Sunday, August 28, 2016

Check out our updated website!

We've updated our practice website to suit the needs of your mobile devices. You can complete your patient forms, request an appointment, and read my latest blog entry.

See for yourself!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Will a tax on soda end tooth decay?

The city of Philadelphia has proposed a 3-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and sugar-added beverages, potentially raising the cost of these drinks up to 60%. This goal of this sin tax is twofold: lower the incidence of obesity and diabetes, and provide money for universal public kindergarten. The government says the tax is the best way to reduce consumption of sugary beverages, while the soda industry says education is the answer. I'm wondering, how will this effect tooth decay?

Everyone knows that drinks high in sugar cause tooth decay. But what they may not know is that any food or beverage high in acid does the same. How is this possible? Acidic foods and drinks weaken the enamel of your teeth, and with repeated exposure, cavities develop. This is nearly the same way sugar destroys your teeth. Except with sugar, the normal bacterial residents of your mouth eat the sugar you consume and produce an acid byproduct that destroys your teeth. For more on this, check out the American Dental Associations video on Cavities.

What is the dental takeaway on this political issue? Sugary and acidic beverages should be consumed in moderation. Repeated exposure to these substances will destroy your teeth, no question. What you should take extra time to look out for are "sugar-free" products that can actually be highly acidic. For example, while Diet Coke is "sugar-free," it actually contains phosphoric acid, a potent acid that can be highly destructive to your teeth.

I ask my patients to follow a rule. The only drinks you should have between meal times are plain water, black coffee, or plain tea (no cream or sugar). If you want a sweet drink, consume it at meal time and never take it along with you. Not very exciting, but it works.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Oil Pulling: Valuable ancient remedy or colossal hoax?

Many of you have asked about the new celebrity trend, oil pulling, and I took a look at the research. What scientific evidence did I find on this practice? Surprisingly little.

For those who haven't heard, oil pulling is an Indian folk remedy advocating the daily swishing of edible oil for twenty minutes. The supposed benefits are improved oral and systemic health.
There is very little data evaluating the practice of oil pulling. This is odd, since it's considered an ancient practice. Fluoride has been around since the 1940's and we have thousands of experiments proving its effectiveness and safety. Only eleven studies are available that actually test the oil pulling remedy in the mouths of humans (sources listed at end).  

Can oil pulling make my teeth whiter? No scientific data available on this one. Only you can decided if the oil has lightened your teeth. (Check out my post on teeth-whitening solutions.)

Does oil pulling cause receded gums to grow back? No, that is a total lie.

What I recommend based on the available literature

  • Oil pulling should ABSOLUTELY NOT replace brushing and flossing in your oral hygiene regimen. To do so would be detrimental to your oral health. Anyone recommending otherwise is flat wrong.
  • If you like the taste of the oil, use it as a mouthwash for 20 seconds or less. The literature suggests that it can reduce cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth after eating, so a brief swish here or there would be fine. Note that you can also achieve the same effect with plain water, especially fluoridated tap water. 
  • DO NOT leave the oil in your mouth for extended periods of time for risk of affecting your normal flora. No mouthwash (prescribed, over the counter, or all natural) should be used for 20 minutes.

I leave you with this quote: 

"Based on the available research, the effectiveness of oil pulling is inconclusive...The qualities of oil
pulling appeal to certain individuals seeking a natural
alternative, on the other hand, minimal scientific
evidence exists to support oil pulling therapy as an
effective oral care treatment. "
from Bekeleski  et al., 2012

Bekeleski G, McCombs G, Lee Melvin W. Oil Pulling: An Ancient Practice for a Modern Time. Journal Of International Oral Health [serial online]. September 2012;4(3):1-10.  

Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian Journal Of Dental Research [serial online]. January 2009;20(1):47-51. 

Hebbar A, Keluskar V, Shetti A. Oil pulling - Unraveling the path to mystic cure. Journal Of International Oral Health [serial online]. December 2010;2(4):11-14.

Laughter L. Web Weaving. Just what is oil pulling therapy?. Rdh [serial online]. April 2011;31(4):64. Accessed March 15, 2014.

Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Journal Of The Indian Society Of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry [serial online]. March 2008;26(1):12-17. 

Saravanan D, Ramkumar S, Vineetha K. Effect of Oil Pulling with Sesame Oil on Plaque-induced Gingivitis: A Microbiological Study. Journal Of Orofacial Research [serial online]. July 2013;3(3):175-180. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Are "sugar-free" drinks bad for your teeth?

A great article by the Washington Post was recently posted on the dental risks of sugar free drinks and candy. While everyone knows that sugar can cause cavities, most people realize that it's actually acid that's the culprit. Eating sugar creates an acidic environment in your mouth, which causes cavities. So why are many sugar-free foods bad for teeth? Because they are highly acidic and create the same problems in teeth as candy. For example, while you may be drinking a "diet" or "sugar-free" soda, that drink can contain phosphoric or citric acid which can work to destroy the enamel of your teeth. What's nice about the article in the link below, is that it shows the acidity of some very common drinks.

The Myth of Sugar Free Drinks

Another common misconception is that little amounts of sugar are better for teeth than large amounts. The amount of sugar is not important, it is the FREQUENCY of sugar/acid consumed that effects teeth. For example, it is better for your teeth to drink an entire can of soda in one sitting, than to have small sips of that soda throughout the day. With frequent exposure of sugar/acid, the teeth never have a chance to recover.

So what to do? Unfortunately, the solution is boring. Drink water. It's the best thing for your diet and your teeth.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How to Care for Your Child’s First Teeth

Baby teeth are important for your child’s nutrition, speech, and overall health and well-being, so it’s important to develop good dental hygiene habits early to protect them.

Brush all your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft, child-sized toothbrush. Make sure to reach all surfaces with the brush. As your child gets older and the baby teeth start to touch, begin flossing daily.

For children under age three, use a smear of fluoride toothpaste—no more than the size of a grain of rice. Children ages three and older can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. These older children need to be reminded to spit out the paste, not swallow it.

Help young children with brushing. The American Dental Association recommends parents brush their children’s teeth until age six. My policy is that until your child can cut his own meat at mealtimes, you need to help him brush. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Why are baby teeth important?

I sometimes find myself in a discussion with parents about the need to treat cavities in their children’s baby teeth. Most commonly I’m asked something like, “Does he really need to have these fillings? They are just baby teeth – they fall out.” While baby teeth will eventually be lost to the tooth fairy, they are vital to a child’s healthy development. Baby teeth are important for a number of reasons:

Space maintenance

Baby teeth serve as place holders for adult teeth. If a baby tooth is lost, the teeth beside it can drift into the empty space and block the path of the adult tooth. This can lead to crooked adult teeth.


It goes without saying that you need strong teeth to chew. Children who have pain from tooth decay will have difficulty chewing healthy, crunchy foods like whole fruits and vegetables.

Protect adult teeth

Decayed baby teeth that become abscessed can affect the unerupted adult tooth beneath, destroying the enamel of the forming permanent tooth.

Development of proper speaking and swallowing behaviors

Front teeth are used to pronounce a number of sounds, including “S”, “Th”, and “F”.  The proper position of the tongue when swallowing is developed around the position of the front teeth.  A child with missing or severely decayed front teeth is at risk of developing a speech impediment or tongue thrusting habit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Increasing Number Of Adults Seek Orthodontic Treatments

According to the Wall Street Journal, more adults than ever before are getting braces. 1.2 Million adults got braces this year! To me that's great news, as more people are considering their dental health.

Watch this video to learn about trends in adult orthodontics.

As reference, you can check out my previous post about adult orthodontics, or visit my practice website to learn about the adult ortho I provide at South Court Dental Medicine.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Technology offers solutions for adults seeking straight teeth

I wanted to share a news article about the adult orthodontics service we offer: 

Adults looking to straighten their teeth can now get the smile they have always wanted – in just six months – through a cosmetic-braces system available at a Medina dental practice. Using a revolutionary orthodontic system called Six Month Smiles, Dr. Kate Cartwright, of South Court Dental Medicine, is removing the barriers adults typically face when pursuing orthodontic treatment. “Adults want straight front teeth,” says Dr. Cartwright, “but don’t get the orthodontics they need because of time, cost, and the appearance of metal braces. With Six Month Smiles, we can change all that."

The Six Month Smiles technique offers tremendous advantages over traditional metal braces. Unlike traditional braces, this procedure straightens teeth in an average of just six months and uses low forces to comfortably move teeth. The Six Month Smiles system utilizes specialized clear brackets and tooth-colored wires, making them virtually invisible. Finally, the procedure requires fewer dentist visits and is typically less expensive than traditional braces.

While, as a dentist, Dr. Cartwright can explain the health benefits of straight teeth—improved gum health and less tooth wear—it’s most exciting to hear the life-changing accounts of adults who were able to straighten their front teeth with Six Month Smiles. Dr. Cartwright mentions one particular story, “We have a patient getting married next year. You can imagine how great it feels to tell her that, yes, she can have a beautiful new smile when she walks down the aisle.”

About Dr. Kate Cartwright/South Court Dental Medicine

South Court Dental Medicine ( is located at 1063 South Court Street in Medina, Ohio—just south of the historic Medina square. Dr. Kate Cartwright earned her degree from Case Western Reserve University dental school and was further trained in residency at the VA Hospital in downtown Cleveland. As a general dentist, Dr. Cartwright provides dental services to patients of all ages.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Our Dental Office in Medina Ohio

Look for our office in Medina, Ohio. Located on South Court Street, just south of the Medina Square.

South Court Dental Medicine
1063 South Court St.
Medina, OH 44256
(330) 725-0581