Posts for: May, 2017
When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?
For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.
Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.
Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:
- It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
- A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
- Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
- Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!
Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!
Gum disease doesn’t have to happen to you, but if it does, find out what you should do to treat it.
Gum disease happens to millions of Americans, and yet it is a condition that is completely preventable with the proper oral care; however, not everyone visits their Lindenhurst, IL, dentist, Dr. Brian Gniadek, as often as they should to get routine checkups. This is why coming in every six months is so important not just for healthy teeth but also healthy gums.
Gum Disease Screenings
If you come in every six months to visit your Lindenhurst, IL, general dentist, as you should, then you’re getting screened for gum disease and probably don’t even realize it. The screening only takes a couple of minutes and it’s completely painless.
We will use a small probe to check for spaces between your teeth and gums where there could be infected pockets. Larger pockets are often an indicator that you have gum disease. Other signs of gum disease include chronic bad breath, loose teeth and red swollen gums.
Gum Disease Treatment
If we discover that you do have gum disease, do not despair. The next step is to try and figure out the severity of your gum disease. If we tell you that you have gingivitis, this early stage of gum disease can be reversed. Of course, full-blown periodontal disease can be managed with the proper treatments to prevent complications such as bone or tooth loss.
The most common gum disease treatment is scaling and root planing. This procedure is essentially a way to deep clean the gum lines, under the gums and along the tooth roots, where tartar and bacteria can build up. By deep cleaning the gums and tooth roots we can prevent the accumulation of bacteria that make gum disease worse.
Of course, there are some patients who can benefit from at-home treatments while those with more severe cases may require surgery or laser surgery in order to properly treat the infection.
If you are noticing any changes in the health of your gums, it’s important that you call our Lindenhurst, IL, dental office right away for a checkup. In its earliest stages, gum disease can even be reversed if you get the proper care. Call us anytime with questions or concerns about your oral health; we are here to help!
A half million people are diagnosed every year with oral cancer. While other cancers are more prevalent, oral cancer is among the most dangerous with only a fifty percent five-year survival rate.
A major reason for this low rate is because this fast growing cancer is difficult to detect early — diagnosis comes far too often after the disease has already well advanced. In an effort to detect cancer earlier many dentists visually screen for oral abnormalities during checkups, especially patients over fifty, tobacco or heavy alcohol users, patients with a family history of cancer or a medical history of exposure to the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus, HPV-16.
If they detect an abnormality, the dentist often refers the patient to an oral surgeon or other specialist for a possible biopsy. In this procedure the surgeon removes a sample of the abnormal tissue, which is then examined microscopically for cancer cells. A biopsy remains the most effective way to diagnose oral cancer.
Because of the disease's aggressive nature, many dentists lean to the side of caution when referring patients for biopsy. As a result 90% of oral biopsies reveal no cancer. Reducing the number of biopsy referrals is highly desirable, especially for the patient undergoing the procedure. Tissue samples tend to be large to ensure complete detection of any cancer cells. Depending on the size and location of the sample, there may be a risk for loss of function or disfigurement.
A new screening tool using a sample of a patient's saliva could help reduce the number of biopsy referrals. Besides DNA, saliva also contains dormant genes called biomarkers that activate in response to the presence of a specific disease. This particular saliva test identifies those biomarkers for oral cancer if they're present.
A sample with a low score of biomarkers indicates no cancer present (with a statistical confidence of 99%). A medium or high score indicates cancer may be present, but only a biopsy can determine for sure. Using this test, dentists might be able to reduce the number of biopsy referrals and instead be able to employ watchful waiting in certain cases. Because of its simplicity and non-invasiveness, saliva screening could help identify oral cancer earlier.