What Dental Issues Can Women Face during Pregnancy?

By: Lucy Wyndham, Dental News

🤰 Pregnancy brings about many changes in your body, but one which you may not necessarily expect is a change to your oral health. The American Dental Association recommends that all pregnant women visit their dentist before having a baby, to take care of cavities and any pregnancy-related issues that need attending to. Even if you think you are pregnant, you should let us know, since you may need to postpone some treatments.

If you are actively trying to have a baby, check out some of these common dental health issues shared by Dental News, so you can proactively tackle each issue and ensure optimal oral health during pregnancy. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Pregnancy and Gingivitis

Inflammation and bleeding of the gums (gingivitis) are common during pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels in your body can cause increased blood circulation to the gum area, thus increasing the risk of bleeding. These changes can also make it easier for plaque to build up on the gumline, thus increasing the likelihood of bacterial infection. It is important to take good care of your gums even before getting pregnant, brushing and flossing at least twice a day (or more), and visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning. Use a salt water rinse to keep gums clean during pregnancy, and try to consume a healthy diet without refined, sugary foods and sweets that promote plaque buildup. Because some medications can be harmful during pregnancy, it is best to avoid infection altogether.

Pregnancy and Tooth Decay

Because plaque can build up more easily on gums and teeth, decay can also arise. Morning sickness (which can include bouts of vomiting) can also promote caries, because it creates an acidic environment that erodes tooth enamel. Oral problems are not only a problem for mothers, but for the baby as well, since issues like periodontitis and serious tooth decay increase the risk of premature birth, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia – a dangerous condition characterized by high blood pressure, high levels of protein in urine, and swelling in the extremities.

Pregnancy Tumors

Some women develop non-cancerous lumps misleadingly called ‘pregnancy tumors’, which are not actually dangerous. These tiny lumps form between teeth and  appear most often during the second trimester. Also called ‘pyogenic granuloma’, they can bleed easily and cause discomfort. Your dentist may recommend removal, but if they do not bother you and you wish to wait, you will find that these lumps disappear on their own once you have given birth.

Looser Teeth

Teeth can become loose during pregnancy even if your gums are healthy, owing to higher levels of progesterone and estrogen, which affect the ligaments that support teeth. Once again, this condition is temporary and does not lead to tooth loss. See your dentist if loose teeth are causing discomfort to ensure that movement is simply hormone-related.

If you are thinking of getting pregnant or you are already awaiting a baby, make your oral health a priority. Changing hormone levels bring about a higher risk of a number of conditions, including increased gum swelling and lose teeth. A good professional cleaning will ensure your gums and teeth are plaque-free and will ensure that any signs of decay or gum disease are treated with pregnancy-safe medications and techniques.

Source: http://www.dentalnews.com/2019/02/14/dental-issues-pregnancy/

What to know about gargling with salt water

By: Jenna Fletcher, Medical News Today

😷 Sore throats and mouth sores are common conditions that most people experience.

🧂 Do you know that saltwater gargles can be a cheap, safe, and effective way to ease pain and relieve symptoms from conditions that affect the mouth and throat?

In this article, Medical News Today discussed what saltwater gargles are and what conditions they can help treat and prevent. You’ll also learn how to make and use a saltwater gargle, as well as risks and considerations. The Oral Surgery DC Team

While pharmacies and other stores sell medicated mouthwashes and similar products, some people prefer saltwater gargles and other home remedies.

What is it?

A saltwater gargle is a home remedy for sore throats and other causes of mouth pain. Saltwater solutions are a simple mix of water and table salt and can be a cheap, safe, and effective alternative to medicated mouthwashes.

Saltwater solutions are not well studied. A small study from 2010 of 45 children investigated the effectiveness of a saline saltwater gargle and a mouthwash containing alum.

The researchers reported that children who used one of the saltwater gargle twice daily for 21 days had significantly reduced levels of mouth bacteria, compared with children who used a placebo.

However, the saltwater gargle was not as effective at reducing bacteria as the alum mouthwash. Alum, which is potassium aluminum sulfate, is an active ingredient in some medicated mouthwashes.

Doctors and dentists often recommend saltwater gargles to help alleviate mouth and throat pain.

Uses

Saltwater gargles can be effective for treating mild pain, discomfort, and tickles in the mouth and throat. We discuss some of the conditions that saltwater gargles can help treat and prevent below.

Sore throats

Saltwater gargles can be an effective way to relieve discomfort from sore throats.

Both the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and the American Cancer Society (ACS)recommend gargling with salt water to soothe sore throats. According to the ACS, regular use of saltwater gargles can help keep the mouth clean and prevent infections, particularly in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Canker sores

Canker sores are painful ulcers that can develop in the mouth. Gargling with salt water may help ease pain and promote healing of the sores.

Allergies

Some allergies, such as hay fever, can cause a person’s nasal passages and throat to swell, which can be uncomfortable. Though gargling with salt water will not prevent the allergy, it may help alleviate some of the throat discomfort.

Respiratory infections

Upper respiratory infections are typical and include common colds, the flu, mononucleosis, and sinus infections. Some research suggests that gargling with salt water can alleviate symptoms and even help prevent upper respiratory infections.

For example, a study from 2013 involving 338 participants found that those who gargled with salt water were less likely to have upper respiratory infections.

Dental health

Regularly gargling with salt water can assist in removing bacteria from the gums, which helps in cleaning and preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar. A buildup of bacteria in the mouth can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that people gently rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater solution after having a dental procedure. Doing this can help keep the extraction site clean and prevent infection.

Does salt water kill bacteria?

Salt water may kill some, but does not kill all, mouth and throat bacteria. However, solutions of salt can help bring bacteria to the surface of the gums, teeth, and throat. Once the bacteria is brought to the surface, some of it washes away when a person spits the salt water out.

Recipe

Saltwater gargles are easy and cheap to make. The ADA recommend adding half of a teaspoon (tsp) of salt to 8 ounces of warm water, then mixing until they are combined.

An alternative recipe involves adding baking soda to the saltwater solution. For example, the ACSrecommend combining the following to make a saltwater gargle:

  • 1 qt water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

How to gargle effectively

To use the saltwater gargle:

  1. Take as much of the solution into the mouth as is comfortable.
  2. Gargle the salt water around the back of the throat.
  3. Rinse around the mouth, teeth, and gums.
  4. Spit out the solution.

A person should try to gargle the saltwater solution for as long as possible. Although the saltwater solution is generally safe to swallow, it is best to spit it out.

For maximum effectiveness, a person should gargle with salt water once or twice a day.

People recovering from dental procedures can use a saltwater solution to rinse their mouth. However, for the first few days, they should rinse very gently to prevent scabs from opening up, and follow the directions from their dental professional.

Risks and considerations

Gargling with salt water is considered safe for both children and adults. However, people who have trouble gargling should not use a saltwater gargle.

Some young children may also not be able gargle effectively. A pediatrician may be able to provide advice on when a child is ready to gargle.

Saltwater gargles are safe to use several times a day if desired, and for most, there are no side effects. People with high blood pressure or those with other medical conditions who need to limit their sodium intake should speak with a doctor or dentist before gargling with salt water.

People who do not like the taste of saltwater solutions can try adding honey or garlic to help improve the flavor.

Summary

Gargling with salt water can help keep a person’s mouth clean and may alleviate pain and discomfort from sore throats, mouth sores, and dental procedures. Saltwater gargles are quick and easy to make and are a cheap and natural alternative to medicated mouthwashes.

A person can safely gargle with salt water several times a day. There are typically no side effects. However, people with high blood pressure or those who need to limit their sodium intake should speak with a doctor before gargling with salt water.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325238.php?fbclid=IwAR1V0glK-riAGspo3l2zCw5z5_DN_Yj5CeWJZHEq8XmgFm9ATPAyXpNZIdQ


Oral cancer: What you can do to help end this disease

By: American Dental Association, American Student Dental Association

🦷 The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 53,000 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer in 2019, and the American Dental Association is working to provide members with resources that can help them do their part to fight and end this disease.

While April marks Oral Cancer Awareness Month, every day presents an opportunity to make a difference. Discover the ways you can do to end this disease via the American Student Dental Association. The Oral Surgery DC Team

The association published its clinical practice guideline on evaluation for oral cancer in 2017. It offers guidance for dentists on how to check for lesions, how to identify potentially malignant disorders and how to proceed in relevant clinical scenarios. The guideline points out that even though a variety of adjunct tools are marketed to dentists to enhance pick up of lesions because there isn’t evidence demonstrating that they improve screening, they aren’t recommended. And for situations where a lesion is observed, the guideline provides clinical pathways for follow up.

In addition to the guideline, the ADA has produced a chairside guide to walk you through the guideline’s recommendations, along with an instructional video that shows how to perform each step of a conventional visual and tactile exam on a patient. You also can watch a brief video on the ADA’s YouTube page that highlights how to check patients for oral cancer.

Given the current increase in HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer, the most effective thing dentists can do to prevent oropharyngeal cancer is to encourage appropriately aged individuals to receive the HPV vaccine. Learn more about the ADA’s HPV vaccine policy at ADA.org, and check out this video from an ADA dentist who has a personal connection to the disease she hopes to one day defeat.

Source: https://www.asdablog.com/oral-cancer-what-you-can-do-to-help-end-this-disease/

What to do for healthy teeth and gums?

By: Jennifer Berry, Medical News Today

Good oral hygiene is necessary to keep teeth and gums healthy. But, take note that oral health is more than avoiding cavities and gum disease. Research has shown that there is an association between the health of a person’s mouth and their overall health.

Follow these tips from Medical News Today to improve not only your dental care practices but your overall health as well. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Experts consider oral health problems to be a global health burden. Without treatment, tooth decay or gum problems can lead to pain, problems with self-confidence, and tooth loss. These issues may lead to malnutrition, speech problems, and other challenges in a person’s work, school, or personal life.

People can prevent these problems with proper dental care, both at home and in the dentist’s office. The following are some best practices that can keep teeth and gums healthy.

1. Brush regularly but not aggressively

Most people are aware that brushing their teeth twice a day is one of the most important practices for removing plaque and bacteria and keeping teeth clean. However, brushing may only be effective if people use the correct technique.

People should brush using small circular motions, taking care to brush the front, back, and top of every tooth. This process takes between 2 and 3 minutes. People should avoid sawing back-and-forth motions.

Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage tooth enamel and the gums. The effects of this may include tooth sensitivity, permanent damage to the protective enamel on the teeth, and gum erosion.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend using a toothbrush that has soft bristles. They also state that people should change their toothbrush every 3 months or when the ends start to look frayed, whichever comes first.

2. Use fluoride

Fluoride comes from an element in the earth’s soil called fluorine. Many experts believe that fluoride helps prevent cavities, and it is a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash.

However, some dental products do not contain fluoride, and some people do not use it at all.

Evidence suggests that a lack of fluoride can lead to tooth decay, even if a person takes care of their teeth otherwise. A recent review found that brushing and flossing do not prevent a person from getting cavities if they do not use fluoride.

Many communities in the United States have added fluoride to their water supply. Several organizations recommend this practice, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the ADA.

People can find out whether the water in their area contains fluoride by contacting their local government. Reverse osmosis water filters remove fluoride, and people who use well water will need to check the fluoride levels in this water to find out how much is present. Many bottled water brands do not contain fluoride.

3. Floss once a day

Flossing can remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, where a toothbrush is unable to reach. It can also help prevent bad breath by removing debris and food that has become trapped between the teeth.

Although there is a lack of long-term studies proving that flossing is beneficial, the ADA continue to recommend it. The CDC also state that people should floss their teeth.

Most dental health professionals recommend gently pushing the floss all the way down to the gumline before hugging the side of the tooth with up-and-down motions. It is important to avoid snapping the floss up and down between the teeth, which can cause pain and will not remove plaque as effectively.

4. See a dentist regularly

Experts recommend that people see a dentist every 6 months for a checkup. During a routine dental examination, a hygienist will clean the teeth and remove plaque and hardened tartar.

The dentist will check for visual signs of cavities, gum disease, mouth cancer, and other oral health issues. They may sometimes also use dental X-rays to check for cavities.

The results of a recent study confirmed that children and adolescents should see a dentist every 6 months to help prevent cavities. However, adults who practice good dental hygiene every day and have a low risk of oral health problems may be able to go less frequently.

The authors of a recent review state that there is a need for more high-quality studies to confirm the ideal frequency of dental checkups.

People can speak to their dentist about how often they need a checkup. The answer may vary depending on a person’s health history, age, and overall dental health. However, anyone who notices changes in their mouth should visit a dentist.

5. Do not smoke

Smoking harms the body’s immune system, which makes it difficult for the body to heal tissues, including those in the mouth. The CDC name smoking as a risk factor for gum disease, while the ADA warn that people who smoke may experience slow healing after a dental procedure.

Smoking also affects the appearance of the mouth, leading to yellowing of the teeth and tongue, and it can give breath a bad odor.

6. Consider a mouthwash

Some studies indicate that certain mouthwashes can benefit oral health. For example, one review found that mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, an antibacterial ingredient, helps control plaque and gingivitis. Mouthwashes with certain essential oils are also effective, according to a meta-analysis.

People may wish to ask their dentist which is the best mouthwash for their individual needs. A mouthwash cannot substitute brushing and flossing, but it can complement these practices.

Mouthwashes that may help with bad breath and dental problems are available online.

7. Limit sugary foods and starches

Consuming sugar can lead to cavities. Studies continue to highlight the significant role that sugar plays in adverse dental health outcomes. Common culprits include candy and desserts, but many processed foods also contain added sugar.

The WHO recommend that people limit their intake of sugar to below 10 percent of their daily calories. The authors of a systematic review concluded that lowering this to 5 percent would further reduce the risk of cavities and other dental problems.

Experts have also stated that starchy foods, such as crackers, bread, chips, and pasta, can cause tooth decay. The ADA explain that these foods linger in the mouth and break down into simple sugars, on which acid-producing bacteria feed. This acid can cause tooth decay.

Instead of starchy foods, the ADA recommend eating plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products without added sugar.

8. Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the typical diet of those in the U.S. Sipping on soda, juice, or other sugary drinks can lead to a higher risk of cavities.

The ADA recommend drinking water or unsweetened tea throughout the day and only drinking sugar-sweetened drinks at meal times and in small volumes.

Tips for kids

A child’s primary teeth, which people sometimes call baby teeth, are just as important as their permanent teeth. Baby teeth help a child chew and speak. They are placeholders for future permanent teeth.

If a child loses a baby tooth to decay, this can disrupt the space in the mouth and make it difficult for the adult tooth to develop correctly.

With this in mind, it is best to introduce good dental care for children during infancy. The following practices will help keep a child’s teeth and gums healthy:

  • Wipe a baby’s gums with a warm, wet washcloth every day, even before they have any teeth. Doing this removes sugars from the gums and can help a baby become familiar with the feeling of cleaning their teeth.
  • Babies and toddlers should not go to bed with bottles or sippy cups. Milk and juice contain sugars that can cause tooth decay if they remain on the teeth for extended periods.
  • As a baby approaches 1 year of age, start getting them used to a sippy cup. Aim to stop using bottles by their first birthday.
  • Allow toddlers to sip water from sippy cups between meals, but save juice or milk for meal times only.
  • Once a baby has teeth, brush them twice a day with a soft baby toothbrush. Use a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice. Children who are 3 to 6 years of age may use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Parents or caregivers should brush the child’s teeth for them until they can clean all of their teeth thoroughly without help. Monitor them to make sure that they spit out the toothpaste.
  • Keep the toothpaste out of children’s reach when it is not in use.
  • The ADA recommend that children see a dentist within 6 months of their first tooth appearing or at 1 year of age, whichever comes first.
  • Parents and caregivers should not share eating utensils with a child or clean pacifiers by putting them in their mouth. Both of these actions can pass the adult’s cavity-causing bacteria to the child.

Summary

Practicing good dental care from infancy to adulthood can help a person keep their teeth and gums healthy. Brushing and flossing daily, not smoking, eating a healthful diet, and having regular dental checkups can help people avoid cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues. It may also benefit their overall health.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324708.php?fbclid=IwAR2JFpPKmHx3XWZMBRanYShZhId1pzxlxrIxTV_Bb0EFrG4VZOSRPGNvvB0



Tooth whitening – don’t gamble with your teeth

By: Damien Walmsley, The Conversation

Are you one of those people who are dissatisfied with the color of our teeth? Have you tried to use some DIY methods and over-the-counter whitening products to whiten your teeth?

If so, here are some recommendations from The Conversation to know if it is safe to continue. The Oral Surgery DC Team

People seem to be hypnotized by the lure of having teeth that are whiter than an Oscars ceremony. Studies show that over half of us are dissatisfied with the color of our teeth. The seemingly insatiable desire for whiter teeth is welcome news for makers of tooth whitening products, judging by the huge array of over-the-counter kits on offer. They will certainly be cheaper than going to the dentist – at least in the short term. But they could end up being expensive in the long term, especially if they result in damage to the surface of the teeth and expensive dental procedures are needed to fix the problem.

Genetics and diet play a large role in why some people’s teeth differ in colour. A lifetime of smoking and consuming strongly coloured foods and drinks, such as curries, tea and coffee, contributes to the effect. If you can resist these foods and drinks, and give up smoking, the effects are not just cosmetic but could also improve the health of your teeth and gums. If you wish to pursue the option of tooth whitening, you should visit your dentist.

Hydrogen peroxide is regarded by the EU Council Directive 2011/84/EUas the most effective and safest way (although alternatives do exist) to whiten teeth, which is why dentists use it. But in the wrong hands and in the wrong concentration, these harsh chemicals can irritate the tender tissues inside the mouth, as well as the gums.

Before 2012, when the European Directive came into force, the market was poorly regulated, as the amount of hydrogen peroxide used in products sold over the counter varied widely across Europe, as was the amount that could be used by dentists in their surgeries. After an extensive review of the safety and effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide by an expert scientific panel, the EU restricted the amount sold over the counter to 0.1% and up to 6% by dental professionals.

DIY – destroy it yourself?

Home bleaching products are marketed as quick and easy to apply and cheaper than having your teeth whitened by a dentist. But there are two major problems. One, there’s no guarantee that the legal ones work. And, two, the illegal ones put the consumer at risk of damaging their teeth.

The strict laws governing the amount of hydrogen peroxide that can be used in over-the-counter products means that manufacturers look to other chemicals to whiten teeth. Some of these chemicals are questionable as there is a lack of research into their use for this procedure and they may damage teeth, according to a recent studypublished in the British Dental Journal.

The study looked at the safety of five commonly available over-the-counter products. Three used sodium chlorite as the active ingredient, which breaks down to chlorine dioxide in the acidic environment of the mouth. The whitening effect of sodium chlorite is not fully understood.

Four of the products contained citric acid as the “accelerator”, which will soften and dissolve the enamel. This may lead to a large whitening effect, but over time the enamel will be lost. Once enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced. A serious side effect is yellowing teeth as the underlying dentine, which is naturally yellow, comes to the surface.

As this was a laboratory study, we don’t know what effects these products have on the gums. It is known that bleaching products can cause sensitivity and irritation to the gums and teeth. In a dental practice, these symptoms are closely monitored by the dentist who will advise the person if it is safe to continue. Or they will stop the process until the person’s mouth returns to health.

Safe, cheap and effective: pick two

Over-the-counter whitening products are self-administered and so are open to misuse. The product may not be applied correctly, and it seems almost inevitable that some people will apply more, hoping to increase the whitening effect.

While the EU strictly governs the use of hydrogen peroxide, regulation in other countries is more relaxed. In the US, these products are classified as cosmetic – not medical. It is possible to buy products with either high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (up to 25%) or other unregulated ingredients.

There are documented cases of damage occurring to teeth, gums and the mouth from their use, but as they are regulated as cosmetic products, manufacturers don’t have to submit reports of injury or other problems to the US Food and Drug Administration. Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to buy products with higher concentrations from anywhere in the world.

Given that you only have one set of adult teeth in your lifetime, there are easy steps you can take to protect your oral health that will also help with whitening. Avoid tooth decay by cutting down on sugar and make sure you brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, including the last thing at night. And you can always ask your dentist for advice if you are worried about the appearance of your teeth.

Source: https://theconversation.com/tooth-whitening-dont-gamble-with-your-teeth-113162?