Dr. Ken Liszewski Interview with Heidi Godman on WSRQ Health Check
Listen to the complete podcast on You Tube
Heidi: Hi everybody. Welcome to Health Check. I’m Heidi Godman. Hope you’re doing well. We have a great program today. I’m very excited about it. In a little bit, we’re going to talk about the impact of exercise and how it can help not only protect you against diabetes but sometimes, sometimes even reverse some of the effects of the condition. This is crucial information right now since rates of diabetes are absolutely soaring in the United States.
We are also going to talk about a new way to look at the brain. This is cutting-edge stuff. Forget about MRIs. There is something new and it might even be safer. Dr. Dean Sutherland will be here with our weekly brain boost and he’s going to explain about that.
We are going to start today by talking about fluoride. Fluoride, you know what that is? It’s a pretty common mineral found in food and water, but probably it is best known for its role in protecting teeth. Joining us now with more is my first guest, Dr. Ken Liszewski, a Suncoast dentist and the founder of BayView Dental Associates. Welcome to the program.
Dr. Liszewski: Thank you, Heidi.
Heidi: I know that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral but how does it protect our teeth?
Dr. Liszewski: Scientifically, we could go into a real deep explanation about that, but there is an ion exchange between the fluoride ion and ions of the enamel of the teeth, which does help strengthen the teeth, protect it from-
Heidi: It’s strengthening the enamel?
Dr. Liszewski: It’s actually strengthening the enamel making it a little bit harder, harder for the bacteria that we put in our mouths on a daily basis when we eat foods or the by-products from the bacteria that feed on the sugars and that have create acids, which then, in turn, decompose surfaces of our teeth. The fluoride does help to strengthen that and keep that decay down.
Heidi: Okay. Then the big question is are we getting enough of this? We’re going to talk about the sources of fluoride in just a little bit. In general, are most people getting enough?
Dr. Liszewski: That question is a loaded one depending on whom you’re talking to. I think most people in probably this country feel as though they’re getting enough. We talked a little bit earlier about the controversy of fluoride.
Heidi: That’s right, before we went on the air. We were talking about this and it is sort of controversial. Some people say that there’s a link between fluoride and thyroid function. Where do most dentists stand on that?
Dr. Liszewski: I think if you’re a dues-paying member of the American Dental Association, which I am, you back what the American Dental Association finds in terms of being a very, very acceptable and very, very needed part of our water supply and what’s good for people’s teeth. The CDC, they rated it as one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century-
Dr. Liszewski: To ward off and help tooth decay. The issue becomes then really is it something that we actually want to put in our water or do we want it to … do we want to apply it ourselves? Personally, I’m probably in the camp where, especially starting in our mid-adult ages, that topical application is probably the best. This way we’re not necessarily ingesting it into our system, but we’re still getting the benefit of that ion exchange with the fluoride.
Heidi: We are talking about fluoride. This is Health Check with Heidi Godman and my guest today is Dr. Ken Liszewski, a Suncoast dentist who founded BayView Dental Associates, which has about five different offices here on the Suncoast. We’re talking about fluoride. Ken is saying that it might be better to get it, not just count on it from your food or water sources, but to get a topical treatment.
How do you know if someone needs this kind of a treatment? Someone comes into your office, do you see, “Oh my gosh, they really need this.” How can you tell?
Dr. Liszewski: I will say generally speaking, the people who need it and the people coming in our office probably need it because they’re having problems. Sometimes I refer to a story a couple years ago where this man came into my office, pleasant, whose 95 years old. I looked at his teeth; they were absolutely perfect other than some wear. I asked him, “What brings you in today?” He says, “Well, I have never been to a dentist. It’s about time I see one.” I say, “You’re 95. You’re just thinking of it now?” But that’s what he said.
Heidi: Oh my gosh.
Dr. Liszewski: I think, genetically speaking, there are people who have very, very good teeth. If they perhaps even lived in an area where their natural water supply had the mineral in it innately, then perhaps that had an effect on their teeth as well. Pretty much anybody who is coming in to our office, we recommend at least topical fluoride. There are different types of fluoride. The fluoride that’s in your daily toothpaste is a little bit different than the fluoride that is in some rinses, prescription rinses.
Heidi: I didn’t know that you could get it from a prescription rinse. Okay, so you can get fluoride, a topical treatment, in your toothpaste, obviously.
Dr. Liszewski: That would be sodium fluoride.
Heidi: Sodium fluoride, but then there’s a rinse too.
Dr. Liszewski: Which would be like a stannous fluoride. One of the properties of a stannous fluoride where you would get from your dentist as a rinse for periodontal disease or something actually has an effect, a bacteriostatic effect, which helps reduce plaque.
Heidi: Mm, okay, but then are there other treatments that you can come in to the office for and that you apply there?
Dr. Liszewski: Yes, absolutely. There are fluoride treatments. If we determine that, for adults in particular, if their gums are receding and they have exposed roots, sometimes those areas can become very, very sensitive. They can become more caries prone, cavity prone. In that case, a fluoride application definitely helps.
Heidi: Is it typically covered by insurance or is it a standard treatment of care?
Dr. Liszewski: Another loaded question but generally speaking, there is some coverage with insurance companies. Yes, absolutely.
Heidi: You just have to check with your dental insurance.
Dr. Liszewski: Yeah, you just want to check it.
Heidi: Yeah, sure. Sure, but the difference it makes must be very impressive.
Dr. Liszewski: It definitely makes a difference. I don’t think there’s any question about that. However, again, the controversial side is do we want to ingest it in our water? The big difference there really is for many years, a lot of communities put it in their water supply. Now, the big kick is bottled water. Are you really getting it if you’re drinking bottled water? You’re starting to see bottled water companies add it to their bottled water, and that’s fine if you’re in the camp that you believe that’s the right thing to do.
Dr. Liszewski: If you’re not in that camp, which there are starting to be more and more folks believing that you shouldn’t ingest the fluoride to that degree, then you look for something without them.
Heidi: Okay, or you go to your dentist and you get a fluoride treatment. Do you need them annually or how often would you get it?
Dr. Liszewski: Depending on someone’s caries control index, so we usually look and see how they’re doing. If we don’t feel that they need it, then we just suggest not doing it. However, someone who is more typically prone, then we’ll … absolutely twice a year would be what would be recommended.
Heidi: Twice a year; and it’s probably pretty fast too. How do you do it?
Dr. Liszewski: It just takes a few minutes. There are different methods where you can put it into trays, have the patient bite down into the gel and the process takes place over a few minutes. There’s also … we can do it localized where there may be an exposed area for sensitivity or maybe exposed root surface where the fluoride varnish could be painted on.
Heidi: That’s great. That’s great. Then after you have it applied, do you need to not eat for a while or how long do you need to be careful with it?
Dr. Liszewski: Generally speaking, 60 minutes, however, we ask them to be careful until their next meal. Hopefully they’re not there right before dinner.
Heidi: That sounds pretty easy to me.
Dr. Liszewski: Yeah, it’s not that bad.
Heidi: Yeah, I mean your teeth are protected and you can have some peace of mind that your children’s teeth, they are protected. This is for everybody, right? For children all the way through older adults?
Dr. Liszewski: The idea is the same for children and adults. The areas that become infected or if with decay are somewhat different for adults and children. Children usually, it’s the developmental grooves in the tops of their teeth and so forth, in-between where teeth are … where they meet. As adults, again, a lot of times it becomes more root surface areas that can be susceptible.
Heidi: I want to thank you so much for coming on and for explaining the benefits of fluoride. I think it’s a question we should all be asking our dentist, “Am I getting enough fluoride? Do I need a treatment?” If anyone wants to contact you, Ken, at BayView Dental Associates, how would he or she do that?
Dr. Liszewski: We have a website, www.BayViewDental.com, would probably be the most common way. We have contact information on the site.
Heidi: Okay, BayViewDental.com, Sarasota dentist, Ken Liszewski, thank you so much.
Dr. Liszewski: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Heidi: All right. We are going to take a short break, but don’t go away. Much more coming ahead. You are listening to Health Check with Heidi Godman on WSRQ. Stay with us.
Like us on Face Book – www.FaceBook.com/BayViewDental