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Green Tea - Tea that is made from unfermented leaves and is pale in color and slightly bitter in flavor.

Most people do not realize how important nutrition is to their dental health. Not only is what we eat important to avoid tooth cavities but it also plays a big role in maintaining the soft and hard tissues in the mouth. We need certain essential vitamins and nutrients in our diet to maintain these tissues.

Vitamins and Nutrients for Optimal Oral Health

There are many vitamins and nutrients that are good for optimal oral health. Here are just some of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy orally:

-Calcium. Your teeth and jawbones are made up mostly with calcium. Without the proper amount of calcium intake, you will have an increased risk of developing periodontal disease and tooth cavities. Calcium can be found in milk, yogurt, cheese, beans, and oysters.

-Iron. Iron deficiency can cause inflammation of the tongue as well as cause sores to form inside your mouth. Iron is found in many different foods, including liver and red meat. Other foods rich in iron include bran cereals, some nuts, and spices.

-Vitamin B3 (niacin). A lack of vitamin B3 can cause bad breath and canker sores in the mouth. Ingestion of chicken and fish can raise levels of Vitamin B3 in the body..

-Vitamins B12 and B2 (riboflavin). Not consuming enough of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B2 can also cause development of mouth sores. Red meat, chicken, liver, pork, fish, as well as dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, are all good sources of vitamin B12. Vitamin B2 is found in foods like pasta, bagels, spinach, and almonds.

-Vitamin C. Insufficient vitamin C will lead to bleeding gums and loose teeth. Great sources of vitamin C are sweet potatoes, oranges, and raw red peppers.

-Vitamin D. It is very important to consume enough vitamin D because it helps your body absorb calcium. A diet lacking or low in vitamin D will cause burning mouth syndrome. Symptoms of this condition include a burning mouth sensation, a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth, and dry mouth. Drink milk, and eat egg yolks and fish to increase your vitamin D intake. It has also been recently suggested to spend 10 minutes outdoors a day to benefit from the natural vitamin D we can absorb from sunshine.

Add Green Tea to List?

New studies have shown that green tea can be added to list of foods and liquids needed for optimal oral health. The research suspects antimicrobial molecules contained within green tea helps preserve teeth. Some also suggest rinsing and gargling with green tea. Adding sugar to the green tea negates this finding. The study found the following findings:

-People aged 40-64 who drank one cup of green tea a day were less likely to lose teeth.

-Drinking unsweetened coffee showed no effect on keeping teeth. But drinking coffee sweetened with sugar actually increased your chances of losing teeth over time.

-Antimicrobial molecules called catechins are believed to account for the benefits of green tea. Catechins have been shown to destroy mouth bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease.

The actual study found that men who drank at least one cup of green tea per day were 19 percent less likely to have fewer than 20 teeth (a full set including wisdom teeth is 32) than those who did not drink green tea. Green tea drinking women had 13 percent lower odds.

Maintenance of  healthy teeth and gums is part of maintaining a healthy body. Every little boost is a step closer to maintaining optimal health. Adding green tea to your regimen can be just the boost you need. As always see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

 

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A dental abscess is an infection of the mouth, face, throat, or jaw that begins as a tooth infection or cavity. Generally these infections are caused by poor dental health and can be the result of lack of proper and timely dental care. A Dental abscess may also occur in people with medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders (Sjögren’s syndrome and similar conditions)  or conditions that weaken the immune system (diabetes, following radiation or chemo from cancer). A dental abscess can also be triggered by minor trauma in the oral cavity…such as a fractured tooth. Openings in the tooth enamel allow bacteria to infect the nerve tissue (the pulp) in the center of the tooth. Infection may spread out from the root of the tooth and out to the surrounding bones supporting the tooth.

A dental abscess occurs when there is an infection to a small area of tissue and the body is able to seal off the infection and keep it from spreading further. White blood cells (the body’s defense mechanism against certain infections) travel through the walls of the blood vessels in the area of the infection and collect within the damaged tissue. When this happens pus forms (A generally viscous, yellowish-white fluid  formed in infected tissue, consisting of white blood cells, cellular debris, and necrotic tissue). This pus pocket is the dental abscess, which is represented by inflammation, redness, and pain.

Dental Abscess

X-ray showing Dental Abscess

The inflamed area can burst, allowing the pus to drain out, but it will come back if the cause of infection is not removed. The bacteria and host cells cause quick destruction of connective tissues around the tooth and into the jawbones as the dental abscess develops. The pain is constant and may be described as gnawing, sharp, shooting, or throbbing. Putting pressure or something warm on the tooth may induce extreme pain. There may be a swelling present at either the base of the tooth, the gum, and/or the cheek, which can be alleviated by applying an ice pack. A Dental abscess can be acute or chronic. Acute abscess are the most painful. A chronic dental abscess may produce a dull pain with intermittent swelling, but can develop into an acute abscess at any point. Sometimes the infection can progress to the point where swelling threatens to block the airway, causing difficulty breathing. A dental abscess can also make you feel ill, with nausea, vomiting, fevers, chills, and sweats.

In some patients, a dental abscess may penetrate the bone and start draining into the surrounding tissues creating a localized facial swelling. it is also possible for the lymph glands in the neck will become swollen and tender in response to the infection. It may even feel like a headache as the pain can shift from the infected location. Generally, the pain does not travel across the face, only up or down as the nerves that serve each side of the face are separate.

A dentist can determine by a thorough examination, if you have a drainable dental abscess. X-rays of the teeth are usually necessary to show smaller abscesses that may be at the deepest part of the tooth. The objective of any treatment is to remove the infection, save the tooth (if possible), and prevent further complications.

The most frequently seen types of a dental abscess are:

1) Periapical abscess. These are located at the apex of an infected tooth surrounding the roots. This type of dental abscess can occur on any tooth that has severe decay or is broken or chipped.

Dental Abscess

Dental Abscess

2) Periodontal abscess. These are located in the periodontal ligament (PDL) surrounding the tooth. This type of dentalabscess will commonly involve the mandibular and maxillary first molars, maxillary incisors, and cuspids, followed by maxillary second molars.

Treatment of a dental abscess can include:

-A Regimen of antibiotics may be given to fight the infection. Along with drainage of the infected area (if it has not already begun to drain).

-Endodontic or Root Canal Therapy (RCT) can be performed if the dentist feels the tooth can be saved. Even after the root canal therapy is completed, the dentist may want to see the patient periodically to ensure the area is healing properly.

-Teeth that cannot be restored must be extracted, followed by curettage of all apical soft tissue to remove necrotic infected tissue..

An untreated dental abscess can be life threatening and should not be taken lightly. Timely treatment usually allows the dentist to be able to cure the infection. The tooth can usually be saved in many cases but not all. Prompt treatment of dental cavities reduces the risk of a dental abscess. Teeth that have been subject to trauma should be examined immediately by the dentist.