The FLU season is here. INNOCULATE NOW!

The flu season usually runs from November through March. Some years, cases continue into April and May. For the last 25 years, the heaviest flu activity has occurred in February.

Each year in the United States, on average, 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. More than 250,000 people require hospitalization while about 36,000 die.

Influenza viruses can cause disease among people of any age, but rates of infection are highest among children. Serious illness and death are highest among persons ages 65 or older, and children ages 2 and younger. People of any age with certain medical conditions (e.g., congestive heart failure, asthma, diabetes), or who live in some type of long-term care facility are at risk for serious complications.

There are two types of influenza vaccine. The trivalent inactivated (killed) influenza vaccine, or TIV, may be used on any person age 6 months or older. This flu shot, an injection into muscle, usually is in the upper arm. The other is a live, attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine, or LAIV, which is sprayed into the nostrils.

For most people, vaccination will prevent serious influenza-related illnesses. Vaccination will not prevent “flu-like” illnesses caused by other viruses. It takes two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination. So, vaccine that is given early in the flu season will provide a longer period of protection. Influenza vaccines can reduce infection in 70 to 90 percent of healthy adults under the age of 65.
Experts agree that hand-washing can help prevent viral infections, including ordinary influenza and the swine flu virus. Also not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands helps to prevent the flu.Influenza can spread in coughs or sneezes, but an increasing body of evidence shows small droplets containing the virus can linger on tabletops, telephones and other surfaces and be transferred via the fingers to the eyes, nose or mouth.
In all cases, please consult with your physician to determine which vaccine will be best suited for you.

Dentists and Hygienists- STOP CLEANING TEETH!

We are doing our patients a major disservice by continuing to refer to a therapeutic disease control program as a “cleaning”. By using that term we are under-rating the importance of the service and encouraging the patient to consider their disease as something to be not too concerned about. Nowhere in the dental codes 4355, 4341, 4342, 4910, will you find the word “cleaning“.

Gingivitis and bacteria

 Some practices use the phrase “deep scaling”. Where in the wide world of Ste. Apalonia (Patron Saint of Dentistry) did that misleading phrase come from? A scaling, which is a component of hygiene therapy, is either thorough (deep) or inadequate. I prefer to call the therapeutic disease control program Comprehensive (or Conservative) Periodontal TherapyCPT.
The American Dental Association reports now that 75% of the US population has some degree of Periodontal Disease, and still many dentists fail to bring it to their patients’ attention. You also need to ask yourself what patients really expect. When YOU go to a medical professional, don’t you expect to hear what is best for YOUR health? That is exactly what your patients expect.
When a patient leaves home for a dental appointment, he/she has brushed and flossed their teeth and in their mind their teeth are CLEAN! Why would they pay a registered health care professional to professionally “clean” their teeth when they have already done so.
In order to change our patients’ attitudes about dental hygiene we need to use the right language. It is a dental hygiene appointment, it is a hygiene therapy appointment, or supportive periodontal hygiene therapy. It is a Comprehensive (or Conservative) Periodontal Therapy CPT. It’s not just a “cleaning“. It is an important part of the patient’s health and healing and it’s essential to educate the patient on the oral health link with systemic health. Help your patients to value the hygiene appointment.
Ten years ago the concept of the oral-systemic connection was absolutely foreign to the healthcare community. Today, however, most people are aware of the obvious connection; the media are paying more and more attention, and the intellectual public is searching the web. It is our responsibility to spread the word- the correct word.

It is well documented that the same bacteria (primarily spirochetes) that harbor in the gums and are responsible for PD, are directly related to heart disease, strokes, lung disease, kidney failure, and premature underweight births. The bottom line is that EVERYONE must be agressive in the early discovery and treatment of PD- and it’s especially true for a systemically compromised person. A health history interview with every new patient (and “recall”) is essential.
Recent research has also shown a connection to Alzheimer’s Disease.


There are many identified causes of halitosis. This article will deal with the oral causes and what you can do to manage them.  

1 Tongue
The most common location for mouth-related halitosis is the tongue. Large quantities of naturally occurring bacteria are often found on the posterior of the tongue where they are undisturbed by normal activity. This part of the tongue is relatively dry and poorly cleansed, and bacterial populations can thrive on remnants of food deposits and postnasal drip.
2 Mouth
Other parts of the mouth may also contribute to the overall odor, but are not as common as the back of the tongue. These locations are, in order of descending prevalence: food-impaction areas in between the teeth,  faulty dental work, abscesses, and unclean dentures. Oral based lesions caused by viral infections like Herpes Simplex and HPV may also contribute to bad breath.
3 Gum Disease
Gum Disease is a major cause of a bad taste in the mouth and bad breath, and this can happen so gradually that you may not be aware of the odor. Removal of the subgingival calculus (i.e. tartar or hard plaque) and dead tissue has been shown to improve mouth odor considerably. This is accomplished by “deep scaling” and root planing and irrigation.


Chronic halitosis is not well understood by most physicians and dentists, so effective treatment is not always easy to find. The following strategies may be suggested:

  1. Gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily is the most effective way to keep bad breath in control. Methods used to counter bad breath, such as mints, mouth sprays, mouthwash or gum, may only temporarily mask the odors created by the bacteria on the tongue. They cannot cure bad breath because they do not remove the source of the bad breath. Effective ways to clean the tongue would be to use a tongue scraper or a toothbrush.
  2. Eating a healthy breakfast with rough foods helps clean the very back of the tongue.
  3. Chewing gum: Since dry-mouth can increase bacterial buildup and cause or worsen bad breath, chewing sugarless gum can help with the production of saliva, which washes away oral bacteria, has antibacterial properties and promotes mechanical activity which helps cleanse the mouth.
  4. Gargling right before bedtime with an effective mouthwash. Mouthwashes may contain active ingredients that are inactivated by the soap present in most toothpastes. Thus it is recommended to refrain from using mouthwash directly after toothbrushing with paste.
  5. Maintaining proper oral hygiene, including daily tongue cleaning, brushing, flossing, and periodic visits to dentists. Flossing is particularly important in removing rotting food debris and bacterial plaque from between the teeth, especially at the gumline. Dentures should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution (unless otherwise advised by your dentist).
  6. Probiotic treatments, have been shown suppress malodor bacteria growth.
  7. Smoking Smoking’s contributions to bad breath include dry mouth and gum disease, and it can also increase your risk of oral and sinus infections.
Protect your dental and general health and avoid these sources of bad breath with regular visits to your dentist.


Here are the most prevalent sources of halitosis:
Some one quarter of the patients seeking professional advice on bad breath suffer from a highly exaggerated concern of having bad breath, known as halitophobia, delusional halitosis, These patients are sure that they have bad breath, although many have not asked anyone for an objective opinion. Halitophobia may severely affect the lives of some 0.5–1.0% of the adult population.



If you have dental “insurance”, think of it as your rich uncle giving you up to $1000. each year to spend towards your dental care.
 The truth is, dental benefits are not “insurance”. “Insurance” by its definition limits your liability. That is,no matter how sick you get, your medical insurance, for example, is designed to protect you from financial hardship. Your dental plan, on the other hand, will only pay so much per year, no matter how much care you need. It’s designed to limit the insurance company’s liability. Whether you need $200 or $2000 worth of dental care, the insurance company will only pay up to an agreed-upon annual maximum.


 One way or another, YOU are paying for that benefit. It may be through a monthly premium, or perhaps your employer is paying part or all of it for you.
 If you have dental insurance it’s a great thing to have. Congratulations. Most insurance company maximums are $1000. per year, meaning they will cover the first $1000. of your yearly dental expenses. Dental benefits have barely increased in the last fifty years. The very first dental insurance was offered in the early 1960’s, and it covered $1000 per year. Back then, that would pay for a lot of dentistry!
Doctors have an ethical and legal obligation to diagnose and sharetheir findings with you. We base treatment recommendations on the needs of the patient, not the limitations of the benefits. Naturally, we respect your right to make decisions regarding your oral health, but we want you to be totally informed.

Your rich uncle wouldn’t want it any other way.



Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 –1564) considered himself a sculptor, not a painter.  Two of his best-known works, the Pieta and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, he was persuaded by Pope Julius II, against his will, to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took approximately four years to complete (1508–1512). The maestro Michelangelo created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling, and The Last Judgement on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

Michelangelo the sculptor met the challenge presented to him, seized the opportunity, and is now also considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time.
We are living in a very complex and challenging economic time. Most businesses are feeling the crunch. There is a perception of imminent financial doom and a fear of spending money. Yet the reports show that the clever businessman is meeting the challenges and not just surviving, but thriving. How are some people doing that?
What do YOU need to do to meet your challenges?
It may be as simple as taking a training course to expand your services, or understanding your uniqueness and letting your public how you can uniquely help them. This is the time to be social. Do it through the social media and do it in person. Be active with your Chamber of Commerce, with local networking groups, religious and school organizations, and with local businesses. LinkedIn blogs will suggest dozens of ideas for you to select from.

But don’t you agree you have to do some things different?

This is the time to take some action. Keep your eyes open for the opportunities. They are always there. The next opportunity could make you a maestro.

 Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 –1564)




Are you in control (“at cause”) of your conditions, or believe that you have little or no control (“at effect”).  Do you believe that “the economy” has control over your success? Do the “Insurance Companies” determine your patients’ treatment acceptance?

Do you know people who continually place themselves at effect and feel they are  a victim of circumstances?  The idea that other people are responsible for how they feel and act : “That  patient made me angry.”, or “My  lab is costing me money.”, or “People don’t want to spend money on dentistry today.”  Those who live their lives at effect often see themselves as victims with no choices whatsoever. The irony is that they do have choice and they have chosen not to choose but to be responsive to whatever is given to them.

Putting yourself at cause is about taking responsibility – recognizing that you have the ability to respond rather than just react to whatever life throws at you. You can make things happen; you have the power to change things.   You always look for the opportunity and you move towards achieving your desired OUTCOMES. If things are not unfolding as you would like, you take action and explore other possibilities. Above all, you know you have choice in what you do. This is the time to do something different- stand out from the crowd.

People who think they are at effect use words like “can’t” and  “I tried.” When you say “I can’t,” the computer in your brain steps right up and supplies you with lots of reasons why you can’t, and it also blocks the creative part of your mind from figuring our how you can. Thus, the fact that you can’t comes true, further reinforcing your belief that you really can’t.  Instead of saying “I can’t”,  begin to ask “How can I?” and keep asking until your brain supplies you with the answer you want.  I once heard a “motivational speaker” say, “After you think you tried every possible method, and still haven’t succeeded, try another method.” You could have asked Thomas Edison about that.

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

“Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.”

“I tried” is another favorite of people who feel they are at effect. The entire presupposition behind “I tried” is failure. No one who succeeds ever says “I tried.” They say “I will do it.” Trying begins with the belief in failure. To try, you must make pictures in your head of failing. My suggestion is to make pictures in your head of accomplishing whatever it is you want to accomplish. When you do this, you give your brain a signal to figure out how to do it. When you “try,” you give your brain a signal to figure out a way to fail.


In the 1st of the Star Wars episodes, Yoda instructed Luke Sky Walker (Harrison Ford), “There is no ‘try’. There is either ‘do’ or ‘do not.”

Why would someone focus on what they don’t want, and see themselves as being at effect of causes over which they have no control?   Fear. Scientology and NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming are controversially at odds with each other on this issue but it remains that you can take control of your responses to whatever situation you find yourself in.  And you can consciously control the choices you have in any situation. Choose to be successful.

For further reading:

Psycho Cybernetics,  Maxwell Maltz, MD

Introducing NLP, O’Connor and Seymour

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.