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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ask Dr. Universe: Why do we get morning breath?

The microbes feed on leftover bits of food in your mouth. They not only help break down your food, but they also get energy from it. As they eat, grow, and multiply, they also release some smelly gases that might remind you of rotten eggs.

Mike Baker: Restoring dental health care services should be a priority

Waking up in the middle of the night with a horrible toothache is never a good thing. If you’re poor and you can’t afford to see a dentist, you’re likely going to the emergency room to make the pain go away. After what usually is a long wait at the ER, you’ll be treated and released with a bill that you have no way of paying. Instead, Idahoans get to foot the bill and the cycle of rising health care costs goes on.

House Call: Taking care of your teeth is important to your health

Aside from the obvious social and functional aspects of having an attractive-looking mouth, healthy teeth and gums are linked to better overall health. It’s hard to get good nutrition if you can’t chew those fruits, vegetables, and nuts that I’m always encouraging you to eat. Rotting teeth and gums also increase your body’s general state of inflammation and the risk of heart disease and infections.

Dental care gap problem for adults

Health officials have made strides in getting low-income kids in Spokane County to the dentist, but regular dental care remains beyond the reach of many adults. More than 30 percent of the county’s adults have lost a tooth to decay, according to the Spokane Regional Health District. Emergency room visits related to tooth pain are increasing. And even low-income adults who have insurance have trouble getting in to see a dentist because many don’t accept Medicaid reimbursements.

Flossing key to putting plaque in its place

‘You’ll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.” I can still hear that jingle from the 1950s. My mom taught me, like your mom did, to brush my teeth every day, morning and night. Since we started daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, we’ve dramatically cut down tooth decay. Add to this water fluoridation in some parts of the country and good dental care and you have a dental miracle. (Interesting fact: Tooth decay was the number one reason for turning down Army volunteers in World War I.)

Studies have linked gum disease to cardiovascular disease

When periodontist Dr. Lauralee Nygaard had a stroke at age 37, she didn’t think to blame her gums. She didn’t know what to blame. Nygaard thought she was in good shape, with low body fat, controlled cholesterol and a lifetime of good health.

Filling the dental divide

The proof is in the emergency rooms, they say: There’s a dental access problem, and it’s growing. Pointing to the number of costly ER visits by people in dental distress, advocates and legislators in Washington say a new category of dental providers – able to perform more complicated procedures than hygienists but not the most difficult procedures done by dentists – would address the problem. “Midlevel” practitioners, they say, would be able to serve more people in need where they live, including in underserved areas, at a lower cost.

Tooth in fiction

If you’ve ever tried to get a 2-year-old to brush her teeth or a 4-year-old to climb into a dentist’s chair, here’s a story for you. Or your problem child. Dr. Blake McKinley Jr., a Spokane Valley endodontist, wrote “Happy Tooth & Sad Tooth” more than a decade ago before visiting his son’s preschool class to give a talk about his job.

Dental clinic offers affordable relief for Medicaid users, uninsured

The quiet at the Riverstone Family Dental Clinic on a recent Monday morning was like the quiet before a storm. At least that’s what the people behind the IDEA Clinic, located at Riverstone Family Health Center at the Northeast Community Center, were hoping.

Report: Some dietary supplements illegally labeled

Dozens of weight loss and immune system supplements on the market are illegally labeled and lack the recommended type of scientific evidence to back up their purported health claims, government investigators warn in a new review of the $20 billion supplement industry.

Lunch workers study how to get kids to eat healthy

There will be more whole grains on school lunch menus this year, along with a wider selection of fruits and vegetables and other healthy options. The challenge is getting children to eat them.

Investigation dampens Monster’s energy buzz

As energy drinks continue to surge in popularity, the disclosure by Monster Beverage Corp. that it's being investigated is the latest signal that the high-octane industry is coming under sharper scrutiny.

FDA bans BPA in baby bottles, cups

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it is banning the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, a move critics said did not go far enough and was meaningless because most bottle manufacturers had already phased out the use of the chemical.

Reason to smile

Ashley Leon, 20, hadn’t seen a dentist for a couple of years before last week. She probably wouldn’t have seen one last week, either, if she weren’t pregnant, she said. “I probably wouldn’t have had as much incentive to go, especially now that I know it affects the baby,” said Leon, who said her OB-GYN encouraged her to visit a dentist because of the links between pregnant women’s oral health and the health of their babies. “I was a little more concerned about the baby’s health than mine.”

Often overlooked, dentists say mother’s oral health connected to baby’s health

For many pregnant women, bumping up their flossing routine – much less scheduling their first dental visit in years – may fall last on their to-do lists. But for dentists and doctors, the connections between mothers’ oral health and the health of their babies – before and after they’re born – are vitally important.

Dentists: Step up plaque efforts

McALLEN, Texas – Perla Mendoza, 37, has had her teeth cleaned by a dentist just three times in her life because she doesn’t have insurance. But she is good about following up on the dental care of her kids, who do have insurance, she said.

NYC ban on big sodas could face legal test

If New York City bans big sodas, what's next on the list? Large slices of pizza? Double-scoop ice cream cones? Tubs of movie-theater popcorn? The 16-ounce strip steak?