Posts for: November, 2017
Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, yet far too many of us don't spend enough time flossing or brushing. Thirty percent of Americans don't brush twice a day and only 40 percent are daily flossers, according to a 2014 Delta Dental survey. Our Salisbury, MD, dentist, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, shares a few guidelines that will help you improve your oral hygiene.
Don't be in a hurry
Cleaning every millimeter of your teeth is important if you want to completely remove plaque, the sticky film that causes cavities. Unfortunately, some plaque remains behind if you don't spend enough time brushing your teeth. Plan to devote at least two minutes to brushing.
Set a flossing reminder
Although you're probably a regular brusher, you may not always remember to floss. Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from the areas between your teeth. Your risk of both tooth decay and gum disease will rise if you don't remove plaque from these areas. If you tend to forget to floss, set a reminder on your phone or put a note by your bathroom sink to help you ensure that you don't neglect this important oral hygiene task.
Choose the right toothbrush
Medium toothbrushes don't clean your teeth any better than soft ones and may actually damage your tooth enamel. When you shop for a toothbrush in a Saginaw store, make sure the toothbrush package you buy is marked "soft."
Replace your brush often
Throw away your toothbrush at least every three months. If the bristles are frayed, replace it even sooner. Failing to replace your toothbrush often enough can erode your tooth enamel and damage your gums.
Most toothpastes contain fluoride, an ingredient that remineralizes weakened tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities. If you're not sure if your toothpaste does, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal. Every toothpaste that has received the seal contains fluoride. If you use mouthwash, choose a product that contains fluoride and offers anti-cavity or anti-bacterial protection.
Good oral hygiene habits, in addition to regular dental visits, will help you protect your smile. Call our Salisbury, MD, dentist, Dr. Geipe, at (410) 543-0599 to schedule your next appointment.
People with diabetes have special concerns when it comes to dental care. In fact, 1 in every 5 cases of total tooth loss is linked to this widespread health condition. November is National Diabetes month, so it’s a good opportunity for us to answer some frequently asked questions about oral health and diabetes.
Q. Can I get a dental implant to replace a missing tooth even if I have diabetes?
A number of studies have shown that people with diabetes can be good candidates for dental implants, but there are some concerns regarding dental implant treatment, which involves minor surgery. Wounds tend to heal more slowly in people with diabetes, who are also more infection-prone than those without diabetes. In diabetic individuals with poor glucose control, research has also shown that it takes longer for the bone to heal after implant placement. We will take these (and other) factors into account when planning your implant treatment. However, in many situations even poorly controlled diabetes does not necessarily preclude dental implant treatment.
Q. I’ve heard people with diabetes have a higher risk for gum disease. Is that true?
Yes. Research shows that people with diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, especially when their diabetes is poorly controlled. The reverse is also true: untreated periodontal disease can worsen blood sugar levels. So it’s important to manage both of these inflammatory conditions. If you notice the early signs of gum disease, such as inflamed or bleeding gums, please bring this to our attention. Early gum disease (gingivitis) is much easier to treat than more advanced forms—which can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Q. If I have diabetes, how can I protect my oral health?
Keep doing your best to control your blood sugar levels with exercise and a healthy diet—and stick to an effective daily oral hygiene routine, which includes both brushing and flossing and coming in for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Make sure to let us know what medications you are taking and update us on any changes. If you notice any mouth sores, swelling or inflammation, bring this to our attention as soon as possible.
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”