Archive for June, 2013

What’s the Deal with Hydrogen Peroxide?

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

184540_6193Hydrogen peroxide is one of those items that almost everyone has in their medicine cabinet, and it can actually be a great solution for many things. Whether you have a cut on your hand, need to whiten your clothes or want to wipe down mirrors without streaks, hydrogen peroxide can get the job done. It also has many benefits for your mouth, and it is widely, safely and effectively used in dental practices today. Most notably, the solution is used as a home remedy for teeth whitening.

A recent article published in Registered Dental Hygienist reported that the product can be used to treat periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease. In 1913, dentists started using hydrogen peroxide to decrease the amount of dental plaque on teeth and to control gum disease, and it can still be used today. Hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen, which is a powerful antimicrobial action. If hydrogen peroxide can be held in place along the gum line and within the periodontal pockets that appear in those with gum disease, it can penetrate the slime matrix that protects biofilm and then removes bacterial cell walls; however, it needs as least 10 minutes to do so.

The study followed four patients who were suffering from different stages of periodontal disease, and each were given doses of hydrogen peroxide for at least 10 minutes. Depending on the clinical level of each patient’s illness, the time frame of the dosage was increased. Patients received 10-minute dosages either two times a day, or four times a day for five weeks, or 15-minute dosages six times a day for two weeks. After using the solution for the designated amount of time, all four patients had no bleeding when dentists probed the gums as well as no or less bacterial sites.

While hydrogen peroxide does not have the same powers as antiseptics, it works to clear away debris through oxidation, which is why it is very effective for getting rid of dental plaque. Additionally, this may mean that hydrogen peroxide can be used as a tool against bad breath because it prevents bacteria buildup in the mouth if used on a regular basis.

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America and the Dental Divide

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

37982_4441For many people, planning a routine visit to the dentist may not be the most fun, but it is an important step to maintaining a healthy mouth. Unfortunately, not everyone has the resources to get semiannual cleanings to protect against the need for cavity treatmentsdental plaque buildup, gum disease and tooth decay. According to a recent research report released by the American Dental Association, the number of people that had to visit the emergency room due to dental problems nearly doubled within a decade in the United States. A new analysis of 2010 data from the ADA Healthy Policy Resources Center based on U.S. Census Data and Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found that 181 million Americans didn’t visit the dentist during that year. This likely plays a major role in the fact that nearly 50 percent of adults over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Increased ER visits from dental issues
Based on statistics from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, ER visits due to dental issues grew from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010. This means that dental-related visits increased from 1.06 percent to 1.65 percent of all ER visits. While there are many reasons why people don’t make appointments with the dentist, one of the major issues is an individual’s lack of dental insurance. According to the study, young adults between the ages of 21 and 34 are the main demographic responsible for the increase in visits to the emergency room because many people in that age bracket don’t have access to a dental provider.

The nonprofit organization, Community Catalyst, has been urging for a mid-level position that could help improve the amount of care available to patients. Since roughly 130 million Americans don’t have access to dental insurance, dental therapists could provide similar care that nurses or physician assistants perform at a doctor’s office without a patient needing coverage. Unfortunately, many dentists oppose this new position and there are only a few states that authorize dental therapists. People in this position could provide preventive measures, but not cavity treatments that are available from licensed dentists only.

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Cure Bad Breath on Eat Your Vegetables Day

Monday, June 17th, 2013

1421738_56683347Your mother probably always told you to eat your vegetables, and you should listen to this solid advice on June 17 for National Eat Your Vegetables Day. Produce should be included in your daily diet for a variety of reasons, including the health and wellbeing of your mouth! Did you know that eating a proper amount of fruits and vegetables will beat your bad breath, get rid of dry mouth and help you keep dental plaque at bay? These are some powerful little foods, so eat up June 17, and take advantage of this nationwide event.

“Adequate nutrition is important in disease prevention, and nutritional counseling is becoming an increasingly important tactic in preventive dentistry,” Ken Sutherland, senior dental consultant at Delta Dental, said. “The quality and consistency of foods, their nutritional composition and the combinations in which they are eaten can affect oral health, including the likelihood of tooth decay.”

Here are just a few of the best vegetables you can consume to keep your teeth and mouth in tip-top shape:

Root vegetables
Chomping on carrots and celery isn’t just for rabbits – but it could be why Bugs Bunny had those perfect pearly whites. Fibrous vegetables like these are great for oral care because they promote strong gums and healthy teeth. These vegetables contain beta carotene, which aids in the production of vitamin A to maintain normal function of the heart, lungs and kidneys. But they directly influence the health of your teeth as well. For instance, carrots and celery are both very crunchy, so when you eat them, it scrubs away dental plaque on the teeth. Just try it: After munching on a few pieces, you’ll notice your teeth feeling extra clean. Root vegetables are also a natural bad breath cure because they contain a high concentration of water to rinse away leftover food particles while moistening the mouth.

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Teen Habits and their Effect on Oral Hygiene

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

1184390_72579423Parents strive to teach their children good habits at a young age with the hope that they will continue a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. But once kids hit their teenage years, rebellion takes over and those productive manners may go out the window. Keeping up with good oral health habits as an adolescent can ensure that the gums, teeth and mouth are in top condition for a lifetime. Here are a few things to consider in order to maintain those pearly whites and fresh breath:

Gum

For many teenagers, chewing gum is routine. From the classroom to going out with friends, teenagers have a strange tendency to always be chomping down. While some gum can actually improve breath and help avoid dry mouth, typical packs from the super market are loaded with sugar. Instead of picking up a stick of gum with a layer of “fruit,” try sugarless gum made with the natural sweetener xylitol after meals. Consider having this all-natural gum around the house so your teenager won’t be tempted to pick up a sugar-loaded pack.

Piercings

Body piercings have become much more acceptable in modern society, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences that come along with them. Tongue and lip piercings can cause teeth to chip and gums to recede. In addition, these piercings can be prone to infection, which causes bad breath and creates other issues throughout the entire mouth. Encourage children to avoid this type of body art.

Soda/sports drinks

Teenagers can sometimes down soda like it is water! There are countless harmful side effects to drinking these carbonated beverages, and they can wreak havoc on the entire mouth. Not only is one can filled with 38 grams of sugar or more, its sticky, syrupy texture lingers on the teeth, gums and tongue for much too long. Drinking just one bottle of soda pop a day can increase the amount of anaerobic bacteria in the mouth, cause bad breath, promote tooth decay and dry out the mouth. Unfortunately, sports drinks are not much better. Kids who play sports in school tend to carry along one of these beverages after or during a meet or game, but they are often loaded with a similar amount of sugar as soda. Instead, encourage teenagers to drink plenty of water, or even coconut water. Coconut water is all-natural and rehydrates better than typical sports drinks.

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Taking a Hint: Knowing You Have Bad Breath by Others’ Reactions

Monday, June 10th, 2013

ss-tellafriendDo you ever notice people shying away from you while you’re having a conversation? Could it be that you’re suffering from bad breath? You might hope that a close friend or family member will give you a heads up if your mouth is less-than-fresh, but some people have difficulty being the bearer of bad news. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re on top of your smelly breath:

Subtle cues
Do people often offer you a stick of gum or mint? This could be a signal that your bad breath is affecting social situations. It may be hard to come to terms with the situation, but don’t worry, you’re not alone: Many people experience halitosis from time to time. Think of it this way, the sooner you know about your halitosis symptoms, the quicker you’ll be able to find a long-term solution!

If you think you may have bad breath, pay attention to the way people react when you are speaking to them. Do they turn away or refrain from looking you in the eye? If you notice these non-verbal cues regularly, dig up the confidence to ask someone if this is happening for a reason. While some people naturally have more passive body language, others may be reacting to your bad breath. And remember, there is a chance that someone is going to tell you that you do have bad breath, so just prepare for the answer.

Ida Alvarez, a 31-year-old from, from Los Angeles, always had an inkling she was stinking up the room with her bad breath, but never had a friend give her the heads up. Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder of The Etiquette School of New York told CNN that while the issue is delicate, it’s better to bring it up to someone than talk behind his or her back about the situation.

“My mom was the one who finally told me my breath smelled bad. She couldn’t hold back,” Alvarez told CNN. “It embarrassed me at first, but I’m happy she said something, because now I watch what I eat, drink more water and use products to get rid of it.”

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