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Everyone likes giving or receiving kisses especially around valentine’s day. It could be a spouse, child, or loved one, but are there any dental health dangers associated with kissing? With just one kiss, you can share over 500 different types of disease causing germs and viruses. Not knowing who you are kissing could be as dangerous to your health as having multiple sexual partners. What are the benefits, aside from the obvious?

Common Diseases and Viruses Transmitted By Kissing

-Cold Sores – This type of sore is caused by the herpes virus (family of diseases that causes Epstein-Barr, chickenpox, or herpes simplex). Cold sores appear as tiny, clear, fluid filled blisters that form around the mouth and lips. This type of sore is highly contagious. This is especially true while the sores are open and leaking fluids. Even sores that have formed scabs can be contagious.

-Upper respiratory tract infections - like colds can easily spread through a kiss. If you feel a cold or flu virus coming on you should avoid kissing. Many different viruses are responsible for causing the common cold. Colds are believed to be spread by direct contact with the virus. You can catch a cold from airborne droplets or from direct contact with secretions (fluids and mucous) from the infected person’s nose and throat.

-Mononucleosis (also called Glandular Fever) – This is called the “kissing disease” for a reason! It is easily transmitted to others through kissing, as well as sharing food, a cup, or even a straw.

-Hepatitis B – this may be transferred via kissing but it is quite rare, but it is transferable through saliva. Hepatitis B shows up in far higher levels in the blood than in the saliva. If the person you are kissing has bleeding gums (from periodontal disease), it will  be even more likely to be transmitted through the  mucous membranes (mouth, tongue, and gums).

-Tooth Decay – The bacteria that cause tooth decay are not found in the mouths of babies at birth.  A baby’s mouth must be colonized with infected saliva, which can be passed by a kiss on the lips from Mommy or Daddy.

-Periodontal Disease – It is possible to pass the bacteria responsible for periodontal disease through kissing.

Benefits Of Kissing

Even with all the potential dangers listed above, kissing does have some major benefits.

-Increased Salivary Flow - During the act of kissing, the salivary glands get stimulated. This releases increased saliva into the mouth. Saliva is mostly water but also contains electrolytes, sodium, proteins, and digestive enzymes. These digestive enzymes not only help in digesting food but also in resiting the attacks o viruses and bacteria. Saliva naturally guards our teeth. Saliva also contains the nutrients calcium and fluoride, which help re-mineralize any sort of injury on your tooth’s enamel.

-Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder Treatment - The physical action of kissing someone effects more than 34 different muscles in your face. Those with soreness within the TM joints at times notice that kissing helps to loosen up the jaw bone, the tongue and other muscular areas within the mouth area. Unstrained muscle groups can sort out any discomfort which is being a result of TMJ issues.

-Increased Immunity Strength – Kissing causes individuals to transfer antibodies from one to another. These antibodies may be new to you and thus will strengthen your immune system. Nevertheless, if you know someone is ill, it’s wise to try to keep from kissing them until finally they are healed.

-Improved Mood - kissing releases nature’s antidepressant, oxytocin. Kissing does not just increase the production of feel good chemicals in our bodies, it also lowers our cortisol and cholesterol levels, too.

-Increased Metabolism - During a really passionate kiss, a person can burn anywhere from 2-5 calories per minute. This is double your normal resting rate. Over an hour of kissing can lead you to burn almost 200 calories. While you should not rely on kissing to help you lose a significant amount of weight, it might give your metabolism an extra boost and help shed a pound or two.

The negative effects of kissing should not keep you from kissing your loved ones, but you should be sure to maintain your oral health to keep up your dental and physical health.

Preventive Tips While Kissing

-Use sugar free chewing gum, preferably with xylitol.

-Use mouthwash.

-Maintain good oral hygiene by following home care instructions and visiting your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

-Visit your dentist if you suspect you may have tooth decay or a periodontal disease.

-Only kiss someone if you know where he or she has been.

Conclusion

We love to kiss those we care about. We need to remember to protect them as well as ourselves by being clean and healthy.  Be smart about who you kiss and enjoy yourself!

For many of us, our ethnicity is not easily seen from outward appearances. As generations go by, the different ethnic backgrounds have been mixed to produce a large variety of people in the world. Recent research has shown that the diverse oral bacteria in our mouths is actually as powerful as a fingerprint. It turns out the bacteria deep within our gums can give clues to our unique ethnic origins.

Ethnicity Study And Oral Bacteria

Research completed at the Ohio State University periodontology department studied the oral bacteria found in different ethnic groups . The researchers identified about 400 species of oral bacteria in the mouths of 100 subjects. The study consisted of 4 ethnic groups: white, non-Hispanic blacks, Chinese, and Latinos.

More than 60 percent of oral bacteria in the human mouth have never been classified, named or studied. The reason being, that  many oral bacteria will not grow in a laboratory culture dish. To get around this problem, the researchers found a different way to identify the different oral bacteria. The solution was to identify different species by utilizing DNA sequencing.

The study found that only a small percentage ( 2%) of the oral bacteria were found in every one of the research subjects. Bacteria were found in different concentrations based upon the subjects ethnicity. The researchers found that each ethnic group was represented by their own unique signature of oral bacteria.

Another research of ethnicity and oral bacteria found that African Americans and Latinos are more susceptible to periodontal disease.

What Does This Mean?

-Some oral bacteria leave us highly susceptible to tooth decay, some to periodontal disease. Knowing who is more prone to which specific oral diseases can make it easier to monitor and prevent.

-Knowing which bacteria you have allows for specific antibiotic regimens to be customized to target your particular bad oral bacteria, and allows you to decrease your odds of succumbing to oral disease.

-Understanding the genetic basis of bacteria allows researchers to study particularly harmful bacteria, and find new ways to battle it.

-Knowledge of your ethnic background may help you understand why you are genetically prone to certain bacteria related diseases and what you can do to improve your overall oral health.

What Your Dentist Can Do For You

-Test your particular oral bacteria via saliva samples sent to MyPerioPath.

-Help you understand your risk factors.

-Custom design an antibiotic regimen to substantially reduce the dangerous oral bacteria present in your mouth.

-Oral hygiene regimen and instruction.

-Monitoring the mouth for disease progression.

 Effects Of Oral Bacteria On Dental Health

Bacteria are present throughout our body. Some bacteria are sticky and form biofilm. A thin grouping of oral bacteria, plaque biofilm, lives on gum tissue and teeth. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. The oral bacteria in the biofilm release acids that attack the enamel of our teeth, and break down tissue attachments in the gums. The plaque bacteria can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. Knowing which bacteria you have present in your oral environment allows you to know what you are up against.

Conclusions From Research Study

Understanding the genetic basis to bacteria not only helps scientists study them and find cures, but can help you fight oral disease.  Being aware of your particular harmful bacteria and potential issues they may cause, could and should lead to a more personalized approach to dental and medical care.

Tooth decay is an age old problem that has affected generations of children and adults. Tooth decay is preventable, we just need to understand what causes it so that we may then prevent it from occurring.

Tooth decay is caused by a bacterial intrusion into the tooth. The bacteria feed on the buildup of food debris on teeth. The bacteria then secrete acids which breakdown tooth enamel. Once the acid forms a hole in the enamel, the bacteria can then enter the tooth and progressively breakdown the tooth, causing a cavity.  Understanding this process is critical to maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay.

Best Tips To Prevent Tooth Decay

-Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene. This is the first step to preventing tooth decay. Proper dental hygiene should include, brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Toothbrushing should be done at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Brushing more often during the day will enhance your dental hygiene. Flossing should be done at least once a day (preferably before bedtime) but it can also be done more often.  The goal in dental hygiene is to not only keep down the amount of debris in the mouth but also to keep the environment from becoming acidic which will allow bacteria to more agressively break down teeth causing tooth decay.

Use of an antibacterial/fluoride mouthwash (such as purple listerine)is often overlooked but is also important. These oral rinses are designed to decrease cavity causing bacteria in the mouth while utilizing fluoride to strengthen enamel against breakdown. If brushing and flossing is done properly, use of an oral rinse should complete the protection against tooth decay.

-Sugarless Gum. Sugarless gum is important because it stimulates salivary flow. The increased saliva in the mouth will help to keep our teeth clean. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against oral bacteria. Choose a sugarless gum with xylitol. Bacteria can not feed on xylitol, because it cannot be metabolized. This helps keep the acid levels lower. Xylitol has also been shown to help remineralize our teeth’s enamel.

-Maintaining Proper Nutrition. Choosing foods and drinks wisely is important to your overall health as well as your dental health. By eating properly, you are able to keep your body as healthy as possible allowing your body to fight off any attack. The best snacks for your dental health include raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Avoiding sugar is not always an option so it is important to minimize the damage. Apples are actually the perfect snack for dental health as they act as a tooth cleaner and whitener. They are able to clean your teeth by the abrasive action of the skin and hard inner surface of the apple, malic acid in the apple helps to remove surface stain and keep teeth whiter. You can actually squueze juice from an apple and mix it with baking soda to brush on and whiten your teeth. So next time you are looking for a midday snack pick up a shiny apple.

-Drink Fluoridated Water. While fluoride is a controversial topic for many. It has been proven time and again to protect our teeth from tooth decay. Fluoridated water is important for children to drink. The fluoride becomes a permanent part of the tooth when it is consumed during tooth development.  Drinking at least 16oz of fluoridated water each day will help prevent tooth decay. Another option is to use a supplemental fluoride prescribed by your dentist.

-Dental Sealants. Many believe dental sealants are just for children but that is not so. If an adult has no tooth decay on the tooth in question nor any previous dental restorations a sealant can be placed and be effective. A dental sealant is designed to cover the chewing surfaces of premolars and molars. This keeps the grooves of our teeth from developing tooth decay. In many of us, these grooves are quite deep and are an inherent weakness in the fight against tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

Tooth decay is preventable with diligent dental hygiene and maintaining regularly scheduled dental visits. Maybe in the future, we can eventually wipe out tooth decay . Until then, we need to follow the steps above to maintain good oral health.

Recent research has uncovered that humans from the stone age had healthier teeth than modern man. Even though dentistry was limited back then, it is believed thatCosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS dietary factors helped stone age humans maintain their oral health. As man has evolved and industrialized our world it has changed many things including the way we eat.

As we went from a hunter society and began industrialized farming some 150 years ago, the makeup of our oral bacteria has changed slowly. With the introduction of processed sugars and flours to our diet, researchers have seen a dramatic decrease in the diversity of our oral bacteria. This has allowed cavity causing strains to dominate the oral cavity.

Research Study Findings

The research team examined 34 prehistoric skeletons from northern European human skeletons. They gathered the DNA for testing from calcified dental plaque that was found on the subjects teeth. They used these samples to enable them to analyze how the oral bacteria has changed from stone age times all the way up to modern human times. As human society has evolved, they were able to show a negative impact on our dental health.

Further research is now being undertaken to include other time periods to see what changes happened in those times as well.

How To Stop Periodontal Disease and Tooth Decay?

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is not very difficult but it needs to become a habit and performed on a daily basis. Below are some tips to maintain good oral health:

-Brush Twice a Day – We should all strive to brush our teeth for a minimum of 2 times per day for 2-3 minutes each time. Preferably, following every meal but that is not always possible.

Dental Hygiene Marielaina Perrone DDS-Flossing – This is very important to reach those areas that brushing along cannot reach. Flossing regularly will lead to healthier checkups over your entire life.

-Use An Antibacterial Rinse – Another tool that can help reach areas that brushing and flossing cannot. Using a good rinse will also lower the numbers of harmful bacteria in the mouth thus decreasing chances of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

-Maintain regular dental visits - for a thorough dental examination and professional cleanings.

Conclusion

The important note to remember is to maintain good oral hygiene regimen along with regular visits to the dentist to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. We live in a modern age with modern tools to combat anything that comes our way.