It is a well-known fact that oral hygiene relates directly to one’s overall health. Of the bacteria that thrives in the mouth, certain strains that cause periodontal disease have also been linked with pneumonia, prostate cancer, stroke and diabetes as well as breast cancer.
In a study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, a survey of 3,273 subjects found that women with chronic periodontal disease – which was indicated by missing molars – had a higher incidence of breast cancer.
By the time individuals with advanced periodontal disease have their teeth fall out, their body’s blood supply is infested with bacteria. According to the Karolinska Institute, which conducted the study, this bacterial infection can prompt the development of a co-infection of the Epstein-Barr virus and the cytomegalovirus. These viruses work together to suppress the body’s immune responses, which may in turn lead to incidences of breast cancer.
Periodontal treatments and screenings can help delay and halt the progression of advanced gum diseases. The American Dental Association (ADA) notes that regular dental checkups can help one assess if a visit to a periodontist is needed.
Is there a time that’s best to brush your teeth? After certain foods?
At a minimum, the American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day; one time should be before sleep. But if you snack and drink throughout the day, it may be helpful to brush your teeth more often.
When you brush your teeth, you help remove plaque — a sticky film that forms on your teeth because of bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria in plaque causes the two major tooth-related diseases, cavities (dental caries) and gum disease (periodontitis).
It’s important to brush your teeth after you eat, because certain food and drinks cause bacteria in your mouth to release acids that are harmful to your tooth enamel. When you eat food or drink beverages containing sugar or starch, the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that can attack your tooth enamel for 20 minutes or more. Choosing nutritious foods that are low in carbohydrates and sugar and drinking plenty of water also can help reduce harmful acid production.
One caveat to brushing after you eat is if you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink — for example, orange juice. Avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after acidic foods and beverages. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can cause damage to the enamel. If you know you’re going to eat or drink something very acidic ahead of time, you may want to brush your teeth first.
Brushing your teeth alone can’t remove all of the decay-causing plaque. The American Dental Association also recommends using an antimicrobial mouth rinse plus flossing daily between your teeth to get rid of food particles and minimize plaque and bacteria.
Many medications that we use, even those sold over the counter (without prescriptions) can be a source of serious oral or dental problems. Some medications cause a decrease in Saliva, while others lead to excessive growth of gum tissue (Gingival hyperplasia). These conditions allow bacteria to grow around teeth, and thereby produce cavities. Excessive gum tissue is also harder to keep clean, and can even become a cosmetic problem.
Some examples of potentially harmful medications are;
- Certain Blood Pressure pills (ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about yours)
- Some drugs for control of seizures (convulsions)
- Cough drops (sugar)
- Chewable Vitamin C tablets (increases acidity)
For further information about Dental Health, please visit the MedicineNet.com Dental Cavities Center.
The American Dental Association also offers important online information about dental health.
The piercing yowl of a baby in pain is enough to break a parent’s heart even if the cause is as ordinary as teething. Parents and other people with a child may notice teething as early as three months of age and it can continue until age three.
Teething pain can be relieved with a teething ring, a cool spoon, a cold wet washcloth or a toothbrush, according to Dr. Peter Domoto, professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in the University of Washington School of Dentistry.
Dr. Domoto noted that many parents hear false information about teething. Contrary to popular views, teething is not responsible for high fevers, diarrhea or facial rashes. These are conditions that merit a call or even a visit to the child’s health care provider. They have nothing to do with teething but may be a tipoff to a significant illness.
Teething occurs as the tooth penetrates the gum. Babies actually grow their teeth before birth and at about four months the teeth begin progressing to the surface. By age 3, the baby should have 20 pearly whites to show for his or her trouble.
Products such as Orajel may provide some relief. These products contain a local anesthetic, benzocaine, for surface use. Benzocaine is well adapted for topical anesthesia since it is absorbed slowly and is not toxic, according to Dr. Domoto. Other products approved by the American Dental Association include Baby Orabase, Gingicaine, Hurricaine, Super-Dent, Topex and Topicale.
Dr. Domoto noted that parents whose water is not floridated can promote the development of strong teeth during babyhood by obtaining a prescription for floruide drops for infants and toddlers. Chewable tablets should be used as soon as the youngster can “chew, swish and swallow,” he said.
Parents should never allow babies to fall asleep while sucking a bottle with milk or sweet fluids. Sugary fluids can sit in the baby’s mouth and vastly increase the likelihood that the baby will develop cavities.
The pain of teething is fleeting, but good care of baby’s teeth can make for the foundation of a healthy mouth.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) is the professional organization for periodontists—specialists in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also dentistry’s experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. They receive three additional years of specialized training following dental school, and periodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The AAP has 8,400 members worldwide.
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing more than 156,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry.
More than 500 medications can contribute to oral dryness, including antihistamines (for allergy or asthma), antihypertensive medications (for blood pressure), decongestants, pain medications, diuretics and antidepressants.
CHICAGO—August 11, 2011—Leading dental and pharmacy organizations are teaming up to promote oral health and raise public awareness of dry mouth, a side effect commonly caused by taking prescription and over-the-counter medications. More than 500 medications can contribute to oral dryness, including antihistamines (for allergy or asthma), antihypertensive medications (for blood pressure), decongestants, pain medications, diuretics and antidepressants. In its most severe form, dry mouth can lead to extensive tooth decay, mouth sores and oral infections, particularly among the elderly. Nearly half of all Americans regularly take at least one prescription medication daily, including many that produce dry mouth, and more than 90 percent of adults over age 65 do the same. Because older adults frequently use one or more of these medications, they are considered at significantly higher risk of experiencing dry mouth.
The American Dental Association (ADA), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) are collaborating to expand awareness of the impact of medications on dry mouth, a condition known to health professionals as xerostomia.
With regular saliva production, your teeth are constantly bathed in a mineral-rich solution that helps keep your teeth strong and resistant to decay. While saliva is essential for maintaining oral health and quality of life, at least 25 million Americans have inadequate salivary flow or composition, and lack the cleansing and protective functions provided by this important fluid. “Each day, a healthy adult normally produces around one-and-a-half liters of saliva, making it easier to talk, swallow, taste, digest food and perform other important functions that often go unnoticed,” notes Dr. Fares Elias, immediate past president, Academy of General Dentistry. “Those not producing adequate saliva may experience some common symptoms of dry mouth.”
Whitening toothpaste can whiten teeth slightly by removing surface stains, such as those caused by drinking coffee or smoking. Whitening toothpaste can also be used after a bleaching treatment to help maintain results. However, whitening toothpaste can’t change the natural color of teeth or reverse discoloration caused by excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development, penetrating surface stains or decay.
To remove surface stains, whitening toothpaste may include:
- Special abrasives that gently polish the teeth
- Chemicals, such as sodium tripolyphosphate, that help break down or dissolve stains
When used twice a day, whitening toothpaste typically takes two to four weeks to make teeth whiter. However, new research shows that whitening toothpaste containing the chemical blue covarine can make teeth appear immediately whiter. After use, blue covarine adheres to the surface of the teeth and creates an optical illusion that makes teeth appear less yellow.
Whitening toothpaste is generally safe for daily use, but excessive use might damage tooth enamel. If you’re considering using a whitening toothpaste, look for a brand that has a seal of approval from a reputable dental organization — such as the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which indicates that the toothpaste is effective at removing surface stains and reducing tooth decay. If you’re not satisfied with the effect of whitening toothpaste, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about more effective tooth whitening options.
(HealthDay News) — If your little one gets a lot of sweetened liquids — including juice, formula and even some brands of milk — the sugars from these liquids can cling to the teeth and cause “baby bottle” tooth decay.
The American Dental Association offers these preventive suggestions:
Wipe baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad after a feeding.
As soon as the first tooth breaks through, start brushing baby’s teeth. Begin flossing when baby has all of his or her teeth.
Don’t let your child take a bottle of juice, milk, formula or anything sweet to bed.
Don’t give your baby a bottle with soda or sugar water.
Talk to your dentist about ways to give your child fluoride if it isn’t in your local water supply.
Schedule regular dental visits for your child, starting at the first birthday.
HealthDay News) — It’s never too early to start caring for baby’s teeth and gums.
The American Dental Association offers these suggestions:
Even before teeth emerge, wipe down baby’s gums using clean gauze or a small, cool spoon.
Using water and a toothbrush made for babies, start brushing teeth as soon as they poke through.
Starting when your child reaches age 2 years, use a pea-sized squirt of toothpaste with fluoride.
Always clean baby’s pacifier before offering it.
Don’t let baby take a bottle to bed.