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Friday, August 11, 2017

The risks of oral piercing

Young people today choose to make a variety of fashion statements affecting not just the clothes they wear but also their bodies through tattoos and piercing, for example.
Oral piercing may be something they feel looks good but it can lead to problems where they end up needing medical or dental treatment.
Oral piercing can often lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, infection, increased saliva flow and injuries to the gum tissue.
There can be severe bleeding if a blood vessel is in the path of the needle during the piercing.
Swelling of the tongue is also a common side effect and, in extreme cases, this can block the airway and lead to breathing difficulties.
Other possible problems include chipped or cracked teeth, blood poisoning or even blood clots.
Infection is a very common complication of oral piercing because of the millions of bacteria in your mouth.
Of course, the jewelry itself also causes risk. It can be swallowed or cause damage to your teeth.
So, while young people may feel piercings in the mouth look cool, a great smile will look a lot better in the years to come.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tips for people with difficulty handling a toothbrush

There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush.
This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.
Here are some simple ‘home remedies’:
– Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand
– Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip
– Wind an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor
– Tie floss into a loop for easier handling
– Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder
Your dentist will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips for people who need an easier way to handle a toothbrush and floss.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why your routine dental cleaning is not routine

For many patients, the dental cleaning appointment may seem little more than a more complicated version of brushing your teeth.
However, this appoinment plays a crucial role in patient education and prevention of dental disease.
The appointment is called a dental prophylaxis, or prophy and it’s one of the most important steps in your dental care program.
Here are some of the elements that it may include, depending on your needs:
– Oral hygiene evaluation
– Tooth brushing and flossing instructions
– Scaling above the gum to remove plaque and tartar
– Debridement of tartar beneath the gum
– Polishing the teeth
– Periodontal charting
It’s important to remove plaque from the teeth as it ultimately forms a hard, rough sediment known as tartar or calculus, which must be removed by a dental professional to help prevent periodontal disease.
Polishing the teeth removes stains and creates a feeling of fresh breath and a clean mouth.
The hygienist or dentist may recommend a prophylaxis visit every two to six months.
Although insurance may only cover two prophies a year, recall frequency depends on many factors and should be based on individual needs.
These appointments can help you have much better dental health and could save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Preventing tooth decay in babies and infants

The habits of good dental care should begin as early as possible and its important to take steps to avoid problems with infants and children.
Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food and baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for the adult teeth.
If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. So, when it’s time for the adult teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded.
The name given to decay in infants and children is baby bottle tooth decay.
It can destroy the teeth and most often occurs in the upper front teeth – though other teeth may also be affected.
Decay can happen when sweetened liquids are given to an infant and are then left clinging to their teeth for long periods. Many sweet liquids cause problems, including milk, formula and fruit juice.
What happens is that bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food and then produce acids that attack the teeth.
It’s not just what you put in your child’s bottle that causes decay, but how often. Giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day isn’t a good idea.
Here are some tips to avoid baby bottle tooth decay in your children:
– After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. Begin brushing your child’s teeth when the first tooth erupts. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless, and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2.
– Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids.
– If your child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night, or during naps, give them a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician. Never give your child a pacifier dipped in any sweet liquid.
– Avoid filling your child’s bottle with liquids such as sugar water and soft drinks.
– If your local water supply does not contain fluoride (a substance that helps prevent tooth decay), ask your dentist how your child should get it.
Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday and make visits regularly.
If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

How dental x-rays help improve your oral health

Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth so an X-ray examination can reveal important additional information:
For example, X-rays can help show:
– Small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing fillings
– Infections in the bone
– Gum disease
– Abscesses or cysts
– Developmental abnormalities
– Some types of tumors
The way they work is that more X-rays are absorbed by the denser parts (such as teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (such as cheeks and gums). This creates an image called a radiograph.
Tooth decay, infections and signs of gum disease appear darker because of more X-ray penetration. The interpretation of these radiographs allows the dentist to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities.
The frequency of X-rays (radiographs) will depend on your specific health needs.
Your dentist will review your history, examine your mouth and decide whether you need radiographs and what type.
When you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend radiographs to establish how the hidden areas of your mouth currently look to help identify changes that occur later.
X-rays can help identify and treat dental problems at an early stage and so can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Oral cancer: Why early detection is so important

Although thousands of Americans die every year from oral cancer, there is a high chance it can be cured if it is caught early enough.
Each year, more than 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer and only half of those diagnosed survive more than five years.
But nowadays, dentists have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified.
If it is caught early, there is a much higher chance that, with your dentists help, you could win a battle against oral cancer.
The key is to know the early signs and see your dentist regularly.
Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth.
It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, cheek lining, tongue or the palate.
Other signs include:
– A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
– A change in the color of the oral tissues
– A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
– Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
– Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
– A change in the way the teeth fit together
Oral Cancer most often occurs in those who use any form of tobacco. Smoking combined with alcohol use greatly increases the risk.
However, oral cancer which is most likely to strike after age 40 can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors.
Diets with a lot of fruits and vegetables may help prevent its development.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a dental examination so regular checkups with an examination of the entire mouth are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What is plaque and how does it affect your teeth?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers our teeth and, when we eat something, these bacteria release acids that attack the tooth enamel.
When these attacks are repeated over time, the enamel will break down and this will eventually lead to cavities.
When plaque is not removed through daily brushing and cleaning it hardens into calculus or tartar. When tartar collects above the gum line, brushing and cleaning between the teeth becomes more difficult.
The gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This is called gingivitis and it is the early stage of periodontal (gum) disease.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against this happening:
– Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
– Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner
– Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
– Ask your dentist about sealants these are protective coatings that can be applied to the back teeth where decay often starts.
If you take steps to remove the plaque each day, you have a greater chance of avoiding tooth and gum problems.