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/

Notice: Rescheduling Elective Dental Procedures

The Maryland State Dental Association and the American Dental Association issued guidelines that elective dental procedures should be put off until at least April 1st.

If you have an upcoming appointment before that date, we will need to reschedule. Our office will be in contact with you in the coming days.

We apologize for any inconvenience, but we believe this approach is the best way to protect each other and our community during this time.

– The Oral Surgery DC Team

Here is the message we received from the CDC Division of Oral Health:

Dear Colleagues,

As the expanding global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues, the federal government continues to work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners across the globe to respond to this public health threat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Oral Health (DOH) is diligently working with CDC’s Emergency Operations Center to develop tailored COVID-19 guidance for dental health care personnel (DHCP). Once this guidance is available online, DOH and partners will promote these resources as well as any related events (e.g., informational webinar, Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity) to the dental community. 

It’s unknown at this time what the full impact of COVID-19 will be in a U.S., however CDC is preparing as if this were the beginning of a pandemic. All healthcare facilities should take steps now to prepare for the possibility of a widespread and severe COVID-19 outbreak to prepare their practices and protect both their patients and staff. CDC urges providers to be familiar with the information on CDC’s COVID-19 website.

Specific information is available for Healthcare Professionals, including a Healthcare Professional Preparedness Checklist, instructions on Evaluating and Reporting Persons Under Investigation (PUI), and a page on What Healthcare Personnel Should Know. DHCP can also consider signing up for communications from CDC’s Health Alert Network, which is CDC’s primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents.

Standard precautions, including the use of proper personal protective equipment, should be followed when caring for any patient. These practices are designed to both protect DHCP and prevent DHCP from spreading infections among patients.

CDC’s guidelines note that, if not clinically urgent, DHCP should consider postponing

non-emergency or elective dental procedures in patients who have signs or symptoms of respiratory illness. For procedures which are considered clinically urgent, dental health care personnel and medical providers should work together to determine an appropriate facility for treatment. The urgency of a procedure is a decision based on clinical judgement and should be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Division of Oral Health will communicate through partners as soon as tailored guidance is available for the dental community. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our country safe and healthy.

Sincerely,


CDC Division of Oral Health

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

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


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