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Maintaining good oral and general health requires us to keep the bad bacteria out of our bodies. Many of us have bad habits carried over from childhood that introduce us Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDSto harmful bacteria throughout our days.

The Dirty Dozen

1. Fingernails – Throughout the course of the day, our hands come in contact with a lot of dirty items. It is recommended we wash our hands before we eat and throughout our day to avoid catching colds or the flu. However, even hand washing can miss bacteria that lurks under the fingernails. This bacteria can easily be introduced into the body through the mouth when biting our nails. The best thing to do is to quit the habit, but it you are unable to, try to keep your nails as clean as possible, use a nail brush and pay extra attention to them when washing your hands.

2. Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes (and tobacco products in general) –  smoking makes the list for the pure danger it is to our oral and overall health. Smoking  brings nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide into our mouths and bodies. Tobacco use is a leading cause in the development of oral cancer.

3. Soda Cans - Who hasn’t wiped a can off with a towel before drinking from it? The answer is, most of us! Think of all the people who handle cans and all of the dirty places a can may have been in, and now take a minute to clean it off before putting your mouth on it.  The top of a can is just a dirty place chock full of bacteria.

4. Pens/Pencils – This is a childhood habit that unfortunately continues into adulthood for many. Kids in school love to play with pens and pencils while at their desk idling away the hours at school. So the pens go from back pack to desk to falling on the floor and into our mouths and they are never cleaned. A good tip is to wipe down pens and pencils with an antibacterial wipe.

5. Double Dipping At A Party, and Birthday Cake - If someone double dips into a dip at a party they are introducing bacteria into the dip. This bacteria will then get passed onto everyone else that samples that dip throughout the evening. Now, think about how most people blow out birthday candles. They are pretty much, spitting all over the cake, especially kids. This will not only contribute to possible foodborne illnesses but also transmission of bacteria from person to person. A suggestion, take a lit candle off the cake and blow it out away from the direction of the cake.

6. Kissing –  The bacteria responsible for periodontal disease and tooth decay is transferrable. Luckily, by the time we are adults we have already been exposed to most of this type of bacteria. Obviously, this will not stop us from kissing our loved ones but be smart and proactive. Avoid kissing someone who is sick with a cough, a runny nose, or poor oral hygiene.

7. Toothbrushes – Studies have found that flushing the toilet can spew bathroom-related bacteria into the air. For this reason, it is a good idea to store your toothbrush in a cabinet, or covered, and far away from the potential contaminants.

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS8. Water Bottle – Keeping healthy also means staying hydrated and drinking plenty of refreshing water. However, if you are using a reusable plastic water bottle you should be aware coliform (example E. coli) bacteria can coat the inside of the plastic bottle if not cleaned properly. Choose a wide-mouthed bottle for easier cleaning and drying, and choose a hard material that won’t get scratched during vigorous cleaning (example stainless steel). Along with regular washing, soak in a solution of bleach and water for two minutes once per week (and rinse and dry completely). As a side note, BPA is released from plastic bottles into the water, especially when the bottle gets heated, such as when left in the hot car or delivery truck. Try drinking from BPA free containers or glass.

9. Sharing Lipstick, Chapstick etc. – Whether it is sharing with friends or trying on a lipstick at the makeup counter. The bacteria, and viral buildup can be immense. Herpes can be transferred easily in this way. It is far safer to try the lipstick sample on the back of your hand to see its color.

10. Bar Snacks – These are notorious for being chock full of bacteria. Hand after hand reaching into the bowl. Many of those hands being unwashed especially after frequent trips to the bathroom. Steer clear of bar snacks unless you see the bartender put a fresh bowl out and you are the first one to indulge.

11. Biting off Tags, and Tearing Open Packages with Teeth - This may seem like an unlikely part of the list but clothing, and other items with tags,  ketchup packets, chip bags, etc. have been handled by many dirty hands. Most of us do not hesitate to put a bacteria ridden ketchup packet between our teeth and rip it open. There are so many items we place into our mouths without ever even thinking about how potentially dirty they could be.

12. Eating Food Off The Floor – Last but certainly not least, do not follow the 3 second rule! Any food that hits the floor should be thrown away. The floor is one of the dirtiest places in any location.

Conclusion

After reading the above list I’m sure you’ll think of quite a few other potentially dirty items that you may have exposed yourself to. Think about your hygiene, and the cleanliness of all items that go in your mouth, and you will keep yourself happier and healthier.

Did you know that oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer and accounts for approximately 4% of all cancers diagnosed? Most of the oral cancer diagnoses are in

Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

Early Oral Cancer Diagnosis is Key To Survival

patients older than 45 years old. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancers. The key to oral cancer, as in most cancers, is in early diagnosis. If diagnosed in its earliest stages, the chance for full recovery is at about 70% survival rate. The problem is that most are not diagnosed in its earliest forms, so less than half of all oral cancer patients are cured. Oral cancer also has the worst 5 year survival rate among all cancers, at about 57%.

If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement, and even death. Oral cancer accounts for about 8,000 deaths annually.

What’s the best way to get an early diagnosis early? Visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations, which typically include an oral cancer screening in the form of a soft tissue exam and in some cases the use of the Velscope oral cancer screening system. If you are not sure if your dentist has conducted a soft tissue exam, ask him or her to perform this screening for oral cancer, which includes a visual inspection of the oral cavity and palpation of the head, neck and oral cavity.

Causes of Oral Cancer?

As of now there is some debate over the actual cause of oral cancer but it is believed certain activities raise your risk for developing it. These include use of tobacco products, human papilloma virus (HPV), heavy alcohol use, as well as excessive exposure to the sun have all been found to have a link to developing oral cancer.

Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

The most common site for oral cancer are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. Oral cancer shows up as red, white or discolored lesions, patches or lumps in or around the mouth, and it is typically painless and without symptoms in its early stages. As the malignant cancer spreads and destroys healthy oral tissue, the lesions or lumps can become quite painful. However, oral cancer is almost impossible to self diagnose so frequent dental examinations are

Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

highly recommended. You should see your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following:
-Persistent mouth sore. Any mouth sore that persists longer than 10-14 days.

-a swelling, growth or lump anywhere in or near the mouth or neck.

-white or red patches in the mouth or on the lips.

-repeated bleeding from the mouth or throat.

-Persistent Sore Throat. Difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.

Dental Screening for Oral Cancer

Your dentist should screen for oral cancer during routine dental examinations. He or she feels for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examines the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues. The use of the Velscope oral cancer screening system has been proven to diagnose precancerous as well as cancerous changes in the tissue as early as possible to give you the best chance for recovery and survival from oral cancer.

Treatment of Oral Cancer

If during your dental examination your dentist finds anything suspicious they will recommend that you have a biopsy performed of that area. The biopsy of the lesion will be used to confirm the diagnosis of oral cancer. If it is confirmed that you do indeed have oral cancer you will probably be referred to an oral surgeon for removal of the tumors. Radiation or chemotherapy may be also used in the course of your treatment.

Prevention

There are some preventive measures an individual can take and these include:

-Do not use tobacco products.Oral Cancer Marielaina Perrone DDS

-Refrain from excessive alcohol use.

When tobacco and alcohol use are combined, the risk of oral cancer increases 15 times more than for non-users of tobacco and alcohol products.

Research suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may also safeguard against oral cancer development.

Because successful treatment and rehabilitation are dependent on early detection, it is extremely important to see your dentist for regular checkups including an oral cancer screening at least once a year. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. During your next dental visit, ask your dentist to do an oral cancer screening.

Oral Cancer Conclusion

Oral cancer is one of the deadliest cancers we can face. Luckily, as science advances we have some tools at our disposal, like the Velscope, to give us the best chance for early diagnosis. Live a healthy lifestyle and you will decrease the chance of developing oral cancer.

Many people think it is okay for some gum bleeding during brushing or flossing but that is simply not true. Bleeding gums equal unhealthy gums. Periodontal disease canBleeding Gums Marielaina Perrone DDS creep up silently attacking your gums and bone in your mouth. This is especially important with recent studies showing periodontal disease being linked to systemic diseases like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

In most cases, inflamed, swollen and bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis. However,  there are a number of other factors that could be causing your gum problems. Whatever the cause of sore, painful gums, there are steps you can take to minimize gum damage and discomfort. Some people avoid dental cleanings at home or in the dental office because it always makes them bleed. What they need to understand is, that the only reason they are bleeding is because they have become inflamed. Once you have your teeth cleaned and are taught proper oral hygiene techniques, it takes about 2 weeks of bleeding gums before they heal and stop bleeding. You just have to put up with some soreness and tough it out to get results. Once your gums have healed you will be amazed how good they feel, and how the bleeding just stops.

Reasons For Gum Inflammation and Bleeding

-Poor dental hygiene

-Open mouth breathing

-Medication causing tissue overgrowth, or poor healing

-Acid reflux (GERD)

-Poor nutrition

-Systemic Disease

Other Factors That Cause Bleeding Gums

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy has many side effects. One of those side effects can include painful, swollen, and bleeding gums. Another gum issue from chemotherapy is stomatitis. This

Bleeding Gums Marielaina Perrone DDS

causes the development of painful sores and ulcers on the gums and throughout the mouth.

Tobacco use

Smoking or using other tobacco products can be very damaging to your gum tissue, and people who smoke are much more likely to develop periodontal disease than those who do not. Smokers often find that their smoking habit gives you a number of gum problems from sensitive gums that bleed to painful sores in your mouth.

Hormone Irregularities

Some women find that they experience gum problems during menstruation or pregnancy (and even menopause). The hormonal increase during puberty can elevate blood flow to the gums, making them red, swollen, and sensitive. For women with menstrual gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and have an increased likelihood to bleed shortly before each menstrual period. These problems typically subside after menstruation begins. Pregnancy gingivitis typically starts in the second or third month of pregnancy and continues through the eighth month, causing sore, swollen, and bleeding gums. The use of birth control products (oral and injectables) may cause similar gum problems. Though uncommon, some women going through menopause may find that their gums become extremely dry and therefore sore and more likely to bleed.

 Gum Damage From Brushing and Flossing

The most common cause of bleeding gums is not following proper techniques when flossing and brushing. This allows harmful bacteria to accumulate, and can lead to damage to your gums. The gingival tissue in the mouth can be strengthened considerably with proper hygiene. Normal brushing and flossing of healthy, pink, firm gum tissue does not elicit bleeding.

Whether you choose a manual or electric toothbrush, choose one with soft nylon bristles that have blunted ends. Even though you can find brushes with medium or hard bristles, they may damage the enamel on your teeth or cause gum recession.

When you brush, make sure you use gentle, circular motions to massage and clean the teeth and gums. While many people use a back-and-forth motion, this motion canBleeding Gums Marielaina Perrone DDS actually irritate and damage your gums, making them sore and more likely to recede.

We all know the importance of flossing every day to help remove plaque from places where your toothbrush cannot reach. Make sure that you have been taught to properly floss and brush by a professional.Be gentle and thorough when you brush and when you floss. Floss between your teeth by carefully sliding it up and down, following the curve of each tooth, and do not use a shoeshine or slicing motion.

Stages Of Periodontal Disease

Recent studies show 50-75% of American adults over the age of 35 suffer from some form of periodontal disease. The majority with periodontal disease have the earliest form, called gingivitis (reversible with treatment), about 10-15% of the population has the much more advanced type of periodontal disease known as periodontitis (controllable but not reversible).

Poor oral hygiene leads to a build up of bacteria and plaque in the mouth around teeth. This build up of bacteria may cause your gums to become inflamed, which results in red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Most people with gingivitis do not notice any symptoms initially. If you diagnose gingivitis early, it can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene maintenance. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can and will progress, and ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

-Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums

-Gums that bleed during and after toothbrushing or during flossing.

-Loose teeth

-Shifting of teeth or changes in the way your teeth bite together

-Persistent bad breath (halitosis) or a foul taste in the mouth

-Receding Gums

Bleeding Gums Marielaina Perrone DDS

-Red, swollen, or tender gums

As gingivitis progresses, it develops into periodontitis. This a condition in which the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place can begin to break down. The bacteria on the

teeth release toxic substances that harm your gums and cause them to become infected. The infection and the inflammation that result when your body attacks the bacteria can break down your gums and the bone in your jaw supporting the teeth. You may experience exceptionally swollen, painful gums that are likely to bleed. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

Tips To Prevent Bleeding Gums

-Visit dentist regularly.  This should include dental examinations, x-rays, and professional cleanings.

-Brush Twice a Day and follow proper brushing technique. If you’re not sure what to do, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for a quick lesson at your next visit.

-Floss daily. Flossing takes but a minute or two a day to do but the effects are far reaching in terms of keeping you gums healthy.

-Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet.

-Stay Hydrated by Drinking plenty of water.

-Do Not Smoke!

-Relax. Being stressed out raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing the likelihood of inflammation throughout your body, including in your gums.

Conclusion

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is not a difficult job. It just requires knowing the proper techniques, creating daily habits, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis for check ups and professional cleanings. In the long run it will be well worth it as you save your teeth for a lifetime!

The new year is fast approaching and it may be time to start thinking about what your New Year’s resolutions should be. These usually include losing weight,

Happy New Year Marielaina Perrone DDS

Have A Healthy, Happy New Year!!

striving for a better job, or maybe even just being  a better friend or partner. Many people also set new goals for leading a healthier life going forward. So why not make some New Year’s resolutions regarding your dental health?

Making dental health resolutions can keep your teeth healthy, and studies have shown it can keep your entire body healthy as well.

Dental Health New Year’s Resolutions

Eat A Well Balanced Diet including Fruits and Vegetables

Eating a well balanced diet is important for your dental health. If your body is not getting its proper nutrition it can affect your entire immune system. Poor nutrition, increases susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including periodontal disease and tooth decay. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation. Healthy eating helps to protect your teeth and gum tissues. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery can actually help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath as well.

Quit Smoking or Using Other Tobacco Products

Using tobacco has been proven to be bad for your dental health as well as your general health. Some of the dental issues associated with smoking include:

-Tooth Discoloration.

-Tooth Decay.

-Gingival Recession.

-Periodontal Disease.

-Increased risk for cancer. This includes oral cancer as well throat, lung, and other systemic cancers.
People who smoke are almost twice as likely to lose their teeth as non smokers. It is not just smoking tobacco that has negative effects on your oral health: use of smokeless tobacco can be just as damaging to your dental health. The good news is, that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.

Use Alcohol in Moderation

You may already know that excessive alcohol intake can have an effect on your overall health, but did you know that it may also affect your dental health? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, those who use tobacco products, are more likely to maintain poor nutrition. Drinking excessive alcohol also  increases gum recession (periodontal pocketing). Studies show that smokers who regularly drink alcohol are less likely to brush and floss their teeth regularly and are less concerned about their basic health than non smokers.

Improve Dental Hygiene: Brush and Floss Regularly

Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from tooth decay and periodontal disease. These are caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health. Studies have shown that only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line,areas  where tooth decay and periodontal disease begins.

Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums and gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest form of periodontal disease and is reversible. If untreated it will worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums and, eventually, advanced periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to your general health, therefore, it is doubly important to maintain good dental health at all times.

See Your Dentist for Regular Examinations and Cleanings

By seeing your dentist at least twice a year for dental examinations and cleanings, you can help prevent any dental health issues before they cause pain or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. Regular visits allow your dentist to keep track of your oral health and recommend an individualized dental hygiene maintenance regimen to address areas of concern.

Happy New Year!!

For the new year and for years to come you should resolve to improve your health, dental hygiene habits, quit smoking, drink in moderation, and improve your overall diet. Your teeth and body, and loved ones will thank you for it for many years to come!  Bring in the new year with a smile!