Does Toothpaste Expire?

Some may be surprised to know that toothpaste does have a shelf life. The ADA now requires any toothpaste containing fluoride to carry an expiration date. Typically it is two years after the manufacture date.  Now, while using expired toothpaste may not be as bad as say, drinking expired milk, it is probably best not to use it past the expiration date. Here’s why:

The fluoride in the toothpaste becomes less effective as it does not bind well to tooth enamel, thus it loses its ability to brush away the bacteria in the mouth and protect against cavities.

Ingredients start to separate, including the flavoring so it becomes quite unpleasant to your taste buds.

Toothpaste may just become too dried out and hard to squeeze through the tube.

So, what do you do with an expired tube of toothpaste?

Definitely don’t throw it away, surprisingly; there are a ton of uses for toothpaste outside of the mouth. Here are just a few ideas we found when we Googled “uses for toothpaste”.  Please note, these tips only work with paste not gel.

Clean the bathroom sink – Toothpaste contains tiny, natural abrasives, such as silica that work great on shining up your sink, including the faucet.

Remove odor from hands – The same ingredient that freshens your breath will also remove unpleasant odors from your hands. Just use it that same way you would use hand soap.

Remove crayon marks from walls – The mark of every home with a toddler, crayons on the wall. No problem, just squirt a little toothpaste on the walls and scrub with a brush or micro-fiber cloth. Viola – gone.

Clean a clothes iron – To clean that gummy residue that occasionally builds up on your iron, just scrub it with some toothpaste. Those little abrasives come in handy again. Just make sure to do this on a cool iron.

Remove scuffs from leather shoes – Out of shoe polish right before the big date? No problem, just grab your toothpaste, put a dab on your shoes.  Rub with a soft cloth then remove with a damp cloth. Your shoes will look brand new.

So, now you know, toothpaste does expire and there are some handy things you can do with expired toothpaste. These are just five of the many ideas out there. Let us know if you have any ideas you could add to this list. 


Pay it Forward – May 2013

 Congratulations to Mike and Carrol Toneys, the recipients of our second ‘Pay It Forward’   Initiative.  The Toneys have been volunteering their time and talents at Southern Door Schools since  January 2006. Mike, a retired Fisheries Biologist for the WI DNR, and Carrol, a retired Medical Assistant at the Door County Medical Center, have two grown sons that both graduated from the school.  Their volunteering started as a way to say thank you for the quality education their sons had  received while at Southern Door.

Originally, they spent a few days a week helping those kids who needed a little extra attention in the classroom.  Over the years that grew to several days a week and also included pitching in to help restart nature studies in the school forest.  They worked with teachers to write a School Forest Education Plan; worked with teachers and other community members to remodel the Nature Center and to get the Sugar Shack up and running; helped repair the pond; installed bird houses and trail signage. In spring and fall they lead classes, involving hundreds of Elementary students and their teachers, out to the woods to discover the natural wonders right outside their door.  In recent years they’ve become involved with the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Program (PBIS) which rewards Elementary students for being respectful, responsible and safe at school.  Through the PBIS program kids earn BEAK tickets to trade-in for toys, books or sign-up for lunch with The Toneys, or a fleece pillow created by Carrol.  They donated most of the pillow making material, while Carrol crafts them during her own time to each student’s specifications.  The Toneys are wonderful examples of selfless giving and as a thank you for their efforts to enrich the lives of our children and community, they will receive a $100 Visa card that they have decided to donate to HELP of Door County and have selected Family Centers of Door County as the charity to receive an additional $100 donation in their honor from Dentistry by Design.

rsula – Help of Door County               Mike and Carrol Toneys                 Melissa and Diane, Family Centers of Door County

 Read more to learn how you can nominate someone for our next Pay It Forward.

10 Tips for Finding the Right Dentist

How to Find the Right Dentist –

Considering that you and your dentist will be partners in your dental healthcare for the long haul, choosing the right dentist is an important decision for you and your family. How do you go about finding the right dentist?

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers these suggestions:

  • Ask family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers for their recommendations.
  • Ask your family doctor or local pharmacist.
  • If you’re moving, ask your current dentist to make a recommendation.
  • Contact your local or state dental society. The ADA provides a list of local and state dental societies on its consumer website, Your local and state dental societies also may be listed in the telephone directory under “dentists” or “associations.”

The ADA suggests calling or visiting more than one dentist before selecting one.

While this is good, practical advice, when putting it into the context of our daily lives and overall healthcare plan, what things should we really consider when choosing a dentist?

To help you with this, we’ve come up with a list of what we think are the top 10 things to consider:

First make an initial list of three or four dentist based on a few things:

1. Do they submit claims to all insurances?
If you want to see a dentist that comes highly recommended by a friend or family member but is out of your network, call the practice and ask if they submit claims to all insurance providers. Most do, so it is worth asking before eliminating this practice from your list.

 2. Do they offer other payment options for non-insured patients?
If you do not have dental insurance a big consideration may be whether or not the practice offers patient financing options such as Credit Care or Springstone.  As many practices require payment upfront, having a means to pay for the service insures you get the treatment you need.

3. Are they members of professional associations such as the American Dental Association or the Wisconsin Dental Association?
Members of the ADA voluntarily agree to abide by the ADA Code as a condition of membership in the Association.
The ADA Code has three main components: The Principles of Ethics, the Code of Professional Conduct and the Advisory Opinions. For more info: WDA Code of Ethics.

4. Where is the office located? / What are the office hours?
Are they convenient to your schedule? Do they offer early mornings, evenings?   Consider if it would be more convenient to have the office located near your work or home.  A big part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums is simply being able to make it to your regular appointments.  If it would be easiest for you to pop over to your dentist during your lunch hour a location near your work may make sense.

5. Does the practice offer new patient specials or do anything to show appreciation for current patients?
Many practices will offer an introductory discount for new patients on cleanings and exams.  Some practices also have promotions in place to show their appreciation for current patients, whether it is a monthly patient drawing or referral incentives.

So now that you have narrowed down your list, take time to call the office to ask some questions and possibly make an appointment to see the facility and meet the dentist. Here are some things to ask and look for at this stage:

6. What type of anesthesia is the dentist certified to administer?
What is the dentist’s approach to helping patients feel more comfortable in the chair? Whether or not the dentist offers oral sedation may be of particular consideration for those who have a fear of going to the dentist.

 7. What type of ongoing training/continuing education do the doctors
participate in?

How often? Make sure the dentist you choose stays up to date with the latest advancements in dental care.

8. What happens in the case of an emergency?
Does the practice you are considering have emergency hours or do they refer the care elsewhere?

9. Are treatment plans discussed up front and cost estimates given?
When discussing treatment, are the plans covered in detail so you know what to expect, how many visits the treatment will take, how much time? Are you given accurate estimates up front? Are your questions answered clearly?

10. Take a look around the office.
Is it comfortable, neat and orderly? Are dentists and staff wearing gloves and protective gear during patient treatment? Is the staff friendly and welcoming?

While choosing a new dentist is an important decision, it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Hopefully some of these tips will be helpful to you in your search. And of course, if you are looking for a new dentist, we invite you to call our office in Sturgeon Bay (920) 743-6976 or Sister Bay (920) 854-5200 to set up an appointment to see the facility and meet the doctors.