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. 



An estimated sixty-five percent of Americans have bad breath. Over forty-million Americans have "chronic halitosis," which is persistent bad breath. Ninety percent of all halitosis is of oral, not systemic, origin.

Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on over the counter halitosis products, many of which are ineffective because they only mask the problem.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors. In most cases, it is caused by food remaining in the mouth - on the teeth, tongue, gums, and other structures, collecting bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release a sulfur compound that gives your breath an unpleasant odor. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is exhaled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash only mask the odor. Dieters sometimes develop unpleasant breath from fasting.

Periodontal (gum) disease often causes persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, and persistent bad breath may mean a sign that you have gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by plaque - the sticky, often colorless, film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Dry mouth or xerostomia may also cause bad breath due to decreased salivary flow. Saliva cleans your mouth and removes particles that may cause odor. Tobacco products cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods and irritate your gum tissues. Bad breath may also be a sign that you have a serious health problem, such as a respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment.

Here are characteristic bad breath odors associated with some of these illnesses:

  • Diabetes - acetone, fruity

  • Liver failure - sweetish, musty

  • Acute rheumatic fever - acid, sweet

  • Lung abscess - foul, putrefactive

  • Blood dyscrasias - resembling decomposed blood

  • Liver cirrhosis - resembling decayed blood

  • Uremia - ammonia or urine

  • Hand-Schuller-Christian disease - fetid breath and unpleasant taste

  • Scurvy - foul breath from stomach inflammation

  • Wegner`s granulomatosis - Necrotic, putrefactive

  • Kidney failure - ammonia or urine

  • Diphtheria, dysentery, measles, pneumonia, scarlet fever, tuberculosis - extremely foul, fetid odor

  • Syphilis - fetid

Bad breath may also be caused by medications you are taking, including central nervous system agents, anti-Parkinson drugs, antihistamines/decongestants, anti-psychotics, anti-cholinergics, narcotics, anti-hypertensives, and anti-depressants.

Caring for bad breath

Daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings, will normally take care of unpleasant breath. And don't forget your often overlooked tongue as a culprit for bad breath. Bacterial plaque and food debris also can accumulate on the back of the tongue. The tongue's surface is extremely rough and bacteria can accumulate easily in the cracks and crevices.

Controlling periodontal disease and maintaining good oral health helps to reduce bad breath.  If you have constant bad breath, make a list of the foods you eat and any medications you take. Some medications may contribute to bad breath.

Improperly cleaned dentures can also harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them.

If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and that the odor is not oral in nature, you may be referred to your family physician or to a specialist to determine the cause of the odor and possible treatment. If the odor is due to gum disease, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in treating gum tissues. Gum disease can cause gum tissues to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. When these pockets are deep, only a professional periodontal cleaning can remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulate.

Mouthwashes are generally ineffective on bad breath. If your bad breath persists even after good oral hygiene, there are special products your dentist may prescribe, including Zytex, which is a combination of zinc chloride, thymol and eucalyptus oil that neutralizes the sulfur compounds and kills the bacteria that causes them. In addition, a special antimicrobial mouth rinse may be prescribed. An example is chlorhexidine, but be careful not to use it for more than a few months as it can stain your teeth. Some antiseptic mouth rinses have been accepted by the American Dental Association for their breath freshening properties and therapeutic benefits in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Instead of simply masking breath odor, these products have been demonstrated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Ask your dentist about trying some of these products.