Time to Break the Barrier: Dentistry Falls Under a Medical Practice

Time to Break the Barrier: Dentistry Falls Under a Medical Practice

The first dental school was founded in the United States in 1840. Can you believe that? Since then, however, dentistry and medicine have been taught as — and viewed as — two separate professions. That artificial division is bad for the public’s health. It’s time to bring the mouth back into the body.*

Let’s get together in one linguistic tongue and realize a Doctor earns his or her title for a reason. When you go to see your primary care physician, you refer to them as Dr. {insert name here}, when go to the dentist, you also refer to them as Dr. {dentist’s name here}. So why is there a divide to who knows what, and who treats your overall health.

Dentistry used to only be able to focus on extracting decayed teeth and plugging cavities. Now, in modern times, dentists use methods for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. We implant teeth, pinpoint oral cancers, use 3-D imaging to reshape a jaw, and can treat some dental decay medically, without a drill.

Local dentists, far and wide, have discovered the innate connection between oral health and overall health. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, has been linked to the development of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Pregnant women with periodontitis are more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, a potentially serious complication of pregnancy, and deliver low-birth-weight babies.

For ages and ages, people have known that a lot of health issues start in the mouth. Here’s what an integrated dental health/primary care visit might look like to a patient: When you go for a routine teeth cleaning, you would be cared for by a team of physicians, dentists, nurses, and physician and dental assistants. One or more of them would take your blood pressure, check your weight, update your medications, see if you are due for any preventive screenings or treatments, and clean your teeth. If you have an artificial heart valve or have previously had a heart infection, or you are taking a blood thinner, your clinicians will manage these conditions without multiple calls to referring doctors.

Poor oral health is more than a “tooth problem.” We use our mouth to eat, to breathe, and to speak. Oral pain results in lost time from school and work and lowered self-esteem. Inflammation in the gums and mouth may help set the stage for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions.

Bottom line is listen to your dentist. Great oral care means great health.

*https://www.statnews.com/2017/07/17/dentistry-medicine-division/

Time to Brush Up on Dental Hygiene

Time to Brush Up on Dental Hygiene

Bad oral care leads to bad breath and not-so-good-looking teeth. Admit it, the first thing you do in the morning, or even the second, is brush your teeth. But, have you ever thought you might be doing it all wrong? You’ve probably been brushing your teeth since you could hold a toothbrush, and bad habits are hard to break. It is worth every effort, though, to try and win each time you put your toothbrush inside your mouth.

The next time you practice your tooth-care technique, make sure you do not commit these brushing crimes, and keep your teeth in tip-top shape.

Using the same toothbrush for far too long.
The average life of a toothbrush is about 2 months or 200 uses. Meaning, the bristles of the brush start to wear out and don’t clean your teeth properly. Keep changing your brush on a regular basis before the bristles wear out. Too many uses of an old brush simply aren’t as effective against plaque, gingivitis or other mouth-altering thoughts.

Not giving your tongue tender, loving care. It may feel odd to brush your tongue, but it’s an important step of oral health. When you’re done brushing your teeth, drag your toothbrush across your tongue to remove bacteria, or purchase a tongue scraper. Nowadays they are available almost anywhere.

Avoiding proper technique. Easily fixable. Dedicate minutes of your precious morning and pre-bedtime routines and try putting the toothbrush in your non-dominant hand. Then place the toothbrush over your teeth and wiggle it back and forth a little bit, making sure the bristles cover each tooth and work their way around the sides of the tooth. What you are doing is letting the bristles of the toothbrush to find their way into the spaces between your teeth. This ensures all of the food particles and plaque are removed. Stop your hacksaw moves of aggressive back-and-forth motions. Take your time and improvements will follow.

Not brushing long enough. Yes, we are all in a rush in the morning and tend to rush through brushing our teeth as well which leaves the teeth in a bad state. Two minutes is the minimum time you need to spend on brushing your teeth and nothing less than that.

Your toothbrush lives on the counter. We are aware that most people go out and buy a toothbrush holder for the decor of their restroom. As experts, we warn to not EVER leave your toothbrush out. Every time the toilet flushes, you might not see it, but it openly spreads human feces in the air, which could be settling on your toothbrush..

Oral care is one of the most important parts of life. Major organs can be hurt, or fail on you, from mouth complications. For example, according to Delta Dental, “the heart and heart valves can become inflamed by bacterial endocarditis, a condition that affects people with heart disease or anyone with damaged heart tissue.” Plus, digestion begins in the mouth, and problems that start there could lead to irritable bowel syndrome, or even intestinal failure. Absolutely no one wants to take part in any of that.

Mouthwash Helps Provide a Total Clean

Mouthwash Helps Provide a Total Clean

Mouthwashes are a great addition to your oral hygiene ritual. There are two predominate kinds, one with fluoride, a chemical used to strengthen teeth and reduce decay; and there’s the kind with antiseptics, designed to attack the germs that can cause decay and gum disease. Both are effective in their promise and will deliver results to the user, but they’re no substitute for flossing and brushing, and should be treated as an accessory to use after your more thorough regime is complete.

I know most of my patient’s dislike flossing. Not without reason, it’s time consuming and awkward. For infrequent flossers, there can be some discomfort associated with picking at your gum-line. But, it is absolutely essential for your mouth health. I can see when my patients don’t floss correctly, or even at all. Plaque builds up along the bottom gum line and can cause discomfort if left untreated for too long. Bleeding gums and pain are all potential signs of peritonitis and can be avoided if one practices proper flossing habits. With so many options available, you can make it easy to find something that fits you. There’s personal flossers with handles, there’s the traditional dental string and there’s even dental tape. Differentiating thicknesses and wax application make the options endless and are aimed to find a solution to the discomfort many people experience during the process. The more you take flossing into your own hands, the less I have to scrape out during your visits to me.

Mouthwash is a great tool to use after flossing, and your mouth will be extra healthy with this winning combination. After food and plaque gets uprooted and loosened away from the teeth, rinsing with mouthwash neutralizes what was just brought out and kills the germs that surround the base of our teeth. Mouthwash can get in between the crevices of teeth and more easily remove buildup that’s been loosened with the proper care techniques. There are a few different kinds of mouthwash you can choose from, they’re all effective but if you have specialized concerns, a little research into what you’re swishing with can go a long way.

Mouthwashes with fluoride are used to help strengthen teeth while adding extra protection against tooth decay. Since fluoride is present in most toothpastes, and tap water – consuming excessive amounts can have some negative health side effects, so keep in mind an approximate amount that you’re actually consuming. Antiseptic mouthwashes contain chlorhexidine gluconate, a chemical that stops the growth of bacteria. This mouthwash is recommended for people who are battling an infection and stronger versions can be picked up over the counter with a prescription from your dentist. These mouthwashes break down plaque intensely in the short term, but can cause more bacteria to grow if overused, since it so harshly strips the mouth. Antiseptic mouthwash is also useful for anyone who suffers from halitosis. Fresh off the farm to table trend, natural mouthwashes are now more available than ever. They’re alcohol free and contain no fluoride, so they work similarly to conventional or cosmetic mouthwashes. If you’re going the au-natural route, a pinch of salt and warm water can ease inflammation and pain associated with dental problems, and this can also treat the mouth for infection and injury.
While mouthwashes are great for a lot of things, they won’t replace regular checkups with me. I love a lazy life hack as much as the next guy, but you’re still going to need to brush and floss twice a day, every day, even with the addition of a mouthwash. Be sure you’re following your oral hygiene routine normally to keep your teeth happy and healthy, and visit me regularly so I can remind you of what a great job you’re doing.

Are you using the right toothpaste?

Are you using the right toothpaste?

Choices choices choices. There are a lot of choices out there regarding which toothpastes will do wonders for your teeth. Like an expensive car, you want to be picky about which soap will make it really shine. Which toothpastes should I use then, you might ask. I could never tell you which ones not to use, but by listing some simple recommendations of what to look for in your toothpaste will hopefully make standing in front of the dental care section at Walmart a little less stressful.

First things first, a few things to note: before choosing your toothpaste be sure that it has an ADA (American Dental Association) seal on the box. This means that the product’s claims are legitimate because it’s been tested, and the ingredients prove to be effective. The taste, whether it be bubble gum, cinnamon or spearmint has nothing to do with the product’s effectiveness to protect your teeth. On the other hand these flavors have been exquisitely designed to bring you a rush of tasty distraction from the yucky taste of, well, mouth.

You’re probably aware that fluoride is great for your teeth in that it promotes fresher breath and healthier teeth overall. Many toothpastes have fluoride in them and some do not. Being a naturally occurring mineral, fluoride helps protect your teeth from acid that is released when bacteria feed on sugars left on your teeth. For this reason I recommend brushing and spitting but not rinsing; you’ll leave the fluoride behind and let the ingredient work its magic longer.

Tartar build up sounds gross right? Well, it is if you let it get out of control and too hard- at that point the only savior is that little pick us dentists wield to scrape it off. Toothpastes that contain fighting elements against tartar can help prevent heavy plaque from hardening. Look for ingredients on the label like pyrophosphates and zinc citrate.

Most toothpastes promote their whitening factor, and why wouldn’t they? White teeth are the prettiest teeth! Whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles to help you attain a pearly white smile. Silica is the ingredient in whitening toothpastes, but don’t get scared. These ingredients are proven to be no more harmful to your teeth enamel than other types of toothpastes.

At the end of the day, choose a toothpaste that you enjoy using. It will drive you to brush more often, longer and in an effective way. Keeping up other healthy oral health practices are necessary in maintaining a healthy smile, so don’t solely rely on your toothpaste to get the job done! With regular dental visits and use of the proper dental habits, you’ll have a gorgeous smile year round.