Posts for: July, 2014

By James B. Howell, D.M.D.
July 17, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: water  

Water is essential to life. It’s relatively abundant and affordable in the United States, with treated water averaging about $2.00 per thousand gallons. It’s also critical to dental health as part of oral hygiene and as a vehicle for added fluoride to protect against tooth decay.

Water is also big business. We Americans drink an estimated 85 million packaged bottles of water every day. As with any profitable business, there’s no small marketing hype by the bottled water industry, including claims of superiority over community tap water.

These claims should be examined more closely. One advocacy group, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), subjected several brands of bottled water to independent analysis with some surprising results. Many of the samples contained disinfection byproducts, wastewater pollutants like caffeine or drug residue, heavy metals and, in some cases, bacteria. While none of the contaminants found exceeded legal limits, companies weren’t forthcoming with consumers on the possible presence of these substances in their product.

If fluoride is one of those unidentified substances in bottled water it could affect the dental health of an infant or small child. While fluoride is a proven cavity fighter, infants and smaller children can ingest too much for their body weight. For this reason, parents often use bottled water to mix with formula, believing it to be fluoride-free, when in fact it may not be.

Because bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, it isn’t subject to the more rigorous standards for tap water administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Manufacturers also aren’t required to identify the source of their water, the methods and degree of purification and testing for contaminants. There are independent organizations that seek those answers on behalf of the public. For example, EWG publishes a Bottled Water Scorecard online ( with ratings and information on different brands of bottled water.

If you have concerns about your tap water, you may want to consider another alternative to bottled water — in-home water filtration. EWG also has a guide on various types of filtration methods at

The purity of your water greatly impacts your family’s health, including your teeth. Distinguishing between fact and hype will help you make better decisions about the water you drink.

If you would like more information on water quality and safety, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bottled Water: Health Or Hype?

By James B. Howell, D.M.D.
July 02, 2014
Category: Oral Health

What would it take to get you to give up tobacco? For major league baseball player Addison Reed, it took the death of his former coach, Tony Gwynn. Gwynn, a Hall-of-Famer who played for the San Diego Padres in addition to coaching at San Diego State, was just 54 years old when he died of oral cancer. As soon as Reed heard the sad news, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ relief pitcher says he knew what he needed to do: He took every can of smokeless tobacco he owned and dumped them all in the trash.

“It’s just become a habit, a really bad habit,” Reed told an interviewer at “It was something I always told myself I would quit.” But quitting took him many years — in fact, Reed admitted that he first started using smokeless tobacco as a junior in high school.

People begin using tobacco — in the form of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or smokeless types (snuff, chewing tobacco, or dip) — for a variety of reasons. One major draw is that they see others doing it. And, while smoking is prohibited in most all Major League venues, the use of smokeless tobacco has remained fairly widespread.

Smokeless tobacco isn’t a safe alternative to cigarettes. According to the National Cancer Institute, it contains 28 carcinogenic agents. It increases the risk not only for oral and pancreatic cancer, but also for heart disease, gum disease, and many other oral problems. It’s also addictive, containing anywhere from 3.4 to 39.7 milligrams of nicotine per gram of tobacco — and its use has been on the rise among young adults.

But now the tide may be turning. After Addison Reed’s announcement, his former college teammate Stephen Strasburg (now a pitcher for the Washington Nationals) resolved that he, too, would give up tobacco. “[The] bottom line is, I want to be around for my family,” said Strasburg. Mets left-hander Josh Edgin has vowed to try quitting as well. It’s even possible that Major League Baseball will further restrict the use of smokeless tobacco at games.

What does this mean for you? It may just be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for… to stop using tobacco. Dentists have seen how quickly oral cancer can do its devastating work — and we can help you when you’re ready to quit. The next time you come in for a checkup, ask us how. Your teeth and gums will thank you — and your family will too.

By James B. Howell, DMD
July 01, 2014
Category: Dentistry
Close your eyes for a moment and picture your perfect smile. Would your teeth be whiter? Would you fix the spacing between your teeth? Or maybe there are other imperfections that drive you crazy and keep you from having the smile you picture in your head. What if we could promise you that with one simple procedure, your Louisville cosmetic dentist could get you that smile. We are serious! You will be amazed with the results when you get dental veneers in Louisville. Veneers

The Facts about Veneers

So what is this dental magic that promises a new and improved smile? It isn’t magic, but the results sure look like it. Here are some useful facts about porcelain veneers in Louisville to help you decide whether you are the right candidate for this dental treatment.
  • Do you hate the idea of spending hours in the dentist’s chair or coming back for multiple times to get your smile the way you want it? Do you want to get a better smile but you just can’t commit to a treatment? We completely understand your hesitation. Any kind of makeover can make people a little nervous. However, what makes dental veneers in Louisville such a winner is that there is very little tooth preparation needed to get you a beautiful new smile. Unlike with crowns, we only shave down a tiny bit of tooth enamel to make way for these thin shells. As always, a non-invasive treatment makes for a happy patient!
  • Do you want to hide those gaps, whiten your teeth, conceal chips and cracks or cover up general unevenness in your smile? If so, your Louisville dentist is urging you to consider dental veneers. These thin porcelain shells are specifically designed to target these very dental problems. If you could look in the mirror and see a straighter, whiter smile, would you? We believe your answer would be yes. That’s why dental veneers are a fantastic option for those looking to fix minor imperfections.
  • Can’t get enough Thai food? Or maybe you enjoy a soothing Earl Grey tea every night before bed. While you might be enjoying these glorious foods and drinks, your poor teeth are getting the brunt of it. This can cause some nasty stains over the years. Couple that with smoking or long-term antibiotic use, and you’ll find discolorations that are severe and hard to remove. If teeth whitening just hasn't helped solve the problem, then it might be time to consider porcelain veneers in Louisville, KY. An added bonus is that veneers are stain resistant—so feel free to dig into that Thai food all you want. We won’t judge!
Why not call our office and let us show you what your smile could look like.  We will be happy to show you financing options that can help you fit cosmetic dentistry into your budge.
If you think dental veneers are exactly what you’ve been looking for, then call us, your Louisville cosmetic dentist, at (502) 899-7766. We’ll work to get you a consultation right away.

Louisville, KY Cosmetic Dentistry
James B. Howell, D.M.D.
3936 Dutchmans Lane
Louisville, KY 40207
(502) 899-7766



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