oral hygiene

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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

Dentistry while pregnant

Dentistry while pregnant:

I’d imagine, while pregnant, most mothers to be tend to fixate on the health of their babies. Its important to remember your own health too. Unfortunately, the changes in your hormone levels and immune system can leave you, and particularly your gums, open to problems. So I thought I’d go through some of these and suggest some tips to help:

Morning Sickness: If your struggling with regular morning sickness its likely that the enamel of your teeth is being worn down by acid and this may be causing sensitivity. Try to counteract the acidity by eating alkaline foods like cheese and drinking milk. Avoid brushing your teeth soon after vomiting as they will still be soft and this can make the problem worse. You can also try toothpastes such as Sensodyne pro-enamel to help.

Gum Problems: Most pregnant mothers will suffer from Pregnancy Gingivitis at some stage, especially the first trimester.This is indicated by red, inflamed and bleeding gums and may cause discomfort. Its important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing well and attending the dentist or hygienist for a cleaning. Mouth washes such as Listerine can also help. Often to keep on top of these problems, you will need to spend more time on them than had been the case prior to your pregnancy.
Some studies have linked more extensive gum problems such as periodontal disease in the mother with premature and low birth weight babies, so keeping on top of your oral health will be of benefit for your baby too.

General Dentistry: It is safe to have dentistry done when your pregnant. We don’t tend to take x-rays but can do so with the help of a lead apron if necessary. We also tend to avoid prescribing antibiotics, if possible. Often more routine treatment, that isn’t urgent, can be postponed until after you’ve had your baby if you prefer.

Enjoy this exciting time!

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

Bad Breath

Bad Breath is a common condition that can cause much embarrassment. About 90% of the time the mouth is the source of this problem. The good news is that by taking a few simple steps, to improve oral health, it can often be resolved.

There are a number of possible risk factors that can contribute to bad breath.
Smoking: As well as inducing halitosis smoking can also stain the teeth, induce gum disease and is catastrophic for general health.
Dry Mouth: Saliva is important help clean the mouth and prevent bad breath. It can be caused as a side effect to many common medicines. It is important to clean the teeth before going to bed as salivary rates fall during the night.
Food: Certain foods such as garlic and onions can affect the breath.
Health Problems: Sometimes these can have an effect. Diabetes, , Sinus problems, Liver, Kidney or Gastric problems have all been shown to contribute to bad breath. If the more common causes have been excluded we often advise the parent to follow up with their GP to look into these areas.

It is important to start by improving the overall health of the mouth. This will include brushing twice a day (including the top part of the tongue) for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing on a daily basis. Regular trips to the dentist or Hygienist will help improve the health of the mouth. Dentures should be left out at night. Stop smoking: www.quit.ie have a range of support material to help with this.
Mouthwashes that contain Chlorhexidine e.g Corsodyl should help but be careful about using them on a longterm basis as they can stain the teeth.

If you have this problem and would like to make an appointment at Swords Dental  you can call us on 8401001.

www.swords-dental.ie

Flossing

Flossing

After tooth-brushing, flossing once a day is the next most important way of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing the teeth is great for cleaning the tooth surfaces but about 40% of the the bacteria that cause dental decay and gum problems are in the area where the teeth meet. Flossing is a great way of removing these bacteria (plaque). It is particularly good where the teeth are tight together as inter-dental brushes such as tepes won’t be able to get into these spaces.

How to do it:
Break off a piece about 18 inches long.
Wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand, and a small amount onto the middle finger of the other.
Gently slide the floss between the teeth and be careful not to let the floss snap between teeth, cutting the gum.
Make a C shape with the floss as you wrap it around the tooth. Then carefully pull the floss upward from the gum line to the top of the tooth.
As you move from one tooth to the next, unroll a fresh section of floss from the finger of one hand while rolling the used floss onto the finger of the other hand.Don’t forget to floss the back side of each tooth.As long as you use the correct technique the type of floss isn’t super important, but we recommend Satin Oral-B floss.

If you’re having problems with the gum or would like some more information on oral hygiene you might want to consider making an appointment with our hygienist, Charlotte Quinn.

To make an appointment give us a call on 018401001

www.swords-dental.ie

Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist

Our Dental Hygienist is here to help 
 
Did you know? 
  • 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 Appointment 
           An Initial Exam 
Our Dental Hygienist will review your medical history. After an initial examination of your oral health and level of plaque controlsome 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 areaof 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 ourhygienist 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 gumline 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 sixmonthly 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. 
www.swords-dental.ie

Dental Cleaning for PRSI Patients for 15 euros!

Dental Cleaning for PRSI Patients for 15 euros!

Patients who are covered by PRSI ( including the self-employed) are now entitled to a free check up and subsidised dental cleaning each year. Alternatively, a contribution of 42 euros will go towards advanced gum treatment sessions.

The plans will see 2.5 million people have access to dental cleaning and payments towards glasses.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said that the plan would bring 380,000 self-employed people into the PSRI net for the first time.

‘They will have new benefits extended to them, including treatment benefit such as free eye and dental tests for the first time.’

 

These dental benefits are run once per calendar year so to make use of your entitlement for 2017 it would be a good idea to make an appointment in the near future.

Its great to finally see some of the benefits that we pay insurance for being reinstated- hopefully there’ll be more to come!
To make an appointment for a cleaning or gum treatment appointment give us a call on 01 8401001.
www.swords-dental.ie

Dental Hygienist Swords Dental

Charlotte Quinn

Charlotte joined our team during 2016 and brings with her fourteen years experience as a Dental Hygienist. Originally from South Africa, Charlotte completed a Certificate Course in Dental Nursing followed by a Diploma in Dental Hygiene at the University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town.

On completion she was awarded Best Dental Hygiene student and Best Student Research Project by the University. She started her career in London’s Harley Street as a Dental Nurse. She went on to work in a commercial environment as a Territory Sales Manager for Braun Oral B.

Charlotte moved to Ireland during 2002 where she completed the Irish Dental Council registration exams and has been practicing in General Dental Practice since. She served as Membership Secretary for the Irish Dental Hygienists Association 2007 – 2010 and frequently updates her qualification with additional courses; including a recent certificate from the HSE, Intervention in Smoke Cessation.

Her experience alongside her genuine interested in patient care and comfort ensures the very best quality oral health care for our patients.

Dental Council Registration 5RDH200

To make an appointment with Charlotte give us a call on 01 8401001

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