Archive for October, 2010

Oral Health and Dr. Kim

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Not long ago, I sent a letter to President Kim at Dartmouth College. In it, I asked him to consider the importance of oral health care delivery during the creation of Dartmouth’s new Center for Health Care Delivery Science. What is health care delivery science? The website for the Center states that health care delivery science “picks up where basic, clinical and evaluative science leaves off: it studies how we bring best practices of care to every patient, every time.”

In my letter, I mention that “my work at Ottauquechee Health Foundation (OHF) has enabled me to interact with a variety of professionals, from nurses and social workers to dentists and community health professionals. These interactions, alongside my own research into the current state of oral health in this country (particularly oral health among Vermont and New Hampshire residents) has underscored the immense importance of oral health to an individual’s total health. In the spirit of Dartmouth’s commitment to improving the quality of medical care and health services delivery, I would like to pass along to you my hope that researchers at the new Center for Health Care Delivery Science consider the need for effective, safe and patient-centered health delivery in all of health’s varied forms.

One of the guiding principles of my work at OHF has been that oral health should not be separated from overall health. I hope that under your leadership Dartmouth’s health services and delivery research agenda commits itself to a similarly integrative vision.”

Dr. Kim responded by assuring me that once Dr. Albert Mulley assumes his post as director of the new Center on Nov. 15, Dr. Kim and his colleague Dan Lee would begin reviewing recommendations such as my own.

Stay tuned for future updates on this effort…

Vanessa Hurley

Top 5 Ways to Save Your Teeth this Halloween

Monday, October 25th, 2010

According to Dr. Gib Snow, a Los Angeles orthodontist, “The week after Halloween is one of the busiest times of the year for orthodontists. Emergency visits spike as we see children, teens and even adults who have suffered dental injury or damaged metal braces as a result of eating candy and other treats.”

Even if you don’t have braces, caution against overindulging in Halloween treats can go a long way toward preserving your oral health. Below, a few tips to consider once the bewitching hour is upon us…

1. Treats that are hard, crunchy or chewy can spell disaster for teeth. Try to limit indulging on these types of candy.

2. Soft candy, such as chocolate kisses or peanut butter cups, melt in your mouth and aren’t as damaging to teeth. Still, you should…

3. Remember to brush and floss after eating anything sugary.

4. After drinking soda or a holiday cocktail, don’t make a habit of chewing in the ice, as it can cause damage to tooth enamel.

5. If you wear braces, be especially good with dental hygiene, as candy trapped behind braces can lead to tooth decay and staining.

Vanessa Hurley

One Cavity in Malawi

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

An interesting oral health data point from Malawi in south-central Africa.

The heartwarming story of William Kamkwanba, a boy from Kasunga, Malawi who tries to bring food security to his family and his village by building a windmill to pump water from their well is told in The Boy Who Harvested the Wind.  His family lives primarily off of their corn harvest and occasional meat and other vegetables.  He succeeds in building the windmill from scrap parts based on plans he’s worked out from library books and gains international attention.  Donors provided funds to assist his family.  At the end of the book, he writes, “I bought better blankets to keep us warm at night in winter, malaria pills and mosquito nets for the rainy season, and I arranged to send everyone in my family to the doctor and dentist.  (After never having seen a dentist in my life, I had only one cavity!)” p. 260.

Tom Roberts

Norwich Dentist Recognized for Oral Health Efforts

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

On Saturday, Oct. 9, Dr. Toby Kravitz was recognized by Granite United Way  during half time at the Dartmouth football game for his involvement with COHI and his efforts to spotlight the importance of oral health within the Upper Valley. A graduate of the University of Vermont and Temple University School of Dentistry, Dr. Kravitz established his own dental practice in Norwich in 1989. Since 1996, he has served with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center’s dental staff. He is also a devoted volunteer dentist at Red Logan Dental Clinic in White River Junction.

Dr. Kravitz previously served as a co-chair for COHI and, as the United Way has recognized, “he has provided quiet credibility to COHI’s efforts.”

Vanessa Hurley 

Welcome to the Upper Valley Oral Health web site!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Hello and welcome to the Upper Valley Oral Health website! We hope that you’ll find the information here to be interesting, informative and helpful to understanding the importance of oral health in your everyday life. Of course, we couldn’t have done this without help from local organizations including the Upper Valley United Way, the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation, the Boyle Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation and the Ottauquechee Health Foundation.

A lot of work has gone into making sure that the content and interactive features of the site are easy to use. Naturally, we’re learning what works and doesn’t work along with you, so please leave us feedback! Let us know what you think of blog posts, tweets or anything else you find here.

Here’s to your oral health!

Vanessa Hurley