Word of Mouth

Summer-Fall 2016

Summer Fall 2016 WOM
Oral Piercing—An Oral Health Don't 

This fall saw multitudes of students returning to college at many of the Boston-area schools, but some may be returning home for Thanksgiving or winter break with more than just their laundry to be washed. While many consider having their ears pierced a rite of passage, today’s teens and young adults are often turning to another type of piercing as a fashion statement—oral piercing. The Massachusetts Dental Society discourages patients from getting oral piercings because of their serious oral health complications.


Also in this issue:
Kids and Tooth Grinding
You Can Help Reduce Opioid Abuse
Don't Toss the Floss
Smokeless Tobacco Taken Out of the Ballgame in Boston

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Summer-Fall 2015

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Summer-Fall 2015
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Summer-Fall 2015

Back to School for Kids' Teeth, Too

While your child’s annual physical exam, which includes vision and hearing tests, is indeed essential, it overlooks an important part of a child’s health—oral health. Cavities are one of the most prevalent infectious diseases among U.S. children, with more than 51 million school hours lost each year due to dental-related causes in the United States. In addition to the oral health implications of dental disease, children can’t concentrate and learn when they have a toothache. That’s why the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) thinks it’s important that parents ensure that their children’s teeth are healthy and cavity-free by scheduling a dental exam as part of the back-to-school routine for all students.

Winter-Spring 2015

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Winter-Spring 2015
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Baby Boomers Cut Their Teeth on Oral Health Issues

As the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation ease into retirement age, their thoughts most likely turn to spending more time with their grandchildren, taking up a new hobby, or volunteering. One thing that they shouldn’t overlook is their oral health. Just like the rest of the body, the mouth is affected by advancing age and undergoes changes impacting teeth’s appearance and, more importantly, health. Understanding these changes and what can be done about them is key to maintaining good oral health. Healthy teeth and gums are important to people of all ages, and a healthy mouth plays an important role in chewing food, in speaking, and in overall health. Here are some things for Baby Boomers to consider as they prepare their smiles for retirement.

Summer-Fall 2014

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Summer-Fall 2014
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Can Stressing Out Stress Your Gums?

Stress is something we all face at one time or another, but does cramming for a test or feeling the pressure of bills really wear on our oral health as well as our nerves? Stress has already been linked to many serious health conditions, including heart disease and stroke, and now it seems that stress has been caught—this time red-gummed—in yet another unsavory act of hostility upon our bodies: gum disease.

Winter-Spring 2014

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Winter-Spring 2014
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Bring in Da Brush, Bring in Da Fun!

As important as it is to make sure that your children get nutritious meals and plenty of sleep to help them grow into healthy adults, you also need to remember the importance of good oral health, and that includes brushing their teeth for two minutes twice a day. Although instilling this healthy habit in young children can often be a frustrating endeavor for parents, it is possible to show kids that brushing doesn’t have to be a chore. Here are some tips for bringing the fun to toothbrushing.

Summer-Fall 2013

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Summer-Fall 2013
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Summer Smile Safety Tips

While many of us are enjoying time away from work and school by lounging at the beach, camping in the mountains, or embarking on another summer adventure, we often don’t think about our oral health. As the Go-Gos sang in their 1982 hit, “Vacation, all I ever wanted!” However, the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) notes that one thing you don’t want on your summer vacation is a dental disaster.

Winter-Spring 2013

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Winter-Spring 2013
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Guess Who? Celebrity Smiles

Massachusetts is well known for its contributions to all cultural arenas, including history, politics, entertainment, journalism, and professional sports. In fact, the Bay State is the birthplace and/or adopted home base of a multitude of famous faces. The men and women pictured here are celebrated worldwide for their talents in movies, television, music, politics, and professional sports—but they all have “roots” in Massachusetts. Can you figure out who these famous Bay Staters are? You know their faces . . . but can you recognize their smiles? 

Summer-Fall 2012

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Summer-Fall 2012
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"Baby" Those Teeth

A baby’s first year is marked with many milestones: that first smile, word, step, and tooth. Parents wait anxiously for all of these first-time events—and then boast about them to family and friends on Facebook. But there’s one other important “first” in a baby’s life that parents need to anticipate: the first dental visit. The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the Massachusetts Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (MAPD) all recommend scheduling a baby’s first visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than your child’s first birthday.

Winter-Spring 2012

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Winter-Spring 2012
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HPV and the Changing Face of Oral Cancer

When we think of someone being diagnosed with oral cancer, usually a person who smokes cigars or cigarettes, drinks alcohol excessively, or has chewed smokeless tobacco for years comes to mind. However, new research shows that certain types of oral cancers can also be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and the number of cases is growing. HPV is a virus that has more than 100 strains, including two sexually transmitted types known as HPV-16 and HPV-18, which are both aggressive, high-risk strains that can also lead to certain types of cervical and oral cancers. 


Summer-Fall 2011

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Summer-Fall 2011
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Girls Just Wanna Have Healthy Gums

It’s been argued in popular culture that “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” when it comes to relationships. In his 1992 self-help book with the same title, Dr. John Gray theorized that the genders are as different as beings from another planet. He applied this theory to relationships with regard to communication styles and emotional needs, and speculated those differences are the basis for most relationship problems. When it comes to oral health, another difference may be attributed along gender lines: Hormones may make women more susceptible to periodontal disease.

Winter-Spring 2011

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Winter-Spring 2011
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How’s this for perspective? In the winter of 2001, Word of Mouth went to press with its rst issue just as the new president, George W. Bush, was coming to Washington; Osama bin Laden was an obscure name to most people, related to some bombings in the Middle East; and Barack Obama was a little-known Illinois state senator from Chicago. In the sports world, the New England Patriots had yet to win even one of their three Super Bowl trophies, and a Red Sox World Series victory seemed like a hopeless dream. In the world of dentistry, concerns presented in our first issue, Winter-Spring 2001, included the increasing prevalence of oral cancer related to tobacco use, the potential problems related to the youthful trend of oral piercings, and the growing trend of adult orthodontics. As the decade progressed, these topics and many more have been covered in Word of Mouth, revealing a multitude of advances, trends, and opportunities to promote oral health as it relates to overall health.

Summer-Fall 2010

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Summer-Fall 2010
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Pierce Out

In this day and age, an earring stud or hoop protruding out of someone’s tongue or lip is not an unusual sight. Today, body piercings are seen as a fashion statement, worn as accessories—as innocuous as wearing a ring or a necklace. Some view it as art, while others view it as a form of expressing their identity. However, oral piercing, which involves the tongue, lips, or cheeks, has actually been implicated in a number of harmful dental conditions and could be a potential risk to your health. So when it comes to making a fashion statement with oral piercing, you’re better off just saying “pierce out.”

Winter-Spring 2010

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Winter-Spring 2010
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Does Your Diet Need a Dental Do-Over?

Most college students—and many high school and grammar school students—eat the majority of their meals in a cafeteria or dining hall, and they may not realize how their food choices affect their oral health.

Summer-Fall 2009

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Summer-Fall 2009
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Got Dentist?

Surprisingly enough, nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) do not have a general dentist. And for those of you who move to a new city or town, or whose dentist retires, finding a new dentist can be a difficult task, especially if you are living in a community where you don’t know many people. Asking for referrals is a good place to start, but ultimately you will have to decide which dentist is best suited to your individual needs and situation. A variety of factors can come into play when choosing a dentist, ranging from the office’s location to the practice’s hours to the level of care you require to the languages spoken to whether the practice is accepting new patients.

Winter-Spring 2009

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Winter-Spring 2009
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A Bundle of Joy and a Healthy Mouth

A woman’s body goes through many changes when she is expecting a baby. But some moms-to-be may not be aware that, as a result of pregnancy, their teeth and gums also undergo changes that can have health ramifications. Since oral health is a part of overall health, it comes as no surprise that maintaining a healthy mouth during pregnancy can lead to a healthier mom and a healthier baby.

Summer-Fall 2008

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Summer-Fall 2008
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Preschool Dental Care: Big Lessons for Little Mouths

Dental health problems can begin at a very early age.That’s why the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) recommends establishing a positive relationship between your preschooler and his or her dentist by starting dental visits early and continuing checkups regularly.

Winter-Spring 2008

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Winter-Spring 2008
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A Healthy Mouth and a Healthy Earth

You’re brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes, using fluoride toothpaste, and flossing regularly. That’s all good stuff for your mouth (and your overall health), but did you know that while you’re being good to your oral health, you could also be good to our planet?

Summer-Fall 2007

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Summer-Fall 2007
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Balancing Your Oral Health and Your Overall Health

The Massachusetts Dental Society wants you to know that your oral health does indeed play a part in your total health. Specifically, poor oral health has been shown to be a precursor or indicator of heart illness, stroke, diabetes, low-birth-weight and/or premature births, and even mental health issues such as depression. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), research shows that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral symptoms. Dentists know that your teeth and gums hold important clues to other health issues, which means that those twice-a-year visits to your dentist can be an even more important tool in helping you maintain not just a healthy smile, but also a healthy body.

Winter-Spring 2007

07 WOM Winter Spring
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Winter-Spring 2007
07 WOM Winter Spring

Going Green with Your Toothpaste

It’s not uncommon to walk down the health and beauty product aisle at your local supermarket and find products labeled “natural” and “organic,” including oral hygiene products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss. But if you do decide to go “green” with your toothpaste purchase, could your teeth be missing out on the healthiest ingredient of all, fluoride?

Summer-Fall 2006

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Summer-Fall 2006
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While oral cancer may not have as high a public profile as other cancers, the fatality rate for oral cancer is higher than that for cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, skin cancer, and cancer of the brain, liver, testes, or kidney. Being aware of the symptoms of oral cancer, which means performing regular self-examinations and having your dentist perform a professional oral cancer screening as part of your routine checkup, can be a tremendous aid in recognizing and detecting oral cancer and possibly increasing the chance for recovery. In the face of such scary statistics, it comes down to this: You are the most important factor in the early diagnosis of oral cancer.

Winter-Spring 2006

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Winter-Spring 2006
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Just Chew It

We’ve all seen the television commercials and heard that familiar tagline: “Four out of five dentists recommend chewing sugarless gum.” But do we know why dentists recommend chewing gum? After a meal—especially at a restaurant or on the run—we don’t always have access to a toothbrush, but by stimulating the production of saliva, chewing gum serves as a makeshift cleaner. But it’s not as simple as chewing any gum. There are some gums available that feature an extra ingredient—a natural sweetener called xylitol—that has been proven to dramatically reduce the occurrence of new tooth decay, as well as slow the effects of existing decay.

Summer-Fall 2005

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Summer-Fall 2005
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Brush with Fame

Word of Mouth surveyed a variety of celebrities with ties to Massachusetts—some locally grown, some nationally known—to ask them what kind of toothbrush they use (electric with all the bells and whistles or no-frills manual) and what color it is. So if you’ve ever wondered what type of toothbrush your favorite Boston-area celebrity (and a few you maybe didn’t know had ties to the Bay State) uses, read on. And the next time you brush your teeth, you may find yourself thinking about which other celebs use the same color toothbrush you do.

Winter-Spring 2005

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Winter-Spring 2005
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The Tooth About Your Diet

It’s difficult to live in this health-conscious day and age and not be aware that what you eat can adversely affect your overall health. A poor diet resulting in excess weight gain can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other potentially debilitating or fatal diseases. But did you know that your overall health includes your oral health, and that a poor diet can affect your teeth and gums?