Dental Sealants Are A Good Idea for Your Children

Posted July 26th, 2013.
Filed under Dental Health, Kids, Oral Care.
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Let’s face it, kids are not the best at keeping their teeth clean.

In other news, water is wet, desserts are bad for you but taste oh-so-good, and clowns are scary.

(We’ve discussed many ways to help you get your kids to brush their teeth, like here. And here. And also here. So, yeah, it’s an issue everyone faces.)

That’s why we created the Beam Brush; we wanted to help parents teach their kids healthy brushing habits.

Teeth illustration for kidsAside from brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing, dental sealants are an excellent way to protect your child’s teeth. Most often, the molars are the best candidates for dental sealant as they are the hardest to brush.

Dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that can be either clear, white or slightly tinted.

How does it work?

First, the dentist begins by cleaning the tooth and then painting a special gel onto the grooved chewing surface of the tooth for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Next, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist may shine a light on the tooth to harden the sealant, which takes about a minute. This sealant will last anywhere from five to 10 years.

Even with dental sealant, your child should continue to use fluoride protection, mouth rinse and dental floss to protect their teeth, in addition to making wise food choices. This isn’t an alternative to proper dental care, it’s only a boost.

The benefits of sealants?

They save time, money and the discomfort of dental fillings. Every time a cavity gets filled, the tooth becomes a little weaker. Dental sealant prevents that altogether.

We encourage parents to start creating a foundation of good oral healthcare for their children. When they reach the age that a Beam Toothbrush is an option, our toothbrush is designed to reward them for good oral healthcare and encourage a lifetime of good brushing habits.

Photo credit: Dental Ben (Flickr, Creative Commons

My Kid Has Cavities On Her Baby Teeth. Does That Matter?

Posted July 19th, 2013.
Filed under Kids, Oral Care, Teeth.
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It’s important to understand that your child’s first teeth, or primary teeth, should never be considered “throwaway teeth.” In fact, did you know that at their young age, they are just as vulnerable to tooth decay as later in childhood? Tooth decay in children with primary teeth is more of a game changer to their dental health than any other.

Mom and daughter using Beam ToothbrushInfants and young children have immune systems that are not nearly as strong as adult immune systems. Add to that, their gum tissues are not fully formed, and you have the perfect storm for bacteria getting into a child’s blood stream. Children are actually at a higher risk for gum disease earlier in life, which means that proper oral care is important, even when they’re babies..

The danger of not caring for primary teeth, aside from gum disease, is that oral healthcare at that age is setting the foundation for their future teeth. Tooth decay to the primary teeth damages the infrastructure being built around the permanent teeth. That infrastructure needs to be built in a strong, healthy manner. When you damage the root, the permanent tooth cannot grow properly.

It’s critical that parents encourage their babies, toddlers and young children to start the habit of cleaning their teeth early on so they aren’t dealing with the snowball effect of early childhood tooth decay issues later in life.

In short, it does matter if cavities happen to primary teeth.

If your children are brushing regularly and still getting cavities, a dentist will want to look at their diet — your kids’, not the dentist’s.

Sugary foods, juices and sodas could be canceling out whatever dental care is being performed. You’ll need to curb the types of foods your children are consuming, and if they’re eating sugary foods, they need to brush immediately afterward to prevent cavities from forming.

We encourage parents to start creating a foundation of good oral healthcare for their children. When they reach the age that a Beam Toothbrush is an option, our toothbrush is designed to reward them for good oral healthcare and encourage a lifetime of good brushing habits.

Forbes Magazine Spotlights Beam Toothbrush

Posted July 12th, 2013.
Filed under Bluetooth Toothbrush.
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April 4th was a big day for us here at Beam Technologies. Our site traffic and sales increased and we saw heightened engagement within our Beam Toothbrush and app community. The tipping point? A great article about us in Forbes!

(We were really pumped when this came out.)

From our perspective, we believe that Karsten Strauss, the author, presented our business model in a thoughtful manner. He took the time to genuinely understand that the Beam Toothbrush is well beyond the novelty of a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush, and is more than “just” an app. He helped to frame the very best attributes of our toothbrush and our company, and helped us make the point that brushing is about good health, and not just a drudgery.

We also think Strauss is a genius of the first order, and whatever Forbes is paying him, they should double it.

(Okay, we’re still really pumped about this!)

As the evidences piles up that oral healthcare is really part of systemic healthcare, or in other words, that properly caring for your teeth and gums affects your heart, your internal organs, your sex life and beyond, it puts our mission into a context that helps people understand why something so simple — brushing your teeth two minutes at a time, twice a day — can change lives for the better. And that is our mission.

Beam Technologies — Alex Frommeyer, Alex Curry and Dan Dykes — began developing the Beam Toothbrush in 2011, when commercial 3D printers were still in their infancy. To say the development and prototyping phase was arduous would be an apt description, but we ultimately made it work.

In the end, we’re not a toothbrush company. We’re a health sensors company that builds consumerfacing products to collect key health data and reward good health decisions, just as we’ve proven with the success of the BEAM brush.

We look forward to announcing new developments on this blog, so please check back here regularly for news of our progress.

Beam Brush is now just $24.99

Posted July 10th, 2013.
Filed under Bluetooth Toothbrush.
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We are proud to announce that we are now able to deliver the Beam Brush for $24.99.

Mom and daughter using Beam ToothbrushOur goal from day 1 has been to make our technology available to everyone, so all people can track and gamify their oral health. The Beam Team wants to promote good oral health habits reinforced by data to help users prioritize daily oral care in their lives. After hearing our customers and hitting some new milestones internally, we are there.

Get your Beam Brush here.

If you want to learn more, the Beam Experience page will help moms, dads, health data nuts, and the average bear better understand how the Beam Brush works and why it will completely redefine what it means to brush their teeth.

If you have any questions or thoughts, let us hear from you. Leave them in the comments, and we’ll be happy to respond.

You can also download the Beam app from the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.

How Soon Can I Start my Kids Brushing?

Posted July 5th, 2013.
Filed under Dental Health, Kids, Teeth Brushing.
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A lot of new parents want to know when they should start brushing their kids’ teeth. When the first one shows up? After they’re 18 months old? When they can hold the brush themselves?

How about before their first teeth ever show up?

No, really.

Most people are unaware of this, but the gums are the thinnest tissues we have for germs to penetrate and get directly into a person’s blood stream. Most dental disease happens on the gums. That means if the gums are there, the bacteria are there.

So it’s not a bad idea to start cleaning your kids’ gums early on, before they even have teeth. Believe it or not, babies can develop tooth decay even in pre-tooth growth.

Ideally, you will want to start brushing your child’s gums from age 0 to 2, prior to them getting their first baby teeth. Not only does it become a familiar sensation and routine for your child, setting them on a path of consistent, healthy oral care for their lifetime, but it also protects their first set of teeth as they come in.

Toothbrushes for babies are designed to be scaled to size for an infant’s mouth, and the brushes are extremely soft. Some parents will even use a washcloth on their babies’ gums because of the gentleness of the fabric. Either process will eliminate bacteria and protect the child’s systemic health.

At this stage, you don’t need to brush for two minutes, because it’s just not necessary yet. Just a few seconds on the upper and lower gums. You don’t even need toothpaste.

Here at Beam Technologies, we encourage parents to start this practice of creating a foundation of good oral healthcare for their children. When they reach the age that a Beam Brush is an option, our toothbrush is designed to reward them for good oral healthcare and encourage a lifetime of good brushing habits.

Making the Case for the Glanceable UI for the Beam Brush

Posted June 28th, 2013.
Filed under Bluetooth Toothbrush, Teeth Brushing.
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Glanceable user interface, also called glanceable UI, was coined by Beam’s good friend and Misfit Wearables CEO Sonny Vu as a way to convey visually communicating data with just a ‘glance’.

Vu’s philosophy mirrors ours here at Beam Technologies, where we are working to further refine how we are presenting our oral care data to ultimately distill it into a one second, at-a-glance set of information. This no only lets users quickly see, but also easily interpret their oral health status.

Alex Frommeyer's Beam profileThere’s an elegance to the simplicity of a good user interface. We believed that creating an app that was anything less than our current glanceable UI would result in consumers not using the app and getting bored with it in a short amount of time.

Since we’re talking about our users’ oral health and oral hygiene data — which translates as their systemic health in the long term — we wanted to ensure that our Beam Toothbrush app was user friendly and easily understandable.

As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, your oral healthcare affects the heart, diabetes, and even erectile dysfunction. It pays to take excellent care of your teeth. In just one glance at their device display, our users will know if things are going good, ok, or bad.

We believe there should be no head scratching complexity or number crunching to understand your progress, changes, and trends. This makes data actionable, not static and useless. Our goal is to have an interface that is so clean, so easy, and so understandable that it feels as natural as the actual brushing of your teeth to use it.

For more information on the Beam Brush and app, and our glanceable UI, visit the Beam website.

Why Passive Sensors Are Your Health Future

Posted June 21st, 2013.
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If we look at how technology has evolved for one of the longest running control groups for tracking health data—diabetics—we can understand how the user experience dictates the evolution of technology.

We have always known changing people’s behavior is difficult, and getting them to change because of technology is even harder. New technologies must integrate with users’ existing behaviors and lifestyles.

That’s what has driven the new diabetic blood sugar monitors, which have reduced so many of the steps in the process, and become so simplified. That’s also why Apple products are so wildly popular with consumers – they’re intuitive and simple. You just press one button and everything works seamlessly.

User experience research has shown that left to their own devices, most people will not embrace items that require them to take a lot of new steps or require mindshare about what they’re doing. Simply put, it’s too much friction.

Passive sensors will be the key to your health future.

The goal of passive sensors are to operate sort of like the sensors you see on Star Trek. The ship is flying along, and an alarm goes off: a ship has been spotted. No one was looking for the ship, the sensors were just chugging along until a ship showed up.

This is how sensors must be deployed for your personal health. Automated, subtle, seamless. Sensors that are built into the user’s existing daily experiences and interactions. This requires no behavior changes from the user, which is a critical component to engagement. In other words, the goal should be to bring the sensor to the user, not try to get the user to use the sensor.

Many of the ‘quantified self’ or ‘digital health hardware’ products in today’s market have captive sensors that require users to do, or wear, or interpret something new, whether it’s adding a new accessory to their body, cumbersome data syncing steps, or answer the questions that are raised by the collected data. This not only diminishes the user experience but also the value of the data itself. Amazon built a business on taking clicks out of online commerce, but this friction is still very present in today’s health sensors.

With passives, the minimized friction will solve questions surrounding engagement, compliance, accuracy, and security while also streamlining the outcomes resulting from the data.

The Beam Brush uses such a passive sensor system that is designed to change nothing about the event of brushing teeth. By including 3 weeks worth of internal storage, it works to reduce the syncing frequency. No on buttons, no passwords, no extra effort. Just brush. Even still, recent advances in wireless protocol and a better understanding of how to present data to users will further simplify the process.

For more information on the Beam toothbrush and app, and our own passive sensors, visit the Beam website.

4 Ways to Guard Your Health at Your Dentist’s Office

Posted June 14th, 2013.
Filed under Dental Health, Dentists & Hygienists, Personal Health.
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After reading this article, you may look at your dentist’s office with new eyes, but you can never be too cautious when it comes to your health and the health of your family. Many people worry they’ll get sick from a trip to the dentist’s office through something called cross infection — where the germs from one patient contaminate another.

Cross infection between patients is exceedingly rare because dentists are trained to understand and heed to the importance of cleanliness, and they follow state and federal mandates regarding your safety. But if you’re concerned about it, here are a few things you should look for.

Check the Waiting Room

When you go to the dentist’s office, the first thing to notice is the waiting room. Is it a family-friendly atmosphere, or does it feel like they are just herding sheep to make their financial goals for the day? Do the toys and books your children handle look clean? Are there magazines and distractions for all ages? Anti-bacterial liquid containers should be available, just as they are in a hospital. Is the floor carpeted? A carpeted floor isn’t as sterile as a linoleum or tile floor and could provide a glimpse into how much your dentist values cleanliness.

Is the reception area cluttered and are surfaces covered in paperwork? If so, the likelihood of clean surfaces diminishes with the clutter.

Check the Hygienist

Pay close attention to your hygienist, the person who will be spending the most time with you during your visit. Is your hygienist asking you questions about your oral healthcare habits? Asking you which products you’re using at home? Your hygienist should be a subject matter expert about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. You can tell which hygienists are truly passionate about each patient and are working in the right field.

Is your hygienist wearing gloves? Did she get them from a dispenser, or were they sitting on top of an unsterilized countertop? The gloves should be sterile and come directly from their box. Did she touch anything else with those gloves? Is your dentist touching anything with his gloves beyond your mouth? If so, he needs to change his gloves.

Check Their Hygiene Safety Protocols

Does the staff sterilize the room, including the chair, between patients? Are they sterilizing countertops? Do they sterilize the instruments, including the dentist drill, in a separate room with an autoclave (sterilization) machine? Are the instruments they’re using inside your mouth coming from inside of a sealed bag?

There should be a third-party audit form indicating whether or not the autoclave machine is working properly. You are entitled to ask your dentist to see that form, which will prove that they take cleanliness seriously.

Check Your Dentist

Is you dentist spending some time with you, asking about any issues with your teeth before performing his or her checkup? Take note of how much time your dentist is spending with each patient. You don’t want to be a patient in a mill where the dentist cares more about the numbers than patients.

Find out about your dentist before you commit to him or her. Find out where they went to school and whether or not he or she is a member in good standing with the American Dental Association. There are plenty of online reviews to provide you with insight on your dentist, from Yelp to Google Reviews to HealthGrades.com.

By focusing on these basic issues during your visit to the dentist’s office, you can reduce the odds of getting sick through cross infection.

(Oh, and thanks for making dental visits part of your regular oral healthcare!)

Want a Great Love Life? Take Good Care of Your Gums

Posted June 7th, 2013.
Filed under Dental Health, Oral Care, Personal Health, Teeth Brushing.
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At Beam, we understand that oral healthcare is a major contributor to the health of a person’s entire body. This was the impetus behind the development of the Beam Brush!

A new study out of Turkey is now showing that your oral healthcare affects your love life as well. Did you know that men with severe periodontal disease in their 30s are three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men with healthy gums?

The underlying science is that periodontal disease causes endothelial dysfunction, the predecessor for vascular issues, and this can turn into problems like impotence. In short, if you want to be able to have an erection when you’re in your 30s and beyond, take good care of your teeth. If you’re prone to erectile dysfunction due to other problems like diabetes, brushing won’t help, but not brushing your teeth could add to the problem.

Advanced gum disease affects 4–12% of adults according to the CDC. Previous studies have shown correlations between chronic periodontitis (gum disease) and coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and premature births.

Avoiding all of these serious health problems with such a simple gesture as brushing and flossing your teeth and using an oral mouth rinse seems such a small price to pay.

To take better care of your teeth, and your vascular functions, the Beam Brush is a great way to track your oral care and ensure you’re practicing healthy habits. For more information, visit the Beam website.

What Diabetics Need to Know Now About Caring for Their Teeth and Gums

Posted May 31st, 2013.
Filed under Dental Health, Oral Care, Personal Health.
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You’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes. You’re trying to process all of these changes in your lifestyle and deal with blood monitoring. There are regular blood tests, dietary changes, an exercise regimen.

And now you have to take better care of your teeth too?

We know, with a major issue like this, the last thing you want to do is add one more thing to your plate. But this is pretty serious, and it’s something you need to know about.

Your blood glucose level affects your mouth in so many ways, so controlling it and focusing on your oral care will have to become a priority. Here are some areas for concern:

Thrush: Diabetics have suppressed immune systems and lower white blood cell counts, so they frequently have to take antibiotics to fight off various infections. This also makes diabetics prone to thrush–a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. This fungus loves the high sugar levels in a diabetic’s saliva, so people with uncontrolled diabetes and smokers are most at risk. Diabetic smokers are actually 20 times more at risk for thrush. This creates a burning mouth and tongue sensation that is very uncomfortable. Be sure to rinse with a non-alcohol mouthwash regularly.

Mouth ulcers, infection, and tooth decay: Diabetics are often afflicted with dry mouth, so the lack of saliva creates these oral maladies. Make sure to drink plenty of water.

Gum Inflammation: Blood vessels thicken from diabetes, which slows the body’s ability to eliminate waste, thereby reducing your ability to fight infection. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection. Gingivitis is the inflammation and bleeding of the gums, which is also a problem. Again, be sure to rinse regularly.

Healing Challenges: Your oral tissues will heal very slowly after oral surgery or dental procedures because blood flow is impaired to your mouth as the result of diabetes. The better care you can take of your teeth and gums, the less likely you’ll need oral surgery or dental procedures.

Best Practice Daily Oral Care for Diabetics

To prevent these problems from happening, here are a few oral care tips you should implement:

  • See your dentist twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.
  • Use dental floss daily to fight plaque buildup.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush after every meal.
  • Use an anti-bacterial mouth rinse after each brushing.
  • If you smoke, quit immediately.

Here at Beam Technologies, we want to protect your mouth. Using your Beam Brush and app is a great way to track your oral care and ensure you are practicing healthy teeth brushing habits. For more information, visit the Beam website.