Thursday, March 31, 2022

Dental Appearance Causing Self-Harm?

Have you noticed your teenager self-harming themselves?

If so, could it be due to bullying? A recent TikTok trend? Stress?

But have you ever considered it could be due to the appearance of their teeth? 

I stumbled upon an article from Dr. Bicuspid called Dental appearance may lead young teens to self-harm written by Melissa Busch (associate editor). 

"Nearly half of teens who self-harm say they engage in self-injurious behavior due to the way their teeth look, according to a survey of more than 600 eighth-grade students. The findings were published on March 26 in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

Tooth color and shape and missing teeth were some of the most common dental features that contributed to self-harm, the authors wrote. In addition, one-fifth of eighth-graders who reported engaging in self-harm said bullying about their dental imperfections contributed to their behavior.

"This study demonstrated a relatively high experience of self-harm reported by adolescent school children, with many reporting self-harm as a result of their dentofacial appearance and bullying because of dentofacial features," wrote the authors, led by Dr. Hawazen Sonbol of Kingston Hospital and St. George's Hospital and St. George's Medical School in London.

Throughout the world, self-harm is a growing public health issue. Worldwide, the prevalence of self-harm in teens and young adults is estimated to range between 7.5% and 46.5%.

Self-harming, which includes multiple behaviors like swallowing pills, cutting body parts, and pulling out hair is an expression of distress used to escape stress related to trauma, anxiety, depression, and bullying. Individuals who self-harm are at a greater risk of substance abuse and suicide.

Oral health and dental esthetics factor prominently in a person's perceived body image and self-esteem. Those with malocclusions and other dental imperfections can be targeted for bullying and can lead to low self-esteem and poor body image.

To investigate how dentofacial appearance contributes to the prevalence of self-harm among children, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of 669 eighth graders from randomly selected schools. The group, which was composed of 339 girls and 360 boys who were 13 or 14, completed questionnaires about their behaviors.

Of the participants, 188 eighth graders (27%) reported engaging in self-harm. Of those who reported self-harming, 90 students (48%) engaged in this behavior due to their dental appearance. Additionally, 41 participants (20%) who reported self-harm did so because of bullying that targeted their dental imperfections, the authors wrote.

The three most common dental features contributing to self-harm and self-injury due to bullying were tooth color and shape, spacing between teeth or missing teeth, and prominent maxillary anterior teeth, according to the study.

The study had some limitations, including the cross-sectional nature of the study. This type of study did not allow longitudinal assessment of the participants in relation to risk factors, they wrote.

In the future, studies should explore clinical dental exams, more detailed information about the type and severity of self-harm being committed, as well as how orthodontic treatment may reduce this behavior, the authors wrote.

"The present study provides baseline data to better understand the relationship between self-harm and dentofacial features," Sonbol and colleagues concluded."

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Charitable Dentistry - An Opportunity to Give

 Although the economy has improved in the last 2 years, many people are still in need of financial assistance for dental expenses, and as I mentioned in my prior blog, a large number of them are millennials and senior citizens. Dental prices are among the highest in the medical field, and are rising. It is unfortunate that dental care gets shoved to the bottom of the priority list out of necessity... and struggling young families with children are the ones who need help the most.

There are some great charities out there for people in need of dental care! I did some research and compiled a small list. If you are among the many who need help, I hope this list will help. If you are among the few who are in a position to donate, please contact one of these charities! Dental health is linked to physical health, and children are most affected. Please give!
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation
  • Oral Health America (OHA)
  • Healthy Smiles Healthy Children
  • National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped
  • Dental Lifeline Network
  • Charitable Smiles
Check out some of these options online!  

Keep Smiling!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Homemade Denture And Retainer Cleaner

Tired of constantly buying denture cleaner? I know I get tired of buying it for my retainers.

You will no longer have to buy denture/retainer cleaner after I give you a few simple homemade cleaner recipes. 

Most ingredients you may already have on hand.

  •  Bleach-based soak:
    • Directions for Making: 
      • 1 part bleach mixed with 10 parts water.
      • Make when ready to use.
    • Directions for use:
      • Soak for only 3-10 minutes. **Do not soak overnight**
      • Rinse dentures/retainers off with cool water before placing them back into the mouth.
  • Vinegar-based soak:
    • Directions for making:
      • Soaking duration mixtures:
        • 10-minute soaking: Full-strength vinegar.
        •  30 minute soaking: 1 part vinegar to 1 part water.
        • 8 hours soaking: 1 part vinegar to 9 part water.
    • Directions for use:
      • After soaking, bush the dentures/retainers to help remove stubborn mineral deposits.
      • Rinse dentures/retainers with cold water and place them back into the mouth.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate soak:
    • Directions for making:
      • 1 Tsp of baking soda dissolved in 8 oz of water.
    • Directions for use:
      • Soak for 30 minutes.
      • Rinse and place back into the mouth.
*Note: If you are not placing your dentures back into your mouth after you have soaked them, they should be immersed in clean water.

Remember to always discuss your plan with your dentist before trying something new!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Dry Mouth Sufferers, There is Help For You!

 Many people suffer daily from a condition known as Xeristomia or Dry Mouth. Dry mouth can be brought on by any number of medical maladies and various prescription drugs. Most sufferers have found little to no relief from this condition and find themselves constantly drinking more water in hopes of quenching it.

New studies have shown that gums, candies, rinses and sweeteners containing Xylitol offer comfort to those suffering from dry mouth. Xylitol coats the soft tissues of the mouth, sealing in moisture and stimulateing saliva flow.

A plethora of amazing over-the-counter products are endorsed by dentists for treating dry mouth. Some products to check out are Biotene, Oasis and Sensodyne for Dry Mouth.

Don't suffer in silence!  Tell your dentist if you suffer from this malady.  Chances are he'll suggest one of the products listed above.

Keep Smiling! 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Are Fruit And Veggie Purees Bad For Kids Teeth?

We all know that squeezable fruit and veggie puree pouches are a convenient, easy, and portable snack for kids that do not require refrigeration.

These puree pouches provide the perfect amount of nutrients, vitamins,  minerals and are perfect for parents with hectic lives. However, they could be causing damage to your children's teeth.

Paul Casamassimo, the oral health research and policy director at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says "the constant exposure of sugar on the teeth is detrimental". 

When you eat or drink foods that contain sugar, the bacteria in plaque produce acid and the acid eats away at the tooth enamel. Eventually, this will create cavities and because of the consistency of the puree pouches, it may be particularly tough on the teeth if its allowed to sit there for long periods of time. 

So, if you allow your children to eat these pouches please make sure to have them drink water or rinse their mouths after eating them!

*Google Image*

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Clear Braces, Invisalign or Mail Order - Are they Right For You?

 Clear braces are the current rave...and many young adults and teens are hoping to escape those "ugly metal braces".  But are they right for you?  Maybe not!

Clear braces may sound like a more attractive deal than they really are.  There are many mail order types available, ranging from $79 kits to $1895 packages that allow you to take your own impressions, mail them in and then wait for the aligners to come in the mail.  What many people don't understand is that there are  certain dental maladies that clear braces cannot fix, such as a tooth that has not fully erupted or grown in, or a twisted tooth, or even a misaligned jaw.  Those things require metal braces. While companies like Invisalign have come a long way in recent years, i.e. treating more severe cases of malocclusion, there are still advantages to wearing metal braces. Additionally, you may be required to wear clear braces for a longer period of time than you might with metal braces.  

Clear braces are expensive.  Although some insurance companies now cover Invisalign, be sure to see a certified Invisalign provider to make sure it is the right fit for you!  

Keep Smiling!  

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Teach Kids How To Brush And Floss!

This is a fun but messy activity to teach your young children how to brush and floss correctly!

All you will need is:
  • Rubber glove
  • Peanut butter
  • Dental Floss
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
Have an adult put on the glove, have someone or yourself put some peanut butter between your fingers (make sure you get it all the way down). Tighten your fingers together (your fingers represent the teeth and the peanut butter is the food that gets trapped). With your fingers still tightly together and extended, have your child use the toothbrush and toothpaste to try and remove the peanut butter. Once they are finished brushing have them try and remove the peanut butter using the floss.

This will help your child understand that brushing simply can't reach all the places between your teeth. Dental Floss does a much better job of removing food.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Can Sugar-Free Things Still Damage Your Teeth?

You may think that since your sodas, energy drinks and candy bars say "sugar -free" they are automatically better for your teeth. Sorry to say but according to recent research, they can still damage your teeth.

Australian researchers tested 23 sugar-free and sugar-containing products such as sports drinks and so on. They found that even if they say sugar-free, the acidic additives and low pH levels still harm the teeth.

According to Eric Reynolds, the CEO of the Oral Health Cooperative Research Center at Melbourne University said his colleagues and himself found most soft and sports drinks caused dental enamel to soften by 30-50 percent. Both sugar-free and sugar-containing drinks and flavored mineral waters caused measurable loss of tooth surface.

Remember cutting down on your sugar intake isn't always good for your teeth! Always check the list of acidic ingredients on drinks before you buy! Knowing what to look for can end up saving your teeth and smile!

Information found here!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Mouth Sores, Irritated Gums? Think 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!