Posts Under Oral Health
How Fast Food
Impacts Your Dental Health
Fast food has become a staple of modern life. Busy schedules, long commutes and convenience make it easier to pick up something on the run versus preparing a meal at home. Unfortunately, fast food is not necessarily the healthiest option.
Can Rob You of Your Smile
One of the most common dental problems we see in our patients is gum disease. In most cases, gum disease develops slowly and without pain. Without regular dental checkups, it is possible to not really know how serious the disease is until your teeth and gums are severely damaged, resulting in teeth having to be extracted.
Gum disease affects people of all ages, not just the middle-aged or elderly.
The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. The cause: poor oral hygiene that fails in removing the germs and bacteria that build up on teeth every day. That’s why daily brushing and flossing are so important, as it helps remove this buildup.
Gums afflicted by gingivitis are often swollen, red and bleed easily. Remarkably there is often little pain or discomfort at this stage of the disease.
In addition to poor oral hygiene, factors that contribute to gingivitis include; smoking, stress, diabetes, aging, pregnancy, poor nutrition, hormonal fluctuations and certain medications.
If you’re told by your dentist that you have gingivitis, the good news is that it can be reversed with professional dental treatment and careful brushing and flossing by you at home.
The bad news, if untreated, gingivitis evolves into periodontitis, a much more serious form of gum disease.
Periodontitis is caused by a significant buildup of germs and bacteria which over time are not removed with daily brushing and flossing. Eventually, this plaque buildup turns into tartar. Plaque is hard and cannot be removed by brushing. Over time, the plaque and tartar spread below the gum line. There, sight unseen, bacteria produce toxins that irritate the gums. The toxins also cause inflammation and trigger the body’s immune system to turn on itself. The result, tissue and bone that hold teeth firmly in place are broken down and destroyed. Small pockets form as gums separate from teeth. These pockets in turn become infected resulting in more tissue and bone loss. As with gingivitis, there may be little or no pain or discomfort. Left untreated, teeth can become loose and may need to be removed. Serious gum disease results in losing teeth.
A 2010 study found that 47% of adults in the US suffer from mild to severe periodontitis. The numbers are similar in Canada.
There’s a good chance that if you haven’t been brushing and flossing regularly, you may have gingivitis or even periodontitis.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you Check Your Gums on a regular basis for gum disease.
- a change in the colour of your gums
- gums that are red around your teeth
- gums that bleed every time you brush or floss
- bad breath that will not go away
- a taste of metal in your mouth
- shiny, puffy or sore gums
- teeth that are sensitive for no reason
If you experience any of these symptoms, call to schedule a dental appointment. The good news is that proper dental treatment can help reverse the early stages of gum disease.
Every day, germs and bacteria build up on your teeth. We encourage you to brush and floss daily to remove the build-up of this invisible film that left untreated, over time will have a very negative impact on your dental health.
More Than Just a Black and White Image
Dental health includes not just your teeth, but also, the gums and jaw.
Since a dentist can only see the visible portion of your teeth, X-rays play an important role in helping to find hidden problems. Problems include:
• decay between teeth and under fillings;
• bone loss that cannot be seen during a visual examination;
• cysts (an infection)
• tumors and
• hidden wisdom teeth.
When your dentist recommends an X-ray it’s because additional information is needed on which to base a treatment. If you’ve had a dental X-ray at our clinic within the last 2 years, you likely noticed that we’ve left the world of film behind and gone digital. Digital X-rays provide an immense leap forward, providing a dentist with detail not possible with film. The result: a better treatment plan.
There are some procedures that can be treated without an X-ray. An example: certain types of cavities on the front teeth. In these cases, the dentist will not request an X-ray.
There are three different types of digital X-rays. The examination process determines what type of X-ray is required.
1. Bitewing radiograph
Taken every 18-24 months
To identify decay between the teeth and decay under old fillings.
Bitewing X- rays provide a detailed look at decay that would require a filling.
These radiographs also allow the dentist to monitor the level of the bone around the tooth. This is important in determining the health of the bone and gums should the patient be developing periodontitis (gum disease).
To take this X-ray, we place a sensor onto a holder that is then placed in your mouth beside the tooth to be X-rayed. This sensor is connected to the computer. The image appears immediately on the dentist's screen for diagnosing.
2. Periapical X-ray
Taken when required to provide a full Image of one or two teeth. A periapical X-ray takes an image of the top (crown) and roots as well as the bone around the tooth.
This X-ray is taken if a bitewing X-ray shows us any problems or a patient exhibits certain symptoms.
A sensor is placed in a holder and then placed in the mouth adjacent to the problem tooth. The holder is different from that used for bitewings. This holder allows us to position the sensor farther down on the tooth.
A Panorex is typically taken every 5-7 years. A Panorex image shows the full surfaces of all the teeth plus the upper and lower jaw, all in one image.
As a result of this technology, your dentist can find problems that are developing down in the roots of the teeth or in the jaw. Examples of problem areas only visible with a Panorex include: identifying cysts (an infection), tumours (cancerous and benign) and wisdom teeth. These types of issues cannot be seen with the other two types of X-rays.
As always we welcome your questions. When an X-ray is recommended feel free to ask your dentist about why a certain X-ray is being recommended.
By using the best in digital imaging technology, we are able to achieve accurate X-rays with the least possible dose of radiation.
We believe in educating our patients so that they can make informed decisions.
Be Proactive With Your Oral Health
Most of us realize that diet and exercise play an important part in keeping us healthy. But did you know that a healthy mouth is also an important part of a healthy body?
Poor oral health can affect a person's quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These oral health problems can reduce a person's quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being.
Oral disease, like any other disease, needs to be treated. A chronic infection, including one in the mouth, is a serious problem that should not be ignored. Yet bleeding or tender gums are often overlooked.
Research has shown there is an association between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, respiratory illness in older adults, as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies. Although researchers are just beginning to understand this relationship, evidence shows that oral disease can aggravate other health problems and that keeping a healthy mouth is an important part of leading a healthy life.
Be proactive with your oral health. It’s easy when you follow these 5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth, as put forward by the Canadian Dental Association.
1. Keep your mouth clean
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Wait at least 20–30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.
- Floss every day.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit foods and beverages containing sugar or carbohydrates.
- Ideal snack foods: cheese, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
- Look for oral care products with the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal.
2. Check your mouth regularly
Look for signs of gum disease:
- Red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Bad breath that won't go away
Look for signs of oral cancer:
- Bleeding or open sores that don't heal
- White or red patches
- Numbness or tingling
- Small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks, or on your gums
3. Eat well
- Good nutrition helps build strong teeth and gums.
- Munch on mouth healthy snacks like cheeses, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
4. See your dentist regularly
- 48% of Canadians who haven't seen a dentist in the past year have gum disease. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse. Has it been a while since you last saw a dentist?
- You can now schedule an appointment with one of the dentists at Dr. John Drummond & Associates online or call us at (514) 484-0521.
5. Don't smoke or chew tobacco
- Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease, and a variety of other cancers.
Source: Canadian Dental Association