DNA concept

We celebrate National DNA Day on April 25

Each year, we celebrate National DNA Day on April 25. It’s a day that Congress and the National Human Research Institute set aside to:

  • Celebrate the anniversary of the Human Genome Project
  • Share the latest advances in genomic research with the public, and
  • Let people see how these can improve their daily lives

DNA From a Tooth

Some may not realize that teeth are one of the most durable and revealing sources of DNA available. Lodged in the jaw bone, teeth are somewhat protected. Also, dental pulp and dentin—key genetic repositories—lie safely covered in enamel.

In addition, plaque and saliva play a role. Notably, these offer valuable data for decoding many of life’s greatest mysteries.

Forensics Research

Teeth are often one of the most reliable sources of genetic data.

In difficult criminal or legal investigations, forensic teeth specialists may be the only ones able to identify someone’s remains. Especially in cases where many people are involved—like plane crashes or disasters—teeth are often one of the most reliable sources of genetic data.

In the past, personal identification relied on:

  • Dental records
  • Postmortem reconstruction
  • Dental profiling

However, dental material is far more accurate in establishing identity. As long, that is, as a pre-death sample is available for comparison.

Archaeological Study

DNA in archaeology

Researchers have studied dental plaque on the 700-year-old remains of Native Americans in Illinois.

Researchers have found that both the dentin within teeth as well as the plaques that form on them can be rich sources of genetic data. One study was published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

The researchers looked specifically at tooth calculus—plaque—on the remains of six Native Americans in Illinois. Surprisingly, the calculus:

  • Yielded DNA for all six individuals—even for three whose bones held no genetic material
  • Contained “DNA not only from the human but also the microbiome and the diet”

In fact, “[n]o other material in the archaeological record contain[ed] so much DNA.” Who would have thought that plaque would allow researchers to “trace the history of the human species and provide glimpses at population movements” across the globe?

Dental Genetics

DNA concept

Researchers are examining dental heredity and genetic predisposition to diseases like periodontitis.

Today, science is even more focused on using genetics to do the following:

  • Learn why dental health varies so widely among people
  • Identify the causes of dental problems and diseases
  • Create effective ways of treating or preventing them

Interestingly, saliva is proving helpful. It contains both human DNA and that of bacteria that live in the mouth.

Researchers are examining dental heredity and genetic predisposition to diseases like periodontitis. In addition, they’re looking at the effects of certain pathogens that cause oral health problems.

National DNA Day


Genetic material is the language of life.

Genetic material is indeed the language of life. The Human Genome Project proved this in 2003. Since then, every day brings still more discoveries. That’s because the applications for dental materials extend from forensics and archaeology to dentistry, medicine and beyond.

National DNA Day reminds us of our shared humanity. In addition, it reminds us that the answers to so many of science’s questions lie within us.

Read next: The Hidden Dangers of Gum Disease to Your Health

[1] https://www.genome.gov/26525485/about-national-dna-day/
[2] https://www.omicsonline.org/tooth-pulp-a-foundation-for-dna-analysis-2157-7145.1000e111.php?aid=7557
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3125955/
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4906851/
[5] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0170940
[6] http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-29/issue-12/feature/dna-pcr-tests.html

Are you looking for the perfect reason to pack your lunch and head outdoors? Then you’ll be pleased to learn that National Picnic Day is just around the corner. As the temperatures rise and the clouds fade, people grab their favorite meals and head out for a relaxing picnic.
The problem, though, is that many foods are harmful to teeth. In addition,  you may not know about the danger. The good news is: you can still enjoy tasty treats without putting your oral health at risk.
You and your family will not need to miss out on the fun to stay in good shape. While not everyone knows what to eat and what to avoid, the following information will point you in the right direction.

Tooth-Healthy Picnic Foods


Cheese is a good way to start your picnic.

Cheese is a good way to start your picnic.

Your goal should be to stock up on foods that are pleasant to eat but won’t damage your dental health. Therefore,  choosing cheese is a good place to start. Those who consume it on a regular basis tend to have lower levels of acid in their mouths than those who don’t.

This will reduce the odds of tooth decay, but that’s not all. Because cheese is packed with calcium, bringing some on your picnic will help you strengthen your teeth.


Replace ice cream with yogurt in your picnic basket.

Replace ice cream with yogurt in your picnic basket.Those who keep dental health at the front of their minds can replace ice cream with yogurt in their picnic baskets.

Like cheese, yogurt also contains calcium and will work wonders for every tooth in your mouth. Moreover, you can opt for a range of flavors to keep things interesting. And, unlike ice cream, yogurt travels well.

Even though it will go a long way to keep cavities away, remember that not all yogurts are created equal. Before you pick a product, check the label to ensure  it contains no added sugar.


Picnic day: bring a few apples along for the ride!

Picnic day: bring a few apples along for the ride!

When you want to make your fun day even better, don’t forget to bring a few apples along for the ride. Not only are they delicious, but apples will also work wonders for building strong teeth.

Apples usually contain a lot of water. This helps wash bacteria and food particles away from your teeth. Some people opt to eat them whole, but you can also cut them into slices or cubes. If you want to mix several healthy snacks, try dipping apple slices in your cup of yogurt.

picnic tea

A range of drinks taste great without too much added sugar.

Drinks That Promote Dental Health

To help maintain your oral health on National Picnic Day, leave the soda on the shelf.

You can still find a range of drinks that taste great without too much added sugar.

Place some chocolate milk in your cooler for quick access to a beverage that won’t disappoint. In addition, you might opt for green tea if you want to add some variety to your selection.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining proper oral health doesn’t mean you must forget about any foods or drinks that taste great. Apples, yogurt, milk and more will add a wave a flavor to your picnic without endangering your teeth.

Look for options that are low in sugar, and you are unlikely to face many problems. A lot of dental issues can be prevented by making informed decisions. Learn about healthy choices that will appeal to your tastes buds to help you stay on track.

Read next: Can dental problems cause health problems?


Nature’s stinky little helper.

Russian penicillin. Italian perfume. The stinking rose. Whatever you might call it, garlic certainly has a long and fascinating history.

People have hailed it as a divine cure-all and a protective charm. Others have cursed it and associated it with the very footsteps of Satan himself.
Now, although no one seems to know how or why it began, it even has its own day. In honor of National Garlic Day – held annually on April 19 – let’s review the wonders of one of nature’s most fascinating plants.

The Peculiar History of Garlic

Among the first plants humans used, this humble plant has been around for virtually all of recorded history. Archaeologists have found the pungent, fleshy bulbs in ancient Egyptian pyramids and Greek temples.

Soldiers, warriors and athletes from Rome to China consumed garlic to boost their strength and vitality. Even as recently as World War II, people have sometimes used it to treat wounds. It’s even stood in as a substitute for penicillin – hence the “Russian penicillin” nickname.

Bad Breath, Better Health

A few thousand years ago, people ate garlic for a wide assortment of maladies. Your doctor probably won’t write a prescription for a clove of garlic today. However, its reputation for medicinal value lives on.

In fact, modern medicine has confirmed many of the properties first recognized by our ancestors. In particular, garlic has proven to be an excellent ally for oral health.

Learn more: Can dental problems cause health problems?

The stinking rose might give you a serious case of bad breath. Nevertheless, allicin – the compound it contains – is also a powerful antifungal and antimicrobial substance. It promotes a healthy mouth by preventing tooth decay. In addition, it attacks gum disease and inhibits the growth of all sorts of problematic microbes.

Using Garlic for a Healthy Mouth

Taking care of your teeth is one of the most important things we can do, and garlic is a powerful oral health aid. If you’d like to use it to help protect your teeth, there are a few options. For one, you can simply incorporate more into your normal diet.

You can also find supplements that offer many of the same benefits without the powerful odor. In addition to oral health, consuming more garlic may also lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol and boost the immune system.

National Garlic Day

Considering its long and fascinating history and many health benefits, it should come as no surprise that this plant has its own day of celebration. No one seems to know who first created a national day to celebrate the stinking rose, or why it falls on April 19. However, there’s no question our odorous little friend is deserving of recognition.

Whether you’re seeking out its medicinal properties or you simply enjoy the taste, why not put a little more garlic in your life? Go ahead and take a bite – a healthy mouth awaits!

Read next: How To Keep Teeth Healthy and Strong

National Humor Month: Time to flex your funny bone!

April is National Humor Month: Time to flex your funny bone!

Amid April showers or the lack of it, tax woes and the harsh reality that all New Year’s resolutions have been for naught, it’s fitting that April is National Humor Month.

A month that’s ushered in with “Fool’s Day” is the best candidate for a celebration of jokes, pranks and laughter. It’s not a marked with a shopping extravaganza like other holidays, because laughter, after all, comes free.
Larry Wilde, a comedian, writer and life coach, founded the event in 1976. He sought to promote greater awareness of the therapeutic potential of laughter. Among the benefits: improving morale, communication skills, overall health and quality of life.
After 41 years, this month-long celebration is still going strong as even more science-backed research has shown the restorative value of humor in winning at life.

What it Takes to Laugh

Laughter may be audible or a quiet expression of merriment accompanied with a distinctive feeling of pleasure and joy. It is a brain-regulated reaction, and strong laughter may bring on tears and some muscle pain in certain areas.

Laughter is a reaction to physical, visual and verbal stimuli, but it is also feedback, the effect of which may be contagious. Many TV shows still use recorded laugh tracks to encourage positive audience feedback.

Physiological Effects of Humor

Happy women exercising

Like physical exercise, research has shown that guffaws large and small can boost health.

People say it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. However, putting energy conservation aside, finding your funny bone can have an immediate impact on your mindset and attitude.

Much like physical exercise, research has shown that guffaws large and small can boost the heart rate and increase blood flow to improve circulation and oxygen delivery to the tissues.

Facial muscles tend to stretch and the process burns calories. Even a simple smile can alter your mood and that of the people around you. Try baring your teeth in a cutesy way on that grumpy co-worker or the frazzled barista, and see what you get in return.

Laughter reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced as a reaction to stressful conditions. Laughter increases the production of endorphins, which is a hormone involved in pain reduction. Researchers have found that laughing increases T-cell production, proteins involved in building immunity and antibodies.

Bonus Effects

Laughter is a valuable stress-management technique.

Laughter is a valuable stress-management technique.

A deep-seated belly laugh can help relieve physical tension, relaxing tense muscles while relieving emotional stress in the process. This muscle-relaxation technique can have an impact on your body for up to 45 minutes with minimum sweating involved.

Naturally, increasing blood flow and the circulation efficiency can boost cardiovascular health. Smiles, grins and laughter showcase your teeth and enviable dental work. Laughter is a valuable stress-management technique that can help everyone focus while building camaraderie and enhancing team effort.

Laughter and Fun by the Numbers

A survey conducted by SKOUT show that just about everyone understands the value of humor in life. Survey results showed that 75 percent of respondents consider themselves funny, and 94 percent profess that they like making people laugh.

Those who confess to being practical jokers have the most close friends while those who favor self-deprecating or sarcastic wit have fewer friends. If you’re willing to change your zip code to incorporate more laughter in your life, Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta are the places to go because this is where 98 to 100 percent of survey respondents indicated that they want you to have a good time.

Laughter may come easily for you, so you tend to take it for granted. Take this special talent, and spread the gift to those you encounter during National Humor Month and every day for the rest of your life.

Read Next: Chew on This: April 19 Is National Garlic Day!

April is Couples Appreciation Month. Whether you’re newly dating or a pair that has been together for decades, this is an excellent time to take inventory of your relationship and discuss what you need to move forward into the next chapter of your lives together.

A Fresh Mouth for a Lively Romance

Oral hygiene is important whether you’re single or taken, but those who enjoy regular kisses with their lover or spouse will want to ensure that their mouths are fresh and clean. Not only does fresh breath make you feel more confident in romantic scenarios, but it also makes things better for your partner.

Bright Smiles for Happy Memories

Couples Appreciation Month is a good time to visit the dentist for a whitening treatment. One fun aspect of being a couple is looking back at pictures and seeing how you grew and changed together over the years. Those pictures will be more enjoyable if you’re displaying healthy smiles.

A Clean Mouth for a Healthy Body

Oral hygiene is about much more than simply maintaining a beautiful smile. Since the mouth is directly connected to the body’s circulatory system, bacteria can spread to your heart or other parts of the body.

Periodontal disease is also associated with a variety of other conditions, such as endometriosis. If you’ve been suffering from bleeding gums or other symptoms of periodontal disease that don’t respond to healthy hygiene practices, you might have a secondary condition. This Couples Awareness Month, make scheduling a dental checkup for you and your love a priority. Getting treatment for your dental conditions will help ensure you have a long and beautiful future together.

A Happy Mouth for Your Partner’s Health

You and your partner share many great things, but one thing you don’t want to share is nasty oral bacteria. The bacteria in your mouth can change quickly, but studies have shown that couples tend to share similar bacteria on the surface of their tongue. This means that you will be affected by the state of your lover’s mouth.

Healthy Habits for Happy Couples

One fun way to celebrate Couples Appreciation Month is to decide on some new healthy habits to adopt together. Some ideas include:

1. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves swishing and moving a small spoonful of oil around your mouth. Using oil as a mouthwash in this way can suck bad bacteria from the crevices between the teeth and underneath the gums. One study found that participants who swished with coconut oil for a period of 30 days had a significant decrease in plaque and gingivitis markers.

2. Using a Water Flosser

Water flossing can help you obtain and maintain a deeper clean. Purchasing duel water flossers as a couple is a great way to invest in the future. Couples who are truly close might even enjoy using the flossers together before bed each night. It can be a fun and satisfying part of your routine.

3. Agreeing to a Cleaning Schedule

Now that you know how important it is to maintain oral health, you and your honey might want to agree to committing to a cleaning schedule. Visiting the dentist for a cleaning twice a year will help you maintain
beautiful smiles and ensure you catch any problems before they get worse.

Committing to health is a positive way to celebrate your love as a couple. For more information on oral health and how it can affect your dental insurance, please contact us today.

Beer is one of the world’s oldest and most loved beverages. On April 7, 1933, the brew was made legal in the United States, a huge move by the American government to end the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. The date is now celebrated as “National Beer Day,” and it’s the perfect time to get together with friends and enjoy some of your favorite brews. However, before you plan your night on the town, you should consider the affects that drinking beer might have on your teeth. This is even more important if you drink regularly.

Beer and Cavities: Is Your Favorite Brew a Concern?

The idea that beer might hurt your teeth is probably news to you. Many people have a misconception that beer doesn’t contain sugar because it doesn’t taste sweet. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. While it contains no added sugar, it does contain 13 grams of carbohydrates in a serving. When carbohydrates mix with the natural bacteria found in your mouth, plaque begins to form. This plaque is what eventually leads to gum disease and tooth decay.

Enamel Damage: is Acidic Beer Damaging to Your Teeth?

Beer and other acidic beverages, such as lemonade, can damage to the structure of your teeth. Acids eat away at your tooth enamel, and once it’s gone, it doesn’t usually come back. Worn-down enamel leads to extreme sensitivity, tooth discoloration and other serious problems. It’s not an issue that you want to take lightly.

Tips for National Beer Day: Avoid Cavities and Maintain Oral Health

1. Stay Light

Have you ever heard people complain that certain brews are “like water”? They might be less pleasing to connoisseurs, but beers that are lighter in color and thinner in consistency are typically less acidic. A sour taste generally indicates acidity, so when sampling drinks on National Beer Day, avoid a second drink of anything that tastes sour. Malt style brews that come in darker colors are also very hard on your teeth.

2. Hydrate

Beer is liquid, but it’s much less hydrating than water. If you want to protect your teeth, avoid getting too drunk and reduce the odds of having a hangover the next day, drink plenty of water in between alcoholic beverages. It’s also a good idea to swish the water around your mouth to clean your teeth.

3. Chew Sugarless Gum

Pop a stick of sugarless gum in your mouth and chew while walking from one bar to another. This activates your saliva glands and helps to cleanse the excess bacteria from your teeth and gums.

The best way to avoid cavities and maintain great oral health is by visiting the dentist regularly. Along with removing plaque and tartar from your teeth, the dentist can also keep an eye on your teeth and let you know of any early signs of tooth decay.

For more information about oral health and how it can affect your dental insurance, please contact us today.

Stress is a normal part of life that everybody will experience on occasion, but it can become a problem before you even have the chance to spot the red flags. If you don’t take steps to manage your emotions, they can impact your life in ways of which you are unaware. To combat the problem, medical experts have designated April as stress awareness month, using it as a time to educate the public on the complications of anger and anxiety and ways to reduce them. Although most people know that it’s something to avoid, you might not realize the lasting impact that it can have on your oral health.

Teeth Grinding

When work, family life and daily obligations build up and create tension, it won’t take you long to notice the negative impact on your health. In addition to losing sleep and getting high blood pressure, you are also at risk for teeth grinding, and most people don’t even know that they do it. The amount of time that you spend grinding your teeth will depend on the amount of stress with which you are dealing, but you will want to take steps to resolve the issue right away. Doing so will allow you to get the problem under control, preventing it from causing any more harm.

How the Problem Impacts Your Oral Health

If you grind your teeth on a regular basis, you are probably wondering what it can do to your health and why you should stop. This behavior can cause your teeth to become dull in some cases, but that is only the start. Some people were horrified when they discovered that teeth grinding had made their teeth loose, and you are even putting yourself in danger of losing them. Although the situation is scary, you don’t need to fall into this trap as long as you know the right steps to follow. To protect yourself and your teeth from harm, you will need to learn healthy ways to manage your emotions.

Relaxation Techniques

Luckily, you can try many things when your goal is to reduce the amount of stress that you feel, and doing so does not need to be difficult. Meditating for five minutes does not seem like much, but it can work wonders for your emotional health and well-being. Since you will need to avoid distractions, turn your phone off during each session, allowing you to disconnect from the world for a short time. As you meditate, you must pay attention to the emotions that you are feeling and make an effort to relax your muscles. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself to take some deep breaths throughout the day, and you will be glad that you did. Keeping a journal of your emotions and listing how you feel about different events can provide you with impressive results, and your teeth will thank you.

Stress Awareness: Getting Help

Even though you can take steps to reduce stress, you won’t be able to reverse the damage that it has already done to your teeth. If teeth grinding has caused your teeth to become loose or crooked, you will need to speak with an oral health professional right away. If you don’t address the problem, your teeth can encounter even more issues that can result in expensive dental bills. A caring dentist will evaluate the extent of the problem and tell you about the solutions that are available, giving you a clear picture of how to move forward. When you make an appointment, you will have teeth of which you can be proud in no time.