Thursday, April 2, 2020

Question From Our Member...

Question From Our Member:
B. Scott of Long Island, New York asks: 

I have a strange taste in my mouth and some pain from my tongue.  What could be causing it and what should I do?

Savon’s Answer

After doing some research, here is our best non–medical advice.

The most common causes of pain in the tongue can be from canker sores; cold sores; dehydration; dry mouth; fever (sickness); or thrush.  Thrush can appear as a white lesion that bleeds when scraped or as a red, roundish lesion.

Pain or burning of the tongue can also indicate a vitamin deficiency, such as B12 and/or vitamins B2, B3, B6, and B9.  Other pains in the tongue can be caused by more serious conditions such as oral cancers, which can appear as red and/or white lesions.

Complete loss of taste is called ageusia, partial loss of taste is called hypogeusia, and a distorted sense of taste is called dysgeusia.  The most common cause of strange taste is due to medications.

The most common peculiar taste is a metallic taste, which is associated with some forms of antibiotics, antihistamines, antifungals, antipsychotics, blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, seizure medications, and Parkinson´s disease medications.

Other more common conditions that can change one´s taste are dry mouth, colds or flu, smoking, loss of smell, and nutritional deficiencies (vitamin B12 and zinc).

If a sore does not go away fairly quickly or if you have a change of taste sensation and you are not taking any medications, we strongly suggest that you consult your dentist for an examination as soon as possible.

*The information provided in this answer was derived from “Perio–Implant Advisory”.

**Original post was from our April 2020 Newsletter

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Quarantine Dental Activities For Children

The majority of us have been social-distancing for about 2 weeks now and if you have children at home this may "seem" longer! Right now is the perfect time to teach your children about oral health.

Here are a few fun activities that I came across:

1. Toothbrush Painting Teaches Brushing Movements:Cut a tooth shape from a large sheet of white paper. Give your child an old toothbrush and let her dip it into poster paint and brush the paper tooth as if it's her own. Show him how to make movements up and down, back and forth and circularly on the painting. This art project is fun and teaches children the concepts of proper brushing. Please remind young children that old toothbrushes are for painting and not to be put in their mouth. 

2. How Sugar Affects Our TeethWe tell our children not to eat too many sweets because sugar that's not removed by brushing our teeth can cause cavities on the tooth enamel. For a simple experiment at home, submerge a hard-boiled egg (which is made of calcium carbonate similar to an enamel material) into a clear glass of cola or grape juice for 24 hours. Notice the discoloration of the eggshell. Invite your child to gently brush the egg with a toothbrush and toothpaste. As he removes the stain, ask what caused the stain. Now discuss why toothbrushing is so important after eating.

3. Happy Face SnacksMaking happy faces with your food is one of the many dental activities for kids that you can do with your family. Provide a variety of healthy snacks on the table. Give your children a paper plate and challenge them to create a happy face using foods like broccoli florets, carrot coins, orange and apple slices, cauliflower florets, nuts, raisins and popcorn. After they have finished their creation, snap a photo for the memory and let them enjoy their edible art. This is a great time to discuss healthy foods versus junk foods. Ask why your kids think these foods provide healthy teeth and a happy face.

There are also many places online where you can print off dental activities such as coloring pages, crossword puzzles, habit calendar, and etc. 

The activities listed are from Colgate!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Plus Side of a Good Dental Plan!

I read a really good article recently that makes a good argument for Dental Plans! Not directly, of course, but if one considers that dentistry is among the most expensive in terms of healthcare and that there is no regulatory agency that holds dental prices in check, a Dental Plan can be extremely beneficial. Dental insurance companies pay little to nothing and put a cap on your benefits.
Now, when I say Dental Plan, I don't mean the ever growing "in-house" type of plan that some dentists are trying to promote; those will save you very little money overall and if a problem arises...well, where are you going to go? The plan would not be accepted by another facility! No, I'm suggesting a bonafide, BBB accredited discount plan.
Dental plans go far beyond what insurance companies do in terms of savings.  More procedures are covered, there is no limit to benefits, coverage is immediate and there is no waiting 12 months for a large procedure...Seriously, why would one NOT consider a dental plan? Do your homework, but at least check it out. You'll find that the savings and a small investment for a membership are well worth the effort, especially now, in an uncertain market.  Everyone needs dental work at some point.  Be prepared with a good dental plan.

Don't wait for a toothache!!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Are You A Diabetic?

If your answer is yes, you need to read this article "Brushing 3 times a day may cut diabetes risk" by Melissa Busch, assistant editor. 

March 10, 2020 -- Want to lower your risk of developing diabetes? Brush your teeth. Brushing teeth at least three times per day was linked to lowering a person's risk of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published March 2 in Diabetologia.

Individuals with dental disease and many missing teeth significantly increased their risks of developing the life-threatening disease, further emphasizing the importance of good oral hygiene, according to the researchers.

"The frequency of toothbrushing was associated with a decreased risk of new-onset diabetes, and the presence of periodontal disease and missing teeth may augment the risk of new-onset diabetes," wrote the authors, led by Yoonkyung Chang, MD, of the neurology department at Ewha Womans University College of Medicine Mokdong Hospital in Seoul, South Korea.

Inflammatory reactions are an important cause of diabetes because it increases insulin resistance and endothelial cell dysfunction. Like diabetes, periodontal disease affects many in the general population. Since periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene can provoke transient infection and systemic inflammation, the authors hypothesized that periodontal disease and oral hygiene indicators would be associated with the occurrence of new cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Researchers collected data on about 188,000 patients from the National Health Insurance System-Health Screening Cohort (NHIS-HEALS) in Korea, dating back between 2003 and 2006. They looked at oral hygiene behaviors, such as the number of times they brushed their teeth and when and why they visited dentists, as well as dental records.
An analysis of the data showed that about 1 in 6 of the included subjects had periodontal disease. About 31,500 people had diabetes when follow-ups were conducted 10 years later, according to the study authors.

Using computer modeling and after adjusting for patient demographics, including age, sex, and blood pressure, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking status, vascular risk factors, and history of cancer, the researchers determined that individuals who brushed their teeth at least three or more times per day reduced their risks of developing diabetes by 8%.
On the flip side, dental disease was associated with a 9% increased risk of developing diabetes, while those who had at least 15 missing teeth had a 21% increased risk, the findings showed.

The authors noted multiple study limitations, including that the results couldn't be generalized to other ethnicities because the participants in this study were Korean. Also, there may be recall bias because participants self-reported their oral hygiene indicators.
While the results did not reveal the exact mechanism connecting oral hygiene to the development of diabetes, it showed that toothbrushing likely plays a role in it.

"Improving oral hygiene may be associated with a decreased risk of occurrence of new-onset diabetes," the authors wrote.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Do You Know How Many Types of Teeth Humans Have?

We have four different types of teeth, and each has a different function:

Incisors (Front Teeth) for cutting off bites of food.

Cuspids (sometimes called canines because of their long sharp points) for tearing food.

Bicuspids (with two points) to tear and crush food

Molars with large relatively flat surfaces to crush and grind food.

Now that you know each of your teeth serves a purpose,  be sure to take care of them with check-ups at least twice a year. (:  

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Chipped Tooth?

The majority of us will chip a tooth at some point during our life, and if you have done so already, you know that it can be a painful and a hassle.

Luckily there are a few options for fixing a chipped tooth:
  • Dental Bonding - If the chipped tooth is very minimal, dental bonding (filling) can do the trick! Typically this doesn't require numbing and can be fixed in one visit. 
  • Crowns - Crowns are usually needed for significant chips. This option usually takes two appointments. The first appointment the dentist will take an impression of the tooth and they will send you home with a temporary crown while the real crown is made. At the second appointment,  your dentist will cement on the permanent crown.
  • Veneers - These are thin porcelain shells that are attached to the natural tooth, to improve the appearance of your smile. Some people opt to fix just the chipped tooth but others choose to get veneers on all of their front teeth. Veneers usually take two appointments. The first appointment your dentist will reshape (trim the enamel) your natural tooth, take impressions and color match your teeth. Your dentist may or may not send you home with temporary veneers. At the second appointment, which will be about 2-4 weeks later your dentist will cement the permanent veneers on. 
Always ask your dentist for their professional opinion on which option is the best for you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Go Ahead, Enjoy Your Cheese!

Have you ever read the book "Who Moved My Cheese"? (If you haven't it is a great book, I definitely recommend.) Well, for those of you who want to protect from cavities, that phrase could become common in your household.

A study that was published in the June 2013 issue of Journal of General Dentistry reveals that cheese increases the dental plaque pH level of the mouth above 5.5 which, in essence, reduced the chances of that person getting a cavity. This does not apply to all dairy products. Milk and sugar free yogurt were also used in the study. Those results showed no change in the dental plaque pH level, which doesn't hurt your mouth or put you at risk, but it doesn't help it either. 

So, why cheese? Let me explain. The study suggests that it has to do with saliva. Saliva creates and maintains the acidity level in your mouth. The increased chewing motion of eating the cheese creates more saliva. Combine that with the vitamins, nutrients and other compounds in cheese that can stick to the tooth enamel and the result you get is better protection against cavities.

Of course, we all know that the BEST way to protect from cavities and other dental related problems is to maintain good oral health practices and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

But, go ahead, enjoy your cheese!

Sources: Journal of General Dentistry, May/June 2013 Issue
              Science Daily