8 Things Your Mouth Reveals About Your Health

Dental Checkup
When your dentist gives you an examination he or she may see (or smell) some things that could be very revealing about your health. Read on to see what your mouth might expose about your health.

1. Bleeding gums

It is not that uncommon for your gums to occasionally bleed when flossing if you haven’t done it for a while. However, if they continue to bleed this could be a sign of undiagnosed pre-diabetes. If you’re diabetic this could hint at out of control blood sugar levels. You should talk to your doctor about it to either get your blood sugar tested or find out how to manage your diabetes better.

2. Bad Breath

Bad breath is usually caused by poor oral hygiene, bacteria waste, debris and food particle decay. But, it could be indicative of either acid reflux or a sinus infection. If your dentist finds that your brushing is not a problem, they may refer you to your doctor to get to the bottom of it.

3. Worn-down Teeth

Worn-down teeth are caused by grinding, which usually occurs during sleep. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching usually occurs in people with higher levels or stress. Your doctor may suggest fitting you with a night guard.

4. White Patches On Tongue and Cheek

Thrush is usually a sign of a lowered immune system. This can happen due to something as simple as a cold. An anti-fungal can be prescribed as an easy remedy.

5. Dental X-rays Do Not Look Right

This could be a sign of osteoporosis, especially in women. You can ask for your doctor is a bone-density test would be recommended.

6. Inflamed Gums

Your teeth look great, but your gums do not. If your gums are very inflamed and bleed on touch but your teeth are clean it could be a form of leukemia. A follow-up with your regular doctor should be done to rule anything out.

7. Lesions At The Back Of Your Mouth

This could be oral cancer most likely caused by HPV. You will need to go see your primary care doctor and get the testing done.

8. Dry Mouth

Lack of saliva is usually caused by medications, but it could be a sign you have the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s syndrome. You will need to see a rheumatologist for confirmation.

Guideline On Gum Disease Prevention

The American Dental Association recently released new guidelines for treating patients with gum disease.

According to newly released guidelines by the American Dental Association, dentists who are treating patients with gum disease or periodontitis should initially use scaling and root planing (SRP), deep cleaning of the teeth, for treatment.

According to ADA President and periodontist Maxine Feinberg, D.D.S. “This is the first time the various treatments of periodontitis have been compared side-by-side … Dentists are often challenged with managing gum disease of varying severity; these guidelines will assist practitioners in their decision-making and ultimately help patients receive the right treatment at the right time.”

Guidelines for gum disease is especially important because it is the major cause of tooth loss and estimates, according to the authors of the paper found chronic periodontitis affects 42.7 percent of the adult population 30 or older in the United States.

According to Medical News Today, “In 2011, the ADA resolved to develop a clinical practice guideline on nonsurgical treatments including SRP. SRP is the process by which dentists remove tartar and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. Based on a review of the evidence, the ADA concluded that clinicians should consider SRP as the initial treatment for patients with chronic periodontitis. Other treatments combined with SRP were examined, including systemic subantimicrobial-dose doxycycline (SDD), systemic antimicrobials and lasers. The sub-antimicrobial dose doxycycline (Periostat) was a stronger recommendation than other systemic antimicrobials/antibiotics because of concerns about side effects and overprescribing.”

“The guidelines, based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of treatment of periodontitis, were published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).”

Plano Dentist David WilhiteDavid Wilhite is a Plano Dentist specializing in gum disease treatment with over 30 years of experience in general and cosmetic dentistry. He can help you with everything from a consultation, to a check-up, to cleaning, whitening, and full mouth restoration.

Together we will transform your smile!

Contact us online or call us today at (972) 964-3774

Kids Dental Health Habits Must Start At Home

Kids Dental Health Habits

As parents, we always want to make sure our children are healthy and that includes a strong oral hygiene routine. Researchers have found that the key to kids’ dental health is encouraging good habits at home.

Proper education must begin right away and expectant mothers should learn how to keep their children’s oral health in top shape. Bacteria can be transferred through something as simple as sharing a spoon and kissing on the mouth, so it is important to inform mothers of this risk. Fiona Sandom, president of the British Association of Dental Therapists states, “There have been many studies about the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria from mother to baby. The primary culprit is Streptococcus mutans, that can pass from person to person through the transfer of saliva so sharing utensils, blowing on food, and even kissing toddlers on the mouth all pose a risk.

“As dental professionals, we should be educating parents about the risks to primary dentition that is especially vulnerable during the period of eruption.

“But tooth decay is caused by many other factors and, as well as highlighting the dangers of transmitting infectious saliva, we also need to discuss good oral hygiene (for mother and child), a no-sugar diet and the importance of avoiding bad feeding practices, such as letting a baby constantly suck on the spout of a beaker full of juice, milk or other sugary drinks. Baby teeth are particularly vulnerable to decay and it is never too early to talk about prevention and good oral health practices.”

Sandom further said, “Children’s dental health education must begin with mothers-to-be. By highlighting the possibility that their own dental health can be compromised during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, it encourages effective and regular cleaning habits that will help prevent tooth decay and caries and, therefore, reduce the risk of any negative transmission to their offspring.

“As dental therapists, we need to share with parents the key preventive oral health measures that will help to eradicate children’s tooth decay.”

By starting with education early and at home, kids can gain lifelong healthy oral habits.

Prevention of Bacterial Infection

Researchers from the University of Bristol recently developed a new technology that could increase protection against antibacterial and antifungal infection for weeks, months, or even years. This technology will have broad appeal across many areas, but one of the most interesting is dentistry. According to statistics, “one in seven composite fillings fail within seven years and 86 percent of these failures are caused by bacterial infection.”

Dr. Michele Barbour and her research group in the University’s School of Oral and Dental Sciences developed the technology, Pertinax, which is a new formulation of chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial agent, which is widely used to prevent and treat a range of infections. However, it is only effective for short periods of time in its traditional form. The great thing about Pertinax is it improves the persistence of chlorhexidine, which leads to many more possible uses. According to Science Daily, “this innovation has won Dr Barbour and Pertinax the £25,000 Materials Science Venture Prize awarded by The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers.”

Dr. Barbour said of the technology, “Pertinax can greatly extend the active lifetime of chlorhexidine, enabling it to provide reliable protection against infection for very much longer than was previously possible. This opens up a range of new potential applications, as well as the opportunity to make existing products more effective.”

“Our initial focus will be in the dental market … Research shows there is a clear need for long-acting antimicrobial products used in fillings and cements for crowns, bridges and orthodontic braces which will treat and prevent persistent bacterial infections over a much longer time frame than is currently possible,” explained Dr. Barbour.

The technology is also expected to be beneficial for other equipment like catheters, which are prone to infections like MRSA. Dr. Barbour plans to use the prize money to develop a strong manufacturing process.

Dental Implants and Osteoporotic Women

Women who are postmenopausal with osteoporosis are at a greater risk of losing their teeth. Tooth loss can be both painful and embarrassing and have an impact on quality of life. A recent study conducted by researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine sought to find which treatment for tooth loss “provides women with the highest degree of satisfaction in their work and social lives.” The answer, according to Leena Palomo, associate professor of periodontics and corresponding author of “Dental Implant Supported Restorations Improve the Quality of Life in Osteoporotic Women” appears to be dental implants.

Participants and Results

Participants in the study were osteopathic women who had one or more adjacent teeth missing. The 237 participants were given a 23-question survey that reported women’s satisfaction with their replacement teeth and how they rated their satisfaction with aspects of their lives, including health, work, emotional, and sexual. Of the women surveyed, 64 had restorative work done including implants, 60 had a fixed partial denture, 47 had a removable denture (or false teeth), 66 had no restorative work done at all. Women who had dental implants reported an overall higher satisfaction with life. Women with fixed dentures scored the next highest, followed by those with false teeth. Women with no restorative work were last. Interestingly, women with fixed implants scored the highest in the emotional and sexual satisfaction areas while women with no restorative work done scored the lowest.

The Outcome

These finding suggest women with fixed dental implants have a higher satisfaction with life, which may lead to increased confidence and self-esteem. The researchers hope that their findings will help doctors make decisions as to what is best for patients.

You can read the findings in the Journal of International Dentistry.

Can Missing Teeth Predict Cardiovascular Events?

People who have advanced tooth loss often have a history of inflammatory oral diseases. The University of Helsinki in collaboration with The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recently published an extensive cohort study in the Journal of Dental Research that found that tooth loss is associated with diabetes, future cardiovascular events, and even death. Researcher John Liljestrand stated that noting the number of missing teeth in patients could be useful for medical practitioners screening people for risk factors for chronic disease.

The study began in 1997 following 8,446 subjects from Finland, aged 25 to 75. The subjects filled out a comprehensive questionnaire and also participated in clinical exams. The researchers used the number of missing teeth as their baseline and they found incidents of diseases and death by referring to national registers in follow-up 13 years later.

According to the research, people with more than five missing teeth were at an increased risk as high as 140% for coronary heart disease and myocardial infarctions. If a subject had more than nine missing teeth, the research “indicated an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases (51 %), diabetes (31 %) and death (37 %).” The corresponding risks for subjects who lacked teeth (edentulous) were reported at 40-68 %. The researchers took traditional risk factors “into account in the statistical analyses.”

The most common cause of death worldwide is noncommunicable  diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. These diseases are known to be associated with oral inflammatory diseases like periodontitis, which can result in the loss of teeth when left untreated. In fact, periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in the middle aged and elderly.