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Mental Illness and Oral Health

February 12th, 2020

 

There is a close connection between the health of the body and that of the mind. There is further evidence to suggest those who experience mental illness also suffer with poor oral health.

Some of the most common mental illnesses that can have a negative impact on a person’s oral health include: anxiety and panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm, schizophrenia and psychosis.

Some of the main issues for those suffering with mental illness include:

Neglect: Research has shown that those suffering from mental illnesses tend to avoid dental care so much that their oral hygiene is neglected. This can result in gum disease and tooth decay.

Anxiety: Many people suffer from some form of dental phobia and as a result, stop seeing their dentist regularly. Infrequent dental visits have a severe impact on oral health.

Eating disorders: Those who suffer from conditions such as Bulimia often experience dental erosion from the acidity in vomit. Low levels of calcium are also common, which could affect the health of the teeth.

Brushing actions: Over-vigorous brushing actions by those with bipolar as similar disorders could result in brushing away the enamel on the surface of the tooth.

Medication: Some medications patients may be taking can produce adverse oral effects, especially dry mouth, which is as a result of reduced salvia flow.

It is important for carers to be aware of the link between oral health and mental health.

Those people suffering with mental health issues should understand value of good oral health and be motivated to maintain good dental habits.

Three key messages:

Brush last thing at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Reduce the amount and how often sugary foods and drinks are consumed.

Visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

What is Gum Disease

January 8th, 2020

 

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
gums that bleed easily
red, swollen, tender gums
gums that have pulled away from the teeth
persistent bad breath or bad taste
permanent teeth that are loose or separating
any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:
poor oral hygiene
smoking or chewing tobacco
genetics
crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
pregnancy
diabetes
medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth This Holiday Season

December 10th, 2019

During the holiday time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in celebrating and let our routines slip. Keep these dental care tips in mind to end the holidays with the healthy smile you started them with.

1.Stick with your oral hygiene routine, it’s especially important during the treat-heavy holidays
2.Schedule a post-holiday checkup and cleaning to be sure you’re starting the new year clean and cavity-free
3.Protect your teeth during winter sports with a mouth-guard and avoid opening packages with your teeth to prevent chips or breaks
4.Be sure to drink more water, particularly after meals or sugary snacks
5.Speaking of snacks, opt for fresh fruits or other healthy treats whenever possible

For many still in school or college, the holiday season is the start of Winter break. This is an excellent time to schedule any necessary dental work such as wisdom teeth extractions or taking care of cavities. Schedule for your child today and send them back to school with a healthy smile. The holidays are a joyful, special time to enjoy with friends and family, and following these tips will help you share a beautiful, healthy smile with loved ones into the New Year.

How Long Does it Take for a Cavity to Form

November 6th, 2019

 

A cavity is no fun. Fortunately, the one good thing about them is that they take time to form, giving you the chance to stop early-stage tooth decay in its tracks. But just how much time do you have, and how can you be proactive about stopping cavities from forming?

Cavities don’t form over night. Instead, the process of decay is gradual. As the bacterial plaque in your mouth produces acid after eating your dietary sugar, that acid slowly eats away at your enamel, taking months or even years to cause the type of damage that requires a filling, crown, and/or root canal therapy from your dentist. But there are certain factors than can accelerate the formation of a cavity.

Weaker enamel, as in children under six years old, for example, is more susceptible to decay, and thus cavities form in less time. Poor dental hygiene, an unhealthy diet high in sugar and low in tooth-strengthening nutrients, tobacco use, and teeth grinding also also increase a tooth’s susceptibility to decay. But when you’re eating well, protecting your teeth with an athletic mouthguard and/or a nightguard, cleaning your teeth every day, exposing your teeth to enough fluoride, and visiting our office every six months for cleanings and checkups, you can help stop the progression of a cavity. However, if you begin neglecting proper oral healthcare habits, that decay gets right back on track to causing permanent enamel damage.

How to Put the Brakes on Decay

If you don’t have a cavity, keep up the good work! But if your dentist tells you that you do have a cavity forming, there are ways to stop early-stage tooth decay from progressing to a full-blown cavity. Whether it’s to stop or prevent decay, it’s so important that you learn the components of a healthy dental care routine, and that you stick to it each and every day.
•Gently brush your teeth at least twice every day for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
•Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
•Incorporate a fluoride and/or alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash into your oral care routine.
•Consider investing in helpful dental gadgets, like an electric toothbrush and water flosser, to spice up your routine, making it more effective and even more fun.
•Only indulge in sugary or starchy foods in moderation, and don’t snack on them throughout the day.
•Don’t constantly sip on a sugary, acidic soda. While it’s better to drink it all at once through a straw, it’s best to drink water instead.

There’s one more step that’s crucial to cavity prevention: a twice-yearly trip to our office for a professional dental cleaning and checkup. At your regular visits, we’ll eliminate cavity-causing plaque and tartar, identify any early signs of decay, and give you the tools and knowledge you need to combat cavities. We look forward to seeing you at your next visit!