Friday, June 23, 2017

Oral Health: Why men are at higher risk!

Men's Health Week is upon us. From June 15 to 21, 2015, the Men's Health Network is shining light on preventable diseases in men and boys across the U.S. and promoting early detection and prompt treatment. While oral diseases present ailments that afflict both genders, they affect the bodies in different ways. There are certain conditions that males are more susceptible to than females and vice versa. It's important for both men and women to know their dental health risks, take preventative care and seek treatment from a dentist when necessary. Discover the gender differences for these two common oral ailments:

Gum disease
Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease. In fact, 34 percent of males between the ages of 30 and 54 have gum disease, while only 22 percent of females in that age range have it. This same disparity exists for older age groups - 56 percent of men between the ages of 55 and 90 have periodontal disease compared to 44 percent of women also in that age group. However, for both genders, it's evident that their risk for the disease increases with age.

While men may be more susceptible to gum disease overall, women's risk both for the disease and its impact on their overall health increases during certain stages of their lives, especially pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, the hormone changes in her body may lead to an increased risk for developing gum disease. In fact, many women experience pregnancy gingivitis during the third trimester, in which there is an increased inflammatory response to plaque. This can cause the gums to bleed and swell, and the infection can spread into the blood stream, which may affect the developing baby.

While the condition may affect males and females differently, both genders can take the same precautions to prevent gum disease, including brushing twice and flossing once daily. This will help remove the plaque that irritates the gums. Additionally, smoking cigarettes can put you at a higher risk for developing gum disease.

Dental trauma
Traumatic dental injuries refer to incidents that happen from physical impact. Whether from sports or roughhousing, chipped teeth account for the majority of all traumatic dental injuries. Though less common, dislodged teeth are another risk when physical contact is involved in an accident.
Even Steph Curry wears a mouthguard to protect his smile! 
Women are currently outnumbered by men in college athletics. Specifically, for NCAA Division I schools, females make up 46 percent of student athletes. With men taking the lead in sports participation rates, their risk for dental trauma goes up. Though males may be more susceptible to this dental health problem because they are exposed in greater numbers to the risk factors, both men and women need to take precautions when playing sports. Aside from practicing a proper daily oral hygiene routine to keep teeth strong, athletes should wear mouth guards to protect their teeth from injury.

While some of these oral health differences stem from biological factors, many are the result of lifestyle choices. Whether male or female, everyone should brush their teeth twice a day, floss at least once daily and regularly see a dentist to prevent serious dental health issues.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Keeping Up With Your Children's Oral Health During The Summer

For school-aged kids, summer break is a time of relaxation and fun — sleeping in, taking family trips to the beach, or going to summer camp.
But during summer break, it’s important for kids to maintain good oral health habits.
Dr. Harold Katz, dentist, bacteriologist and developer of TheraBreath for Kids mouthwash, said during the school year, kids are generally regimented.
Before bed each night, they brush and floss, and they repeat the routine in the morning before school.
This guy NEVER goes on vaction!
“Summer break is no excuse to let your oral health routine lapse,” Dr. Katz said. “Bad breath, gum disease and cavities don’t take a vacation.”
Katz offers a few tips parents can follow to make sure their kids take care of their mouths, teeth, gums and breath this summer:
Have a routine, not a schedule. The nine months that make up the school year usually come with a pretty rigid schedule for kids. While a summer schedule isn’t necessary, keeping kids in some type of general routine is helpful. This includes reminding them that even if they are staying home all day, staying up late or sleeping in, they still need to follow through on their daily oral-health routine.
Stay hydrated. The summer months bring warm temperatures and kids are likely to participate in more outdoor activities. Keeping hydrated is important to staying healthy and maintaining every system and region of the body. This includes the mouth. Katz says drinking water can help prevent dry mouth and the negative effects that come with it such as bad breath, tooth and gum disease, mouth sores, gingivitis and more. Dry mouth can even cause taste buds to shut down, making those summer hot dogs and ice cream bars a little less appetizing.
Watch what your kids drink. It might be tempting to give kids sports drinks because of their claim to replenish bodily fluids. However, those drinks have a negative effect on oral health because of high levels of acids and sugar, Katz says, and they are loaded with sodium, which can have a counter-effect to relieving thirst. The best bet is to drink plenty of water before, during and after participating in activities, particularly outdoor activities.
“Kids want to have fun during the summer and they should be able to,” Katz said. “But they may need a little nudging from their parents to make sure they don’t get so caught up in fun that they let their brushing, flossing and rinsing routines fall by the wayside.”

Friday, June 9, 2017

How Vitamin D can Affect Your Smile!

As the season for outdoor activities has arrived, we thought we'd share this article about Vitamin D and it's importance to not only your health but to maintaining healthy teeth.
A study published by McMaster University in May found vitamin D is vital to more than just skin and the neurological system.
Previously, there was no way to prove long-term vitamin D deficiencies in the human species. However, anthropologists studying ancient human teeth found that the main material of teeth — dentin  records when the body undergoes deficient periods.
It was discovered that when an extended period of vitamin D deficiency occurred, the dentin of the teeth could not remineralize and form new, healthy layers. This makes sense, as a lack of sufficient vitamin D has been tied to problems like osteoporosis and other bone density problems.
This lack of mineralization created badly mineralized calcium salt deposits, also known as interglobular dentin. These calcium salt deposits, in turn, formed rickets within the tooth.
Researchers can now read and analyze these dentin rickets in much the same way as one can read the rings of a tree trunk. Like rickets, a problem wherein bones don't sufficiently remineralize and are prone to breaks, teeth were unable to maintain their strength throughout the human's lifespan. These "markers" were trapped within the layers of dentin, waiting to be uncovered by researchers.
Not only was this vital in discovering the patterns of migration in early humans due to changes in sunlight exposure based on latitude and seasons, but dentists today can also analyze how and why vitamin D deficiency occurs in humans.
This is a vital step into overcoming this global problem — more than 1 billion people across the world currently suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. Possible indicators of this deficiency have been tracked since 2 C.E., and the earliest clinical accounts were recorded in the late 17th century.
The researchers in this study, who hailed from Canada and France, look forward to using this information to unlock the key to ensuring people everywhere have sufficient vitamin levels. Previously, low levels of phosphate or calcium were thought to majorly impact a person's ability to process vitamin D.
However, current research suggests the dilemma merely results from inadequate access to sunlight. As humans spend their days completely indoors, insufficient UVB radiation prevents them from acquiring needed vitamin levels.
Dentists who are concerned about patients' overall vitamin D levels can easily begin a dialogue about overall outdoor habits. Health professionals can recommend healthy ways to spend more time in the sun, including wearing sunscreen and other good habits to prevent sun damage.
Supplements may also be advisable in certain cases, as well. Spend time discussing positive ways to improve a patient’s exposure and improve their chances of overcoming this problem.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Why Do I Grind My Teeth; Everything You Need To Know

NHS figures show that bruxism affects more than six million of us, and can be a factor in some worrying health issues. Here's what the experts say:

If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw (the medical term for which is bruxism), it's not just your teeth and jaw muscles that suffer. 'Chronic 'bruxers' may suffer from headaches, earache, dizziness and vertigo, insomnia and even hearing loss,' says oral health expert and professor of health psychology Professor Gerald Humphris, from the University of St Andrews. "They may also have over-developed jaw muscles. It's a health problem that's about much more than wearing down of teeth and a dentist will be able to diagnose a patient with bruxism just from looking inside their mouth."
"It's very easy to spot," confirms dentist Dr Uchenna Okoye, clinical director of the London Smiling Dental Group. "You can see immediately from how the teeth are worn down – ideally, you're able to see the tips of someone's front teeth when they talk, and often you can't in people who grind. There will also be tiny cracks and chips in the teeth that often pick up brown staining. Grinding wears the enamel down on the teeth and also weakens them, which can cause them to crack. It affects the appearance of the teeth, and they can also become very sensitive."
Grinding your teeth can also have an adverse effect on existing or imminent dental work, too. "Implants are less successful in patients who clench or grind," says Professor Humphris. "In fact, they're seven times more likely to fail under those circumstances."

Why people grind their teeth

Up to 70% of bruxism can be attributed to stress according to The Bruxation Association, with job-related stress being the most significant factor. It might also occur because new fillings are 'proud' – that is, not quite even – and so the bite is disturbed.
"You may be unconsciously trying to grind the new filling down so it's more comfortable," says Professor Humphris. Teeth-grinding is also more common in those who consume too much alcohol or caffeine, take recreational drugs such as ecstasy or cocaine or take medication for sleep, anxiety or depression (particularly a type of antidepressant known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs). Those with sleep disorders such a snoring or sleep apnea are more prone to bruxism, too. Studies show that bruxism may be genetic – 21-50% of people who grind their teeth have a direct family member with the condition. And it doesn't just happen at night – 'awake' bruxism is less common than nocturnal bruxism, but it does exist, although is more likely to take the form of jaw or teeth clenching rather than grinding.

What to do about grinding your teeth

Some people aren't aware that they grind their teeth and only realize they do it because their (often long-suffering and sleepless) partner tells them. If you're having headaches, migraines, find your teeth are hypersensitive or even becoming wobbly, see your dentist, who will be able to confirm a bruxism diagnosis. "The most common form of treatment is to have what we call a Michigan splint fitted," says Dr Okoye. "This protects the teeth but it also helps to realign the jaw and retrain the jaw muscles to help prevent grinding long term, helping to break the habit."
A Michigan splint is a type of occlusal splint that's made of hard plastic and moulded to fit exactly over your upper or lower teeth. You can also buy mouthguards over-the-counter from a pharmacy, although these don't last as long and aren't as comfortable to wear. And while it's vital to make sure your teeth are protected if you grind them, it's also important to address the underlying root of your bruxism.
"Stress management techniques may help you relax before you go to bed, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you change the way you think about and react to stressful events in your life, has been shown to be effective at reducing bruxism in some patients," says Professor Humphris.
If you clench or grind during the day, in response to stress or when you're concentrating, for instance, becoming more mindful of situations during which you grind your teeth can help you to break the habit. Encouragingly, a small study found that hypnosis significantly reduced tooth grinding at night, and the effects lasted as long as 36 months. "Bruxism is far from a minor health niggle," says Professor Humphris. "It can cause enormous discomfort and stress, and seriously affect quality of life. See your dentist for help sooner rather than later."