Archive for August, 2009

Smoking and Gum Disease, Bad Breath

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Often times, the life expectancy of people who smoke (for a certain length of time) is decreased by 14 years.  Smoking not only alters the body’s immune response and causes bad breath, but it increases the risk of gum disease (periodontal disease) by two to seven-fold.  Of course, the effects that smoking tobacco has on the periodontal tissues depends on how many cigarettes smoked daily and how long the person has sthe habits.  Usually the periodontal tissues of men rather than women are more effected. Also, if you are being treated for gum disease, there are 4,000+ chemicals in cigarettes that slow down the healing of the gums including: formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, ammonia, arsenic.

Smoking also gives a favorable environment for bacteria in the mouth like P. gingivalis, P. intermedia, and A.actinomycetemcomitans, because the byproducts of smoking inhibit the mechanisms that restrict the growth of bad bacteria in the oral cavity.  With that said, smoking can encourage the early stages of periodontal lesions.  Smoking cigars and pipes have similar negative effects that cigarettes do on oral health.  So not only does smoking increase the damage that periodontal disease does, but it decreases the gum’s response to treatment, possibly causing refractory disease.  According to resources, if a person quits smoking, it is very likely that the harmful effects of tobacco use (on periodontal health) will gradually be stopped.  Therefore, if you are a smoker with oral health problems, it is definitely the best idea to quit smoking.


Fresh Breath

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 Dr Katz, America’s Bad Breath Expert, explains how to get fresh breath and stop bad breath for good! Stop dry mouth, halitosis, and sour tastes now!

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Aloe Vera and Bad Breath

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Did you know that aloe vera is another natural remedy for bad breath?  Of course.  It is both a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.  It helps protect the sensitive tissues in the oral cavity.  Since aloe vera is already known to help skin, digestive problems, the immune system and overall well-being, it would make sense that it has dental health benefits as well. 

Aside from maintaining good oral hygiene on a daily basis, you can also use aloe vera to help fight tooth decay.  The mouth holds a lot of bacteria that can attack the teeth and gums, and lead to problems like stomatitis, gum disease, and bad breath. 

Aloe vera works the best when it is working from inside the body; therefore, aloe vera supplements and juices are usually the most effective at fighting bad bacteria.  Sometimes extra supplements can get pricy, so you might just want to stick with toothpastes/toothgels that have aloe vera in them.  Not only will you be boosting your immunities, improving your skin’s appearance, and aiding your digestion, you will also be helping your smile by fighting the onset of tooth decay and bacteria.

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Don’t Make Oral Care Wait in a Bad Economy

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Oral health is an integral part to your body’s overall health, so even if the economy is tough, one must still go to the dentist regularly for checkups.  Dentists are releasing campaigns to make the public aware of the risks of waiting on dental care and neglecting checkups and treatments.  The Dental Trade Alliance, a nonprofit trade association, is helping sponsor this campaign.

Experts say that one should visit the dentist once every six months, and if one does not have a dentist, he or she should find someone knowledgeable in the subject. 

There are various risks of postponing dental care, including:

Tooth decay.  Since it’s a progressive disease, postponing treatment may make the sufferer in need of a more complex/expensive solution, like root canals or tooth extractions.  Also, it is a contagious disease, and it can be spread to others.

Periodontal disease that goes untreated has been linked with having damaging effects especially on those with diabetes, heart disease, strokes, or women who are pregnant.

– Constant bad breath / halitosis can also be prevented by having regular checkups / cleanings

The Chicago Dental Society says than half of dentists surveyed said that people were putting off going to the dentist, and more than 40% said that preventive care had decreased.  Also, the Wall Street Journal reported the ADA noticing that unbooked appointiment times were increasing. 

Since there are so many risks associated with neglecting dental care (diabetes, heart disease, and so on), it is important that one does not postpone or forget going to the dentist.  There are even dentists offering discounts to their patients to encourage them to maintain good oral  hygiene in a bad economy. Your oral and overall health care cannot wait, so take action now.

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Why Did I Chip / Break My Tooth?

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Why Do Teeth Break and Chip?

Most people have experienced chipping or breaking one of their teeth at one point or another.  However, they may not know why it happened.  An accidental injury, bite discrepancies, grinding (bruxism), clenching, or tooth decay (a tooth that has decayed enough to undermine its surface) can obviously cause breakage.  However, it is not common knowledge that one’s tooth can also break/chip if a tooth filling (either amalgram silver and composite fillings) is not the right size or has any cracks in it. 

What To Do If You Break Your Tooth

Since breaks can range from small chips to major fractures, you could either need a major procedure or no treatment at all.  A tooth has three layers: the enamel (hard outer coating), the dentin (middle layer under the enamel), and the pulp, which is the tooth’s fleshy nerve center.  The most common tooth breakage is just a chip where one’s tooth simply loses some enamel.  Usually, no pain is felt.  If enough tooth enamel is chipped off, the dentin may be exposed.  The tooth may not hurt too much, but it is more sensitive to cold.  The worst breaks expose the pulp, which can cause extreme pain and even bleeding.

If you get a small chip in your tooth and it is feeling sensitive, try a painkiller (if it is safe for you to take it), and make a dental appointment.  For more serious fractures, rinse your mouth out with warm water, and make a dentist appointment as soon as possible.  If you take a painkiller, do not take aspirin as it increases the risk of heavy bleeding.  If your mouth was injured and your soft tissue is swelling, apply an ice pack to it. 

A dental emergency involves your whole tooth being knocked out, roots and all, and this requires immediate treatment to save the tooth. Pharmacies sell tooth savers, which is something people should keep in their medicine cabinets in case of an emergency like this.  The tooth should be carried to the dentist in a container of either your saliva or milk.  Do not touch the root of the tooth, so it does not get damaged.  Handle the tooth gently, do not scrub it, but you can rinse the tooth with milk if you feel the need to.

Broken Tooth Treatment

Even if your tooth only got chipped, the dentist is probably going to take an x-ray of the damaged tooth and recommend being gentle with it for a few days.  Usually a minor chip can be smoothed out/polished, or perhaps filled with a composite material.  If the break is more serious, rapid treatment is needed. 

If dentin is exposed, a dentist can cover it with a material that will provide protection temporarily until a more specific treatment is begun.  A tooth can almost always be completely recovered with a permanent crown if the pulp remains healthy. 

Unfortunately, if the pulp is damaged, the solution will be more complicated.  Endodontists and general dentists perform root canals in order to remove the damaged pulp before putting on a crown.  An immediate follow-up may be requested if the break in your tooth is more than a small chip, in order to make sure it is healing correctly. 

How to Prevent Your Teeth From Chipping/Breaking

People can take various precautions in order to prevent a tooth fracture from happening.  While playing sports, one can use a mouth guard that protects the teeth while allowing the person to breathe and be active without distraction.  One should go on regular dental checkups for preventive treatment and practice proper oral care habits at home.  By doing this, one will prevent the development of tooth decay that could induce breakage. 

If you have large fillings in one or more of your teeth, you should probably get the high-risk teeth crowned because the preventative treatment is less painful and costly than if you wait until they fracture.  It is common for root canals to be needed for teeth cracked from oversized fillings in order to save them.  Sometimes the tooth will need to be removed from your mouth completely if the case is severe enough.  Crowns hold teeth together by surrounding them in a continuous shell. 

Also, if you have an uneven bite or an issue with bruxism or clenching, your dentist can take care of any problems caused by these issues in a comprehensive treatment plan for mouth restoration; with this, uneven and extreme wear is minimized and cracks are much less likely to occur.