You might not think that taking a pill (or pills) would affect your mouth, but it does!
Some medications (such as sedatives, tranquilizers, narcotic pain medications, antimetabolites, and high blood pressure medications) have a depressant effect and some cause drowsiness. Both of these effects can make it harder for you to motivate yourself to brush and floss your teeth. The bacteria left behind can cause cavities or gum problems.
Beta Blockers, used for heart conditions, can cause soft denture reline material to harden up.
Your plaque composition and pH of your mouth may be changed by liquid medications. Sugar is often added to the liquids to make them taste better. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth and leads to cavities. Liquid medications may also act to change the tooth so that more plaque sticks to your teeth. Plaque holds bacteria against your teeth and can cause cavities or gum disease.
Some medications (such as Dilantin and Calcium channel blockers) cause gums to overgrow. Some evidence suggests that good oral hygiene beginning when you start taking the medications reduces the chance of this happening. If your gum overgrowth gets large enough, you might need gum surgery to trim the extra off.
Dry mouth is a side effect of too many medicatins to list all of them here. Dry mouth means less saliva (spit) and less rinsing action of food and plaque off your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that can cause cavities or gum problems. If you are a denture wearer, you may find that your dentures don’t stay in as well. A denture relies on a seal created by a thin layer of saliva (spit) between your tissues and the denture material.
There are some medicines that help your mouth too—and we’ll talk about those in other columns! But if you are on any of the medicines discussed above, keep a close watch on your mouth and ask your dentist to watch over things as well. If you do not have a dentist, please consider joining Dr. Robb’s practice—and check out our patient education section on www.drjrobb.com
*Note: This advice is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees adults and children at her office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. Call 440-960-1940!
Supporters of fluoride say that it helps prevent tooth decay by rebuilding your tooth enamel. The new enamel is harder and more resistant to tooth decay than your original tooth enamel. It also makes it more difficult for plaque to attach to your teeth. WebMD.com also says that fluoride promotes new bone formation so it is helpful for patients with osteoporosis. Studies are also being done to see if fluoride treatment helps with rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Many sources of good scientific evidence and reliable studies exist to show that fluoride helps in these ways.
Opponents of fluoride link it to many medical diseases though few reliable studies seem to exist to support this link. There are a few known problems resulting from fluoride. Fluorosis is one: when high amounts of fluoride are swallowed while teeth are forming, the teeth can become discolored. High doses of fluoride are known to cause weakened bones and ligaments, muscle weakness and nervous system problems. However, to get these high doses of fluoride and adult would have to drink 5,000 glasses of water or more at one sitting!
There are different types of fluoride. Calcium fluoride is the natural type of fluoride that is present in many natural foods. Other types of fluoride (such as hydrofluoric acid) result from manufacturing processes.
Fluoride is added to drinking water in very low concentrations in many communities. Bottled water usually does not contain fluoride, and many home water treatments remove fluoride from the water also. WebMD lists safe daily levels of fluoride as the following:
- 0.7 mg from birth to 6 months
- 0.9 mg from 6 months to 12 months
- 1.3 mg from 1 year to 3 years
- 2.2 mg from 4 years to 8 years
- 10 mg for 9 years and up (including adults and pregnant or breast-feeding women)
Fluoride is also added to many toothpastes and some mouthwashes. There are topical (surface) fluorides that you can apply to your teeth at home (either with a toothbrush or in a special tray) if you are at higher risk for cavities. Your dentist may also apply fluoride to your teeth at your dental visit if you are at higher risk for dental cavities.
Learn the facts about fluoride—find a non-biased source that presents both sides of the issue. Also learn how to evaluate scientific studies and evidence. Read the original studies and evaluate the results for yourself rather than reading someone else’s interpretation of them. Discuss the concerns you have about fluoride with your dentist or physician. Each person is unique and your dentist and physician can help determine what is best for your dental and medical health.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who is accepting new patients of all ages at her office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. Call 440-960-1940 to join our team! You can also find more information at www.drjrobb.com or www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
If you've decided to straighten your teeth, you've made a wise choice for both your dental health and your smile. Now you may be facing another decision—which method to use for bite correction.
Not too long ago people had only one choice—traditional braces all the way. But that changed with the introduction of clear aligners, a series of removable plastic trays worn one after the other to realign teeth. In all but a few situations, clear aligners accomplish the same outcome as braces but without the conspicuous appearance and, thanks to their removability, difficulty in brushing and flossing teeth.
And now, a recent innovation in orthodontics could give you a third option—lingual braces. These are braces fixed to the back of teeth adjacent to the tongue (hence the term “lingual”), rather than on the front as with traditional braces. They essentially perform the same action, only instead of “pushing” teeth like traditional braces, they “pull” the teeth to the target positions. Lingual braces may also ease certain disadvantages people find with traditional braces or clear aligners.
If you're into martial arts, for instance, you may encounter blows to the face that increase your injury risk while wearing traditional braces. Likewise, if you're highly social, clear aligners can be a hassle to take out and keep up with if you're frequently eating in public. Lingual braces answer both types of issues: They won't damage your lips or gums in the case of blunt force facial contact; and they remain out of sight, out of mind in social situations.
Before considering lingual braces, though, keep in mind that they may cost 15-35 percent more than traditional braces. They also take time for some people to get used to because of how they feel to the tongue. And, they're not yet as widely available as traditional braces, although the number of orthodontists who have received training in the new method is increasing.
If you'd like to know more about lingual braces and whether they're right for you, speak to your dentist or orthodontist. You may find that this new option for improving your dental health and your smile fits your lifestyle.
If you would like more information on lingual braces, 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 “Lingual Braces: A Truly Invisible Way to Straighten Teeth.”
Tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco, chaw, and pipe tobacco. Studies show that 80% of smokers start before their 18th birthday. Unfortunately, tobacco products can have many negative effects on your teeth and mouth that may make you spend more on your overall dental care than a non-smoker/non-tobacco-user.
Some of the obvious effects you may notice are stained teeth and bad breath. But your dentist often sees other problems.
Smoking decreases blood supply to your mouth and slows healing. Because of this you’re more likely to develop gum disease (periodontal disease). Smoking can also mask the signs of gum disease and make it harder to treat if you do have it.
Chemicals in the tobacco products also increase your risk of developing mouth cancer and other cancers. One example of this that you can see is the tissue changes in your mouth in the area where chewing tobacco is held. (Though not all changes are cancerous, most will become cancer if the habit continues.)
Studies show that smokers spend more on dental care. Wouldn’t you rather have the money from both buying the products and your dental care in your own wallet? Talk to your physician or dentist today about a smoking cessation program.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. 440-960-1940. If you’re not a current patient, we invite you to call and become one!
Actor Zac Efron has one of the top smiles in a business known for beautiful smiles. Bursting on the scene in 2006 at age 18 in High School Musical, Efron has steadily increased his range of acting roles. He recently starred as Ted Bundy on Netflix, wearing prosthetics to match the notorious serial killer's crooked teeth.
With his growing fame, Efron's attractive smile has become one of his more memorable attributes. But it wasn't always so. Before Hollywood, Efron's smile was less than perfect with small, uneven teeth and a gap between his top front teeth. Before and after pictures, though, make it quite apparent that the actor has undergone a significant smile makeover.
While fans are abuzz on the 411 regarding his dental work, Efron himself has been hush-hush about his smile transformation. We won't join the speculation: Instead, here are a few possible ways you can get a more attractive smile like Zac Efron.
Teeth whitening. A single-visit, non-invasive teeth whitening procedure can transform your dull, stained teeth into a brighter, more attractive smile. Although the effect isn't permanent, it could last a few years with a professional whitening and good oral practices. Having it done professionally also gives you more control over the level of shading you prefer—from soft natural white to dazzling Hollywood bright.
Orthodontics. Like Efron, if your teeth aren't quite in proper alignment, straightening them can make a big difference in your appearance (and your oral health as well). Braces are the tried and true method for moving teeth, but you may also be able to choose clear aligner trays, which are much less noticeable than braces. And don't worry about your age: Anyone with reasonably good dental health can undergo orthodontics.
Bonding. We may be able to correct chips and other slight tooth flaws with durable composite resins. After preparing your tooth and matching the material to your particular color, we apply it directly to your tooth in successive layers. After hardening, the unsightly defect is no more—and your smile is more attractive.
Veneers. Dental veneers are the next step up for more advanced defects. We bond these thin, custom-made layers of dental porcelain to the front of teeth to mask chips, heavy staining and slight tooth gaps. Although we often need to permanently remove a small amount of tooth enamel, veneers are still less invasive than some other restorations. And your before and after could be just as amazing as Zac Efron's.
Improving one's smile isn't reserved for stars like Zac Efron. There are ways to correct just about any dental defect, many of which don't require an A-lister's bank account. With a little dental “magic,” you could transform your smile.
If you would like more information about how to give your smile a boost, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
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