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Tuesday
Dec062011

Dental health problem more that meets the eye?

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic — one of our nation’s most trusted sources of medical research and health information — say poor oral health can be one of the first indicators of disease elsewhere in the body.

According to a report released by the clinic in February of 2009, common symptoms of HIV/AIDS include ulcers, dry mouth and mucosal lesions, and a weakening of the bone that supports your teeth could indicate osteoporosis. Other conditions that could make their presence known in your mouth before you’ve detected other symptoms include certain cancers, syphilis and gonorrhea.

In addition, the Mayo Clinic reports, poor dental health may even be at the root of or contribute to other health problems that would seem unrelated to dental health. This is because infections of the mouth such as gum disease can let bacteria enter your bloodstream and wreak havoc elsewhere in your body, they say.

Gum disease has been linked to premature birth among pregnant women, for instance. And poor oral health can make it more difficult to control diabetes. There is even evidence linking poor oral health to cardiovascular disease, including clogged arteries and stroke, although further study is needed to confirm this suspicion.

This is useful information that sends two important messages to each and every one of us: 1. Pay attention; and 2.) Use prevention.

 

Pay attention.

If anything in your mouth looks, feels or smells unusual, see your dentist right away. Toothaches, mouth pain, bleeding gums, oral lesions and persistent bad breath are not normal. Symptoms such as these indicate infection and should be treated by a professional.

Dentists and dental hygienists can identify infection quickly and easily, and with prompt treatment they can usually correct problems with minimal invasion and discomfort. They can refer you to a periodontist for more advanced problems; and, if they detect oral cancer or other conditions such as diabetes, they can refer you to the appropriate specialists.

Also, an annual physical examination by your family physician is always a good idea, but this is especially true if you have dental health problems.

 

Use prevention.

Prevention is your best defense. It saves you time, money, discomfort and pain. Most importantly, it could save your life. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, and floss at least once daily. All it takes is five minutes each day and the cost of a brush, paste and floss. Anyone can do it, regardless of schedule or budget, and it’s the most important factor in maintaining oral health.

Furthermore, make two hygiene visits to your dental office per year. You’ll get your teeth cleaned, perhaps some x-rays and have your mouth inspected for signs of disease and decay. It takes about two hours per year. Most insurances cover 100 percent of these visits, and even for those who are uninsured, these are generally affordable … more so than treatments to correct dental health problems, at any rate.

 

We are about to start a new year. If you are not already on top of your dental health, make this the year you turn that around. Many of our goals and aspirations are difficult to achieve, but this one is easy. You can do it!

 

Curtis H. Roy, D.D.S., has served Acadiana residents with a general dentistry and specialty practice since 1970. Find his practice on the Web at www.drcurtisroyandassociates.com, visit the office at 3703 Johnston St., Lafayette, or call 981.9811.

 

Tuesday
Dec062011

Dental health problem more that meets the eye?

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic — one of our nation’s most trusted sources of medical research and health information — say poor oral health can be one of the first indicators of disease elsewhere in the body.

According to a report released by the clinic in February of 2009, common symptoms of HIV/AIDS include ulcers, dry mouth and mucosal lesions, and a weakening of the bone that supports your teeth could indicate osteoporosis. Other conditions that could make their presence known in your mouth before you’ve detected other symptoms include certain cancers, syphilis and gonorrhea.

In addition, the Mayo Clinic reports, poor dental health may even be at the root of or contribute to other health problems that would seem unrelated to dental health. This is because infections of the mouth such as gum disease can let bacteria enter your bloodstream and wreak havoc elsewhere in your body, they say.

Gum disease has been linked to premature birth among pregnant women, for instance. And poor oral health can make it more difficult to control diabetes. There is even evidence linking poor oral health to cardiovascular disease, including clogged arteries and stroke, although further study is needed to confirm this suspicion.

This is useful information that sends two important messages to each and every one of us: 1. Pay attention; and 2.) Use prevention.

 

Pay attention.

If anything in your mouth looks, feels or smells unusual, see your dentist right away. Toothaches, mouth pain, bleeding gums, oral lesions and persistent bad breath are not normal. Symptoms such as these indicate infection and should be treated by a professional.

Dentists and dental hygienists can identify infection quickly and easily, and with prompt treatment they can usually correct problems with minimal invasion and discomfort. They can refer you to a periodontist for more advanced problems; and, if they detect oral cancer or other conditions such as diabetes, they can refer you to the appropriate specialists.

Also, an annual physical examination by your family physician is always a good idea, but this is especially true if you have dental health problems.

 

Use prevention.

Prevention is your best defense. It saves you time, money, discomfort and pain. Most importantly, it could save your life. Brush your teeth at least twice daily, and floss at least once daily. All it takes is five minutes each day and the cost of a brush, paste and floss. Anyone can do it, regardless of schedule or budget, and it’s the most important factor in maintaining oral health.

Furthermore, make two hygiene visits to your dental office per year. You’ll get your teeth cleaned, perhaps some x-rays and have your mouth inspected for signs of disease and decay. It takes about two hours per year. Most insurances cover 100 percent of these visits, and even for those who are uninsured, these are generally affordable … more so than treatments to correct dental health problems, at any rate.

 

We are about to start a new year. If you are not already on top of your dental health, make this the year you turn that around. Many of our goals and aspirations are difficult to achieve, but this one is easy. You can do it!

 

Curtis H. Roy, D.D.S., has served Acadiana residents with a general dentistry and specialty practice since 1970. Find his practice on the Web at www.drcurtisroyandassociates.com, visit the office at 3703 Johnston St., Lafayette, or call 981.9811.

 

Monday
Oct312011

Nip bad breath in the bud.

Bad breath is, well … bad. It’s bad for business, and it’s bad for pleasure. It’s a signal of bad manners, bad habits and bad health. It can leave a bad taste in your mouth, too. And you now what else is bad? You may have bad breath and not even know it!

It’s true. It’s just not the sort of thing our colleagues, customers or even friends and family want to tell us. So, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask someone you trust whether you have a breath problem. You might be surprised by their answer. Persistent bad breath could be a sign of an underlying infection or other health malady, and at the least, it’s a problem you’ll want to take care of for social concerns.

Bad breath — or halitosis as it’s termed in the medical realm — could be caused by any number of factors. Following are some tips for preventing and treating bad breath.

 

Brush and floss regularly.

Food particles on your teeth and trapped in the crevices between your teeth encourage bacterial growth, which creates a foul odor. The more frequently you can brush and floss, the better.

 

Chew gum.

Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva and attracts food particles away from your teeth. Because sugar promotes tooth decay, we recommend the sugar-free varieties. Plus, the flavoring in gum helps to mask odors.

 

Brush or scrape your tongue.

Many people skip this step during regular brushings, but your tongue can harbor a multitude of odor-causing bacteria. Simply use your toothbrush, or head to the dental care section of most any drug store and invest in a tongue scraper. These handy tools come in various shapes and styles and are highly effective at removing debris.

 

Use an oral rinse.

Read the labels, though. Many popular mouthwashes on the market serve only to mask odors temporarily. Make sure you buy a product that displays the word “antibacterial” on the label. And, if odor is a persistent issue, talk to your dentist about a prescription medical-grade rinse.

 

Watch your diet.

            Certain foods do cause odor. The clichés are true. Onion and garlic odors really can linger for hours. Alcohol, too. That’s not to say you can’t ever indulge, but when you play, you pay. Just be mindful of what you ingest before that important business meeting or big date.

 

Don’t smoke.

Tobacco products cause bad breath. It’s a fact.

 

Check your prescription labels.

Bad breath is a common side effect of many medications. If “dry mouth” is a side effect, this too can cause bad breath. You should not stop taking a needed medication for this reason. But, if this problem is particularly bothersome to you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about alternative medications that may work just as well without this pesky side effect.

 

Visit your dentist.

If you are practicing all the good habits outlined here and still the problem persists, that’s a bad sign. You likely suffer from gum disease or some other sort of oral infection. Your dentist will have to intervene through antibiotic therapy and/or a clinical procedure. The sooner you see your dentist, the sooner your infection — and the bad breath it’s causing — can be cleared up.

 

 

Curtis H. Roy, D.D.S., has served Acadiana residents with a general dentistry and specialty practice since 1970. Find his practice on the Web at www.drcurtisroyandassociates.com, visit the office at 3703 Johnston St., Lafayette, or call 981.9811, and look for him on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday
Oct202011

Expectant mothers should see a dentist

If you’re pregnant, you’re probably more inclined than usual to take good care of your health — visiting your doctor regularly, watching what you eat and drink, getting plenty of rest and engaging in moderate exercise. You may have even broken unhealthy habits, such as cigarette smoking, and you’re probably abstaining from drinking alcohol and limiting your caffeine.

After all, you’ve got a baby on the way, and you want to give your bundle of joy the healthiest start in life, right? Of course you do. Still, one area often overlooked by pregnant women is their dental health. Pregnancy can pose a strain on your body, and your mouth is no exception. Increased acidity in the mouth during pregnancy increases your risk of tooth decay. And, if morning sickness is causing you to vomit, your teeth are even more vulnerable. In fact, roughly half pregnant women fall prey to prenatal gingivitis.

Furthermore, heightened estrogen and progesterone levels can affect the ligaments and bones that support your teeth and inflame your gums, increasing your chances of losing teeth and developing gum disease. Some women even experience “pregnancy tumors” — overgrowths of gum tissue between the teeth that may bleed and ache.

What’s worse, untreated dental problems can pose risks to your fetus. Pregnant women with gum disease are at higher risk of giving birth to premature, low-birth-weight infants. And, in general, gum disease leads to a weakened immune system, which could increase your chances of contracting influenza and other potentially serious illnesses.

So, during pregnancy, it’s even more critical than usual to practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque at least twice each day and especially before bedtime. Also, try to floss every day. If you forget every now and then, that’s okay, but make it a daily goal to get it done.

Be sure to keep your routine dental checkup appointments. If you are not in the habit of visiting the dentist at least twice annually, for whatever reason (and you really should be in that habit), be sure to schedule one now, especially if you notice changes in your mouth, such as red and tender gums.

Bottom line is there’s nothing more precious to a mother than her baby. Preventative care is as easy as brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist. Don’t take risks where your health and your baby’s health is concerned.

 

Curtis H. Roy, D.D.S., has served Acadiana residents with a general dentistry and specialty practice since 1970. Find his practice on the Web at www.drcurtisroyandassociates.com, visit the office at 3703 Johnston St., Lafayette, or call 981.9811, and look for him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Wednesday
Oct192011

Dental emergency care starts with you.

As with anything related to dental health, when it comes to emergencies, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That said, try to use common sense in preventing oral injuries. Avoid chewing hard candies. Don’t use your teeth to tear into packaging. When participating in contact sports, always wear a mouth guard.

Sometimes even when we’re careful, things happen, though. If you should injure your mouth or break a dental appliance, it’s best to call your dentist right away and schedule an appointment for the same day. If your dentist does not offer same-day appointments in emergency situations, you should seriously consider finding one who does. Early treatment following an injury saves teeth. Wait too long, and it could be too late to save yours!

Dental injuries can be scary, but freaking out will only exacerbate the problem, so try to remain calm and take the following tips from the American Dental Association. It’s a good idea to clip and save this for future reference.

 

Bitten Lip or Tongue

Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.

 

Broken Tooth

Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the area to keep any swelling down. Call your dentist immediately.

 

Cracked Tooth

Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that has the cracked tooth, and call your dentist to schedule and appointment.

 

Jaw-Possibly Broken

Apply cold compresses to control swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.

 

Knocked Out Tooth

Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Remember to take the tooth with you!

 

Objects Caught Between Teeth

Try to gently remove the object with dental floss; avoid cutting the gums. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you can’t dislodge the object using dental floss, contact your dentist.

 

Toothache

Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.

 

Curtis H. Roy, D.D.S., has served Acadiana residents with a general dentistry and specialty practice since 1970. Find his practice on the Web at www.drcurtisroyandassociates.com, visit the office at 3703 Johnston St., Lafayette, or call 981.9811, and look for him on Facebook and Twitter.