key was consolidating the program from four dental providers to only one. The system is now easier for administrators, providers, and patients to work with. The new provider pushed private dentists to participate in a system, which no longer gave insurers incentives not to pay out claims. Members were also sent out reminders to see the dentists.

The result of these actions dramatically increased the amount of participating dental care providers across the state.

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Can your MD perform an oral health exam?

Who is the most qualified health professional to perform an oral health exam?

If you said your dentist you provided the most common and correct answer. While a medical doctor is qualified to do such an exam a dentist is more familiar with the anatomy of the mouth and is specifically trained to identify abnormalities in the mouth, including oral cancer. Therefore, an oral exam by a dentist is still the preferred approach. 

According to the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, most oral cancers are essentially preventable and with early diagnosis and timely treatment have a good prognosis. The key element is early diagnosis! More than 90% of oral cancers occur in individuals older than 45 years.

According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in this country. Smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States. Men are twice as likely to be affected as women, with the average age at diagnosis of 60 years. American consumers are living longer and therefore oral exams should be performed by dental professionals and should be part of their overall health maintenance.

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Colorado trying to expand lower income dental access

A study completed in 2011 estimates that forty percent of Colorado's 2.1 million residents lack dental insurance coverage. The study also indicated that those without Colorado dental insurance were twice as likely to skip needed dental care due to cost concerns over the coverage. 

According to a study done in 2010 by the Colorado Health Institute only about four out of ten children who have Colorado dental insurance see the dentist regularly. One reason for this could be that even though dental insurance softens the blow to the wallet it still costs money to see the dentist for major services. 

Lower income kids are at the greatest risk for tooth decay and oral health diseases. Getting them to the dentist early and regularly can not only prevent a bunch of pain and suffering it also can save the state millions of dollars in care at emergency rooms plus the loss of overall productivity at work and school.

The (ACA) Affordable Care Act has provisions for covering pediatric dental but finding dentists who will take medicaid is always a challenge. Twenty of Colorado’s 64 counties don't even have a dentist who accepts Medicaid. Only 10 percent of Colorado’s 3,500 or so dentists are considered significant Medicaid providers, meaning that they are reimbursed for at least 100 visits per year. Most avoid Medicaid because of low reimbursement rates and extensive paperwork to get qualified.

Oral Health Colorado has set several goals for 2017 that focus on Medicaid utilization:

  • Provide a dental home for every child in the state of Colorado
  • Convince parents take their children to the dentist at least once per year.
  • Dramatically increase the amount of dentist who accept Medicaid for compensation.
  • At least 65 percent of children on Medicaid would get an annual checkup; the Medicaid provider network would grow 20 percent
  • The proportion of 1-year-olds seeing a dentist for preventive care would grow from 3.4 percent to 6 percent
  • 50 percent of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women would receive oral health care.
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Are dairy products good for your teeth?

Are milk, cheese, and other dental products good for your teeth? 

Milk contains a sugar called lactose which is fortunately pretty benign as far as tooth decay is concerned. Even with the presence of lactose milk does not promote tooth decay because of the presence of high amounts of calcium, phosphate, and casein which is a milk protein that helps strengthen teeth.

Eating cheese can actually help protect teeth from developing cavities because eating cheese helps increase the flow of saliva which helps neutralize acids in the mouth. Cheese also increases calcium concentration which helps stop the demineralisation of tooth enamel. The fat that is abundant in cheese also helps reduce bacteria in the mouth.

A lump of cheese is often eaten in Europe after a meal as a desert. European cultures have known for centuries that cheese helps protect the tooth enamel after a meal by neutralizing bacteria in the mouth. So next time you have a sugary meal have a piece of cheese when you finish to help neutralize the effects of the sugars in your mouth.

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Do the health benefits of berry pigments make it past the mouth?

Research suggests compounds responsible for the rich hues in colorful fruits, like berries, promote health. However, authors of a new study warn the potential benefits of anthocyanin compounds in berries may not make it past the mouth.

To test which health-promoting substances in berries are likely to survive and be produced in the mouth, researchers of the study, from the Ohio State University, measured the extent of anthocyanin pigment degradation when exposed to saliva. 

Researchers of the study exposed extracts of anthocyanin pigments from blueberries, chokeberries, black raspberries, red grapes and strawberries to the saliva collected from 14 people. They found two families of anthocyanins were consistently broken down when exposed to saliva: delphinidin and petunidin, and four other families were more stable: cyanidin, pelargonidin, peonidin and malvidin, according to a news release from the university.

Additionally, oral microflora contributed to the degradation of all anthocyanins. The study suggests that the bacteria within one’s oral cavity are a primary mediator of pigment metabolism. The bacteria are converting compounds that are present in the foods into metabolites.

One area of great interest is whether the health-promoting benefits associated with eating anthocyaninrich fruits like berries are provided by the pigment itself, the natural combinations of the pigments in the fruit or the metabolites produced by bacteria in the mouth and other regions of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Will dental therapists gain acceptance in California?

Dental therapists receive specialized training that allow them to administer local anesthesia, perform x-rays, exams, fill cavities, pull teeth and even perform root canals. With nearly 17 millions children in the country currently lacking basic dental care dental therapists are expected to help fill the existing gap in dental care and coverage.

The majority of the children and their families do not have California dental insurance. They tend to live in areas without enough dentists or they simply can't find members of the dental community who accept Medicaid. Problems accessing dentists in California could grow dramatically in 2014, when millions more children are expected to get dental insurance under the (ACA) Affordable Care Act.

The (ADA) American Dental Association argues that dental therapists aren't adequately trained to perform the major dental work that has typically been performed by fully licensed and trained dentists. Dental lobbies in California are arguing that high school graduates with a few years of training could end up performing delicate procedures with permanent and irreversible consequences if done incorrectly.

The Children's Dental Campaign for the Pew Center on the States, and other research and advocacy groups counter that concerns about insufficient training and substandard quality are completely unfounded and are just an anticipated reaction from dental association groups whose main purpose is to protect the incomes and livelihoods of existing dentists.

They say that the therapists would be properly trained, educated, and supervised to help close the huge and growing gaps in dental care which are causing an oral health disease epidemic across the country today. Nationwide, nearly 830,000 emergency room visits in 2009 were due to preventable dental problems, according to the center. The amount of money, pain, and suffering saved by eliminating most of those visits not to mention the increase in productivity of those effected could make a real difference in thousands of families and businesses across the country.

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First Annual Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy brings relief to thousands

Thousands of local residents without Arizona dental insurance waited patiently in line at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona to receive free dental care at the first annual Arizona Dental Mission of Mercy.

Nearly fifteen hundred dentists, dental hygienists, dental and lab assistants volunteered to help those who could not afford dental care or Arizona Dental Insurance. The treatments included exams, cleanings, fillings, and extractions.

Many of the attendee's who waited patiently in line had not seen a dentist in years. A combination of a lack of Arizona dental insurance coverage and the cost of dental care makes it difficult for many people to afford.

Many of the children who attended the event had never been exposed to any type of a consistent dental care program. Pediatric dentist Kimberly Sherill said the number of children with dental problems is a growing problem. Sherill was inspired to contribute her expertise to this event after noticing a decline of patient checkups in her own office which reflects the challenges and declines in the overall local economy. 

 

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Dates set for annual Arkansas Dental Mission of Mercy

The Arkansas Mission of Mercy is an annual two-day free dental clinic sponsored by the Arkansas State Dental Association for those in Arkansas who can't afford dental care or dental insurance. All services are provided free of charge by members of the Arkansas State Dental Association who are assisted by hundreds of volunteers. The 2013 Arkansas Mission of Mercy will be held on May 31 and June 1 at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. 

Since the annual event was started in 2007, over 8,084 patients have been seen in only ten total days. The number of dental procedures performed has been phenomenal: 15,967 extractions of bad teeth, and 7,738 fillings and other restorations. These donated procedures were worth an estimated $4 million.

The event provides dental care for the relief of pain to residents of Arkansas who can't afford dental care and don't have Arkansas dental insurance. Most of the participants are from working families who do not have access to dental care. The majority of these patients might otherwise have no hope of receiving care if it wasn't for the generosity of the sponsors of this annual event.

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Oral health disease runs rampant in Alaskan Native Villages

One of the greatest health care challenges in Alaska is oral health disease among Alaskan Native populations. Children in particular are suffering from oral diseases at epidemic proportions. The saddest part of this story is that most of the disease and suffering can be easily prevented with access to basic dental care. A major roadblock to preventing that suffering is finding dentist's who practice in or are even travel willing to remote area's on America's last frontier.

The leaders of Alaska's Native Villages have partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help deal with oral health issues within their population. The training of local mid-level dental practitioners to help take care of basic dental treatments is a possible solution. Dental Therapists as they are called work under the supervision of dentists and currently provide access to approximately 35,000 Alaskan Natives scattered across remote area's of the frontier.

Prevention through education, diet, and technology are also area's that are under renewed scrutiny by local health authorities. Most of the villages lack access to a fluoridated water supply. That combined with a diet high in soda pop and sugar are major contributors to a high rate of tooth decay. Dental education programs have been put in place at the tribal level to educate children and parents about how they can prevent tooth decay and gum disease through diet, habits, and modified behavior in the home.

Access to needed dental services and Alaska Dental Insurance is not unique to just the frontier area's of the state of Alaska. An estimated ten thousand new dentists are needed nationally of help fill the current access gap that exists in dental care. Over 130 million American's nationwide are without any form of dental insurance and that number continues to rise on a daily basis.

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Free Dental Day in Alabama

Alabama Family Dental participated in sponsoring its fifth annual free dental services day for individuals and families in Mobile, Alabama who do not have Alabama dental insurance and cannot afford dental care.

Nearly 100 people who did not have Alabama dental insurance participated in the event. Three dentists from the clinic, their hygienists, and assistants provided oral exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, and extractions at no cost.

Dr. Jennifer Milazzo of Alabama Family Dental was quoted as saying, "We understand that people's lives may be busy and treatment may be expensive, and we just feel like we need to help people who otherwise can't afford it or get it done."

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services over 108 million American's do not have dental insurance and many of those affected are children who are not receiving basic and fundamental dental care at an early age. Increased access to pediatric dental insurance programs has been a major goal of the (ACA) Affordable Care Act.

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Three million more children could have dental insurance by 2018

A recent ADA News story on the potential effects of the (ACA) Affordable Care Act on dentistry stated that an estimated 3 million children will gain dental benefits by 2018 through health insurance exchanges, roughly a 5 percent increase over the number of children with private benefits currently. 

Beyond the exchanges, more children will benefit through employer-sponsored dental benefits with dependent coverage, "although the number is uncertain at this time," the Association said.  

The law includes pediatric dental coverage in a list of essential health benefits to be provided by small and individual group health plans. The ACA does not address coverage for adult dental benefits. However, some states are looking at adult coverage as a potential optional benefit after the ACA-mandated health benefit exchanges are in place.

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3 Simple Health Tips for Feeling Better

While we all know some of the standard practices for staying healthy and feeling good - eat a balanced diet of moderate amounts, wash your hands regularly to avoid germs... here's three other simple tips to stay healthy and feel better more of the time:

Get a good night's sleep.  Not everyone needs 8 hours, but that's a standard. Whatever amount is your 'good' amount, work to get that much every night, consistently.  Some say that the amount of that time slept before midnight is of higher quality. 

Move.  Yep, that's right. Not 'hit the gym for 3 hours' or run a marathon or swim the channel, but just get up and move around regularly.  Walking continues to be regarded as one of the best types of exercise for humans. 

Take care of your teeth.  

Besides the superficial aspects of what having a nice, clean, white smile does for your sense of feeling good, many problems - and pain - can originate with your teeth and in your mouth. Researcher have found that the plaque buildup and gum disease can lead to inflammation, which can lead to heart problems.  Plus, as you age, bad dental health conditions can lead to major problems. 

Get your teeth cleaned regularly with a preventative care package available with Spirit Dental (and other plans) so you can avoid problems in the future. 

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Fluoride helps dental health in adulthood decades later

Fluoridated drinking water and fluoride in over-the-counter and prescription toothpastes are widely credited with the large reduction in dental cavities seen since these products were made available beginning in the early 1950s.

Fluoride is the 13th most common element in Earth's crust, and it is naturally present in high concentrations throughout the United States and elsewhere. Fluoride bonds with the enamel of our teeth which hardens them against the acids produced by bacteria in our mouths that can cause tooth decay.

Studies have confirmed the most effective source of fluoride to be water fluoridation.
Its use in toothpaste and its addition to city water supplies across the United States sparked a controversy 60 years ago, and the dispute continues to this day. In the United Kingdom, and in other European Union countries, fluoride is used to a much lesser extent due to fierce public opposition.

More than 144 million United States residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated tap water, providing an automatic defense against the harmful ingredients that cause such a preventable oral health disease.

Children drinking water with added fluoride helps dental health in adulthood decades later. Your fluoridation exposure at birth is affecting your tooth loss in your 40s and 50s, regardless of what your fluoridation exposure was like when you were 20 and 30 years old.

For children whose adult teeth haven't shown yet, fluoride still improves tooth enamel, the highly mineralized tissue on teeth's surface. Fluoride also helps teeth damaged from the decay process and breaks down bacteria on teeth.

Fluoride varnishes are typically used for patients who don't receive enough fluoride from other sources. Keeping fluoride in the mouth enhances its ability to arrest de-mineralization and promote re-mineralization, and varnishes are better for this purpose than fluoridated drinking water or toothpaste.

Varnish, applied quickly and easily by a dentist, is one of the most concentrated products available commercially. Varnishes that contain sodium fluoride adhere to tooth surfaces when saliva is present, providing an excellent fluoride treatment.

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Links between smoking and gum disease

There has always been a significant link between smoking and gum disease. According to a new study at Ohio State University, smoking causes the body to turn against its own helpful bacteria, leaving smokers more vulnerable to gum disease, and tooth decay. Smokers suffer from a much higher rate of oral disease than the non smoking population. Research shows that cigarette smoke wipes out good bacteria in the mouth making the tissue much more susceptible to attack from bad bacteria. The mouth is an interesting environment full of both good and bad bacteria. The mouth develops what is called a bio-film which plays host to these bacteria. If the good bacteria keep getting wiped the bad tends to thrive and that is where oral health problems begin.

In a recent study researchers at Ohio State University took oral sample of bio-film from 15 smokers and 15 non smokers after a series of annual cleanings. The researchers found that with non smokers disease associated bacteria was largely absent. In contrast the smokers in the group started colonizing harmful pathogens within the first 24 hours. It took much longer for smokers to form a stable microbial community. When it did become established it was much more pathogen rich than the bio-film in the mouth of non smokers. Researchers found that smokers also tend to have more cases of red and swollen gums (gingivitis) because the body is mounting defense against the increased risk of infection. Left untreated this can lead to the irreversible form of bone loss called periodontitis.

Researchers are advising dentists that they need to treat the oral health needs of smokers much more aggressively. It starts with making the patient aware of the need to promote a healthy bio-film in the mouth after cleanings. It should also evolve into more dentists becoming involved in recommending smoking cessation programs. This hasn’t been the role of the dentist in the past but more and more of them are beginning to take an active role.

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