March 2010
ODS news
Squares accent

Maternity coaching program

According to the National Institute for Health Statistics, there are more babies born in August than any other month. That means this is the time of year expectant parents could use a little extra guidance as they prepare for their new arrival.

Lucky for ODS members, the ODS Maternity Coaching program will help them stay healthy and informed during their pregnancy. As a participant in the ODS Maternity Coaching program, members will:
  • Work one-on-one with a trained coach over the phone or via e-mail
  • Get support and advice throughout their pregnancy
  • Receive a free gift
Enrolling is easy
Members can easily enroll in the Maternity Coaching Program by calling 877-277-7281 or sending an e-mail to

10 Things to Do Before Getting Pregnant

  1. Plan when you want to get pregnant and have a baby.

  2. Use a safe and reliable form of birth control until you're ready to get pregnant.

  3. Take a multivitamin pill that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.  This reduces the risk of nueral tube birth defects.

  4. Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking illegal drugs.  Smoking increasing risk for low birth weight and drinking can cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

  5. Eat healthy and get to your optimal weight.  Being overweight can affect fertility and increase the risk of infections while pregnant and complications during delivery.

  6. Do something active every day. This doesn't have to be going to the gym. Gardening, cleaning, and taking the stairs at work are all helpful physical activities.

  7. Avoid exposure to chemicals and other harmful substances at work or home. This could be fertilizers, paints, or cleaning products containing toxic chemicals.

  8. Learn ways to lower your stress. Find out what your stress triggers are and how to manage them in a healthy way.

  9. Learn about your family history.  Is there a history of pregnancy complications?

  10. Get a medical checkup.  Talk to your doctor about your family history, medicines you take, vaccinations, medical conditions, and your options.

EOS assists with eligibility updates

Employer Online Services (EOS) is a free service available to all groups seven days a week giving you direct access to ODS' eligibility system.

With this feature you have the ability to:

  • Enroll members
  • Order ID cards
  • Update address and personal information
  • Update Primary Care Physician
  • Terminate coverage
  • View eligibility
Online Reporting - for groups with 100+ enrolled employees/subscribers

With our commitment to providing enhanced reporting on large groups, your life just got a little easier.

To sign up for EOS please visit our website:

At the bottom of the page follow the instructions for "Getting Started With Employer Online Services" or to speak to a specialist to assist you in setting up on EOS account please call 503-265-5680 or toll-free 877-277-7075.

About dental amalgam fillings (silver fillings)

What is dental amalgam?

Dental amalgam is a dental filling material used to fill cavities caused by tooth decay. It has been used for more than 150 years in hundreds of millions of patients.

Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin and copper. Approximately 50 percent of dental amalgam is elemental mercury by weight.

Dental amalgam fillings are also known as "silver fillings" because of their silver-like appearance.

When placing dental amalgam, the dentist first drills the tooth to remove the decay and then shapes the tooth cavity for placement of the amalgam filling. Next, under appropriate safety conditions, the dentist mixes the powdered alloy with the liquid mercury to form an amalgam putty.  This softened amalgam putty is placed in the prepared cavity, where it hardens into a solid filling.

What should I know before getting a dental amalgam filling?

Deciding what filling material to use to treat dental decay is a choice that must be made by you and your dentist.

As you consider your options, you should keep in mind the following information.

Potential benefits:

  • Dental amalgam fillings are strong and long-lasting, so they are less likely to break than some other types of fillings.
  • Dental amalgam is the least expensive type of filling material.
Potential risks:
  • Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury. It releases low levels of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. High levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the best available scientific evidence to determine whether the low levels of mercury vapor associated with dental amalgam fillings are a cause for concern. Based on this evidence, FDA considers dental amalgam fillings safe for adults and children ages six and older. The amount of mercury measured in the bodies of people with dental amalgam fillings is well below levels associated with adverse health effects. Even in adults and children ages  and older who have fifteen or more amalgam surfaces, mercury exposure due to dental amalgam fillings has been found to be far below the lowest levels associated with harm. Clinical studies in adults and children ages six and older have also found no link between dental amalgam fillings and health problems.

There is limited clinical information about the potential effects of dental amalgam fillings on pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and on children under the age of six, including breastfed infants. However, the estimated amount of mercury in breast milk attributable to dental amalgam is low and falls well below general levels for oral intake that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe. The FDA concludes that the existing data supports a finding that infants are not at risk for adverse health effects from the breast milk of women exposed to mercury vapor from dental amalgam. The estimated daily dose of mercury vapor in children under age six with dental amalgams is also expected to be at or below levels that the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider safe. Pregnant or nursing mothers and parents with young children should talk with their dentists if they have concerns about dental amalgam.

Some individuals have an allergy or sensitivity to mercury or the other components of dental amalgam (such as silver, copper or tin). Dental amalgam might cause these individuals to develop oral lesions or other contact reactions. If you are allergic to any of the metals in dental amalgam, you should not get amalgam fillings. You can discuss other treatment options with your dentist.

Why is mercury used in dental amalgam?

Approximately half of a dental amalgam filling is liquid mercury and the other half is a powdered alloy of silver, tin and copper. Mercury is used to bind the alloy particles together into a strong, durable, and solid filling. Mercury's unique properties (it is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature and that bonds well with the powdered alloy) make it an important component of dental amalgam that contributes to its durability.

Is the mercury in dental amalgam the same as the mercury in some types of fish?

No. There are several different chemical forms of mercury: elemental mercury, inorganic mercury and methylmercury. The form of mercury associated with dental amalgam is elemental mercury, which releases mercury vapor. The form of mercury found in fish is methylmercury, a type of organic mercury. Mercury vapor is mainly absorbed by the lungs. Methylmercury is mainly absorbed through the digestive tract. The body processes these forms of mercury differently and has different levels of tolerance for mercury vapor and methylmercury. Methylmercury is more toxic than mercury vapor.

If I am concerned about the mercury in dental amalgam, should I have my fillings removed?

If your fillings are in good condition and there is no decay beneath the filling, the FDA does not recommend that you have your amalgam fillings removed or replaced. Removing sound amalgam fillings results in unnecessary loss of healthy tooth structure and exposes you to additional mercury vapor released during the removal process.

However, if you believe you have an allergy or sensitivity to mercury or any of the other metals in dental amalgam (such as silver, tin or copper), you should discuss treatment options with your dentist.

This article is reprinted with permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Issue: 2
In This Issue
EOS benefits
Dental amalgam fillings
The Children's Program
Fighting childhood obesity

ODS, OEBB and dentists partner to provide dental care to children

We all know the negative effects poor oral health can have on a child, developmentally, socially and academically. Oregon remains a state where far too many children suffer poor oral health. To combat this issue, ODS and the Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB) are launching an effort we call The Children's Program, a groundbreaking plan to address this situation where participating Oregon dentists will provide dental services for uninsured six to 12 year-olds throughout our state.


Working with Oregon schools, county health departments, hospital emergency rooms and pediatricians to identify children in need of care, ODS will refer patients to participating dentists for treatment. This new initiative will provide access to basic dental services for uninsured six to 12 year-olds at no charge once they have been enrolled in the program.

There will be zero patient responsibility for services covered. This program will let us help children improve their health and their confidence.


The dentists of Oregon are to be thanked for their participation, for without them, this program could not exist.


For more information on the Children's Program  ODS website.

Making our children healthier

ODS is proud to partner with We Can!tm (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition), a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers and entire communities a way to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight through improved food choices, increased physical activity and reduced screen time. Created by the National Institutes of Health, the nation's medical research agency, We Can! provides families and communities with science-based educational materials and curricula to prevent childhood overweight and obesity.

Why work with We Can!?

ODS is committed to helping our members get and stay healthy - and healthy behaviors established early in life can have lasting positive effects. ODS chose to partner with the National Institutes of Health's We Can! program because it is unique among existing youth obesity-prevention initiatives in its focus on reaching parents, families and caregivers as a primary group for influencing young people.

For more details and resources about the We Can! program, visit the ODS website or the NHLBI.

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