Teenagers can be tough on their teeth. They may be so busy with school, jobs, sports and social activities that they don't find time to brush. They also tend to eat a lot of junk food. Combine the two and you've got a situation ripe for tooth decay. Not surprisingly, many teenagers develop a lot of cavities.

The association between poor oral health and increased risk of cardiovascular disease should make the reduction of sugars such as those contained in junk food, particularly fizzy drinks, an important health policy target, say experts writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
 

Poor oral hygiene and excess sugar consumption can lead to periodontal disease where the supporting bone around the teeth is destroyed. It is thought that chronic infection from gum disease can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to heart disease through a process called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Despite convincing evidence linking poor oral health to premature heart disease, the most recent UK national guidance on the prevention of CVD at population level mentions the reduction of sugar only indirectly.

It may benefit children to see a dentist before age 4, a study published in Pediatric Dentistry revealed.

The study, “Do Early Dental Visits Reduce Treatment and Treatment Costs for Children?” which appears in the November/December edition of the journal, offers evidence that early intervention efforts in oral health are both clinically effective and cost effective, according to researchers.

“The takeaway message is early intervention does work,” said Dr. Arthur J. Nowak, lead study author and a professor emeritus at the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Iowa.

Researchers examined a year’s worth of billing data for 42,532 children aged 0 to 7 from 20 corporate treatment centers serving children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. About 40 percent of those children were early starters, or had seen a dentist before age 4, while the rest were late starters, having seen a dentist for the first time at or after age 4.

Dental caries, commonly known as tooth decay, is the single most common chronic childhood disease. In fact, it is an infectious disease. Mothers with cavities can transmit caries-producing oral bacteria to their babies when they clean pacifiers by sticking them in their own mouths or by sharing spoons.

Each member of your dental health team plays an important role.

When you want to highlight your smile, perhaps you whiten your teeth or choose a flattering shade of lipstick. But what about the health of your gums?


Fluoride is a mineral found in soil, water (both fresh a

nd salt) and various foods. It has a positive effect on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also prevent or even reverse tooth decay that has started.

Fluorides are used by communities as a public health measure to adjust the concentration of fluoride in drinking water to an optimum level (community water fluoridation); by individuals in the form of toothpastes, rinses, lozenges, chewable tablets, drops; and by the dental profession in the professional application of gels, foams and varnishes.

The availability of fluorides from a variety of sources must be taken into account before embarking on a specific course of fluoride delivery. This is particularly important for children under the age of 6, where exposure to more fluoride than is required to simply prevent dental caries can cause dental fluorosis. Provided that the total daily intake of fluoride is carefully monitored, fluoride is considered to be a most important health measure in maintaining oral health.

Your dentist is able to assess your child's risk of developing tooth decay and advise you of an appropriate level of fluoride protection.

 

Src: www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/cfyt/dental_care_children/fluoride.asp

Great question. Alas, surprisingly few studies address it directly. Based on existing evidence, flossing first isn’t necessarily better for oral health than the other way around.

Still, dentists have opinions on the matter. Dr. Edmond R. Hewlett, a spokesman for the American Dental Association and a professor of restorative dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, recommends flossing first. His rationale? Get the unpleasant task out of the way to avoid the temptation to not do it. “Let’s face human nature, if you’re going to skip one, which one will you skip?” he said.

By contrast, Dr. Philippe Hujoel, a professor of oral health sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, advises his patients to brush with a fluoride toothpaste, then floss. That way your mouth will be awash with fluoride as you are maneuvering the floss, he said.

However, it turns out flossing is not a proven way to prevent cavities, even though some dentists and hygienists suggest it is.

Rather, flossing’s main benefit is stanching bloody gums and reducing the gum inflammation known as gingivitis.

“Gingivitis is the first step in losing your teeth,” Dr. Hewlett said. “The nice thing about catching inflammation when gums are bleeding is you can reverse it then, if that’s all that’s going on.” (Teeth brushing and flossing aren’t adequate to treat more advanced inflammation.)

A 2012 review of 12 randomized controlled trials found that people who brushed and flossed regularly had less gum bleeding than the brush-only camp, though the authors cautioned the quality of the evidence was “very low.”

That same report, in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, found only “very unreliable” evidence that flossing might reduce plaque at one and three months. And no studies reported on the effectiveness of flossing combined with teeth brushing for cavity prevention.

“Self-flossing clinical trials have failed to show a benefit in the reduction of dental decay,” said Dr. Hujoel, a periodontist.

There are practical reasons to floss, of course. It can dislodge raspberry seeds and other food debris you may or may not be able to feel, for example, and some overachievers prefer to attend meetings without spinach in their teeth.

As for technique, the American Dental Association recommends guiding the floss along the curve of the gum line at the base of each tooth, in addition to flossing up and down between teeth.

It could be that amateurs just don’t know how to floss correctly, because there is some evidence that professional flossing can reduce cavities in children who have had minimal exposure to fluoride.

 One systematic review of six trials  found that when professionals flossed the teeth of those children on school days for 1.7 years, there was a 40 percent reduction in the risk of cavities.

That may be good news for the children and spouses of dental hygienists. But for the rest of us who don’t have a professional at home to floss for us, we can choose whether we floss before or after brushing our teeth.

 

Src: By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS the new york times

Here are some common dental emergencies and how to handle them.


Toothache

First call your dentist. Explain your symptoms and ask to be seen as soon as possible. Then ease the pain. Take an over-the-counter pain medicine that works for you, but do not put the pills on your sore tooth. Hold an ice pack against your face at the spot of the sore tooth.

Do not put a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or any other source of heat on your jaw. Heat will make things worse instead of better.

Chipped or broken tooth

Broken teeth can almost always be saved. Call your dentist and explain what happened. He or she will see you right away. If it's a small break, your dentist may use a white filling to fix the tooth. If the break is serious, a root canal may be needed. Your tooth may also need a crown (also called a cap).

Knocked out tooth

If the knocked-out tooth is an adult (or permanent) tooth, your dentist may be able to put it back. You must act quickly. If the tooth is put back in place within 10 minutes, it has a fair chance of taking root again. After 2 hours, the chances are poor.

If the tooth looks clean, put it back in its place (its socket). If this is not possible, or if there's a chance that the tooth might be swallowed, put it in a container of cold milk. Go to your dentist, or to the nearest dentist, right away. If you get help within ten minutes, there is a fair chance that the tooth will take root again.

Badly bitten lip or tongue

If there is bleeding, press down on the part of the mouth that is bleeding. Use a clean cloth to do this. If the lip is swollen, use an ice pack to keep the swelling down. If the bleeding does not stop, go to Emergency at a hospital right away.

Something stuck between teeth

First, try using dental floss, very gently and carefully, to remove the object. Never poke between your teeth with a pin or similar sharp, pointy object; it can cut your gums or scratch the tooth surface. If you can't get the object out, see your dentist.

Lost filling

Put a piece of softened sugarless chewing gum in the spot where the filling was lost. This will protect the area for a short period of time. See a dentist as soon as possible.

 

Src: www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/talk/complications/emergencies

Did you know that a baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy?

Cavity Prevention is one of the most important benefit of cheese:

Cheese is extremely high in its calcium content. This is the most important thing when it comes to strong teeth. In addition, cheese has a very low content of Lactose. Lactose is a substance that comes from food and can harm teeth (The older the cheese, the lower the Lactose levels). Eating certain varieties of cheese such as aged Cheddar, Swiss, Blue, Monterey Jack, Brie, Gouda, and processed American cheese immediately after a meal or as a snack has been proven to prevent tooth decay.

To prevent cavities and maintain good oral health, your diet — what you eat and how often you eat — are 

important factors. Changes in your mouth start the minute you eat certain foods. 

Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars and carbohydrates from the foods you eat to acids, and it’s the acids that begin to attack the enamel on teeth, starting the decay process. The more often you eat and snack, the more frequently you are exposing your teeth to the cycle of decay.

The best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, and milk. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).

Other food choices include firm/crunchy fruits (for example, apples and pears) and vegetables. These foods have a high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain, and stimulate the flow of saliva (which helps protect against decay by washing away food particles and buffering acid). Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid from them.

Your 32 teeth not only help you to talk and chew, they can make or break your appearance. Read on to find out what you
can do to keep your pearly whites sparkling.

1. Go On a White-Teeth Diet
What goes into your mouth shows up on your teeth. So if you’re drinking a lot of red wine or black tea, or smoking cigarettes, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites. Other culprits include colas, gravies and dark juices. The bottom line: if it’s dark before you put it in your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Step one: brush your teeth immediately after having foods that stain. Step two: regularly use a good bleaching agent from your dentist. Step three: be conscious of tooth-staining foods and drinks, and have them only when a toothbrush is around. If not, have an apple for dessert.

2. Hum While Brushing Your Teeth
The ideal amount of time to brush to get all the bacteria-packed plaque out is at least two minutes. Use your watch or keep a timer in the bathroom and set it for 2 minutes. Or find a tune that lasts about two minutes and hum it to the end.

3. Grip Your Toothbrush Like a Pencil
Does your toothbrush look as if it’s been used to clean the car? If so, you’re probably brushing too hard. Contrary to what some scrub-happy people think, brushing with force is not the best way to remove plaque. The best way is to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently move it in a circular motion, rather than a back-and-forth motion. Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won’t scrub too hard.

4. Drink a Cup of Tea Every Day
Flavonoids and other ingredients in tea seem to prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth, and also block the production of a type of sugar that contributes to cavities. Tea also contains high amounts of fluoride.

5. Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly
Throw away your toothbrush or change the head of your electric toothbrush at least every two to three months. Otherwise, you’re just transferring bacteria to your mouth.

6. Use Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
Most over-the-counter mouthwashes have too much alcohol, which can dry out the tissues in your mouth, making them more susceptible to bacteria. Some studies even suggest a link between mouthwashes containing alcohol to and an increased risk of oral cancer. To be safe, be a teetotaller when it comes to choosing a mouthwash.

Good childhood dental care starts with regular visits to the dentist’s office. You can make that first appointment when the first teeth erupt, or at least by the time your child turns one. Why are early visits so important? Recognizing the early signs of tooth decay in children is not always easy. Your dentist can tell you how your little one’s teeth are doing and recommend anything to help protect against decay, like fluoride treatments or dental sealants. Also, it doesn’t hurt to get a few oral care pointers from a dental professional. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that could help you take better care of your child’s teeth.

Teaching your child proper oral care at a young age is an investment in his or her health that will pay lifelong dividends. You can start by setting an example; taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that oral health is something to be valued. And anything that makes taking care of teeth fun, like brushing along with your child or letting them choose their own toothbrush, encourages proper oral care.

To help your children protect their teeth and gums and greatly reduce their risk of getting cavities, teach them to follow these simple steps:

  • Brush twice a day with an ADA — accepted fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque-the sticky film on teeth that’s the main cause of tooth decay.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under the gum line, before it can harden into tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a professional cleaning.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods, which produce plaque acids that cause tooth decay. When you do eat these foods, try to eat them with your meal instead of as a snack-the extra saliva produced during a meal helps rinse food from the mouth.
  • Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
  • Make sure that your children’s drinking water is fluoridated. If your water supply; municipal, well or bottled does not contain fluoride, your dentist or paediatrician may prescribe daily fluoride supplements.
  • Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups.