Gum Disease, Pregnancy & Birth Defects: What’s the Connection?

gum disease birth defects, gum disease pregnancy, gum disease birth complicationsGingivitis is a form of gum inflammation that eventually leads to periodontitis that affects bones and gums. Aside from the dental ramifications, periodontitis has also been linked to birth complications. What exactly is the correlation between gum disease, pregnancy and birth defects?

Gum Disease, Pregnancy and Birth Defects: The Facts

Roughly three-quarters of women develop gingivitis at some point during pregnancy. This is in large part due to hormonal changes. Additional factors like a higher maternal age and lower socioeconomical status increase your risk of gum disease during pregnancy.

Researchers have linked gum disease to birth complications, such as pre-term birth and low birth weight. This has been confirmed in a study published in the US National Library of Medicine.

Babies born below 5.5-pounds are at an increased risk of slow development later in life. This includes slower physical growth, slower cognitive ability, and delayed emotional maturity.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Preventing gum disease is important no matter who you are. However, it’s even more important for pregnant women since the disease is affecting an additional person inside them.

As always, maintain daily hygiene habits at home. This means the usual rounds of brushing and flossing. You should also watch what you consume; limit intake of refined sugars and simple carbohydrates. Continue Reading →

How to Stop Bad Breath in Its Tracks

stop bad breath, bad breath, halitosisStinky breath (halitosis) is embarrassing and is especially problematic if you have to talk to people up close. Why does your breath smell like the pits of hell and what can you do about it? Learn how to stop bad breath naturally.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Some causes are obvious. You know why a smoker would have foul breath. The same goes for someone who just ate garlic. Other causes, though, are less apparent and may also be an indicator of more serious dental issues.

One cause is dry mouth. Lack of saliva production, known as xerostomia, prevents the breakdown of food particles. It also allows odor-producing bacteria to proliferate.

Other causes include a high-sugar diet, drinking too much coffee, digestive issues, and even prescription medication. Continue Reading →

Epilepsy and Oral Health: What’s the Connection?

epilepsy oral healthEpilepsy is a complex neural disorder that causes seizures whose health ramifications are far-reaching, to include having an indirect impact on your teeth and gums. Here’s some important information about the connection between epilepsy and oral health.

The Link Between Epilepsy and Oral Health

When epileptics go into convulsion, they are at risk of damaging their teeth. How so? Seizures often cause epileptics to grind and gnash their teeth. This can result in chipped or cracked teeth. In severe instances, this can cause a tooth to loosen or dislodge from its socket. It may also lead to a fractured jaw or TMJ disc displacement.

Unfortunately, some anti-convulsion medications can also cause side effects that impact dental health, including diminished vitamin D absorption, which affects teeth remineralization. Another side effect is overgrown gums, which increases plaque buildup. Continue Reading →

What’s the Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health?

diabetes oral health, oral health, diabetesAccording to the World Health Organization, 422 million people worldwide lived with type II diabetes in 2014. If you have diabetes, or are at risk, then you may also be at risk of periodontal disease. To know for sure, let’s explore the connection between diabetes and oral health.

Diabetes and Oral Health: What’s the Link?

Diabetes is a condition that adversely affects your body’s ability to regulate blood glucose. This condition also comes with a plethora of side effects, one of which is dry mouth. This means that you produce less saliva. Without saliva, bacteria settle in the mouth, eventually causing teeth to decay and rot.

Diabetes patients are at greater risk of developing cavities. In addition, they are also more prone to mouth soreness, ulcers, and overall poorer dental health.

That’s not all; diabetes also slows the body’s ability to heal from wounds. This may slow recovery time after a major oral surgery, such as a dental implant. Having diabetes might even make you ineligible for such treatments. You would need to speak with your endodontist to find out what your options are. Some dentists will test your blood sugar beforehand to determine whether you’re eligible for certain operations. Continue Reading →

The Dental Effects of Thumb Sucking

thumb suckingParents need not be concerned about how much their children suck their thumbs. This is a natural behavior. However, if a child continues to do it well after it’s appropriate for their age, that can be bad. Thumb sucking can have long-term dental ramifications.

Why Children Suck Their Thumbs

Babies suck their thumbs because it releases endorphins. The released neurotransmitters help children relax, much the same way holding a stuffed animal or blanket makes them feel safe. Aside from their thumbs, they may also suck other fingers, a pacifier, or a sippy cup.

The Problem with Prolonged Thumb Sucking

Unfortunately, too much thumb sucking can have long-term consequences. Children may develop thumb callouses or a speech impediment. From a dental standpoint, our endodontists warn that it may lead to abnormal teeth alignment and premature teeth eruption. It may also lead to palatal narrowing. This occurs when the roof of the mouth does not develop to full size. Other issues include an open bite and malocclusion. Continue Reading →

Improve Dental Health with Oil Pulling

oil pulling, oral hygieneMore people are exploring alternative forms of dental care. One such method is called “oil pulling,” which some people swear by. What exactly is this method and is it a legitimate form of oral hygiene?

What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a form of Ayurvedic medicine that originated in India. Basically, the idea is to rinse your mouth using some form of oil, such as coconut oil. Because of oil’s viscous quality, it supposedly helps loosen bacteria especially in hard-to-reach areas.

Does Oil Pulling Work?

Some people claim oil pulling has cured teeth that might otherwise need root canals. Their oral surgeons were astonished that previous signs of tooth rot had vanished. While we believe oil pulling may have positive effects, we are naturally wary of such claims.

Admittingly, preliminary studies do show that the method might indeed reduce plaque. However, no studies suggest oil pulling is a cure-all that reverses dental caries, root canal procedures, or dental pockets. Continue Reading →

How to Prevent Dry Mouth When You Sleep

dry mouth sleep“Dry mouth” is a common symptom most people can attest to experiencing at one point or another. This often occurs during slumber. Why is dry mouth during sleep bad? The answer is simple: lack of saliva creates a breeding ground for bad bacteria. Read on to learn about the causes and how to prevent it.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth isn’t a disease; it’s often a symptom of other medical conditions. Factors such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or natural aging can increase instances. Smokers and heavy drinkers are also at risk.

Consequences of dry mouth include bad breath, sore throat, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. You might also notice frequent cracking and splitting on the surface of your lips.

Why Is Dry Mouth Bad?

As mentioned, having a dry mouth means that your saliva production is low. Low saliva leads to the prevalence of more bacteria. Without treatment, this eventually leads to gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. Our oral surgeons warn of the dangers of dry mouth; seek treatment if you experience the sensation frequently. Continue Reading →

Four Dental New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

dental resolutions, New Year’s resolutions2019 is upon us. What are some of your resolutions? If you’re like most people, you probably plan to lose some weight or get that long-due job promotion. Here’s another thought: how about some dental New Year’s resolutions? Better health, after all, includes your teeth and gums.

1. Clean Up Your Diet

Making better food choices is beneficial because it kills multiple birds with one stone. You’ll lose weight, have more energy, and improve your dental health. People often overlook the last point. Eating healthier means less refined carbs and sugar that lead to tooth decay and caries.

2. Kick the Habit

Now is a good time to quit if you’re a smoker. We know this is easier said than done. However, smoking not only drastically increases lung cancer risk but you also double the risk of gum disease. As an aside, smoking also stains your teeth. Our cosmetic dentists often treat patients with teeth that are brown because of years of lighting up. Continue Reading →

Five Dental-Related Gifts for Children

gifts for childrenWe know kids don’t always like to brush. The process for them is a chore, much like eating their vegetables. This is why we recommend some dental-related gifts for children this Christmas. These gifts make great stocking stuffers and motivate your young ones to follow daily oral hygiene.

1. A New Toothbrush

For a child, a new toothbrush is like getting a package of tube socks. However, children’s toothbrushes come in endless varieties. Consider Marvel-themed toothbrushes or Disney-themed toothbrushes; boys and girls like both kinds. Some of these are battery-operated and vibrate, making brushing a delight.

2. Flavored Toothpaste

Instead of the traditional mint-flavored toothpaste, consider toothpaste with atypical flavors. Some of these include fruity, cupcake, and even bacon-flavored paste. Whatever flavor or brand you choose, be sure it has the ADA seal of approval. Continue Reading →

Five Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid This Holiday

thanksgiving foods, foods to avoidThanksgiving is one of the few days of the year when you can throw your diet out the window. Even so, we believe you should avoid or limit certain types of foods. We outline some common Thanksgiving foods to avoid for the sake of your dental health.

1. Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a fall staple and goes great as a topping for both sweet and savory dishes. Cranberries are naturally tart and sour, which is why most premade cranberry sauces are loaded with sugar. Any family dentist will tell you that foods with high sugar content and zero fiber are a no-no.

2. Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes are healthy. However, common casseroles with sweet potatoes often contain marshmallows as a surface topping. Marshmallows are not only sweet but also sticky, a deadly combination for your teeth. If you love casserole, consider a savory alternative with natural herbs and spices. Continue Reading →