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27 Jul 2021
July 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Can Dry Socket Be Deadly?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains how tooth extractions can cause dry socket. What is dry socket? How can we prevent it?The dreaded words of warning for anyone who has a tooth extraction: dry socket. A dry socket is a painful complication after a routine treatment like an extraction, but it can be avoided if you’re careful, and it definitely won’t kill you. Read more below from Portland dentist, Dr. David Case, on what a dry socket is, how to avoid it, and how to treat it if it happens to you.

What is a Dry Socket?
Like any part of your body, your mouth has its own way to heal and recover itself after accidents or treatments. If you have a tooth removed, your gums will make a blood clot over the hole where the tooth was. The spot in your gums where the tooth once was is called the socket. This clot, like a scab, protects the vulnerable tissues underneath and aids healing. 

If the blood clot gets removed (usually by accident), it leaves a painful and fresh wound. Where the tooth once was is now bare bone and nerves, and it hurts when they are exposed. Dry sockets increase your chance of infection and will increase your pain and prolong your healing after surgery.

Symptoms & Causes of Dry Socket

A dry socket is the most common complication following oral surgery such as tooth extraction. If you have had an extraction, the symptoms of dry socket include:

  • Losing some or all of the blood clot from the socket
  • Intense pain in the socket, as well as pain radiating up into other parts of your mouth and face
  • Visible bone in the socket
  • Unpleasant taste and odor

Things that put you at risk for developing a dry socket include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use (both the chemicals and the physical process are likely to compromise the blood clot on the socket)
  • Drinking through a straw (this action causes a suction in the mouth that can loosen the blood clot)
  • Oral contraceptives (high estrogen level may delay the healing process of the first blood clot)
  • Tooth or gum infection (infection around the socket can delay healing)
  • Failure to care for the wound after surgery (be careful to follow your dentist’s instructions once you return home)
  • If you’ve had a dry socket in the past

Treating a Dry Socket

Dry sockets can be very painful and will prolong your healing process. Some amount of pain is to be expected after tooth removal, but if you’re in serious pain and/or experiencing any of the symptoms of a dry socket, you should call us immediately. 

The dentist can treat your dry socket by:

  • Cleaning the wound 
  • Applying topical numbing medicine for instant relief
  • Applying medical bandages to protect the socket
  • Prescribing pain medication
  • Giving you clear instructions on cleaning and dressing the socket at home

Pain from the dry socket will likely subside within a few days, but the dry socket will take some time to fully heal. Be sure to drink lots of water in the days following surgery to help yourself recover and eat only soft food per your dentist’s instructions. Continue to brush your teeth after tooth removal, even with a dry socket, but be very careful around the socket area.

Your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health is here to help with any dental needs you have. Make an appointment today if you have more questions about dry socket or any other oral health concern.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jul 2021
July 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental HealthDental Services

Local Anesthetic – Is it Safe?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains anesthesia and the difference between local anesthetic and general anesthetic.If you get to go on a tropical vacation, your ability to feel the warm sun and the smooth sand is crucial to enjoying the atmosphere. There are, however, times in life when you would rather not feel anything. Getting a dental procedure can be one of those times—as important as the procedure might be. In that case, thank goodness for modern medicine and anesthesia. 

Ancient dentists used a number of herbs and drugs to numb their patients. Thankfully, today, you have the option of completely safe and effective anesthesia. Dr. David Case, Portland dentist shares more below about what anesthesia is and when you might need it.

What is Anesthesia?
Anesthesia is a type of medicine best known for dulling pain. The root-word “an” means without and “aesthesis” means feeling. Anesthesia literally means “without feeling.” That perfectly describes how most people want to feel if they need to get a cavity filled or a tooth pulled. Anesthesia can also help you feel relaxed during your treatment and ease your pain afterward.

Besides numbing your sensation to feel, anesthesia can also contain chemicals that help the medicine get into your blood and stay in your system as long as necessary. Millions of patients every year receive anesthesia from their dentist.

Local Anesthetic

There are two kinds of anesthetics: general and local. If you have major surgery, even oral surgery, your doctor might recommend general anesthesia to numb your entire body and cause you to sleep for the duration of the procedure. This might sound scary, but many people really enjoy the chance to take an amazing nap.

Most often, dental work only requires a local anesthetic. Local anesthetic blocks your nerves in a small, specific part of your body. In your dental office, this is usually administered by injection. A topical anesthetic can first be placed on your gums or inner cheek to numb you from feeling the injection. 

If you have a toothache, you might consider an at-home topical anesthetic to ease your pain until you can get in to see your Portland dentist. Orajel™ is a popular topical numbing gel for adults and teething babies. Your local drugstore should have plenty of options depending on your specific needs.

Side Effects of Local Anesthesia

Anesthesia, when administered by a professional dentist, is very safe. Still, it’s important you know the potential side effects—especially if you have other health issues that might interact with your procedure. Talk to your dentist before agreeing to any medicine or treatment.

Potential side effects of local anesthesia are:

  • Hematoma: a blood-filled swelling at the injection site
  • Numbing and loose muscles in other parts of your face, beyond your mouth
  • Nerve injury at the injection site

Local anesthesia is commonly used safely and effectively with little to no side effects. 

After Your Appointment

If you receive a local anesthetic at the dentist, the numbing effects may stick around for a few hours after your appointment. Be careful not to bite down on your mouth where you don’t have any feeling. Plan on having some difficulty speaking, eating or drinking. (This is probably not the best time to schedule a first date or job interview!) You will be able to safely drive yourself home.

You can keep treating your pain at home with Tylenol or ibuprofen. Ask your Portland dentist for a recommendation.

With general anesthesia, however, you will need transportation to and from your appointment, and someone should stay with you for several hours afterward while the effects wear off.

If you need any dental work or just a good professional cleaning, contact Family Dental Health today.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Jun 2021
June 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Stop Brushing After You Eat – Do This Instead

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health explains why you should rinse with water instead of brushing after you eat to avoid enamel damage.For a long time, we’ve been told to brush our teeth right after we eat, but conventional wisdom might be changing on that. Thanks to your mouth’s powerful and natural ability to clean itself, rinsing with water might actually be the best way to freshen your breath and prevent cavities after you eat. 

In addition to your everyday hygiene routine, rinsing with water is a free, easy way to maintain oral health throughout the day. To understand this, read below about what happens in your mouth after you eat and why water is so great for your teeth. 

Digestion Begins in Your Mouth
You might think that digestion starts in your stomach, but it actually starts in your mouth! The combination of chewing your food and the special bacteria in your mouth are essential to swallowing and digesting your food. Probiotics are specific bacteria that live in your mouth every day and begin the whole process of digestion by breaking down your food on a microscopic level.

In our world today, we’re trained to think of bacteria as all bad and dangerous, but that’s simply not the case. Oral bacteria are natural and important for your health. Of course, bad bacteria do exist (pathogens), but you’d be lost without the help of probiotics that break down food and help keep your mouth clean. After you eat, these bacteria get their own meal from the tiny leftovers of food on your teeth and gums. The byproduct of this bacterial feast is acid, which can damage your enamel and cause tooth decay.

Cavities

It’s normal for some amount of food to be left behind in your mouth after eating, but frequent snacking and foods high in sugar put you at extra risk for cavities. The constant presence of food on your teeth—especially sugar—makes the bacteria and plaque in your mouth produce too much acid. Acid can break down your enamel, especially when combined with the force of brushing.

Cavities are holes in your tooth enamel that threaten your tooth and oral health. The enamel protects and strengthens your tooth and it can’t be rebuilt once it starts to decay. Kids and adults of any age can develop a cavity. Cavities can cause pain and inflammation and usually need a filling to restore the tooth to health. 

You can prevent cavities with good oral hygiene. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice per day, for two minutes at a time
  • Flossing once per day
  • Rinsing with mouthwash or water between meals
  • Seeing the dentist twice every year

Rinsing with Water Fights Cavities

A quick rinse with water in your mouth will boost your body’s natural ability to clean itself after a meal. Rinsing with water protects your enamel by removing food and sugar left over, and about 30% of oral bacteria without the forces of brushing that—when combined with acid—can damage your enamel. Just be sure to spit out the water when you’re done, as swallowing will only introduce the bacteria into your body further and cause problems for your systemic health.

Some people may prefer the minty flavors of mouthwash, and some people are prescribed a special mouthwash for infections (gum disease) or sensitivity. But if you’re out and about, or just don’t have any mouthwash on hand, water is a great alternative for keeping your mouth clean between brushing. 

So after you eat anything, it’s a good idea to quickly rinse out your mouth with water. It’s an easy and free way to instantly boost your oral health. Rinsing with water is better for your teeth than brushing them right after you eat if you wish to avoid damage to your enamel.

Drinking Water

Drinking water is also a great way to maintain oral and overall health. Saliva naturally protects your mouth by maintaining a proper pH balance that minimizes bacterial growth, and staying hydrated ensures you have healthy saliva levels. When your mouth is dry, your pH becomes acidic, and disease, decay, and bacteria can thrive. Keep your mouth and body functioning at peak performance by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.

If you have more questions or any oral health need, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health in Portland is taking new patients. Make an appointment today and let our professional team give you a smile you love!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jun 2021
June 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Can Poor Oral Health Cause Diabetes?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case of Family Dental Health discusses diabetes and how it is linked to and can affect oral health.Diabetes is a chronic and complicated disease that affects how your body processes sugar—its main source of energy. Diabetes symptoms mostly affect your heart, eyes, nerves, and kidneys, but it can affect your whole body, including your mouth.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and almost 2 million new cases are diagnosed each year. Managing your blood sugar is very important if you have diabetes and will help keep symptoms at bay. Taking good care of your oral wellness is actually one key to managing blood sugar.

Diabetes & Your Mouth 

Diabetes can show itself in your mouth by causing:

  • Gum disease: This condition is surprisingly common among most adults and has an even stronger correlation with diabetes, but it can and should be treated.
  • Dry mouth: Diabetes tends to cause a decrease in saliva, which can be uncomfortable and cause bad breath.
  • Decreased ability to taste: Diabetes can make it difficult to fully taste and enjoy your food. Try new spices to improve your meals, but be careful not to use too much sugar.
  • Oral infections: Yeast (thrush) is especially common because diabetes affects your immune system. People with dentures and diabetes are at an increased risk of developing oral infections.
  • Slow healing: Diabetes can affect your ability to recover from injury and illness. Cold sores or cuts in your mouth may stick around longer if you have diabetes.

Gum Disease & Diabetes

You’d be absolutely shocked at the high number of bacteria that live in your mouth every day. Most of them are totally normal and fine. But, certain types of bacteria can be bad for your oral health and overall health. 

Since bacteria live off the sugars in your mouth, people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing gum disease from the bad bacteria. In fact, 22% of people diagnosed with diabetes will also get gum disease. In turn, gum disease infections can cause your blood sugar to elevate, which is the exact opposite of what you want. Thankfully, treating gum disease has been shown to also treat high blood sugar.

Gum disease is common and treatable and can vary in severity from a minor inflammation with sore and bleeding gums, to a major issue of receding gums, pus surrounding the teeth, and eventual tooth loss. If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep an eye on your oral health and practice good hygiene to prevent gum disease from starting or getting worse. Gum disease is linked to a number of other health problems, so you really don’t want to ignore any signs that it might be developing.

Prevention & Protection

The ADA recommends controlling your blood sugar, brushing and flossing your teeth, and seeing the dentist in order to protect your mouth from symptoms of diabetes. Controlling gum disease and practicing great oral hygiene is known to help manage diabetes.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Portland, make an appointment at Family Dental Health today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 May 2021
May 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Hate Flossing? – 5 Flossing Alternatives

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health gives patients who hate to floss some simple flossing alternatives that are just as effective.There are two kinds of people in this world: those who floss, and those who don’t. Diligent flossers everywhere inspire those of us who live with them or know them. Flossing may not be a philosophical virtue but it’s certainly high on the list of qualities amongst people who “have it together.” Read more below about why flossing is so important and what alternatives you have if you don’t like traditional floss.

The Point of Flossing
After you eat, tiny pieces of food are left everywhere in your mouth. Even though your saliva does a good job of rinsing a lot of food debris away, some leftovers stay stuck on and between your teeth and gums and must be brushed and flossed to get rid of it. You do have tons of natural bacteria in your mouth that help break down food buildup, but the bacteria leave behind a sticky film on your teeth called plaque that needs to be removed.

Everyone (even young kids) should brush for two minutes, twice a day, and floss once a day to remove food buildup and plaque from the places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. If you don’t stay on top of it, food buildup and plaque can quickly turn into bigger problems that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and inflammation in your mouth.

Flossing Alternatives

The American Dental Association (ADA) says it doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing your teeth, or if you floss in the morning or at night. What’s most important is that you do it every day. But what if traditional flossing is difficult for you, or you’re traveling, or if you have braces? Thankfully, you have some options that the ADA approves.

Here are some of the flossing alternatives and their uses:

  • Interdental Brushes: Like tiny toothbrushes, specially designed to clean between your teeth, these brushes are a great alternative to flossing. Interdental brushes are usually easier to use than a thread of floss, are just as effective as floss, and are probably your best option if you have braces.
  • Water Flossing: Approved by the ADA as a floss alternative, water flossing is just what it sounds like. Instead of a thread, water flossing uses a steady stream of water, aimed between the teeth, to clear away plaque. Water flossing uses a small, hand-held appliance that might be more physically comfortable for you.
  • Dental Pick: Made of plastic or wood, these tiny sticks can help remove plaque from your teeth and gums. If you use a wooden pick, the ADA recommends getting the pick wet first to soften it. Picks aren’t quite as effective as floss, and you risk moving bacteria around in your mouth unless you use a new pick for each tooth.
  • Pre-Threaded Floss: For some people, the hardest part of flossing is actually reaching the floss into the mouth and effectively moving it between the teeth. Thankfully, a pre-threaded flosser is the simple answer to this problem. You can buy these in packets and use one with one hand. Use pre-threaded floss to more easily reach in your mouth and (like regular floss) throw it away after each use.
  • Soft-Picks by GUM®: A favorite of the dental community, Soft-Picks are sort of an interdental brush/dental pick hybrid. Soft-Picks are small, disposable plastic picks with a soft tip and rubbery bristles that fit comfortably between teeth and do minimal damage to the gum tissue. 

A word about mouthwash: while it’s a great option for freshness and does help kill the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease in the rest of the mouth, mouthwash is not a good replacement for brushing or flossing. Mouthwash is best used in combination with these methods for optimum oral health.

Flossing & Your Health

Your daily brushing and flossing routine is the foundation of good oral hygiene and health. Remember also to see your dentist for a professional cleaning twice per year. Some plaque and buildup (like tartar) can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. Plus, proactive oral care goes a long way toward your overall health and seeing the dentist is just as important as seeing your doctor! 

If you’re looking for a Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health is always welcoming new patients. We’d love to see you for any and all of your dental health needs.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 May 2021
May 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Don’t Eat That: A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Mouth

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case of Family Dental Health shares how diet can positively or negatively affect your oral health.Some foods will help you grow healthy teeth and keep them forever. Some foods will prevent you from growing healthy teeth, or harm the ones you already have. You can grow and maintain strong, healthy teeth by eating a diet that your mouth (and your body) will truly love. But do you know what foods to avoid for a healthy mouth? Family Dental Health would like to share that information with you today!

Diet is Everything

The word “diet” has earned a bad reputation over the years as a verb that means eating less to lose weight, but diet is also a noun and a powerful way you can give yourself the best life possible. Your diet is simply the food you eat, and most of us are trying our best to eat wholesome food with just a few sweet treats here and there. 

Good food sets the stage for a healthy life. Nutrition is vital for growing healthy muscles and bones. And guess what—your teeth are bones, too! Good nutrition helps your body fight infections that cause decay and disease in your mouth and the rest of your body. Not only will a healthy diet help you have more energy, a better attention span, and the strength to enjoy your life, but it also promotes good oral health, too. Dairy, meat, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables can all support healthy teeth and gums. But what should you avoid?

Foods that Promote Decay

Some of the foods and beverages that cause the most tooth decay:

  • Sugary sodas and juice
  • Sugary cocktails and coffees
  • Sugary sweets like candy and baked goods
  • Processed food lacking important nutrients (protein, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, and D)

Foods that Damage Tooth Enamel 

The hard, white surface of your teeth is your enamel. Enamel protects the nerves at the core of your tooth and helps your teeth stay strong and healthy. Some foods really hurt the surfaces of your teeth by causing dangerous buildup, or by putting too much force on the enamel and damaging it. Some foods that can damage your enamel include:

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Ice
  • Coffee and tea with added sugar
  • Citrus (lemon juice)
  • Alcohol (which causes dry mouth) 
  • Sugary juice, soda, sports drinks, and cocktails
  • Sticky, chewy or hard candy 
  • Dried fruit

It’s probably not surprising that sugar makes the “bad list” in both categories. You don’t have to avoid sugar completely, but it’s probably best to pick your favorite treat and just stick with that in moderation.

Love Your Mouth

If you eat a healthy diet and practice good oral hygiene, your teeth will love and serve you forever. By brushing and flossing every day and visiting the dentist for a checkup and cleaning twice a year, you can best avoid tooth decay and damage. 

Make an appointment with Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health to give your smile a fighting chance with a healthy diet and regular dental care.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Apr 2021
April 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Oral Anatomy 101

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares all about the anatomy of your mouth and how it works together for your benefit.Welcome to your mouth! A healthy mouth is necessary for a healthy life. You might be surprised how many different parts work together to make your mouth function. Read more below from Dr. David Case in Portland to get an in-depth look at the human mouth and how it works.

Teeth

The look and function of your teeth make your first impression and impact your daily life and confidence.  You’d also be lost (and very hungry) without these shining beauties. Adults have 32 teeth and babies have 20. The four different kinds of teeth you have are:

  • Incisors in the front that bite and cut tough food like meat
  • Canines tear food, like a big piece of bread off the loaf
  • Premolars tear and crush food like salad greens
  • Molars grind everything down small enough for you to swallow and digest

The white, visible part of your tooth is called the crown and the invisible part under your gums is called the root. Teeth have three layers, and all three are very important:

  • Enamel is the outer layer that is the chewing surface and protects the layers below.
  • Dentin is the next layer of hard tissue, fed by blood from the pulp.
  • Pulp is the core of the tooth made of soft nerve tissue and blood vessels.

If tooth decay breaks down your enamel enough to reach the dentin and pulp, your tooth can die.

Gums

Also called gingivae, gums are the soft tissue that covers the roots of your teeth and jawbone. Healthy gums are pink and help keep your teeth in place. Unhealthy gums may tend to bleed, appear discolored, and feel extremely sensitive. Healthy gums ensure healthy teeth and a healthy body overall.

Tongue

You rely on this muscle to help you enjoy your food! Mostly known for hosting all of your taste buds, the tongue takes up the most space in your mouth and is also important for healthy chewing, swallowing, speaking, and cleaning the mouth.

Uvula

We couldn’t forget this odd little guy. The uvula is that bell-shaped bit of tissue that hangs just above your throat – the “hangy ball” if you will. Scientists do not fully understand the uvula, but it is thought to help food move down your throat and assist with saliva production.

What about the rest? 

Of course, the inside of your mouth is completely supported by the muscles and bones around it. Your jawbone, cheeks, and lips support your mouth to make chewing and speaking possible. Those bones and muscles are connected to the rest of your face, head, and neck in a complex system of tendons and nerves in your jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

Your mouth is truly a wonderful machine and it is worth the time and attention to keep all parts in working order.

To take care of your mouth and all its parts, make an appointment with Dr. David Case in Portland at Family Dental Health today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Apr 2021
April 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Do I Have Herpes? Cold Sores 101

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health tells patients about cold sores – what they are, why they happen, and how to treat them.Cold sore. Fever blister. Herpes Simplex Virus-1. These babies go by a lot of different names, but the experience is always the same:

  • Telltale burning or itching near the lip
  • A red bump appears a day or so later
  • The bump becomes a cluster of blisters
  • The blisters dry up and scab over
  • The scab falls off
  • The whole process usually takes two weeks or less. 

Infamous for irritating pain and ruining first dates everywhere, cold sores sure wreak a lot of havoc for something so small. 

A cold sore is a symptom of the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) in your system. HSV-1 is so common that most people are exposed to it in childhood. Many people can have and spread the virus without ever actually having a cold sore. 

Catching & Spreading a Cold Sore

Sadly, once you catch HSV-1, there is no permanent cure. Thankfully, it won’t do much harm. If you have HSV-1, you might occasionally experience cold sores with long periods between each outbreak. This is because HSV-1 has the habit of “sleeping” or being inactive for bouts of time before circumstances cause it to flare up.

If you get cold sores, anything that compromises your immune system will make you susceptible to an outbreak. This includes drinking too much alcohol, stress, lack of sleep, or being sick. Even overexposure to the sun can cause a cold sore flare.

HSV-1 is related to the same virus that causes the herpes STD: HSV-2. Both viruses can be passed via bodily fluids, but HSV-1 cold sores usually only appear around the mouth.  

HSV-1 is extremely contagious and can be spread even without a visible cold sore. Washing hands and a large personal bubble are important to prevent spreading or catching cold sores. Don’t share cups, utensils, lip balm, or razors if you or someone you know has a cold sore.

Don’t worry about catching cold sores from the dentist. All rooms and equipment are thoroughly sanitized between each patient.

Cold Sores vs. Canker Sores

If you have a mouth sore, you might be wondering if it’s a cold sore or a canker sore (which is not contagious). There are two main ways you can tell the difference between the two: location and appearance.

Cold sores are mostly outside the mouth on the lips or nose, and canker sores are mostly inside the mouth. Cold sores are usually a group of red blisters. Canker sores are round, open sores with a yellow or gray center.

Cold sores might also cause fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.

Treating Cold Sores

Skin creams and gels can help ease the pain of cold sores and make them go away faster. Talk with your dentist and doctor if you want help fighting the effects of a cold sore. Long-term treatment may also help reduce the frequency and severity of your outbreaks.

Dr. David Case, your Portland dentist is taking new patients and would love to help you love your smile! Make an appointment with us today if you have questions about cold sores or any other oral health issue. 

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Mar 2021
March 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Bacteria: The Good, the Bad & the Neutral

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares all about oral bacteria and its role in your mouth and body.Living in a land of antibacterial gels, soaps, plastics, and even fabrics, it might surprise you to hear that tons of bacteria live in your mouth every day, and they aren’t all bad! In fact, some play an important role in keeping up your overall health. 

Some oral bacteria, however, can cause serious problems and must be fought with good oral hygiene. Dr. David Case from Family Dental Health in Portland would like to help you understand the role bacteria play in your health and wellness.

What are Bacteria?

Bacteria are very small organisms made of just one single cell. That’s compared to over 37 trillion cells in the human body! Bacteria have their own DNA and they need sources of energy (food) just like you do. Nearly 700 different kinds of bacteria can live in your mouth, but most people only have 34-72 types present at any given time.

What Do Bacteria Do?

Of all the bacteria in your mouth, some are good, some are bad, and some simply neutral. The good bacteria – called probiotics – assist with digestion, which begins in the mouth.  The bad bacteria, however, can cause tooth decay and severe gum disease. The following three kinds of bacteria are on the Most Wanted list for being known to harm your oral health: 

  • Streptococcus mutans are bacteria most often blamed for tooth decay. These bacteria feed off any sugar left in your mouth after eating. As they feed, they produce acid that breaks down your tooth layer by layer.
  • T. denticola and P. gingivalis are the biggest offenders causing gum disease or periodontal disease. These bacteria produce toxins that harm your gum tissue. Your body’s natural response is to create inflammation to fight the toxins. But long-term chronic inflammation is bad for your mouth and body and can even cause tooth loss.

The Oral-Systemic Link: “The foot bone’s connected to the…leg bone!”

Remember the simple lesson we learned when we were kids, that every part of your body is connected to another part? If you’re unhealthy in any area of your life, another area will become unhealthy too. This is especially true when it comes to your mouth. 

The health of your teeth, gums, and jaw are a good indication of the health everywhere else in your body. Your mouth is a major entry point into your body through both digestion and your bloodstream. Harmful bacteria can infect other parts of your body by traveling through your gut or entering the blood vessels in your gums. 

Heart health and diabetes are the most well-known connections between oral health and overall health, but research is growing and expanding every day. All of these connections, or, links, form the oral-systemic link. Dentists, doctors, and researchers work together to understand the oral-systemic link and how we can use it to promote better health in all areas of your life. 

A recent study showed “significant associations” between the antibodies of certain oral bacteria with pancreatic cancer! Antibodies are your body’s way of fending off harmful substances. If your mouth has a lot of antibodies for a certain kind of bacteria, it could mean your body is fighting illness—both in your mouth and in other parts of your body. This is amazing news because pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect and fight. By harnessing the power of the oral-systemic link, you can get far ahead of severe health problems before they even start. 

In 1880, W.D. Miller said, “Oral bacteria can explain most, if not all, of the illnesses of mankind.” Ahead of your time, much, Mr. Miller?

Good oral hygiene—brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly—is important for keeping the bad bacteria at bay. If you’d like to learn more about how a healthy mouth promotes a healthy, happy life, make an appointment with us today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

13 Mar 2021
March 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Can Gum Disease Cause Birth Defects?

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health tells patients how gum disease in pregnant women is linked to birth defects and pregnancy complications.What is Gum Disease?

The short answer: gum disease is a common gum infection that can become very problematic, but you can prevent it! The long answer: all the tissues in your body have a self-defense mechanism called “inflammation.” When bacteria build up in your mouth, your gum tissue will inflame to try and kill it. Gum inflammation is called gingivitis and looks like red, soft, and sore gum tissue.

Over time, gingivitis can lead to more troublesome gum disease (called periodontitis) that can grow even deeper and start to harm the bones of your teeth and jaw. Severe gum disease can wreak havoc in your mouth. Pregnant women need to be especially careful because gum disease is linked with pre-term births and babies with low birth weight. 

Every mom and mom-to-be wants the best start for their baby on their journey into parenthood. Read on to learn more from Dr. David Case of Family Dental Health about gum disease and pregnancy.

 

Gum Disease, Pregnancy, and Birth Defects

Here are the facts:

  • Up to 75% of pregnant women get gingivitis. About 50% of those women will see it worsen during pregnancy.
  • Hormonal changes and diabetes – conditions common to pregnancy – can increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Studies show higher maternal age and lower socioeconomic status are both risk factors for gum disease during pregnancy.
  • Though we don’t yet fully understand the reasons, gum disease is proven to increase your risk of preterm birth and having a baby with low birth weight.


Why is this important?

Babies born weighing less than 5.5 pounds have an increased risk of slower development (physically, socially, emotionally) for the rest of their lives. Babies born too early can have those same complications as well as problems with their vision, breathing, hearing, and digestion. Talk to your doctor to learn more about preterm birth and low birth weight.

 

How You Can Prevent Gum Disease

There’s no hall pass for brushing your teeth while pregnant. Preventive oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, professional dental cleanings) is both safe and necessary, especially for pregnant women. Not to mention your pregnancy cravings may have you enjoying an extra sweet treat or two these days – ice cream for breakfast, anyone?

Stay ahead of the game and prevent gum disease by eating tooth-friendly foods and keeping your mouth clean. If gingivitis crops up, don’t hesitate to get a professional cleaning at the dentist. You can also ask for prescription-strength mouthwash if you need the extra help.

Talk to both your primary doctor and your dentist about your overall health, including the state of your gums. If you’re looking for a Portland dentist, we’d love to care for you during this special time. Contact us today to make an appointment!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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