What You Can Do About Bad Breath

By: Peter Jaret, WebMD

Don’t be afraid to get a little close this National Fresh Breath Day! Check out the 8 natural ways to freshen your breath. 😁 The Oral Surgery DC Team

It’s easy to improve your breath and keep your teeth and gums healthy at the same time. Try these simple steps to make your mouth feel fresh and clean.

1. Brush and floss more often.

Plaque, the sticky buildup on your teeth, collects bacteria that cause bad breath. Trapped food also adds to the problem.

Brush your teeth at least two times each day, and floss at least once. If you’re concerned about your breath, do both a little more often.

Don’t overdo things, though. If you brush too hard you can wear down your teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.

2. Rinse your mouth out.

Besides freshening your breath, a mouthwash adds extra protection by getting rid of bacteria. A fresh minty taste can make you feel good. But be sure the mouthwash you choose kills the germs that cause bad breath. Don’t just cover up the smell. Rinse daily with a good mouthwash and stop bad breathat its source.

You can also help your breath if you swish your mouth with plain water after you eat. It can get rid of food particles that get stuck in your teeth.

3. Scrape your tongue.

The coating that normally forms on your tongue can be a host for smelly bacteria. To get rid of them, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush.

If your brush is too big to comfortably reach the back of your tongue, try a scraper. “They’re designed specifically to apply even pressure across the surface of the tongue area. This removes bacteria, food debris, and dead cells that brushing alone can’t take care of,” says hygienist Pamela L. Quinones, past president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

4. Avoid foods that sour your breath.

Onions and garlic are big offenders. But brushing after you eat them doesn’t help.

The substances that cause their bad smells make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out, says dentist Richard Price, DMD, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association.

The best way to stop the problem? Don’t eat them, or at least avoid them before you go to work or see friends.

5. Kick the tobacco habit.

Besides causing cancersmoking can damage your gums, stain your teeth, and give you bad breath.

Over-the-counter nicotine patches can help tame the urge. If you need a little help, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about quit-smoking programs or prescription medications that can help you give up tobacco for good.

6. Skip after-dinner mints and chew gum instead.

The bacteria in your mouth love sugar. They use it to make acid. This wears down your teeth and causes bad breath. Chew sugarless gum instead.

“Gum stimulates saliva, which is the mouth’s natural defense mechanism against plaque acids, which cause tooth decay and bad breath,” Quinones says.

7. Keep your gums healthy.

Gum disease causes bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.

If you have gum disease, your dentist may suggest you see a periodontist, who specializes in treating it.

8. Moisten your mouth.

You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don’t make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day.

Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy. Also, try a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your house.

9. See your doctor.

If your bad breath continues despite your best efforts, make an appointment with your doctor. He’ll check to see if your problems are related to a medical condition.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/get-rid-bad-breath#2


A Visibly Straighter Smile with Invisible Orthodontics

😷 The invisible orthodontics is one of the leading alternatives for both teenagers and adults. While the primary reason many choose this option is that they don’t like the appearance of metal braces, there are several other measurable benefits that make this a superior choice. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Traditional orthodontics isn’t for everyone. The thought of years of painful adjustments and inconvenient appointments could keep some from pursuing the dream of a straight smile. But, there’s another option.

What is Invisible Orthodontics?

Invisible orthodontics uses BPA-free, plastic “aligners” to straighten teeth. Aligners can be removed to eat and clean your teeth, which makes it easy to go about your schedule without having to worry about restricting your diet due to wires or cleaning around brackets.

Typically, a set of aligners is worn from two to six weeks and then you visit your dentist for your next set. This process is repeated until your teeth are straight. With invisible orthodontics, it’s important to remember that the success of the treatment is completely dependent on compliance. Once you have completed the treatment, you will be given retainers that will help keep your teeth straight for years to come.

There two main companies for invisible orthodontics – ClearCorrect and Invisalign.

Understanding ClearCorrect

ClearCorrect has been an option for almost a decade, offering serious benefits to users who want an invisible, removable solution to straighten their teeth.

After being evaluated by your dentist, your aligners will be made and you will start wearing them. With this system, you’ll wear your aligners for 22 hours each day and will visit your dentist for new sets of aligners every four to six weeks.

Understanding Invisalign

Invisalign also provides an invisible, comfortable, convenient way to straighten teeth. Your dentist will create a customized treatment plan and will make aligners that you will change yourself every few weeks to slowly move your teeth. For most patients, checkups are only required every six weeks to monitor your progress. Invisalign aligners should be worn for 20 to 22 hours each day for maximum effectiveness.

Once treatment is complete, you may want to opt for Vivera retainers from Invisalign. These retainers help lock in your smile to make sure it looks just as great in 10 years as it does the day you finish treatment.

Minimal Interruptions for Maximum Results

Whether you’re a teenager worried about how braces will affect your social life or an adult who isn’t willing to suffer through years of metal braces for a straight smile, invisible braces are a great alternative.

Regardless of which company you choose, you can expect your smile to transform into the straight, radiant smile you’ve always envisioned with minimal disruption to your life.

Now that’s something to really smile about!

Sources:

Retrieved June 5, 2015, from http://www.invisalign.com

Retrieved June 5, 2015, from https://clearcorrect.com


In Defense of Root Canals: The Unsung Hero of Dental Care

🦷 Think you might need a root canal? It’s not the end of the world, nor is it as torturous as you might think! Even though a root canal is usually the last resort for decayed teeth, when compared with other alternatives, it’s quite practical and cost-effective.

Put your fears to rest by discovering the truth about this much-maligned treatment, and find out why it’s considered by many dentists to be the unsung hero of dental care. The Oral Surgery DC Team

When and Why Root Canals Are Necessary

Left untreated, tooth decay can eventually result in bacteria infiltrating the very core of the tooth, infecting its sensitive nerve tissue (otherwise referred to as “root” or “pulp”). Once the pulp has been infected, a pocket of pus known as an abscess can form and wreak havoc beyond the problem tooth itself. From swelling of the mouth, jaw and face, to bone loss and even the spread of infection into the skin, the cost of delaying treatment can compound rather quickly.

If the problem is caught in time, a root canal may be possible, allowing the dentist to clear the infected pulp without having to sacrifice the whole tooth. Keeping your natural tooth not only helps maintain proper chewing and speech but also it requires less time and money compared to tooth removal and implant.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

If you experience any of these symptoms, you might need a root canal:

  • Acute, shooting pain when pressure is applied to a tooth
  • Noticeable darkening or discoloration of the tooth compared to neighboring teeth
  • Lingering tooth sensitivity, particularly to extremely hot or cold foods
  • A pimple on the gums that never seems to go away
  • Swelling of the gums near the problem tooth
  • Continuous pain or throbbing even when not chewing or using the tooth

See your dentist to know for sure, and let him or her know about your situation when scheduling an appointment to ensure you are seen as soon as possible. Like most dental problems, it’s best to be proactive. The sooner the dentist is able to diagnose and treat the infected area the better — and it could decrease the amount of post-procedure discomfort.

What to Expect During a Root Canal

The length of time for treatment can vary widely depending on the complexity of each patient’s situation, but it’s safe to say that multiple visits are required to complete a root canal. Anesthesia may be applied, but it is not always necessary since the nerve is already dead. The first phase of a root canal involves thoroughly ridding the tooth of any infection and decayed matter — usually by drilling an access hole, flushing out the pulp, and applying medication to the tooth and surrounding gums. The dentist will then seal off the area completely, or in extreme cases, wait several days for the infection to clear before sealing off the tooth.

The second phase of treatment focuses on filling the tooth. To do this, a dentist normally uses sealer paste or a rubber-like compound to fill the empty nerve canal and interior of the tooth. After the tooth has been filled, a metal post is inserted into the tooth to further strengthen it.

Restoration, in which a crown is created to cap off the tooth, is the final step of treatment. Once the custom crown arrives, the dentist covers the tooth and shapes the crown to function as optimally as possible.

Post Treatment Care

As with any lengthy dental procedure, temporary tooth and gum sensitivity are to be expected but should go away within a day or two. If the permanent crown has been applied, you can return back to your normal routine immediately.

Root canals have a very high success rate, but it’s important to remember that there is always a possibility for the filling to become infected. To avoid complications and additional root canals down the road, make oral hygiene a top priority and schedule regular visits to your dentist.

Sources:

Dental Health and Root Canals. (2015, January 26). Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-root-canals

Johnstone, G. (n.d.). The Latest on Root Canals. Retrieved May 24, 2015 from http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/root-canals/

What is Root Canal Treatment and Why Would You Want It? (2010). Retrieved May 24, 2015 from http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/faq/root-canal/

Thrush — the White Stuff Growing in Your Mouth (and How to Get Rid of it)

By: Cleveland Clinic

👅 What’s that white stuff on your tongue? And why does your mouth feel “funny” — maybe a little bit like sandpaper? Well, you may have a case of thrush.

Learn the symptoms, treatments, and steps to prevent the growth of thrush in your tongue via Cleveland Clinic. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Thrush can strike anyone, but some people are far more vulnerable: “We usually see thrush in children whose immune systems are developing, or older adults, whose immune systems are starting to fail,” says otolaryngologist Tony Reisman, MD. “People who have conditions that affect the immune system are also more susceptible.”

Do I have thrush?

It can be challenging to know if your mouth woes are related to the Candida fungus that causes thrush. Common signs include:

  • A white, cottage cheese-like coating.
  • Redness, burning or soreness.
  • A change in the ability to taste.
  • Cracking of the tongue or corners of the lips.
  • A dry, cotton- or sandpaper-like feeling.

Is thrush treatment necessary?

“You may not even need a diagnosis because thrush often goes away on its own once you stop whatever caused the problem,” says Dr. Reisman. “For example, if antibiotics led to thrush, just waiting a few weeks may give the body time to return to a natural yeast balance.”

Dr. Reisman recommends using good oral hygiene for three to four weeks to see if thrush resolves on its own.

When oral thrush just won’t go away

Well, it’s been a few weeks. You’ve been dutifully rinsing your mouth twice a day. But the white stuff is still there. It’s time to call your primary care provider.

Your provider will want to look at your mouth to rule out other causes, including:

  • Burning mouth syndrome (a burning sensation in the mouth that has no obvious cause).
  • Geographic tongue (harmless patches on the top and sides of the tongue with no known cause).
  • Precancerous or cancerous lesions.

If it is thrush, your provider will likely order an antifungal rinse. You’ll swish, swish, swish for 10 to 14 days, which will help the body regain the natural yeast balance.

But if your symptoms still don’t improve, or you have recurrent episodes of thrush, visit an ear, nose and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) to discuss the diagnosis and treatment.

Prevent thrush from creating chaos in your mouth

People who are prone to thrush — whether from dentures, immune system-suppressing drugs or a condition such as HIV — can take steps to avoid it (because you can’t be on an antifungal medication forever).

Dr. Reisman recommends these behaviors to prevent thrush:

  • See the dentist: Practice good oral hygiene, including professional dental cleaning twice a year.
  • Rinse: If you need steroid inhalers, make sure to rinse your mouth after using them.
  • Drink water: Keep yourself hydrated so your mouth doesn’t get dry.
  • Watch your sugar: Limit the sugary foods yeast feeds on, and maintain good blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes.
  • Quit smoking: No explanation needed!

Source: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/thrush-the-white-stuff-growing-in-your-mouth-and-how-to-get-rid-of-it/

Brushing and Flossing Could Reduce Your Risk of This Cancer

By: Lara DeSanto, HealthCentral

Do you know that improper dental care and hygiene can increase your risk of developing liver cancer?

📊 People with poor oral health, including painful or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or mouth ulcers, maybe a whopping 75% more likely to get liver cancer, according to a study of 469,000 people in the U.K. The findings likely apply to people in the U.S. as well, where liver cancer rates are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn the risks via HealthCentral! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Brushing and flossing your teeth is tied to far more than just impressing your dentist—in fact, showing your gums and teeth some TLC could reduce your risk of several chronic diseases, like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. And recent research shows that it may significantly reduce your risk of liver cancer, too.

People with poor oral health—including painful or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or mouth ulcers—may be a whopping 75% more likely to get liver cancer, according to a study of 469,000 people in the U.K. The findings likely apply to people in the U.S. as well, where liver cancer rates are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research, published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal, originally set out to discover whether there was a link between mouth health and digestive cancers like those of the colon and rectum. While no link was found there, a substantial link was found for liver cancer and oral health conditions.

But why does poor mouth health set you up for greater risk of liver cancer? Right now, it’s unclear, according to the study authors—but it may be related to the role of oral and gut bacteria in disease development.

“The liver contributes to the elimination of bacteria from the human body,” says lead study author Haydée WT Jordão, Ph.D., from the Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast. “When the liver is affected by diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or cancer, its function will decline and bacteria will survive for longer and therefore have the potential to cause more harm.” Another possibility is that people with poor mouth health change their diet to accommodate loose teeth and other issues—for example, eating only softer and possibly less nutritious foods—which could contribute to cancer development.

More studies are needed to better understand the connection, researchers say. Until then? Take steps to reduce your other risk factors for liver cancer, like minimizing alcohol consumption—and tend to those teeth!

4 Steps to a Healthier Mouth

You already know that you’re supposed to brush your teeth twice a day. Here’s what else you can do to take care of your mouth and reduce your risk of liver cancer—not to mention other diseases, according to the Oral Health Foundation:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day. Experts recommend brushing right before you go to bed and at least one other time during the day. Use a fluoride toothpaste, which helps protect your teeth from decay, and spit after brushing instead of rinsing so that the fluoride can stay on your teeth and work its magic longer. Look for a toothbrush with a small- to a medium-sized brush head and with soft to medium bristles. You can also go for an electric toothbrush, which can often be better at cleaning your teeth with less movement needed on your end.
  2. Floss daily. Floss at least once a day with a gentle rocking motion between the teeth. At the gum line, curve the floss into a C-shape around each tooth and gently scrape up the side of the tooth. Don’t forget the back of the last tooth!
  3. Go to the dentist. When was the last time you went in for a dental cleaning and checkup? Going to the dentist is important because if the plaque on your teeth hardens into tartar, it can no longer be removed by simple brushing—only a dental hygienist can help you remove it during cleaning. If you let tartar continue to build up, it can lead to inflammation, pain and gum disease.
  4. Eat well. Try to avoid consuming sugary foods and drinks frequently throughout the day. These are the foods that cause the bacteria in plaque to produce harmful acids that can eat away at your tooth enamel. And that’s when cavities form. The longer these sugar acids remain on your teeth, the more time they have to do their damage. If you just need an occasional sweet, make sure you brush your teeth (or drink a glass of water) immediately afterward to help cancel out some of the acids right away.

Source: https://www.healthcentral.com/article/mouth-health-liver-cancer-risk


Oral Piercings: What You Should Know

By: WebMD

👅 While piercing the tongue, lip or cheek may be attractive to some, there are a number of health-related risks associated with oral piercing. Find out the dangers of oral piercing via WebMD. The Oral Surgery DC Team

An oral (mouth) piercing is a small hole in your tongue, lip, cheek, or uvula (the tiny tissue at the back of your throat) so you can wear jewelry.

It’s a way to express your style, but it can be dangerous. Your mouth is filled with bacteria that can lead to infection and swelling. A swollen tongue can make it hard for you to breathe. In some people with heart disease, bacteria can lead to a condition that can damage your heart valves.

Tongue piercings also can put you at risk for bleeding and blood loss. You have a lot of blood vessels in the area.

The jewelry can cause issues as well. It can break off in your mouth and make you choke. You can chip your teeth on it while you eat, sleep, talk, or chew on it. If the break goes deep into your tooth, you can lose it or need a root canal to fix it.

Mouth piercings also may:

  • Make it hard to speak, chew, or swallow
  • Damage your tongue, gums, or fillings.
  • Make you drool
  • Make it hard for your dentist to take an X-ray of your teeth
  • Lead to serious health problems, like gum disease, uncontrolled bleeding, long-term infection, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Lead to an allergic reaction to the metal in the jewelry

Because of these risks, the American Dental Association warns against oral piercings. And you especially shouldn’t get one if you have a job or do things that would make it more likely to cause you trouble.

People with certain conditions that might make it hard for the piercing to heal are particularly at risk for health problems. Those include heart diseasediabeteshemophilia, and autoimmune diseases.

Safety

If you’ve decided to get an oral piercing, make sure you’re up to date on vaccines for hepatitis B and tetanus.

Pick a piercing shop that appears clean and well run. Look for a piercer who has a license, which means he was specially trained. The piercer should wash his handswith germ-killing soap, wear fresh disposable gloves, and use sterilized tools or ones that are thrown away after one use.

You’ll want to make sure that:

  • The piercer is happy to answer your questions
  • The people who work in the shop have been vaccinated against Hepatitis B (It’s fine to ask.)
  • The shop doesn’t use a piercing gun
  • The needle is new and has never been used
  • The needle is placed in a sealed container after it’s used
  • Jewelry is made of surgical steel, solid gold, or platinum

Take Care of Your Piercing

Once you leave the shop, you’ll need to make sure your piercing heals and doesn’t get infected. Healing usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. During that time, you should:

  • Rinse your tongue or lip piercing after every meal or snack and before bed. Use warm salt water or an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Not kiss anyone while you heal (avoid contact with someone else’s saliva)
  • Not share cups, plates, forks, knives, or spoons
  • Eat small bites of healthy food
  • Not eat spicy, salty, or acidic foods and drinks
  • Not have hot drinks, like coffeetea, or hot chocolate

While it heals, you should be able to remove the jewelry for short periods of time without the hole closing. If you get a tongue piercing, the piercer will start with a larger “barbell” to give your tongue room to heal as it swells. After the swelling goes down, dentists recommend you replace the large barbell with a smaller one that’s less likely to bother your teeth.

After your tongue has healed, take the jewelry out every night and brush it like you brush your teeth. You might want to take it out before you go to sleep or do anything active.

When to Get Help

You can expect short-term symptoms like pain, swelling, and extra saliva.

Watch out for signs of infection such as:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Lots of Bleeding
  • Discharge
  • A Bad Smell
  • Rash
  • Fever

If you have any of these, see a healthcare provider. Also, get help if you just feel that something isn’t right.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-piercing


Understanding Pediatric Fluoride Treatment

It’s undeniable that fluoride has played a major role in the decline of dental cavities in the United States. However, what isn’t so clear to many parents is whether or not fluoride treatments are safe and/or beneficial for children.

After all, children receive fluoride on a regular basis from many different types of foods and even water. Through these sources alone, minerals lost due to plaque, bacteria, and sugars are remineralized on teeth.

So, is an additional fluoride treatment at the dentist necessary and if so, at what age are the treatments most beneficial? Read on to find out.

Why You Should Consider Fluoride Treatments for Your Child

While it’s true that fluoride found in foods and water can replace lost minerals, it sometimes isn’t enough to strengthen teeth and protect against cavities. In fact, if you don’t consume enough natural fluoride, demineralization will occur much more quickly than remineralization, leaving enamel at risk and causing tooth decay.

Fluoride treatments speed up the natural remineralization process, providing prolonged protection against demineralization and related tooth decay. They are particularly effective in children because they can reverse early decay while protecting permanent teeth as they develop.

Scheduling Your Child’s Fluoride Treatments

Children should start fluoride treatments at around 6 months of age and continue at least until they turn 16 (and ideally, beyond this age as well). Treatments vary based on age and also on whether they are done at home or at the dentist’s office:

  • Drops, Chewables, Tablets, or Lozenges – These treatments are typically used at home for children 6 months and older who don’t receive enough fluoride in their water.
  • Fluoride Toothpaste – After the age of two, children’s teeth should be brushed using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Fluoride Varnish – Once baby teeth have appeared, children should have a fluoride varnish applied to protect against tooth decay. Typically, varnishes are applied by a dentist twice per year for children two and older.
  • Gels and Foams – As children get older, a dentist commonly applies gel or foam fluoride treatments using a mouthguard. This typically takes about five minutes.
  • Mouth Rinses – A fluoride mouth rinse may be prescribed for children over 6 years of age who are at risk for tooth decay due to genetics or other factors. A mouth rinse is typically used in combination with other fluoride treatments.

Protecting Your Child from Too Much Fluoride

The most common concern about fluoride treatments is that large amounts can be toxic to the brain, bones, kidney, and thyroid. However, products intended for home use have extremely low levels of fluoride, meaning that you generally don’t have to worry.

Still, there are precautions you can take to ensure you’re not only keeping potentially dangerous products away from children but also using fluoride properly:

  • Store any fluoride supplements or products out of reach of young children.
  • Use limited amounts of fluoridated toothpaste on a child’s toothbrush.
  • Don’t allow children to use fluoridated toothpaste without supervision until the age of 6.

Fluoride Treatments Play a Vital Part in Your Child’s Smile

Although some parents view fluoride skeptically, professional treatments are integral to your child’s smile starting at 2 years of age.

By doing your part at home and scheduling regular appointments, you can help prevent cavities and give children the strong teeth they need both now and in the future.

Source: http://newsletter.lh360.com/article-content/16fe29e2-7d79-476a-8369-ca2d4d45a738.html

Dental infections in kids tied to heart disease risk in adulthood

By: Lisa Rapaport, Reuters

😷 Children who develop cavities and gum disease may be more likely to develop risk factors for heart attacks and strokes decades later than kids who have good oral health, according to a recent study conducted by JAMA Network Open.

Keep reading as Reuters discussed the complete findings of this study. The Oral Surgery DC Team

(Reuters Health) – Children who develop cavities and gum disease may be more likely to develop risk factors for heart attacks and strokes decades later than kids who have good oral health, a recent study suggests.

Researchers did dental exams for 755 children in 1980, when they were eight years old on average, then followed them through 2007 to see how many of them developed risk factors for heart attacks and strokes like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, and hardening of the arteries.

Overall, just 33 kids, or 4.5 percent, had no signs of bleeding, cavities, fillings, or pockets around teeth that can signal gum disease. Almost six percent of the kids had one of these four signs of oral infections, while 17 percent had two signs, 38 percent had three signs, and 34 percent had all four signs.

Kids who had even one sign of oral infection were 87 percent more likely to develop what’s known as subclinical atherosclerosis: structural changes and thickening in the artery walls that aren’t yet serious enough to cause complications.

Children with all four signs of poor oral health were 95 percent more likely to develop this type of artery damage.

Oral infections are among the most common causes of inflammation-induced diseases worldwide, and periodontal disease in adults has long been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers note in JAMA Network Open.

Most people get cavities and gum disease for the first time in childhood, and these conditions can develop into more serious infections and tooth loss if they aren’t properly treated, the study authors note. Treating these oral health problems in childhood can also reduce inflammation and other risk factors for hardening of the arteries.

“This emphasizes how important good oral hygiene and frequent check-ups with a dentist starting early in life are for general health,” said lead study author Pirkko Pussinen of the University of Helsinki in Finland.

“The children with a healthy mouth had a better cardiovascular risk profile (lower blood pressure, body mass index, glucose, and cholesterol) throughout the whole follow-up period,” Pussinen said by email.

More than four in five kids had cavities and fillings, and 68 percent of them also had bleeding during dental exams. Slight pocketing around the gums was observed in 54 percent of the kids, although it was more often found in boys than in girls.

Both cavities and pocketing that can signal gum disease were associated with thickening of walls of the carotid arteries, blood vessels in the neck that carry blood from the heart to the brain. This indicates the progression of atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how cavities or other oral health problems might directly cause heart attacks or strokes. Not everyone with subclinical atherosclerosis or other risk factors will go on to have a heart attack or stroke.

Poor oral health in childhood was also associated with an increase in blood pressure and body mass index in early adulthood, noted co-author of an accompanying editorial Dr. Salim Virani of Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston.

“These could themselves be associated with poor heart health in adulthood,” Virani said by email. Systemic inflammation associated with poor oral health is also linked to heart disease and stroke, Virani added.

“Either the relationship shown in this study is causal or there are yet unmeasured confounders (risk factors) that are associated with both poor oral health as well as future risk of cardiovascular disease,” Virani said. “For example, could poor oral health be a marker of poor nutrition which itself is associated with cardiovascular disease, or could poor oral health be a marker of lower socioeconomic status which itself may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease in the future?”

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-kids-mouth/dental-infections-in-kids-tied-to-heart-disease-risk-in-adulthood-idUSKCN1S62L6


Dentists without drills: Minimally invasive dentistry is on the rise

men's blue t-shirt

By: Katharine Gammon, USC News

😷 Are you afraid to go to the dentist or do you have phobia on dental drills? Well, not anymore!

Microdentistry is now part of the University of Southern California dental curriculum, and its focus on stopping cavities early and without drills can make a big difference for patients with dental anxiety. Learn more! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Ariella Glodowski could see on her X-rays that she had small caries lesions forming — even though they weren’t large, painful or even visible to the naked eye. The early detection gave the then-third-year dental student an opportunity to experience firsthand a minimally invasive dental procedure called resin infiltration, where early caries lesions are infused with resin rather than drilled and filled.

In December, she had the procedure, which she noted was nearly pain-free. “It was like a normal procedure except there was no drilling involved,” she said. “It was relaxing, to some extent, because there were no sharp objects involved, just some pressure.”

She was also relieved to know that she wasn’t losing any tooth structure to the drill. Often, when dentists complete traditional dental restorations they can end up removing healthy tooth tissue, which can result in more damage over time.

Minimally invasive dentistry: Leaving the drill behind

Resin infiltration is part of a growing trend in microdentistry, also known as minimally invasive dentistry, said Jin-Ho Phark, an associate professor of clinical dentistry at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC and the dentist who performed Glodowski’s procedure.

“Patients tend to associate dentists with drilling, and they don’t like that,” he said. Plus, every time dentists complete a restoration, they have to drill away a little more of each tooth. Over time and multiple procedures, there is less and less healthy tooth structure to work with. “So,” he said, “we have been trying for a while to reduce the amount of drilling while still taking care of the disease.”

Caries and tooth decay can take a long time to develop. There might be many years before a patient feels any pain or physical evidence of a cavity due to caries, Phark explained. The trick to minimally invasive dentistry is to catch the decay before it becomes a big problem and stop it in the early stages.

“In the past, the standard was to wait until the lesion was big enough to be worthy to be drilled into,” Phark said. “With the new technique, we can stop the cavity early on and prevent it from breaking down and needing a filling at a later time.”

A dentist can use a special liquid resin to infuse into the lesions, which are porous. “We fill those pores with this resin,” Phark said. “It acts, in a way, like a sealant, and it’s a very preventive measure.”

Dentists have been using sealants to cover the grooves on chewing surfaces, and now they are using them to close up lesions developing between teeth. They apply the resin onto the tooth’s surface, and a network of pores within the enamel force the resin deep into the tooth. “After that, we harden the resin with blue light,” he said.

New in minimally invasive dentistry: silver diamine fluoride

In situations where the caries lesion has already progressed further and turned into a visible cavity, another minimally invasive dentistry technique gaining in popularity is the use of silver diamine fluoride. Though used internationally for years to stop caries progression, it has only recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in tooth sensitivity.

In its off-label usage, the antimicrobial, remineralizing compound is painted onto a tooth’s surface where cavitated lesions are visible, effectively halting any further caries cavitation. The method has been widely used in children or patients who might have a fear of the drill, Phark said. One negative side effect is that the compound can leave teeth blackened at the application site, which is why it has been widely adopted for children’s primary teeth, where it is only a temporary problem.

First in the nation? USC

USC is the first school to teach minimally invasive dental techniques on a large scale, already starting on the pre-clinical level. So far, these techniques have been offered only to patients in special clinics or advanced programs, such as advanced operative and adhesive dentistry. However, last fall Phark started teaching them to the first-year class in a new module called Cariology and Microdentistry. Once this class enters the clinic, they will be performing this kind of treatment on a regular basis.

Glodowski is excited to experience it firsthand and also to offer more drill-free options to her patients in the future as the technique becomes widely available. “Patients are going to be really happy that this is a possibility that works for them, especially if they have phobias about drilling,” she said. “It offers a more conservative approach, which is what we’re trying to strive for.”

Phark said resin infiltration, resin sealants, and silver diamine fluoride shouldn’t be expected to replace good oral hygiene and other healthy habits. Dental teams should start a larger conversation around health, which might even include having a nutritionist as part of the practice. “We are trying to be more and more preventive in the case of tooth decay and fight the causes of this disease, rather than patching up the consequences by drilling and filling,” he said.

The new cardiology curriculum is also paired with the implementation of new caries detection methods that use near-infrared, laser fluorescence and even the use of dental microscopes. This will help to detect and monitor such caries lesions more reliably.

The “death spiral of a tooth”

Part of what students learn is how to look at a patient’s history and ask questions to determine their risk of developing cavities. They also are trained to assess if patients have enough saliva, as saliva contains minerals that have a protective function for teeth.

There are very few downsides to the resin infiltration, though Phark said that some people don’t like the rubber dam that dentists have to place over the tooth to make sure there is no saliva and blood getting into the preparation. In addition, after the resin is placed, dentists can’t see it on an X-ray; they can still see the dark spot of the lesion, and they have to compare the size of the lesion to make sure the resin seal is working.

Still, the technique is far better than composite fillings, which last an average of five-to-seven years. “A young patient, a teenager, is going to live another 80 years,” Phark said. “You would replace that multiple times? And every time it gets bigger.”

He calls it the death spiral of a tooth: starting with a small filling, then a bigger filling and eventually a partial crown or a crown. “We are trying to stop this cycle that the tooth is going down from the beginning,” he said. “It’s especially important for adolescents.”

“This is a really exciting innovation,” said Glodowski, whose X-rays show the lesion isn’t growing under the resin. “I hope it will become more widely used in the future.”

Source: https://news.usc.edu/157157/minimally-invasive-dentistry-no-drilling/

Genetic make-up has little impact on dental health, a new study finds

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By: University of Melbourne, Medical Xpress

📃 A new study has found genetic makeup does not predispose people to tooth decay, however, the research did find that children with overweight mothers are more likely to have cavities.

🤰 A research conducted by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute found a link between the mother’s health and lifestyle during pregnancy and the child’s future dental health, with obesity in pregnancy a definite marker for increased risk of child tooth decay. Learn more about this surprising news via Medical Xpress – Medical and Health News! The Oral Surgery DC Team

The paper, published in the latest edition of Pediatrics, estimates that one in three Australian children have tooth decay by the time they start school.

Lead researcher Dr. Mihiri Silva, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, said the study looked at the teeth of 173 sets of twins (identical and non-identical) from pregnancy through to six years of age.

“How genetics impacts on dental health has not often been studied,” Dr. Silva said. “This is the first twin study that looks at both genetics and early life risk factors, such as illness and lifestyle.

“We found that identical twins, with identical genomes, have varying degrees of decay. This means that environmental factors, like a lack of fluoride in water, seem to be the prime cause of cavities not genetic makeup.”

However, Dr. Silva said the research did find a link between the mother’s health and lifestyle during pregnancy and the child’s future dental health, with obesity in pregnancy a definite marker for increased risk of child tooth decay.

“The relationship between maternal obesity and child tooth decay is complex,” Dr. Silva said. “Perhaps the mother’s weight has a biological influence on the developing fetus or perhaps the risk of decay rises because of increased sugar consumption in that household.”

One in three of the twins studied (32.2 per cent) had dental decay, and almost one in four (24.1 per cent) had advanced decay.

Dr. Silva said it was important that people don’t think of tooth decay as genetic.

“If people think the health of their teeth is down to their genetic make-up, they may not be prepared to make important lifestyle changes,” she said.

“Our findings also reinforce how important it is for pediatricians and other health professionals to educate children to start preventive measures early in life, prior to the onset of damage to dental tissues.”

Dr. Silva said tooth decay was a serious health problem, because there was a clear link between child cavities and developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.

“Tooth decay is also the leading cause of preventable hospital stays for Australian children,” Dr. Silva said.

According to 2011 Victorian Department of Health statistics, more than 26 000 Australians under the age of 15 are admitted to hospital to treat tooth decay every year.

Dr. Katrina Scurrah, from Twins Research Australia and the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, said the study illustrated the advantages of studying twins to find out about health conditions and the importance of considering the effects of early life risk factors as well as genes.

But she said it’s important to try to replicate these findings in other studies that follow children through to adulthood and to explore other risk factors for dental decay.

This latest study in Pediatrics collected data about the twins at 24 and 36-weeks’ gestational age, at birth, 18 months and six years of age. This included a dental examination at age six.

Questionnaires about the mother’s weight, illnesses, medication use, vitamin D levels, stress, alcohol intake, and smoking were collected during pregnancy.

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-04-genetic-make-up-impact-dental-health.html