Research indicates gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke; the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease, cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels. Oral bacteria is a possible connection since bacteria from the mouth enter the bloodstream through the gums, oral bacteria stick to fatty plaques in the bloodstream (directly contributing to blockages), and oral bacteria trigger an inflammatory response, causing the blood vessels to swell, reducing blood flow, and increasing the risk of clots.
Proactive prevention is the best defense.
Most people brush their teeth routinely. The value of this simple procedure is well known and accepted. Tooth brushing removes dental plaque – the slimy substance that accumulates on tooth surfaces and causes tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Plaque contains millions of bacteria, but did you know your tongue is the home for far more organisms than those that reside in the dental plaque on your teeth?
Here are some little-known facts:
1. The taste buds on the tongue vary in strength. Some people, about 50% of the population, have taste buds so long and dense that their tongues always have a gray, green, brown scum on them. The scum contains the same organisms that cause dental decay and gum disease.
2. About 50% of the population (those with long taste buds) need to clean their tongues as a daily routine.
3. It has been estimated that up to 90% of bad breath originates from organisms and debris on the surface of the tongue.
Decide if you need to clean your tongue. Stick it out. Is it pink? If so, cleaning is probably not necessary. Is it grey, orange, brown, or even black? You need to clean it.
Brushing the tongue removes some of the organisms, but there is a better, easier, and more effective tongue cleaning procedure. Use the tongue cleaner we will suggest. Place it as far back on the tongue as you can tolerate. Place about one pound of force and pull the tongue cleaner forward. Repeat the procedure until no more debris is present. One or two cleanings per day is normal, especially before bedtime. You will be on your way to a cleaner mouth, less dental disease, and better breath.
As a group, dentists and physicians, as well as global health organizations favor use of fluoride in all of the following methods. Fluoride for reduction of dental decay has had more legitimate worldwide research than any other health related subject. Nevertheless, there are some groups that oppose fluoride use for various political and alleged health reasons.
The decision to use fluoride for your and your family is up to you. For almost all dentists and physicians, “anti-fluoride” arguments make no sense at all.
1. Use of small amounts of fluoride in community water supplies has been shown to significantly reduce dental decay. Your water supply may contain fluoride. If you do not know, ask your dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant.
2. Where fluoride in water supplies is not available, addition of fluoride to the diet of children whose teeth are still developing has been shown to similarly reduce the development of dental decay. About one milligram per day is the optimal dosage, with lesser amounts for young children (we will advise you of the amount for your child).
3. Application of rosin containing fluoride to teeth by your dentist or dental hygienist is well-known to significantly reduce the possibility for dental decay.
4. Placement of fluoride on teeth in the form of rinses can reduce new dental decay, depending on the concentration of fluoride.
5. Strong fluorides are used for patients who have high decay potential, such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or those in orthodontic therapy.
Why Seal Teeth?
Over the past many years, numerous materials and techniques have been developed to seal the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of teeth. Sealants are necessary because some teeth have defective occlusal surfaces when they erupt into the mouth, and food debris and microorganisms penetrate into the grooves on the teeth during eating. Patients cannot clean these areas effectively, and dental decay (caries) occurs frequently.
Do All Teeth Need to Be Sealed?
Usually only the back (posterior) teeth require sealing. It is difficult to tell which teeth require sealing because incomplete fusion of the teeth often leaves a microscopic entry from the enamel outside the tooth into the softer dentin inside. Therefore, we suggest that all suspect permanent posterior teeth and selected anterior teeth be sealed as closely to their eruption time as possible.
Will All Decay Be Prevented?
Sealants placed as close to the eruption time of the teeth as possible prevent the majority of decay on the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of the teeth. However, flossing, brushing, and routine fluoride therapy are required to prevent decay on the other surfaces of the teeth. In the presence of poor oral hygiene, decay may begin between the teeth, since sealants cannot be placed on these surfaces.
The cost for sealing a tooth with plastic is about one-fourth to one-third the cost of filling (restoring) the tooth in the event of decay. Sealants do not require anesthetic or cutting away tooth structure.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Studies show that properly placed sealants last many years. However, occasional resealing may be required.
The PerioLase MPV-7 is the only dental laser specifically designed for better periodontal health. The unique wavelength targets the bacteria that causes gum disease for minimally invasive, highly effective, quick and painless treatment.
Kills bacteria and disrupts biofilm to reduce inflammation
• Can help reverse gingivitis symptoms
• Maintain healthy gums and avoid progression of gum disease
• No shots needed
• No antibiotics needed, avoids antibiotic resistance
• No known side-effects of LPD in over 25 years of therapy
• The Iaser light can reach and destroy bacteria up to 6mm beyond the surface to help prevent bacteria from spreading back into the pocket.
• Safe for medically compromised patients, those on blood thinners, or those with diabetes
• Safe for use around crowns, bridges, sealants, and implants
• Beneficial to patients who have recently had surgery, or are scheduled to have surgery to reduce bacteria that may enter the bloodstream
Diagnodent® scans teeth for hidden decay, often detecting cavities long before they can be seen by the naked eye. When we catch a cavity early, a smaller filling can usually be placed and preserve more of your natural tooth.
Oral cancer is not something you hear about on a routine basis. Oral cancer has been related to smoking, chewing tobacco, irritation of oral soft tissue, various foods, alcohol and many other potential causes. However, contrary to popular knowledge, oral cancer has a slightly higher death rate than the more well-known cancer, melanoma. There are over 40,000 new cases of oral cancer each year in the U.S. When oral cancer is treated, often the result is disfiguring to the face. Oral cancer is often fatal.
While there are several methods to determine if you may have oral cancer, our office uses the most cutting edge technology recognized by the World Health Organization for early detection of oral cancer, while it is still easy to treat.
The VELscope Vx helps us identify oral disease early with blue light that stimulates natural fluorescence in the soft tissues of the mouth, showing disease not visible to the naked eye under ordinary light. One of the most important tasks of this VELscope Vx screening is to help locate areas that might, if not treated, progress to oral cancer.
Please ask us about oral cancer screening today.