What Your Dentist Knows About You Just By Looking In Your Mouth

  • By Joel Snyder
  • 29 Nov, 2016

While cavities and plaque build-up may be what's on your mind before a teeth cleaning, your dentist is looking for a whole lot more. "The mouth is the window to the body," says David Silverstrom, DDS, of The Silverstrom Group in Livingston, NJ. "Often, diseases like cancer, anemia and diabetes will first be identified by the dentist in a regular examination, and this saves lives." And it's not just diseases—dentists can discover everything from your bad habits to your favorite beverages simply by asking you to say, "Ahh!"

1. You flossed right before your appointment—and that's the only time.
Sorry, but you can't fool your dentist into thinking you floss daily by doing so the night before or morning of your visit. "The gums of people who only floss right before a visit are bleeding or look damaged," says Timothy Stirneman, DDS, of All Smiles Dental in Algonquin, IL, "whereas, healthy gums are nice and tight and pink," he says. Kenneth Wong, DDS, of Santa Monica adds, "When patients floss right before coming for a cleaning, I can see the slices where the floss cut at the gum because they were overzealous."


2. You're pregnant.
"Nearly 40% of women will develop gingivitis during their pregnancy," says Glen Stephenson, DMD, of Prevention Dental in Boise, ID. "This is caused by increased progesterone, which facilitates the growth of bacteria, causing gingivitis. Some women will develop a deep red lump on their gums called a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma." (This type of tumor is completely benign and will go away after the pregnancyis over.) Stirneman adds that most women are typically pretty far along before their gums start bleeding, so it's not as though a dentist will magically "discover" that a patient is pregnant.

3. You bite your nails.

Without looking at your hands, a dentist may be able to detect this habit. "Signs include chips and cracking of the teeth, plus wear and tear on the teeth from the constant stress on them," says Keith Arbeitman, DDS, of Arbeitman & Shein in New York City. "This can cause your teeth to become uneven and lead to jaw pain and discomfort." Kyle Stanley, DDS, of Helm, Nejad, Stanley in Beverly Hills adds, "Patients that bite their nails using their front teeth usually have leveled off, flat front teeth. The nails themselves are not what cause the damage, but rather the contact that occurs between the top and bottom teeth," he says.

4. You used to suck your thumb.
"Most children that suck their thumbs or a finger have no long-term effects from the habit," says Stephenson. "However, those who did so past the age of seven or eight may show significant changes to their bite or the position of their teeth. Much of that can be corrected through orthodontic treatment, but some telltale signs can remain." Alice Lee, DDS, of Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY, adds, "We can sometimes see protruding front teeth, and this can impact how kids' jaws are coming together and growing and can also impact their speech."

5. Your bad breath may mean something.
"General bad breath can be categorized as halitosis," says Arbeitman. But dentists are also trained to identify "fruity" smells and "fishy" smells, which can mean numerous things. " 'Fruity' breath could indicate uncontrolled diabetes or a dietary fast that has gone too far, while 'fishy' breath could be a sign of kidney or liver failure," he explains. If the smell is "very foul," says Arbeitman, it could be anything from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) to an underlying lung abscess and bronchitis to a tonsil stone. Timothy Chase, DMD, of SmilesNY in New York City, adds, "The first thing the dentist should do is rule out the odor coming from the teeth and gums. After that, he should recommend that the patient see an ENT to rule out sinus issues, and a GI doc to rule out reflux issues."

6. You may have an eating disorder.
"Many patients are surprised that their dentist is the first one to ask about eating disorders," says Chase, "but bulimia exhibits a very distinct pattern of tooth wear that your dentist can easily identify." Stephenson notes that, "This erosion happens almost exclusively on the tongue-side of the front teeth and can contribute to increased cavities." But Silverstrom is quick to point out that acid erosion on the back of a patient's teeth does not always indicate an eating disorder. He says other possibilities include acid reflux and the use of antidepressants or mood-elevating drugs, both of which reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, thereby upping the odds of acid damage.

7. You have a sinus infection.
"Often patients will call saying that they need a root canal," explains Ira Handschuh, DDS, of The Dental Design Center in NY, "when in fact it's actually a sinus infection and not a tooth problem at all." The reason, he explains, is because the roots of the top teeth are positioned in the same area as the floor of the sinuses. And both sinus infections and toothaches can show symptoms of pressure. "A simple home test is to have a patient bend over to touch their toes. If the pressure or pain increases just by doing this, the pain is most likely not tooth-related and he should see his ENT or primary care physician before coming to the dentist," he advises.

8. You have a vitamin deficiency.

"A deficiency of vitamins and minerals can cause many oral conditions, like burning tongue syndrome, tissue sloughing off, increased infections, delayed healing, bone infections, and easy-to-bleed gums," explains John P. Dougherty, DDS, MAGD, of Artistic Dental at the Biltmore in Phoenix, AZ. Stephenson adds, "Surprisingly, iron deficiencies show up in many ways in your mouth. It can give some patients severe sores in the corners of their mouth while others have changes in their tongues. Some may experience a painful burning sensation, or all the small papillae fall off their tongue leaving it glossy and smooth. Getting more iron will solve these problems."

( Photograph by Tetra Images/Getty Images )

9. You have diabetes.
"Many times, imbalances in sugar will show a rapid change in the healthof your gums, including increased swelling, bleeding, and sensitivity," says Handschuh. "In conjunction, the consistency of saliva may change, and there may be increased decay. These may all be signs of sugar levelsthat are out of control, so dentists can alert patients to see their doctor to check for diabetes."

10. You have a drinking problem.

"Alcoholic patients are cavity-prone because alcohol tends to dry the mouth out," says David Tarica, DMD, of 34th Street Dental in New York City. "A dry mouth will lead to cavities, because saliva neutralizes the damage-causing acid in our mouths. In addition, alcoholics have 'chipmunk red cheeks,' and the smell alone is usually a giveaway."

11. You have oral cancer.
"The first signs of oral cancer can be seen from the following: unexplained bleeding in the mouth, white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, a change in the way your teeth fit together, swellings, thickenings, lumps or bumps or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth," explains Michael Apa, DDS, of Rosenthal Apa Group in New York City. "An oral surgeon should be consulted for a biopsy of any suspicious tissue."

12. You love Gatorade.

You may know why you chipped your tooth, but Hugh Flax, DDS, of Flax Dental in Atlanta says that even though the cause may be apparent, "there could be underlying factors that weakened the tooth and made it susceptible to being chipped in the first place." He explains that teeth can be softened by sodas and other sugary beverages over time, which may make a tooth more susceptible to chipping. Energy drinks, which tend to be even more acidic than soft drinks, may cause even more damage to tooth enamel, he says.


Article Posted on:  http://www.prevention.com/health/what-your-dentist-knows-about-your-health?_ga=1.81606103.1990321626...

By Joel Snyder 20 Jun, 2017
Over the years, I have treated family and friends going through cancer therapy. The symptoms
and side effects of the disease and its treatment can cause physical and oral changes that affect
how you feel and live. The following information is meant for these patients with head and neck
cancer and their caregivers understand and cope with the management of their oral care.

You are welcome to request my whitepaper for more information, call for consultation, or schedule a pre-treatment examination.
---Katharine Jones DDS
By Danielle Burgess 09 Jun, 2017
A person's dazzling smile can provide a lasting impression. Having yellow teeth, missing teeth, or tooth decay can also leave a lasting impression, but not in the way you want it to. 3 million people have dental implants and that number is growing by five hundred thousand a year! Opting for teeth implants not only improve your overall appearance but they can also provide improved speech, self-esteem, ease with eating, and improved oral health. Finding a dental office that has the experience, reputation, and dentists with the expertise needed for this procedure is a must! When you find a dental office that has these qualifications make sure you know what to expect, and go in prepared with questions and concerns. 

Here is a quick dental implants 101 lesson to get you started!

What are dental implants exactly? The definition (according to WEBMD) is: "Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth." A dental implant is made to look, feel, fit and function like a natural tooth when implanted by an experienced cosmetic dentist. To determine if implants are right for you, a consultation with your dentist is needed. During this appointment, your teeth and gums will be thoroughly examined and evaluated. Anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for a dental implant. Smokers have a high risk of an unsuccessful implant, so if you're not willing to quit you may want to consider other options. Also, if you have any oral health issues unrelated to the missing teeth, decay or gum disease, they will need to be taken care of first as they can make treatment less effective in the long run. 

The most common dental implant is Osseointegration. This is a process in which the dental implant anchors to the jaw bone. It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to anchor and heal, and can also be performed in one sitting. Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved especially with local anesthesia. WEBMD states that "patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction." Once the implant is in, the soreness can be taken care of with an over the counter medication. It is recommended that 5-7 days after surgery, your diet should be restricted to soft foods only. If stitches are present, they may need to be removed at the dentist office during a follow up visit. 

Dental implants are extremely durable and while they may need periodic adjustments they can last a lifetime. It is even the preferred option over dentures or a tooth supported bridge. Once you have found your preferred dental office be sure to inquire about the types of dental implants, the aftercare needed (it is based on the individual), and whether or not you're eligible! It is a life changing procedure that can change your smile and self-esteem forever! Now that you know the dental implant basics, what are you waiting for?
By Joel Snyder 13 Apr, 2017

Many people know that poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even lost teeth. But are you aware that failing to brush or visit the dentist regularly also can lead to more serious health issues? According to Colgate, recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections, particularly gum disease, and cardiovascular disease and preterm birth.

A healthy mouth is good for more than just a pretty smile. Oral health can affect the entire body, making dental care more than just a cosmetic concern.

Many people know that poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even lost teeth. But are you aware that failing to brush or visit the dentist regularly also can lead to more serious health issues? According to Colgate, recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections, particularly gum disease, and cardiovascular disease and preterm birth. Gum disease also may make diabetes more difficult to control, since infections may cause insulin resistance and disrupt blood sugar.

Your mouth also can serve as an infection source elsewhere in the body. Bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream through infection sites in the gums. If your immune system is healthy, there should not be any adverse effects. However, if your immune system is compromised, these bacteria can flow to other areas of the body where they can cause infection. An example of this is oral bacteria sticking to the lining of diseased heart valves.

Other links have been found between oral health and overall health. In 2010, researchers from New York University who reviewed 20 years of data on the association concluded that there is a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer's disease. Researchers in the UK also found a correlation. Analysis showed that a bacterium called "Porphyromonas gingivalis" was present in brains of those with Alzheimer's disease but not in the samples from the brains of people who did not have Alzheimer's. The P. gingivalis bacterium is usually associated with chronic gum disease and not dementia.

Researchers also have found a possible link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. Harvard researchers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer compared with men who had never had gum disease, based on studies of men from 1986 through 2007.

While oral health issues may lead to other conditions over time, symptoms also may be indicative of underlying conditions of which a person is unaware. Inflammation of gum tissue may be a warning sign of diabetes. Oral problems, such as lesions in the mouth, may indicate the presence of HIV/AIDS. Dentists may be the first people to diagnose illnesses patients don't even know they have.

An important step in maintaining good overall health is to include dental care in your list of preventative measures. Visit the dentist for biannual cleanings or as determined by the doctor. Do not ignore any abnormalities in the mouth. Maintain good oral hygiene at home by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day. Mouthwashes and rinses also may help keep teeth and gums healthy.

Oral health and other systems of the body seem to be linked. Taking care of your teeth promotes overall health. 

By Joel Snyder 20 Dec, 2016

A brilliant smile, fresh breath -- and the ability to sip a frozen margarita or two without any unnecessary pain -- are the best case scenarios when it comes to oral health, right? "There are three key factors that affect the health and appearance of our teeth: oral health routine, diet and lifestyle choices," Cosmetic dentist and Philips Zoom ambassador Dr Luke Cronin from Quality Dental said.

"Make sure you clean your teeth regularly and effectively, this means morning and night for around two minutes. Electric toothbrushes are clinically proven to remove more plaque than manual brushing. You should also floss every day, flossing removes the food particles and subsequent plaque that can get lodged between teeth that cannot be reached by your toothbrush. The final element of good oral health -- and a great smile -- is regular check-ups and cleans at the dentist."

1. Plaque Problems

"In the absence of effective daily brushing and flossing, plaque build up will occur on your teeth and below the gum-line. Bacteria then forms, which can lead to decay of the tooth's external enamel and other dental problems such as gum disease," Dr Cronin said. "A worst-case scenario is where tooth decay and/or gum disease is undetected or ignored, the structure of the tooth and the surrounding tissues are damaged to the extent that teeth either fall out or have to be removed."

2. Gum Disease

While teeth are the stars of the show when it comes to oral healthcare, our gums need TLC too. Dr Dunn -- who is Macquarie Centre's principal dentist and a Philips Sonicare ambassador -- explained that there are generally no painful symptoms until late on, so patients are often left unaware of the damage being done to their gums. "A patient may notice red and puffy gums (gingivitis) which may bleed from brushing and flossing, leading patients to shy away from effective cleaning," he said. "If left untreated, the gingivitis can progress into periodontal or gum disease. This causes teeth loosening/loss in susceptible people, due to the disease progressing into the supporting bone surrounding the teeth." Dr Dunn advises regular check ups and early intervention to aim to halt the effects of gum disease.

3. Mouth Ulcers

Not many of us haven't felt the uncomfortable sting of a mouth ulcer from time to time. So what causes them? "Ulcer's usually form from minor injuries to the mouth, including those suffered as a result of hard brushing, certain trigger foods including acidic fruits, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, allergies, braces, stress or as a result of a bacterial, viral or fungal infection,' said Dr Dunn."Some are due to generalized medical conditions including auto-immune diseases," Dr Dunn explained that ulcers present as painful lesions to the mouth tissue, on the cheek or gums. The best way to avoid ulcers is, well, avoidance and sleep. "Avoid known acidic trigger foods, follow a balanced and healthy diet, and get enough sleep - plus good oral hygiene is essential," Dr Dunn said.

4. Dental Cavities

If giving up sugar entirely isn't doable -- and we all know how hard it is to avoid office donut time -- then minimise the harm. "Regular consumption of food and beverages that are high in sugar causes the most damage to your teeth. When sugar is consumed it interacts with the bacteria that naturally occurs within the mouth," said Dr Cronin. "The bacteria feeds on the sugar to produce acids that attack the tooth's enamel, if teeth are not regularly cleaned these acids create holes or cavities in the tooth."

Dr Cronin's advice? If you do indulge in a sugary treat or a soft drink, it's worth taking the time to clean your teeth soon afterwards, or rinse your mouth out with water to remove any sugar that is sticking to the surface of your teeth. "Saliva and fluoride both contain minerals that help repair weakened enamel however they will only do so much to counter the effects of sugar on your teeth," Dr Cronin explained.

5. Discolouration In Teeth

You may not be able to start your day without a latte or two but it's not doing anything to help keep. But there are actually ways to regime an holistic boost -- and naturally whiten your teeth too? Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practice done in conjunction with your usual brush and floss routine -- and can whiten teeth more gently. Miranda Kerr is a fan. So what is it?

"Oil pulling is a powerful detoxifying remedy that can help whiten teeth, freshen breath and prevent gums from bleeding," Cocowhirl founder Denise Gribben said.

Oil pulling involves swirling an organic coconut oil around the teeth and gums -- for up to 20 minutes on an empty stomach -- in order to draw out the toxins. The oil's natural antiobiotic and antiviral properties can brighten and clean the teeth.

If alternative methods aren't for you, Dr Cronin suggests, "your best bet is to have a regular clean at your local dentist to remove staining and stubborn plaque build-up."

6. Halitosis

Rachel Hall runs an holistic fresh breath clinic. She's seen -- and smelt -- it all when it comes to halitosis. "There are a surprising number of non dental causes of bad breath," Hall said. "Medications can cause dry mouth and without enough saliva, food particles and bacteria can stay on the teeth. Sinus infections, mouth breathing and some gut bacteria can cause bad breath too. To find out honestly if your breath is less than fresh, lick your wrist, let it dry for 10 seconds and then smell it."

If you don't like what you smell, there are simple ways to fix it. Hall suggests brushing and flossing (you can now also try interdental cleaners) regularly, buying a tongue scraper and using it daily, drinking more water and even using a saltwater gargle to keep your throat and tonsil area clean. "Chewing sugar free gum can help combat bad breath too. To care for your breath holistically, keep fit, get plenty of sleep and avoiding sugar with reduce inflammation in the body which means your mouth will naturally be healthier and fresher," Hall said.


Originally Posted on:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/11/28/6-common-oral-health-issues-and-how-to-manage-them/

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