Saturday, April 25, 2015

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

4 Signs You May Have A Problem:
Diabetes puts you at risk for dental problems.  It impairs the ability to fight bacteria in your mouth. Having high blood sugar encourages bacteria to grow & contributes to periodontal (gum) disease. You may have periodontal disease if you have:
  •  Gingiva (gums) that are red, sore, bleeding or swollen, or that pulls away from your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  •  An irregular bite or dentures that do not fit
                                                          Control Diabetes to Keep Your Smile Your Smile
    Well controlled diabetes contributes to a healthy mouth.  If you have poorly controlled or high blood sugar, your risk increases to dry mouth, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss and fungal infections like thrush. Since infections can also make blood sugar rise, your diabetes may become even harder to control. Keeping your mouth healthy can help you manage your blood sugar.
                                                       See Your Dentist Regularly

    People with diabetes are prone to oral infections.  You should get dental checkups at least twice a year.  Let your dentist know you have diabetes and what medicines you take.  Regular checkups and professional cleanings can help keep your mouth healthy.
                                                        Keep Plaque at Bay
    Sticky plaque-food, saliva, and bacteria-starts to form on your teeth after you eat, releasing acids that attack tooth enamel.  Untreated plaque turns to calculus (tartar), which builds under the gingiva (gums) & is hard to remove with flossing.  The longer it stays on your teeth, the more harmful it is. Bacteria in plaque causes inflammation and leads to periodontal (gum) disease.  Having high blood sugar often makes periodontal (gum) disease worse.
                                                 Take Care of your Dentures

    Loose-fitting or poorly maintained dentures can lead to gum irritation, sores, & infections. It's important to talk to your dentist about the changes in the fit of your dentures.  When you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk of fungal infections like thrush and mouth sores that are difficult to heal.  Poorly maintained dentures can also contribute to thrush.  It's important to remove & clean dentures daily to help reduce your risk of infection.  (it is also recommended that you do not sleep with your dentures in to allow your tissues to breath at night).
                                                         Toss The Tobacco
    Tobacco products-including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and pipes-are bad for anyone's oral cavity. If you have diabetes and smoke, you are increasing your risk of periodontal (gum) disease.  Tobacco can damage the gum tissue and may cause receding of your gingiva (gums).  It can also speed up bone and tissue loss, leading to lost teeth (Periodontal Disease)
                                                         Prepare for Oral Surgery
    Well controlled blood sugar reduces the risk of infections and speeds up healing. Tell your dentist and surgeon you have diabetes beforehand.
                                                         4 Steps to Protect Your Health
    The same steps that ensure a healthy mouth also help you manage diabetes
    • Eat a Healthy diet
    • Don't smoke
    • Keep up with your diabetes medications
    • See your dentist regularly to reduce the risk to developing a serious problem
                                                                Know the Warning Signs

    Regular dental checkups are important because your dentist can spot periodontal (gum) disease even when you do not have any pain or symptoms.  You should examine your teeth and gums yourself for early signs of trouble.  Infections can move fast. If you notice redness, swelling. bleeding. dry mouth, pain, or any other symptoms that concern you, call your dentist right away.

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    April is Oral Cancer Month

    Oral Cancer: is the growth of abnormal cells in any part of the mouth or lips. Most oral cancers start in the lining of the lips or mouth where you have thin, flat cells squamous cells. This type of cancer is called oral cavity cancer or oropharyngeal cancer.

    Risk factors:
    • Smoking (or using smokeless tobacco)
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Being male
    • Using Marijuana
    • Having human papillomavirus (HPV)
    • Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds-cancer of the lips, exposure over a long period of time
    • A sore on your lip or in your mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal
    • A lump or thickening on your lips, gingiva (gums), cheeks, or in your mouth,
    • A white or red patch on your gingiva (gums), tongue, tonsils, or the lining of your mouth.
    • A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
    • Unexplained difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue.
    • Numbness or pain in your tongue or other areas of your lips or mouth.
    • Swelling in your jaw that makes your teeth loose or your dentures fit poorly.
    • Changes in your voice.
    • Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
    * When your dentist performs an oral cancer screening, they are looking closely at your lips, mouth, tongue and throat to check for signs of oral cancer.
    ** Other tests may be needed if there are possible signs of cancer,  such as a biopsy, an X-ray, or an MRI.
    *** Oral cancer is usually treated with surgery & radiation therapy. Your treatment will depend on the stage of your cancer and your health factors. Chemotherapy may also be necessary.

    For more information, please visit the National Cancer Institute website :




      Sunday, March 1, 2015

      You Might Be Over-Whitening ! Do It Naturally With Foods

      Most of us have either used whitening strips, whitening toothpastes, or brushed with baking soda to help whiten our teeth.

      It's not recommended to use any whitening strips more than once a month and any other whitening method more than once a week - any more than that and you'll strip away too much enamel.

      If you feel the need to whiten your teeth daily, do it naturally with foods like strawberries and pineapple. Both are acidic in a cleansing way.

      Strawberries contain malic acid (increases saliva), but they also offer the benefits antioxidants that reduce staining bacteria as well as inflammation. Plus, vitamin C that protects against gum inflammation and periodontal disease.

      Pineapple is the only food that contains bromelain.  Bromelain is also effective stain-removing ingredient!

      Also try celery, pears and apples. They contain fiber, which increases the amount of saliva in your mouth. The more saliva you're making, the cleaner your teeth!!      
            Simply chewing on an apple scrubs your teeth. Plus, the high concentration of malic acid also increases saliva, which also helps to clean teeth.

      Raw broccoli, like an apple, will scrub your teeth. Plus, all the iron in broccoli provides a wall of protection again acid created by bacteria, thus preventing stains.

      The fact that raisins call be good for your teeth may be surprising, since they are also sticky! Chewing raisins help stimulate saliva production that guards teeth against stains and cavities.   

      The Unexpected Way Running Affects your Teeth

      We all know that exercising is great for your health. One of the primary reasons for running is that it helps lose weight, fight heart disease and relives stress. However running can also have hidden negative effect on one of the most important parts of your body; Teeth.
      When you add all the carbs, sports drinks and protein bars that are likely consumed during or after a work out, your mouth has the perfect environment for cavi...ties. Sugar feeds decay-causing bacteria and our defenses against this bad bacteria lives in our saliva.
      While most runners breath through their mouth, the mouth is usually dry during the entire run which slows saliva rates and makes it harder for the mouth to clean its self. Therefore, when the mouth is dry, your teeth are at risk.

      Here are a few things you can to save your teeth during a workout!

      1.Stay hydrated

      2.Pop a sugar free mint or a piece gum after a workout (helps your saliva glands to start working again)

      3.Brush and floss regularly


      Sunday, January 18, 2015


      Teeth help us bite and chew are food, but how much do you really now about your teeth. Most likely if you don't work in the dental field you have very little knowledge on what your teeth are made of and the different types of teeth we have!

      Babies start teething around 6 to 12 months old and by the time they are 3 years old they should have a full set of 20 milk teeth, also known as baby teeth. Once they have reached 6 years old the child's teeth Begin to fall out making way for the adult teeth.

      By the age of 14 most children have lost all their baby teeth and have their adult teeth. Adults have 32 teeth total. Around the age of 17 we start to gain four more which are called the wisdom teeth. If you experience any pain when the wisdom teeth are coming through consult your dentist, these may have to be removed.

      There are four different types of teeth:

      • Incisors- The four front teeth top and bottom. Used for cutting and chopping.
      • Canine teeth- The pointy teeth on each side of the incisors top and bottom. Used for tearing.
      • Premolars- Also known as bicuspid teeth. These are located next to the canine teeth. Used for grinding and crushing.
      • Molars- Strongest teeth, work along side the tongue to help swallow your food, helps with the mashing of the food.

      Sunday, January 11, 2015

      Common Dental Problems Facing Seniors

      As We Age...
      • Darken teeth : are caused by changes in the dentin which is the tissue under the enamel.  This is often the result of consuming staining beverages, foods, or tobacco over the years.
      • A diminished sense of taste: is caused by dentures, medications or diseases.
      • Xerostomia  (Dry mouth): is caused by decrease flow of saliva, and it is often the result of head & neck radiation therapy.  There are other various diseases and medications that can also cause dry mouth leading to dental problems such as Caries (decay) & Halitosis (Bad Breath).
      • Periodontal Disease (Gum disease) : is caused by plaque buildup on the teeth, and it is worsened when food is left on the teeth.  Tobacco products, poor diet and dentures that do  not fit can also contribute.  Diseases such as cancer, anemia, diabetes and several others may contribute to gum disease.
      • Tooth loss : is caused by Periodontal Disease (Gum disease).
      • Root Caries (decay) : is usually caused when the gingiva (gum tissue) recedes, roots become exposed to acids that cause breakdown & leading to cavities
      • Resorbed/Atrophic Ridge : (An uneven jawbone) is often caused by tooth loss.
      • Thrush: is caused by a buildup of Candida fungus, which is often the result of drugs or diseases that effect the immune system.
      • Denture- induced stomatitis: is caused by ill fitting dentures, a buildup of Candida fungus or poor oral hygiene.
      Age is not always the main factor for determining oral health.  Some people who are in their 70's have healthier teeth and gums than people who are in their 20's who have bad genes.  Some medical conditions that are related to age may affect how a person performs oral hygiene tasks.  For example, a person with arthritis in the hands may find it more difficult to brush & floss regularly.

      Oral Hygiene Tips for Senior Citizens :
      Daily brushing is essential, and seniors should try to floss every day to prevent food buildup between teeth.  If oral hygiene is neglected, plaque will quickly build up and start eroding the enamel.  The following tips are helpful:
      • Brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
      • Routine visits (~3mos,4mos, or 6mos, as recommended by the dentist ).
      • Floss daily
      • Use antimicrobial mouth rinses to prevent plaque buildup which may lead to caries (decay) & periodontal disease (gum disease).
      Dental Exam:

      A dentist will screen for oral cancer (check the face , tongue, neck, lymph nodes, & jaw), and check your occlusion (bite) and dentition (teeth) during the exam.  A dentist should ask the following details:
      • The date of the last oral exam.
      • The reason for the last appointment.
      • If the patients has noticed any sensitive or loose teeth.
      • If the patient has noticed changes in the mouth.
      • If the patient has noticed a diminished sense of taste.
      • If the patient has had difficulty swallowing, chewing, or tasting.
      • If the patient has bumps, swelling or lumps in the mouth.
      • If the patient has discomfort, sores, or bleeding in the mouth.
      * Dentist will also look for signs of irritation in the mouth and examine the appliances (dentures, partials, bridges...) themselves for problems.

      Dental Financial Aid For Seniors:

      If a senior is on a limited or fixed income, it can be difficult to afford dental care.  Many professionals offer services at reduced process for seniors with help of society/community-sponsored programs.  The best way to find a relevant information is to contact the local dental society.

      Saturday, January 10, 2015

      How to nurse a weekend toothache :

      So it's the weekend and everyone is busy.. And where are you? At home with a toothache, wishing Monday would hurry up and arrive so you can get to a dentist.
      Here's a few tips on how to make it throughout that painful weekend :
      Try rinsing your mouth out first. Take a mouthful of room-temperature water and rinse vigorously. Many times, a painful toothache can caused simply by trapped food.
       * If that doesn't work, try flossing GENTLY. This should get rid of the problem, unless your problem is something other than just stuck food.
       * Numb the pain- Take a shot of whiskey (do not swallow it), and hold it in your mouth right over the painful tooth. Your gums will absorb the alcohol and it will numb the pain.
       * Rinse with salt water- Make sure the water is room temperature. This is very soothing and cleansing and will help keep it from getting any worse.
       * Massage your hand- Rubbing an ice-cube in the V-shape between your index finger and your thumb for 5-7 minutes can reduce the pain by 50%.
       * Put a little clove oil on it- You can purchase this over the counter. Simply drop a little right on the tooth.
       * Try not to bite-  Obviously, if you have a toothache, try not to bite on that side whatsoever.
       * Try icing it up- This may not work if you have sensitivity to cold. If you don't, you might try sucking on an ice cube- on or near that tooth. If sucking on an ice-cube isn't going to work, try puting an icepack on your cheek in 15 minute intervals.
       * Close your mouth- If you are having sensitivity to cold, breathing through your mouth can cause even more pain. Try breathing through your nose.
       * Take Aspirin- Don't put it directly on your tooth or gum, this can cause damage. Actually take and swallow an aspirin every 4-6 hours.
       * Keep it cool- Try to avoid getting to warm or hot. And definitely avoid placing heat on the area. Heat draws infection to the surface, making it worse and more painful.
       * These tips are to GET YOU BY until you can see a dental professional.