July 2015 Entries

Eating disorders and oral health  

07/05/15

It seems that modern people have become hypnotized by the media and fashion and our children are not an exception. Sometimes the constant following of the latest news in the world of fashion and models can result in a situation in which your child will start suffering from anorexia (refusing food) or bulimia (intentional vomiting) in order to look like their role models. An early diagnosis of these diseases is very important because they can lead to very serious psychological and physical complications. The good news is that teeth can reveal such diseases and disorders.

Young people suffering from bulimia have a normal weight and they can hide their behavior and practice regarding food very well. This means that it usually takes some time before this disease is detected and diagnosed. A professional dentist is able to diagnose bulimia quickly because during the examination of the oral cavity they can notice an erosion of tooth enamel. This type of erosion occurs as a result of the chemical action of the stomach acid on tooth enamel which slowly dissolves and the result of this action is faster abrasion of teeth and reduction of the volume of teeth and tooth hypersensitivity. As this process continues to repeat on a daily basis, the teeth create a sclerotic dentin and thus sensitivity is reduced or disappears. In this disease, the saliva has a positive effect because it neutralizes the acidic content from the stomach. The centers for salivation and vomiting are associated,  so during vomiting the amount of saliva increases. Because of the protective feature of saliva, the process of tooth decay in bulimia lasts long and therefore this disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage.

Since in cases of anorexia the amount of saliva is reduced because the patients don’t eat, they have even greater problems with the teeth compared to bulimic patients.

In addition, to the teeth damage, eating disorders can lead to some other damages in the oral cavity, such as candidiasis, cheilitis angularis (inflammation that occurs in the corners of the mouth), ulcers on the mucosa of the mouth (wounds) or glositis or inflammation of the tongue.

There is also a difference in the level of damage in the upper and lower jaw in anorexia and bulimia. Damages caused by anorexia are localized on the outer surface of the front teeth, while in cases of bulimia on the inner surface of the front teeth. If vomiting lasts for more than four or five years, erosions occur on other surfaces of the front teeth and on other teeth in general. It is worth mentioning that the surfaces of premolars and molars are often preserved because they are not in contact with the vomit and if the contact occurs acidity is reduced because the canal of the salivary glands is located close to this area.

When it comes to anorexia, doctors need to take special care about the lack of consumption of healthy ingredients from food that influence the overall health of teeth because eating disorders are very often in young girls and women who have not yet completed the stage of growth and development of teeth.

Proper brushing and oral hygiene 

07/12/15

Regular and proper brushing is the only way to prevent the emergence of dental caries and gum diseases. By brushing your teeth on a regular basis, you are removing food deposits, bacteria and plaque from the surface of teeth and these are the direct contributors to the formation of dental caries. Although brushing teeth is a simple procedure, most people are doing it wrong.

Proper technique

The brush is placed on the outer side of the tooth, horizontally compared to the one side of the upper jaw by maintaining an angle of 45 degrees compared to the axis of the tooth. By using slow motions the toothbrush rotates downwards. With one of these series you should include 2 to 3 teeth and the movements should be repeated at least 8 times. Move the brush towards the opposite side of the jaw and in this way you will clean the outer side of the upper teeth.

After that, the toothbrush should be placed on the teeth to the opposite part of the lower haw and perform the same movements (with the difference being that now these moves will go upwards) to clean the outer part of the lower teeth. After cleaning the external side, place the toothbrush on the inside and perform the same movements (turn it down for the upper teeth and up for the lower teeth) to clean the surface.

Finally, you should clean the chewing surface of all teeth. This is accomplished by movement that goes back to front. At this stage you should wash the upper side of the tongue too.

The most common mistakes that people usually make when they are brushing their teeth are the movements of the toothbrush back and forth and up and down. In the first case, the dental plaque located on the surface of the teeth, will not be removed from the teeth, but will be pressed between the teeth. In the second case, the plaque (which is packed with bacteria) is pressed into the gingiva which will certainly lead to damage over some period of time.

While brushing your teeth, a contact between the teeth doesn’t exist. It is advisable to look in the mirror in order to control the technique we are practicing for brushing teeth. When you are finished with this simple and short procedure, it is a good idea to rinse your mouth. The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day – in the morning and evening for a period of about three minutes. Remember that in the evening we brush our teeth for our health and in the morning for our hygiene.

By using the toothbrush each of us is cleaning three out of five surfaces on our teeth. In order to reach the space between teeth you should use dental floss or interdental toothbrushes. They can help you remove the bacterial plaque from the interdental space on the edge of the gums. There are many different designs and shapes of brushes and dental floss for cleaning interdental spaces, areas around bridges, implants or fixed orthodontic appliances. 

Teeth and pregnancy 

07/19/15

Pregnancy is a period when the mother needs to take special care of hygiene and health of teeth and gums. It is very important to visit a dentist before pregnancy and remove any problems as well as to take care of dental hygiene during pregnancy. This is something that can prevent unwanted complications and difficulties and keep your teeth in perfect condition.

So, why do many pregnant women experience problems with their teeth during pregnancy?

We can often hear stories about women who gave birth and experienced fast deterioration of tooth health after that. Some of them had to deal with strong pain, removal of troublesome teeth and falling out of healthy teeth as a result of deterioration of the gums and supporting tissue around the teeth. The fact is that teeth don’t change during pregnancy, their structure remains the same. It is wrong to believe that teeth are suffering during pregnancy because of lack of calcium. If there is not enough calcium for the baby, calcium is obtained from the bones of the mother, not the teeth. This problem occurs mostly due to improper oral hygiene and hormonal imbalance. During pregnancy, the hormone levels are constantly changing causing the gums and teeth in some pregnant women to become more vulnerable to certain bacteria which ultimately lead to dental infections. There are cases in which women had certain problems with their teeth before pregnancy that were not taken care of and these problems may worsen during pregnancy.

The biggest problems in pregnant women are their gums. Due to changes in hormone levels women experience certain problems like swelling of the gums, bleeding when brushing teeth, but in some cases they may face greater problems like periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Gravid gingivitis or gum inflammation that occurs in a large number of pregnant women and it is very uncomfortable. After each meal, parts of the food are left in the mouth between the gums and teeth. They attract bacteria which lead to inflammation and appearance of swelling of the gums, redness and bleeding. Gingivitis in pregnant women usually appears in the second quarter of their pregnancy.

If this disease is not treated, it can lead to periodontal disease. It is good to point out that this is a very serious disease that destroys the tissue and bones that support our teeth and the final result is loss of teeth and severe infections. Even the baby can be affected by this disease.

There are acids in the stomach that can affect the condition of tooth enamel. These acids are especially active when women are vomiting due to morning sickness. However, doctors don’t advise brushing teeth right after vomiting because this practice can make the situation worse. It is better to rinse the mouth with plain water and use mouthwash. You can brush your teeth after one hour.

It is quite natural for a pregnant woman to feel nausea during brushing of teeth in the first trimester. If you have this problem, you can use a smaller toothbrush or even a mouthwash. You can also try to brush your teeth without using toothpaste for a short period of time. However, you should not continue with this practice because it will reduce dental hygiene. 

Teeth whitening – A Basic Guide  

07/26/15

Thanks to the advance of technology, many dental procedures were improved and it is no surprise why they’ve become so popular. Teeth whitening is a dental procedure that eliminates different discolorations from the surface of teeth and as a result the color itself becomes much whiter. Whitening is among the most popular procedures in dentistry and there is no doubt that it can significantly improve the appearance. But, what are the causes for the occurrence of discoloration?

According to the etiology and localization we can recognize two types of discoloration – endogenous and exogenous. The endogenous discoloration appears within the dentine and enamel, and these causes can be divided into two groups – post-eruptive (endodentic therapy, trauma) and pre-eruptive (amelogenesis imperfect or tetracycline staining and endemic fluorosis. On the other hand, exogenous discoloration is a direct result of consumption of certain foods and drinks like teas, coffee, soft drinks; the tar and nicotine from cigarettes etc. All these problems can be solved with proper teeth whitening. However, many people are still wondering whether whitening can be dangerous for our health and the simple answer is NO.

There are numerous scientific studies that have confirmed that this minimal invasive dental intervention is not dangerous or harmful especially is the methods used in this procedure are under the direct control of a professional dentist. The new products specially designed for teeth whitening contain fluorides and teeth after this process are better mineralized and even more resistant to decay. According to the American Dental Association, teeth whitening indicated by a professional dentist that is performed at home, with products manufactured by reputable manufacturers and under the constant supervision of qualified persons within a relatively short period of time are absolutely safe and effective way of teeth whitening.

In case you are wondering how this procedure works you should know that all whitening agents are based on hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. They can be used to treat both vital and non-vital teeth. The mechanism of action is based on oxidation. In both cases, the active substance is hydrogen peroxide which dissociates the free radicals that react with chromed unsaturated organic substances by changing their entire molecular structure. In this way, the products create smaller molecules that reflect less light which ultimately results in a whitening effect.

Many experienced dentists won’t recommend whitening of both part of the jaws simultaneously in case the patient aims to perceive the real effects of whitening. The entire process of whitening lasts for about 10 days. Although this technique is relatively simple and less expensive than laser whitening the results appear gradually and they last longer too. During this type of whitening it is necessary to avoid the consumption of colored drinks like tea, coffee, red wine, soft drinks etc. After the whitening process and the stabilization of the color of teeth, it is recommended to change all the visible seals if there are any located on the front teeth because their color will no longer match the color of the whitened teeth.