Online Dental Education Library

At Knierim Dental we strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Add Years to Your Life in 60 Seconds per Day

    If you hate flossing your teeth, you have lots of company.  According to one market research study about 87% of people floss infrequently or not at all.   I hear all sorts of excuses:  "I don't have time," "I am too tired," (my favorite) and "It seems gross."  These excuses pale next to the benefits of flossing.  Brushing your teeth cleans only about 2/3 of the tooth surface.  The bacterial film that builds up between the teeth not only promotes bad breath but increases the risk of cavities, periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss.  Contrary to what people believe, tooth loss is not an inevitable consequence of aging.  One of our famous sayings is, " You don't have to floss all your teeth, just the ones that you want to keep."  Recently it has been found that there is increasing scientific evidence linking periodontal disease to these five serious health problems.

1. Coronary Artery Disease and Stroke

Studies have shown that patients who suffer from coronary artery disease and stroke have a higher incidence of periodontal disease than the general public.  According to a recent Finnish study, patients with periodontal disease are 1.6 times more likely to experience a stroke.  Inflammation is believed to be the link.  Gum infections cause bacterial by-products to enter the bloodstream.  These trigger a cascade of events that inflame the arteries and promote the formation of blood clots.  Researchers are continuing to study this link.

2. Diabetes

In diabetic patients, untreated periodontal disease affects the control of sugar, thus putting them at an increased risk for complications.

3. Lung Disease

Bacteria that grow in the mouth can be breathed into the lungs, causing respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia.

4. Premature Birth

The American Academy of periodontology notes that pregnant women with periodontal disease are up to 7 times more likely than other women to give birth prematurely.

 

To prevent periodontal disease, flossing daily after brushing is highly recommended.  Make sure that the floss is in constant contact with the tooth surface as you go under the gum.  Your gums may bleed for the first two weeks until the plaque layer is broken up, bacteria are removed, and your gums heal.

60 seconds a night seems like a simple solution that could asdd years to your life.

 Attention Moms:

Do not use Anbesol or Orajel on your childrens gums when they are teething. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against giving to children under age 2. These products contain benzocaine and are sold over the counter to relieve pain from teething or canker sores.  They can lead to methemoglobinemia- a potentially fatal condition in which the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream is reduced- even after a single use.  Symptoms, which include pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds...headaches...light-headedness...and shortness of breath, usually appear within hours of application.  If affected, seek medical attention immediately.

THERE IS A NEW VILLAIN ON THE LOOSE

 

Oral cancer is on the rise in young adolescents between the ages of 15-24.  The reason is not the the usual:  smoking, chewing tobacco or alcohol.  The culprit is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) type 16, a virus transmitted through oral sex.

            This year more than 30,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer.  7,500 will be mouth cancers and 10,500 will be throat cancers all caused by HPV.

            We have now extended our oral cancer exam to include this age group.  In our exam we look for any lesions on the back of the throat, inside the cheek and gums and on the tongue.

            We are looking into new devices that will enable us to see lesions before they are visible to the naked eye.  At this stage, they are more responsive to less invasive procedures.  By the time the lesion is visible to the naked eye, it is likely to require more invasive surgical procedures.

            Parents, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to talk about HPV with your children.  It just isn’t a genital concern anymore.  For more information, Google: HPV ORAL CANCERS. 



Infants

Infants should be seen by our office after the first six months of age, and at least by the child's first birthday. By this time, the baby's first teeth, or primary teeth, are beginning to erupt and it is a critical time to spot any problems before they become big concerns.

Conditions like gum irritation and thumb-sucking could create problems later on. Babies who suck their thumbs may be setting the stage for malformed teeth and bite relationships.

Another problem that can be spotted early is a condition called "baby bottle tooth decay," which is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth.

If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby's future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth.

One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Avoid dipping pacifiers in sweet substances such as honey, because this only encourages early decay in the baby's mouth. Encouraging your young child to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.

Teething, Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking

Teething is a sign that your child's gums are sore. This is perfectly normal. You can help relieve this by allowing the baby to suck on a teething ring, or gently rubbing your baby's gums with the back of a small spoon, a piece of wet gauze, or even your finger.

For babies under the age of 4, teething rings and pacifiers can be safely used to facilitate the child's oral needs for relieving gum pain and for suckling. After the age of 4, pacifiers are generally discouraged because they may interfere with the development of your child's teeth.

Moreover, thumb-sucking should be strongly discouraged because it can lead to malformed teeth that become crooked and crowded.

Primary and Permanent Teeth

Every child grows 20 primary teeth, usually by the age of 3. These teeth are gradually replaced by the age of 12 or so with a full set of 28 permanent teeth, and later on, four molars called "wisdom teeth."

It is essential that a child's primary teeth are healthy, because their development sets the stage for permanent teeth. If primary teeth become diseased or do not grow in properly, chances are greater that their permanent replacements will suffer the same fate. For example, poorly formed primary teeth that don't erupt properly could crowd out spaces reserved for other teeth. Space maintainers can sometimes be used to correct this condition, if it is spotted early enough.

Brushing

Babies' gums and teeth can be gently cleaned with special infant toothbrushes that fit over your finger. Water is suitable in lieu of toothpaste (because the baby may swallow the toothpaste). Parents are advised to avoid fluoride toothpastes on children under the age of 2.

Primary teeth can be cleansed with child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrushes. Remember to use small portions of toothpaste (a pea-sized portion is suitable), and teach your child to spit out, not swallow, the toothpaste when finished.

Fluoride

Fluoride is generally present in most public drinking water systems. If you are unsure about your community's water and its fluoride content, or learn that it has an unacceptable level of fluoride in it, there are fluoride supplements your dentist can prescribe. Your child may not be getting enough fluoride just by using fluoride toothpaste.

Toothaches

Toothaches can be common in young children. Sometimes, toothaches are caused by erupting teeth, but they also could indicate a serious problem.

You can safely relieve a small child's toothache without the aid of medication by rinsing the mouth with a solution of warm water and table salt. If the pain doesn't subside, acetaminophen may be used. If such medications don't help, contact your dentist immediately.

Injuries

You can help your child prevent oral injuries by closely supervising him during play and not allowing the child to put foreign objects in the mouth.

For younger children involved in physical activities and sports, mouth guards are strongly encouraged, and can prevent a whole host of injuries to the teeth, gums, lips and other oral structures.

Mouth guards are generally small plastic appliances that safely fit around your child's teeth. Many mouth guards are soft and pliable when opened, and mold to the child's teeth when first inserted.

If the tooth has been knocked out, try to place the tooth back in its socket while waiting to see our office.  Remember to hold the dislocated tooth by the crown—not the root. If you cannot relocate the tooth, place it in a container of cold milk, saline or the victim's own saliva. Place the tooth in the solution.

First, rinse the mouth of any blood or other debris and place a cold cloth or compress on the cheek near the injury. This will keep down swelling.

For a fractured tooth, it is best to rinse with warm water and again, apply a cold pack or compress. Ibuprofen may be used to help keep down swelling.

If the tooth fracture is minor, the tooth can be sanded or if necessary, restored by the dentist if the pulp is not severely damaged.

If a child's primary tooth has been loosened by an injury or an emerging permanent tooth, try getting the child to gently bite down on an apple or piece of caramel; in some cases, the tooth will easily separate from the gum.

Irritation caused by retainers or braces can sometimes be relieved by placing a tiny piece of cotton or gauze on the tip of the wire or other protruding object. If an injury occurs from a piece of the retainer or braces lodging into a soft tissue, contact our office immediately and avoid dislodging it yourself.

Sealants

Sealants fill in the little ridges on the chewing part of your teeth to protect and seal the tooth from food and plaque. The application is easy to apply and typically last for several years.