Category Archives: Periodontal Disease

Fluoride Treatments – Are They Really Necessary?

Water and faucetFluoride is a natural mineral that is found in various concentrations in soil and drinking water.

Why is fluoride important?

Every day, a tooth’s enamel (the outer layer that makes a tooth hard) has minerals both added to it (remineralization) and removed from it (demineralization).  During Tooth anatomyremineralization, minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are added to the enamel layer via foods and drinks that contain these minerals.  Minerals are lost (demineralization) when acids—from bacteria in the mouth and certain foods and drinks – attack the enamel.  Tooth decay results when the enamel loses more minerals than it receives.

How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?

Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks.  Fluoride also helps to speed remineralization of erupted teeth in both children and adults.

Where is fluoride found?

Fluoride toothpasteAlthough some foods, such as seafood and certain teas, naturally contain fluoride, the primary source of fluoride is drinking water.  Tap water in most cities in the United States contains fluoride.  Some, but not all, bottled waters contain fluoride.  Fluoride also can be applied directly to teeth through toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain fluoride.  You can buy these products at most pharmacies and grocery stores.

Dr. Marinic and/or his hygienist can also apply fluoride directly to your teeth in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish.  These products contain a much higher level of fluoride than toothpastes and mouth rinses.

When should fluoride use begin?

Infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years shouldInfant smiling receive fluoride.  Their primary teeth and permanent teeth develop during these ages, so the stronger their enamel is, the better.  Because most children receive their first permanent teeth at around age 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends prescribing fluoride supplements for children between the ages of 6 and 16 who are at high risk for dental caries and whose community water source is less than optimal.  In areas that have minimal fluoride in the water, fluoride supplementation may begin earlier.

Although fluoride is an immediate concern for children and adolescents, adults also can benefit from fluoride.  Topical fluoride – including toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments – is as important for fighting tooth decay in adults as it is for strengthening the teeth of children.

When is additional fluoride necessary?

Additional fluoride treatment can benefit children and adults with certain oral conditions, including dry mouth, gum disease, and cavities.  Dry mouth makes an individual more prone to tooth decay because the decreased saliva production makes it harder to wash away food particles and thus decrease the cavity-causing acids.  Gum disease can expose more of the tooth and tooth roots to bacteria, increasing the chance of tooth decay.  Patients who have many cavities and develop new ones each year may benefit from additional fluoride treatment.

Additional fluoride might also be appropriate for patients with crowns, bridges, and braces, as the portion of the tooth that isn’t covered by a crown, bridge, or brace may be at greater risk for tooth decay.  To find out if you and/or your children are receiving enough fluoride or should consider fluoride treatment or supplements, ask Dr. Marinic.  He may prescribe fluoride supplements (in liquid or pill form) or offer suggestions for increasing the amount of fluoride you receive.

Hormones and Women’s Oral Health

What do hormones have to do with a woman’s oral health?5 generations of women

Hormonal changes occur throughout a woman’s life, and with these hormonal changes come changes in oral health.  Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause all can have an effect on a woman’s oral health.  The use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) can affect a woman’s oral health as well.

When might I notice changes in my oral health?

During puberty, fluctuations in hormones can make gums morTeenage girle susceptible to gingivitis. As a result, the gums may appear red and swollen, and they can bleed.  During menstruation, women who have a tendency to develop canker sores and cold sores may develop a pattern in which these sores recur during every menstrual cycle.

Woman holding newbornDuring pregnancy, gingivitis may develop.  In fact, gingivitis is the most common oral condition associated with being pregnant. Sometimes, however, women will avoid dental checkups for fear that treatment might harm the developing baby.  In truth, untreated gum infections and decayed teeth can put a mother and her baby at risk. Dental infections may be responsible for as much as 5 percent of low-birth-weight pre-term babies.  Pregnant women need routine checkups.  Always tell Dr. Marinic and his team if you are pregnant.

Some women also experience dry mouth while pregnant.  Taking frequentPregnant woman brushing teeth sips of water and chewing sugarless gum or candy can help alleviate this symptom.  Women who experience morning sickness need to brush their teeth more frequently than twice a day.  This will help to prevent stomach acids from contacting the teeth and causing permanent damage to tooth enamel. 

The use of oral contraceptives may cause gum tissue changes in some women.  Women who use birth control pills may also be more prone to healing problems or dry socket after tooth extraction. 

Older woman smilingDuring menopause, women may experience oral changes that include pain, a burning sensation in the oral tissue, changes in taste, and dry mouth.  After menopause, there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, which may increase the chance of tooth loss.

How can I maintain good oral health throughout my life?

  • Brush twice daily with toothpaste containing fluoride and floss once daily
  • Have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined by your dentist every six months (or more frequently if recommended by your dentist)
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, and always tell Dr. Marinic and his team about any medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking

Ask Dr. Marinic any questions that you have about your oral health.  Together, you and Dr. Marinic can create a treatment and prevention plan that specifically meets your needs.

Bad Breath? We Can Help!

Bad breathBad breath – which is also known as halitosis – is a worrying problem that can also be embarrassing, but there is no need to put up with it.  If you suffer from bad breath, Dr. Marinic will be able to suggest a range of solutions.

Dr. Marinic will be able to spot problems such as gum disease, dry mouth or other disorders.  That’s why its important to Dorothy cleaningmaintain good oral hygiene, schedule regular visits to our office and have a professional cleaning done by our hygienist at least every 6 months.

Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth each day using floss or interdental cleaners.  Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too!

If your dental check up shows that your mouth is healthy, Dr. Marinic may refer you to your family physician as sometimes bad breath can be a sign of Periodontitisother health problems.

If the odor is due to periodontal (gum) disease, sometimes a professional periodontal cleaning is needed to remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulated.  Dr. Marinic may also recommend a special antimicrobial mouth rinse.

Keeping your mouth healthy and stopping periodontal disease are essential to reducing bad breath.  So make sure you schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup with Dr. Marinic and our hygienist.