Archive for the ‘gum disease’ Category

Risks of Chewing Tobacco on Oral Health

Friday, November 15th, 2013

452622_30653429Much has been made about the harmful effects of cigarettes on oral health as well as overall health. But what about the stuff you don’t inhale, such as snuff and chew? In fact, these forms of smokeless tobacco are on the rise among Americans. In a study conducted between 2002 and 2008, there was a 47 percent increase in the number of new smokeless tobacco users.

Snuff is a finely ground or shredded tobacco that users “dip” between the gum and cheek. Chewing tobacco comes in a loose leaf, twist or plug form, which the user places inside the cheek. In the U.S., smokeless tobacco has long been associated with baseball. Players keep a wad in their bottom lips to keep their mouth moist, then spit the liquid out onto the field. Many people know the product simply as chew, spit, dip, plug and chaw. But whatever the name, the health risks remain.

Is smokeless tobacco better for you than cigarettes?
No. All tobacco, including snuff and chew, contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Though nicotine is absorbed more slowly from smokeless tobacco than a cigarette, the amount that enters that bloodstream is three to four times greater than its smoking counterpart, while more nicotine per dose is absorbed stays in the blood longer. According to the National Cancer Institute, at least 28 chemicals in snuff and chew have been found to cause cancer.

Gum disease
One of the most common triggers from smokeless tobacco is gum disease, also known as gingivitis (in the early stage) and periodontal disease (in the advanced stage). When you put a pinch of chew on the inside of your lip, the chemicals in the tobacco irritate and erode the gum line, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth. Many regular chew users experience receding gums and permanent discoloration of their teeth. If you’ve ever seen a picture of someone who has a history of dipping, their bottom and top rows of teeth are a brownish-yellow. As the level of the gums sink, plaque and tartar find the bigger pockets to stick to and destroy the teeth. Extreme forms of gum disease lead to tooth loss.

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Rising Smoke of E-cigarettes: More Users and Oral Health Problems

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

808629_24052868Electronic cigarettes have been hitting the market hard. The battery powered-devices that deliver nicotine vapors are gaining ground among every age group, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The most stirring result, however, are their increasing popularity in young teens. According to a CDC national survey, the number of students in middle and high school who tried e-cigarettes doubled in 2012 from the previous year, totaling 1.8 million teenagers.

What are e-cigs, and how do they impact oral health?
Electronic cigarettes are inhalers that use refillable cartridges to provide doses of nicotine and other additives. Users change out the cartridges after 110 to 180 puffs, as they are not gauged in time duration. They contain irritants, animal carcinogens and genotoxins. Frequently, they have been considered a substitute for traditional cigarettes and a method for quitting smoking. The U.S. Food and Drug Association does not regulate these devices.

Although the vapor-emitting product has not been around long enough to be tested for any possible health risks, experts say that they are likely better for you than traditional cigarettes.

This is perhaps why many kids have turned toward them as a tobacco substitute. In 2012, approximately 160,000 students in middle and high school who reported using e-cigs had never tried conventional cigarettes. Many worry that the nicotine vaporizers might be a gateway, and could be reverting the act of smoking back to being cool.

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New Oral Care Appliance Helps Fight Gum Disease

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

ACCS-MSC-128On the whole, people care about their teeth – what they look like, how they feel and how white they can get. However, our pearlies are only half the equation of a healthy smile, as our gums play a larger role than we might think.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 50 percent of American adults have gum disease. This consists of both gingivitis – the inflammation of the gums (early stage), and periodontal disease (advanced stage).

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that keep your teeth in place. More often than not, it is triggered by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque and anaerobic bacteria to stick onto the teeth. The main area of infection is where the teeth meet the gums, or the gum pockets. The bigger the pockets, the larger amount of space bacteria has to take shelter. If left untreated, the gingivitis can turn into advanced-stage gum disease. Gradually, a patient’s gums erode; the teeth loosen, and may even fall out.  Today, more people lose their teeth due to gum disease than tooth decay.

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Ad Council Campaign Successful in First Year

Friday, October 11th, 2013

dental hygiene productsOne year ago, the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives announced a campaign to encourage parents to promote good oral hygiene habits in their children. The Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign received more than $33 million in free ad time and space donations from TV, print, outdoor and digital media outlets. The widespread publicity of the campaign urged parents to encourage their children to brush twice a day for two minutes to avoid tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.

The motto, ”2min2x,” is used to encourage kids to take precautionary efforts to avoid painful procedures in the future. Preventative measures, like brushing every day, using alcohol-free mouthwash and flossing, can even make it easier for kids to go to the dentist, as they won’t have to fear cavity treatments.

According to the Ad Council study conducted one year after the start of the campaign, more than 50 percent of parents said they had heard or seen the PSAs.

The survey noted a significant increase in the number of parents who reported that their child brushes at least twice a day, compared with prior to the start of the campaign. Specifically, the study showed that 55 percent of English speaking parents, up from 48 percent; and 77 percent of Spanish speaking parents, up from 69 percent, reported better routines since 2012.

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Smiling for National Dental Hygiene Month

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

iStock_000014279123XSmallOctober is National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM). To celebrate, buy yourself a new toothbrush, a pack of floss, some oral rinse and a wad of gum. After all, the cornerstones of a healthy mouth are “brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing,” which is the motto of the program. 

For NDHM this year, the American Dental Association (ADA) is focusing on prevention. They emphasize the value of increasing public awareness of preventative services that help maintain good oral health.

It is estimated that 75 percent of adults have periodontal problems in some form. Each year, active, employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work due to oral health issues. It may have been invigorating to skip school as a kid, but missing work as a grown-up can force you to fall behind with clients, colleagues and important projects. Therefore, the more you stay on top of your dental game, the longer you’ll be able to stay off the bench.

“A clean mouth is the first line of defense for a healthy body,” announced ADHA President Denise Bowers, RDH, PhD. “Oral diseases are prevalent but extremely preventable. Wrigley shares this philosophy with us. As we celebrate our partnership, Wrigley and ADHA would like to remind hygienists and patients that chewing sugar-free gum is good you and should be part of your daily oral health regimen.”

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