Posts for category: Oral Health
We are officially in the middle of spring and headed for summer and we can't wait! But, before we get into the heat of summer, have you finished your spring cleaning yet? While it's nice to clean out your garage and basement, redo the landscaping and spruce up the kitchen we're talking about a different kind of spring cleaning - a dental cleaning! Below we have a checklist to make sure your oral health is as tidy as your garage this spring!
- Change out your toothbrush!
- Did you know that you should be changing out your toothbrush about every 3 months? The average American changes their toothbrush about 1.9 times a year, instead of 4 times a year like the American Dental Association recommends. This is not just a ploy to make you buy new toothbrushes - your toothbrush gets extremely germy along a 3-4 months timespan. Toothbrushes harbor bacteria, meaning that after you are sick you should also change your toothbrush out! Toothbrush bristles can wear out after 3-4 months as well. Once your bristles become matted or frayed it's definitely time to change out your brush. At this point it is no longer cleaning your teeth as effectively as it should, and also it can cause damage to your gums! Since children tend to brush their teeth harder and faster their brushes tend to get matted and worn out quicker meaning that they may need their brushes to be changed out more frequently.
- When buying your new toothbrush be sure to look for a soft bristled brush. Electronic toothbrushes that you only have to replace the head and not the whole brush are convenient in that they usually save you money in the long run and they are generally better for the environment (only disposing a small tip of the toothbrush as opposed to a whole toothbrush). In today's society of online shopping for things that come straight to your door, many companies make it easy to get new toothbrushes. Some electronic toothbrush companies even have auto-ship every 3 months so that you don't even have to remember when to change your brush head!
- Check your toothpaste!
- At some point this spring you will most likely have to buy a new tube of toothpaste. Before you buy your toothpaste make sure that you are using the most beneficial toothpaste possible! When looking for a toothpaste aim to find one that has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA has specific guidelines that must be met to get this seal, meaning that if it has this seal it is most likely a great option for you to use! Be sure to look for toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Fluoride is an extremely important "tooth vitamin" as we like to call it. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps protect them from cavities!
- You should also be sure to check the RDA of your toothpaste, or relative dentin abrasiveness. Your toothpaste should not be too abrasive or it could scrape away your enamel. Toothpastes should be below 250 RDA, but 150-250 is regarded as "harmful" to your enamel. Generally, the lower the better so try to find a toothpaste with RDA below 150 or so! Below we have included a chart with common toothpaste abrasiveness so you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether you should choose a new toothpaste! (For more information on this subject, check out our baking soda blog!)
This chart shows RDA of common toothpastes. 0-70 range is regarded as low, 71-100 is medium, 101-150 is high and 151-250 is regarded as harmful level of relative dentin abrasiveness. Using this chart you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether or not you should switch to a lower abrasive toothpaste!
- Get your dental cleaning!
- Our final tip to keep your mouth healthy this spring is to get your spring dental cleaning! Everyone should see the dentist at least every 6 months, however if you need a little extra care we may recommend coming more often. During these cleanings we scale and polish your teeth, making them sparkle and helping prevent cavities! We may also update your x-rays so that we can make sure you don't have any hidden cavities forming or any unusual anatomy in your mouth. Our doctors perform an oral, head and neck cancer physical and you can also get a thorough oral cancer screening using our Identafi. You can get fluoride treatments and also will receive a new toothbrush (which checks another item off your spring checklist)! This dental cleaning will help you ensure your mouth is healthy all spring, so call our office to schedule an appointment if you haven't been in lately or are due for a cleaning.
Springtime is the perfect time to make sure you're staying healthy before the craziness of summer starts. Follow this simple checklist to make sure you and your familes have a healthy, happy, clean spring!
April 7-14th is Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness week and we are so grateful to be able to share information about these cancers to bring awareness about the causes and dangers of cancer. Cancer is defined as a disease caused by uncontrollable division of abnormal cells in a part of the body - oral, head and neck cancers are unfortunately quite common. Worldwide, over 550,000 cases of oral, head or neck cancer are diagnosed each year, and 110,000 of those cases are in the United States alone (American Academy of Otolaryngology). As your dental team, we are very passionate about this topic and want to use this blog post to educate everyone on these types of cancers, and how to stay healthy to try and avoid them.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat. Oral cancer most often is identified by a sore or growth in the mouth that does not go away. It can also appear as reddish or whitish areas in the mouth, lumps, bumps, or raised surfaces in the mouth, or patchy, bumpy areas in the mouth. Other symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, numbness, bleeding, loose teeth or soreness/tenderness in the mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms or abnormalities in your mouth, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment.
One of the biggest causes of oral cancer is tobacco. Smoking, including cigars, cigarettes, vape pens, or smokeless tobacco, including dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco dramatically raises your chances of getting oral cancer. Genetics also play a role in oral cancer, and if you have a family history of oral cancer you are at higher risk. Consuming alcohol and overexposure to the sun also increase your risk of getting oral cancer or melanoma of the lips.
Head and Neck Cancer
Cancers of the head and neck often include the pharynx and larynx - or throat and voice box, including the vocal cords and epiglottis, the sinuses and nasal cavity, and the salivary glands. Symptoms of the various types of head and neck cancers include trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing, pain of the head or neck that does not go away, ear pain or headaches, swelling under the chin or jawbone, lumps or bumps in your throat, or numbness and pain in various parts of your head and neck.
Head and neck cancer makes up approximately 6% of all cancers in the United States and is more common in people over the age of 50. Tobacco use is one of the main preventable causes of these types of cancer. Smoking (cigarettes, cigars and vape pens) and using smokeless tobacco (dip, snuff and chewing tobacco), as well as over-consuming alcohol can increase your risk of these types of cancer.
Oral, head and neck cancers are serious diseases and steps should be taken to protect yourself as much as possible from these forms of cancer. The most preventable cause of these various cancers is smoking. Approximately 200,000 people die each year from smoking related illnesses (American Academy of Otolaryngology) - this is a dangerous habit that should be avoided at all costs. Common misconceptions are that smokeless tobacco and vape pens are safer than smoking cigarettes, but this is false - these habits increase your risk of getting oral, head and neck cancers just as much as smoking cigarettes does. Additionally, in the United States, 1 person is diagnosed with a new case of oral, head and neck cancer every 10 minutes, and someone dies of these kids of cancer every 45 minutes (American Academy of Otolaryngology). According to this data, these cancers should not be taken lightly.
Aside from not using tobacco products, make sure that you are not consuming alcohol in excess as this has been found to have a link with these types of cancer. Additionally, be sure to always wear sunscreen and a chapstick with SPF in it - you can get melanoma on your lips if you are not careful about protecting them from the sun. Another great way to ensure you can protect yourself from oral, head and neck cancer is to be checked regularly. At your dentist appointments your doctor will give you a head and neck examination in order to look out for these symptoms - they will feel around your head, throat and neck and look around your mouth and throat to determine if there are any irregularities or concerning areas. In addition to these physical examinations, our office provides the opportunity to get an oral cancer screening. We recommend getting an oral cancer screening once a year, however people who heavily use tobacco products can opt for a screening more than once a year. At Dental BLU we use Identafi - a painless light that we shine around the patients mouth that uses various wavelengths to show the hygienist any suspicious areas in the mouth. Ask about Identafi at your next hygiene visit to make sure you are not at risk for having oral cancer.
We are very passionate about the topic of oral, head, and neck cancers and hope that after reading this article, you are too. Cancer is a dangerous disease and unfortunately 66% of the time oral, head and neck cancers are found in stage 3 or 4 meaning that they are more serious and have spread to other areas in the body (American Academy of Otolaryngology). In order to learn more about these diseases and their risks, schedule an appointment with your dentist or visit https://www.entnet.org/OHANCAW to read articles about oral, head and neck cancer.
During Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week please use this opportunity to educate yourself and your family and friends about the dangers associated with these types of cancer, and use this week as motivation to live a healthier lifestyle to try and avoid these cancers.
Summer is our favorite time of the year! It is great for slowing down and relaxing with friends and family, school is out, camps and outdoor activities fill the calendar, and vacations are planned. But it is not the time to take a break from good oral health habits.
Here are some useful tips to help keep your teeth healthy this summer:
Choose water as your main source of hydration this summer and throughout all seasons. Water promotes saliva formation and helps rinse out bacteria that form in your mouth to prevent decay. Limit the number of sweet and alcoholic beverages you consume and opt for ice cold water or make your own fruit-infused water to stay hydrated.
Stock a Healthy Kitchen for Smart Snacking
Nutrition and healthy teeth go hand-in-hand. When you’re munching on snacks this summer, consider foods that can benefit your oral health. Fresh foods, especially those grown and/or purchased locally, are full of vitamins and minerals that are essential to building up bones, warding off cancers, and recovering from injuries. Dairy products like cheese and yogurt are rich in calcium, an essential component for healthy teeth; and contain proteins like casein that is known to fortify your teeth’s surface, protecting it from decay. Snacking at home isn’t the only time to be tooth aware…many summertime activities involve time away from home, so be sure to pack healthy snacks for days on the go!
Stay Safe During Summer Activities
It wouldn’t be summer without lots of swimming, bike riding, volleyball and other playground activities. And while these are great fun, they can, unfortunately, result in a dental injury.
Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.” According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many summer oral injuries dentists treat are due to a pool accident. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose. Also, keep in mind that excessive exposure to chlorine can be harmful to teeth by weakening enamel and cause staining known as swimmers calculus. Swimmers calculus is a common cosmetic issue and can be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
Sports-related dental injuries are an unfortunately common issue, but many sports-related dental injuries are preventable by taking appropriate safety measures. Studies have shown that mouth guards provide the best protection against facial and dental injuries. Mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year. Using a mouth guard can prevent damage to braces or other orthodontic work, as well as prevent mouth cuts, jaw injuries and tooth damage.
Establish a Summer Routine to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Habits
While summer schedules are typically a lot more flexible than usual, it’s important to still have a daily routine. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is as important in the summer as it is in any other season. To keep good oral hygiene habits in place, establish a summer routine. Add tooth brushing and flossing to a list of simple tasks, like making the bed and putting away laundry. Have a similar plan as part of a nighttime routine.
Keeping up with your dental health during the summer will help you stay healthy all year long. With a little planning, you can easily maintain healthy, strong teeth during your summer adventures.
Can your mouth tell if you're at risk for heart disease? It just may! Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. A recent analysis shows that the potential heart disease risk for patients with periodontal disease may even be greater than for those with high cholesterol. For too many Americans, this reality hits close to home in that more than 85 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease, while more than 200 million American adults have some form of periodontal disease.
Scientists suspect the link between the two diseases is due to the same bacteria. In this scenario, bacteria found in infected gum tissue around teeth break down the barrier between the gums and the underlying connective tissue, causing inflammation. During normal chewing or brushing, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and move to other parts of the circulatory system, contributing to the formation of cardiovascular disease.
Inflammation, or swelling, is the body's natural response to infection. It is possible that as oral bacteria travel through the body it triggers a similar response, which then leads to the formation of arterial plaque. Oral bacteria have been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis. These deposits can narrow arteries or break loose and clog them entirely, leading to heart attack or stroke.
While scientists are still researching whether inflammation is at the root of the problem, one thing is for sure: It is firmly established that a link exists between periodontal disease and heart disease.
Given the link between these two systemic diseases, the dental profession can be considered a key assessor of not just oral health, but also heart health. The first step is getting scheduled with your dental team for a dental hygiene checkup. The hygiene team should be actively looking for the disease by doing a thorough periodontal exam and charting. In this exam they will be looking for:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums or other pain in the mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between the gums and teeth
- Sores in the mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way the teeth fit together when one bites down
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
Some of these initial symptoms of periodontal disease are often silent or you don't notice any symptoms until later stages. This is where your dental team will help identify symptoms at an early stage so you can get the proper treatment to maintain a healthy smile and heart.
If periodontal disease is detected, then a treatment plan will be recommended to repair the damage caused by the disease by getting rid of the infection and close up the pockets. Today, many general dentists and periodontists offer a patient-friendly protocol to help treat your disease. You should also be educated by your dental team to help you identify early symptoms and how to maintain the treatment that was performed to keep you in good oral health.
For more information on periodontal disease and how our office can help, please visit our website at www.Dentalblu.com or give our office a call to set up your dental hygiene checkup.
Invisalign is the most advanced clear aligner system in the world and takes a modern approach to straightening your teeth through a series of custom-made aligners created just for you. Invisalign is comfortable to wear and properly aligns your teeth to help improve your overall dental health. Invisalign can help you achieve that confident smile in a short period of time.
Benfits of Invisalign:
- It's removable for good hygiene - You can brush and floss normally, which can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Healthier Gums - Properly positioned teeth are easier to brush and floss than teeth that are crowded, crooked or spaced too far apart. Research has shown that periodontal tissue health may improve after Invisalign treatment reducing the risk of periodontitis and gingivitis.
- Cleanings are quicker and eaiser than with traditional orthodontics - There are no brackets or wires to clean around as wiht traditional orthodontics.
- You can still eat when you want - Because the aligners are removable and should be removed when you eat, you don't have to worry about what you eat.
- Consultation - During the consultation, you and your doctor will discuss your case in detail to determine if you're a good candidate for Invisalign. Invisalign now addresses many cases, from simple to more complex. Your doctor will determine if Invisalign is right for you. This will also be your opportunity to ask any questions about Invisalign, costs, dental/orthodontic insurance, or any other concerns.
- Customized Treatment Plan - Your doctor will take x-rays, pictures and impressions of your teeth, which Invisalign will use to create a digital 3-D image of them. From these images your doctor will map out a precise treatment plan, including the exact movements of your teeth, and tell you the approximate length of treatment. Using the same technology your doctor will be able to show you a virtual representation of how your teeth will move with each stage of treatment. While every case is unique to each patient, treatment typically takes approximately a year for adults. For teens the length of treatments is comparable to that of braces.
- Receive Your Custom Aligners - Based on your individual treatment plan, a series of custom-made, clear aligners is then created specifically for you. These aligners are made of a smooth, comfortable, BPA-free plastic that won't irritate your cheeks and gums like traditional metal braces often do. Simply wear them throughout the day, and remove them when you eat or to brush and floss your teeth. As you wear each set of aligners, your teeth gently and gradually begin to shift into place. And because they're virtually invisible, most people won't even notice you're wearing them.
- Wearing Aligners - Approximately every two weeks, you will begin wearing a new set of aligners, advancing you to the next stage of your treatment. To monitor your progress, you will also have occasional checkups with your doctor, usually only every six weeks or so. For best results and a timely outcome, you should wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, throughout your entire treatment. At every stage, you will be able to see how much closer you are to having the smile that reflects the real you.
- Keeping Your New Smile Looking Great -
Congratulations! This is the time when you celebrate. You have reached the end of treatment and you will be smiling more than ever. Once your treatment is complete, protect the beautiful new smile you have invested in. Ask your doctor if you will need retainers to keep your teeth in their new position. Vivera® retainers are custom made using the same state-of-the-art technology as Invisalign. Vivera retainers lock in your beautiful smile.
So if you have been considering braces you should set up a consultation to see if you are a candidate. This is a great treatment for any member of the family and often outside financing is avaliable to give you an affordable payment plan option. Call Dental Blu to get started today!