AVOID SHARING SALIVA WITH BABIES

While babies are born without the germs that cause tooth decay, they can get them from their parents. Research shows that, in effect, babies can “catch” caries (tooth decay) from their parents. More correctly, when mothers and fathers have high levels of the bacteria that cause cavities (Streptococcus mutans), the bacteria can be transferred to

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BAD BREATH AND BEYOND

The smell of a person’s breath can be indicative of a number of health conditions. For instance, breath that smells like “acetone” (nail polish remover) may be a sign that a diabetic is not managing his or her blood sugar well. In such cases, the body does not receive enough insulin to break down glucose

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READING TEA LEAVES

Tooth sensitivity is caused by erosion of the tooth’s protective enamel layer, which leaves underlying “dentin” exposed. This hard, dense, bony tissue, which forms the majority of the tooth’s mass, contains small tubes (“microtubes”) that are empty inside. When outer ends of these tubes are exposed, they allow hot and cold foods and liquids to

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THE DRILL ALTERNATIVE

When told that there is an alternative to the traditional drill used for removing tooth decay, some might think that it involves a laser. While there are lasers that can perform some dental tasks, something as old as “air abrasion” can be utilized to remove smaller pockets of tooth decay painlessly and without local anesthetic.

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PULP FACT

When the pulp at the center of a tooth becomes infected or inflamed due to injury, deep cavities, or receding gums, a painful abscess may develop. It is at this point that the patient has to choose between extracting the tooth and restoring it with a root canal procedure, followed by a crown (in some

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MOUTH-WATERING FACTS

Ordinarily, a person produces between 0.75 and 1.5 liters of saliva daily, with peak production occurring during meals and the least amount of saliva being produced during sleep. However, it sometimes happens that people produce too much saliva, a condition known as “hypersalivation.” As a result, saliva can spill over the bottom lip (drooling). This

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CATCH-22 FOR DIABETICS

Diabetics have every reason to keep their blood sugar under control with medication and healthy habits. One potential complication they face is an increased prevalence of gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight invasive bacteria. Complicating the situation even further is emerging research showing

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An Interesting Connection

As numerous studies have confirmed, good oral health is linked to good overall health. A recent example of this connection comes from a study involving 1,566 seniors, 180 of whom had developed some type of dementia. Researchers found that those with 10 to 19 remaining teeth had a 62% greater risk of dementia than those

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RECEDING GUMS

Gum recession, which involves lowering of the gingival (gum) tissue around each tooth, becomes more prevalent with age; about half of older adults have at least one tooth affected by gum recession. Aside from aging, this condition may also be influenced by genetic factors. For instance, some people are born with thinner gum tissue than

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THE HOLE TRUTH

It is important to distinguish between caries, the Latin word for decay, and a cavity, which is the hole that occurs if the caries has destroyed the tooth enamel and penetrated the tooth’s dentin. Caries may first appear as a white or brown spot on tooth enamel. It is an indication that bacterial acids have

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