PO BOX 1417
Concord MA 01742
*SOME interesting figures to think about:
in 1970 when dental benefit plans (called dental insurance) began: the yearly maximums were $500, $700 and $1,000
in 2017 the yearly maximums had gone up to between $1,000, $1,500 and rarely $2,500
SOUNDS PRETTY GOOD UNTIL YOU LOOK AT THESE FIGURES:
in 1970 a gallon of gas cost $0.36 2018 $2.80 8 x more
in 1970 the average cost of a new car was $3,542 2013 $30,786 8.7x more
in 1970 the average wage earner was paid $6,186 per yr 2015 $56,518 per yr 9 x more
in 1970 a loaf of bread cost $0.25 2013 $1.98 8 x more
in 1970 average house cost $23,600 2013 $289,500 12 x more
DO YOU SEE THE TREND? from 1970 to 2013 the cost of everything went up by a multiple of at least 8
yet your dental benefit yearly maximum went up by a multiple of only about 2 to 2 1/2.
SAID another way your yearly maximum should be between $4,000 and $8,000 AT LEAST! (as I know your premiums have increased more than two fold since 1970).
As a consumer you have power. The employers who purchase dental benefit plans evaluate them by two criteria:
1. cost to employer...lower the better. 2. complaints from employees. If you do not ask for better plans nothing will happen.
JULY and AUGUST 2018
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOW DELTA TO RAISE YOUR PREMUIMS FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS!
Two things happened in the last 12 months that have given Delta, especially Delta Dental of MA, a HUGE financial windfall.
First, over 80% of dentists were bullied into lowering their fees to Delta by 30% AND signing longterm contracts with Delta that have no escape clause. Second, the DOI (Department of Insurance in MA) gave Delta a 10% reduction on the fees of all premier contract dentists (the other 20% of dentists). (Note: % of dentists have been slightly inflated as some dentists actually read the contracts and other dentists had read past contracts. Both these groups refused to be bullied)
On the surface this seems like a boon for consumers.
IT COULD BE AS LONG AS:
1. Delta does not raise your premiums. 2. Delta raises your yearly maximum.* 3. Delta covers more procedures.
Unfortunately, if history is a good predictor, the following will happen:
1. Delta will raise premiums (thus getting richer thanks to both the dentists and the consumers),
2. Delta will not raise your yearly maximum (still very similar to your 1970's maximums...opps it is doubled from your 1970's
3. Dentists will soon figure out that their lack of courage in standing up for themselves against a bully AND signing contracts out of fear of patient pool loss has a BIG downside. My colleagues are good at dentistry but bad at business...they sign contracts without first looking at their overhead costs. Signing away 30% of their fees for 5 plus years will force them to reduce customer service, buy cheap, and increase production while decreasing time with patients. This is not good for the consumer.
As a consumer you don't need to worry about the dentists. They got themselves into this and will just have to live with the consequences. Consumers do need to remember they deserve quality service from all dentists with good (not cheap) materials used in every patient's mouth. Consumers need to know they deserve an INCREASES IN YEARLY MAXIMUMS WITHOUT INCREASES IN PREMIUMS* from Delta.
Dentists may lack the courage to avoid bullies but in this case consumers in the know (DELTA JUST GOT A WINDFALL!) need to stand firm. It is your money and your body/health. You need to do for yourselves what your dentists didn't have the courage or self confidence to do for you. If you are an employer stand firm on no increased premium. If you are an employee complain to your employer about any increased premiums and show them this entry.*
* see what dental benefit maximums should be...end of this page in electric GREEN box
November/ December 2018 BAD BREATH
Bad Breath gets a lot of play in commercials. We are told we should worry about it BECAUSE WE COULD OFFEND. Well, yes, but really we need to worry about bad breath because it is a symptom of disease.
Before I talk about disease, let me make clear: we are NOT talking about the bad breath that comes from eating or drinking something with a strong oder...Aunt Jo's triple onion and brussel sprouts soup or Uncle Ho's double bear ribs with 15 cloves of garlic served with Klingon cognac.* These are instances of bad breath that are from food. Once you throughly clean your teeth, rinse and gargle with warm water and salt and clean your tongue all will be great in 24 hours or so. Do not in these circumstances try to use an alcohol containing mouth wash...it will dry out the tissues and make the stink worse.
We will spend several months in 2019 on the bad breath that comes from disease. Here we will review one disease that causes bad breath and talk about a tongue cleaner.
An excellant Holiday gift for yourself is a tongue cleaner. The tongue can become coated with food debris and/or bacteria and yeast from infections. Cleaning the tongue daily will help to decrease the debris and the bacteria/yeast in your mouth...thus promoting or lessening disease. As stated before on this website. DO NOT USE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH AS A TONGUE CLEANER!
The best tongue cleaners are metal. They can be washed (by hand with soap and water or in the dishwasher) and last forever. If money is tight I would recommend using a designated teaspoon rather than a plastic tongue cleaner. Look in the mirror with your mouth open. Stick your tongue out as far as you can. See any part of the tongue with a white or brown or yellow or black coating...that is what you need to clean off your tongue on a daily basis. Tongues should be PINK/light Red. As a gagger myself, I will tell you tongue cleaning is not always easy. Start out slowly and do as much as you can...you will get better at it. As the sneaker ad use to say: 'just do it!'.
One of the many diseases that can cause bad breath is periodontal disease (gum disease). As the disease worsens the stink increases. We have talked about gum disease before on this website and there is a paper available from ohp4c.com on this subject...just email a request for the paper and it will be sent to you. See also the 2017 article on how your mouth can kill you.
Let me leave with a big tip: if you meet someone who has bad breath...be cautious. This includes the always minty mouthed individual who is constantly trying to cover it up. With constant bad breath there is disease. I take this into account when I hire, when I make a friend, when I buy from someone. HEALTH DOES NOT SMELL. IF YOU ARE TRULY HEALTHY YOU SHOULD NEVER NEED A BREATH MINT (unless you eat at Aunt Jo and Uncle Ho's* house)
HAPPY HOLIDAYS. A HEALTHY 2019. Check back before the end of December for a special entry.
*both the names of relatives and the foods are imaginary (c) ohp4c,llc 11/2018
email : firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 2018 ASK "WHY?"!
I had a troubling email. The person wrote his new hygienist told him he had "receding gums" and he should "use an electric toothbrush". I asked if the hygienist said WHY his gums were receding and WHY an electric tooth brush would help. He wrote back "no". I then asked if the hygienist said whether all his gums were receding or it was just one spot. Again he replied "no". I asked him if the hygienist showed him HOW to correctly use an electric tooth brush. Again, the answer was "no".
AS PATIENTS WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO ALWAYS BE ASKING "WHY?" BUT WE DO!
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Dentists and hygienists do not tell patients WHY something is happening and WHY what they recommend will help.
AS a dentist I am just as lost as this patient who emailed me is about his new hygienist's advise. Is he doing damage to one area of his gums by his brushing? If that were the case why didn't she tell him? AND SHOW HIM HOW TO STOP THE DAMAGING BEHAVIOR?
Does he have gum disease? If so what kind, at what stage and how does she know? Was a saliva test done? If he has gum disease (periodontal disease) this is serious as it can effect the health of the whole body and no tooth brush alone is going to cure that disease.
Is the damage due to an external habit? What is the habit...that would take time to discuss and discover.
Could it be from a systemic disease? Acid Reflux? Does he swim in a pool with too much chlorine? Was he in an accident and the gum/bone tissue was damaged earlier in his life? Does he wear an old athletic mouth guard when he plays soccer that is causing damage?
THIS SITUATION IS SO COMMON in DENTAL OFFICES. IT MAKES ME SO ANGRY!
DO NOT LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!
ASK "WHY?" ! If you don't do it while you are at the office CALL THE OFFICE AND ASK TO SPEAK TO THE DOCTOR or the HYGIENIST to find out WHY you have a condition they are diagnosing and WHY/HOW their recommendation will cure the problem. This is your body, your health, and your money...do not be short changed.
(c) OHP4C 2/18
OCTOBER 2018 PRODUCT ALERT:
PRODUCTS: HAGER brand Aquamed Dry Mouth Spray, Dry Mouth Drops, and Chewing Gum. All with 100% Xylitol R (recommended)
I have written about dry mouth products before. This is a new product line for me. It seems to have it all. I would recommend you try it out...especially if you have problems with a dry mouth...but even if you don't. The products are available online via Amazon. The gum has long lasting mouth wetting as well as a taste that lasts. Loolipops for kids; young, old, or in between. Some fun useful products for the man or woman on the go. All these products use XYLITOL as the only sweetener. This is a big plus. No alcohol used in any of the products.
Xylitol has been proven to stop decay/cavity germs. These Hager 100% Xylitol products: candy, spray, gel, gum, non- fluoride toothpaste kill the bacteria that cause decay/cavities/caries.
There are many products that have Xylitol as a main ingredient but most have other sugars too.
Many similar products have alcohol as well. These Hager products do not.
The few other products on the market that have only Xylitol do not have staying power in the mouth...especially with the chewing gums. The Hager products do have staying power. Give the products a try. AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! PLEASE! (email@example.com). Thank you in advance for your input and help. (c) OHP4C/ Oct 2018
ORAL HEALTH DEFINED:
includes but is not limited to the ability to speak, smile, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and free from pain or discomfort, and disease...
(international definition of oral health)
MARCH 2018 A new feature for OHP4C: PRODUCT ALERT Each quarter OHP4C will feature an Oral Health Product...with either a DNB (DO NOT BUY) or an R ( RECOMMENDED)...to help you stay healthy AND save money.
PRODUCT: AMABRUSH: DNB
Introduced this February in Chicago by a European company this "hands free, fully automatic toothbrush" that "simultaneously brushes all your teeth in 10 seconds" sounds wonderful. It has many good features but three big problems that earn it a DNB.
First problem: the mouth piece comes in only one size. And it cannot be modified. Mouths come in many sizes. For a significant percent of the population (about 75% is the estimate) this mouthpiece would not fit properly in the mouth. If the mouthpiece does not fit exactly as designed in the mouth the product will not work as designed and advertised.
Second Problem: The toothpaste ingredients are not known. The effectiveness of the toothpaste is not known nor has it been scientifically investigated.
Third Problem: Only Amabrush toothpaste can be used in the product. The toothpaste is NOT A PASTE. It is the consistency of a milkshake (a fraffe, if you live in Massachusetts). You can only use the Amabrush toothpaste or the product clogs and becomes non-functional. ( This situation is similar to printers and ink. A printer without the correct ink cartridge is non-functional...and the price of ink keeps going up.)
DNB at the $90 + price tag. (c) OHP4C, 2018
MAY and JUNE 2018 MOUTHWASH How to Choose? (TIP: stay away from any mouthwash with alcohol)
Most consumers reach for a mouthwash to stop bad breath AND because some commercial said this or that brand would cure all their oral health problems while making them sexy, beautiful/handsome, and totally irresistible. Sorry folks, mouthwashes cannot do those things. Bad breath can only be covered up, not cured, by a mouthwash. You are beautiful/handsome, sexy and irresistible already...a mouthwash does not impact those features.
The number of mouthwashes on the market has exploded over the last 5 years. Now I routinely see consumers in the mouthwash section of a store staring like a deer in the headlights AND I actually find myself baffled over the number of different choices that are worthless repackaging of another product the manufacture already has on the shelf.
SO...HOW TO CHOOSE?:
The mouthwash you choose should depend on what you need/want that mouthwash to do. The three main reasons to use a mouth wash are: gum disease treatment and prevention, cavity prevention, and dry mouth.
Gum Disease treatment and prevention: Best recommendation: Tooth and Gum Tonic by Dental Herb Company. This mouthwash was originally only available in a dental office. The Dental Herb Company has now made it available online. I recommend buying direct from the Dental Herb Company. If you buy via another online source CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE. There is a prescription mouthwash called PERIDEX that is used by dentists when gum disease is present and surgery must be done. The big problem with Peridex is compliance...it tastes so awful AND leaves a brown stain on the teeth that patients don't use it. (the stain can only be removed by a dentist/dental hygienist's tools). If your dentist has prescribed this short term for surgery please take it...but once the emergency is over switching to Tooth and Gum Tonic is great. Compliance (no brown stains and repeated professional cleaning) is easy and it works.
Cavity Prevention:Act with fluoride and without alcohol or sugars. Act started out as a great product. No alcohol and just enough fluoride to help prevent cavities. Now there are so many different Acts that looking for the brand name alone has become useless. Be wary of any mouthwash with flavoring...often the flavors undo the good the active ingredient is chosen to address.
Dry Mouth: Biotene is the brand with the most experience in this field. BUT every dry mouth case is different. I would advise you ask your dentist and/or pharmacist for samples of as many dry mouth products as possible. Try them all to see what one works for you. Often at bedtime it is the gels that help the most. (see Dr.Val and Fred on"services" page) (c) OHP4C 2018
APRIL 2018 VAPING (and E-Cigarettes) IS?(are) DANGEROUS.
There is a misconception that vaping and e-cigarettes are the same. They are similar BUT THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.
I will leave the differences to a speaking engagement. Here we will be talking about vaping.
Vaping pens (vap pens) are inexpensive, the vaping "liquids" are flavored and inexpensive. Although they cannot be legally bought by anyone under the age of 18, there is a growing number of teens who are vaping. Since the "liquids" can be purchased in 0, 15, 30 and 60mg strengths of NICOTINE.
AND since NICOTINE is a drug as addictive as heroin, this is not what we want in the hand of our teens, children, OR OURSELVES!
If you vape you will become addicted to nicotine...and ask any smoker how hard that addition is to overcome.
There are also medical consequences to the lungs (popcorn lungs...even without the nicotine), mouth, throat that we already know about.
Congress and the FDA are working together as some new "kid-friendly" flavors have been introduced into the market in violation of an FDA rule requiring premarket review of all new such products entering the market place. Vaping in pregnancy is MORE harmful to the unborn child than regular cigarettes as more nicotine goes into the bloodstream.
The laws are different state by state and in some states city by city. The town I live in has a vaping store that is only allowed to sell one nicotine containing e-cigarette refill BUT can sell and has all brands and flavors of nicotine vaping "liquids" (from 0% nicotine to 15%, 30% and 60% nicotine).
In the next town vaping "liquids" containing nicotine are not allowed.
At this point in time, vaping is considerably more dangerous than marijuanna and is sliding under the radar of most adults and local lawmakers.
(Just when we thought the fight against tobacco and cigarettes had been almost won it has become a LOT MORE DANGEROUS!)
(c) OHP4H, 4/2018
January 2018 Dentures:
"Dentures" is a short hand for false teeth that come in and out of the mouth and replace ALL the teeth in the mouth and some of the gums.
Dentures sit on something called the alveolar ridge/ the top part of the jaw bone. This alveolar ridge has one purpose: to hold natural teeth in place. Once the natural teeth are all extracted/pulled the alveolar ridge starts to melt away. This is why dentures need to be relined or remade periodically. It is why after 10 to 15 years even a new denture often cannot stay stability in the mouth.
Keeping the dentures out of the mouth (AND IN WATER! ALWAYS PUT DENTURES IN WATER IF THEY ARE NOT IN THE MOUTH) for 8-10 hours per day will help to maintain the alveolar ridge and keep the mouth tissue and gums healthy.
Dentures need to fit well. Dentures should be checked at least one time per year for fit and to be sure that the gums and bone under the denture(s) are healthy and free from disease...especially oral cancer.
Dentures need to be cleaned daily with a special brush called a "denture brush". Your dentist should show you how to brush your dentures (Major steps: 1. take the dentures out of your mouth, 2.clean them over a basin of water to prevent breakage if you drop them, 3. clean all the sides of the denture! the side toward the gum and roof of your mouth as well as the side that everyone sees. 4. rinse the denture before replacing in you mouth.)
Some people like to soak their dentures overnight in denture cleaning products.Be sure to rinse the dentures well after they have been soaked.
Always request that you have your name placed in dentures. If you have more that one set of dentures the sets should be labeled with a number on the dentures themselves. (Not to worry, these I.D.'s are very small and hidden from view).
If you require dentures know the following: 1. It takes time to learn to speak and eat with dentures...be kind to yourself...but don't give up. 2. It takes time to learn how to keep dentures in place...your dentist will need to do adjustments...but you will have to practice and learn to use your facial muscles and tongue to keep your dentures in place. 3. Dentures only bite at 35 lbs per square inch...real/natural teeth bite at 435 lbs per square inch...cut foods into small pieces and place equally on both sides of the mouth. (c) OHP4C 2018
O Tee finds the above electric green chart difficult to believe. How could yearly maximums have gone up so little? How could dentists and consumers allow this?.
INSANITY/fear/no business sense: See O Tee and Fred's discussion about stables in September 2018 article. Get the real deal on how dentists' fees are set on 'HOW TO BRUSH' page.
ORAL HEALTH POSSE FOR CONSUMERS, LLCr
education, advocacy, consultation
© 2015 Dental POSSE, LLC/OralHealthPosse for Consumers
(c) 2015 photographs ValentinaPW
OHP4C END OF YEAR WISH LIST FOR THE FUTURE:
Human beings have one, whole, integrated body/mind. What happens in one part of the body happens to the WHOLE BODY.
(Replacing dental benefits packages...incorrectly called insurance... that have the employee's funds taken away at the end of each year, can only be
used on oral care the insurance company approves, gives kick backs to employers for non-utilization, average only $1,000 available a year,
keep employees from their yearly job benefits.)
(c) 12/18 OHP4C
September 2018: An exchange between OTee and FRED
(scene: Fred singing at the piano. OTee rushes in.)
OTee: Help! Help! Something is wrong with the doctor. Come quick she's in her office and she's mumbling and she's ANGRY. She might explode!
(Fred stops singing and looks strangely at OTee)
FRED: What exactly is happening?
OTee: I don't know. She just started saying things like "they're putting them in a big stable." "they've locked the doors and don't care." Then she started talking about people castrating humans. Can they do that? I thought that was illegal! She kept hissing 'idiots! idiots! idiots!" I'm afraid the doctor is going to explode. Come quick, Fred, we have to help her.
(Fred just shakes his head and starts singing. OTee starts to shake Fred)
OTee: What is the matter with you, Fred? Something is wrong with the doctor. We need to help!
FRED: OTee, you just haven't worked here long enough. She's just in her office reading about an insurance company and some dentists. Everything will be all right.
OTee: Insurance companies castrate people?dentists? I didn't know they could do that. Why would anyone want to be castrated?
FRED: No! No. She didn't say castrate did she?
OTee: Well, no. She used, you know, she used words that weren't very nice.
FRED: Yeah, she learned all those bad words from her male colleagues in dental school. Sixty-six guys and her for four years. She's heard it all and it slips out when she gets really angry.
Don't worry, OTee, nobody is going to get castrated...she probably said they had no _ _ _ _ _ right?
OTee : Yeah
FRED: When she's mad that's what Dr. Val says about people who don't have any courage. I bet she didn't know you were listening.
OTee: Not know? She's speaking very loud.
FRED: You mean she's yelling at the top of her lung?
OTee: She's exploding about everyone being willingly locked in a stable.
FRED: Oh, that's just her way of talking about the contracts the insurance companies get dentists to sign. When the dentists signs on they do so for years. Dr. says (correctly) that the dentists are locked in an insurance stable with no windows and a door that doesn't open.
OTee: That's horrid!
FRED: Yes, it is. Then the insurance companies...after they lock the stable doors on the dentists (metaphorically), go to employers and sell the employers dental benefit packages (that they call insurance). The insurance companies tell the employers that they have all these dentists locked up for years. The larger the number of dentists in the insurance stable the more money the insurance companies get from the employers AND the more money the insurance companies make.
OTee: Good grief! Will they lock me up now that I work with a dentist? Did they lock up the doctor? How did she escape? I was locked in a stable once. Never again!
FRED: No, OTee, all the stable talk is just a metaphor. The doctor gets mad because the whole situation is insane.
It starts off with dentists having stupid, non-sensical fee schedules. Did you study business?
OTee: Yeah, I was a business major.
FRED: Tell me OTee what's the first, most important thing you know about setting a fee for a service?
OTee: Well, you check your overhead and your costs to produce the service. Then you add in a profit. Why?
FRED: Dentists fees are not done that way.
FRED: It's a long story. Ask the doctor when she calms down...give it an hour or two.
(Fred starts to sing. OTee just watches and wonders about his new job.)
SEE DOCTOR's LECTURE ON DENTAL FEES (GIVEN FOR OTee) AT BOTTOM OF "How to Brush" page (c) ohp4c 9/2018