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. 



What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth's inner dentin material.

These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Soda, candy, ice cream—even milk—are common culprits.  Left inside your mouth from non-brushing and flossing, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless sticky substance called plaque.

The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures.

If cavities aren't treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.

Preventing Cavities

The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Your body's own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special chemicals that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing.

Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities from forming.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:

  • Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
  • A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
  • Teeth that change color.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay 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. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.