Tag Archives: Gingivitis

7 Physical Health Problems That Can Destroy Your Teeth

You might not think that your dental health is as important as other aspects of your health. It’s easy to be lazy about flossing or to miss a few dental checkups because of a hectic schedule. However, your dental health directly correlates with several other facets of your health. In fact, many health problems can take an unprecedented toll on your teeth and gums, just as neglecting your teeth can cause ailments to other parts of your body over time. Keeping your body in top shape involves a number of factors, from a healthy diet and exercise to regularly tending to your oral health.

  1. Eating Disorders

    If you suffer from bulimia, it can rapidly deteriorate your teeth and gums because stomach acid is expelled every time you vomit. The stomach acid can eat through your tooth enamel over time, cause cavities, and even cause your teeth to fall out. You may also have a yellowish hue to your teeth as a result of the repeated vomiting. For an anorexic individual, osteoporosis may develop as a result of not getting enough critical nutrients in your diet. The osteoporosis makes your bones brittle, including your teeth. Your teeth may break easily or fall out. A dentist may be able to identify whether you suffer from an eating disorder based on the condition of your teeth. Being thin isn’t worth the damage it does to the rest of your body.

  2. Fertility Issues

    At the American Academy of Periodontology conference in 2004, research was presented linking the presence of gum disease to infertility in women. In the study, women undergoing infertility treatments in an attempt to get pregnant for an excess of three menstrual cycles tended to experience bleeding gums, inflammation, and increased levels of gingival crevicular fluid, a precursor for gum disease. This may be because the gums act as estrogen receptors, and the body is subjected to increased estrogen levels through the treatment. Gum infections appear to delay conception by around two months, as exemplified by a Swedish student conducted by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. Likewise, periodontal disease has been linked to miscarriage, because a mother’s infected gums can pass disease down to her unborn baby. The baby’s immune system can’t fight off the disease as effectively, causing preterm birth, miscarriage, or for the baby to be stillborn.

  3. Obesity

    Obesity impacts more than just your weight. According to Carole A. Palmer, a professor of general dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, obesity and dental decay are intrinsically linked. To some extent, the link should be obvious. People who snack on foods that are high in fat or sugar put their teeth at risk by exposing them to that food for a prolonged period of time, thus creating tooth decay. Likewise, obesity has been linked to periodontitis because increased BMI can cause gingival bleeding. Obesity might transform the individual’s immune system, leaving them much more vulnerable to microbial plaque.

  4. Thyroid Issues

    The thyroid regulates metabolism, and without the right balance of hormones in the thyroid, bodily problems can emerge. Your mouth isn’t immune to these problems. Hypothyroidism, in which you have a thyroid hormone deficiency, can cause things like impacted molars, poor periodontal health, and misshapen teeth according to an article published to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Conversely, hyperthyroidism is the condition in which too many thyroid hormones are produced. This can affect oral health in a number of ways as well, such as a higher risk for cavities, periodontal disease, accelerated dental interruption, and burning mouth syndrome. Childhood hypo or hyperthyroidism can be even worse for dental health, as it can impair the way the mouth develops and affect craniofacial growth.

  5. Heart Disease

    Atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty deposits within the lining of artery walls that can lead to blood clots, has been linked to gum disease. In turn, atherosclerosis causes heart disease. Although the link between heart disease and deteriorating dental health has not been entirely unshrouded, more and more studies are finding common ground between the two, suggesting that keeping your oral health in check may ward off heart disease and visa-versa. There are a couple of theories as to why heart disease impacts your teeth. According to an article on ABC Health and Wellbeing, the bacteria found between your teeth that cause plaque may enter the bloodstream through a bleeding gum and attach itself to fat deposits in coronary arteries. The resulting inflammation then causes blood clots and heart attacks. An additional theory stipulates that mouth bacteria boosts your antibody formation, attacking receptors in cells along blood vessels, thereby causing blockages.

  6. Diabetes

    Individuals with diabetes are more prone to oral issues like gum disease, thrush, dry mouth, ulcers, infections and cavities. This is because diabetes causes a change of glucose levels in the blood, which in turn can be present in your saliva. High glucose levels contribute to plaque growth, the root of nearly all dental problems. With diabetes, gum disease becomes a much more serious issue and can be troublesome to heal. Likewise, if you have gum disease, your blood glucose levels can spin out of control, causing diabetes — the cycle is self-perpetuating.

  7. Asthma

    Asthma and other respiratory problems can also be detrimental to your teeth. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, those with asthma are often mouth-breathers, experiencing less saliva flow which leads to bad breath and cavities. They are also particularly sensitive to inflamed gums, with less saliva cleansing the mouth, putting them at risk for gum disease. Asthma inhalers can cause red lesions in the back of the mouth, which may quickly lead to infection without proper treatment. Likewise, other asthma medications such as corticosteroids lead to increased cavity production. To alleviate the risks, asthmatic patients should always rinse their mouths out with a fluoride wash after using their inhaler. They should also be especially diligent about brushing their teeth and flossing.

8 Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Care About Their Teeth

It’s not always easy to get your kids to brush their teeth regularly. Until children reach the more mature age of about seven or eight years old, you may be constantly persuading (or nagging) them to routinely brush their teeth. The American Dental Association has declared February National Children’s Dental Health Month, reminding parents everywhere the importance of educating our kids about proper dental care. Here are some fun, encouraging ways to keep your children’s pearly whites healthy:

  1. Brush to a song

    Since brushing your teeth should last about two to three minutes of thorough cleaning, encourage your kids to pick out their favorite song to listen to while brushing for the entire length of the song. This can be a distraction, but it can also be a great way to keep track of time and keep them motivated.

  2. Turn teeth brushing into a group activity

    At an early age, the saying, “monkey see, monkey do” is still a very real concept. Brushing your teeth together with your child, in stages, offers guidance and encourages good brushing habits. Follow the right teeth brushing routine with your child every night until your child can do it by themselves. You can make this process more fun by making silly faces, naming each tooth as you attend to it (to encourage that every tooth is brushed), and even switch roles, letting your child take the lead.

  3. Create a reward chart or system

    Children are highly motivated when they know they get recognized for their efforts. To reward your child for doing well, you can create a sticker chart or present a weekly prize, helping them stay on top of their daily brushing routines. This helps your child keep up good brushing behavior.

  4. Let your child pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste

    Brushing may be more enjoying to children if they have a more active role in picking out their own brushes and toothpastes. Bright colors, characters, or different flavors can create a more appealing side to dental care.

  5. Explain the importance of each step

    When teaching your child the right steps, try to explain the importance of each step. This includes brushing the surfaces of all teeth, angling the toothbrush at 45 degrees towards the gum line, and brushing in a circular motion. You can make this a fun experience by creating a funny rhyme or telling a funny anecdotal story that goes along with each step.

  6. Try baby-sized flossers

    Flossing can be a pain, literally, for children with small gaps in between their teeth. To make flossing a more pleasant experience, try baby-sized flossers, which are sold in most supermarkets. Reinforce good habits with praise and supervision, since incorrect flossing may cause gum inflammation and bleeding.

  7. Personifying plaque

    Plaque causes cavities, leading to gum disease, which is a concept that can be creatively explained to your kids. Personifying plaque as the “plaque monsters” or “bad guys” (or any other name that will give plaque a villainous image,) might be an effective method to motivate your kids to brush properly.

  8. Consider electric toothbrushes

    Nowadays, electric toothbrushes can do anything: shake, play music, pulsate, rotate in many directions, and appeal to young children. Electric toothbrushes create a more stimulating experience, appealing to more than one sense, keeping your kids entertained while brushing. Some studies show that electric brushes are equally as effective, if not more effective in removing plaque, when used right.