News Roundup

Making Dental Bills Less Painful

Dental Savings plans were highlighted as a great way to save on dental care in a report by Kelli Grant at CNBC. Grant noted that dental insurance policies often have low annual limits on coverage, typically about $1,000, which means most people hit their limit quickly for anything other than routine care. The report advises people to “use a comparison site, such as Healthcare​, to figure out what a fair price is in your area for a given procedure … and if you don’t have insurance and need care immediately, consider buying a dental discount plan, which offers savings at participating dentists and kicks in immediately.”

“Even if you have insurance, a discount plan can be a good value – so long as your dentist is in both networks, you can layer both (insurance and savings plan) together to save,” Jennifer Fitzgerald, chief executive of comparison website PolicyGenius, told CNBC.

Hang Onto Those Baby Teeth

Doctors are urging parents save their kid’s baby teeth, and not for sentimental reasons. According to a recent study, baby teeth contain an abundance of stem cells – which can potentially be used to grow replacement tissue in the body and cure a number of diseases.

If collected and properly stored, baby teeth could be used to potentially treat and cure a life-threatening illness a child or a close family member could develop years down the road.

How do you store those tiny teeth to preserve dental DNA? Your dentist can help you find a lab that will send you a kit that includes preserving liquid to keep the tissue alive. You return the kit to the lab, which will store the teeth for you.

Spinach Teeth

Did you ever notice that your teeth feel … weird – after you eat spinach? This is caused by spinach’s high levels of ocalic acid which combine with the calcium in your saliva when you chew spinach. That causes the formation of calcium oxalate crystals, which stick to your teeth and make them feel chalky. It’s experienced by so many people that there’s a name for the feeling: “Spinach Teeth.” Not very creative, but certainly accurate. What should you do about it? Unfortunately there’s no workaround, but you should avoid consuming milk with your spinach. Milk adds more calcium to the mix, boosting the spinach teeth effect.

Speaking of Spinach….

First it was his “mismatched” shoes, then it was his upside-down flag pin — and now it’s a shred of lunch stuck between his teeth.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer was back in the Twitter spotlight, when he addressed the press and the country during a nationally broadcasted conference, with what appeared to be some sort of leafy green vegetable stuck between his teeth. Perhaps the Russian hackers are now using spinach as a weapon?

Toothpaste and your appetite

Some people say brushing their teeth curbs their appetite. When they get a snack attack, spending a few moments with their toothbrush kills their cravings. Others say brushing their teeth makes them hungry. Rather than just saying “people are weird, huh?” Popular Science investigated the phenomenon.

Those who get hungry probably eat breakfast after brushing, and have learned to associate oral hygiene with eating. Those who reported a lack of appetite tend to brush after breakfast and last thing at night, with no food associations attached to the act.

Popular Science also notes what most of us suspect – the flavor of toothpaste plays a big role. That minty-fresh taste may stimulate a craving for more sweet treats even though sodium laureth sulfate, the stuff that makes toothpaste foamy, suppresses the sweet taste bud receptors on your tongue and intensifies the bitter ones. This is why things like orange juice taste so awful when consumed right after brushing your teeth. Some brains remember that brushing followed by food is not an optimum experience, and activate the appetite suppression module. Other brains are hardwired to want their breakfast after brushing. People are weird, huh?

Obsessed with Teeth?

New Zealand singer Lorde seems to be fixated with teeth. Her latest hit, Green Light, mentions teeth as do four of the ten songs on her debut album: “400 Lux,” “Royals,” “Team,” and, most obviously, “White Teeth Teens.” An article on Vevo points out the singer’s fascination with teeth, and notes that Lorde isn’t the only artist to “question our hang-ups over teeth and class, especially in America.”

“Sarah Smarsh has written about the “psychological hell” many people experience for “having poor teeth in a rich, capitalist country,” at least in part as a result of being priced out of dental care, and, over at Slate, June Thomas, who hails from England’s industrial north, has reflected on Americans’ teeth obsession in the context of our larger dentistry crisis. Likewise, on his 2013 track “Crooked Smile,” J. Cole highlights the pressures he faced to fix his “twisted grill” once he started making enough money to do so.”

But then there’s Charlize Theron, whose stunts in “Atomic Blonde” resulted in so much damage to her teeth that she had to get four root canals during filming.


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