It can be stressful to undergo any medical procedure. But in order to correctly diagnose the problem, an x-ray is required. That is exactly what dental x-rays do. They help your dentist have a look at your condition in a deeper way.
A lot of people have concerns when it comes to getting an x-ray taken. They are afraid that the amount of radiation from the x-ray could be harmful. Let us go on record and say that dental records are considered very safe. X-rays and all the other imaging procedures only use a fraction of radiation. That low dose of radiation will not cause you any harm.
In this article, we will tell you how a dental x-ray works and tell you whether or not it is safe. Once you have all the information, you will not be on the fence on getting an x-ray.
Who Needs Dental X-Rays?
Dentists all over the world use x-ray to diagnose dental issues that are not visible to the naked eye. With the help of these dental images, the dentist can come up with an action plan on how to treat your condition.
Your dentist can x-ray your mouth to diagnose the following issues:
- Area of teeth that have decayed, including those under a filling or in between teeth
- Bone loss due to a gum disease
- Infections or abscesses at the root of a tooth
- Changes or damage in the root canal
All these conditions will be almost impossible to diagnose without a dental x-ray. If the condition remains undiagnosed, you might face more issues and pain in the future.
The x-ray reference also helps your dentist prepare braces, dentures, tooth implants, and other similar treatments for you.
Children and Dental X-Rays
Children are more sensitive than adults, that is why a lot of parents are reluctant to get a dental x-ray done on their kids. Parents are worried about the impact of radiation on kids. However, the amount of radiation in x-rays is so low that it does not affect children. It is perfectly okay for children to have a dental x-ray.
Pregnancy and Dental X-Rays
Generally, pregnant women are advised against dental x-rays. Even though the radiation is slight, it can still be harmful to the fetus. If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, make sure you inform your dentist.
However, in some cases dental x-rays are unavoidable. But your dentist can take all the necessary precautions to make sure the health and development of the fetus are not affected.
Having a healthy oral routine is the main key here. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. These habits will keep most of the periodontal diseases away from you. Regular visits to your dentist are also necessary. Early detection of the problem will mean less painful procedures in the future.
Contact The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Township, MI today! We would love to take a look at your smile and make sure it’s as healthy as possible. We can be reached at (586) 247-3500! We hope to hear from you soon!
The prevalence of oral cancer is high on a global level. Nearly 657,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
If not diagnosed early, oral cancer can be life-threatening. In this article, you will learn important information about oral cancer including the risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment options.
About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer refers to the cancer of the lips, tongue, hard and soft palate, the floor of the mouth, throat, sinuses, and cheeks. The cancer is caused due to uncontrollable growth of cells that cause damage to the surrounding tissues.
Various risk factors have been identified for oral cancer apart from genetic predisposition.
Among other health complications, excessive use of alcohol and tobacco also increases the risk of oral cancer. Heavy and moderate drinkers are said to be three to nine times greater risk of developing alcohol content as compared to non-drinkers. Moreover, individuals who chew or snuff tobacco are at about four times greater risk of developing oral cancer as compared to non-users.
Studies have also found that long-term exposure to sun leads to increased risk of lip cancer. Sexually active individuals are also at risk of developing oral cancer. STIs such as herpes, HPV, Syphilis, and gonorrhea can result in oral cancer.
Diagnosis of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can be diagnosed through physical inspection and imaging techniques. Some of the symptoms that indicate the presence of oral cancer include.
- Prolonged tongue pain
- Bleeding sores that don’t heal
- Difficulty or pain in swallowing or chewing
- A chronic sore throat
- Lump or growth of the skin of the mouth
- Jaw stiffness or pain
FDA has approved different devices and techniques for carrying out a diagnosis. These include brush biopsy (cytology), tolonium chloride (tissue staining), light reflections, and fluorescence. These techniques are helpful in confirming the presence of oral cancer. The preferred method for detecting lesions is biopsy involving tissue sampling.
Doctors also use imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to know about the level of cancer. However, these techniques don’t replace biopsy for investigating the suspicious tissue.
Treatment of Oral Cancer
The treatment of oral cancer is formulated depending on the stage of cancer. The treatment plan generally consists of chemotherapy or radiation. Sometimes surgery is recommended for the treatment of cancer.
Typically, the treatment plan involves different medical specialists such as dental hygienists, dentists, surgeons, and oncologists. All treatment plan emphasizes the protection of the teeth from decay, gum infections, and mouth dryness.
In conclusion, oral cancer is one of the most prevalent conditions,particularly in the developed world. It’s important to take precaution to avoid the risk of developing cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends annual oral check-up for individuals aged 40 and above and every three years for individuals aged between 20 and 29 years. A regular checkup will help in early diagnosis of oral cancer. This will increase the chances of recovery from oral cancer.
If you have any questions regarding Oral Cancer, or any other Oral Health topics, give The Gentle Dentist a call. We are located in Shelby Township, MI and can be reached at (586) 247-3500!
It’s common practice for many people to enjoy drinks with family and friends. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing and having fun with friends over drinks. In fact, most people know how to practice safe drinking habits in order to prevent any issues from arising. More people are calling Uber’s and being mindful of their surroundings while drinking than in previous years.
These are both great ways to stay safe while drinking, but what about the effect of alcohol on our bodies over time? One area that many people overlook is the impact of alcohol on their oral health.
The Main Problem with Consuming Alcohol
The main issue with drinking alcohol and our oral health is that alcohol affects the balance of good and bad bacteria in our mouths. Disrupting the balance of the bacteria can cause some major issues.
According to a study published in the journal Microbiome, people who consume one or more alcoholic beverages daily will offset the balance of bacteria in their mouths, which can lead to gingivitis, gum infections, cancer, or cardiovascular disease.
The study also states that in heavy alcohol drinkers the beneficial bacteria disappeared and that inflammatory bacteria counts increased. Without the good bacteria in our mouths, those inflammatory bacteria are able to wreak havoc on our immune system and general health. The study defines a heavy drinker as a person who consumes one or more alcoholic beverages per day.
Preventing These Changes
When asked if better oral hygiene would help drinkers maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in their mouths, Dr. Jiyoung Ahn stated that the research so far did not have the answers. However, she stressed that the fact that changes of the flora of the mouth could potentially cause or prevent diseases is a huge breakthrough.
The first step towards maintaining the balance in your mouth is to limit or avoid drinking alcohol. Since the study focused on people who drank one or two glasses of alcohol per day, it can be construed that lowering your alcohol intake could help you maintain the balance of good bacteria in your mouth.
The Importance of Regular Check-Ups
While studies haven’t confirmed that better oral hygiene can prevent the imbalance of bacteria in our mouths, it’s still important to stay on top of your regular dental check-ups. During your routine dental check-ups, your dentist will clean and check your teeth for signs of gum disease and gingivitis. Gum disease that is caught early can often be treated with minimally invasive procedures. Most dentists recommend that you have a routine dental check-up every six months to prevent cavities or the spread of gum disease.
Schedule Your Check-Up Today
Just because you drink doesn’t mean that you have gum disease. It does, however, increase your chances of developing it due to an imbalance of bacteria in your mouth. Along with lowering your alcohol intake, you should take your routine dental check-ups seriously. Don’t wait until gum disease and gingivitis cause you pain. Instead, give The Gentle Dentist a call today at (586) 247-3500 to schedule your dental check-up today!
The small puss-filled blisters that appear on the internal lining of the oral cavity, nostrils, and lips are called cold sores. This oral condition is itself not a disease, but a major symptom of herpes simplex type 1. In some cases, it highlights herpes simplex types 2 as well. In the US, roughly 50-80 percent adult population is suffering from oral herpes. All these herpes patients are automatically susceptible to cold sores.
Causes of cold sore formation
As mentioned earlier, herpes virus is the main reason for the development of these itchy painful oral blisters. It is important to mention that cold sores don’t just appear as herpes virus enters the affected person’s body. In most of the cases, the virus remains dormant and only gets triggered when the body undergoes a noticeable physiological change such as muscle fatigue or an injury.
Telling apart cold sores and canker sores
In some instances, it becomes difficult to differentiate cold sores and canker sores at their onset. Since cold sores are a symptom of another disease, therefore several factors help in identifying if the given condition is cold sores or canker sores.
- Cold sores are often larger in size in comparison to canker sores and also contain puss.
- The formation of cold sores is often accompanied by swelled lips, sore throat, swallowing difficulties and bloated glands. In some cases, high fever, dehydration, nausea, and headache also affect the people suffering from cold sores or herpes.
- Cold sores outbreak is an extremely contagious condition.
Developmental stages of cold sores
There are multiple stages of cold sore maturation
- A burning and itching sensation in and around the mouth is usually the first indication of a cold sore It is followed by the development of fluid-filled sores that usually appear on the periphery of the lower lip.
- The sores eventually erupt and result in puss discharge
- A yellow crust is formed and gradually erodes leaving inflamed skin exposed, which gets self-healed without leaving scars.
The whole developmental phase of cold sores takes nearly two weeks.
Diagnosing cold sores
For people experiencing cold sores for the first time, physicians usually employ two methods to verify whether the condition is a symptom of herpes.
- Blood testing of the affected individual to identify herpes virus
- Culture testing of the fluid scrapped from the blister
Cold sore treatment
Like canker sores, cold sores also disappear within a week or two due to the body’s self-healing process. Nevertheless, different medical treatments are employed in order to alleviate the inconvenience and irritation caused by the condition.
Over-the-counter and prescribed antiviral medications are often used to cut down the span of recurrent cold sores. OTC antiviral products usually come in the form of ointments and applied on the sores for 4-5 times a day for better results. Physicians also recommend painkillers in cases where patients are suffering from severe burning and itching.
Avoiding direct contact with the people suffering from cold sores is a must-taken preventive measure. To know more about the condition and treatment of cold sores, get in contact with The Gentle Dentist. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment, and see just how caring your dentistry can be, at (586) 247-3500!
Whether its cigarettes or chewing products, tobacco consumption is detrimental for human health in each and every case. If we talk about particular harms of tobacco use, then oral cavity bears a lot of brunt of this unhealthy habit. Let’s have a look at some of the many perilous implications of the regular use of tobacco for oral health.
Stained teeth color
Oral cavity with stained teeth can’t really warrant a good confident smile. People can’t keep up their confidence level in social situations if they are suffering from the problem of tainted teeth. Regular smoking and the habit of tobacco chewing gradually start the process of teeth discoloration. The affected people only get the reality check when they stumble upon their own smile spoiled due to yellow teeth.
In order to get the natural sheen of your tainted teeth and confidence back, the first thing you have to do is quit the bad habit of tobacco use. In addition, visiting a dentist office for teeth whitening procedure would also help.
Blunted olfactory and taste senses
When taste receptors of the tongue are constantly plagued by nicotine and tar, they start to lose their natural ability to appreciate different tastes. Since olfactory sensors and taste buds are strongly interconnected, therefore the blunted activity of one sense also affects the other. Chainsmokers usually have to deal with this problem where they can’t appreciate the lusciousness of different food items to their fullest.
More often than not, digestive issues and plaque buildup in the oral cavity are responsible for bad breath. One can deal with this type of bad breath with good teeth cleaning routine and healthy eating. However, people suffering from bad breath because of regular use of tobacco can get rid of this problem only after quitting the bad habit. Like stained teeth, bad breath also makes it difficult for the affected people to steer through public interactions.
Slow recovery, quick deterioration
Longtime smoking actually weakens the immune system, which slows down the recovery from any dental health issue or surgery. On the other hand, the regular use of tobacco speeds up the process of tooth decay. Instances of gum inflammation also see an uptick in smokers and other tobacco users.
Spoils dental restoration procedures
Teeth whitening and bleaching treatments can’t give desirable results if the person keeps on consuming tobacco. Similarly, other restoration procedures are also spoiled by tobacco use. For instance, the newly installed crown can quickly get rough margins because of the gum recession instigated by smoking.
This is the most dreadful oral health implications of the incessant use of tobacco. People consuming tobacco in non-smokable form are most vulnerable to develop oral cancer. Besides inflicting oral disabilities, a late-stage oral cancer can also aggravate into fatal consequences.
For better oral health, the first thing a person has to do is to quit this unhealthy habit. It is possible by combining strong resolve and some prescription medicines. Secondly, get in touch with any good dental clinic for the overall restoration of oral health. The dental and oral health experts at The Gentle Dentist have the expertise to deal with detrimental effects of tobacco use on oral health. Please visit our website at www.TheGentleDentist.com or call us at 586-247-3500.
Brushing your teeth is not the only thing that keeps your teeth healthy. We all know that flossing is just as much important as brushing. Cleaning between your teeth with floss is highly recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) because it’s the best way to keep cavities and gum diseases at bay. Also, it prevents your teeth from plaque.
Plaque consists of bacteria that never miss a chance to feed on the leftover sugar and food particles in your mouth. When it feeds on the leftovers between your teeth, it secretes an acid that damages the surface of your teeth. This whole process leads to the formation of cavities.
If you allow plaque to grow in your mouth by not brushing and flossing your teeth, then soon it would begin to solidify into tartar. Tartar is a substance that you can see deposited along the base of your teeth or gum line. Although most people don’t take tartar very seriously, it’s perfectly capable of causing gum infections.
The best way to keep your teeth hygienic is to clean between them. And the easiest way to do that is flossing. This article will inform you how flossing must be done to protect your teeth from gum diseases.
What Should Be Used to Floss?
When you have a food particle stuck between your teeth you’re tempted to remove it by any means possible. You would be surprised what Americans sometimes use to get those particles out of their teeth. According to a research, Americans have used some of the most unusual things to clean between their teeth, including fingernails, strands of hair, folded paper, cutlery (spoon, knife, or fork), visiting cards, and safety pins.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that using almost anything you can get your hands on to remove the food stuck in between your teeth can cause pain. Make sure you only use the tools that are medically approved and specially designed for this purpose. This would include toothpicks, tiny brushes, string floss, and water flossers.
Which Flossing Tool Should You Use?
The best way to pick the right flossing tool is to consult your dentist. After examining your teeth, your dentist would be able to advise you which tool you must use to floss your teeth with. Dental picks would help you get the particles stuck in the corners of your mouth that are difficult to reach. Water flossers would be good for you if bridges or braces in your mouth prevent you from flossing your teeth with string floss.
The Best Time to Floss My Teeth
There’s no ideal time for cleaning between your teeth. Just pick a time that suits you the best and be done with flossing your teeth. It can be after dinner before you go to bed (most people find this time the most convenient) or it can be early in the morning when you get up. Flossing between teeth is important even for kids. Make them do it as soon as they have two teeth that touch.
Try not to floss too hard or else you would end up injuring your gums or damaging the tissue between your teeth. You would feel some discomfort when you first start flossing your teeth, but once you make flossing your habit, the pain would wear out within a week or two. If the pain persists, then make an appointment with The Gentle Dentist at your earliest for a thorough dental checkup. We can be reached at 586-247-3500.
By: Jessica Wendt, RDH
Who doesn’t love that feeling of minty fresh breath that comes from swishing with mouthwash? Even though most people would answer “yes,” the question is whether mouthwash is for everyone and should it be used daily. Mouth rinses, like most things in dentistry, are not “one size fits all.” There are hundreds of mouth rinses on the market with each one designed to meet specific dental needs. Some are considered cosmetic (no true health benefit) while others are therapeutic (contain health benefits).
Cosmetic mouthwash may leave a pleasant taste, but its benefit will be temporary. There is no chemical agent in these mouthwashes that actually kill the bacteria that cause bad breath, so the benefit is considered solely cosmetic. On the other hand, therapeutic mouthwash contains active ingredients that help reduce conditions like cavities, plaque, gum inflammation, and bad breath. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), look for active ingredients listed as: cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils, fluoride, and peroxide.
Each of these ingredients has a different benefit to offer. A fluoride mouth rinse is beneficial for those prone to cavities. It helps to prevent decay by remineralizing enamel in the teeth. Whitening mouthwashes may contain peroxide, which helps to reduce staining and lighten the color of teeth. Chlorhexidine and essential oils are used to control plaque and gingivitis, while cetylpyridinium chloride is added to reduce bad breath according to the American Dental Association. Most therapeutic mouth rinses are available over the counter, however some require a prescription especially those that contain chlorhexidine.
Even though using mouthwash has its benefits that were discussed above, there are also risks that should be considered. There has been an ongoing debate on whether there is a link between mouthwashes that contain alcohol and oral cancer. The ADA states that a recent review failed to find a strong association between the two since mouthwash isn’t ingested. However, alcohol-containing mouth rinses are not advised for those with dry mouth because it can worsen the condition. Also, alcohol in mouthwash can increase tooth sensitivity for some and can irritate existing canker sores. Some mouth rinses may cause your oral tissues to slough, or shed, at a faster rate than normal leaving stringy saliva leftover in your mouth. Dr. Antolak has noticed this with Crest ProHealth mouthwash. It is also important to note that children under the age of 6 should not use mouthwash because of the risk of swallowing it.
Mouthwash is not considered a cure for any oral condition, but it can be a helpful aide. It should never be used in place of brushing and flossing. If good oral hygiene habits are in place and cavities, gum disease, and bad breath aren’t present, then using a mouthwash isn’t really necessary. You can use one if you would like, but some dentists may tell you to spend your money elsewhere. As a dental hygienist, I do not use a mouth rinse on a consistent basis because of my regular brushing and flossing habits. There are times when I have used a fluoride mouthwash to prevent cavities and a whitening mouthwash to brighten my smile, but I do not use them on a long-term basis. However, some people do benefit from long-term mouthwash use and their dentist may recommend them to do so.
It is always advised to ask for your dentist’s recommendation on if you should use a mouth rinse, and if so, what type to use. When selecting a mouthwash, always check to make sure it has the ‘ADA Seal of Acceptance.’ This means that the mouth rinse company has provided scientific evidence to the American Dental Association that proves the safety and effectiveness of their product. Also, make sure to read the specific instructions on your selected mouthwash because some need to be used before you brush and some need to be used after brushing. It is important to swish with the rinse for the specified time as well otherwise it may not be as effective.
To learn more about our office, please contact us at 586-247-3500 or visit us at www.TheGentleDentist.com. We are always accepting NEW patients!
Throughout the course of our lifetime, we hear many different things regarding our oral health. While there is always a new technology coming out for teeth whitening or cavity prevention, there are a few tactics that remain tried and true. By developing good habits, your oral care routine can go a long way towards making sure your smile is healthy and bright for years to come. While some of the following 5 habits may not be new to you, it’s always good to have a refresher to make sure you are covering all your bases when it comes to your smile!
Battle the Bacteria
Enemy number one when it comes to a healthy mouth is bacteria. Bacteria as it relates to oral health can take many forms. Bacteria on your teeth can cause cavities, while bacteria around your gums can result in gum disease if not taken care of. To battle these many types of bacteria, it’s important to brush and floss daily. By developing good brushing and flossing habits, you will be making a huge step towards fighting off any bacteria in your mouth.
Limit Your Sugary Drinks and Coffee
As delicious as they may be, soda and other sugary beverages can do a lot of harm to your teeth if you enjoy them frequently. Just like soda, coffee can also cause damage to your teeth. While the damage may not be as much in the form of cavities, coffee can cause your teeth to lose their shine. By limiting both soda and coffee from your diet as much as possible, you will be protecting your teeth from cavities as well as becoming discolored!
Don’t Forget the Tongue
When brushing it’s easy to forget to take care of your tongue. By also brushing your tongue along with the rest of your teeth, you are taking a great step towards reducing the bacteria inside your mouth. While you don’t want to make yourself uncomfortable while doing so, a thorough tongue brushing can only help!
Get a Good Rinse
While brushing and flossing are certainly the most important steps to maintaining a healthy smile, using a good mouthwash regularly is also a great way to fight the bacteria in your mouth and keep your teeth sparkling and bright. If you are having trouble finding a good mouthwash (there certainly are a lot of options!), simply ask your dental professional as they will be sure to have recommendations on things to look for.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Even by developing great habits in keeping your teeth clean, making sure to visit your dentist every 6 months is crucial to making sure everything is going as it should. By visiting your dentist regularly, you can not only get a thorough cleaning to remove any plaque buildup, but you will also benefit from having an oral exam to look for any cavities forming or potential issues.
Searching For the Best Dentist Near Me in Shelby Twp., MI?
Shelby Township Dentist Discusses Oral Cancer
Question: I continuously hear about the effects of cigarettes and the damage they cause. My husband died 2 years ago from an oral cancer that his dentist first discovered. He suffered tremendously and now I believe my granddaughter is smoking. I have fear that these cigarettes will eventually harm her. I don’t know what to do but need to do something.
Answer: I am sorry that you lost your husband from this deadly and extremely contagious habit. Here are some statistics that concur with your concerns. Unfortunately, there are many factors that oppose parents and concerned grandparents such as yourself.
Unlike other companies that manufacture consumer goods, tobacco companies do not compete by cutting prices. They compete on the public’s emotional level by creating enticing images that people wish to pursue for themselves. Kids are particularly vulnerable to these seductive images. They believe that if they smoke they’ll appear thinner, more glamorous, more macho, more mature. And unfortunately, what starts out as adventurous experimentation often results in a deadly addiction.
Each day, over 3,300 kids become regular smokers. Of these, one-third will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.
The average age for first-time smoking is twelve. Joe Camel is this decade’s single most effective ad campaign targeting children; this smoking cartoon character was found to be as recognizable to kids as Mickey Mouse.
Each day, at least 4,800 adolescents (age 11 to 17) try their first cigarette. The number climbs to 5,500 if you include youth 18 to 20 years old.
Four and a half million kids between the ages of 12 and 17 are regular smokers.
Unless current rates are reversed, more than five million children under the age of 18 will die from diseases related to smoking.
Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking at or before age eighteen.
Tobacco marketing is a major factor in persuading kids to begin smoking—twice as influential as peer pressure, the culprit the tobacco industry usually seeks to blame.
The most popular brands of cigarettes among youth—Marlboro, Camel and Newport—account for 86 percent of the teenage cigarette market. These brands are also the most heavily advertised, portraying images of slim, attractive young women and rugged, handsome men.
Tobacco is considered to be a “gateway drug.” This means its use is likely to pave the way for use of other illicit drugs. About 65 percent of cocaine users started by smoking cigarettes, and about 50 percent followed tobacco use with alcohol and marijuana.
Seventy percent of teens who smoke report that they are addicted and regret ever having started.
It is basically a war that we are faced with and the best influence you can have on your granddaughter is to be honest but not come across as lecturing.
What are her parent’s view of smoking? You may need to get them involved. You may want to get her dentist the “heads up” and he/she can give her information that may help to influence her to make a decision that would affect her for the rest of her life.
Shelby Township Dentist Discusses Oral Cancer
Question: I find that some foods have become difficult to chew and swallow. Do I really need to eat the same amount or variety of food that I did when I was younger?
Answer: Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old. Many older adults do not eat balanced diets and avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing. These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles. Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications. Because of these and other factors, the diets of older adults are often lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health. You need a balanced diet based on the five food groups—milk and dairy products; breads and cereals; meats and dried beans; fruits; vegetables. You may need a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement, but do not be your own doctor. Use these supplements only after discussion with your physician.
Also, the food supplements such as Ensure contain a high percentage of sugar. If you are a diabetic, contact your physician to make sure it is OK for you to use these as it could affect your health. I know you don’t have your teeth any more, but if you did these supplements can be very damaging to the teeth. I have seen patients who have dissolved their teeth because they sip on these products on a routine basis.
If you have any questions for future issues, please contact me by phone (586)573-4500, fax (586)573-7704 or e-mail TheGentleDentist@comcast.net. You can also visit our web site for additional information www.TheGentleDentist.com
Question: I’ve recently been told I have the beginning signs of Pyoria. I’m quite upset about it….I brush at least 2 times a day and floss daily. Please help me clear this up. I always thought this was a disease only people with poor dental hygiene got. I need to enhance my knowledge. Please let me know. Sincerly, Judith E. Hatcher
Answer: Bacterial plaque – a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth – is recognized as the primary cause of gum disease. Specific periodontal diseases may be associated with specific bacterial types. If plaque isn’t removed each day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into a rough, porous substance called calculus (also known as tartar). Toxins (poisons) produced and released by bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. These toxins cause the breakdown of the fibers that hold the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets which fill with even more toxins and bacteria. As the disease progresses, pockets extend deeper and the bacteria moves down until the bone that holds the tooth in place is destroyed. The tooth eventually will fall out or require extraction.
Signs include red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, gums that pull away from teeth, loose or separating teeth, puss between the gum and tooth, persistent bad breath, change in the way teeth fit together when the patient bites, and a change in the fit of partial dentures. While patients are advised to check for the warning signs, there might not be any discomfort until the disease has spread to a point where the tooth is unsalvageable. That’s why patients are advised to get frequent dental exams
In the early stages, most treatment involves scaling and root planing-removing plaque and calculus around the tooth and smoothing the root surfaces. Antibiotics or antimicrobials may be used to supplement the effects of scaling and root planing. In most cases of early gum disease, called gingivitis, scaling and root planing and proper daily cleaning achieve a satisfactory result. Removing plaque through daily brushing, flossing and professional cleaning is the best way to minimize your risk. We also recommend the showerfloss www.showerfloss.com. This device is used to provide a constant stream of water between the teeth. This powerful stream of water actually penetrates deeper than floss to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Other factors that increase risk include a diet low in nutrients that can diminish the body’s ability to fight infection. Smokers and spit tobacco users have more irritation to gum tissues than non-tobacco users, while stress can also affect the ability to ward off disease. Diseases that interfere with the body’s immune system, such as leukemia and AIDS, may worsen the condition of the gums. In patients with uncontrolled diabetes, where the body is more prone to infection, gum disease is more severe or harder to control.
For more information and to have your questions answered please call us at (586) 247-1212 or visit our website at www.TheGentleDentist.com. We are located in Shelby Township, Michigan.
Question: How do I select a toothbrush that is right for me? There are so many available in the store and I am confused. Please help clarify this.
Answer: This is a very good question that you ask. There is so much marketing done that it can be very confusing for even the dental professional to sort out what the best is for their patients. There are a few considerations that need to be made when selecting a toothbrush that best suits your needs.
The entire objective of brushing and flossing is to disrupt the growth of bacteria and introduce oxygen below the gum line. Tooth brushing cleans the surface of the teeth and gum that you can see and flossing cleans between the teeth, which is not usually seen.
What is important when selecting a toothbrush is to use one with a SOFT bristle brush. Hard and medium bristles are damaging to the tooth and gum tissue and are not recommended even though some people mistakenly believe that they clean better. I believe that battery operated brushes are better for almost everyone. They are designed to vibrate or go in a circular motion and move the bristles around much faster and more effectively than a handheld brush. They also have large handles so seniors or those who have difficulty in holding small objects in their hands can do so with ease. The automatic brushes require the operator to hold the brush in the proper position which is where the tooth and gum tissue meet. The newer sonicare type of brushes pulsate and attempt to deliver the oxygen between the teeth, but not as effective as flossing.
Flossing or using toothpicks/stimudents get between the teeth the best. Cavities and periodontal disease usually start between the teeth so it is critical to disrupt the growth of harmful bacteria at this location.
Both brushing and flossing are critical to oral hygiene maintenance, but not any more important than having regular checkups and cleanings at your dentist. If you would like more help selecting a toothbrush or have bleeding around your teeth when you brush call our Shelby Township office at (586) 573-4500 to make an appointment.