March 30, 2016
A GOOD READ
We’ve been talking about the importance of your dental health. Please find the excerpt from Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, by the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service as a good read for your sunny Wednesday afternoon.
“The mouth and face are highly accessible parts of the body, sensitive to and able to reflect changes occurring internally. The mouth is the major portal of entry to the body and is equipped with formidable mechanisms for sensing the environment and defending against toxins or invading pathogens. In the event that the integrity of the oral tissues is compromised, the mouth can become a source of disease or pathological processes affecting other parts of the body. It can also become a source of contagion by means of contaminated fluids or materials passed to others.
The Mouth and Face as a Mirror of Health and Disease
A physical examination of the mouth and face can reveal signs of disease, drug use, domestic physical abuse, harmful habits or addictions such as smoking, and general health status. Imaging (e.g., x-ray, MRI, SPECT) of the oral and craniofacial structures may provide early signs of skeletal changes such as those occurring with osteoporosis and musculoskeletal disorders, and may also reveal salivary, congenital, neoplastic, and developmental disorders. Oral cells and fluids, especially saliva, can be tested for a wide range of substances, and oral-based diagnostics are increasingly being developed and used as a means to assess health and disease without the limitations and difficulties of obtaining blood and urine.
The Mouth as a Portal of Entry for Infection
More than 500 bacterial strains have been identified in dental biofilm, and more than 150 bacterial strains have been isolated from dental pulp infections. More recently, 37 unique and previously unknown strains of bacteria were identified in dental plaque (biofilm) (Kroes et al. 1999). These microorganisms can induce extensive localized infections that compromise general well-being in and of themselves. However, they also may spread to other parts of the body if normal barriers are breached. The oral mucosa is one such barrier that provides critical defense against pathogens and other challenges (Schubert et al. 1999). Salivary secretions are a second major line of defense. Damage to the oral mucosa…allows a portal of entry for invading pathogens.”
HEALTHY GUMS, HEALTHY TEETH
The gum tissues are just as important to your dental health as your pearly whites! Healthy gum tissue fits around each tooth and help support it. As the tissue gets damaged, the slightly v-shaped crevice called sulcus enlarges to greater than three millimeters. Enlarged pockets allow harmful bacteria to enter and grow.
Periodontal diseases are infections of the tissues and bone that surround and support your teeth. It is usually painless. These warning signs can signal a problem. See your dentist if you see any of the following signs.
- gums that bleed easily
- swollen, red, or tender gums
- gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- persistent bad breath
- pus between the teeth and gums
- loose or separating teeth
- any changes in the way your teeth fit together or a change in the fit of partial dentures
MORE THAN JUST THE LOOKS
Malocclusion is a term to describe the misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. Misaligned teeth and an incorrect bite can affect more than just your smile. They may be the cause for speech impediments, jaw pain, grinding or clenching, difficulty chewing, or gum disease and tooth decay. Methods to move the teeth into the ideal position and correct alignment could help to improve gum and teeth health in additions to a beautiful smile.
Dr. Leavitt is now a certified Invisalign® Provider. Find out more detailed information regarding Invisalign® in the links below. Information can also be accessed through the Cosmetic Treatment tab at the top of the page.
FLUORIDE IN OUR WATER
Now that we’ve seen the importance of fluoride in helping to protect our enamel, let’s venture further. How has fluoride been an integral part of our daily life? Well, besides being in our toothpastes, fluoride can also be found in our drinking water.
On January 25, 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water. Last year, 2015, marks the 70 year anniversary of this initiative in public health policy. In commemorating this anniversary, the surgeon general, Dr. Murthy applauded the efforts that created this cost-effective and safe measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health.
Extensive research has been conducted to support the policy in bettering oral health. According to the ADA, “Studies show that community water fluoridation prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, even with the widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.”