My BEST Dentists Journal


What to expect when you Haven’t Been to the Dentist in Years

It’s not uncommon to have not visited a dentist in years. In fact, it is estimated that about 80% of the people have not visited a dentist in years, or perhaps even longer.

The reasons why people skip the dentist vary but these are the most common.

A lot of people experience anxiety or even fear going to the dentist and avoid it.

Others are concerned about the cost, especially if they’re not covered by dental insurance.

And if dental care isn’t conveniently located or doesn’t have flexible hours, it can be hard to coordinate it with a busy schedule.

Moving and not finding a new dental practice right away is another thing that can throw off routine visits.

Recently, COVID-19 has provided another reason to miss checkups. The closure of offices during the initial shutdown derailed the plans of those with appointments already scheduled. And once they reopened, fears of catching the virus added to the anxiety of those who were already dentist-shy. Luckily, dental practices are following special protocols to make patients safe.

Whatever the reason for not going to the dentist, when you do decide to go, you’re sure to have questions. Whether you have a dental emergency or have just decided to get back on track with your oral care, here are some things to keep in mind and what to expect at the dentist after a long absence.

1: There’s No Reason to Be Embarrassed

It’s the dentist’s job to provide professional oral care and advice—not to judge or shame their patients. Depending on the dentist’s chair-side manner, they might give a mild lecture or some good-natured teasing about staying away so long. Anything harsher would be unprofessional and might indicate you should shop for a different dentist.

Listen to the suggestions for future care with an open mind. Don’t feel the need to explain or make excuses.

2: Check With Your Insurance Provider

If you’re lucky enough to have dental insurance, that’s great! But check with your provider first. Find out what is and isn’t covered as far as exams, x-rays, and cleanings.

3: Ask About the Dentist’s Protocol

When you call to make an appointment, tell them how long it’s been since you’ve had a checkup. Knowing this beforehand helps the dentist prepare for a visit that might take longer and involve more questions.

They might also have special protocols due to COVID-19 restrictions. Most dental practices have specific instructions on what to do when you arrive so everyone stays safe.

4: Your Appointment Might Take a While–Know What to Expect

Be sure to set aside a sufficient block of time for your appointment. Since it may have been years since your last appointment, the dentist will almost certainly need updated paperwork and a full dental history.

The dentist will need time to familiarize him or herself with your case.

5: You’ll Get a Thorough Exam

The dentist will likely ask about your general health since your last visit, as well as any dental issues you’re experiencing. Often medical issues or prescriptions can impact a patient’s teeth, so this is necessary information. In addition to examining your x-rays, he or she will check that your bite is in proper alignment, prod your fillings to check for loosening, and examine the condition of your gums for signs of periodontal disease.

6: Be Ready for X-Rays

As we’ve already mentioned, dentists typically order a full set of x-rays for a patient who hasn’t had a checkup in years. X-rays are the only way to see very small cavities or tiny cracks in the teeth, so they can catch problems long before the patient realizes they’re there. Finding a cavity before it gets big enough to cause any pain is the best possible scenario. 

7: There Could be Some Bleeding or Pain

Dental professionals do everything in their power to make patients comfortable, but there can be a bit of bleeding or pain during a cleaning. This is especially true when it hasn’t been done in years. 

Touching tender gums with dental instruments can make them bleed too. It’s usually only a little and will stop after a short while. 

Both pain and bleeding are less likely when teeth are brushed and flossed often—a good reason to have a regular dental care routine.

8: You Might Need More than One Appointment

Even if your teeth are feeling fine, there could be underlying problems like tooth decay or gum disease. It’s unlikely that a dentist would fix a dental problem right away. Instead, they will schedule another time to perform whatever procedure is needed. When you come back, they will have sufficient time set aside and all of the necessary equipment ready.

by Smile Avenue

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The Hidden Health Risks of Crooked Teeth

In America, visits to the orthodontist are very common among those in their early teens. But not everyone gets their teeth straightened at this early age, and not everyone sees this treatment as important, either. For quite a few people, it may not seem like their misaligned teeth are much of a problem. Others may never have thought getting their teeth straightened was a worthwhile investment. As the years pass, however, the wisdom of this investment becomes quite apparent.

Proper tooth alignment is not just about your appearance. It’s about correct distribution of the stresses of biting and chewing. Your teeth are actually designed to benefit from these stresses, but when the teeth are misaligned, stress hits on the wrong parts of the teeth and this gradually creates problems. Some of those problems can be serious and result in eventual tooth loss and even major health problems. We’ll explain why.

Chipping, Fracturing, Wearing

When you bite into something hard, your jaws can exert pressures of well over 100 pounds. If your top and bottom teeth meet perfectly, there’s an even distribution of these pressures. If the correct surfaces of the teeth don’t meet, you get pressure on the wrong part of the tooth which causes wear that the tooth was not designed for. The result can be chipping, cracking or erosion of the tops or edges of the teeth. The teeth can even be visibly shortened by all the wear and tear.

When a tooth is constantly subjected to uneven alignment and pressures, it can be rocked back and forth with every chew. This flexing often results in indented fractures along the gum line. If the fractures get deep enough, they will cause sensitivity to heat, cold and sweets and perhaps even the loss of the tooth. Correction of the bite can prevent these fractures from getting worse and your dentist can repair the fracture.

Difficulty Keeping the Teeth Clean

Properly aligned teeth are the easiest to keep clean on a daily basis. There’s no problem reaching all the surfaces with a toothbrush and it’s not hard to pass floss between the teeth. Concealed corners where bacteria can grow and plaque can develop are minimal. But when teeth are crooked, it’s a very different matter. Crannies between misaligned teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and that accelerates the progression of cavities and gum disease.

More Serious Health Risks

When oral bacteria are not adequately cleared away and gum disease results, the effects can be systemic, which means the whole body’s health can be damaged. The National Institutes of Health notes that increased risk of heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes is associated with the presence of periodontal disease. A woman may also be more likely to have a pre-term birth or deliver a low-weight baby as well.

Braces-Only for the Young?

Do you think that if you’re over 18, it’s too late for you? A generation ago, that might have been the prevailing idea but now there are options for you, whatever your age. However, one of the most popular services at StarBrite Dental, the office of Maryam Seifi , is Invisalign aligners. These aligners are virtually invisible—chances are good that unless you tell your friends about them, they will never notice you have them. No more wires and difficulty keeping your teeth clean—Invisalign aligners pop out to enable you to brush and floss your teeth.

by Star Brite Dental

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What is a Melanotic Macule?

What is a labial melanotic macule?

A labial melanotic macule is a well-defined, oval, brown to black, flat patch on the central third of the lower lip. It is the name for a freckle arising on the lip. It is also sometimes called a labial lentigo and when multiple lesions are present, mucosal melanosis.

What are the clinical features of labial melanotic freckle?

Usually solitary, a labial melanotic macule is most commonly seen in adult women but it also occurs in males and in young people. Occasionally the lesion can be on the upper lip.

Size ranges from 1–8 mm. Once developed the lesions usually remain unchanged in size and colour. They can occasionally have an irregular edge and there may be a history of colour change which can cause confusion with other pigmented lesions, including melanoma. Luckily, melanoma is very rare on the lip (but it can occur).

Similar freckles may also occur in areas that are not exposed to the sun:

Inside the mouth (oral melanotic macules)

On the vulva in women (vulval labial melanotic macule, vulval melanosis)

On the penis in men (penile melanotic macule, a penile lentigo).

Labial melanotic macules do not cause any symptoms but their appearance can be a concern to the patient.

What is the cause of labial melanotic macule?

A labial melanotic macule is thought to be provoked by sun exposure, and it is more common in fair-skinned people. However it may also occur in dark-skinned individuals and, as described above, similar lesions can arise in sites that are never sun-exposed. Luckily, melanotic macules are harmless.

What other conditions cause lip pigmentation?

A labial melanotic macule may be confused with another pigmented skin lesion.

Freckle (ephelides)

Lentigo simplex

Solar lentigo

Venous haemangioma (venous lake)

Amalgam tattoo

Junctional melanocytic naevus (a flat mole)

Lentigo maligna (a form of melanoma in situ)

Superficial spreading melanoma.

These conditions can be differentiated from labial melanotic macule by a combination of clinical and histological features.

These conditions can be differentiated from labial melanotic macule by a combination of clinical and histological features.

Multiple lesions may be a sign of a widespread skin condition, such as:

Peutz Jeghers syndrome

Addison disease

Laugier-Hunziker syndrome

Multiple lentiginosis (various syndromes including Noonan syndrome with multiple lentigines).

What investigations should be done?

A labial melanotic macule has a characteristic pattern when examined with the magnifying glass or by dermoscopy. Lesions with a typical history and appearance need not be biopsied.

If a skin biopsy is done because the lesion is changing or looks irregular, a labial melanotic macule shows the following features on dermatopathology:

Increased melanin in the melanocytes and keratinocytes of the basal layer

Melanophages in the dermal papillae, indicating pigmentary incontinence

Mild acanthosis without elongation of the rete ridges.

Nuclear atypia is absent and the melanocyte count is normal.

What is the treatment of labial melanotic macule?

Typical lesions can just be observed. Suspicious lesions, including lesions showing progressive change, should be biopsied.

If treatment is requested the macules can be frozen (cryotherapy) or removed using a laser or intense pulsed light. Excision can also be performed but will leave a scar.


by Dr Mark Duffill

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What exercises can help relieve TMJ pain?

People experiencing pain due to a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can try a range of exercises to relieve it. These exercises can improve jaw strength and mobility.

TMJ disorders are a group of conditions affecting the muscles and bones of the jaw. They cause pain in the joint that connects the jaw to the skull and allows a person to open and close their mouth. The pain can stem from the muscles responsible for moving the joint or the joint itself.

Some people might find that certain exercises that stretch or strengthen the jaw reduce pain from TMJ disorders.

Below, we list six exercises that might help minimize symptoms and explain how to perform them.

However, it is best to discuss exercises with a doctor or physical therapist before starting. A person should always stop performing any exercise if it worsens the pain or discomfort.

1. Resisted mouth closing

Resisted mouth closing involves applying some pressure to the chin while closing the mouth. To perform the exercise:

Place the thumbs under the chin.

Place the index fingers between the ridge of the mouth and the bottom of the chin.

Use the fingers and thumbs to apply gentle downward pressure to the chin while closing the mouth.

2. Resisted mouth opening

A person can also apply gentle pressure to the chin while opening their mouth. To perform the exercise:

Place two fingers under the chin and open the mouth slowly while applying gentle pressure with the fingers.

Hold for 3–6 seconds.

Slowly close the mouth.

3. Side-to-side jaw movement

This exercise involves moving the jaw from side to side to strengthen the muscles:

Gently bite down with the front teeth on an object that is about one-quarter of an inch thick, such as two tongue depressors.

Slowly move the jaw from side to side.

Increase the thickness of the object once the exercise becomes easier.

4. Tongue up

The tongue up exercise involves slowly opening and closing the mouth while maintaining contact with the roof of the mouth.

A person should repeat this movement several times.

5. Forward jaw movement

This exercise also requires a thin object. A person can follow these steps:

Gently hold an object that is about one-quarter of an inch thick between the front teeth.

Move the jaw forward so that the bottom teeth are in front of the top teeth.

As the exercise becomes easier, replace the object with a thicker one.

6. Oxford University Hospitals Exercise

Oxford University Hospitals recommends the following routine to strengthen the jaw muscle and prevent clicking in the jaw joint.

A person can perform this exercise sequence for 5 minutes, twice a day:

Close the mouth and let the teeth touch without clenching them. Place the tip of the tongue on the palate right behind the upper front teeth.

Run the tip of the tongue back toward the soft palate until it cannot reach further while keeping the teeth together.

Hold the tongue here against the soft palate and slowly open the mouth until the tongue starts to pull away. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then close the mouth and relax.

Repeat the steps for 5 minutes.

When to contact a doctor

People experiencing pain from TMJ disorders should talk with a doctor about possible treatment options. A doctor can recommend a physical therapist, who can work with the person to develop a tailored exercise program for improving jaw strength and flexibility.

Some people will not find these exercises effective in relieving pain. In these cases, doctors may suggest medications or other therapies to alleviate the pain. In severe cases, they might recommend surgery, although they tend to view this as a last resort.

The NIDCR warns that the possible benefits of surgery might not outweigh the risks, which include permanent jaw damage and replacement joints breaking or not functioning properly.


Exercises for TMJ pain are generally safe and can reduce symptoms for some people. They are easy for a person to perform at home each day.

It is best to talk with a doctor or physical therapist for more guidance on what exercises are suitable. Doctors may also recommend medical treatments if the exercises do not reduce symptoms.

by Medical News Today

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Bruxism: monitoring and treatment to avoid dental issues

If your dentist suspects that you have bruxism, he or she tries to determine its cause by asking questions about your general dental health, medications, daily routines and sleep habits.

To evaluate the extent of bruxism, your dentist may check for:

Tenderness in your jaw muscles

Obvious dental abnormalities, such as broken or missing teeth

Other damage to your teeth, the underlying bone and the inside of your cheeks, usually with the help of X-rays

A dental exam may detect other disorders that can cause similar jaw or ear pain, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, other dental problems or health conditions.


If your bruxism seems to be related to major sleep issues, your doctor may recommend a sleep medicine specialist. A sleep medicine specialist can conduct more tests, such as a sleep study that will assess for episodes of teeth grinding and determine if you have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.

If anxiety or other psychological issues seem related to your teeth grinding, you may be referred to a licensed therapist or counselor.


In many cases, treatment isn't necessary. Many kids outgrow bruxism without treatment, and many adults don't grind or clench their teeth badly enough to require therapy. However, if the problem is severe, options include certain dental approaches, therapies and medications to prevent more tooth damage and relieve jaw pain or discomfort.

Talk with your dentist or doctor to find out which option may work best for you.

Dental approaches

If you or your child has bruxism, your doctor may suggest ways to preserve or improve your teeth. Although these methods may prevent or correct the wear to your teeth, they may not stop the bruxism:

Splints and mouth guards. These are designed to keep teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and grinding. They can be constructed of hard acrylic or soft materials and fit over your upper or lower teeth.

Dental correction. In severe cases — when tooth wear has led to sensitivity or the inability to chew properly — your dentist may need to reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth or use crowns to repair the damage.

Other approaches

One or more of these approaches may help relieve bruxism:

Stress or anxiety management. If you grind your teeth because of stress, you may be able to prevent the problem by learning strategies that promote relaxation, such as meditation. If the bruxism is related to anxiety, advice from a licensed therapist or counselor may help.

Behavior change. Once you discover that you have bruxism, you may be able to change the behavior by practicing proper mouth and jaw position. Ask your dentist to show you the best position for your mouth and jaw.

Biofeedback. If you're having a hard time changing your habits, you may benefit from biofeedback, a method that uses monitoring procedures and equipment to teach you to control muscle activity in your jaw.


In general, medications aren't very effective for treatment of bruxism, and more research is needed to determine their effectiveness. Examples of medications that may be used for bruxism include:

Muscle relaxants. In some cases, your doctor may suggest taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime, for a short period of time.

Botox injections. Injections of Botox, a form of botulinum toxin, may help some people with severe bruxism who don't respond to other treatments.

Medication for anxiety or stress. Your doctor may recommend short-term use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help you deal with stress or other emotional issues that may be causing your bruxism.

Treating associated disorders

Treatment for associated disorders may include:

Medications. If you develop bruxism as a side effect of a drug, your doctor may change your medication or prescribe a different one.

Sleep-related disorders. Addressing sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea may improve sleep bruxism.

Medical conditions. If an underlying medical condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is identified as the cause, treating this condition may improve bruxism.

These self-care steps may prevent or help treat bruxism:

Reduce stress. Listening to music, taking a warm bath or exercising can help you relax and may reduce your risk of developing bruxism.

Avoid stimulating substances in the evening. Don't drink caffeinated coffee or caffeinated tea after dinner and avoid alcohol during the evening, as they may worsen bruxism.

Practice good sleep habits. Getting a good night's sleep, which may include treatment for sleep problems, may help reduce bruxism.

Talk to your sleep partner. If you have a sleeping partner, ask him or her to be aware of any grinding or clicking sounds that you might make while sleeping so you can report this to your dentist or doctor.

Schedule regular dental exams. Dental exams are the best way to identify bruxism. Your dentist can spot signs of bruxism in your mouth and jaw during regular visits and exams.

by Mayo Clinic

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What is tightness in the throat?

If you have tightness in your throat, you may wonder what’s causing it. The cause of the tightness can vary from an infection like strep throat to a more serious allergic reaction. If you have other warning signs, like trouble swallowing or breathing, throat tightness is an emergency that needs to be treated immediately.

Tightness in your throat can take many forms. It might feel like: Your throat is swollen, you have a lump in your throat, a band is around your neck, your throat is tender and sore.

something is blocking your throat and making it hard to breathe or swallow

Read on to learn more about possible causes for tightness in your throat and how you can manage this symptom.

What can cause this feeling?

These are a few conditions that can cause a tight feeling in your throat:

1. Heartburn or GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is a condition that happens when the band of muscles between your esophagus and stomach doesn’t tighten properly. This relaxed opening allows acid from your stomach to back up into your esophagus. When stomach acid irritates the esophagus, it creates a burning sensation called heartburn.

GERD can feel like your throat is tight, or like you have a lump or food stuck in your throat. You might have trouble swallowing.

Other symptoms are: a sour taste in your mouth, burping up liquid, a hoarse voice, chest pain that can feel like a heart attack, a dry cough, bad breath.

2. Infection

Infections like tonsillitis and strep throat can cause a feeling of tightness or soreness in your throat. Other symptoms of a throat infection are: Swollen glands, painful swallowing, fever, chills, ear pain, bad breath, headache, loss of your voice (laryngitis), nausea or vomiting (in children), red or swollen tonsils.

3. Allergic reaction

An allergic reaction happens when your immune system misidentifies something harmless, like peanuts or pollen, as a dangerous foreign invader. It launches a response, releasing chemicals that cause symptoms like a stuffed nose and watery eyes.

The most serious type of allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. It can happen in response to: A food you’ve eaten, a medicine you’ve taken, an insect bite or sting.

Symptoms of this reaction usually start within a few minutes to hours after the exposure.

The chemicals released during anaphylaxis cause inflammation, which is what makes your throat and airways swell up and tighten. Other symptoms of anaphylaxis include: Wheezing, or a whistling sound when you breathe, a cough, hoarseness, tightness or pain in your chest, swelling of your face, including your lips, tongue, and mouth, itchy mouth or throat, dizziness or fainting, hives, rash, or itchy skin, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, stomach cramps, fast pulse.

Anaphylaxis is always a medical emergency. Call your local emergency services or go to an emergency room immediately for treatment.

4. Anxiety

Though anxiety is an emotional response, it can produce real physical symptoms. During a panic attack, you might feel like your throat is closing and your heart is pounding. These symptoms come on quickly and can resemble symptoms of a heart attack.

Other symptoms of a panic attack include: Sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, cramps or nausea, headache, dizziness, chills, numbness or tingling, feelings of doom.

5. Enlarged thyroid (goiter)

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland in your neck produces hormones that help control your body’s metabolism. An enlarged thyroid gland can make your throat feel tight and make it hard to breathe or swallow.

Other symptoms of an enlarged thyroid include: Swelling in your throat, a hoarse voice or changes to your voice, coughing.

When should you see your doctor?

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that needs to be treated immediately. If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, like trouble breathing or swallowing, call your local emergency services or go to an emergency room right away.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have symptoms like these: Chest pain, a fever higher than 103°F (39.4°C), a sore throat that lasts longer than 48 hours, a sore throat and swollen glands, a stiff neck.

What to expect

The conditions that cause tightness in your throat are treatable.

Antacids and other medicines that neutralize or block the production of stomach acids can decrease heartburn. You can also control symptoms by avoiding your heartburn triggers.

Infections will usually get better within a week or so.

You can manage severe allergic reactions by carrying an epinephrine pen, taking allergy medication, and avoiding your triggers.

With therapy and medication, panic attacks should get better over time.

Thyroid gland enlargement may improve once you treat it.

by Healthline

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Everything you need to know about hypersalivation

In hypersalivation, your salivary glands produce more saliva than usual. If the extra saliva begins to accumulate, it may begin to drip out of your mouth unintentionally.

Hypersalivation may be temporary or chronic depending on the cause. For example, if you’re dealing with an infection, your mouth may produce more saliva to help flush out the bacteria. Hypersalivation usually stops once the infection has been successfully treated.

Constant hypersalivation (sialorrhea) often relates back to an underlying condition that affects muscle control. This may be a sign preceding diagnosis or a symptom that develops later on.

Keep reading to learn more about potential causes, symptom management, and more.

What causes this?

Temporary hypersalivation is usually caused by: Cavities, infection, gastroesophageal reflux, pregnancy, certain tranquilizers and anticonvulsant drugs, exposure to toxins, such as mercury.

In these cases, hypersalivation typically goes away after treating the underlying condition.

Women who are pregnant typically see a decrease in symptoms after childbirth. Wondering what other symptoms you may experience during pregnancy? Look no further.

Constant hypersalivation is usually caused by chronic health conditions that affect muscle control. When you have impaired muscle control, it can affect your ability to swallow, leading to saliva buildup. This can result from: Malocclusion, enlarged tongue, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, facial nerve palsy, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke.

When the cause is chronic, symptom management is key. If left untreated, hypersalivation can affect your ability to speak clearly or swallow food and drink without choking.

After going over your medical history, your doctor may examine the inside of your mouth to look for other symptoms. These include:Swelling, bleeding, inflammation, foul odor.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with a chronic condition, your doctor may use a scale system to assess how severe your sialorrhea is. This can help your doctor determine which treatment options may be right for you.


Certain medications can help decrease saliva production.

Glycopyrrolate (Cuvposa) is a common option. This medication blocks nerve impulses to the salivary glands so that they produce less saliva.

However, this medication can have some severe side effects, including: Dry mouth, constipation, trouble urinating, blurred vision, hyperactivity, irritability.

Scopolamine (Hyoscine) is another option. This is a skin patch that’s placed behind the ear. It works by blocking nerve impulses to the salivary glands. Its side effects include: Dizziness, rapid heartbeat, trouble urinating, blurred vision, drowsiness.


Your doctor may recommend botulinum toxin (Botox) injections if your hypersalivation is constant. Your doctor will inject the drug into one or more of the major salivary glands. The toxin paralyzes the nerves and muscles in the area, preventing the glands from producing saliva.

This effect will wear off after a couple of months, so you will likely need to return for repeat injections.


In severe cases, this condition can be treated with surgery on the major salivary glands. Your doctor may recommend that the glands be removed completely or relocated so that the saliva is released in the back of the mouth where it can be easily swallowed.

Radiation therapy

If surgery isn’t an option, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy on the major salivary glands. The radiation causes dry mouth, relieving the hypersalivation.


Your doctor is your best resource for information about your symptoms and how to manage them. Depending on the cause, hypersalivation may resolve with treatment or require close management over time.

In severe cases, a speech therapist may be beneficial. They can work with you to help reduce your risk for complications and minimize symptoms.

It’s important to remember that this condition is common, and that you aren’t alone in your experience. Talking to your loved ones about your condition and its impact can help those around you better understand what you’re experiencing and how they can support you.

by Healthline

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What causes a lump under the chin?

A lump can appear anywhere in the soft area under the chin and jawline. The lump may be large, small, firm, or soft, depending on the cause. The surrounding skin may feel tight and tender, or even painful.

Anyone concerned about symptoms or unsure about the cause of a lump should see a doctor.

Symptoms and causes

Many conditions can cause a lump to form beneath the chin. Accompanying symptoms and the size and shape of the lump will likely differ, depending on the cause.

Below are common causes of a lump under the chin. Some are simple, while others require medical care to prevent complications.

Swollen lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are located throughout the body, but a person can only feel those close to the skin’s surface, such as the nodes in the armpits or close to the chin.

Infections can often cause lymph nodes to swell. This may lead to a noticeable lump to the left or right of the chin. The swelling is a typical response of the immune system.

A lump caused by a swollen lymph node will be soft or flexible. It may be tender to touch, but it is usually not painful. The swelling should go away within 2 to 3 weeks.

The following viral or bacterial infections often cause swollen lymph nodes:

a cold or flu

ear infections

sinus infections

measles or chickenpox

strep throat


an abscessed tooth


Lyme disease


If an infection is to blame, the lump should disappear as the infection clears up. A trip to the doctor and antibiotics may be necessary.

Benign tumors

A benign growth or tumor may cause a lump to form under the chin. Types of benign growths include cysts, fibromas, and lipomas. These are usually harmless and treatable.

Cysts. A cyst is a sac filled with fluid or debris. Cysts can form during an infection, and may slowly fill over time. Those under the jaw may be sebaceous cysts, resulting from blockages in the sebaceous glands or ducts. Damage from acne in the area can also cause cysts to form.

Fibromas. A fibroma is a round lump that can be soft or hard. They are usually found around the mouth and are not common under the chin. They usually cause no other symptoms and may signal Cowden’s disease, an inherited illness that causes benign growths to form frequently.

Lipomas. Lipomas are growths of fat cells under the skin. A lipoma lump will be soft, move easily, and have no coloration. Lipomas tend to grow very slowly, are rarely cancerous, and will usually cause no other symptoms.

Certain cancers

Cancers of the salivary gland, skin, or lymph nodes can cause a lump to form under the chin.

Hodgkin disease and leukemia may also lead to swollen lymph nodes.

Cancerous lumps are typically hard to the touch and may have an odd shape. There may be pain in the area if the lump is touching any nerve cells. If this continues, a person may feel partial numbness or tingling in the area.

A doctor may suggest a biopsy to determine if the lump is benign or cancerous. They may recommend surgical removal.

If the lump is cancerous, doctors may also recommend radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Treatment will vary, and a doctor will often present different options.

Other possible causes

A range of other factors can cause a lump to form under the chin. These may include:

a bug bite or sting, especially if the skin tends to have strong reactions

allergies to foods or products



salivary duct stones


keloid scars



medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus

an injury, such as a cut or a broken bone

damage to the sebaceous glands in the chin.


A lump under the chin is usually not a sign of a severe condition. These lumps tend to disappear on their own.

Often, they are the result of lymph nodes swelling in response to infections, such as those that cause a cold or flu.

Some conditions that cause lumps to form under the chin require medical treatment. Contact a doctor for a diagnosis.

by Medical News Today

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Views: 92

Sialolithiasis: What You Need to Know

Are you experiencing pain in your face, neck, or mouth? If that pain worsens right before or during meals, you might have sialolithiasis. Thankfully, sialolithiasis treatment is usually successful and can sometimes be resolved at home. Learn more about this condition, what causes it, and how to treat it.

What Is Sialolithiasis?

Sialoliths, more commonly known as salivary stones, are hardened mineral deposits in the salivary glands. Your salivary glands transport a liquid filled with minerals to your mouth. This saliva aids in digestion and lowers the acid levels in your mouth. Salivary stones are small deposits of calcium and other minerals that form in the ducts of the salivary gland. If these hardened deposits grow large enough, they can block the saliva flow and cause the glands to swell.

Of your three major salivary glands, 80 percent of stones form in your submandibular glands, which are located along your jawline. They can also form in your parotid and sublingual glands, as well, though it's uncommon. The size of salivary stones can vary from a few millimeters up to two centimeters, and they usually appear white or yellow in color.

What Are the Signs of Salivary Stones?

The main sign of a salivary stone includes pain in the face, neck, or mouth that increases around meals. Your salivary ducts secrete more saliva during these times to aid in digestion, and a salivary stone can block the flow and cause pain and swelling. Other secondary signs of sialolithiasis include:

Dry mouth

Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty opening your mouth

Redness in the area of the duct

Bad taste in your mouth

Fever (if the duct becomes infected)

What Causes Salivary Stones?

Although the cause of salivary stones is unknown, a few factors can increase your risk of getting one. These factors include:

Dehydration, which causes saliva to be more concentrated

Medications like blood pressure drugs and antihistamines that cause dry mouth

Poor diet or not eating enough food, which decreases saliva production

Chronic gum disease

What Is Sialolithiasis Treatment?

Your dentist or dental hygienist can sweep their fingers along your head and neck to detect swellings and other abnormalities like salivary stones. If your dental professional suspects you have sialolithiasis, they might prescribe imaging to provide a more definitive diagnosis. This can include X-rays, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan of the face and neck area.

At-Home Treatment for Salivary Stones

For smaller stones, your dentist might recommend some at-home remedies. These include:

Sucking on citrus fruits or sugar-free sour candies to increase saliva flow and dislodge the stone.

Drinking more fluids to fight dehydration and encourage saliva flow.

Taking over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling.

Sucking on a popsicle or ice cube to relieve pain and swelling.

Professional Treatment for Salivary Stones

If you are unable to remove the stone yourself, see your dental professional immediately. Salivary stones can sometimes cause infections or abscesses if not addressed. Your treatment will depend on the size and location of the stone:

For smaller stones, the dental professional might gently massage or push the stone out of the duct.

For larger stones that are easily seen, the dental professional might use a local anesthetic and make a tiny incision over the stone to remove it.

For larger stones that are difficult to see, you might require a relatively new surgery called a saliendoscopy. In this treatment, a surgeon inserts a tiny lighted scope inside the duct to locate the stone and then uses microinstruments to remove it.

In rare cases, a patient with recurrent salivary stones or severe damage to the salivary gland might need to have the gland completely removed.

A sialolithiasis diagnosis usually results in a positive outcome. While there is no way to prevent salivary stones completely, you can decrease your chances by staying hydrated and practicing proper oral care. If you think you might have a salivary stone, contact your dentist immediately for an exam and treatment.

by Colgate

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Oral Side Effects of Medications

The next time you pop a pill, ask yourself this question: What will this medicine do to my mouth and teeth?

Generally speaking, medicines are designed to make you feel better. But all drugs, whether taken by mouth or injected, come with a risk of side effects, and hundreds of drugs are known to cause mouth oral problems.

Some of the most common mouth-related (oral) side effects of medications are listed below.

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Some drugs can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth, causing an uncomfortably dry mouth (xerostomia). Without enough saliva, the tissues in the mouth can become irritated and inflamed. This increases your risk for infection, tooth decay, and gum disease.

More than 400 medications are known to cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is also a side effect of certain chemotherapy medicines.

Dry mouth can be a bothersome problem. However, many times, the benefits of using a medicine outweigh the risks and discomfort of dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water or chewing sugarless gum may help relieve your symptoms. Saliva substitutes, such as those you spray into your mouth, may also be effective.

Fungal Infection

Certain inhaler medications used for asthma may lead to a yeast infection in the mouth called oral candidiasis. Rinsing your mouth out with water after using an inhaler can help prevent this side effect.

Gum Swelling (Gingival Overgrowth)

Some medications can cause a buildup of gum tissue, a condition called "gingival overgrowth." Gum tissue becomes so swollen that it begins to grow over the teeth. Gingival overgrowth increases your risk of periodontal disease. Swollen gum tissue creates a favorable environment for bacteria, which can damage surrounding tooth structures.

Medications that can cause gum swelling and overgrowth include:

Phenytoin, a seizure medication

Cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant drug often used to prevent transplant rejection

Blood pressure medications called calcium channel blockers, which include nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem, and amlodipine

Men are more likely to develop this side effect. Having existing dental plaque also raises your risk. Good oral hygiene and more frequent visits to the dentist (perhaps every three months) can help lower your chances of developing this condition.

Inflammation of the Lining Inside of the Mouth (Mucositis)

Mucositis is inflammation of the moist tissue lining the mouth and digestive tract. This tissue is called the mucous membrane. Mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment. Doctors think that certain chemotherapy drugs, including methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil, trigger a complex pattern of biological changes that damage the cells that make up the mucous membranes. Mucositis causes painful swelling of the mouth and tongue and can lead to bleeding, pain, and mouth ulcers. The condition can make it difficult to eat.

You are more likely to develop mucositis after taking chemotherapy drugs if you drink alcohol, use tobacco, do not take care of your teeth and gums, are dehydrated, or have diabetes, HIV, or kidney disease.

Mouth Sores (Ulcers)

A mouth ulcer refers to an open (ulcerated) sore that occurs inside the mouth or on the tongue. Mouth ulcers are often compared to "craters" because they have a hole in the middle. This hole is actually a break in the moist tissue (mucous membrane) that lines the mouth. Mouth sores may also be called canker sores.

Taste Changes, Including Metallic Taste

Sometimes, a medication can alter your sense of taste. A change in the body's ability to sense tastes is called dysgeusia. Some drugs can make food taste different, or they can cause a metallic, salty, or bitter taste in your mouth. Taste changes are especially common among elderly patients who take multiple medications.

Usually the taste changes are temporary and go away when you stop taking the medicine.

Chemotherapy drugs, including methotrexate and doxorubicin, are a common cause of taste changes.

Tooth Discoloration

In the 1950s, doctors discovered that the use of tetracycline antibiotics during pregnancy led to brownish-color teeth in children. When a person takes tetracycline, some of the medicine settles into the calcium that the body uses to build teeth. When the teeth grow in, they are a yellowish-color, and they gradually turn brown when exposed to sunlight.

Tetracycline, however, does not cause tooth discoloration if taken after all teeth are formed. It only causes a change in tooth color if you take the medicine before the primary or secondary teeth come in.

Today, tetracycline and related antibiotics are not recommended during pregnancy or in young children (under age 8) whose teeth are still forming.

by Web MD

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5 Things You Need To Know About Dentinal Tubules

Your dentinal tubules can affect or cause tooth sensitivity and can play a part in cavity formation as well. Since 40% of Americans have tooth sensitivity and over 90% of American adults have cavities (treated or untreated), chances are you have at least one of these issues. You may even have both.

Here's what you need to know about your dentinal tubules and how they can affect your oral health.

1. Dentinal Tubules Are Tiny and Sit Under Your Enamel

First of all, you need to understand what dentinal tubules are. They're located in the dentin, which is the layer under your tooth enamel. Dentinal tubules are tiny tubules that run from the inside of the tooth (the pulp chamber) out through the hard dentin and end beneath the enamel. They're far too small to see, and if your teeth are healthy they're also covered by enamel.

2. Dentinal Tubules Carry Fluid and Nutrients

The pulp chamber of your tooth is fed by blood vessels, but the outer layers of your teeth are hard and don't contain any blood vessels or nerves or other soft tissue. So the dentinal tubules stand in for blood vessels, in that they carry whatever your dentin needs out from the pulp chamber through the dentin layer. This includes special immune cells, nutrients, and more.

The continuation and direction of the fluid flow is crucial. If the flow stops, it could allow bacteria and other microscopic contaminants inside your teeth. And the dentin won't get the nutrition it needs to stay healthy, making it doubly hard to fight off the decay caused by these bacteria.

3. Tubules Can Produce Sensitivity When Exposed

The tubules are meant to be covered, but if you have thinning enamel or exposed tooth roots, the open ends of your dentinal tubules may not have as much shielding as they ought to. Being exposed like this means they're more likely to react to triggers that cause tooth sensitivity. These triggers may include hot or cold foods and overly sweet foods.

If you've recently developed some sensitivity in your teeth and you're not sure why, talk to your dentist about it. You may have thinning or damaged enamel or receding gums that are exposing your tooth roots.

4. Several Toothpastes Can Reduce Sensitivity Issues by Occluding Tubules

Because tooth sensitivity is such a common and painful issue, many companies have developed products, such as toothpastes, that can reduce the sensitivity. Some of these work by depositing a substance (such as a mineral layer) onto the dentin surface, reducing the size of the tubule openings. This is called occluding the tubules.

Occlusion helps reduce the sensitive reaction to trigger foods, meaning you're less likely to experience pain when you sip a hot or cold beverage. The substance used to occlude dentinal tubules could be strontium acetate, calcium sodium phosphosilicate, stannous fluoride, arginine combined with calcium carbonate, or something else.

5. Problems Such As Poor Diet May Cause Malfunctions

Because stopping or reversing the dentinal fluid flow can allow bacteria to infiltrate your teeth, you should try to keep the fluid flow strong and healthy. Of course, keeping down the bacterial populations in your mouth through good oral hygiene is important, but the diet you eat may play a role as well.

Although more research is needed on how diet affects dentinal fluid flow, one study showed that a high-sugar diet causes suppression of parotid hormone, and thus dentinal fluid flow, in rats. So logically, avoiding a high-sugar diet may help avoid problems with dentinal tubules and their fluid flow.

These five basics can help you understand how your dentinal tubules function and what's going on when you experience tooth sensitivity. In addition to a low-sugar diet and great dental hygiene, you also need a great dentist to help you care for your dentin and the tubules inside it. 

by Carlino & Paton, DDS

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Tooth loss may affect ability to carry out everyday tasks

Older adults with more natural teeth are better able to perform everyday tasks such as cooking a meal, making a telephone call or going shopping, according to researchers from UCL and the Tokyo Medical and Dental University.

The study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, analyzed data from 5,631 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA) aged between 50 and 70.

Previous studies have shown the link between tooth loss and reduced functional capacity but did not establish a causal link. In this study the research team wanted to investigate the causal effect of tooth loss on someone's ability to carry out daily activities. After considering factors such as participants' socioeconomic status and poor general health, they still found there was an independent link between tooth loss and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.

For the study, participants were asked how many natural teeth they had, with older adults usually having up to 32 natural teeth that are lost over time. Then, using data collected in 2014-2015, the researchers measured the effect of tooth loss on people's ability to carry out key instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). The activities included preparing a hot meal, shopping for groceries, making telephone calls, taking medications, doing work around the house or garden, or managing money.

Senior author, Professor Georgios Tsakos (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health), explained: "We know from previous studies that tooth loss is associated with reduced functional capacity, but this study is the first to provide evidence about the causal effect of tooth loss on the instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) among older adults in England. And this effect is considerable.

"For example, older adults with 10 natural teeth are 30% more likely to have difficulties with key activities of daily living such as shopping for groceries or working around the house or garden compared to those with 20 natural teeth.

"Even after taking in factors such as participant's education qualification, self-rated health and their parent's education level for example, we still found a positive association between the number of natural teeth a person had and their functional ability."

The team of researchers note that having more natural teeth is associated with delaying the onset of disability and death and that tooth loss can also hamper social interactions, which is linked to poorer quality of life. They also suggest tooth loss could be linked to having a poorer diet with less nutrients.

The researchers say the results must be interpreted with caution because of the complex design and further studies are needed to investigate the casual relationship between tooth loss and functional ability.

First author, Dr. Yusuke Matsuyama (Tokyo Medical and Dental University) said: "Preventing tooth loss is important for maintaining functional capacity among older adults in England. Given the high prevalence of tooth loss, this effect is considerable and maintaining good oral health throughout the life course could be one strategy to prevent or delay loss of functional competence.

"The health gain from retaining natural teeth may not be limited to oral health outcomes but have wider relevance for promoting functional capacity and improving overall quality of life."

by UCL

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5 Foods That Zap Bad Breath Fast

You're at an important business meeting over lunch and suddenly you realize ... you have terrible breath! Don't panic. There are some quick and easy natural remedies to stop bad breath quickly so you can focus on more important things.

1. Green Tea


2. Apples

Crispy fruits and vegetables can help you produce saliva, which helps wash away odor-causing bacteria and prevent dry mouth. As a bonus, biting into an apple can help clean off your teeth and remove food particles which could also be causing stinky breath. Keep an apple at your desk or throw one in your bag whenever you think you might need a quick breath freshener.

3. Oranges or Lemons

Have morning breath? (No one has to know!) Try squeezing some lemon juice into a glass of water and drinking it first thing when you wake up. If you're out to eat, grab a lemon wedge to chew on, or stash an orange in your bag or at the office as an emergency breath-saving snack. The vitamin C and increased saliva production from the citrus will help improve breath immediately.

4. Basil

Got a craving for garlic on your pizza but afraid you'll knock your friends out with garlic breath? Just order some basil as a second topping. Along with parsley and other herbs, basil contains polyphenols that break down sulfur compounds that lead to garlic breath. So save a basil leaf to chew after dinner, and wash it all down with a big glass of water for extra fresh breath.

5. Black Coffee


If you're in a pinch and can't get to any of these breath-freshening food or drinks, water is always a good place to start! Swish it around to remove any food particles and restore the pH balance in your mouth, and drink lots throughout the day to help prevent bad breath from dry mouth. At a restaurant and need help fast? Slip away to the restroom with a spoon and gently scrape your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria. (You can also keep a tongue scraper at home and make this part of your daily oral hygiene routine!)

If you find that you're fighting off bad breath on a regular basis, talk with your dentist about potential underlying conditions, like gingivitis, cavities or tonsil stones. Otherwise, you have some solid tips to get you through most bad breath scenarios with confidence!

by Colgate

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Should I Put Toothpaste on a Cold Sore?

Many people can feel when a cold sore is coming on. They can feel an itching or tingling in the area the cold sore will appear.

People also use many different remedies, even some that aren’t clinically proven, to try to prevent the itchy tingling area from becoming a large and painful cold sore.

Popular remedies for cold sores that bounce around social media include:

aloe vera

lip balm

baking soda

petroleum jelly


tea tree oil

The one that seems to come up most frequently is toothpaste.

Toothpaste on a cold sore. Does it work?

When you feel a cold sore coming on, chances are it’s the triggering of the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) that has been lying dormant in your body.

HSV-1 is responsible for cold sores, and there’s a possibility that it might be suppressed by a chemical in toothpaste. Many toothpaste brands include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS can help dry out blisters like the ones found on a cold sore.

Unfortunately, the only evidence that supports the claim that toothpaste is effective for cold sore prevention or cure is anecdotal. Anecdotal means that claims are based on personal accounts as opposed to clinical research.

Home remedies for cold sores

Cold sores typically clear up on their own in a few weeks. Some home remedies you might consider to ease discomfort and promote healing include:

over-the-counter (OTC) cold sore ointment, such as docosanol (Abreva)

cold compress

OTC pain relievers, such as creams with benzocaine or lidocaine

lip balm with sunscreen

Other cold sore remedies

According to the Mayo Clinic, study results have been mixed for alternative medicine cold sore remedies such as:



rhubarb and sage cream

Standard cold sore treatment

To speed up the healing, your doctor might prescribe an antiviral drug such as:

Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Penciclovir (Denavir)

Famciclovir (Famvir)

Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

The takeaway

Rubbing toothpaste on an area you’re expecting a cold sore may or may not prevent the appearance of a cold sore. On the other hand, unless you have sensitive skin, it might not do any harm either.

Bounce the idea off your doctor and, with their approval, give it a try to see if it works for you.

by Healthline

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Dark or Black Spots on Tongue: Causes & Treatment Options

The spots, patches and discoloration that tongues can develop may be harmless, but occasionally they’re a sign of something serious. Black spots on tongue could range from tiny dots to conspicuous black areas, which look especially alarming. If you notice black dots, tell a dentist or physician about them and get a proper diagnosis.

Natural Appearance of Your Tongue 

Though it might be the first time you noticed the black spots on your tongue, they could be part of your tongue’s natural appearance. The human tongue is a muscle covered in taste buds. It moves food around the mouth as you chew, and the taste buds send the brain signals about flavor. Taste buds are visible to the human eye and they can stand out and look like dark spots when something like red wine or coffee stains them.

Alternatively, black spots on tongue could be a condition called hyperpigmentation. Pigmentation is what gives skin, hair and eyes their color, and excessive concentration of pigment in the tongue can result in harmless dark patches or spots, sometimes as a result of chemotherapy. In the case of hyperpigmentation and chemotherapy, the black spots usually clear up a few weeks after the treatment stops.

Injury and your Tongue

Oral piercings and tongue injuries may result in black spots. If you’ve had an oral piercing recently or bitten, cut or otherwise injured your tongue, a black spot could be a lingering sign of damage.

Chemical Exposure to your Tongue

Certain chemicals react with acids on the surface of the tongue and turn it black. Exposure to the chemical bismuth, which is an ingredient in some medications, may cause the color change. Though it’s often the entire tongue that turns black, the change could initially occur in patches.

Tongue Cancer

Rarely, dark patches on the tongue are a sign of a serious condition like cancer. The dark spots may also appear as scabs or sores that don’t heal. Other signs of tongue cancer include lumps, swelling and problems with swallowing. If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Though tongue cancer is a serious disease, treatment is most effective when it begins in the early stages of the disease.

If the spots are gray/white, they could be a medical condition called leukoplakia, which is sometimes precancerous.

Treating Black Spots on Tongue

The first step in trying to remove black spots on the tongue is improving oral hygiene. Brush your tongue when you brush your teeth.

If the spots disappear after brushing, they may not need any further treatment. However, make note of these spots and discuss with your dentist at your next checkup. If the spots remain, we advise you to call and book an appointment at your dentist to get it assessed. They can determine the cause and the appropriate treatment.

Black spots on tongue can be worrying. Though the spots, marks or patches are harmless in some cases, only a dentist or physician can make an accurate diagnosis about their cause. 

by Beddington Dental

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What are tonsils and adenoids?

Your tonsils and adenoids are part of your immune system. They’re similar to the lymph nodes found throughout the rest of your body.

Your tonsils are located in the back of your throat. They’re the two round lumps of tissue you see when you open your mouth wide. You can’t easily see your adenoids, but they’re found in the upper part of your nasal cavity.

Read on to learn more about how your tonsils and adenoids function and why some people have them removed.

What are their functions?

Both your tonsils and adenoids help to trap pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, that enter your mouth or nose. They contain immune cells that produce antibodies that kill these pathogens before they can spread to the rest of your body.

Your adenoids are also covered by a layer of mucus and hairlike structures called cilia. The cilia work to push nasal mucus down your throat and into your stomach.

In addition, your tonsils and adenoids continue to grow until you’re between the ages of 3 and 7. Then, they start shrinking as you approach your teenage years. They may almost completely disappear in many cases.

What causes enlarged tonsils and adenoids?

Tonsils and adenoids often become enlarged or inflamed when they’re fighting a pathogen. However, some children have enlarged tonsils and adenoids without any underlying cause. Experts aren’t sure why this happens, but there may be a genetic link.

When your tonsils and adenoids are enlarged, you may have other symptoms as well, such as:

voice changes

trouble breathing through your nose

loud breathing or snoring

trouble sleeping

a runny nose

Underlying infections that can cause enlarged tonsils and adenoids include:

bacterial infections, such as strep throat

viral infections, such as mononucleosis or the flu

Tonsillitis and peritonsillar abscesses can also be caused by complications of these infections.

Non-infectious things can also irritate your tonsils or adenoids, causing them to enlarge. These include:

tonsil stones

tonsil cancer


gastroesophageal reflux disease

Why and how are they removed?

Sometimes, tonsils or adenoids should be removed. This is usually due to:

recurring tonsillitis

blockages that cause snoring or sleep apnea

tonsil cancer

While your tonsils and adenoids are your body’s first line of defense against many pathogens, they aren’t the only ones. Having your tonsils or adenoids removed, especially as an adult, usually doesn’t have much of an impact on your immune system.

The procedure itself is usually straightforward and done on an outpatient basis. You’ll be placed under general anesthesia while your doctor removes your tonsils, adenoids, or both. Following surgery, you might have some pain and inflammation for up to two weeks. Your doctor will likely prescribe some medication to help with the pain as you heal.

In the days following your procedure, you’ll need to stick to cold, soft foods, such as ice cream or yogurt. It’s also best to try to rest as much as possible for at least a week to reduce your risk of bleeding.

The bottom line

Your tonsils and adenoids are components of your immune system. They help trap pathogens that enter your nose and mouth. They often enlarge in response to irritation or an infection.

If your tonsils or adenoids are frequently infected or causing other symptoms, you may need to have them removed. This is a very common procedure, and most people can return to their usual activities about a week after surgery.

by Healthline

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What is a healthy tongue color?

While you might think of your tongue only being a certain color, the truth is that this small muscular organ can come in a range of colors. A tongue may turn red, yellow, purple, or another hue, and certain health conditions may even dictate its shape.

It’s not uncommon for your tongue to be a different color, but it’s still not a sign of optimal health.

If you’re wondering whether your tongue color is considered “healthy,” read on to learn what all the possible shades mean and when you should see a doctor.

Color of a typical ‘healthy’ tongue

While everyone’s tongue may look slightly different, a “typical healthy” tongue has similar characteristics. It ought to be pink, with a thin whitish coating on the surface.

Papillae are also prevalent on a healthy tongue. These are small nodules along the surface that help you eat and taste your food.

Colors of an ‘unhealthy’ tongue

When your tongue is not its normal pink color, you could have an underlying health issue. Below are other colors your tongue may be and what they could mean.

Red. A red (not dark pink) tongue could indicate as something as simple as a B vitamin deficiency, which can be remedied by supplementation. Scarlet fever, eczema, and Kawasaki disease may also cause your tongue to turn red. Red patches with white borders along your tongue is a rare, but harmless condition called geographic tongue.

Purple. Heart problems and poor overall blood circulation may cause your tongue to turn purple. A purple tongue may also be seen in Kawasaki disease.

Blue. Blue tongue may be indicative of poor oxygen circulation in the blood. This may be attributed to lung problems or kidney disease.

Yellow. Your tongue may have a yellow appearance if you smoke or use chewing tobacco. Sometimes jaundice and psoriasis may also cause yellow tongue.

Gray. Sometimes digestive issues may cause your tongue to turn gray. Peptic ulcers or eczema may also be to blame.

White. A white tongue is usually caused by white patches that grow on the surface. These are usually caused by fungal infections, such as oral thrush. Antifungal medications can clear these patches up. White tongue may also be caused by benign conditions such as leukoplakia or oral lichen planus, which creates the appearance of white lines. Sometimes leukoplakia may become cancerous.

Brown. This is usually harmless and caused by what you eat and drink. However, tobacco use is another cause of brown tongue, a harmful habit that could potentially lead to signs of oral cancer in the tongue, such as sores.

Black. A dark brown to black tongue is most commonly attributed to bacteria from poor oral hygiene habits. Diabetes is another potential cause of a black tongue. Sometimes your papillae can multiply and look hairy, which is a characteristic of a benign condition called hairy black tongue.

When to see a doctor

Long-term changes in color

Your tongue might look slightly darker or lighter from day to day. However, any long-term changes in color noted above should warrant a visit to the doctor.

Changes in size or shape

You’ll also want to see your doctor if you notice changes in the shape of your tongue, such as swelling, unusual lumps, or thinning.

Changes in moisture or coating

Any changes in moisture and coating also ought to be looked at, especially if you notice thick whitish or yellowish film on your tongue. This type of coating could extend to other areas of the mouth, which could indicate an infection.

The takeaway

You may not “see” your tongue on a regular basis, but this often overlooked body part can provide numerous insights into your overall health.

It’s important to clean your tongue every day so you quickly observe any potential changes. You can use a tongue scraper or do it with your toothbrush while brushing your teeth.

You should see a doctor if any changes in your tongue last for more than two weeks.

by Healthline

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What Causes Ammonia Breath?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is one possible cause of having an ammonia taste in your mouth, sometimes called “ammonia breath.” Some people describe ammonia breath as having a metallic taste, while others have reported that it smells similar to urine. That taste—and the smell that can go along with it—is caused by a build-up in your body of a waste product called urea. Here’s what you need to know about ammonia breath, and why you should bring it up with your doctor. 

What causes ammonia breath

With CKD, your kidneys aren’t as efficient at removing waste from your body. One of those waste products, urea, typically exits the body through urine after being filtered out by healthy kidneys. If your kidneys aren’t removing urea, your body will find other ways to remove it. One of those ways is to push the excess urea out through your breath. When the excess urea in your body reacts with saliva, it forms ammonia–which you then exhale through your breath. If you have CKD, this is what gives your breath that ammonia scent. The medical name for this is what gives your breath that ammonia scent. The medical name for this is “uremic fetor”. 

Does ammonia breath always mean that you have CKD?

Ammonia breath has other potential causes aside from kidney disease. Many of them have to do with a temporary decrease in kidney function, and some are unrelated to kidney function altogether. Some causes of ammonia breath are relatively minor or temporary, while others may indicate serious health issues.

Causes of ammonia breath include:

Heavy alcohol use

Eating too much protein

Urinary tract infections (UTls)

Urinary blockages


Sinus infections

H. pylori bacterial infections.

How do you treat ammonia breath?

Sometimes, ammonia breath can be treated by addressing the root cause. If you're on dialysis, ammonia breath may naturally still occur after treatments. This can be frustrating, but there are things you can do to help you find relief.

If you experience ammonia breath after dialysis treatment:

 Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue several times a day.

 Floss every day.

 Chew sugar-free gum.

 Carry a sample size of mouthwash in your bag.

 Avoid strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions.

 Drink the recommended amount of water.

 Make regular trips to the dentist.

 Quit smoking.

Other oral complications of kidney disease

Smelling ammonia on your breath isn’t the only oral symptom of kidney disease. You may also notice dry mouth, bleeding, and weakness in your jaw bones and joints. You may experience some tingling in your lips or tongue, as well as swollen salivary glands. Keep your mouth hydrated, and practice good oral hygiene to help minimize the effects of these symptoms. Having strong teeth and gums will help you enjoy a variety of foods without pain or discomfort, protect you from bacteria that can make you sick, and reduce your risk of inflammation to stay heart healthy.

Ammonia breath, dialysis and body image

Like some other symptoms of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and side effects of treatment, ammonia breath can cause some body image issues and affect your confidence. It can be challenging to remember that you’re still the same person you were before you experienced this. 

by Fresenius Kidney Care

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Can A Sinus Infection Cause Bad Breath?

You already don't feel your best, and then you notice (or someone mentions) that you have bad breath. Did you know that bad breath can be a telltale sign of a sinus infection? It’s true. That’s what happens when you have sinus drainage in the back of your throat. It’s not pleasant, but it is treatable and when the infection is gone, so is the bad breath associated with it. Here’s what you should know and can do.

What Are Sinus Infections?

Sinus infections occur when there's a fluid build up in your sinuses. Germs grow. Colds, allergies, smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke, a weak immune system, and structural problems in the sinuses can all cause sinus infections. Symptoms include; a runny and/or stuffy nose, facial pain or pressure, headache, postnasal drip, sore throat, cough, and bad breath. Acute sinusitis lasts less than four weeks, whereas chronic sinusitis may last longer than three months.

How Do Sinus Infections Make Bad Breath?

The mucus in infected sinuses smells bad. Infected mucus drips out of the sinuses and down the back of the throat, where it meets the air you exhale, and the odor from the infection transfers to your breath.

How Do You Treat A Sinus Infection?

Many acute sinus infections clear up on their own. Symptoms can be soothed with over-the-counter (OTC) treatments such as antihistamine tablets, nose sprays, acetaminophen, and throat lozenges. Avoid using nasal decongestants for longer than three to five days. Drink plenty of (hot) liquids, use a humidifier and spray nasal saline as needed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing sinusitis symptoms for more than ten days. He or she may prescribe antibiotics. Talk to your doctor if you get sinus infections often. He or she may want to do additional tests to find out why.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bad Breath Due To A Sinus Infection?

You can help improve the smell of your breath by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

If you feel under the weather and are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms and having issues with bad breath, check with your physician to see if a sinus infection is the cause.

by Colgate

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Untreated Alignment Problems Can Affect Your Oral Health

Different issues can affect the quality of a person’s smile. Dull, discolored teeth can be a concern, as can problems with dental damage or wear and tear. If your teeth are poorly aligned, you may find yourself upset because of gaps and overlaps that interfere with the way you look. If you have held off on orthodontic treatment, you should know that you are postponing more than just cosmetic dental improvements. By straightening your teeth, you can also reduce pressure on your jaw, and lower your cavity risk! Your Bellaire, TX dentist’s office can talk to you about your options for treatment.

What Kind Of Problems Can Crooked Teeth Cause?

If your teeth are crooked, your bite can be adversely affected. Over time, an uneven bite can demand too much from certain teeth, leading to premature wear and tear. The problem can also cause your jaw joints to experience discomfort, which can lead to TMJ dysfunction. As a result, you can experience frequent pains in your face, neck, and head, as well as trouble with teeth grinding.

Teeth that are too close together can be harder to clean, as they create spaces where it is difficult to effectively clear away bacteria and food debris. If this problem is not corrected, you can face a higher cavity risk.

Addressing Problems With Poor Dental Alignment Through Orthodontic Care

Orthodontic treatment can help you improve the way you look, while also making positive changes to your oral health. There are several approaches to treatment that can be advised. Traditional bracket and wire braces are useful for adjusting serious alignment issues, and they can lead to dramatic changes. If you feel self-conscious about the way you might look with braces, you can discuss lingual braces, which are affixed to the back of teeth, not the front.

It can be possible to make changes to the alignment of your smile through clear aligners. Clear aligners are removable, and hard to see, making them popular with people worried about the intrusion of orthodontic appliances in their lives. Your dentist can talk to you about what to expect from this treatment, if you are approved.

Keeping Up With Dental Care To Preserve Your Best Smile

If you want to maintain your best and healthiest smile, keep up with oral health exams. Your dentist can observe how problems like poor dental alignment might be affecting your well-being, and recommend an appropriate response.

by Contemporary Dental and Orthodontics

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Common Dental Myths You Should Stop Believing

Oral health needs adequate attention as it is linked with your overall health in several ways. Oral health is often referred as the mirror of the overall health of a person. There are many misconceptions related to oral health. Due to these misconceptions, many times people end up following wrong practices, ultimately landing up with oral health issues. Untreated oral issues can lead to severe complication in future. Here are some common misconceptions regarding oral health you need to know. These will help you improve your overall dental health.

Common dental misconception

1) Only sweets cause cavities

Anything sticky which stays in the mouth for a long time can cause an acidic environment in the mouth, causing cavities. Preferably after a meal, you should at least gargle or rinse with plain water, so that the layer formed on the teeth can be removed.

2) White teeth are healthy

Definitely white teeth are healthy, but the impression that yellow teeth are unhealthy is wrong. Enamel shade and thickness can vary from person to person which can give off a different colour other than white. White teeth are healthy but yellow teeth are healthy too. If you feel teeth are too yellowish show it to your dentist.

3) Brushing harder is better

The harder you brush, the more injury you are causing your teeth and your gums. Harder brushing causes abrasions that cause sensitivity. In fact, you should use a toothbrush with soft bristles and the brushing motion should be circular or vertical and not horizontal.

4) Drinking fluoride water for healthy teeth

Drinking fluoride water is recommended. It helps in strengthening teeth and re-mineralises the tooth enamel. But fluoride should be consumed in a limited quantity, for adults' it should be 1000 ppm per toothpaste, for children less than six years it should be less 500 parts per ppm in toothpaste. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes fluorosis.

5) Removing wisdom teeth affects your eyesight, memory

Due to evolution in our eating habits, our jaws have become smaller hence there is not enough place in our mouth to accommodate all the teeth, so sometimes they come slanting and it causes problems to the adjacent teeth. If that is the case then it is recommended that you get it checked by your dentist and get it removed and no it will not affect your memory or eyesight.

6) Bleeding gums is normal

Bleeding gums could be indicative of other underlying conditions such as nutritional deficiencies or diabetes and should not be ignored. Periodontitis which is a gum disease can lead to teeth mobility and loss of teeth. They are also related to heart diseases and can be avoided if proper oral hygiene is practiced.

Any missing teeth should be immediately replaced because even one tooth missing can harm the entire oral structure. Consumption of tobacco, smoking and alcohol usage should be reduced or stopped and if any changes in the insides of the mouth are noticed then a dentist should be immediately consulted.


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Dental Implant Problems: What’s The Worst That Can Happen?

Dental implants have a 95% success rate but that doesn’t mean dental implant problems don’t happen.

While some of the issues are preventable by the patient, some develop as a result of poor procedural planning.

Although the risk of dental implant problems is low, it never hurts to be as informed as possible. In this article, we’ll share with you what can happen if you choose this type of dental procedure and it goes wrong.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a modern alternative to dentures. During the procedure, a dental surgeon places a titanium fixture or frame into the jawbone. An artificial tooth is custom-made to affix to the fixture.

Over a few months’ time, the rod will fuse with the bone. In other words, the implant itself acts as a replacement root as the artificial tooth acts as a replacement tooth.

Types of dental implants

There are two main types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal.

Endosteal implants get placed directly into the jawbone. After the surrounding gum tissue heals, another procedure connects the post to the implant. A dental professional attaches the artificial tooth to the post.

A subperiosteal implant is a metal frame with posts that fit onto the jawbone, below the gum. The gum tissue heals and the frame fuses to the bone. The posts protrude through the gums which the artificial teeth get mounted to.

Benefits of Dental Implants

There are many benefits to dental implants, which is why the procedure is so common today. These include:

Improved appearance/Self-esteem –

Improved speech.

Improved comfort.

Eating is easier.

Improved oral health.



Your dental professional will speak to you about the reasons why you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants.

Common Dental Implant Problems

While there is a chance that things go wrong with dental implants, many of the problems are short-lived. Most of these occur during the early stages before the tooth gets attached.

Infection and Poor Healing

Receiving dental implants is surgery. The dentistry staff will follow all aseptic and sterile techniques, leading to a low chance of infection from the procedure itself. But, the mouth is full of bacteria and you can develop an infection.

You can expect swelling, mild pain, or discomfort for 1-4 days after your procedure. Beyond that, something may be wrong and you should consult your dentist.

Most issues involved with infections and poor healing are a result of patients not following the proper post-surgery directions. On rare occasions, an infection develops more than a month after surgery. In most cases, an underlying issue that wasn’t detected before the procedure took place caused the infection.

If an infection or poor healing gets caught early, it’s dealt with accordingly and the later stages can carry on with success.

A Medical Condition Affects Healing

If you suffer from cancer, gum disease, or diabetes, you may have delayed healing. This is also the case for people who smoke, drink alcohol, and take medications for other ailments.

You must make your dental surgeon aware of any pre-existing condition during the medical history screen.

Surgical Technique

It is important to find a reputable dentist who has gone through proper certification and has registered with the General Dental Council and is a member of the British Dental Association.

These dentists will be keen to the importance of aseptic and sterile techniques. They will understand the proper procedures and guidelines. This reduces your risk of infection and other dental implant problems.

Micromovement of the Dental Implant

Dental implants must be immobile for several weeks to allow osseointegration to take place. Any movement hinders this process will result in unstable implants.

During the first 8-12 weeks, the implant is vulnerable to not growing into the bone, and soft-tissue ingrowth occurs instead. This is very painful and you could end up back under the knife.

Follow the dietary recommendation from your dentist after the procedure. You may be on a liquid diet for a period of time.

Lack of Bone

Successful implants happen when it fuses with the bone on all sides. If your bone is less dense or deficient in any way, your dentist may need to perform extra steps to ensure the bone will have enough growth around the implant.

If your tooth is missing for an extended time, you could have lost bone volume. An experienced implant dentist can increase your volume with bone grafts or another technique. Sometimes, this may take an extra procedure.

Not Following Doctor’s Instructions

Not following doctor’s orders will result in implant failure or problems.


The instructions will be straightforward like reducing physical activity and keeping the site clean. You will also need to follow dietary restrictions and take your medication as prescribed.

by Smile Spak

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5 Sneaky Dental Issues That Might Mean Big Trouble

1. Consistent bad breath

Aside from scaring away friends and family, your not-so-minty-fresh breath could be an early sign of gum disease, says Dr. Cram. Gum disease is particularly sneaky because it doesn’t cause pain in its early stages, so most people who have it may not realize it until lots o’ damage has already been done. Luckily, it doesn’t involve some torturous procedure to reverse. Just put a little more time and effort into brushing and flossing daily.

2. Red, swollen or bleeding gums

If your gums continue to swell or bleed despite your best brushing and flossing efforts, our experts say there’s a possibility you could be dealing with diabetes. So, if your pesky gum problems persist and you’re noticing other diabetes symptoms like extreme thirst or hunger, fatigue or blurry vision, go see your doc ASAP.

3. Stubborn tongue pain

Obviously if you down hot soup too fast or bite your tongue it’s going to be a little sore, but prolonged pain in the tongue or throat (more than two weeks) is one of the most common early signs of oral cancer, says Dr. Cram. Next steps: Monitor those symptoms and look out for any sores, lumps or lesions that won’t disappear. Pass that two week mark and to the doctor you go.

4. Spots or sores out of the blue

If clusters of tiny white spots have started popping up around your lower molars — womp, womp — you might have a viral infection in your near future, Dr. Froum says. Called “Koplik spots,” these little sores have developed a reputation as a highly predictive sign of measles. Tack on other symptoms like a fever, cough or runny nose, and you may be a few days away from that itchy measles rash. (Alas, you guessed it, a doctor’s visit is required.)

5. Hefty tooth discoloration

As tempted as you might be to blame yellow teeth on your coffee addiction, you might be looking at the wrong culprit: If your teeth have turned a shade of black or brown, it could mean you’re dealing with some deep-rooted tooth decay, Dr. Froum says. The solve: You might need to get a cavity filled — or (shudder) undergo a root canal treatment.

by Jarman Dental

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Understanding Molar Bands?

What are molar bands?

How do the bands work? 

Do molar bands have more advantages or disadvantages?

You might have all these questions while searching for the treatment to straighten your teeth and align your bite. Here, we have brought a quick guideline that will help you to determine the essential information about molar bands.

Read through the articles to know everything about molar bands. 

Molar bands, also known as orthodontic bands, are rings that are outfitted around your molars (back teeth) when constructing a set of braces. They are used in orthodontics to fit firm support to the archwire that runs along the braces’ span. 

The bands are generally made of metal or stainless steel, making them long-lasting and relatively easy to fit into a tooth. Orthodontists can also combine other brace parts made of steel or metal to molar bands for strong support. While molar bands are typically used with braces, only selected people will require them. 

Your dentist might recommend molar bands if there is a sizable gap between your molars. Also, it will be helpful if you need to realign your bite by straightening your teeth. Further, molar bands are a more suitable choice where a bracket on back teeth can easily tear when biting.

Molar bands are usually advised for people who have had corrective jaw surgery. In this situation, molar bands eliminate the risk of broken brackets, and the doctor can attach a surgical splint to these bands. Plus, orthodontists suggest molar bands in children whose teeth have not completely grown since the bands can go slightly under the gum. A molar band can be helpful to correct jaw growth or have large fillings.

How molar bands applied?

Your orthodontist will place elastic separators or spacers between the back teeth before applying the band.

You need to wear the separators for some time (ranging from a few hours to days). This will slightly separate your teeth and form room for each molar band. Your teeth might feel a bit tender once you get your spacers as they are moving your teeth.

When you return to the clinic, your dentist will place each molar band around a molar tooth and grasp it with a bonding agent. Having a band set around your molar is not usually painful; it also does not cause any discomfort. However, sometimes some patients feel minor pain due to soreness.

The soreness around your teeth or gums after getting a molar band is temporary and subside with time. When you get braces, you should follow up with your orthodontist regularly. Do not forget to mention the details of any discomfort while you visit your orthodontist.

However, what if you feel pain after getting molar bands?

Let’s look at the best way to alleviate pain induced by molar bands?

The first thing you should do is to avoid hard, crunchy foods such as popcorn, hard candy, ice, etc.. Instead, opt for soft foods to not injure the site to get pain. 

Take pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) can reduce inflammation. But, strictly follow your doctor’s guidelines and take medicine as directed.

Besides, you can also apply a topical oral pain reliever directly to the site of pain i.e., sore gums or teeth. Use soft wax to dental bands to relieve discomfort from bands rubbing against your gums. 

What are the advantages of molar bands?

Sometimes orthodontists choose to use brackets to anchor archwires in place. The brackets’ design makes it easier to brush and floss between the molars, resulting in improved dental hygiene.

Nevertheless, orthodontists oftentimes prefer to use molar bands due to their sturdiness that is not likely to loosen over time.

Another advantage is that orthodontists can attach additional parts to molar bands, like appliances that extend or reposition the upper or lower jaws.

Are there any downsides of molar bands?

One drawback of using molar bands is the increased risk of tooth caries. Since a molar band fully encompasses the tooth, it will be much more difficult to brush or floss where you have applied the molar band. A cavity can occur if food becomes stuck between the tooth and the molar band. To stop this from happening, most orthodontists use glues with fluoride to reduce the risk of decay.

Undoubtedly, the downsides of molar bands are easily manageable. If you really want to straighten the teeth and align the bite, the benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks.

All in all, molar bands are useful to reduce the sizable gaps between the teeth and straighten the teeth. Since most of the people are concerned about their facial appearance and smile, molar bands are used as a restorative dental treatment. Consult the best orthodontist to get the molar bands and enhance your smile and improve teeth structure.

If you are looking for orthodontics Roswell GA, you have landed at the right spot. TruCare Dentistry provides a wide range of orthodontics dental care to improve your appearance and smile. Also, we offer comprehensive dental treatment from cosmetic to TMJ disorder and all kinds of dental problems. With us, you will get the best dental care to maintain optimal oral health.

by Tru Care Dentistry

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10 Nutrition Strategies For Healthy Teeth

Dental health is a great indicator of overall health. The state of gums and teeth can deteriorate if we don’t take care of them; there is a risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and even bone loss. Sometimes, even systemic diseases can be diagnosed due to the state of dental health.

For instance, cardiovascular diseases, celiac disease, sinus infections, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel diseases, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease and alcoholism can all be diagnosed through the state of our teeth.

Why dental health is important?

Cavities and gum diseases (periodontal diseases) can result from improper dental care. Over the age of thirty, more than half of American adults have some sort of periodontal disease. If caught at an early stage by a dentist, gingivitis or gum tissue inflammation can be easily reversed; but if left untreated, it can lead to ‘pockets’—little spaces between the gums and teeth. These pockets are ideal sites for bacterial colonization and eventually, the infection will occur leading to permanent destruction of tissues.

Majority of adults and school children also suffer from tooth cavities. Cavities are holes in the outermost layer of the tooth called enamel, which forms due to build-up of plaque. Plaque is a sticky layer composed mostly of bacteria. Plaque builds up when bacteria break down sugar and carbohydrates that we eat, and in doing so releases acids that eat away at the teeth. When they become bigger, these cavities can reach the nerve and cause pain. Thus, tooth cavities should be treated as soon as possible.

Nutrition and oral health:

Oral health can be improved greatly if we are careful about what we eat. Because our mucosal cells regenerate every three to seven days, intake of vitamins and minerals can greatly improve periodontal health. There is a long list of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the repair and regeneration of dental structures. Infact, any mineral or vitamin deficiency can be evident in poor regeneration of mucosa.

Some nutrients like proteins help in the mucosal and connective tissue development of gums, whereas others like calcium and phosphorous are essential for tooth structure and the re-mineralization of enamel. Iron, folate and vitamin c help in the immune function and connective tissue development.

A lack of folate is associated with periodontal disease; whereas a lack of vitamin C is associated with slow collagen maturation and bleeding from gums. Even omega-3-fatty acid consumption is important to control the inflammatory process of the oral cavity as well as immune function.

What foods are good for dental health?

Here is a list of nutrients that can positively impact your dental health. Be sure to inculcate these nutritious elements in your diet:

Probiotics: Probiotics are composed of healthy bacteria that are normally present in our body. Due to their presence, other micro-organisms like disease-causing bacteria, fungi and viruses cannot flourish. Intake of probiotics like fermented dairy can thus help decrease plaque formation and gingivitis.

Drink lots of water: It may not seem like an important enough nutritional element, but consumptions of water instead of sugary carbonated drinks can go a long way in the prevention of cavity formation and gingivitis. For those living in developed countries like the US, sodas are the number one source of added sugars that can eventually lead to cavity formation. The American Dental Association recommends drinking lots of water daily in lieu of carbonated drinks.

Cranberries: Berries such as cranberries and other fruits rich in anthocyanins (blueberries, eggplants, black rice, red cabbage) can help in preventing attachment of bacteria to the teeth. Certain bacteria cling to the teeth by forming biofilms; the anthocyanins in the berries and fruits prevent this, thus preventing colonization of bacteria. Infact, even the use of cranberry fruit extract infused mouth wash can help in the prevention of dental disease.

Green tea: Polyphenols in the green tea are known reducers of bacteria and their toxic products in the mouth. Moreover, green tea is rich in teeth strengthening components such as fluoride.

Whole foods: Nutrients from whole foods are beneficial not only for overall body health but also the health of the gums.

Chewing gum with pycnogenol: Pine bark or sap chewing gums have plaque reducing effects. They can also reduce the incidence of bleeding gums.

Ginger: Has shown to inhibit the growth of pathogens in the oral cavity that results in periodontal diseases in test tubes.

Garlic: Not only is it good for cardiovascular health but taking raw garlic also helps to improve oral hygiene.

Ginseng: Herbs like ginseng can fight disease-producing bacteria in the mouth.

Fluoride: This mineral helps to prevent decalcification and improve calcium absorption. Some studies say that getting enough fluoride is even more important than reducing sugar intake to prevent cavities.

Food plays a very important role in the prevention of oral diseases and the improvement of dental hygiene.

by Dr. Furqan Mahmood

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6 Gross side effects of chewing gum

Chewing gum may increase your junk-food intake.  Many people chew on a stick of gum to reduce food cravings and, theoretically, help them avoid eating unhealthy foods. However, while research shows that chewing gum reduces your motivation to eat, your hunger and how much you end up eating, gum chewers’ meals end up being less nutritious than those eaten by non-gum-chewers.

For instance, people who chewed gum were less likely to eat fruit and instead were more motivated to eat junk food like potato chips and candy. This is likely because the minty flavor in the gum makes fruits and vegetables taste bitter.

It may trigger TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) in your jaw.  Chewing gum can cause jaw muscle imbalance (if you chew on one side more than the other) and even TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder in your jaw, which can be a painful chronic condition. Anytime you overuse a certain set of muscles, it can lead to contracted muscles and related pain, including headaches, earaches, and toothaches over time.

It may create gastrointestinal problems.  Chewing gum causes you to swallow excess air, which can contribute to abdominal pain and bloating seen with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Further, when you chew gum you send your body physical signals that food is about to enter your body. The enzymes and acids that are activated when you chew gum are therefore released, but without the food they’re intended to digest. This can cause bloating, an overproduction of stomach acid, and can compromise your ability to produce sufficient digestive secretions when you actually do eat food. Some people may also have adverse gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, from the artificial sweeteners that are commonly found in chewing gum.

It creates tooth damage – even from sugar-free gum.  If your chewing gum contains sugar, you’re essentially “bathing” your teeth in sugar while you chew away. This can contribute to tooth decay. Even if you chew sugar-free gum, there are still risks to your teeth because sugar-free gum often contains acidic flavorings and preservatives that may in fact lead to dental erosion, even if it contains cavity-fighting xylitol. Unlike cavities, dental erosion is a process of incremental decalcification, which, over time, literally dissolves your teeth.

It contains sheep byproducts.  Ewwww!  Chewing gum often contains lanolin, a waxy substance that’s derived from sheep wool, to help it stay soft. While not necessarily dangerous to your health, chewing on lanolin is not exactly appetizing.

It releases mercury from your fillings.  If you have mercury fillings, you should know that chewing gum may cause this known neurotoxin to release from the fillings into your body. According to one study: “…chewing gum has been shown to increase the release rate of mercury vapor from dental amalgam fillings… The impact of excessive chewing on mercury levels was considerable.” Every time you chew, mercury vapor is released and quickly finds its way into your bloodstream, where it causes oxidative processes in your tissues. If you chew gum, you’re going to be chewing often, which is why it’s particularly problematic for those with mercury fillings.


You might not pay much attention to the ingredients in chewing gum because, after all, it’s not actually swallowed. But the ingredients, many of which are potentially dangerous, do enter your body, directly through the walls of your mouth.

As with the toxic ingredients in personal care products like lotion, which are absorbed directly through your skin and into your bloodstream, the ingredients in gum also get absorbed by your body quickly and directly, bypassing the digestive system that would ordinarily help to filter some of the toxins away. One such type of harmful chemicals is artificial sweeteners, which are ubiquitous in chewing gum. Many people choose sugar-free gum on purpose, believing it to be healthier than other varieties. But even non-sugar-free brands may contain some sort of artificial sweetener. It is very unusual for them not to. One of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners in chewing gum is aspartame. Aspartame is metabolized inside your body into both wood alcohol (a poison) and formaldehyde (which is a carcinogen used as embalming fluid and is not eliminated from your body through the normal waste filtering done by your liver and kidneys). It’s been linked to birth defects, cancers, brain tumors, and weight gain.Sucralose (Splenda), another common artificial sweetener used in chewing gum, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on only two human studies, the longest of which lasted only four days – even though animal studies found the sweetener was associated with decreased red blood cells (a sign of anemia), male infertility, enlarged kidneys, spontaneous abortions, and an increased death rate.

You might also be surprised to learn that consuming artificial sweeteners can cause distortions in your biochemistry that may actually make you gain weight.Studies looking at this issue show very clearly that artificial sweeteners may actually cause greater weight gain than sugar by stimulating your appetite, increasing carbohydrate cravings, and stimulating fat storage. A good resource to understand this concept is the book by Dr. Mercola called “Sweet Deception”.


Minty goodness.  Grab yourself some mint leaves and chew. This natural remedy has been used for thousands of years is especially useful for garlic or onion breath (parsley leaves work well, too!). And unlike that nasty fake-food gum, swallowing the leaves after chewing will continue to provide freshness by promoting better digestion. Real food wins, again!

Baking soda to the rescue.  Need a quick, cheap, and easy natural breath freshener? Mix in a tsp. of baking soda into a cup of water. Swish some of this in your mouth and “ta-da!” instant mouth wash. You can even add a drop or two of peppermint essential oil (like this) for an extra kick.

Probiotics for the win. Since most bad breath is a result of poor digestion, helping your gut out is a long-term solution to bad breath. Fermented foods are full of real-food-goodness probiotics.

Spice is nice.  Chewing on the seeds of aromatic spices can give your mouth a boost of freshness. Seeds like clove, cardamom, and fennel have antimicrobial properties that can help freshen your breath.

by Lake Norman Integrative Wellness

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Ways to Prevent Serious Dental Issues Commonly Seen in Children

While children are susceptible to the same serious dental issues as adults, there are simple steps parents can take to prevent problems and support better oral health. First and foremost, it is important to understand that baby teeth play a vital role in a child’s development. Just because baby teeth will eventually fall out, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be cared for properly. Protecting baby teeth will ensure that your children can enjoy optimal oral health that will set them up for a lifetime of smiles. Keep reading to learn more about the most common dental issues in children and how you can prevent them.

1. Tooth Decay

The most common dental issue that affects children is dental decay. As bacteria collects in the mouth, it turns into plaque, which begins to cover the teeth and eat away at the enamel. While small cavities and minor tooth decay may not cause any noticeable symptoms, advanced decay can result in tooth sensitivity, pain, swelling, and visible signs of decay such as black, brown, or white spots. 

Treating Tooth Decay

For children who are in the more advanced stages of tooth decay a filling, crown and even an implant may be necessary. If the cavity is superficial and hasn’t attacked the center of the tooth or caused an infection in the root, a filling will be able to address the problem. However, more severe decay will require a kid’s dental crown. 

While baby teeth will naturally fall out on their own, this transition to adult teeth follows an important developmental pattern. If decayed baby teeth fall out too early, it can affect how permanent teeth come in and lead to further problems. In addition, you don’t want your child to suffer from the pain and discomfort of decaying and infected teeth. That is why children’s dental crowns are a common and effective treatment for advanced decay.

Causes of Gum Disease

While genetics, illnesses, and certain medications can cause or contribute to gum disease, most cases can be attributed to poor oral hygiene habits. This is especially true when it comes to young patients.

Preventing Gum Disease in Children

It all comes down to regular brushing and flossing and bi-annual visits to the dentist. Children may still be developing the motor skills they need to brush thoroughly. They also may be resistant to making oral hygiene a part of their daily routine. That is why it is important for parents to help with brushing when necessary and try to make it a fun activity that kids don’t dread. This can help establish healthy patterns that carry on into adulthood. 

3. Crooked Teeth

Having crooked teeth is more than just an aesthetic concern. Misaligned teeth can cause jaw pain, an irregular bite, speech difficulties, periodontal disease, and overcrowding in the mouth. While crooked teeth can be corrected using traditional orthodontic methods and more modern clear aligners, these treatments can be expensive. It is better to take steps early in childhood in order to support proper development and prevent crooked teeth than have to fix them later in life. 

Causes of Crooked Teeth

Kids may be genetically prone to crooked teeth, but poor nutrition and dental care can also add to the problem. If children aren’t seeing a family dentist for regular evaluations, then some of the issues that can lead to crooked teeth will go untreated. In addition, a dentist can monitor tooth movement to make sure other major problems don’t arise.

Preventing Crooked Teeth in Children

The best way to prevent children from growing crooked adult teeth is to make sure that their baby teeth are healthy and don’t fall out prematurely. From there, you will also want to work with your family dentist to make sure that adult teeth are coming in properly. Taking corrective measures at the first sign of a problem can help your kids avoid having to undergo more extensive orthodontic treatments. 

Ultimately, the same rules apply to both children and adults. Good oral hygiene is at the heart of preventing serious dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and crooked teeth. Whether you want to get your child off on the right track or you need help addressing oral health problems that have already emerged, Dr. Judith Shea and her team can help. They are experts in pediatric dentistry and understand the challenges both parents and children face. Patients enjoy the best in compassionate care and the latest tools and techniques.

by JudithSheaDDS

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Reasons why eating ice does more harm than you know!

Pagophagia is the medical term for compulsively consuming ice or iced drinks. Children and pregnant women often experience this, but it can occur in anyone.

Many people who want to cool down or feel refreshed chew on ice or add it to a drink. Sucking on ice cubes can also help relieve dry mouth.

However, continually consuming ice, freezer frost, or iced drinks can indicate an underlying condition that needs medical attention. It can also damage the teeth.

Read on to discover the possible causes of ice cravings and the available treatments.

When a person compulsively craves and consumes ice, the medical term for this is pagophagia. It is a rare form of an eating disorder called pica.

People who experience pica may:

have depression

have a learning disability

be autistic

have schizophrenia

Pica can also affect children who have experienced stress, neglect, or abuse.

A person with pica may have compulsive cravings for nonfood items, such as hair, dirt, chalk, paint, charcoal, or clay.

If these cravings are persistent and last for longer than 1 monthTrusted Source, see a doctor, as medical attention may be necessary.

Pica is common in children and pregnant women, but it can develop in anyone.

Iron deficiency anemia

Some researchers have suggested a link between iron deficiency anemia and craving ice, but the underlying reasons remain unclear.For example, according to one study, around 4% of participants without iron deficiency anemia experienced compulsive ice chewing, while 56% of those with anemia had the experience.

People with anemia have low levels of red blood cells, which are essential for carrying oxygen around the body. In people with iron deficiency anemia, a lack of iron is responsible for the low levels of these cells.

A person with any form of anemia may experience:


pale skin

dizziness or lightheadedness

heart palpitations


chest pain

a swollen tongue

cold hands, feet, or both

One study that looked at people with iron deficiency anemia found that 13 of the 81 participants had symptoms of pagophagia. Taking iron supplements eliminated ice cravings in some of these individuals.

Other research suggests that iron supplementation may also provide relief from other pica symptoms.

One theory about the link between anemia and pagophagia is that chewing ice makes people with iron deficiency anemia feel more alert. In a 2014 study, people with iron deficiency anemia who chewed ice performed better on tests for attention and response time.

The researchers suggest that the coldness might increase blood flow to the brain by constricting blood vessels or activating the nervous system.

Pregnancy, menstruation, and breastfeeding

Iron deficiency anemia may develop during pregnancy, menstruation, and breastfeeding. ResearchersTrusted Source note that during these times, people have an increased risk of compulsive ice cravings.

Emotional stress

Some people chew on ice to help cope with emotional stress.

In one case studyTrusted Source, for example, a woman’s ice cravings appeared with stress related to her son’s education and continued after that.

There may also be links between pagophagia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with OCD experience compulsive behaviors, obsessive thoughts, or both.

Nutritional problems

Underlying dietary issues can exacerbate cravings for ice.

Because it is common to add flavored syrups to shaved ice, cravings for ice may, in fact, be sugar cravings. It is important to eat flavored ice only in moderation, due to its high sugar content.


Mild dehydration can lead to ice cravings. Sucking on ice cubes can cool the body, quench thirst, and moisten dry lips. The symptoms of mild dehydration are thirst and darker-than-usual urine.Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of more severe dehydration, such as dizziness and confusion, requires treatment. This issue can lead to seizures and be life threatening.


Eating ice is not usually dangerous. However, depending on how frequently the consumption occurs and the underlying cause, a person may be at risk of:

Dental and oral issues

Consuming a lot of ice can damage tooth enamel and cause cracks or chips in the teeth. This can lead to further problems, such as increased sensitivity to temperature and oral pain.

In one case report, doctors related that a person who had chewed 30 ice cubes or more each day for over 20 years — using the teeth on the left side — experienced changes in the jaw and cavities on that side only.

People who continually chew ice may need dental work for cavities, including replacing lost fillings.

by Medical News Today

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Wearing Retainers After Braces: What to Know

Retainers are custom devices designed to hold your teeth in place. They’re often prescribed after orthodontic treatment, such as braces, to keep your bite in place after it’s been reshaped or corrected.

Wearing a retainer can be irritating, but it’s a mild inconvenience compared to having to go through having braces all over again.

This article will cover the basics of wearing your retainer, including how long you have to wear it every day, and how to keep it clean.

Types of retainers

There are three types of retainers that orthodontists prescribe after you’ve had your braces removed. Both types are prescribed to keep your teeth from moving and to settle them permanently in their new place.

Bonded retainer

The first type is called a bonded retainer. It’s attached to your teeth after your braces are removed to keep them in place for the first few months after treatment.

A bonded retainer is recommended if you need to wear your retainer at all times as a follow-up to orthodontic treatment.

Hawley retainer

The second type of retainer is the removable kind. Hawley retainers, also called wire retainers, can be taken out for cleaning and for eating meals.

Having a removable retainer doesn’t mean it’s any less important for you to wear your retainer and follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

Clear plastic retainer

The third type of retainer is another removable kind. Also called a molded retainer, it’s designed to mold to and fit the new position of your teeth perfectly.

Clear plastic retainers have become popular in recent years because they’re virtually invisible and more likely to be worn. This retainer isn’t the same thing as Invisalign, which is used to straighten teeth, not prevent them from moving out of position.

As for wear and use, be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

How many hours per day do you need to wear a retainer?

If you have a bonded retainer, you’ll be wearing it all day and all night. But if you have a removable retainer, the rules are a little bit different. You may receive different instructions depending on your specific treatment needs.

The typical guideline for a removable retainer is to wear it full time, except for mealtimes and cleanings, for the first 4 to 6 months after your braces are removed, according to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists.

How long do you need to wear a retainer after getting your braces removed?

According to the 2010 survey mentioned above, over 58 percent of orthodontists prefer to prescribe removable retainers after treatment with braces is complete.

Most of the respondents recommend wearing these retainers every day for 9 months and then dropping down to nightly wear after that.

You never stop needing to wear a retainer, though you may need to replace your retainer after a couple of years.

What happens if I don’t wear my retainer?

Throughout your life, your teeth move. If you’ve had braces already, you’re familiar with the fact that the location of your teeth in your mouth is subject to change according to factors such as your age and wearing orthodontic appliances.

Just because your orthodontic treatment is finished doesn’t mean that your teeth are going to stay in place.

If you don’t wear your retainer according to your orthodontist’s instructions, your teeth will tend to shift back into their old placement. This is known as relapsingTrusted Source. If you don’t wear your retainer, you may need orthodontic intervention again within 10 years, or even sooner.

If you try to skip wearing your retainer for a couple of weeks or months, your teeth may shift, and your retainer may not fit your teeth properly anymore.

Wearing a retainer according to your orthodontist’s instructions is essential to maintaining the results of your braces.

Your instructions will vary according to your specific needs. Some people need to wear a retainer all day, every day for 4 months, while others will be instructed to wear theirs for 12 months.

Almost all orthodontists instruct that you use some form of retainer each night, indefinitely, after your braces have been removed.

While a lifelong commitment to your retainer may be intimidating, it’s important to preserve the investment of orthodontic treatment.

by Health Line

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Translucent Teeth: What Causes Them and How to Fix It

Have you recently found that the edges of your teeth have begun to look transparent? This can be a bit concerning when noticing it for the first time. To learn more about this somewhat common phenomenon—and how to fix it—check out these answers to patients’ most frequently asked questions.

1. Why do my teeth appear translucent?

Did you know that your teeth are comprised of multiple layers? The outermost layer is the protective shell known as the dental enamel, which is actually semi-translucent. The secondary layer is called your dentin—this can be off-white, grey, or even yellow. Together, these two layers make up the color of your teeth. The dentin layer, however, does not extend all the way to the edges of your teeth. This causes the edges to look translucent if your dental enamel wears away and loses its color.

2. What causes my dental enamel to break down?

Dental enamel can break down for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason would be acid erosion, which is often a result of exposure to certain foods and beverages. Acid erosion can also result from stomach acid due to heartburn, acid reflux, morning sickness, or bulimia. Translucency of the teeth is also a surprising symptom of Celiac disease, as this condition can result in poor enamel development. Finally, you could also experience translucency as a result of Enamel Hypoplasia. This condition impacts the earliest stages of enamel development and causes your tooth enamel to lose minerals, giving your teeth the appearance of translucency.

3. How does this affect my oral health?

While the aesthetic appearance of translucent teeth may be your primary concern, it is also important to consider other oral health issues that can be associated with teeth translucency. Unfortunately, the wearing of your dental enamel can lead to tooth sensitivity, making it difficult to consume hot or cold beverages and foods. It can also make your teeth more susceptible to damage—even from your daily brushing routine!

4. Is there any way to prevent translucency from worsening?

While it isn’t possible to prevent conditions like Enamel Hypoplasia and Celiac disease, you can manage the effects of acid erosion. For starters, you can avoid consuming too many highly acidic foods and beverages, including citrus fruits, soda, and even coffee. If you do consume something acidic, remember to rinse your mouth out with water afterwards. Be sure to visit your doctor regarding other health conditions that cause acid erosion as well.

5. Is there any way to repair translucent teeth?

You’re in luck! There are quite a few ways that your dentist can help you with this condition. Cosmetic dentistry treatments—including veneers and bonding— can transform the appearance of your teeth entirely. Enamel remineralization is another option, in which your dentist fills the pores of your teeth with a combination of minerals that restore the whiteness and strength of your teeth.

by Sunrise Dental Care

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Herpes zoster, shingles in mouth

You may have heard about shingles and how common it is. One out of every three people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. Shingles is a viral outbreak triggered by herpes family called herpes zoster, which causes chickenpox. If you had chickenpox as a child, that same virus remains in your system and can reactivate later as shingles, a rash of blisters on parts of your body.

A shingles outbreak typically starts with sensitivity and a tingling or burning sensation on the skin. After a few days, the burning sensation turns into small red blisters. These blisters are highly contagious: even if a shingles outbreak begins in one part of your body, it can spread to other regions such as your mouth. Mouth shingles can be pretty worrying and painful, so you should know what it is and how to spot it so you can treat it quickly.

Can You Get Shingles in Your Mouth?

Yes, you can get shingles in your mouth—it is also called oral shingles. Once infection occurs with the herpes zoster virus, it remains in your system. Blister outbreaks may be rare or happen when you're stressed or immune-compromised. Unfortunately, these oral shingles blisters can be painful and take up to four weeks to heal. Shingles in the mouth can lead to:

Mouth sensitivity

Difficulty chewing


Muscle aches

Lack of appetite

Increased risk of bacterial infections

Oral Shingles Treatment

Shingles treatment can involve antiviral medications and anti-inflammatories to treat the blisters. If you're worried you have a shingles outbreak, call your primary care physician or dentist as soon as you feel a burning or tingling sensation or notice the blisters.

They may prescribe antiviral medications to treat the active viral outbreak. These medications can promote the recovery process. But they are most effective when you begin the regimen early. That's why you should seek immediate care if you suspect you may have shingles. Your physician or dentist may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to decrease inflammation.

Oral Care with Shingles

If you have developed new or have healing shingles blisters in the mouth, maintain proper oral hygiene so the ruptured blisters don't get infected. Be careful not to irritate the blisters with your toothbrush, which may slow healing and make them more painful. However, keep brushing your teeth and flossing daily. Your dentist may recommend an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your mouth clean to promote healing.

Shingles Prevention

Unfortunately, researchers aren't sure what exactly causes a shingles outbreak. Not every person who has had chickenpox gets shingles as an adult. Stress is also linked to blister outbreaks. Managing stress and being alert to medications that may compromise your immune system can help.

The shingles virus is common among adults, and you may not experience a shingles outbreak. But remember that if you do break out in those blisters, contact your physician or dentist, and they can diagnose shingles or another type of blister, help treat the active virus and help the blisters heal faster.

Healthcare providers or individuals over the age of 60 are at higher risk for shingles. You may choose to be vaccinated for the Herpes Zoster virus. These vaccinations are available through both pharmacies and medical offices.

by Colgate

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How to Get Rid of Garlic and Onion Breath

Onions and garlic are members of the allium family. They are similar in composition and contain many of the same sulfur compounds. Sulfur compounds give foods their distinctive flavor. They also release distinctive gasses when cut or mashed, and mingle with gas-emitting bacteria, causing a certain scented breath.

Garlic and onion can continue to cause bad breath for hours after eating. As part of the digestive process, their byproducts are absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to the lungs, giving bad breath an encore.

But bad breath is no reason to avoid garlic and onion. Their health benefits are worth it, and it’s possible to counteract their smelly effect.

1. Try eating fresh produce like apples, spinach, or mint

If you’re having a particularly garlic-heavy meal, eat apples for dessert or chew on fresh mint leaves. One study indicated that the chemical makeup of raw or heated apples, lettuce, or mint helped deodorize garlic breath. Hot green tea and lemon juice may also help.

2. Brush and floss after eating

Much of the bacteria that causes bad breath lives below the gum line and in plaque build-up on teeth. Brushing and flossing after eating onions or garlic can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria, plus food residue. Using an electric toothbrush can help you to brush below the gum line, and reduce plaque. This keeps breath fresher for a longer period of time. It’s also helpful to gently brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue, as far back as a toothbrush will go. For on-the-go situations, try keeping floss that fits in your wallet.

3. Use a chlorine dioxide mouthwash

There is some scientific evidenceTrusted Source that mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide are effective for bad breath. Chlorine dioxide can help remove plaque, tongue-coating bacteria, and food particles. This is the same ingredient used to purify and improve the taste of outdoor water when camping.

You can get chloride dioxide mouthwash on Amazon here. Mouthwash usually works best after brushing and flossing. It’s also important to note the instructions on the bottle to avoid overuse or mouth irritation.

4. Use essential oils

Essential oils are often added to alcohol-based mouthwashes. In addition to freshening breath, some also have antibacterial properties. You can also make your own homemade mouthwash with essential oils and a carrier oil (coconut, sweet almond, or olive). Essential oils with proven benefits for eliminating bad breath include:





Swish 1 teaspoon of carrier oil with a drop of peppermint oil in your mouth to help get rid of food particles, bacteria, and odor. Purchase food-grade peppermint oil in your local grocery store or online. Be sure to watch out for added sugars.

5.- Drink diluted apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains pectin, which supports the growth of good bacteria. Drinking 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, prior to eating garlic or onions, may help flush their byproducts through your system more quickly. It also aids digestion.

You can drink a very diluted solution after your meal. Or swish it in your mouth for 10 or 15 seconds after eating as a mouth rinse.

6. Drink green tea

Drink a hot cup of green tea after a meal to temporarily reduce odor until you can get to the bathroom to brush your teeth.

In one studyTrusted Source, 15 participants used a green tea catechin mouthwash and found it comparable to antiseptic mouthwash for antiplaque effectiveness. In a different test tube study, green tea and toothpaste were more effective than parsley oil, chewing gum, and mints.

by Health Line

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Everything You Should Know About Mouth Sores from Chemotherapy

While you’re receiving treatment for cancer, some of the drugs you take can cause painful sores to develop inside your mouth. You can also get them if you’ve had a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant as part of your cancer care.

Although they often heal on their own, these mouth sores can make it uncomfortable to eat and talk. We’ll discuss what you can do to relieve the pain and prevent them from getting worse.

What are cancer treatment mouth sores?

Mouth sores can be a common side effect of cancer treatment. The condition, known as stomatitis or mucositis, is an inflammation of the tissues inside your mouth.

Whitish, ulcer-like sores can form on your cheeks, gums, lips, tongue, or on the roof or floor of your mouth. Even if you don’t develop mouth ulcers, you may have patches that feel inflamed and painful, as if they’ve been burned.

Anyone who is receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a bone marrow (stem cell) transplant can develop mouth sores as a side effect of these treatments.

If you have dry mouth or gum disease, or if your teeth and gums are not well taken care of, you may be at a higher risk of getting mouth sores during your treatment. Women and people who smoke or drink alcohol are also at a higher risk, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

If you’re receiving chemotherapy, the sores could begin forming anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks after your treatment. Depending on the specific cause, the sores could go away on their own in a few weeks, or they could last longer.

It’s important to find ways to manage your pain and to watch for signs of an infection. Cancer-related mouth sores can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and other serious complications.

How are mouth sores treated?

There are a few different ways that you can help mouth sores heal and avoid prolonger pain or an infection.

Good dental hygiene

While the sores are healing, it’s very important to keep the inside of your mouth clean to prevent an infection from developing.

The National Cancer InstituteTrusted Source recommends that you gently clean your teeth every 4 hours and just before you go to sleep at night. Here are a few tips to consider:

Use a toothbrush with very soft bristles to clean your teeth. You can soften bristles by running your toothbrush under hot water.

Rinse with a mild mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol. Rinsing with plain water is fine.

If the sores get crusty, you can rinse with a solution made with equal parts water or saltwater and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Limit this treatment to only 2 days, as it can slow the healing of the sores if used longer.

Keep up with a gentle daily flossing routine.

To reduce pain, dab a topical oral pain medication like benzocaine (Orajel) onto affected areas.

Regular rinses

If the pain from mouth sores is interfering with your ability to eat and drink, a doctor may treat the condition with a opioid mouthwashTrusted Source or one containing doxepin or lidocaineTrusted Source.

To ease discomfort and keep your mouth from feeling dry, you may want to try rinsing with a mild saltwater or baking soda solution. Here’s how to make each of them:

Saltwater solution. Stir 1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt into 4 cups (1 liters) of water until dissolved.

Baking soda solution. Add 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda to 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of water and mix thoroughly.

Your cancer care team may recommend that you use a lubricating liquid (artificial saliva) to moisten the inside of your mouth if dryness is a problem. These liquids are usually gel-like. They coat your mouth with a thin film to help ease discomfort and promote healing.

Some people have found it useful to rinse with a blend of medications called the magic mouthwash. Formulas for this mouthwash vary, but most of them include a combination of medications to treat different symptoms, including:







Magic or miracle mouthwash solutions usually have to be prescribed by a doctor and prepared by a pharmacist, although some people mix up an over-the-counter version at home.

There isn’t enough research to say for sure whether magic mouthwash works. If you think you’d like to try it, talk with your oncologist or a healthcare professional about whether it’s a good idea for you.

Preventative treatments


For certain kinds of chemotherapy (bolus 5‐fluorouracil chemotherapy and some high-dose therapies), your healthcare team may give you ice chips to chew for 30 minutes before your treatment. This type of cold therapy can lower your risk of getting mouth sores later.


During treatment of some blood cancers, doctors may give you injections of palifermin, also known as human keratinocyte growth factor-1 (KGF-1), to prevent mouth sores.

Low-level laser therapy

If you’re scheduled to receive high-dose chemotherapy or radiotherapy, your cancer care team may prepare your mouth using low-level laser therapy beforehand to keep you from getting mouth sores.

Benzydamine mouthwash

For people who have radiation therapy for head and neck cancers, doctors may prescribe this medicated mouthwash to minimize mouth sores.

by Health Line

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Hemangioma of the lip a purple spot on the lip

Lip Hemangiomas. This common lip discoloration is often caused by minor trauma such as that occurring at a dentist office, or even just biting your lip.

But there are various potential causes of a purple spot on your lip. Some of them are benign (not threatening to your health), while others could be signs of something more serious. The following list of conditions could help you narrow down what's behind the discoloration you're experiencing, but be careful not to self-diagnose – a healthcare professional is best-suited to diagnose and treat your condition. Some of the most common causes of a purple spot on the lip include:

A broken blood vessel, blood blister, or bruise

The purple spot on your lip could be the result of an impact, or perhaps you bit your lip, causing it to bruise. If you have a bruise on your lip, your purple spot should go away in a matter of days. If it doesn't, the condition could be something else. Contact your healthcare professional for an appointment.

Venous Lake

A venous lake is the swelling of a vein under your skin, tends to affect the elderly, and can show on your lip, ears, or face.

The cause is unknown, but it's believed to be associated with sun exposure. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, venous lakes are benign and don't cause pain or other symptoms. Treatment is typically for cosmetic purposes and includes light electrocautery, laser ablation, liquid nitrogen cryosurgery, or, more rarely, surgical removal.

Allergic Reaction

Certain foods, lipstick or chapstick, or another item that you're allergic to could have come into contact with your lip, causing it to turn purple. In most cases, an allergic reaction will go away on its own. If you're experiencing other symptoms like difficulty breathing or swallowing, get immediate medical attention.

Lip Cancer

According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, lip cancer is the most common oral cancer. Tobacco products, excessive alcohol consumption, and sun exposure all increase your chances of getting lip cancer. If you think you may have lip cancer, visit your healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment right away. Catching this disease early increases your likelihood for successful treatment, whether your doctor recommends surgery or radiation.

If you've noticed a dark spot on your lip, or any other changes to the skin on your lips, it's always a good idea to see your healthcare professional for diagnosis. It may be a benign condition that will go away on its own, but if it's something more serious, you'll be happy to catch it early so you can begin treatment right away. 

by Essence Medispa

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Trimethylaminuria and the Fishy Odor

Halitosis or bad breath can create embarrassing social situations for some people. Bad breath usually originates in the oral cavity, but in rare instances, it can be a systemic problem. One such cause is a genetic disease named trimethylaminuria, which is a metabolic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract according to the International Journal of Oral Science. Here’s what you need to know about the disorder and how it affects your oral heath.


If you have this disorder, you have an inherited enzyme deficiency. Bacteria in the stomach produce trimethylamine from the precursors of trimethylamine-N-oxide and choline. It has a fishy odor, but it is normally converted back into trimethlamine in the liver by actions of an enzyme, and this by-product is typically odorless.

But if you lack the enzyme then there is an accumulation of trimethylamine, which is eventually excreted in the urine. Although much of the trimethylamine is found in the urine, it can also be found in sweat and the breath, causing an odor that has a distinct, fishy smell. The combination of this bad breath and body odor can diminish your self-confidence.

Trimethylaminuria Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to determine a diagnosis, your physician must rule out other disorders that may be causing uncontrollable body odor. In a suspected case of trimethylaminuria, a urine sample is analyzed to determine the trimethylamine and trimethylamine-N-oxide levels.

Trimethylaminuria symptoms are managed through diet adjustments, such as avoiding fish and other foods high in trimethylamine-N-oxide. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed to attempt to correct your stomach’s flora (or bacteria). Activated charcoal can also be used to try to bind the trimethylamine in the stomach.

Effects on Your Oral Health

While there is no known or documented negative effect of trimethylaminuria on the teeth or gums, it is a potential cause of bad breath. The tongue is the area most likely to host the bacteria that cause bad breath, so a toothbrush with a built-in tongue scraper, like the Colgate® Total 360°® Flossing Toothbrush, can help scrub away this bacteria. In the end, however, don’t forget this is a medical problem that requires intervention from your dentist and physician.

To keep bad breath at bay, no matter of its origin, good oral hygiene goes a long way. Consider a daily regimen of mouthwash and toothpaste and invest in a quality toothbrush to freshen your breath and restore your confidence.

by Beddington Dental

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What is Perio Breath?

Many of us have had those days where we may eat something and our breath pays the price for it. But, sometimes bad breath could be caused by something more serious than your most recent meal.

Oral issues such as gum disease may play a role in causing bad odors within the mouth, described as perio breath. Poor oral hygiene is the typical main player in gum disease, and can affect anyone no matter what age. In addition to bad breath, some other indicators of gum disease can include swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, mobile teeth, gum recession, and pain when chewing.

Gum disease is a progressive disease, starting off in the early stages as gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, which can cause irreversible damage to your gums, teeth, and the bone surrounding your teeth. Not to mention, since the oral cavity is the window to the rest of the body, periodontal disease has also been linked to other systemic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

So, what exactly is causing the bad odor? Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a result of the bacteria within the mouth that produce volatile sulfur compounds --the source of the bad smell! These sulfur compounds can be exacerbated by oral infections and gum disease. According to research published in the Journal of International

Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, approximately 80% of patients with some degree of gum disease also experienced continuous bad breath.

On the bright side, your dentist can help you manage bad breath depending on the underlying cause. Other conditions that can contribute to bad breath include dry mouth, tobacco use, certain food diets, and other systemic diseases.

Treating periodontitis sometimes can involve a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. This involves the removal of bacteria both above and below the gumline. In some more severe cases gum surgery may be needed.

Keep up with brushing and flossing habits, in addition to brushing your tongue to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Good oral hygiene habits will help lower your risk of both gum disease and halitosis.

by Wellesley Dental Group

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3 Common Dental Issues in School Aged Children

When your children start getting their first teeth, it’s important to encourage regular brushing and flossing.

These habits started at a young age will go a long way in the prevention of multiple kinds of dental problems. But even with great oral hygiene, your school aged child can still develop some problem with his or her teeth or mouth.

Below we are going to give you three common problems to be on the lookout for.


There are several different reasons why your child may have a toothache. These can include eruption of a new tooth, decay, infection, trauma to the tooth, grinding of the teeth, and many more.

If your child is complaining of a toothache for any reason, call your dentist. It’s better to be safe than sorry as only a dentist can thoroughly diagnose the cause. If you cannot get your child to the dentist right away try a few things to help in the meantime.

If your child has no allergies or problems taking over the counter pain relievers try medicine that contains either ibuprophen or acetaminophen.

If the mouth or teeth have been injured and the injury doesn’t warrant a trip to the emergency room, try placing a cold compress on the injured area to help reduce any swelling or pain.

If your child has pain from a cavity or if there is a facial swelling it’s very important that you DO NOT put heat on the area; this can make the situation worse. Call your dentist right away because your child may need an antibiotic to prevent spreading of the infection.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is preventable disease; however it still remains as the highest chronic childhood disease and is more prevalent than asthma. Decay is also known as dental cavities or dental caries and begins when the bacteria in the mouth form plaque on the teeth. The food that your child eats essentially feeds the bacteria in their mouths and spits out acid on the teeth. If plaque is left on the teeth the acids released from the bacteria can cause decay.

All children are at risk for forming decay. However, you can help prevent it by following some of the steps below.

Limit sweets and juices. Foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates and/or starches are more likely to cause decay. It’s best to leave these items as special treats and not part of their daily nutrition.

Encourage good hygiene habits at a young age. As soon as those pearly whites come in you need to start brushing them. Brush them at least twice per day and floss the teeth as soon as they touch each other. Pay extra attention to the gum line to make sure your brushing off any plaque or food that may be retained.

Schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups with your child’s pediatric dentist. They will help give you and your child tips and pointers on how to continue to keep their mouth happy and healthy!

Canker Sores

Canker sores, also known as apthous ulcers, can be a common source of mouth pain in children.  These small ulcers are most frequently found at the base of the gums. They are typically white, gray, or yellow in color and can be quite painful depending on where it’s located in the mouth. They typical heal without issue in 7-10 days. These spots are not contagious and harmless, however it is always best to have a quick check by your child’s pediatric dentist to make sure it is not something more serious.

There is no cure for canker sores but there are some things you can do to help ease the discomfort.

Don’t eat spicy, acidic foods as these can irritate the canker sore.

There are some topical over the counter ointments that you can place over top of the sore that help numb that pain. Call your child’s pediatric dentist for a recommendation as there are several brands available.

Give your child an over the counter pain reliever if advised.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s teeth or mouth always call their dentist. They have the knowledge and equipment in order to help child get out of pain.

by Port Pediatric Dentistry

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Detecting Dental Issues in Elderly or Specially Needed Family Members

It is very difficult to manage the oral and dental hygiene of a close friend or relative and family member who cannot manage it himself or herself. For most people it is a very awful experience to have a close look into somebody’s mouth, even it it’s a loved one. But it is very necessary since, old people and people with special needs need support to ensure good oral hygiene and maintain dental health. This blog provides some easy to follow tips to what to look for and when to visit a dentist incase you are looking after an aged family member or a person with special needs.

At our clinics wherever we treat an aged patient or a patient with special needs, the first thing we check is if the patient has the capacity to consent for treatment. What it means is that this person can do the following:

Understand the pros and cons of the treatment being proposed

Remembers the information and patient education long enough to make a decision.

Express his/her decision

He/She will cooperate with the treatment.

A general rule to check the above is that if someone allows another person to brush his/her teeth then he/she may in most scenarios sit through most simple dental treatments. However, people who will not let anyone brush their teeth will be very difficult to manage on a dental chair and in most cases could be treated after they have been put to sleep with a general anaesthetic.

As a policy we do not administer general anaesthetic at Sabka Dentist Dental Clinics and usually refer a patient like the above to a hospital.

Here we will try to provide some insights on what to look for, how the problems can be treated and other things that one needs to consider.

Broken teeth: Teeth could break due to a number of reasons. They can have decay, which, when advanced enough, will cause cavities (holes) to form. Over time these holes will grow and, if they get big enough, the whole top of the tooth can break off, leaving just the root sticking out of the gum. Some people grind their teeth causing them to wear away or fracture. Fillings, despite what we in the dental world would like to believe, don’t tend to last for ever. When they fall out, they can leave the tooth looking broken. Finally, if someone falls over and hits their face, they may break a tooth from the impact. Generally, it is a good idea to get a broken tooth checked out by a dentist. If the person can make it into a dental surgery and cooperate with treatment – then there is often a lot we can do for them. If they have to be checked at home we are more limited in what we can do. We can smooth off rough edges to stop them cutting the cheeks or tongue and we may be able to patch up holes, but if the tooth is decayed, we will most likely only be able to slow down the rate of decay, rather than stop it. For people who cannot cooperate with any treatment awake, we have to ask if the dental problem is causing them pain? Is it making it difficult for them to eat? The answers to these questions can then be weighed up against the risks of a general anaesthetic.   

Loose or moving teeth: Seeing a tooth wobble about when you touch it can be a bit of a shock, but it is more common than you might realise. Adult teeth can be wobbly (or mobile which is a term most dentists use) for a number of reasons.

Gum disease (also known as periodontitis) can cause the bone that holds teeth in place to be lost. Over many years this will make teeth loose. Unfortunately, by the time the teeth are getting wobbly, much of the damage has already been done and the bone, once it has been lost, is unlikely to ever come back. It may be possible, with treatment, to get the teeth to firm up a little bit – but this would require the person’s teeth to be kept exquisitely clean, every day, for the rest of their lives. In some cases one has to ask whether this is a realistic prospect.

Overloading can be another reason why teeth become loose. An adult with a full set of teeth will have 14 or 16 teeth per jaw (depending on whether they have wisdom teeth) and the load placed on them when you bite together is spread across them all. Now imagine someone who has lost many teeth and now only has 5 or 6 left. The remaining teeth still have to take all of that load. It should not come as a surprise that this can make them a little wobbly. The good news is that this may not be a problem, and, provided they are kept clean, those teeth may keep going like that for many years.

Finally, infection is another common cause for teeth becoming loose. Generally these teeth will be sore to touch and may have a swelling or boil in the gum.

Dentures: Dentists usually quote that “Dentures are not a replacement for teeth. Dentures are an alternative to having no teeth”. This is important to bear in mind when you set your expectations for what is essentially a lump of plastic to behave exactly like natural teeth. That being said, dentures can be wonderful – giving people back their smile and perhaps helping them chew food a little better. Dentures, however, have a terrible habit of getting lost. One useful tip, if you’re ever having dentures made for a loved one, is to make an extra pair. Another tip would be to neverwrap a denture in a tissue. There have been plenty of cases where people have had their dentures accidentally thrown away because somebody thought it was waste. People will often complain that their dentures have become loose over time and have started to rub. This is generally because, over time, the shape of our mouths change – especially if we have lost teeth. In these cases, if the denture is otherwise fine, it may just need re-lining to make it fit a little more snugly. This is a relatively simple procedure. 

Ulcers: Mouth ulcers can be caused by a wide variety of things and, whilst they are normally not too serious, they can be very painful. It is certainly worth arranging for a dental checkup if they are affecting the person’s quality of life. If a single ulcer lasts more than 3 weeks, you should definitely arrange for an urgent check to make sure it isn’t anything more serious.

Pain: If your loved one is finding it more difficult to eat than usual and you suspect it is a mouth or tooth problem, please arrange for an urgent appointment for a Dental Checkup. The same can be said if they are reporting or displaying signs of unusual distress or pain that appears to be coming from the mouth. Swollen faces warrant an urgent appointment.

This should cover all the most common problems you may encounter. We hope this blog has been useful 

by Dr. Preethi Nagarajan

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How an Alveolar Fracture Can Occur in Sports

Playing sports has many benefits, especially for children – physical fitness, positive self-esteem, and teamwork, to name just a few. The downside to sports at all levels, though, is the threat of injury. As minor as bumps, bruises, and sprained ankles, injuries can also be as major as broken bones and dental emergencies.

One such dental emergency is a fractured alveolar bone. Commonly known as the tooth socket, an alveolar bone that’s broken can lead to teeth misalignment and tooth loss. Since the alveolar bone might not be on your radar, let’s learn more about it, as well as:

What can lead to an alveolar fracture

How to protect your mouth (and your kid's mouth) during sports activities

What’s the Alveolar Bone?

The alveolar bone’s main function is to secure teeth to the maxilla and mandible (the upper and lower jaws). Also called the alveolar process, it’s actually two plates – or alveolar ridges – of a bone set in your jaws. The bone helps keep your teeth in their proper places by encasing each tooth's roots.

An alveolar fracture is a displacement of the bone, which research shows can be difficult to diagnose at a glance. So, it's in your best interest to seek a medical or dental evaluation if you experience a blow to the mouth.

An alveolar ridge fracture can also be quite obvious, with the teeth and gums appearing to be pushed back – and bloodied. This usually requires an emergency room visit.

If a tooth is knocked out, the alveolar bone can easily be reabsorbed, causing the tooth socket to close up. That’s why seeking treatment quickly is essential. If a misalignment occurs – whether mild or severe – you’ll do the right thing by getting treated immediately, as well.

What Causes an Alveolar Bone to Break?

When playing sports, a high-speed object or another athlete can impact the right (or wrong) spot against the gumline to cause an alveolar fracture. The impact might occur during such sports-related contact as:

Football tackles

Hockey body checks or being hit by a flying puck

Pitched or thrown baseballs– or an errant bat

Hits by lacrosse, field hockey, and ice hockey sticks

Basketball, rugby, volleyball, and soccer collisions or headbutts

Wrong moves in martial arts and wrestling

Boxing punches

Of course, some impacts are traditional elements of contact sports. But other blows to the alveolar bone can result from a wayward elbow, foot, or head.

How Can I Protect the Alveolar Bone?

It might surprise you to know that among college athletes, basketball dental injuries topped those suffered by football teams, according to research published in the journal Sports Health.

The conclusion: Football’s mandate to wear mouthguards saves football players’ oral cavities.

Amateur contact sports that involve speed and/or flying objects (including body parts) usually require mouthguards and helmets or faceguards. While other sports encourage other types of injury protection – padding, gloves, shin guards – there’s no mandate for the two protection items proven effective in preventing contact sport dental injuries. And, really, don’t most sports involve some contact?

So, take charge of your and your child’s dental health by investing in mouthguards to wear during sports activities. Your dental professional can create customized mouthguards that fit for optimum protection. And don’t forget helmets for football, baseball, boxing, cycling, hockey, and any sport where there’s a chance of facial or dental injuries.

Alveolar fracture treatment can involve wearing a splint for weeks, getting dental implants, or undergoing surgery (and all of its complications). But you can save yourself the pain, expense, and hassle of these treatments by wearing a mouthguard and helmet to avoid a broken alveolar bone.

Now that you’ve gotten to know an essential bone in your mouth, you can see why it’s important to protect it during various sports activities. And by preventing alveolar fractures, you can continue to reap the benefits of sporting life.

by Colgate

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The Relationship between Dental Health and Dairy Products

It’s no secret that your hygiene routine is a primary factor in maintaining your teeth. For the most part, drinking enough water with your food and brushing and flossing between meals can help you avoid tooth decay.

However, did you know that while some of the foods you consume invite cavities, others can actually help fight them? Dairy is one of them.

Today’s post covers some of the benefits (and potential drawbacks) the dairy products in your diet can have on your dental health.

Dairy Fortifies Your Teeth

While it’s not exactly the same material as bone, your teeth are pretty darn close. In fact, they’re actually stronger, made of the absolute hardest tissue in the entire body – dentin. Where does dairy come in? Products commonly contain three key nutrients that help fortify those tissues over a lifetime:

Calcium. Calcium is a key nutrient in maintaining both strong bones and those pearly whites. What’s more, the calcium in the milk you drink and the cheese and yogurt you eat actually mixes with the plaque that sticks to your teeth, neutralizing the effects of the acids it creates. Dairy products are the foods that are richest in calcium.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the nutrient your body utilizes in order to absorb calcium, which is why dairy products are often marked “fortified” with it. Typically, with normal levels of outdoor activity (20 minutes of sunshine a few times a week) and consumption of enough dark, leafy greens, you will get the Vitamin D you need. However, supplementing your dairy is a great way to ensure maximum calcium absorption.

Phosphates. Phosphates added to the dairy you consume are responsible a number of important oral balancing acts: maintaining pH stability, fortifying calcium content, and attracting proteins and minerals that would otherwise allow bacterial growth in the mouth.

Dairy Helps Keep Your “Pearlies” White

The remineralization process from Calcium, Vitamin D, and Phosphorus occurring with the dairy you eat and drink helps keep your teeth nice and bright.

Plus, chewing your cheese encourages saliva production, which is the body’s natural way of flushing food particles away from your teeth. Not only is this process of washing away food great for reducing bacteria, anything that might otherwise stain them won’t have the chance.

Dairy Drawbacks?

There aren’t very many drawbacks to the effects of dairy on your dental health, but a few specific situations may cause unwanted trouble.

While it’s true milk can provide temporary relief from stomach acid, the fat in it can actually stimulate acid production. If you suffer from heartburn afterward, try skim or low-fat milk to see if that helps. Lactose intolerance can leave you feeling acidy, as well.

Luckily there are plenty of lactose-free options on the market today. As far as the health of your teeth, when your stomach produces too much acid, in some instances it can wind up on your teeth, contributing to tooth decay over time.

Also, as with any food containing added sugars or starch, flavored dairy products like ice cream, fruit- or chocolate-flavored milks, and yogurts are likely to negate the benefits of these products. You’re better off sticking with a given dairy product in its most natural, additive-free, state. 

Besides these special circumstances, the relationship between dairy products and your dental health can really be a secret weapon against an unhealthy mouth.

by Dr. Leonardo Frydman

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Persistent mouth problems should be checked to rule out oral cancers

Difficulty swallowing, bad breath, a mouth sore — usually these are temporary issues that tend to pass fast. However, when such problems persist, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out more serious conditions, including oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers. These cancers, which fall within the broader category of head and neck cancers, affect the areas in and around the mouth.

“The oral cavity contains the structures we can easily see, including the mobile tongue, floor of mouth, gums and cheeks, to name a few,” said Abhinand Peddada, MD, a radiation oncologist at Renown Health, whose areas of interest include head and neck cancer, gynecologic cancer, and brachytherapy. “The oropharyngeal structures are a little more difficult to visualize and include tonsils, base of tongue — the part of the tongue that does not move — and epiglottis, to name a few.”

According to Peddada, common signs and symptoms of cancers affecting these areas include a palpable neck mass, sore throat, persistent mouth sore, difficulty swallowing or choking when swallowing, pain radiating to one or both ears, changes in voice, persistent bad breath and spitting up blood.

“Many of the above symptoms occur with other nonmalignant conditions and should not be a cause of alarm,” Peddada said. “However, any symptom that is persistent despite conservative measures needs to brought to the attention of a medical professional for further evaluation.”

“Cessation of tobacco and alcohol will significantly reduce the risk of developing head and neck cancers,” Peddada said. “More importantly with the rising incidence of HPV associated cancers, vaccination for HPV is strongly recommended.”

When it comes to treating people already diagnosed with oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers, the protocol typically depends on the stage and location of the cancer and may involve surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of approaches.

“It is critical that the treatment of head and neck cancer is done with a multidisciplinary approach,” Peddada said. “In addition to an ENT specialist, radiation oncologist and medical oncologist, effective therapy mitigating long-term aftereffects will require concurrent nutritionist, dental care, swallow therapy, lymphedema therapy, and social and psychological support. It is important for patients to seek care in a comprehensive medical center for the best outcome.”

by Brandi Vesco

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Jaw Problems and Headaches

Peripheral to day to day dentistry but equally important is the subject of Dental Occlusion.

A fancy word for something we must do every day – bring our jaws together and bite!

Around 1 in 4 people may have some symptoms and men and women are equally affected, although women tend to ask for treatment more often than men. This may be attributable to recent research linking the menopause and hormonal changes to this condition.


If your teeth are misaligned in any way, this will not only cause problems to your teeth but also the gums and specifically the TMJ (the temporo-mandibular joint – the muscles that move your jaw).

Generically these are called ‘occlusal’ problems and some common causes are outlined below:

teeth are out of line

teeth are heavily worn or constantly breaking

fillings have fractured

Teeth that are loose or receding from the gum line

Crowns that are worn and loose

Typical Symptoms

The main symptoms are continual headaches or migraine; especially first thing in the morning; pain behind your eyes; sinus pain and pains in your neck and shoulders. Sometimes even back muscles are involved. There is also:

Tenderness on biting

Teeth constantly ache

Teeth are loose

Clicking, grinding or pain in your jaw joints

Ringing or buzzing in your ears

Difficulty in opening or closing your mouth


If your jaw is in the wrong position, the muscles that move the jaw must work a lot harder to compensate and this creates fatigue which ultimately causes muscle spasms

Factors such as clenching or grinding your teeth, especially when you are concentrating on daily tasks such as fixing the car, mowing the lawn or cleaning the house, this often propagate the condition.

Other situations may occur when you wake up in the morning with a stiff jaw or tenderness when you bite together. This may be caused by clenching or grinding your teeth during sleep and you probably don’t even realise you are doing it.

Regular severe tension headaches, neck and shoulder pain as well as stress may well be attributable to these types of jaw problems. Any pain or discomfort on the side of your face especially around your ears or jaw joints are also symptoms of TMJ problems.


Inevitably we are here to help and in extreme cases we can refer you to experts who specialise in occlusal problems.

Depending on the symptoms you are having, the aim is always to pinpoint occlusal problem, e.g. various muscles may be sore when tested, or there may be broken and worn areas of your teeth which would indicate that you are grinding your teeth – the most common sign of an incorrect bite.

As with any joint pain, a soft diet is recommended as it will place less stress on the joint. Physiotherapy exercises can often help, and we can happily recommend these to you if required.

For night time teeth grinding, we strongly recommend dental guards, these are readily available and designed to protect teeth and prevent the TMJ from clenching and grinding.

Dental solutions are also afforded through tooth adjustment or equilibration, where your teeth are carefully adjusted to meet evenly. Changing the direction and position of the slopes that guide your teeth together can also often help to reposition the jaw.

If an incorrect bite is causing your discomfort, we may recommend a hard-plastic appliance that fits over your upper or lower teeth. This appliance must be measured and fitted very accurately so that when you bite on it, all your teeth meet at the same time in a position where your muscles are relaxed.

Teeth straightening is another option worthy of consideration. Especially, if your teeth are too far out of line or in a totally incorrect bite position. We would recommend an orthodontic brace which will help move them into a better position.

by Garden Dental Centre

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Impact of Electronic Cigarettes on Oral Health

Electronic cigarettes (e‑cigarettes) are widely available, and their use is increasing worldwide. They are promoted as a safer alternative to combustible cigarette smoking and as an effective smoking cessation aid. E‑cigarettes are designed to provide smokers with the desired nicotine dose without burning tobacco. They contain flavoured humectants that include nicotine in concentrations of 0–36 mg/mL. Evidence suggests that e‑cigarettes are a better nicotine delivery method than combustible cigarettes and have reduced adverse general and oral health effects, compared with combustible cigarettes. 

However, although e‑cigarettes might be an acceptable harm-reduction strategy, the differential effects of e‑cigarettes and combustible cigarettes have been based on self-reported perceptions. 

In addition, a growing number of young people, who have never engaged in combustible cigarette smoking, are smoking e‑cigarettes, which may not be harmless. We analyzed peer-reviewed publications available through PubMed to summarize the effects of e‑cigarettes on oral health.

The World Health Organization estimated that, in 2015, 19.9% of the world’s population over the age of 15 were smokers. The 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey found that the prevalence of current cigarette smoking was 15%, including about 17% of males and 13% of females. The prevalence in teens aged 15–19 years was about 8%, with 10% of males and 6% of females being current smokers. For those aged 20–24 years and those 25 years and older, the prevalence was 16%. Combustible cigarette smoking (CCS) has been causally associated with major morbidity and mortality. Indeed, numerous experimental and clinical investigations have linked tobacco use with over 25 diseases, including lung, heart and oral diseases, such as oral cancer.

The oral cavity is the first site to encounter tobacco smoke, which comes in direct contact with soft and hard tissues. Several studies have linked smoking to an elevated risk of periodontal disease. Cigarette smoke has also been associated with various cancers. A meta-analysis showed that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is prospectively associated with a significantly increased risk of lung cancer.

Smoking is also associated with oral cancers. Chher and colleagues reported a 4-fold increase in potentially malignant oral disorders among those who smoke tobacco. 

In a retrospective clinicopathological study, of people with proven cases of oral cancer, 29.4% were only tobacco chewers, 25.5% were only smokers, 42.2% used both types of tobacco (smoke and smokeless) and 2.9% were not tobacco users. For those only chewing tobacco, 83.3% had oral cavity cancers, of which 6.7% were of the oro- and hypopharynx. Among those who only smoked tobacco, 69.2% cases were of the laryngeal and oro- and hypopharyngeal, compared with 11.5% oral cavity cancers. Whatever the mode of tobacco use (smoking, chewing, etc.), there is a high risk of cancer development.

by Dental News

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Bleeding gums may be a sign you need more vitamin C in your diet

Current advice from the America Dental Association tells you that if your gums bleed, make sure you are brushing and flossing twice a day because it could be a sign of gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease. And that might be true. So if you are concerned, see your dentist. However, a new University of Washington study suggests you should also check your intake of vitamin C.

"When you see your gums bleed, the first thing you should think about is not, I should brush more. You should try to figure out why your gums are bleeding. And vitamin C deficiency is one possible reason," said the study's lead author Philippe Hujoel, a practicing dentist and professor of oral health sciences in the UW School of Dentistry.

Hujoel's study, published Feb. 1 in Nutrition Reviews, analyzed published studies of 15 clinical trials in six countries, involving 1,140 predominantly healthy participants, and data from 8,210 U.S. residents surveyed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The results showed that bleeding of the gums on gentle probing, or gingival bleeding tendency, and also bleeding in the eye, or retinal hemorrhaging, were associated with low vitamin C levels in the bloodstream. And, the researchers found that increasing daily intake of vitamin C in those people with low vitamin C plasma levels helped to reverse these bleeding issues.

Of potential relevance, says Hujoel, who is also an adjunct professor of epidemiology in the UW School of Public Health, both a gum bleeding tendency and retinal bleeding could be a sign of general trouble in one's microvascular system, of a microvascular bleeding tendency in the brain, heart and kidneys.

The study does not imply that successful reversing of an increased gingival bleeding tendency with vitamin C will prevent strokes or other serious health outcomes, Hujoel stresses. However, the results do suggest that vitamin C recommendations designed primarily to protect against scurvy -- a deadly disease caused by extremely low vitamin C levels -- are too low, and that such a low vitamin C intake can lead to a bleeding tendency, which should not be treated with dental floss.

Consequently, Hujoel does recommend people attempt to keep an eye on their vitamin C intake through incorporation of non-processed foods such as kale, peppers or kiwis into your diet, and if you can't find palatable foods rich in vitamin C to consider a supplement of about 100 to 200 milligrams a day.

If someone is on a specialized diet, such as a paleo diet, it's important that they take a look at their vitamin C intake, Hujoel said. "Vitamin C-rich fruits such as kiwis or oranges are rich in sugar and thus typically eliminated from a low-carb diet."

This avoidance may lead to a vitamin C intake that is too low and is associated with an increased bleeding tendency. People who exclusively eat lean meats and avoid offal, the vitamin-rich organ meats, may be at a particularly high risk for a low vitamin C intake.

The association between gum bleeding and vitamin C levels was recognized more than 30 years ago. In fact, two studies co-authored by former dean of the UW School of Dentistry Paul Robertson (published in 1986 and 1991) identified gum bleeding as a biological marker for vitamin C levels.

However, this connection somehow got lost in dental conversations around bleeding gums.

There was a time in the past when gingival bleeding was more generally considered to be a potential marker for a lack of vitamin C. But over time, that's been drowned out or marginalized by this overattention to treating the symptom of bleeding with brushing or flossing, rather than treating the cause.

The study authors write: "A default prescription of oral hygiene and other periodontal interventions to 'treat' microvascular pathologies, even if partially effective in reversing gingival bleeding as suggested in this meta-analysis, is risky because it does not address any potential morbidity and mortality associated with the systemic microvascular-related pathologies."

by Science Daily

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Silent Problems That May Be Going On In Your Mouth

Not all issues that affect the mouth and your general oral health start as pain.

We are taught from an early age that proper oral health is maintaining healthy teeth. The simple acts of brushing and flossing are instilled in us so that we maintain our “pearly whites” – yet, oral health is much more than clean teeth. It involves the gums and their supporting tissues, the palate, the lining of the mouth and throat, the tongue, the lips, the salivary glands, the chewing muscles, the nerves, and the bones of the upper and lower jaws.

Recent research has indicated possible associations between chronic oral infections and diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, and low birth weight or premature births. In other words, oral health refers to the health of our mouth and, ultimately, supports and reflects the health of the entire body.

An important first step in combating the two leading causes of poor oral health, dental caries and periodontal disease, is understanding that tooth loss is often the result of disease or injury, rather than an inevitable consequence of aging. Educational programs emphasizing the importance of oral health promotion/disease prevention are also necessary to raise awareness and discourage the lack of concern regarding oral health. Proper oral health is vital to a productive and healthy life.

Messages that encourage lowering sucrose intake, reducing acidic beverage consumption, and routine brushing and flossing teeth should continue to be disseminated through all sources of media – including dental literature, television, newspapers, magazines, radio, and the Internet. It should be incorporated into the education curriculum targeting children, caregivers, and communities.

Together, we will be able to promote good oral health and encourage our children to be vigilant of their oral health status.

by K1 Dental

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What Causes a Dark Spot on Gums?

Amalgam Tattoo

An amalgam “tattoo” occurs when a silver filling is being placed and some of the metal filling material inadvertently becomes lodged in the gum tissue or cheek. It usually looks like a small, irregularly shaped dark blue discoloration. They may look strange when you brush your teeth, but these dots are perfectly harmless and require no treatment.

Gum Injuries

Trauma, such as accidentally biting your tongue or cheek or being hit in the mouth while playing sports, can leave a bruise, appearing as a dark spot on the gum or cheek. You would most likely be aware of this happening and can easily relate the bruise to a specific injury. This type of injury will usually heal by itself in a week or two and requires little treatment beyond palliative care, such as rinsing with warm salt water.

For any lesion that is more severe or doesn’t seem to be healing, you should see your dentist. You should also always wear amouth guard to protect your teeth while playing contact sports.

Minor oral injuries, such as a cut from sharp food, can sometimes result in a pyogenic granuloma, a bright red or purple swollen bump. This overgrowth of tissue can also appear in the mouth during pregnancy. If they are bothersome, granulomas can be easily removed, and they are not malignant or dangerous.

Dark Gum Spots & Teething

Occasionally, a swollen spot known as an eruption hematoma can form over a child’s erupting tooth. When this small, fluid-filled cyst contains blood it appears dark blue or purple. The word “hematoma” refers to an area filled with blood, just like any bruise you might get from bumping your knee or elbow. This is a harmless lesion that requires no treatment and will disappear as the tooth grows into the mouth.

Rare Conditions

In rarer cases a dark spot on gum tissue can point to a disease or growth. A nevus, for example, is a congenital tumor-like malformation of the skin or mucous membrane that can develop in the mouth. It may appear as a dark blue pigmented mole and is typically harmless and requires no treatment.

The circulatory disease thrombocytopenia, characterized by a deficiency in the number of platelets in the blood, can also be marked by oral spots called thrombocytopenic purpura. Other oral symptoms include spontaneous bleeding gums and the appearance of small red dots called petechiae on the roof of the mouth and the cheeks. This condition requires referral to a doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What to Do About Dark Spots?

Many soft-tissue-related dark spots in the mouth are harmless, and there is no need to remove or disturb them unless they become painful. It’s no secret that your mouth is a reflection of the health of your whole body, so it never hurts to see your dentist if you notice any perplexing oral changes. They will likely already perform a regular oral cancer screening and other checks of your soft tissues at your regular dental cleanings.

If your dentist is uncertain about the cause of a dark spot on gums, they may have you return in a week to see if there are any changes. If there are persistent symptoms or problematic changes in the size, shape, or color of a spot, your dentist may refer you to a doctor or oral surgeon for appropriate followup.

by Beddington Dental

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Cocaine gum damage, teeth grinding and other mouth problems

Frequent, long-term cocaine abuse is known to cause a wide range of severe and often disfiguring mouth and sinus problems. 

How Is Cocaine Used?

Cocaine is derived from coca leaves taken from the coca plant in South America. It reaches the United States as a water-soluble powder (cocaine hydrochloride) that is snorted or as freebase crack cocaine that’s smoked. 

Cocaine may also be adulterated or mixed with other drugs like amphetamine, methamphetamine, or heroin (speedball).

Each form of the drug has a high potential for compulsive use and yields powerful stimulant effects including a euphoric high and profound sense of well-being.

Effects Of Cocaine Use On The Mouth

Though its effects are less well known than methamphetamine, cocaine use can lead to a variety of harmful effects on the mouth and teeth, with the severity of the effects increasing dramatically as cocaine is used more frequently, in higher doses, and over a long period of time.

Gum Damage

Cocaine powder is acidic and is often cut with various sugars and other dilatants. If put inside the mouth, cocaine can mix with your saliva and inflame or erode the supportive tissues of your gums. This condition is known as periodontitis.

This acid can also slowly wear away your tooth enamel directly, causing lesions and tooth decay.

Dry Mouth

Cocaine causes xerostomia, or dry mouth, by dehydrating the body and interrupting saliva function. This causes the pH of the tooth surface to become more acidic before and after drug use, damaging your teeth.

Tooth Grinding

If you clench or grind your teeth without thinking about it, you have a condition known as bruxism. Severe Bruxism is a common side-effect of using stimulant drugs like cocaine.

Long-term bruxism may cause headaches, trouble sleeping, and pain in the muscles and joints related to the mouth. It can also wear down the surfaces of the teeth, exposing the inner layers and causing cocaine toothaches.

Nasal Septum Perforation

Cocaine crystals are abrasive and caustic, as are many adulterants and cutting agents. As a result, snorting cocaine causes nosebleeds, crusting, runny nose, and sinus infections.  

And, because cocaine is a vasoconstrictor, which narrows your blood vessels and deprives your body of blood and oxygen, the inside of your nose may have more trouble than normal dealing with this damage.

If you snort cocaine long term, the drug can damage the tissue between your nose to the point that it breaks down and dies, opening up a hole in the septum between your nostrils.

This can cause your entire nose to collapse, ending in a highly disfiguring condition known as saddle nose deformity.

Palatal Perforation

Sometime after the nasal septum is perforated, the damage can turn downwards and open up a hole in the top of the mouth that slowly expands. This can limit your ability to speak clearly, eat, and swallow. 

At this point, some choose to use wads of tissue paper or chewing gum (“cocaine gum”) to fill the open gap in their palate, between their nose and their mouth.

While it is possible for medical professionals to make a device to fill this gap, it’s not recommended except after long-term sobriety. As long as cocaine is still used, the perforation will continue to change and expand.

Poor Nutrition And Self Care

Cocaine suppresses both appetite and the urge to sleep, and can cause severe dehydration. It is also often binged for hours if not days at a time, followed by long, miserable crashes and recovery periods.

During these cycles of substance use it’s common for those who use cocaine to further neglect their physical health and well-being with a poor-quality diet, lots of sugar, use of other substances, and limited brushing or flossing.

Interactions With Dental Anesthetics

If you’ve used cocaine recently, the drug can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to spike dangerously if local anesthetics like lidocaine are used during a dental appointment. This mix can lead to severe convulsions and medical emergencies, including heart attack.

Treating Cocaine Addiction

The use of cocaine is harmful, as it impacts your body, mind, relationships, and more. But while cocaine use and cocaine withdrawal can be difficult to overcome, professional and compassionate treatment programs are available to help.


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Cold Sores And Fever Blisters: Symptoms and treatment

What Are They?

Canker sores are painful, round mouth sores. They show up in several places:

·     On the inside of the lips

·     Inside the cheeks

·     On the tongue

·     At the base of the gums

·     On the roof of the mouth (palate)

Canker sores often run in families. They are also linked with other diseases, including Behcet's syndrome. You may have only one canker sore at a time, or many of them, all at once. Most people get one, two or three sores at a time. But some people have 10 or more at a time. People who get canker sores typically have them a few times each year. Canker sores are not contagious.

It is not very clear what causes canker sores. Most scientists believe that there is a Problem with the body's immune system. Emotional stress, menstruation or injury to the mouth are common triggers for simple canker sores. Certain foods such as citrus or acidic foods may trigger a canker sore or make one more uncomfortable.

Other conditions that may cause similar sores:

·     Blood and immune system diseases, including HIV

·     Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

·     Allergies

·     Trauma

·     Crohn's disease

·     Lupus

Canker sores are often confused with cold sores. Cold sores are caused by a virus.

About half of the population get canker sores. Smaller canker sores usually heal within a couple of weeks and do not leave scars. For most people, they are just annoying. But some people get larger canker sores (almost one-half inch across or larger). These take longer time to heal. They can be painful, and may leave scars. These sores may be so uncomfortable that it is sometimes hard to eat or speak.


You may feel a burning or tingling on your inner cheek, lip or tongue before a sore appears. Each sore takes two to three days to form. The sores are round and shallow


Usually, you do not need to visit a doctor for canker sores, unless it is the first time you have them. If the sores become worse over time, or start showing up more often, see your physician or dentist. He or she can do some tests for blood diseases, connective tissue diseases, drug reactions and skin disorders.

Sometimes a biopsy is needed to make sure the mouth sore is not a different disease. While taking a biopsy, the area is locally anaesthetized , and a small piece of tissue is removed. Then it is examined in a laboratory.

To reduce discomfort, you can:

·     Eat bland foods

·     Rinse the mouth with warm water

·     Use pain-relieving gels or creams on the sores

People with larger or very painful sores may need steroid medication. These are gels or creams that are placed on the sores. They make the sores heal faster and also prevent them from growing bigger.

Other possible treatments include injected steroids. There are also a few medicines you can take by mouth, but this is for the most serious cases.

When To Visit a Professional

You should visit your dentist or physician if:

·     You are having sores for the first time

·     Your sores are larger than 1centimeter (almost one-half inch) across

·     You get more sores now than you used to

·     You get sores more often than you used to

·     You have other symptoms with your sores, such as:

o  Rashes

o  Joint pain

o  Fever

o  Diarrhea


Most canker sores clear up without treatment and do not leave scars. In more severe cases, medicines often help to speed-up healing.

by Colgate

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Uncommon Dental Issues After 40

As we grow older, our bodies become weaker, making us susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. One of the worst-hit areas is the mouth. From cavities to gum diseases, numerous dental problems come with age. Some dental issues are less common in adults above 40 years as are in people below 40. This article discusses some of the most uncommon dental problems after 40.

Crowded and Misaligned Teeth

It is very unlikely that people who are aged above 40 years will have crowded and misaligned teeth. These problems are only shared in teenagers and adults. Crowded and misaligned teeth occur when there is insufficient room in your jaw. They can also be caused by too much room in your jaw, which results in spaced or gapped teeth (diastema). When you have crowded or misaligned teeth, you will likely experience bad bites (malocclusion) or temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ). Also, your teeth will wear out prematurely.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last four molars to grow at the back of your mouth. They usually emerge during adolescence or in your 20s. Since there isn’t enough space left in the jaw for these molars to develop normally, they are forced to squeeze themselves out through the little space available at the back of your mouth. So, they will either get stuck in the gum or grow sideways. This is what is referred to as impacted wisdom teeth. The problem is very common in people aged between 15 and 25 years. If this problem is not addressed immediately, it will cause other serious dental issues, including gum disease, bacterial infection, and tooth decay.


Cavities are most common in kids. It is estimated that over 20 percent of kids will have cavities at some point in their childhood. However, this problem is not common in people who are above 40 years. If cavities are left untreated, they can lead to tooth decay, infections, toothache, and, ultimately, tooth loss. The good news is that cavities can be prevented by merely maintaining proper oral hygiene and avoiding sugary foods and drinks.Whether you are a teenager or above 40 years, it is always essential to go for regular oral checkups. It will help to detect any potential dental issues before they become serious complications. Also, avoid unhealthy habits that put your teeth at risk.


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Oral health issues that may arise with age

As you age, your body can experience shifts in health that affect your mouth in ways you might not expect. In honor of Healthy Aging Month, take a look at few conditions people may encounter with age that can affect their oral health – including bone loss and dry mouth.

Bone loss as you age: you become increasingly vulnerable to bone loss. One of the more common causes is osteoporosis, which causes bone density to decrease. 1 In the United States alone, over 53 million people already have osteoporosis or are at high risk for developing it. 2 Women are especially susceptible to bone loss, since many experience lower estrogen levels after menopause.

3. What does all this have to do with your smile? When your jaw bones lose density, you become more susceptible to loose teeth and tooth loss. 4 It can also cause your gums to recede, leaving more of your tooth exposed and susceptible to tooth decay.

5. With these threats to your oral and overall health, it's important to take proactive measures to stay in control. Calcium and vitamin D are both critical to preventing bone loss. It can also help to avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption and engage in regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight training. 6 Work with your dentist to prevent bone loss or to treat it if you've already begun experiencing symptoms.

Medications: many medications can reduce saliva and cause dry mouth, which can increase tooth decay.  Saliva is essential to oral health as it helps wash away sugar, acid and food residue from your teeth.  When you have dry mouth, these sugars and acids remain on your teeth for an extended period of time and wear away tooth enamel.

In addition to dry mouth, some medications can cause canker sores, a metallic taste, discolored teeth and gingival overgrowth, which is a condition where gums become swollen and begin to grow over teeth. Be sure to let your dentist know of any medications you are taking so they can recommend ways to combat dry mouth and any other side effects.

Other oral health and medical conditionsVisiting the dentist is important to maintaining good oral health at any age, but it is especially important as you get older.  Tooth loss, gum disease and receding gums are more common among older adults. Regular dental visits can help prevent tooth loss and treat other oral conditions early before they become more serious and expensive to treat

A dental checkup can also benefit your overall health.  Dentists can spot signs and symptoms of more than 120 diseases during an exam.  Older adults are more susceptible to developing heart disease, diabetes and oral cancer, which all have symptoms that affect the mouth.

Caring for older family members and their oral healthAbout 65 million Americans, or 29% of the population, care for a chronically ill, disabled or older family member. 7. Helping a loved one maintain good oral health can be challenge, but it is vital to their overall health and well-being.  Here are some ways to help your loved one have a healthy smile.

If a loved one has dexterity issues, get them an electric toothbrush and water pick to make it easier for them to keep their teeth and gums clean.

To help a family member who may have memory issues, write short, step-by-step instructions for brushing and flossing that they can reference. Post these instructions in the bathroom near the sink.

Make sure they visit the dentist regularly and let the dentist know of any oral health issues your loved one may be experiencing, such as dry mouth or pain. If the person you care for is missing teeth, discuss options with their dentist to help retain as much normal function as possible.8

Daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and use of fluoride mouth rinse can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay and any other negative effects a medical condition can have on oral health.

By staying vigilant and working with your or a loved one's dentist and physician, you can help ease the effects of bone loss, dry mouth and other conditions on your or your loved one's oral health.

by Delta Dental

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