Use It Or Lose It? Tips For Maximizing Your Dental Insurance Benefits Before The Year Ends

Out of the millions of people who avail of dental insurance, only a very small percentage of them are able to reach or exceed their plan’s annual maximum.

When you’re paying for dental care through your hard-earned dollars, the last thing you’d want is for them to go to waste.

Most insurance company set the benefit deadline on December 31, and any unused benefits won’t roll over and add to your next year’s benefits.

Here are some tips on how to maximize your dental insurance benefits before we say goodbye to 2016.

Prevention is better than cure

It is amazing how this age old cliché applies even in your dental insurance benefits.

If you don’t have any teeth that needs fixing, then go for preventive procedures.

Aside from keeping your teeth healthy, the costs for preventive visits are actually 100% covered by most plans.

So if you don’t know what to do with your dental plan yet, then now is the good time to visit your dentist and start the coming year with a healthy smile.

Plan your next year’s coverage early

Think about your insurance coverage for next year as early as now.

If you can, make a plan on how you’ll maximize it.

Start by paying a visit to your dentist as soon as possible to determine what your needs are and which treatment or procedure you might need for the entire year.

Schedule your appointment now so you can take care of all the planning before the year ends.

Once you learn what your dental needs could possibly be, read you insurance documents, visit the insurance company’s website, or contact your insurance provider to determine which procedures are covered.

More often than not, your dentist will also do a research on this too.

Opt for a Flexible Spending Account

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a good alternative option for dental insurance. You can setup your account through your employer.

Its advantage over the more traditional dental plan is that you can choose how much money to set aside and put into your account.

Even better, the amount added to your FSA is not subject payroll taxes.

Basically, FSA works pretty much like a debit card that you can use whenever you need to pay for your medical and dental expenses.

You can also use it to purchase products available at your local pharmacy.

Dental products and services covered by FSAs include professional cleaning, orthodontic treatment, dentures, and any other dental treatment that are necessary to maintain or preserve dental health.

Unfortunately, FSA also have an end-of-the-year deadline.

But unlike plans, most FSAs has a grace period of 2 ½ months. Some may even allow you to carry over as much as $500 to your next year’s funds.

Any fund left after the grace period or above the allowable $500 is automatically forfeited.

To prevent this, plan with your dentist carefully and avoid putting in more money than you think you’ll need.

The year 2017 is fast approaching and it will be here before you know it.

That’s how fast time flies, and with it is the validity of your dental benefits.

Now is the perfect time to check your dental plan documents and find out if you should get that dental appointment really soon.

Oral Healthcare Tips for the Holidays

Tis the season to be jolly… true.

But while the holidays can keep you busy, you should never let it disrupt your daily oral health care routine.

In fact, this is an especially important time to look after your teeth, as the sugary treats around are more plenty than usual.

Keep your holiday smile bright by following these tips.

Don’t forget your basic oral hygiene

Due to their busy schedules planning parties and buying gifts here and there, a lot of people forget the most important oral hygiene tasks that can counteract the effects stress and diet on their teeth.

After eating, don’t forget to brush your teeth at the very least.

If you can’t do it right away, just chew a piece of sugarless gum to increase flow of saliva and wash away the bacteria.

But be sure to brush and floss as soon as you get the chance.

If you are a bruxist, visit your dentist for a custom night guard

Holidays can be stressful that it can cause some people to grind and clench their teeth.

And if you already have that habit, it could get worse. Grinding and clenching can potentially result to chipped teeth, headaches, and jaw pain.

Prevent this by visiting your dentist.

Now, we know that no matter how much you love your dentist, he or she isn’t the one that you’d want to spend time with this season.

But your dentist is the one who can recommend solutions like wearing at mouth-guard at night to help protect your teeth against each other.

Keep yourself hydrated

Understandably, it can be quite difficult to resist that sumptuous bottle of red wine siting on the table.

Before indulging on this nice treat, think first about the effects that it can have on your oral health.

Take a glass or two, and if you’re still thirsty after that, try drinking plenty of water.

Not only does it have positive effects on your overall health, but it can also help prevent bad breath by flushing out any bacteria that lingers in the mouth.

Avoid too much chewy and sugary treats

The temptation of indulging in sweets (yup, that candy platter) and chewy sticky stuff (toffee and caramel, anyone?) can be quite difficult to overcome, so we won’t stop you from enjoying them.

However, you have to watch how much you consume. And after munching on them, don’t forget to rinse you mouth and brush your teeth as soon as you can.

Better yet, prepare healthy alternatives to these sweet treats by serving fresh fruits (a fresh fruit salad, perhaps?) or crunchy vegetables.

Don’t use your teeth as tool

If you need to shell nuts, your teeth is not the right tool for it.

Find a nutcracker and never ever use your teeth as an alternative.

The hard surface of nutshells may damage your teeth or even chip or crack them. You don’t want to spend the holidays with broken teeth now, do you?

The holiday season is something that we look forward to every year because it is not just about the tasty treats, but all for spending quality time with our loved ones as well.

However, the busy schedule and preparations should not be an excuse for you to forget about your oral health.

You wouldn’t want a toothache to ruin the celebration, right? Follow the tips above so you and your teeth will all be joyful and merry.

Tooth Tales from Around the World

The tale about the Tooth Pain San Diego tales fairy may be the most popular around the world, but it isn’t just the only one.

Learn more about other tooth tales from different countries in this article.

AUSTRALIA:

Eating your kid’s baby teeth.

This is pretty much the weirdest one we have on our list, but Australian mothers are said to have this practice of crushing their kid’s baby teeth and eating its powder.

ENGLAND:

Burning your kid’s baby teeth.

To prevent this, moms burn their kid’s baby teeth. Others put the teeth in the nest of mouse or snakes because it is said that the witches are afraid of these animals and won’t go anywhere near them.

CHINA:

Putting your upper tooth at the foot of your bed.

Chinese kids put their lost upper tooth at the foot of their beds, believing that it will make their permanent teeth grow faster.

INDIA, SRI LANKA, PHILIPPINES, and DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:

Throwing your baby teeth onto the roof.

In these countries, when kids lose a baby tooth, their parents ask them to throw it up onto the roof in hopes that it will be replaced with a new, sharper, and stronger permanent one.

In India, they ask for a new tooth from a sparrow, while in the Philippines and Dominican Republic, they believe it will be brought by a mouse.

Tooth Pain San Diego

JAPAN, EGYPT, IRAQ, ISRAEL, and JORDAN:

Throwing your lost teeth straight up.

Kids from these countries follow pretty much the same tradition as the previous one.

But instead of throwing it onto the roof, they throw it straight up. In Japan, this is to help the permanent teeth grow straight and in proper alignment.

They also throw it straight down if it’s a lower tooth. In others, the tooth is wrapped in a tissue first before throwing it up in the sun hoping that it will be replaced with a healthier tooth.

In Egypt, the kids also have a chant that prays for teeth that is as strong as a water buffalo’s.

ARGENTINA, MEXICO, and PERU:

Leaving your baby teeth in a glass of water.

El Raton is known in Argentina as El Raton Perez, while in the rest, he is called El Raton de los Dientes a.k.a. “The Tooth Mouse.”

CHILE, COSTA RICA, and DENMARK:

Making pretty charms from teeth.

Children in these countries give their teeth to their moms to create cute charms. The moms make necklaces, rings, and pins.

In Denmark, more specifically, some gold and silver are added to make the charms look even nicer.

10 FAQs About Oil-Pulling

What Type of Coconut Oil Should I Use?

There is no recommendation with regards to which type you should use although in general, the less refined the coconut oil is, the more of its health benefits are retained.

As much as possible, find an extra virgin coconut oil but any type would just be fine.

Aside From Coconut Oil, What Other Oils Can I Use?

If you don’t have coconut oil lying around, then you may also use olive or sesame oil.

If you plan to use olive oil, buy the extra virgin one – preferably organic, if available.

On the other hand, Ayurvedic texts suggest sesame oil because it is said to be the most effective.

More recently, however, experts say that sesame oil is loaded with omega-6 which is pro-inflammatory.

Can I use Essential Oils?

If you can’t take the taste of coconut oil, you may add some essential oils for a much more pleasant experience.

Aside from improving taste, these oils also have inherent potent antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

The most recommended is peppermint oil, but you can use orange, lemon, or cinnamon oil as well.

If infection is present, more benefit can be derived from using clove or tea tree oil. Add two to three drops of your preferred essential oil per tablespoon of coconut oil.

Is Oil-Pulling Safe for Children?

Oil-pulling is safe and effective even for children at young age.

Since the oil is just swished around the mouth and spit out after, there is no harm in trying it.

However, be sure to use a smaller amount of coconut oil.

Instead of a tablespoon, give them one to ½ teaspoon only. Also, make sure that they are doing it comfortably.

Can I do Oil-Pulling Even If I Have Fillings?

Oil-pulling can still be done if you have lots of fillings.

It doesn’t and will not affect or loosen any filling, be it amalgam, composite, or crowns as long as they are properly placed and the tooth is not badly broken down or has no recurrent decay.

But if the tooth has extensive decay and is very infected, then oil-pulling can loosen the filling as it removes all the mucus, pus, and bacteria underneath.

Is Oil-Pulling Safe for Pregnant or Nursing Women?

Since you will be spitting out the coconut oil when oil-pulling, the method should not pose any harm to pregnant women.

In fact, gum problems during pregnancy can easily be relieved by this detoxification method.

The oil won’t even go near your bloodstream, and thus won’t have any effect on the unborn baby nor in your breastmilk.

Can I Eat or Drink After Oil-Pulling?

After oil-pulling, just rinse your mouth and brush as you normally would. You may then consume any food or drink that you want immediately.

Do I Have to Stop My Meds or Treatment During Oil-Pulling?

Oil-pulling won’t affect or have undesirable interactions with your medications or treatment.

In fact, coconut oil may even reduce the side effects of drugs and lessen the severity of your symptoms.

Furthermore, it also helps enhance the body’s inherent ability to heal and repair itself.

Why Does My Jaw Hurt After Oil-Pulling?

Mild jaw pain is a common sign of oil-pulling, especially in first timers.

This is because you are exercising the muscles and joints that you don’t use that often.

But as long as you don’t overdo the swishing, there won’t be any problem and you muscles will get stronger instead.

If you experience pain while oil-pulling, then you’re probably swishing too hard or the amount of oil is too much. Oil-pulling should be comfortable so try to be calm and relaxed while doing it.

Also, you don’t have to swish during the whole 20 minutes.

If you start to feel uncomfortable, you may rest for around 20 to 30 seconds before starting again slowly. Once done, spit the oil into the trash bin, then rinse your mouth and brush your teeth.

Is Oil-Pulling Recommended by Dentists?

Dentists are fine with this method, although they also remind patients that oil-pulling should not replace your routine oral hygiene practices.

It should only be a supplement. Brushing and flossing, along with regular professional cleaning, are still the best ways to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

Oil-Pulling 101: The Science Behind The Hype

You’ve probably heard of the term “oil-pulling,” which is an alternative method to improve the health of the teeth and mouth.

It is not that popular yet, but more and more people are incorporating it in their regimen because of the hype it is receiving on the internet lately.

But is oil-pulling as good as they say or is it just pure hype? Let’s find out.

What is oil-pulling?

Oil-pulling is an oral detoxification procedure used mainly in Ayurvedic medicine.

It involves the putting a tablespoon of slightly hardened coconut oil into the mouth and swishing it around for 10 to 20 minutes.

How does oil-pulling work?

Oil-pulling detoxifies or cleans the mouth by literally sucking the dirt and other toxins out of it.

It creates a clean oral environment and thus helps prevent tooth decay and other oral diseases.

How is oil-pulling done?

Oil-pulling is fairly easy to do. All you have to do is to put a tablespoon of slightly hardened coconut oil in your mouth.

Allow it to melt a little bit, because swishing it around your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to swallow the oil.

After the prescribed time, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm saltwater. Proceed on brushing your teeth as you normally do.

This detoxification method must be done three to four times a week, preferably first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach.

Ten to 20 minutes may seem too long, but you can actually do the oil-pulling while showering or performing household chores to pass the time. Aside from coconut oil, you may also add essential oil for added benefits.

What are the benefits of oil-puling?

Oil-pulling offers a lot of benefits, including but not limited to: preventing tooth decay, fighting bad breath, relieving gum inflammation, whitening teeth, and soothing dry throat.

The benefits are also known to extend way beyond oral health, as oil-pulling may also enhance immune function and play a role in the prevention of heart disease.

What are the side effects of oil-pulling?

As with any other detoxification methods, oil-pulling has its fair share of side effects.

For some individuals, it can cause sinus drainage and release of mucous into the nose or throat.

While this is actually harmless, it can be pretty uncomfortable. Prevent this by blowing your nose before oil pulling.

Another common side effect is jaw soreness, which can be relieved by swishing more gently and cutting the prescribed time down to eight to ten minutes.

Work your way up to 20 minutes as you get used to it. Lastly, there may also be occasional gagging in some individuals.

This can easily be addressed by using a bit less oil and leaning your head forward as your swish. You may also heat the oil a little to make it thinner and more liquid.

How long before I see results?

Most individuals see and feel results in as early as a week.

They describe a cleaner mouth, fresher breath, and healthier gums.

But then again, not all of us have the same reaction to a particular method or product.

At the very least, it won’t hurt to try oil-pulling especially since coconut oil has proven to possess a lot of health benefits.

Guilt-Free Treats For Your Sweet Tooth

Let’s face it: anything that could satisfy our sweet tooth isn’t going to be considered healthy at all – and that’s for one simple reason sugar! But the thing is, there are now a lot of low-sugar, or even sugar-free options that you can choose from and they actually include beneficial nutrients like protein or fiber.

So here are some of the guilt-free ways to indulge your sweet tooth.

Dark Chocolate

The health benefits of consuming dark chocolate has been circulating for quite a while already, but it’s still good news especially to all chocolate lovers out there.

Dark chocolate is loaded with these three powerful antioxidants – flavonoids, polyphenols, and tannins. Out of these, tannin is the most important due to its antimicrobial property.

In addition, it also prevents bacteria from sticking onto the surface of your teeth.

Take note that when choosing your chocolate, not any chocolate bar will do. Dark chocolates consist of at least 70% cacao.

Such percentage is recommended, because it contains much less fat and sugar than normal chocolate.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry

If the bitter taste of dark chocolate is not your thing and you want to add a little punch to it, try eating it with another healthy food like strawberries.

Melt dark chocolate and allow it to cool for a bit. Dip your fresh strawberries into it then refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.

Choco-Banana Ice Cream

Ice cream lovers would surely love this healthy version of their favorite sweet treat.

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Start by melting a cup of dark chocolate, then allowing it to cool at room temperature.

Get 2-3 bananas then peel and slice them into small pieces. Put them into a blender and process until smooth.

Add in the melted chocolate and process again until thoroughly combined. Adjust sweetness by adding some honey.

Transfer to a container with lid then put back in the freezer. Allow it to freeze for at least an hour before serving.

Yogurt Parfait

Greek yogurt is one of your best and healthiest options you can indulge if you want a sweet treat.

Plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt will do. Yogurt may contain some sugar, but it is also loaded with proteins to keep you full for longer.

Get a cup of this yummy goodie then top it with nuts, fruits, or granola. Make it even yummier by putting dark chocolate shavings on top.

Fruit Popsicle’s

Another refreshing way to satisfy your sweet tooth is to make a fruit Popsicle from your favorite fruits.

Watermelon, peaches, and berries are just some of the options that will make great pops.

Put your chunks of your preferred fruit into a blender or food processor.

Add some lime juice, apple juice, and honey to sweeten. Process until smooth, then pour into Popsicle molds. Freeze for a few hours before serving.

Although these treats are healthy and practically guilt-free, you must still consume them in moderation.

And after eating, it is still advised to brush your teeth or at least follow it up with a good swish of water until you have the chance to brush.

It is also recommended to visit your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleaning.

Anyway, you can always reward yourself with a nice delightful treat after your visit.

5 Weird Oral Health Tips That Actually Work

The way to improve your oral health is pretty simple and straightforward: brush, floss, eat healthily, do regular dental visits.

It doesn’t end there. Here are some tips weird dental tips for you.

They may sound crazy enough to leave you scratching your head at first, but we assure you – they do work! So, here it goes…

Don’t Brush Your Teeth After Eating

Contrary to what you always hear when you were a little kid, it is actually not advisable to brush your teeth right after meals.

Instead, you must wait for at least 30 minutes, or longer if you’ve just eaten acidic food and drinks.

The acids can dissolve or erode the tooth enamel, and brushing can actually wear it away much faster.

Use Banana Peel to Whiten Teeth

Done eating that banana? Don’t throw the peel yet.

You can still use it for whitening your teeth. Do so by rubbing the inside surface of the peel on your teeth for at least two minutes.

The peel contains magnesium, potassium, and other minerals which can penetrate your teeth to make them whiter. And unlike commercial whiteners, these minerals whiten the teeth without making your teeth sensitive.

Use Coconut Oil as Mouthwash

This newest health craze is more popularly known as “oil pulling.”

A detoxification procedure derived from Ayurvedic medicine, it involves putting a tablespoon of slightly hardened coconut oil in your mouth, allowing it to slowly liquefy, then swishing or gargling it for about 10 to 20 minutes before spitting it out.

Coconut oil has been proven to have numerous health benefits, one of which is its antimicrobial properties.

It can kill the decay-causing bacteria, as well as the bacteria that cause gum disease and other oral infections.

If you don’t have coconut oil, olive oil or sesame oil will do.

Those who have tried oil pulling claim that their teeth become cleaner and whiter, and their breath fresher.

Whether or not such claims are true, there is no harm in trying this method as it won’t produce any negative effects on your health.

However, this may not be suitable in those with sensitive gag reflex.

Rub Ice on Your Hand to Relieve Toothache

You’ve probably heard that rubbing ice on a sore muscle or joint provides relief, but using it on your teeth?

While it may sound unbelievable, there is actually a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that supports it.

According to such study, massaging ice on the area between the thumb and index finger relieves pain on the same side of the face by up to 50%.

It works because the cold temperature helps prevent pain signals from reaching the brain.

Eat Cheese to Prevent Tooth Decay

Your favorite dairy has been found to reduce the risk of dental caries.

Its gooey consistency works like a sticky tape that traps bacteria and food residues from the surface of the teeth.

More importantly, munching on a large wedge of cheese will help clean in-between your teeth as well.