Essential Oils

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Lora Cook, RDH

Essential Oils

Recently several of my patients have asked me some questions about essential oils.  To be honest I have a very limited knowledge of the subject.  I hate when I don’t have all the answers for my patients.  So I thought what better way to learn more about the subject then to write about it.  However, let me preface this information with a reminder that while these essential oils can provide effective preventive and palliative care, it is not a substitute for dental care.  If you have a cavity or a toothache please do not hesitate to give us a call. Periodontal disease and cavities left untreated will only become worse over time.

As dental professionals we rely on tested clinical research and published blinded research studies to substantiate any therapeutic claims and demonstrate effectiveness.  However with essential oils there is little published research, because several problems present in trying to conduct research on essential oils.  First, essential oils are not standardized.  Synthetic Pharmaceuticals are reproduced to be identical, where as essential oils cannot be produced to be identical.  Second, while conducting research on essential oils it is difficult to gage for individual differences in how the oils affect people. Also little funding is provided for research on homeopathic remedies.  More research studies are done for synthetic therapeutics because these follow the usual scientific research path.

The Essential oils that I would like to talk about are:

1.)  Cinnamon oil

A.) Cinnamon bark oil

B.) Cinnamon leaf oil

2.)Tea Tree oil

3.)Myrrh

4.)Clove oil

5.)Peppermint oil

 

1.  Cinnamon Leaf Oil:  Leaf oil is primarily useful for palliative care.  It may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation

Cinnamon Bark Oil:  bark oil has antibacterial qualities, has been shown to effectively destroy 21 different types of bacteria.

How to use: You can rinse with diluted cinnamon oil after brushing, or put some on your tooth paste.  Cinnamon oil is very strong and should not be ingested.  Also some people  have been known to have allergic reactions to cinnamon oil, so test in a small area of your mouth first.

2.  Tea Tree Oil:  This oil is effective for antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.

If you have a allergy to celery or thyme, you should not use this oil.  Also just like the cinnamon oil, tea tree oil is very strong and should not be ingested.

How to use: There are wooded toothpicks that have been impregnated with tea tree oil. These can be found at a health food store, or purchased on-line.  You can also mix a small amount with your toothpaste, then brush.

3.  Myrrh:  This is effective for mouth sores.

How to use:  Mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.

4.  Clove Oil:  This is effective for toothaches, also known to sooth sore gums.

How to use:  Mix one drop with a plant based carrier oil, olive oil wood be a good carrier oil to use.  Then apply with a cotton swab.

For gum tissue and other oral tissues mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.

5.  Peppermint Oil: This oil is effective in treating bad breath, it also has mild anesthetic properties.

How to use:  Mix two drops of peppermint oil with two cups of distilled water.  Shake we’ll before each use, swish a mouthful for one minute then spit.

There are other essential oils that are effective for oral health that I did not include in this overview: basil, almond, and lavender, just to name a few.  I hope that these basic guidelines can shed a bit more light on the subject.  All essential oils should not be ingested, and always consult your medical physician before starting any type of therapy at home.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/284574-cinnamon-oil-for-cavities/

http://www.teatree.co.il/en/Files/oral.pdf

http://www.intelligentdental.com/2010/11/30/how-to-use-tea-tree-oil-for-dental-health/

http://birchhillhappenings.com/mouth.htm

http://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/myrrh-oil.asp

Flossing: More Than Just a Guilt Trip

AriannaM

Arianna Ritchey, RDH

Flossing: More Than Just a Guilt Trip

As a part of a regular preventive or periodontal maintenance visit with your dental hygienist, the topic of flossing usually comes up.  Most people have at least heard of flossing, and while some people floss regularly, most patients I see report flossing less than the ADA recommended once per day.  More often, people fall into the categories of flossing “once in a while” or “once in a blue moon.”  While some people are embarrassed to admit this to their dental hygienist, the condition and health of your gums reveal a lot about your oral hygiene practices at home without you saying a word.  (We can also read minds…just kidding.)

So, if most people have heard about flossing, and are reminded of it semi-annually by their dental hygienist, what is preventing them from actually cleaning between their teeth on a regular basis?

Maybe they don’t realize the impact that flossing has on the health of their gums and prevention of early tooth loss.  Maybe it’s difficult for them to manipulate string floss (it’s harder than it looks).  Maybe they are super busy (who isn’t?) and can’t find time to track down some floss and use it between their teeth.  Maybe they ran out of the sample-size floss their hygienist gave them a their last visit.  Maybe it hurts when they floss because their gums are inflamed, so they avoid the pain.  Maybe they are really committed and diligent for the first while, and then life gets in the way and they fall out of the habit.  All of these are totally understandable reasons, and I’ve been there.  (Hygienists are human, too!)

The good news is, your dental hygienist is interested in helping you to keep your mouth and gums healthy, and offers a judgment-free-zone to learn how to properly perform oral hygiene techniques, like flossing, and to help you come up with some ways to integrate flossing into your daily routine.  (Floss in the shower, floss while watching the intro to your show on Netflix, floss while on Facebook or scrolling through Pinterest, floss while at a red light on your commute, etc.)

The other awesome thing your dental hygienist does for you, is giving you a clean slate to work with!  When your dental hygienist cleans your teeth by removing the plaque and calculus (calcified plaque) from your teeth, they are removing the bacteria that are causing the inflammation, pain, and bleeding in your gums.  (Hooray!)  Once these irritations are removed, the gums have a chance to heal, and by properly cleaning your teeth at home (brushing and flossing), you can keep them healthy.  When the gums are healthy, they don’t hurt, they don’t bleed, they are easier to floss, and you have a faster, easier dental hygiene appointments. (Even when your hygienist is gentle, nobody enjoys being in that chair.)

If you’re still reading, check out this video my former classmates and I produced that demonstrates proper flossing technique and briefly explains why flossing is important.  It’s a little cheesy, but definitely educational.  Make sure your sound is on, there’s some great instruction and music.  

After watching this video and practicing at home, if you’re still having difficulty with string floss, try some other interdental cleaners!  Here’s a great article that talks about lots of interdental cleaners and how to use them (scroll about halfway down).  

Remember, the best interdental cleaning tool is the one that you actually use consistently; if string floss just isn’t your thing, talk to your hygienist at your next visit, and we’ll be happy to give you some samples to try.  Happy flossing!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2015/03/22/what-is-a-periodontal-maintenance/

http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/product-category-information/floss-and-other-interdental-cleaners

https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2013/10/14/tooth-brushes/

youtube.com/watch

https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2014/05/19/flossing-do-i-have-to/

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Canker Sores

AriannaM

Arianna Ritchey, RDH

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Canker Sores

There are many different types of toothpastes available to consumers, and there are a variety of benefits available in each of the different types of toothpastes related to their active ingredients.  With so many different ingredients present in toothpastes, some toothpastes may cause an unpleasant or even allergic reaction inside the mouth.  One ingredient commonly found in toothpaste that can cause reactions in some patient is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, also known by its abbreviation, SLS.  

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SLS is a foaming agent that creates that nice, rich foam we expect from our soaps and toothpastes. It’s also a detergent, and thus strips away hard-to-get-rid of fats.  Similar to other detergents, SLS can be an irritant to those with sensitive skin or a sensitivity to SLS itself.  SLS is found in many shampoos, soaps, and is used to create a foaming action in all Colgate brand toothpastes and Crest brand toothpastes.  

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The most common reaction to SLS in the mouth is the development of aphthous ulcers, more commonly known as canker sores.  Canker sores are benign ulcerations of the soft tissues that can range from a minor irritation to a major ulcer which can be quite painful.   While the actual cause of canker sores is unknown, certain factors are recognized as triggers of the onset of a canker sore.  Any type of trauma to the mucus lining of the mouth can trigger a canker sore, be it inadvertently biting the tongue or cheek, or perhaps a food irritant such as chocolate, mustard, nuts, tomatoes, shellfish, and or pineapple.  An irritant like SLS may also trigger canker sore development.

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At this time there are no treatments to prevent a canker sore, but once they have developed, canker sores may be treated palliatively with a topical anesthetic, like Orajel.  Another option for treatment is laser therapy by a laser-certified dental hygienist, or dentist.  Heat from the laser is used to kill any virus present and to stimulate the body’s healing potential.  Laser treatments take about 15 minutes and most patients feel better immediately following treatment.  

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If you are experiencing recurrent sores in your mouth, many dental professionals recommend switching to a toothpaste without SLS to see if that helps resolve the issue.  Two toothpastes which are SLS-free and are accepted by the American Dental Association are Rembrandt Premium Whitening Mint Toothpaste, and Sensodyne ProNamel Mint Essence Toothpaste.  

 

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If mouth sores persist after the discontinuation of a SLS toothpaste, this may be an indication of a nutritional deficiency, including deficiency in iron, folic acid, and other B vitamins.  Vitamin supplements or an improved diet may eliminate these deficiencies, but it is advisable to ask your physician for a nutritional assessment.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.massdental.org/cankersores.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/canker-sore/basics/causes/con-20021262

http://slsfree.net/sodium-lauryl-sulfate-cause-acne/

http://www.acneeinstein.com/scalp-acne-caused-by-sodium-lauryl-sulfate-in-shampoos/

http://www.colgatetotal.com/health-benefits/toothpaste-ingredients

Diabetes and Dental Care

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

Diabetes and Dental Care

What do brushing and flossing have to do with diabetes? Plenty. If you have diabetes, here’s why dental care matters — and how to take care of your teeth and gums. 

When you have diabetes, high blood sugar can take a toll on your entire body — including your teeth and gums. The good news? Prevention is in your hands. Learn what you’re up against, and then take charge of your dental health.

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Cavities and gum disease

Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar level is key. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of:

  • Tooth decay (cavities). Your mouth naturally contains many types of bacteria. When starches and sugars in food and beverages interact with these bacteria, a sticky film known as plaque forms on your teeth. The acids in plaque attack the hard, outer surface of your teeth (enamel). This can lead to cavities. The higher your blood sugar level, the greater the supply of sugars and starches — and the more acid wearing away at your teeth.
  • Early gum disease (gingivitis). Diabetes reduces your ability to fight bacteria. If you don’t remove plaque with regular brushing and flossing, it’ll harden under your gumline into a substance called tartar (calculus). The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva — the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. This is gingivitis

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  • Advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis, which destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and your teeth to loosen and even fall out. Periodontitis tends to be more severe among people who have diabetes because diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows healing. An infection such as periodontitis may also cause your blood sugar level to rise, which makes your diabetes more difficult to control. Preventing and treating periodontitis can help improve blood sugar control.

Proper dental care

To help prevent damage to your teeth and gums, take diabetes and dental care seriously:

  • Make a commitment to managing your diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush in the morning, at night and, ideally, after meals and snacks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums. Consider using an electric toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush well.

Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline. If you have trouble getting floss through your teeth, use the waxed variety. If it’s hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder.

  • Schedule regular dental cleanings. Visit your dentist at least three times a year for professional cleanings.
  • Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes. Every time you visit your dentist, remind him or her that you have diabetes. Make sure your dentist has contact information for your doctor who helps you manage your diabetes.
  • Look for early signs of gum disease. Report any signs of gum disease — including redness, swelling and bleeding gums — to your dentist. Also mention any other signs and symptoms, such as dry mouth, loose teeth or mouth pain.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, including gum disease. If you smoke, ask your doctor about options to help you quit.

Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and that includes proper dental care. Your efforts will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes/art-20043848?pg=2

https://www.perio.org/consumer/diabetes.htm

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth

Periodontal Probing 101

LindsayW

Lindsay Whitlock RDH

John, the patient, is taken back to the dental operatory for his dental cleaning appointment.  The dental hygienist reviews John’s chart, his medical history, and John addresses any concerns he has in his mouth. The hygienist lays John back in the chair. John cringes, as he sees the hygienist holding a pointy tool in her hand. She informs him, “John, I am going to take a few measurements around each tooth, to assess how healthy your gums, and bone levels are.” John opens his mouth, and thinks to himself “I wonder if this going to hurt?” “What is she even doing with that tool anyways?”

Prior to becoming a dental hygienist, I too was like John. I did not understand what that “pointy” tool was, or why it needed to be used. With this blog post, I would like to briefly educate my dental patients of what a periodontal probe is, and why it is utilized in the dental office.

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That pointy tool the hygienist uses at the beginning of a dental appointment is called a periodontal probe. The periodontal probe is marked in millimeter increments, which is used to evaluate the health of the patient’s gum, and surrounding bone levels of the jaw, with little to NO discomfort!

 

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Each of your teeth are sitting in jawbone. Additionally, each tooth is surrounded by gum tissue (gingiva). To simplify this concept, your gums surround each tooth like a turtleneck sweater.

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There is a natural space of pocket between the gum and tooth. The periodontal probe is used to measure this pocket depth, at each dental appointment.

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 In health, the tooth is surrounded by a gum pocket depth of 1-3 mm (No bone loss of the jaw bone).

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 If gingivitis is present (Swollen gums-no bone loss of the jaw bone) the tooth is surrounded by a 4 mm. pocket depth.

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 A periodontal pocket (Mild-Advanced periodontitis) is present when the space between the tooth and gum has been deepened by disease and bone loss. A 5-12 mm pocket depth surround the tooth or teeth.

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 The next time you are in the dental chair, feel free to ask your dentist or dental hygienist your latest periodontal probing scores. If you have never had these measurements taken before, call our office today and schedule a new patient exam, to determine the health of your mouth!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://image.slidesharecdn.com/probing-150304002025-conversion-gate01/95/probing-4-638.jpg?cb=1425450081

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.jabfm.org/content/23/3/285/F6.large.jpg&imgrefurl=http://imgkid.com/oral-cavity-diagram.shtml&h=929&w=1280&tbnid=QTPxgTXY_157NM:&zoom=1&docid=muXuT2D8a_l-rM&ei=gik0VeWcGZKHgwTj8oL4Bw&tbm=isch&ved=0CGwQMyhIMEg

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.anicesmile.com%2Fgum_care.htm&ei=eB00VZSAAcWqgwS6uIH4DA&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNEelreU-hCgZkFOw-zD66VytX1oWw&ust=1429565102055540

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpixshark.com%2Fperiodontal-probe-measurements.htm&ei=IzI0VabtA8HYggTXhICoAQ&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNG8JqFvrTWfgyW7lJDBKPoToB2P0g&ust=1429570410736621

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fimgbuddy.com%2Fperiodontal-probe-measurements.asp&ei=bBc0Vd3rJYa_ggT9tYHIAg&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNGZO6FQ7Orbd5mXZx5HOFLLyJqYdA&ust=1429563605237318

Hydrogen Peroxide

KO6A8495-Edit - Copy

Lora Cook RDH

 Is Using Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mouth Rinse Safe?

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Many commercial mouth washes and whitening strips have hydrogen peroxide as one of the key active ingredients. However many are using straight hydrogen peroxide as a mouth wash to kill germs. Is this a safe and effect practice?

Hydrogen peroxide is compose of water and oxygen that works to kills germs and bacteria, and helps to whiten teeth.  It comes in either 1% or 3% concentrations. You can even see it in action!  When it foams in your mouth you know that it is working at killing bacteria.  It also can be used to clean your night guard, retainers, or even soak your tooth brush in.  Best of all it is inexpensive. 

 However this is not the magic cure all, there are some strong precautions that I would like to share with you.  While there are many benefits it can be harmful on gum tissue if used in too strong a solution or too long.  It is very drying to the tissues. This will also work to kill good bacteria in the mouth.  This will leave opportunity for yeast infections of the mouth to flourish, also called thrush.  Candidiasis is a fungal or yeast infection of the mouth or throat. Candida yeast that normally live in the mucosa membrane will flourish causing a over growth of candida, commonly called yeast infections. 

This can be a relatively safe practice by following a few guidelines; dilute peroxide with 50% water, and do use every day.  If you are one of the many people who suffer from dry mouth stick with a over the counter rinse formulated for dry mouth sufferers. 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/hydrogen-peroxide-as-mouthwash.html

http://copublications.greenfacts.org/en/tooth-whiteners/l-3/6-tooth-whitening-side-effects.htm

http://www.healthline.com/health/thrush#Symptoms4

What Is Laser Dentistry?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr RDH

Just as in other areas of medicine, lasers are increasingly becoming more common in dentistry.  Lasers are instruments that produce a very narrow but intense beam of light. The light can remove or shape tissue. While lasers have been used in dentistry since 1985, its estimated that only 6% of dental offices utilize lasers. With improvements in technology and as the cost of lasers decrease, a greater number of dentists and hygienists will feel confident in incorporating lasers into their treatments.

How are lasers used in dentistry?

Hard Tissue (or Tooth) Laser Procedures

  • Cavity detection: Lasers provide readings of by-products produced by tooth decay
  • Tooth preparation for fillings- dental lasers may soon eliminate the need for anesthetic and the dental drill.
  • Tooth Sensitivity-lasers may be used to seal tubules located on the root of the tooth that are responsible for sensitive teeth.
  • Help treat infections in root canals

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Soft Tissue (or Gum) Laser Procedures

  • Reshaping of gum tissue to expose tooth structure if needed to place a filling
  • Reshaping gum tissue to improve the appearance of a gummy smile
  • Remove inflamed gum tissues and aid in the treatment of gum disease
  • Removing muscle attachments causing “tongue-tie”
  • Removing benign tumors from gums, palate, sides of cheeks and lips
  • Reducing pain and minimize healing of cold sores
  • Treat pain and inflammation of temporomandibular joint disorder

 

While lasers do not yet replace the traditional dental drill, or the instruments the dental hygienist uses to scale teeth, improvements in laser technology will soon offer quicker, more effective and more comfortable procedures than in the past. This is good news for all especially those of you are anxious at the thought of visiting the dentist!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/laser-use-dentistry

www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-21/dental-lasers

Lesley Ranft, The Future of Dental Lasers, Retrieved from  http://www.Consumer Guide to Dentistry

Lesley Ranft, Laser Dentistry: Enhancing Dental Treatment with Lasers, Retrieved from http://www.Consumer Guide to Dentistry

http://www.Know Your Teeth.com/infobites/abc/article What is Laser Dentistry? http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/laser/

www.dentistrytoday.com300

 

What is Normal?

KO6A3321-Edit

Becky Larson RDH

In my short time as a dental hygienist I have had many patient ask me about “weird” things they have noticed inside their mouths. Many patients are worried or scared they might have oral cancer. While oral cancer should be checked regularly, many times the things patients are worried about are completely normal. In general, most mouths have the same or similar anatomy. However, there are variants of normal that one person may experience over another. I have listed a few of these normal variants here:

Tori: A torus or tori (plural) is simply an excessive growth of normal compact bone, either on the floor or roof of the mouth. They develop gradually and are asymptomatic. Tori can grow into many different shapes and sizes and are covered by the normal soft tissues of the mouth. Tori may make taking radiographs very uncomfortable or painful. No treatment is needed unless the patient is having problems speaking or swallowing. Even upon removal tori may grow back.

 

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http://images.radiopaedia.org/images/551480/4e2fd78cc550f4e33c48c0a31a8c64.jpeg

 

Fordyce granules: Fordyce granules are simply a cluster of sebaceous glands (glands that secrete oil, similar to a pimple) inside the mouth. Usually they occur on the inside of the cheeks or on the lips. They are yellow in color and more than 80% of adults over the age of 20 experience them. Fordyce granules are also asymptomatic and do not require treatment.

Lingual varicosities: Lingual varicosities are veins under and on the sides of the tongue. They can be red, blue, or purple in color and generally occur in clusters. Everyone has veins in and around the tongue that may vary in size, shape, or color.

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Linea alba: Linea alba is a raised, white line usually along the inside of the cheek. It occurs as a result of clenching or biting the inside of one’s cheek. No treatment is necessary.

Luekoedema: Leukoedema is a generalized opalescent appearance of the inside of the mouth. It most commonly occurs in black adults but can be seen with any ethnicity. When the mucosa is stretched the opalescence is less noticeable. No treatment is necessary.

Amalgam tattoo: Believe it or not, I have seen tattoos inside the mouth! However, an amalgam tattoo is a little different. These “tattoos” result from previous amalgam (silver) fillings where part of the filling material seeps into the tissue. It creates a bluish-gray lesion and they can occur anywhere an amalgam filling has been placed. Amalgam tattoos can look very similar to oral cancer because of their color. A biopsy can determine the difference. Amalgam tattoos generally do not require treatment.

 

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Fissured tongue: Believed to be a result of familial genetic patterns, this variant is seen in about 5% of the population. It involves deep fissures or grooves on the dorsal (backside) of the tongue. Sometimes the tongue can become irritated if food or bacteria remain in the grooves for an extended period of time. No treatment is needed other than brushing the tongue to remove food/bacteria from the surface.

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http://doctorspiller.com/images/OralAnatomy/Fissured_tongue.jpg

 

Geographic tongue: Geographic tongue appears as small, red patches on the dorsal (backside) of the tongue that are surrounded by a yellow or white perimeter. The appearance is similar to that of landmasses on a globe, hence the name “geographic” tongue. The patches may go away and return again in different areas. Stress can be a contributing factor to this condition. No treatment is needed.

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http://medicalpicturesinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Geographic-tongue-5.jpg

 

   Make sure to be aware of what is inside your mouth. We recommended oral cancer screenings at least once per year.

As always, please go see your physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Spots, lesions, or discolorations that remain longer than 2 weeks that were not previously present.
  • Any changes is size, shape, or color to pre-existing lesions.
  • Anything that causes you pain or that your dentist recommends getting checked

Happy Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

Information taken from:

Ibsen, O., and Phelan, J. (2009) Oral Pathology for the Dental Hygienist. St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders Elsevier.

Quick Relief for the Constant Canker Sore

It’s no secret that at least everyone has gotten a few canker sores in their lifetime. Have you ever had that period of time where you just cannot seem to get rid of a canker sore? Or you just keep getting them? Well, as I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, I was an orthodontic patient for 3 years. If you’ve ever had braces, you know the drill with the canker sores. Your braces just love to cut you, and canker sores just LOVE to appear everywhere they possibly can. I was so annoyed with my mouth, that I tried every possible way I could to get rid of them. Allow me to walk you through my journey of canker sore relief.

To start, canker sores are small lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth, or at the base of your gums. You can have 2 different types of canker sores; simple, or complex. Simple canker sores may appear three or four times a year and last up to a week. Complex canker sores are less common than simple, and occur more often in people who have previously had them. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious. A lot of people confuse canker sores with cold sores when in reality, they are very different. The exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, while some say that it could be caused b stress, or injury to your tissue in your mouth. So for example, if you were a cheek biter and lip biter like I was, canker sores will come very easily to your mouth. The constant chewing damages the tissue, leaving room for canker sores to “grow.”

When I was younger, I remember getting the occasional canker sore here and there, nothing big. I would wait for a few days, they would go away. But, when I had my braces put on, it was like I was getting a new canker sore every other day! It was awful. I wasn’t just getting them on my gums, or cheeks, but I was also getting them on my tongue. I tried everything. I went to Walgreens and got every canker sore cream they owned. Nothing would ever help me. I tried everything from orajel, to canker care. It would relieve them, and make them smaller, but I would feel like they would never heel, or new ones would always be sprouting different places in my mouth. I finally made the trip to my dentist after I couldn’t stand them anymore. This was when I had braces, so it’s really hard to clean the gum tissue around my braces. And it was also really hard for me to clean the food out of my teeth really well, which was also part of the problem. When I would eat acidic food, it would stay in my teeth, and because my cheeks would always be damaged due to the braces, it would result in canker sores…everywhere. Well, I started to change my diet, be more thorough with my cleaning, and floss. What do you know? My canker sores started becoming less and less! It was amazing, I was so happy. Doing a really detailed job on cleaning my teeth have now become a habit I never intend to break.

My canker sore journey doesn’t end there, even after my braces were off, I continued to get canker sores. I was furious! I marched right back to Walgreens and started from square 1. All of those creams and gels still did nothing for me. I didn’t want to go to my doctor again, knowing he would just tell me the same thing again. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started to Google things, and tried all of these ridiculous home remedies….until I found one remedy that was no longer ridiculous. Are you ready for it? Warm salt water. Who knew? It worked miracles. I would swish warm salt water in my mouth twice a day, and within one day, I was feeling the canker sores go down, and I had little pain, and I was able to eat salty things again. After about 3 days of warm salt water, my mouth was canker sore free. I was one happy lady. It just blew my mind that the simplest of things helped me so much. This is what I recommend to everyone out there suffering from canker sores. The salt helps fight the infection and the pain, and inflammation, whereas the warm water helps ease the pain.

Every time I feel a canker sore coming on, I grab that salt water, and gargle and I’m feeling better the next day. It is the only thing I trust when it comes to my canker sores! I recommend it to everyone who has the same problem as I do.sorecanker

Bad Breath? No Problem!

Do you suffer from bad breath? Does it linger with you throughout the day and you just can’t get rid of it? Don’t be embarrassed, you and the 40 million Americans are not alone.

Halitosis, also more commonly known as bad breath occurs when unpleasant odors are exhaled through the mouth. In most cases, bad breath originates from the mouth. One of the most common causes of bad breath is the build-up of plaque. When people don’t floss, or brush as much as they should, the plaque then begins to harbor bacteria resulting in bad breath, even if you just brushed your teeth! Some symptoms to be on the look out for bad breath are; smell, bad taste or taste changes in your mouth, dry mouth, and a coating on your tongue.

 Most causes of bad breath are due to inadequate oral hygiene. If good oral hygiene practices, or a dentist do no eliminate bad breath, you should consult your physician. Very few causes of bad breath may need medical attention from a physician. When to seek that type of medical attention is when you have a persistent dry mouth, sores in the mouth, pain with chewing or swallowing, white spots on the tonsils, fever,  or just started a new medication. New parents need to watch their babies or young children because bad breath may be a sign of infection or undiagnosed medical problem.

If your bad breath is a result of poor oral hygiene, here are a few tips to help your teeth stay healthy, and smelling clean!

  • brush twice a day with toothpaste containing fluoride
  • brush teeth after meals, especially meals that contain foods high in acid
  • replace your toothbrush every 2 months, this helps your overall health as well. This way you won’t keep putting the same bad bacteria in your mouth over and over again.
  • make sure you are seeing a dentist twice a year for your regular cleanings and check-ups to avoid any problems that might be brewing in your mouth
  • brush your tongue regularly, it really makes a huge difference
  • make sure you are flossing regularly so those food particles that get stuck in between your teeth don’t harbor bacteria
  • keep your mouth moist and wet by drinking lots of water! It’s not a bad idea to make it a habit to drink more water throughout the day because your overall health also benefits from it! Who doesn’t love a 2 for 1 special?

Don’t be embarrassed if you have bad breath, just remember you aren’t alone. Try the tips suggested above, and if they don’t work, come in and see a dentist. We want you to be comfortable, and our number one goal is to see you walk out the door with happy smiles!

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