June is Oral Health Month – Brushing and Flossing Key to Healthy Teeth

Nader RastgoftarBy Nader Rastgoftar, DDS, Dental Director and General Dentist at Health Partnership Clinic

Did you know that cavities (tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five (20 percent) children aged five to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The percentage of children and adolescents aged five to 19 years with untreated cavities is twice as high for children from low-income households (25 percent) compared with children from higher-income households (12 percent).

June is Oral Health Month, and it is a perfect time to remind parents about the importance of brushing and flossing. These two steps can limit cavities and keep children smiling.

Poor oral health can have a detrimental effect on children’s quality of life, their performance at school, and their success later in life. Cavities are preventable and ensuring that students have the preventive oral health services they need in school is important in helping them stay healthy and ready to learn.

School-Based Portable Dental Care

Dental cleaningAt Health Partnership Clinic, we provide school-based portable dental care to Title One schools in Olathe and Shawnee Mission School Districts and Head Start programs. In these locations, we see children who don’t have a dental home or have not seen a dentist in more than a year. We provide dental screenings and sealants. Dental sealants prevent cavities for many years. Children aged six to 11 without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children without sealants.

If we identify issues such as cavities, we schedule an appointment at our Olathe clinic for follow up. In addition to the check up, we also educate students about how to brush and floss. Our dental team, which includes a dental hygienist and dental assistant, do a fantastic job in engaging children and reminding them about the importance of oral health. Our school partners believe we play a key role in their children’s school success!

With summer just around the corner, parents need to make sure their children are practicing good oral health at home. Be sure to watch your children brush their teeth!

Here are some tips on how to prevent tooth decay:

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Preferably, brush after each meal and especially before going to bed.
  2. Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental cleaners, such as the Oral-B Interdental Brush.
  3. Rinse daily with a fluoride-containing mouthwash. Some rinses also have antiseptic ingredients to help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
  4. Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacks. Avoid carbohydrates such as candy, pretzels and chips, which can remain on the tooth surface. If sticky foods are eaten, brush your teeth soon afterwards.
  5. Check with your dentist about using supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth.
  6. Ask your dentist about dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars) to protect them from decay.
  7. Drink fluoridated water. At least a pint of fluoridated water each day is needed to protect children from tooth decay.
  8. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.

To learn more about our dental services, visit the dental services page on our website.

Cavity Prevention Starts Before the First Tooth

Christina CookBy Christina Cook, RDH, ECP II, Dental Hygienist at Health Partnership Clinic

February marks Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s an excellent time to think about prevention and starting healthy habits.

At Health Partnership Clinic (HPC), we understand the importance of preventing problems and not just treating problems when they arise and that is why we recommend oral hygiene habits begin prior to the first tooth.

Your child’s gums should be wiped twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed to wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause cavities. This also gets your child accustomed to the act of cleaning the mouth and the feeling of a clean mouth. Once the teeth begin to erupt you can brush twice a day with plain water.

February is Children's Dental Health MonthChildren should make their introductory trip to the dentist when their first tooth appears or on their first birthday, whichever comes first. The first visit to the dentist is consider a “happy visit”. The purpose of this visit is to introduce them to the dental office, review hygiene habits, provide nutritional recommendations and perform a growth and development check. It is important that you follow the recommendations of the dental professionals because the enamel of the tooth (hard outer layer) is much thinner and softer on baby teeth, making them at greater risk of decay. Once a cavity starts, they can grow faster and lead to pain quicker than on an adult tooth. The good news is with regular checkups, a healthy diet and good oral hygiene habits cavities are preventable.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

  • February is Children's Dental Health MonthBrush the teeth twice a day using the correct amount of toothpaste based on the child’s age.
  • Although children want to do things on their own, they are not able to do a good job brushing their teeth until they can tie their shoes and even then, they should be supervised until age 11.
  • Many times, baby teeth have spacing which allows the toothbrush bristles to clean between the teeth. Once the teeth are touching it is recommended to floss once a day at nighttime to prevent cavities between the teeth. Your child will also need assistance with flossing until around age 11.
  • February is Children's Dental Health MonthMy biggest nutritional tip I can give is limit sugary drinks and snacking. A small amount of milk and juice is okay with a meal, but plain water is recommended between meals. When choosing snacks choose whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and cheese opposed to processed foods like chips, cookies and candies.
  • Visit a dentist every six months to detect problems early and to prevent future problems. Also ask your dentist about Fluoride varnish treatments to strengthen the teeth and sealants to protect the chewing surface of the back teeth.

HPC provides dental services to children and teens and accepts Medicaid and other insurance plans. We also offer a sliding fee discount program for those who qualify.

To schedule an appointment, call 913-648-2266.

To learn more about our services, visit https://hpcks.org/our-services/dental/.

June is Oral Health Month – Establishing a lifelong habit will keep you smiling!

Nader RastgoftarBy Nader Rastgoftar, DDS, General Dentist at Health Partnership Clinic

Establishing healthy habits like brushing, cleaning between your teeth and seeing a dentist twice a year can make a big difference to the health of your family. It is particularly important to develop these healthy habits with infants and children. This month is Oral Health Month, and the theme is Share More Time, Share More Smiles. To celebrate, print off the coloring sheet and how to brush tip sheet and share with your children.

Why is it important for children to get a regular dental checkup?

Teeth help us with so many different things. They help us chew our food so it’s easier to digest, make it possible for us to form words so we can communicate, and they help shape our faces. While you may think that dental health is only important for older children and adults, this is not the case. The truth is, even the youngest infants benefit from proper dental care.

Why is early dental health important?

Brushing Your TeethPaying close attention to your baby’s dental health will help them grow strong, healthy teeth and set them up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits. Not caring for your child’s mouth can lead to several problems including tooth decay, gum disease, inflammation and pain that can create other health issues. In fact, the earlier you begin a dental hygiene routine for your baby, the healthier their teeth and gums will be throughout their lives.

When should children get their first dental checkup?

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that every child should visit a dentist by age one–or as soon as the first tooth appears. This “well baby visit” teaches parents and caregivers how to care for their children’s teeth and help them remain cavity-free.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 40 percent of children have decay by the time they reach kindergarten.

At Health Partnership Clinic (HPC), our dental staff can help educate parents or caregivers to help prevent cavities. We educate parents about why falling asleep with a bottle of milk or juice is not recommended (why this causes decay); the importance of encouraging children to drink milk, water and juice from a cup as they approach their first birthday; and how to brush young teeth.

Dental Health Month - Back to SchoolOur goal is to prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating and other medical issues. Also, young children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence. Happy Oral Health Month from HPC’s Dental Team!

To schedule a dental appointment for your child, call 913-648-2266.

Ottawa location welcomes pediatric dental patients

Health Partnership Clinic is proud to announce that Dr. Emily C. Day, a pediatric dentist, is now providing pediatric dental exams, cleanings, sealants and treatments at the Ottawa office, 107 S. Main St. Services are available to children 12 and under on Friday mornings.

To schedule an appointment, please call 913-276-7004. Health Partnership accepts KanCare/Medicaid and commercial insurance. For those uninsured or underinsured, a Sliding Fee program is available to those who qualify based on income and household size.

To learn more about Dr. Day, visit her profile.

Pediatric Dental Services - Ottawa


HPC’s Pediatric Dental Services Safe during COVID-19 the Pandemic

By Nader Rastgoftar, DDS, General Dentist

Learn how we keep patients and staff safe!

Nader RastgoftarLike many dental facilities, Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) in Olathe, Kan. has seen a decrease in the volume of pediatric dental services. We attribute this mostly because parents are concerned about coming to the dentist office in a pandemic. That’s why we’ve implemented many new policies and procedures and invested heavily in our dental equipment and personal protection equipment (PPE). The safety of our patients and staff is a top priority.

Oral health is just as important as medical health—and that doesn’t change in a pandemic situation. In fact, when you delay dental care for children, the teeth don’t get better on their own, and the problems get worse, and many times may need even more treatment.

At Health Partnership, we follow strict protocols to ensure the safety of our youngest patients so oral health doesn’t have to be delayed. Nader Rastgoftar, DDS, HPC’s general dentist, offers some insights about dental care during a pandemic and the commitment of the dental team.

Remember that regular dental checkups are a must. At HPC, we offer affordable and accessible dental care for children 0-18. To make an appointment call 913-648-2266.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

Emily DayBy Emily C. Day, DDS, Dental Director and Pediatric Dentist, Health Partnership Clinic

The American Dental Association (ADA) dedicates this month-long national health observance to bringing together thousands of dedicated professionals, health care providers and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others. At Health Partnership Clinic (HPC), we join the ADA in educating families about the importance of regular oral hygiene.

This year’s slogan is “Water, Nature’s Drink!”

You may be wondering why so much attention would be given to water!

Water is something we have access to easily, you can drink it straight from the tap and in most cities, it contains fluoride, which is critical to the prevention of cavities in children.

Children's Dental Health MonthA bigger danger to children’s teeth is if sweetened beverages are consumed instead of water on a regular basis. Juices, flavored milks, sports drinks and soda all contain large amounts of sugar, which when sipped on throughout the day can cause tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities use the sugar from these drinks and convert it to acid that breaks down the tooth enamel, causing cavities that may be painful and that will require dental treatment to repair.

A simple way to prevent cavities in young children is to only offer water in between meals. Mealtime can be reserved for milk or small amounts of juice, both of which can be part of a healthy diet in the appropriate amounts. If you have questions about the appropriate amounts of milk or juice, speak with your child’s doctor.

Other tips for caring for children’s teeth include the following:

  1. Children's Dental Health MonthTooth brushing with adult supervision. Young children lack the manual dexterity to position the toothbrush correctly on each of the tooth surfaces. By the third grade, most children can begin to brush their teeth independently, but still need an adult to monitor that all teeth were brushed.
  2. Avoid sticky, chewy snacks that may get lodged in between the teeth. Foods like raisins, dried fruit, sticky and gummy candies, and crackers tend to become lodged in between the teeth and can cause cavities if not adequately removed with tooth brushing or flossing. Healthy snack options include fruits, veggies, yogurt and cheese.
  3. It is recommended that children first see a dentist by their first birthday. This will ensure the child’s caregiver is equipped with the appropriate education to take care of the young child’s teeth, and this sets the stage to best prevent cavities.

How does HPC care for children’s teeth?

HPC: Children's Dental Health MonthAt HPC, our experienced team of licensed dentists and hygienists are passionate about improving the overall health of our patients through quality dentistry. We provide:

  1. Professional exams, cleanings and X-rays to check for cavities in between the teeth and fluoride varnish applications to strengthen and protect teeth against cavity-causing acid attacks.
  2. Diet and nutritional counseling to make sure your child is on the right track to stay cavity-free.
  3. Customized oral hygiene instructions based on the age of child and any other special circumstances (for example, special tooth brushing tricks if your child has braces).

Many people are surprised to find out that cavities can be prevented! Just ask any member of our Dental department for tips and tricks to stay cavity-free!

To schedule a pediatric dental appointment, please call 913-648-2266. Pediatric dental services are offered at our Olathe and Ottawa sites.

Thumb Sucking: An Innocent Childhood Habit That Could Have Long Term Effects

By Christina Cook, RDH, ECP II, Dental Department, Health Partnership Clinic

HPC: Dental ThumbsuckingWhile thumb sucking is undeniably adorable the first couple of years, as kindergarten approaches and those front teeth start bucking out, parents can easily start to panic!

Thumb sucking typically emerges in infancy, but the habit may start even earlier. Many babies have had the habit for multiple months before birth and it has been described as the earliest addiction. The habit of thumb sucking in children up to age four is a normal and an innocent reflex. Please beware though! Thumb sucking after the age of four could be a sign of insecurity and discomfort in children and many times becomes more than a habit but a dependency. Like any habit the longer the behavior persists the more difficult it becomes to break. Beyond the psychological dependency there are other possible long-term effects.

Possible Thumb Sucking Complications

  • Changes to the position of the teeth. The constant pressure causes the teeth to shift around the shape of the thumb. This is called an open bite and makes it difficult to properly bite into and eat the foods we love.
  • Constant pressure of the thumb against the roof of the mouth can contribute to a high narrow arched roof of the mouth.
  • Thumb sucking anchors the tongue down and forward instead of allowing the tongue to rest in the proper position.
  • Contributes to abnormal tongue patterns.
  • Alters normal breathing patterns and normal facial growth patterns.
  • Contributes to an open mouth resting position of the lips.

Dental Thumbsucking Collage 1

Most dental pros recommend not intervening to stop a thumb sucking habit until age four or five.  The good news is most kids will quit on their own by that time but if the habit persists here are some tips.

Tips for Quitting

  • Praise and reward your child! Star charts, daily rewards and gentle reminders.
  • If your child uses sucking to relieve boredom, keep the hands busy or distract them with things they find fun.
  • No matter what method you try, be sure to explain it to your child. If it makes your child afraid or tense, you should stop it at once because this could have an opposite effect on your child’s progress.
  • Consider trying Mavala Sto, a nail polish with a bitter taste that helps keep the thumb out of the mouth.
  • Books about thumb sucking are a great way to “plant the seed” about quitting, without pressuring the child.

Dental Thumbsucking Collage 2

Sometimes these solutions work, and sometimes the child still needs a little extra time or help. If you see changes in the roof of your child’s mouth or in the way the teeth are lining up, talk with your pediatrician or pediatric dentist for additional help with breaking the habit.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month

Emily DayPost written by Emily Day, DDS, Director of Dental, Health Partnership Clinic

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation. In honor of this the slogan for the 2020 National Children’s Dental Health Month is “Fluoride in water prevents cavities! Get it from the tap!”

More than 70 years of scientific research has consistently shown that an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective and prevents tooth decay by at least 25 percent in both children and adults. The American Dental Association (ADA) supports water fluoridation as the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay even in the of era of widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Children Embracing

Below are commonly asked questions answered by the ADA.

Why would communities want to fluoridate the water?

  • Communities fluoridate their water supply because it is a cost-effective public health method that helps prevent cavities. The average cost per year for U.S. communities to fluoridate the water ranges from 50 cents per person for large communities to $3 dollars per person for small communities.
  • Cavities are caused by a disease called “caries,” which is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in five-to 17-year-olds. The pain from untreated cavities can cause people to lose sleep, have trouble eating, speaking and paying attention at school or work.
  • A report from the U.S. Surgeon General in 2000 estimated that 51 million school hours are lost per year because of dental-related illness. Without water fluoridation, that number would likely be much higher.
  • So, by simply drinking fluoridated water, you are doing something good for your oral health.

Is Fluoride, as provided by community water fluoridation, a toxic substance?

  • Fluoride in water at the recommended level is not toxic according to the best available scientific evidence.Toxicity is related to dose. While large doses of fluoride could be toxic, it is important to recognize the difference between the effect of a massive dose of an extremely high level of fluoride versus the fluoride level currently recommended for public water systems. Like many common substances essential to life and good health – salt, iron, vitamins A and D, chlorine, oxygen and even water itself – fluoride can be toxic in massive quantities. Fluoride at the much lower recommended concentrations (0.7 mg/L) used in community water fluoridation is not harmful or toxic.

Does water from the refrigerator dispenser still have the beneficial fluoride in it?

  • Refrigerator filters and other filters (like BRITA) don’t filter out fluoride. Only reverse osmosis filtration removes fluoride from city tap water.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month

Employee Spotlight: Emily C. Day, DDS

Employee Spotlight

We are very excited to highlight one of our most valuable assets, our employees! Each month, get to know the HPC team in a fun new way.

Emily DayName: Emily C. Day, DDS

Department: Dental

Title: Director of Dental Department

Primary work location: Olathe Outreach

How long have you worked at HPC? Seven weeks

How did you get into your field of work?

As a high schooler, I met a female dentist who said that a career in dentistry was great if you liked science, crafts and helping people. From then on I was a dental assistant during the summer until I was in dental school.

Do you speak any other languages? If yes, which ones?

No, I do not speak any other languages, but I wish I did!

Do you have a favorite quote? If yes, what is it?

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

What values are important to you?

Loyalty, authenticity and honesty.

Emily Day's FamilyWhat is something about you that would surprise people?

I love hedgehogs! I have a hedgehog named Arthur.

What is on your “bucket” list?

I want to see the Northern Lights.

What is your favorite food?

Mexican food is my favorite!

What is your favorite movie?

“Pretty Woman”

What is your favorite hobby?

Reading is my favorite hobby.

Are you an animal lover?  If yes, how many pets do you have and what kind are they?

Yes! In addition to my hedgehog, we have three dogs: two Dachshunds and one Border Collie mix.

Know the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Debra TrybomPost written by Debra Trybom, RDH, ECP II
Health Partnership Clinic

April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Approximately 110,000 people are diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancer every year in the United States. These cancers can occur in the tongue, throat, larynx, nasal cavities, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid and salivary glands. Sixty-six percent of the time, these cancers will be found as late as a stage three or four disease, making them harder to treat.

Early detection is key which is why the staff at HPC is taking the time to raise awareness about oral cancers. The dentists and hygienists will review your health history and perform screenings during your dental exam and cleanings to identify any abnormalities of the mouth, head and neck.  This is another reason why routine dental care is so important!

Do you know the warning signs of Oral or Head and Neck cancer?

Some of the symptoms you may notice are:

  • A red or white patch that develops in your mouth that is sore and does not heal or go away.
  • A persistent sore throat.
  • Persistent hoarseness of your voice.
  • Persistent ear pain.
  • A lump in your mouth or neck that does not go away; may feel rough or thick.
  • Frequent nosebleeds or bleeding in your mouth.
  • Numbness in the cheek or facial swelling/pain that doesn’t go away.
  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking or chewing.

Oral Cancer AwarenessWhat are the risk factors?

  • Smoking and other tobacco products.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Environmental exposure such as working with dust, glues, formaldehyde, mustard gas, some metals and radium.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has been attributed to over 10,000 new cases per year in the United States. Young, non-smokers are the fastest growing population of oral cancer patients due to the HPV virus.

Even if you do not meet all the risk factors, it is important to be screened. If treatment occurs in the early stages, patients have very little disfigurement or functional deficit. Treatment typically includes surgery and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is sometimes recommended for patients with advanced disease. The next time you visit your doctor or dentist please speak with them about performing an oral cancer screening!