Posts for: June, 2016
If you notice a small sore or a change in the appearance of the tissues inside your mouth, don’t panic. It’s likely a common, minor ailment that appears on a lot of skin surfaces (like the wrists or legs) besides the cheeks, gums, or tongue.
These small sores or lesions are called lichen planus, named so because their coloration and patterns (white, lacy lines) look a lot like lichen that grow on trees or rocks. They’re only similar in appearance to the algae or fungi growing in the forest — these are lesions thought to be a form of auto-immune disease. Although they can affect anyone, they’re more common in women than men and with middle-aged or older people.
Most people aren’t even aware they have the condition, although some can produce itching or mild discomfort. They’re often discovered during dental checkups, and although they’re usually benign, we’ll often consider a biopsy of them to make sure the lesion isn’t a symptom of something more serious.
There currently isn’t a cure for the condition, but it can be managed to reduce symptoms; for most people, the lesions will go away on their own. You may need to avoid spicy or acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, hot peppers or caffeinated drinks that tend to worsen the symptoms. If chronic stress is a problem, finding ways to reduce it can also help alleviate symptoms as well as quitting tobacco and reducing your alcohol intake.
Our biggest concern is to first assure the lesion isn’t cancerous. Even after confirming it’s not, we still want to keep a close eye on the lesion, so regular monitoring is a good precaution. Just keep up with the basics — good oral hygiene and regular checkups — to ensure you have the most optimum oral health possible.
If you would like more information on lichen planus lesions, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Lichen Planus: Mouth Lesions that are Usually Benign.”
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into caviÂties. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.Â Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
Everyone in Fenton, MO should visit regularly for optimal oral and overall health. In fact, the American Dental Assocation recommends you visit your Fenton, MO dentist at least three times a year.
But what can you do to help make sure those regular visits to your Fenton, MO dentist go smoothly and, yes, painlessly?
The following are some tips from the staff at Kemlage Family Dentistry to help make those checkups good and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
You know you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day, but do you know how? The ADA recommends the following for optimum results.
- Place toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums
- Move the brush back and forth, gently, in tooth-wide strokes
- Brush outer, inner, and chewing surfaces
- For inner surfaces, use the tip of the brush to clean inner surfaces of front teeth
- Be sure to brush your tongue. This removes bacteria and freshens breath.
You probably know you need to floss regularly, but again, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. The ADA recommends flossing once a day. For optimum results:
- Wind about 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand
- Gently guide the floss between your teeth with a very gentle rubbing motion
- At the gum line, form a C-shape against a tooth and gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against each tooth and move the floss away from the gum in easy up and down motions.
What else should I do?
Brushing and flossing regularly and correctly will go a long way to making those dental checkups easy, painless, and full of good news. But if you want to add one more step to your routine, try a mouth rinse after each brushing and flossing session. Antimicrobial rinses kill bacteria that cause gingivitis and plaque. Fluoride rinses can help also help prevent tooth decay. Rinses are not for everyone – for example, younger children should not use a fluoride rinse -- so check with your Fenton dentist to see if a mouth rinse is appropriate for you.
If you are seeking a qualified dentist in Fenton, MO, call Kemlage Family Dentistry at 636- 225-1777.