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DENTAL TIP OF THE MONTH
JUNE 2008

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National Men's Health Week

 

Why is Oral Health Important for Men?

 

Men are less likely than women to take care of their physical health and, according to surveys and studies, their oral health is equally ignored. Good oral health recently has been linked with longevity. Yet, one of the most common factors associated with infrequent dental checkups is just being male. Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health for years, visiting a dentist only when a problem arises. When it comes to oral health, statistics show that the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose 5.4 teeth by age 72. If he smokes, he can plan on losing 12 teeth by age 72. Men are also more likely to develop oral and throat cancer and periodontal (gum) disease.

 

Why is periodontal disease a problem?

 

Periodontal disease is a result of plaque, which hardens into a rough, porous substance called tartar. The acids produced and released by bacteria found in tartar irritate gums. These acids cause the breakdown of fibers that anchor the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more bacteria. Researchers have found a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. See your dentist if you have any of these symptoms:

 

bullet Bleeding gums during brushing
bullet Red, swollen or tender gums
bullet Persistent bad breath
bullet Loose or separating teeth

 

Do you take medications?

 

Since men are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, they also are more likely to be on medications that can cause dry mouth. If you take medication for the heart or blood pressure, or if you take antidepressants, your salivary flow could be inhibited, increasing the risk for cavities. Saliva helps to reduce the cavity-causing bacteria found in your mouth.

 

Do you use tobacco?

 

If you smoke or chew, you have a greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. Men are affected twice as often as women, and 95 percent of oral cancers occur in those over 40 years of age.

 

The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery and even death. More than 8,000 people die each year from oral and pharyngeal diseases. If you use tobacco, it is important to see a dentist frequently for cleanings and to ensure your mouth remains healthy. Your general dentist can perform a thorough screening for oral cancer.

 

Do you play sports?

 

If you participate in sports, you have a greater potential for trauma to your mouth and teeth. If you play contact sports, such as football, soccer, basketball and even baseball, it is important to use a mouthguard, which is a flexible appliance made of plastic that protects teeth from trauma. If you ride bicycles or motorcycles, wear a helmet.

 

Taking care of your teeth

 

To take better care of your oral health, it is important to floss daily, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily and visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings. Here are some tips to better dental health:

 

bullet Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach every surface of each tooth. If the bristles on your toothbrush are bent or frayed, buy a new one.
bullet Replace your toothbrush every three months or after you've been sick.
bullet Choose a toothpaste with fluoride. This can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40 percent.
bullet Brush properly. To clean the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion using short, gentle strokes. To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle strokes over each tooth and its surrounding gum tissue. Spend at least three minutes brushing.
bullet Floss properly. Gently insert floss between teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or snap it into place. Curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and then the other.    ADA 2008

 

Smile Is Worth More Than Anything

The British Dental Health Foundation  has backed research that says smiling can give more pleasure than sex or chocolate but added that people need to keep their smile looking its best for maximum effect.

The BDHF was commenting after scientists revealed that a smile gives the same level of stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars or receiving 16,000 in cash.

The clinical tests, carried out on volunteers in Scotland, measured brain and heart activity as participants were shown pictures of people smiling and given money and chocolate.

Seeing a smile creates what is termed as a `halo' effect, helping us to remember other happy events more vividly, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated. We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research.

A healthy smile can improve your confidence, help you make friends and help you to succeed in your career, so you need to keep it looking its best. Hopefully this research will get more people thinking about their oral health.'
5/07

June is also Dairy Month.

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June is National Safety Month

Sponsored by the National Safety Council, this is a great time to encourage active, sports enthusiast patients to consider the importance of:

bulletCustom fitted mouthguards or 
bulletEMT ToothSaver system that protects a knocked out tooth for up to 24 hours before replantation

6/04

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10 Ways To Protect Your Teeth

1.  Brush Right

     Position the head of your toothbrush toward your gums as a 45 degree angle and move it back and forth gently in short strokes.  Do this for 3 minutes or the length of a song on the radio.

2.  Exercise Cautiously

     If you play sports or are involved in rigorous activities get a mouth guard especially if you have braces, veneers or bridges.

3.  Don't Ignore Stomach Problems

     Gastrointestinal reflux syndrome can cause stomach acid to travel back into the mouth and erode tooth enamel as well as introduce infection causing bacteria into the gum that can lead to periodontal disease or even tooth loss. 

4.  See Your Dentist Twice a Year

     Often oral problems cause no pain and can go undetected and get worse.  To save you discomfort and money had a dental exam  and tooth polishing every six months.

5.  Know the Side Effects of Medication

     Over 400 drugs can indirectly affect your dental health.  Tell your dentist about your prescriptions, you may need a high fluoride rinse or gel to protect your teeth.

6.  Stop Clenching and Grinding Your Teeth

    Bruxism or grinding your teeth puts pressure of up to 250 pounds per square inch on your teeth.  This can cause gums to recede and accelerate periodontal disease.  If you wake up with a sore neck or jaw or have frequent headaches talk to your dentist about a splint or NTI.

7.  Don't Smoke

     Smokers are four times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease.  Smoking can also cause oral cancer.

8.  Use Your Teeth ONLY for Chewing Food

     Tearing, cracking or biting objects or chewing on hard things can crack or break your teeth and cause loosen fillings and crowns.

9.  Floss, Floss, Floss

     If you don't floss you miss cleaning 30% of each tooth's surface leaving sticky, bacteria laden plaque between your teeth that can cause gum disease and tooth loss.  Floss regularly,  at least once a day.

10.  Watch Out for Teeth Damaging Foods

     Popcorn kernels, frozen candy bars and ice cubes can crack your teeth.  Pop contains acid and sugar that will erode tooth enamel and coffee and tea will stain your teeth.

Brush Free Ways To Clean Your Teeth:

bulletChew sugarless gum after every meal or snack.
bulletEat cheese to boost calcium levels and protect and remineralize your teeth.
bulletSwish with water after you eat

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Fitness, June 2002, pg 66.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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