Spotlight on Women’s Oral Health

WHEN YOU THINK of the differences between men and women, oral health concerns probably don’t appear high on the list. In reality, men and women face very different challenges with maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Women have a few advantages that men don’t while struggling with being more at risk for certain issues. Oral Health Conditions More Common in Women Two conditions impacting oral health that women are much more likely to have than men are temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) and Sjögren’s syndrome. TMJ is chronic pain or soreness in the jaw joints and is most commonly caused by bruxism (chronic teeth grinding), but can also be caused by joint structure, vitamin deficiency, stress, arthritis, or hormones. 90 percent of people diagnosed with TMJ are women. Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks salivary glands and tear ducts (leading to dry mouth and dry eye), as well as

READ MORE

Cold and Flu Season and Oral Health

COMING DOWN WITH the flu is never any fun, but it’s still no time to let up on your oral hygiene routine. The same applies if you get a cold. With flu and cold season starting up, we thought this was a good time to share some tips for maintaining good oral health through one of these common illnesses. Brushing and Flossing Can Help You Feel Better As well as you can while sick, try to remember to brush and floss as usual. It’s not just about the comfort of maintaining some part of your normal routine, or about getting some small sense of accomplishment out of it — no, brushing and flossing can actually make you feel better! Keeping your mouth as clean as possible is a real boost to your overall sense of well-being. A clean mouth helps you feel rejuvenated and refreshed, so don’t let the simple habits of brushing

READ MORE

The Impact of Diabetes on Teeth and Gums

ONE OF THE MOST common complications of diabetes is gum disease, and that isn’t the only way diabetes is hard on teeth and gums. Diabetes and oral health have a close relationship. If the diabetes isn’t carefully controlled, it will be much harder to maintain good oral health, and vice versa. What Does Blood Sugar Have to Do with Oral Health? You’ve probably already heard that sugar is bad for oral health. The harmful bacteria in our mouths love to eat leftover sugar stuck to our teeth after we enjoy a tasty treat. Unfortunately, high blood sugar is just as delicious to harmful oral bacteria. High blood sugar also weakens the immune system, making that same bacteria harder to fight. This leaves diabetic patients more vulnerable to tooth decay and oral inflammation. Diabetes and Gum Disease An estimated 22 percent of diabetics (both type 1 and type 2) have gum disease. It

READ MORE

How Smoking Affects Kids’ Oral Health

WE’VE ALL HEARD over and over how smoking can adversely impact health, with the most infamous example being lung cancer. But smoking doesn’t only harm the lungs; it damages every single system in the body, and it also damages oral health. As parents, we should do whatever we can to make sure our kids and teens aren’t picking up such a harmful habit. Smoking Versus Oral Health According to the ADA, some of the oral health effects of smoking include: Chronic bad breath Stains on the tongue and teeth Dulled senses of taste and smell Receding gums Enamel erosion Tooth and bone loss Increased risk of gum disease and oral cancer What About Vaping? Vaping is often portrayed as a much healthier option to traditional smoking, but the vapor still contains nicotine and ultra-fine toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The nicotine itself reduces blood flow, affecting teeth and gums, potentially causing gum recession

READ MORE

The Hazards of Oral Piercings

FROM CLOTHING TO HAIRSTYLE to cosmetics to accessories, our personal style is how we portray who we are, and this can include piercings. However, where clothing and hairstyles are very rarely health risks (we hope), the same isn’t true of piercings. Oral piercings, specifically, pose several risks to healthy teeth and gums. Risks of Tongue and Lip Rings No piercing is entirely safe. Even basic earlobe piercings aren’t entirely risk-free, as they can become infected or there may be an allergic reaction to the metal. The same risks apply to oral piercings, but there are also additional ones with those. Damage from fidgeting: it’s difficult to resist fidgeting with any foreign object in the mouth, but doing that with a tongue or lip piercing can result in chipped or cracked teeth, damage to fillings, and injuries to the soft tissues of the gums, lips, or tongue. Nerve damage: tongue piercings can cause temporary

READ MORE

How Smoking Affects Oral Health

WE’VE ALL HEARD over and over how smoking can adversely impact health, with the most infamous example being lung cancer. But smoking doesn’t only harm the lungs; it damages every single system in the body, and it also damages oral health. Smoking Increases the Risk of Oral Cancer Like we said before, lung cancer tends to get all the attention when it comes to consequences of smoking, but four out of every five people diagnosed with oral cancer smoke or chew tobacco. Early symptoms of oral cancer include persistent mouth sores or pain, unusual white patches, swelling, numbness, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and a sensation of having something stuck in the throat. What Is Smoker’s Keratosis? The weirdest effect smoking can have on oral health is that it can cause white patches to develop on the roof of the mouth. These patches are smoker’s keratosis (or stomatitis nicotina). This condition is still

READ MORE

Gum Recession: Minimizing Your Risks

THE EXPRESSION “getting long in the tooth” refers to gum recession, but this oral health problem isn’t necessarily connected to age. Gum recession is when the edge of the gingival tissue moves away from the crown of the tooth, exposing the root. The reason we tend to think of it as an age-related problem is that it tends to be so gradual that it takes many years to become noticeable, but it can begin at any age — even in childhood! — for a variety of reasons. Gum Recession Caused by Genetics Unfortunately, gum recession isn’t always avoidable, because it can be caused by genetics. Some people simply have more fragile gum tissue or they don’t have enough jaw bone surrounding the roots of their teeth to support the gums all the way up to the crowns. However, other contributing factors are easier to control, so even people who are predisposed to gum recession can

READ MORE

Sugar, Its Many Aliases, and Your Teeth

WHAT COMES TO MIND when you hear the word “sugar”? Probably your favorite type of candy or dessert, maybe your favorite soda. You probably didn’t picture barbecue sauce, granola bars, flavored yogurt, or fruit juice, but all of these and plenty more foods you wouldn’t suspect are loaded with sugar. That isn’t great news for our oral health. Sugar Versus Our Teeth Why are dental health professionals like us wary of sugar? Simple. The harmful bacteria on our teeth and gums like to eat sugar as much as we do. When they’ve enjoyed a tasty meal from the food fragments that remain in your mouth after a sweet treat, they excrete acid onto your teeth. This acid eats away at tooth enamel and irritates the gums, and if we aren’t careful, it can lead to issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Learn to Recognize the Many Names of Sugar If sugar

READ MORE

The Main Culprits Behind Child Tooth Decay

AT LEAST TWO OUT OF every five children will develop one or more cavity by the time they turn eleven. That statistic makes tooth decay the most common childhood disease. The good news is that parents can make a huge difference in their children’s dental health, and the first step is understanding the major culprits of childhood tooth decay. Sugary Drinks in Sippy Cups and Bottles Many of the drinks kids love are packed with sugar, and we’re not just talking about soda. Fruit juice, despite carrying the assumption of being healthier, contains nearly the same amount of sugar, and even milk is nowhere near sugar-free. The sugars in these drinks are a problem for oral health because harmful oral bacteria love to eat sugar as much as we do, increasing the risk of decay. What makes sugary drinks even more dangerous is constant exposure. Drinking a cup of juice with a

READ MORE

Seal Out Plaque With Sealants

BY THE TIME THEY reach kindergarten, 40 percent of children develop cavities. The main culprits are sugary snacks and poor oral hygiene. As parents, it’s very important to do everything we can to protect our children’s teeth from decay, and that becomes even more important when the adult teeth start coming in. One great tool for reducing the risk of decay is dental sealants. What Are Sealants? Dental sealants are a protective layer of clear plastic that we brush onto the chewing surfaces of molars to seal out cavity-causing plaque and bacteria. Sealants have been around since the ‘60s, and they’re still popular today because of their effectiveness. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by 80 percent! Children without sealants are almost three times more likely to develop cavities. Molars are the most common targets for sealants because we do the most chewing with our molars and they have deep crevices

READ MORE