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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.

Brushing at bedtime is one of those things that most of us just do, never questioning why. It starts as our teeth develop and our parents brush for us and hopefully we continue it throughout life. Do you know why it is recommended to brush before bedtime?

Top Bedtime Dental Hygiene Benefits

1. Remove Buildup of Bacteria In The Mouth. Our mouths are bombarded throughout the course of the day with a variety of environments. It could range from an acidic, hot cup of coffee in the morning to that pen you chewed on while sitting in a meeting at work. These daily activities introduce harmful elements to our teeth. That pen, for example, has been handled by many people and placed on desks throughout the day picking up bacteria and germs. So it is a good idea to brush your teeth and use an antibacterial rinse to rid your mouth of some of these harmful germs, acids, and plaque bacteria building up inside your mouth.

2. Avoid Plaque Buildup Overnight. Plaque is a yellowish film that builds up on our teeth usually along the gumline and between teeth. As the plaque bacteria eats the left over food particles on your teeth, a white film of plaque colonizes and builds up in your mouth. Plaque is acidic, and given time, will exert its damage onto the teeth and gums. So by brushing multiple times per day, and especially just before bed, we are cutting down on the risk of damage to our teeth and gums from this harmful plaque.

3. Sleeptime Causes A Dry Mouth. It is normal that as we sleep our mouths produce less saliva. Hence, why we tend to be thirsty first thing in the morning. A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for plaque bacteria. This can lead to increased tooth decay and even the development of periodontal disease. Our mouths need saliva to not only help break down food as we eat but also to bathe the mouth to dislodge food and bacteria from between our teeth and gums. Brushing before bed will again get your mouth ready for that dry environment to come, by removing a good portion of the bacteria and plaque that could cause damage.

4. Preventing Periodontal Disease. As mentioned above, removing plaque and bacteria form the mouth will significantly reduce bacterial damage to your teeth and gums. The same plaque that can cause tooth decay can also be prevalent in periodontal disease. Once periodontal disease progresses, it is very difficult to treat and control. It can lead to teeth shifting, receding gum tissue, and even tooth loss.

5.  Awaken In The Morning Feeling Fresh. We have all had those nights where we either fell asleep on the couch or simply forgot to brush, the next morning we wake up with a terrible taste in our mouths. Think about all the foods and drinks you ingested the day before. That means they were allowed to stay in your mouth for a full 24 hours allowing the bacteria in your mouth to feed unchecked for a full day. Take the time before bed to brush properly, rinse with a fluoride rinse such as purple listerine, and you will feel more refreshed in the morning and have better “morning breath” that your partner and family will appreciate.

Conclusion

Brushing and maintaining dental hygiene should not feel like a chore. If you we get into the habit of brushing, flossing, and rinsing it becomes second nature. A good dental hygiene regimen should not take 30 minutes to complete. In as little as 5-7 minutes 2-3 times per day you can ensure you are doing your best to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible so you get to keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Cold sores (also called fever blisters) – are a group of fluid filled blisters which usually appear at the edge of the lips, in and around the mouth (can also be seen on the face,Cold Sores Marielaina Perrone DDS inside the nose, or even the genital area). Cold sores are caused by a viral infection. Cold sores are uncomfortable and unattractive. They usually heal in several days to 2 weeks.

Most cold sores are caused by a herpes simplex virus infection (HSV-1). The skin around the blisters is often red, swollen, and sore. The blisters may break open, leak a clear fluid, and then scab over after a few days. There are also cold sores manifested by the virus that causes genital herpes. These cold sores are caused by another type of the herpes simplex virus called herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and are spread by sexual contact. Either virus, ( HSV-1 or HSV-2) can cause cold sores on lips, inside the mouth, throat, and genitalia.

Is Oral Herpes Common?

Oral herpes is quite common. Over 60% of Americans have had cold sores, and approximately 25% of those infected experience recurrent outbreaks. Most people became infected before the age of 10. Anyone can be infected and once infected the virus remains latent for life.

The Herpes virus is spread from person to person via direct skin to skin contact. The most obvious time for transmission of virus is during the active phase. This phase begins with the appearance of the blister and ends with the scab formation. The herpes simplex virus usually enters the body through a skin break around or inside the mouth. It is generally spread when a person touches the cold sores or touches infected fluid. This can happen through sharing eating utensils or razors, kissing an infected person. A parent who has cold sores often spreads the infection to his or her child in this way. However, studies have shown that infected persons can also transmit the virus via saliva without the presence of oral lesions. This is because the virus may be present in the saliva. Cold sores can also be spread to other areas of the body.

Viruses are different from bacteria. While bacteria are independent and can reproduce on their own, viruses enter human cells and force them to make more virus. The infected human cell is usually killed and releases thousands of new viruses. The cell death and resulting tissue damage causes the actual cold sores. In addition, the herpes virus can infect a cell and, instead of making the cell produce new viruses, it hides inside the cell and waits. The herpes virus hides in the nervous system. This is called “latency.” A latent virus can wait inside the nervous system for days, months, or even years. At some future time, the virus “awakens” and causes the cell to produce thousands of new viruses that cause an active infection.

 

This process of latency and active infection is best understood by considering the cold sores cycle. An active infection is obvious because cold sores are present. The first infection is called the “primary” infection. This active infection is then controlled by the body’s immune system and the sores heal. In between active infections, the virus is latent. At some point in the future, latent viruses become activated and once again cause cold sores. These are called “recurrent” infections. Although it is unknown what triggers latent virus to activate, several conditions seem to bring on infections. These include stress, illness, tiredness, exposure to sunlight, menstruation, fever, and diet.

 

Cold Sores Marielaina Perrone DDSHerpes Symptoms

Not everyone shows symptoms from herpes. The first symptoms of herpes generally occur between two to 20 days following contact with the virus. Symptoms of the initial infection are usually far more severe than those of recurrent infections. The primary infection can cause symptoms like other viral infections including tiredness, headache, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

 

Typically, 50 to 80% of persons with oral herpes experience a prodrome (symptoms of oncoming active disease) of pain, burning, itching, or tingling at the site where blisters will form. This prodrome stage may last anywhere from a few hours to one to two days. The herpes infection prodrome occurs in both the primary infection and recurrent infections. Following the prodrome, the disease process is rapid. First, small red bumps appear that quickly form fluid-filled blisters. The painful blisters may either burst and form a scab or dry up and form a scab. Within two days of the first red bumps, all the blisters have formed scabs. The skin heals completely and without scarring within six to ten days.

 

Children can have a very serious primary herpes infection called gingivostomatitis. This can cause fever, swollen lymph glands, and numerous blisters inside the mouth and on the lips and tongue that may form large, open sores. These often painful cold sores can last 2-3 weeks and can make eating and drinking difficult. This needs to be monitored as dehydration can develop in the younger children.

 

Most people experience less than two cold sore outbreaks each year. Some people never experience cold sores outbreaks, while some have very frequent outbreaks. In most people, the blisters form in the same area each time and are triggered by the same factors.

 

Treatment of Cold Sores

Pharmaceutical Treatment

Cold sores will usually start to heal on their own within a few days. If they become painful or make you feel embarrassed, they can be treated.Prescription  treatment may be used during the prodrome stage to stop or markedly decrease size and duration of colds sores. These treatments  include skin creams, ointments, or sometimes pills. Other over the counter treatments may get rid of the cold sores only 1 to 2 days faster, dry them out, or help ease painful blisters or other uncomfortable symptoms. Prescription treatment consists of the use of antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir (Zovirax), Famciclovir (Famvir) and Valacyclovir (Valtrex). Acyclovir is the drug of choice and can be

Cold Sores Marielaina Perrone DDS

given as an injectable, by mouth, in pill form, or as an ointment. Acyclovir is effective in treating both the primary infection and recurrent outbreaks. When taken by mouth to prevent an outbreak, acyclovir reduces the frequency of herpes outbreaks.

Other treatments include topical antiviral creams and ointments, such as penciclovir (Denavir) cream. Some research demonstrates that penciclovir appears to reduce the
average size and duration of cold sores.

Penciclovir reportedly is best used as quickly as possible after symptoms (pain, tingling, itching, burning or blisters) begin to appear. Although the recommended dose varies with the individual, the average adult dose calls for applying the cream to the affected areas every two hours, while awake, for four days.

Alternative Treatments

Diet

Eating a healthy well balanced diet is believed to keep cold sores at bay.

-Imbalance of Amino acids Lysine and Arginine. A diet rich in amino acids may help prevent recurrences of cold sores. Herpes sufferers want to increase intake of lysine and decrease intake of arginine. Lysine is found in most vegetables, legumes, fish, and turkey. Arginine rich foods that should be avoided include chocolate, peanuts, almonds, as well as other nuts and seeds.

-Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

Vitamins

Vitamins helpful in reduction of cold sore outbreaks:

-Vitamin C and bioflavonoids have been shown to reduce the duration of a cold sore outbreak as well as reduce the number of sores produced.

-Vitamin B complex can give support to the nervous system where viruses can hide out. B complex vitamins can also help manage stress, an important contributing factor to the outbreak of herpes viruses.

-Vitamin E. Applying the oil in vitamin E capsules directly to cold sores may provide relief of symptoms.

-Zinc lozenges are known to enhance the immune system as well as affect the reproduction of the herpes simplex virus.

-Ointments containing lemon balm or licorice and peppermint have been shown to help cold sores heal faster.

Newer Treatments

Cold Sores Marielaina Perrone DDS-Xerese. This is the only FDA approved pharmaceutical agent that can prevent the progression of cold sores.  It has been proven to reduce the likelihood of ulceration along with faster healing and improved symptom relief. It is also the only medication that is antiviral and anti-inflammatory(contains steroid). Only recommended for 12 years and older.

-Lip Clear Invisible Bandage. This is a clear bandage that is applied directly to the cold sores. This protects transmission of sore while active, can be used as a concealer, and promotes faster healing.

-Viroxyn Professional – This is a single application cold sore treatment available only thru dentists and physicians. Viroxyn contains 7.5% Benzocaine to numb the cold sores site along with an antiviral ointment. The dual action application will begin healing of the site almost immediately. Removing pain or discomfort as well as promoting faster healing. A typical cold sore last about 10-12 days but with proper use Viroxyn has been shown to reduce that time down to as little as 3 days.

Cold Sores Conclusion

As of today there is no cure for the herpes simples virus. After you get infected, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. If you get cold sores often, treatment can reduce the number of cold sores you get and how severe they are. It is important to be aware of the symptoms so as not to infect your loved ones. With diligent care and treatment, cold sore numbers and events can be reduced in time so your life is not adversely affected.

Maintaining a good bedtime oral hygiene routine is even more important than your daytime one. A lot can happen overnight while you are sleeping. Food debris and

Oral Health Marielaina Perrone DDS

Maintain Good Oral Health At Bedtime!

bacteria can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums during sleep time, when there is almost no saliva produced to wash away bacteria. Most of us have more time at night to properly clean our teeth, but wait until we are too tired to do so.  In a few easy steps, you can be assured of a clean mouth, and get a better night’s sleep.

Bedtime Oral Health Tips

1. Tooth brushing at Bedtime. Brushing your teeth before you go to bed at night helps protect against plaque buildup, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. If you are particularly susceptible to tooth decay and/or periodontal disease, it is recommended that you brush immediately after dinner, then again right before bedtime. The earlier you brush, the less likely you are to start snacking, less snacking will reduce food debris and decrease the likelihood of cavities.

2. Practice Proper Brushing Form. The best way to clean your teeth is to brush at an angle gently in short circling strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces first, then the inner tooth surfaces, followed by the chewing surfaces. To clean the backs of your front teeth, use the tip of the brush and stroke gently up and down. Get a separate brush (or even a specialized tongue cleaner) to clean your tongue, there is quite a bit more bacteria (as well as dead cells) on your tongue than your teeth, so don’t use the same brush for both.

3. Switch to an electric toothbrush. The rotating and oscillating movement of the electric toothbrush head removes plaque from your teeth more efficiently than a regular toothbrush. Be sure to choose an electric toothbrush that’s comfortable to hold, easy to use, and has the rotating-oscillating head.

Oral Health Marielaina Perrone DDS4. Do Not Just Brush – Floss Too! Flossing removes food particles and plaque buildup where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If this debris stays on the teeth, bacteria will increase throughout the night and feed off them, produce acid, and break down enamel while you’re sleeping. Tartar can not be removed by flossing, but accumulation can be slowed down with good hygiene, and the proper rinses. Flossing before bedtime is essential if you want to decrease your chances of periodontal disease and tooth decay. Morning flossing is also recommended, especially if you’re prone to periodontal disease or tartar buildup.

5. Rinse with mouthwash. Mouthwash isn’t just for fresh breath — anti bacterial mouth rinses contain a variety of ingredients that strengthen teeth(fluoride), kill plaque bacteria (Listerine) , help treat certain oral health conditions (Chlorhexidine), or simply dissolve plaque and tartar, like Periogen. Rinsing with a mouthwash before bed will help keep your teeth free of plaque and tooth decay and your gums safe from gingivitis. Most commercial, over-the-counter mouthwashes are designed to mask bad breath, tend to dry your mouth, and they won’t do much to contribute to your oral health. Talk to your dentist about which mouth rinse  is the right one for you.

6. Be aware of teeth grinding, apnea, and snoring. If you experience worn tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, or torn cheek tissue, you may be grinding your teeth (also called bruxism) while you sleep. Though dentists cannot stop you from grinding your teeth, they can make you a mouth guard that you can wear at night to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding. There are also appliances that can be made to help you with jaw repositioning to help you breathe easier, and stop snoring.

7. Use a Waterpik. A waterpik is an excellent tool to remove debris that we are unable to get to, massage and stimulate gum tissue, and cleanse a deeper periodontal pocket. You can also add your therapeutic mouthrinse or periogen to the waterpik, to place it where it is needed most.

8. Maintain Regular Dental Visits. Be sure to schedule regular dental examinations and professional cleanings. Your dentist and hygienist will help you keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy over the course of your lifetime. Remember, preventive care and maintenance are just as important for a healthy mouth as good daytime and nighttime oral hygiene.

 

Oral Health Conclusion

Dental hygiene must be maintained on a regular basis along with visits to the dentist for dental examinations and professional cleanings if you are to maintain a bright, healthy smile. Dental hygiene can not be left by the wayside just because we are tired. Make the time and effort to properly maintain your teeth, and you will be rewarded every morning with a beautiful smile!