Monday, December 16, 2013

A Howell Family Dentist Explains how Proper Oral Care can Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke!

Did you know that more studies are linking periodontal disease to serious, sometimes fatal diseases like heart disease, stroke and certain cancers?  

A few more scary facts:
  • Periodontal disease affects up to 75% of the world's population! 
  • Gum inflammation and bone loss is not always painful.  Which is a problem, since many of us don't seek care from a dentist or doctor until we feel pain!  
  • Research indicates that even with proper oral care, 30% of the population is still at risk for periodontal disease.
Brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly just became much more important!  

Know that facts and work with us to keep your mouth healthy and lower your risk of a serious disease. 

It's imperative that you take a few minutes to read more about this!

Call us to schedule your 6 month check up today! 517-546-8983

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bottled or Tap Water? Dr. DiStefano, Your Howell Family Dentist Weighs In!

Are you encouraging your family to make healthier choices?

It’s widely known that diet and exercise are key to a healthy lifestyle.  Part of a healthy diet is adequate hydration. 

Americans drink over 8 billion gallons of bottled water a year.  Not all brands of bottled water contain fluoride, the natural mineral that prevents tooth decay.  Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and re-mineralizes teeth damaged by acid. Fluoride is also in many toothpastes and dental rinses, and can be applied as a varnish or gel by dentists. 
Unfortunately, most bottlers don’t clearly list on their label whether or not their water is fluoridated.  The U.S Food and Drug Administration doesn’t currently require that bottles be labeled with the level of fluoride, unless it’s purposefully added during processing. 

Did you know that it’s estimated that half of all 5 year-olds have visual evidence of tooth decay?  In 2009, an Eastern Virginia Medical School conducted a study and found that almost 70 percent of parents gave their children bottled water to drink. They did so for the convenience, preference for the taste and smell, and fear of tap water contamination. 

Keep in mind, however, that studies have not proven that the increased consumption of bottled water is directly correlated to a rise in tooth decay.  High-sugar diets could in fact be the main culprit, though Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, an American Dental Association spokesman, states that “Fluoridated tap water is now believed by experts to reduce the risk of tooth decay by about 25 percent.”  It’s the single most effective and economical way to prevent tooth decay and it’s widely available through tap water.

If you’re concerned that you and your family are not getting enough fluoride, please call to schedule an appointment with Dr. DiStefano.  He and his staff will discuss your concerns and help you decide if a fluoride treatment is necessary.  Dr. DiStefano and Associates truly care about helping you improve your family’s health. 

Sign up to receive more great tips from Dr. DiStefano including:

  • Brushing & Flossing Best Practices
  • Tips for Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist
  •  What to Do If You Have a Dental Emergency
  • Helpful Information About Head, Neck, Jaw and Facial Pain


Monday, September 23, 2013

Dr. DiStefano, Your Howell Family Dentist, Shares Tips on Getting Your Kids to Brush Regularly!

Do you struggle getting your child to 
brush his/her teeth?

When they finally pick up the toothbrush are they brushing correctly and for the recommended time of two minutes?

Are you looking for ideas to help make the process easier and 
more fun for them and less stressful for you?

Dr. DiStefano and his Howell Family Dental staff are ready to partner with you to improve your family’s health.   
We’ve shared some tips below that may make the routine of 
getting your kids to brush more enjoyable. 

Little Individuals

Kids enjoy having some ownership with making choices.  Allow them to pick out an age-appropriate toothbrush.  There are a variety of toothbrushes available that have characters, lights, music and special designs.  You may want to consider getting an electronic spin brush.  A lot of kids enjoy the vibration as it tickles their teeth and gums.

Also consider letting them choose their own flavor of kid’s toothpaste! 

Designate a special cup or disposable cups just for them to rinse with. 

Use charts and reward stickers that highlight their favorite character, sport or hobby. 


Remind children to brush in a circular motion by comparing brushing to wheels from a “choo choo” train or a car.  This may keep them from brushing back and forth, which can irritate or damage gums.    

Tell a story or read them a book to explain how sugar makes holes in teeth.  If they need more visual evidence that they aren’t brushing enough, show them the “Pink!” by having them chew a tablet made from a dissolving agent that clings to plaque.  These tablets are available at most pharmacies!

Encourage them to make a lot of bubbles and foam when they brush.  You could brush your teeth beside them and have a contest to see who can make the biggest or most bubbles. 

Make an imaginary game out of brushing.  For example, the toothbrush could be a super hero, their toothpaste their special power agent, and they could pretend that they’re waging a battle against monster germs and evil cavities. 

Timing is Everything

Try using an egg timer to ensure they are brushing the appropriate amount of time.  There are numerous designs to choose from, including frogs, cows and Disney characters. 

Sing or play a special song while they brush, and insist that they keep brushing to hear the whole song.  There are also toothbrushes designed to play music or light up while brushing. 

All Together Now

Most children want to be like Mom or Dad.  The simple act of brushing your teeth correctly in their company can inspire them to brush, too.  You may want to comment on how fresh and smooth your teeth feel afterward. 

Try to make brushing a routine.  Have the whole family brush together after dinner or after their last snack before bed.  It may be helpful to do this at least an hour before bed time before everyone is too tired. 

Another fun activity is to allow your child to brush your teeth while you brush theirs.  They may not do much with your brush but it may distract them while you’re brushing theirs.  There’s bound to be lots of giggles! 

Allow them to have their favorite stuffed animal with them when they brush.  Get a special brush for them to brush their toy’s teeth. 

Most importantly, remember to praise them when they remember to brush correctly or without being reminded.   

We’re available to help you work with your child if you continue to have difficulty getting them to brush.  Please give us a call so we can get you on the right track to improving your family’s health. 

Dr. Gary R. DiStefano, DDS & Associates

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Acids From Foods You'd Never Suspect

Improve Your Family’s Dental Health  

With Advice from Dr. DiStefano’s Howell Dentist Office! 

Some days it’s a challenge to get your kids to sit still enough to eat, let alone eat something healthy.   
Some foods that are known as healthy can still harm your tooth enamel.   
Like, yogurt, honey and even some cereals have acid!    
Who knew?

Being aware of which foods are acidic and ways to decrease mouth acid is beneficial to improve your families dental health

Acidic Food.  It’s Not Just Orange Juice Anymore! 

Other foods/ Drinks that contain Acidic are:

  • Fruit and fruit products that contain citric and malic acid

  • Soft drinks contain phosphoric acid

  • Fermented products like yogurt contain lactic acid

  • Grapes and wine contain tartaric acid

  • Vegetables processed in vinegar such as pickles, beets, sauerkraut are also acidic.

A few tricks to prevent the decay of your tooth enamel when consuming acidic food and drink:

  • Finish your meal with milk or a small piece of cheese to promote saliva.

  • Chew sugar free gum which promotes saliva flow.

  • Get a fluoride treatment from Dr. DiStefano, Howell Family Dentist

  • Use fluoride toothpaste

  • Drink fluoridated water

  • Snack less especially on sugar and carbs.  After you eat your mouth becomes acidic to break down foods. 

  • Drink more water.

  • If you have Acid Reflux or other gastrointestinal problems –see your M.D. for treatment   

  • Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after consuming the acidic food or drink.  Why?  The acid softens your tooth enamel and brushing could do harm.  Wait at least an hour before brushing.

  • Don’t swish the acidic drink in your mouth.  Or perhaps, drink with a straw.

Please contact us if you have any questions and thanks for reading our blog! 
Dr. Gary R. DiStefano, DDS & Associates 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Improve Your Family's Dental Health: Cold Sensitivity

Improve Your Family’s Dental Health With advice from 
Dr. DiStefano at his Howell Dentist Office!

Cold Sensitivity in Teeth Just in Time for Popsicle Season! 

Did you know that tooth sensitivity is highest in people between ages 25 to 30? Most people believe that sensitivity to cold mean just that --- your tooth is sensitive to cold.

Are you aware that it could also be the sign of a more serious condition?

A visit to the dentist will either put your mind at rest or identify an issue before it gets out of control. 

Tooth sensitivity could be a sign of the conditions listed below or a combination there of:
  • Tooth decay 
  • Grinding your teeth You may be getting gingivitis [Build up of bacteria on your gums]. If your gums are sore and red instead of pink, and they bleed easily. ..You _ may have gingivitis! Some people are more prone to gingivitis, such as: people with diabetes, frequent allergy sufferers, smokers and people who are deficient in vitamin C or Niacin. 
  • Gum Infection[ gums begin to move away from your teeth, exposing the root]. 
  • Cracked or broken tooth, a loose filling or an ill fitted crown. 

Consumption of highly acidic food or drink it can lead to tooth sensitivity as well. Beware of mouthwashes that contain acid. Prolonged use could actually do more harm than good!

Once you see your dentist to rule out any major problems, follow your dentist’s instructions and be sure to follow a good brushing and flossing routine.  Make sure you use a soft bristle brush and do not brush too aggressively.  You may also want to try a toothpaste that’s meant for sensitive teeth. 

Please contact us if you have any questions … and thanks for reading our blog!
Improve Every Aspect of Your Family’s Health with Dr. DiStefano.  Call 517-546-8983 and his helpful staff will schedule your appointment and get you and your family on the way to better health. 

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Improve Your Family's Health with Dr. DiStefano in Howell, Michigan

Is There a Dentist in Howell who can Improve My Family’s Health?  

Yes, There is!  Dr. Gary R. DiStefano

Tell Your Kids and Teens When NOT to Share.
Germs are easily transferred by sharing cups, utensils, toothbrushes, lip balm, etc. Colds, flues, hepatitis, herpes, “cold sores” and mononucleosis are passed when children and teens share items. But did you know that in some cases even aggressive gum disease can transfer from person to person?  Tell your kids and teens that it’s NOT always nice to share! On the other hand, getting your moody teenager to smile is a whole other Issue!

Can Sports and Energy Drinks Damage Your teeth?
A study published in General Dentistry in May/June 2012 reported that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks is causing damage to teeth.  Both drinks have a high acidity that leads to the erosion of enamel.  Many consumers believe that sports or energy drinks are better for them than soda and do not realize the dangers of their beverage choice.  Besides cutting down consumption, another way to minimize damage is to rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum after drinking.  It is also important to note that after drinking a sports or energy drink, you should wait at least one hour before brushing or the acid may spread and increase the erosion. 
It’s as Easy as Drinking Tap Water!
Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to decay.  Less decay and fewer cavities mean less drilling at the dentist’s office.  Now That’s Something to Smile About!  Fluoride exists naturally in water, soil, air and many foods. Many public and private water supplies in the United States have been fluoridated. Plus, most toothpastes and mouth rinses have fluoride as an additive. If you worry that your family is not getting enough fluoride, your dentist can also apply a topical fluoride varnish or gel. 

To Wean or not to Wean?
Believe it or not, pacifiers actually have some positive attributes.  Infants who sleep with a pacifier do not sleep as deeply as those without, which may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)  Pacifiers also tend to comfort infants by increasing sucking satisfaction. However, it is important to wean a child of his or her pacifier and thumb or finger sucking by the age of two, or they may experience tooth growth and alignment issues. 

What a Pain in the Neck!
As a mom, you have a lot to take care of. The stress of managing a household and family may cause you to grind your teeth – which could lead to tooth, jaw, neck and face pain.  It can also lead to tooth damage like cracking and enamel loss.  If you’re like most moms, you take care of everyone else and put yourself last.  Ignoring the pain won’t make it go away!  Dr. DiStefano can assist you with finding the best bite guard and offers other ways to minimize your grinding.  His patients are often amazed at the relief they get! 

Improve Every Aspect of Your Family’s Health with Dr. DiStefano.  Call 517-546-8983 and his helpful staff will schedule your appointment and get you and your family on the way to better health.

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