SmilesByGlerum News

Karen Glerum DDS

Smiles by Glerum News – May 2013

May 2nd, 2013

Special Care for Diabetes Patients

If you have diabetes, the number one thing you can do for your oral health is keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible. Here’s why: When your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you’re more likely to develop gum disease and lose teeth than people who don’t have diabetes. In turn, gum disease could cause your blood sugar to rise, making your diabetes harder to control. So it’s imperative that you keep your teeth and gums clean by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. And if you wear dentures, remove and clean them every day.

Keeping up with twice yearly dental visits is also crucial for patients with diabetes. A professional cleaning is the only way to remove the plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease. Also be sure to discuss your diabetes status and current medications with your dentist at each dental visit.

Warning Signs: Gum Disease

Because diabetes makes you more prone to developing gum disease, it’s important to be able to identify the warning signs. These are the most common:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose permanent teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Changes in the fit of partial dentures or a dental bridge

Also keep an eye on other symptoms that might develop, including white patches on your tongue, which could indicate oral thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth, and soreness and ulcers in the mouth, which could be a sign of dry mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist.


Keep Waking Up With Headaches?

If the first thing you feel in the morning is a headache or pain behind your eyes or pain in your neck and shoulders, come in for a visit. What you’re experiencing could be the result of problems in your mouth. These are common symptoms of a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), which basically means that your jaws don’t align properly. This misalignment stresses the jaw joints, putting pressure on nerves and muscles – which can result in morning headaches, migraines or facial and neck pain.

Not everyone with TMJ disorder shows symptoms. And not everyone has headaches or pain; TMJ disorder can also lead to broken teeth or fillings, loose teeth and toothaches. What is certain is that if you do display any of these symptoms, they won’t get better without professional help.

Many people find that resting the jaw helps ease the pain. You can do this by eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum and hard candies. We can also show you jaw exercises to stretch the jaw joints and relieve stress. For most people, the most effective treatment is a custom dental splint that fits over your over and lower teeth. This reduces the damage done from repeated clenching of the jaw or teeth grinding.

If these conservative methods don’t work, you still have other options. The temporomandibular joints can be flushed out, or an injection of cortisone can help relieve inflammation and pain. Worse-case scenario, you might need surgery. Come in for a visit and we’ll help you find the right solution.


Extra Cavity Protection for Kids

You might think that cavities are inevitable for kids, but in truth, they’re not. A healthy diet mixed with good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) plus regular dental visits can prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants can reduce the risk even more. In fact, studies show that dental sealants can reduce decay in school children by 70%.

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves of back teeth, where tooth decay is usually a problem for kids and teens. Sealants act as a barrier between the chewing surfaces by blocking pieces of food and germs.

Sealants work best on permanent molars, which usually erupt at age 12. It’s best to have sealants applied soon after the permanent molars erupt so that decay doesn’t have a chance to develop.

Because they’re so thin, dental sealants won’t have an effect on your child’s speech or make chewing difficult. Sealants can be clear or slightly tinted; either way, they’re virtually invisible to the naked eye.

Though they don’t take much time to apply, sealants can last 5-10 years. Dental sealants are some of the most comfortable, cost- and tooth-saving solutions around!



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