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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How cancer treatment can affect your oral health

More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year and many of them will develop problems with their oral health as a result of their cancer treatment.
While its natural that theyll be focused on their cancer treatment, its important not to overlook the importance of a dental examination as part of the process of maintaining overall health.
For example, radiation therapy of the head and neck area may lead to certain complications such as dry mouth, sensitive lesions in the oral cavity, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay and difficulty swallowing.
Chemotherapy and other medication can also have significant effects in the mouth.
To help prevent, minimize and manage such problems, the dentist and oncologist can work together before and during cancer treatment.
Many medications lead to dry mouth, which can lead to a higher risk of gum disease and other problems. The dentist may therefore recommend a saliva replacement, an artificial saliva that is available over-the-counter at pharmacies.
Frequent fluoride applications may also be recommended.
If you are receiving treatment, schedule regular screenings with your dentist and contact your dentist or physician immediately on any sign of mouth infection. This may have serious implications for your overall health.
Your dentist and physician both want your treatment to be as safe and effective as possible.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Why its not inevitable that youll lose your teeth as you get older

Advancements in dental techniques and the increased focus on preventive dentistry means older adults are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever before.
A survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research showed that the rate of toothlessness in the 55 to 64 age group has dropped 60 percent since 1960.
Whatever your age, its important to practice good oral hygiene at home and to visit your dentist regularly. A few simple steps can help you maintain good oral health throughout your life.
Plaque, the sticky, colorless layer of bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease, can build up quickly on the teeth of older adults, particularly when they neglect oral hygiene. This can increase the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.
So its important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
Regular dental checkups are also an important part of caring for your teeth.
This can help you save your teeth and gums and prevent other dental problems. It will save you time and money in the long-run as well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Taking care of removable partial dentures

If you have removable plastic dentures, its important to look after them carefully.
You should brush them each day to remove food deposits and plaque. This also helps prevent them from becoming permanently stained.
It’s best to use a brush that is designed for cleaning dentures as it has bristles arranged to fit the shape of the denture. But a regular, soft-bristled toothbrush is also acceptable.
Avoid using a brush with hard bristles as these can damage the denture.
When you are handling a denture, hold them carefully. Try standing over a folded towel or a sink of water with them in case you accidentally drop them.
Its advisable to use a denture cleanser which has the American Dental Association seal of acceptance. However hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid are also acceptable for cleaning dentures.
Other types of household cleaners and many toothpastes are too abrasive and should not be used for cleaning dentures.
A denture can lose its proper shape if it is not kept moist. So it should be placed in soaking solution or water at night though one with metal attachments could be tarnished if placed in soaking solution.
As you age, your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture so, if they no longer fit properly, they should be adjusted by your dentist.
See your dentist promptly if your denture becomes loose as this can cause sores or infections.
Don't try to adjust or repair your denture yourself as this can damage the appliance beyond repair.
When you wear a partial denture, you need to continue brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth daily. This will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Pay special attention to cleaning the teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay.
Your dentist or dental hygienist can demonstrate how to properly brush and clean between teeth.
Regular dental check-ups and having your teeth professionally cleaned are vital for maintaining a healthy smile.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How space maintainers help children have healthy teeth

Space maintainers can be crucial to the dental health of a child.
When a child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, the other teeth can shift and begin to fill the vacant space.
If this happens, the problem is that, when the permanent teeth emerge, there’s not enough room for them.
This can lead to crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.
To prevent that, the dentist can insert a space maintainer.
This holds the space left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges.
Space maintainers might be a band or a temporary crown attached to one side of the space.
When the permanent tooth emerges, the dentist removes the device and protects the child’s future smile.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Things to look out for during pregnancy

Every woman wants to maintain their own health during pregnancy and to take whatever steps are necessary to give the baby the best possible start.
There are a few factors in your oral health to look out for during this time.
One consideration is that its common for pregnant women to have the urge to eat between meals. The risk is that frequent snacking on carbohydrate-containing foods can encourage tooth decay.
Bacteria in your mouth called plaque can convert the sugar and starch in your mouth into an acid that attacks tooth enamel. After repeated attacks, tooth decay can result.
So, when you need a snack, try to choose foods that are nutritious for you and your baby such as raw fruits and vegetables and dairy products.
During pregnancy, your bodys hormone levels rise considerably. Gum problems, such as gingivitis, are especially common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy. They may cause red, puffy or tender gums that bleed when you brush.
This is an exaggerated response to plaque caused by higher levels of progesterone in your system. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings at some stages to help you avoid problems.
Occasionally overgrowths of gum tissue, called pregnancy tumors, appear on the gums during the second trimester. These localized growths or swellings are usually found between the teeth and are thought to be related to excess plaque.
They bleed easily and are often surgically removed after the baby is born.
Studies indicate that pregnant women who have severe periodontal (gum) disease may be at increased risk for pre-term delivery, which in turn increases the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby.
So its particularly important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy. Make sure you clean your teeth carefully and visit your dentist regularly.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is bottled or tap water better for your teeth?

With many people concerned about the taste and purity of tap water, the sales of bottled water have increased significantly in recent years.
Tap water goes through a process of purification designed to eliminate suspended materials, remove tastes and odors and kill microorganisms.
Fluoride is added to most tap water supplies with the aim of reducing cavities.
Fluoride becomes incorporated into our teeth as they develop and makes them more resistant to decay. It can reverse the progress of early cavities and reduce the need for dental treatment.
Mass water fluoridation has played an important role in reducing tooth decay.
The problem with bottled waters is that they usually don’t contain fluoride.
So there is a risk that drinking bottled water can increase the risk of cavities for some people.
If you drink a lot of bottled water, you can make up for this by using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse.
Your dentist may even suggest a fluoride supplement if they notice an increase in cavities.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The secrets of brushing and flossing your teeth effectively

Though many of us say we brush our teeth regularly, you get the best results by making sure you brush properly.
Here are the steps you should follow:
First, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
Then, move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
Use the “toe” of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
Finally, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
As well as brushing your teeth, you should floss them every day. Heres how to floss for best results.
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers.
Then wind the remaining floss around the same finger on the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
If you have difficulty handling dental floss, consider other types of interdental cleaner such as special brushes, picks or sticks.
Your dentist or hygienist will be able to give your further tips on how to brush and floss for best results.