Thursday, April 11, 2024

Are You Cleaning Your Electric Toothbrush?

Most people brush their teeth, rinse off the toothbrush, place it back in its holder, and hopefully replace it every 6 months.

Well, an electric toothbrush needs a little more TLC. It's still important to clean the head of the toothbrush after every use and replace it every 4-6 months. But, did you know that cleaning and caring for the electrical base is just as important?

Below are a few steps to keep your electric toothbrush kicking:

  • Unplug the base and wipe it with a mild cleanser or bleach solution.
  • Dip a cotton swab (q-tip) in the same solution and clean the area where the head attaches and around any buttons.
  • If there is excessive gunk build-up, use a toothpick to gently loosen it. 
  • Sanitize if possible. Sometimes electric toothbrushes come with a sanitizing machine, use it!
  • To ensure the best battery life, use the toothbrush until it dies. Then recharge it, and repeat the process. *keeping the toothbrush constantly plugged in, will eventually ruin the battery*

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Fun Trivia Facts About Animal Teeth

 Since we really cant focus on our own teeth right now given that most dentist offices are closed for routine care, I thought it would be fun to re-post this blog about animals. Here are some facts about different animals I collected from various sites on the web. Just a little fun trivia for everyone to read. Enjoy!

  • Beavers, Gophers, Rats, Mice and Hamsters teeth grow continuously throughout their lives. They must grind their teeth down to keep them at a reasonable length.
  • A dolphin has only one set of teeth to last throughout it's lifetime.
  • An Armadillo has 104 teeth.
  • A Blue Whale is the largest mammal on earth but it has absolutely no teeth!
  • A Cat's jaws cannot move sideways.
  • Turtles and Tortoises are toothless.
  • Rabbits are born with their permanent teeth.
  • African Elephants have only 4 teeth.
  • Mosquitoes have 47 teeth. (They drink blood, what's to chew, lol?)
  • A snail has thousands of tiny teeth, yet it's mouth is smaller than the head of a pin!
Keep smiling!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Healing with Aloe Vera Gel

  We've all heard or have read about the benefits of using Aloe Vera for healing...i.e., scrapes, scratches, burns and ailments such as stomach ulcers, etc. It's not surprising, therefore, that dentists have incorporated its uses into the field of dentistry.

Some dentists have found it useful in their own practices for healing and preventing dry socket following extraction, periodontal disease, mouth sores, canker sores, denture irritation...the list goes on and on!  This miracle plant has many, many uses.  Check with your dentist or at your local health food store for Aloe Vera gel or Aloe Vera toothpaste!
As always, keep smiling!

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Possible New Oral Cancer Detection...

Did you know when you have your routine dental examination, your dentist examines your gums, and teeth and also checks for oral cancer?

Typically your dentist will check the inside of your mouth for any mouth sores and palpate the tissue inside the mouth checking for any lumps. Some dentists may even go a step further and check the throat and neck.

However, in the future, there may be a new way to diagnose oral cancer. 

In an article by Dr. Bicuspids Melissa Busch, the University of Birmingham in the U.K. is in the works of developing a lollipop that could aid in diagnosing oral cancer! See the full article below.

"Instead of getting a lollipop for good behavior at a dental appointment, clinicians may hand them out and ask for patients to hand them back so they can be tested for mouth cancer, according to the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

The school will use a smart hydrogel to develop a prototype flavored lollipop that could aid in diagnosing mouth cancer. Cancer Research UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have awarded a three-year 350,000-pound grant ($442,347 U.S.) to fund the research, according to a university press release dated March 21.

"This project is an exciting first step towards an entirely new way to identify mouth cancers earlier," Dr. Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, said in the press release.

Currently, a mouth cancer diagnosis requires biopsies and nasoendoscopies. However, the procedure is invasive, time-consuming, and requires an endoscopist. In addition to these factors, these tests are unpleasant for patients.

A hydrogel functions like fishing nets. It absorbs lots of water while catching larger molecules like proteins and the "net" can be opened, releasing larger molecules for analysis.

Therefore, to test for cancer, a patient would suck on a lollipop, transferring their saliva to the hydrogel. The proteins caught in the hydrogel lollipop can be blasted with a ultraviolet light, and the liquid can be analyzed for saliva proteins that are indicators of the early stages of mouth cancer, according to the release.

"We're hoping that we can be the first to make a device which is much kinder for diagnosing mouth cancer for patients," Dr.  Ruchi Gupta, associate professor of biosensors at the university, said in the press release."

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

You Should Never Ignore Dental Pain - Even When You Wear Dentures or Have a Bridge

  I recently heard about someone who went to the dentist with severe pain in the area of her bridge. This pain had been present for a couple years but only when she chewed, so she didn't think much of it. Eventually it got worse and worse until the pain was unbearable, she was sick, her face was swollen and she couldn't eat.

As it turned out, for 2 years the bridge was actually broken. There was decay in a tooth underneath it allowing for trapped food to get in, which led to a major infection. This made her really sick.
After almost 3 hours in the dentist chair and some oral surgery, they finally got her taken care of and had a new bridge on its way to her.

Just because a crown, implant or bridge is not "real" per-say, doesn't mean that it should be ignored! If something goes wrong, it should be treated and maintained just like a real tooth at all times.

If you have questions as to how to properly care for your bridge, be sure to consult with your dentist.

Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Is it Possible to Regenerate Receding Gums?

The quick answer is no. There are many theories out there that suggest you can repair and regrow gums once they have receded.  You can find almost anything on the internet. Unfortunately, once your gums have pulled back from your teeth, there is no magic that will help to grow them back. What you can do, however, is to see a dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned in order to prevent further gum loss and loose teeth.  It is never too late for preventive treatment. 

Don't fall for gimmicks and false promises.  So many people do!  If you notice that your gums are receding or if you have redness, swelling and pain in the gums around your teeth or chronic bad breath, see your dentist immediately for treatment to prevent further deterioration.  

Keep Smiling!  

Friday, March 15, 2024

Type 2 Diabetes & Mouthwash

 Do you have type 2 diabetes? If so, check out this article by Dr. Bicuspid's Ava Barros.

"Gargling with mouthwash may hold significant promise in mitigating the incidence of periodontitis, as well as managing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), according to a study published in Scientific Reports.   

Additionally, younger patients and those with higher initial levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) experienced notable decreases in their HbA1c and oral bacterial species levels after rinsing with mouthwash, the authors wrote.  

"Patients with T2DM complicated by periodontitis have more red complex species, and poor glycemic control is thought to be associated with increased levels of red complex species in the oral cavity," wrote the authors, led by Dr. Saaya Matayoshi of Osaka University in Japan, (Sci Rep, February 2, 2024, Vol. 14, 2777).  

The research team investigated how using mouthwash affects the levels of certain harmful bacteria known as red complex series, like Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis), Treponema denticola (T. denticola), and Tannerella forsythia (T. forsythia), as well as HbA1c levels in patients with T2DM, the authors wrote.  

A total of 173 patients were first asked to gargle with water for six months followed by six months of gargling with a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate. During each visit to the clinic, the team collected saliva samples and extracted bacterial DNA to detect the presence of these harmful bacteria using a polymerase chain reaction lab technique. Furthermore, HbA1c levels were measured using a blood sample to understand the impact of mouthwash gargling on blood sugar control, they wrote. 

They found that younger patients or males who gargled with mouthwash experienced a significant decrease in the number of red complex series. Additionally, among younger patients or those with higher initial HbA1c levels, gargling with mouthwash led to a significant reduction in HbA1c levels, they wrote.

The study, however, had limitations. Different patients showed various trends in the change of bacteria and blood sugar control as they gargled with mouthwash potentially due to individual differences, including having other systemic diseases, taking certain medications, and periodontal status, they wrote.

"In summary, T2DM patients can decrease red complex species by gargling with mouthwash two or three times a day, leading to possible improvement in glycemic control, especially in younger patients," Matayoshi et al wrote."