Chew On This! The Dentalcare Blog


Current Information Blog

Visit this page often for current messages from the office, important dental health information, and fun facts from the world of dentistry.

October 4, 2017

Pregnant patients be sure to speak to your dental professionals about your baby's oral health

April 4, 2016

Gum disease has been associated with a 33% greater risk of lung, bladder, oropharnygeal, esopageal, kidney, stomach, and liver cancers, even among non-smokers.

November 26, 2014

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, our office will be closed from Thursday, November 27th and will re-open on Monday December 1st. We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!


June 10, 2014

Members of the Dentalcare team celebrated anniversaries at the annual Recognition Dinner. Dr. Martin Marks (L) 15 years, Keith Turner (C) 35 years, Nicole Rakowski (R) 10 years, with Rachel Pittenger the newest member of the team. Congratulations!

November 14, 2013

Did you know that each year insurance companies make millions of dollars off patients who forego necessary and preventive dental care? Many individuals are not scheduling necessary dental treatment that they have insurance to cover. Thus, the insurance revenues allocated to pay dental claims are never used, and unfortunately, those dollars cannot be carried over year-to-year. The bottom line: What the patient does not use they lose.

August 9, 2013


Dark chocolate has recently been discovered to have a number of healthy benefits. While eating dark chocolate can lead to the health benefits described below, remember that chocolate is also high in fat.  

1. Dark Chocolate prevents cavities: Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. That means that dark chocolate lowers your risk of getting cavities if you practice proper dental hygiene.

2. Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Heart: Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).   

3. Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Brain: Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.  Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you're falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

4. Dark Chocolate Helps Control Blood Sugar: Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body's insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won't cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.  

5. Dark Chocolate is Full of Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are implicated in the aging process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slow the signs of aging.  

6. Dark Chocolate is High in Vitamins and Minerals: Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations: Potassium Copper Magnesium  Iron The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke andcardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. 

April 11, 2013

We're back! Superstorm Sandy and the holidays took time away from the blog. Found this interesting school project  Sugar is the culprit to so many diseases including tooth decay. This chart clearly illustrates how much sugar is hidden in everyday beverages.

November 5, 2012

Received word that the office has power and we will be resuming normal hours starting at 9 AM. We will be accepting emergency patients for those who do not have a dentist or their current dental office remains closed due to storm damage or power outage. Cal 908-322-7800.

November 1, 2012

Hope everyone is doing okay post sandy.  There is no estimate when power will be restored and when the office will return to normal hours.  With that in mind the office will be closed until further notice.  Emergency phone consultations will be available @ 908-295-4987. Stay safe!

October 28, 2012


The office will be closed Monday due to anticipated hurricane conditions. Check back here or on our facebook page for further updates.


October 1, 2012

Dental decay has reached epidemic levels in America's youth according to the Center for Disease Control.  28% of children 2-5 have decay in baby teeth and 50% show signs of the disease before the 5th grade.  Last year 52,000 school hours were lost.

Despite major advances in early decay detection, state of the art technologies, decay continues to be on the rise.

Prevention includes good homecare with age appropriate fluorides, regular visits at the dental office starting at age 2-3, and reduction in the quanity and duration of sugar products.

Healthy smiles for a lifetime begin early.  Call 908-322-7800 to schedule your child's preventive care visit today! 

September 13, 2012

It seems the lazy days of summer are behind us. Parents everywhere were in back-to-school mode. Lunch boxes and backpacks, shopping for new clothes and shoes, and scheduling that annual physical for sports teams. But there's one more thing that should have been on the back-to-school checklist—and that's a dental exam. Here's why.

Now is an ideal time to schedule your child's biannual visit because it follows a season in which kids may have taken a vacation from good oral hygiene and indulged more in treats like soda, ice cream, and cotton candy. A visit to the dentist now helps ensure your child's education won't be interrupted by oral health problems

Untreated dental problems can be both painful and embarrassing. They can harm children's social development as well as their educational progress. A back-to-school visit to the dentist helps keep children on track for good oral health.

Call today for an appointment!

September 7, 2012

The Tooth Fairy... There's an APP for that!

The Tooth Fairy is not to be taken lightly, child psychologists warn: Excessive monetary rewards can distort a child's perception of money. "I believe that it not only can be adverse to learning ...
the values of things, but it can also be adverse to learning you earned things," says Patricia Kirwin, a psychologist in Columbus, Ohio.

Kids found an average $3 per tooth under their pillows this year, up 15% from last year, according to a survey from Visa out Tuesday. Some received as much as $20 per tooth. 
August 30, 2012

August 17,2012

Congratulations to Rajan Jain, this year's recipient of the Dr. Robert V. Scalera Memorial Scholarship. He was presented the $1000.00 award at the Scotch Plains - Fanwood High School Senior Awards Night.  Rajan will be attending the NJ Institute of Technology and plans to pursue a major in Mathematics.

Dentalcare Associates has been a part of the Scotch Plains - Fanwood Scholarship Foundation for the past three years and is proud to offer financial assistance to seniors in memory of Dr. Scalera Sr.

August 7, 2012

July 19, 2012

The Proper Way to Floss

Flossing is a necessity when it comes to proper dental hygiene. Merely brushing the teeth is not enough to reach all of those spots in between the teeth.

When people do not floss, plaque can build up in these areas, causing a myriad of dental issues. However, flossing incorrectly is just as bad as not flossing at all. If the floss is serving no purpose, then the mission has been defeated.

There are two types of floss out there: nylon and PTFE. Colgate notes that while both of these types are effective, PTFE is a bit more expensive, but it is also more durable.

It is recommended that 18 inches of floss is used for these purposes. The floss should be held taut between the thumb and index finger on both hands. Approximately one to two inches of floss should be left in between the hands. Each tooth must be flossed individually.

Using a zigzag motion, bring that one to two inches of floss in between each and every tooth to remove plaque and other particles that have become lodged in there. As individuals move between the teeth, they should use a new, clean, fresh section of floss for each tooth. Merely flossing with the same piece over and over again will simply redistribute the plaque and materials throughout the mouth.

After the sections between each tooth are finished, the floss should be used to slide up and down the surface of the tooth and in between the gum line. After this process is done, the flossing is finished.  Visit Patient Education Videos for brushing and flossing technique.

June 21, 2012

The office will be closed tomorrow June 22, 2012 as the members of the dentalcare team will be attending the Garden State Dental Conference and Expo.

June 15, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

 G V Black

Greene Vardiman Black, commonly known as G.V. Black, is known as the father of modern dentistry.

June 14, 2012

Does More Dental Plaque Mean Higher Chances of Dying From Cancer?

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- The gnarly plaque lurking on your gums and teeth may increase your chances of dying from cancer, new research suggests.

Many studies have linked oral health to chronic illnesses such as heart disease. This latest research, however, suggests that people who have more plaque on their teeth and gums are more likely to die prematurely from cancer.

The findings, which appear in the June 11 edition of BMJ Open, show only an association between plaque and a raised risk of early cancer death, and not a cause-and-effect relationship.

In the new study, nearly 1,400 Swedish adults were followed for 24 years. During this time, 58 of the subjects died, 35 from cancer.

Study participants were asked about smoking and other risk factors for cancer. Researchers examined dental-plaque buildup, tartar, gum disease and tooth loss among all participants. The individuals who died had more dental plaque covering larger surface areas of their teeth and gums than their counterparts who did not die during the study period.

Specifically, people with high amounts of dental plaque were 79 percent more likely to die prematurely, the study showed. That said, the absolute risk of any person with dental plaque dying early of cancer was low.

On average, female participants were 61 years old when they died and men were 60. Women would have been expected to live around 13 years longer, and the men an additional 8.5 years, the study authors wrote, so their deaths could be considered premature.

The findings held even after researchers controlled for certain factors known to increase risk of cancer death. Although the study did not examine how the two may be connected, underlying inflammation may be the common denominator.

"Bacteria in the gums may trigger local inflammation, and these bacteria and inflammatory markers don't just stay where they are," said Dr. Joel Epstein, director of oral medicine at the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. "They are measurable in the blood, so it becomes systemic and widely distributed."

Calling the new findings "interesting," Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said they raise more questions than they answer.

"This study does not answer the question of whether or not dental plaque leads to cancer death," he said. "We only know how many people died, so we don't know if there is an increase in the incidence of cancer among people with plaque, or if, perhaps, it renders them more susceptible to treatment-associated infection."

The findings make sense to Saul Presser, a dentist in private practice in New York City.

"There have been reports recently of a connection between certain cancers and oral plaque accumulation," he said. "When one has a lot of dental plaque, this means that more microorganisms are present than if there was minimal plaque in the mouth. It has been shown that certain cancers can be related to some viruses and other microorganisms."

It is too early to say that this plaque directly causes cancer, he said, but "it would be wise for patients to minimize their oral plaque through good oral hygiene and regular dental exams and professional cleanings."

Epstein said the findings demonstrate the interconnectedness of the human body.

"This is interesting and impactful data that broadens the whole view of not being able to separate the mouth from other body parts," he said.

June 7, 2012

You take care of your teeth, now take care of your toothbrush!

   Toothbrushes from the 19th Century

General Recommendations for Toothbrush Care

The ADA and the Council on Scientific Affairs provide the following toothbrush care recommendations:

Do not share toothbrushes. Sharing a toothbrush could result in an exchange of body fluids and/or microorganisms between the users of the toothbrush, placing the individuals involved at an increased
risk for infections. This practice could be a particular concern for persons with compromised immune systems or existing infectious diseases.

Thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store the brush in an upright position if possible and allow the toothbrush to air-dry until used again. If more than one brush is stored in the same holder or area, keep the brushes separated to prevent cross-contamination.

Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms than the open air.

Replace toothbrushes at least every 3–4 months. The bristles become frayed and worn with use and cleaning effectiveness will decrease. Toothbrushes will wear out more rapidly depending on factors unique to each patient. Check brushes often for this type of wear and replace them more frequently if needed. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adult brushes.

May 31, 2012

Everybody loves a bright white smile and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours.

Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from brushing twice daily with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, cleaning between their teeth once a day and the regular cleanings at your dentist’s office. If you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, Dentalcare Associates offers two at-home options.

For mild to moderate staining Liquid Smile is so simple to use. You paint it directly on your teeth after brushing, smile wide (keeping your lips apart for 30 seconds to allow the gel to dry), and then to go to bed.  Sleep Comfortably with no irritation from gum or tooth sensitivity and resume your normal daily routine when you wake up.



For moderate to heavy staining Dentalcare Associates recommends Phillips ZOOM! DayWhite tray system. Philips Zoom DayWhite delivers superior results you want under the supervision of a dental professional. The convenience of short daytime sessions achieve your whitest smile in just one to two weeks.

Call today 908-322-7800 for the brighter smile you've always wanted.

Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow-ish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. Likewise, bleaching may not enhance your smile if you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth. The whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.

May 24, 2012



On Memo­r­ial Day, one of our nation’s most solemn and revered holidays, we all pause to reflect upon the principles that have made our nation great. We pause to remem­ber the true cost of free­dom and honor those who made the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice to pro­tect it. The brave men and women we honor today self­lessly gave of them­selves to defend a way of life that we all cherish:

The rights of all peo­ple to deter­mine their own futures free of oppres­sion and fear.


The members of the dental team at Dentalcare Associates hope you enjoy the holiday weekend and the unofficial start of summer! We ask that you take a few moments to reflect upon the sacrifices of our armed forces so that we may live in freedom.

The office will be closing Friday May 25th at 3:00 PM and will re-open on Tuesday at 9:00 AM.

May 17, 2012 


A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that our periodontal specialist Dr. Lara Merker places into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for people in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.

While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support. Dental implants are so natural-looking and feeling, you may forget you ever lost a tooth.

You know that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself, both personally and professionally. Perhaps you hide your smile because of spaces from missing teeth. Maybe your dentures don't feel secure. Perhaps you have difficulty chewing. If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news!

Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own! Under proper conditions, such as placement by a periodontist and diligent patient maintenance, implants can last a lifetime. Long-term studies continue to show improving success rates for implants.

May 10, 2012

The office received this e-mail from our patient Scott Carey:

I've been providing updates on the project (the new dental suite) during my routine visits this past year. I visited Dentalcare Associates (DCA) yesterday and was proud to report the project was finished!

As you know I developed a special connection to the dental services at DCA as a child and have maintained it for approximately 35 years.  Although the true calendar probably didn't reflect it, I felt like I spent at least an hour per week in the chair as a kid.

I think that Dr. Scalera Sr. would be proud that one of his frequent flyers had the opportunity to create and offer dental services to a larger community.  I wanted you and the Scalera family to know that Sr. Scalera's legacy lives on through the many people he served.

The dental services I helped create in Jersey City will serve thousands - it all started in Dr. Scalera's chair.

 Metropolitan Family Health Network New Dental Suite - Jersey City

Thanks for keeping me smiling :)


Scott Carey

May 7, 2012

Dentists are warning that the high acidity levels in popular sports and energy drinks can cause irreversible damage to teeth by eroding outer tooth enamel, according to a new study that also found an alarming increase in the consumption of these teeth-damaging drinks, especially among adolescents.

"Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are 'better' for them than soda," lead researcher Dr. Poonam Jain, from Southern Illinois University, said in a news release.

"Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid," Jain said.


Contact Us

We want to hear from you. Please call our office (908-322-7800) or use this quick contact form to ask questions or make comments.