If you have diabetes, you are probably aware the disease affects various parts of the body including the nerves, eyes, heart, and kidneys. Unfortunately, you may not know that diabetes may also have a significant impact on your oral health. According to the American Dental Association, diabetics are at greater risk for developing certain oral health problems including the following:
Diabetes can decrease the production of saliva, leading to a condition known as dry mouth. Dry mouth may lead to tooth decay and painful ulcers. Chronic dry mouth, plus the body’s lowered resistance to infection, increases your risk of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Periodontal disease is also shown to increase blood glucose levels.
Thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth. Uncontrolled diabetes may cause sugar levels in your saliva to increase and thrush to develop. Thrush typically starts with white patches on the inside of the mouth. The infection can cause painful sores or even difficulty swallowing if not treated.
Diabetes may cause you to heal more slowly after dental surgery. Slower healing may also make you more prone to post-surgical infection. Make sure your dentist is aware of your condition before undergoing any major dental procedure. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection. You should also try to control your blood sugar levels before, during, and after surgery to promote faster healing.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends taking the following steps to protect your oral health if you have diabetes:
You should see your dentist immediately if you have any of the following warning signs of a serious oral health problem:
Your dentist and hygienist should be a part of your overall diabetes management team. Make sure they are aware of our current treatment regimen and level of diabetes control. By following good dental hygiene practices and keeping glucose in check, you can prevent diabetes from affecting your oral health.
Every adult should know that smoking is directly linked to health threats such as heart disease and cancer. However, you may not realize that the smoke you inhale when you puff on a cigarette, cigar or pipe can be harmful long before it gets deep into your body. Medical science has in fact established a definite link between the use of tobacco products and gum disease. UNDERSTANDING GUM DISEASE Much attention is given to the proper care of teeth, often to the point of neglecting the gums. However, gum disease can be more insidious than tooth decay. These are some of the symptoms indicating that something is wrong with your gums: * Tenderness * Swelling * Bleeding * Loose teeth Gum disease starts with the development of plaque that accumulates where the teeth and gums meet, and which contains bacteria and harmful microorganisms. The result of excessive plaque is an infection to the gums known as gingivitis. If not treated, gingivitis will cause the teeth and the gums to separate and will eventually damage the underlying bone. At this stage, the condition is known as periodontitis. The most important part of any gum therapy procedure is the removal of the plaque that has accumulated. This can be accomplished through a simple cleaning by a dental specialist or, if necessary, a deep cleaning that involves the rigorous scraping away of the material above and below the gum line. Periodontitis may require dental surgery, possibly even grafting if the bone has been hopelessly damaged by the disease. Gingivitis is easier to treat than periodontitis due to the fact that the bone has no chance of regeneration once it has been seriously damaged. The best way to prevent gum disease is by maintaining good oral hygiene, which includes twice-day brushings for two minutes each, daily flossing, and regular visits to the dentist. Another way to prevent gum disease is the avoidance of smoking. THE EFFECTS OF SMOKING ON THE GUMS There is no evidence that the use of tobacco products directly causes gum disease. However, it can worsen the situation created by the accumulation of plaque or tarter. The effects come from how smoking affects other parts of the mouth or the body in general. Smoking dries the mouth by reducing the production of saliva, which naturally cleans away plaque. Saliva also contains protective antibodies, and a decrease in its amount can lead to an increase in the bacteria associated with gum disease. Another effect of smoking is a reduction in the flow of blood that itself contains the white cells that naturally resist the same bacteria. Those who have developed gum disease can actually reduce their chances of a full recovery by continuing to smoke after they have received periodontal treatment. If you want to protect your gums, you need to practice good oral hygiene. You also need to quit smoking, or never take it up in the first place. More information on the effects of smoking on gums can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/periodontal-gum-disease.html. If you have any questions or concerns about how to protect your mouth against gum disease, call our dentist in Springfield, VA, to learn more.
We would prefer that we could schedule inconveniences, but that is not possible. At the very least, we ought to be prepared for the unexpected as much as we can. Being in pain commands our full attention and if we have a plan in place beforehand, then the emergency will end sooner than if we had no plan. It is obvious that we are not at our best at making decisions when in pain. When that pain is dental, it may escalate to the point where we begin to consider emergency treatment. Pain somehow seems exponentially worse in the middle of the night than in the daylight hours, and the question of whether to pursue professional pain relief depends on several factors. Let’s plan now for those times by examining our options. DENTAL EMERGENCIES A knocked-out tooth, a swollen gum or jaw where you suspect an abscess, and dental agony which do not respond to over-the-counter analgesics all require emergency attention. Many dentists schedule in response time for dental emergencies during their workday, so check with your dentist first of all. The dreaded after-hours emergency need not be insurmountable. If your locality offers either a private or university-based dental clinic, check them for extended hours and emergency services. In the meantime, deal with your situation by treating yourself. Secure your knocked-out tooth in a glass of milk until it can be reinserted. Warm compresses over any swelling will ease the discomfort until you may be treated professionally. As a last resort, the hospital emergency room will help you become pain-free until your regular dentist is available. MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD EMERGENCIES REQUIRE A JUDGMENT CALL Techniques exist for ameliorating dental pain, and you should know them. Oil of clove applied to the aching tooth is a traditional analgesic, and packing a vacant filling space with sugarless gum helps with smoothing rough edges which may abrade the inside of your mouth. Rubbing an ice cube on the web between the thumb and forefinger on the same side of the body as the pain has been reported to be successful. PAINFUL CONDITIONS CAN BE HELPED, TOO These conditions may not be a full-fledged emergency, but they hurt enough to require assistance as soon as possible. For instance, loose braces or wires which jab the sensitive inside of the mouth may be smoothed by applying orthodontic wax over the abrasive edges. Gentle flossing between the teeth will remove any bits of food that may be causing pressure, and your problem will be solved quickly if this is the only factor causing pain. A time-honored technique is to rinse the mouth with salt water several times daily. Knowing these pain control techniques will make the difference between a restful night and a pain-filled one. Your dentist wants you to be pain-free at all times, so let’s help them out by learning as much as possible what to do in a dental emergency. If you have any questions or need to visit our office due to a dental emergency in Springfield, VA, call us immediately to schedule or walk in, we are here to help.
Plaque is a mixture of bacterial by-products, food particles, and saliva that builds upon the surfaces of your teeth. If your teeth feel sticky or furry, you have plaque. Plaque results from eating carbohydrates. The bacteria in your mouth combine with carbohydrates to form acid. This acid combines with food and saliva to make a paste that sticks to the surfaces in your mouth. Plaque collects in places where it is hard to clean the gum line, between teeth, and on the soft surfaces of your mouth such as your tongue or your cheek. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar which has to be scraped off the surfaces of your teeth. The good thing about plaque is it’s not permanent. There are five ways to prevent plaque from damaging your health. 1. BRUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE A DAY Don’t forget to brush all the surfaces in your mouth including the front, top, and back surfaces of your teeth, your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and the inner sides of the cheek. Most people don’t brush their teeth long enough to clean all the surfaces in their mouths. Play a song that lasts at least 2 minutes long and brush your teeth for the entire tune. 2. FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH To prevent plaque from deteriorating the surfaces between your teeth, floss. Use dental floss or other devices to clean the surfaces between teeth and along the gum line that the brush can’t reach. 3. MOUTHWASH Rinse your teeth for thirty seconds twice a day with an antiseptic mouth rinse after brushing and flossing. An antiseptic mouth rinse does more than make your breath smell sweet it provides an added health benefit. After careful brushing to remove harmful bacteria rinsing with an antiseptic rinse helps slow the growth of new bacteria. 4. LIMIT STICKY OR SUGARY FOODS Brush your teeth as soon as you can after eating sticky, sugary foods. Not only does the sugar stick more readily to the surfaces of your teeth, but it also provides a banquet for acid-forming bacteria. There are two stopgap measures you can use if you can’t brush right away: swish and chew. Swish your mouth with water to dislodge larger pieces of sticky, sugary foods. Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production. These will not remove plaque, but they will lessen the number of food particles the bacteria feed on-less food for bacteria, less acid. You will still need to brush and floss to thoroughly remove the added plaque caused by eating sticky, sugary foods. 5. VISIT YOUR DENTIST REGULARLY A visit to the dentist and the hygienist every 6 months helps keep teeth in their best health. These visits help your dentist monitor the health of your teeth and provide the necessary care for a healthy, disease-free mouth. Brushing, flossing, rinsing, limiting sticky, sugary foods, and Regular dentist visits are the foundation of dental health. Use these five steps to fight plaque and help you prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Lifestyle choices make a significant impact on how well you are in terms of health, and how long you are going to live. This includes your dental health. Often, you can prevent the vast number of dental issues, at least in part, by having a good dental routine. BRUSHING AND FLOSSING We are creatures of habit. Results from research conducted on many people show one clear secret of a longer and healthier life – good dental hygiene. What this indicates is that every one of us, regardless of age and health conditions, should have a routine of brushing and flossing every day, preferably twice a day. HEALTHY FOOD AND DRINKS You should minimize the amount of unhealthy food you consume as a part of your general health. However, if you have cavities or sensitive teeth, then avoiding junk food and sugary treats is even more important. Note that when it comes to food choice, moderation is the key and watchword. VISIT A DENTIST It is important to see a dentist at least once a year, irrespective of whether or not you’re currently experiencing dental issues. Your decision in choosing a dentist who is trained and skilled may come down to the dentist’s practice style and popularity. The choice is yours. Choose a dentist who can communicate well with you regarding your problems. Make an appointment for an initial consultation, which is usually free. Ask who covers for the dentist, what treatment you may need, what care to expect, and so on. If you feel comfortable with the dentist after checking out the credentials and having a consultation, you have probably found the right person. LEARN ABOUT DENTAL HEALTH Learn some of the basic dental health terms. Stick with websites that have forums and discussions about having a good dental routine. You will have a number of options with toothpaste selection, floss selection, dentist choice, and other routine-related matters. The buck stops with you. If you aren’t satisfied with one dentist, seek a second opinion. Most of all, don’t waste your time waiting for an opinion you like. CONCLUSION If you make oral hygiene a priority, you will have a much better chance of avoiding gum disease, cavities, and other dental issues. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by developing a great dental routine! Call our dentist in Springfield, VA, to help you keep your mouth healthy and your smile dazzling!
Here at Sina Malekuti, DDS, PC, we endeavor to use our new blog as a regular means for publishing valuable content for our community through monthly blog posts. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we’re able to further explore some of the most important topics pertaining to our industry and area of expertise here on our website through these articles. Each profession tends to be its own little niche, which is a good thing because it creates a unique space for our services and a place for you to learn and implement helpful ideas that can benefit you and the people you care about. We’re excited to share this ongoing knowledge base of blog articles with this online community. These blogs provide timely and relevant information that’s conveniently accessible online. Indeed, we hope that this community will use the valuable information found in our regular blog posts, because they are an effective way for us to reach out to you on a monthly basis, while you still enjoy the comforts of your own home. If you have any questions or want more information, we invite you to call our team at Sina Malekuti, DDS, PC in Springfield, Virginia, today at 703-451-3211. We look forward to helping you in any way we can, and we thank you for the opportunity!