Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Health and Well-Being

Bad Breath Added to List of Premenstrual Woes

Monthly cramping, bloating, mood swings, headaches, edginess. Most women are all too familiar with these less-than-enjoyable aspects of our "femaleness." And as if these aren't enough, apparently we can add bad breath to the list, according to John Richter, D.M.D., Ph.D., founder of the Center for the Treatment of Breath Disorders in Pennsylvania.

Richter said that during the premenstrual period, hormone fluctuations in a woman's body result in an increase in the production of proteins in the saliva. It seems that the anaerobic bacteria in your mouth, the ones that can live without oxygen, love to feast on this protein. And as they feast, they reproduce with reckless abandon, releasing gases that cause bad breath.

Additionally, the rise in estrogen that occurs at the onset of menstruation triggers the shedding of the body's lining tissues, including those of the mouth, again creating ideal conditions for bacterial growth.

So what can you do to battle premenstrual bad breath? Diligence with your oral hygiene —daily brushing, flossing and tongue scraping—will certainly help to clean away food particles that can turn into another food source for bad-breath-causing bacteria. To minimize the growth of the bacteria responsible for bad breath, a chlorine dioxide mouth rinse can help. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as these can dry out your mouth, actually worsening bad breath instead of eliminating it! Just check the label; if there's alcohol in the mouth rinse, it will be listed among the ingredients.

Here are a few other ways to reduce your chances of premenstrual bad breath:
  • Brush after eating or drinking anything other than water. If this isn't possible, rinse with water or a chlorine dioxide mouth rinse.
  • Saliva has been called "nature's mouthwash." Stimulate saliva flow by chewing sugarless gum.
  • Avoid gum, mints or other candies that contain sugar, as this can lead to the growth of decay-causing bacteria.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist, and avoid dehydrating beverages like coffee, tea and cola.
If your other PMS symptoms subside, and your bad breath persists, a dental visit is in order to rule out tooth decay, periodontal disease, or other oral problems.

Dental Conditions

Bleeding Gums
Your gums may bleed:
• when you brush or floss
• when you eat
• from one spot above a single tooth
• after tooth removal

When you brush or floss
It's not normal for your gums to bleed when you brush or floss (unless you recently began brushing or flossing). If bleeding persists, you have either gingivitis (early gum disease with no bone loss yet) or periodontitis (more advanced gum disease with bone loss).

See your dentist or hygienist. You'll need some combination of teeth cleaning, root planing, and new homecare techniques. Once all the tartar, the hard deposit of calcium salts and bacteria, has been removed from your root surfaces and you're keeping all the plaque, the soft film of food particles and bacteria, off of your teeth, all bleeding will go away.

When you eat
It's not normal for your gums to bleed when you eat. Bleeding indicates that your gums are swollen and that you have either gingivitis (early gum disease) or periodontitis (more advanced gum diseases with bone loss).

See your dentist or hygienist. You'll need some combination of tooth cleaning, root planing, and new homecare techniques. First, all the tartar, the hard deposit of calcium salts and bacteria, will be removed from the root surfaces of your teeth. Then it will be your job to keep all the plaque, the soft deposit of food particles and bacteria, off your teeth with regular brushing and flossing. All bleeding will then go away.

From One Spot above a Single Tooth
A tooth infection causes pus to build up at the tip of the root and makes a hole in the bone. This infection may work its way to the surface of your gums and form a gumboil, which may bleed.

See your dentist to have the tooth checked. Infected teeth can be repaired by root canal treatment, often followed by a crown (also called a cap). If you wait too long, you may have a major toothache as well as a dangerous infection that could ultimately be life threatening.

After tooth removal
If you've recently had a tooth removed, it's common for the extraction site to seep a little blood for a day or two. But it's not normal for the area to bleed substantially.

To reduce bleeding, apply pressure to the extraction site with a rolled-up gauze pad; your dentist will provide them. Some dentists recommend that you also bite on a moist tea bag for 5 to 10 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to stop the bleeding. Contact your dentist immediately if bleeding persists or if there is substantial bleeding.

How to Entice your kids to enjoy brushing

Fifty percent of first graders have tooth decay, the number one chronic childhood disease.
Dental pain causes children to miss nearly one million days of school—every year! A child cannot concentrate and learn when in pain.
The good news is that 90 percent of childhood tooth decay is preventable with good home oral care and regular professional dental care.
The problem has always been how to encourage kids to brush and floss, so if I told you that your child will enjoy brushing and flossing, you would think I had gone loco.
Childhood tooth decay is an epidemic in the United States and manufacturers have responded with products made just for kids.
Look for toothbrushes that shout fun. They come in cute shapes and bright colors, with handles designed for small hands. Choose a crayon-shaped toothbrush or a toothbrush designed after a favorite TV character.

Some power toothbrushes reduce drudgery with an interdental tip that easily cleans between small teeth and a raised row of bristles in the middle of the toothbrush to reach into deep crevices on molars.
Flossers and interdental cleaners are sized for a child's mouth, have easy-to-grip handles and eye-catching colors. No more frustration maneuvering grownup fingers around tiny teeth in tiny mouths.
There are new flossers and interdental cleaners just for braces care.
Make brushing and flossing fun and your youngster will enjoy the experience and not become a cavity statistic.
Be sure to reinforce your child's home care with regular dental check-ups so we can monitor their dental health to help those teeth and smiles last a lifetime.

Teens: Cool & Wireless

Does your teen moan that teen-hood is agony? You know, the looking good for that first date, proms and school pictures, owning groovy cell phones, having the newest technology. Teens are the wireless generation in more than one way. Just when your teen has you convinced that the Internet is the coolest wireless know-how, along comes another technology that gives teens wireless orthodontics.
Sure, braces come with colored brackets and wires, but they're still highly visible. Invisalign Teen™ aligners, however, have changed all that. No red, white and blue bands or railroad tracks! Invisalign Teen™ aligners are barely detectable.
Up until now, aligners were suitable for only older teens: 18 or 19. Today, 12- to 17-year olds can be just as cool as their older counterparts.

Mythbuster: Memory Loss—Don't Blame Your Teeth

If you can't remember where you parked your car, don't blame your teeth.

Why are teeth involved with Alzheimer's? because there is an on-going myth that silver fillings (amalgam) cause Alzheimer's.

If you're tempted to stop reading because you think Alzheimer's is an "old" person's disease, don't. Of the estimated five million Alzheimer's suffers in the United States, there are a half-million people between the ages of 30 and 50 diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Some studies have concluded that the mercury used in an amalgam filling brings on Alzheimer's. However, looking closely at the studies, there are procedures that make the conclusion questionable. For example, one study was done on snails. It is a sci-fi stretch to compare a snail to a person. In another study, laboratory rats were subjected to a mercury concentration that was 100 times greater than what a person with 25 amalgam fillings would be exposed to.

An amalgam filling will leak a minute amount of mercury vapor over the lifetime of the filling. But, because it is such an insignificant amount, it causes no harm.

Groups including the Alzheimer's Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the American Dental Association, have reviewed the amalgam studies. They determined there is insufficient evidence to connect amalgam fillings to Alzheimer's.

When you need a filling, we will discuss your options with you, and between us, make a decision that is in your best interest.