Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Aunt Janet's Brisket

The brisket was ready. It cooked for over four hours and was fork tender. The smell was overwhelming, making the whole house smell like Aunt Janet's back in the day. Of course I also had all the sides ready to go; carrot tsimes, potato latkes, and apple sauce. The brisket was center stage, the big show winner that draws my in laws up the street this time of year. All I had to do was to put out all the accompanying dishes, which includes horseradish in beet juice (don't knock it till you've tried it!). I grabbed the bottle from the refrigerator shelf and almost cried! It had expired three months earlier. Sniff! Now I had to run out and scour all the local groceries for the essential missing horseradish. This is not an area easy to procure such a cultural item. Tortillas I got, chilies of a thousand varieties, fresh jack fruit abounds, but no horseradish in beet juice for a hundred miles. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little. Wegman's carries it ten miles away. Guests were coming and the long awaited brisket was ready! I found a bottle of regular horseradish at grocer number three, so not all was lost. The brisket was still the star, but I know in my heart that Aunt Janet would never approve.

The expired horseradish reminded me that it is again the time of year that I dread...smoke detector battery changing time. Twice a year I risk life and limb to change those darn batteries. I usually get a scare every time I replace each battery and the thing goes off to tell you it is okay. Thankfully I have a house with really low ceilings and it is a short fall. After I fall off the ladder and bruise something I always make the sorry trek up the stairs, and while poking in the medicine chest for some form of pain reliever I start checking all the expiration dates there too. I start with the kids liquid medicines. I don't want to make the midnight run out to the nearest pharmacy when one of the kids wakes up with a fever and won't go back to bed. I check my son's asthma medication too, it costs as much as college tuition at Penn State but the thought of his little wheezing red face, also at midnight, makes me pull out all the expired (and near expired and opened foil pouches) of the costly stuff. Then I'm onto the adult stuff. The Tylenol...expired. The Motrin...expired. The cold medicine...expired. The antibiotics from the last sinus infection...expired. Everywhere I looked the stuff was expired. Then I spied the toothpaste. The little crimped end has those prophesying dates of toxicity. Our toothpaste expired last month. ICK!

Yes, toothpaste DOES expire! All fluoride containing toothpastes are regulated by the FDA and have an expiration date that is, usually, about 2 years after manufacture. While brushing with expired toothpaste won't kill you, or even hurt you, you should still throw it out. The farther it is from the expiration date the less efficient it will be in cleaning your teeth. So throw out that old toothpaste and cook this recipe: 

Aunt Janet's Brisket Recipe

1 4-5lb brisket, trimmed
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
Heinz's Chili Sauce, 1 bottle
1/2 cup Light or Dark Brown Sugar
2tbs Cider Vinegar

Sprinkle both sides of brisket liberally with seasoning salt. Spread chili sauce over both sides of meat with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle brown sugar over chili sauce-coated meat then sprinkle the vinegar over the meat. The brown sugar and chili concoction will dissolve. Place in a pan large enough to hold the meat and cook covered in oven at 300 degrees for 3 hours then uncovered till meat is fork-tender. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen 
2030 West Main St. Norristown, PA 19403 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guilt-Free Gum Chewing


Gum chewing has been around for ages. Both the ancient Greeks and Myans created their own simple versions of chewing gum, chewing on only the sap from trees. It wasn't until the mid 1800's that gum was brought into the American market, the first gum sold was called  "Maine Pure Spruce Gum". From there the gum business took off. To find the best combination of flavor and level of chewiness, gum was made out of various different kinds of bases from spruce-sap gum to petroleum-derived paraffin wax gum to sap-rubber based gum. Sugars and flavors were added and inevitably along came all the warnings that chewing gum will rot your teeth.

So, is gum really bad for your teeth? Mostly no. It's true that sugar does cause tooth decay, this is because oral bacteria utilizes sugars to create harmful acid. Sugars that stick to your teeth for extended periods of time are the problem, mostly this happens from sucking on sugary candies like hard candy. The sugar in gum can be harmful to your teeth if the gum is chewed for just a few minutes then spit out. Chewing gum for a longer amount of time produces more saliva which will "wash" off the sugar on your teeth. 

Sugar-free gum is actually very beneficial to your teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum can relieve symptoms of some oral health problems like bad breath or a gum infection. It also increases your saliva production. Saliva has antibacterial properties and can help flush out food debris, remaining sugars, and other harmful acids in your mouth. Sugar-free gum has also been found to be effective in protecting the enamel of your teeth. Besides beating tooth decay, gum can also help reduce symptoms of acid reflux disease and the saliva flow can lead to an antacid effect in the stomach.
The American Dental Association says that "chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay". Look for gum with the ADA Seal of approval like Wrigleys or Trident. These are all sugar-less gums that are approved by the ADA to chew, not only will they not cause tooth-decay but they may also be beneficial to your dental and overall health. These gums are all sweetened by non-cavity causing sugar substitutes like sorbitol, aspartame, or mannitol. 
Xylitol is an interesting sweetener that is used in gum. It is a natural sugar that is actually good for your teeth and won't cause tooth decay (and it's FDA approved!). Xylitol has also been found to help prevent ear and upper respiratory infections, treat osteoporosis, and benefit those with diabetes. Trident sells gum with xylitol sweetener. 
So instead of turning down gum for fear of horrible side-effects and cavities, chew away! 
A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen

2030 West Main St. Norristown, PA 19403


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Studebaker meets Dr. Branemark

I’m a car nut. It is no secret. I come from a family of car nuts. I have a 3x3 foot square picture of a ’36 Cadillac and another of a ’46 Packard in two of my operatories. I love cars. But the car I really covet? My uncle Meyer thinks it’s a Saab, my dad would say a ’62 Lincoln, my sister a Nash Metropolitan, nope…not even close! A 1963 Studebaker Avanti. That’s what I want. It’s not a Ferrari or Lamborghini, nor a Mustang or Corvette. While I appreciate all cars, the Avanti holds my eye and my heart. It is an amazing design that, unfortunately, came at the end of the Studebaker brand’s life. Some call it ugly, I think it is one of the most beautiful consumer products ever made. The design lives on, even though I may be the only person that sees it.

I think about what would have happened had the Studebaker lived on for thirty or forty years, much like the Mustang or Corvette. Would it even be recognizable? I think it would. The other day I saw an early 2000’s Honda Prelude. From a distance the front really looks like it was influenced by Studebaker. Maybe the design did live on, but what’s this got to do with Dr. Branemark?

2 Branemark Dental Implants
In the early 1980’s, P I Brånemark, helped to bring the first commercial dental implant to the marketplace. It was a simple, yet effective, design that used a titanium alloy as the basis for the implant structure. It was an iconic design that can still be found in many implant manufacturer’s catalogues today. Thirty years later I still see original Nobel/Branemark implants that are successful. It was a great design. Luckily it came at the beginning of a company’s life, not at the end, or we may not have had the opportunity to celebrate and utilize dental implants. Every implant for the last thirty years used the original Branemark designs as the benchmark for the development of their product. As soon as patents ran out there were dozens of “clones” of the original Branemark implant brought to market. Sure each one touted improvements on the design, but strangely they were mostly compatible with components made for Branemark implants thirty years prior. Two weeks ago I had a patient bring me back an implant from his dentist friend in Argentina. Guess what? It was an exact replication of the original implant by Branemark made in Israel, packaged in the U.K., and shipped to South America.

A few weeks ago a sales rep from one of my implant manufacturers was excited about a new dental implant design. It is a vast design improvement, utilizing a proprietary new version of titanium. It is still the same basic design, except the usual thread pattern disappears in the middle of the implant where it is replaced with an amazing trabecular pattern, mimicking natural bone patterns. This may be the birth of a new dental implant, I wonder where it will be in thirty years. 

Trabecular Dental Implant 
A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. Norristown, PA 19403

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Old Wives Tales and Dental Emergencies- What's True, What's Not?

You've heard the old wives tales that putting a lost tooth in a cup of milk will save it, or that super-gluing a lost filling back in the hole it came from will fix the problem, but they're not always trustworthy in the event of a real dental emergency. 

So what should you really do if you lose a permanent tooth? In this case, the old wives tale is true: you can put the dislodged tooth in a cup of milk to save it. This is because the chemical makeup of milk is compatible with teeth. It's most important to keep a dislodged tooth safe and moist- if milk is unavailable keep the tooth in your mouth in between the cheek and gum, or put it in a cup of water with a pinch of table salt. If you feel confident trying, very gently put the tooth back in to the socket to rest there while you are on your way to your dentist- but don't force it! Never touch the tooth root (the part of the tooth that is usually hidden in your gums) because it can be very easily damaged. As with every dental emergency, you should always call your dentist right away! A knocked-out tooth doesn't mean that it's gone forever, it has the best chance of being saved if a dentist can start working on it within an hour. 

Super glue is another story. Never use super glue to fix a lost filling or crown. There could be an underlying problem, such as tooth decay, that caused the filling or crown to fall off and this should be addressed by a dentist as soon as possible. A patient once visited our office with wood putty in his tooth as a home-remedy for a self-diagnosed cavity, obviously this isn't safe or effective. For a safe temporary fix before you reach your dentist, over-the-counter dental cement or sugarless gum (non-sugarless gum will irritate the tooth) will help keep a lost crown or filling in place. 

The old wives tale that sucking on an aspirin tablet next to a hurting tooth is another false one. Aspirin is acidic and will burn the gum tissue if left sitting on it, and won't do anything to help the toothache. If you have a toothache you should rinse out your mouth with warm water, floss with dental floss to remove any particles that may be causing irritation, and ingest an over-the-counter pain killer. As always, visit your dental office if you have a toothache so that they can assess and fix the problem. 

Any dental emergency is an injury to your teeth and gums. This can always be potentially serious and should be addressed immediately to avoid the risk of permanent damage or future expensive and extensive treatment. You should always call your dentist immediately concerning any dental injury or concern. For more information on how to handle any dental emergency visit

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. Norristown, PA 19403