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Archive for July, 2015


What Medication Can Do to Your Oral Health


While taking certain medications can help treat disease and lead to better overall health, some medications can harm your teeth and gums.

The side effects of some medications can lead to the following oral health issues:

Abnormal bleeding

Some medications such as heparin or warfarin are used to thin blood. Taking these drugs means that your blood does not clot normally, this can be good for patients who are trying to prevent stroke or heart disease, but can cause issues during oral surgery or treatment for periodontal disease. After oral surgery, you need blood clots to prevent dry socket and other complications, without clots you may experience a lot of pain.

Talk to your dentist about the medications you are taking before deciding on a treatment or surgery.

Soft-tissue reactions

Some medications may cause sores in the mouth, inflammation, or discoloration of the soft tissues, such as gums. If you are on blood pressure medication, oral contraceptives, or chemotherapeutic agents, talk to your dentist about oral health treatment.

Dry mouth

Many medications can cause dry mouth. Over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and painkillers can cause dry mouth, as well as prescription medications such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and high blood pressure medications.

Dry mouth can cause cavities and decay because there is not enough saliva in the mouth to wash away bacteria. Instead, the acid and bacteria in the mouth can run rampant and cause decay.

Always make sure to tell your dentist about the medications that you are on and discuss side effects with them. When dentists know your full health history, they can better consider treatment options.



How Badly is Tooth Decay Affecting Kids?


It is widely known that kids are some of the worst sufferers of tooth decay. But just how bad is it? Well, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States according to The New York Times. It is five times more common than asthma and 20 times more common than diabetes.

The rise of tooth decay should cause some serious concern. Children from rural and low-income backgrounds are at the highest risk for tooth decay. Kids within this demographic often don’t have access to dental care or cannot afford it.

If you want your child to avoid tooth decay, try to treat their mouths as you would treat their bodies. Overall health is important for kids, and so is oral health. Just as eating a well-balanced meal and getting enough exercise is important, so is having a solid brushing and flossing routine.

If tooth decay goes untreated, it cannot only cause cavities and gum disease but can cause infections that spread to the jaw and other bones in the face.

The best thing that you can do to prevent gum disease is to teach your kids good oral health habits while also limiting their consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Take your kids to the dentist for routine cleanings and oral health check-ups every six months and be diligent when it comes to brushing and flossing.

Preventing tooth decay is possible, and you can help save your child’s teeth.



What is Enamel and How Does it Work?


If you’ve ever been to the dentist, then you’ve heard them talk about enamel. Dentists spend a lot of time talking to their patients about enamel, plaque, and tooth decay. But, to really understand how to keep your teeth healthy, you have to know what enamel is and how best to take care of it. Here is a beginners guide to understanding enamel.

What is enamel?

Enamel is a protective layer that covers each and every tooth. It is a hard substance on the outer part of your teeth and is seen every time you look into your mouth. Enamel is considered the hardest substance in the human body, even harder than bones. However, it can decay when exposed to acid and a build-up of bacteria in the mouth.

What does enamel do?

Enamel is there to protect teeth from decay and damage. Every time you eat and drink, you expose your teeth to acids and bacteria in your food. This would seriously harm teeth if it weren’t for enamel. Enamel works as a protective shield against acid and bacteria as well as shielding your teeth from hot or cold foods. When enamel is damaged or starts to decay, sensitivity to hot and cold foods can occur.

If you feel pain when eating or experience sensitivity to hot or cold, visit your dentist to find out what you can do to repair your enamel.

What damages enamel?

There are many foods that can damage enamel, but sugary foods, or foods with a high citrus content are the worst offenders. Drinks high in sugar, like soda is the number one culprit. Soda is high in sugar and very acidic, this combination wears away enamel. Candy is also a serious offender. The high sugar levels in candy increase the risk for decay, so avoid it whenever possible.

Fruit juice and citrus fruits can also harm enamel. The difference, however, is that citrus fruits have health benefits. Don’t cut fruits from your diet just because you are afraid to harm your enamel. Instead, try eating them in moderation and alongside foods that are neutral so that you are not giving your teeth a double dose of acidity.

How do I know if the enamel is damaged?

It may take some time for you to notice the loss of your enamel because the changes are very subtle. First you will feel pain or sensitivity when eating certain foods. As the erosion progresses, you will notice a yellow discoloration on your teeth. This yellow color signals an exposure of dentin. Your teeth may also appear more rounded, chipped, and rough.

If you have severe erosion your dentist may recommend that the tooth be removed. Taking good care of your teeth through brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits is the best way to protect your enamel and prevent decay, so that more serious measures won’t need to be taken in the future.



You NEED to Know What is Lurking on Your Toothbrush


If you share a bathroom, then there may be something contaminating your toothbrush.

According to a study done by researchers at Quinnipiac University, sharing a bathroom with a roommate or partner may mean that your toothbrush contains that person’s fecal matter. 60% of the toothbrushes that were collected in the study tested positive for fecal matter, and to make it worse, there was an 80% chance that the fecal matter on the toothbrush didn’t belong to the owner of the brush.

This happens when the toothbrush is stored out in the open, perhaps in a cup on the sink, and bacteria from the toilet has the opportunity to infect it. When you flush the toilet, with the lid up, fecal particles rush up into the air and can land on the nearby toothbrush.

So how do you protect yourself from contamination? The researchers in the study found that using a toothbrush cap or cover was actually less sanitary, because the toothbrush doesn’t get a chance to dry. This allows bacteria to stick around on the toothbrush.

The best way to protect yourself from the potential fecal matter bacteria on your toothbrush, is to rinse it well before and after use. If possible, store your toothbrush upright, in a place where it can dry, away from the toilet. This is the best way to avoid contamination.


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The information presented here is not intended or implied to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should be used for informational purposes only.