Posts for: December, 2019
When a woman learns she's pregnant, her first thought is often to do everything possible to protect the new life inside her. That may mean making lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol or quitting smoking.
Some women may also become concerned that their regular dental visits could pose a risk to their baby. But both the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Dental Association say it's safe for pregnant women to undergo dental exams and cleanings—in fact, they're particularly important during pregnancy.
That's because pregnant women are more susceptible to dental infections, particularly periodontal (gum) disease, because of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The most common, occurring in about 40% of expectant mothers, is a form of gum disease known as pregnancy gingivitis. Women usually encounter this infection that leaves the gums tender, swollen and easy to bleed between the second and eighth month of pregnancy.
Untreated, pregnancy gingivitis could potentially advance below the gum line and infect the roots. It could also have an unhealthy effect on the baby: some studies show women with severe gum disease are more prone to give birth to premature or underweight babies than women with healthy gums.
But it can be stopped effectively, especially if it's treated early. Regular dental checkups and cleanings (at least every six months or more frequently if your dentist recommends) can help an expectant mother stay ahead of a developing gum infection.
With that said, though, your dentist's approach to your care may change somewhat during pregnancy. While there's little concern over essential procedures like gum disease treatment or root canal therapy, elective restorations that are cosmetic in nature might best be postponed until after the baby's birth.
So, if you've just found out you're pregnant, let your dentist know so they can adjust your care depending on your condition and history. And don't be concerned about keeping up your regular dental visits—it's a great thing to do for both you and your baby.
If you would like more information on dental care during pregnancy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Care During Pregnancy: Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene Is More Important Than Ever.”
Osteoporosis is a major health condition affecting millions of people, mostly women over 50. The disease weakens bone strength to the point that a minor fall or even coughing can result in broken bones. And, in an effort to treat it, some patients might find themselves at higher risk of complications during invasive dental procedures.
Over the years a number of drugs have been used to slow the disease’s progression and help the bone resist fracturing. Two of the most common kinds are bisphosphonates (Fosamax) and RANKL inhibitors (Prolia). They work by eliminating certain bone cells called osteoclasts, which normally break down and eliminate older bone cells to make way for newer cells created by osteoblasts.
By reducing the osteoclast cells, older bone cells live longer, which can reduce the weakening of the bone short-term. But these older cells, which normally wouldn’t survive as long, tend to become brittle and fragile after a few years of taking these drugs.
This may even cause the bone itself to begin dying, a relatively rare condition called osteonecrosis. Besides the femur in the leg, the bone most susceptible to osteonecrosis is the jawbone. This could create complications during oral procedures like jaw surgery or tooth extractions.
For this reason, doctors recommend reevaluating the need for these types of medications after 3-5 years. Dentists further recommend, in conjunction with the physician treating osteoporosis, that a patient take a “drug holiday” from either of these two medications for several months before and after any planned oral surgery or invasive dental procedure.
If you have osteoporosis, you may also want to consider alternatives to bisphosphonates and RANKL inhibitors. New drugs like raloxifene (which may also decrease the risk of breast cancer) and teriparatide work differently than the two more common drugs and may avoid their side effects. Taking supplements of Vitamin D and calcium may also improve bone health. If your physician still recommends bisphosphonates, you might discuss newer versions of the drugs that pose less risk of osteonecrosis.
Managing osteoporosis is often a balancing act between alleviating symptoms of the disease and protecting other aspects of your health. Finding that balance may help you avoid future problems, especially to your dental health.
If you would like more information on osteoporosis and dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Osteoporosis Drugs & Dental Treatment.”
Happy December Streamwood Smiles Family! Yes, humans need water. It is essential for life. Do we really need GMO-free, alkaline water served out of stainless steel "smart" bottle that reminds us when and how much to consume? The marketing of water as a detoxifying, energizing, health-enhancing, miracle beverage has become a lucrative business. So, is there evidence to support the hydration hype?
First off, the shift to water is has been a very good shift. The knowledge is out there that sugary beverages are not a good choice, nutrition wise. Evidence suggests that drinking sugary beverages, especially soft drinks, is associated with a range of helath issues, including obesity, heart disease, and tooth decay. Most nutrition and public health experts agree that we should limit the consumption of these calories-dense and relatively nutrion-free beverages. But does that mean we have to buy the premium water?
Before we discuss all the fancy waters out there, do we actually need to drink eight glasses of water a day? Evidence says "no". Back in 1945, the US Food and Nutrition Board suggested that "a suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily" (which is about 8 glasses of water a day). What is overlooked in this recommendation was the note that "most of this quantity is in prepared foods". In other words, you get most of your water needed from the food that you eat.
Actually, there is no magic amount of water to consume. We do need to stay appropriatley hydrated, of course. Depending on what you are doing and where you are, the amount of water needs to be adjusted. But our bodies are good at telling us how much and when we should drink. And all liquids--coffee, tea, mashed potatoes!!--count toward your daily comsumption of water. Besides that your body cannot tell if an H2O molecule came from a fresh-water spring or from a cup of gas station coffee.
Even if water is found in a lot of foods and beverages, pure bottled water is still better for us right? Wrong. The water you drink does not need to be purchased from a plastic or glass bottle. The concern is that if you are drinking a lot of bottled water, and it is acidic, it could be eroding the enamel on your teeth and causing tooth decay. A study from Canada, found that 70% of the tested bottled water brands contained high levels of bacteria and generally had more bacteria than tap water. A 2019 Consumer Report investigation found "that in some cases bottled water on store shelves contains more potentially harmful arsenic than tap water"
It is great to know that in most places in the United States and Canada, tap water is highly regulated and safe. Not only that, tap water can have less contaminates than bottled water (except during emergencies that disrupt the clean supply of water). Another added bonus is that most public water is fluoridated. For your dental health, fluoride is really the best thing you can do for your teeth. Flouride is shown over the course of 70 years to reduce tooth decay both in adults and children up to 25%.
What about all the marketing hype about water--gluten free; GMO-free;water with added hydrogen or akaline and so on? To date, there is no real evidence that water induced with hydrogen or akaline is helpful. I mean just eat fruits and vegetables. And GMO and gluten free is just silly!
After millions of years of evolution, the human body is perfectly fine with consuming just plain ol' water. Drink when you are thirsty. Tap water is ususally the best choice, for your body, for your wallet, and for the environment.
Sometimes, looking at old pictures can really bring memories back to life. Just ask Stefani Germanotta—the pop diva better known as Lady Gaga. In one scene from the recent documentary Five Foot Two, as family members sort through headshots from her teen years, her father proclaims: "Here, this proves she had braces!"
"If I had kept that gap, then I would have even more problems with Madonna," Lady Gaga replies, referencing an ongoing feud between the two musical celebrities.
The photos of Gaga's teenage smile reveal that the singer of hits like "Born This Way" once had a noticeable gap (which dentists call a diastema) between her front teeth. This condition is common in children, but often becomes less conspicuous with age. It isn't necessarily a problem: Lots of well-known people have extra space in their smiles, including ex-football player and TV host Michael Strahan, actress Anna Paquin…and fellow pop superstar Madonna. It hasn't hurt any of their careers.
Yet others would prefer a smile without the gap. Fortunately, diastema in children is generally not difficult to fix. One of the easiest ways to do so is with traditional braces or clear aligners. These orthodontic appliances, usually worn for a period of months, can actually move the teeth into positions that look more pleasing in the smile and function better in the bite. For many people, orthodontic treatment is a part of their emergence from adolescence into adulthood.
Braces and aligners, along with other specialized orthodontic appliances, can also remedy many bite problems besides diastema. They can correct misaligned teeth and spacing irregularities, fix overbites and underbites, and take care of numerous other types of malocclusions (bite problems).
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids get screened for orthodontic problems at age 7. Even if an issue is found, most won't get treatment at this age—but in some instances, it's possible that early intervention can save a great deal of time, money and effort later. For example, while the jaw is still developing, its growth can be guided with special appliances that can make future orthodontic treatment go quicker and easier.
Yet orthodontics isn't just for children—adults can wear braces too! As long as teeth and gums are healthy, there's no upper age limit on orthodontic treatment. Instead of traditional silver braces, many adults choose tooth-colored braces or clear aligners to complement their more professional appearance.
So if your child is at the age where screening is recommended—or if you're unhappy with your own smile—ask us whether orthodontics could help. But if you get into a rivalry with Madonna…you're on your own.
If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Orthodontics For The Older Adult.”