Dentures are a removable set of teeth that are meant to create a new smile for a patient. In order to make a set, it requires several appointments with the patient and lengthy procedures in the lab to get the right fit and look. It can be a tedious process for all, but worth it in the end once the patient has a beautiful new smile.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Despite the fact that tobacco use remains the largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world, a staggering 32.4 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that overall rates of smoking have declined drastically over several decades, yet more than 16 million Americans are currently living with a smoking-related disease.
We all know smoking increases the risk for many conditions, like lung cancer and heart disease. But, many smoking-related problems present themselves early and most obviously in the mouth. These can range from less serious issues, like tooth discoloration, to potentially fatal diseases such as cancers of the mouth and throat.
The nicotine, tar, and other chemicals in tobacco lead to a buildup of bacteria that is harmful in many ways. What’s more, tobacco weakens the body’s immune system which makes fighting these illnesses more difficult.
Read on to get a better understanding of how tobacco is connected to your oral health, the signs and symptoms to look for, and why smoking cessation will be the best thing you can do for your mouth.
Smoking and other tobacco products lead to oral health issues in three primary ways:
- Tobacco increases the amount of the bacteria in the mouth;
- Tobacco interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells, causing a greater risk for infection;
- Tobacco impairs blood flow, which makes it harder for your body to heal;
Due to the nicotine and tar in tobacco, “smokers mouth” can happen incredibly quickly. It can include:
- Discolored teeth;
- Bad breath;
- Increased buildup of plaque and tartar that leads to cavities and gum disease;
One of the greatest oral health risks for smokers is gum disease. According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, smokers are at twice the risk of developing gum disease.
There are two main types of gum disease:
1. Gingivitis: When plaque and tartar build up and get under the gums and create harmful inflammation. Symptoms include red, tender, swollen gums that bleed easily.
2. Periodontal Disease: If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory infection that breaks down the gum tissues. Over time, it can cause receding gums, deep pockets and bone loss that can lead to more frequent and serious infections. Without treatment, teeth may become mobile, fall out or need to be extracted.
Deep cleaning below the gum line, or surgery, are treatments for periodontitis.
Mouth and Throat Cancer
In the most serious cases, the use of tobacco can lead to cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. According to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, smokers are six times more likely to develop these cancers than nonsmokers. Symptoms could include swelling or lumps around your neck or mouth, persistent sores or patches, difficulty swallowing, or repeated bleeding in the mouth and throat.
Your dentist is specially trained to evaluate you for signs of oral cancer, and keeping regular dental check-ups improves the likelihood of any abnormalities in the mouth being detected as early as possible.
How to Quit Smoking and Improve Your Oral and Overall Health
The number-one way to reduce all these risks is to stop smoking. Or better yet, never start. The American Lung Association offers these tips to quit smoking:
- Just quit. Don’t switch to e-cigarettes, which can be just as harmful. Talk to your doctor about medications or counseling services that could help you quit smoking.
- Write down a list of your personal motivations for quitting.
- Make a plan to quit and find a support network to help keep you accountable.
- Ask questions and do your research. Know what to expect when quitting and the challenges to be prepared for.
- Find healthy ways to keep yourself occupied. Exercise, take up a new hobby, or do something fun with friends who don’t smoke.
With proper at-home care and visits to the dentist, some gum disease can be reversed or stopped in its tracks. What’s more, a study published by the Journal of Periodontology found that the likelihood of developing periodontal disease decreased significantly with each additional year since quitting smoking.
As Robert Silverman, DDS, a Delta Dental consultant, has summed it up, “The lesson is: Don’t smoke if you want to save your teeth — and your life.”
The Centers for Disease Control also offers some amazing resources to help you quit smoking. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support, download the quitSTART app to get tailored tips, and connect with others on social media who are also looking to live a smoke-free life.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Two dentists debunk 14 of the most common myths about teeth. They explain the science behind white teeth and what really causes cavities. They also debunk the idea that electric toothbrushes are better than regular toothbrushes. In fact, it's more about how you brush your teeth. And they mention how aligners, without X-rays and thorough analysis from an orthodontist, could be harmful to your teeth.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
As of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 34.2 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, with 7.3 million adults not even realizing they are diabetic. These are especially scary statistics given that most of us know diabetes can lead to a host of other health problems, from vision issues to kidney complications to cardiovascular disease.
But did you know that diabetes can also take a toll on the health of your smile?
Not only does it increase your risk for diseases that affect your teeth and gums but diminishing oral health can be one of the first signs of diabetes.
Diabetes is a metabolic condition that affects your body’s ability to process and use glucose, the sugar in the blood that serves as our primary source of energy.
The body produces glucose from the food we consume and sends it to be used as energy by our cells. But glucose can’t reach these cells without the help of the hormone insulin. Without insulin, cells are unable to use glucose, and this causes high blood sugar – a condition that weakens our body’s defense against infections, including those in the mouth.
Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes
There are two primary types of diabetes: Type I and Type II.
With Type I (previously known as juvenile diabetes), the body doesn’t make enough insulin for the cells to get the glucose they need. The CDC estimates that between 5 and 10% of all diabetes cases are Type I, and the World Health Organization says the cause is currently unknown.
In cases of Type II diabetes, the body stops using insulin effectively over time. This accounts for an estimated 90-95% of diabetes diagnoses, which typically occur later in life than Type I. Primary risk factors include unhealthy diet, excess body weight, and physical inactivity.
Other less common types of diabetes include gestational, which occurs in some pregnant women and typically goes away after the baby is born. However, both the mother and child can have an increased risk for developing Type II diabetes later on.
There is also diabetes related to cystic fibrosis and monogenic diabetes, which is caused by a single gene mutation inherited from one or both parents.
How Are Diabetes and Oral Health Linked?
No matter which type of diabetes you have, you’re at an increased risk for developing issues that could affect nearly every part of the body, including the mouth. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, common dental problems such as gum inflammation could potentially be an early warning sign. Other signs of possible symptoms include:
Diabetes and Tooth Decay: Elevated glucose in our saliva supplies more food to the cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque. As these bacteria multiply, they produce acid as a byproduct of their metabolism, increasing the rate and extent of tooth decay.
Diabetes and Gingivitis: Bacteria in plaque and tartar can cause swelling and bleeding along the gum line. Having high blood sugar increases your risk for gingivitis by compromising your body’s ability to fight infection.
Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into advanced gum disease known as periodontitis. This condition is characterized by a loss of bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis can contribute to spikes in blood sugar that makes diabetes more difficult to control and, in turn, gum disease harder to fight. It’s a vicious cycle that has led to periodontitis becoming the most common dental disease among those with diabetes, affecting roughly 22% of diabetics.
Periodontitis can also lead to tooth loss, with 1 in 5 cases linked to diabetes. What’s more, diabetes can impair blood flow, meaning the recovery period can be extended if you need oral surgery to treat gum disease.
Diabetes and Dry Mouth: Another symptom of diabetes can be dry mouth due to a lack of saliva. In some cases, this may result in difficulty swallowing, trouble speaking, a burning sensation, or a constant sore throat. Saliva is also incredibly important for clearing away food, bacteria, acid, and other disease-causing substances in the mouth. Without saliva, tooth decay and gum disease can more readily form.
Diabetes and Thrush: People with diabetes also have an increased risk for other infections in the mouth, particularly the fungal infection known as thrush. This causes painful red or white patches in the mouth which are made worse by smoking or high levels of sugar in your saliva.
Caring For Your Oral Health with Diabetes
The good news is that you can stay on top of your diabetes by taking doctor-prescribed medications, following a healthy diet plan, and getting regular exercise. By managing your blood sugar levels, you’ll also help lower your chance of developing oral health issues now and in the future.
Whether you have diabetes or not, it’s important to:
- Brush for two minutes twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste;
- Floss at least once a day, preferably before bed;
- Clean your denture each day if you wear one;
- Visit your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings;
- Avoid smoking;
Also, be sure to monitor any changes such as bleeding gums, dry mouth, or loose teeth and report them to your dentist as soon as you can. Make sure you also tell your physician of any new symptoms related to your mouth. There may not be a cure for diabetes, but with the right maintenance and treatment plans, you can enjoy a life of oral and overall health.
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Brushing your teeth effectively is very important in regards to your dental health. Brushing eliminates the possibility of gingivitis, plaque, bad breath, tooth decay and more. In this video, our orthodontic assistant will demonstrate how to brush your teeth with braces.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Depression is a complex mental health condition that impacts nearly every aspect of your life, from your mood and ability to connect with others to your physical health. But did you know that depression can also affect your oral health?
Oral Health and Depression
If you have depression, it’s common to experience anxiety symptoms during times of stress. Not only can this lead to an increased heart rate, racing thoughts, and insomnia, it also raises your cortisol levels.
Often called the stress hormone, cortisol helps regulate your metabolism and immune response. When you’re depressed and anxious, cortisol can flood your system, lowering your body’s immunity to infections like gum disease and tooth infections.
If you’re struggling to maintain good oral health habits because of lack of motivation, constant fatigue or “brain fog”, your risk of developing these infections can increase.
Seeking help for depressive disorders, such as clinical depression and bipolar depression, can significantly improve the symptoms of depression. However, many of the medications that your doctor prescribes to manage the signs of depression can cause dry mouth.
Your saliva naturally helps remove plaque, bacteria, and unwanted debris from your teeth. When you have dry mouth, your saliva can’t do its job, increasing your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
How to Care for Your Oral Health
There are many ways to care for your oral health now if you struggle with depression, such as:
Seek mental health counseling.
The first step in managing depression that lasts for more than a few weeks is to seek counseling. A professional mental health counselor can help you cope with your symptoms and set small, achievable goals that will strengthen your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.
Tell your dentist.
Your dentist knows how challenging it is to care for your teeth and gums when you have depression. They can give helpful advice on the best ways to preserve your oral health during depressive bouts.
Take small steps.
The best way to take care of your teeth and gums is to brush and floss twice a day, use a mouth rinse, and visit your dentist twice a year for regular teeth cleanings. But if a full oral health routine seems too daunting right now, take small steps. Try to brush your teeth twice a day and work your way up from there.
Make healthy choices.
Poor eating habits are common when you have depression. It’s much easier to reach in the cabinet for junk food than it is to cook a healthy meal. But adding healthy fruits and vegetables to your diet, such as leafy greens, apples, and fish, strengthens and protects your teeth and gums.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
You're never too old to improve your smile. With age, teeth sometimes become discolored, worn or chipped, or other damage may occur. Find out how treatment options like tooth whitening, veneers, tooth-colored fillings or dental implants can make your smile look years younger.