First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

 

When you meet someone new, it’s that first smile that can make the biggest impact.

In 2012, Kelton Global, an international research and marketing company conducted a “smile survey.” The research study found that 48% of the people surveyed believe that a smile is the most memorable feature after first meeting someone.

The other day, I got a call from a friend who recently started dating again. She met someone using an on-line dating service and it seemed she had met her perfect match. They spoke several times on the phone and after a few weeks, they met up for their first date. The big night came but unfortunately, it became a big let down.

I called her to ask how the date went and she told me, “He was a nice guy but I was put off by his crooked yellow teeth and bad breath.”

Mr. Right didn’t practice good dental hygiene and as a result a potential great relationship ended with hello.

One of the easiest ways to care for your teeth is regular brushing and flossing. It is essential to remove plaque and stain-producing substances, as well as preventing bad breath and tooth decay. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.

Persistent Bad breath could also be a sign of a serious gum infection called periodontitis. If left untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss and may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and other health problems.

When you want to make a great first impression, start with good dental hygiene, regular brushing and flossing and visiting us every 4 to 6 months for a dental check-up and cleaning.

George Washington’s Wooden Teeth

There are so myths surrounding America’s first president George Washington. Each February, America remembers the classic tale of Washington chopping down a cherry or that he may have had wooden teeth. While these stories are a lot fun are they real or just folklore?

Washington had problems with his teeth throughout his entire life. By the time he took office in 1789, all of his teeth had fallen out except for one.

Washington’s dentures were made from a variety of materials, including hippopotamus ivory, gold, and lead. The ivory used in the dentures became stained over time giving them a grained and wooden appearance.

Washington’s Dentures from Mount Vernon on Vimeo.

Dr. Susan Schoelwer, Curator at Mount Vernon, highlights the many interesting facets around George Washington’s dentures. Mount Vernon’s set of dentures is the only surviving full set worn by Washington.

The story of Washington and his wooden teeth demonstrate the importance of practicing good dental hygiene, including brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist every 4 or 6 months for a dental exam and cleaning. While Washington’s teeth were a constant source of discomfort and pain throughout his entire life yours don’t have to be.

For more interesting facts about George Washington visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Photo of George Washington’s dentures courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Tips to Maximize Your Dental Benefits

Dental Benefits are offered by employers to help their employees get the dental care they need and reduce the associated costs. Dental benefit plans are not insurance in the traditional sense but are designed to provide you with assistance in paying for your dental care and maintain a health smile. Most dental plans have an annual maximum amount they will pay every calendar year, ranging from $500 to $3,000. The average yearly maximum or cap is $1500 for a standard PPO plan.

Most dental plans allow for two dental hygiene cleanings per year at little or no cost. This is a great way to care for your oral health and catch or prevent a problem before it becomes serious. A dental hygiene visit is one of the most important preventative steps you can take to maintain your smile for years to come and catch potentially serious conditions that will lead to loss of teeth, and or more costly procedures. If you have had a condition that has been treated and is stable, it is even more important to visit the dentist on a regular basis. Bad habits, wear and tear, and time can reverse progress made by completed treatment.

If you have dental benefits, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your plan. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your dental benefits and cover out of pocket dental expenses.

Use your dental benefits or lose them

Did you know that your dental benefits expire at the end of the year? Unfortunately, some people spend all year paying for their dental benefits and never fully take advantage of them. As mentioned before, you are given a maximum amount of dental benefits at the beginning of each year. If you don’t use it, you lose it. The money doesn’t roll over to the next year. If you need to see your dentist for treatment, be sure to utilize those funds before the end of the year. Using your dental benefits may significantly reduce the cost of your dental care.

Discuss your benefits with your employer or human resources department to make sure that you have a clear understanding about your coverage.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your dental benefits

When it comes to your dental benefits, ignorance is not bliss. You should discuss your benefits with your employer or human resources department to make sure that you have a clear understanding about your coverage. Your dental office may also be able to answer questions or provide more information about how you can get the most out of your dental plan.

Careful planning can help you maximize your dental benefits

By understanding your dental benefits you can maximize your plan and aid in questions you may have regarding treatment options. If you are due for a dental hygiene visit or have dental treatment pending, make sure to use your dental benefits before they expire.

Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts

Check with your employer and see if they offer a Flexible Spending or a Health Savings Account. This is pre tax money you set aside each year to help cover co-pays and other related medical and dental procedures. Remember, in most cases, any money left in these accounts at the end of the year is forfeited.

Other options to help with your dental care

If you currently don’t have dental benefits there are some great options available to help you get the dental care you need. One option is to sign up with care credit. They offer 0% interest financing. For more information visit www.carecredit.com.