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El Portal Dental Blog

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For the latest news about Dr. Nguyen and El Portal Dental Group, read our newsletter below. You’ll learn about:


A 10-Second Kiss Is Long Enough to Transfer 80 Million Bacteria

A 10-Second Kiss Is Long Enough to Transfer 80 Million Bacteria

Love comes with kissing.  It is great that we are in love and we kiss.  However, researchers from Netherlands, leaded by Kort, a microbiologist with the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, have found that just 10-second kiss, there will be up to 80 million bacteria being transferred.   

The true is that our mouth is a perfect host for bacteria to live.  They are part of an ecosystem of bacteria, or microbiome, that help digest and break down food.  Factors including genetics and diet influence the makeup of that bacteria.  The bad part is that if you have periodontal disease (gum disease) of which there is infection in your mouth and if you kiss, your partner will have it too.

You can enjoy kissing, just make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.  And to have a healthy mouth, don’t skip seeing your dentist every 6 months.


The Good News: Dark Chocolate Actually Prevents Tooth Decay

The Good News: Dark Chocolate Actually Prevents Tooth Decay

Chocolate lovers who indulge may need to be concerned about weight but there’s no need to worry about tooth decay. That’s because sugar alone will not produce tooth decay. And, in fact, a common ingredient found in dark chocolate actually reduces the growth of dental plaque.

Tooth decay is a multi-factorial phenomenon and the erosion process of the enamel on the tooth surface is dynamic.  Acid produced by the breakdown of food carbohydrates in the mouth is the cause of this erosion.  For tooth decay to form, bacteria on the tooth surface (plaque) must break down starch and metabolize sugars to form weak acids, mainly lactic acid, which slowly demineralize the tooth surface.  For that reason, tooth decay is the side effect of bacteria metabolizing carbohydrates and not the direct effect of sugar. Without bacteria plaque, there would be no tooth decay.

Dark chocolate has a high proportion of cocoa solids and will, therefore, retain more of the nutritional value of cocoa than milk chocolate which has a lower proportion of cocoa solids.

The other good news is that tannin in cocoa may help to prevent tooth decay by reducing the growth of plaque because the oxalic acid in chocolate appears to lower acid production.

Therefore, eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate will prevent tooth decay and eating your favorite chocolate will not be the main cause of tooth decay.  Remember to always brush and floss your teeth.  If you are a patient of El Portal Dental Group, don’t delay your cleaning appointment every 6 months.


What Are the Differences between Flexible Spending Account and Health Saving Account?

What Are the Differences between Flexible Spending Account and Health Saving Account?

Federal law allows you to pay those expenses with tax-deductible contributions to a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA).  Although these two savings accounts differ significantly, they have one thing in common: The money needs to be spent on qualified medical expenses to not incur penalties which can be paying for your dental treatments.

Flexible spending account (FSA)

·         The account can only be set up through your employer and the money you put in it is deducted from your paycheck.

·         You must let your employer know how much you want to contribute to the account before the plan takes effect.

·         Contributions are pre-tax. Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act allows employees to carry over up to $500 into the next year without losing the funds. Even with that carryover, you can still contribute the maximum amount permitted the following year.

·         Claims that exceed the account balance may be paid up to the amount you elected to contribute that year. For example, the FSA can reimburse you $400 for a dental crown if you’ve only contributed $200 when the claim was submitted, but only if you will contribute $400 or more to the account before the end of the year. If you leave the company before your employer deducts the remaining $200, you don’t have to pay it back.

·         You can only change or revoke your elected contribution if your employment or family status changes. For example, you were married or divorced during the year, became a parent or you leave the employer.

·         Salary reduction contributions can’t exceed $2,500 a year, or be less than the minimum amount set by the plan administrator.

·         Reimbursements from FSAs require proof of service, which you can obtain when your health care provider accepts your FSA debit card as payment during an office visit. Otherwise, you will need a receipt to file a claim.

·         The coverage period ends when the plan year ends, or when your health coverage ends.

Health savings account (HSA)

·         You must be enrolled in an eligible high-deductible health plan (HDHP) to open or contribute to an HSA.

·         You can carry the entire account balance into the following year and earn interest

·         The policyholders between the ages of 55 and 65 can contribute an additional $1,000 each year.

·         You can use the tax-free contributions for future medical premiums and expenses.

·         You don’t have to fund the HSA. Guidelines for the 2015 plan year allow contributions up to $3,350 for self-only coverage, and $6,650 for self and family coverage. You have until April 15, 2015 to contribute to your HSA for 2014 medical expenses, which you can make periodically, in a lump sum, and in varying amounts.

·         You can’t contribute to an HSA if you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

·         You may still use the available funds for qualified medical expenses if you no longer have an HDHP.

·         Your designated beneficiary or estate inherits the account balance after you die.


Is Dental Insurance Worth To Purchase?

Is Dental Insurance Worth To Purchase?

If you work and your employer offers Dental Insurance, it is no brainer to get the policy for you and your family.  However, if you have to buy an individual plan, you should consider the pros and cons before making a decision to buy a policy or not.

Do I have to have dental insurance under Obamacare?

Dental coverage isn’t required for adults under the Affordable Care Act, also called the ACA or “Obamacare.” This means that if you are an adult with no children, you can get dental insurance or choose not to, without penalties.  Under the Obamacare law, however, this type of coverage is required as an essential health benefit for children. If you have children, you must be given an option to purchase dental insurance that meets the criteria of the Affordable Care Act when you purchase your health insurance. But whether or not you actually purchase dental coverage for your children is up to you. There is also no tax penalty if your children don’t have dental insurance.

What is covered under dental insurance plans? 

Dental insurance plans cover two dental visits per year for cleanings, X-rays, and fillings. Different dental plans may also cover root canal therapy and crowns. Some oral surgical procedures that may be covered include extractions and biopsies.  After a waiting period, some dental plans may also begin to pay for periodontics, bridges, and dentures. Orthodontia for cosmetic reasons is usually not covered, unless it is necessary because of a medical condition. 

Dental deductibles are usually much lower than the deductibles for major medical coverage. However there is a maximum insurance will cover per year and usually $1000 per year.  Limitations and waiting periods are often existed with dental coverages.  So, is dental insurance worth the expense for you?  Having insurance can help but like you see, $1000 is only enough for a crown.  If you need more treatment, you still have to pay out of your pocket.  It can be cheaper in the long run to pay your own dental cost as needed.  If you go to see your dentist twice a year, you have to pay for those 2 visits only.  Since you are good with the preventative care, you may not need major treatments. At El Portal Dental Group, you would have to pay only $149 for a comprehensive exam, full mouth x-rays and a regular cleaning.  Remember when you have insurance, you don’t use it, you will lose it.  Look at the premiums and do your math,  sometime it is better just to put your own money in your own saving account for dental needs.  This way it is always yours regardless of you will use it or not.