In June I read an article which appeared in the New York Times entitled “Maintaining Oral Health, An Important Part of Aging”.
In past articles I have shown many dramatic smile makeovers involving a combination of disciplines and techniques. This issue I wish to highlight what modern dentistry can do for a common problem. The solution is quick, comfortable, and cost- effective.
The coffee smells wonderful. The ice cream looks great. But you find yourself turning them down because you know how much they’ll make your mouth hurt. And you wonder what’s going on that’s turned the foods and drinks you used to love into the enemy.
You take good care of your teeth and they feel fine – except when you eat or drink something cold or hot. But when you start to savor that first cup of coffee or sip a refreshing glass of iced tea, the pain begins. And you find yourself wondering “what’s going on?”
Ever get red, scaly, swollen patches in the corners of your mouth where your upper and lower lips meet? It can be just an annoying dry feeling spot or can progress to be deeply fissured, burning and very painful. It can be uncomfortable to open your mouth, speak or eat. Some people with the condition report a bad taste in the mouth as well. The condition is known as angular cheilitis, perleche, or angular stomatitis.
We in the dental community have been talking about the link between oral infections/ inflammation and systemic disease for some time. Heart disease, stroke, alzheimers, some cancers, control of diabetes are all linked to oral disease. Finally private insurance carriers have gotten the message.
It is well known that acidic drinks erode enamel. Erosion makes teeth more temperature sensitive, more prone to decay, and greatly accelerates tooth wear. Teeth actually become shorter and make the individual appear much older .
There have been reports in the mainstream media on “oil pulling” and its benefits for dental and general health. The claims state that oil pulling—swishing oil in the mouth—whitens teeth, and improves dental health and overall health.
Oil pulling is an ancient, traditional folk remedy that has been practiced for centuries in India and southern Asia. The practice involves placing a tablespoon of an edible oil (e.g., sesame, olive, sunflower, coconut) inside the mouth, and swishing or “pulling” the oil through the teeth and mouth for anywhere from 1-5 minutes to up to 20 minutes or longer.
Chances are your old mercury–silver amalgam fillings (commonly referred to as “silver” fillings) are pretty far down on your list of things to worry about. They’re there and don’t hurt, so they must be fine. Right?
Maybe. Maybe not!
Some old fillings keep doing their job for years – even decades. Others however, are ticking time bombs that can strike without warning, causing a world of pain and setting you up for infection, a broken tooth, or even tooth loss. That’s something to think about – especially if you have fillings that are 15 years old or more.
The Rise of HPV Related Oral Cancer
The number of Cases of HPV-related oral cancers has risen dramatically in the last few decades. Approximately 8,000 men and 2,000 women in the USA are diagnosed with HPV associated cancers of the mouth and throat each year according to the American Cancer Society. In fact, HPV is the leading cause of oropharynx cancer in The USA. Only 57% of those diagnosed will be alive in five years.
Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugar. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with many parts of the body, can lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process.
How? Every exam in our office includes a blood pressure check, airway evaluation, and oral cancer exam, (in addition to checking for gum disease, cavities, and other pathology of the teeth and bite.) High blood pressure, airway compromise, and of course cancer, can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. We refer to medical and dental specialists when appropriate.
What causes bad breath?
1. Foods with pungent odors
2. Bacteria in the mouth and throat
3. Medical conditions such as respiratory track infections, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes.
Most often the cause is bacteria in the oral cavity which break down proteins in your saliva producing a foul smelling sulfur gas. Sulfur gas is what makes rotten eggs smell.