Tough to be a tooth

WASHINGTON CITY – Dr. David Brown has spent many years studying what it is like to be a tooth. And what he’s learned tends to surprise many of his patients.

For example, some teeth have reached adulthood by about age 6. This mean’s that as a child enters kindergarten, his or her teeth are entering the prime years of their adulthood and developmental cycle. And by the time a young person enters high school, it is likely that his or her smile has been determined for decades to come.

While childhood is not typically a peak time for thoroughness and responsibility, Brown said he is taking the initiative of speaking to his patients on behalf of the tooth.

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 6.09.37 AM“It is a lot of work to be a tooth,” he said. Essentially, mouths are the body’s first exposure to good things and bad, and “if we take care of teeth, we reduce the amount of germs and infection that can pass into our body systems.”

Taking care of teeth is something Brown knows how to do. After graduating from the world’s first and oldest dental school, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Brown and his family moved to southern Utah where he joined the practice of Kent Heideman in Washington.

Working with hygienists who have been with the practice for five-15 years, “we really get to know our patients,” Brown said. “And genuinely, we care about their dental health and work hard at teaching preventative maintenance.”

“We truly believe that one ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure,” he said.

With insufficient fluoride in Southern Utah’s public water systems (map),   Brown said it is critical for individuals to stay on top of healthy prevention practices.

“A good, regular cleaning routine is critically important,” he said. “In fact, our hygienists take prevention so seriously, I call them ‘preventadontists.’”

Unlike like many bones and body systems, teeth neither repair, heal nor have defense mechanisms.

Dr. David Brown | Photo courtesy of Dr. David Brown, St. George News
Dr. David Brown | Photo courtesy of Dr. David Brown, St. George News

“It is important that we learn to take care of our teeth in our youth,” he said. “Not only are teeth a limited resource, they are also a nonrenewable resource.”

Brown has three children of his own under the age of 12. He said: “One of the things I tell my own kids is to brush thoroughly so they can protect their smiles.”

Every evening before bedtime, Brown’s children brush their teeth and come to him for inspection. “Even my 11-year-old comes to me for inspection,” he said.

Having a father who is a dentist and a mother who is a nurse, Brown said his kids have learned that “you can’t go to bed with germs on your teeth.”

“Sickness often comes through the mouth and gums,” he said. “The most important thing we can do is keep our teeth clean, and help prevent the mouth from becoming a portal for infection, trouble and pain.”

He likes to recommend a basic battery-charged toothbrush for children, Brown said, “simply because they will tend to spend more time brushing when they are operating a moving toothbrush.”

The goal of Heideman & Brown Dental is to teach their patients early the importance of positive dental health habits.

“The most important thing we can do to really help our teeth is to protect them from getting hurt in the first place,” Brown said. “By brushing, getting regular checkups and cleanings, and by avoiding sugary, sticky candies, foods and drinks, we are not only benefitting our health, we are also lengthening the lifespan of our teeth.”

An individual’s smile is not only critical to good health, it is also one of his or her most defining characteristics.

“Interpersonally, we tend to connect with others and are remembered by either our eyes or our smile,” Brown said. “As a dentist, my job is to help my patients both protect and preserve their smiles that communicate to others so much of who we are.”



Heideman & Brown Dental is located at 195 West Telegraph in Washington. Business hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (435) 673-4605.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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  • Sgnative September 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Fluoride can also be a bad thing. I know from experience with fluorosis. Look it up.

  • truthseeker September 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Yes Signative, fluoride is bad. Dental fluorosis is higher in areas where the water is fluoridated. I can’t believe they brought up the drinking water point in the article, as of fluoridated water is good for teeth. Haha it says it’s put in the water to promote dental health, well dnt we already do somethng to promote dental health?- it’s called brushing and flossing and not eating sugar. Fluoride is in many processed foods and drinks. People eating the way of the mainstream are getting more fluoride than the body can handle and it’s noticeable. But its not noticeable in their teeth, but their brain, bones, thyroid, etc.. Fluoride is a toxic poison and im willing t o discuss this with anybody. I have good info on it… The fluoride in our water is an artificial compound and its not technically fluoride and even naturally occuring flouride is not useful in the body. We don’t ingest toothpaste, so why are we ingesting fluoridated water? Fluoride at the dentist office Is applied topically. Think about it people. And now theyre giving kids fluoride tablets? It’s insane.

  • Washington Resident September 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    I have been to see this dentist and I highly recommend him! He is very knowledgeable as well as caring and personable. He also has a great staff! He always returns my calls, and checks up on me after a procedure. I can’t say enough good things about this wonderful dentist!

  • Dr. David Brown September 19, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    SGNative: I agree with you that there is a downside to fluoride overexposure. The dentists who promote fluoridation would all agree that it needs to be done in a controlled way so that the natural tooth-strengthening benefits are not compromised by the softening that can happen in overdoses. You could consider penicillin as a only natural mold that can be damaging in excess, or you can use it in a controlled way and save millions of lives. Despite it’s potential harms, aren’t we glad we can use it?

    truthseeker: When the writer was interviewing me, I tried to express a number of ways that teeth will benefit from preventative efforts. I hope that also came through, and you’re absolutely correct that even the ideal amount of fluoride in the water cannot compensate for poor hygiene and a damaging diet. I would disagree with the rest of your statement though. Sometimes bad news travels much faster than good news, and I suspect that is the basis for much of your concern. We certainly continue to research both the risks and benefits of community fluoridation. Currently over 70% of our country is benefitting from this service, and that is trending up, not down.

    As a reference, please consider reading this publication that addresses a number of the concerns you mentioned, including fluorosis, ingestion, and endocrine effects on brain, bones, and thyroid.

    It is on the longer side, but this raises a lot of questions that are worth asking and answering. Over 350 sources and studies are included, and the publication is endorsed by organizations such as:

    American Medical Association
    World Health Organization
    American Osteopathic Association
    National Kidney Foundation
    Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs

  • truthseeker September 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Well unfortunately there’s a lot more information than that, that should be brought into the discussion. I can talk about it but i find most people are closed to any essentially objective information I present. So take your time and go through them. And prepare to be enlightened. There’s websites citing experts from.both sides and official sources. Check those out. I’ll post the links

  • truthseeker September 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t feel like talking about it but I said I would so let’s discuss it.. On a tube of tooth paste it says to not swallow and call poison control if you do. Ha and now dentist are giving little kids fluoride pills. That’s not topical application. Dental fluorosis is highest where they fliuridate the water and no science shows that fluoride does any good. U.S and Canada fluoridated the water but if its so good for us then why doesn’t Europe fluoridated their water?.. and do you know what the actual chemical compound is that is put in the waster? It’s not simply fluoride. By the way, sodium flouride is the ingredient of rat poison. Hitler put flouride in the water to keep the people docile… Russians flouridated the water also under lenin and It wasn’t to promote dental health.
    Sd .
    Also chlorine and chloramine is bad for us. And I didn’t think bleach and ammonia were supposed to be mixed, but it is in our drinking water, ha which when it interacts with natural organisms in the water it creates carcinogens that are 1000 times more toxic then any chemical in the water

  • truthseeker September 19, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I mean under Stalin………Point is there’s no reason for it to be in the water. Maybe people dnt think they can be harmed by there city officials. Did you read the St.George drinking water report that was mailed out? It even admits the fluoride comes fem aluminum and fertilizer plant waste. I can send you links to read since you’re a reader. The American medical association and dental associations and CDC have said its safe and for good cause but then also sometimes say its not safe. Non govt studies vs e found its not safe and much of the world doesn’t fluoridated there water unless they want unhealthy people to drive the health care industry and people to get bad teeth to goto the doctor. We get too much fluoride frm food and drinks as it is. Fluoride targets blood tissue, organs, like the brain, not teeth. Why are people justifying it.? Ha

  • truthseeker September 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I started to skim the 71 page PDF document. I’ll continue looking at it but it’s everythng I’ve seen before. It’s all the same mainstream stuff they e been pushing for 60 years. It contradicts itself and is flat out deceitful on some pages. The fluoride compounds they listed aren’t naturally occurring compounds. And there isn’t science showing the systemic effects. Topical yes, but systemic no… Why doesn’t it talk about any children that havebeen it bad total body shape bcus of fluoride that even some main stream medical dcocs have diagnosed… Let’s see some science. Like when a dentists presxribes FKluoride is there a way to test to see how much the child already has in them and their diet? – no there isnt a way. And since FKuoride is a drug then how are dentists allowed to prescribe it, the tablets?. They cnt bcus they aren’t doctors. Also, If its in our water then how are we suppose to know how much a dose we are getting and everyones body is Different. So wWhat we have is a mass medication of the population against their will and knowledge. That’s tragically against the law and bear minimum unethical. Just so the big companies with toxic fluoride waste can dispose of it and profit of it at same time. Just so you know it is a federal crime spill or dump it into rivers and streams and cityh dump sites. r So why is it allowed in the city drinking waetrr?

  • truthseeker September 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Dentists used to promote smoking too. Is that good for us? Ha no…. Oh and to the people that think what I say is radical or extreme.- I agree that it is, but sadly truth is stranger than fiction. I once thought people like me were crazy too. I can back up anythng I say with sources though. Credible information. As long as the person is genuine interested and can give an honest open look at it.

  • Mary September 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    What a calm and gentle response to a person’s concerns!! Dr. Brown demonstrates an ongoing interest in and understanding of Utah’s unique dental environment–but best of all truly shows his kind and thoughtful interest in protecting the health and smiles of Washington’s beautiful families. Nice!

  • truthseeker September 25, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Yes, he is a good guy. Very professional. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to talk to him if I didn’t think be was an upstanding person…. He doesn’t need defending from an attack if that’s what your saying. Do you have any interest in learning somethng about the fluoridated water supply, Mary???

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