Friday, March 30, 2007

Would You Take Diet Tips From Your Dentist?

Why is it that everybody and their momma thinks they are some sort of "expert" when it comes to diet and health? I’ve seen it from my veterinarian and now it’s coming from my dentist, too! Jeepers creepers!

I’m not kidding.

In the mail this week I received the monthly newsletter from Rocky Creek Dental in Greenville, South Carolina and my dentist Dr. John R. Piccione. I usually enjoy reading this update on taking care of your teeth health, but the April 2007 issue included some rather suspicious diet advice as well. What does a dentist know about nutrition and bodily health aside from the ones in the viscinity of the pearly whites?

On the back side of this newsletter, Dr. Piccione included two recipes for his patients to eat and enjoy as part of their healthy lifestyle. Now, you would think a dentist would discourage people from eating sugar to protect their teeth from decay—nevermind the fact that it’s unhealthy for your body, too.

But, believe it or not, that’s exactly what he did with the following recipe that sounded like something that would be good for you. But this could be very deceiving until you look at the ingredients list:

1 bag spinach
1/3 cup SUGAR
2 cups strawberries, sliced
Purple onion (med. Chopped)
1 Cucumber, chopped

Why would you want to ruin such an awesome meal like this by adding SUGAR to it? This would be an excellent recipe if you simply substituted Splenda or some other substitute sweetener in lieu of the sugar. Can you believe a dentist, considered an expert about health-related issues, is allowing this in a recommended recipe for his patients? UGH!

To make matters worse, check out the additional dietary advice he provided in the instructions for making this recipe:

“Combine above and serve with BREADSTICKS, and you have a great meal!”

YIKES! Unfortunately, that doesn’t sound like a great meal to me, Dr. Piccione. Adding insult to injury, you then promote the consumption of high-carb breadsticks to further worsen the problem with this meal. What horrible dietary advice!

I guess our culture has become so accustomed to serving bread or crackers with a salad that people don’t even give a second thought to skipping it altogether. Now there's a thought! And we’d all be a lot better off if we did this one simple step.

How about we make a deal with me, Dr. Piccione? I promise not to talk about how to take care of tooth health if you agree to skip giving out any more advice on a healthy diet? Your patients will be much better off in the end.

You can e-mail Dr. Piccione to let him know what you think about his ridiculous diet tips for his patients at

4-16-07 UPDATE: The good dentist Dr. John Piccione found my blog post today about his newsletter. Needless to say, he wasn't very pleased with what I had written in this post.

Here's what he wrote in an e-mail to me:


WHOA--I thought I could sneak that recipe in as a way to promote tooth decay. I applaud you for uncovering my evil intentions--the world is a better place because of your discovery and comments.

No sense in calling me first to inform me of this faux pas--it's more fun to have fun with it on the Internet. But I did have a good laugh when I read your posting.

For those who have more of a sense of fairness, you used a little artistic imagination calling this a diet tip in your blog. We do not have a section called diet tips in our newsletter. We have a section where our staff shares recipes with our patients.

I never personally tried the recipe, but I like to give my staff a chance to participate in the newsletter. The contributor of the recipe was probably more interested in sharing her "love of cooking" than worrying about its dietary impact.

Most of my patients are fair minded people with common sense. Certainly they can use a little artistic liberty to substitute the sugar for something more healthful, rather than using the mistake as tool to put someone else down to build themselves up.

I will however be more cautious in the future.

John Piccione

Here was my response to Dr. Piccione:

Hey Dr. Piccione,

I appreciate your note, but this kind of faux pas happens far too often for me to ignore it and let it slide. I apologize if you feel I was demeaning to you or your staff with the comments I wrote, but that was not at all my intention (nor was it to "build" myself up through it).

While it might have been an innocent oversight, the fact is people rely on the information they get from their doctors and dentists to be reliable and safe for them and their health. Unfortunately, the introduction of sugar into a recommended recipe (whether you explicitly provide it as a "diet tip" or not) is neither healthy for your teeth nor your body.

THANKS for your e-mail and I appreciate the opportunity to engage in the debate of ideas about healthy living. Take care and THANKS for helping to educate the public about their health!

Comments anyone?

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Blogger Science4u1959 said...

I guess he recommends toothpastes that contain sweeteners and/or sugars as well! Oh yeah, many toothpastes DO contain such ingredients...

Not to mention fluoride, which is, to say the least, highly suspect too. Many researchers have proven that fluoride is actually damaging to health and completely ineffective against caries. At best it only delays the onset of caries in the young - but worsens these conditions a little later in life. It is quite toxic, too. For example, in areas with fluoridated water the incidence of caries is higher than in areas with normal, non-fluoridated water.

3/31/2007 6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent an email. He's a dentist. He should be recommending Xylitol, not sugar. It's taste and texture are just like sugar, it promotes salivation, actually helps prevent tooth decay and is very helpful for children with chronic ear infections. I mean, honestly! This is absurd.

Sue Biddiscombe

3/31/2007 5:17 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

I recently read your blog and just wanted to elaborate on it a little.
My wife is currently happily employed by Dr. Piccione, and Dr. Roth of Rocky Creek Dental Care and is always expressing to me how she is very blessed to work in a great environment surrounded by such wonderful people. (The majority of us could only be so lucky.)
I felt that your comments regarding the newsletter put out by Rocky Creek Dental Care were very unfair and demeaning towards people that you have no personal relationship with.
I do not feel that you would appreciate it if someone that you have no personal relationship with would attack your character by using assuming and unfair statements about you. Personally it would sadden and hurt me.
The article in question was meant merely as a recipe that people can enjoy if they CHOOSE to, I saw no malicious content included in the article whatsoever.
I also do not agree with posting someone else's email adress as you did for such a purpose without the consent of that person. (that may be infringing on someone's legal rights)
While I do understand the personal concern for your health, I again see no reason to pass judgement on someone whom you do not know personally.


Personal friend and supporter of Dr. Piccione, Dr. Roth, and the wonderful hard working employees of Rocky Creek Dental Care

4/17/2007 1:30 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Trent,

THANKS so much for your comments and I appreciate where you are coming from. But let me elaborate just a little more on my comments.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that everyone at Rocky Creek Dental Care are OUTSTANDING! I went to see Dr. Piccione about three years ago for teeth whitening service and the staff did a phenomenal job.

When I got the newsletter, I was shocked! Sure, in hindsight I should have contacted their office to let them know of my displeasure. But this was an interesting topic to bring up with my heath blog, so I blogged it and don't feel bad about doing so at all.

I don't feel I was mean, judgmental, or attacking anyone with my comments, I simply stated my concerns and let the message speak for itself.

As you can see from my updates with Dr. Piccione, all is well between us. He does not feel I harmed him in any way and neither should your wife or the other employees at Rocky Creek. Like I said, I admire what they are doing.

I DO know the people there and the e-mail address is a matter of public record. Providing it does not hurt anyone. In fact, it opens the door of communication so that everyone involved can share in the dialog of ideas. That's what I'm about.

THANK YOU again for your comments and I appreciate your response. Come back again soon!

4/19/2007 9:24 PM  

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