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Dental Associates of Walpole Blog


For 31 years I have been practicing dental hygiene in a small practice setting. By small, I mean one doctor, one assistant, two hygienists, and one office manager. It was all I knew. As a shy and quiet person, a large office was out of my comfort zone. Imagine my surprise when Dr. Hirshfield announced on December 22nd that we would be merging with Dental Associates of Walpole and as of January 1st, they would be our new employers. Within hours of hearing the news, we were in our cars and headed over to Dental Associates of Walpole for a Continue Reading

Concussions from a Mom’s Perspective

I have 5 children, 4 of which grew up playing sports. From basketball to hockey to lacrosse my kids were always, and one still is, playing sports. As a mom, the hardest thing to do is see a child get injured from playing the sport they love. It is also difficult trying to manage all the protective gear necessary to play each sport. Safety equipment is necessary, and my kids never argued about wearing it all…. except when it came to the mouthguard. It did not matter which sport, none of them ever wore one without a fight. I have Continue Reading

How cavities form and how we treat them

Cavities are decay in teeth that we treat with fillings. Here is a little tooth anatomy. The crown of your tooth has an outer layer called enamel, which is very hard. The next level is called dentin, which is slightly less hard. For a cavity to form it requires bacteria. Bacteria is in your saliva and can adhere to the outer layer of your teeth. When it adheres to your teeth it creates what is called a biofilm. The biofilm helps the bacteria aggregate and remain on your teeth. The biofilm uses carbohydrates (sugar) for food and after it digests Continue Reading


Becoming a parent can have you so focused on making sure everything is just right for your little one that you neglect your own health. A mom-to-be makes all sorts of sacrifices while caring for herself and her unborn child and neglecting her own oral health may be one of them. It makes a difference how you take care of your teeth and gums both before and after your baby’s birth. Routine visits to your dental health provider can provide a current assessment of your dental health as well as throughout the pregnancy. Hormones that increase during pregnancy can cause Continue Reading

Brighter Days Ahead

As we sit here and think about how the past year has been in our office nothing has been more affected by the world events as our community outreach dental program known as the Smart Smiles Program. It has come to a screeching halt due to COVID and schools having to educate children remotely and with new strict safety guidelines in place. For the past 20+ years we have been going into preschools, daycares, elementary schools, libraries, recreation centers and the like with the goal of teaching children what to expect when they walk into the dentist office for the Continue Reading

SLEEP – All Snoring is Abnormal!

When someone pretends to be asleep, the first thing they do is make a snoring noise. For some reason, the snoring sound is associated with deep sleep. This could not be further from the truth! When we hear someone snoring, we all laugh and think that it’s funny – but it’s NO laughing matter! Although snoring doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea, a very serious sleep-related breathing disorder, it could be a sign of things to come and should not be overlooked. It can affect the quality of life of family and friends whose sleep is interrupted by the loud Continue Reading

I want my MTV?! Nope, just let me sleep!

If you are anything like all the other folks in modern day society, you probably crawl into bed at the end of your day and unwind while watching some television, streaming a movie on your laptop, checking emails or playing games on your tablet, or catching up on your social media apps on your cell phone. Unfortunately, while it seems peaceful enough, this bedtime routine may be doing more harm than good for your quality of sleep. You see, those screens emit a strong light that cranks up your brain’s “awake” signals and screws up your Circadian rhythm which is Continue Reading

Is it the ever-elusive Fountain of Youth?

Grandma said it, and Mom said it too. “Make sure you get your eight hours of sleep!” It’s something we all want and need, but it’s also the first thing we sacrifice in this 24/7 world we live in. Everywhere you look you see commercials for pillows that “give you the best night sleep ever” and ads for medicine that will help you sleep like a baby with peaceful butterflies fluttering around your head. We are a starved-for-sleep society! The field of sleep medicine is booming with research these days. There is abundant evidence of the effects of sleep deprivation Continue Reading

This way today. That way tomorrow.

It was always such a simple thing, going to the dentist…. Make an appointment, show up, have your treatment, pay and leave. When I would bring my kids, I sat in the operatory and chatted with the dentist or the hygienist who was seeing them. Things were loose and relaxed. Oh sure, since the early eighties dental healthcare personnel have been wearing surgical masks and gloves and done an amazing job at infection control. But those things have been around so long it was seamless and easy. You never thought about it! Then BAMM! Covid-19 hit and all bets are Continue Reading

What is in a Smile?

Patients come through the doors of Dental Associates of Walpole daily searching for a brighter, more pleasant and youthful smile. Within seconds, they are requesting to get their teeth whitened. This would be the natural thought from a patient with this desire, but is it really that simple? Will it give them the results they are imagining? The answer is the same one I often received in dental school from professors… it truly depends! The way someone’s smile looks, feels, and functions can make a huge impact on their life. It can make you look and feel younger. Eating meals Continue Reading

New Frontiers in Dental Care

This month marks another milestone in technological achievement as a re-launchable commercial spacecraft, the Starliner, capable of carrying passengers into space successfully completed more than thirty orbits around Earth and returned safely. Remarkable achievements in science and engineering have become so common that we sometimes note them only in passing, yet these advances enhance so many aspects of our everyday lives. From applications and communication on our smartphones to the advances in healthcare that we and our families rely on, technology has opened new frontiers of possibility. At Dental Associates of Walpole, we keep on the forefront of developments in Continue Reading

Disney Tips and Helpful Knowledge from a Disney Mom

Hello and welcome to my blog! I hope to share my Disney knowledge and help make your next trip as easy and seamless as possible! First, I would like to introduce myself and my family. My name is Kaitlin and I am one of the Registered Dental Hygienists here at DAW. I am married to my wonderful husband Zach and we have a beautiful son, Jackson. My love for all things Disney started at a young age, although I did not travel to the parks every year like my husband did. Zach and his family had an annual trip to Continue Reading

Seven Suggestions for Waste Reduction and Sustainability in Oral Care

Good oral health has always been a pillar of good overall health. Most prehistoric hunter-gatherer cultures subsisted on a tooth-friendly diet heavy in vegetables, nuts, insects and meats, and many ancient skulls show little evidence of tooth decay. With the advent of farming, modern societies became possible with a shift to grain-based carbohydrates and sugars. Studies tracing the bacteria in tooth plaque from the stone age through the industrial era show this worldwide dietary change resulted in widespread oral disease, and the advent of the need for good oral hygiene to achieve good oral health. Archaeological evidence can trace toothbrushes Continue Reading

Harvesting Good Oral Hygiene

Planting and growing my own fruits and vegetables have always been a passion of mine ever since I was a small child. To this day I always look forward to the spring season when the ground begins to swell, birds chirp, sun is high in the sky and your lawn never looks better. It also means that it’s time to churn the garden soil! You may be wondering why I’m writing a blog about growing fruits and vegetables on a dental website. What you may not know is that there are several fruits and vegetables that can be both healthy Continue Reading

Why is my child receiving a Fluoride treatment at the Pediatrician?

Healthy gums and teeth are important to your child's overall health. This is why your child's pediatrician will likely talk with you about good dental habits even before your child's first tooth appears. Part of that discussion will often involve the use or need for fluoride. Fluoride prevents tooth decay and strengthens the enamel of the teeth. It has long been established that children who have the advantages of fluoride and good oral hygiene habits stay free of dental disease. Good oral hygiene habits include proper diet, thorough brushing/flossing, and regular dental visits. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and Continue Reading

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

In 2005, when I landed a job at Dental Associates of Walpole, these guys were not my dentist. Actually, for the first couple of years of employment I would travel 40 minutes out of my way to go to the dentist I had always gone to because he knew me, my kids, my husband. You get it, right? And let’s face it, opening your mouth and letting a stranger, even if he or she is a dentist, look around is a very personal experience. Couple that with the fact that my favorite place on earth happens not to be in Continue Reading

There is no “I” in “Team”

Janet and I have worked together for nine years and are teammates in the best sense of the word. Teamwork is an essential tool for a busy work environment and collaboration between co-workers increases productivity, ensures that the department runs efficiently, and makes for a less stressful work environment. We support each other not only on day-to-day tasks in the office, but non work-related events as well. We feel very fortunate to have a great working relationship. Both of us have grown kids who are in the process of getting ready to, or have already, “left the nest”. Janet’s son, Continue Reading

Celebrating Heritage

People often ask me, where are you from? I suspect the reason I get asked is because, while I am proud of my command of the English language, I do have a subtle accent. I suppose that combined with my somewhat ethnic look and ethnic sounding name has people curious about where I am from. I am comfortable with my identity and proud of my background, so I really enjoy answering the question. I was born and raised in Brazil. In my years living in the US, 18 years in total, it has occurred to me that many Americans don’t Continue Reading

Project Stretch Update

In my last blog post I told the story of the origins of Project Stretch, Dentistry Reaching Out to Children. Since then Project Stretch celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a friendraising/fundraising Gala at the Framingham Country Club. Well over a hundred and fifty past volunteers, students, friends and family gathered to celebrate and fund our continued success. Our goal is to have Project Stretch continue to provide local and international outreach dental programs wherever needed. We are currently in Teacapan, Mexico, a small fishing village with no access to dental care. Our team consists of two pediatric dentists from other Continue Reading


Sitting in my sunroom looking outside, I notice the leafless trees, snowy ground, squirrels eating seeds from my birdfeeder, and the presence of neighbors’ homes. I long for spring flowers, warm weather and longer days. But I must patiently wait another three months for those things. This is winter life in New England. However, you can make a few modifications to your surroundings if you enjoy having and appreciating flowers during winter months. Below are some suggestions to help you get through the winter: Bring your flower pots inside and place them near south facing windows. Plants such as geraniums, Continue Reading