Waterpiks

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Lora Cook RDH

A question I am often asked of my patients is, “what do you think about a waterpik?” Waterpiks are great, but they DO NOT replace flossing with string floss. Once a person hears that they still have to floss, a look of discouragement or disgust comes across their face.  However, before you completely write off the thought of investing time and money into to a water pick, let me give you some information.

Waterpiks force oxygenated water underneath the gum tissue where plaque and bacteria like to hide.  This bacteria that lives under the tissue is anaerobic, it thrives under the gum tissue in that non-oxygenated environment. The oxygenated water works to not only flush out plaque and food, but also kills bacteria.  Also adding a few ounces of a quality, over the counter mouth rinse\antiseptic to the water reservoir is effective in reducing the bacterial load in the mouth.

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Who can benefit the most from the adding a waterpik to their daily oral hygiene routine?  I recommend water picks to patients who have bridges, implants, braces, or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease. The waterpik can reach places that string floss can miss.  Studies show that it is 50% more effective then just dental floss alone.  With a 3 second application it is 99.9% effective in the removal of plaque.

Some patients ask if waterpiks are so effective, why do I still need to use my string floss?  The string floss will scrap and mechanically remove the sticky plaque that likes to stick to the tooth surface. A waterpik will just rinse it.

There are different types of waterpiks out on the market.  A counter top water pik with a seperate resevoir and a cordless waterpik.  The cordless waterpic is rechargeable, no batteries needed. The water reservoir will hold 45 seconds of water supply.  All waterpics have different pressure settings, the water pressure will be 45 to 75 psi.

cordless

Another type of waterpik is called shower floss.  Many people have never heard of this type, and do not know that it is available.  This unit is attached to your shower head, it comes with a rechargeable battery pack. This unit will supply a  continues flow of water without having to stop and refill.  With this nifty unit you also do not have to worry about making a mess of your bathroom mirror!

 

shower flosser

Another type of waterpik is a shower floss.  Many people have never heard of this type, and do not know that it is available.  This unit is attached to your shower head, it comes with a rechargeable battery pack. This unit will supply a  continues flow of water without having to stop and refill.  With this nifty unit you also do not have to worry about making a mess of your bathroom mirror!

 

 

http://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/products/dental-water-flosser/WP-480/

http://www.waterpik-store.com/?trk_src_ss=WATFGS49WEBPAYPC

Dental Sealants

Kara

Kara Johansen BSRDH

No one likes cavities right? Is there something that can prevent decay in just one short dental visit! YES! Here it is folks, SEALANTS!

No matter how amazing we are at flossing and brushing our mouth is filled with bacteria. Plaque is the home for bacteria. As we go throughout our day we have breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch..etc. Bacteria also enjoy snacks. Bacteria especially like fermentable carbohydrates, and sugary treats. After they have processed the food it excretes acid onto our teeth and that causes a cavity.

Permanent damage to the tooth is nothing to mess with. There are small grooves in the top biting surface of our teeth that are too small for our tooth brush bristles to fit in. Often children are benefiting from dental sealants. However, adults have the same risk of decay but are not receiving the same tooth saving service.

sealants

Sealants are a plastic covering for the pits and fissures that are applied by your dentist or hygienist. The tooth is first cleaned; the sealant material is placed, and then hardened with a curing light. The sealant can last for a very long time before they may need to be redone. Your dentist will check them at each maintenance appointment.

A sealant is one of the best ways to prevent decay. They are cost effective, easy to keep clean, and will protect the integrity of your teeth. If you have any more questions I am sure your dentist, hygienist, or dental assistant would love to answer them.

Image source:polkadotdental.com

ADA Division of Communications in cooperation with The Journal of American Dental Association(2003). For the Dental Patient…Dental Sealants Protecting Your Teeth.JADA, volume 134, pages. doi:http://www.ada.org/sections/professionalResources/pdfs/patient_28.pdf

 

PLEASE, Stick Your Tongue Out at Your Dentist

Kim McCrady

Kim McCrady RDH, BA

Dedicated to Phil Swanson and his courageous family

     Come on, you know you have always wanted to stick your tongue out at your dentist and or your hygienist. Honestly, we invite you to be as impolite as possible. During the oral cancer-screening portion of your dental check up we need and want to see as much of your tongue, tissues, lips, and throat as we can.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

     Unfortunately, according to The Oral Cancer Foundation, cancers of the tongue, lips, cheeks, throat and floor of the mouth are on the rise and have been for the last five years.   In fact, one person passes away every hour from oral cancer.  Those at the highest risk for oral cancer are people with past or current tobacco use habits.  Patients with a family history of oral cancer and men are at a greater risk for oral cancer than women.  The latest consideration as a causative factor for oral cancer is the human papilloma virus (warts) in the oral cavity.  Other listed risk factors include heavy alcohol consumption and over-exposure to the sun.  However, there are many people with oral cancer who will have none of the major known risks factors.

Signs and Symptoms

     There are some signs and symptoms of oral cancer, but most are not detectable until the later stages of development. The National Cancer Institute lists a few of the symptoms of possible oral cancer.  They are patches of tissue that become white or red or a combination of white and red.  Sores on the inside or outside of the lips, mobile teeth, difficulty or pain when swallowing.  If you wear dentures, pain while wearing your dentures can be a warning sign.  Lumps in your neck, along your jawline, behind your ears, pain in your ear that does not subside and lumps in the floor of the mouth are also possible symptoms of oral cancer. 

Oral Caner Screening

     Your dentist and hygienist will check your tissues by having you stick out your tongue.  We catch your tongue with a piece of gauze and will pull it from side to side. We will ask you if you have noticed any sores in your mouth that have been present for more than two weeks.  We will have you touch the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue so we can easily view the underside of your tongue.  We also evaluate the inside of your cheeks, lips, floor of the mouth and the back of your throat is also examined. Even the lymph nodes in your neck and along your jawbone need to be checked regularly for abnormalities.  We also check your face, neck and lips for abnormal changes.

     Luckily, new technology is available for oral cancer screenings.  Our office uses a piece of equipment called, the VELscope.  The VeELcope allows the doctor to see changes in the tissue using fluorescence.    This technology allows the doctor to detect changes in the tissue earlier than he can with the naked eye.   Like most technology, we are confident these tools will continue to evolve in accuracy and be used more and more in dental offices.  It is our office philosophy to stay aware of these changes in technology and make them available to you.

Diagnosis and Treatment

     If a suspicious area is detected during your oral cancer screening, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon, ear nose and throat specialist or a dermatologist for evaluation and probable biopsy of the area in question.  If you are diagnosed with an oral cancer, treatment will likely vary depending upon the stage of the cancer.  Surgery, radiation, targeted therapy and chemotherapy are often used in combination as treatments.  Early detection and immediate treatment is critical to survival.  Prognosis in a latter stage of development is poor because oral cancers spread (metastasize) quickly to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body as they grow. 

Prevention

     Decrease your risk of oral cancer by reducing your alcohol intake, commit to tobacco cessation.  If you need help quitting, contact your doctor or contact a support program like Ashline.  Be proactive, check your tongue and tissues at home regularly and report to your dentist immediately if you find any concerning areas in your mouth.  The ADA estimates 60% of the US population will see a dentist each year.  This means dental professionals are your partner providers in early detection.  When you see your dentist and your hygienist at your regular visit, insist on an oral cancer screening.  Our office takes oral cancer screening seriously and we invite you to, “PLEASE, stick your tongue out at your dentist!”

 

The Oral Cancer Foundation:  http://oralcancerfoundation.org

National Cancer Institute:  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral/page1

Ashline: http://www.ashline.org

Oral Surgeons and the VELscope system:  Partners in Early Detection and Diagnosis:  http://www.velscope.com/upload/VELscopeVX_Oral_Surgeons.pdf

Embracing Fluoride

 

Peggy 

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Stoor BSRDH

As a hygienist with many years of experience, I’m starting to notice an alarming trend.  I began to be suspicious, when my own children who I fanatically watched the diet and toothbrushing habits of, werefound to have cavities. A small number of cavities, but still! My kids! How could this happen?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the caries rates (cavities) in children ages 2 thru 5, is onthe rise. This is a trend we have not seen in over 40 years. Many dental professionals are beginning tosuspect that this is, at least in part, due to drinking bottled or filtered water, without fluoride. Fluoride isoften found naturally and may be added to our community water supplies. But, a recent study found thatabout 45 % of parents give their children only or almost exclusively bottled water. The Journal of Pediatric Dentistry reports that figure closer to nearly 70%.  While the correlation between the increase in caries and the decline in fluoridated water consumption hasn’t been sufficiently linked, many are beginning to believe that this is a contributing factor.

Obviously, the eating habits of American children also play a huge role and every time a child has a sweet snack, their mouth becomes acidic.  The number and frequency of these acidic attacks is important in causing tooth decay.  Sweetened juices, high sugar, and high carbohydrate snacks coupled with parents’ reluctance to brush their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste also play a large role.

Interestingly, a study by The National Center for Health Statistics found that boys in higher income families had the greatest prevalence of decay.  Is it because parents in higher income families can afford to provide more beverages such as juice, sports drinks, and bottled water believing that they are doing better for their children? Parents trying to promote health may potentially help to harm as these drinks don’t protect from cavities and are often high in sugars.  Just as we need to be aware of the amount of sugar in our fruit and sports drinks, we should also be informed of the amount of fluoride in our bottled and filtered water.

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It has been nearly 70 years since the discovery of the decay preventing effects of fluoride. The CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. “The health and economic benefits of water fluoridation accrue to individuals of all ages and socioeconomic groups, especially to poor children”  (Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks, 1991, US Public Health Service)

Despite numerous studies from experts in many fields, including the medical establishment, which have proven the safety and efficacy of fluoride, controversy and fears continue among many.  The debate has a very lengthy history and is far too much to detail in these few paragraphs.  Communism, socialism, cancer, mental retardation, and bone fractures are some of the concerns expressed by anti-fluoridationists.  However, in a report on the benefits and risks of fluoride, the U.S. Public Health Service Department states that optimal fluoridation of water does not pose a cancer risk to humans. This is evidenced by extensive human epidemiological data from studies over the past 75 years. While its true that fluoride is found in sources other than water (foods, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and fluoride supplements), the conclusions were that no trends in cancer risk were seen between populations of fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. These findings were duplicated by the National Cancer Institute in a review of studies and an additional 16 years of research.

Concerned parents have often asked me about the pros and cons of fluoride.  While excessive fluoride consumption is obviously something to guard against, spotty consumption of fluoride poses a great risk for decay.  As in all things, finding a balance is the key. I now advise my patients to find out about their water. Reverse osmosis filtration removes the fluoride as well as the contaminants. While some bottled water contains fluoride, the majority does not. Contact your city’s water supplier and/or research your bottled or filtered water online. This information is readily available and as wise consumers and parents we should be knowledgeable about what our children and we are ingesting.

For young children, ages 2 to 6, please skip the sugar sticky snacks and that bottle of milk or juice at bedtime, drink a little tap water daily, and brush your child’s teeth with a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. If the child cries or complains, think about how much more difficult and potentially traumatizing decay, pain, and possible tooth loss might be.

 

 

 

Aleccia, J. (2012, March 21). Bottled water may boost kids’ tooth decay, dentists say. NBC News Health. Retrieved July 04, 2013, from http://www.nbcnews.com/health/bottledwater.

Ellwood, R. P., & Cury, J. A. (n.d.). How much toothpaste should a child under the age of 6 years use? 168-74. Abstract obtained from Eur Archives Paediatric Dentistry, 2009 168-74. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.

Garrison, G. M., MD, & Loven, B., MLIS. (2007). Can Infants/Toddlers Get Enough Fluoride Through Brushing.Journal of Family Practice, 56`(9). Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.

Hobson, W. L., Knochel, M. L., Byington, C. L., Young, P. C., Hoff, C. J., & Buchi, K. F. (2007). Bottled, Filtered,and Tap Water Use in Latino and Non-Latino Children. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 161(5), 457-461.

Kliff, S. (2013, May 21). The Ongoing Fluoride Wars- Once Again Portland Votes Against Fluoridation of … The Washington Post. Retrieved July 4, 2013.

McNeil, D. R. (1985). America’s Longest War: The Fight Over Fluoridation. The Wilson Quarterly, Summer, 140-153.

Sriraman, N. K., Patrick, P. A., Hutton, K., & Edwards, K. S. (2009). Children’s drinking water: Parental preferencesand implications for fluoride exposure. Pediatric Dentistry, 310-5. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.

United States Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services (February 1991), Report of The AdHoc Subcommittee on Fluoride. (n.d.). Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks.

Wonders of Whitening

There are so many different types of teeth whitening out on the market now-a-days, ever wonder if they all work? Which ones are the best for you? Do they last long? Are they good for your teeth and gums? Do they damage your tooth structure? Often, people whiten their teeth with different products without really knowing what it is, the effectiveness, and do they have that long-term effect that everyone wants. If you’re anything like me, you strive for whiter teeth every day. I have been obsessed with whitening my teeth ever since I got my braces off 6 years ago. I have tried every method under the sun and have found positives and negatives about each one.

The first method I started out with were the whitening strips. I found these to be most convenient and affordable at a young age. I purchased the 60 pack of Crest White Strips at Costco for around 100 dollars. I started using them as soon as I got home! I found they were a little odd at first. Teeth whitening strips are clear, flimsy plastic that you place on your teeth and hope that they don’t slide or fall off so you won’t have to taste the yucky bleach. They are coated on one side with a film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching agent. You open a bottom strip, and a top strip and place them on your teeth. I found them to be a bit awkward because I felt like I had to keep my mouth open, and smiling the whole time so I wouldn’t swallow the bleach, or get it on anything but my teeth. The strips definitely made a difference, it just took a while. If you’re an impatient person like I am, this is not the route to go.

Another option I tried was ordering trays online that you boil and then shape them to your teeth. Let me tell you one thing before I continue, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS. They do not work, and are the most frustrating things on the planet. Trying to boil something, and put it into your mouth right after, HURTS! They didn’t mold correctly, and they were uncomfortable. I had a hard time having them in my mouth for an hour each day. I just couldn’t do it anymore. After about 2 weeks of no difference in my teeth what-so-ever. Definitely recommend steering clear of an online order for bleach trays.

I am an aspiring Dental Hygienist. I have a passion for teeth, and have had that passion ever since I would beg my friends to allow me pull their teeth out when I was 5 years old. Teeth are a big deal in my life. I started working in a dental office about 7 months ago while I go to school for Dental Hygiene. While working there, I have been introduced to a whole new world of whitening. I have learned more about whitening then I have ever hoped. The first week of working, I purchased the custom trays. Let me just say this before I continue, this has been the best decision I have ever made (next to some other life altering choices). The trays are affordable and range depending on the office, mine were obviously at a discounted price being an employee of the practice. These trays are custom, like I said. Getting set up does take the most time by far, but the results are more than worth the time invested. First you come in for impressions, usually later that day we have the trays ready for you. The material we use comes in a prefilled syringe like tube which makes it easier to apply in the bleach trays. The syringes contain 16% hydrogen peroxide which is more than enough to remove those stubborn stains, or even effects of tetracycline use (see previous blog). I have a bonded tooth that can sometimes get a little discolored, and what I love most about this bleach is that it makes a huge difference even on my bonded tooth. The best thing about custom trays is that they are comfortable, and you only have to use a little bit of gel, so when you put the trays in, they aren’t over flowing with bleach making it awkward to close your mouth. I wore my trays consistently for one hour every night for 7 days and saw a huge difference. The trays are a good choice if you’re the type of person that wants results fast and loves convenience at a reasonable cost. The only downside to this method of whitening is that when you put too much bleach in your trays and it makes contact with your gums, it may cause a little bit of discomfort or a little bit of pain. But other than that, this is my go to whitening!

My office, as well as many other dentist offices offer in office whitening. It is a one day office visit, pain-free, short chair time procedure, with lasting results. This is by far the most popular procedure. It is popular because of the long-lasting effects. You have one visit, and your teeth are up to 7 shades lighter. A lot of people are very hesitant of in office whitening due to the fact that they are afraid their teeth may become sensitive. With the in office procedure, 4 separate tubes of whitening are applied to your teeth over an hour period in 15 minutes intervals there is little to no sensitivity.

All of this talk about whitening leads me to my most exciting discovery. In talking about my pursuit for excellence in whitening around the office, I discovered that my office participates in an annual Zoom Whitening campaign called Smiles for Life. Smiles for Life is a whitening campaign partnered with the Crown Council that whitens teeth on a donation basis. During March – June of every year my office joined with Philips Oral Health makers of ZOOM whiten teeth and all the proceeds go directly to charity, 50% of proceeds benefit national children’s charities, 50% benefit a charity of our choice – Hope Arising, visit http://www.smilesforlife.org for more details. Hope Arising is a sustainable organization that helps people of Ethiopia, we work very closely with Hope Arising , even traveling to Africa twice a year to aid in their stabilization efforts. While in Ethiopia we provide dental services to those in need as well as aid in other efforts to stabilize agriculture and water delivery systems to local villages, visit http://www.hopearising.org for more details or information on how you can help. In the 2012 Smiles for Life campaign we raised over $10,000 and donated approximately $5,000 to Hope Arising, were hoping for an even more successful 2013.

Different whitening methods apply to different people. You may love the strips, and hate the trays. You may love the in office whitening and hate everything else. These are just some of Cassie’s (me) tips to whiter teeth! And for a good cause, too  If you need any more information on whitening, please feel free to email me at appt@shalimarfamilydentistry.com or call me at (480)838-3355. I am very reachable by both.teeth-whiteningpress_release_distribution_0301198_57938

The Wonders of Vitamin D

 Have you ever wondered what Vitamin D can do to help your body? More over your oral health? Is milk really only for my bones?

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins. It prevents periodontal disease, gingivitis, and cavities in addition to building bones and aids in absorption of calcium. Vitamin D regulates calcium and allows us to use it more efficiently in our bodies, which is vital to bone health. Recently this vitamin has been linked to the healthiness of your teeth! Studies have shown that addition of Vitamin D to the diet of children reduced evidence of tooth decay by up to 50% in the 3,000 children who were part of the study. In humans, Vitamin D is unique because if can be synthesized and can be absorbed naturally when exposed to the sun. Sadly, if you have a calcium and/or vitamin D deficiency it is likely that your bones and teeth will be affected. Therefore increasing and maintaining your calcium and vitamin D intake can help reduce the effects of premature bone loss.

One good source of Vitamin D and calcium that we can have every day is Milk! Who doesn’t like a nice cool glass of milk? Milk that is fortified with Vitamin D is beneficial to our oral health is because it packs the two for one punch Calcium and Vitamin D. Having strong teeth and bones is arguably one of the most valuable health benefits we strive towards with age. Generally teeth are very hard and  can withstand all the chewing and crunching of all the food we eat. However, tooth enamel is a complex calcium phosphate mineral called apatite. Because, calcium is continuously gained and lost by this mineral, addition of milk to our diets is a great way to replenish calcium. When we are deficient in calcium and Vitamin D, our teeth aren’t as strong, and we can acquire bone loss and even inflammation of our gums. Oral inflammation is a sign of periodontal disease, which results in bone loss if left untreated, when infection that causes bones loss is left untreated tooth loss is the final result. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues  that effect bone that support your teeth this disease occurs when plaque and other oral bacteria’s reach dangerous levels and are not removed by daily brushing or treated with surgeries.

There are many beneficial reasons to adding Vitamin D to your diet, one of the hidden reasons is for your oral health! Your teeth go through so much stress and strain from all of the yummy, delicious, sticky  foods you eat. Thank them by taking Vitamin D and maintaining your oral health with your family dentist and scheduling annual check-up and cleanings!

Dairy-5

 

Tetracycline, Pregnancy, and Oral Care.

Have you ever heard of the antibiotic called Tetracycline? It is used to treat conditions including acne and respiratory infections. What a lot of people don’t know is that if you’re taking this and you are pregnant, this antibiotic can cause certain risk factors to your child. If you take tetracycline after the fourth month of pregnancy, you can put your child’s teeth in harm. It can cause discoloration, or graying of the baby’s teeth. Because the staining forms when the baby’s teeth are developing, the discoloration is embedded in the tooth’s enamel and inner layers.  The discoloration is either gray or brown in color. They cover the entire tooth, or appear as a pattern of stripes. tetracycline discoloration develops on the teeth while they are still forming under the gum line. During the development of the baby’s teeth, the drug becomes calcified (hardens) in the tooth, generating the tooth stain. Children are susceptible to tetracycline discoloration from the time they are in utero until age 8.

Which leads me to my next point….You can never start oral care too early. If you’re an expectant mother, you can start taking care of your child’s teeth while they are in utero. Eating a variety of  healthy foods, and taking calcium supplements can help prevent decay from forming. Not only does that help with the prevention of decay, it also decreases the baby’s risk of being born with a cleft lip and palate.  When the baby is born, you can continue to help the prevention of decay. After each feeding, take a soft, damp wash cloth and gently wipe the baby’s gums. This will also decrease the baby’s risk of bacteria build up. When they reach the age of 6 months, when their teeth usually start to come in, you can take a very soft tooth-brush, and gently brush the gum lines, where the teeth form twice a day. As the children get older, parents should be brushing their teeth until they are 6 years old. This helps them develop a pattern, and routine for when they get older, and brush by themselves. You can also prevent sticky, and sweet foods from being a main part of their diet. This will help prevent cavities, and tooth decay.