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Monday, September 30, 2013

Halloween: Sweet Treats can be Tricky for Teeth

Halloween is one of everyone’s favorite holidays, especially children, but with the fun, treats, and costumes come some perils for your teeth.

Harmful bacteria thrive when exposed to sugar, increasing the speed and prevalence of tooth decay, and dental visits often increase the week following Halloween due to aggravated toothaches and cavities.

153640648 Did you know that the worst candies for your dental health are sour candies, especially sour gummies? Sour candies contain high acid levels that erode enamel at a faster rate than regular sugary treats. Gummy candies and other chewy snacks like caramels stick to the teeth for longer, increasing the exposure period and risk of bacterial growth. Choose sugar-free versions for a safer indulgence. Those who wear braces face even more dangers during Halloween since gum, hard candies, candy apples, and popcorn can stick to or break the delicate hardware in your mouth, so try for softer chocolates if you wear braces or a retainer.

On the plus side, parents can use Halloween as a time to encourage healthy brushing and eating habits. It is essential that children and parents alike brush after meals or after enjoying Halloween candy. If you are busy and on the go, carrying travel-size mouthwash and floss is a great way to clean your mouth of debris after snacking. Eating candy at mealtimes (instead of throughout the day) also helps limit sugar exposure to teeth, as saliva production increases while eating a larger meal and will help wash away any sugar. Parents can also mix Halloween candy with healthier snacks like peanuts or fruit. Frozen grapes are a fun bite-sized alternative to processed, sugary candy!

We’ve even heard it recommended that parents to allow their children to eat the bulk of their Halloween candy at once in order to limit sugar exposure to a few sittings instead of slowly over a longer period of time. We won’t recommend gorging from a nutritional standpoint, but it is an interesting reminder that the shorter the exposure of sugar to the teeth, the better!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Loving Care for a Lifetime of Wear

Senior citizens face unique challenges when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth as they age. Not only do seniors often require advanced (and pricey) procedures, they often do not possess extensive dental insurance to help cover the costs of complete dental care in their retirement. Healthy teeth are linked to increased life expectancy, so it is important for seniors to find affordable dental care in order to promote their overall health and longevity.

Common dental problems for seniors include gingivitis, periodontal disease, recessed gums, and weakened or lost teeth. The use of dentures can increase the risk of dental infection as well.  In addition, dry mouth, a common side effect of many medications, may contribute to dental problems since there is often not enough saliva to clear away harmful bacteria in the gums. Dental problems are linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack, so it is imperative that seniors take care of their teeth.[1]

There are many ways for seniors to care for their teeth effectively at home. Brushing and flossing are essential at any age, but can be more challenging for certain people as they age due to mobility issues. Enlisting a family member or caregiver to help with these daily tasks can reduce the risk of dental disease. Using an electric toothbrush may also help ease the brushing process.

55878224 Various dental procedures can enhance the appearance and health of aging teeth and may merit a visit to the dentist. For example, dental bonding, crowns, and bridges can repair broken teeth, creating a uniform smile and reducing pain. Veneers, whitening, and Invisalign systems can brighten your teeth and increase confidence as the years go on! The trend towards price transparency for dental care will aid seniors in making cost-effective choices for their health. Explore dental care options at reduced rates for all ages through Brighter.com today!








[1] "Professional Dental Cleanings May Reduce Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke." AHA/ASA Newsroom. American Heart Association, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://newsroom.heart.org/news/professional-dental-cleanings-217760>.




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Your Access to Essential Dental Care

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 ushered in a whole new era of health care coverage, availability, and with it, complexity. While a greater number of Americans will have access to essential medical coverage in the coming years, dental coverage under the ACA can be complicated or non-existent. The ACA misses an essential component of healthy living by not requiring dental care of most insurance providers.

106579084 Approximately 47% of Americans lack any type of dental insurance as of 2012, whereas only 14.5% of Americans lack medical insurance.[1] Of the uninsured, 66% have at least one major unmet dental care need according to the 2013 US Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility.[2] These unmet needs can develop into chronic conditions affecting overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, the ACA does little to remedy this situation.

The good news for children and parents is that under the ACA, pediatric oral care is considered an “Essential Health Benefit” (EHB), meaning that insurance providers must include some level of dental care for children in their plans beginning January 1, 2014. As discussed in our previous blog post, regular dental checkups are crucial to establish good habits and health in children.

Dental coverage for adults, however, may be limited or non-existent under the ACA. According to the American Dental Association, states can elect to mandate dental care as part of the ACA, but few are actually doing so due to cost and implementation issues.[3] Medicaid only provides limited or emergency dental care in most cases, leaving millions of adults with limited dental care options.

Brighter.com can help patients find affordable, quality care whether they possess dental insurance or not under the ACA. Brighter.com provides a transparent marketplace for a wide range of dental procedures (including those not covered by traditional insurance), resulting in significant savings averaging over 50% off due to our pre-negotiated rates with top providers. All patients can search for quality dentists in their area and select a provider through our unique listing pages featuring bios, reviews, photos, and videos of the dentist and their practice. You can book a convenient appointment through our website or customer service hotline – try it today at Brighter.com or 888.230.4717!








[1] CDC/NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, Family Core component. (2012).




[2] Neal, David, Ph.D., and Natalie Herd, Ph.D. "2013 US Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility." (2013)




[3] "ADA News." Affordable Care Act, Dental Benefits Examined. American Dental Association, 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 9 Sept. 2013. <http://www.ada.org/news/8935.aspx>.