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    • 27 APR 16
    • 0

    Ditch Discolored Fillings for Natural Looking Options

    New Fillings From Personal Care Dentistry Can Benefit More Than Your Looks

    iStock_000072339571_Medium - smiling womanThe cosmetic reasons for replacing amalgam (often referred to as “silver”) fillings may be obvious — your smile looks better without the telltale dark spots and any associated feeling of self-consciousness goes away.

    People don’t realize is that if your metal dental fillings are defective or show decay, it’s important to replace them. While it can be easy to forget about cavities once they’re filled, the truth is that oral health threats can re-emerge as fillings weaken over time. Constant grinding and chewing will wear down any filling, and it often only takes one particularly hard or sticky food to dislodge or crack it.

    Why Replace Silver Fillings?

    Untreated decay may eventually lead to an infection (abscess). In some cases, replacing a metal dental filling may benefit the long-term health of your tooth.

    Once the protective barrier to a cavity has been lost or broken, harmful bacteria can easily seep in and continue to eat away at the tooth. In many cases — especially those where the seal has been damaged but has not completely fallen out — tooth decay under or around the filling may easily escape notice until it reaches the point where a root canal or an extraction is necessary. Being diligent about dental visits and proactive about replacing fillings can help you avoid the unnecessary pain and expense of a tooth infection.

    Silver Fillings Hide Decay

    Because silver fillings are opaque to X-Rays, it’s difficult to see a cavity under the filling until they are quite extensive. Research has shown that when you’re examining a patient with silver fillings, if you don’t use any X-Rays you can see 50% of what is going on and with a full set of X-Rays you will still only see about 80 – 85% of what’s going on. So there is 15% – 20% of cavities that we won’t be able to see because the metal blocks out this damage. In some cases, this can mean the difference between getting another filling or having to have a root canal treatment.

    Colored Fillings Prevent Cracked Teeth

    We know from the research that silver fillings do not strengthen teeth at all. So a silver filling in a tooth, essentially acts like a wedge, and when you bite down on the filling the forces are transmitted to the remaining tooth structure.

    Because the silver filling material was usually just packed in, there is no adhesion of the silver filling to the tooth, which we get with the tooth-colored materials. This adhesion means that the chewing forces are distributed over a greater amount of tooth, making the tooth about 15 – 20% stronger with the tooth colored compared to silver filling

    The force of biting down with the chewing is also distributed across the whole tooth structure more evenly than it is with silver filling, meaning less likelihood of tooth cracking.

    Replacement Options

    The good news about getting rid of old fillings is that amalgam is no longer your only choice. As hardy and durable as this traditional mixture of silver, mercury and other metal alloys is, it has become virtually obsolete due to more discrete options such as:

    • Composite Fillings: tooth-colored bondings primarily used for the front teeth
    • Veneers: thin, porcelain, non-staining shells affixed to the front surface of teeth
    • Crowns: complete covering for damaged teeth that a filling alone cannot repair
    • Inlays or Onlays: custom composite used to replace larger fillings in molars

     

    Strategies for Replacing Fillings

    Some people will want to do everything at once and then sleep tight knowing that it’s all sorted out. Others will pick the part of their mouth that is worst and together with their dentist to break it up into sections: do the top right this year, the bottom left next year, and so on.

    Your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry may recommend one particular treatment or a varied approach, depending on the number and type of fillings needed. Rest assured, however, that the choices at your disposal lend themselves to a more natural look than that of an amalgam filling.

    Caring for Teeth with Fillings

    Regardless of which replacement option you choose, a little extra care and attention can go a long way in protecting your investment. To extend the life of a newly restored tooth, consider making these changes to your everyday routine:

    Brush and floss regularly to keep the tooth’s surface clear of tough buildup

    Use a mouth guard at night to avoid unnecessary pressure if tooth grinding is a habit

    Steer clear of overly hard or sticky foods that can damage the restored tooth

    See a dentist if you notice a bad taste or dull pain that can indicate a defect or decay

    Regular dentist visits to Personal Care Dentistry can further minimize the risk of damaged filings — and help prevent the need for new ones. For questions about replacing and/or maintaining fillings, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

    Sources: Mayo Clinic, TodaysDentistry.com

     

    • 20 APR 16
    • 0

    How to Keep Your Smile Healthy

    Receding Gums Can Wreck Your Oral Health

    Closeup of a smiling young girl looking at camera

    Receding gums, as the name itself suggests, occurs when the gum tissue around your teeth wear away and the gums seem to recede backwards making a larger area of the surface of tooth more visible. If you do not contain receding gums, even the root of teeth may become exposed which can then cause pain making your teeth extremely sensitive. Not only this, due to the damage caused to the supporting tissue and bone structures of your teeth, you may eventually lose teeth.

     

    Symptoms of Receding Gums

    Although gum recession is a very general dental problem, most of the people suffering from it don’t seem to notice it happening because the process is very slow and it occurs gradually. The symptoms of receding gums are as follows:

    1. Tooth sensitivity
    2. Tooth appearing larger than usual
    3. Pain or tooth ache

     

    Causes of Receding Gums

    Receding gums often indicate some gum disease. However, there are many more other causes of receding gums as listed here:

    1. Gum diseases, specifically speaking periodontal diseases meaning bacterial infections that occur in your gums.
    2. Poor oral hygiene. If you do not brush or floss properly, you may end up building plaque on your teeth.
    3. Brushing teeth aggressively. Yes, this is contrary to the previous cause which says if you don’t brush properly, you may get receding gums. In fact, if you brush your teeth aggressively, then \ you may also get receding gums.
    4. Heredity is also a cause sometimes. If your genes are the cause of your receding gums, there is very little you can do to prevent it.
    5. Hormonal changes, especially in women, may also sometimes cause receding gums.
    6. Smoking not only causes various diseases including cancer and lung diseases but also receding gums.
    7. Misuse of teeth in the form of grinding and clenching teeth put pressure on the teeth which leads the gums to recede. Similar force when put on teeth, for example during taking bites while eating, may lead to receding gums. This happens when you have crooked teeth and when they do not come together evenly while eating.
    8. Piercing of your lips or tongue can also cause gum recession. This is because the jewelry that you wear after piercing may get rubbed against the gums.

     

    How Is Gum Recession Treated?

    Mild gum recession may be able to be treated by your dentist by deep cleaning the affected area. During the deep cleaning – also called tooth scaling and root planing – plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth and root surfaces below the gum line is carefully removed and the exposed root area is smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria to attach itself.

    If your gum recession cannot be treated with deep cleaning because of excess loss of bone and pockets that are too deep, gum surgery may be required to repair the damage caused by gum recession.

     

    What Type of Surgery Is Used to Treat Gum Recession?

    The following surgical procedures are used to treat gum recession:

    Pocket depth reduction: During this procedure, the dentist folds back the affected gum tissue, removes the harmful bacteria from the pockets, and then snugly secures the gum tissue in place over the tooth root, thus eliminating the pockets or reducing their size.

    Regeneration: If the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed as a result of gum recession, a procedure to regenerate lost bone and tissue may be recommended. As in pocket depth reduction, your dentist will fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria. A regenerative material, such as a membrane, graft tissue, or tissue-stimulating protein, will then be applied to encourage your body to naturally regenerate bone and tissue in that area. After the regenerative material is put in place, the gum tissue is secured over the root of the tooth or teeth.

    Soft tissue graft: The dentist is able to graft gum from near the tooth or remove tissue from the roof of the mouth. This is called a pedicle graft.

    Your dentist can determine the best type of procedure to use on you based on your individual needs.

     

    How can Receding Gums Grow Back?

    Gums are nothing else but soft tissues that cover the bones supporting your teeth so that they may remain in place. Proper dental hygiene, diet and certain home remedies like oil pulling can help your receding gums grow back.

     

    Treating Receding Gums at Home

    Certain home remedies that use simple kitchen ingredients and sometimes herbs and spices etc. can help treat and grow back your receding gums. Green tea, Aloe Vera gel and oils like sesame, coconut, eucalyptus and clove can all be effective for regenerating gum tissue.

     

    Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene to Prevent Gum Recession

    You should take proper care of your mouth to not only prevent gum recession but also to prevent any other kind of oral disease.

    • Never brush aggressively.
    • Whenever brushing, do it with gentle strokes and in circular motion.
    • Never push your gums upwards while brushing. Brush them along your gum lines.
    • Don’t use too large a toothbrush. A brush having a small head and soft bristle is ideal for your mouth.
    • Don’t forget to floss as it is essential for removing plaque.
    • The ideal condition is to brush and floss after every meal. If, however, it is not possible every time, at least rinse your mouth properly with water after meals.
    • Schedule regular dental appointments. Your dentist and hygienist will be able to detect receding gums early and treat as needed.

     

    Sources: WebMD, Colgate, RapidHomeRemedies.com

    • 13 APR 16
    • 0

    Dental Checkups Are A Key to Fighting Oral Cancer

    April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month – Be Sure to Get a Regular Screening at Personal Care Dentistry

    Closeup of dentist examining young woman's teeth

    Approximately 48,250 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. While alcohol, smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus. This virus is the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.

    Screening is the best hope of reducing the death rate from this disease.

    Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. For more than a decade there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

    When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80% to 90 \% survival rate. Unfortunately, at this time the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis (for all stages and types combined at time of diagnosis). Late-stage diagnosis is not occurring because most of these cancers are hard to discover (though some like HPV origin disease have unique discovery issues). Rather, it is because of a lack of public awareness coupled with the lack of a national program for screenings which would yield early discovery by medical and dental professionals. Worldwide the problem is far greater, with new cases annually exceeding 640,000.

    Signs of Oral Cancer

    Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips.

    Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. It is important to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.

    How to Detect Oral Cancer Early

    Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination. If mouth cancer is recognized early, then the chances of a cure are good.  Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late.

    The dentist examines the inside of your mouth and your tongue with the help of a small mirror. Remember, your dentist is able to see parts of your mouth that you cannot see easily yourself.

    If your dentist finds something unusual they will refer you to a consultant at the local hospital, who will carry out a thorough examination of your mouth and throat. A small sample of the cells may be gathered from the area (a biopsy), and these cells will be examined under the microscope to see what is wrong.

    If the cells are cancerous, more tests will be carried out. These may include overall health checks, blood tests, x-rays or scans. These tests will decide what course of treatment is needed.

    If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure.

    However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.

    How to Keep a Healthy Mouth

    It is important to visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol.

    • When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth, and report any red or white patches, or ulcers, that have not cleared up within three weeks.
    • When exposed to the sun, be sure to use a good protective sun screen, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.
    • A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer.  Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body to protect itself, in general, from most cancers.
    • Cut down on your smoking and drinking.

     

    Sources: OralCancer.org, MouthCancer.org

    • 06 APR 16
    • 0

    Homemade Mouthwash Alternatives

    9 Natural Mouthwashes You’ll Feel Good About Using While Saving Some Bucks

    Natural and antibacterial homemade mouthwash

    Believe it or not, mouthwashes have been around for a long, long time. In fact, the very first references that we have are from books in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine that list ingredients for a mouth rinse for the treatment of gingivitis from about 2700 B.C.!

    There are other examples as well. Hippocrates recommended making a combination of vinegar, alum, and salt to stop bad breath. Native Americans often used plants, such as three leaf golden thread, soaked in water as a mouth rinse to stop infections. The Romans, and Greek upper class people, typically used a mouth rinse after “brushing” their teeth with sticks or reeds.

    In 1970, there were only about 15 brands and types of mouthwash in the United States. Today, there are more than 112! Rinsing out the mouth with a mouthwash is considered to be important for good oral hygiene, but store-bought chemical mouthwash is filled with potentially harmful ingredients like thymol, which is known to be dangerous to the environment as well as to aquatic organisms, and hexetidine, considered to be carcinogenic.

    In addition to avoiding possible toxins, you might also save some of your hard-earned cash and even see better results by making your own mouthwash. Here are some great home recipes for mouthwash.

     

    1. Super Citrus Oil Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups of filtered water
    • 2 teaspoons of calcium carbonate powder
    • 1 teaspoon of xylitol crystals
    • 10 drops of trace mineral liquid
    • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
    • 5 drops of lemon essential oil
    • 3 drops of wild orange essential oil

    Instructions:

    In a mason jar, or other similar container with a lid, stir together the xylitol crystals and the calcium powder. Add the essential oils and liquid minerals. Stir again to be sure everything is well combined. Add your water and stir. Close the lid and shake for 1 minute. That’s it! How easy was that?! You can find all these ingredients in your local natural or health food store or online. Store this in the refrigerator (it keeps for 2 to 3 weeks) and shake well before each use.

    Xylitol is a natural sweetener proven to have a positive effect on tooth and gum health.  It is recommended by many dentists and is now a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste, gum and mouthwash.  It will also improve the taste and even the effectiveness of your mouthwash.

     

    1. Super Simple Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of filtered water
    • 4 teaspoons of baking soda
    • 4 drops of tea tree essential oil
    • 4 drops of peppermint essential oil

    Instructions:

    Add all ingredients to a mason jar or similar container with a lid. Shake very well. Use about 2 tablespoons of this mixture each day, the same way you would use mouthwash for super white teeth and fresh breath. The baking soda will usually settle to the bottom of the container after a few hours, but don’t worry, this is normal. Simply shake well before each use.

     

    1. Cinnamon and Honey Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 2 organic lemons, juiced
    • ½ tablespoon of cinnamon powder
    • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder!)
    • 5 teaspoons of raw, organic honey
    • 1 cup of warm water

    Instructions:

    Using a mason jar or similar type of container with a tight fitting lid, add all ingredients in the order given. Be sure the water is very warm as it needs to melt the honey. Close the lid and shake for one minute. Store in the fridge and use two tablespoons as a mouth rinse.

     

    1. Three-Ingredient Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of filtered water
    • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
    • 3 drops of peppermint essential oil

    Instructions:

    Add all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake very well. This can be kept in the bathroom and does not require refrigeration. Shake well before each use.

     

    1. Grandma’s Disinfecting Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of filtered water
    • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

    Instructions:

    Mix the ingredients together in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before each use. This will keep forever right on your bathroom countertop.

     

    1. Herb-Infused Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups of filtered water
    • ½ ounce of whole cloves
    • 1 ounce of Oregon grape root
    • 1 ounce of rosemary sprigs

    Instructions:

    Boil the water and then add all remaining ingredients to the water. Boil for one minute, then turn off the fire and cover the pot. Allow herbs to steep in the water overnight. Strain out the herbs with a piece of cheesecloth in the morning and store in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well before each use and store in the refrigerator. This will keep 7 to 14 days in the fridge.

     

    1. Simple Hydrogen Peroxide Whitening Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 1-part hydrogen peroxide
    • 1-part filtered water

    Instructions:

    Don’t make a large batch of this solution. Try one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of water, for example. Mix in a ceramic or glass container (such as a glass or coffee cup) and use immediately. Swish in the mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out. Do not swallow, and do not save any extra solution.

     

    1. Sweet-Smelling Essential Oil Mouthwash

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of filtered water
    • 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Best choices are cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, peppermint, or tea tree oil

    Instructions:

    In a glass container with a tight fitting lid, combine all ingredients and shake well. Always shake well before each use. This mixture will keep on the kitchen counter or bathroom counter forever.

     

    1. Oral Cancer Fighting Turmeric Solution

    Ingredients:

    • 10 mg of turmeric extract
    • ½ cup of water

    Instructions:

    Use 10 mg of turmeric extract dissolved in a little less than a ½ cup of water. A drop or two of peppermint oil can be added for flavoring; alternatively, you can just stir a little turmeric powder into warm water. Either will result in an outstanding mouthwash for treating inflamed gums and even relieving a toothache.

    Since ancient times, turmeric has been used for remedying oral ailments, among other therapeutic applications too numerous to count. Studies have shown that using turmeric as part of a mouth cleansing solution can be more effective than a chemical mouthwash. The curcumin in turmeric acts to disrupt the cycle of dental plaque formation. Research has found that turmeric extract and turmeric oil may reverse precancerous changes in oral submucous fibrosis in humans and even kill oral cancer cells.

    As with any mouthwash, be sure not to swallow during use. Happy gargling!

     

    Sources: TheAlternativeDaily.com, DIYnatural.com, GreenMedInfo.com

     

    • 30 MAR 16
    • 0

    11 Tips to Help Protect Your Tooth Enamel

    Tooth Enamel Erosion: Causes and How to Prevent It

    Tooth enamel is a semi-clear, hard, outer layer that protects your teeth from daily wear and tear. It also keeps you from feeling temperature extremes from the hot and cold things you eat and drink. Acids and chemicals that can damage your teeth are also fended off by it.

    Woman smiling with perfect smile and white teeth in a park and looking at camera

    Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly cancel out this acidity in your mouth and get it back to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack happens too often, your mouth does not have a chance to repair itself and tiny bits of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth.

    When this shell erodes, your teeth are more likely to get cavities and decay. You may notice you react more to hot or cold foods, drinks, and sweets, since they can get through holes in your enamel to the nerves inside.

    A few easy habits can help you protect your pearly whites. But first you need to know what to watch out for.

     

    What Causes Enamel Erosion?

    Damage to your teeth’s outer layer can come from:

    • Too many sweets. Bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar, and they make acids that can eat away at enamel. It gets worse if you don’t clean your teeth regularly.
    • Sour foods or candies. They have a lot of acid.
    • Dry mouth. Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by washing away bacteria acids and leftover food in your mouth. It also brings acids to an acceptable level.
    • Acid reflux disease, GERD, or heartburn. These bring stomach acids up to the mouth, where they can damage enamel.
    • Bulimia, alcoholism, or binge drinking. People with these conditions vomit often, which is hard on teeth.
    • Drugs or supplements that have a lot of acid. Think aspirin or vitamin C.
    • Brushing too hard. A soft brush and a gentle touch are best.
    • Grinding your teeth. Your dentist may call this bruxism. Too much of it can do damage.

     

    What Are the Symptoms?

    Erosion usually shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface and biting edges. This can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower color than the enamel. If your teeth start losing their outer shell, you might notice:

    • Pain when eating hot, cold, or sweet foods or drinks
    • Rough or uneven edges on the teeth, which can crack or chip when they lose their enamel
    • Smooth, shiny surfaces on the teeth, a sign of mineral loss
    • Yellow teeth
    • Cupping, or dents, that show up where you bite and chew

     

    How Can I Protect My Enamel?

    Because it can’t be replaced, your best option is to do what you can to prevent tooth enamel loss.

    • Good dental care is the best way to keep your mouth healthy.
    • Cut down on acidic drinks and foods, like sodas, citrus fruits, and juices. When you do have something with acid, have it at meal times to make it easier on your enamel. You can also switch to things like low-acid orange juice.
    • Rinse your mouth with water right after you eat or drink something acidic.
    • Use a straw for sodas and fruit juices so they bypass the teeth. Don’t swish them around in your mouth.
    • Finish a meal with a glass of milk or a piece of cheese. This will cancel out acids.
    • Chew sugar-free gum. This lowers the amount of acid in your mouth. Gum also helps you make more saliva, which strengthens your teeth with key minerals.
    • Drink more water during the day if you have dry mouth.
    • Use a soft toothbrush. And try not to brush too hard.
    • Wait at least an hour to brush after you’ve had acidic foods or drinks. They soften the enamel and make it more prone to damage from your toothbrush.
    • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Your dentist can tell you which products can protect your teeth and make them less sensitive.
    • Get treatment for conditions like bulimia, alcoholism, or GERD.

     

    Work with Your Dentist

    Ultimately, one of the best ways to protect your teeth’s enamel is to work with your dentist. He or she can detect any erosion and offer tips on ways to reduce it. As well as using a fluoride toothpaste, your dental team may suggest you use a fluoride-containing mouthwash and have a fluoride varnish applied at least every six months. They may also prescribe a toothpaste with more fluoride in it.

    If a tooth does need treatment, it is important to protect the enamel and the dentine underneath to prevent sensitivity. Usually, simply bonding a filling onto the tooth will be enough to repair it. However, in more severe cases the dentist may need to fit a veneer. If it’s been a while since you’ve been in a dentist’s chair, book an appointment today.

    Sources: WebMD, DentalHealth.org

     

    • 23 MAR 16
    • 0

    Mystery Solved: The Story on Canker Sores

    Information About these Sometimes Painful Oral Nuisances and How to Prevent Them

    Canker sores, also called aphthous ulcers, are small, shallow lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums. They can be painful and can make eating and talking difficult.

    Young woman having toothache

    Although anyone can develop canker sores, they occur more often in teens and young adults, and they’re more common in females. Often people with recurrent canker sores have a family history of the disorder. This may be due to heredity or to a shared factor in the environment, such as certain foods or allergens.

     

    What are the Symptoms of Canker Sores?

    Most canker sores are round or oval with a white or yellow center and a red border. They form inside your mouth — on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, at the base of your gums, or on your soft palate. You might notice a tingling or burning sensation a day or two before the sores actually appear.

    There are several types of canker sores, including minor, major and herpetiform sores.

    Minor Canker Sores

    Minor canker sores are the most common and:

    • Are usually small.
    • Are oval shaped with a red edge.
    • Heal without scarring in one to two weeks.

     

    Major Canker Sores

    Major canker sores are less common and:

    • Are larger and deeper than minor canker sores.
    • Are usually round with defined borders, but may have irregular edges when very large.
    • Can be extremely painful.
    • May take up to six weeks to heal and can leave extensive scarring.

     

    Herpetiform Canker Sores

    Herpetiform canker sores are uncommon and usually develop later in life, but they’re not caused by herpes virus infection. These canker sores:

    • Are pinpoint size.
    • Often occur in clusters of 10 to 100 sores, but may merge into one large ulcer.
    • Have irregular edges.
    • Heal without scarring in one to two weeks.

     

    What Causes Canker Sores?

    The precise cause of canker sores remains unclear, though researchers suspect that a combination of factors contributes to outbreaks, even in the same person.

    Possible triggers for canker sores include:

    • A minor injury to your mouth from dental work, overzealous brushing, sports mishaps or an accidental cheek bite.
    • Toothpastes and mouth rinses containing sodium lauryl sulfate.
    • Food sensitivities, particularly to chocolate, coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic foods.
    • A diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron.
    • An allergic response to certain bacteria in your mouth.
    • Helicobacter pylori, the same bacteria that cause peptic ulcers.
    • Hormonal shifts during menstruation.
    • Emotional stress.
    • A sharp tooth surface or dental appliance, such as braces or ill-fitting dentures, might also trigger canker sores.

     

    Canker sores may also occur because of certain conditions and diseases, such as:

    • Celiac disease, a serious intestinal disorder caused by a sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in most grains.
    • Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
    • Behcet’s disease, a rare disorder that causes inflammation throughout the body, including the mouth.
    • A faulty immune system that attacks healthy cells in your mouth instead of pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria.
    • HIV/AIDS, which suppresses the immune system.

     

    Are Cold Sores and Canker Sores the Same Thing?

    No. Although cold sores and canker sores are often confused with each other they are not the same. Canker sores don’t occur on the surface of your lips and they aren’t contagious like cold sores. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not associated with herpes virus infections. Cold sores, also called fever blisters or herpes simplex type 1, are groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters. Also, cold sores typically appear outside the mouth- usually under the nose, around the lips, or under the chin – while canker sores occur inside the mouth.

     

    How Are Canker Sores Treated?

    Pain from a canker sore generally lessens in a few days, and the sores usually heal without treatment in about a week or two.

    If sores are large, painful, or persistent, your dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse, a corticosteroid ointment, or a prescription or over-the-counter solution to reduce the pain and irritation.

    You should call your dentist about canker sores if you have:

    • Unusually large sores.
    • Sores that are spreading.
    • Sores that last 3 weeks or longer.
    • Intolerable pain despite avoiding trigger foods and taking over-the-counter pain medication.
    • Difficulty drinking enough fluids.
    • A high fever with the appearance of the canker sores.

     

    Can Canker Sores Be Prevented?

    Although there is no cure for canker sores, and they often recur, you may be able to reduce their frequency by:

    1. Avoiding foods that irritate your mouth, including citrus fruits, acidic vegetables, and spicy foods.
    2. Avoid foods that cause the symptoms of an allergy, such as an itchy mouth, a swollen tongue, or hives.
    3. Avoiding irritation from gum chewing.
    4. Brushing with a soft-bristled brush after meals and flossing daily, which will keep your mouth free of foods that might trigger a sore.
    5. If your canker sores pop up due to stress, you can use stress reduction methods and calming techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation.

     

    Talk with your doctor to determine if you have any specific vitamin or mineral deficiencies. They can help design a suitable diet plan and prescribe individual supplements if you need them.

    Sources: Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Healthline.com

    • 17 MAR 16
    • 0

    Easter Family Fun Around the Twin Cities

    If The Easter Bunny and Egg Hunts Are Family Favorites, Then We Have Some Great Ideas for You

    Easter is right around the corner and if you are looking for fun things to do with the kids to celebrate the holiday that involve eggs and the Easter Bunny, we have some ideas for you. From egg hunts and festivals at area parks to kid-friendly brunches at area restaurants, we’ve got you covered.

    Close Up Of Many Colorful Easter Eggs On Sunny Green Gras For Easter Or Seasons Greetings Eggs Pink And Orange

    There are Easter festivities all over Minnesota in 2016. Most allow children from babies through elementary school to participate in the actual hunt, but many also have many other activities, music, food and entertainment for adults and older children.

    Macy’s Bunny Brunch: Multiple times, dates and locations:  The Easter Bunny, a face painter, balloon artist and a fabulous brunch. This annual event is a favorite of so many in the area – your kids will love it!  Multiple dates and times at the Southdale, Ridgedale and Downtown locations.

    Mall of America- Pictures with the Easter Bunny: Times vary. The Easter Bunny has arrived. The fun will last through Sunday, April 5!  So head on out to Mall of America to share in this wonderful Easter tradition! Parents can make the memory last by purchasing a special souvenir photo of their child with the Easter Bunny. Children will also receive a special treat from Peeps & Company!  The Easter Bunny needs lunch sometimes, so break times will vary and will be no longer than 15 minutes in length.

    March 18: Spring Egg Hunt (Blaine): 6:30 p.m. Head over to Airport Park for a super spectacular spring egg hunt, followed by a prize raffle. Plastic eggs filled with candy are hidden on three different softball fields depending on your child’s age. FREE! Ages 10 and under. Registration is not required.

    March 18: Woodbury Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt: 8 p.m. Grab a flashlight and bucket and join us for a nighttime egg hunt at Bielenberg Sports Center on White fields 10, 11, 12 and 13 with an adult. Find the special eggs with the hidden message and claim you prize. It’s not how many eggs you find; it’s finding the right one. Recommended for ages 6-13 with an adult. $4 pre-registered, $6 at the event.

    March 19-20: Dave & Busters: Breakfast with the Easter Bunny: Maple Grove – Saturday, March 19, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.; Edina – Sunday, March 20, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. The Breakfast with the Easter Bunny event will be hosted in one of Dave & Buster’s event spaces where food, beverages, and activities will be. As a guest of the event, you will have access to this space, as well as our Million Dollar Midway which is packed to the rafters with hundreds of games and simulators! Breakfast with the Easter Bunny Package includes: Breakfast Buffet, $10 Power Card, Activities, Picture with the Easter Bunny. $19.99 per person before tax and suggested gratuity.

    March 19: Breakfast with the Bunnies (Farmington): 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Hop into the weekend with breakfast and a visit from a special guest at Rambling River Center. Listen to a funny bunny story, interact with rabbits, make a craft, and learn the bunny hop! Photo opportunities available, so bring your camera. Breakfast will include rolls, fruit, juice, and coffee. A great family activity, but each person must be registered.

     March 19: Easter Egg Hunt at the James J. Hill House: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Celebrate spring at the James J. Hill House with an outdoor egg hunt for children ages 2-7 on the lawn. Participants can win prizes, enjoy a snack, hear stories and look around the first floor of the elegant Gilded Age home. $6 per person.

    March 19: Shoreview Egg Hunt: 10 a.m. Join the Bunny in an old-fashioned “eggciting” hunt for prized-filled eggs! Each participant will be given an Easter bag for the hunt. Space is limited. Register by March 18 please. The Shoreview Egg Hunt is held outdoors at the Shoreview Community Center Pavilion, so be sure to dress for the weather.

    March 19: Bunny Brunch (McRae Park, Minneapolis): 10 a.m.- noon. This year’s annual brunch will be better than ever. McRae’s jazz band will provide entertainment, there will be a craft for the kids to make and take, and of course, the Bunny will be on hand for pictures! Don’t forget to bring your baskets and join in on the egg hunt!

    March 19: The Six.th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza (Burnsville): 10 a.m. Join the fun at Good Shepard Lutheran Church and School. Outdoor egg hunts, art activities, craft center, bounce house and games, photos with Bunny and more!

    March 19: Egg Hunt (St. Anthony): 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Participate in an art-inspired egg hunt and afternoon of activities for all ages at Silverwood Park. Take photos with the bunny, enjoy musical entertainment, and participate in a variety of “egg-cellent” art activities. Kids of all ages have a chance to collect spring treats.

    March 19: Mystery Egg Hunt (Oakdale): 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Join us at the Discovery Center for an egg hunt, face painting, games, crafts, petting zoo, Bounce castle and more!

    March 19: Vadnais Heights Egg Hunt: 10:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m. The Easter Bunny will visit while you hunt for eggs at the Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Join us at Community Park (651 E County Road F). Staggered start times are as follows: 2 years and under – 10:30 a.m., 3-4 year olds – 10:40 a.m., 5-6 year olds – 10:50 a.m., 7-9 year olds – 11 a.m., 10-12 year olds – 11:10 a.m. Call 651-204-6000 for details.

    March 20: Egg Hunt (Armatage Park, Minneapolis): 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Egg hunt, caricature, arts and crafts, and continental breakfast. Egg Hunt will begin at 11 a.m.

    March 25: Easter Egg Hunt (Osseo): 10 a.m. Grab your basket and join the Easter Bunny at Andres Park to gather some eggs! The Easter Bunny will have more than 12,000 eggs outside at Andrews Park for children to “hunt” up. This FREE family activity is for Children 9 & under, registration is not required. Dress for the weather as this is an outdoor event. Be sure to bring a pail or basket to put eggs in.

    March 25: Flashlight Egg Hunt (Creekview Park, Minneapolis): 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Come on down to Creekview for our fun egg hunt. Bring your flashlight and we’ll start the egg hunt once it is dark. You must be in the center at the start of the event so they can hide the eggs outside. They will divide the eggs up for the different age groups.

    March 25: Spring Eggstravaganza Rock Hunt (Victoria): 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Celebrate spring at Lowry Nature Center! Bring your baskets and hunt for colored rocks (ages 2-8) or secret messages (ages 8-adult) hidden along the trails. Trade the rocks or decoded message for a bag of goodies! Bring a camera for photos with a bunny character. Make bunny ears, get your face painted to look like a bunny, and decorate a wooden egg to bring home. Visit a zoo featuring a goat, bunny, chicks, turtles, snakes, toads and a raptor.

    March 26: Lake Elmo Jaycees Egg Hunt: Noon. The Lake Elmo Jaycees are hosting the Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Egg Coloring Event at Lions Park. This is a free event open to the community, everyone welcome!

    March 26: Victorian Easter Egg Roll (Shakopee): Noon – 3 p.m. Celebrate with the family! Make a miniature basket and decorate a wooden egg. Participate in an egg and spoon race, bunny hop relay, and authentic egg roll. Play with old-fashioned toys and games, and explore the banks of the Minnesota River Valley at The Landing. Refreshments served in the Town Hall.

    March 26: Maplewood Easter Egg Hunt: 10 a.m. The morning will start off at Edgerton Community Gym with breakfast treats, colorful crafts and a visit from the Easter Bunny – then its happy hunting! Children will be divided into two age groups and will be hunting for wrapped candy and plastic eggs, some of which may be redeemed for great prizes.

    March 26: Easter Egg Candy Hunt (Chanhassen): 9 a.m. The 33rd Annual Easter Egg Candy Hunt will be held at City Center Park at 9 a.m. More than 400 children along with their friends and families attend this annual event. The program includes prize giveaways, a coloring contest, the candy hunt, and an appearance from the Easter Bunny!

    March 26: Easter Egg Hunt – Erickson’s Petting Zoo (Osakis): 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bring the family for one of the Petting Zoo’s most fun annual events! They put out plastic eggs all day, so no matter what time you come between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., there will be plenty of eggs to find. Baskets are provided, find and fill up the basket and take it to the party shed to see what you have found! All eggs have either candy or small prizes in them.

    March 26: Bunny Party and Egg Hunt (Windom Park, Minneapolis): Noon-2 pm Come to Windom Park for a fun morning with the Bunny! We’ll have games, a bounce house, a chance for photos with the bunny, and an egg hunt! Remember to bring your cameras and baskets!

    March 27: Maple Grove Easter Egg Hunt: Multiple times available. Event features 75,000 eggs, the Easter Bunny, kids lesson, live animals and more!  This is the sixth year for this hunt and it’s the Twin Cities’ largest and most successful (and FREE) Easter Egg Hunt. Hosted by Passion Church the event is held at Maple Grove High School. Make sure to get your free picture with the Bunny too!

     

    See the Family Fun Twin Cities website for even more Easter events.

     

    Can’t get enough Easter egg hunting? Check out the Easter Egg Hunts and Events website.

     

     

     

     

     

    • 16 MAR 16
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    9 Ways Medicine Can Affect Your Smile

    Many Medications Have Side Effects on Your Oral Health

    Generally speaking, medicines are designed to make you feel better. But all drugs, whether taken by mouth or injected, come with a risk of side effects, and hundreds of drugs are known to cause oral issues. Medicines used to treat cancer, high blood pressure, severe pain, depression, allergies and even the common cold can have a negative impact on your dental health.

    Some of the most common mouth-related (oral) side effects of medications are listed below.

     

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    Dry Mouth 

    Some drugs can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth, causing an uncomfortably dry mouth. Without enough saliva, the tissues in the mouth can become irritated and inflamed. This increases your risk for infection and gum disease. Antihistamines and other drugs can cause a decrease in saliva, leaving your mouth prone to soft tissue inflammation, pain and infection.

    Dry mouth can be a bothersome problem. However, many times, the benefits of using a medicine outweigh the risks and discomfort of dry mouth. Alleviate dry mouth by drinking more water or using sugarless lozenges or gum to stimulate the flow of saliva. Artificial saliva or, in some cases, medication may be recommended by your dentist or physician.

    More than 400 medications are known to cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is also a side effect of certain chemotherapy medicines.

     

    Gum Swelling

    Some medications can cause a buildup of gum tissue, a condition called “gingival overgrowth.” Gum tissue becomes so swollen that it begins to grow over the teeth. Gingival overgrowth increases your risk of periodontal disease. Swollen gum tissue creates a favorable environment for bacteria, which can damage surrounding tooth structures.

    Gum tissue overgrowth is associated with anti-seizure medications, immunosupressant drugs such as those taken by organ transplant patients, and calcium channel blockers taken by heart patients. Studies suggest that gum tissue overgrowth can be controlled if meticulous oral hygiene is started at the same time or before medication is taken. Tissue overgrowth can complicate oral hygiene. Sometimes, a gingivectomy (a procedure used to remove excess tissue) may be necessary.

     

    Fungal Infection

    Certain inhaler medications used for asthma may lead to a yeast infection in the mouth called oral candidiasis. Rinsing your mouth out with water after using an inhaler can help prevent this side effect.

     

    Inflammation of the Lining Inside of the Mouth

    Mucositis is inflammation of the moist tissue lining the mouth and digestive tract. This tissue is called the mucous membrane. Mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment. Doctors think that certain chemotherapy drugs, including methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil, trigger a complex pattern of biological changes that damage the cells that make up the mucous membranes. Mucositis causes painful swelling of the mouth and tongue and can lead to bleeding, pain, and mouth ulcers. The condition can make it difficult to eat.

     

    Mouth Sores

    A mouth ulcer refers to an open (ulcerated) sore that occurs inside the mouth or on the tongue. Mouth ulcers are often compared to “craters” because they have a hole in the middle. This hole is actually a break in the moist tissue (mucous membrane) that lines the mouth. Mouth sores may also be called canker sores.

     

    Taste Changes, Including Metallic Taste

    Sometimes, a medication can alter your sense of taste. A change in the body’s ability to sense tastes is called dysgeusia. Some drugs can make food taste different, or they can cause a metallic, salty, or bitter taste in your mouth. Taste changes are especially common among elderly patients who take multiple medications.

    Usually the taste changes are temporary and go away when you stop taking the medicine.

    Chemotherapy drugs, including methotrexate and doxorubicin, are a common cause of taste changes.

     

    Abnormal Bleeding

    Reduced blood clotting is a result of aspirin and prescribed anticoagulants, like heparin or warfarin. These medications are prescribed to treat strokes or heart disease, but can cause bleeding problems during oral surgery or periodontal treatment. If you’re having dental treatment, talk to your dentist about these medications, especially if the dental procedure involves bleeding.

     

    Tooth Decay

    Long-term use of sweetened medications can lead to tooth decay. Sugar is an added ingredient in many types of drug products, from vitamins and cough drops to antacids and syrup-based medications. Rinse your mouth out after using such products, or ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a sugar-free alternative.

     

    Tooth Discoloration

    In the 1950s, doctors discovered that the use of tetracycline antibiotics during pregnancy led to brownish-colored teeth in children. When a person takes tetracycline, some of the medicine settles into the calcium that the body uses to build teeth. When the teeth grow in, they are a yellowish-color, and they gradually turn brown when exposed to sunlight.

    Tetracycline, however, does not cause tooth discoloration if taken after all teeth are formed. It only causes a change in tooth color if you take the medicine before the primary or secondary teeth come in.

    Today, tetracycline and related antibiotics are not recommended during pregnancy or in young children (under age 8) whose teeth are still forming.

    Cosmetic dentistry techniques like veneers, crowns, bonding procedures, or, in some cases, bleaching may be used to lighten teeth with tetracycline stains.

     

    Talk Medications with Your Dentist

    Your dentist, not just your doctor, should always know about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter products, vitamins and supplements.

     

    Sources: American Dental Association, WebMD

    • 14 MAR 16
    • 0

    Personal Care Dentistry Featured in Roseville Review Progress Edition

    PCD Roseville Review ad 2016

    • 08 MAR 16
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    Sealants Can Stop Cavities Before They Begin

    This Simple Process Can Save You From Future Fillings

    Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are a plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.

    Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles can’t always reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. And fluoride in toothpaste and in drinking water protects the smooth surfaces of teeth but back teeth need extra protection.

    Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. The sugar in this food is used by germs in the mouth to make acids. Over time, the acids can make a cavity in the tooth.

     

    Why Get Sealants?

    A healthy tooth is the best tooth, so it is important to prevent decay. That’s why sealants are so important. Having sealants put on teeth before they decay will also save time and money in the long run by avoiding fillings, crowns, or caps used to fix decayed teeth.

     

    Who Should Get Sealants?

    Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in – before decay attacks the teeth.

    The first permanent molars – called “6 year molars” – come in between the ages of 5 and 7.

    The second permanent molars – “12 year molars” – come in when a child is between 11 and 14 years old. Other teeth with pits and grooves also might need to be sealed.

    Baby teeth save space for permanent teeth. It is important to keep baby teeth healthy so they don’t fall out early. Your dentist might think sealants are a good idea, especially if your child’s baby teeth have deep pits and grooves.

     

    Can Dental Sealants Be Placed on Adult Teeth?

    Yes — while less common, dental sealants are sometimes placed in adults at risk for caries, on deep grooves and fissures that do not already have fillings or dental sealants.

     

    How Are Sealants Applied?

    Applying sealant is a simple and painless process. It takes only a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist to apply the sealant to seal each tooth. The application steps are as follows:

    1. First the teeth that are to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned.
    2. Each tooth is then dried, and cotton or another absorbent material is put around the tooth to keep it dry.
    3. An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them up, which helps the sealant bond to the teeth.
    4. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
    5. Sealant is then painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.

     

    Even if a small cavity accidently gets covered the decay will not spread, because it is sealed off from its food and germ supply.

     

    How Long Do Sealants Last?

    Sealants can last up to 10 years. But they need to be checked at regular dental check-ups to make sure they are not chipped or worn away. The dentist or dental hygienist can repair sealants by adding more sealant material.

     

    Do Sealants Prevent Gum Disease?

    No. Dental sealants do not protect against gum disease such as gingivitis, oral cancer or many common dental conditions. Regular dental checkups are vital to monitor overall oral health.

     

    Are Sealants Visible?

    Sealants can only be seen up close. Sealants can be clear, white, or slightly tinted, and usually are not seen when a child talks or smiles.

     

    Sources: MouthHealthy.org, National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, KnowYourTeeth.com, Colgate, American Dental Association (ADA)

    • 02 MAR 16
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    6 Ways to Fresher Breath in the Morning

    Don’t Let Halitosis Ruin Your Day

    iStock_000023288626Large - bad breathLove waking up to the smell of coffee? Think twice before you reach for a cup! Your daily dose of Joe — and other habits that can easily escape your notice — could be giving you a bad case of morning breath. But fear not! Bad breath, or “halitosis”, doesn’t have to ruin your day. Nip the problem in the (taste)buds by giving these simple tips a try:

    1. Cut the caffeine.

    Coffee isn’t the only beverage in town that can leave your breath less than fresh. Gulping down certain teas and energy drinks for a morning buzz may result in bad breath if they contain caffeine, which can inhibit the production of saliva. When the mouth is too dry, it allows oral bacteria, the main purveyor of halitosis, to flourish. To jumpstart the mind and body without this unpleasant side effect, turn to morning stretches and a refreshing smoothie or citrus-infused water instead. If you have to consume caffeinated beverages, be sure to hydrate with multiple glasses of water.

     

    1. Stop smoking.

    Besides putting you at risk for lung cancer, smoking cigarettes can stain your teeth and cause your breath to smell bad, dealing your oral health a double whammy. From the combustion of chemical additives to the tiny smoke particles left in your throat and lungs, it’s almost inevitable that your breath ends up tasting and smelling stale. If you feel the urge to take a puff in the morning, distract yourself by doing light chores, or going for a quick walk. Obviously, a smoking habit may cause a more chronic breath problem, so quitting cigarettes and other forms of tobacco is your best bet for a more permanent solution.

     

    1. Don’t skip breakfast.

    Pass on the coffee and cigarettes, but eat breakfast — and a nutritious one at that! After a long night’s sleep, your mouth could benefit from a boost in saliva production, and a good meal is the perfect way to do it. Grab an apple for its high water content and crunchiness, both of which can help cut down on odor-causing bacteria. Yogurt and eggs can also promote saliva production while giving you a healthy serving of calcium and vitamin D. Get creative, but be selective, as some of your favorite breakfast foods may include not-so-breath-friendly ingredients such as garlic or onions.

     

    1. Do a better job of brushing and flossing.

    You’re running late, but if there’s one thing you shouldn’t rush, it’s your morning dental routine. From stuck food particles to gingivitis and even nasty tonsil stones, it all adds up to one major case of halitosis if left unchecked. For mornings where standard brushing and flossing doesn’t seem to do the trick, get a deeper clean by scraping the gunk off your tongue and gargling with mouthwash. If you find yourself flying out the door and forgetting about your oral hygiene frequently, keep a travel-sized dental kit in your bag or at the office for convenience.

     

    1. Check (and change) your sleeping habits.

    More often than not, bad breath is noticeable the moment you wake up. The problem may not be what you eat or drink, or even how your brush and floss. Instead, it could be how you breathe during your sleep. Breathing orally throughout the night can quickly turn your mouth into a haven for oral bacteria, resulting in a parched sensation and an unpleasant odor. Depending on the severity of the situation, your dentist may recommend surgery, but something as simple as having a glass of water, sugar-free lozenge, or a humidifier on hand at night can help keep your mouth moist.

     

    1. Let your dentist have a look.

    In some cases, morning breath that persists despite your efforts to remedy it may signal something more serious, from cavities and tooth infections, to diabetes and liver and kidney problems. Play it safe by seeing your dentist. He or she can help you determine and treat the root cause more efficiently, and provide you with a personalized treatment plan to rid yourself of the problem for good.

     

    SOURCES: American Dental Association, WebMD, Mayo Clinic

    • 24 FEB 16
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    Dental Care During Pregnancy

    Keeping Mom and Baby Healthy

    In between trips to the doctor, hospital tours and setting up the nursery, don’t let visiting the dentist fall from your pregnancy to-do list before your baby comes. Getting a checkup during pregnancy is safe and important for your dental health. Not only can you take care of cleanings before your baby is born, but your dentist can help you with any pregnancy-related dental symptoms you might be experiencing.

     

    Pregnancy and Oral Health

    Although many women make it nine months with no dental discomfort, pregnancy can make some conditions worse – or create new ones. Regular checkups and good dental health habits can help keep you and your baby healthy.

    Pregnancy Gingivitis
    Your mouth can be affected by the hormonal changes you will experience during pregnancy. For example, some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. Your gums also may bleed a little when you brush or floss. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious forms of gum disease. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to prevent this.

    Increased Risk of Tooth Decay
    Pregnant women may be more prone to cavities for a number of reasons. If you’re eating more carbohydrates than usual, this can cause decay. Morning sickness can increase the amount of acid your mouth is exposed to, which can eat away at the outer covering of your tooth (enamel).

    Brushing twice a day and flossing once can also fall by the wayside during pregnancy for many reasons, including morning sickness, a more sensitive gag reflex, tender gums and exhaustion. It’s especially important to keep up your routine, as poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

    Pregnancy Tumors
    In some women, overgrowths of tissue called “pregnancy tumors” appear on the gums, most often during the second trimester. It is not cancer but rather just swelling that happens most often between teeth. They may be related to excess plaque. They bleed easily and have a red, raw-looking raspberry-like appearance. They usually disappear after your baby is born, but if you are concerned, talk to your dentist about removing them.

     

    Is It Safe to Go to the Dentist During Pregnancy?

    The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to get dental care while pregnant.

    Here are the most common concerns women have about going to the dentist during pregnancy.

    When Do I Tell My Dentist I’m Pregnant?

    Even if you only think you might be pregnant, let your dental office know. Tell them how far along you are when you make your appointment. Also let your dentist know about the medications you are taking or if you have received any special advice from your physician. If your pregnancy is high-risk or if you have certain medical conditions, your dentist and your physician may recommend that some treatments be postponed.

    Are the Medications My Dentist May Recommend Safe During Pregnancy?

    Be sure your dentist knows what, if any, prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs you are taking. This information will help your dentist determine what type of prescription, if any, to write for you. Your dentist can consult with your physician to choose medications—such as painkillers or antibiotics—you may safely take during the pregnancy. Both your dentist and physician are concerned about you and your baby, so ask them any questions you have about medications they recommend.

    What About Local Anesthetics During Pregnancy?

    If you’re pregnant and need a filling, root canal or tooth pulled, one thing you don’t have to worry about is the safety of the numbing medications your dentist may use during the procedure. They are, in fact, safe for both you and your baby.

    A study in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of American Dental Association followed a group of pregnant women who had procedures that used anesthetics like lidocaine shots and a group that did not. The study showed these treatments were safe during pregnancy, as they cause no difference in the rate of miscarriages, birth defects, prematurity or weight of the baby. “Our study identified no evidence to show that dental treatment with anesthetics is harmful during pregnancy,” said study author Dr. Hagai. “We aimed to determine if there was a significant risk associated with dental treatment with anesthesia and pregnancy outcomes. We did not find any such risk.”

    Can I Get a Dental X-Ray While Pregnant?

    About half of the women in the anesthetic JADA study had X-rays taken while they were pregnant, which were also found to be safe. It’s possible you’ll need an X-ray if you suffer a dental emergency or if there is a need to diagnose a dental problem. Although, radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen. Your dental office will also cover your throat with a leaded collar to protect your thyroid from radiation.

    Conclusion

    “It is a crucial period of time in a woman’s life and maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health,” said Dr. Hagai. “Dentists and physicians should encourage pregnant women to maintain their oral health by continuing to receive routine dental care and seeking treatment when problems arise.”

    Sources: American Dental Association, MouthHealthy.org, American Pregnancy Association