News Bites

Teeth Whitening

Whitening SmileAccording to a survey done by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, teeth whitening treatments are the number one requested cosmetic dental procedures. The national survey also found:

  • Virtually all adults (99.7%) believe a smile is an important social asset.
  • 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to members of the opposite sex.
  • 74% of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chances for career success.
  • And when respondents were asked, “What would you most like to improve about your smile?” The most common response was: Whiter & Brighter Teeth. If you are not happy with your smile, teeth whitening may provide the solution. It can drastically change your appearance and boost your self-esteem at the same time. It’s also an easy process and relatively inexpensive.

 Teeth whitening procedures can help:

  • Lighten coffee-stained teeth.
  • Remove cigarette and tobacco discolorations.
  • Correct yellowing in teeth due to aging.

At the Cecchini Advanced Center for Dentistry, we offer At-Home Dentist Supervised Teeth Whitening: 

  1. The patient wears a custom-fitted mouth tray containing a teeth whitening gel for a few hours each day or night.
  2. The trays can be adjusted to lighten individual teeth.
  3. The average patient will wear mouth trays for one to two weeks. More severe stains can often be improved with extended use of a home teeth whitening system.

Although numerous over-the-counter teeth whitening products are now available, the dentist-supervised teeth whitening remains the safest and most effective method for brightening your smile.

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Preventative Care

Check upWe recommend your teeth be cleaned and examined at least every six months. Dental ailments are seldom evident to patients until the trouble reaches a stage that makes treatment complicated and expensive. Preventive care is the only way to extend the service of your dentition and ensure a healthy smile.

If you have periodontal disease which has resulted in:

  • bone loss
  • gum pockets deeper than four millimeters
  • bleeding gums
  • exposed root surfaces

Or, if you have had periodontal surgery or root planing to treat periodontal disease, periodontal maintenance is needed every three months to maintain gum and bone health. This procedure arrests gum disease by removing plaque and tartar above and below the gum line and disrupts the non-curable bacteria that can colonize and release toxins into the blood stream.

Posted in Blog |


April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers, with roughly 35,000 new cases reported annually in the United States. The vast majority of oral cancers occur in people older than 50 years, with men being twice as likely as women to develop the disease. The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth and soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery and even death. Your dentist can perform a thorough screening for oral cancer.

Scientists aren’t sure of the exact cause of oral cancer. However, the carcinogens in tobacco products and alcohol, as well as excessive exposure to the sun, have been found to increase the risk of developing oral cancer.

Your dentist should screen for oral cancer during routine checkups. He or she feels for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity and thoroughly examines the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues.

Know the Symptoms

Oral cancer represented by red, white or discolored lesions, patches or lumps in or around the mouth is typically painless in its early stages. As the malignant cancer spreads and destroys healthy oral tissue, the lesions or lumps become more painful. However, oral cancer is sometimes difficult to self-diagnose, so routine dental exams are recommended. See your dentist immediately if you observe: any sore that persists longer than two weeks; a swelling, growth or lump anywhere in or about the mouth or neck; white or red patches in the mouth or on the lips; repeated bleeding from the mouth or throat; difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.

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What are Veneers?

Veneers AfterVeneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic (porcelain) or a composite resin material, which are bonded to the front of teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth and to improve a smile. Veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color, size or shape. Veneers can mask undesirable defects, such as teeth stained by tetracycline and damage due to an injury or as a result of a root-canal procedure. They are ideal for masking discolored fillings in front teeth. Patients with gaps between their front teeth or teeth that are chipped or worn may consider veneers. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable longevity when properly performed. What to Expect with Veneers For about a week or two, you will go through a period of adjustment as you get used to your “new” teeth that have changed in size and shape. Brush and floss daily. After one or two weeks, your dentist will ask you to return for a follow-up appointment. Veneers are reasonable facsimiles of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It’s not uncommon to see slight variations in the color of veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth. Nevertheless, this procedure can greatly enhance your smile and can heighten self-esteem.

From knowyourteeth.com

Posted in Blog |


What Is the Best Technique for Brushing?

There are a number of effective brushing techniques. Patients are advised to check with their dentist or hygienist to determine which technique is best for them, since tooth position and gum condition vary. One effective, easy-to-remember technique involves using a circular or elliptical motion to brush a couple of teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth.

Place a toothbrush beside your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush teeth in an elliptical motion. Brush the outside of the teeth, inside the teeth, your tongue, the chewing surfaces and between teeth. Using a back-and-forth motion causes the gum surface to recede, can expose the root surface or make the root surface tender. You also risk wearing down the gum line.

From knowyourteeth.com

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What is Orofacial Pain?

Orofacial pain includes a number of clinical problems involving the chewing (masticatory) muscles or temporomandibular joint. Problems can include temporomandibular joint discomfort; muscle spasms in the head, neck and jaw; migraines, cluster or frequent headaches; or pain with the teeth, face or jaw.

You swallow approximately 2,000 times per day, which causes the upper and lower teeth to come together and push against the skull. People who have an unstable bite, missing teeth or poorly aligned teeth can have trouble because the muscles work harder to bring the teeth together, causing strain. Pain also can be caused by clenching or grinding teeth, trauma to the head and neck or poor ergonomics.

Some people may experience pain in the ears, eyes, sinuses, cheeks or side of the head, while others experience clicking when moving the jaw or even locking if the jaw is opened or closed.

From knowyourteeth.com

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Expecting? Don’t Neglect Your Teeth

Even though most people are aware that good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child, misunderstandings about the safety of dental care during pregnancy may cause pregnant women to avoid seeing their dentist. The fact is that dentists can create a treatment plan that is safe, effective, and essential for combating the adverse effects of oral disease during pregnancy.

During the course of pregnancy, a woman’s oral health can undergo significant changes. According to an article published in the November/December 2010 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), pregnant women can experience gingivitis, pregnancy tumors, and mild to severe gingival enlargement.

Clinically, pregnancy gingivitis is no different than non-pregnancy gingivitis. Patients will experience redness and inflammation of the gums, bleeding on probing, and increased tooth mobility. Between 30 and 100 percent of pregnant women will experience varying degrees of gingivitis.

“Although bleeding and inflammation of the gums has been noted in all trimesters of pregnancy, it typically disappears three to six months after delivery, provided that proper oral hygiene measures are implemented,” says Crystal L. McIntosh, DDS, MS, lead author of the article. “Good oral hygiene and visits to a dentist can help to alleviate gum inflammation.”

Pregnancy tumors are reported by 10 percent of pregnant women. These tumors, which are not cancerous, appear as a growth in the mouth and usually disappear after the child is born. They typically are painless and purple or red in color, but they can exhibit spontaneous bleeding.

“If a pregnancy tumor is painful, bleeds severely, or interferes with eating, surgical removal is the treatment of choice,” says AGD spokesperson Robert Roesch, DDS, MAGD.

Gingival enlargement, which is an overgrowth or an increase in the size of the gums, occurs less frequently than gingivitis and pregnancy tumors. In severe cases, the gums can “grow” to cover the teeth completely.

“Pregnancy gingivitis and gingival enlargement are thought to be the result of a heightened response to bacteria in the mouth,” says Dr. Roesch. “That’s why it is extremely important to educate and motivate patients to maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy.”

If proper oral hygiene is not initiated prior to or during pregnancy, conditions such as gingivitis, pregnancy tumors, and gingival enlargement can worsen as the pregnancy progresses. Pregnant women should maintain their regular, semi-annual checkups and consult a dentist if they notice any changes in their oral health.

From knowyourteeth.com

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Oral Warning Signs Can Indicate Serious Medical Conditions

Oral Warning Signs Can Indicate Serious Medical Conditions

Regular dental exams not only help to decrease a patient’s risk of oral diseases, such as cavities and periodontal (gum) disease, but they may also help to diagnose other, sometimes life-threatening, medical conditions.

Dentists are able to assess a patient’s overall oral health and may recognize symptoms of serious diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and eating disorders, which often manifest as signs and symptoms inside of the mouth.

Diabetes

More than 25 million people in the United States alone suffer from diabetes.

“Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation usually caused by the presence of bacteria in plaque,” says Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokesperson Julie Ann Barna, DMD, MAGD. “Additionally, those with diabetes can experience high incidences of oral fungal infections and persistent bad breath.”

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers, with approximately 35,000 new cases reported annually in the United States.

“Indicators of oral cancer may include bleeding sores, lumps, or thick, hard spots, as well as changes in the way teeth fit together,” says Dr. Barna.

Oral cancer is sometimes difficult to self-diagnose, so routine dental exams are recommended. A dentist will feel for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks, and oral cavity and thoroughly examine the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues.

Eating Disorders

“Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, can rob the body of much-needed vitamins and minerals,” says Dr. Barna. “Without proper nutrition, the gums can lose their healthy pink color and become increasingly soft and tender, bleeding easily.”

Disorders that involve excessive vomiting, such as bulimia, can cause discoloration and erosion of the teeth due to constant contact with acid from the stomach. People who have eating disorders also may experience swollen salivary glands, dry mouth, sensitive teeth, and loss of tooth enamel.

Diseases negatively impact your general health, but they also can damage your oral health. Regularly scheduled dental exams allow dentists to detect or monitor your health.

“Patients should inform their dentists about any and all medical conditions and medicines that may affect their oral health, as well as any changes in their medical history,” says Dr. Barna. “Remember, maintaining a healthy body includes taking care of your oral health.”

 

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Heart Disease and Dental Treatment

Patients with certain heart conditions have a higher risk of endocarditis. This is an infection of the heart. It can be life threatening. It happens when bacteria in the bloodstream attach to damaged heart valves or other damaged heart tissue.

People with certain heart conditions may need antibiotics before they have certain types of dental procedures. Make sure to inform your dentist of any heart issues.

In 2007, the American Heart Association updated its guidelines on the use of antibiotics before dental treatments. The new policy advises antibiotics for fewer conditions than the old policy did.

Pre-treatment with antibiotics is still recommended for people who have had endocarditis in the past. It is also recommended for people with artificial heart valves, and people who had heart transplants and later developed heart valve problems.

Pre-treatment with antibiotics also is recommended for people with certain heart conditions that were present at birth:

  • Cyanotic heart disease that has not been repaired or was repaired incompletely. This includes people with shunts and conduits.
  • A heart defect that was completely repaired with a prosthetic material or device. In this case, antibiotics are advised only for the first six months after the procedure.
  • Any repaired heart defect that still has some defect at or next to the site of a prosthetic patch or device

Taking antibiotics before dental treatment is no longer advised for people with:

  • Acquired heart valve dysfunction (for example, rheumatic heart disease)
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Bicuspid valve disease
  • Calcified aortic stenosis
  • Congenital heart conditions, such as ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

The American Heart Association guidelines recommend pre-treatment antibiotics for dental procedures that involve an incision or manipulation of the gums or the tissues around a tooth root.

Antibiotics are not required for the following:

  • Routine anesthetic injections through non-infected tissue
  • X-rays
  • Placement of dentures
  • Placement or adjustment of removable orthodontic appliances
  • Placement of the bracket part of braces (not bands)
  • The natural loss of baby teeth in children
  • Bleeding from trauma to the lips or mouth

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

 Oral Effects

A heart attack can sometimes feel like pain that starts in the chest and spreads to the lower jaw. Other times it may be pain that starts in the jaw or in the left arm or shoulder.

At the Dentist

You should wait at least six months after a heart attack to have most dental treatments. Your dentist should have oxygen and nitroglycerin available during your appointment. Your dentist and physician should discuss your condition before dental treatment.

Some medicines you take can change the way your dentist treats you. For example, if you are taking blood thinning drugs (anticoagulants), your blood is less likely to clot. You may need to stop taking your blood thinning medicines before some dental procedures. Do not stop taking any medicines until you have spoken to your physician. This is something your dentist will discuss with you and your physician. Let your dentist know the medicines you take, and their doses. You may need to take blood tests before some dental procedures, such as gum surgery (periodontal surgery) or extractions.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Oral Effects

Some drugs that treat high blood pressure (anti-hypertensive medicines) cause dry mouth (xerostomia) or an altered sense of taste (dysgeusia). Others may make you more likely to faint when you are raised from the relatively flat position in the dentist’s chair to a sitting or standing position quickly. This reaction is called orthostatic hypotension.

Gum overgrowth is a possible side effect of some drugs that treat high blood pressure. These include calcium channel blockers. It can begin as soon as one month after you start drug therapy. Some people’s gums become so large that they have difficulty chewing. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove part of the overgrown gum tissue.

At the Dentist

If you have high blood pressure, your dentist should check your blood pressure at each visit. Your dentist can decide whether it’s OK for you to have non-emergency dental treatment. It will depend on:

  • How high your blood pressure is
  • How well your blood pressure is controlled
  • Whether you have other medical conditions

The first time you visit the dental office after being diagnosed with high blood pressure, your dentist may take your blood pressure two or three times. This is to establish a “baseline” blood pressure. This way, the dentist will know if your blood pressure changes in response to treatment or a medicine.

The first time you visit the dental office after being diagnosed with high blood pressure, your dentist may take your blood pressure two or three times. This is to establish a “baseline” blood pressure. This way, the dentist will know if your blood pressure changes in response to treatment or a medicine.

Most people with high blood pressure can safely take anti-anxiety drugs — such as nitrous oxide or diazepam (Valium) — for dental procedures. They can also safely receive local anesthetics even if they contain epinephrine. If you have concerns about these drugs, talk to your dentist, physician or both.

Some people taking calcium channel blockers may notice gum overgrowth (gingival hyperplasia). Your dentist will give you detailed oral hygiene instructions and may ask you to visit more often for professional cleanings. Remember that your daily tooth brushing and flossing at home is very important. If you stop taking the drugs, your gums recede somewhat. However, this may take several months. Some people’s gums do not return to normal on their own. Gum surgery may be necessary.

Make sure your dentist knows which drugs you are taking for your high blood pressure. Before a dental visit, take your medicines as you normally do.

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

Oral Effects

There are no oral effects of this procedure.

At the Dentist

For the first couple of weeks after surgery, you may feel severe pain when reclining in the dental chair. This is a side effect of the surgery. Work with your dentist to find a comfortable position in the chair.

Unless they need dental treatment within a few weeks after the surgery, people who have had CABG generally do not require antibiotics before a dental procedure. If you have had this surgery, speak to your physician before having any dental treatment within the next six months.

Angina

Oral Effects

Angina is pain that starts in the chest. Sometimes it spreads to your lower jaw.

Some people with angina take drugs called calcium channel blockers. These drugs can cause gum overgrowth. This can happen as soon as one month after you start these drugs. Some people’s gums become so large that they have problems chewing. People who have this problem will most likely need surgery on their gums (periodontal surgery).

At the Dentist

People with stable angina can be treated like any other patients, with a few differences. Your dentist should have oxygen and nitroglycerin available during your visit. Your dentist should talk to your physician before your appointment.

People with unstable angina should not receive non-emergency dental care. If you need emergency dental care, your heart should be continuously monitored.

Stress can trigger angina attacks. If being in the dental chair increases your anxiety, speak with your dentist about ways to reduce this stress. If you feel any chest discomfort, tell your dentist or the dental staff right away.

High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)

Oral Effects

People with high cholesterol have too much fat in their blood. There are no oral effects of high cholesterol.

At the Dentist

Some drugs used to treat high cholesterol can make you feel faint after you get up from the dental chair. High cholesterol puts you at risk of hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Your dentist should know about your condition and the drugs you are taking. Some drugs taken for high cholesterol can cause problems when taken with certain drugs that a dentist may prescribe.

Stroke

 Oral Effects

Stroke can cause many long-term effects. These include:

  • Paralysis
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
  • Increased or decreased sensitivity to pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor memory
  • Personality changes (anxiety, depression)

In some people, a stroke paralyzes one side of the body. If this happens to you, a family member or caregiver may need to help you with activities of daily living, including your dental care. Special toothbrushes and floss holders also are available. If you wear dentures, they may need to be adjusted.

If your face or tongue is paralyzed, you may not be able to rinse your mouth. You may also not realize when you have food left in your mouth. You may bite your lip or tongue and not realize it. To keep your teeth and gums healthy, your dentist may suggest that you use a fluoride gel or saliva substitute.

At the Dentist

Some stroke survivors take blood thinners. Tell your dentist about all the medicines you take. You may need to stop taking your blood-thinning medicines before some dental procedures. Do not stop taking any medicines until you have spoken to your physician. This is something your dentist will discuss with you and your physician. Usually, routine dental treatment is safe. Bring a copy of your most recent blood tests to your dentist at every visit.

Congestive Heart Failure

Oral Effects

Many of the medicines used to treat congestive heart failure (CHF) cause dry mouth. The medical term for dry mouth is “xerostomia.”

At the Dentist

If you are being treated for CHF and have no complications, side effects or physical limitations, there are usually no special changes needed for dental treatment. However, the dentist may make some changes, depending on the medicines you take and your overall health.

If you have more severe heart failure, you should not lie down in the dental chair too far. The fluid build-up in your lungs may affect your breathing. You also should not sit up or lie down very quickly. These changes can make you dizzy and light-headed. Your dentist can confirm how serious your CHF is by talking with your physician or cardiologist. Some people with severe CHF may need to have their dental treatment in a hospital setting. This includes people whose disease is considered class III or IV under the New York Heart Association functional classification system.

Pacemaker Implantation

Oral Effects

There are no specific oral effects caused by having a pacemaker.

At the Dentist

If you have a pacemaker, you should confirm that there are no interactions between electromagnetic devices in your dentist’s office and your pacemaker. Certain machines that a dentist or dental hygienist may use could potentially interact and cause a problem with a pacemaker. Examples include machines used for ultrasound or electrosurgery. The chance of any interaction is very small. You or your dentist should be able to find out about interactions from your physician or from the pacemaker manufacturer. Talk with your physician about possible interactions before visiting the dental office. If there is a chance of interaction, your dentist can take precautions to prevent it.

You should avoid elective dental care within the first few weeks after receiving your pacemaker. If you must receive dental care within that time, your dentist and physician should decide if you need to take antibiotics before treatment.

From Colgate.com

Reviewed by Columbia University College of Dental Medicine

Posted in Blog |


Have a Heart-to-Heart Chat Before Dental Visits

Congestive heart failure (CHF), a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body’s organs, affects more than 3 million people in the United States, with approximately 400,000 new cases each year.

People with a history of an untreated or poorly managed CHF, may be at high risk during a dental treatment for infection, cardiac arrest, stroke and heart attack, according to the lead author of a study that appeared in an issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-reviewed publication of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

“Bacteria released during a dental cleaning travels through the bloodstream and to the areas that help pump blood to other organs,” says Nelson L. Rhodus, DMD, MPH, lead author of the study. “Patients with untreated CHF are at high risk for infections because the bacteria released can trigger blood clots that may exacerbate the existing condition.”

Dr. Rhodus hopes his findings help increase patient awareness about getting CHF under control so patients can receive dental treatment.

From knowyourteeth.com

Posted in Blog |


Protect Your Heart

Keep your mouth healthy! Gum disease is a serious gum infection that should always be taken seriously. Although gum disease can often show few or no symptoms at all, watch for gums that are red and irritated or bleed easily. There are many new treatments available to control and help reverse gum disease.

Remember, gum disease is caused by plaque buildup. You should brush and floss regularly to remove plaque that you can’t see below the gum line, and always remember to schedule regular checkups. If you remove the plaque, you minimize the chance for getting gum disease. If you have any questions about your oral health, ask your dentist.

From knowyourteeth.com

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How Can Gum Disease Affect My Cardiovascular Health?

Researchers are finding possible links between periodontal (gum) infections and other diseases throughout the body. Current studies suggest that there may be a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. In fact, some research suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, high cholesterol, gender and age. Studies suggest that people who have gum disease seem to be at a higher risk for heart attacks, although no one is certain how this relationship works. Your oral health affects your overall health, but studies that will find exactly why these problems are linked are still underway.

From knowyourteeth.com

Posted in Blog |


Does a Smaller Waist Mean Smelly Breath?

Many people wanting to slim down are jumping on the low-carbohydrate diet trend in an attempt to lose weight. However, as dieters shed pounds, many are saying goodbye to carbs and hello to halitosis.

Low-carb diets work by limiting the amount of carbohydrates ingested, which allows the body to burn stored fat instead of carbohydrates. When the body burns fat as fuel, chemicals called ketones are produced. These ketones are released in the breath and urine and may result in halitosis. Ketones aren’t the only bad breath culprit for this diet. The types of foods ingested also play a role.

“Most cases of bad breath originate from the breakdown of food particles that produce sulfur compounds, and from bacteria on the gums and tongue,” says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Bruce DeGinder, DDS, MAGD.  “High-protein foods can produce more sulfur compounds, especially overnight on the surface of the tongue when saliva production is diminished.”

Tips to combat halitosis:

  1. Drink water to wash away germs

Drinking plenty of water can help dilute the concentration of ketones, but that isn’t the only benefit. Drinking water throughout the day can help cleanse teeth of excess bacteria and food debris. Bad breath can sometimes be caused by food particles caught in the teeth, and drinking water will help rinse away odor-causing particles.

  1. Chew sugarless gum with xylitol

Chewing sugarless gum after meals can help keep bad breath away. Saliva production increases during chewing and this can help neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth. Chewing parsley can have the same effect because it also increases saliva production.

Sugar-free gum with xylitol can also help prevent cavities. Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in plants and fruits, and research shows it inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the oral bacteria that cause cavities.

  1. Keep a toothbrush handy and brush after all meals

Brushing and flossing at least twice a day can help keep your mouth healthy and prevent odors. An AGD survey found that 75 percent of people eat at the office but less than 15 percent of them brush their teeth after eating. Cleaning the tongue with a toothbrush or tongue scraper after meals can also help alleviate odors.

If halitosis continues, a general dentist or doctor can help determine the source of the odor. Halitosis can sometimes have more serious causes. “Ketone breath is also used to describe a fruity smell on the breath that can be an indication that a person may have diabetes,” says Dr. DeGinder. “This can originate when the body is breaking down fat particles because there is not sufficient glucose present as fuel for energy.”

– From knowyourteeth.com

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All About Mouth Rinses

Mouth rinse or mouthwash is a product used for oral hygiene. Antiseptic and anti-plaque mouth rinse claims to kill the germs that cause plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. Anti-cavity mouth rinse uses fluoride to protect against tooth decay. Mouth rinses are generally classified either as cosmetic, therapeutic, or a combination of the two. Cosmetic rinses are commercial, over-the-counter (OTC) products that help remove oral debris before or after brushing, temporarily suppress bad breath, diminish bacteria in the mouth, and refresh the mouth with a pleasant taste. Therapeutic rinses have all of the benefits of cosmetic rinses but also contain an added active ingredient that helps protect against some oral diseases. Therapeutic rinses also can be categorized according to use: anti-plaque/anti-gingivitis rinses or anti-cavity fluoride rinses, for example.

Dentists will prescribe special rinses for patients with more severe oral problems, such as cavities, periodontal disease, gum inflammation, and xerostomia (dry mouth). Therapeutic rinses also are strongly recommended for those who can’t brush due to physical impairments or medical reasons.

Should I use a mouth rinse?

Whether or not you should use a mouth rinse depends upon your needs. Many dentists consider the use of fluoride toothpaste alone to be more than adequate protection against cavities. Although anti-cavity rinses with fluoride have been clinically proven to fight up to 50 percent more of the bacteria that cause cavities, and most rinses are effective at curbing bad breath and freshening the mouth for up to three hours, initial studies have shown that most OTC anti-plaque rinses and antiseptics are not much more effective against plaque and gum disease than rinsing with water.

Most dentists are skeptical about the value of these anti-plaque products, and studies point to only a 20 to 25 percent effectiveness, at best, in reducing the plaque that causes gingivitis. Mouth rinses can cause harm by masking the symptoms of an oral health disease or condition.

How should I use a mouth rinse?

Before using mouth rinses, dentists suggest that you brush and floss your teeth well. Then, measure the proper amount of rinse as specified on the container or as instructed by your dentist. With your lips closed and the teeth kept slightly apart, swish the liquid around with as much force as possible. Many rinses suggest swishing for 30 seconds or more. Finally, thoroughly spit the liquid from your mouth. Teeth should be as clean as possible before applying an anti-cavity rinse to reap the full preventive benefits. Consumers should not rinse, eat, or smoke for 30 minutes after using rinses, as these practices will dilute the fluoride and rinse it away.

Are there any side effects?

Yes, and they can vary depending on the type of rinse. Habitual use of antiseptic mouthwashes that contain high levels of alcohol (18 to 26 percent) may produce a burning sensation in the cheeks, teeth, and gums. Many rinses with more concentrated formulas can lead to mouth ulcers, sodium retention, root sensitivity, stains, soreness, numbness, changes in taste sensation, and painful mucosal erosions. Most anti-cavity rinses contain sodium fluoride, which can lead to fluoride toxicity if taken excessively or swallowed. Because children tend to accidentally swallow mouthwash, they should only use rinses under adult supervision. If you experience any irritating or adverse reactions to a mouth rinse, discontinue its use immediately and talk to your dentist.

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People with Diabetes at Higher Risk for Developing Gum Disease

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects nearly 24 million people in the United States. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) encourages those with diabetes to pay extra attention to their oral health. Studies have shown that those with diabetes are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease than those who do not have diabetes. In addition, oral infections tend to be more severe in people with diabetes than in those who do not have the condition.

Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation usually caused by the presence of bacteria in plaque. Plaque is the sticky film that accumulates on teeth both above and below the gum line.

Regular dental checkups can detect gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease may result in gingivitis that can cause inflammation and destruction of tissues surrounding and supporting teeth. To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, a dentist may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses, and more frequent cleanings to a patient with diabetes.

The established connection between oral health and systemic health suggests that diet and exercise may be the most important changes that people with diabetes can make to improve their quality of life and oral health. People with diabetes should be sure that their medical and dental care providers are aware of their medical history and periodontal status. To keep teeth and gums strong, people with diabetes should be aware of their blood sugar levels and have their triglycerides and cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis, as these factors may have a direct correlation with their risk for gum disease.

People with diabetes who do not have good control over their blood sugar levels tend to have more oral health problems. If your blood sugar is not under control, talk with both your dentist and physician about the possibility of receiving dental treatment beyond routine checkups and cleanings.

It is recommended that patients with diabetes schedule their dental appointments for the morning hours, because blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at that time of day. Patients should eat and take their medications as directed prior to a dental appointment.

From knowyourteeth.com. 

Posted in Blog |


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