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