Tag Archives: Good Oral Health

Dr. Albers at COMOM 2018

Dr. Albers with Michele, Carla and Indy, Jane and Susan.

COMOM 2018

Dr. Albers and his staff are active volunteers locally and across the state.  For a number of years, he and his staff have volunteered for COMOM.   What is COMOM, you ask?  Its website explains it best:

The Colorado Mission of Mercy (COMOM) is a large-scale dental clinic that is held annually in a Colorado community. With 125 portable dental chairs, dental services are provided to adults, elderly, and children, who cannot afford dental care.  An outpouring of nearly 200 volunteer dentists from across the state – along with hundreds of dental hygienists, assistants, lab technicians, and a myriad of lay volunteers and other health professionals – work in tandem with community groups and agencies to better the oral health of individuals who come to the clinic.

COMOM Mission Statement

The Colorado Mission of Mercy (COMOM) provides quality dental services, at no cost, to individuals of all ages who cannot afford and access dental care; eliminating dental pain, promoting oral health, creating smiles, and providing oral health education.  

This video from several years ago shows COMOM in action, including the impact it has on people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA50G0Ns0HY

Dr. Albers and Staff at COMOM 2018

Work space at COMOM 2018

Lots of volunteers

This year, Dr. Albers, assistant Susan, hygienist Jane, and front desk guru, Michele volunteered at COMOM 2018.  Susan assisted Dr. Albers.  Hygiene section lead, Jane, helped ensure the smooth flow of patients and otherwise helped trouble shoot problem areas. Michele helped in triage – where patients are assessed for dental health needs.

COMOM 2018 took place in Greeley, Colorado, with over 1200 volunteers registering to help.  Positions included obvious ones such as dentists, hygienists, oral surgeons, dental assistants, lab technicians and RN’s. Other volunteers set up portable dental units and hundreds of chairs for waiting patients, served food, helped sterilize equipment, etc.  All volunteers played an important role.   And, a few four-legged volunteers came to visit…

Go Team Therapy Dogs at COMOM

Indy visits kids at COMOM

Indy in the Pediatric Area

Indy with four volunteers

Indy with the Ladies

Last year, Carla approached COMOM about using therapy dogs to help distract patients and provide some much-needed love and affection during long waits for care.  She and Indy acted as a test case at COMOM 2017 in Pueblo, CO.  Indy was such a hit that they asked for more Go Team dog/handler teams this year.  On Friday, four teams provided some much needed “therapy,” and on Saturday, 5 teams were there.  Although a primary focus is always on the patients, it turns out that the dogs provided a lift to volunteers putting in long hours helping others.



Limit Sugar In Your Diet

Stay Away From Sugar

sugar in a cupFrom a dental perspective, there are many reasons to limit sugar in your diet. Bacteria in your mouth interact with sugar to produce acids. These acids can destroy tooth enamel, which can lead to the formation of cavities. Cavities that are left untreated can lead to root canals, crowns, or even removal of teeth. A diet high in sugar increases the likelihood of a person developing dental problems.

In 2010, our family participated in a dental mission trip to Dominican Republic. Unfortunately for the kids we treated, they had ready access to sugar cane and little instruction on good dental health. Most of the patients we saw had numerous areas of decay. Contrast that with children we treated the following year in Kenya, where naturally fluoridated water and limited access to sugar resulted in many of the children we examined not having any decay.

ADA Article on Sugary Drinks

Mouth Healthy, a site maintained by the American Dental Association (ADA), has an informative article titled The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile.  A big takeaway from this article is that sometimes foods that sound healthy are actually bad for your teeth. A good example is fruit juice, which can contain as much sugar as a glass of soda. The article gives examples of drinks high in sugar and a list of better choices. As your dental provider, we strongly support patients focusing on the low sugar drinks!

Can Drinking Soda Increase the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease?

Newsweek recently published a article titled “Drinking Soda Could Raise the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease According to Study.”  Researchers documented the diets of 2,226 elderly people for 7 years. A takeaway from this article: people who drank sugary soda had a significantly increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s when compared to those people who had sugar in their diets from other products.


Research suggests that if you limit sugar in your diet, it can be good for your overall health.  More importantly from our perspective, it’s also good for your dental health. If you have questions about your diet and any risk factors, make sure you visit with Dr. Albers or the other dental professionals in our office during your next visit.

Brushing with Charcoal Products

Do Charcoal Products Clean and Whiten Teeth?

Charcoal with a toothbrushRecent news articles have highlighted a new trend sweeping the dental world – brushing with charcoal products. An example is an August 13, 2018 article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Latest Fad for Whiter Teeth Is to Turn Them Black.” A search on YouTube shows multiple videos of people brushing with charcoal, with one video having over 2.5 million views! As dental providers, though, we are more interested in data than faddish trends. Our question, always, is whether a product performs as claimed in a way that is safe for your teeth.

Understanding Tooth Anatomy

You can think of a tooth as having basically three layers. First is the outside layer, or enamel – the hardest substance in your body. Enamel covers and protects the dentin of the tooth.  The dentin layer covers the tooth’s soft tissue, including blood vessels and nerve tissue. Dentists want to keep your tooth enamel strong to help protect the health of your teeth. When you brush with products that have abrasive qualities, such as charcoal, you can wear away the enamel, in extreme cases, down to the dentin.

Brushing With Charcoal Not Shown to be Effective

Last year, the Journal of the American Dental Association (ADA) published a review of available literature on charcoal use and did not find evidence that the products are safe or effective. While noting that more studies need to be done, current information does not conclusively show these products meeting their billing. The study concluded as follows:

Conclusions: The results of this literature review showed insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices. Larger-scale and well-designed studies are needed to establish conclusive evidence.

Practical Implications: Dental clinicians should advise their patients to be cautious when using charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices with unproven claims of efficacy and safety.

How Do Consumers Make Informed Dental Decisions?

A good place to start with questions is your dental provider’s office. At Mark T. Albers, DDS, our experienced staff stays up-to-date with dental trends and can answer most questions you have. Because there is no good evidence to show charcoal products are safe and effective, and because they can be abrasive to your enamel, we do not recommend their use at this time.

Another good place to get information on dental health and dental products is MouthHealthy.org, the  ADA’s consumer website. Here, you can find information on evidence-based effective tooth whitening and other dental issues. And, you can visit the ADA Seal of Acceptance  section of the Mouth Healthy website. According to the ADA, “The ADA Seal is backed by science—to have your back. Every product with the Seal has been scientifically evaluated by independent experts to be safe and effective. In fact, to earn the Seal, companies are often asked to meet higher standards than what is required by law. Products that don’t meet these tough guidelines don’t get the Seal, period.”

Conclusion: Stay Away From Charcoal

As noted above, our dental professionals are happy to answer dental related questions. And, if we’re not available, remember this: When in doubt, don’t try it out!

Habits That Aren’t Good For Your Teeth

Well, it’s been awhile since our last blog post. October found me back in Nebraska two different weekends, once for a football game (don’t ask), and the second time to celebrate my dad’s 96th birthday. November found us busy with therapy dog events and kid visits.   That said, we’re ready to get back in the saddle regarding items of interest for our patients.  And, with the holidays here, we thought it would be timely to do a post on unhealthy dental habits.

Unhealthy Dental Habits

A recent article from Business Insider titled “17 ‘Healthy’ Habits That Aren’t Doing You Any Good,” caught our eye because of two dental related “habits.” Habit #5 deals with the benefits (or lack thereof) of drinking lemon water. Habit #14 talks about the detriment of brushing too quickly after meals.

Drinking Lemon Water

Unhealthy Dental Habits - Lemons

Acidic Foods Can Harm Dental Enamel

This habit caught our eye because it applies to us.  Carla and I periodically blend up a mixture of lemons, olive oil, and ginger and drink it first thing in the morning. The article notes that per the American Dental Association (ADA), exposure to acidic foods such as lemons can wear down tooth enamel over time. The ADA article titled “Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth”  includes the following language:

The truth is that frequent exposures to acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay over time. So even though a squeeze of lemon or lime can turn a simple glass of water into a fun beverage, it’s not always the best choice for your mouth. Citric fruits and juices can also irritate mouth sores. Make sure to drink plenty of plain water.

While this advice regarding acidic foods is correct, it also needs to be placed in context. If you drink an acidic beverage in a short amount of time, you can minimize any negative impact to your teeth. Where dentists tend to get concerned is when people sip acidic (or sugary) beverages over a long period of time. Constantly bathing your teeth in an acidic or sugary beverage over a period of hours is more detrimental to tooth enamel health than a quick drink of lemon water first thing in the morning.

Brushing Right After Eating

Habit # 14 suggests that brushing immediately after eating can be harmful to teeth, and also cites an ADA article titled “7 Bad Brushing Habits to Break in 2017.”  The fourth habit to break in this article deals with brushing immediately after eating. According to the ADA:

If you feel the need to clean your teeth after eating or drinking, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing—especially if you have had something acidic like lemons, grapefruit or soda. Drink water or chew sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to help clean your mouth while you are waiting to brush.

The Business Insider article also includes a link to a New York Times article (“Really? Never Brush Your Teeth Immediately After a Meal”)  which talks about studies on the effect of brushing too soon after eating. The article cites a study where researchers found an increase in dentin loss when volunteers brushed within 20 minutes of drinking soda. Bottom line, there is evidence to suggest that brushing too soon after eating, especially if the meal contains acidic foods, can possibly affect your teeth in a negative manner.


Do we want you to avoid eating acidic citrus foods or not brush after eating? No, but we do want you to be aware of unhealthy dental habits, the potential problems they pose, and what you can do to ensure that you are protecting your teeth. If you have any questions about the issues raised here, please feel free to call our office or to ask questions the next time you are in the office.


Be Smart About Halloween Candy

Halloween Candy

Halloween candyIt’s that time of year – Halloween is just around the corner. As a parent or as someone giving out candy, what do you need to know?

Candy Harmful To Teeth

We’re not sure that there’s such a thing as candy that’s good for your teeth. Why?  Because sugar in candy interacts with bacteria normally present in your mouth to produce an acid byproduct. This byproduct can weaken a tooth’s enamel, the hard protective covering surrounding the tooth. When enamel is damaged, cavities can start to form. That said, some candies are definitely worse for your teeth than others. They include:

  • Sticky or Chewy Candy. These include candies such as taffy or caramel, which tend to stick to your teeth. The longer candy stays on your teeth, the longer the acid byproducts have to wear away tooth enamel.
  • Sour or Acidic Candy. These include candies specifically labeled as “sour” and also an old favorite, lemon drops. Because these candies are both acidic and sugary, you get a double whammy effect. They also tend to be candies that are in the mouth for extended periods of time as they dissolve, thus bathing the teeth in sugar.
  • Hard Candy. Years ago, a patient had a Jolly Rancher in his mouth, bit down, and when he opened his mouth, the candy stuck to his crown and pulled it off. Just this week, a new patient came to our office because he bit down on a piece of candy and broke off a piece of his tooth. (This tooth had filling in it, meaning it was already compromised.) Similar to the sour or acidic candies, many hard candies are meant to be slowly dissolved in your mouth over a period of time, thus giving the sugar more time to bath the teeth, interact with bacteria, and produce acid that is harmful to the teeth.
  • Pop Corn Balls. Who hasn’t eaten a popcorn ball and had part of it stuck in their teeth? And, they are sugar filled and sticky.

Better Candy Options

There is some good news regarding Halloween candy. Chocolate is actually a good choice because it dissolves from your teeth pretty quickly. Dark chocolate is better than lighter chocolates as it contains less sugar.

Do You Need To Avoid Halloween Candy?

No. Halloween is a fun holiday for kids and families. When your kids come home with those bags of candy, though, make sure they are practicing good oral health. In other words, make sure they brush and floss before they go to bed.  For additional information, see  “Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide” at Mouth Healthy, a website maintained by the American Dental Association (ADA), and a Reader’s Digest article titled “Top 5 Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth, According to Dentists.”

Contact Us

Mark T. Albers, D.D.S.
2155 Hollowbrook Drive
Suite 20
Colorado Springs, CO

(719) 634-8458

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment, call:
(719) 634-8458

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