Glick & Woods Dentistry

Glick & Woods Dentistry

Solid-Head Power Toothbrushes Are More Hygienic than Hollow-Head Ones

Did you know solid-head power toothbrushes are better hygiene-wise compared to the hollow-head ones? According to researchers from University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Dentistry, hollow-head power toothbrushes retain more bacteria. In nine out of ten comparisons, microbial counts in solid-head power toothbrushes were lower than the hollow-heads, lead research author Prof. Donna Warren Morris, R.D.H., M.Ed., revealed.

“Toothbrushes can transmit microorganisms that cause disease and infections,” Prof. Morris said. “[But] a solid-head design allows for less growth of bacteria.” She added that the bristles should be soft and nylon-made.

The study was carried out for three weeks where participants were told to brush their teeth twice each day. In addition, the participants were only given non-antimicrobial but were allowed to continue with their flossing routine. However, they refrained from using other dental products.

Following the conclusion of the study, the researchers revealed that the power toothbrushes, as well as its users, were exposed to five different types of microorganisms:

(1) anaerobes and facultative microorganisms,
(2) yeast and mold,
(3) oral streptococci and oral enterococci anaerobes,
(4) Porphyromonas gingivalis, and (5) Fusobacterium species.

While bacterial growth found in toothbrushes are not known to cause health problems, Prof. Morris said it is associated with systemic diseases such as colorectal cancer, which is linked with the Fusobacterium species. There is also a concrete association between gum disease and these bacteria.

In most cases, packaging of most power toothbrushes do not provide labels or identifying markings to identify whether it is a hollow-head or a solid-head. To distinguish solid-head power toothbrushes from hollow-heads, Prof. Morris has this to say: “The best way to identify a solid-head design is through the connection to the body of the power toothbrush. Naturally, there will be some space to connect the two parts but a significant portion will be solid, up to the bristles or brush head.”

Poor Dental Hygiene Linked with Alzheimer’s Disease, Pancreatic-update

If you think poor dental hygiene can lead to nothing more than just tooth decay or gum problems, think again. Not brushing your teeth will not only lead to you bad breath; it could also lead to grave, serious consequences.

Alzheimer’s Disease

In 2013, researchers from the University of Central Lancashire also discovered a type of bacterium known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, which was found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease; this bacterium is associated with recurring gum disease. According to them, the bacteria are capable of leaving the mouth and directly entering the brain in two ways: (1) by crawling up the nerves connecting the tooth roots and the brain or (2) via the blood circulation system.

Pancreatic Cancer

In 2007, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health were able to discover the link between periodontitis and pancreatic cancer. Gingivitis, however, was not linked to any contributing risk for cancer, but it can lead to periodontitis if left untreated. The greatest risk for pancreatic cancer was found in men who recently lost a tooth due to this gum disease.

Heart Disease

The link between poor dental hygiene and heart disease is the most well-established. The risk of heart disease is higher for people who have bleeding gums as this allows bacteria to enter into the bloodstream, stick to the platelets, and interrupt blood flow to the heart.

To preserve your overall oral health, and resultantly, minimize the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association advises us to brush our teeth for at least two minutes, twice each day. Factors that affect our gum health include obesity, tobacco use, and tooth loss.

What’s the Deal with Gingivitis?

When bacteria start to develop and grow tartar at the base of the teeth, irritating the gums, you are likely to have Gingivitis. The gum disease occurs when the germs attack the tissues that surround the gums and teeth.

Gingivitis starts when the sugar or starch in our food accumulate inside our mouth. When we fail to brush our teeth, these food particles react with bacteria to form plaque—a soft and sticky material, which can be removed through regular brushing and flossing. However, when our teeth are not cleaned properly, the plaque hardens and develops to form tartar, which now becomes the breeding place for germs.

Aside from the lack of dental hygiene, gingivitis can also be caused by other factors, such as poor nutrition, hormonal changes (in pregnant women) or due to side effects from medications.

You are likely to have gingivitis if your gums bleed easily. This gum disease is also marked by red or swollen gums. Note that when the gums are in healthy condition, they are usually pale pink. When infected, they easily turn bright red. If they get especially inflamed, the gums turn soft and puffy. In addition, they also become sensitive and tender. Bad breath may also accompany these symptoms.

During the first stages of gingivitis, we tend to ignore the signs and symptoms. However, please take note that if this is left untreated, gingivitis could lead to a more serious problem; even to the extent of tooth loss. Maintaining good dental hygiene is the key to preventing this gum disease.

Speaking of Halitosis, What’s That Smell?

Bad breath is an embarrassing problem, especially when you are about to whisper sweet nothings to a cutie. The noticeably stinky odor is released at the same time you exhale. This is a major problem that most of us face at some point. In fact, this is the third-most common reason why people seek dental assistance, right after tooth decay and gum disease. This condition is medically known as halitosis.

Having bad breath is normal. Surely we have it after we’ve had lots to drink and smoke during a night out. In everyday office work, coffee usually contributes to the buildup of bad breath. In most cases, bad breath starts in the mouth. Its intensity varies depending on what we consume during the day. Bad breath also occurs in the form of morning breath where our mouth is exposed to less oxygen.

But bad breath is transient and often disappears following the basic dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing. When bad breath is still persistent, there’s something wrong

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Apart from the simple remedy of brushing one’s teeth regularly, perhaps you might want to brush your tongue too. Odor-causing bacteria usually reside on the posterior dorsum of the tongue. Gentle tongue cleaning will greatly eliminate the bad odor; for further bacteria-killing action, rinse with anti-bacterial mouthwash

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For a traditional approach, eat oranges and sweet limes. Other odor-repellant fruits include avocado, apples and parsley. Peppermint and tea tree oil also helps fight bad breath. If the bad odor still persists, seek dental assistance as soon as possible.

Is Tooth Extraction Safe During Pregnancy?

One of the essential aspects of good health is to maintain good dental hygiene. However, certain changes occur during pregnancy. This is attributed to hormonal changes where pregnant women develop swelling and red gums as well as other dental conditions, which later on could result in tooth decay. While regular dental checkups and maintenance greatly help prevent the conditions from worsening, there are instances where the conditions need further diagnostic procedures.

Dental experts generally advise pregnant women to avoid medication to minimize any harmful risk to the baby. But assuming the pregnant patient needs tooth extraction, would it be safe for her to have dental work despite her pregnancy?

While tooth extraction is a safe procedure for everybody, it is generally discouraged if the patient is pregnant. If the dental condition can still be treated in other ways, the option for tooth extraction is set aside. Tooth extraction is done only in emergency situations. But if the need arises, there are several factors to consider before proceeding with the tooth extraction on a pregnant patient.

The duration and phase of the pregnancy is an important aspect to consider. The patient should inform her attending dentist or any physician regarding her pregnancy before undergoing any dental or medical procedure.

Moreover, safety of the baby is the primary concern. The use of X-rays and anesthesia should be exercised carefully. A lead apron should be used to shield the baby during X-rays, while anesthesia should be carefully given to minimize the harmful risks.

Internal and External Stains on Our Teeth

Many people are now faced with problems in their dental health. Particularly, teeth stains are an everyday occurrence that is faced by many at some point. While some of us don’t really care about oral hygiene, there are many who would pay a premium just to have impeccable dental health as well as appearance.

When we speak of dental hygiene, what comes to mind is generally about brushing one’s teeth to make them clean and white. Though it is true, cleaning one’s teeth does not only involve the external aspect of dental hygiene (i.e., the surface of the tooth). It also involves the internal aspect.

When we fail to maintain good dental hygiene, stains develop on our teeth. And it’s not just about esthetics, or appearance. The stains here concern both the external and internal aspects of dental health.

Internal stains on our teeth by definition, are not limited to the surface of our teeth. Rather, it is something that goes beyond it. To illustrate, tooth decays and cavities are internal stains. They cause damage to the tooth’s enamel, which in effect produces black spots on our teeth. Fluorosis is also an internal stain that is manifested by white stains on teeth as well as flaking. This tooth degeneration is caused when a person consumes large quantities of fluoride.

External stains, on the other hand, are relatively easier to treat compared to internal stains since the plaque layer attaches itself only on the outer part of the tooth. Stains caused by smoking or drinking coffee or tea are classified as external.

What to Do with the Black Spots on Teeth

When a person does not have a good dental habit of brushing or flossing, black spots begin to develop and form on the surface of his teeth. These stains are usually stubborn and very hard to remove; hence, making it more unnerving to have them. Black spots may occur anywhere. They may appear on molars at the back of the mouth. But what’s really unsightly is when they appear on the front teeth. Imagine having a million-dollar smile only for it to be ruined by those unappealing teeth spots.

Dental experts attribute many factors as causes of black spots of teeth. For one, smoking is a dreadful habit that causes not only cancer but black spots on the teeth as well. Nicotine and other tobacco residue accumulate on the teeth, causing them to form tartar and plaque. If you’ll notice, most smokers, especially chain smokers, don’t usually have clean teeth. At the very least, their teeth have yellowish stains, which could worsen to black if they do not maintain good dental hygiene.

Black spots are also attributed to coffee and tea. It is the caffeine content that causes these stains and spots on teeth. What’s worse is that many people enjoy their cup of coffee along with cigarettes.

Most black spot treatment depends on what caused the teeth’s discoloration. If the spots are due to tobacco, cigarettes or nicotine, dental experts would recommend an ultrasonic cleaning. Cosmetic dental procedures such as teeth bleaching are also done when the stains are stubborn and hard to remove.

Black Teeth: An Unsightly Dental Condition

Everybody wants to look good and we have set our sights on our Hollywood idols to follow and imitate. We envy them for their beautiful skin, slender bodies and pearly white teeth. Particularly that million-dollar smile is something that leave many people mesmerized. Sadly, only a few of us are gifted with that bright smile. While some of us are luckier with yellow teeth only, there are those who have it worse—black teeth.

This black teeth condition is primarily due to bad dental hygiene, highly attributed to the failure to brush, floss and rinse regularly. In a fast-paced world, most people no longer care about dental hygiene and tend to forego the simple routine of brushing one’s teeth. Added to that is the daily intake of coffee, cigarettes and sweets, causing unwanted residue and deposits to accumulate on teeth.

Cigarette smoking, in particular, is the most common of all causes. The nicotine residue stains the teeth. As a result, the accumulated plaque tends to cause discoloration on the teeth. In time, they will slowly become black.

Tooth decay is also attributed as one of the causes of black teeth. The bacteria lodged in, around and between the teeth cause the discoloration. As the decay progresses, it will also lead to black teeth.

Black teeth are an unsightly and unwanted appearance. No one wants to flash a smile with black teeth. Not only is it an esthetic concern, it is also a serious and painful dental condition, especially when the decay hits the tooth’s pulp.

Types of Partial Dentures

Dentists generally prescribe dentures for patients who are missing teeth. Some of these patients willingly subscribe to the dentist’s recommendation for esthetic reasons. After all, it’s difficult to smile with some teeth missing. An opportunity to have back a complete set of teeth is a good confidence booster for someone who has lost it.

While the patient concerns himself with beauty and appearance, dentists are more concerned about the adverse effects on someone with missing teeth—like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. A patient with TMJ problems will experience difficulty moving his jaw, in addition to headaches and earaches.

There are different types of dentures, classified as fixed and removable.

Dental implant bridges are among the fixed kind and involve a permanent attachment of the artificial teeth to the jaw or gum tissue. These are preferred since the attached teeth bear a striking resemblance to natural ones. However, they’re harder to clean.

Removable dentures come in different styles. There’s the flipper denture, which is the least expensive of them all. However, they are just temporary solutions to tooth loss. In cast metal dentures, soreness is not an issue since its framework doesn’t come in contact with the mouth’s soft tissues. The flexible framework denture uses nylon-like materials, which is considered an advance in dental treatment.

When one or more rear teeth are lost, dentists use the Nesbit denture; however, there’s the danger of accidentally swallowing it. Lastly, the cusil denture is one that allows the remaining natural teeth to show and protrude through.

Fill the Tooth Gap with Partial Dentures

Dentists recommend the use of partial dentures for people with missing teeth. These dentures help fill the gap created by teeth that were extracted or missing or that fell out. What most people understand is that this orthodontic device serves esthetic purposes so that people with missing teeth are no longer restricted in flashing their smiles. In a way, using dentures help boost a person’s confidence, making them feel good about themselves and their smiles. Additionally, partial dentures provide support to the mouth, help people chew their food and maintain the shape of their faces.

When a tooth is extracted or missing, the remaining teeth tend to shift from their positions and fill the empty spaces left by the missing teeth. Without this device, the teeth are also likely to have a crooked and unpleasant appearance due to the unbalanced force created—one tooth is pushed in the direction of the tooth gap without anything that will counter balance from that side.

Partial dentures are designed to fill the gaps that were created, thus creating gap-free teeth alignment. Here, the natural teeth stay in their original positions. No teeth movement occurs since the spaces created by the missing teeth are filled.

In addition to their esthetic purpose, partial dentures prevent other problems that might arise from spaced teeth, like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. This disorder causes headaches, ear aches and jaw pain, among others.

With those gaps closed and filled, one can now have painless jaw movement as well as a gap-free, beautiful smile.