Dentistry has an important obligation that has received more
and more media coverage over the last five years. Did you know that more than 80% of adults
suffer from some form of gum disease? Eighty percent is an overwhelming
number. Did you know that gum disease
has now been linked to dozens of diseases and conditions including: low birth weight babies, heart
disease, pneumonia, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, even wrinkly skin
and erectile dysfunction? It seems more
and more systemic illnesses are being connected to gum disease.
Does your dentist take your measurements? Not your body measurements, but the depth of the pocketing in your gums? If you hear numbers at the dentist like "Two, two, one, two, three" then your dentist is measuring the health of your gums. If you have bleeding points or if you hear any numbers greater than three, you should have more frequent cleanings and check ups because that means an active infection exists in your mouth.
Are you thinking, "What does that have to do with my heart?"
A large portion of the population still believes that it is normal for gums to bleed. It is not. Gum disease spreads via the blood stream or inhalation into the lungs and spreads throughout the body causing the systemic diseases, or at the very least, aggravating existing ones.
The fact is, gum disease causes a shorter life expectancy. If your dentist or hygienist is not measuring your gum health, then request that it be done. If they don't do it, find a new dentist. If you have an active infection with measurements over three or bleeding, you should be at the dentist more frequently. Your life depends on it.
Many people experience complications with their dentures due to chemotherapy and radiation. Below are some tips we hope you find useful.
- Your dentures may fit differently or they may not fit at all because the tissues in your mouth will change during radiation therapy. If you need new dentures, they should not be made until well after the completion of your radiation therapy.
- You should keep your dentures very clean. Brush them daily with a mild cleanser and denture brush. Rinse your dentures well and store them in clean water when not in your mouth.
- Clean your tongue and the inside of your mouth with moist gauze.
- Rinse your mouth frequently with water.
- Do not use denture adhesives.
- Never wear your dentures when sleeping. Store them in clean water after you have thoroughly brushed them.
- If you develop denture sores, remove your dentures and contact your dentist immediately. Mouth sores can quickly become infected.
For more information on dental care during cancer treatment, and a free guide click here
As the Denver Race for the Cure approaches, now is an important time to discuss the care of your mouth if you are receiving treatment for cancer. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can cause painful mouth sores or a very dry mouth. Though your medical team strives to give you the best care possible, your dental care can seem secondary. It is important to keep your regular dental visits so that your dentist can discuss with you any conditions or changes found in your mouth. Your dentist will also be able to provide suggestions and products to maintain optimal health during cancer treatment and beyond. A healthy mouth will help your immune system functioning more efficiently, as well.
Oral Tips and Facts for Chemotherapy Treatment
- You may develop a sore mouth. These sores, if not treated by your dentist, can spread infection through your body.
- Tell your dentist immediately if you develop a toothache. Infection can develop quickly below the gum line resulting in abcess and possible tooth loss.
- Some drugs will cause dry mouth. In order to maintain the health of your gums, it is necessary to keep a moist mouth. Over the counter rinses, such as Biotene, can help.
- You may notice blood or pus in areas of your gums. You should see your dentist or hygienist to get it under control as soon as possible.
- Do not use mouth wash that contains alcohol. It can be irritating.
Oral Tips and Facts for Radiation Treatment
- You may experience a change in taste or you may lose your taste completely. This is a temporary side effect.
- You may have a painful mouth. If your mouth hurts, see your dentist immediately.
- Dry mouth may occur during radiation. Sometimes this is permanent. Your dentist can help you determine what products may help alleviate your dry mouth symptoms.
- After completing radiation therapy, your teeth may break down rapidly due to decay. Your dentist and hygienist can help you prevent tooth decay.
- If the muscles of your mouth are included in radiation therapy, you may experience jaw tightness. Exercises or splint therapy can alleviate this pain.
- You may experience bone healing problems. If you need to have an extraction, complications may occur. Be sure to tell your dentist or oral surgeon your medical history so they can help you.