My BEST Dentists Journal


Ossifying Fibroma: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Finding a growing lump in your mouth can cause a panic. However, not all tumors mean cancer. Ossifying fibroma is a rare, non-cancerous tumor that occurs in the jawbones. Understand more about what ossifying fibroma is, how it forms, and where you can find treatment.

What Is Ossifying Fibroma?

Ossifying fibroma, sometimes called cemeto-ossifying fibroma, refers to a rare, benign neoplasm that arises from the jawbone. The term "ossifying" means to turn into bone or bony tissue, and these tumors often contain calcified tissue that resembles bone, cementum, or both. Ossifying fibromas often manifest as round, painless, and slow-growing masses with well-defined borders.

What Causes Ossifying Fibroma?

Ossifying fibroma often occurs between the second and fourth decade of life and is more common in females, suggesting a hormonal influence on development. Still, ossifying fibromas can occur for patients of any age and sex. Trauma, irritation caused by dental restorations, and plaque underneath the gums might also all play a role in development, but the precise cause is still unknown.

What Are Ossifying Fibroma Symptoms?

You might first notice ossifying fibroma by swelling in the face. These slow-growing tumors are often painless and asymptomatic, but they can gradually displace teeth or cause root resorption. If you notice any facial swelling, see your dental professional as soon as possible to determine the source of the issue.

Your dental professional will take X-rays to determine the exact location of the tumor and confirm a diagnosis. The clear outline around their perimeter usually identifies the growth as ossifying fibroma; however, the X-ray appearance can differ depending on the tumor's development stage and how much of the mass has calcified.

What Is Ossifying Fibroma Treatment?

Treatment for ossifying fibroma usually requires surgical excision where the oral surgeon will remove the tumor completely from the tissue. Larger tumors might require a more involved procedure to reconstruct the affected bone. After healing, your dental professional will determine if any additional treatment is needed to restore and replace affected teeth.

Removing the ossifying fibroma generally resolves any issues. Several studies have estimated the recurrence rate to be from 6.7% up to 28%. The Journal of Dental and Allied Sciences notes the recurrence rate is significantly higher for cases affecting children. For these reasons, make it a priority to see your dental professional for periodic follow-ups to monitor the site.

As with many dental issues, early diagnoses and appropriate treatment of ossifying fibroma can provide the best route to a healthy mouth. If you notice any swelling or growths along your gums or jaw, contact your dental professional immediately.

by Colgate

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What to know about calcium deficiency and teeth

Calcium is a nutrient that can benefit a person’s teeth and bones. A calcium deficiency may have adverse effects on a person’s dental health.

This article explains everything a person needs to know about calcium deficiency and how it can affect the teeth.

What is the relationship between calcium and teeth?

Calcium is an important nutrient that people need to consume for strong bones and teeth.

When a person does not consume enough calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, they can develop weaker, less-dense bones and teeth. This can lead to osteoporosis and other health complications, such as tooth decay and tooth loss.

According to the New York State Department of Health, females living with osteoporosis tend to have fewer teeth than those of a similar age not living with the condition. They also note that if the jawbone weakens or thins, it may no longer support the teeth properly, leading to tooth loss.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency in teeth

Calcium deficiency can cause bones throughout the body to become less dense and more fragile. When this occurs, it can make a person more susceptible to losing teeth.

According to an older study, researchers found a direct correlation between not getting enough calcium and losing teeth. The researchers found that people who did not take in enough calcium each day were much more likely to lose at least one tooth within a 2-yearTrusted Source follow-up period.

Other symptoms of calcium deficiency

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the signs of calcium deficiency may not become apparent for several years because a person’s body will pull calcium from their bones when there is a deficiency.

Over the long term, calcium deficiency can cause:

Low bone mass, also called osteopenia, an increased risk of osteoporosis, higher risk of bone fractures.

The NIH also state that severe cases of calcium deficiency can cause:

Convulsions, numbness or tingling in the fingers, abnormal heart rhythms.

What to eat

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that people add more calcium-rich foods to their diet.

There are various dietary sources of calcium, including nondairy and vegan options. They include:

Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, soy milk, tofu with added calcium, dark green, leafy vegetables, almonds, beans, orange juice with added calcium, canned fish.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend that a person eat foods rich in vitamin C and phosphorus in addition to calcium. Vitamin C helps promote gum health, while phosphorus, which is in foods such as beans, eggs, and meats, is important for strong teeth.

According to the ADA, lost teeth can lead to nutritional issues. They say that a person who has experienced tooth loss is more likely to eat a soft diet that may not include necessary nutrients. This can lead to other complications, such as obesity.

The ADA also recommend that a person talk to their dentist about replacing missing teeth. They say that having properly fitting dentures can make a difference in helping a person maintain a regular, healthful diet.

Consuming enough calcium is an important part of preventing bone density loss. However, people should try to get their calcium and other nutrients from foods rather than supplements.

by Medical News Today

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When Is Lip Biting a Sign of Other Conditions?

For many people, lip biting is just an occasional nervous habit. However, other people may chronically bite their lips due to an underlying medical condition. Here are some of the many conditions that can cause this oral habit, including dental conditions, psychological conditions and developmental disorders.

Temporomandibular Disorders

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects your jawbone to your skull, is one of the most complex joints in the body. Disorders of this joint can be caused by numerous factors, such as arthritis or injuries to the jaw. People with TMJ disorders may experience many different symptoms, such as pain in the jaw joint or trouble opening and closing the mouth.

A study published found that lip biting is also a common symptom of TMJ disorders, with 37 percent of the studied individuals exhibiting the habit of biting their lips or other objects.


Malocclusion means the upper and lower teeth aren’t aligned properly. Teeth may be misaligned if your upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size. Extra teeth, abnormally shaped teeth or missing teeth are some other possible causes of misalignment.

Most teeth alignment problems are minor and don’t need any treatment, although in some cases, individuals may have trouble or discomfort when biting or chewing. Repetitive lip biting in children with an existing malocclusion can impede correction of the improper alignment.

Other Health Conditions

Dental conditions such as a TMJ disorder and malocclusion aren’t the only possible scenarios in which individuals bite their lips. Many other health conditions can also result in this oral habit.

Sometimes, psychological conditions can cause lip biting. Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are one of these disorders. People with BFRBs may repeatedly pull their hair, pick their skin, bite their lips or perform other repetitive actions.

Individuals with autism may also have a tendency toward certain self-harm behaviors, such as biting their lips.

Treatment Options

If you often bite your lips, or if you have a child with this habit, see a dentist. There are many treatments available based on the underlying cause.

If your dentist suspects a TMJ disorder is to blame, they may suggest home remedies such as massaging the jaw muscles or limiting your diet to soft foods. If necessary, they may prescribe medications to help ease pain and inflammation in the jaw joint. Your dentist may even recommend a nightguard or splint, which is a clear plastic device that fits over your teeth, to help your jaw muscles relax. Referrals to other medical specialists, such as physiotherapists or oral surgeons, may sometimes be needed to treat TMJ disorders.Orthodontic treatment may be required to correct malocclusion and its associated issues.

Your dentist may recommend braces or other orthodontic appliances to adjust the positioning of your teeth. If overcrowding is part of the malocclusion problem, one or more teeth may need to be extracted to make room. In rare cases, a patient may need surgery to reshape the jaw.

by Caribbean National Weekly

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Dentigerous cyst, causes and treatment

What is a dentigerous cyst?

Dentigerous cysts are the second most common type of odontogenic cyst, which is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the jaw bone and soft tissue. They form over the top of an unerupted tooth, or partially erupted tooth, usually one of your molars or canines. While dentigerous cysts are benign, they can lead to complications, such as infection, if left untreated.

What are the symptoms?

Smaller dentigerous cysts might not cause any symptoms. However, if the cyst grows larger than 2 centimeters in diameter, you may notice:


tooth sensitivity

tooth displacement

If you look inside your mouth, you may also notice a small bump. If the cyst causes tooth displacement, you might also see gaps slowly forming between your teeth.

What causes it?

Dentigerous cysts are caused by a buildup of fluid over the top of an unerupted tooth. The exact cause of this buildup is unknown.

While anyone can develop a dentigerous cyst, they’re more commonTrusted Source in people who are in their 20s or 30s.

How is it diagnosed?

Small dentigerous cysts often go unnoticed until you have a dental X-ray. If your dentist notices an unusual spot on your dental X-ray, they may use a CT scan or MRI scan to make sure it’s not another type of cyst, such as a periapical cyst or an aneurysmal bone cyst.

In some cases, including when the cyst is larger, your dentist may be able to diagnose a dentigerous cyst just by looking at it.

How is it treated?

Treating a dentigerous cyst depends on its size. If it’s small, your dentist might be able to surgically remove it along with the affected tooth. In other cases, they might use a technique called marsupialization.

Marsupialization involves cutting open the cyst so it can drain. Once the fluid has drained, stitches are added to the edges of the incision to keep it open, which prevents another cyst from growing there.

What are the complications?

Even if your dentigerous cyst is small and not causing any symptoms, it’s important to have it removed to avoid complications. An untreated dentigerous cyst can eventually cause:


tooth loss

jaw fracture

ameloblastoma, a type of benign jaw tumor.

Living with a dentigerous cyst

While dentigerous cysts are usually harmless, they can lead to several problems if left untreated. Talk to your dentist about any swelling, pain, or unusual bumps in your mouth, especially around your molars and canines. In most cases, dentigerous cysts are easy to treat, either through excision or marsupialization.

by Health Line

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Perioral Dermatitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What is perioral dermatitis?

If you have a rash around your mouth, you may have perioral dermatitis.

This rash often looks like small, red, acne-like breakouts in people with light-colored skin and skin-colored breakouts in people who have skin of color.

Whether red or skin colored, this rash can itch. Sometimes, the rash causes a burning sensation.

It’s also possible that you won’t have any itching or burning. You’ll likely have dry and flaky skin where you have the rash, though.

Is perioral dermatitis contagious?

No matter where this rash appears, the mouth or even the genitals, you cannot catch this rash. It’s not contagious.

What causes perioral dermatitis?

It’s not entirely clear what causes this rash. Something may be irritating your skin, such as a skin care product or toothpaste. It’s also possible that you’re allergic to something that’s touching your skin.

Many people develop this rash when they apply a corticosteroid medicine to their skin for too long. That’s why it’s so important to follow the directions for taking medications. Be sure to follow the directions on medications that you can buy without a prescription and your doctor’s instructions for using all medications.

What can get rid of perioral dermatitis?

You may be able to get rid of this rash on your own. To clear perioral dermatitis, you must stop applying all corticosteroids, including hydrocortisone cream, to your skin.

This means that if you’re applying a:

Hydrocortisone cream without your doctor’s knowledge, stop using it

Prescription corticosteroid, ask the doctor who prescribed it if you can stop applying it

If your doctor tells you to keep using a corticosteroid, ask if you can use another medication.

When you stop applying a corticosteroid or hydrocortisone cream, the rash can worsen. If this happens, it can be tempting to start using the cream or ointment again. Don’t. Using it again will only bring temporary relief. Each time you stop applying it, the rash can flare.

It’s also possible that if you continue to apply the corticosteroid medication, it will eventually cause the rash to worsen each time you apply it.

Is perioral dermatitis contagious?

No matter where this rash appears, the mouth or even the genitals, you cannot catch this rash. It’s not contagious.

What causes perioral dermatitis?

It’s not entirely clear what causes this rash. Something may be irritating your skin, such as a skin care product or toothpaste. It’s also possible that you’re allergic to something that’s touching your skin.

Many people develop this rash when they apply a corticosteroid medicine to their skin for too long. That’s why it’s so important to follow the directions for taking medications. Be sure to follow the directions on medications that you can buy without a prescription and your doctor’s instructions for using all medications.

What can get rid of perioral dermatitis?

You may be able to get rid of this rash on your own. To clear perioral dermatitis, you must stop applying all corticosteroids, including hydrocortisone cream, to your skin.

This means that if you’re applying a:

Hydrocortisone cream without your doctor’s knowledge, stop using it

Prescription corticosteroid, ask the doctor who prescribed it if you can stop applying it

If your doctor tells you to keep using a corticosteroid, ask if you can use another medication.

When you stop applying a corticosteroid or hydrocortisone cream, the rash can worsen. If this happens, it can be tempting to start using the cream or ointment again. Don’t. Using it again will only bring temporary relief. Each time you stop applying it, the rash can flare.

It’s also possible that if you continue to apply the corticosteroid medication, it will eventually cause the rash to worsen each time you apply it.

by AAD

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What is Dental Fistula: Identify, Treat and Prevent

A fistula is a canal that develops between two points to drain an infection from an abscess, and a sinus tract is a drainage canal that originates at a point of infection but has only one ending. Although these terms are used interchangeably in relation to dentistry, a dental fistula is more likely to be a sinus tract infection than an actual fistula. A fistula or tract can take various forms, and the cause and location of the tract helps determine the best treatment method.


A dental or oral fistula is commonly associated with an abscess, which can be caused by trauma or injury to the mouth, a build-up of food bacteria, or be the result of surgery, extraction of the molars, or a congenital defect. Whether the abscess is gum- or tooth-related, it usually results in an infection that can spread to the bone or the tooth pulp. As the pressure and pain of the abscess builds, the infection pushes its way to the surface of the gum to drain. Occasionally, a failed root canal treatment might cause a pus corridor to form near the location of the root tip or apex.


The typical indication of a dental fistula or sinus tract is a bump that develops on the gum tissue or gingiva, where it’s called a gum boil, or in proximity to an abscessed tooth. The bump might alternatively appear and disappear, and is a sign that infection exists and your body is using the fistula to drain it. Since draining releases the pressure of the abscess, the fistula itself is often not painful, although many patients report an unpleasant taste.


Since an infection is the root cause, the fistula is unlikely to heal and disappear on its own. Without care, the infection can travel to your jawbone and affect other parts of the body. Here are a few treatment options your doctor may prescribe:

Rinse with a warm salt water solution to kill bacteria.

Schedule an urgent dental examination to determine the severity of the infection.

Take antibiotic medication prescribed by your doctor or dentist, to help contain the infection.

Maintain your oral hygiene regimen to ensure the healthiest environment possible.

Your dental professional’s first line of defense will be to clean the area around the fistula, and allow accumulated pus to run out. Most dentists recommend antimicrobial therapy to help your body fight the infection. For bacterial infections that begin inside a tooth, the dentist will make a small hole in the tooth enamel to enable the infection to drain. In the case of a badly infected and damaged tooth, your dentist may elect to extract the tooth. This process may be followed by a root canal treatment or an apicoectomy to remove the tip, and a discussion of your options for replacement of the tooth.


The prognosis for a dental fistula is typically very positive, provided you follow recommended treatment to eliminate the infection. Prevent future infections keeping up your daily brushing and flossing routine, supplemented by regular dental exams and cleanings.

by Beddington Dental

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Ulcerative Colitis and Mouth Problems

Diarrhea and cramps are among the most well-known ulcerative colitis (UC) symptoms. They stem from inflammation and sores called ulcers in the intestines. What you may not realize is ulcerative colitis sores can form in any part of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from your mouth to your anus.

Mouth problems can start even before more typical symptoms like cramps and diarrhea. Some mouth sores are short-lived and are more of a nuisance than a real problem. Others can affect your ability to talk or eat and require your doctor’s help to manage.

Symptoms of mouth problems

Ulcerative colitis mouth ulcers are often associated with the following symptoms: Pus-filled sores, canker sores, dry mouth, mouth pain, swollen tongue, bad breath, metallic taste or other unusual taste in the mouth.


Swelling and ulcerative colitis sores can appear anywhere in your GI tract, including in your mouth. Ulcerative colitis mouth ulcers can also be a side effect of some ulcerative colitis medications that cause dry mouth and swelling in the mucous membranes.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also lead to ulcerative colitis mouth sores and other problems. Inflammation in your intestines can make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients like B vitamins and iron from food. You can also lose these nutrients when you have diarrhea.

Common mouth problems

Ulcerative colitis and its treatments can cause the following mouth problems: Mouth sores, Dry mouth, Bad breath, Taste changes, Inflamed lips.


The first step to relieving ulcerative colitis mouth sores and other mouth problems is to reduce inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract and get your ulcerative colitis under control.

Medications like aminosalicylates (5-ASAs), corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and biologics calm the overactive immune system response that causes inflammation and sores. Your doctor will help you find the right drug or drugs to manage your ulcerative colitis.

An antiseptic mouthwash can help keep your mouth clean while your sores heal. Taking a multivitamin or mineral supplement and eating a balanced diet helps to prevent the nutrient deficiencies that can cause ulcerative colitis mouth ulcers and other mouth problems.

Talk to your doctor if you think a medication you take for ulcerative colitis could be causing these symptoms. Your doctor may recommend alternative treatments less likely to cause mouth sores or suggest other ways to manage this side effect.

When to see a doctor

Let your doctor know if you have any new symptoms in your mouth or other parts of your digestive tract. Also call if your mouth problems affect your ability to eat or talk.

The takeaway

Mouth problems aren’t the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis. They sometimes appear before more common symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach cramps. Watch for sores, swelling, pain, and taste changes and report them to your doctor. Changing your treatment or adding a nutritional supplement may help to relieve these issues.

by Health Line

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What Is Herpangina?

Herpangina is an acute viral illness in children. Common symptoms are small blister-like bumps or sores (ulcers) in the mouth and fever. It is caused by a virus. The most common ones are coxsackie viruses A and B.

What are the symptoms of herpangina?

Symptoms of herpangina typically show up two to five days after you’ve been exposed to the virus. The symptoms of herpangina vary from person to person, but can include: Sudden onset of fever, sore throat, headache, neck pain, swollen lymph glands, difficulty in swallowing, loss of appetite, drooling (in infants), vomiting (in infants).

Small ulcers in the back of the mouth and throat begin to appear about two days after the initial infection. They tend to be light gray and often have a red border. The ulcers usually heal within seven days.

What causes herpangina?

Herpangina is usually caused by group A coxsackieviruses. However, it can also be caused by group B coxsackieviruses, enterovirus 71, and echovirus. Infections caused by these viruses are highly contagious. The viruses can be shared easily between one child and another. They’re most commonly spread through droplets from sneezes or coughs or contact with fecal matter. Proper handwashing can help reduce the risk of sharing the viruses. After a child gets herpangina, they usually develop a natural immunity to the virus that caused it. However, they may still be affected by other viral strains that can cause the illness.

How is herpangina treated?

The primary goal of treatment is to reduce and manage symptoms, especially the pain. Your specific treatment plan will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, symptoms, and tolerance for certain medications. Since herpangina is a viral infection, antibiotics aren’t an effective form of treatment. Antivirals for herpangina do not exist. Instead, your doctor may recommend:

Ibuprofen or acetaminophen

These medications can ease any discomfort and reduce fever. Do not use aspirin to treat symptoms of a viral infection in children or teenagers. This has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening illness that results in sudden swelling and inflammation in the liver and brain.

Topical anesthetics

Certain anesthetics, such as lidocaine, can provide relief for a sore throat and any other mouth pain associated with herpangina. With treatment, symptoms should disappear within seven days with no lasting effects. If the symptoms worsen or linger longer than 10 days, you should see your doctor again.

How can herpangina be prevented?

Practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent herpangina. You should always wash your hands thoroughly, especially before meals and after using the restroom. It’s also important to cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of germs. Teach your children to do the same. While caring for a child with herpangina, wash your hands frequently, especially after coming in contact with soiled diapers or mucus.

Clean any surfaces, toys, and other objects with a disinfectant to kill germs. You should also keep your child out of school or daycare for a few days to avoid spreading the infection to others.

by Health Line

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Symptoms of a Ranula in your mouth

What is a Ranula? 

A ranula is a fluid collection or cyst that forms in the mouth under the tongue. It is filled with saliva (spit) that has leaked out of a damaged salivary gland. Salivary glands are small structures around the mouth which make saliva. Saliva should drain from these glands directly into the mouth. If one of these glands is damaged then the saliva leaks out into the tissues next to the gland forming a cyst or bubble near the gland. This cyst is called a ranula.

If the ranula stays in the mouth underneath the tongue it is called a simple ranula and if it grows down into the neck under the mouth it is called a plunging ranula.

How are Ranulas Diagnosed?

The diagnosis is usually easy for an experienced physician to make based primarily on physical examination but often specialized radiology studies such as Ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT Scan), or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are needed to define the full extent of the problem and exclude other causes for swelling. No other laboratory tests are usually needed to make the diagnosis.

What are the Symptoms of a Ranula?

Ranulas are usually discovered by the patient, the patient’s family, or the patient’s medical caregivers like medical doctors and dentists. It usually is a 2-3 inch diameter painless soft swelling under the tongue or chin that is easy to identify. Occasionally, the fluid collection can hurt a little and sometimes is can spontaneously empty into the mouth only to slowly fill back up in the weeks after it empties. Usually, it just slowly grows in size until it is discovered.

Rarely, a ranula can spontaneously go away without any treatment but usually a procedure will be needed to treat the problem. Simple drainage of the fluid collection rarely permanently fixes the problem as the diseased gland continues to leak saliva.

What are the Potential Complications of This Treatment?

Our percutaneous treatment is safe and effective. The only common side effect of treatment is mild painless swelling in the treated area for several days after treatment. Patients can eat normally immediately after the procedure and as there are no incisions or stitches, no wound care or dressings need to be managed.

Sometimes, the ranula is not completely cured with one treatment and a second treatment is necessary. Rarely, the diseased gland resists the medication injections and continues to leak saliva necessitating referral to an experienced surgeon for traditional surgical removal.

While our percutanous procedure is very safe, all treatments carry risks. The only serious risk that can occur with alcohol injection under the mouth or chin is injury to a nearby nerve which can result in temporary muscle weakness in the area in rare cases (2-3%).

What is the Outlook for Patients With a Ranula?

Ranulas are benign fluid collections near the mouth which can be effectively treated with our percutanous treatment but also with traditional surgical approaches. Both appraches offer permanent removal of the ranula and resolution of symptoms. We feel our percutanous approach offers a less invasive treatment for this benign condition.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If a ranula is suspected as there is a 2-3 inch diameter soft swelling under the tongue or chin medical attention with the child’s medical provider should be obtained.  If the diagnosis is felt to be a ranula based upon their examination and imaging tests treatment can then be sought from specialists such as interventional radiologists or surgeons.

by Nationwide Childrens

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What is Hydrated Silica used in some Toothpaste?

Hydrated Silica might sound like a complex scientific name, hydrated silica is simply a hydrated form of silicon dioxide. As the Encyclopedia Britannica explains, silica is the second-most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust. It's naturally crystalline, with sand and obsidian being common forms.

To make hydrated silica, the silica crystals must be heated and dissolved in water to create liquid sodium silicate. The liquid form is then mixed with acid and precipitated, which turns it into a solid. The end result is a fine, white powder, or granules. Depending on the size of the particles, they can then be used in a variety of ways.

What Does Hydrated Silica in Toothpaste Do?

Depending on the specific formulation and particle size, hydrated silica can have several uses in both natural and conventional toothpaste. According to an article in the Journal of the Pakistan Dental Association, hydrated silica acts as an abrasive to help to remove plaque and other particles from your teeth when brushing with toothpaste. Besides aiding in the removal of plaque and food particles, abrasives like hydrated silica can also help to remove stains, which makes them useful as whitening agents in toothpastes as well. Abrasives used in toothpaste date back over 2000 years, where paste mixtures were once made with bones and ground shells.

In addition to removing particles and minimizing stains on your teeth, hydrated silica can also act as a thickening agent to help form the toothpaste's consistency.

Is Hydrated Silica Safe?

While the word "abrasive" may sound scary, these ingredients are designed to help scrub away plaque and stains without harming your teeth. Hydrated silica is an ingredient that has been in use for a long time and which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). According to the FDA's Select Committee on GRAS Substances, silicates are biologically inert, which means they don't create a reaction in the body, and there is no evidence to suggest that they could pose a hazard.

Not only is hydrated silica safe to use every day in oral care products, but you can also feel confident choosing products with this ingredient because it is derived from one of the most abundant natural materials on the planet, making it a renewable natural source. The Environmental Working Group also gives hydrated silica a score of one out of ten, which means that it poses the lowest possible hazard to people and the environment based on their data.

It's not always easy to take time out of your day to research ingredients, but you don't need to earn a science degree to understand what's inside your toothpaste. I did just a little bit of reading—and I'm glad I did, because I learned about the many uses and safety of specific ingredients, such as hydrated silica. Plus, I finally understood where they actually came from. I then felt more equipped to make a confident and informed choice when I made the switch. After all, no matter how carefully you read that ingredient list, it's hard to find any answers without knowing what the words mean.

When you see hydrated silica listed on your oral care products, you can feel confident that you understand what its function is, how its derived, and why it's safe to use. 

by Sher Warkentin

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Tooth Enamel Erosion

What is tooth enamel?

Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth. This tough shell is the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel covers the crown which is the part of the tooth that's visible outside of the gums.

Because enamel is translucent, you can see light through it. But the main portion of the tooth, the dentin, is the part that's responsible for your tooth color -- whether white, off white, grey, or yellowish.

Sometimes coffee, tea, cola, red wine, fruit juices, and cigarettes stain the enamel on your teeth. Regular visits to your dentist for routine cleaning and polishing can help remove most surface stains and make sure your teeth stay healthy.

What does tooth enamel do?

Enamel helps protect your teeth from daily use such as chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding. Although enamel is a hard protector of teeth, it can chip and crack. Enamel also insulates the teeth from potentially painful temperatures and chemicals.

Unlike a broken bone that can be repaired by the body, once a tooth chips or breaks, the damage is done forever. Because enamel has no living cells, the body cannot repair chipped or cracked enamel.metimes coffee, tea, cola, red wine, fruit juices, and cigarettes stain the enamel on your teeth. Regular visits to your dentist for routine cleaning and polishing can help remove most surface stains and make sure your teeth stay healthy.

What are the environmental causes of tooth surface erosion?

Friction, wear and tear, stress, and corrosion (or any combination of these actions) can cause erosion of the tooth surface. More clinical terms used to describe these mechanisms include:

Attrition. This is natural tooth-to-tooth friction that happens when you clench or grind your teeth such as with bruxism, which often occurs involuntarily during sleep.

Abrasion. This is physical wear and tear of the tooth surface that happens with brushing teeth too hard, improper flossing, biting on hard objects (such as fingernails, bottle caps, or pens), or chewing tobacco.

Abfraction. This occurs from stress fractures in the tooth such as cracks from flexing or bending of the tooth.

Corrosion. This occurs chemically when acidic content hits the tooth surface such as with certain medications like aspirin or vitamin C tablets, highly acidic foods, GERD, and frequent vomiting from bulimia or alcoholism.

What are the signs of enamel erosion?

The signs of enamel erosion can vary, depending on the stage. Some signs may include:

Sensitivity. Certain foods (sweets) and temperatures of foods (hot or cold) may cause a twinge of pain in the early stage of enamel erosion.

Discoloration. As the enamel erodes and more dentin is exposed, the teeth may appear yellow.

Cracks and chips. The edges of teeth become more rough, irregular, and jagged as enamel erodes.

Severe, painful sensitivity. In later stages of enamel erosion, teeth become extremely sensitive to temperatures and sweets. You may feel a painful jolt that takes your breath away.

Cupping. Indentations appear on the surface of the teeth.

When enamel erodes, the tooth is more susceptible to cavities or tooth decay. When the tooth decay enters the hard enamel, it has entry to the main body of the tooth.

ow is tooth enamel loss treated?

Treatment of tooth enamel loss depends on the problem. Sometimes tooth bonding is used to protect the tooth and increase cosmetic appearance.

If the enamel loss is significant, the dentist may recommend covering the tooth with a crown or veneer. The crown may protect the tooth from further decay.

by Web MD

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Broken or Dislocated Jaw

Oral health isn’t just about your teeth. The jawbone is a crucial player in many of your day-to-day functions, such as eating, breathing and speaking.

Since the jawbone is so important, you want to watch out for jaw pain, which could be a symptom of a fracture or dislocation. If you suspect a serious injury, address it as quickly as possible to prevent further jaw damage.

Fractured Jaw Symptoms

If you have recently experienced facial trauma, such as physical assault, a sports injury or a car accident, and you are experiencing jaw pain, your jaw may be fractured. You can test the theory by attempting to open and close your jaw. If something feels off when you do this, or you have lost teeth, this increases the likelihood of a fractured jaw. Assess your situation further by:

Examining your face: Check for swelling, bruising or protrusions on the side of your face.

Evaluating your pain level: Pay attention to the pain in your jaw as you chew and note any increases in your pain level.

If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Failure to treat a fractured jaw can result in infection.1

Dislocated Jaw Symptoms

While the symptoms of a dislocated jaw are different than those of a fractured jaw, the consequences of leaving it untreated are much the same. Pain is a symptom as well as: Difficulty speaking, Abnormal bite, An overbite that didn’t previously exist

Treatment Options

While common (only the nose is broken more frequently than the jaw), jaw injuries are treated as emergencies. As you await medical treatment, support your lower jaw to help stabilize it and keep your airway open. For both types of jaw injuries, you will need to see a doctor. Do not attempt to fix your own jaw as this could cause further pain and damage.

A doctor or oral surgeon will manipulate a dislocated jaw into the correct position. They may be able to do this manually after you’ve received anesthetics and muscle relaxants. These medications will minimize pain and allow the doctor to more easily manipulate the jaw.

Depending on the extent of the break, treatment for a jaw fracture may require surgery. Clean breaks may heal on their own while your jaw is immobilized, while multiple fractures will likely require surgical repair.


Both dislocated and fractured jaws are bandaged or wired shut during recovery to prevent you from opening your jaw too wide and to keep your bite in its proper place. After resetting a dislocated jaw, your doctor may wrap a bandage around your head and under your chin.

During your recovery, you won’t be able to open your jaw very wide for at least six weeks. Your diet during this time will consist of mostly liquids as you likely won’t be able to chew solid food. A few of the soft foods you may be able to chew depending on your situation include:

Canned meat

Well-cooked pasta

Well-cooked rice


Canned fruit.


by Lousville oral facial surgery

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What Is A Vertical Root Fracture?

While we wish our teeth were as strong as metal, they’re susceptible to wear and tear—and sometimes that can come in the form of a crack. There are five types of cracked teeth, and the one we’ll discuss today is called a vertical root fracture. We’ll look into the fractured tooth root symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Imagine looking at a whole tooth and seeing a line at the very bottom moving upwards. That’s what a vertical root fracture looks like. Vertical root fractures are vertical cracks in your tooth that begin at the root of your tooth and run toward the top of the tooth. Because they normally don’t show signs or symptoms, they can go unnoticed. However, they can lead to an infection in the surrounding bone and gum, which can be noticeable and painful for the patient.

Why Do Vertical Root Fractures Happen?

These fractures are commonly found in weak teeth, teeth that have been treated with a root canal, and other restorative treatments like crown placements. Healthy teeth can also be subject to cracks by chewing on hard materials and foods, like ice. Specifically, when a root canal is being performed, a jolt of pain, sound of popping, or bleeding in the canal might also be a sign of a vertical root fracture that happened during the procedure.

Symptoms of a Vertical Root Fracture

Symptoms of fractures can vary, making this a difficult condition for dental professionals to diagnose. However, signs that you may have a vertical root fracture include:

Mild pain when biting

The appearance of a crack when examining with a special light or dye

A draining sinus tract appearing next to the tooth that looks like a boil or ulcer, which is often a sign that there is an infection beneath the tooth

A pocket between the gum and the tooth, near the fracture, where the gum essentially detaches from the tooth

A dental professional or specialist (usually an endodontist) may diagnose a fracture during a root canal procedure if they can see a crack. If the fracture occurs after the procedure, they might need to take X-rays, which may show the fractured root characteristically shaped like the letter J, or the specialist may also use a diagnostic method known as transillumination, where they shine a light through your tooth to detect any fracture lines.

How Are Vertical Root Fractures Treated?

There are a few different treatments for a tooth that has a vertical root fracture. In some cases, special types of cement are used to bond the teeth or stop the propagation of the fracture. In most cases, however, the most common treatment is tooth extraction. It's important to have this procedure as soon as a fracture is diagnosed, as chronic infection can eat away at the bone around the tooth, which may be needed in the future to support a dental implant.

To avoid dealing with the fallout of a vertical root fracture, here are some preventive steps you can take to protect your teeth:

As these fractures occur mostly in teeth treated with a root canal, avoid this treatment if possible. This means scheduling regular dental examinations so your dentist can detect problems early and help you prevent cavities from forming in the first place.

If you need root canal treatment, ask your endodontist about the root canal filling technique they will use and discuss how to reduce your fracture risk, such as avoiding post-placement.

If your symptoms match those outlined above and you're worried that you may have this type of fracture, talk with your dental professional. They will help you determine the cause of your symptoms and give you the proper treatment to keep your teeth healthy and functioning—so you can worry less and smile more.

by Colgate

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How Do Acid Drinks Affect Your Teeth?

You might want to think twice before taking another sip of soda. Although our teeth are incredibly strong, popular acidic drinks can damage our teeth over time. Below, we’ll explain a little bit more about just how acid affects your teeth and what you can do to keep your smile strong and healthy.

Why are acidic drinks bad?

Acidic drinks eat away at your tooth enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. This erosion puts your smile at risk of cavities — because the enamel doesn’t grow back! Unfortunately, unlike other parts of our bodies, teeth have no way of healing themselves.  As the enamel erodes, you may experience tooth sensitivity, be prone to cavities and even experience some discoloration.

What can you do to protect your teeth?

Instead of drinking soda and fruit juices, opt for beverages low in acidity. These drinks include water, black tea, black coffee and milk. These drinks are a tooth-friendly way to stay hydrated throughout the day (especially water).

If you do indulge in an acidic beverage, you should keep in mind that you should have it with food. After you’re done, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. Since acidic drinks weaken your enamel, brushing your teeth too soon after consuming them can damage your newly sensitive teeth.

Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity? Do you have any questions about how to care for your oral health? Is it time to schedule your bi-annual dental cleaning and exam? Contact our office to schedule an appointment today!

by Fairfield dental arts

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5 medications that may be causing your teeth to decay

Here are common medications that cause dry mouth and tooth decay and how to protect your oral health.

Medications are supposed to make you healthier, but sometimes the side effects have negative impacts on your teeth and oral health.

Nearly 50% of Americans used one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days.¹ Asthma medication, stimulants to treat attention deficit disorder and antidepressants were the most frequently used.

1.- Antacids

Though the acid from heartburn and acid reflux can lead to tooth erosion, treating these conditions with antacids can also be bad news for your oral health.⁴ 

While antacids reduce tooth-damaging acid in your mouth, antacids can weaken your teeth and contribute to tooth decay. This risk is applicable to chewable, dissolvable and liquid antacids. 

Antacids also may contain sugar or other tooth-damaging artificial sweeteners. Chewable antacids are especially dangerous to your teeth, as they can get stuck between your teeth and after prolonged exposure, can result in cavities.

2.- Pain medications that may cause tooth decay

Patients with chronic pain are especially prone to periodontal disease and losing teeth due to dry mouth brought on as a side effect of pain medications. Opioids, which are sometimes prescribed to treat pain, are also guilty of causing dry mouth and the consequent erosion of tooth enamel. 

3.- Antihistamines and decongestants

Antihistamines block histamine receptors to prevent allergic reactions. However, this same effect happens in other areas of the body, including the mouth and tongue. Antihistamines block the release of saliva, which results in dry mouth.

Decongestants are another common treatment for allergies and the common cold which can also create dry mouth.

Cough syrups create another level of damage to the teeth in that they’re highly acidic, which, like antihistamines, can lead to tooth decay and discoloration.

4.- Blood pressure medication

Beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, heart rhythmic medications and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are all commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure. These medications all share the side effect of dry mouth, increasing your chances of developing tooth decay.

5.- Antidepressants

Antidepressants have been linked to negative effects on bone health, which can increase a person’s chances of developing rampant tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease, oral yeast infections and implant failure. On top of this, antidepressants also cause dry mouth.

How to minimize damage

If you take regular pain medication, you can help curb dry mouth and consequential tooth decay by following these regiments:

Increase your daily water intake by drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water a day.

Brush your teeth twice a day.

Go for regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

Use a moisturizing mouth spray. 

Eat hydrating snacks like celery sticks.

Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy.

Don’t use tobacco products.

Cut back on caffeinated and dehydrating drinks like coffee, tea, and alcohol.

Try a hydrating mouth rinse.

by Guardian Direct

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Tonsillitis and Strep Throat: What´s the difference?

You may have heard the terms tonsillitis and strep throat used interchangeably, but this is not accurate. You can have tonsillitis without having strep throat. Tonsillitis may be caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, which is responsible for strep throat, but you could also get tonsillitis from other bacteria and viruses.

Keep reading to learn more about tonsillitis and strep throat.


Tonsillitis and strep throat have many similar symptoms. That’s because strep throat can be considered a type of tonsillitis. But people with strep throat will have additional, unique symptoms.


Tonsillitis can be caused by a variety of germs, including viruses and bacteria. It’s most commonly caused by viruses, however, such as: influenza, coronavirus, adenovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus, HIV.

Tonsillitis is only one symptom of these viruses. Your doctor will need to run tests and review all of your symptoms to determine which virus, if any, is the cause of your tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis can also be caused by bacteria. An estimated 15-30 percent of tonsillitis is caused by bacteria. The most common infectious bacteria are group A Streptococcus, which cause strep throat. Other species of strep bacteria may cause tonsillitis as well, including: Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Chlamydia pneumoniae (chlamydia), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea).

Strep throat is caused specifically by the group A Streptococcus bacteria. No other group of bacteria or virus causes it.

When should you see a doctor?

You may not need to see a doctor for tonsillitis or strep throat. In most cases, symptoms will resolve within a few days of home care, such as rest, drinking warm liquids, or sucking on throat lozenges.

You may need to see a doctor, however, if:

symptoms last longer than four days and show no signs of improvement or have gotten worse

you have severe symptoms, such as a fever over 102.6°F (39.2°C) or difficulty breathing or drinking

intense pain that won’t subside

you have had several cases of tonsillitis or strep throat in the past year.


Most treatments will relieve your symptoms instead of actually treating your condition. For example, you can use anti-inflammatory medications to relive pain from fever and inflammation, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin).

To relieve symptoms of sore throat, you can try these home remedies: rest, drink lots of water, drink warm liquids, such as broth, tea with honey and lemon, or warm soup, gargle with salty warm water, suck on hard candy or throat lozenges, increase humidity in your home or office by using a humidifier.

Tonsillitis and strep throat are both contagious, so avoid being around other people while you’re sick, if possible. With home remedies and lots of rest, your sore throat should clear up in a few days. See your doctor if your symptoms are extreme or persist for a long time.

by Health Line

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My Baby Has A White Tongue: Is It Oral Thrush?

Two conditions that cause a baby’s tongue to appear white are oral thrush and milk residue. Both are common and can create a thick, white coating on the tongue resembling cottage cheese. Neither condition is serious in healthy infants—although thrush can cause some irritation. Both are highly treatable.

Other oral conditions, such as Epstein pearls (tiny, harmless cysts that are usually white or yellow in appearance), are also common in babies, but these typically appear on the gums or roof of the mouth and not the tongue.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush can affect anyone, but it’s most common in very young babies from about 1 month to 9 months of age. Research indicates it affects between up to 37% of infants in the first month of life, occurring equally in females and males and those born vaginally or through cesarean section.

Oral thrush, which occurs in both breastfed and bottle-fed babies, generally appears on the parts of the mouth involved with sucking, including the tongue, outer corners of the mouth, and inner lips and gums.


Thrush is a yeast infection most often caused by Candida albicans, a naturally occurring fungus present in the gut and mouth. In most cases, our body’s immune system keeps the yeast from growing out of control. But babies have immature immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections from fungi and bacteria.

What’s more, the mouth—with the dark, warm, moist environment that yeast favors—is the perfect place for Candida albicans to take up residence and flourish.

Babies can also develop oral thrush if they’re delivered vaginally to a mom with an active yeast infection or if they’re given antibiotics or steroids, which can kill some of the body’s good bacteria that keep yeast in check along with the disease-causing bad bacteria.


Oral thrush usually appears as creamy, white, slightly raised bumps on the: Tongue, Inner lips, Gums, Roof of mouth, Back of throat.

These bumps can sometimes merge, giving the appearance of a white—sometimes yellowish—coating in the mouth.

A baby with thrush may also have cracks in the corners of the mouth and can be irritable, especially when trying to feed. The patches can make sucking and swallowing uncomfortable—although many babies won’t experience any discomfort. Thrush can’t be scraped or wiped away and may bleed slightly if you try. 


Your baby’s doctor can often diagnose oral thrush just by looking in your baby’s mouth. Treatment will depend on severity:

Mild cases that don’t seem to be affecting your baby’s feeding may not need any treatment at all and will go away in a week or two.

Moderate to severe cases need treatment, usually with an antifungal medication like nystatin, which is applied directly to the white patches using an applicator (or via drops) several times a day. 

Prolonged sucking can irritate an already sore mouth. You may try these tactics: If you’re breastfeeding, limit feeding to 20 minutes per feeding, If you’re bottle-feeding and your baby is resisting, try feeding with a dropper, If your baby takes a pacifier, use it sparingly.

Oral thrush usually improves with treatment in four to five days. Call your doctor, however, if your baby: Isn’t eating well, Is particularly fussy, Develops a fever.

Milk Residue (Milk Tongue)

Not every white coating on the tongue is thrush. Sometimes it’s something completely innocuous, like what stays clinging to the tongue after a baby nurses or is given a bottle.

by VeryWell Health

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What is proper tongue posture and its importance

Have you ever found yourself laying in bed, trying to get comfortable, and you randomly think, “where am I supposed to rest my tongue?” Surprisingly, this is a very real and very common thought many people have but may not share. If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck because your dentist in Sandwich has the answer. 

Tongue Posture / Tongue Positioning

Whether or not you’ve ever thought about where your tongue was supposed to rest in your mouth, it is a thing that your dentist may talk to you about. You may have heard this described as tongue posture or tongue positioning, both of which refer to how and where you rest your tongue naturally while at rest. Why does this matter? We’re glad you asked. 

Why Is Proper Tongue Posture Important?

Tongue posture may sound a little silly, but the truth is, positioning your tongue properly can help protect your overall health. The tongue is a strong muscle and can affect not only your teeth, but your sinuses, eyes, nose, head, neck, and shoulders. Those who don’t have proper tongue placement can suffer from: Sleep Apnea, TMJ Problems with Vision, Bad Body Posture, Tooth Damage.

How to Rest Your Tongue

There’s actually a right way and a wrong way to rest your tongue, and an estimated 50% of the population do it incorrectly. 

The Wrong Way – A common, yet wrong, way to hold your tongue in your mouth is to rest it on the bottom teeth or the at the bottom of the mouth. This can cause the tongue to put constant pressure on the teeth and make them shift, become crowded, or create a bad, sometimes painful, bite. 

The Right Way – Your dentist in Sandwich will recommend that you gently rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth and about a half an inch away from the back of your front teeth. At the same time, your lips should be closed, and your teeth held slightly apart to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on your teeth. Practicing proper tongue posture over time, and especially while we’re growing, can help expand the palate, leaving enough room for your teeth to develop properly without crowding.

Benefits of Proper Posture

We’ve already talked about how properly resting your tongue on the roof of your mouth can help teeth develop properly without overlapping, but there are other benefits to having good tongue posture, including: No neck, jaw, or head pain, Better breathing, Better sleep, Improved appearance.

Proper tongue posture can help people have a better overall posture and a natural appearance. Those who tend to rest tongues on the bottom of the mouth can accidentally create a longer, flatter face shape and a chin or forehead that juts forward. Go ahead, try it out. First, rest your tongue properly on the roof of your mouth then move the whole thing to the bottom of the mouth. You should feel a pretty obvious shift in your chin, neck, and head.  

by Waters Dental Group

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Adult with baby teeth: causes and treatments

What are adult baby teeth?

Adult baby teeth, also known as retained baby teeth, are fairly common.

In people who have adult baby teeth, the second molar is most likely to stay retained. This is because it often doesn’t have a permanent one growing behind it.

StudiesTrusted Source found that if second molars are retained until age 20, they’re much less likely to cause dental complications in the future. However, the opposite is true for retention of the incisors and first molars, as they may require more treatment.

The main risk of leaving adult baby teeth untreated is complications in tooth development, such as:

Infraocclusion. Baby teeth remain in a fixed position while the teeth next to them continue to erupt.

Occlusal trauma. Teeth don’t line up when you close your mouth.

Diastema. There are gaps or spaces between your teeth.

Why baby teeth can remain

The most common reason for retaining baby teeth as an adult is a lack of permanent teeth to replace them.

Some conditions involving tooth development can result in adult baby teeth, such as:

Hyperdontia. You have extra teeth, and there’s not enough room for permanent teeth to erupt.

Hypodontia. One to five permanent teeth are missing.

Oligodontia. Six or more permanent teeth are missing.

Anodontia. The majority of or all permanent teeth are missing.

But even if a permanent tooth exists, it may not grow in. A number of factors can result in this, including:

ankylosis, a rare disorder that fuses teeth to the bone, preventing any movement

genetics, such as a family history of incomplete tooth penetration

other conditions associated with tooth development, such as ectodermal dysplasia and endocrine disorders

mouth trauma or infection

What can I do if I have baby teeth as an adult?

There are times when retaining the tooth may actually be the best option for your health. This is particularly the case when the tooth and root are still structurally, functionally, and aesthetically sound.

Minimal maintenance is needed for this approach, but it may result in too much or too little space for a replacement in the future.

Orthodontics and surgery

Modification may be needed to prevent infraocclusion, even if the root and crown are in good condition.

The simplest type of modification is to add a molded cap to the top of the baby tooth. This gives it the appearance of an adult tooth while maintaining the integrity of the tooth’s base.


Some cases may require extraction, such as:

Space closure

If crowding is severe enough, the baby tooth may need to be removed in order to straighten the teeth. However, removal without a permanent replacement can lead to further complications in the future, especially with dental implants.


If the baby tooth has significant weaknesses, such as root resorption or decay, replacement may be necessary.

Implants tend to be the preferred replacement method. However, implants aren’t recommended for use until after the late teenage years, as the skeletal structure is still forming.

Partial dentures are also a popular solution if there are large amounts of missing teeth or problems with mouth tissues.

by Health Line

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What Does It Mean If My Child Has an Ankylosed Tooth?

What is an ankylosed tooth?

In normal tooth anatomy, the root portion of a tooth is attached to the bone by collagen fibers that make up the periodontal membrane, also called the periodontal ligament. In contrast, an ankylosed tooth has fused directly to the bone, which means that the periodontal ligament no longer separates the tooth from the surrounding portion of the jawbone.

Normally, the periodontal ligament acts as a shock absorber and allows for a tiny bit of movement. It also keeps the tooth from fusing to the bone which is more important than you think.

Luckily, this condition is rare. Fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with an ankylosed tooth. The biggest concern is that over 90% of ankylosed teeth are baby teeth, which have a high likelihood of negatively impacting the development of the mouth.

Causes and Prevention

There are a few main factors that are thought to cause an ankylosed tooth. Genetics and local metabolic changes play a major role.

Trauma to the tooth is another cause, which may result from injury, inflammation, or infection. While you cannot protect your child from everything that could possibly harm their teeth, you can protect their mouth from injury during sports. This is more important than you think since up to 39% of dental injuries are sport related. A sports mouthguard is an effective way to protect your child’s teeth and mouth and reduce the chance of developing an ankylosed tooth.

You can also help your child avoid inflammation and infection by helping them keep their mouth and teeth healthy. This starts with brushing every day once your child gets their first tooth. This is also the time to begin scheduling regular checkups to help keep their mouth healthy and identify potential issues before they become a problem. Most children will need help brushing and flossing until they are 6 or 7 years old.


Treatment will vary depending on many factors, including how much of the root is fused, which tooth is ankylosed, whether the tooth is a primary or permanent tooth, if it is causing the nearby teeth or jaw to develop incorrectly, and how much lower it sits in the jaw compared to other teeth. Here are a few possible treatments we may recommend.

If caught early, before more than 20% of the root has fused, it may be a relatively simple problem to fix. If your child has experienced any injury to the mouth, be sure to let us know at their next checkup. It will help us know to spend extra time looking specifically for this and other conditions that can be caused by injuries. As with any other dental condition, the earlier it is caught, the simpler treatment will be.

When the ankylosed tooth is a baby tooth, we will usually watch and see if the permanent tooth will erupt and force the baby tooth out. If this does not happen after a certain period of time, the affected tooth may need to be extracted to make room for permanent teeth to erupt.

An ankylosed tooth that is negatively influencing the development of the jaw or other teeth will often require orthodontic treatment. In this case, we will create a treatment plan that corrects the problem while bringing nearby teeth into optimal alignment and allowing the jaw to develop properly.

Although this condition is rare, it is good to be aware of it. If you notice one of your child’s teeth are lower than the nearby teeth, or a baby tooth is not loose when it should be, be sure and let us know. We are privileged to help you keep your child’s mouth healthy and address any concerns you may have.

by Jungle Roots

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Should a dentist save Rotten Teeth?

Do you have a loose, diseased, or rotten tooth? Wondering if saving teeth is worth your while? These are your options if you prefer natural aesthetics.

Did you know that by the age of 50, most Americans have lost about 12 Teeth ? That's a lot of teeth to lose!

Dr. Seuss said, "Teeth are always in style". And he was right. Having a mouth full of pearly whites is both desirable and practical.

Brushing and flossing aren't always enough. You need to head to the dentist on a regular basis if you want to avoid problems.

But if you're experiencing pain, your teeth feel loose, or you have a rotten tooth, you may wonder: can I save my teeth? Or is it too late?

The good news is that there are several ways to save your teeth. So, are you ready? Brace yourselves, it's time to start saving teeth!

Can My Teeth Be Saved?

You may wonder: can I save my teeth? Or is removal the only way to stop the pain? With today's amazing advances in the medical field, extraction isn't the only option.

There are different treatments available, but it all depends on what the problem is. Read on to find out the different ways to save a loose tooth.

Fillings for a Rotten Tooth

Fillings are the first line of defense from rotting teeth. If you have a small amount of tooth decay, the dentist will clean the area and fill it. This will stop the decay from spreading.

Materials used for fillings may include gold, porcelain, resin or amalgams (mercury, silver, tin, copper or zinc). A composite resin is the same color as teeth which makes it a popular choice.

By closing off the cavity, you can restore your tooth back to its normal function.

Saving a Loose Tooth

You may have a loose tooth due to trauma in the mouth.

If your mouth has experienced light trauma, you should wait a couple of weeks before seeking dental treatment. This is because teeth can naturally tighten themselves up after minor trauma. If it doesn't fix itself, you'll need to go for an examination.

If your jaw has received major impact from something you should visit the dentist immediately. For example, a boxing match, car accident or something similar. They will do an assessment and check if there are any chips or cracks in your jaw and teeth.

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection. They may also use a splint to secure the loose teeth. This method can use your strong teeth to support your wobbly teeth by using an adhesive resin.

But prevention is better than a cure.

Root Canal to Save My Teeth

The first line of defense is a filling, but if the tooth decay is serious you may need a root canal. But you can only do this if the root is still healthy. If not, there is no choice but to extract the rotten tooth.

With a root canal, the dentist will drill down the tooth to clean out the decay. Most will need a crown to protect the root from further problems. But remember, the tooth is practically dead, this method will preserve the tooth but not bring it back to life.

Dealing with a Dead Tooth

A dead tooth is a tooth that no longer has access to a blood supply from the root. This may happen through trauma or an infection. If you have a tooth that's a different color from the rest, the blood supply may become restricted.

A root canal may be able to save a dead tooth, but it depends how long the restriction of blood flow was. Teeth can actually die within a few hours. So if you notice your tooth is becoming discolored, book an emergency appointment immediately.

When It's Too Late to Save my Teeth

If you've missed the time frame and are unable to save your teeth, don't worry! You don't have to walk around toothless. You have two main options that can help to replace your smile:

Implants and Dentures.

Implants are a permanent option that can only a professional can remove. Because none of the surrounding teeth will need modifying, implants work well for either one missing tooth or several.

An implant is a titanium post that replaces a tooth root. The dentist will insert the implant into your jawbone. Once secure, they will insert replacement teeth.

Dentures are removable and economical. They work well for people who have several teeth missing.

Conventional dentures are a full set of teeth, but you have to wait for your mouth to heal before inserting them. Immediate dentures, as the names suggest, are dentures you can insert immediately after having your teeth removed. Overdentures sit on top of any remaining teeth.

by Spakle Dental

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What Is Hypophosphatasia?

Many factors impact the health of your teeth. You can control some of these factors — like your oral care routine or diet — however, other factors like genetics reside outside of your control and may cause negative effects. Hypophosphatasia is a rare genetic disorder that can weaken bones and teeth. Learn more about the types of hypophosphatasia, its role in oral health, and how it's treated.

What Is Hypophosphatasia?

Hypophosphatasia (HPP) disrupts the process of mineralization of bones and teeth. This inherited disease is caused by a mutation in the tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNSALP) gene. The mutation interferes with the metabolism of alkaline phosphate, which affects the mineralization process and impairs the body's ability to deposit calcium and phosphorous into developing bones and teeth. These minerals help make your bones and teeth rigid, strong, and able to withstand daily use.

What Are the Types of Hypophosphatasia?

HPP is classified by the degree of severity and timing of symptoms, and HPP affects males and females equally. The most severe form of HPP is life-threatening, while the least severe classification only causes dental abnormalities. Generally, the younger the person is when diagnosed, the more severe and problematic the condition. Here are the five types of hypophosphatasia and their symptoms:

Perinatal HPP. The physician will typically diagnose a child with perinatal HPP at birth or with an ultrasound before birth. It manifests as skeletal abnormalities that include deformed chest walls and long bones. On an X-ray, the bones will show signs of hypomineralization, also known as a decrease in mineral content. This type of HPP can be fatal, with a high incidence of stillbirth or death soon after birth.

Infantile HPP. The physician will diagnose a child with infantile HPP by the age of six months. Its main characteristics include rickets and fractures, which are detected by an X-ray. The lack of minerals combined with a defective metabolic process impacts the infant's ability to develop, and this type of HPP can be fatal.

Childhood HPP. The signs and symptoms of childhood HPP appear after six months of age. The physician usually diagnoses it when the child fails to develop and reach motor skill milestones. The most common symptom includes the early loss of baby teeth — including the root — before age five. This differs from normal tooth loss, where the teeth fall out gradually after the roots resorb from age five through the preteen years.

Adult HPP. The adult classification often presents early in life but remains undiagnosed until adulthood. Adult HPP can include unspecific musculoskeletal disorders, slow healing, and frequent fractures of the femur and the foot's metatarsal bones. It manifests as a softening of bones, and adults may lose teeth prematurely or suffer from chronic joint and muscle pain.

Odontohypophosphatasia. The final and least severe category of HPP only affects the teeth. Odontohypophosphatasia symptoms include abnormal tooth development and premature loss of permanent teeth.

How Do You Treat Hypophosphatasia?

Until recently, HPP treatment only included managing and alleviating symptoms caused by the disease. This varied from ventilator support for infants with respiratory insufficiency to low-calcium diets and pain relief techniques. Your physician might also recommend seeking genetic testing and counseling to establish the likelihood of passing the disorder to future generations.

In October 2015, the Food and Drug Administration approved asfotase alfa for use in the United States after clinical trials showed promising results in treating HPP presenting before the age of 18. Asfotase alfa (AA), also known by the brand name Strensiq, is administered through injections. Drug Design, Development and Therapy notes that AA treatment results in improved skeletal mineralization, leading to increased respiratory status and infant survival. It can also alleviate other complications related to bone abnormalities to improve physical function, mobility, and growth.

If you know the HPP gene runs in your family or notice early signs of this disease, seek the advice of a medical professional. Your physician or dental professional can help you determine the best way to alleviate symptoms and take care of your bones and teeth.

by Colgate

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Torus Mandibularis: What You Need To Know

Torus mandibularis is a bony growth that develops on the lower jaw, beneath and on the side of the tongue. Tori affects about 27 out of every 1,000 adults, reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH), though it's not as well-known as other oral health conditions. Here are four things you need to know about this uncommon condition.

Torus Mandibularis Causes

The development of this condition is thought to be mostly driven by genetics, explains the NIH. This genetic influence can be clearly seen in studies of twins. In one study, a whopping 93.6 percent of identical twins either both had tori or both lacked them, reports NIH. Among fraternal twins, this concordance was observed in 79.4 percent of pairs.

Symptoms of Torus Mandibularis

This condition presents as a bony growth beneath and on the side of the tongue. You may have one growth or multiple growths, and they can develop on one side of your mouth or on both sides. While it's usually asymptomatic, this condition can sometimes cause problems. If you wear dentures, the growth can interfere with the fit of your lower denture. Your denture may be uncomfortable and may not stay in place. The soft tissues that cover the growth can also become ulcerated in some cases.

Torus Mandibularis Treatment

Even if your growth is asymptomatic, it needs to be evaluated by your dentist. If your dentist confirms that your growth is torus mandibularis, he may recommend not treating it. Dentistry Today explains that these benign growths should usually remain undisturbed. However, if your growth is painful or is interfering with the fit of your dentures, surgical removal may be performed. An oral surgeon can remove the growth with traditional surgical tools or with newer methods, like lasers.

Coping with Torus Mandibularis

If your dentist advises against treatment, the bony growth will remain inside your mouth. If the growth is small, this may not bother you, but large bony growths can be distracting. Try to avoid touching the growth with your tongue. Rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash like Colgate Total® Mouthwash for Gum Health can also help keep your tori clean.

Any growths inside your mouth should always be examined by your dentist, just to be safe, though they may end up being benign conditions like torus mandibularis.

by Colgate

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What Is An Odontoma And How Is It Treated?

When you hear the word "tumor," there's a good chance you think of cancer. Fortunately, with an odontoma, that's not the case. While an odontoma is a tumor, it's a benign one and not uncommon. That alone is great news! However, odontomas usually require surgical removal. They're made up of dental tissue that resembles abnormal teeth or calcified mass that invade the jaw around your teeth and could affect how your teeth develop. Fortunately, treatment is pretty straightforward and the road to a tumor-free life is one frequently traveled.

Types of Odontomas

There are 2 main types of odontomas:


Consisting of many, tiny tooth-like bits

Usually found in the lower jaw

Most often occurs during your teenage years

It affects men and women equally


Made up of an assortment of dental tissue (enamel, dentin, etc.)

Usually found within the upper jaw

Most often occurs during your 20s

It affects men and women equally

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Since odontomas grow internally around your teeth, an X-ray from your dentist is necessary to identify them, notes the AAPD. The shape will indicate to your dentist whether it's compound or complex. While they are asymptomatic, the West Indian Medical Journal Review notes your odontoma could cause: Pain, Discomfort, Swelling, Tooth displacement.

Nearly 80% of those affected by odontomas, though, have teeth that haven't erupted yet. Plus, since they're noncancerous, they rarely grow back after removal.


Removal surgery has been the tried-and-true treatment plan for odontomas — especially if they are causing any pain or affecting your teeth to erupt unnaturally. Some other things to know about odontoma removal surgery:

An oral or maxillofacial surgeon should consult your dentist on the surgery

The unerupted tooth associated with odontoma could be extracted if it's not developing correctly

If you have a tooth that needs extraction, discuss tooth replacement options and alignment issues with your dentist and/or orthodontist

Your dentist will likely recommend a combination of the following after surgery to help you heal: Proper oral hygiene, Cold and soft meals, No physical exercise for the first 48 hours, Pain relief medication, Antibiotic medication (if an infection is a concern).

Going through surgery is most likely your path should you be stricken with odontomas. But, it sure beats radiation or chemotherapy you'd have to face with cancer. Plus, the surgery to remove your odontomas is very common with few complications. Just remember to see your dentist regularly so they can identify the odontomas as early as possible on your X-rays.

by Colgate

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How to Manage Brittle Teeth

Did you know your tooth enamel is stronger than your bones? So, if your teeth chip or fracture easily, there's usually an underlying reason your teeth are so brittle.

It's essential to find the cause for your brittle teeth so that you can seek treatment. Or at least learn to care properly for them to fortify your smile.

What Causes Brittle Teeth?

Though tooth enamel is tough, several habits and conditions can cause the enamel structure to weaken, and the teeth become brittle.

So, if your teeth are prone to breaking, it might be due to one of the following causes.

Grinding and Clenching Teeth: These habits wear away dental enamel.

Poor Oral Care: Decay, cavities, lack of pulp – all can result in brittle teeth due to: 

Inadequate brushing, which eventually destroys the tooth pulp, Overbrushing, which can erode enamel, Lack of or inadequate fluoride, which defends your teeth against all sorts of bad stuff.

Nutritional Deficiencies: A range of vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy dental enamel. When your body's deficient in these essential nutrients, your teeth can weaken.

For example, research published in General Dentistry found that vitamin A deficiency causes tooth brittleness. And a lack of vitamin D results in poor absorption of minerals like calcium and phosphorus, vital for enamel strength.

Causes of nutritional deficiencies are eating disorders and poor diets in general. Also, some medications prevent your body from absorbing nutrients.

Acids: Eating disorders can also sometimes result in acid damage to enamel if a person vomits frequently or sucks on lemon wedges.

Other conditions and habits that produce enamel-weakening acids include:

Gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD)

Severe morning sickness

Too much sugary food and beverages (especially a soda pop habit)

Dentinogenesis Imperfecta: In this inherited condition, the dentin doesn't form correctly, resulting in the abnormal formation of the middle layer of the teeth. This results in:

The teeth becoming discolored

The teeth possibly becoming weaker, resulting in fracturing.

Dehydration and Dry Mouth: If your body's not producing enough beneficial saliva to clean your mouth and neutralize acids, issues leading to brittle teeth can result.

Aging Teeth: When people age, the pulp and nerves supplying the teeth shrink, an article published in the University of Missouri Extension explains. This process reduces the amount of fluid moving into the tooth enamel. Dry dental enamel is weaker and more prone to breakage.

Older teeth have also received more exposure to chewing forces and acids that gradually cause thinner, more brittle enamel.

We want your teeth to be as strong and healthy as possible, so check out the available treatments for brittle teeth. And learn the numerous ways you can manage your life to prevent or reduce the chances of having brittle teeth.

Brittle Teeth Treatments

Sorry to report that tooth enamel doesn't regrow. But dentists can treat brittle teeth to improve the enamel's strength. Ask your dental professional about these treatments:

Fluoride supplements and fluoride gels to remineralize teeth

Dental sealants to the chewing surfaces to protect teeth from fractures and decay

Veneers, thin shells that cover the teeth, to help prevent tooth breakage

Crowns, thicker and strong coverings for teeth, to help prevent cavities and breaks, especially after a root canal procedure

Managing or Preventing Brittle Teeth

Fragile teeth require special care, but there are many actions you can take to achieve a healthy and attractive smile:

Ask about veneers or crowns to cover up the damage if your teeth are already chipped or fractured.

Treat causes affecting your sleep and eating behaviors with relaxation techniques, behavior therapy, or psychotherapy. Ask your dentist and doctor to advise you on the help you deserve.

Seek medical attention for conditions that produce acid reflux or excessive vomiting.

Reduce the wear and tear on your teeth with a mouthguard to wear at night.

Talk with your doctor about your medications. Perhaps you can find substitutes that won't cause dry mouth and will let you absorb essential nutrients.

Sip water only throughout the day.

Consume a healthy diet that includes calcium-rich dairy products, plus fruit and vegetables. And avoid eating/drinking acidic or sugary foods/beverages that might damage tooth enamel.

Break your sugar habit or addiction. Need some help? The Cleveland Clinic offers a 10-day plan.

Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Brittle teeth don't have to hold you back. With a proper diagnosis of the cause, treatment and management techniques can improve the strength and appearance of your teeth – and your smile.

by Colgate

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Three Types Of Bacteria In The Mouth And What They Do

There are typically over 70 different types of bacteria in the mouth and most of them occur naturally, doing no harm to the person. There are, however, bacteria that can contribute to dental decay and periodontal (gum) disease in particular. Here's a little on where these bacteria are found, which ones cause tooth and gum infection and how you can reduce the amount of "bad" bacteria in your oral cavity at any given time.

Where Bacteria Are

Bacteria collect everywhere in the mouth, including on the teeth and gums. They often cover parts of the cheeks and back of the throat, but they can live in between all the bumps and ridges found on the tongue. Proper brushing, flossing and using antibacterial rinses such as Colgate Total® Mouthwash for Gum Health can reduce the number of bacteria that build up in specific spots between the teeth and along the gumline.

The King of Decay

Streptococcus mutans, or "S. mutans," is the bacteria identified the most with tooth decay, and is present in all areas of the mouth. For dental decay to occur, according to Britannica, the normal presence of S. mutans in the mouth have to make contact with sucrose or sugar-containing products. This causes your S. mutans count to increase in number and secrete acids and similarly harmful products that attack your teeth's enamel – resulting in decay.

Partners in Periodontal Disease

The two types of bacteria most frequently associated with periodontal disease are anaerobic, which means they can survive without oxygen. They're called Treponema denticola and Porphyromonas gingivalis, the Journal of Immunology Research explains, and both of them can multiply to cause inflammation of the gums.

In this case, the toxins produced by T. denticola and P. gingivalis comprise what's known as the "red complex," and disrupt cultures of oral bacteria that usually exist in harmony with one another. Enough of them can sneak in beneath the gumline, breaking down the bone and connective tissue in and around the teeth. This can ultimately cause the teeth to loosen, some to the point of requiring removal.

No bacteria is beyond the control of proper tooth brushing and flossing. Just be sure you're using a variety of products that are soft yet abrasive enough to access these three "bad" bacteria's natural habitats. With consistency, they can be reduced and the affected teeth restored to their healthy states.

by Colgate

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Abfraction Lesion: Causes And Treatment

If you've started to notice dents in your teeth where the tooth and the gums come together, you could have abfraction lesions forming. There is no need to worry, though. Your dentist can diagnose the problem and help you find the right treatment plan. Before you go to the dentist, here is what you should know about abfraction lesions.

What Are Abfraction Lesions?

Abfraction lesions are losses of tooth structure. The lesions occur gradually, The lesions occur gradually, with an indentation forming on the front of the tooth near the gumline that gets deeper with time. Abfractions are not cavities but are instead known as non-carious cervical lesions or NCCL. However, because they expose the softer portions of the teeth, like dentin, they can cause tooth sensitivity and mimic the symptoms of a cavity. Discovering the cause is an essential first step to treatment and management.

What Causes Abfraction Lesions?

Abfraction lesions have been attributed to excessive force placed on the teeth during chewing or teeth grinding. However, according to a review in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dentistry, there are many factors, including chemical, biological, and behavioral factors, that may contribute to the development of abfractions.

For example, erosion and abrasions can also contribute to the formation of dental abfraction lesions. Tooth erosion occurs from exposure to acids, such as acid reflux or acidic foods and drinks. Tooth abrasion may be caused by improper brushing technique or the use of abrasive toothpastes. This combination causes gum recession and exposes the softer, less mineralized parts of the teeth called the cementum and dentin. Acidic and abrasive factors initiate the abfractions, but often stress from biting can deepen the lesion over time.

How Do You Treat Abfraction Lesions?

Proper abfraction treatment is based on the severity of the lesion and the reported sensitivity and aesthetic concerns. A dentist will usually fill the lesion when it extends below the gums, becomes decayed or challenging to clean, or exposes the tooth's pulp or nerve. Filling the lesion reduces sensitivity and restores the tooth structure. Your dentist may use composite or tooth-colored fillings to cover the notches and improve your smile's appearance.

If teeth grinding causes your abfractions, your dentist may fit you with a mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep. Orthodontics can also help prevent further abfraction lesions by realigning your bite and taking pressure off of certain areas of your mouth that may be prone to the damage. Although it won't cure abfractions, try a desensitizing toothpaste if your abfraction is minor. They help relieve the pain associated with tooth sensitivity and work for fast relief.

Your dentist and dental hygienist know how to recognize and modify risk factors for abfractions. If you have tooth sensitivity and you've noticed a lesion starting to form, there is no reason to worry. Talk with your dentist, and they will work with you to decide the best treatment plan for your smile.

by Colgate

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Can Bad Teeth Make You Sick?

Can a bad tooth make you sick? The short answer is yes, eventually. Poor oral health allows bacteria to build up in your mouth and potentially cause infections. An infection in the tooth is called an abscess, and if left untreated, it can have serious consequences. But don't let this scare you. You can take steps today to establish good oral care habits and reduce your chances of developing dental problems like decay, cavities, and infections. Here's what you need to know about the health issues stemming from tooth abscesses and how to maintain a healthy mouth.

What’s an Abscess?

An infection causes tooth abscesses. They can occur on the tip of the root or in the gum at the side of the root and appear as a pocket of pus. Typically people get abscesses due to cavities, injury, or prior dental work. Dental professionals will usually drain the abscess to address the infection, and in some cases, perform a root canal or tooth extraction.

Symptoms of an abscess might include: 

A throbbing and painful toothache, Sensitivity to hot and cold, ensitivity and pain when chewing, Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw, Gum redness and swelling, Swelling in the face and neck, Fever, Difficulty breathing or swallowing.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, you’re also more likely to develop an abscess if you smoke, have a weak immune system, have a dry mouth, or have poor oral hygiene.

What Happens If an Abscess Isn't Treated?

An untreated abscess is a dangerous condition because the infection may continue to spread to the surrounding tissue and bone, which can lead to more health complications. If the jaw and neck become infected, the individual may have difficulty breathing or swallowing. People who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of the infection spreading. 

An untreated tooth abscess can also trigger sepsis. Sepsis is the medical term for our bodies' sometimes extreme response to infection. When your body experiences sepsis, the infection you have triggers a chain reaction to the rest of your body and can lead to serious conditions like tissue damage, organ failure, and have serious long-term effects. So if you’re wondering if a rotten tooth or cavities make you sick, the answer is yes.

If you think you’re experiencing an abscess, call your dental professional. Depending on your symptoms, you may need immediate care, and your dental professional may instruct you to go to the emergency room. Otherwise, your dental professional may have you schedule an appointment with them so that they can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and drain the abscess, which can decrease the swelling and speed up the healing process.

How to Prevent a Tooth Abscess

Can bad teeth make you sick? Yes—poor oral health can eventually lead to potentially dangerous dental issues, like abscesses. But you can take steps to establish good oral care and reduce your chances. Brush your teeth twice per day using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Clean between your teeth once per day with floss, water flossers, or another interdental cleaning device, and visit your dental professional for a checkup and professional cleaning at least once every six months.

Remember: a tooth abscess won’t just go away—it needs to be treated. If you suspect that you have an infection, visit your dental professional as soon as possible. And if you haven't visited a dental professional within the last six months, book an appointment. Working with your dentist, you can establish a strong oral care routine, help prevent tooth infections, and have a sparkling, healthy smile.

by Colgate

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What Causes Pale Gums?

In some cases, changes in your mouth can be an early sign that something is going on elsewhere in your body. Take your gums, for instance. Healthy gums are firm and pink to brown in color depending on your ethnic background. If the color of your gums change or if you develop pale gums, it can be a sign that something's up.

Several conditions can affect the color of your gums. If you are concerned about the look of your gums, your dentist or doctor can help to diagnose the issue and work with you to improve your overall health. Here are a few possible causes of pale gums.

1. Anemia

An article in Periodontology 2000 notes that people with anemia may have pale tissues in the mouth. When a person has anemia, their blood can't deliver an adequate amount of oxygen to the rest of their body, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes. Often, people who have anemia don't have enough iron, which your body needs to make hemoglobin — the protein that gives blood its bright red color.

Several things can trigger anemia. Some people develop it after losing a lot of blood, explains the NIH. Others may develop anemia because their body destroys red blood cells at a higher rate or has trouble producing red blood cells.

Having pale gums isn't the only sign of anemia. Other symptoms include fatigue, unusual heartbeat, weakness and pale skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor can run blood tests to look at your red blood cell count and hemoglobin levels before making a diagnosis. They may also perform a test that examines the shape and size of your red blood cells, as the Mayo Clinic points out.

Treatment options for anemia depend on the type. For instance, if you have anemia because your iron levels are low, your doctor might prescribe an iron supplement.

2. Kidney Disease

The kidneys have two jobs: They filter your blood, and they produce urine. When something's wrong with your kidneys, they can't filter waste well. As the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) notes, people with certain conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, have a higher risk of developing kidney disease.

As for its effect on gum color, a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry compared the gums of 30 patients with kidney disease to a control group of 30 people without kidney disease. No one in the control group had pale gums, while 42.2% of those who had kidney disease did.

Other symptoms to look for if you are concerned about kidney disease are swelling, changes in urination, itchy skin and weight loss, notes the NIDDK. If you have concerning symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor, especially if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.

According to the NIDDK, your doctor is likely to order a urine test and a blood test. The NIDDK also explains that treatment of kidney disease often involves taking medication to slow the progression of the disease, monitoring the condition of your kidneys and properly managing other conditions, such as diabetes.

3. Menopause

In some cases, changes in your gum color can also be connected to menopause. The American Academy of Periodontology notes that menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small percentage of women. One of the signs of menopausal gingivostomatitis is a change in gum color, such as the gums turning pale.

Weight gain, changes in your sleep, mood swings and hot flashes are among the other signs of menopause, according to the National Institute on Aging. Your doctor can provide support and advice to help you cope with body changes associated with menopause.

The appearance of your gums can be a key indicator that something may be going on in your body. If you're concerned about pale gums or other changes in your mouth, don't be shy about discussing your concerns with your dentist or doctor. They can help you figure out what's going on and recommend the proper treatment for your situation.

by Colgate

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What Is Apical Periodontitis?

A healthy smile involves more than just strong, shiny teeth. Your gums also play an important role in your oral health, and some forms of gum disease can be pretty sneaky. Apical periodontitis, also known as periapical periodontitis, does not always have symptoms but should not be ignored. Find out more about periapical periodontitis and its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

What Is Apical Periodontitis?

Apical periodontitis refers to the inflammation of the periodontium — the tissue that surrounds your teeth. Apical means "relating to the apex," so inflammation usually occurs around the tip — or apex — of the tooth's root. Two types of apical periodontitis exist:

Asymptomatic. Asymptomatic apical periodontitis does not produce any clinical signs or symptoms. However, long-term inflammation can eventually destroy the tissue surrounding the teeth. This type usually develops gradually and is ongoing, which is why it once was referred to as chronic periapical periodontitis.

Symptomatic. Symptomatic apical periodontitis causes pain and discomfort when a person bites down or makes contact with the surrounding teeth. This type of apical periodontitis is usually acute, meaning it comes suddenly and gets worse quickly. However, it can also be chronic.

What Causes Apical Periodontitis?

Typically, apical periodontitis occurs when there's another problem with the tooth. For example, inflammation can develop if a person has an untreated cavity. In some cases, apical periodontitis can develop if the pulp of the tooth becomes infected or dies. Injury or trauma to the tooth can also lead to apical periodontitis.

Because symptoms do not always accompany apical periodontitis, you might not detect it on your own. If you experience pain or discomfort when biting or brushing your teeth, make an appointment to immediately see your dentist. Otherwise, regular dental exams allow your dental professional to note any changes to your oral health and catch asymptomatic inflammation early.

How Do You Treat Apical Periodontitis?

If your dentist notices any inflammation in your gums, they will most likely refer you to an endodontist for treatment. Your treatment depends on what procedures have already been performed and the degree of inflammation. Apical periodontitis treatments could include:

Root canal. In some cases, a root canal can minimize the inflammation of your gums by removing the bacteria and infected tissue from the tooth's pulp.

Apicoectomy. If the infection develops or continues after the root canal, you might require an apicoectomy. During this procedure, the endodontist removes the tip of the tooth's root and infected tissue, then seals the end of the root with a filling.

A proper oral hygiene routine and regular visits to the dentist can help protect your gums from apical periodontitis. If you notice any pain or swelling in your gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist. They can take a look inside your mouth, assess your symptoms, and recommend the appropriate next steps.

by Colgate

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Anemia Tongue: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

As small as it is, the tongue is one of the strongest muscles in your body, particularly when chewing and swallowing food. And although five-year-olds use it to express their disapproval, it's prone to certain ailments of its own. For example, if you have anemia, tongue function and appearance can feel the effects almost as much as your energy level.

What Is Anemia Tongue

Also referred to as glossitis, explains Healthline, this condition causes the tongue to become inflamed, and is characterized by several things when your iron levels are low. The tongue's appearance can morph into multiple shades of red, and swell slightly in size. The surface of the tongue can smooth out and hide its natural texture, as well. These small bumps you feel on your tongue – also known as papillae – play a crucial role in the eating process, and thousands of taste buds are housed inside them. Papillae alteration can affect how you eat and speak.

Signs and Symptoms

If you think you're suffering from an anemia tongue, schedule an appointment with your dentist so he or she can properly diagnose you. Here are some traits to look for before making the call:

Swollen tongue

Change of tongue color

Difficulty or inability to chew, swallow or speak

Tongue pain and tenderness

Reduction in or loss of tongue papillae


A variety of conditions can lead to tongue inflammation, some more common than others. According to the National Library of Medicine, these include:

Allergic reactions. Medications, hot or spicy foods and even certain types of mouth care products can irritate the tongue's papillae. Solutions like Colgate® Peroxyl® Mouth Sore Rinse may therefore substitute a less-sensitive mouth rinse.

Injuries. Any sort of mouth trauma resulting from burns or the use of oral appliances like dentures can inflame the tongue.

Oral herpes. Certain diseases, such as oral herpes simplex, can cause blisters, swelling and tongue pain.

Dry mouth. Saliva is a necessity to keep the tongue moist and free of bacteria that can aggravate the tongue's surface.

Of course, the low iron levels defining anemia are your first stop. Iron aids the body in making red blood cells. When you're deficient in them, the tongue's tissue receives a lack of oxygen, much like the rest of the body.

Treatment Options

A trip to your dentist is the best place to start if you suspect you have anemia tongue. During an exam, your dentist will look for blisters, a lack of papillae and any signs of inflammation on your tongue. Blood and saliva samples might also be requested for further testing.

At home, antibiotics, diet changes and proper oral care are all forms of treatment you can use to combat glossitis. Keep in mind a healthy mouth starts with good brushing and flossing. Keep your teeth and gums as healthy as they can be, and being anemic won't mean being in oral pain.

by Colgate

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The Effects Of Chlorine On Your Teeth

Chlorine is a necessary and effective way to kill harmful bacteria in drinking water and swimming pools. But you may be wondering, "is chlorine bad for your teeth?" We'll break down the potential risks of chlorine on your oral health and let you know how to protect yourself so you can continue smiling.

Why is Chlorine Used in Water?

According to the American Chemistry Council, before chlorine was used in drinking water to kill disease-causing germs, waterborne diseases killed thousands of people every year.

In pools and hot tubs, chlorine and pH are the first defense against hazardous germs that can make you sick with recreational water illnesses that cause symptoms like: Diarrhea, Skin rashes, Ear pain, Coughing, Congestion And eye pain.

The chlorine included in your tap water is generally not enough to cause any dental problems, but soaking in a backyard jacuzzi or doing laps at your local swimming pool regularly could have negative effects on your tooth enamel.

What Are the Effects of Chlorine on Your Teeth?

Chlorinated pools and hot tubs contain pH levels that can cause enamel erosion on your teeth. Of course, it's unlikely that you swim with your mouth open (if you do, don't), but water tends to seep into your mouth occasionally. A few visits to the local pool a year is unlikely to have any adverse effects. Still, if you swim laps daily or soak in a hot tub every night, the possibilities of enamel erosion on your teeth are real – particularly if you over-chlorinate your pool. The CDC recommends the pH levels of treated water to be between 7.2 and 7.8. The free chlorine concentration should be at least 1 part per million in pools and at least 3 parts per million in hot tubs.

If you notice any of the following symptoms after frequenting chlorinated bodies of water, your tooth enamel may be wearing away (what's called swimmer's calculus). Your teeth may:

Become discolored.

The edges of your front teeth may look transparent.

In later stages, you may feel extreme dental sensitivity when consuming hot or cold foods.

Learn more about how enamel erosion can affect your teeth.

How Do You Protect Your Teeth from Chlorine?

The pH level of water is invisible to the naked eye, so here are some tips to help you know if it's safe to take a dip:

When in a public pool or on a tropical vacation, take notice of pool linings, railings, and ladders. Pool water that's too acidic will eat away at these surfaces. If you notice spots of erosion, the water may do the same to your teeth, so consider skipping your swim or consider swimming elsewhere (perhaps a natural body of water).

Pool pH strips are common in local recreational supply stores and allow you to test the water before wading in.

If you're a homeowner, you might attempt to save money by maintaining your own backyard pool – but this can be tricky. Check your pool's pH balance once a week at a minimum, and budget permitting, hire a specialist to examine it upon your first use.

By taking these precautions when you swim in chlorinated pools and limiting how often you swim or relax in chlorinated water, you can significantly reduce your risk for enamel erosion. If you're an avid swimmer, be conscious of how much water gets in your mouth. And practice good oral hygiene for an even greater chance to withstand the effects of chlorine. Brush at least twice a day, and don't forget to brush your tongue. Consider using a toothpaste that helps replenish natural calcium to strengthen your tooth enamel. And be sure to see your dental professional for regular appointments so they can catch any developing erosion early. When you do all of this, caring for your oral health should go swimmingly.

by Colgate

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Eagle Syndrome: Signs and Treatment Options

You're likely in the know about common secondary ailments that can impact your dental health. But are you familiar with Eagle syndrome? Many people are not. This syndrome expresses itself as throat and facial pain and is typically associated with the removal of tonsils or trauma to the throat area.

If this sounds like something you could be dealing with, contact your dentist right away. In the meantime, here's what to look out for and what to expect from your care.

Signs of Eagle Syndrome

What is Eagle syndrome? Eagle syndrome is also known as an elongated styloid process or styloid-stylohyoid syndrome. The styloid process is a small bone located just below your ear. This small bone can cause a lot of pain if elongation or if calcification occurs. These things result in pinched vessels or nerves and lead to inflammation.

Let's go over Eagle syndrome symptoms so you know what to look for. They include: Sore throat, Earache, Reduced hearing, Tinnitus, Trouble swallowing or chewing, Feeling as though you have something in your throat, Pain when yawning or turning your neck, Facial pain.

According to the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), only 4 percent of the population have an elongated styloid process, and most patients are asymptomatic. Eagle syndrome is very rare. It's estimated to occur in 1 of 62,500 people, and women are three times more likely than men to have this syndrome.

Diagnosis of Eagle Syndrome

Diagnosis of Eagle syndrome can be challenging because there are many illnesses associated with having a sore throat. Your first response may be to visit your doctor, which is always a good idea. But it's also important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. They can examine your mouth for signs of other problems and recommend the best next steps.

Your doctor or dentist will probably feel your head and neck for any signs of an unusually long styloid process. They may also use an X-ray or CT scan to see your styloid process and stylohyoid ligament in better detail.

You might also be asked to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist to rule out any other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatments

If you get diagnosed with Eagle syndrome, your medical team will decide the best way to treat it based on your specific case and pain level. Eagle syndrome treatment usually starts with conservative medical management before surgery of any kind is considered.

According to Medscape, medication treatment may include:

Pain relievers, Seizure medication, Antidepressants, Local application of steroids or numbing agents. 

Suppose non-surgical, treatment isn't working for you. In that case, your medical team may recommend steroids, pain block injections, or surgery to remove the bone, according to a report published in the Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery. After surgery, you may receive an analgesics prescription, and your provider will ask you to return in seven days so they can remove your stitches.

You're now informed on the ins and outs of Eagle syndrome. If you're having trouble pinpointing what's happening with throat and facial pain, check-in with your dental professional, they're a fantastic resource to help you with pain in the area. If you're diagnosed with Eagle syndrome, remember that there are plenty of treatment options. And that medicine is usually the first choice before surgery. You've made a great choice to read up on this condition.

by Colgate

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Causes Of A Black Spot Inside The Cheek

Looking in the mirror and seeing a black spot inside the cheek can be alarming, but is it something serious? The good news is that a dark spot inside your cheek is probably harmless. Consider these possible causes and see your dentist for a definitive diagnosis.

Amalgam Tattoos

If the spot inside your cheek is dark blue, gray or black, it could be a leakage from a dental filling. Amalgam tattoos aren't the permanent ink decorations on your skin that you can have done at a tattoo parlor. Amalgam is the silvery substance that your dentist uses to fill cavities, and it's made from a mixture of tin, zinc, mercury, copper and silver. Sometimes, after a dentist has filled a tooth, the filling mixture leaks, leaving behind a flat, painless dark spot that doesn't grow or change shape.

According to Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Oral Medicine and Dentistry, amalgam tattoos are permanent, but they don't cause any harm. If the mark is inside your cheek, it's unlikely anyone will see it. However, if you think the spot looks unsightly, speak with your dentist about removal options.


Smoking can leave dark stains inside the cheeks and other areas of the mouth, such as on the gums. This condition is called smoker's melanosis, and according to a study in Case Reports in Dentistry, approximately 22 percent of smokers may notice this kind of discoloration in their mouths. It occurs when the tobacco stimulates excessive melanin deposits on the inner lining of the mouth, resulting in a darker pigmentation.

While the condition is benign, patients should keep the other oral effects of tobacco use in mind and consider quitting.

Other Causes of a Black Spot Inside the Cheek

When you see a black spot inside your cheek, you may immediately be concerned that it is cancerous. Rest assured that this is not likely the case, and that treatment may not be necessary.

The Oral Cancer Foundation lists several causes of dark spots inside cheeks that aren't related to cancer. For example, the inner lining of your cheek may just be patchily pigmented. You could have a benign melanotic macule, which is a spot similar to a freckle that can appear in the oral cavity. Alternatively, if you have put pencils in your mouth in the past, the graphite may have become embedded in your mouth lining, creating a dark spot.

Very rarely, a black or dark spot on the inside of the cheek could be a sign of oral malignant melanoma or another type of oral cancer. For this reason, it's always worth seeing your dentist if you notice an abnormal spot in your mouth that doesn't go away, bleeds or grows larger. Your dentist can diagnose the cause of the black spot through an examination, and they may take a sample to send for analysis.

Maintaining a good oral health routine can reduce your fears about a black spot inside your cheek. As well as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day, regularly check inside your mouth to make sure your gums and the lining of your cheeks look healthy. Report any concerns or symptoms to your dentist, and you can work together to find a solution.

by Colgate

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Three Cosmetic Effects Of Dental Erosion

Your tooth enamel is the toughest substance in your whole body, but it's not invincible. Tooth enamel can become worn away by dietary acids (like sodas or juices) or stomach acid, resulting in dental erosion. The American Dental Association explains that acid erosion can make your teeth more susceptible to decay; however, it can also lead to changes in the appearance of your smile that may make you feel self-conscious.

Here are three cosmetic consequences of eroded teeth. Don't worry too much though; it's treatable and preventable!

1. Discolored Teeth

Discolored, yellow teeth are a clue that your enamel is being eroded. Your enamel is white, but the tissue underneath the enamel – the dentin – is pale brown. As the enamel thins due to acid erosion, more of the dentin's color will show through, which gives your teeth a yellow appearance.

2. Translucent Teeth

Normally, teeth should be opaque, but if you're experiencing enamel erosion, you may notice that the edges of your front teeth are becoming translucent. Enamel is a semi-translucent substance, but if it becomes worn and thin due to acid, more light is able to pass through it.

3. Rounded Teeth

A change in the shape of your teeth is another possible sign of enamel erosion. You may notice that your teeth look shorter or more worn down, and you may notice that the edges of your teeth are rounded. These shape changes are caused by the loss of your enamel.

Treatments for Dental Erosion

While the cosmetic effects of dental erosion can be unpleasant, your dentist can help you restore the look of your smile. If the erosion is minor, your dentist may recommend strengthening your remaining enamel with a remineralizing toothpaste.

If the damage is more severe, restorations like dental bonding may be used. Dental bonding is a tooth-colored resin that your dentist can apply to your damaged enamel to restore its appearance. It can also be used to change the shape of your teeth and make them look less rounded.

If your enamel is severely damaged, your dentist may recommend crowns. Crowns are restorations that cover the entire tooth, so they'll hide severe cosmetic problems. Once crowns are in place, no one will know that your teeth were previously severely damaged by acid erosion.


To help prevent future erosion, your dentist may recommend making some changes to your eating habits. For example, when you have an acidic snack, like an orange, wash it down with plenty of water to dilute the acid. When you want to have a carbonated soft drink, have some water instead to save your teeth from the drink's acidic effects.

Depending on the cause of your dental erosion, you may require further treatment from your family doctor. This may be the case if your tooth erosion is linked to stomach acid exposure, which could indicate a condition like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or bulimia.

Dental erosion can have a big effect on the look of your smile, but it can be treated by your dentist.

by Colgate

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Is One Sensitive Tooth A Serious Issue?

Sensitive teeth, sometimes called dentin hypersensitivity, is often the result of overzealous tooth brushing, a stiff-bristled brush or use of an overly-abrasive toothpaste, which can wear away tooth enamel over time to reveal the tooth's inner layer of dentin. Tooth enamel can also erode due to acid reflux, bulimia or a similar condition that causes stomach acid to enter the mouth. It may come from excessive amounts of acidic foods and beverages, as well.

Why Just One Spot?

Keep in mind that grinding or clenching your teeth can cause nerve irritation – in localized areas if you have an imperfect bite – as can recent editions of tooth whitening treatment. And if periodontal disease has caused your gums to recede due to an abscess in one particular area (more on that below), the exposed root can be just as sensitive to hot and cold.

Treatment Options for Dentin Hypersensitivity


Having ruled out other causes for your sensitivity, your dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpaste such as Colgate® Sensitive Complete Protection, which helps to seal off the dentin tubules (connected nerves) that cause the discomfort. It usually takes at least a month of regular use before you notice results.

In the meantime, be willing to accept an in-office desensitizing treatment or prescription fluoride gel, which you can apply to the sensitive areas after brushing. And of course, your dentist will work with you to correct any bad habits that may have contributed to the problem.


Tooth Decay


If one tooth in particular bothers you, your dentist will examine the tooth in question and ask you to describe your symptoms. Most likely, he or she will take an X-ray to determine if a few common conditions could be the problem – one of which is tooth decay.

In this case, acids produced by the bacteria built up against the tooth can eventually dissolve its enamel, exposing the dentin layer. And because dentin is filled with tiny nerve endings, you may experience temperature sensitivity and pain when biting down. Once your dentist removes the decay and fills the tooth with either an amalgam or tooth-colored filling, you should be pain free. A full-coverage crown might be needed for more stability and longevity.


Loose or Broken Filling

Unfortunately fillings don't last forever, and when they break or become loose, you may experience sensitivity due to bacteria getting underneath, causing the tooth to decay further. Luckily, this problem is easily remedied with a new filling or crown.

Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth may not be visible to the naked eye. It may not even show on X-rays, making a diagnosis difficult. However, the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) says a common sign of a cracked tooth is a sharp pain when biting down, but one that disappears after releasing that bite. Cracks involving a break around a filling can be repaired with a new filling or crown, but when a crack extends into the pulp of the tooth, you may need root canal treatment before a crown can be placed. Ultimately, a crack that extends below the gumline and into the root of the tooth will need to be removed.


An abscessed tooth occurs when the pulp of your tooth – which is made up of nerve and blood vessels – becomes infected. The American Dental Association (ADA) explains that symptoms can include fever, persistent pain and facial swelling. Usually, there's pus-filled swelling at the root tip, which drains periodically and gives you a bad taste in your mouth. You will need root canal treatment to save any tooth that has abscessed.

Recent Treatment


Dental procedures, like removing deep decay or preparing a tooth prepared for a crown, can inflame the nerves within the pulp tissue. This can cause a temporary sensitivity to hot and cold, but it usually dissipates after a week or two.

Whether you have one sensitive tooth or several, it's wise to see your dentist right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can ensure that small problems won't progress into more serious dental complications or the loss of a tooth.

by Colgate

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The Many Causes of Loose Teeth

Experiencing your first loose tooth is a right of passage for children. Each primary tooth will fall out and be replaced with a permanent tooth. But as an adult, tooth mobility can definitely cause concern. If you notice that your teeth seem a bit loose, here’s what could be happening.

What Causes Loose Teeth and How Can You Treat It?

Periodontal disease. Untreated gingivitis can advance and become periodontitis, which can eventually cause loose teeth and tooth loss. How? Periodontal disease affects not only the gums but also the tissues and bones that support the teeth. Gums will separate from the teeth, forming pockets between the teeth and gums that become infected. As your periodontitis progresses, the pockets deepen, destroying more gum tissue and bone along the way and eventually causing loose teeth. However, there's some good news: if you pay close attention to your mouth, you can catch the early symptoms of gum disease before it causes loose teeth. And if you do end up with advanced periodontitis, many non-surgical and surgical treatments are available to you, including deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafts, and bone grafting.

Pregnancy gingivitis. If you’re pregnant, your mouth can be affected by hormonal changes. Pregnancy gingivitis is an example of this. If you experience inflammation of the gums, or if your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it’s important to consult with your dentist. If left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis can result in periodontitis and, eventually, loose teeth.

Osteoporosis. The part of the jawbone that supports the teeth is known as the alveolar process. An onset of osteoporosis can cause bone loss in the jaw, and studies show a link between a loss of alveolar bone and an increase in tooth mobility.

The National Institutes of Health notes that women with osteoporosis are three times as likely to experience tooth mobility and tooth loss than those who don’t share the disease. You should consult with your dentist or primary care physician if you experience loose teeth. However, if your tooth mobility symptoms are linked to osteoporosis, and you are receiving treatment for it, the ADA recommends that you tell your dentist about any medications you take. Antiresorptive medications can interfere with certain dental treatments and lead to a rare but serious condition called osteonecrosis, which causes loose teeth.

Trauma. The ligaments and tissues that hold your teeth firmly in their sockets can become stretched if you experience an accident or any trauma that extends force to your mouth. This could result in your tooth loosening. For example, loosening can occur from getting hit in your face with a ball. Regularly grinding your teeth can also cause a similar problem. Consider an injury like this to be a dental emergency, and immediately make an appointment with your dentist.

No matter what causes your loose teeth, you’re bound to be worried. But remember, having loose teeth doesn’t mean you have to lose your teeth. As soon as you notice any sign of a tooth or teeth loosening, seek dental care immediately. Your dentist will help you find an effective treatment plan that can save your teeth.

by Colgate

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What Is A Dental Black Triangle? Causes And Treatments

Look closely at your front teeth. Between any of them, do you notice gaps that look like tiny black triangles? A dental black triangle occurs when the space between two teeth, also known as an embrasure, is not completely filled by gum tissue. This creates a triangular gap between the teeth and gums.

According to a review in the British Journal of Applied Science & Technology, studies have shown that black triangles can occur in up to 67% of people over the age of 20, making this a rather common condition. However, if not managed properly, these black triangles can lead to more serious oral health issues.

Causes of Black Triangles

Black triangles may result from numerous underlying causes, including a person's dental anatomy and their oral health status. An article in the British Dental Journal (BDJ) notes that some of the most common reasons that embrasures form include: 

Older age, Gum disease and recession, Diverging tooth roots following orthodontic treatment, Space between the teeth, Abnormal tooth crown or restoration shape.

Since gum disease can lead to the formation of black triangles, it's equally important to understand the causes of this condition. According to the American Dental Association, there are many contributing factors that may increase one's risk of gum disease, such as:

Not maintaining proper oral hygiene, Genetics, Crooked teeth, which can be hard to keep clean, Using tobacco products, Pregnancy, Diabetes, Certain medications.

Oral Health Risks of Black Triangles

A black triangle is not just an aesthetic problem. As the BDJ article explains, food particles and plaque can accumulate in the gap. The Mayo Clinic notes that plaque accumulation can lead to cavities, as well as more severe oral problems, such as dental abscesses. That's why it's important to get an assessment from a dental professional if you notice these spaces between your teeth.

Treatment Options

Because of the complex nature of the dental black triangle, treatment often requires an interdisciplinary approach. This means that your family dentist may need to coordinate treatment for this condition with various specialists — most likely a periodontist or an orthodontist.

According to the BDJ article, management of black triangles may involve:

Surgical approaches: There are a variety of surgical techniques that can help to preserve the gum tissue between teeth.

Tissue engineering: Tissue engineering involves the injection of regenerative cells to help regrow the missing gum tissue.

Tissue volumizing: Similar to the technique used for facial tissue regeneration, tissue volumizing uses hyaluronic acid to reduce black triangles.

Tooth or restoration reshaping: Altering the shape of the teeth through cosmetic recontouring, bonding or fabricating new crowns or veneers can help to eliminate black triangles.

Pink restorative materials: Pink shades of porcelain and composite materials can sometimes be used to hide or reduce black triangles.

Gingival veneers: A removable gingival veneer or mask is a gum-colored acrylic or silicone device that can be used to cover black triangles. This can be a cost-effective way of temporarily covering the spaces between teeth, but it requires excellent oral hygiene and manual dexterity.

Orthodontic treatment: Although orthodontic treatment can sometimes have the unintended consequence of creating black triangles, it can also help to eliminate the problem in certain cases by repositioning teeth and their roots.

The best way to prevent black triangles from forming between your teeth is to take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice a day, flossing once daily and visiting your dentist for checkups regularly. While there's no guarantee that you won't see black triangles at some point, you can rest assured knowing that your dental health providers will be able to help you if they appear.

by Colgate

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What Is Phossy Jaw?

What do household matches have to do with dental health? A look back in time highlights an interesting historical event — which now seems to be repeating itself. In the 19th century, some workers in match factories developed a condition called phossy jaw after being exposed to a chemical used in the match manufacturing process. This condition, clinically known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, vanished until it recently reappeared in the 21st century.

History of Phossy Jaw

An article in the journal Craniomaxillofacial Trauma & Reconstruction states that this oral disease came about in the 1860s because matchstick factory workers were exposed to dangerous levels of phosphorous — a chemical used for creating matchsticks. Inhaling the phosphorous fumes resulted in a rise in the incidence of gum disease, bone deterioration and bone cell death that was termed phossy jaw.

Beyond the oral effects of this condition, these workers also experienced respiratory symptoms such as coughing, drainage and bloody discharge from the lungs that was termed phossy lung. They also experienced seizure conditions called phossy brain and blood conditions known as phossy marrow. These toxic responses were all eventually traced back to the matchstick factories, and the condition soon disappeared among the population after alternative factory materials were introduced in 1906.

Modern-Day Phossy Jaw

To understand why cases similar to phossy jaw have returned, you'll first need to understand how bisphosphonates work. As Johns Hopkins Medicine explains, doctors often prescribe bisphosphonate medications to patients with systemic diseases such as osteoporosis, which is a condition that weakens the bones. These medications prevent and treat bone thinning in individuals who are diagnosed with osteoporosis, lupus or other bone-weakening conditions. Bisphosphonates work by slowing the process by which the body dissolves certain bone-building minerals.

Despite this medication's positive effects, one possible side effect of using bisphosphonate drugs is bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), which is very similar to phossy jaw. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) describes ONJ as a condition where the jawbone becomes exposed and doesn't get enough blood, so it begins to weaken and die, often causing pain. An individual who is taking or has previously taken bisphosphonate medication is at a greater risk for ONJ, and it most commonly occurs following dental extractions.

It's common for dental professionals to advise patients who need extractions to discontinue the use of bisphosphonate drugs and take an antibiotic prior to the procedure, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. This is because, while bisphosphonates are used to prevent bone thinning, they can interfere with jawbone healing, especially after dental work.

Bisphosphonate-induced ONJ is rare, as the National Osteoporosis Foundation notes. But ONJ can also occur in individuals who have not taken bisphosphonate drugs. Other risk factors for ONJ include radiation treatment, infection and steroid use.

Treating and Preventing Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

The ACR says that patients who have taken bisphosphonates or are currently taking them should inform their dental provider of their medication history prior to any dental care. This allows the dental provider to take precautions should a surgical procedure be necessary — especially in cases of tooth removal. If an individual does develop ONJ, their dental professional will likely recommend antibiotics, oral analgesics and mouthrinses, which are often effective.

Both dentists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons know how to identify the risk factors associated with using bisphosphonate medications, thanks to their dental school education and extensive training. When you keep your dental professionals informed about your medication use, they can plan their approach accordingly to help prevent ONJ and other healing complexities following dental treatment.

by Colgate

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Does poor oral health impact brain function?

Oral health can be a surprisingly good indicator of a person’s well-being. Not only can oral diseases reduce a person’s quality of life, but they can also increase the risk of other serious conditions.

Researchers have linked gum disease and tooth loss to the occurrence of stroke. An article published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology in 2010 concluded that gum disease could raise a person’s risk of heart disease by around 20%. It is, however, necessary to carry out more research in these areas.

Teams at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, have now focused on a different link — the one between oral health and cognitive decline.

A recently published review of 23 studies found evidence of a relationship between oral health and cognitive aspects, such as memory and executive function.

Now, a team from Rutgers University carried out two separate studies into cognitive decline and perceived stress. Both papers appear in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The Chinese American focus

The studies focused on Chinese American adults with a minimum age of 60. “Racial and ethnic minorities are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of poor oral health,” explains XinQi Dong, director of Rutgers University’s Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research.

He continues, “Minorities have less access to preventive dental care that is further exacerbated by language barriers and low socioeconomic status. Older Chinese Americans are at particular risk for experiencing oral health symptoms due to lack of dental insurance or not visiting a dental clinic regularly.”

Participants for both studies came from the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago (PINE). The first study quizzed people on their oral health and gave them five cognitive tests to complete.

The second study asked participants if they had ever experienced dry mouth issues. Researchers then asked them to measure their perceived stress, social support, and social strain levels using pre-defined scales.

Social support referred to how often they felt able to open up to or rely on their family members or friends. Researchers defined social strain as how often participants experienced excessive demands or criticism from friends or relatives.

A cognitive link

Out of the more than 2,700 Chinese Americans interviewed, almost half reported tooth-related symptoms. Just over a quarter said they had experienced dry mouth.

There was no significant relationship between gum and cognitive problems. However, researchers believe participants may have been less likely to report gum symptoms due to finding them less problematic.

The researchers did find a link between cognitive decline — specifically global cognition and episodic memory decline — and tooth symptoms. Episodic memory issues themselves have a link to the onset of dementia.

by Medical News Today

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Cerebral palsy and oral health issues

Although cerebral palsy itself doesn’t cause oral deformities or abnormalities, many of its symptoms lead to oral problems and patients with CP are at a greater risk of dental issues. With diligence and regular dental checkups, however, your child can maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Why Are Children With Cerebral Palsy At Risk for Oral Health Issues?

Some children with cerebral palsy have gastrointestinal reflux and tend to reflux or vomit on a frequent basis. Increased drooling also causes an increased risk of dental caries, as well as some of the medications taken for cerebral palsy may contain high amounts of sugar. All of these factors can lead to a heightened risk of children with cerebral palsy developing tooth decay.

Other issues that heighten the chance of oral problems in children with cerebral palsy include:

Trouble chewing and swallowing, Lack of control when using a toothbrush and floss, Malalignment of the upper and lower teeth, Excessive gagging, Gingivitis due to seizure medications, Having food in the mouth for long periods of time, Lip, tongue, and cheek biting.

Children with cerebral palsy often have problems cleaning their teeth on their own due to jaw muscles that can’t sufficiently relax, mouth and tongue sensitivity, and problems holding a toothbrush and/or floss.

Oral Treatment for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Parents may be hesitant in getting dental care and treatment for a child with cerebral palsy for fear that the visit will be difficult or go poorly. However, there are numerous oral health professionals who specialize in working with children with special needs and make great options for these children.

Safety training is required for all oral health professionals who work with special needs kids, including required training in CPR, training in supporting children with involuntary tremors and bodily movements and training on how to successfully clear breathing passages.

Oral professionals for special needs children are also trained on how to accommodate patients in wheelchairs while providing a calm, child-friendly environment.

Furthermore, oral professionals working with children with cerebral palsy must be trained in how to properly monitor breathing. This is especially important for children who are unable to communicate or have challenges expressing discomfort and pain.

Other qualifications that oral care professionals who work with children with cerebral palsy should have, include:

Ability to establish a trusting relationship with the child, Ability to give commands in a friendly yet understandable manner, Ability to effectively communicate non-verbally (if needed).

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that children should start receiving oral health care before they have teeth by wiping their gums down with a warm cloth. This not only cleans their mouth, but it helps them get used to having their mouth cleaned, something that some children with cerebral palsy have difficulties with when they get older.

Once teeth have erupted, regular twice-daily cleaning with a non-fluoridated toothpaste is recommended. Once children are old enough to spit, fluoridated toothpaste is recommended. For children who have difficulty spitting due to cerebral palsy, ask your dentist which type of toothpaste would be best.

Between 18 months to 2 years of age, a child should have his/her first professional dental visit. The dentist will generally check the child’s teeth for any oral issues and teach parents how to help their child care for their teeth at home.

Oral Care at Home

As a parent, guardian, or caregiver, you will be responsible for supervising daily oral hygiene at home. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing should be a daily habit. This includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing after meals and after the medication intake.

“Home dental care and hygiene should be promoted from early on,” the National Institutes of Health reports.

Consider the following to help you become successful with home oral health care for your child:

Purchase toothbrushes and floss that is easier to use, such as an electric toothbrush and toothpick floss sticks, Buy toothpaste made for children with sensitive teeth and gums, Make teeth-cleaning time a fun activity with various child-friendly games and positive reinforcement.

Oral care should be done at a time when the child isn’t tired or angry.

If your child refuses to use a toothbrush, consider using a cotton swab or a warm cloth (consult with your child’s dentist first).

If you need assistance, be certain to speak with your child’s dentist or even a speech therapist who can help you with ensuring your child is swallowing correctly, which makes it easier to keep their mouths clean.

by Cerebral Palsy Guidance

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Managing Epilepsy And Oral Health

What Is Epilepsy?

The Mayo Clinic describes epilepsy as a nervous system disorder that causes periods of abnormal activity in the brain. This can affect any process your brain controls, resulting in seizures or changes in behavior or awareness.

Epilepsy can run in families, and other causes include head trauma and brain tumors. In adults over age 35, stroke is a leading cause of epilepsy. In addition, diseases such as meningitis, AIDS and viral encephalitis can also trigger this disorder, as can injuries before birth or other developmental disorders. Despite these known causes, the University of Washington School of Dentistry reports that the exact cause of epilepsy is unknown in 75% of the people diagnosed with this condition.

While it can affect both males and females of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, epilepsy is seen in less than 1% of the population and occurs more often in men.

Common Epilepsy Symptoms

Signs of epilepsy vary, according to the Mayo Clinic; however, a person with epilepsy will most likely have the same type of symptoms with each episode. The following symptoms are usually seen with generalized seizures, which occur when the entire brain is affected:

Temporary confusion, eye blinking or a staring spell, Sudden collapse, Abrupt, uncontrollable jerking or stiffening of the arms and legs, Loss of consciousness.

Oral Health Risks

Generalized seizures create a risk for injuries to your tongue and other areas of the mouth, as the University of Washington School of Dentistry explains. Seizures may also damage the temporomandibular joints or cause an individual to aspirate a tooth into the lungs.

Unfortunately, the drugs used to control this disorder can also produce side effects in the mouth. One side effect often associated with AEDs is gingival hyperplasia, an overgrowth of gum tissue. As an article published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology states, phenytoin is an AED frequently used in children, and it may cause gingival hyperplasia in 50% of the patients who take it.

A study in the Journal of International Oral Health states that AEDs may also cause xerostomia, or dry mouth. Since saliva washes food debris and bacteria from your teeth, dry mouth can make you more susceptible to tooth decay, explains the American Dental Association.

Managing Epilepsy and Oral Health

Since dentures and removable partial prosthetics can break or create a choking hazard during seizures, fixed prosthetics may be a better option for people with epilepsy, according to the University of Washington School of Dentistry. To prevent trauma to the teeth overnight, a dentist may suggest wearing a mouth guard. If a patient develops severe gingival hyperplasia, they may need surgical treatment to remove the excess gum tissue.

A dentist will closely evaluate an epileptic patient for any signs of gingival hyperplasia or dry mouth, and they will share the following oral hygiene steps to help them prevent tooth decay and gum disease:

Floss daily, Brush frequently throughout the day and at bedtime with fluoride toothpaste, Maintain a healthy diet and get adequate nutrition, Use mints or lozenges with xylitol to stimulate saliva production and prevent cavities.

A medical team made up of a doctor and dentist is there to help you or your loved one manage epilepsy. If you're worried about the effects of epilepsy on oral health, know that your dentist is always available to help you keep your smile bright and your teeth and gums healthy.

by Colgate

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Macroglossia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

If your tongue is larger than what is considered normal, the medical term for your condition is "macroglossia." Here's what you need to know about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this rare disorder to keep you smiling.

What Are the Causes of Macroglossia?

Macroglossia can be congenital (present from birth) or acquired (developed later in life).

Congenital causes may include various syndromes, like:

Down syndromeA condition in which someone has an extra chromosome.

Beckwith-Wiedemann syndromeA syndrome that causes abnormal growth in different parts of children's bodies and tends to slow at about the age of 8.

MucopolysaccharidosisA condition in which the body cannot break down sugar molecules in the body.

HemangiomaThe abnormal growth of blood vessels usually shows in the form of a birthmark that fades over time. Sometimes it can adversely affect the area of growth, in this case, the tongue.

Congenital hypothyroidismPartial or complete loss of thyroid function. The thyroid gland creates hormones necessary for a variety of things, one of them being growth.

NeurofibromatosisCauses tumors to grow in nerve tissue.

Acquired causes may include conditions or diseases like:

HypothyroidismWith this condition, your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough crucial hormones and can result in a large tongue.

AmyloidosisWhen an abnormal protein called Amyloid builds up and disrupts the function of certain organs in your body, according to Stanford Healthcare, it can also affect the tongue.

AcromegalyYour pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone and typically results in overgrowth of your hands, feet, and face.

Pemphigus VulgarisAn autoimmune disease that can cause swelling and blistering on the tongue.

DiphtheriaA bacterial infection that can be spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. It can be prevented with a vaccine.

TuberculosisA bacterial infection that mostly affects the lungs but can also cause lesions and the enlarging of your tongue.

SarcoidosisAn inflammatory disease that usually causes abnormal growths in the lungs, eyes, lymph nodes, and skin but can also affect your tongue.

Symptoms of Macroglossia

If your tongue is proportionally too large for your mouth, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

Misaligned teeth

Protruding teeth

Interference with eating

Interference with speaking


High-pitched breathing

Diagnosis of Macroglossia

Your medical professional will diagnose macroglossia by performing a physical exam. To determine the underlying cause of the enlarged tongue, appropriate medical testing may be performed. Because there are so many potential causes of this condition, the tests can vary. Your doctor will be able to explain what they recommend for your specific situation and why.

Treatment for Macroglossia

Treatment also varies depending on the cause and severity of your enlarged tongue. If the cause of your macroglossia is both identifiable and treatable, there are medical therapies available. For example, if the cause is determined to be hypothyroidism, treatment for that condition may also help treat your macroglossia. In cases where the cause isn't clear, medical therapies haven't been shown to be useful.

In mild cases of macroglossia, speech therapy may improve issues with speaking. In more severe cases, your healthcare professional may recommend surgery to reduce the size of your tongue. Surgical procedures can help reduce problems with speech, chewing, and feeding.

If you're concerned about an enlarged tongue, see your dental professional or healthcare professional and get their recommendation based on your individual needs. They know your specific circumstances and will be able to advise you on a path of care that will keep you smiling.

by Colgate

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When Sick Teeth Hurt: Three Illnesses That Cause Tooth Pain

The symptoms of an illness may not always be what you expect. A few oral conditions can actually cause what feels like a toothache, when in fact it's something a bit more complicated. If you feel sick, teeth hurt and you want answers, it's worth it to make an appointment with your dentist for deeper insight into the issue. Tooth pain can be connected to a variety of issues, from sinusitis to chest pain.

1. Angina

Angina is a form of chest pain that occurs when not enough blood is able to reach the heart, according to the American Heart Association. It's usually not considered a condition in and of itself, but rather a symptom of coronary artery disease – a much more systemic issue. Interestingly enough, angina doesn't just cause pain in the chest; the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) suggests it can also cause irritation around the teeth and jaw.

If you have a toothache or jaw pain – or even sharp feelings of stabbing pain, nausea or fatigue, according to Mayo Clinic – it's a good idea to see your doctor. Angina is treatable through lifestyle changes, medications and, in some cases, surgery. Managing it will not only minimize your symptoms, but ultimately help save your life; angina can lead to a heart attack if left untreated.

2. Sinus Infections

If you've been sick, teeth hurt and your nose feels clogged or congested, you might be dealing with a sinus infection. Sinusitis, or inflammation in the sinuses (the hollow cavities in your face), usually occurs after you've been sick with a cold. The buildup of mucus that occurs with a cold creates a great environment for bacteria or viruses to grow.

The sinuses, particularly the maxillary sinus, are located near the upper back teeth. Their proximity to these molars can make it feel as though your teeth hurt when your sinuses are inflamed, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although saline sprays or nasal decongestants can help clear the nose, minimizing any pain, swollen sinuses need to shrink in size for you to feel lasting relief. Use over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatories or similar pain relievers to ease the pain in your teeth and any pressure you might feel in the sinuses.

3. Ear Infections

Just as the location of the sinuses around the tooth can make you feel pain in the teeth when you have a sinus infection, the closeness of the ear to the jaw can cause you to feel pain in your teeth when you have an ear infection. Keep in mind you may develop a toothache on the same side as your ear infection, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). As with sinusitis, however, an ear infection can clear up on its own with time. Feel free to use OTC pain relievers to minimize your discomfort, though.

Whether you have chest pain, ear pain or sinus trouble along with a toothache, it's always a good idea to see a doctor – particularly if the pain persists. Getting an official diagnosis for the illness you have allows your doctor to recommend the best course of treatment for it. He or she can also rule on any actual problems with the tooth itself, such as an abscess or infection, and determine if the pain you feel is connected to your illness.

by Colgate

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What Is Ludwig's Angina?

Practicing good oral hygiene is important if you want to have a winning smile. But it's also essential for you to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and infections that can lead to more serious health issues like Ludwig's angina. Ludwig's angina is a rare but potentially deadly bacterial infection that usually affects your molars, spreads to the floor of your mouth and your neck, and can close off your airway. If you think you may have Ludwig's angina, you should have it diagnosed and treated by your medical professional immediately. If you're not showing symptoms of Ludwig's angina, you can rest assured that by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dental professional for regular visits, you can keep your mouth healthy and infection-free so you can continue smiling.

What Are the Causes of Ludwig’s Angina?

According to a review of studies published in StatPearls, 9 out of 10 cases of Ludwig's angina is caused by an infection in the lower molars that spreads to other areas of the mouth.

Other causes of Ludwig's angina include: 

An injury or laceration in the floor of your mouth, Jawbone fracture, An injury to your tongue, Oral piercings, Bone infection in your jaw, Issues with intubation, An abscess in the tonsils, Salivary gland infection, And infected thyroglossal cysts.

If left untreated, these conditions can spread the infection to the soft tissues on the floor of your mouth and neck. According to Applied Radiology, pus and gas could cause swelling that closes off your airway within hours. Statistics cited in Statpearls notes that more than 50% of people with Ludwig's angina died before antibiotics were developed. Now, that number is about 8%.

If you have diabetes, cavities, or a weak immune system, you may be at a higher risk of developing this condition.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Ludwig's Angina

If you have Ludwig's angina, your infected tissue will swell, and your neck will likely appear enlarged. You may also experience symptoms like: Pain, A sore throat, Trouble swallowing, Swelling of the throat, Difficulty breathing, A fever And chills.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, go to the emergency department right away. The sooner your infection is treated, the greater your likelihood is of survival. To diagnose the infection, a medical professional will evaluate the appearance of the swelling and may take CT scans or blood tests to evaluate the severity of your condition.

Treating Ludwig's Angina

If your medical professional determines you have Ludwig's angina, they will likely utilize one or more of the following techniques to treat your condition:

They will administer antibiotics through an IV to get rid of the infection.

They may need to extract your infected tooth if they determine that was the cause.

They may drain fluid that has collected in the tissue with an incision.

They may need to use a breathing tube in your mouth or nose to help you breathe. In severe cases, you may even need to have a surgical procedure called a tracheostomy (a tube placed through a hole in your neck into your windpipe).

Preventing Ludwig's Angina and Other Dental Infections

The best way to prevent infections of any severity is to practice good oral hygiene and take good care of your overall health. Be sure to brush at least twice a day, and don't forget to brush your tongue. Consider using helpful products like an antimicrobial mouthrinse and tongue scrapers. And be sure to see your dental professional for regular appointments – not only to keep your teeth pearly white but to check for any risk factors of infection and disease, too.

by Colgate

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Views: 63

How Xerostomia Occurs During Breast Cancer Treatment

If you've been diagnosed with breast cancer and plan to undergo treatment, you probably have many things on your mind. Perhaps the least of which is your oral care. But understanding how chemotherapy and radiation therapy affect your mouth will be pivotal to your oral health during and after treatment. These cancer therapies are incredible, life-saving treatments. But they can come with complications, too, like xerostomia.

Unfortunately, xerostomia is one of the dental problems that can occur with breast cancer treatment. More commonly known as dry mouth, this condition may sound relatively mild, but it can have adverse effects on your oral health. Luckily, there are options for prevention and care! Let's go over the relationship between dry mouth and breast cancer treatment and at-home and professional care you can take to reduce dry mouth. It's important to feel confident about your oral health while you go through cancer treatment!

As you begin to discuss breast cancer treatments with your doctor, you may start to have questions like: Does radiation for breast cancer affect your teeth? What is the relationship between breast cancer radiation and dental treatment? And how can you best protect your smile while going through cancer treatment?

How Likely Is Dry Mouth?

Not everyone develops dry mouth symptoms during breast cancer treatment, but it may occur as a side effect during chemotherapy. Developing dry mouth during chemotherapy may increase your susceptibility to developing oral infections. So it's essential to do your best to maintain oral hygiene during cancer treatment.

Common Complications

Dry mouth can occur during or directly following therapy, and it can usually be reversed. As noted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a treatment that involves stem cells or a bone marrow transplant can also lead to dry mouth. If your body doesn't respond well to a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, you may develop something called graft-versus-host disease, causing dry mouth.

What Makes Dry Mouth Worse?

While fighting cancer, you may get medications that also have the chance of exacerbating dry mouth. Along with medications that cause dry mouth on their own, chemotherapy and radiation can compound the problem.

Like with other oral health conditions, a poor oral care routine, drinking alcohol, and smoking will make your dry mouth worse. It's also helpful to stop breathing through your mouth to mitigate dry mouth instead of breathing through your nose.

What You Should Do First

At first, it may feel overwhelming to deal with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Dental treatment is probably the last thing on your mind! But it's vital to loop your dental professional into the conversation of care and treatment of your cancer. Be sure to see your dental professional before starting any chemotherapy or radiation. In fact, ASCO recommends you see your dentist at least four weeks before starting treatment for a dental clearance exam. This is so any dental disease can be treated, and your mouth is restored to good oral health, which can prevent oral complications during and after your cancer therapy.

The clearance exam typically includes dental x-rays to diagnose any dental infections. You will also be taught how to care for your mouth during and after your cancer treatment. Your dental professionals will recommend a schedule for future preventive dental care visits, requiring consultation with your oncologist about the appropriate timing during and after your cancer treatment.

How to Combat Dry Mouth at Home

The saliva in our mouths acts as a natural cleanser. It helps wash away food debris and contains properties that neutralize acids, which lead to enamel wear and cavities if left untouched. So when we reduce the amount of saliva in our mouths, this increases the likelihood of developing cavities (dental caries).

You can ultimately help reduce dry mouth complications by staying hydrated and practicing good oral hygiene at home. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and cleaning between your teeth with floss or a water flosser (also known as interdental cleaning) twice a day. Follow up with mouthwash to wash away any remaining bacteria. Did you know that dry mouth can lead to bad breath later on? That's just one more reason to keep up an excellent oral care routine that makes your breath fresh!

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to reduce dry mouth. They include the following:

Stay hydrated and take sips of water throughout the day, Suck on sugarless candies, Chew sugarless gum, Use a humidifier at night, Avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and other irritants, Drink water along with your meals, Use a lip lubricant, like a lip moisturizer, every few hours, Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes like mouth sprays.

You'll help your body prepare for cancer treatment by maintaining a robust oral health routine and seeing your dental professional for a checkup. By taking these steps, you should feel confident that you're doing everything you can to maintain a clean and strong smile!

by Colgate

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Is Erythroplakia a Red Flag for Oral Cancer?

If you find an irritated patch on your tongue, it's tempting to ignore it and hope that it gets better on its own. But if you can't attribute this irritated patch to a specific cause like a burn, abrasion, or trauma, then your condition warrants a trip to the dentist to figure out if it's a sign of something dangerous. Any such oral lesions need to be investigated in case they're a red flag for a precancerous condition. Possible oral lesions include erythroplakia, leukoplakia, or erythroleukoplakia. It's natural to feel overwhelmed, but we're here to guide you through the process. Remember, by not ignoring the red flag, you will help reduce your chances of developing oral cancer.


According to the American Cancer Society, erythroplakia, leukoplakia, and erythroleukoplakia are terms that describe tissue changes in the mouth.

Erythroplakia. This is a red patch that can be both flat or slightly raised. When scraped, it bleeds easily.

Leukoplakia. This is a white or gray patch.

Erythroleukoplakia. A combination of leukoplakia and erythroplakia, it has both red and white areas.

Causes and Risk Factors

Erythroplakia can be caused by habits like tobacco use or heavy drinking, long-term trauma to oral tissues, or even from aging. While anyone can develop this condition, the risk of cancer increases with age. So, most cases are seen in people over 40 who also exhibit the risk factors discussed above.


Oral lesions like erythroplakia may initially be painless, but their red appearance warrants further evaluation. So regular examinations of your mouth are critical for early detection.

A dental professional can perform a thorough soft tissue and head and neck exam to detect possible lesions. Research from Jefferson University Hospitals has found that erythroplakia is generally seen on the tongue or the mouth floor. You can also find lesions in the back of the throat and just behind the last molars.

Any areas of suspicion will be examined closely with palpation, gauze, and light and mirrors.

Treatment for Erythroplakia

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, "verifying the premalignant status of an oral lesion requires a biopsy." Your dental professional or oral surgeon will remove tissue from the area to be sent to a pathology lab for diagnosis. If the results indicate that you have cancer, you will be referred to a specialist for the complete removal of the lesion and the surrounding tissue. If the results suggest that the patch is precancerous, removal or excision may still be recommended.

Taking care of your oral health should include regular dental visits and medical check-ups and practicing good oral hygiene. By paying close attention to your mouth, you can identify possible red flags and reduce oral cancer chances.

by Colgate

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Views: 198

Dentists and dental students are among providers now authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccine nationwide

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is amending an emergency declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act to authorize additional providers, including dentists and dental students, to vaccinate patients for COVID-19 nationwide, according to a March 11 announcement in the Federal Register.

To date, at least 26 states already enlist dentists to administer the COVID-19 vaccines during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The federal declaration allows licensed dentists throughout the country to vaccinate the public against COVID-19, regardless of state laws that prevent dentists from doing so.

The Association sent a Feb. 11 letter to HHS on this issue and the ADA was also part of a September 2020 coalition letter asking for the same liability protection.“Dentists already have the requisite knowledge and skills to administer vaccines and observe side effects — and many do so on a daily basis,” wrote ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., and ADA Executive Director Kathleen T O’Loughlin, D.M.D., in the February letter. “Dentists are well educated in human anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology, and are trained to administer intra-oral local anesthesia.

It is arguably more difficult to administer an inferior alveolar nerve block inside the oral cavity than to vaccinate an exposed arm and manage any side effects.”The White House said March 11 the administration will be expanding the pool of qualified professionals able to administer shots to include dentists and other providers. And during his presidential address that night, President Joe Biden announced a goal to make “every adult in the U.S. eligible for vaccination no later than May 1.”

He also vowed to increase the number of places Americans can get vaccinated, including increasing the total number of participating community health centers to 950, and plans to double the number of federally-run mass vaccination centers.The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, or PREP Act, allows the Health and Human Services Secretary to issue a declaration in a public health emergency.

This declaration provides temporary immunity from tort liability claims (except willful misconduct) to individuals or organizations involved in the manufacture, distribution or dispensing of medical countermeasures, which may include vaccines. This declaration may be amended as circumstances warrant. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, a declaration was first issued in January 2020 by former HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

On March 11, Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran amended the declaration to designate additional health care professionals, including dentists and students, as "qualified persons” whom are authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Other qualified providers include midwives, paramedics, EMTs, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, podiatrists, optometrists and veterinarians. The amended declaration also includes retired or nonpracticing health care providers who have had active licenses or certifications within the last five years as long as they were in good standing prior to the license becoming inactive, expired or lapsed.

For information about COVID-19 vaccinations, the ADA has created a fact sheet for dentists and dental team members about the status and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The ADA continues to monitor developments related to COVID-19 vaccine authorization and administration on behalf of the profession and public. Visit for the latest information.

by ADA

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What Is Dental Coronectomy?

A coronectomy is a dental procedure that’s done in certain situations as an alternative to having a wisdom tooth extraction.

A coronectomy can be done when a dentist feels there’s an increased risk of injury to the inferior dental nerve. It may also be considered safer than an extraction in people over 40, according to some researchers.

Coronectomy vs. extraction

A standard wisdom tooth extraction will remove the entire tooth, and sometimes all four are removed at once. A coronectomy will remove the crown of the tooth and leave the tooth’s roots in your jaw, intact.

A coronectomy isn’t recommended if the wisdom tooth or root is infected.

Both procedures may be done by a dentist or oral surgeon. Your dentist will likely decide on one procedure over the other depending on factors such as your age and likelihood of nerve damage.

Why have a coronectomy?

Sometimes the wisdom teeth roots are close to, press on, or even wrap around your lingual nerve (LN) or inferior alveolar nerve (IAN), the nerves that supply feeling to your tongue, lips, and chin.

In situations like this, your dentist or oral surgeon might recommend a coronectomy as an option that could lower risk for potential nerve damage as compared to an extraction.

Damage to your LN and IAN might result in:

pain or odd sensations in your lower lip, lower teeth, lower jaw, or chin

difficulties speaking

difficulties chewing

loss of taste

According to a 2015 reviewTrusted Source, extracting a wisdom tooth with roots near the IAN can cause direct or indirect damage to the nerve. Coronectomy in that situation can be a safe procedure that’s associated with a low incidence of injury to the lingual or inferior alveolar nerves.

According to other research from 2015Trusted Source, a coronectomy is preferable to extraction for preventing neurological damage when roots are near the IAN.

What to expect following a coronectomy

Following your coronectomy, you’ll probably have some swelling and discomfort, although usually less than you would after a full extraction.

Your dentist will provide aftercare instructions and might prescribe antibiotics, although the risks of postoperative infection and dry socket is reduced as compared to extraction.

As with any dental procedure, if you notice any signs of infection, excessive bleeding, or other unusual symptoms, you should call your dentist or oral surgeon.

When a coronectomy isn’t recommended

Typically a coronectomy is used when the tooth that needs to be removed has roots that are near important nerves. There are specific situations when a coronectomy is usually not recommended, such as:

the tooth is growing horizontally along the IAN

the tooth is infected

the tooth is loose.

by Health Line

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Mucositis Treatment Options and Oral Care

If undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you might experience side effects you really don't need in your life. Mucositis is one common side effect of these therapies. It can also occur in people with weakened immune systems as a result of noncancerous conditions.

Painful and potentially debilitating, mucositis is the inflammation of the tissues lining the inside of the mouth – which is part of your mucosa membrane. According to research published in the journal Translational Oncology, mucositis occurs in 40 percent of all people receiving chemo and up to 100 percent in people getting treatment for neck and head cancers.

Fortunately, with some oral care and other measures, you or a loved one can get some relief from the pain and discomfort of mucositis. Knowing how mucositis develops, its symptoms, and its potential health hazards can help you recognize when you need to treat and manage the condition.

Mucositis: Causes and Symptoms

Chemotherapy drugs attack cancer cells, but they can also attack healthy cells in the body. Chemo, unfortunately, doesn't make the distinction between the cells – nor does radiation therapy.

Mucositis usually appears five to 10 days after chemotherapy treatment begins. Symptoms include:

Red, swollen, or sore mouth, Mouth sores – sometimes called mouth ulcers or lesions, Bleeding mouth, Patches of white pus in your mouth, Increased mouth mucus and thicker saliva, Other tissues inside your mouth, like your gums or tongue, might be affected, as well.

These symptoms can make eating painful, and you might have trouble swallowing or talking. Mucositis can also produce an intolerance for food and drink, which can lead to malnutrition and dehydration.

Additionally, be aware of a form of mucositis, lichenoid mucositis, which has similar symptoms but no known direct cause.

Mucositis: Management and Treatment Options

Before you start an anticancer therapy or a procedure that might weaken your immune system, consult your dentist for ways to help manage and treat mucositis symptoms – as well as reduce your risks for developing a more severe form of mucositis. Your dental professional might suggest some home therapies or medications for oral mucositis treatments.

Home Remedies for Oral Mucositis

Ice Chips: Sucking – not chewing – on ice chips immediately before and after each treatment session since this might protect your tissues. (For some flavor, you can suck on frozen fruit.)

Saltwater Rinses: Adding saltwater rinses to your daily oral care routine might also help prevent or reduce mucositis' severity.

Dietary Changes: Spicy, salty, acidic, caffeinated, dry, or hot foods can irritate your sore tissues, so it's best to avoid them.

The Stanford Cancer Center recommends such soft, non-irritating foods as milkshakes, smoothies, puddings, oatmeal, pasta, and mashed potatoes. High-protein soft foods, like yogurt, are particularly good food choices.

Seedless, high-water fruits are recommended, and pureeing foods such as vegetables and fruits can also make them easier to eat.

Foods slathered in olive or canola oil can also help you consume small bites by providing some slipperiness.

Beverage Choices: Stay hydrated by increasing your fluid intake, especially by drinking more water. Decaffeinated warm tea can be a comforting drink. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.

Oral care: Avoiding alcohol also applies to your mouthwash, so find an alcohol-free product.

It's important to your overall health to maintain an oral health care routine. Gently brush your teeth after each meal or snack using a mild, fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush. As gentle as possible, floss your teeth at least once a day.

Avoid putting any tobacco products anywhere near your mouth – i.e., don't smoke or chew.

One more thing: Your dentist might suggest a solution known as magic mouthwash, which includes a mixture of over-the-counter or prescription anesthetic, antacid, antibiotic, antihistamine, or antifungal ingredients. (With this mix, you can see why it's also called magic mud.)

Medications for Mucositis Treatment

If home remedies aren't enough to ease your pain and discomfort, your dentist might prescribe medication. These include:

Mouthwash containing a numbing agent to help numb the inside of your mouth, Topical anesthetics in gel or spray form to numb sore areas of your mouth, Benzydamine or corticosteroids to help with mouth pain, Mucosal protectants to coat your mouth lining and protect your nerve endings.

If you're undergoing chemo that targets your neck or head, seek a dentist specializing in cancer care to get additional guidance. And ask your oncologist or your treating physician about other methods and FDA-approved medicines to protect you from mucositis.

The good news: Mucositis typically goes away on its own once your treatment is finished. This can take two to four weeks with chemotherapy – or up to eight weeks with radiation.

Particularly when you're dealing with significant health problems, the onset of mucositis is totally not fair. But by talking to your dentist and other health care professionals on how to treat mucositis and manage its symptoms in advance of any therapies, you'll be doing your mouth a major favor.

by Colgate

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