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Dentist Baltimore MD | What to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health

Baltimore, MD Dentist

The hazards surrounding vaping are not entirely clear. More research is needed in this area, but a recent study indicates that e-cigarette vapors could be damaging to your mouth. Here’s what you need to know.

The Vapor Ingredients

Electronic cigarettes are not regulated in the same way tobacco cigarettes are, meaning that their contents can be inaccurately labeled without any oversight. Contents that e-juice usually contains include nicotine, glycerin, chemical flavoring, and propylene glycol. Some of these substances are safe in food, such as chemical flavors, but the effects of inhaling them is not well researched. Heating these chemicals can form dangerous carcinogens such as formaldehyde. E-cigarettes might also include tiny metals and particles that you inhale while smoking.

What This Means for Your Oral Health

A recent study from UCLA found that vapors from an e-cigarette can kill the cells in your oral cavity, or the area of your mouth beyond your teeth and gums. The study placed oral cells in an environment where electronic cigarette smoke was produced for 24 hours, in a machine simulating how a person would smoke. During the test, 85% of the cells died. According to the lead author of the study, they plan to move forward to test the impacts in humans.

These cells are your mouth’s defense by helping to release antioxidants. As the cells die off or become less effective, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to oral diseases.

Another study by the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded e-cigarettes are just as bad for your gums as tobacco cigarettes are. Nicotine, which both types of cigarettes contain, is a known factor in contributing to gum disease.

Steps You Can Take

Since the e-juice industry is largely unregulated, it is best to avoid smoking electronic cigarettes. The carcinogenic contents pose serious risks to your health, especially to your mouth. Your mouth relies on the functions of these important cells to defend itself against dangerous bacteria and other substances. Without your mouth’s natural defense system, you open yourself up to oral disease.

Make sure you are regularly visiting our office, especially if you are a smoker of either tobacco cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes. Our experienced dental team will perform a complete oral examination during your visit to check for signs of oral disease. Being proactive is your best defense against combating oral disease.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact us.

Dentist Baltimore | Blood Thinners and Oral Surgery

Dentist in Baltimore

Blood thinning medications are helpful in regulating your body to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other serious issues. However, if you are scheduled for oral surgery, it is vital that our oral surgeon is aware of all medications you are using.

How Blood Thinners Work

There are two types of blood thinners. The first type works to prevent blood clotting. Medications ranging from aspirin to Plavix fit into this category. The other type of blood thinners work to prevent blood from coagulating; Coumadin or warfarin accomplish this.

What Our Oral Surgeon Should Know

When you have your oral surgery consultation appointment, be sure to share with us any medications you are taking. We need to have your complete medical history to ensure your safety and proper treatment. Our dentist might also ask you the purpose of each medication you are taking to better understand any side-effects or other medical issues that could affect your oral surgery.

Steps to Take Before Surgery

Never stop any medication without consulting your doctor. Depending on your medical history, your doctor might suggest specific blood tests before having oral surgery. Communication is key, both between you and your primary physician, and between you and our office. If your treatment requires additional medication to be taken, ask about potential drug interactions.

Steps to Take to Minimize Oral Bleeding

Bleeding resulting from oral surgery can occur, but each patient will have different results. The most effective way to minimize oral bleeding is to firmly apply pressure to the area for up to 30 minutes. Gauze is recommended for applying gentle pressure to stop bleeding. Depending on the oral surgery procedure, we may ask you to refrain from drinking hot liquids and rinsing your mouth for the first day. We suggest avoiding rough or sharp foods that might cut your mouth.

Prior to having any oral surgery, it is important that our experienced surgical team has a thorough knowledge of your medical history. This enables us to find the best possible solutions for your needs, while ensuring your safety.

If you have any questions about medications and oral surgery, contact our office.

Dentist in Baltimore MD | Plaque: Your Teeth’s Number One Enemy

Dentist in Baltimore

Dentist Baltimore MDWhen buying a toothbrush, toothpaste, or coming in to our office, you often hear the word “plaque” associated with the health of your teeth. Plaque is one of the main reasons why it is so important to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing two times each day for at least two minutes, and flossing regularly as well. Here’s what you need to know about plaque and what it can do to your smile.

What is Plaque?

If you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, you might feel a film-like, sticky buildup on your teeth. This is plaque, a bacteria layer that grips onto your teeth. There isn’t anything you can do to stop plaque from forming, but brushing and flossing as well as keeping up with regular dental visits are your best defenses for cleaning plaque off your teeth.

What Plaque Does to Your Teeth & Mouth

Without regular brushing and cleaning, plaque builds up and multiplies. As plaque is left untreated, it hardens to form tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque also leads to decay, as it produces an acid that damages your teeth. When you come into our office for a dental examination, we thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure that any buildup is taken care of. Tartar can cause staining on your teeth if left untreated. Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, causing your gums to swell and become red or bloody.

What You Can Do

The most important steps of keeping plaque in check is to stick to a daily brushing routine. This means brushing twice each day, for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once daily. Plaque occurs naturally, and when you come into our office for a complete examination, we work with you to clean off any buildup. Maintaining regular visits to our office is one way to ensure tartar buildup is minimized and managed. It is particularly important that you are brushing your teeth all the way to the gum, because the gum line is an area that is prone to plaque buildup. Brush gently, as vigorous brushing will only do more damage than good, especially to your gums.

Sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine will help keep your teeth free of plaque buildup. Make sure you are brushing in the morning and before bed. If you don’t brush before bed, bacteria and plaque will build up throughout the night. Schedule a visit to our office so our experienced, professional dental team can clean your teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of.

For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Dentist in Baltimore | Gaining Wisdom on Wisdom Teeth

Dentist in Baltimore, MD

Baltimore MD DentistWisdom teeth are the last new teeth that will enter your mouth. Most patients have some form of complications resulting from their wisdom teeth. Did you know that your wisdom teeth can impact your overall health? Here’s what you need to be aware of regarding your wisdom teeth.

The Basics

Typically, your wisdom teeth will come in between the ages of 17 and 25. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), as many as 90% of patients have an impacted wisdom tooth. An Impacted tooth is unable to properly grow through your gums because of a lack of space.

What This Means for You

An impacted wisdom tooth is something you should talk to our doctor about. Impacted teeth can cause infection and damage to surrounding teeth. It is extremely important these issues are addressed early on. Your wisdom teeth are hard to clean in the back of your mouth. An infected tooth not receiving the proper care can be a breeding ground for bacteria leading to infection and gum disease.

Wisdom Teeth & Your Overall Health

An infection of your wisdom teeth can lead to oral diseases, but it can also lead to further, more serious complications as well. THE AAOMS explains that oral bacteria that gets into your bloodstream can lead to heart, kidney, and other organ infections. That’s right, your teeth can impact your overall health!

The Importance of Examinations

You might not notice any pain or discomfort around your wisdom teeth, but that does not necessarily mean they are healthy. Even wisdom teeth that fit properly can be the target of a future infection. It is essential to keep up with regular examinations so that our trained, experienced team can take a close look at your wisdom teeth.

What You Can Do

We cannot overstate the importance of regular oral examinations. Our doctor can help assess your wisdom teeth and whether they will need to be removed. Wisdom teeth can have a significant impact on your oral health and your overall health, so we recommend staying vigilant with your daily oral hygiene routine.

For more questions about wisdom teeth or to schedule your examination, please contact our office.

Baltimore MD Dentist | Men: Here’s What You Need to Know About Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Dentist Baltimore

Dentist BaltimoreMen, dental examinations and treatment are important for you, too. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.

The Basics

Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.

Risk Factors

Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, including smoking electronic cigarettes, have been linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks, as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.

Periodontal Disease

Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque on teeth and gums. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes, heart attacks, diabetic complications, and more. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.

Take These Steps at Home

A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use an appropriate toothpaste. Ask our team if you are not sure what kind of toothpaste is best for you. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.

Men, your teeth are important so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our office up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next dental examination, please contact our office.

Baltimore Dentist | New Year’s Resolution: A Healthier Smile

Dentist in Baltimore

Dentist BaltimoreThe new year is a time when many consider making positive changes in their lives.  Common goals include wanting to lose weight, exercise more, or quit a bad habit. What about vowing to improve your oral health this year? Here’s a few easy changes you can make that will lead to a happier, healthier smile in 2017.

Timing is Everything

Are you a fast brusher? A couple of passes over your teeth is not going to cut it in terms of keeping your teeth strong and clean. Here’s our suggestion for a new year’s resolution: brush for two minutes, twice a day. Start off the new year by trying to brush for the full time. Don’t brush hard because vigorous, fast brushing can lead to lasting gum damage.

Drink Water, Lots of Water

Replace sugary drinks with water this year. Your teeth will benefit from water, as it helps to clean off some of the excess sugar and acids left from food and drinks. Water also assists in saliva production, which is essential for maintaining your teeth’s enamel. Drinking water can also fit into a resolution to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle. Make sure it’s part of your resolution too!

Come See Us

The new year is a good time to schedule your next visit to our office. Keeping up with regular visits helps us to give your teeth a thorough cleaning and examination. Never wait until you think something is wrong with your teeth. Make 2017 the year you keep up with your dental work.

Floss

According to a study by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans are flossing daily. Flossing should be a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. We recommend changing your ways in the new year if you are one of the 60% of Americans avoiding dental floss. Flossing is essential for helping limit your decay and for maintaining healthy gums.

With the start of the new year, make a vow to look after your teeth. A few simple changes in your old habits will do a world of good for your teeth in 2017. Allow your good habits to rub off on others this year.

For more advice on keeping your teeth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Dentist Baltimore MD | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

Dentist in Baltimore

Baltimore MD DentistNormal flow of saliva provides lubrication for swallowing and begins the process of digestion while you chew. Saliva also protects your teeth by neutralizing and washing away acids, sugars, and other particles left behind after eating. From time to time, we all experience some amount of dry mouth. Hot weather, exercise, and dehydration can all cause a temporary decrease in saliva production. However, if you have chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, you could be at risk of serious oral health complications.

Some of the oral health issues commonly associated with dry mouth include:

  • Much higher rates of tooth decay
  • Oral yeast infection
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Constant sore throat
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Denture discomfort

The most common cause of chronic dry mouth is medication. More than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications include dry mouth as a frequent side effect. Dry mouth is also associated with stress, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, hormonal changes, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancers, and salivary gland disease.

You may find relief from dry mouth through a variety of methods. Some easy options to help alleviate your dry mouth include:

  • Increased water intake
  • Sugar-free candies or gum
  • Artificial saliva, as recommended by doctor or dentist
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
  • Change in medication, only as directed by doctor

Brush and floss regularly to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other complications.

If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our team. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues.

For more information about dry mouth, contact our office.

Dentist Baltimore | Silence Isn’t Always Golden

Baltimore, MD Dentist

Dentist Baltimore MDPeriodontal (gum) disease is a progressive inflammation of the gum tissues. It is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health.  However, one of the biggest challenges for early detection and treatment of gum disease is its silence. Gum disease can often begin and progress with few or no symptoms until reaching an advanced stage.

Gum disease is caused when the bacteria found in plaque builds up between the teeth and the gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can worsen, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. In addition, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease also impacts other aspects of your overall health. Research has found links between gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory illnesses. To help prevent gum disease, ensure you are practicing strong oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, and regular dental examinations. Be aware of your risk factors for developing gum disease, such as age, tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, grinding, obesity, or other inflammatory diseases, among others. Consider having an annual periodontal evaluation.

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Mouth pain
  • Bleeding gums caused by brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between gums or teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
  • Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures

Gum disease can start silently, but may cause great damage if left untreated. Once gum disease has started, it can be effectively treated, but not fully cured. Protect your oral and overall health with preventive care and regular periodontal screenings. For more information about gum disease or to schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office.

Dentist in Baltimore | Kill the Pain, Save the Tooth

Dentist in Baltimore

Baltimore dentistRoot canal, or endodontic, therapy treats inflammation or infection within the pulp of a tooth. If you are awaiting your first root canal treatment, you may feel anxious or uncertain. It can be difficult to separate myth from fact when trying to learn what to expect. Here is some useful information about root canal therapy and some common misperceptions you may encounter.

Despite common belief, root canal therapy does not cause pain. Instead, it relieves the pain you are already experiencing by treating the underlying cause of the infection or inflammation. Some common reasons for tooth pulp inflammation or infection include:

  • Deep tooth decay
  • Chip or crack in tooth structure
  • Tooth root fracture
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Repeated treatment on a single tooth

Once inflammation begins, the pulp experiences swelling and pressure that cause pain. If left untreated, permanent damage to the pulp can occur, including pulp tissue death. When this happens, you may experience temporary relief of pain, but it may lead to painful infection and tooth loss.

Root canal therapy is the removal of diseased or dead pulp tissue from the inside of a tooth. We use specially designed instruments that clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Next, we disinfect the canals with special medications and clean them once more. Finally, we seal the canals to prevent re-infection. You may experience minor discomfort for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications.

After your root canal treatment, your tooth will need a permanent restoration to replace the lost tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth. This may be a filling or crown, depending on your need. We will discuss your restoration plan with you prior to your root canal therapy.

Whenever possible, saving your natural tooth is our goal. Root canal therapy can help to preserve your tooth. To learn more about root canal therapy or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Dentist in Baltimore MD | Connected Health: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Dentist in Baltimore, MD

Baltimore DentistFor decades, scientists have been studying the links between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease. Over the years, research has continued to find strong correlations between these two inflammatory conditions. While there is work yet to be done, we have already discovered connections that may influence how we approach health care in the future. Consider a few key components of the gum disease – heart disease relationship.

Gum disease and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. Some of these include smoking, obesity, stress, nutrition, and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70% of Americans aged 65 and older currently have periodontitis – the most advanced form of gum disease. Recent studies have suggested that patients with heart disease may have increased likelihood of developing gum disease as well.

Likewise, gum disease increases your risk of heart disease. This may be due to the higher rates of inflammation in your body that occur with gum disease. If you already have a heart condition, gum disease may worsen your illness. One study published in 2015 noted an increase in the severity of heart attacks in patients with gum disease. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

Treating gum disease may decrease your odds of contracting or worsening heart disease. A study published in 2014 found that patients who were treated for gum disease had fewer hospitalizations and lower health care costs related to heart disease. While more research is needed to determine the exact nature of this connection, it is clear that avoiding or treating gum disease can be considered an important part of prevention and treatment for heart disease, as well.

You can reduce your risk of serious health complications from heart disease or gum disease. Healthy diet, regular exercise, good dental hygiene, and avoiding tobacco can all help reduce to your risk of developing one or both of these conditions. See your doctor and our dentist regularly for preventive care and treatment.

To schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office today.