Biofilm, the protective housing for bacteria, is a hot topic in the medical and dental fields. Routinely taking an antibiotic for a bacterial infection has become more complicated because of biofilm. Bacterial infections may become resistant to antibiotics in part because the biofilm allows for communication among the bacteria, allowing the infection to be sustained.
So what does biofilm have to do with teeth? The dental profession now understands that there is a biofilm in your mouth; healthy biofilm and diseased biofilm. Both are made of the same general compounds, but when combined with certain amino acids and cellular chemicals, the diseased biofilm conquers and destroys.
Peridontal disease, otherwise know as gum disease, is a biofilm disease. If a patient has periodontal disease and does NOT complete the full recommended treatment for this low grade gum infection, then the disease will progress and can spread due to the biofilm.
After the dental exam is completed, the hygienist will usually uses an Ultrasonic Cleaner or a Piezo Scaler. These important dental tools use a method of spraying water that disturbs the biofilm and provides an opportunity to treat the infection causing bacteria.
Remember we all need healthy biofilm. Just as the skin protects your body, the biofilm houses good bacteria for protection as well. The bacteria in biofilm replicate every twenty minutes. If your body has healthy bacteria, low levels of hydrogen peroxide are produced by the biofilm, preventing harmful bacteria from residing. The harmful bacteria do not like an oxygen rich environment.
At your exam, dental supporting bone level measurements around your teeth are made. These measurments are known as "pocket depths." The higher the number, the deeper the pocket measurement, which gives more room for the harmful bacteria to reside since there is less of an oxygenated environment as the pocket depth increases. In medicine, we are encouraged to know our "numbers" like blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Likewise, in dentistry, since the depth of our periodontal pockets usually indicates the level of gum disease that is present in our mouths, we should all know our periodontal pocket numbers!
Dental floss is similar to a lot of products that depend mainly on the comsumer's preference. Fact is, floss comes in a wide variety of flavors, coatings, and other variations, but all types of floss essentially do the same thing. After all, that is what is most important: that the dental floss you buy is functional - cleaning the areas between your teeth and below the gum line. If you want to know what the best dental floss is, the answer is the kind that enables you to successfully and regularly clean those areas. So to help you find the right type of floss for you, here are some options.
FLAVORED DENTAL FLOSS
Many people that floss prefer a flavored dental floss because it freshens their breath even more that unscented floss. The latter can also take on the smells associated with the bacteria in your mouth. And we all know how bad that can be. So, if flavored dental floss is what you prefer, and it allows you to floss your teeth regularly, then it is automatically best for your mouth.
There are also products on the market called flossers, which usually consist of a plastic instrument with strung floss and a pick on the oppositie end. This option can be both effective at cleaning the areas in between your teeth and scraping off plaque. These flossers also come flavored in mint and various other varieties. Although these flossers make flossing easier to use, technique remains the key.
GENTLE DENTAL FLOSS
Some people find that typical dental floss is too harsh on their gums. For that reason, some companies make floss with soft coatings that are less abrasive on the gums. For the most part, these types of floss are just as effective as regular floss, and for those people that require a more sensitive approach to flossing, especially when just starting out, this is the best option.
Of all of the flossing options, it is difficult to name an absolute best type of floss. However, remember that the best choice of floss is the one that gives you the best chance of allowing you to maintain a consistent habit of regular and daily flossing.
Summer is fast approaching--that wonderful time each year when fresh and delicious produce abounds! Although everyone loves the availability of the great foods of summer, your teeth, gums and tissues all rely on an appropriate mix of vitamins and minerals to maintain good oral health no matter what time of year. In previous studies, nutients in fruits and vegetables such as dietary fiber, potassium and antioxidants have all been associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and cancers, including oral cancer.
Four foods to enjoy this summer to ensure a healthy mouth:
- Watermelons have a high water content, which dilutes the affects of the sugars that they contain and stimulates the flow of saliva. In addition, research has shown that eating foods that are full of water, which watermelon is 92 percent water, helps to keep you satiated on fewer calories. Finally, in addition to containing skin-protecting lycopene, eating watermelon can help you stay hydrated during the hot Oklahoma summer months, which not only keeps your memory sharp and your mood stable, but also helps to keep your body cool.
- Strawberries are juicy and delicious, and they are considered a superfood. Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants (such as vitamin C, which can help with cancer prevention), strawberries also promote eye health, help fight bad cholesterol, and regulate blood pressure.
- Not only can apple consumption boost your immune system, reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, but they can also help you attain a whiter, healthier smile! Biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, and in the process, lowers the levels of bacteria and other harmful acids, which leads to a lower likihood of tooth decay. Finally, eating an apple a day has been linked to heart health, including a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
- Tomatoes are a delicious and healthy snack that can help to ward off cancer! The yummy red fruit contains lycopene, which helps to protect your skin from sunburn. Tomatoes can also help to fight heart disease due to the niacin, folate, and vitamin B6 nutrients that they contain. They are also high in crucial antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin A, which work to prevent DNA damage.
So enjoy this summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables all while improving your health as well! If you have any questions or are in need of a dental appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!
As you grow older, your mind may be preoccupied with the health of your bones, heart, or brain. However, keeping your teeth healthy is an equally important part of the aging process. Older adults are at an increased risk for a variety of oral health conditions, which makes it essential for every patient to speak with your dentist to create a prevention plan that's best for you!
ORAL HEALTH CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH AGING
Just as the rest of your body continues to change as you age, your mouth changes, too. Certain conditions become more likely to develop as you reach older adulthood, including:
- DRY MOUTH. Although your salivary glands continue to produce saliva as you become older, medications and chronic health problems often cause a dry mouth.
- ROOT DECAY. Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but improper nutrition or cleaning may lead to decay at the roots of your teeth.
- DIMINISHED SENSE OF TASTE. Your eyesight and hearing are not the only senses affected by aging. The ability to taste naturally diminishes over the course of the older adulthood.
- TISSUE INFLAMMATION. Are your gums tender, bleeding, or inflamed? Tissue inflammation may indicate gum disease or may be a consequence of wearing dentures that don't fit well.
- ORAL CANCER. Risk for most cancers increases with age, and oral cancer is no exception. Older adults area at increased risk for oral cancer compared to younger individuals.
WAYS TO PREVENT DENTAL PROBLEMS
- DIET. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables. Choosing water over coffee or soda can keep your teeth whiter and cavity-free. Also, remember that two minute twice daily brushing and flossing are essential habits to prevent cavities and gum diease at any age.
- REGULAR DENTAL VISITS. Visiting the dentist twice a year is vitally important when you reach older adulthood. Your dentist is familiar with your oral health and may be the first person to notice a sore, discolored patch, inflammation, or other abnormality that may indicate oral cancer or gum disease.
In your "Golden Years," you have now become a pioneer in tooth care! Your present generation is probably the first one in history that can expect to keep most of their natural teeth for a lifetime. The reasons range from beter oral health care, advances in dentistry, improved nutrition, to a lower risk for diseases that could weaken teeth and gums.
As a pioneer, it is now understood that teeth are a body part that changes with age, just like the rest of the body. Even if your teeth can remain strong and white, here are a few things that you may have to cope with:
CAVITIES: Tooth decay is not just for kids anymore. Seniors often develop cavities on the lower part of the tooth near the root. Thorough flossing and brushing along the gum line is the best preventive measure.
SENSITIVITY: Gums recede over time, and good dental habits only slow the process. Receding gums leave more of the tooth exposed, and newly uncovered areas of the tooth have less enamel. As a result, these teeth may be much more sensitive to hot and cold.
DIFFICULTY BRUSHING: If you have arthritis or limited motion, you may have a harder time brushing your teeth. An Electric Toothbrush like an Oral B, can help.
OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS: Diabetes, heart diesease, and other chronic illnesses can cause symptoms in your mouth. Knowing about the dental aspects of each of these conditions are an important role in their management. Our office can help treat many of the symptoms that affect your teeth and we can recommend ways to maintain good oral health habits as part of your overall health program.
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