side effects: medications and oral health

MEDICAL PROBLEMS are things none of us ask for but many of us have, and with medical problems come medications. Unfortunately, along with medications come side-effects, and these often have a negative impact on oral health.
 

The Delicate Balance Of Our Mouths

Our oral health does best when our mouths can stay close to a neutral pH — neither acidic nor basic. The food and drink we consume tends to temporarily disrupt this pH balance, and so does medicine. When children eat chewable vitamins or drink syrupy medicine that contains sugar, it feeds their oral bacteria, which excrete acid onto their teeth. This acid wears away at their tooth enamel.

Another common problem with children’s medication comes from asthma inhalers, which can lead to the development of oral thrush (white fungus patches in the mouth). The easiest way to avoid any of these issues is to encourage our children to rinse with water after eating vitamins, using their inhalers, or drinking cough syrup.

Oral Side-Effects Of Medications

Even if the medication doesn’t do any damage while you’re ingesting it, it can still be harmful to your mouth over time, so let’s look at some of the side-effects that might show up after starting a new medication.

  • Dry Mouth. This is the most common oral side-effect of over-the-counter and prescribed medications. Our saliva is our first line of defense against bad oral bacteria, and when it dries up, it leaves us vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.

  • Abnormal bleeding. Some medications contain blood thinning components, and this makes it easier for us to bleed. If you start noticing more bleeding from your gums after brushing, it could be because of the medication.

  • Inflamed gums. Gingival overgrowth (or excessive growth of gum tissue) is a side-effect of several medications, and it increases the risk of gum disease.

  • Change in taste. Heart medications, nervous system stimulants, and anti-inflammatory drugs can leave a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth or interfere with your sense of taste in general. While unpleasant, this side-effect isn’t necessarily serious.

  • Bone loss. In rare cases, drugs used to treat osteoporosis can cause a loss of bone tissue in the jaw, putting patients at risk of tooth loss and gum recession.

Your Dentist Can Help!

No matter what medication you take on a regular basis, whether prescription or over-the-counter, it’s critical that your dentist knows about them. Sometimes, the oral health side-effects can be minimized or stopped, but only if the dentist knows! So if you’re taking medications, especially if you’ve noticed any of the above problems, make sure to mention them during your next dental appointment!

Remember to speak up about your medications!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Different Types of Dentures

MANY OF US HAVE TO deal with tooth loss as we get older, whether because of an injury or tooth decay. What can we do when this happens to us? Fortunately, the field of prosthodontics (false teeth) has come a long way, giving us plenty of options for filling those gaps back in.
 

Dentures Throughout History

The first known dentures were made around 700 BC in northern Italy. These dentures were made from human and animal teeth, and although a set of these dentures would deteriorate quickly, they remained the norm for two and a half millennia. However, the industrial revolution in the 1800s led to a massive increase in the amount of sugar people consumed, and this caused the demand for dentures to increase dramatically, along with a demand for higher quality!

It was around that time that people started trying new materials, such as ivory, which lasted much longer. In fact, hippo and elephant ivory are what George Washington’s dentures were really made of, not wood! Nowadays, false teeth are made of porcelain or acrylic resin, depending on the situation. These are much stronger and more durable materials.

Modern Denture Types

Your individual situation will determine the type of denture that would work best for you. Obviously someone who still has some of their natural teeth won’t use the same type as someone with no natural teeth left. So what are the different types?

  • Full dentures are a complete set of removable false teeth. They can be just the top teeth, just the bottom, or both. These may be made of porcelain, which imitates the look and feel of natural teeth, and they can last from 5-10 years.
  • Partial dentures are for people who still have some healthy natural teeth. The new teeth fill the gaps so the natural teeth don’t start to shift and cause new oral problems. They are often made of acrylic resin, which won’t wear down the natural teeth like porcelain will, but don’t last as long.
  • Fixed dentures, meaning non-removable dentures, come in a few different varieties. There are implants, which are surgically placed into the jaw bone and fuse over time to mimic the old root; bridges, which fill gaps by being cemented to the teeth on either side of the whole; and implant-supported dentures, which use implants as anchors for dentures.

 

Which Dentures Are Right For You?

Figuring out the ideal replacement teeth for you can be tricky, particularly if you’ve never needed them before, but that’s why you have us! Schedule a visit with us as soon as you can so we can talk about what type you need and set up a plan to get you on your way back to a bright, full smile!

As always, thank you for putting your trust in us!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Swimming and Oral Health

THERE’S NOTHING BETTER than a swim in the pool to cool down during the hot summer months. Before we dive in, we should be aware of how our time in the pool can impact our oral health. That’s right: the chlorine in swimming pools doesn’t just cause dry skin and eye irritation, it can also have an effect on our teeth.
 

Chlorine Versus Our Teeth

The reason swimming pools contain chlorine is that it helps to decontaminate the water from microbes and other unpleasant things that could pose health and sanitation risks to swimmers. However, when chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid, and unless the pool’s pH isn’t carefully regulated, that acid can lead to a condition called swimmer’s calculus.

Swimmer’s calculus is yellow and brown stains that can develop on tooth enamel after too much exposure to chlorine. It’s also what can make our teeth feel more sensitive after swimming, because enamel erosion leaves the dentin underneath more vulnerable. When we have good oral health, our saliva works to keep our mouths as close to a neutral pH as possible, thus protecting our enamel from erosion, but acid exposure can harm enamel before the saliva can do its job.

This isn’t usually a problem for casual swimmers, but anyone who is a serious swimmer or participates in water sports should be aware of the possibility of developing swimmer’s calculus. The best ways to prevent chlorine damage to your teeth are to maintain a good oral health routine with daily brushing and flossing, drink plenty of fresh water to flush out the chlorine residue, and keep your mouth closed while swimming!

Check out this video to learn about other ways our teeth are exposed to acids:

Dental Concerns Of Scuba Diving

If swimming pools aren’t your thing but you love snorkeling and diving, your teeth will be safe from the effects of chlorine, but they may still face other problems. Barodontalgia, commonly called tooth squeeze, is when tiny air bubbles trapped in cracks, crevices, and holes in our teeth change size due to pressure. This pressure change can result in significant tooth pain and can even fracture teeth, and a good preventative measure is a dental appointment before diving season begins!

Most divers are familiar with how uncomfortable those “one size fits none” mouthpieces can be, but do you know they can be bad for your teeth? Divers with poorly-fitting mouthpieces have to clench to keep them in place, and this can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw pain and headaches and makes it uncomfortable to chew. If you’re a frequent diver, you might want to invest in a custom-fitted mouthpiece.

Let’s Get Those Teeth Ready For The Water!

We want all of our patients to have a wonderful summer enjoying their favorite water sports and activities without fear for the effects on their teeth. Schedule a dental appointment so that we can make sure your teeth are healthy and answer any of your questions about underwater tooth problems and how to avoid them!

Take time to cool off this summer! You deserve it!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

After School Snacks for Healthy Teeth

GROWING BODIES NEED a lot of fuel, and that means a lot of after-school snacks. The nature of those snacks can have a big impact on a child’s oral health during this critical period when they’re losing baby teeth and growing in their permanent set. So which snacks are the best ones if you’re trying to watch out for your children’s oral health?
 

Snacks To Avoid

Most children would eat cookies and candy and drink soda pop all day if they could, but these tasty treats aren’t just bad for their health, they’re bad for their teeth. Many types of bacteria live in our mouths, some good for us, some bad. Sugar happens to be the bad bacteria’s favorite food, and after they eat it, they excrete acid onto our teeth as a waste product, which can dissolve our enamel and lead to tooth decay. Carbonated drinks contain acids that can harm our teeth too, and most fruit juice has as much sugar as soda does.

Now, we know it’s unreasonable to suggest that you forbid your child from all sugary foods and drinks forever. However, a great way to reduce your child’s risk of developing cavities is limiting their consumption of these kinds of treats to special occasions, instead of using them as daily snacks.

The Right Snacks

If sugary foods and drinks are the wrong kinds of snacks for healthy teeth, then what are the right ones? You can’t go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables, and cheese and nuts are great snacks too! Foods like apples and strawberries can actually scrub our teeth clean as we eat them.

If your child is picky about eating fruits and veggies, then try some yogurt with berries mixed in or hummus dip to go with the carrots and celery sticks. And don’t forget to wash those snacks down with a refreshing glass of milk or water! Beyond being a good source of calcium, milk is a mild base and can reduce the impact of eating acidic foods.

Looking for some creative snack ideas? Check out this video:


Timing Matters Too

After we eat, it takes about half an hour for saliva to neutralize any leftover acids and wash away any remaining food particles from our latest meal or snack. However, if we constantly snack throughout the day, our saliva won’t be able to do its job. This is why it’s better for our children’s oral health if they stick to designated snack times instead of always having something to munch on throughout the day — even when the snacks in question are healthy ones.

Snacks Are One Part Of The Equation

Making sure your children eat healthy after-school snacks is an important part of keeping their teeth healthy and teaching them good dental habits for life, just like brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing, and coming to see the dentist every six months are. We look forward to seeing them again soon, and make sure to bring any questions you have about healthy snacks when you bring them in!

We love having you in our practice family!
 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Congenitally Missing Teeth

IT’S ONE THING TO lose a tooth, whether through poor oral hygiene, accident, or oral surgery. A tooth not growing in where it should is something else. Between 2-4 percent of the population will have at least one tooth missing from their adult set. This condition is called congenitally missing teeth or hypodontia. In the much rarer event that the full set of teeth is missing, it’s called anodontia.
 

It’s All About Genes

The most common teeth to be affected by this condition are wisdom teeth, upper lateral incisors, and lower second premolars. Since wisdom teeth are often removed anyway, not having them in the first place can save you a lot of hassle, but those incisors and premolars are more necessary.

Genetics are almost always the culprit behind hypodontia, which is why it tends to run in families. Missing teeth could be the only issue, or they could be the result of a broader genetic disorder, such as ectodermal dysplasia or Down syndrome. Whatever the cause, there are many treatment options available for hypodontia.

Filling In The Gaps

Having these missing teeth can cause a few problems, such as difficulty chewing, the existing teeth shifting, and poor jaw support that could lead to the loss of additional teeth. This is why it’s important to get the issue taken care of as soon as possible, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different options will be preferable depending on the age and sex of the patient and the length of time the tooth has been missing.

In most cases, orthodontic treatment will be the first step. Because missing teeth can cause the existing teeth to shift, braces might be necessary to correct the problem and open the gap wide enough to fit a replacement tooth. Replacements can come in a few different forms:

  • Removable partial dentures. These are the simplest solution in many cases. They use the surrounding teeth to anchor them in place, or might be attached to a retainer.
  • Dental bridges. As the name implies, a dental bridge “bridges” gaps by anchoring to the neighboring teeth. Unlike dentures, bridges are cemented in place.
  • Dental implants. These will function like normal teeth, with a post fixed in the jaw bone and a crown on top that matches the natural teeth. If multiple teeth are missing, implants can be used as support for bridges.

If you have questions about implants, check out this FAQ video by a woman who just got hers!


What Treatment Is Right For You?

Having congenitally missing teeth can be a struggle, but CORE Dental Care is here for you. Dr. Chalsey and her team can answer any questions you have and help you find the ideal treatment option so that your smile can be complete!

Keep being the wonderful patients that you are!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.

In honor of Children's Dental Health month, CORE Dental Care is giving away a child's bike! Stop by our office during the month of February, register for the bike and receive a complimentary toothbrush, paste and floss for you child. You can also register on our website by clicking the button below:

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!