Your Mouth and Your Body: The Connection
It’s been known recently that the gums and teeth act as a barometer for how well the body is doing, they may directly affect the health of the heart, metabolism, or the brain. Doctors, universally, don’t seem to make the connection considering the mouth is the most common entry point for infection. They don’t take the health of the mouth more seriously when almost every medical condition has some kind of manifestation in the mouth.
Since inflammation is a major force behind almost every chronic disease, we consider, for example, how bad oral hygiene can eventually lead to serious periodontal disease. Inflamed and infected, bacteria can travel the bloodstream from the gums to the rest of the body triggering a harmful inflammatory response far from the mouth. Such as the heart. One should consider, in theory, the development of cardiovascular disease. And the odds can stack up pretty fast – heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and possibly erectile dysfunction and Alzheimer’s can all be connected to an unhealthy mouth. A study even reported that patients with periodontal disease were 30 percent more likely to suffer a first heart attack than patients with a clean bill of health.
Diabetes is the other major area of oral-systemic research. Studies show that if you’ve got gum disease, you’re more likely to develop diabetes; the worse the gums, likely the worse the diabetes. Mouth bacteria can interfere with the body’s ability to clear sugar from the blood. Conversely, diabetics have a harder time keeping bacteria off their gums as the tissues are more susceptible.
There’s the potential impact oral bacteria have in the brain. A small British study found Alzheimer’s patients with gum disease suffered cognitive decline at six times the rate of the group without. And yes, people whose brains are rapidly deteriorating are more likely to forget to brush their teeth.
These connections should be considered more seriously as doctors and dentist work together to build a healthier society.
Making the Connection in Lynnwood
Here at Lynnwood Song Dental, we are only too aware how connected the mouth is to the rest of the body. Surely, we advice well should we find tell-tale signs in the oral structures of a medical condition existing that is best dealt with by a physician.
Is Your Mouth Tasting like Pennies?
If you are otherwise healthy, that metallic taste in your mouth usually goes away after you’re done with a cold, an infection has cleared, or you’ve stopped taking certain medications. The condition is typically benign and so, there’s nothing to worry about. But there may be conditions that result in the metallic tang that you should know about. We list here the most common ones.
At the top of the list is poor oral hygiene. Lack of proper brushing and flossing can lead to tooth decay and gum diseases, infections that alter taste. When you treat these infections, the odd taste goes away.
Now, there are prescription drugs that treat conditions outside of your mouth and taking them changes taste perception. Drugs like tetracycline antibiotics, allopurinol for gout, lithium for psychiatric conditions, and some cardiac drugs can leave a metallic taste as they are absorbed into your system and passes your saliva.
Antidepressants can cause dry mouth and still alter taste because they close the taste buds. Multivitamins with heavy metals (such as copper, zinc or chromium) or cold remedies (such as zinc lozenges) can cause a metallic taste. So can prenatal vitamins, and iron or calcium supplements.
Upper respiratory infections, colds and sinusitis change your sense of taste but will resolve when your infection clears up. The change in taste can also affect women in their early stages of pregnancy, those who are under chemotherapy and radiation for the treatment of cancer, and those with dementia. In dementia, taste buds connected to nerves do not respond as before due to the breakdown of that part of the brain that regulates taste.
Another cause for the taste change is exposure to high levels of mercury or lead. Inhaling them can produce this metallic taste in the mouth.
Better consult your doctor if this change persist.
Knowing About Taste Changes | Consult with our Lynnwood Dentist
Ask your dentist at Lynnwood Song Dental about metallic taste in the mouth and if it’s dental-related he can resolve with treatment and advice. Otherwise, a medical consultation is the next thing to do.
Be Aware of the Germs and Bacteria on your Toothbrush
If you share a bathroom with other people, you may need to watch out for your toothbrush. According to a study presented at this year’s meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, your chance for finding human feces on your toothbrush is roughly 60%.
Further, brushes stored in a room used by multiple people had an 80% chance of featuring waste coming from a person other than the brush’s user, which represents a greater health risk than contaminants that come strictly from yourself.
This contamination occurs when a toilet is flushed. Every flush sends up a barely perceptible spray of toilet water, which often contains particles of human waste. If your brush is stored openly near the toilet, this water can land upon the bristles and the tiny particles of waste can build up.
Ideally, you should store your brush in a container that covers or can close, but still exposed to air so that it can more easily dry out between brushing. Contact our Lynnwood dentist for further information on proper toothbrush maintenance.
Is honey healthier?
Honey has a number of benefits as a sweetener, compared to conventional refined sugars. Knowing this, some people make the mistake of thinking that these benefits extend to your oral health. They’ll use honey as an alternative sweetener, hoping that it will add up to less tooth decay, sometimes even going so far as to coat a baby’s pacifier in honey. This is an unfortunate mistake.
The fact is that honey has just as much potential to rot your teeth as cane sugar. Approximately 82% of honey is made up of sugars, which amounts to about seventeen grams of sugar per tablespoon. Though these are natural glucose and fructose, they still provide your oral bacteria with the food they need to produce the acid that eats away at your enamel.
As sticky as it is, there is even some additional risk that honey will linger in your mouth longer than most sweeteners, inviting further decay.
When eating honey, be sure to treat it much the same way you would treat any sugary snack. Enjoy it sparingly, and consider rinsing out with water afterward. Consult our dentist, Dr. Song, for more help fostering good oral health.
Using Lemons to Whiten your Teeth
There has been a lot of articles about using lemon to whiten your teeth. What you may not know is that acidic food always has the potential to weaken your enamel and allow your teeth to decay. Unfortunately, even foods that are otherwise very healthy for you, like citrus fruits, have this potential.
Lemons are a particularly strong offender in this sense; lemon juice is responsible for the most dental damage of any citrus fruit in a scientific study. When you add the copious amounts of sugar that is generally paired with lemonade and similar lemon-related treats, you’ve got a very potent tooth-rotter.
When you enjoy lemonade or fruity drinks, consider following your drink by rinsing out with a drink of water. Don’t brush right away, as your enamel needs at least twenty minutes to remineralize. Keep this up, and get your regular cleanings with our Lynnwood dentist, and you’ll be able to stave off tooth decay without having to give up citrus.
Matcha Green Tea Benefits
There are many good reasons to drink green tea, one of which has to do with your dental health. According to researchers, such tea contains antimicrobial molecules that serve to protect your teeth from harm. Subjects between the ages of forty and sixty-four who drank one cup of green tea every day were found to be 19% less likely to lose teeth as they aged.
Oolong tea was found to contain a lesser amount of the catechins responsible for this effect. Green teas sweetened with sugar, meanwhile, were far less beneficial.
Part of the benefit of tea may be attributed to the lukewarm fluid washing out your mouth. However, similarly warm coffees seem to lack the same benefits. Regular coffee has demonstrated no ability to keep your teeth healthy, while sweetened coffees are actually quite detrimental to your oral health. Coffee may also stain your teeth because of the dark coloration.
Drinking fluids that are too hot is also harmful to your delicate oral tissues and be aware that drinking hot tea may cause teeth sensitivity. It’s best to drink beverages that are closer to room temperature. With this in mind, do not hesitate to drink your tea cool.
For more tips on maintaining a clean, healthy mouth, contact our Lynnwood dentist, Dr. Song today!
A lot has been said about the use of bleaching agents on the enamel of your teeth. Some people are afraid that a tooth whitening treatment, like those offered by our Lynnwood dentistry clinic, might be breaking down the fragile minerals that protect you from cavities. Fortunately, a recent scientific study has shed some light on this issue that should serve to put your worries to rest.
According to researchers from the São Leopoldo Mandic Institute and Research Center in Brazil, in-office tooth whitening procedures do not have any effect on the concentration of calcium and phosphorus on the surface of a patient’s tooth enamel. These conclusions were drawn from a study wherein a number of people were subjected to different levels of bleaching gels, which showed no significant difference between those who had undergone bleaching and those who had not.
Consult with our Lynnwood Dentist
This only applies to professional whitening procedures, though, as certain home-whitening products proved to be a little more harmful. Further study is required on the topic but, until such study can be conducted, come to Song Dental Center for all of your whitening needs.
Pain from Flossing
Some people experience pain when they floss. In many cases, the simple act of flossing can quickly draw blood from your gums. Should this be your experience, don’t make the mistake of using it as an excuse to stop flossing; counterintuitive as it may be, you’ll be better off muscling through the pain.
Some patients may also experience swollen gums and minor throbbing in addition to bleeding gums. Effects may differ with each patient.
Also, check with Dr. Song to see if you are flossing correctly. It may help if you learn the correct techniques of flossing.
The pain and bleeding that occurs during flossing is not going to go away if you stop flossing. If you keep up a regular, once-a-day flossing schedule, you should find that the pain and bleeding diminishes over time while your sensitive tissues become stronger. However, if your gums have already begun to succumb to gingivitis, you may need more help to overcome your problem.
Contact our Lynnwood dentist, Dr. Song, for additional information and get your dental check-up and cleaning.
Dental Emergency Lynnwood
Even if you take the best of care with your teeth, accidents can always happen. A dental emergency can come in the form of a cracked tooth, a broken jaw, or even a severe toothache. If any of these befalls you, call our office immediately. Do not put any aspirin or other painkillers on the gums, as this can burn gum tissues. Clean out your mouth with warm water and put a cold compress on anything that appears to be broken or swelling.
If a permanent tooth has come out, quick action may save the tooth. When you pick it up, handle it only by the crown, and never by the roots. Rinse it off gently if necessary, but do not scrub or disinfect it as this can strip away living tissue. If you can, put it back in the socket. If this isn’t possible, store the tooth in water, milk, or even just saliva until you can get to a dentist.
Depending on the severity of your emergency, you may wish to visit your hospital’s emergency room.
What to do in Cases of Dental Trauma
Most trauma injuries to teeth occur during normal daily activities, often are circumstances difficult to prevent. From children to adults, traumatic injuries are common. Infants and toddlers, during playtime or even when learning to walk, meet with accidents that tend to knock out their front primary teeth.
Older children to adults, especially those engaged in sports and other active encounters, or get into brawls, or meet with vehicular accidents, suffer trauma to the face, jaws and teeth. Safety measures are not always in place. In these situations where loss of teeth are involved, a dentist expertise is sought immediately. So, what can you do?
If a baby or your toddler’s tooth or teeth get knocked off, take care that you do not implant the displaced tooth back into its socket. Let your dentist do it for you are likely to damage the developing permanent tooth that is just behind the dislodged primary tooth. If this happens to a permanent tooth, it should be carefully picked up by its crown, not by its root, for the root part may still contain vital attachments necessary for a successful transplant.
You can very briefly wash it (in seconds only) in milk or saline solution if it is dirty. If it is possible to replant the tooth, hold it then in place by biting on a clean cloth to keep it in place. Or otherwise, if it can’t be re-implanted immediately, the tooth can be placed in the patient’s mouth, between the teeth and the inside cheek. This is an emergency, and dental attention should be prompt.
Emergency Dental Care at Lynwood Dentistry
We at Song Dental Center provide same day emergency appointments for existing and new patients. If you have a dental emergency, like trauma, do give us a call so can expect you and be ready. Or, you can just walk-in and be assured we will serve you promptly.