oral health

Viewing posts tagged oral health

What can the mouth tell us about your health?

What can the mouth tell us about your health?

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-dental.ie

Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist

An estimated 75% of Irish people suffer from some form of periodontal disease or gum disease.
The mouth can be a major source of chronic release of bacteria into the bloodstream, so your oral health also affects your general health.

– Studies have linked the presence of gum disease to:
– Heart Disease
– Diabetes
– Low birth weight and pre-term babies
– Stroke

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a dental professional, registered with the Irish Dental Council. They work alongside dentists to provide oral health care. They have training that specialises in the prevention and treatment of oral disease.

What to expect from a Dental Hygienist?

An initial exam?
Our Dental Hygienist will review your medical history. After an initial examination of your oral health and level of plaque control, some measurements are taken to diagnose and identify areas of gum disease (Periodontitis). We may take a full mouth x-ray to consider the bone levels around the teeth.

Education
The main focus of a Dental Hygienist is to provide preventative education. We will discuss your current oral health and highlight any areas of concern; from this we can tailor a homecare regime specific to your needs. We will also discuss the best plaque control techniques and aids to use. Finally, we consider any diet or lifestyle factors which might impact on your oral health.

Treatment
Our hygienist will suggest a treatment plan to meet your needs and discuss this with you prior to commencing treatment. To clean your teeth our hygienist uses an ultrasonic scaler, which combines high frequency vibrations and water spray to flush deposits from your teeth. Most patients tolerate this treatment comfortably. However if you are prone to sensitive teeth there are a number of measures we could take to make your teeth less sensitive e.g. applying a numbing gel. After scaling, your teeth will also be polished to remove any residual stains. This is done using a powered polishing hand piece, a bit like an electric toothbrush and a gritty polishing paste.

Protracted Periodontal Gum Treatment or Deep Cleaning
In certain cases, patients require a deeper cleaning to remove tartar from under the gum-line. We numb the area with a local anaesthetic and the area is then cleaned using an ultrasonic scaler and smoothed with hand scaling instruments.

Maintenance
Patients with little or no gum disease will only need one Dental Hygienist session with six-monthly maintenance visits. However patient’s with Periodontal disease treatment might need to attend as often as three-monthly to slow down and manage the progression of disease.

PRSI Subsidy towards your Dental Hygiene
Patients who are qualified on PRSI are entitled to a subsidy of 42 euros towards the cost of gum treatment. This benefit can be used once per calendar year. Gum treatment is also tax deductible at 20%. This is done through the Med 2 form which we can organise for you.

If you’d like to make an appointment with our Hygienist Charlotte Quinn, give us a call on 01 8401001

www.swords-dental.ie

Toothpaste

Which toothpaste should you use?

The basic answer is that most of the popular toothpastes are very similar. Fluoride is the key ingredient, which strengthens the enamel and helps remineralise areas damaged by tooth decay. Avoid fluoride free toothpaste e.g Euthymol – the burning sensation does not make it more effective, its just the type of flavoring agent that’s used (the same can be said about most mouthwashes).

Colgate Total and Oral B Pro-expert are good general toothpastes which most dentists and hygienists recommend.

Sensitivity toothpastes e.g Sensodyne and Colgate Pro-Relief are good options if you have a sensitivity problem. This is often caused by areas of gum recession. Standard toothpaste options are better if you don’t suffer from sensitivity.

Care should be taken with whitening toothpastes, many are very abrasive and can cause damage longterm to the enamel coating covering your teeth. Dr Lyndsey McTavish recommends Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening or Kin Whitening Toothpaste for people looking to minimise stains.

Pronamel toothpaste is designed for use on teeth that are at risk from acid erosion (wearing away of the outer layer by acid in food and drinks).

Duraphat toothpaste can be used for patients with high rates of decay, it has a much increased fluoride content but is only available by prescription from a dentist.

For patients with Dry mouth (xerostomia) Again there are lots of brands but I find that Biotene, BioXtra and Curaprox enzycal toothpaste are great options.

Charlotte Quinn, our hygienist, recommends Colgate total for mild gum disease along with Kin products such as perio kin gel, Corsodyl products and some Curasept products. Please be aware that apart for the Colgate total the other products are not for long-term use and patients are all treated on an individual basis when recommending these products.

www.swords-dental.ie

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.

17333_NEW GRAPH v3

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.

www.swords-dental.ie

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