Archive for February, 2012

Link Found between Gum Disease and Breast Cancer

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Most women know to perform self-exams and have yearly mammograms starting at age 40. Recent information, however, suggests that taking care of your teeth and gums can decrease your risk of developing breast cancer.

Earlier this year, a Swedish study found that women with gum disease or missing teeth may be 11 times more likely to face breast cancer. Conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the research followed over three thousand patients, with 41 developing breast cancer. This study is one of the first to look at the connection between gum disease, tooth loss, and breast cancer.

Though you can’t control all your risk factors, gum disease and tooth loss are preventable. The number one cause of tooth loss for adults in this country, gum disease is caused when plaque and bacteria build up under the gum line, forming pockets of infection. Initially, you may experience swollen or bleeding gums. As the disease progresses, patients can face gum recession, loose teeth, and eventually lost teeth.

To prevent gum disease and tooth loss, you should:

• Brush at least twice a day and floss regularly
• Choose toothpaste with fluoride and use an anti-microbial rinse
• Eat a balanced diet
• See your dentist for checkups every six months
• Stop tobacco use

Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry

Medication and Oral Health

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Most people know that illicit drugs like heroin or cocaine are bad for your oral health. Many individuals, however, don’t realize that over-the-counter or prescription medicines can also have a negative impact on your mouth. Often, your doctor may prescribe medication for a variety of chronic issues such as pain management, arthritis, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, water retention, depression, and anxiety. Some of the side effects from certain medications can be dry mouth syndrome, tooth decay, or discoloration.

When you visit your dentist, make sure to either bring your medication or make a complete list of everything you are currently taking. Your dentist and physician can work together to promote your overall health and protect your smile. Other tips for medication use include:

• Drink plenty of water. If that doesn’t quench your thirst, try sucking on ice cubes or purchasing an oral moisturizer or synthetic oral saliva.

• Ask your dentist about special products. Toothpastes and mouth rinses designed to address dry mouth or offer added protection from decay may keep your teeth and gums healthy.

• Find out if the medication you take has any potential side effects. Knowing what to look out for can help you be prepared.

• Read up. Look over the bottles and read the leaflets that come with the medicine so that you are fully informed about the medications you need.

• If you have developed discolorations from medicine, talk with your dentist about whether cosmetic options such as teeth whitening or porcelain veneers could brighten your smile.

Richmond, VA Cosmetic Dentistry – Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry

Understanding Dental Fluoride

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

A mineral widely distributed in nature, fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and fortify tooth structure. Research in the 1930s indicated that people from communities with fluoridated drinking water had fewer cavities than those who didn’t have fluoride in the water, so most areas in the US added fluoride to their water supplies. Fluoride works in two ways: it strengthens the enamel on primary teeth and adult teeth as they develop, and it hardens adult teeth once they emerge.

During your day, the acids in your mouth can demineralize teeth and weaken their surfaces. Fluoride helps stop the bacteria and plaque from destroying tooth structure. It also restores the minerals and repairs fragile spots in your teeth.

Most dentists recommend fluoride treatments for children. Fluoride varnish applications integrate with growing teeth and help them develop resistance to damaging acids. However, recent studies have shown that too much fluoride in young children can cause fluorosis, small white flecks that stain teeth. Because of this issue, children under age two should not use fluoride toothpaste.

In some cases, people are becoming overexposed to fluoride. Since fluoride is in the drinking water, toothpaste, and other dental products, you can ingest too much of this substance. And at higher levels, fluoride can be toxic. Issues like thyroid impairment, bone disease, and increased risk of cancer can occur.

To ensure you and your family get the right amount of fluoride:

• Ask your dentist before buying products with fluoride
• Find out the fluoride levels in your water supply
• Use fluoride-free training toothpaste for young children

Richmond, VA Cosmetic Dentistry – Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry

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