Category Archives: Women’s Oral Health

Forgot to Floss? It’s Not Too Late!

You know you need to floss everyday…but you forgot the last week. So why bother flossing now?

Flossing techniquesFlossing daily helps control tartar build-up on your teeth. Plaque is continually developing on your teeth which causes cavities and gum disease. By flossing you remove the colonies of bacteria and germs so they don’t accumulate quite so long. Even flossing two or three times a week helps. So it’s never too late to start flossing.

No time to floss? It doesn’t have to be right before bed. You can floss in the morning, or anytime during the day. Keep the floss by your favorite chair so you can do it when watching TV. It’s more important to do it, rather than what time of day it is done.

The proper technique for flossing is important also. Make sure to form a “c” around your tooth and bring the floss up and down on the sides of the teeth, not just between the teeth. Do your gums bleed when you floss? By using the “c” technique, you will prevent the floss from cutting the gums. The bleeding may also be caused by inflammation from the accumulated bacteria. It should go away within a week or two of regular flossing.Plastic floss holder

Everyone, including kids should floss.  Does arthritis or a lack of dexterity keep you from flossing? Try using a plastic floss holder.  Do you have a bridge or braces?  Use a floss threader.  Just keep on flossing!

Common Habits Can Chip your Teeth!

Woman biting her nailsThough enamel is the hardest substance in your body, it can be damaged.   Using your teeth to open bottles, tear tape, open packages or biting fishing lines can chip your teeth.  Biting your nails or chewing on pencils can also damage your teeth.

Woman opening a package wih her teeth

 

Beware of chomping on seeds, popcorn kernels or even ice.   Your teeth are for chewing food. They are not tools.

 

Woman opening a bottle with her teeth

 

So the next time you hear your mom say “don’t use your teeth to open the bottle,” thank her for the reminder.

Cardiovascular Disease and Your Oral Health

Large group of peopleCardiovascular disease is a class of disease that affects the heart and/or blood vessels.  It is estimated that more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.  These forms include

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease (acute heart attack and angina pectoris)
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

Studies have shown that there is a link between cardiovascular disease andImage gum disease periodontal (gum) disease, the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue.  Forms of gum disease, such as gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (bone loss), can be indicators for cardiovascular problems, which is why it is important for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease to visit Dr. Marinic on a regular basis, practice good oral hygiene, and keep Dr. Marinic informed of any oral and overall health issues.

How are periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease connected?

circulatory systemIt has been suggested that the inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with gum disease enter a person’s bloodstream and can cause various effects on the cardiovascular system.  A study published in the February 2005 issue of Circulation examined the presence of the bacteria known to cause periodontitis and the thickening of the blood vessel wall typically seen in heart disease.  After examining samples from more than 650 participants, the investigators concluded that the presence of the same bacteria known to cause periodontitis was associated with an increased level of blood vessel thickening.

What can I do to keep my gums and heart healthy?Woman brushing teeth

Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy gums.  This includes flossing regularly, brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste, and visiting Dr. Marinic at least every six months.  A healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve both your cardiovascular health and your overall health.

What do my physician and Dr. Marinic need to know?

Pill bottlesIt is important to keep all medical professionals up-to-date on your oral and overall health issues.  Inform your physician if you have been diagnosed with a form of periodontal disease or are experiencing any issues with gum inflammation.

Likewise, inform Dr. Marinic if you have been diagnosed with any form of cardiovascular disease, have experienced any cardiovascular problems, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease.

What other risk factors are associated with cardiovascular disease?

Individuals who are most at risk for cardiovascular disease include:

  • People over the age of 65
  • African-Americans
  • Hispanics
  • Males

While these particular factors cannot be changed, there are some risk factors that you can change through lifestyle management and/or medical treatment to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. These risk factors include:

  • Smokingsitting on couch
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress

If you have any questions, be sure to ask Dr. Marinic or your physician.

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.

Is Everything OK in Your Mouth?

Dorothy cleaningRegular dental exams not only help decrease your risk of oral diseases, such as cavities and gum (periodontal) disease, but may also help to diagnose other, sometimes life-threatening, medical conditions.  Dr. Marinic is an important part of your health care team.  He is able to assess your overall oral health and may recognize symptoms of serious diseases, including diabetes and cancer, which often manifest as signs and symptoms inside your mouth.  There are many diseases with oral manifestations that, in many cases, may first present in the mouth.

Diabetes

More than 25 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes. Diabetes is associated with high levels of blood sugar and is known to lower resistancGum diseasee to infection and increase the chance of the following:

  • Gum disease, including gums that bleed easily or are tender and swollen
  • Tooth decay
  • Taste impairment
  • Inflammatory skin disease
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Changes in teeth position

Additionally, patients with diabetes (especially those with dentures) are more likely to experience oral fungal infections, including thrush (oral candidiasis).

Oral cancer

During your regularly scheduled dental check up, Dr. Marinic will also search for signs of oral cancer.  Oral indicators of cancer include:Oral cancer

  • Sores that bleed easily or do not heal
  • Crusted, rough areas of skin
  • Lumps or thick hard spots
  • Red, brown, or white patches
  • Changes in the lymph nodes or other tissues around the mouth and neck
  • Tenderness or pain, numbness inside the mouth
  • Changes in the way the teeth fit together

While Dr. Marinic will check all his patients for these signs and symptoms, patients with a history of smoking, using smokeless tobacco, or drinking heavily are at an increased risk for developing oral cancer.

Eating disorders

Eating disorderEating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, physically damage both your oral and overall health.  These disorders, which include patterns of insufficient food intake or excessive food intake with purging, can rob the body of much needed vitamins and minerals.  These vitamin and mineral deficiencies can present themselves orally.   Without proper nutrition, the gums can lose their healthy pink color and become increasingly soft and tender, bleeding easily.

Additionally, disorders that involve excessive vomiting, such as bulimia, can cause discoloration and erosion of the teeth through constant contact with stomach acid. Those with eating disorders may also experience:

  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Dry mouth
  • Thin, sensitive teeth
  • Loss of tooth enamel

Alcohol use disorders

Alcohol use disorders affect more than 17 million adults in the United StatesAlcoholic beverages alone.  In addition to causing irreparable social and medical problems, alcohol use disorders can severely impact your oral health.  Dentists treating patients with alcohol abuse problems may observe the following signs and symptoms:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth erosion
  • Moderate to severe gingivitis (gum disease)
  • Gum irregularities
  • Poor dental hygiene

Be proactive about your oral health

Diseases that negatively impact your general health also can damage your teeth, gums, and mouth.  Regularly scheduled dental exams allow Dr. Marinic to detect or monitor these diseases and recommend treatment.  Patients should inform Dr. Marinic about all medical conditions they have or medicines they are taking, which may affect their oral health.  Remember, maintaining a healthy body includes taking care of your oral health.

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.