Toothaches And Airplanes: A Terrible Combination

There are some combinations that just go great together: Peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, baseball and hot dogs, Abbot and Costello …

But toothaches and airplanes will not be joining this list because they are a terrible combination. (One could say there is little a toothache actually goes well with, but that makes for a boring post.)

Truthfully, if you’ve ever flown with a toothache, you know how painful it can be. In my time as an NYC-based Cosmetic Dentist, I’ve been asked about this topic a lot. For many people, being on an airplane can intensify a toothache greatly. In fact, flying can even bring out pain in a tooth that has not previously bothered you. Although, it might not even be your tooth that is hurting. So let’s take a look at flying and toothaches, and see exactly why this combination is so bothersome to some people.

You may already suspect that cabin pressure is a culprit here. And you would be correct. In simple terms, the air pressure in your body (your sinuses, your ears, etc.) must equate to the air pressure in the cabin. And the air pressure in the cabin changes frequently — especially during ascent and descent (easily the most painful times for people who suffer from “airplane pain”).

This is why people chew gum, suck on candy, swallow and try to “pop” their ears — essentially, they are trying to keep the pressure inside their sinus cavities consistent with the pressure outside.

Well, the same principles apply to your teeth. There are instances where you have air trapped in your teeth and changes in pressure can make it hurt — and hurt badly. The two main reasons one would have air trapped in their teeth are decay and fillings (or other dental work). Let’s look at both:

Decay: When a tooth starts to go bad, decay forms and essentially starts to eat away at the tooth. This will oftentimes bring air into the tooth. However, the openings for said air are microscopic (making it “trapped,” for all intents and purposes). When you go on a plane, this trapped air cannot keep up with the cabin pressure. Hence a toothache.

A filling or other dental work: Sometimes air gets trapped in a filling or other dental work. Hence, the air, like the above example, really has nowhere to go. Or even if it can slowly escape, it cannot keep up with the rapid changes in cabin pressure. Also, older fillings can have microscopic gaps or holes that develop over time and lead to the same trapped air.

One of the drawbacks of the “airplane toothache” is — unlike ear pain or sinus pain — there is little you can do to prevent it. In other words, chewing gum or swallowing isn’t going to relieve any pressure inside of your tooth. This makes air travel with a toothache a real problem. Yes, you can take painkillers, but this may or may not work as well as you want it to.

It is also important to note that your upper teeth are positioned right underneath your sinuses. Sometimes, sinus pain can seem like tooth pain, when it really isn’t your teeth at all. So if the pain seems to be in an upper tooth, it could actually be your sinuses. If this is the case, you may be able to tell the difference, as the typical sinus remedies (gum, special earplugs, swallowing, etc.) may provide some relief.

However, if you are certain that it’s your tooth, see your dentist as soon as you can. Because if it happened once, it’s likely going to happen repeatedly (which doesn’t make the return flight all that appealing, I’m sorry to say). If it’s a tooth that hasn’t had any work, it’s likely that something is amiss. If the tooth in question has had dental work, perhaps the dental work needs to be revisited. Either way, if you fly often, you’re going to want to get this checked out.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should see your dentist if you have any inkling of tooth pain before your flight. Because the last thing you want is to start a vacation or important business trip with a terrible toothache.

I have personally handled “emergency” work in my New York office for people who traveled to NYC. It might be helpful, before you go anywhere, to find the phone number of a dentist local to your destination who handles emergency-type work. This way, if a problem does arise, you have a number handy.

Hey, it can’t hurt, right?

Until next time, keep smiling!


Source:  Huffington


4 simple tips for inspiring more whitening procedures

Practice culture affects a team’s ability to be passionate about dentistry and be motivational with patients. The right team, when excited about a practice’s vision, has endless potential.

Synergy creates a productive, fun environment, and patients respond by accepting necessary and elective treatment. Clarity is the first step toward a successful practice culture. The thriving practices we work with have leaders who are clear about their values and vision for their practices and communicate this consistently to their teams.

Team members who are on the same page and enthusiastic about the services and products their practice offers are more effective at patient education. As they see the positive results from patients’ experiences with recommended services and products, they gain confidence to further promote and support the doctor’s advice regarding products or services.

If one of a practice’s values is to create an environment in which patients ask for a beautiful smile, promoting the benefits of teeth whitening is a part of that culture. Try the following four simple tips to highlight the significance of a beautiful smile and promote whitening services and products in your practice:

Tip 1: Use smile quotations, poems, and statistics about the importance of smiles in your practice and as part of patient giveaways. Put them on statements, use them as screen savers, or have them run as part of a digital photo frame picture sequence in your operatory.

Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile at it.

63% of people say they look best in photos when they show their teeth.

Tip 2: Office décor that is supportive of health, longevity, a beautiful smile, and a quality life subtly reinforces the message that a beautiful smile matters. Hang photos of fabulous smiles and families enjoying a healthy lifestyle in the reception area, the patient bathroom, and the operatory.

Tip 3: Inspire your patients to consider whitening with two easy steps:

1. As part of the cosmetic evaluation portion of the new patient experience, record a shade to have as a baseline. Use this evaluation to introduce the benefits of tooth whitening and the results you see in patients who have chosen this treatment.

Have shade guides in each operatory.
Match the shade as closely as possible.
Record the shade in a designated spot in your patient chart system.
Take an intraoral camera photo of the patient’s smile with the shade guide.
Show the patient where he or she falls on the shade spectrum.
Educate the patient about changing tooth color due to nutrition and aging.

2. Annually, record his or her shade and compare to the baseline. To encourage the desire to whiten, discuss the shade and any changes with the patient.

Tip 4: Create tasteful displays of whitening products on shelves in the operatory, on retail display shelves in the reception area, and at the checkout counter. Present-type packaging is attractive and complete, easy to purchase, and no work for the gift giver. Use social media such as Facebook to promote gift certificates for teeth whitening. You might say something such as, “Teeth whitening is a great gift for a new grad.” Include a picture of the beautifully wrapped package.

Get started now by brainstorming the benefits of teeth whitening at a team meeting. Discuss your personal philosophy on whitening and the services and products your practice offers. Review the tips presented in this article with your team.

What could you do in your practice to illustrate the importance of a beautiful smile? Bring in a sales rep to ensure the team is educated about the products and services you provide. Make sure your entire team has personally experienced the benefits of whitening, especially the doctor.

When time, money, and energy are spent on developing team members, they gain an understanding of the life-changing benefits dentistry can offer. When a team embraces its practice culture, productivity and profitability will soar.


Source:  DentistryIQ

Gum Disease Linked to Risk of Oral Cancer Causing Virus

Gum disease and other dental ailments boost the risk of becoming infected with oral human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that causes 40 to 80 percent of all throat cancers, according to the first study to find such a link.

Photo Via Bloomberg

Those who said they had poor oral health had a 56 percent higher rate of oral HPV infection than those who reported good to excellent oral health, researchers wrote in a study published today by Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Oral HPV infection is similar to genital HPV infection in that there are low and high-risk variations. Low-risk oral HPV can spur non-cancerous tumors or warts in the mouth and throat while high risk may lead to cancers of the mouth and throat, the researchers said. Today’s study is the first to show a link between poor oral health and oral HPV infection, said Christine Markham, the study author.

“This is just another really good reason to take good care of your teeth and your mouth,” said Markham, an associate professor of health promotion and behavioral science at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, in an Aug. 19 telephone interview. “Our findings show that even when you control for known risk factors for oral HPV infections such as smoking and oral sex behaviors, poor oral health is an independent risk factor for oral HPV infection.”
Disease Path

Markham said poor oral health such as sores in the mouth or throat or inflamed gums may act as a portal allowing the HPV entry into the body, while those with good oral health don’t have those portals so even exposure to HPV doesn’t trigger an infection.

More research is needed to better understand the connection between bad oral hygiene and HPV infection, she said.

Most people with HPV infections of the throat and mouth have no symptoms and only “a very small percentage” develop into cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. There is currently no U.S. approved test for oral HPV infection.

Merck & Co. (MRK)’s vaccine Gardasil prevents cervical cancer caused by the sexually transmitted virus in girls and boys. GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) also sells an HPV vaccine. Neither is approved to prevent oral cancers. The virus infects 4 of 5 sexually active people at some point in their lives and is known to cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancer.

About 10 percent of men are orally infected with HPV, compared with 3.6 percent of women, according to a 2012 study.
Self Reports

Today’s study looked at 3,439 people ages 30 to 69 years old who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey asked them to rate their oral health, whether they had gum disease, if they used mouthwash in the past several days to treat dental issues and how many teeth they had lost.

The researchers found that men, smokers, those who used marijuana and those who had multiple oral sex partners had a higher chance of oral HPV infections. Poor oral health also was independently linked to oral HPV infection.

The study found that those who had gum disease had a 51 percent higher rate of oral HPV than those without gum disease and those who had dental issues had a 28 percent higher prevalence.

This year about 36,000 people will get cancers of the mouth and throat and about 6,850 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.


Source: Bloomberg

Study Ties Poor Oral Health to Cancer-Causing Virus

People with swollen gums, missing teeth and other signs of poor dental health are more likely to be infected orally with the human papillomavirus, researchers reported on Wednesday.

HPV, a sexually transmitted virus, causes cancers of the cervix, mouth and throat. The new study, published in Cancer Prevention Research, is the first to document a link between the infection and poor oral health, but other experts noted that the research found only an association and relied mostly on self-reported data about oral health. It is too early to say with confidence that brushing and flossing regularly can prevent oral HPV infection, they said.

The finding is a “modest association,” said Aimée R. Kreimer, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute who was not involved in the study. “We don’t know if poor oral health causes HPV infection and would go on to cancer,” she said.

This finding suggests another potential downside to deficient hygiene “because of a possible association between poor to fair oral health and the presence of the human papillomavirus, which in itself is identified with several diseases,” said Dr. Sol Silverman, a professor of oral medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston reviewed data on both high-risk and low-risk oral HPV infection and oral health in 3,439 adults, ages 30 to 69, participating in the nationally representative 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, known as NHANES. The study found that being male, smoking cigarettes, and having multiple oral sex partners increased the likelihood of oral HPV infection, findings similar to those in an earlier analysis of NHANES data.

But after controlling for smoking and the number of oral sex partners, the new study found that self-rated poor oral health was an independent risk for oral HPV infection. The odds of having an oral HPV infection were 55 percent higher among those reporting poor to fair oral health.

Throat cancer caused by HPV is increasing, particularly along middle-aged white men. About 25,000 cases a year are diagnosed in the United States. Many experts believe oral infection with the virus has increased along with the frequency of oral sex.

“What we think might be happening is if you have poor oral health — ulcers, gum inflammation, sores or lesions, any openings in the mouth — that might provide entry for HPV,” said Christine Markham, the second author on the paper and an associate professor of health promotion and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “We don’t have sufficiently strong evidence to demonstrate that conclusively in the study, but that’s our thinking.”

Yet the increase in risk is modest, said Dr. Kreimer, “less than the two- to threefold elevations in risk that cause concern.” And three of the four measures used to assess the participants’ oral health, including the presence of gum disease, were self-reported, a limitation of the study. One measure — number of teeth lost — was reported by dental hygienists.

“It’s the first paper linking self-reported measures of poor oral hygiene and an oral HPV infection,” Dr. Maura L. Gillison, a professor of medicine at Ohio State University, who was not involved in the study. “It’s a strong paper because it’s a first, but does it have public health significance? Should people change their behavior? I would say no.”

Oral cancers caused by HPV are typically found near the tonsils or at the base of the tongue, she added, and it’s hard to see how those regions could be directly affected by periodontal inflammation.

Experts including Dr. Gillison nonetheless called the study an important first step. “Further study — even though it would be expensive and time-consuming — should be considered,” said Dr. Silverman.


Source: NY Times

10 Tips to Prevent Costly Vet Bills

While many of us have to get creative when money is tight, it’s hard to deny our pets the care they need regardless of the cost. Let’s face it–veterinarian care can get pricey, especially without pet insurance. There are ways to save on pet health costs, and most are pretty common maintenance care that in the lifetime of your pet will save money on medical bills.

1. Puppy Proofing

Make sure that your pet’s home environment is safe for puppies and dogs of any age. Make sure that chewable items with choking hazards, toxic chemicals, and other unsafe items are kept out of the way. Fences/safety gates can also help keep pets out of trouble.

2. Leashes/Properly Securing Pets

It’s extremely important to make sure pets are safely contained when not in the home. There is the potential your pet can get away from you and get lost, stolen, hit by a vehicle, get into altercations with other animals or otherwise hurt. A $10 leash or $25 pet carrier could save you hundred or thousands of dollars in medical bills, stress, and loss.

3. Good Home Dental Care

Brushing your pets teeth goes far beyond a pearly white smile. Good dental care prevents expensive cleanings or worse, the devastating and costly medical complications caused by poor oral health.

4. Grooming

Nail trims and keeping your pet’s coat shorter can help prevent injuries and infections that could end up costing you more in the long run. Some of these you can do from home, but letting the professionals help you out when you need it will help your pet stay safe and healthy.

5. Regular Wellness Exams

Remember the saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” This is true with pets as well. Preventative medicine allows your pet a regular examination for lumps, bumps, heart, and lung issues and any intestinal problems that can occur. Trust us, the cost of this exam is well worth the savings if it can provide early detection and avoids major issues down the road.

6. Vaccinations

This one is a no-brainer: Make sure your pets have the right vaccines on schedule to prevent a host of dangerous and costly diseases and medical conditions.

7. Parasite Prevention

Know what’s more expensive than flea and tick prevention? Having your home fumigated after a flea infestation. Ditto for treating Lyme disease.

8. Good Nutrition

As humans we know that the quality of our health is directly tied to proper nutrition and the same is true for pets. Spend a little more for healthier food, treats, and supplements and reap the reward of longer, healthier lives for your pets.

9. Regular Exercise & Healthy Weight

This one builds on good nutrition. Make sure pets have adequate opportunity for exercise to help them stay at a healthy weight and avoid expensive weight-related complications (diabetes, osteoarthritis, etc.).

10. Spaying/Neutering

Who doesn’t need to wake up 12 kittens in the laundry room? You don’t! Making sure your pet is spayed or neutered ensures they won’t bring home any expensive surprises, and more importantly, it keeps you from contributing to the homeless pet population.


Read more:

Facts about dental health and pregnancy

Many moms-to-be receive advice from well-meaning friends and relatives. Yet there seem to be myths about taking care of teeth and gums – if dental health is even mentioned at all.

While pregnancy comes with many responsibilities, oral hygiene should be a top priority to ensure both mother and child are set up for healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
What to Expect

Hormonal changes can lead to an increased risk of gum disease (gingivitis) throughout pregnancy. Some women may develop “pregnancy tumors,” painless bumps on their gums, most often during their second trimester. In addition to flossing once daily and brushing twice daily, work closely with your dentist throughout pregnancy to flag issues before they become problematic.

“Delaying necessary treatment for dental problems could result in significant risk to you and your baby,” said Dr. Maria Lopez Howell, DDS, spokesperson for the American Dental Association. “It’s worth your time to visit the dentist even if you don’t think you have dental problems.”

According to national experts in women’s health, public health and dental health, a new consensus statement based on scientific evidence reaffirms that preventive oral care, including the use of dental X-rays, pain medication and local anesthesia for dental procedures, is safe throughout pregnancy.

“Don’t put dental care on the back burner, as the complications could far outweigh potential risks. Make it part of your health and wellness visits during pregnancy,” Dr. Howell said.

Post-pregnancy, maintaining good dental health habits are critical for everyone in the family. Evidence suggests that most infants and young children “catch” the germs that cause cavities from their parents or caregivers. Refrain from sharing utensils or attempting to “clean” a pacifier by putting it in your own mouth, as these types of activities may transfer cavity-causing germs.
Take Baby Steps to Better Dental Health

Together with the ADA, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center at Georgetown University and the Health Resources and Services Administration, recommend following a few simple steps to help maintain a healthy mouth during pregnancy:

• Get dental health treatment, as recommended by your dentist, before delivery. Schedule an appointment with your dentist if your last dental visit was more than six months ago. The use of dental X-rays, pain medication and local anesthesia for dental procedures is safe throughout pregnancy.

• If you experience “morning sickness,” rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water to prevent stomach acid from harming your teeth.

• Drink water throughout the day that contains the recommended amount of fluoride to help to keep you hydrated and prevent tooth decay.

• Avoid foods that are high in added sugar and drink water or milk instead of juice, fruit-flavored drinks or soda.


Source: The News Star

Tips to Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy

(PET CARE) Unfortunately, many pet guardians don’t take proper care of their pet’s teeth. Poor dental hygiene can lead to serious problems and even shorten your cat or dog’s life. With several products now available that can improve your pet’s dental health, such as gel solutions, powders, rinses, and even meat-flavored toothpastes, it is easier than ever to keep those pearly whites clean. Read on for dental hygiene tips and check out the video at the link below. — Global Animal

Mother Nature Network, Morieka Johnson

Q: I just dropped a few hundred dollars to get my puppy’s teeth cleaned at the vet and just don’t understand why the procedure costs so much. Our vet also wants us to do more home maintenance. Aren’t the chew toys enough? Where do I find dental stuff for dogs?

A: My dental visits typically involve a lengthy tooth cleaning and a solemn lecture on the importance of flossing. Each visit, I vow to change my wicked ways, and offer a few feeble excuses as to how I managed to fall off the wagon once again.

“It’s OK,” my hygienist always says, scheduling the next appointment. “You keep us in business.”

Nothing truly changes behavior like a punch in the pocketbook. In addition to sky-high dental bills, poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, tooth loss and even heart disease — and these issues are not limited to people. Pets also risk a shorter life span when dental care lapses. My goal from now on is shorter dental visits for me and my dog Lulu. Here are a few essentials that will help you save time and money caring for your pet’s pearly whites.

Vet cleanings involve more than floss and fluoride

In a 2010 study by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), about 25 percent of dog owners had purchased dental products within the past year. While 32 percent of dog owners said they brushed their pets’ teeth, most did so only a few times a year — not enough to truly make an impact. Over time, that tartar buildup requires professional care at the veterinarian’s office. Your vet will begin by assessing the degree of gum disease, ranging from stage 1 through stage 4, before scheduling a cleaning.

At stage 1, you may notice some tartar or plaque buildup. Stage 2 indicates tartar, plaque buildup and severe gingivitis, along with bleeding and inflammation along the gum line. At stage 3, there may be gingival recession, but the effects of periodontal disease may still be reversible. At stage 4, pets suffer from severe gingival recession, root exposure, mobile teeth and even tooth loss. The price difference between a stage 1 cleaning and a stage 4 cleaning can be $1,000 or more.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take really good care of their pet’s teeth,” says DeAndre Upton, a registered veterinary technician with Eagle’s Landing Veterinary Hospital in Georgia. “When owners come in and say, ‘My dog needs their teeth cleaned,’ [pets] are at a stage 3, stage 4.”

On the day of their dental cleaning, pets should show up with an empty stomach. After taking X-rays and performing blood work to assess your pet’s health, vets will administer an IV and sedate the animal before scaling and polishing teeth. (Check out this video of the process.) Costly tooth extractions may be necessary, depending on the severity of gum disease. A fluoride treatment finishes the process. After all that drama, it’s essential to keep those pearly whites healthy with regular brushing, chews and perhaps even a special diet that incorporates enzymes that break down tartar above the gum line.

Administer an ounce of prevention — daily carries nearly 2,000 products — ranging from chews to water additives — that help improve your pet’s dental health. According to the APPMA, toothbrushes, tartar control products, pet toothpaste and breath control products are purchased most. But Dr. Joey Frasier of Eagle’s Landing Animal Hospital says it pays to keep it simple. Start by rubbing a soft washcloth, an old toothbrush or even a paper towel along the exterior gum line and help your pet get acclimated to the process. Follow with plenty of water, lots of praise and a promise to repeat regularly.

“My dogs sit by the door of the bathroom and watch me brush my teeth,” says Ginna Stephenson of Park Pet Supply in Atlanta. “They know when it’s their time, and I make it a treat for them.”

To make brushing a bit more palatable, Stephenson suggests flavored pet toothpaste to Park Pet customers. In addition to chicken or beef flavors, she says that malt-flavored versions work well for cats. Look for pastes that include enzymes to break down the yucky stuff if your pet suffers from tartar buildup.

“Things have evolved over the years,” says Mary Ellen Burgoon of Park Pet Supply. “This isn’t your father’s dog paste.”

She suggests dental rinses, which can be added to the water bowl, if pets don’t tolerate brushing. Stephenson often leads frazzled cat owners to oral care powder that can be added to food or an oral gel solution, which mixes with saliva to break down plaque along the gum line.

Since most dogs enjoy chewing anything within reach, it’s a little easier to control plaque and tartar buildup. Lulu is partial to rock-hard Nylabones. Stephens also steers clients to all-natural options such as deer antlers, bones or bully sticks as alternatives to rawhide chews, which frequently end up on recall lists due to salmonella. She says that rock hard Himalayan Churpi Chews, made from yak milk, salt and lime juice, have quickly become a cult favorite among customers. But Burgoon cautions that all pets should be monitored while using chews because all products pose a potential choking risk.

In a previous column, I offered a few natural remedies for bad doggie breath. It also helps to add fruits such as apples or veggies like carrots to your dog’s diet, giving teeth a good workout while tummies fill up on low-fat snacks.

Remember, don’t forget to brush!


Source: Global Animal