Monthly Archives: July 2013

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Child and mom looking at eachotherIt is estimated that up to 20 million people have diabetes, but only two-thirds of these individuals are diagnosed.  Studies have shown that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease than those who do not have diabetes.  This relationship causes great concern because serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood sugar control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.  That’s why it’s important for people with diabetes to visit Dr. Marinic on a regular basis and to keep him up to date on the status of the diabetic’s oral and overall health.

How are gum disease and diabetes related?Tooth erosion

Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are at risk for gingivitis, a reversible form of gum disease usually caused by the presence of bacteria.  These bacteria produce toxins that create a sticky film that accumulates on teeth, both above and below the gum line, leading to inflammation.  If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an irreversible destruction of the tissues that surround and support the teeth.

ThrushWhat other problems are associated with diabetes?

Other oral problems associated with diabetes include thrush (candidiasis), an infection caused by a fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth, which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and cavities.  To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, Dr. Marinic may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings.

How can I stay healthy?

ToothpasteBrush your teeth with an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride and rinse with antimicrobial mouthwash at least two times a day.  People with diabetes who receive good dental care and have good insulin control typically have a better chance of avoiding gum disease.

To improve their quality of life and their oralTesting for diabetes health, people with diabetes need to pay close attention to diet and exercise. People with diabetes should be sure that both their medical and dental care providers are aware of their medical history and periodontal status.

To keep teeth and gums strong, those with diabetes should be aware of their blood sugar levels in addition to having their triglycerides and cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis.

What is the best time to receive dental care?

Waking upIf your blood sugar is not under control, talk with both Dr. Marinic and physician about receiving elective dental care.  Types of dental procedures and appointment length are dependent on the level of diabetic control.  Try to schedule morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be more stable at this time of day.  If you have a scheduled appointment, eat and take your medications as directed.  See Dr. Marinic on a regular basis and keep him informed of your health status,

Periodontal Disease for Two – Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnant womanIf you’re planning to become pregnant or suspect you’re already pregnant,it’s important that you see Dr. Marinic right away.  Pregnancy may cause unexpected oral health changes due to hormones—particularly an increase in estrogen and progesterone—which can exaggerate the way in which gum tissues react to plaque.  Research continues to show that overall health and oral health coincide, so it’s especially important for you to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your pregnancy.  Visiting Dr. Marinic will allow him to assess your oral condition and map out a dental plan for the remainder of your pregnancy.

How does plaque build-up affect me?

When plaque isn’t removed, it can cause gingivitis—red, swollen, tender gums that are more likely to bleed.  So-called “pregnancy gingivitis” affects most pregplaque on teethnant women to some degree and generally begins to surface as early as the second month of pregnancy.  If you already have gingivitis, the condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy.  Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that includes bone loss.

How does gingivitis affect my baby’s health?Premature baby

Research suggests a link between pre-term delivery, low birth weight babies, and gingivitis.  Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums; the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor.

How can I prevent gingivitis?

Pregant woman eatingYou can prevent gingivitis by keeping your teeth clean, especially near the gumline.  You should brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and after each meal when possible.  You also should floss each day.  Good nutrition keeps the oral cavity healthy and strong; in particular, you should get plenty of vitamins C and B12.  More frequent cleanings from Dr. Marinic also will help control plaque and prevent gingivitis.

What are pregnancy tumors?

Pregnant women are at risk for developing pregnancy tumors—inflpyogenic granuloma (pregnancy tumor) - Before - 1ammatory, non-cancerous growths that develop between the teeth or when swollen gums become irritated.  These localized growths or swellings are believed to be related to excess plaque.  Normally, the tumors are left alone and will usually shrink on their own after the baby’s birth; however, if a tumor is uncomfortable and interferes with chewing, brushing, or other oral hygiene procedures, Dr. Marinic may decide to have it removed.

Are there any dental procedures I should avoid?

Routine exams and cleanings can be performed throughout pregnancy; however, non-emergency procedures should only be performed during the second trimester of pregnancy.  Dental emergencies that create severe pain can be treated during any trimester, but your obstetrician should be consulted during any emergency that requires anesthesia or whenever medication is prescribed.  X-rays should only be taken for emergency situations.  Lastly, elective and cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the baby’s birth.  

Because every woman is different, it’s best to discuss and determine a treatment plan with Dr.Marinic.

Dental Plaque – The Enemy to Our Teeth

Infant smilingIt’s important to keep you and your children’s teeth clean and healthy, and you can help do this by teaching them how to reduce the amount of plaque on their teeth.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria-containing film that accumulates on teeth, plaque on teethespecially in places where toothbrushes can’t reach.  Many of the foods that we eat cause the bacteria in the mouth to produce acids.  Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but starches—such as bread, crackers, and cereal—also can cause acids to form.

How does plaque affect the mouth?

Image of plaque on gumsPlaque produces bacteria that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding.  Consistent plaque buildup can cause tooth enamel to wear away, which will result in cavities.  Plaque that is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth eventually can harden into calculus or tartar.  This makes it more difficult to keep the teeth clean.

When tartar collects above the gumline, the gum tissue can become swollen and may bleed easily.  This is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.  You can prevent plaque buildup and keep teeth cavity-free by regularly visiting Dr. Marinic, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning between the teeth with dental floss daily.

How can I reduce the plaque on my teeth and my child’s teeth?

The best way to remove plaque is by teaching your child to brush his or herParent and child brushing teeth teeth, just like you do, for at least two minutes twice per day.  Brushing removes the plaque from tooth surfaces.  Be sure to show your child how to use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and instruct them to use a proper circular motion when brushing teeth and gums.  Make sure to teach your child to brush the tongue as well; this removes bacteria and freshens breath.

Mother and child flossing togetherYou can teach your child to remove plaque from between his or her teeth by using floss once a day.  Start flossing between your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch each other (after 1 year old).  Your child should continue to floss as they grow older so that it becomes part of their oral hygiene routine.  In addition to brushing, daily flossing is essential for preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

How can my child and I maintain good oral hygiene?

Lead by example and practice good oral hygiene yourself!

Teach your child about the importance of good oral hygiene, and be sure that you and your child brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice per day.  In addition to brushing, you and your child should floss at least once per day.

Further, be sure that you and your child go to Dr. Marinic’s dental office for cleanings and checkups.  Getting you and your child’s teeth cleaned regularly can help prevent gum disease, remove tartar and plaque buildup, and eliminate stains that regular brushing and flossing can’t.  Dr. Marinic also can examine you and your child’s entire mouth and detect issues early—before they become bigger, more painful problems.

No Need to Worry – It is Just a Root Canal

What is a root canal?Tooth anatomy

Underneath your tooth’s outer enamel and within the dentin is an area of soft tissue called the pulp tissue.  While a tooth’s pulp tissue does contain nerve fibers, it is also composed of arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and connective tissue.  Each tooth’s nerve enters the tooth at the very tip of its roots.  From there, the nerve runs through the center of the root in small “root canals,” which join up with the tooth’s pulp chamber.

Why do I feel pain?

When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to a deep cavity or fracture, the blood supply to the tooth may be lost and the tooth pulp may die. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood Infected tooth pulpflow and activity in the tooth’s cells.  Pressure may build within a tooth that cannot be relieved, causing pain that is commonly felt when biting down, chewing, or consuming hot or cold foods and drinks.

Why might I need treatment?Bone loss

Without treatment, the infection will spread and bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, possibly causing the tooth to fall out.  Pain usually worsens until you are forced to seek dental attention.

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is a procedure that removes the damaged or dead pulp. The canal is reshaped and filled with gutta percha, a rubber-like material, to prevent recontamination of the tooth.  The tooth is then permanently sealed and a crown is placed.

What is involved in root canal therapy?

If Dr. Marinic recommends a root canal, he will refer you for treatment to anInfected pulp endodontist, which is a specialist who treats injuries, diseases, and infections of the tooth pulp.  A space is created into the tooth’s pulp chamber, which, along with any infected root canal, is cleaned of all diseased pulp and reshaped. Medication may be inserted into the area to fight bacteria.  Depending on the condition of the tooth, the crown may then be sealed temporarily to guard against recontamination or the endodontist may immediately fill the canals.

RCT stepsTemporary fillings are usually removed and the pulp chamber and canals are filled on the next visit.  If the tooth is still weak, a post may be inserted above the canal filling to help rebuild the tooth.  Once filled, the area is permanently sealed. Finally, a porcelain crown is placed over the tooth to strengthen its structure and improve its appearance.

How will I feel after treatment?

There may be some inflammation around the gum tissues, which may cause discomfort for a few days.  This can be controlled by an over-the-counter pain reliever.  A follow-up visit to the endodontist will help him review how the tissue is healing.  From this point on, brush and floss regularly, avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth, and see Dr. Marinic on a regular basis for cleanings and examinations.

Are there options to root canal therapy?

The only alternative to root canal therapy is to extract the tooth; however, this alone can cause the surrounding teeth to move, resulting in a bad bite.  Though a simple extraction may be perceived as less expensive, the empty space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which ultimately can be more costly than root canal therapy.

Senior Oral Health Care

Seniors smilingProper oral care can keep you smiling well into retirement.  Brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush are important. Flossing helps save your teeth by removing plaque between teeth and below the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.

What problems should I watch for?Image gum disease

Most people don’t realize how important it is to take care of their gums.  Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria found in plaque that attacks the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums and possible bleeding when you brush.  If you have any of these symptoms, see Dr. Marinic at once. Gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease if problems persist.

Why should I be concerned about gum disease?

Three out of four adults over age 35 are affected by some sort of gum (periodontal) disease.  In gum disease, the infection may become severe. Your gums begin to recede, pulling back from the teeth.  In the worst caseswollen gums from gum diseases, bacteria form pockets between the teeth and gums, weakening the bone.  This can lead to tooth loss if untreated, especially in patients with osteoporosis.  If regular oral care is too difficult, Dr. Marinic can provide alternatives to aid in flossing and prescribe medication to keep the infection from getting worse.

Should I be concerned about dry mouth?Water and faucet

Dry mouth happens when salivary glands fail to work due to disease, changes in medication, certain medications or cancer treatment.  This makes it hard to eat, swallow, taste and speak.  Drinking lots of water and avoiding sweets, tobacco, alcohol and caffeine are some ways to fight dry mouth.

Dr. Marinic talking to patientHow can I maintain my overall health?

Studies have shown maintaining a healthy mouth can keep your body healthier and help you avoid diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Keep Dr. Marinic informed of any changes or updates in your medical history to help prevent potentially harmful drug interactions or health conditions.  The best way to achieve good oral health is to visit Dr. Marinic for professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.

What if it’s too difficult to brush?Large handle toothbrush

If you have arthritis, you may find it difficult to brush and floss.  Ask Dr. Marinic for ways to overcome this problem.  Certain dental products are designed to make dental care less painful for arthritis sufferers.  Try using a battery operated toothbrush with a large handle.  These toothbrushes can help by doing some of the work for you.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age.  See Dr. Marinic imOral cancermediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, sores that fail to heal within two weeks, or an unusual hard spot on the side of your tongue.  Oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured easily.  Dr. Marinic can perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer.