Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How does diabetes affect your oral health?

            There are of 29 million people in the United States that are living with diabetes, and an estimated 8 million more that have it and do not know it. Both type 1 and type 2 result in high blood sugar, which can affect the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of the body. But it is also important to understand the role diabetes can have on your oral health.

If left untreated, diabetes may take a toll on your mouth. Here are a few ways it may affect you:
  • You have less saliva, causing dry mouth.
  • Saliva protects your teeth and helps to prevent decay. Lack of adequate saliva makes you vulnerable to cavities.
  • Your gums may become inflamed and bleed more than usual. This is called gingivitis.
  • You may experience problems tasting food.
  • There may be delayed wound healing. If you have an ulceration or trauma to your gums, it may take longer to heal than usual.
  • You could become more susceptible to infections inside your mouth (viral, bacterial, or fungal).
  • For children with diabetes, there is a chance the teeth may erupt earlier than usual.

It is believed that 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss are related to diabetes. The best way to fight back is to maintain regular dental visits and come up with an action plan with your dentist. It may include:
  • More frequent visits than every 6 months
  • Using prescription strength toothpaste
  • More diligent homecare
  • Using new or different tools to keep your teeth and gums clean.

Even though there are ways for us to help maintain good oral health, your physician will remain the first line of defense against diabetes. Continue to use the necessary medications, eat healthier, and stay active.

For more information, visit www.dentistwestchester.com.
Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tips to Help Prepare Children for a Dental Visit

Encourage age appropriate habits at home:
  • 6 and under: Even if your child wants to do the brushing by themselves, they frequently lack the dexterity needed to properly clean the teeth. Try to help them as much as you can and focus on getting every surface of the tooth.
  • Age 7-12: At this point your child likely knows what to do, but now it is a matter of execution. Continue to encourage good habits, but be ready to help if you are not seeing results.
  • Ages 12-18: Your children are becoming more independent and have access to different food and drinks that may negatively affect their teeth. They need to be reminded to keep up with home care and maintain regular visits. Otherwise minor problems can become major.

Time of the day:
  • It is important to avoid scheduling during a normal nap time. It can result in a negative experience that can stick with them for a long time.
  • For older children, try to avoid more elaborate dental work right after school because kids tend to be mentally or physically tired. It can make the appointment very difficult for them.

Make one child the ‘model’:
  • Try to schedule the older or more cooperative child first, and have the other watch to see how well it goes. This creates positive energy for the next child.

Hungry patient is not a happy patient:
  • It is good to make sure your child is not hungry when they visit the dentist. It is just one more thing that can make them grouchy or uncooperative. But if they eat too much, it may contribute to a gag reflex. Don’t worry if they do have some difficulty with gagging, it will frequently decrease as they grow older.

Stay calm if your child is not cooperating:
  • We are familiar with situations where children do not cooperate at first. Allow us to try to break things down into small steps and help where needed. Sometimes it is beneficial to be a silent observer so we can take control of the appointment. But the occasional encouragement from you can also be helpful.
  • If you are worried you won’t handle watching your child have the dental work done, sometimes grandparents can be great helpers.
  • If your child is unable to handle the anxiety, there are always other options and people to see that specialize in these situations.

For more information, visit www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Braces at Any Age

            There has been a definitive shift on how we view braces or orthodontics. Many kids now look forward to when they will get their braces and show them off proudly when they do. It used to be much more unusual to see adults with braces. Now it is more common and adults understand the value and being confident with their smile.
            Because it is no longer viewed as odd for adults to get braces, more and more people are taking the plunge each year. Adults are closing in on the 50-50 mark of newly installed braces when compared to children, and even baby boomers are getting in on the action. Whether it is to improve their stock in the dating scene or the job market, people are beginning to understand the value of their smile.
            Some people have been hiding their smile for years and training themselves how to hide their teeth when they laugh, talk, or smile. It used to take longer, be more uncomfortable, more noticeable, and less socially acceptable. Improvements in technology and techniques have decreased those barriers. There are clear aligners (Invisalign) and tooth colored brackets that make braces less conspicuous. Even some insurance companies are beginning to add coverage for adult orthodontics.
            Are there any risks to getting braces as an adult? There are definitely risks if you do not maintain good oral hygiene or home care. You can stain the teeth, get cavities, or develop gum disease if you do not properly maintain during orthodontics. However, these issues are typically less common than in adolescents because adults understand the value of their treatment and are more likely to ‘protect their investment.’
            If you are unhappy with your smile, I encourage you to ask your dentist about different options in aligning your teeth. You may find you there are orthodontic solutions you never even considered.

For more information, visit www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.