Your Dental Office News, February 17, 2024: Children’s Dental Health Month, GKAS, Spotlight on Us, Meatballs!

We’re wishing you a Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! This month, we hope that you’re still holding strong on those New Year’s resolutions and also practicing some self-love. Be proud of your achievements, even if they’re small, and take every day one step at a time. In this month’s newsletter, we want to remind you that it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, which we celebrate every year with our participation in the national GKAS (Give Kids a Smile) event. It’s also Gum Disease awareness month and Black History Month. Read on to learn more about these important topics and, as always, we hope you share this newsletter widely!

In This Issue:

  • National Children’s Dental Health Month
  • Give Kids A Smile Day!
  • Now on Instragram
  • Gum Disease Awareness Month
  • Black History Month
  • NEW: Pay Your Bill Online
  • Wedding Announcement!
  • Spotlight on Us!
  • Recipe of the Month: French Onion Chicken Meatballs

National Children’s Dental Health Month

In February, the American Dental Association honors National Children’s Dental Health Month, emphasizing the significance of children’s oral health. Our dentists and team are highlighting oral health tips, advocating for early pediatric dental care awareness.

First Tooth, First Birthday, First Dental Visit

New parents often ask, “When should my baby first see a dentist?” We advise you to establish a dental home for your child so that there’s a continuity of care. Your child’s first visit to a dentist should be before his/her first birthday or within 6 months after the first tooth comes in. During this initial visit, the dentist examines the child’s mouth, addresses any concerns, and provides guidance on oral care. The dentist can also monitor the child’s teething progress, offer preventive measures as needed, and address any of your concerns.

Protect Tiny Teeth 

Baby teeth stay in a child’s mouth for 6-12 years and affect their speaking, chewing, and smiling. Baby teeth can also indicate a child’s overall quality of health, and save space for a child’s permanent teeth. Untreated tooth decay can cause oral infections that enter the bloodstream and cause serious health problems, while also allowing bacteria to spread to new adult teeth.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Infants and young children under one year of age are at risk of baby bottle tooth decay, caused by sugary liquids and bacteria that remain in the child’s mouth all night. The sugar converts into acid, leading to enamel erosion and tooth decay. Liquids such as milk, formula, juice, and soda contribute to this condition. If your child needs to sleep with a bottle, pure water is the safest option.

Parents, Did You Know?

Early childhood tooth decay has become the most common chronic childhood disease, impacting more children than asthma. According to the ADA, more than 40% of children have tooth decay by the time they reach Kindergarten. Additionally, kids who suffer from poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain.

The State of Maryland has tried to tackle this oral health epidemic by requiring each child to receive a dental examination before enrolling in school. That does not suffice. Without regular six-month check-ups and establishing healthy oral health habits at an early age, small cavities can lead to much larger problems in little mouths.

Tips for Maintaining Your Child’s Oral Health 

Our dentists are dedicated to serving our young patients during these crucial early childhood years. We advise following the oral health tips below to enable your child to enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. Here are some key points:

  • Dental decay is an infectious transmissible disease. Cavities are caused by bacteria. If a caretaker has active tooth decay (cavities) or periodontal (gum) disease in their mouth, a child can be contaminated by the caretaker’s saliva. Avoid testing the temperature of the bottle with your mouth, sharing utensils (e.g. spoons), or cleaning a pacifier or a bottle nipple by putting it in your mouth. 
  • Clean your baby’s gums after feeding. Until teeth come in, after each feeding gently wipe a damp washcloth over the baby’s gums to clear away harmful bacteria.
  • As teeth come in. Once the first tooth comes in, start to use a child’s soft bristled toothbrush, using only water (no toothpaste!), in addition to massaging the gum tissues. 
  • Use plain water to brush the child’s teeth twice a day until they turn 2 years old. Using fluoride toothpaste may damage the enamel structure of the permanent teeth. Per If your drinking water is not fluoridated, talk to your pediatrician or dentist about infant fluoride supplements.
  • Check your child’s mouth. Lift your child’s lips regularly to check for suspicious small white or brown spots on his/her teeth. If you see these white or brown spots, which may indicate dental decay (cavities), schedule an appointment with the child’s dentist right away.
  • At age 2, begin brushing with a pea-sized amount (small smear) of fluoridated toothpaste. Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste. Observe to ensure that your child does not swallow the toothpaste.
  • Begin flossing. Once your child’s teeth touch, you can start flossing in between them. Plastic floss picks work well for children.
  • Begin to teach your child how to brush his/her teeth. Generally, children will need help with brushing until they have the hand coordination to clean their own teeth effectively. Children should be able to brush unsupervised by the age of six or seven.
  • Snack healthy! Fruit juice, sports drinks, fruit snacks, and sticky candies all pose serious threats to your child’s teeth. Give kids calcium-rich snacks like cheese or low-sugar yogurt. If you have to resort to candy, a chocolate bar is preferable to gummy or sticky sweets that can get lodged in between the teeth.
  • Keep children hydrated! Avoid sugary drinks and stick to good old-fashioned water. Water helps to rinse away any sugar or particles that can lead to cavities.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months, or before that if the bristles become frayed or matted or if they curl out at the edges.
  • Schedule routine check-ups. If it’s been more than six months since your child has seen a dentist, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

For more details on what you can do to protect your child’s teeth at different stages of their life from birth to age 5, including tips about teething, visit the excellent directions from the New York State Department of Health, 

Give Kids a Smile Day!

We’ve been participating in The American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) Day for nearly 20 years! The GKAS program encourages dentists throughout the country to provide free dental health check-ups to children from low-income families. It’s held during the month of February in recognition of National Children’s Dental Health Month.

This year was one of our best years yet! Oscar, one of our new Treatment Plan Coordinators, spearheaded the GKAS event last year. This year he went even further by creating a welcoming and exuberant decor! Aided by Samantha, Assistant Practice Manager, they filled up many balloons after hours. Sam also dressed up as the Tooth Fairy, because every dental office should have one on call!

Our doctors and team members enjoyed providing free cleanings, exams, and x-rays to more than 50 children. Everyone who attended the event learned about the importance of taking care of their teeth and how to do a better job at home. They also went home with a goodie bag filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and prizes! 

It is always a privilege to participate in this event and offer this service to our community. We look forward to this day every year!

Gum Disease Awareness Month

Article written by our team at Dr. Harvey Levy & Associates

For your smile to be bright and pearly your gums need to be healthy! It is easy to ignore your gums because gum disease is initially painless, but there are clear signs that you just can’t ignore, telling you that your gums are in trouble:

  • Healthy gums don’t bleed! Gums should look firm, with no swelling or redness. Your gums should not bleed when you brush or floss. If you see any blood when you rinse and spit after brushing, it’s time to visit the dentist.
  • Other signs you may have gum disease. You may have a bad taste in your mouth, or other people may notice that you have bad breath. That happens because bacteria are accumulating on your teeth and gums. During your dental visit, you may hear your hygienist or dentist use the word “gingivitis,” which is Stage 1 of gum disease. 
  • Gum recession. If you notice that your gums are receding (pulling away from your teeth), that is definitely a sign of gum disease. That happens because bacteria have accumulated under your gums, and the toxins they produce are destroying the connections between the tooth and the gum. You may hear your hygienist or dentist use the word “pocket,” which measures the distance between your gum and the root of your tooth. They may also use the word “periodontitis” or “periodontal disease.”
  • Wiggling or moving teeth. If you can feel your teeth wiggle or move, or if a tooth falls out because the jawbone can no longer hold it, you definitely have gum disease. That happens because the bacteria have dissolved the bone supporting the teeth in your jaws. (Sadly, even the bones in your jaw can be affected.) You may hear your hygienist or dentist use the word “advanced periodontal disease,” and they may refer you to a periodontist, who is a specialist in gums.

The big villain is bacteria. Some bacteria in your mouth work for you, and some against you. They’re always present in your mouth in biofilm, a sticky substance made up of many different kinds of bacteria. When you brush and floss, you’re not allowing the biofilm to build up on your teeth (brushing it off!) and between your teeth (flossing it away!). 

When biofilm builds up, we call it plaque. Plaque can harden into calculus (also called tartar), which can’t be removed with a toothbrush or dental floss. Calculus can only be safely removed by a dental professional. Once the plaque hardens into calculus, the bacteria become more aggressive, and start destroying the ligaments (like little springs) that hold the gum to the tooth root.

So, to keep your teeth, and have a healthy mouth and body, you REALLY need to brush, floss, and have your teeth professionally cleaned.

How is the body affected by what happens in the gums? Inflammation of the gums has been associated with dozens of conditions affecting your whole body. They include Diabetes. Cardiovascular (heart) Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease. Rheumatic Diseases. Respiratory Diseases. Stroke. These are only some of the diseases associated with gum disease. 

According to the NIH in 2018 almost half — 47.2% — of all American adults aged 30 years or older had some form of gum disease. More than 70% of Americans aged 65 years or older had periodontal disease, a more advanced form of gum disease. So, gum disease is quite common.

The good news is that if you have gum disease, there are treatments our hygienists can perform. In its early stages gum disease can be reversed, and in its later stages it can be managed so that the damage doesn’t get worse.

Keep an eye on our Youtube Channel as we share videos that dive deeper into the stages of gum disease and what you can do to manage your gum health!

Black History Month

In February we embark on a journey of celebration, remembrance, and education as we honor Black History Month. This month we focus on recognizing invaluable contributions and achievements of African Americans in dentistry:

  • Dr. Robert Tanner Freeman holds the distinction of being the first African American to graduate from a dental school in the United States. He applied to two different schools and was rejected due to the color of his skin until a petition by Harvard’s Dean was filed to end their historical exclusion of minorities. Freeman earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1869, breaking barriers and inspiring generations of aspiring dental professionals.
  • Dr. Ida Nelson Rollins was the first Black female dentist graduating from the University of Michigan College of Dentistry in 1890. She worked for a dentist right out of high school  which fueled her passion for the feild. After graduating, Dr. Rollins also became the first African-American female to open a dental practice in Cincinnati and then again when she moved to Chicago. 
  • Dr. George Franklin Grant is an accomplished dentist and inventor. He graduated Harvard just one year after Dr. Freeman, becoming the second Black dentist. After earning his degree, Dr. Grant was hired by Harvard University to research and work on treating oral deformities, such as cleft palate. He ended up patenting a design for individual inserts that aided those with a cleft palate for eating and speaking. Dr. Grant is also credited with inventing the golf tee—an innovation that revolutionized the sport of golf! His contributions to both dentistry and sports exemplify the ingenuity and talent within the African American community.
  • Dr. Annie Delany, better known as Dr. Bessie, earned her doctorate degree in 1923 from the Columbia School of Dental and Oral Surgery. She became the second Black female dentist to be licensed in the State of New York and eventually opened her own practice. Equally passionate about dentistry and civil rights, Dr. Bessie could be found treating people from all walks of life. She was especially known for providing free care for the poor and children. Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, a biography of Dr. Bessie and her sister Sadie, sold millions of copies
  • Dr. William T. Jefferson graduated with a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 1891 from what is now Northwestern University. He became the first Black dentist to treat U.S. Army soldiers during the Spanish-American War. His military career began in 1895 and he climbed many ranks during his time of service. It was documented that throughout his time in the military that he always found time to provide dental care for his regiment in addition to his military duties. Although Dr. Jefferson was never given the official title of Contract Dental Surgeon of the U.S. Army, his care and heroism remain a significant part of history.

During Black History Month, let’s honor African American achievements in dentistry and beyond, and reaffirm our commitment to inclusivity. Let’s engage in conversations, educational activities, and celebrations to honor their contributions and build a brighter future for all.

NEW: Pay Your Bill Online

When you have a balance due on your account, you no longer have to speak with us over the phone to give us a credit card number, or snail mail us a check! You will have the option to receive a text message, and to securely pay the balance online at your convenience.

If you wish to see this kind of text message from us, please save the number (914) 594-5593 into your phone’s address book. 

The message you receive will be legitimate and may look like this (Android phone screenshot)

Once you click on the link, a different page will open (URL[long unique string]). 

The web form for you to fill out will look like this:

The balance due will prepopulate. You only need to enter the patient name, your credit or debit card information, your address, and it’s done. 

Convenient: no writing a check, no having to put it in a stamped envelope, and no having to call our office!

Wedding Announcement!

In January Dr. Harvey Levy and his family joyfully celebrated the wedding of his younger daughter, Ariel, to Samuel Scherr, originally from Baltimore.Though Sam’s brother, stepfather, and two step-uncles are dentists, Sam chose to be a CPA instead. The couple lives in Bethesda, where Ariel teaches fourth grade. Above is a photo of the happy couple with Dr. Levy and his wife Lena (who is our COO and practice manager).

Below is a screenshot of the formal and very commented on daddy-daughter dance. You can watch the whole 2 minute video

Spotlight on Us, in YOUR waiting room

Remember the years when our waiting room wasn’t used as one? At that time we purchased educational posters about COVID-19 for our patients to glance at as they left our office. Much to our chagrin, we recently noticed that those 2020 and 2021 posters are STILL there. 

We decided to make that bulletin board fun for you to look at, by focusing on our team members and what they’re up to, and changing it around several times a year. Soon you’ll see a display of:

  1. More GKAS photos (see article above)
  2. Our team member holiday lunch in December
  3. More photos of Dr. Levy’s family celebrating Ariel and Sam’s wedding (see article above)
  4. Tyann, our newest dental hygienist and January MVP.

Because you only visit us a few times a year, we’ll also share displays on Facebook, Google and Instagram.

French Onion Chicken Meatballs

French Onion Chicken Meatballs are a savory, flavorful little meaty morsel. Full of ooey gooey melty Gruyère cheese and fresh herbs, these little twists on convention are about to become a family favorite!


Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • ½ cup Gruyère cheese (shredded)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (such as Panko)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley (chopped)

French Onion Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter (unsalted)
  • 2 large onions (sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups beef broth (low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper (freshly ground, or to taste)
  • 2 cups gruyere cheese (shredded)


  1. Preheat your oven: To 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make meatballs: In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Gruyère cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Form into 15 meatballs, then place onto the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  3. Make sauce: In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter and add olive oil. Add onions and cook until very soft and golden, 25 minutes, stirring often. Be patient, you want to cook these onions slowly. If the heat is too high they will quickly burn. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add broth, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, another 10 minutes.
  4. Finish the dish: Add the meatballs to the skillet and sprinkle with Gruyère cheese. Cover and cook until meatballs are warmed through and cheese is melty, 5 minutes, or place your skillet under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until slightly golden. Serve warm, garnished with thyme.


  • The key to the best onions in this base, and in any French onion soups you make in the future, is to caramelize them until they’re sweet and beautifully browned. You’re going to need to cook your onions over low and slow heat for at least  25 minutes – but even longer if you’d like to go there.
  • In an airtight container these meatballs will keep for up to 3 – 4 days in the fridge. To freeze, just spread the cooked meatballs separately on a baking sheet and place in the freezer till they’re just frozen. Remove them and place in a freezer bag or other airtight container and place back in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freeze the sauce separately in an airtight container.
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