Bring on the Myth Busters

. December 30, 2014.

Doctors and health and wellness experts tackle the misconceptions people often have regarding their well-being. Do you really need to floss every night?

Read to find out more!


Dr. Lindsey Wurtzel-Douville

Wurtzel Family Dentistry
4554 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor

Myth:“Oral health isn’t related to overall health.”
Actually there is an intimate connection between oral health and overall health. The Michigan Dental Society is starting a new year’s campaign, “What would your mouth say about you?” As dentists, what we observe in the oral cavity can often offer clues to potential systemic issues. A couple of examples are bleeding gums which can indicate gum disease, Vitamin C deficiency, or even in rare situations, Leukemia. Bad breath can be a sign of gum disease, respiratory tract infections, sinus infections, chronic acid reflux, diabetes or liver/kidney problems. So remember next time you visit your dentist it is for more than just a cleaning!

What is the most asked question by parents?
Most parents are concerned about the eruption pattern of their kid’s teeth and if they will need orthodontics!

What change in the past year has changed your field?
There has been a huge shift in technology, with an increase in digital CAD/CAM milling and scanning devices in the dental field. This has allowed us to transition to in-office restorations and faster and more accurate laboratory times.

If you could be another type of health care professional, what would you be?
Pediatric cardiac surgeon.

What is the craziest assumption people have of your field?
That we enjoy causing pain!

Dr. Susan Rose

5889 Whitmore Lake Rd, Suite #4, Brighton

Myth:“Osteopaths only treat back problems.”
It is assumed that osteopathic manipulative therapy is used only for back pain. In the last 6 months, I have not had a single patient come to me for lower back pain. That is not to say that I do not treat it, but I treat so much more. And even with back pain, there is always something elsewhere in the body in need of treatment that frequently has impact on the discomfort. I end up treating the head and neck in most everyone. I do a lot of work on extremities, especially in athletes, musicians and dancers.

In children, I am usually treating birth trauma or childhood trauma (primarily falls and sports injuries). With children becoming involved in vigorous sports at younger ages, they are experiencing significant injuries that can have long-term detriment to their musculoskeletal systems. Osteopathic care can expedite healing and prevent compounding of multiple injuries. It may also reduce recurrent injuries, such as ankle sprains, by correcting the abnormal mechanics caused by the original injury.

What is the funniest thing a child has asked you in an appointment?
Not so much funny, but revealingly truthful as only children can be: I had treated a 13 year old elite soccer player for a 3-day-old ankle sprain. She came limping into the office. After correcting the abnormal foot and ankle mechanics caused by the injury, she got up and walked pain free. I told her she could go back to soccer & would not miss a major tournament the upcoming weekend. She questioned, “Why has our goalie been out for 4 weeks and in physical therapy but I can go back immediately?” My answer was: I should see your goalie.

What is the most asked question by parents?
In general, my parents are incredibly well informed and bring their children to me to optimize their potential through the use of gentle osteopathic manipulative medicine, primarily cranial sacral therapy. They have done their own reading and have very few questions.

What change in the past year has changed your field?
The first ever double blind placebo controlled study on the use of cranial moulding helmets for  infants for the treatment of head deformity was published. The results showed no statistically significant improvement with the use of the helmets. It was concluded, “Based on the equal effectiveness of helmet therapy and skull deformation following its natural course, high prevalence of side effects, and high costs associated with helmet therapy, we discourage the use of a helmet as a standard treatment for healthy infants with moderate to severe skull  deformation.”

The authors of the study had previously recommended helmet therapy only be considered if there was a failure to correct the cranial deformity with osteopathy or physiotherapy. I use cranial sacral therapy to treat head deformity (plagiocephaly) in newborns and infants. Cranial sacral therapy is a fraction of the cost and time as helmet therapy without the potential side effects of helmet therapy.             

If you could be another type of health care professional, what would you be?
I started out in nursing always with the intent to go to medical school. I am happy with where I ended up. I wish I had studied acupuncture to complement osteopathic manipulative medicine, as some of my colleagues have done.

Dr. Stacy Sullivan

Washtenaw Pediatric Dentistry
1820 Washtenaw Ave., Ypsilanti

Myth:“You don’t need to floss children’s teeth.”
We having a saying in dentistry, “You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep.” In my experience, flossing is one of the most important things you can do to prevent cavities in children. Children commonly get cavities in between the back molars, which are generally tight together around age three and can trap food in between them. Brushing alone doesn’t remove that food which then begins to rot causing bad breath. It’s a source for bacteria that produces acid, which breaks down the enamel of the teeth. Baby teeth have thinner enamel than adult teeth meaning once a cavity starts it can spread quickly. We see a lot of these “non-flossing cavities” happening in 5-6 year olds. Those molars usually don’t fall out until around age 10-12. The good news is that if you combine daily flossing and using fluoride toothpaste with a diet low in sugars most commonly found in juice and soda, a parent can really reduce their child’s cavity risk.

What is the funniest thing a child has asked you in an appointment?
Kids say funny things to me on a daily basis! It’s one of the perks I love most about my job. I once asked a child how old he thought I was when we were talking about our upcoming birthdays. He guessed 65! A good 30 years older. Needless to say, I was a little surprised. I found out later that young children may think age is based on how tall you are and since I’m taller than average… I am hoping that’s how he came up with his guess!


What is the most asked question by parents?
Parents most often ask when they should start bringing their child to see a dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen by the dentist within six months of their first tooth erupting and no later than 12 months of age. This gives the child a dental home where parents can ask questions, have a place to go if the child has a dental emergency and gain valuable information in order to prevent their child from developing cavities.  Often times we can identify risk factors when caught early on that will stop children from getting cavities, whereas children that come to us later have already developed cavities by that time.

What change in the past year has changed your field?
The technology for taking dental X rays is constantly improving and making it easier, faster and safer to get images of the teeth that allow us to diagnosis cavities and monitor growth and development in children. I am really impressed with the options we use now, which are easier for children to tolerate and give us fast digital images which we can manipulate on the computer. In my opinion, that’s been a huge advancement in dentistry. The last year also brought us the movie Frozen which has been so popular with my patients. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked about Elsa, Anna and Olaf!   

If you could be another type of health care professional, what would you be?
I had wanted to be a veterinarian growing up  I’m a huge animal lover and grew up with both large and small animals of all sorts. Ultimately I made the decision to become a dentist and love having the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with my patients and their families.

What is the craziest assumption people have of your field?
The craziest assumption about pediatric dentistry is that children don’t get cavities and baby teeth aren’t important. Unfortunately, many children do get cavities. A report from the US Surgeon General found that dental caries (tooth decay) is the single most common chronic childhood disease – 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable and treatable.