How does my oral health affect my overall health?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

It is easy to think of your dental health and overall health as two different things. You visit the dentist for your teeth and oral health, and you visit your doctor for the rest of your body. However, it is important to keep in mind that your oral health impacts your overall health, and vice versa.

Your mouth has saliva which is your body’s first defense against bacteria and viruses. However, if your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly it is likely that you have a plaque build up. Bacteria clings to plaque, and plaque feeds the bacteria causing it to grow and multiply.

Periodontal disease (bone loss of teeth)  is caused by calculus building up around the teeth. Periodontal disease causes bone loss over time. Calculus harbors minerals, bacteria and food particles. The bacteria that is around your teeth have direct access to your blood stream via the capillaries in your gums. Medical research has shown that the same bacteria in the calculus in your teeth travels and build ups in the arteries in your heart.

Many systemic diseases show their first symptoms in the mouth. These include cancers, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Your dentist may notice these changes and refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Overall it is important to monitor your oral health, and overall health. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes and visit your dentist and doctor regularly.

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My child broke their adult tooth, now what?

Written by: Dr. Srinivasa, DMD of Paramount Dental Care

You know how it goes. Its all fun and games until someone gets hurt. When it comes to your child getting hurt, it is important to first evaluate how serious the injury is. If your child was knocked unconscious or there is heavy bleeding, it is time for a trip to the emergency room. If you are just dealing with a broken tooth and some tears, here is how to proceed.

First things first, call your dentist and make an appointment. If the tooth was knocked out with the root, put it in a glass of cold, milk (preferably whole, not skim) or a Hank’s balanced solution. Do not wrap the tooth in a paper towel or anything dry! If the tooth dries out, this reduces the chances of it being able to be reinserted. Once your dentist has reinserted, the dentist will place a splint to keep the tooth in place so it can heal.

If the tooth was chipped or broken, check your child’s mouth and gums for all pieces of the tooth. Put any pieces you may have found into a cold glass of milk, or a Hank’s balanced salt solution from your local drug store. Have your child hold a clean piece of gauze to the area for 15 minutes to stop any bleeding. You may also administer an OTC pain reliever such as Tylenol for pain. Lastly, it is important to remain calm! Your child may feel stressed out after losing a tooth and it is important to help them feel safe.

For a minor chips, your dentist will most likely file down the tooth until it is unnoticeable.  If you are dealing with a larger break, your dentist may put the pieces back together with a filling material. If a filling material won’t work, a crown may be necessary.