Category Archives: Health
Dental bacteria can kill more than a smile….
If you experience chronic oral infections, don’t floss regularly, and have poor oral hygiene, you might be putting more than just your teeth in jeopardy.
Dentists have known for years that oral infections pose a significant hazard to heart valves, but new research indicates that chronic dental infections may also contribute to hardening of the arteries, heart attack, stroke and even pre-term births. The root cause seems to be the millions of bacteria living and breeding inside your mouth.
There are more than 200 types of bacteria swimming around your teeth and gums. Oral bacteria regularly builds up between your teeth and gums. Bleeding gum tissue can allow these harmful bacteria to flow into your bloodstream and travel anywhere in your body. Inflammation sets in where bacteria finally settle, and your immune system can’t always fight of the resulting infection.
Gum disease begins at or below the gumline with painless infections and often no symptoms or visible signs. Left untreated, bacteria build up cell by cell to form colonies which can be resistant to antibiotics. Other germs will migrate into your blood vessels. Dental plaque (the sticky film of bacteria surrounding your teeth) can get mixed with blood-clotting cells forming a clump. These clumps of bacteria can irritate the walls of your blood vessels, and if they are located in your heart, they may increase the formation of hear-stopping blood clots.
Other research shows that the arteries of most stroke victims are infected with bacteria – some of which are dental bacteria. Pregnant women with gum disease are seven to eight times more likely to give birth prematurely to low-birth-weight babies. Your general well-being is always our concern. We can recommend good oral hygiene practices that will enhance and greatly reduce your chances of tooth and gum infections.
Your lips frame your teeth, drawing attention to, and even enhancing your smile. That may be why women who don’t usually wear makeup often wear lipstick. Men are also paying attention to their lips. In one study, 30% of men used lip moisturizers at least once daily.
Lip cosmetics may enhance the frame, but cosmetic dentistry can complete the picture. Non-surgical dental techniques like bonding and veneers can actually plump out tissues and reduce lines and fine wrinkles for women and men, adding the appearance of volume to lips. Teeth whitening can safely add sparkle and glamor to any smile.
So whatever your gender, consider enhancing your smile!
Cancer treatments can affect your entire body, including your teeth and gums. Side effects of treatment may include inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth (mucositis), infections, taste changes, dry mouth, pain, tooth decay, gum disease and sores inside your mouth.
Therefore, good dental healthy practices are especially important for people living with cancer. Good communication is important, too. Your dentist should know that you are being treated for cancer, and your oncologist should be aware of your dental history.
As a patient living with cancer, you should:
- Schedule a dental exam and cleaning before cancer treatment begins and periodically during the course of your treatment.
- Discuss dental procedures, such as the pulling of teeth or insertion of dental implants, with your oncologist before you start your cancer treatment.
- Have your dentist check and adjust removable dentures, if you have them.
- Tell your physician about any bleeding of the gums, pain, or unusual feeling in your teeth or gums, or any dental infections.
Regular dental hygiene is not that different for people with cancer than it is for people who do not have cancer, but because cancer treatments can affect the gums and teeth, it can be even more important.
If you have cancer, your routine dental hygiene should include:
- Brushing your teeth and tongue after every meal and at bedtime, using a soft toothbrush and gentle stroke.
- Gentle flossing once a day to remove plaque (if your gums bleed or hurt, the area that is sore should be avoided, but the other teeth still should be flossed).
- Keeping your mouth moist by rinsing often with water (many medicines cause “dry mouth” which can lead to decay and other dental problems).
- Avoid use of mouthwash that contains alcohol.
Use a mirror to check your teeth and gums daily for any changes, such as sores or bleeding gums. If you notice a problem or a change, or experience pain in your mouth, teeth, or jaws, report it to your dentist or oncologist immediately.