Dental Health Blog

Want some life-saving advice?

The benefits of quitting smoking start immediately– no matter how long or how much a person has smoked.  We would like to emphasize how important it is for you to quit– not just for your oral health, but for your overall health as well!

According to QuitlineNC and the CDC, within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

  • 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops.
  • 12 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in your blood drops to normal.
  • Two weeks to three months after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop. Your lung function begins to improve.
  • One to nine months after quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • One year after quitting, your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • Five years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s.
  • Ten years after quitting, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
  • Fifteen years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker’s.

According to the ADHA, smokers have a higher prevalence of moderate to severe periodontal disease and a higher prevalence and extent of attachment loss and gum recession than nonsmokers.  They also have a higher number of missing teeth and more hardened plaque (calculus) formation than nonsmokers.  Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals … 69 of which are known to cause cancer.

Please consider quitting today!  Below are 3 resources that can help you get started.  Please ask any member of the BFD team if you need further assistance.

  1.  Talk with a National Cancer Institute smoking cessation counselor at 1-877-44U-QUIT (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, English and Spanish).
  2. Visit for science-driven tools, information, and support that have been effective in helping smokers quit.
  3. Call the NC Tobacco Use Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free and confidential help, available in English and Spanish.  Whether you smoke, dip, or chew tobacco, counselors can customize a quit plan that will work for you!


Hygienists attend Continuing Education Class

Two of Bell Family Dentistry’s dental hygienists Ashley and Holly attended local periodontist Dr Kazmer’s Spring Hygiene Event on Tuesday, May 30 at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary.  Emme Sanders of “Inspired Hygiene” presented the 3 hour lecture.  Thank you to Dr Kazmer for providing these learning opportunities to the dental hygienists in our community!

Spring Continuing Education Events

Bell Family Dentistry team members participated in continuing education events on Thursday, May 11.   Patient Coordinator Jamie Matthews and Office Manager Claudia LaSmith attended Cary periodontist Dr Paul Kazmer’s event, Rock’ N Brews & Que, held at Montague Lake in Raleigh.  Hygienists Ashley and Holly attended Bovenizer and Baker Orthodontics’ Spring Hygiene Event, held at Prestonwood Country Club.  Good hygiene is directly related to successful treatment and outcome of the orthodontic process.   A big thank you to these specialists for hosting these fun and educational events!

May is Stroke Awareness Month

Since May is Stroke Awareness Month, this is the ideal time to review the risk factors and signs of stroke.  According to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, 80% of strokes are preventable by controlling risk factors, like maintaining a normal blood pressure and taking these steps to live a healthier lifestyle.

MANAGE BLOOD PRESSURE.  If you have high blood pressure (or hypertension), know your numbers and keep them low. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and the most significant controllable risk factor for stroke. Many scientists attribute our current decline in stroke-related deaths to the successful treatment of high blood pressure.

CONTROL CHOLESTEROL.  If you have high blood cholesterol, get it under control. People with high blood cholesterol have an increased risk for stroke. Large amounts of cholesterol in the blood can build up and cause blood clots, leading to a stroke.

REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR.  If you have diabetes (Type 1 or 2), keep blood sugar controlled. Diabetes Mellitus is an independent risk factor for stroke. Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and are overweight. This increases their risk even more.

GET ACTIVE.  If you’re physically inactive, start moving and being more active. Physical inactivity can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, becoming overweight, developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So go on a brisk walk, take the stairs, and do whatever you can to make your life more active. Try to get a total of at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days.

EAT BETTER.  If your diet is poor, eat foods that improve your heart and brain health. Diets high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels. Diets high in sodium (salt) can increase blood pressure. Diets with high calories can lead to obesity. Also, a diet containing five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day may reduce the risk of stroke.

STOP SMOKING.  If you smoke cigarettes, take steps to stop. Recent studies confirm that cigarette smoking is another crucial risk factor for stroke. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke damage the cardiovascular system and pave the way for a stroke to occur. Additionally, the use of birth control pills combined with cigarette smoking can greatly increase the risk of stroke.

LOSE WEIGHT.  If you’re obese or overweight, take steps to get your body mass into a healthy range. Excess body weight and obesity are linked with an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds can make a significant difference in your risks.

Use the letters in “F-A-S-T” to spot stroke signs and know when to call 9-1-1.

F- Face Drooping.  Ask the person to smile.  Is it lopsided or uneven?  Is there numbness?

A- Arm Weakness.  Ask the person to raise both arms.  Does one arm drift, is weak, or numb?

S- Speech Difficulty.  Ask the person tostroke HBPstroke HBP repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue”.  Can they repeat it correctly, or is the speech slurred?

T- Time to call 9-1-1.  If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if they go away, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Don’t delay, and note the time the symptoms first appear.  Time is critical!

To learn more, visit or call 888-4-STROKE.



Nutrition Part II- The Good and the Bad!

Part 2 of our nutrition segment will feature foods and beverages that can benefit your dental health, and ones that can harm your dental health.  This article is provided by the American Dental Association.

Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds, are foods that may benefit tooth health thanks to their high amounts of calcium and other nutrients they provide. Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are the best sources of phosphorus. Both of these minerals play a critical role in dental health, by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel.

Fruits and vegetables are good choices for a healthy smile since they are high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth. These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from decay. Plus, many contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds) and vitamin A (another key nutrient in building tooth enamel).

Hands down, water—particularly fluoridated water—is the most tooth-friendly beverage!

Empty calorie foods such as candy (especially hard or sticky candies like lollipops, mints, taffy and caramel), sweets like cookies, cakes and muffins, and snack foods like chips are a cause for dental concern, not only because they offer no nutritional value, but because the amount and type of sugar that they contain that can adhere to teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed off these sugars, releasing acids, and that’s what leads to tooth decay.

Sugar-containing drinks—soda, lemonade, juice and sweetened coffee or tea (iced or hot)—are particularly harmful because sipping them causes a constant sugar bath over teeth, which promotes tooth decay. 

Nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits can have acidic effects on tooth enamel, too, so eat them as part of a meal, not by themselves. Dried fruits, including raisins, are also good choices for a healthy diet, but since they are sticky and adhere to teeth, the plaque acids that they produce continue to harm teeth long after you stop eating them. Opt for a piece of fresh fruit instead.


You are what you eat

It’s really very simple….the notion that to be healthy and fit, you need to eat good food.  Nutrition plays an essential role in oral health as well as general health.  Here is some information from the American Dental Association about how what you eat can impact your dental health.

Your mouth, teeth, and gums are more than just tools for eating. They’re essential for chewing and swallowing—the first steps in the digestion process. Your mouth is your body’s initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. So what you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your mouth.

Your individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors, but according to MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced and healthy diet should include:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Combined, these should cover half your plate at meals.
  • Grains. At least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
  • Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods most often.
  • Protein. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Vary your protein choices to also include eggs, beans, peas and legumes. Eat at least eight ounces of seafood a week.

In addition to diet, it’s also important to stay active for good health. Adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.

The foods you eat and the beverages you drink can have a direct influence on the incidence and progression of tooth decay, depending upon:

  • The form of the food—whether it’s liquid, solid, sticky or slow to dissolve makes a difference.
  • How often you eat sugary foods and beverages and how often you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages.
  • The nutritional makeup of the food.
  • The combination of the foods you eat and the order in which you eat them.
  • Medical conditions you may have, such as gastrointestinal reflux and eating disorders, which can increase risk of cavities and weaken teeth.

For dental health, it’s recommended that people limit eating and drinking between meals. Of course, sometimes eating between meals must happen. Unfortunately, most people choose foods like sweets and chips for snacks; foods that harm teeth by promoting tooth decay. If you do snack, make it a nutritious choice—such as cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables or nuts—for your overall health and the health of your teeth.

Stay tuned for the next blog post– we will learn about foods that harm your dental health, and foods that benefit your dental health.


Claudia LaSmith attends 2016 AADOM conference

On September 14-17, our office manager Claudia LaSmith attended the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) national meeting in Boca Raton, FL. AADOM is the nation’s largest educational and networking association dedicated to serving dental management professionals. Claudia continually works to learn as much as she can to help make a strong team for our patients.



Small Hands Big Hearts charity run

On Saturday, August 13 our work family sponsored and participated in the Java Jive 5k/10k run to raise funds for Small Hands Big Hearts United, and organization that works to nature compassion and leadership in young people.


Give Kids a Smile Day

On Friday, February 6, our hygienist Holly Rucker participated in the Raleigh Give Kids a Smile event. Holly volunteered to provide screenings, treatments, and education to children from our local area. Give Kids a Smile is a not-for-profit program that provides underserved children with free, comprehensive dental care in an effort to eliminate the silent epidemic of dental disease in children.




Office manager Claudia LaSmith earns AADOM Fellowship

Bell Family Dentistry is proud to celebrate its office manager Claudia LaSmith earning an American Association of Dental Office Managers fellowship. Claudia was granted her degree on September 6 at the AADOM conference in San Diego. Claudia completed extensive courses and exams, placing her in an elite class of office managers nationwide. We are proud to have her extensive education and background to best serve our patients.

Office manager Claudia LaSmith earns AADMON fellowship

Claudia LaSmith earns AADOM fellowship