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Million Dollar Smile




The National Dental Association defines dentistry as the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.


There are two different types of degrees that can be awarded upon graduation from dental school to become a general dentist. There is no difference between the two degrees; dentists who have a DMD or DDS have the same education. Universities have the prerogative to determine what degree is awarded. Both degrees use the same curriculum requirements. Generally, three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school is required to graduate and become a general dentist. State licensing boards accept either degree as equivalent, and both degrees allow licensed individuals to practice the same scope of general dentistry. Additional post-graduate training is required to become a dental specialist, such as an orthodontist, periodontist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon. At (718) 527-7348. In New York State all dentists must now complete a one-year post-doctoral\ residency to practice. Specialties now require 2-4 year residency programs.


Here in your backyard is Philip Clifton, DDS. He is a graduate of Queens College of the City of New York and New York University Kriser Dental Center having graduated in 1972.  He completed his General Dentistry Internship from July 1972to June 1973. Dr. Clifton did his Internship at the now defunct Sydenham Hospital the sister hospital to Harlem Hospital and a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation from 1973-1974. He worked for one year in various dental facilities, such as Carter Community Health Center from 1974-1975. In May 1974, after completing the final course of his education, Dr. Clifton opened the doors to his private practice. He can be found where he has always been for the past thirty-seven years at 134-29 227th Street Laurelton, New York 11413. Because he extends a great amount of personal attention to his patients, you must call for an appointment.


 During your appointment you will learn some very fundamental, simple and cost effective measures that will ensure long-term dental life.


    A professional dental cleaning every three to six months would be the minimum amount of care one needs to give to his or her oral hygiene. The industry standard has been every six months, but with the advent of periodontal disease it is prudent to find yourself in the dentist chair every three months-- not for x-rays, fillings or other dental work-- but for a professional cleaning. The three-month timeline is more prevalent if you have mouth breathing or snoring issues.


    If you or your loved one sleeps with his or her mouth open, it has a serious impact on your teeth. Sleeping with your mouth open is the equivalent to taking a hair dryer and blowing it on your teeth throughout the night. The air on the teeth creates a tartar on the teeth that does not come off with regular brushing. You will know it is tartar because on the lower front six teeth a white ring or crust along the gum line will develop. Only a professional dental cleaning that will remove this white ring.


    Dental floss or flossing is a great addition to regular brushing and this routine should be maintained. But an oral irrigator or water pik is a superior addition to regular brushing. While flossing can capture food that lodges between your teeth, the floss more often than not cannot get to the back teeth, An oral irrigator allows you to adjust the equipment so you can clean those hard-to-reach teeth. The water irrigator allows you to wash away food and bacteria, which can cause decay and halitosis. The water irrigator also allows you to capture food and decay. With the water irrigator, you can choose the rinsing solution of your choice; whether water, mouthwash or peroxide.


    A solution of water and peroxide creates oxygenation of the gum tissues. This combination acts as an antiseptic, so if you have bleeding gums, the peroxide and water dilutes the acid and reduces the number of bacteria inside the mouth that break down your teeth and gums. Peroxide immediately stops gum bleeding inside the mouth; read the peroxide bottle, you’ll see it says it is good for cuts and bruises.


    A water irrigator is also extremely helpful if you have a prosthesis such as bridgework or other implants. The irrigator is able to get under and clean the bridge where flossing and threads prove ineffective. It is recommended that irrigation be done after you have completed your regular brushing.


  If you don’t want to use a water and peroxide solution for your irrigation, there are a number of herbal products that are also good for the soft tissue within the mouth and the teeth in general. Remember when your mother told you if there was no more toothpaste, use baking soda. Well, that mother wit was completely accurate. Baking soda straight or with peroxide creates a mild abrasive paste and has less acidity. The baking soda and peroxide sets out to tackle the bacteria and food particles in your mouth, which erode the tooth enamel. Even an old stand-by like tea tree oil is good for mouth and oral tissues. Just don’t swallow it. According to the American cancer Society, tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed. It has been reported to cause drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, coma, unsteadiness, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach upset, blood cell abnormalities, and severe rashes. It should be kept away from pets and children.


Critical to overall good health, baking soda raises the ph balance in your mouth. Potential hydrogen (pH) is a measurement of the amount of hydrogen ions in the body or in a solution. This measurement signifies the alkaline or acidic property of a solution. The more ions present in the solution, the more acidic the result is. Meanwhile, if there are few ions found in the solution, the pH is alkaline or base. The measurement procedure is based on a zero to fourteen scale, with zero most acidic and 14 most alkaline. Seven is the mid-range pH and is commonly regarded as normal pH. In our bodies, there are certain standard levels of acidity. The level of acidity affects the level of fat, disease and infections in the body. An ideal meal should only consist of 25% acidic and 75% alkaline properties for it to be healthy. The ideal pH level of the body is 6.4, and can be achieved with a proper diet.  


 According to World Dental, these are the top ten beneficial foods for teeth.

  1. Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidant plant compounds that reduce plaque and help reduce cavities and gum disease. Tea may help reduce bad breath. Tooth enamel is strengthened because green tea contains fluoride which promotes healthy teeth.

  2. Milk and yogurt are good for teeth because they contain low acidity, which means that wearing of teeth is less. They are also low in decay-inducing sugar. Milk is a good source of calcium, the main component of teeth and bones.

  3. Cheese contains calcium and phosphate, which helps balance pH in the mouth preserves (and rebuilds) tooth enamel, produces saliva, and kills bacteria that cause cavities and disease.

  4. Fruits such as apples, strawberries and kiwis contain Vitamin C. This vitamin is considered the element that holds cells together. If this vitamin is neglected, gum cells can break down, making gums tender and susceptible to disease.

  5. Vegetables: Vitamin A, found in pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli, is necessary for the formation of tooth enamel. Crunchy vegetables may also help clean gums.

  6. Onions contain antibacterial sulfur compounds. Tests show that onions kill various types of bacteria especially when eaten raw.

  7. Celery protects teeth by producing saliva which neutralizes acid that causes demineralisation and cavities. It also massages the teeth and gums.

  8. Sesame seeds reduce plaque and help build tooth enamel. They are also very high in calcium.

  9. Animal food: beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs contain phosphorus which, with calcium, is one of the two most vital minerals of teeth and bone.

  10. Water cleans the mouth and produces saliva that deposits essential minerals into the teeth. It keeps teeth hydrated and washes away particles from the teeth.

So, do what civilizations have been doing for thousands of years, take care of your teeth by partnering with a good dentist so that you can maintain that million-dollar smile.



René Myatt is a practicing attorney in New York City.

Her web site is Her e-mail address is Copyright © 2011 by René Myatt


All rights reserved.



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