Could a Probiotic Pill Prevent Cavities?

probioticResearchers have pinpointed a ‘good bacterium’ that reduces acidity and fights ‘bad bacteria’ in the mouth, potentially paving the way for a probiotic remedy to prevent caries. Dealing with cavities could one day be as simple as taking a supplement to keep unwanted bacteria in check. This is according to findings published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Read the full article from Medical News Today here: Could a probiotic pill prevent dental cavities?

Five Unexpected Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth

ruining your teethYou know the things that can cause cavities, right? Sugar, soda and bad oral hygiene to name a few. But there are some other things that you probably never realized could be ruining your teeth. Here are 5 unexpected culprits and how to stop them from hurting your smile.

Cardio – Long cardio workouts can be hurting your teeth. Research has compared the oral health of endurance athletes with those who don’t exercise and found that the athletes were more likely to have tooth erosion. This is because exercise reduces your saliva.  Saliva is what nurtures your teeth and neutralizes the acids that can cause them to wear and rot.

What can you do? Try brushing before you exercise and rinsing your mouth with water.  This will help keep the decay causing bacteria at bay. You can also try chewing sugar free gum while you workout to boost your saliva production.

Weight lifting – It is a natural tendency to clench your jaw when you strain as you lift weights. But all that pressure on your teeth can wear them down or even cause them to crack.  This may lead to persistent pain in your jaw.

What can you do? Consider wearing a mouth guard in the gym. Inexpensive mouth guards are effective and easy to find at most stores, or you can have your dentist make you a custom one that will fit your mouth the best.

Medications – There are many types of medications that can cause dry mouth.  Medicines for allergies, depression, heart health, blood pressure and more. Dry mouth may not seem like a major side effect but it can damage your teeth.  This is because, as mentioned above, decreased saliva means decreased protection from the bacteria on your teeth.

What can you do? Chew on sugar free gum or suck on sugar free hard candy throughout the day to help stimulate saliva production. Stay away from sugary and acidic foods that encourage decay.

Heartburn – Besides feeling the uncomfortable pains in your chest caused by heartburn is not fun.  But acid reflux can do permanent damage to your teeth as well. The acid from your digestive system winds up in your mouth which can lead to erosion.

What can you do? Talk to your doctor or dentist about how to treat your heartburn.  Sometimes a prescription medication may be the solution.

Meal Time Brushing – Brushing right after eating acidic foods, such as juice, fruit, sports drinks, wine and soda, can weaken enamel and lead to erosion. It can also lead to yellowing of the teeth as well as cracks and chips.

What can you do? Swish with water to rinse away the acid from these foods and then wait 40 minutes for the calcium in your saliva to remineralize.  Then you can brush.

5 Surprising Ways You’re Seriously Hurting Your Teeth|Prevention

Risk Factors Associated with Oral Cancer

oral cancerAnything that increases your risk of developing a disease is known as a risk factor. Everyone is at risk of getting oral cancer but certain factors place you at a higher risk of developing it. Oral cancer can develop anywhere in the mouth or throat with most of the cancers starting in the tongue and in the floor of the mouth.

The following are the general, genetic, and lifestyle risk factors associated with oral cancer:

The gender factor – Oral and oropharyngeal cancer are two times as widespread in men as in women. Alcohol and tobacco use constitute a significant oral cancer risk factor which is more prevalent in men than women, hence the difference may be linked to their use. However, since more women are using tobacco and alcohol, the gender difference among oral cancer patients is lessening.

The age factor – The oral cancer diagnosis age averages at about 60 to 62 with two thirds of the people with the ailment being over 55 years old.

The UV light factor – Individuals who are either exposed to sunlight for longer periods or work in the open commonly tend to develop cancers of the lip. Unhealthy diet deficient in vegetables and fruits has also been linked to a heightened risk of oral and oropharynx cancer.

The family history factor – Individuals who have a family history of oral cancer have a higher risk of the disease.

Using tobacco products – Tobacco in whatever form, be it cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing and sniffing tobacco, can lead to oral cavity and oropharynx cancer. It is estimated that 80 percent of individuals with this condition use these products.

Using alcohol – The more the number of drinks consumed per day the higher the risk of developing oral cancer. This risk doubles or triples in people who drink alcohol and smoke tobacco than in those who only drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. It is estimated that 70 percent of individuals found with oral cancer drink heavily.

Blending and chewing betel quid and tobacco – A lot of people from various locations of the world chew these two which have been linked to a greater risk of oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

Graft-versus-host disease abbreviated as GVH, HPV infection, immune system suppression, lichen planus are additional risk factors of oral cancer. There also have been some concerns which however are still debatable about the possibility of some products such as mouthwash increasing the risk of oral cancer owing to their high alcohol content. Even though so far there has been no proof, there are unconfirmed risk factors linked to irritation arising from dentures.

It is clear that some oral cancer risk factors can be lowered particularly those linked to lifestyle. Avoiding these factors can help prevent oral cancer and oropharyngeal cancer.

Can Pregnant Women Undergo Dental Treatment?

dental treatment for pregnant womenAccording to the Journal of the American Dental Association, it is, indeed, safe for pregnant women to undergo dental treatment and even with local anesthetics. According to the study, there is no evidence to show that dental treatment with anesthetics is harmful to pregnant women.

Many pregnant women avoid the dentist because they worry it won’t be safe. But it is important to visit the dentist especially if you are pregnant. A mother’s oral health during pregnancy is critical because pregnant women may have increase risk of tooth decay. Because the mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, you need to keep your mouth healthy so the rest of your body can be free of health issues while pregnant.

Dentists and doctors should encourage pregnant women to seek dental treatment and maintain good oral health. See your dentist, even if a dental problem does not exist.

New Study Shows Dental Treatment During Pregnancy Is Safe|Dentistry IQ

Keep A Check On Toothbrush Abrasion

toothbrush 2Too much of anything can have devastating results. This rule of thumb holds true for brushing your teeth as well. Overzealous brushing of teeth can damage the bristles of the toothbrush and result in a condition called toothbrush abrasion.

Those who have had a previous traumatic experience due to dental pain or dental treatments tend to brush their teeth vigorously thinking that this will keep dental problems at bay. This is the wrong idea as one needs to understand the simple concept of dental problems. Plaque is the source of almost every dental or gum problem. It is a soft film that covers the oral surfaces and is composed of oral bacteria, sugars and proteins. This soft layer takes about 12 hours to form. Hence, dentists recommend to brush twice daily. Plaque can be removed easily with optimum force application and excessive forces are absolutely unnecessary and harmful.

Effects of toothbrush abrasion

  1. First of all, hard or vigorous brushing causes hardening and uneven breaking of the bristles of your toothbrush. Hence, the life of a toothbrush is shortened. When this happens, your toothbrush should go to the trash can. Unfortunately, people fail to get rid of it and over time it causes further harm to the oral tissues.
  2. Toothbrush abrasion starts with a small ledge formation on the tooth surface at the edge of the gums. You can feel it with your fingernail. In some cases, the person experiences sensitivity when the ledge is touched. This ledge marks the area where the enamel layer has been worn out from aggressive tooth-brushing.
  3. Slowly the small ledge deepens and widens and assumes a V shape wedge.
  4. The gums start receding as they are being rubbed hard on a daily basis. This process leads to an increase in tooth sensitivity as the roots of the teeth get exposed.

The best way to deal with this problem is by changing the method of brushing your teeth.

  • Use a toothbrush with soft or ultra-soft bristles.
  • Use electric toothbrushes that have built in sensor that assesses the pressure applied while brushing. Excess pressure is indicated by a light or sound. Some modern electric toothbrushes do not work when excessive force is applied.
  • Use any normal toothpaste instead of whitening toothpastes as the latter are loaded with abrasive particles. A toothbrush dipped in fluoride mouthwashes are also an excellent alternative to the conventional brushing technique.
  • Modify the strokes you use for brushing your teeth. Move your toothbrush in an up and down motion. Strictly avoid horizontal left-right strokes.

These simple techniques can protect your teeth from toothbrush abrasion and help you maintain your teeth and gums in a healthy state.