Some teeth have cracks too small to show up on X-rays, or cracked are under the gum. These small cracks are known as cracked tooth syndrome
Monday, December 27, 2021
We’ve finally ushered in a new year (so long, 2020!), and many of us are setting goals for 2021. If you’re anything like the estimated 51% of resolution-makers who vow to improve their diets, then consider upping your intake of vitamins.
And the one to pay extra attention to is folate or folic acid, otherwise known as vitamin B9. This powerhouse nutrient plays an essential role in many functions throughout the body, including maintaining the health of our mouth, teeth, and gums.
With the first full week of January marking Folic Acid Awareness Week, we couldn’t think of a better time to shine the spotlight on this vital vitamin. Learn what exactly folic acid is, how it affects our health, and how much is recommended to keep your smile sparkling each day.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is necessary for ensuring the proper production of red blood cells. By managing the ways our cells divide and carry oxygen throughout the body, the vitamin is a key component to the health of our hearts, brains, and more, including the soft tissues of our mouths.
Studies have also shown that the vitamin plays a crucial role in the formation of our DNA. A lack of folic acid has been linked to chromosome breakage which can lead to an increased risk for certain cancers and cognitive defects. Other studies have shown that folic acid is even more important for women who are pregnant. Ensuring the proper intake of B9, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, can dramatically reduce the risk of fetal brain and spine defects.
How Folic Acid Affects Oral Health
Vitamin B9 is remarkably important in supporting the cells that make up the gums, as well as the mouth’s ability to fight off inflammation and disease. Those who lack adequate amounts of folic acid can find themselves at risk for early signs of irritated gums such as bleeding, bad breath, and cavities.
If not addressed with proper diet and dental care, these symptoms can lead to advanced periodontal disease, potentially causing loss of teeth, visibly receding gums, and the need for invasive periodontal treatment.
The good news is that a diet high in folate or folic acid could help prevent gum disease from developing. What’s more, those looking to stop receding gums from getting worse can turn to folic acid to stop it in its tracks. And if a patient does end up needing periodontal treatment, folic acid could help with post-procedure healing and may even prevent symptoms from returning later.
How Much Folic Acid Do You Need Per Day?
As with most essential vitamins, it’s best to get as much of your folate as you can from a healthy and balanced diet. However, many people may still benefit from adding a folic acid supplement to their daily routine.
The National Institutes of Health offers the following recommendations by age for daily doses in micrograms (mcg):
|Age||Recommended Daily Amount|
|Birth to 6 months||65 mcg*|
|7 to 12 months||80 mcg*|
|1 to 3 years||150 mcg|
|4 to 8 years||200 mcg|
|9 to 13 years||300 mcg|
|14+ years||400 mcg|
*Equivalent to the intake of folate in healthy, breastfed infants.
Certain groups may need even higher doses to get the full effects of the folic acid. These might include:
- Women who are pregnant or lactating as the body’s demand for folate increases;
- People with malabsorptive conditions such as celiac disease or IBS;
- People with limited diets who might not be getting enough folate for whatever reason;
- People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol as alcohol interferes with folate absorption;
Keep in mind that, while folic acid certainly has its benefits, taking too much could have potentially negative side effects. This might be especially true for people who eat high volumes of folic-fortified foods or take other daily supplements. (A typical multivitamin already has the recommended dose for most adults, so an additional supplement may not be wise.)
As for your oral health, eating a diet of folate-rich foods — along with making regular trips to the dentist and staying on top of proper at-home care — is your first line of defense for keeping your mouth happy and healthy. But should your teeth and gums still need a little help, speak with your dentist to see if a folic acid supplement could be right for you.
Friday, December 24, 2021
Dental health was the #1 unmet health need for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. In honor of National Smile Month, our 7 Tips for Tiny Teeth video is designed to help families learn the basics of good oral health care to create smiles that last a lifetime.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Tooth decay can happen at any age. As you get older, your gums may recede, leaving your teeth susceptible to decay. Old restorations can also begin to weaken and create crevices that allow bacteria to accumulate. Hear more about the potential effects of aging and learn what you can do to maintain good oral health.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Thursday, December 9, 2021
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.
Monday, December 6, 2021
Friday, December 3, 2021
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.