Riverwalk Dental

Is it emotional eating? Pagophagia? Anemia? Ice chewing and its effect on oral health

Occasionally chewing ice is natural on a hot day when you just need that little bit more water to quench your thirst and cool you down. But what if it is a habit?  What if you crave ice throughout the day, and chew it consistently for more than a month?

What is Compulsive Ice Chewing and What Causes It?

Compulsive ice chewing is called Pagophagia, and it can have long lasting effects on your oral health.  Dr. Kamryn Eddy of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and others describe the compulsive ingesting of ice as an eating disorder.  In general, this is referred to as pica, a compulsion to eat substances that have no nutritional value such as paper, sand, plastics, and of course ice.

There are not only psychological reasons for excessive ice chewing, but surprisingly also nutritional causes as well.  Dr. Steven Gans, Assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and psychiatrist at McLean Hospital in Belmont Massachusetts, reviewed and certified an article by Sarah Vanbuskirk of Verywell Mind titled “What Does It Mean If You Are Craving Ice?.”  In this article, they state that iron deficiency can also cause people to chew ice compulsively.  Vanbuskirk admits there is no true understanding as to why this is the case, but there is a clear connection.

Vanbuskirk also states other causes such as autism, dementia, intellectual disabilities, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia.

What are the Effects of Excessive Ice Chewing?

Unlike most of the substances in which people with a pica disorder ingest, ice of course is not harmful in regard to weight gain, being poisonous, or harmful to your internal organs. Instead, excessive ice chewing can do significant damage to one’s teeth.

Enamel does not consist of living cells, so it cannot restore itself over time.  Excessive chewing on hard substances such as ice can, and likely will, wear away the enamel of your teeth, eventually exposing the dentin beneath.  This will lead to tooth sensitivity to cold and hot substances you ingest and could cause bad bacteria to slowly work its way into the tooth causing decay.

In some cases, ice chewing will also chip or crack teeth.  This would have an effect of course on your smile, but will also open your teeth up to further decay.

Riverwalk Dental highly recommends your first step, if you believe you are suffering from pagophagia, is to visit our office so we may examine your teeth for any damage and help you understand how you can remineralize any damaged teeth going forward if needed.

What Can be Done to Address Ice Chewing?

The first recommended step to addressing pagophagia is to ask a medical professional to test your blood to see if you are suffering from anemia.  If this is the case, iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods is a quick and easy solution.

Yet the habit may still linger if you have chewed ice for a long time, and breaking the habit may be a challenge. In a Live95.9 article titled “Why Some Massachusetts Residents Can’t Stop Chewing Ice” the author describes a circumstance in which a pregnant woman had severe ice cravings.  Although she eventually had her blood tested for an iron deficiency and began a regiment of iron supplements, her ice cravings did not go away completely.

The psychological addiction to ice chewing can be intense.  In the aforementioned article by Vanbuskirk of Verywell Mind, she also recommends cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and healthier stress management techniques to help alleviate or even address these psychological challenges.

At Riverwalk Dental we are committed to your oral health.  Visit us anytime if you feel that any damage could be done to your dental work.  We want you to have the best and healthiest smile you can achieve.

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Not to stress you out, but stress has a significant affect on your oral health:

In 2022, Massachusetts was deemed the third most stressed state in the country, and although the pandemic is over, stress in 2023 and now in 2024 seems relentless.  From the war in the Middle East, inflation, to traffic jams on Boston streets, it seems difficult to find relief.  Such stress is a problem for our mental health, but what about our oral health?

Unlike other elements of our dental challenges that can be addressed with brushing, flossing, and rinsing, stress isn’t quite as easy to resolve.  When stress takes over, even our sleep sometimes cannot take us away.  And at night as we sleep, we often unconsciously take out our stress on our teeth through clinching and grinding.  Herein lies our biggest challenge, because we unconsciously do damage to our dental work when we do not even realize we are doing it.

The result is often headaches and pain from your temporomandibular joints of your jaw (TMJ) and the loss of sleep associated with such discomfort.  According to the American Dental Association, during the pandemic, “71% of dentists surveyed reported an increase in prevalence of teeth grinding and clenching; 63% for chipped teeth; 63% for cracked teeth; and 62% for temporomandibular joint disorder symptoms, which includes headaches and jaw pain.”

Attempting to understand how one can relieve their stress can be stressful!

According to the Mayo Clinic, being active not only relieves your physical stress, but your mental health as well.  So, get active; walk, jog, go to the gym.  You may very well be surprised how this not only makes you feel good about yourself, but you will sleep better and likely keep your teeth in top shape.  Other considerations mentioned by the Mayo Clinic include healthy eating, meditation, and laughing more, which we could all use!

NYC Dental lists ways to mitigate the affect grinding your teeth will have as you work your way to a less stressful life.  These include using a mouth guard at night to protect your teeth from each other, massaging your jaw muscles, as well as stop chewing non-food items and gum.

Other ways stress affects your oral health:

Aphthous ulcers, also known as canker sores, may be a result of stress as your body’s immune system gets weaker as our stress levels go up.  Dry mouth, or xerostomia, comes about during stressful times and when we are feeling anxious. Saliva is essential to our oral health because it washes away much of the bacteria and other harmful elements that form in our mouth.  Avoiding alcohol and drinking water will alleviate the effects of dry mouth and help to keep your teeth healthy.

At Riverwalk Dental we know life can and will be stressful.  We hope your visits to our office help to alleviate some of that stress.  Come visit with us soon!

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A Career in Dentistry: A Truly Fulfilling Job That Needs YOU!

Being a dental professional in Lawrence Massachusetts has been a dream come true for Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi.  Our professional lives are a joy with the great relationships we’ve built with individuals and families that stretch decades, even generations of healthy smiles.  It is an honor to work with our patients, stretching from Andover to Lowell, from Methuen to Haverhill.  Likewise, our team is a joy to see every day, and we believe they feel the same way about us.

Riverwalk Dental wants to share this experience with those who read our articles because the current state of staffing in health care are at a critical low in Massachusetts, and we at Riverwalk Dental are no exception.  Currently, the Massachusetts Dental Society is helping with a number of campaigns to bring awareness to students and key audiences in hopes of boosting enrollment and filling the pipeline of professionals ready to work in an industry that is truly fulfilling.  Helping people with a part of their lives that affects nearly everything they do each day is truly a rewarding career.

Not only are such careers rewarding, but also choosing a career in medicine in general helps to boost access to health care services as well as keeps the cost to everyone down and services affordable.   In an article titled Health Care Workforce Shortages Persist in Massachusetts and the United States, according to a Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association survey, “there are currently an estimated 19,000 open acute care hospital positions across Massachusetts.”  This means a career in health care is very likely to lead to job security, location and practice options, plus a competitive salary across the board!

In a WBUR article regarding this issue, the problem is magnified by the fact that many dental procedures cannot be performed without an assistant present.  So, although practices have the talent to perform certain procedures, there can and often are delays simply due to the need to comply with regulatory rules.  The WBUR article even cites Jeffrey Karen, a pediatric dentist in South Weymouth who states in 15 plus years he’s never seen such a lack of talent in the job market.  We at Riverwalk Dental agree.

Here at Riverwalk Dental we are truly fortunate to have the staff and family-like atmosphere we believe our patients truly appreciate. In fact, our best employees are those who are our patients! If you or someone in your family are considering a career in dentistry, or seeking a job in the dental field, feel free to give us a call at 978-685-1499 or send us an email.  We would be proud to assist any way we can.

Emergency! Cracked or chipped tooth, what does a parent do? Advice from Riverwalk Dental, Lawrence Massachusetts

Children, especially our own children, are beautiful in their carefree view of the world.  We truly enjoy their laughter and smiles as they bounce on trampolines in Andover or sprint to uneven bars for gymnastics in Lawrence Massachusetts.  But sometimes, these daredevils push it too far and the result is a chipped or cracked tooth.

What should a parent do?

A beautiful smile is a precious asset that brings joy and confidence to children as they navigate the world. However, due to various factors such as poor oral hygiene, tooth decay, or accidents, children may require restorative dental treatments to regain their oral health and preserve their natural teeth. Pediatric restorative dentistry plays a crucial role in ensuring that young patients receive the necessary care to maintain healthy smiles.

Understanding Pediatric Restorative Dentistry

Pediatric restorative dentistry focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing oral health problems in children. It involves a range of procedures designed to restore the function, structure, and aesthetics of primary (baby) and permanent teeth. The goal is to provide comprehensive dental care that promotes proper growth and development, prevents future complications, and maintains a positive attitude towards dental visits.

Accidents, falls, or sports-related injuries can lead to fractured, dislodged, or avulsed (knocked-out) teeth in children. Prompt intervention by a pediatric dentist is essential to minimize the damage and save the tooth whenever possible. Restorative treatments like dental bonding, splinting, or root canal therapy may be performed depending on the severity of the injury.

Pediatric Restorative Treatment Options

Pediatric dentists employ various techniques and materials to restore the oral health of young patients. Here are some commonly used treatment options:

  1. Dental Fillings: Tooth-colored composite resin fillings are frequently used to repair small to medium-sized cavities in children. These fillings not only restore the tooth’s structure but also blend seamlessly with the natural color of the tooth, ensuring an aesthetically pleasing result.
  2. Stainless-Steel Crowns: When a tooth is extensively decayed or weakened, a stainless-steel crown may be placed over it to provide strength and protection. These crowns are durable, cost-effective, and require minimal tooth preparation, making them suitable for primary teeth.
  3. Pulp Therapy: In cases where dental caries has reached the innermost layer of the tooth (pulp), pulp therapy techniques like pulpotomy or pulpectomy may be employed. These procedures involve removing the infected pulp tissue and placing a medicated filling to preserve the tooth’s vitality.
  4. Space Maintainers: If a child loses a primary tooth prematurely, a space maintainer can be used to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting into the empty space. This device helps maintain proper alignment and facilitates the eruption of permanent teeth.

If your child ever experiences such an event, first, attempt to recover any part of the tooth that was lost.  Riverwalk Dental will very likely be able to restore the broken piece back onto the remaining tooth.  Second, if there are any issues that appear immediate, take your child to the emergency room for immediate help.  Finally, call us at Riverwalk Dental.  We will do everything we can to see and treat your child as soon as possible.

Pediatric restorative dentistry plays a vital role in maintaining the oral health and well-being of children. By addressing common dental issues at an early stage, it ensures that children can recover from such events and maintain a healthy smile.

Surprising new research published in Massachusetts’ Tufts University’s journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience finds link between bacteria that affects oral hygiene may also contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease

Recently, researchers at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine found a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.  According to the CDC, about 47% of adults over 30 and 70% over 65 have gum disease, so the team at Riverwalk Dental felt it was important to share this information with their patients and visitors.

“Your mouth truly is the gateway to your body,” states Jake Jinkun Chen, professor of periodontology at Tufts in Boston.  “Chronic inflammation or infection is believed to be a key determinant in the cognitive decline that occurs as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.”

According to Healthline Media and Tara Fourre, research manager for global oral health innovation and microbiology at Johnson & Johnson, the bacteria found in your mouth not only ends up in your digestive system, but also your bloodstream. “Each time you chew, brush, or floss, these germs get pushed into small vessels in your gums.”

This is not, of course, a recommendation to avoid these actions that clean and keep your teeth healthy, it is in fact a recommendation to do it often.  By doing so, bad bacteria are inhibited from reproducing in your mouth, and in turn preventing bad bacteria from entering your bloodstream.

How is oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease connected?

In the previously mentioned study at Tufts University, Professor Chen conducted experiments on healthy mice in which he placed bad bacteria in the mouths of the animals and measured the amount of bacteria found in their brain six weeks later.  Chen’s study showed that the bacteria placed in the mouths of the mice eventually found its way to the animals’ brains.

Here is the critical link:  The bacteria found in the mouths of the mice, and the mouths of humans, cause inflammation, and Alzheimer’s is an inflammatory disease.  According to Professor Chen, “Chronic inflammation or infection is believed to be a key determinant in the cognitive decline that occurs as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.”

Does this mean if you have gum disease you will, at some point, develop Alzheimer’s disease?

No, not necessarily.  These findings are encouraging and very likely a key to getting answers behind Alzheimer’s, but correlation isn’t necessarily causation.  According to Science.org, neurobiologist Robert Moir of the Harvard University–affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston expands on this by saying, “I’m fully on board with the idea that this microbe could be a contributing factor [in Alzheimer’s disease]. I’m much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer’s disease.”

In agreement with this conclusion, SciTechDaily and Jake Jinkun Chen, professor of periodontology and director of the Division of Oral Biology at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, expands on this concept by saying such inflammatory bacteria “can generate systemic inflammation and even infiltrate nervous system tissues and exacerbate the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.”

How can we protect ourselves from this potential cause, and very likely exacerbating factor for Alzheimer’s disease?

As the doctors at Riverwalk Dental stress so often, every day brushing and flossing is an absolute necessity.  If you read our articles regularly, this is obvious.  But it is also the deep cleaning that removes the plaque buildup, tartar, as well as deposits of bacterial build up between your teeth is extremely important to oral health and key to avoiding inflammatory bacteria from entering your bloodstream and eventually to your brain.

Other easy habits to establish include drinking water while eating and intentionally rinsing your mouth at the end of each meal.  Before particles of sugar and other sticky substances form a firm connection to your teeth, water can rinse those particles away easily.

We as doctors and scientists cannot say for sure if there is a direct cause an affect between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no question much of the bad bacteria found in your mouth can and will, if in existing in abundance, enter your bloodstream.  And as Professor Chen’s research showed, these bad bacteria eventually flow to your brain.  Therefore, there is very strong evidence the inflammation cause by these bacteria in your body intensifies the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

A healthy mouth is a healthy and happy mind!

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Riverwalk Dental, Merrimack Valley District Dental Society, and Giving Back to the Community

Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi are pleased to be part of one the most generous charitable dental organizations in the Bay State, the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation. Riverwalk Dental’s local chapter is the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society which serves those in need throughout Andover, Billerica, Bradford, Byfield, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Merrimac, Methuen, North Andover, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wamesit, and Westford.

“We are so grateful to be able to serve patients throughout Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, and so many folks in the Merrimack Valley area, Dr. Patsi and I feel strongly it is important to give back,” stated Dr. Beninato when speaking to us, the staff of Riverwalk Dental.  “Being part of an organization such as the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society and the great work the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation does is truly rewarding because of the hope the offer to so many in need.”

Recently, the Lynn Journal, a Massachusetts publication, cited the awarding of $15,000 for the “Expanding Access to Dental Care” grant to provide oral health care to middle school students in the city of Lynn on behalf of the ForsythKids Program.  The Lynn Journal article quotes ForsythKids Public Health Dentist Helen Nguyen, MPH, DDS as stating:

This grant allows our team the wonderful opportunity to support high-risk children and their oral health during a critical time in their lives. Bringing care to middle school children is essential because children transition completely to adult teeth at this age.

This program is only a fraction of the efforts put forth by the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society and the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation.  The Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) also received $12,500 in grant money to continue funding the Massachusetts Donated Dental Services program (DDS).  This effort includes care for 40 individuals with disabilities, fragile medical conditions, and/or those unable to afford care. Not only will monetary contributions be made, but patients will also receive $90,000 in pro bono dental care for their oral health challenges.

Other efforts our Foundation contributes include a $6,700 grant for Franciscan Children’s to purchase a hand-held x-ray machine for the Pediatric Dentistry Program, a $15,000 grant to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) University Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene for the Neighborhood SMILES and Worcester EYES Program, and $15,000 Access to Care Grant for Tufts University School of Dental Medicine for dental services for our military veterans in the Greater Boston area.

Riverwalk Dental is proud of the service and philanthropic efforts of the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society and the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation.  Our chapter already contributed $20,000 to these efforts and we are aiming to increase this throughout the year.

Teeth hypersensitivity: Yes, a problem your dentist can solve

It is widely reported among dental professionals throughout Massachusetts and all throughout the country that patients often endure the pain and discomfort of overly sensitive teeth because they are not aware that dentists have a wide range of treatments that can help or even eliminate the problem.  According to Massachusetts General Hospital, even less severe, more easily lived with and commonly witnessed cold sensitivity in teeth, although difficult to study, can be addressed.

Adding to this issue, research shows that patients do not necessarily perceive dental hypersensitivity as a condition similar to a toothache or bleeding gums.  Living with such discomfort can make eating and drinking a chore every day.  This is very likely not necessary at all, and your friends at Riverwalk Dental would like to explain why this is the case, what are the causes, and how to find relief.

The Cause of Dentin Hypersensitivity

Dentin is a live layer just below the enamel part of your teeth.  Exposure of this part of your teeth is what often causes the sharp, painful sensation experienced when the enamel part of one’s tooth wear away or the gums recede from the tooth.  This exposes the dentin, causing the sharp pain one experiences when they suffer from dentin hypersensitivity.

If you are brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush that is so firm it is causing erosion of your tooth enamel, your teeth over time will become more and more sensitive.  If you find you are in fact developing sensitive teeth, consider changing your brushing habits and/or toothbrush to both clean your teeth as well as protect them from this self-inflicted erosion.

Periodontal diseases are another means of your teeth’s dentin to be exposed and in turn cause tooth oversensitivity.  Periodontal diseases are caused by infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support your teeth.  Gingivitis is the early stages of this form of gum disease, and is easily addressed, but without treatment such a condition could cause the gums to recede from your teeth, bone can be lost, and teeth can even loosen or fall out.  Without treatment, dentin sensitivity would likely follow adding more discomfort and possibly more permanent damage over time.

Another common cause of dentin sensitivity is due to teeth whitening.  Over the counter whitening products can and often work well, but without the supervision of your dental professional, sometimes serious damage can occur.  It is recommended that Riverwalk Dental patients work with Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi to ensure you get the smile you aim for while also protecting your teeth from long term damage.

How to Address Dentin Hypersensitivity

If you are just beginning to witness tooth sensitivity, consider any changes recently in your brushing habits.  Did you change to a firmer bristle brush?  Are you applying too much pressure to the brush as you glide it along your teeth?  Oftentimes tooth sensitivity can be temporary, and resolved quickly, simply by recognizing these new habits and correcting them.

If you have started a tooth whitening treatment, come and visit Riverwalk Dental and let us assess the process you are using.  We may be able to improve upon this process to both whiten your teeth while also preventing any damage to your teeth that may very well be causing the oversensitivity.

If you find that none of the aforementioned causes could be the reason for your teeth’s oversensitivity, consider using a toothpaste deigned to address dentin hypersensitivity.  Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste, Sensodyne, and other toothpastes can help ease the pain caused by dentin exposure.  There are also prescription strength toothpastes that Riverwalk Dental can prescribe and have a high probability of offering relief.

There are also more permanent solutions as well one may wish to consider if sensitivity is persistent.  Adhesive systems that occlude, or block dentinal tubules, can offer much more lasting relief.  In severe cases, laser treatments can also offer a more permanent solution, but consultation with Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi is strongly recommended in these circumstances.

It is important to remember that a resolution to any pain you feel in and around your mouth can be resolved by a visit to Riverwalk Dental.  Don’t be a stranger, we are here to help!

Answers to Common Questions Regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine in Massachusetts

With the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts, Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi want to help our clients with the most common questions we receive from our patients, as well as questions we have asked the authorities on vaccine distribution and administration throughout the Bay State.  Our clients are always welcome to call and discuss these details but publishing them in one location in which patients can access at any time, we feel, is to the most benefit of our clientele.

Question 1:  Can I get the vaccine?

This is our most common question.  This process is evolving over time, but as of today the supply of vaccine is limited.  At some point, likely in the near future, the COVID vaccine will be made available to everyone.   As opposed to listing out who is eligible at the time of this publication, it is best to check the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Information website regularly.  This website is located here.  Currently, Phase 1 and Phase 2 groups can now get the vaccine, which includes, but not limited to people 60 years old or older, first responders, health care workers, educators, and more.

It is important to recognize that eligibility will change over time, so checking the mass.gov website regularly is important.

Question 2:  Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

This is another prominent question asked from our patients all throughout Massachusetts, and it is a critical one.  It is important to recognize that the Food and Drug Administration is highly experienced in the rollout of many vaccines and medications over decades.  It is critical when an emergency vaccine enters the market that they use this experience to weigh the benefits against the risks.  Today, the FDA clearly sees a huge benefit to the use of the new COVID vaccines over the risks to public health.  All COVID-19 vaccines have gone through rigorous testing prior to approval, inclusive of tests on many different ages, races, ethnicities, and medical conditions.

It is important to also note that there is never a guaranty of safety with any vaccine or medication, but our clients should rest assured that the benefit of the vaccines have proven to outweigh the risks thus far.

Question 3:  Is getting the vaccine safer than achieving immunity by contracting the illness?

This is a nearly impossible question to answer fully.  Getting the COVID virus not only puts you at risk of serious, long term health problems, but also those around you.  There is also questions as to whether immunity by getting COVID-19 lasts long-term.

Nevertheless, there is no perfect solution to immunity from the COVID virus.  Both the vaccine and the illness are new.  Without a time-tested, proven remedy, it is important that each person make this decision for themselves.  What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people.

Question 3:  What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Some COVID-19 vaccines have had more adverse reactions than others.  According to the CDC, information about specific side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available when they are approved, which has not been done at the time of this publication.  Nevertheless, the COVID-19 vaccine can have the same common side effects one experiences with most vaccinations and the symptoms typically subside after a week.

Question 4:  Seeing the COVID-19 vaccines are so new, is it possible to know the long-term side effects?

This is another important question and perfectly reasonable.  Because the vaccines are so new, it is true that the long-term side effects are unknown.  Nevertheless, the FDA and the CDC are continually monitoring the effects of the vaccine to ensure that even long-term side effects are identified as soon as possible.  It is again important to stress that contracting COVID-19 can also have long-term effects on one’s overall health.

Riverwalk Dental is here to help you in your decision making regarding COVID-19, preventative measures, and vaccinations.  We hope you find this information helpful, and you are always welcome to call our office and ask further questions.

When is a good time to start going back to the dentist in the world of COVID-19?

Friends, family members, and dental clients ask the question, “When is a good time to start going back to the dentist as the world evolves through the COVID-19 pandemic?” Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi are asked this question frequently, and we at Riverwalk Dental see this question as critical to our clients’ health and wellbeing.  So, for our most recent article, we believe it is important to answer this question from us to you, along with the advice and direction of the Massachusetts Dental Society, the CDC, and the American Dental Society.

Concerns about COVID-19 and visiting your dentist are real concerns that are taken seriously by the staff at Riverwalk Dental.

Disinfection and Dentistry

When answering the question as to whether it is safe to go to the dentist, it is important to understand that we in the dental community have always, as a necessary part of operating safely, taken the spread of any germs or viruses very seriously.  Unlike other professions, dentistry has constantly been focused on the prevention of any kind of contamination in our offices.  The proper practice of dentistry has always been rooted in hygiene and an extraordinary focus on preventing any transmission of infection.  Simply by virtue of our focus on oral health, the team at Riverwalk Dental has always understood the need to keep all equipment and surfaces free of bacteria and viruses and we are proud of our perfect record to achieve this goal.

Today, like all other businesses, we have taken our already extremely high standard for hygiene and brought them to levels previously unseen. These include but not limited to:

  • Limiting patient appointments to ensure social distancing.
  • Screening of all people who enter our office prior to extending routine care.
  • Require masks for everyone.
  • Adhering to all other CDC requirements and Massachusetts reopening guidelines.

Riverwalk Dental’s perfect record of preventing the transmission of harmful contaminants will not be tarnished.

What are Other Experts Saying?

According to a recent article published by the Massachusetts Dental Society Word of Mouth magazine, they state it plainly for the citizens of the Bay State;

The Massachusetts Dental Society wants to let residents know that you shouldn’t let that fear force you to overlook your oral health. It is safe to go to the dentist right now, even for routine cleaning and exams. Your teeth and gums hold important clues to other health issues (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, premature births, and osteoporosis), so delaying your routine dental care could be detrimental to your oral and overall health.

This article goes on to cite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA), who also echoed this information and underscores the fact that there have been zero instances reported of COVID-19 transmission taking place in a dental office.

In the age of COVID-19 it is important to be cautious, and it is also important to ensure that you are not at the same time avoiding preventative measures that, if left undiagnosed and untreated, could lead to more serious problems in the future.  According to Safety.com, “A study released Aug. 10 [2020] found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients with extreme gum disease were 22 times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory problems and to be placed on a ventilator.”  In other words, poor oral health can have a multiplying effect on one’s overall health, especially if combined with a highly infectious virus like COVID-19.

The staff at Riverwalk Dental want you to be healthy and feel safe.  We want to assure our clients that we have always had a keen eye on hygiene in our office and our perfect record reflects our dedication to this for you.  If you haven’t visited in a while, make an appointment and come in for a visit soon.

Vaping and E-cigarette use and dental care:  What patients and parents need to know from Riverwalk Dental

Most people are aware that the use of E-cigarettes and vaping products is very much on the rise throughout Massachusetts and all throughout the country.  According to the Surgeon General of the United States, E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth throughout America today.  Although such products have proven to be less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is not without its dangers.

According to the Massachusetts Dental Society, there are several factors people sometimes do not consider when choosing to vape, and those in particular who are not moving away from traditional smoking to an E-cigarette should consider:

  1. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug no matter how it is delivered into one’s bloodstream. A person choosing to vape the drug instead of smoking it will still become addicted to the chemical.
  2. Vaping generates an aerosol that coats the lungs of the user. According to USNews Health, ultrafine particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs plus flavorings like diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious and irreversible lung disease called obliterative bronchiolitis have been found, as well as even heavy metals including nickel, tin, and lead.
  3. In an article written by the Massachusetts Dental Society, vaping sweet flavored E-cigarettes can increase the risk of cavities. In fact, scientists have evaluated e-cigarette aerosols and found that they have similar properties to high-sucrose syrups, gelatinous candies and acidic drinks which cause serious issues with everyone’s oral health.

The doctors and staff at Riverwalk Dental want all our patients to be healthy and happy. If you are a current cigarette smoker, moving to smokeless tobacco could be your answer to weaning yourself off of a product that is likely causing serious problems for your oral health, heart, and lungs.  Yet such products are not without their own risks.  We encourage our clients to educate themselves before considering their options.

If you are not currently a smoker, please consider never using a vaping or E-cigarette product.  Although these items appear on the surface to be harmless, they are not.  Addictive chemicals will not just hurt your pocketbook with an unnecessary expense, it could lead to serious problems in the future including gum disease, tooth decay, and serious damage to the most vital organs of your body.