Johns Family Dentistry

The Link Between Medications and Cavities

You may wonder why you’re suddenly getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years. As we get older, we enter a second round of cavity prone years. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. However, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. This is just one reason why it’s so important to tell your dentist about any medications that you’re taking. Dr. Johns and your dental hygiene team can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and prevent cavities.

Here are some common recommendations:

Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
Dr. Johns may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.

Gum Disease

Many older adults have gum, or periodontal disease, caused by the bacteria in plaque, which irritate the gums, making them swollen, red and more likely to bleed. One reason gum disease is so widespread among adults is that it’s often a painless condition until the advanced stage. If left untreated, gums can begin to pull away from the teeth and form deepened spaces called pockets where food particles and more plaque may collect. Advanced gum disease can eventually destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth leading to tooth loss. The good news is that with regular dental visits gum disease can be treated or prevented entirely.

Mouth Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 35,000 cases of mouth, throat and tongue cancer diagnosed each year. The average age of most people diagnosed with these cancers is 62. During dental visits, Dr. Johns will check for any signs of oral cancer. Regular dental visits are important because in the early stages oral cancer typically does not cause pain and early detection saves lives. Some symptoms you may see include open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks.

Paying for Dental Care after Retirement

Many retirees don’t realize that Medicare does not cover routine dental care. Begin to plan for your dental expenses in advance of retirement so you don’t have to let your dental health suffer once you’re on a fixed income.  Johns Family Dentistry has recently introduced a voucher system in our practice that allows patients without traditional dental insurance a way to proceed with dental care at a very reasonable cost.

Do I Need to Take an Antibiotic Before a Dental Procedure?

At times physicians and dentists recommend that a patient take antibiotics before certain dental procedures. This is called “antibiotic prophylaxis.” But why do healthcare providers suggest this extra step?

We all have bacteria in our mouths, and a number of dental treatments—and even daily routines like chewing, brushing or flossing—can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream (bacteremia). For most of us, this isn’t a problem. A healthy immune system prevents these bacteria from causing any harm. There is concern, however, that for some people bacteremia can cause an infection elsewhere in the body.

Antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended for a small number of people who have specific heart conditions. The American Heart Association has guidelines identifying people who should take antibiotics prior to dental care. Learn more about them here.

Antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines have also been revised for people with orthopedic implants such as artificial joints. Learn more about why the ADA and American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons updated the recommendations and no longer recommend antibiotics for everyone with artificial joints.

Talk with Dr. Johns if you have any questions about antibiotic prophylaxis.

Caregiving for a Disabled or Elderly Loved One

You may have a parent, spouse or friend who has difficulty maintaining a healthy mouth on their own. How can you help? Two things are critical:

Help them keep their mouth clean with reminders to brush and floss daily.
Make sure they get to a dentist regularly.
These steps can prevent many problems, but tasks that once seemed so simple can become very challenging. If your loved one is having difficulty with brushing and flossing, talk to a dentist or hygienist who can provide helpful tips or a different approach. There are dentists who specialize in caring for the elderly and disabled. You can locate a specialist through the Special Care Dentistry Association’s referral directory. For those who wear dentures, pay close attention to their eating habits. If they’re having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could be the cause.

When you’re caring for someone who is confined to bed, they may have so many health problems that it’s easy to forget about oral health. However, it’s still very important because bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs and cause pneumonia.

If you are a representative for a nursing home resident who needs dental care and is enrolled in Medicaid, there is a regulation, called an Incurred Medical Expense, that may help pay for medically necessary care as determined by a dentist. The Medicaid caseworker at the nursing facility and the dentist providing care can work together to apply the Incurred Medical Expense to pay for needed dental benefits.

What is it about April that dentists love?

Don’t be mistaken, dentists love every day of every month of the year they get to fight off the cavity creeps for their trusting patients.  But they seem to favor a couple few months that really drive home the dental health awareness message.  Now that Spring is upon us here in the upper half of our planet, April gives dentists two more oral health topics to discuss with patients, team members, blog readers, & just about anyone who is willing to listen.

April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  

When it comes to identifying potential warning signs of oral cancer, dentists are often the first ones to notice any abnormalities.  Oral cancer screenings are performed during your normal six month dental checkup, which is just another in the long list of reasons to see your dentist on the regular.  April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, in addition to April 13th-19th being National Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week. Dentists love this opportunity to educate their patients & local communities by promoting education and awareness about how dangerous (but preventable) oral cancer can be…and they rally at the chance every time April rolls onto the calendar!

 

 

April Is National Facial Protection Month

In the United States, dentists bring the dental health message with both barrels during the month of April.  Parents, athletes, teachers, coaches, referees, umpires, athletic directors, insurance agents, school administrators, or any other participants either directly or indirectly involved with youth sports understand the need to protect our children from injury.  They all come together every April to drive home the National Facial Protection Month message.  Thanks to the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists — and our trusted local dentists for helping spread the word.  In these days when most kids under 12 years old seem to be walking around with $800 iPhones, dentists love the opportunity they get every April to mouth-off about one of the most important pieces of protective athletic equipment – a properly fitted mouthguard.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask Dr. Johns at your appointment.

 

Nutrition and Your Dental Health

Did you know that March is national Nutrition month?  

Let’s talk about your oral health and nutrition.  The single most important cause of dental caries is the frequency with which sugar-containing foods and drinks are consumed. The nutritional advice offered in relation to oral health should be based on the reduction of between-meal snacking of sugary foods and drinks. The 1995 Food and Nutrition Policy guidelines for Ireland recommend that frequent consumption throughout the day of foods containing sugar should be avoided, especially by children. These guidelines further recommend that while a high energy intake is required for growth by adolescents (and this increases meal frequency), this should not be associated with frequent consumption of foods/drinks high in sugar throughout the day. The WHO recommendation is that the intake of “free sugars” – this term does not include sugars naturally present in whole fruits, vegetables and milk – should be less than 10% of total energy intake (which equates to<15-20 kg/person/year) and that frequency of intake be limited to four times or less a day.

Key Points
Frequent consumption of sugar-containing foods and drinks is the most important cause of tooth decay.
Twenty-three percent of 8-year-olds and 40% of 15-year-olds consume sweet snacks or drinks between normal meals three or more times a day10; half (48%) of all adults snack between meals, most commonly on biscuits and cakes.
More than 8 out of 10 adults (86%) consume at least three servings a day of foods high in fats and sugar. The Food Pyramid recommends that these foods are best avoided and limited to “no more than 1 serving a day maximum and ideally not everyday.”
Poor nutrition is a “shared common risk factor” for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity and oral diseases.
A healthy diet for oral health should be promoted as part of general nutrition advice.
The 2002 National Oral Health Survey reported that 23% of 8-year-olds and 40% of 15-year-olds consume sweet snacks or drinks between normal meals three or more times a day.10 The 2007 Lifestyle and Nutrition Survey (SLÁN) also reported that half (48%) of all adults snack between meals, most commonly on biscuits and cakes.

So by all means, enjoy life….eat the cake, taste the chocolate, but they key is moderation.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

Because developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month each February.

Now in its 63rd year, this month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and others to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and adults, caregivers, teachers and many others.

Parents and teachers can help kids celebrate and learn more about the importance of a healthy smile. The ADA offers free downloadable information, kid-friendly oral health worksheets and games on MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website.  There are also teaching guides that adults can use at home, in the classroom or in other community-based settings.

MouthHealthy.org also offers a variety of tools to help consumers learn more about oral health or address their concerns, including the new ADA Dental Symptom Checker. This new tool is designed to understand what your dental symptoms may mean so that you can make informed decisions about your dental health.

MouthHealthy.org Dental disease can lead to difficulty eating, sleeping, paying attention in school and smiling. The ADA urges parents to make sure their children brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, eat a balanced diet and see their dentist regularly to address tooth decay in its earliest stages.

Feel free to ask Dr. Johns or one of our hygienists, Heather, Nicole and Megan any questions you may have.

How to help pediatric patients overcome obstacles to adequate home care

HELPING PATIENTS ACHIEVE THE BEST ORAL HEALTH is often challenging but even more so when it comes to our youngest patients. Young children often lack the dexterity to perform adequate brushing and flossing, and many fail to brush long enough to do a thorough job.

Today, there are numerous products on the market designed specifically for younger patients. Finding a product that appeals to a younger patient can go a long way in helping establish an oral care routine for life. It’s important that the parents buy in since they will be integral in helping their child develop oral care habits.

Due to the taste or even the texture, toothpaste is often a factor when kids fail to brush regularly. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children under the age of three use a fluoride-containing smear of toothpaste no bigger than size of a grain of rice. (1) For children ages three to six, a pea-sized amount is sufficient. (1) Older children can use a larger amount, generally no more than small ribbon of paste. (1) Several companies make child-friendly toothpastes that are ADA-accepted.It is not uncommon for children to lack the skills to use a manual brush effectively. Children often do not brush long enough to thoroughly remove plaque. Having a parent or caregiver assist with tooth brushing can help with overcoming this. Yet school-age children who are independent may not feel they need “help,” despite their potential inadequacy at plaque removal. A child-friendly power toothbrush can be helpful for improving plaque removal in these situations. There are many choices—from rechargeable brushes to battery-operated—to fit any budget.

An important factor to consider when recommending a power brush is how to increase brushing time. Often a simple timer is not enough. Two companies make brushes that play music during brushing: the Oral-B Stages line and the Arm & Hammer Tooth Tunes line.Another way to increase brushing time is with an app. Apps can provide some incentive for kids and feedback for parents. The Oral-B line comes with the Disney Magic Timer app, and the Philips Sonicare for Kids comes with Bluetooth wireless technology that connects to an app.Most children need to clean between their teeth. Flossing is often too difficult for small hands. Unless a parent will commit to flossing the child’s teeth on a daily basis, a water flosser may be an easier and more effective alternative.

The Waterpik Water Flosser for Kids is customized for children ages six to 11. For older children, or for children whose parents want them to water floss in the shower, the Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser is fully waterproof. It comes in four fun colors. Both products have been awarded the ADA Seal of Acceptance for their safety and efficacy in removing plaque along the gumline and between teeth and for helping to prevent and reduce gingivitis. The Water Flosser is an ideal companion to toothbrushing because it can help remove plaque that might be missed during toothbrushing.Helping children develop good oral hygiene skills and habits is integral to promoting oral health for a lifetime. From toothpaste to power brushes to water flossers, there are safe, effective, and fun tools that help younger patients improve their oral health.

Questions?  Our hygienists, who are all mothers, are the professionals for you!  Ask Nicole, Heather or Megan for tips!

Effects of Smoking on Teeth and How to Kick the Habit.

Although they aren’t addressed as often as the rest of the body, the effects of smoking on teeth and the oral cavity are important pieces of information in the process of smoking cessation. Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, but did you know it is a major contributor to dental problems as well? Although true strides have been made, the tobacco epidemic continues. Nonetheless, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, opportunities abound for kicking the habit.

Why be concerned with the oral effects of smoking? A healthy smile is paramount for most adults. It is often the first thing people notice when they’re introduced to someone for the first time. And nobody wants a smile that is dull or discolored, let alone emits bad breath. The problem is that routine brushing is only half the solution; it doesn’t remove the stains or reduce halitosis by itself. In addition, seek more frequent dental cleanings. These visits can foster a dialogue that opens a path to quitting.

Effects on Teeth and Oral Cavity

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site, smoking and tobacco use cause stained teeth, bad breath and a diminished sense of taste. Over time, smoking can hinder your immune system, producing more concerning side-effects that include a reduced ability to recover after surgery. Because of this, smoking is also one of the most significant risk factors associated with gum or periodontal disease, which causes inflammation around the tooth. This irritation can affect the bone and other supporting structures, and its advanced stages can result in tooth loss.

The use of tobacco – especially smokeless tobacco – increases your risk of oral cancer as well, which can be aggressive due to the abundance of blood vessels and lymph nodes in your head and neck.

Ultimately, the effects of smoking on teeth can lead to tooth decay, and pose a challenge with restorative dentistry. Because tobacco causes tooth discoloration, the aesthetic results of this treatment are not always ideal – both extrinsic and intrinsic. In addition, gum recession can cause uneven margins on crowns and other restorations.

Smoking Cessation and Your Dentist

Dental health professionals play an important role in smoking cessation, and can increase your rate of successfully quitting. According to the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, the qualities and attributes of the dental team are uniquely poised to combat this stubborn habit. These benefits include:

Skills for interviewing and questioning patients about tobacco use
Reviewing of medical histories at every visit
Educational and motivational skills
Trusting relationship and rapport with patients
Regular visits that allow for follow-up and support
Dental patients are seen more frequently for oral health appointments than by their primary care providers. Taking advantage of these regular visits can be an important step to beginning and monitoring a smoking cessation program.

Steps to Take

Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s five keys for quitting is a terrific way to start a course for successful tobacco cessation. All health care providers, especially your dental hygienist and dentist, can provide support and resources. These five steps are:

Get ready by setting a date to quit.

Seek support from your friends and family, as well as your doctor, dentist, counselor, etc.

Make use of medications – both prescription and over the counter – and use as directed.

Prepare for setbacks and seek help for overcoming obstacles or relapses.

The effects of smoking on teeth, breath, clothes and your health in general can all influence a patient’s desire to quit, but a visit to the dentist is an important first step. Dentists and dental hygienists will have a crucial plan that starts the process. Everyone wants white teeth, fresh breath, a healthy mouth and firm gums, and with help from your dental office, you can achieve all of these. It’s never to late to quit being unhealthy.  Make it a 2018 New Years Resolution!

 

Living With Diabetes: Teeth and Gum Problems

Diabetes can lead to a whole host of health problems, but did you know that it can also put you at risk for dental issues? The implications of high blood sugar extend to every part of the body — including teeth and gums. When it comes to diabetes, teeth and gum problems are something you need to be aware of.

Diabetes: Teeth and Gum Problems to Look Out For

Here are few of the ways diabetes can wreak havoc on your mouth, and how you can prevent this damage from occurring if you are one of the 21.9 million people in the U.S. who suffer from diabetes.

Gum Disease

Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums, which increases the risk for gum disease. This risk is amplified if you had poor dental health prior to being diagnosed with diabetes.

Gum disease takes two forms: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is less serious, but can develop into periodontitis if left untreated. In addition to cutting off blood to the gums, diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, putting the gums at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation caused by the bacteria in the form of plaque. The longer plaque remains on your teeth, the more it irritates the gingiva — the part of your gums around the base of your teeth.

The main symptoms of gingivitis are red, swollen, and bleeding gums. It is important to contact your dentist as soon as these symptoms develop so the problem can be addressed.

Untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis, which affects the tissue and bones that support your teeth. In addition to red bleeding gums, other symptoms include bad breath that won’t go away and changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.

Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth. This in turn causes your teeth to loosen and potentially fall out.

To further complicate matters, periodontitis and diabetes can lead to a catch-22 situation. Diabetes slows your body’s ability to heal and fight bacteria, so the infection takes longer to go away. Additionally, periodontitis raises blood sugar, which makes diabetes more difficult to manage.

Dry Mouth    

If you have diabetes, or know someone who does, you know that one of its chief symptoms is dry mouth and a constant feeling of thirst. This is an annoyance for sure, but can also lead to more serious dental issues.

Diabetes reduces your mouth’s saliva production, which makes your teeth more vulnerable to decay and can also contribute to gum disease. Saliva helps wash away plaque and tartar from teeth; the less saliva in your mouth, the more likely plaque and tartar are to stick around.

Symptoms accompanying dry mouth include a dry tongue and dry, cracked lips. It can also lead to difficulty chewing, swallowing, or talking.
Your dentist can prescribe a fluoride rinse to keep your mouth moisturized and prevent tooth decay. Sugar free gum and mints are also good for stimulating saliva flow and keeping the mouth moist.

Dry mouth associated with diabetes is worsened by caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, as well as spicy and salty foods. Avoiding these foods will help prevent the problem from becoming worse.

Oral Care for Diabetes Patients

The risks for diabetes make good dental hygiene non-negotiable. Dental care and diabetes care must be practiced in tandem to effectively combat issues like gum disease and dry mouth.

Start the process by following these tips:

1. Brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss once per day. This will help keep plaque buildup at bay and remove food particles that can lead to tooth decay. Consider an electric toothbrush for the best brushing results.

2. Manage your diet. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar will help control your diabetes and your oral health.

3. Tell Dr. Johns about your diabetes. This will ensure that you receive the best care possible for your specific needs.

4. Schedule regular dental visits at Johns Family Dentistry. Consider going beyond the minimum recommended two visits per year so your dentist can monitor progress and watch for new developments in your mouth related to diabetes.

Johns Family Dentistry offers specialized treatments for gum disease and other issues related to diabetes. Contact us today to learn more about how to get on the road to good dental health while managing your diabetes.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Your Gums Play a Part

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among American women, coming in only behind skin cancer. A huge percentage of women – 12% – in the US will develop breast cancer in their lifetime! The good news is that occurrence of breast cancer is declining, and there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living among us today.

While breast cancer might not seem like it would have an association with your oral health, it turns out it does. Studies have shown that breast cancer and gum disease are closely related. The cycle of connection is certainly a tough one to break – a person suffering from poor oral health is more likely to develop breast cancer while a person who is undergoing treatment for this cancer is vulnerable to dental problems.

Poor oral health is a risk factor for cancer 

Apart from the commonly known risk factors that can lead to breast cancer, studies have revealed that there is a link between dental health and breast cancer. One is about 11 times more likely to develop the dreaded disease if dental health is poor. A survey carried out by Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found that those suffering from periodontal disease of the chronic kind were more likely to develop breast cancer.

Breast cancer treatment can cause dental problems

On the other side of the fence, 1/3 of those being treated for breast cancer are prone to dental health problems. It is highly recommended that one visits his or her dentist before undergoing cancer therapy. Chemotherapy, which is a common treatment to kill cancerous cells, also affects healthy cells. The treatment may cause dryness of the mouth, sore and inflamed tissues, cavities, bleeding gums and decreased saliva flow. Pre-existing conditions are expected to worsen during treatment and all dental problems need to be treated before chemotherapy.

So how do you maintain good oral hygiene and reduce your risk of breast cancer?

Regular brushing and flossing and regular visits to your dentist will help keep your gums healthy. A healthy mouth will have reduced bacteria inside the mouth and help to prevent gum disease. During breast cancer treatment, maintaining good oral hygiene is a must to avoid dental infections since your immune system is reduced. Treatment should be in coordination with your physician, Dr. Johns and an oncologist.

Medications’ Impact On Oral Health

MEDICATIONS’ IMPACT ON ORAL HEALTH

Many of us need to take medications to treat a wide variety of conditions.

However, even as those medications treat our illnesses, they could be causing problems for our teeth and gums.

Medicine And Oral Chemistry

Some medications—even some vitamins—can damage our teeth for the brief period that they’re in our mouths. This can pose a particular problem for children. As adults, we swallow most of our medicines. Children’s medicine tends to come in the form of sugary syrups and multivitamins, which feed oral bacteria and leads to tooth decay.

Inhalers for asthma can also cause problems, specifically oral thrush, which is white patches of fungus in the mouth that can be irritating or painful. The best way to avoid this complication of using an inhaler is for you or your child to rinse with water after each use, and the same goes for sugary cough syrups and chewable multivitamins.

Side-Effects For Your Mouth

Plenty of other medications, though they don’t do any damage while you’re ingesting them, can be harmful to your mouth in the long term because of the side-effects. Let’s take a look at some of the more common side-effects.

Inflammation And Excessive Bleeding

If you notice your gums becoming tender and swollen shortly after you start on a new medication, you should talk to a medical professional about it. Several medications can cause gingival overgrowth (or excessive growth of the gums), which puts you at increased risk of gum disease.

Altered Taste

Some medications, such as cardiovascular agents, central nervous system stimulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and smoking-cessation products can leave you with a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth, or even interfere with your overall sense of taste. This isn’t necessarily a serious side-effect, but it can be unpleasant, especially for food-lovers.

Dry Mouth

The most common mouth-related side-effect of medications is dry mouth. A wide range of medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease medications, and antidepressants can all cause it.

Aside from feeling uncomfortable, dry mouth is very dangerous to oral health. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense. It contains compounds that remineralize your teeth, neutralize acids, and keep bacteria in check. Without enough saliva, that bacteria runs rampant and there’s nothing to neutralize the acid or add minerals back into your tooth enamel. From there, you can develop mouth sores, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Taking Medications? Let Us Know!

The best thing you can do to ensure your medications aren’t clashing with your oral health is to tell your dentist about your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications you’re taking. From there, we can formulate a plan for how to counteract the medications’ effects.

At our practice, we’re rooting for your oral—and overall—health!

How Does Pregnancy Affect My Oral Health?

If you have been to our office in the past couple months, you are most likely aware that we have another staff baby on the way! Heather, our hygienist, is pregnant and due at the end of this month with her third child. Pregnancy brings up a great topic in dentistry.

How Does Pregnancy Affect My Oral Health?

It’s a myth that calcium is lost from a mother’s teeth and “one tooth is lost with every pregnancy.” But you may experience some changes in your oral health during pregnancy. The primary changes are due to a surge in hormones – particularly an increase in estrogen and progesterone –- can exaggerate the way gum tissues react to plaque.

How does a build-up of plaque affect me?

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

Pregnant women are also at risk for developing pregnancy tumors, inflammatory, non-cancerous growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated. Normally, the tumors are left alone and will usually shrink on their own after the baby’s birth. But if a tumor is uncomfortable and interferes with chewing, brushing or other oral hygiene procedures, the dentist may decide to remove it.

How can I prevent these problems?

You 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 should also floss thoroughly each day. If brushing causes morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water or with antiplaque and fluoride mouthwashes. Good nutrition – particularly plenty of vitamin C and B12 – help keep the oral cavity healthy and strong. More frequent cleanings from the dentist will help control plaque and prevent gingivitis. Controlling plaque also will reduce gum irritation and decrease the likelihood of pregnancy tumors.

Could gingivitis affect my baby’s health?

Research suggests a link between preterm, low-birthweight babies and gingivitis. Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums. If this happens, the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor.

 

When should I see my dentist?

If you’re planning to become pregnant or suspect you’re pregnant, you should come see us at Johns Family Dentistry right away. Otherwise, you should schedule a checkup in your first trimester for a cleaning. Dr. Johns will assess your oral condition and map out a dental plan for the rest of your pregnancy. A visit to Johns Family Dentistry also is recommended in the second trimester for a cleaning, to monitor changes and to gauge the effectiveness of your oral hygiene. Depending on the patient, another appointment may be scheduled early in the third trimester.  Any questions, feel free to contact us at 253-848-3723.