Posts Tagged ‘oral hygiene’

Gum Disease (One of the Major Causes of Bad Breath) Myths

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

gum disease myths

Many people fail to treat gum disease, even though it can cause severe damage if left untreated.  This is probably because most people fail to understand how serious gum/periodontal disease can be.   Statistics say that around 75%-80% of people have a for of gum disease, ranging from mild to severe. 

Here are some common MYTHS that you need to discard:

1.  Bleeding gums are not a big deal.  FALSE!  Many gum symptoms (i.e. bleeding/receding/red/swollen gums/bad breath) are all key signs that you might have periodontal disease.  If you notice that certain foods, flossing, and/or brushing can cause your gums to bleed, it’s best that you go to the dentist and get a diagnosis.  Gum disease not only can lead to tooth decay and loss, but it may help instigate disease in the heart, diabetes, and so on.  It may also be a sign of other serious issues in your body!

2.  Flossing every day is not important.  FALSE!  A good oral hygiene regimen requires that you floss on a daily basis as one of the main ways, besides brushing, to prevent gum disease.  Allegedly, only 13.5% of Americans floss that often.  Not a good sign! 

3.  Periodontist visits are intimidating, and they’ll pull your teeth if you go in for treatment.  FALSE!  Experts on gum disease have received specialized training to help with your dental problems– everything from the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum disease.  Also, technology and treatments are always improving, so visits are becoming more and more comfortable.  If you avoid gum disease treatment, the gums will continue to recede and you’ll lose your tooth naturally. 

4.  Once a tooth is lost from gum disease, you can’t get it back.  FALSE!  Gum disease may be one of the main causes of tooth loss in people over age 18, but periodontists are extremely knowledgeable in placing dental implants.  These are artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth.   Dental implants have a 98% success rate, and according to surveys, over 70% of people are extremely satisfied with the results of their dental implants. 

5.  Practicing poor oral care is the only way to get gum problems.  FALSE!  Neglecting your oral hygiene can definitely be a reason for gum disease progression, but other important factors need to be acknowledged.  Tobacco use, stress, a poor diet, and even genetics can alter how your body reacts to bacteria in the oral cavity. 

6.  Gum disease gets better on its own.   FALSE!  With the right care, it may clear up eventually, but it is an infection that needs immediate attention.  Just imagine if you had these open sores on your skin–just because it is in your mouth doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

7.  Bleeding gums are normal.  FALSE!  There is a reason as to why your gums are bleeding.  It does happen to almost everyone, but there has to be an actual injury to the gums causing them to bleed.

So, all in all, these statements are NOT true, and gum disease is something that you need to treat ASAP. 

Source:  The Mouth Doctor, Perio

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Protect Your Smile / Stop Halitosis

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

white smile

As you get older, you’ll realize how important proper oral hygiene is.  There are ways you can keep tabs on your oral health every month or so.  Check your mouth for white and red patches, tongue flakiness, pigmented lesions, and sores with uneven borders.  Oral cancer is rare with non-smokers, but it’s still possible to get it.  In order to check yourself for it, look at your outer and inner lips, and all sides of the tongue.  Look on the outside and inside if you cheers, and if there’s ever abnormalities that last longer than 14 days, ask a dental expert about it. 

Here are some things that you can pay attention to in order to protect your oral health:

Canker sores: these tend to pop up when people are stressed.  You can try a topical pain reliever directly on the spot.  Dentists can also use a soft-tissue laser to get rid of them.

Fix bad breath: If you’re not sure that you have bad breath at any given moment, use a cotton ball or gauze pad on the back of your tongue and smell it.  Whenever you brush your teeth, make sure to also get the back of your tongue, since this is where bacteria really like to proliferate.  Alcohol is found in most mouthwashes, but the problem with that is that alcohol helps dehydrate — thus drying the gums and reducing saliva flow.  After this, the bacteria multiples and causes the halitosis to worsen.  Keep in mind that TheraBreath sells an alcohol-free mouthwash!

Back of the mouth: Make sure to get this area when brushing, especially along the gum lines.  If you have a hard time accessing that area when brushing, slighty open the mouth.

Floss, floss, floss!  This is especially needed to prevent tartar buildup.  Toothbrushes can only get so far between the teeth–only 1 millimeter under the gums.  The problem is that gum pockers are usually 3-4 millimeters, which is deeper.  The bacteria feeds off the particles that get caught in these pockets, and if you don’t take care of the issue, you’ll have tooth decay and in extreme cases, jawbone loss.  Keep in mind that 80% of adults allegedly have a form of gum disease!

By practicing good oral hygiene, you’ll help keep your smile white and clean!

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New Year’s Resolution: No Bad Breath!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

new years resolutions
Happy new year everyone!  Since we all want a fresh start with the new year, why not also start with fresh breath? In order to combat bad breath, we need to know what causes it in the first place. Anaerobic bacteria exists in the biofilm that is formed on the tongue, and these bacteria break down proteins in food, resulting in the production of offensive smells due to gases like hydrogen sulphide and skatol.

Here are some tips to help avoid halitosis this new year:

1) Proper oral hygiene. One should gargle with lukewarm water after eating, even if it’s just a snack. Brushing should be done 2-3 times a day, and you should also use floss and a tongue scraper. Add TheraBreath to your daily regimen.
2) Proper brushing techniques. Avoid brushing too vigorously, as this does damage to the gums. Excessive brushing can damage tooth enamel. Try to brush the upper teeth in a downward direction, and the lower teeth in a upward direction.
3) Tooth picks
4) Food habits. Some foods that people eat are certainly smellier than others. Sometimes they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a raw onion a day keeps everybody away.” Also, try to maintain regularity in food timing.
5) Water intake. Keep hydrated to maintain a stable level of saliva.
6) Natural fresheners. Try spices like clove, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cumin seed. Citrus fruits can help banish bad breath.

And if these bad breath cures do not work, try the following:
1) Remove the underlying cause. Get checked out for general and systemic diseases like gastric disorders, diabetes, fevers, liver diseases, etc. If you have an infection, antibiotics, antifungal and antiviral medicines can help. You may even want to try saliva-producing tablets.
2) Get regular dental checkups and cleanings. If you have caries, make sure they get filled.
3) Tonsillectomies can help if you have recurrent tonsilitis.
4) Homeopathy. In this case, medicines are selected based on the physical, mental, social, and emotional characteristics of a person.
5) Psychological counseling.  Sometimes chronic halitosis sufferers are very depressed and have the tendency to avoid the public. 

Good luck and happy 2010!

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Poor Oral Hygiene Can Increase Brain Surgery Side Effects

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Hopefully you won’t need brain surgery anytime soon, but if you know someone who does, it would be a good idea for him or her to go to the dentist beforehand to prevent issues like pneumonia.

After a major operation (especially brain surgery), the elderly generation runs a 20% risk of getting pneumonia.  This is because brain surgery weaknes the gag and coughing reflexes, thus making it easier for patients to breath in bacteria from their mouth and nose.

A research study done among 23 people has found that proper oral hygiene before a surgery makes a difference.  There were five people who developed pneumonia within 48 hours of their operation, and each of them had poor oral health, like gingivitis, prior to the surgery.  It is estimated that the risk of infection after surgery in those with poor oral health is increased by at least threefold. 

Source: New Scientist

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Cancer Patients Need to Maintain Dental Health Prior to Therapy

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

cancer


After the recent deaths of many celebrities including Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, people are realizing that maintaining their health is more important than ever. People who have just learned that they have cancer may not be thinking about taking care of their oral hygiene, but this can have significant consequences. Cancer patients who do not discuss their sitaution with a dentist before starting chemotherapy or radiation may put the health of their teeth in jeopardy or delay their treatment.

 Dr. Mitchell Josephs, a dentist at Palm Beach Towers, tells people about to start chemotherapy that they should get a dental cleaning and X-ray to make sure that there are no abscesses. If there is an emergency extraction to remove an infected tooth, this could disrupt cancer treatment. Obviously, if you have to have emergency dental work done after you started cancer treatment, your healing ability is going to be reduced.

 Therapies can also weaken teeth and cause tooth decay. Chemotherapy and radiation can reduce the mouth’s ability to produce saliva temporarily. Saliva is what protects and coats the teeth so they are not damaged by acidic foods. If a person uses a custom fluoride tray to coat the teeth in a concentrated fluoride solution daily(ten minutes a day) while going through chemotherapy, their teeth are much less likely to be discolored and weakened.

 Decay is usually caused by a very dry mouth. Inflammation of the gums can also be caused by cancer treatment. Dentures that do not fit correctly can make the situation worse by possibly causing ulcerations. This problem can be fixed by getting new dentures or dental implants for replacing the teeth permanently.

 Mouth rinses can help reduce mucositis, which is the ulceration and inflammation of the mouth’s tissue. According to Dr. Daniel Spitz, when a patient goes through chemotherapy, any underlying dental problems will increase the likelihood of there being cavities, bone loss, and tooth loss. If the blood count gets low, bacterial infections can grow out of control.

Source: Palm Beach Daily News

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