Posts for: December, 2017
A lot happens in your child’s mouth from infancy to early adulthood. Not surprisingly, it’s the most active period for development of teeth, gums and jaw structure. Our primary goal as care providers is to keep that development on track.
One of our main concerns, therefore, is to protect their teeth as much as possible from tooth decay. This includes their primary (“baby”) teeth: although your child will eventually lose them, a premature loss of a primary tooth to decay could cause the incoming permanent tooth to erupt out of proper position. And we of course want to protect permanent teeth from decay during these developmental years as well.
That’s why we may recommend applying topical fluoride to your child’s teeth. A naturally occurring chemical, fluoride helps strengthen the mineral content of enamel. While fluoride can help prevent tooth decay all through life, it’s especially important to enamel during this growth period.
Although your child may be receiving fluoride through toothpaste or drinking water, in that form it first passes through the digestive system into the bloodstream and then to the teeth. A topical application is more direct and allows greater absorption into the enamel.
We’ll typically apply fluoride in a gel, foam or varnish form right after a professional cleaning. The fluoride is a much higher dose than what your child may encounter in toothpaste and although not dangerous it can cause temporary vomiting, headache or stomach pain if accidentally swallowed. That’s why we take extra precautions such as a mouth tray (similar to a mouth guard) to catch excess solution.
The benefits, though, outweigh this risk of unpleasant side effects, especially for children six years or older. Several studies over the years with thousands of young patients have shown an average 28% reduction in decayed, missing or filled teeth in children who received a fluoride application.
Topical fluoride, along with a comprehensive dental care program, can make a big difference in your child’s dental care. Not only is it possible for them to enjoy healthier teeth and gums now, but it could also help ensure their future dental health.
If you would like more information on topical fluoride and other dental disease prevention measures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”
Do you think that your oral health only involves your teeth? Guess again!
While we know that most people think about keeping their mouths healthy and immediately think about their teeth it’s important that you consider the health of your gums, as well. Many times gums can be neglected. Whether you don’t floss as often as you should or you are someone who consumes quite a bit of sugar, our Orange County, CA, periodontist Dr. Ramyar Elyassian is here to tell you why you should give your gums the TLC they deserve.
Gums are prone to disease just like any other part of the body. By maintaining healthy gums you also preserve and protect your teeth. After all, gum disease is one of the main reasons adults lose permanent teeth. Plus, gum disease is also linked to other chronic and potentially serious health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
While gum health should always be a top priority, it’s actually pretty easy to keep your gums free of infection. Here are some ways to protect yourself from gum disease:
Floss daily: While flossing may not be your favorite pastime it is truly the best way to remove plaque buildup from between teeth. Remember, your toothbrush won’t be able to get into those tight spaces the way floss can. By flossing once a day you can reduce the amount of bacteria and food sits trapped between teeth and gums.
Quit smoking: Tobacco consumption has some seriously negative effects on your oral health, from bad breath to oral cancer. Of course, it also greatly increases your chances of gum disease. By ditching this habit you reduce your risk significantly.
Maintain a healthy diet: What you eat can nourish you and keep you healthy or it can negatively impact you. In order to reduce your chances of gum disease, you’ll want to reduce your sugar intake and also reduce the amount of white starches and junk food you consume. Instead, opt for a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein (e.g. fish), whole grain and nuts.
Get routine checkups: Even if you are doing your best to maintain healthy gums, it’s still important that you visit a dentist for routine checkups. If you start to notice red, bleeding gums or other gum problems it’s important that you visit our Orange County, CA, periodontal specialist right away. If gum disease is caught during its earliest stages (also known as gingivitis) it can be reversed.
Do you have questions about keeping your gums healthy? Are you experiencing symptoms of gum disease? Call Dental Implant & Laser Surgical Specialists in Tustin, CA and serving Santa Ana, Irvine, and the Orange County, CA area.
We’ve come a long way since the early 1980s when we first identified the HIV virus. Although approximately 35 million people worldwide (including a million Americans) now have the virus, many are living relatively long and normal lives thanks to advanced antiretroviral drugs.
Still, HIV patients must remain vigilant about their health, especially their oral health. In fact, problems with the teeth, gums and other oral structures could be a sign the virus has or is moving into the full disease stage, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). That’s why you or a loved one with the virus should maintain regular dental checkups or see your dentist when you notice any oral abnormalities.
One of the most common conditions among HIV-positive patients is a fungal infection called candidiasis (or “thrush”). It may appear first as deep cracks at the corners of the mouth and then appear on the tongue and roof of the mouth as red lesions. The infection may also cause creamy, white patches that leave a reddened or bleeding surface when wiped.
HIV-positive patients may also suffer from reduced salivary flow. Because saliva helps neutralize excess mouth acid after we eat as well as limit bacterial growth, its absence significantly increases the risk of dental disease. One of the most prominent for HIV-positive patients is periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection normally caused by dental plaque.
While gum disease is prevalent among people in general, one particular form is of grave concern to HIV-positive patients. Necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis (NUP) is characterized by spontaneous gum bleeding, ulcerations and a foul odor. The disease itself can cause loosening and eventually loss of teeth, but it’s also notable as a sign of a patient’s deteriorating immune system. The patient should not only undergo dental treatment (including antibiotics), but also see their primary care physician for updates in treating and managing their overall symptoms.
Above all, HIV-positive patients must be extra diligent about oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing. Your dentist may also recommend other measures like saliva stimulators or chlorhexidine mouthrinses to reduce the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Together, you should be able to reduce the effects of HIV-induced teeth and gum problems for a healthier mouth and better quality of life.
If you would like more information on oral care for HIV-AIDS patients, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “HIV-AIDS & Oral Health.”