oral health

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Chewing gum and your teeth.

It can help prevent tooth decay, as long as you choose a sugarless gum.  Acid  forms in your mouth after eating food or drinking sugary drinks. This acid would otherwise attack the tooth and cause tooth decay. Chewing gum helps to produce saliva. Saliva is naturally alkaline and neutralises the acid. It also helps to wash away acid as it builds up.

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The minerals generated in the extra saliva can even help strengthen your tooth enamel, which reduces your risk of a dental cavity. This would also help to counteract the acidity of some food types such as citrus fruits and fizzy drinks which will also wear down the enamel on teeth. People who suffer from gastric reflux (acid coming into the mouth from the stomach) or regular vomiting (e.g during pregnancy) would benefit from gum for this reason.

Parents can share this tip with children and teens, who often chew gum. Just be sure that they choose sugarless gum, not a sugary bubble gum, which can have the opposite effect and contribute to the buildup of plaque on teeth.

Gum-chewing is not a substitute for a regular  routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and flossing but will help to keep the teeth healthy when done is combination with these.

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Toothbrushing

TOOTHBRUSHING

This is a very easy thing to do yet we are all busy rushing around that we tend to miss the same surfaces all the time.

Top tip!

SLOW DOWN

It takes a good 3 minutes to brush your teeth properly, it is important to do this at least twice a day, morning and night.
Some tips to help maintain a happy and healthy mouth:
1. Use a small head with soft to medium texture made of nylon , germs are small!.
2. Use a pea size amount of toothpaste.
3. Angle the toothbrush at approximately 45 degree and make contact with the tooth and gumline.
4. Gently using circular motions and massage the gums.
5. Place the brush over the biting surfaces of the teeth brush in an over and back motion.
6. Change your toothbrush at least every 3 months.
If you see bleeding it is a sign of gum disease.

Gingivitis is a word you might hear at your dentist this when the gums around the teeth become red, inflammed and swollen. Bad breath can occur.
This is curable. Bleeding is the first sign. Bleeding is not good so do not ignore it.

Another word you might hear is Periodontal disease, this is irreversible which means damage is permanent. The bone levels get damaged, treatment can only maintain the bone that is undamaged.

Generally there is no pain is associated with gum disease so it can sometime come as a shock to patients.

It is therefore so important to get regular checkups with your dentist and hygienist.
Paula Cavanagh Dental Hygienist at Swords Dental  Tel 8401001

What health problems can dentists spot?

Regular dental care is critical to the overall health of your gums and teeth. What you may not know is that we can also spot signs of non-dental medical issues in your mouth during an exam. Some of the diseases and conditions that show signs within your mouth include diabetes, infections, oral cancer, HIV, stress, poor nutrition, and osteoporosis.

Diabetes

A few of the signs that can indicate a diagnosis of diabetes include loose teeth, dry mouth, and receding, dry, and bleeding gums. Poor immunity and an inability to fight disease effectively also make it much more difficult for wounds and gum infections to heal in diabetic patients. Bleeding gums don’t always mean that you have diabetes. This problem can also come from gingivitis and other gum diseases. However, these early warning signs might lead us to encourage you to visit your doctor for a blood sugar check.

Infections

If we see any troubling signs of infection in your mouth, we can prescribe some antibiotics to fight the problem. Signs of infection include severe pain, swelling, redness around the affected area, a surface that feels hot to the touch, fevers, and drainage from the wound or tooth. Infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs and heart, so it’s critical to treat it urgently.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth-most common type of cancer, with more than 30,000 new cases being reported each year. When you visit a dentist twice a year, we can look for signs of this disease. Most cases appear as red and white lesions on the floor of your mouth, palate, lip or the tongue. Risk factors that increase the chances of oral cancer include heavy alcohol use, smoking, and exposure to HPV (the human papillomavirus), which also causes cervical cancer. We perform an oral cancer screening at each check up.

HIV

Some oral conditions may indicate that a patient is suffering from HIV. In children, patients might have salivary gland swelling, which can result in a dry mouth. Children infected with HIV are often more prone to oral lesions and viruses. Adults with HIV might exhibit signs like oral warts, lesions, white, red, purple, or brown spots on the tongue or in the mouth, and other infections.

According to some studies severe gum problems occur in up to 5 percent of HIV-positive adult patients.

These symptoms alone don’t necessarily mean that you have HIV, although a these signs might lead us to recommend seeing your doctor for a blood test. Anyone engaging in risky behaviours should be tested for HIV regularly.

Stress

When you are stressed, your body may respond in ways that affect your mouth. One of the most common physical manifestations of stress is grinding your teeth. You might grind them when you’re feeling stressed, or commonly it happens when you’re asleep.

Grinding your teeth can do serious damage, so we often make night guards to protect against this. It’s also worth considering ways to reduce your stress levels.

Poor Nutrition

Patients suffering from eating disorders or getting poor nutrition also show signs in their mouths. Most people who suffer from bulimia will do everything they can to hide it from others, but it’s hard to hide it from your dentist. We look for signs such as dry mouth, bleeding gums, and erosion on the insides of the front teeth. Stomach acid is erosive to the enamel that covers your teeth, so forced vomiting can wear away that protective enamel and cause increased sensitivity. Morning sickness during pregnancy or acid reflux can cause similar problems.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is especially common in post-menopausal women, although this weakening of the bones can happen to anyone. We look for signs like loose teeth or receding gum line, which can indicate changes in the bone that supports your teeth. These signs, especially in a patient at higher risk for osteoporosis, will often lead us to refer you back to your doctor for a bone density test.

Keeping up with regular dental appointments has a number of advantages. We can watch for changes in your mouth, some of which can indicate more serious problems. Catching problems early enables you to have treatment earlier and leads to a more successful outcome.

www.swords-denral.ie