Posts Tagged ‘tooth decay’

Keeping Up with Oral Health as You Age

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

oral health as you age

May is National Older Americans Month. Despite the belief that many seniors lose their natural teeth as they age, about 75 percent of people 65 and older have retained all or some of their natural teeth.

With that being said, there’s no doubt that older adults face oral health problems. Sure, one might think that he or she need not be concerned about cavities anymore. But, just like with younger people, tooth decay can cause pain and discomfort as well as wear down the gums. In fact, cavities can occur more frequently in older adults for several reasons. Firstly, seniors may not have been exposed to a fluoridated water system as children or used toothpaste that contains fluoride in the past.

As gum tissue begins to recede in older adults, cavities become more prevalent, since plaque has more space to harbor between the teeth and gums. Also, dry mouth, a result of the natural aging process and certain medications, can lead to more tooth decay. Perhaps most relevantly, older adults are also more likely to have decay around older fillings.

“I wish all fillings and dental work would last forever, but dental work requires maintenance,” Dr. Bruce Terry, a member of the Pennsylvania Dental Association, told the Digital Journal. “Everyone should be seen by their dentist regularly to see if there are any broken teeth or fillings. The health of the gum tissues can also be an early sign of several systemic diseases like diabetes.”

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Educating Parents to Improve Kids’ Oral Health

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

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To improve children’s oral health and keep them active in the classroom, education for parents may be the first step. From the early 1970s to the 1990s, the amount of cavities in the baby teeth of children ages 2 to 11 declined, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. However, in their latest study, that trend flipped. A small yet significant rise in tooth decay showed that 42 percent of kids have some form of cavity or dental caries. That’s about 21 million American children.

Education starts at home, where parents are lifelong teachers. Since day one, we learn from what our parents do, how they treat others and how they take care of themselves. You are your kids’ learning models. The attitudes you maintain about oral health inspire theirs and can steer them to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Even if your kid seems to rebel against you sometimes, little Johnny or Sara will take after you more than you realize.

After all, tooth decay in primary teeth has hefty implications on dental health later in life.

“We do know from a number of studies that when children have tooth decay in their baby teeth, they tend to have decay later in their adult teeth,” lead researcher Bruce Dye of the National Center of Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News.

Encourage your children to eat nutritious meals and avoid frequent snacking. If you pack his or her lunch for school, make sure to throw in an apple, banana or some other fruit. Teach them from a young age to develop good habits for flossing and brushing. Dentists recommend that adults and kids floss once a day. Interestingly enough, it has been shown that flossing before brushing is more likely to develop into a habit. Why? Often after we finish with the toothbrush we feel like our mouths are sufficiently clean, so we postpone using the thread until tomorrow … or sometimes next month. Always floss before brushing!

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Educating Parents to Improve Kids’ Oral Health

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

tooth-decay-bad-breathTo improve children’s oral health and keep them active in the classroom, education for parents may be the first step. From the early 1970s to the 1990s, the amount of cavities in the baby teeth of children ages 2 to 11 declined, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. However, in their latest study, that trend flipped. A small yet significant rise in tooth decay showed that 42 percent of kids have some form of cavity or dental caries. That’s about 21 million American children.

Education starts at home, where parents are lifelong teachers. Since day one, we learn from what our parents do, how they treat others and how they take care of themselves. You are your kids’ learning models. The attitudes you maintain about oral health inspire theirs and can steer them to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Even if your kid seems to rebel against you sometimes, little Johnny or Sara will take after you more than you realize.

After all, tooth decay in primary teeth has hefty implications on dental health later in life.

“We do know from a number of studies that when children have tooth decay in their baby teeth, they tend to have decay later in their adult teeth,” lead researcher Bruce Dye of the National Center of Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News.

Encourage your children to eat nutritious meals and avoid frequent snacking. If you pack his or her lunch for school, make sure to throw in an apple, banana or some other fruit. Teach them from a young age to develop good habits for flossing and brushing. Dentists recommend that adults and kids floss once a day. Interestingly enough, it has been shown that flossing before brushing is more likely to develop into a habit. Why? Often after we finish with the toothbrush we feel like our mouths are sufficiently clean, so we postpone using the thread until tomorrow … or sometimes next month. Always floss before brushing!

(more…)

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How Cranberries Protect Your Teeth from Cavity-causing Bacteria

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

1339875_95150591When you’re devouring Thanksgiving foods, the bacteria in your mouth are feasting too.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Hundreds of different kinds live on our gums, teeth, tongue and cheeks. While some bacteria are helpful, others can cause harm, such as those that play a role in tooth decay.

To say sugar is the main cause of cavities isn’t quite the whole story. While it can do nasty damage to teeth, the leading cause of dental caries is called Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, which is a type of bacteria that lives in your mouth. In fact, it falls under the category of anaerobic bacteria, meaning that it can live without oxygen – think of anaerobic workouts, such as weight lifting, which doesn’t consume a lot of oxygen, and aerobic workouts, such as long-distance running, which are known to lead to huffing and puffing.

Let’s take a look at the science behind S. mutans. This troublesome bacterium splits sugars in foods and uses them to build its own little capsule, which sticks tightly to the teeth. The bacteria produce a strong acid that attacks enamel and starts to erode the tooth. If the acids are not removed, it can end up creating tiny holes in the tooth - what we all know as cavities.

So, how do cranberries help protect against dental caries?
When you’re scooping delicious stuffing, turkey and gravy onto your plate at dinner time, don’t forget about cranberries! These red berries have been proven to contain a boatload of antioxidants and can help fight off dental plaque. A team from the University of California at Los Angeles and Oceanspray Cranberry showed that the flavonoids quercetin and myricetin in cranberries prevent S. mutans bacteria from sticking to teeth, thereby reducing the amount of cavities.

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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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