Dental X-rays, Safe or Not?


Most individuals understand the need of getting regular dental x-rays and know that they are a standard part of any checkup. The question of whether or not these X-rays are safe is still asked from time to time. The simple response is yes, but more explanation may be of greater use. In comparison to medical X-rays, the quantity of radiation exposure during a dental X-ray is quite low.

A dental checkup does not use nearly as much radiation exposure as a medical procedure would. Dental x-rays, for instance, expose patients to less radiation than a plane ride and approximately the same amount as spending a day in the sunshine. With a dental X-ray, the patient’s mouth and teeth are the only parts of their body that come into direct contact with the radiation; the rest of them are shielded by a lead vest.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has implemented a safety policy known as ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Allowable) to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure. Other scientific groups, such as the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, and the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, have also published guidelines or rules on the safe, appropriate, and effective use of X-rays in dentistry.

To sum up, it is clear that dental X-ray safety is a hot topic of debate.

The Takeaway: Dental x-rays have a very high safety profile.
It is the radiation exposure from dental x-rays that causes the most anxiety about their security. These techniques, when carried out correctly, produce little radiation.

Radiation Dose Comparisons
X-rays taken during a dental examination. The Typical Millisievert Dose (mSv):

  • 0.004 Bitewing (4 images)
  • Serie de 0.007 Mouth Full (18 images)
  • Oral surgery 0.035
  • Cone Beam Scans 0.009
  • Abdominal CT at 8.00
  • Imaging Procedures: Mammogram 7.7
  • PET Scan 0.700

The NCRP estimates that the average yearly radiation dosage per person in the United States is 6.2 mSv due to environmental exposure. This is the same quantity as in 7,000 dental Cone Beam (CBCT) scans, 9 mammograms, or 15,500 sets of Bitewing x-rays. Dental x-rays pose no threat to patients, as you can see.

If you are a new patient, we recommend taking X-rays to have a look at your teeth and gums to see their current condition and provide a point of reference for spotting any changes that may arise later. In order to check for new cavities, assess your gum health, and monitor the development of your teeth, annual X-rays may be necessary.

Tooth Pain from These Halloween Treats


Halloween Treats & Teeth
Halloween is all about the sweets, not just the pumpkins or the costumes. Seventy-one percent of parents whose children have had to go to the dentist three times or more to treat cavities claimed their kids eat too many sweets around Halloween.In order to prevent the increased intake of sugary candies and snacks from playing undesired tricks on your dental health, here are some tips to help you create healthier options for the whole family.

Treats to Avoid

  • Did you know the puckering effect of sour candies comes from the acidity? The acidity speeds up the process through which teeth become brittle and raises the likelihood of developing cavities. Beware the terrifying sour patch kids!
  • Many do not know how damaging lollipops are to teeth (the longest-lasting sweets). These candies are savored slowly, allowing the sugary saliva to accumulate in the mouth. In turn, this hinders saliva from performing its normal function of keeping the mouth healthy.
  • It is a sticky scenario brought on by gummy candy. Developing cavities is elevated due to the presence of these sugary substances. Sugary foods are a feast for the bacteria in your mouth, which digest them and produce acid.
  • Popcorn balls are a food that many patients think to be healthy, but when they are covered in caramel or sugar, they pose a threat to teeth.

If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, try one of these healthier options instead.

  • Dark chocolate as a tooth friendly treat?  For those concerned about tooth decay, this treat is a safer option because it does not stay on teeth for very long. Antioxidants found in dark chocolate can help decrease the risk periodontal disease and can help fight bad breath.  Another tooth friendly dark chocolate ingredient, cocoa butter, which helps prevent plaque from forming on teeth.
  • Xylitol is another option if you are addicted to chewy snacks but would prefer a more healthful option. The xylitol in gum and sugar-free candies helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing the acids bacteria create.
  • Get nutty! Smaller nuts in candy bars help remove some of the sugar that could otherwise adhere to teeth.
  • Miniature treats are less scary and better for your teeth than full size. While still delicious, these bite-sized snacks will leave less of a sugary film on your teeth.

Although it is important to focus on your child’s dental health all year round, Halloween and the many other holidays celebrated thereafter is the perfect opportunity to educate children on their sugar consumption & how it affects their dental health.  It is important to instill in your kids a lifetime of excellent dental hygiene practices, such as twice-daily brushing and flossing and regular trips to the dentist.

The Difference Between Cold Sores and Canker Sores


Cold Sores and Canker Sores. What are they, and how to find the difference between the two?
Despite having different causes, canker sores and cold sores both cause oral lesions that may look and feel the same. The two, however, are very distinct. It is essential to determine the type of mouth sore you have to treat it effectively and for a timely recovery. Differentiating between a canker sore and a cold sore can be easy if you know what to look for.

Canker sores develop only in the soft tissues of the mouth, such as your gums or the inside of your cheeks. Several factors, such as vitamin deficiency and internal mouth injuries, can lead to development.

Cold sores can sometimes develop inside the mouth but typically appear on and around the lips. Herpes simplex virus infection is the root cause (HSV).

Cold Sores
A more common moniker for cold sores is “fever blisters.” They are also referred to as oral herpes since they are a sign of a herpes simplex virus type 1 infection.

Causes of Cold Sores
If you had cold sores in the past, the virus may stay in your body and reactivate if something triggers it. Several factors can cause cold sores, including:

  • Common Cold
  • Fever
  • Flu (Influenza)
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes that occur between menstruation and pregnancy
  • Facial injuries like cuts or facial surgery

Symptoms of Cold Sores
Cold sores appear as painful blisters or clusters of blisters on the:

  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Top of the Mouth
  • Tongue

These sores may itch, burn, tingle, and drain fluid during the infection, lasting around 7 to 10 days.

The doctor can examine and diagnose cold sores based on their clinical experience. If there is any doubt, Herpes simplex virus type 1 can be detected in secretions from the lesions. Most of the time, no medications are required, but doctors may advise antiviral therapy in the cases of severity or recurrence.

Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Cold sores are, unfortunately, quite contagious. Contact with an infected person is one of the most common causes to get cold sores. You can get sick this way even if the person is taking medication for their symptoms or if they aren’t showing any symptoms.

Children and young adults are particularly susceptible to contracting the virus since they may be unaware of the risks of kissing and sharing eating utensils with other people. Cold sore patients spread it until the lesions are entirely covered in scabs.

To protect yourself from cold sores or to prevent others from contracting them:

  • Avoid kissing when you have an outbreak.
  • Keep your distance from others when you have cold sores.
  • Stay away from those with compromised immune systems, such as young children or cancer patients.
  • Never exchange personal things like towels, razors, or lip balm.
  • Never share food or drinks.
  • Do not touch your cold sores.
  • Regularly wash your hands.

Canker Sores
Aphthous ulcers, also known as canker sores, are painful round or oval lesions that develop on the tongue, the inside of the lips, or the cheeks, among other soft tissues inside the mouth. Women experience canker sores twice as frequently as males, and they typically first develop between the ages of ten and twenty, though they can appear as early as two.

Causes of Canker Sores
Canker sores can show up alone or in groups, similar to cold sores. The exact cause is unknown, but several other factors can induce an outbreak.

Canker sores are frequently aggravated by:

  •     Food allergies
  •     Stress
  •     Hormone changes
  •     Vitamin deficiency
  •     Infections
  •     Spicy and hot food

Symptoms of Canker Sores
If you have canker sores, you may see one or more small, circular lesions with red rims and a gray, white, or yellow center. Your mouth may experience these sores in many different places, including:

  •     Inside the lip
  •     Inside the cheek
  •     Beneath the tongue
  •     Back of your throat

Canker sores can be excruciatingly painful, but they typically disappear on their own within one to two weeks.

How to Treat Oral Sores?
Both types of sores typically heal on their own within two weeks. Cold and canker sores cannot be cured, but several therapies can accelerate the healing process or stop them entirely.

Treatment of Cold Sores
Sunscreen, lip balms, and ointments can all be used to treat cold sores. These remedies can lessen your symptoms and decrease the spread of the virus. Even if you don’t currently have cold sores, lip balm and sunscreen can help prevent them.

You can use painkillers if your sores are painful. Eat less items that are acidic to prevent irritating the sores. Additionally, you can keep them cool by using ice, cold towels, and cooling creams.

Treatment of Canker Sores
Ointments, creams, and mouthwashes are the main treatments for canker sores. These therapies lessen the discomfort, delay the outbreak, and make occurrence less frequent. Like cold sores, canker sores can be prevented by avoiding spicy and hot foods. When necessary, painkillers can also be used to reduce pain.

Depending on the severity of the sore you may want to see your dentist at SDCYour dentist can assess the canker sore and prescribe medicine such as antimicrobial mouth rinse that can promote healing.

Oral Health and the Heart


Oral health affects the overall well-being of our bodies, that is what we have been told to encourage us to visit the dentist regularly, but is there an actual link? You might be surprised that recent studies have made a connection between poor oral health and heart disease, although further research is still needed to fully understand it.  Let’s discover how oral bacteria can trigger heart disease, the associated symptoms and how to prevent such incidences.

How oral bacteria affect the heart?
Our mouth harbors many bacterial species, some of which are harmless and considered a natural habitat of the oral cavity, yet most of them, if found in large numbers, will lead to oral infections, such as dental decay and gum inflammation. In certain cases, where a person is immunocompromised, due to old age, medical conditions or as a side effect of taking certain drugs, bacteria will become opportunistic and travel through the bloodstream affecting many organs such as the heart.

What heart conditions are associated with oral bacterial?
Arteriosclerosis; plaque (made of fats, cholesterol and other substances) gets deposited inside the wall of arteries that supply the heart muscle, with time, this plaque mass will get inflamed and repute, leading to blood clots which will restrict the blood flow to the heart muscle. Unfortunately, oral bacteria such as streptococcus viridians have been implicated in such blood clots.

A person with this type of condition will suffer from coronary heart disease; they will develop a sudden dull heavy pain in the middle of the chest, radiating to the arm and shoulder, along with difficulty in breathing, dizziness and sweating. If this is not managed in a timely manner, it can be fatal.

Infective endocarditis; this is a fatal condition where there is an infection in the inner lining of the heart. A patient with prosthetic heart valves or congenital heart disease is practically at higher risk of getting this. Oral bacteria, mainly streptococcus viridians will travel along with the blood until it reaches the heart, where it will adhere to its inner surface leading to severe inflammation.

The infected individual will have chest pain while breathing, shortness of breath, night sweats, fever and chills.

Other organs; lung infection (pneumonia) and joint infection (rheumatoid arteritis) are linked to the presence of oral bacteria as well. Although, as mentioned, further research needs to be done to fully understand this association.

So, how can we prevent such incidents?
Oral hygiene is the keyword, when we practice proper oral hygiene measures; we control the number of harmful bacteria in our mouth, thus reducing the risk of developing general health disorders.

You can do that by following these simple steps:

Lastly, it is important to keep your dentist informed regarding your heart problems; you need to state your full medical history along with the medications you are taking. Certain elective procedures can be postponed, if your dentist sees it might pose a risk of developing a heart infection.

Minimize the Impact of Sugar on Teeth


Bacteria in the mouth may be both useful and dangerous.  When sugar is consumed the bacteria in the mouth quickly start producing acid.  Infectious bacteria feed on sugar, which produces acids that eat away at teeth’s protective enamel.  Cavities and holes in teeth are a result from the bacterial infection caused by the acids. If left untreated, cavities may penetrate into the inner layers of teeth, causing discomfort and tooth loss.  Fortunately, there are steps we can take to repair the harm that acids produce.

Start by educating yourself with the amount of sugar in foods and drinks.  It is also important to be informed of the many different forms and names of sugars in the foods and beverages we consume. What are the foods and drinks consumed daily?  For instance most of us drink coffee or tea daily, slowly start decreasing the amount of sugar you sprinkle in your tea or coffee.  Over time, taste buds become accustomed to the subtle taste difference and it is an easy step to help reduce your sugar consumption. Switching to agave nectar rather than sugar in your daily coffee is another option.  Agave’s glycemic index is lower than sugar’s, it will not cause as much of a jump in blood sugar levels.  In addition to being available in most supermarkets, agave nectar is also becoming more common in coffee shops. When agave is not readily available at local coffee shops, or if the taste of agave is an issue, simply reduce the amount of sugar.

When consuming something sweet or sticky try to shorten the amount of time the residue stays on teeth.  Leaving sugary, sticky residue on teeth for longer periods of time may cause additional harm to your teeth since they will be exposed to more acidic conditions.  To help reduce the residue on your teeth schedule a dental deep cleaning and checkup twice per year.

Whenever the sweet tooth urge starts to kick in be equipped with nutritious sugar-free snacks.

Or make one half of the snack nutritious sugar-free before you indulge. An excellent example is pairing chocolate with almonds, oats, or strawberries.  There are many useful resources on the internet that can help you discover and create healthier teeth friendly snacks.

Treatments and Solutions for Bad Breath and Halitosis

Treatments and Solutions for Bad Breath and Halitosis

Find yourself having to chew gum or use breath mints all the time to get rid of that stubborn odor? You might be one of four people in the world that suffer from chronic bad breath or halitosis. Halitosis is a condition in which the odor from your mouth exceeds what is deemed socially acceptable.

Now, bad breath and halitosis are caused by many factors from disease to common lifestyle choices. If you have a consistently dry mouth and use tobacco products regularly, you have a much higher likelihood of developing bad breath. Poor dental hygiene, having dentures, and odor-causing bacteria are other notorious factors contributing to halitosis. Some serious conditions such as periodontal disease and a respiratory tract infection could also be causing that problematic and pesky smell.

Now not to worry, halitosis and bad breath are not something you have to get used to and accept. There are several ways in which you can overcome this annoying hurdle. The main steps are:

1) Treatment of Underlying Disease
After visiting a dental specialist, you may be diagnosed with periodontal disease or a respiratory tract infection. It is very common to experience bad breath when dealing with these conditions. By going to a dentist, you will get treated for all the infections within your gum line which may cause inflammation. This is most often caused by a lot of yellow buildup of plaque around the teeth very close to the gum-line.

2) Removal of Build-Up
A build-up, similar to the one seen in periodontal disease, may cause bad breath even before causing disease. It would be a good precaution to look out for this as most dentists will be able to remove all the plaque. Bacteria build-up on the tongue is also a cause for concern. However, brushing regularly, using a tongue scraper as well as a bacterium-killing mouthwash could make the build-up subside within days or weeks.

3) Reinstating Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing regularly would be the best course of action if you do not have a condition or build-up. By being more proactive in oral hygiene, such as brushing longer and in different directions, you are sure to improve your breath.

4) Avoiding Certain Foods
Certain foods you eat could adversely impact how your breath smells. Some foods to avoid would be onion, garlic and an excessive consumption of coffee all have the potential to make your breath smell unpleasant.

Vitamins for Healthy Gums


Vitamins and minerals play a significant role in healthy gums and overall oral health. The good news is that many of the vitamins and minerals that are required for healthy gums can be obtained from a balanced diet. People who have a vitamin deficiency can experience oral health problems such as tooth decay, bleeding gums, receding gums, and even tooth loss. It is important to understand which vitamins and minerals are needed for people with gum disease in order to prevent any future complications. Better still, the same vitamins can help prevent gum disease in the first place.

Vitamin C
This powerful antioxidant protects and strengthens gum tissue and the connective tissue that holds everything together in your mouth. It is one of the most important vitamins for oral health as it also helps fight off bacteria that can lead to inflammation and infections. Vitamin C reduces bleeding gums and can turn periodontal disease around in many cases.

Vitamin D
Also known for its help with overall tooth health by promoting mineralization, vitamin D is also a necessary nutrient for healthy gums. Deficiencies directly lead to inflammation, gingivitis, and other painful and unattractive problems. While studies are inconclusive about whether it actually offers a cure or treatment for existing gum issues, they are much more prevalent in people without sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin A
This essential vitamin for gum disease health boosts your body’s natural ability to protect your teeth and gums by influencing saliva production. Although many might not like to think about it, saliva does a very important job in your mouth. It helps break down food molecules and keeps things clean in between tooth brushing and flossing.

B Complex Vitamins
Lack of sufficient B vitamins also leads to bleeding gums, inflammation, deeper pockets between gums and teeth, and other periodontal diseases. This is especially true for folate and thiamine.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3s contribute greatly to the overall health of gum tissue. Studies have clearly demonstrated improvement in existing gum disease after taking these supplements. The study results have shown spaces between gums and teeth decreased while more connective tissue reattached the gums versus groups not ingesting these essential fatty acids.

Although this is a mineral instead of a vitamin, it is an essential part of maintaining gum health and preventing periodontal disease. It has actually shown to reduce levels of plaque in the mouth for both children and adults, especially those with diabetes. Zinc is also an anti-inflammatory and shows promise in minimizing the severity of chronic gum disease overall.

Coenzyme Q10
Another well-known antioxidant that benefits a host of body systems, CoQ10 has demonstrated excellent levels of protection for people with gum disease. It minimizes inflammation and especially helps the healing process after invasive dental procedures. This supplement can get you on the road to gum disease health and recovery more quickly.

On your next check-up visit to Sahara Dental Las Vegas, ask your dentist what vitamins and minerals you may need for healthier gums.