Recently, the NY Times published an article stating that the benefits of flossing are medically unproven. Although the government had recommended flossing as a public
health guideline for the last 37 years, it has since been removed from the guideline because its effectiveness was never adequately researched as required by law.
Understandably, this news has led to many questions from curious patients. Namely: Is flossing really necessary?
First, we know that bacteria and food debris collect and grow between our teeth and under the gum line, which in turn causes gum inflammation and tooth decay. Both are progressive diseases which means they don’t happen quickly.
In order to keep the mouth healthy, we need to remove or ‘disrupt’ the bacteria between
the teeth and under the gum line. And while brushing and rinsing may cause our mouth to feel clean, this alone is not enough. This is where flossing comes in. Floss will remove this harmful bacteria and food debris by disrupting the bacteria in the areas where your toothbrush won’t reach.
Is flossing the only option? No. While flossing is a convenient method, there are certainly alternative methods such as water-piks or small brushes that can fit between the teeth. People may prefer different methods.
So, while “flossing” itself is not necessary, you should absolutely use some method of disrupting and removing the debris and bacteria that your brush does not reach in order to maintain your oral health.
For the best in no-nonsense dental care, contact Dr Beth Snyder at 215-348-9922. Visit our office at 252 W Swamp Road, #25 Doylestown, PA 18901.
A new study from Canada found that women with low Vitamin D levels during pregnancy had babies with a higher risk of tooth decay.
The babies that were born to mothers who had low levels of vitamin D when pregnant were at increased risk of poor quality dental enamel and early childhood dental decay. Previous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency among mothers may also lead to defects in the enamel of toddlers’ teeth.
This new research looked at the vitamin D levels of a group of low income women and then checked their children for dental decay during the first year of life. Researchers found that one-third of the women had low levels of vitamin D and that the mothers of children with tooth decay had significantly lower levels of the vitamin than did the moms of kids without tooth decay.
Prenatal vitamin D improves the development of tooth enamel in the developing fetus, the researchers concluded. Vitamin D also helps prevent abnormalities of the spinal cord and brain, and enhances brain development. For women, vitamin D helps promote bone density during and after pregnancy. Researchers also believe that vitamin D may help prevent high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Vitamin D is important to dentists because it keeps teeth and bones, including the jaw bone, strong. There are very few food sources for vitamin D but, the human body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. As we age our bodies don’t produce as much D when exposed to sunlight, so if you are older or don’t go out in the sun it may be wise to talk to your doctor about supplements.
Find out more about keeping your smile healthy during pregnancy and beyond by contacting Dr. Beth Snyder in Doylestown, PA today at 215-348-9922.
Filed under: Sleep Apnea & Snoring | Tags: obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy
Women and seniors are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis following a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea has already been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer mortality.
A new study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that the incidence of osteoporosis was 2.7 times higher among patients with sleep apnea than in others, even after adjusting for age, gender and other medical problems.
“Ongoing sleep disruptions caused by obstructive sleep apnea can harm many of the body’s systems, including the skelatal system,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr. Kai-Jen Tien. “When sleep apnea periodically deprives the body of oxygen, it can weaken bones and raise the risk of osteoporosis. The progressive condition can lead to bone fractures, increased medical costs, reduced quality of life and even death.”
Worldwide rates of obstructive sleep apnea are rising rapidly. Dr. Tien suggested, “As more and more people are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea worldwide, both patients and health care providers need to be aware of the heightened risk of developing other conditions. We need to pay more attention to the relationship between sleep apnea and bone health so we can identify strategies to prevent osteoporosis.”
Although more and more people are being diagnosed, the vast majority of sleep apnea sufferers will not receive a diagnosis until other serious health issues arise. Some patients even avoid seeking a diagnosis because they don’t want to deal with the most popular treatment for the disorder, a CPAP machine.
Don’t let that stop you from receiving the health care you need. CPAP is a wonderful treatment but it is not the only one! A dentist who is trained in the treatment of sleep apnea patients can make an oral appliance that effectively treats the sleep apnea without masks, hoses and machines. Oral appliance therapy is recommended for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea and for those with severe cases who are CPAP intolerant.
Find out if you are a candidate by contacting Dr. Beth Snyder in Doylestown, PA today at 215-348-9922.
This highly corrosive substance commonly comes into contact with teeth when someone suffers from one of three conditions: GERD (gastric reflux), morning sickness during pregnancy, or bulimia. In all three cases the stomach acid can attack the teeth, eroding tooth enamel and even causing mouth sores. Wearing down the tooth enamel leaves teeth vulnerable to attack from oral bacteria which leads to tooth decay.
If you experience one of these conditions remember to talk to your dentist, as well as your physician, about the damage being done and how to mitigate future problems.
After a bout of vomiting, most people reach for the toothbrush. Don’t brush your teeth immediately! The acid has softened the tooth enamel and brushing will only increase the amount of damage to the tooth. The American Dental Association suggests rinsing your mouth with a baking soda and water mixture which will neutralize the acids.
When your tooth enamel erodes, not only is the tooth more susceptible to decay, but the appearance of the tooth changes as well. Over time the teeth will change color and even shape. They become more yellow as the white enamel is worn away. Teeth also become more brittle and will be sensitive to heat and cold.
Your dentist can help you protect your tooth enamel, all you need to do is ask. Remember, once tooth enamel is gone, there is no way to bring it back. Protect your smile.
Please contact Dr. Beth Snyder in Doylestown, PA today at 215-348-9922 today to schedule your next visit.
Filed under: Uncategorized
The Oral Cancer Foundation, the American Dental Association and several other groups are observing Oral Cancer Awareness Month in April. The goal is to remind everyone about the importance of oral cancer screening.
Almost 42,000 people will be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer in America this year and the rates of oral cancer has been increasing.
Risk factors for oral and throat cancer include age, using tobacco products and drinking alcohol. The typical oral cancer patient used to be an older man who smoked and drank. Today that is changing. More and more younger people are being diagnosed with oral cancers. Researchers believe this is due to HPV infection.
Knowing your risk factors is important but so is knowing the signs of oral cancer. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience the following symptoms which don’t go away after 10 days or so:
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- Pain or tenderness in the mouth or lips
- A lump or thickening of the tissue
- A crusty patch
- Changes in chewing or how your teeth fit together
Your dentist conducts oral cancer screenings as part of every regular dental checkup. Your mouth and tongue are visually inspected and are manually palpated to look for irregularities. There is technology that uses a special type of light to illuminate suspicious patches. Oral cancer screening is quick and painless and could save your life.
The 5 year survival rate of those diagnosed with oral cancer is less than 65% — mainly because most people are diagnosed when the disease has reached an advanced stage.
Please contact Dr. Beth Snyder in Doylestown, PA today at 215-348-9922 to schedule your next dental checkup and oral cancer screening.
Stress can cause:
- Canker and cold sores
- Clenching and grinding your teeth
- Missing your regular brushing/flossing routine
- Poor dietary choices
- Gum disease or worsening of gum disease
- Chewing nails, ice, pencils, etc.
We all go through periods in our lives when stress is simply unavoidable – understanding it and preventing the problems it can cause can help
Canker sores and cold sores pop up when we get stressed or sick. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious. Emotional upset can trigger an outbreak. There are over-the-counter remedies and prescription anti-viral drugs that can help. Canker sores form inside the mouth and are not contagious. Like cold sores they will heal on their own. Experts aren’t sure what causes these annoyingly painful sores but we do know that stress and fatigue increase the chances of getting them.
Stress can make you clench and grind your teeth. Many people grind during sleep so they don’t realize they are doing it until they start having jaw pain or their teeth start breaking down. Stress isn’t the only cause of teeth grinding but it can make it worse. Grinding your teeth can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which can cause headaches, facial pain, jaw pain and clicking and muscle spasms. Teeth can be broken or cracked due to grinding. Your dentist can make a protective orthotic device that will protect your teeth and jaw joint from further damage.
Regular exercise, meditation and reducing caffeine intake may help with some of the side effects of a stressful situation. For help with oral health problems please contact Dr. Beth Snyder in Doylestown, PA today at 215-348-9922 to schedule your next visit.
- Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. Think about it, all of our nutrition, the food we need to live, comes to us through the mouth. The act of chewing is part of the digestive process.
- Your mouth is a part of your body. The idea that there are separate insurances for oral health and the rest of the body has a lot of people thinking that the two just aren’t connected. Not true! Oral bacteria can travel throughout the body. Diseases in the mouth can affect other systems in the body and vice versa. Diabetes is a perfect example. Gum disease makes it harder for diabetics to controls their blood sugar but having diabetes puts you at higher risk for gum disease.
- Flossing may be more important than brushing. Brushing is important, but most people brush. If you aren’t flossing then the surfaces of the teeth below the gum line and facing the other teeth remain coated with plaque and debris.
- Bleeding gums aren’t normal. Healthy gums don’t bleed when you brush or floss. If you see blood on a toothbrush or floss — call your dentist.
Most oral health problems can be avoided by brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly. If it has been a while since your last professional cleaning please contact Dr. Beth Snyder in Doylestown, PA today at 215-348-9922 to schedule a visit.