As we kick off the first day of summer, it’s important to remember that as temperatures rise so too do dental-related hazards.
One of the most common general warm weather risks is dehydration but not all fluids can help. In fact, what you drink may actually have an adverse effect and increase the chance of tooth decay. Drinking lots of water will protect against plaque-causing bacteria. Choosing fluoridated tap water will further improve resistance and can strengthen enamel compared to carbonated options. So, hit the kitchen sink.
Other threats result from popular summer fun and these seasonal activities can put your smile at risk.
Exposure to pool water chemicals and the higher than normal pH levels result in organic deposits on teeth. This is especially true for those who swim more than six hours a week. “Swimmers’ calculus” as it is known, are hard deposits that create yellowish-brown or dark brown stains most frequently on the front teeth.
For the millions of sea-lovers who enjoy diving deep each summer, “diver’s mouth syndrome” is all too common. It is a result of air pressure changes and intense biting on necessary air regulators. Symptoms such as jaw joint, gum tissue and center of the tooth, can be quite painful.
Whether an organized or friendly pick-up game, sports like soccer, softball and even touch football can cause costly mouth and face injuries for those with extensive dental work or braces. Wearing mouth guards and face masks are a good first line of defense and will help prevent mouth cuts, jaw injuries and tooth damage.
No dental tips list would be complete without these words of wisdom. With greater activity and vacation fun on the horizon, summer is also a time when many lose sight of proper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing regularly should not be overlooked. Contact a dental professional or member of our team to schedule routine cleanings and care.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month and like many diseases, there is often a link to oral health. Osteoporosis is no different. In fact, it is actually a condition in which the medications used to treat it can also lead to dental related issues. It’s a bit of a Catch-22. So, a little education and some tips can’t hurt in understanding these links, recognizing the early signs and reinforcing the importance of communication in dental treatment planning.
A bit of background
Osteoporosis which means “porous bone” is a silent yet serious disease that according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) affects about 54 million Americans and approximately one in two women will break a bone as a result. But it isn’t only women who are at risk; although less frequently, men can also be diagnosed with Osteoporosis and they too should be aware of the symptoms.
Be sure to speak up
For those suffering with osteoporosis, medications used to treat the condition may also negatively impact dental health and cause osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) – a serious condition that can severely damage the jawbone. While this might lead patients to question using their medication when undergoing dental care or avoid the dentist altogether, don’t. First, ONJ is rare and the risks of fractures as a result of osteoporosis are greater and regular dental visits will often help prevent the need for more invasive treatment.
The takeaway? It is a matter of awareness and open communication. Dentist should be kept well informed about any health conditions and medications. It will enable them to provide the best possible treatment plan for you. For more FAQs and other dental tips, visit http://amsterdamdentalgroup.com/faqs or contact any member of our team.
Spring has sprung – well, at least we think so. After what seems to have been a very long week filled with lots of teeth-staining coffee, tea and hot cocoa, it’s time to brighten your smile and for a good teeth cleaning. At Amsterdam Dental, we agree and also have a few other tips to pass along.
Get a new toothbrush
As you clean out draws and stow away the winter garb, remember to replace old and worn toothbrushes. Why? When the bristles wear down, they are no longer able to reach the small crevices and can leave food particles behind. Also, toothbrushes are prone to retain infectious agents that can cause colds and viruses. Therefore, in addition to regularly replacing your toothbrush every three months, it’s a good idea to grab a new one after any cold or flu.
Mouthwash can expire
Like everything else we eat and drink, mouthwash does have a shelf like. It’s indicated right on the bottle. Not only does outdated mouthwash taste bad but it will lose its effectiveness. Check yours to be sure it provides the best possible breath freshening, plaque removal and tooth decay prevention.
Stock up on floss
Did you know it is recommended that 18 inches of floss to maximize the benefits? That’s a foot and a half every time you floss and literally 45 feet per month! It may sound like a lot but after wrapping the “string” around your fingers, an inch or two is needed to that actually do the work. Since brushing alone is not enough, make sure you never run out.
Set a date in the dental chair
Brushing and flossing is great but a visit to the dentist for an exam, check up and preventative treatment is highly recommended. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry getting a professional cleaning a least twice a year can have a significant impact on your long term oral health. So, while checking the calendar to meet up with relatives or friends, remember to visit your dentist too!
Last year during American Heart Month, we highlighted the connection between periodontal disease and overall health. One of the most often discussed is the effect on heart disease. What is less frequently highlighted is the relationship between various cardiovascular conditions and dental treatment.
So this year, we at Amsterdam Dental Group want to focus on the care and precautions important for patients suffering from the many types of heart disease. This can include reviewing medications, measuring blood pressure and even delaying treatment. But nothing is more important than open communication to provide the best possible care.
Here are some common conditions and related dental treatment.
After a heart attack, dental treatment should be delayed at least six months. Since cases, conditions and medications differ, most dentists will want to consult your physician as it may impact the method of treatment as in the case of blood thinners and cautions related to dental surgery or extractions. Another is to ensure oxygen and nitroglycerin is on hand during appointments.
High Blood Pressure
There are a number of possible oral side effects to high blood pressure medications – dry mouth, altered taste, gum overgrowth and faintness. Although most will safely interact with anti-anxiety drugs and local anesthesia, it is important for your dentist to be made aware of any prescriptions. For those suffering with this condition, a baseline blood pressure should be taken at the start of each visit and monitored throughout the procedure.
Dental treatment will vary for stable and unstable angina sufferers. Stable angina generally does not require special circumstances except having oxygen and nitroglycerin on hand. For those with unstable angina, only emergency dental care should be undertaken during which your heart should be monitored continuously.
There are various long-term effects caused by a stroke and some can impact oral health care. To help, special toothbrushes and floss holders are available along with fluoride gel and saliva substitutes. Denture wearers may require adjustments. Although routine dental care is safe, it is recommended to bring a copy of recent bloodwork and have your dental and medical professionals consult prior to in depth dental procedures.
Congestive Heart Failure
In general, there are usually no special guidelines for those with congestive heart failure (CHF), yet your dentist may choose different alternatives based upon prescribed medications. For those with more severe CHF, dental chair position should be modulated to avoid possible fluid build-up in your lungs. Patients should refrain from sitting up quickly, which can cause light-headedness. In some cases, dental treatment may be best suited in a hospital setting.
Patients with a pacemaker should avoid non-emergency dental care for several weeks after implantation. Once cleared, it is important to review any possible interactions between your dentist’s electromagnetic devices and pacemakers. The dental staff can check this in advance with a call to the manufacturer and your dentist can plan accordingly.
In the end, the interrelationship between heart health and oral health cannot be untangled. They often go hand in hand. The best advice is to open the lines of communication between your dentist and physician – both who will have your best interests and care at heart.
For more information, please contact any member of the Amsterdam Dental staff or your dental professional.
For those who have sensitive teeth, a scoop of cold ice cream or sip of hot coffee can be painful. But good news! The condition is treatable. It’s just a matter of determining the cause.
As with dental health in general, proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing the pain from sensitive teeth. However there are situations where additional treatment is needed. To give a little background… Healthy teeth have three layers – enamel, cementum and dentin. Enamel protects the crowns above the gum line; cementum shields the tooth root. Dentin is the least dense and last layer of defense shielding the nerves and cells within the tooth. When dentin is exposed or unprotected, pain from sensitivity can result.
So what are some of the most common causes of sensitive teeth? Tooth decay is often top on the list, followed by the wear and tear of worn fillings, eroded enamel or fractured teeth. More serious conditions, such as gum disease and tooth root exposure, may also be the basis for sensitivity. Depending on the cause, there are several treatment options dental professionals might recommend.
Desensitizing toothpaste. Specifically created to block sensations between the tooth surface and the nerve, regular use of such toothpaste can reduce sensitivity.
Fluoride gel. This in-office treatment strengthens tooth enamel in order to protect dentin and reduce the transmission of sensations to the nerve.
A crown, inlay or bonding. If the cause is tooth decay or wear and tear, one of these corrective methods may be the best course of action.
Surgical gum graft. When the root is exposed due to the loss of gum tissue, surgical grafting can be used to restore protection and reduce sensitivity.
Root canal. This is generally the last recommended option and one that would be used in cases of severe or persistent sensitivity when other treatments have not shown results.
If you have any questions or experience such symptoms, contact Amsterdam Dental Group or your dental professional.