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The Three Most Common Problems That Are Detrimental To Oral Health

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

 1. PLAQUE

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums. When we eat, the bacteria in plaque release acids that attack the enamel of our teeth. These repeated attacks can lead to tooth decay. Plaque that is not removed completely will eventually harden into tartar or calculus. This kind of build up is very unhealthy for the gums and may lead to bone loss around the teeth and periodontal or gum disease. The main cause of tooth loss in adults is not tooth decay, it is periodon­tal disease. In addition to this, researchers have found that there is a link between periodontal dis­ease and systemic disorders such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, respira­tory diseases and low- birth-weight babies. In other words, your oral health affects your overall health.

Tips: Brush twice daily, floss and eat a well balanced diet. Since most people are very busy these days, Dr. Nichols recom­mends rinsing your toothbrush with water and brushing your teeth while you’re watching TV or reading at night before going to bed. You’ll be surprised at how much more time you’ll spend brushing your teeth. Many times when we brush before bedtime we are too tired to brush thoroughly. The flavored toothpaste makes our mouth feel fresh and clean and we only brush for 30-60 sec­onds when we should be brush­ing for at least 3 minutes. Try brushing while you’re watching TV. You’ll spend 10-15 minutes brushing without even realizing it! You can brush using tooth­paste right before you turn in for the night for 30 seconds to make your mouth feel minty fresh and get the benefits of fluoride.


2. DRY MOUTH


Xerostomia or dry mouth can wreak havoc in our mouths. That’s because our saliva is made up of electrolytes, antibacterial compounds, mucus and various enzymes all of which help prevent tooth decay, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. When the sali­vary glands stop working properly it causes the mouth to become dry which can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease as well as other oral health problems. Dry mouth can be caused by many prescription drugs and over the counter medications. People who are being treated by radia­tion therapy and chemotherapy are often affected by dry mouth. Other factors that can contribute to dry mouth are stress, anxiety, hormonal alterations, depression, nutrition and dysfunction of the immune system.

Tips: Brush twice daily, floss and drink plenty of water. Dr. Nichols recommends using Bio­tene Dry Mouth spray, liquid or gel to help maintain the oral envi­ronment and provide protection against oral dryness. She also recommends staying away from sugary foods and snacks.


3. GRINDING


Most of us at some point in our life have dealt with stress. For many of us stress is an ongoing occurrence in our daily routine. Unfortunately stress can cause many unwanted symptoms and side effects. One symptom we have been seeing more of lately is bruxism or grinding of the teeth. Bruxism can also be triggered by suppressed anger or frustration, a competitive or hyperactive per­sonality type, abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth, changes during sleep cycles and pain from an earache. If left untreated brux­ism or grinding can cause your teeth to fracture or become loose as well as cause tension headaches and facial pain. Since bruxism usually occurs while sleeping, most people don’t even know they are doing it.

Tips: Have regular dental check-ups to detect damage in the early stages and treat abnor­malities of the bite. You may benefit from a custom-made night guard. Dr. Nichols does not recommend the over-the-counter night guards because they may do more damage than good since they are not profes­sionally made or adjusted. She also recommends finding ways to relax and relieve stress. She says, “When our computer gets jammed up what do we usually do? We shut it down and reboot. Sometimes we need to shut down and reboot ourselves by going away on vacation, listening to music, taking a walk, talking with friends, reading, praying, etc. It’s important to find ways to relax.”


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