• Posted on May 4, 2017 10:15 am
    Dr. Ron Lo DDS
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    blog-765

    While many people are now aware that smoking can adversely affect their health, some do not know that smoking can also adversely affect their oral health? Many do not recognize that smoking can result in tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss, and in more severe cases, mouth cancer? The statistics on the dental health of smokers is not positive! About 16 percent of people who smoke have poor dental health, four times the rate of people who have never smoked. Smokers are less likely to have gone to the dentist in the past five years than non-smokers. Also, more than a third of smokers have at least three dental health issues. So, in this article, we’ll talk about how smoking affects your teeth and oral health...Here are some of the ways… Bad breath: Also called halitosis or smoker’s breath, the most immediate way that smoking causes bad breath is by leaving smoke particles in the throat and lungs. Also, the chemicals in tobacco smoke can remain in the mouth, leading to a host of secondary causes of bad breath. Tobacco causes chronic bad breath by drying out the mouth and palate, leaving a dry, chemical-filled environment, where anerobic oral bacteria run amok. Periodontal (Gum) disease: Studies have found that tobacco use is one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease. The latter is a gum infection, which destroys soft tissue and bone that anchor your teeth to your jawbone. In early stages, your gums may bleed when you brush or floss. Also, smokers have more calculus (tartar) than non-smokers, which may result in a decreased flow of saliva. Calculus is the hardened form of plaque. As your gum infection worsens, your gums begin to break down. They pull away from your teeth, forming pockets. Later, more supporting structures are destroyed, and the pockets deepen. Tooth discoloration: This is one of the effects of smoking on your teeth, and is due to the nicotine and tar in the tobacco. Nicotine by itself is a colorless substance, but when mixed with oxygen, it turns yellow and can make your teeth yellow in a very short time. Heavy smokers complain that their teeth are almost brown after years of smoking. Inflammation of the salivary gland openings on the roof of the mouth: While smoking immediately stimulates saliva flow, it also predisposes to inflammation and infection of the salivary glands in the mouth. It blocks off and damages the salivary glands, resulting in mouth dryness. It also slightly reduces the pH of the mouth, thereby making the mouth more acidic and predisposing to tooth decay and dental erosion. Increased build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth: Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is plaque that has hardened on your teeth. Smoking results in an increased build-up of tartar. Tartar can also form at or underneath the gumline and can irritate gum tissues. Tartar gives plaque more surface area on which to grow and a much stickier surface to adhere to, resulting in more serious conditions, such as cavities and gum disease. Increased loss of bone within the jaw: Studies have shown a direct link between tobacco use and reduced bone density. This may result in an increased loss of bone within the jaw, resulting in loose teeth at risk of displacement. Increased risk of leukoplakia, or white patches within the mouth: Smoking is one of the causes of Leukoplakia. The condition is usually painless, but is closely linked to an increased risk of oral cancer. Leukoplakia most commonly occurs on the tongue, but can also occur on the floor of the mouth, on the soft palate, on the inside of the cheek, on the lower lips, and on the gums. Tooth loss: According to the Academy of General Dentistry, men who smoke lose 2.9 teeth for every 10 years of smoking. For women, the number is 1.5 teeth per decade of smoking. Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers. One theory is that tooth loss in smokers occurs because tobacco restricts the flow of blood to the gum tissues, which limits the nutrients necessary for the bone and periodontal support for the teeth. Another theory is that a chain of events causes tooth loss. This starts with plaque and tartar build-up on teeth, which can cause gingivitis, which leads to periodontal disease, and eventually, tooth loss. Delayed healing process following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, dental implants, or oral surgery: There are several reasons why smoking results in a delayed healing process following dental implants, tooth extraction, or oral surgery. One such reason is that nicotine and its by-products affect peripheral blood vessels, especially the superficial ones in the mouth and skin. This results in less blood flow to the areas that these vessels supply. This affects both healing and immune mechanisms. Mouth dryness also promotes increased growth of disease-causing bacteria, which increases the incidence and severity of periodontal disease. All of this delays healing. Increased risk of developing oral cancer: This risk of oral cancer is about 5 to 10 times greater among smokers compared to people who never smoked. Some of the chemicals contained in tobacco smoke cause, initiate, or promote cancer. These chemicals cause genetic changes in cells of the mouth cavity, which can lead to the development of oral cancer. So, now you know more about how smoking can adversely affect your oral health. If you are a smoker, consider a smoking cessation plan, or try reducing it in phases. Also, consult your dentist, who can examine you for the early signs of periodontal disease and oral cancer. For more information on how you can schedule an appointment for a thorough dental check-up, contact Dr. Ron Lo at 253-383-1551 or at tacomadentalgroup@gmail.com.

    Dental care
  • Posted on March 23, 2017 10:37 am
    Dr. Ron Lo DDS
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    6-reasons-why-regular-dental-check-ups-are-so-important

    If you’re the type of person that regularly skips dental appointments…I am going to try and convince you that this is not a good idea! It’s imperative that you visit your dentist every six months and get a thorough check-up done to prevent problems from occurring. Your dentist will likely recommend the right treatment for you based on the condition of your teeth and mouth, not to mention you will feel better. In this article, we’ll talk about the top 6 reasons why regular dental check-ups are so important… Detection and removal of plaque, tartar, and cavities: However diligent a brusher and flosser you may be, it is unlikely that you can get to all of those hard-to-reach areas of your mouth and teeth. When plaque builds up, it becomes really difficult to remove, and it solidifies, turning into tartar, which is really difficult to remove without professional help. Also, regular dental cleanings can remove tartar, thereby preventing it from creating holes in your teeth, which is the source of many cavities. So, to prevent cavities from occurring, visit your dentist for regular cleanings, which can prevent more serious problems later. Detection and prevention of gum disease: The build-up of plaque and tartar can also cause gum disease. It can erode the mouth’s gum tissue. This takes place when tartar causes an infection where the gum is connected to the tooth. This makes the gum pull away from the tooth, and is called gingivitis. Gingivitis progresses rapidly, when the tissue that attaches the gum to the teeth breaks down. This results in gum disease, with swelling, bleeding, and soreness in the mouth. Gum disease also results in a breakdown of the bone that holds the teeth in place. To avoid all this, regular dental cleanings are very important. Checking for and treating the results of bad habits: You may drink sugary beverages, smoke, brush your teeth too hard, bite your nails, or clench your jaw. All of this may result in oral damage. Your dentist can help guide you on any ill effects of these habits. You may consider making lifestyle changes necessary to prevent further damage. Regular dental visits can also help you treat the damage that has already occurred. Also, due to these habits, you may suffer from halitosis (bad breath), which your dentist can help treat by treating the underlying problem. Detection of underlying problems with X-rays: When you visit your dentist every six months, you should get your teeth X-rayed and the surrounding bone evaluated. This can help detect underlying problems that are not visible above the surface of your gumline. This can reveal problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, as well as, bone anomalies, cysts, or tumors. Detection of any abnormality in your head, neck, and lymph nodes: If you visit your dentist for a regular check-up, your dentist will also check your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes located just below your jawline for any swelling, lumps, and other abnormalities. If your dentist detects any abnormalities, you can then be referred to the appropriate medical professional for further diagnosis and treatment. Detection of oral cancer: This may sound like something only other people have, but be warned, about 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in the U.S. this year. The 5-year survival rate is only 57%, meaning early detection is crucial. Your dentist will screen for oral cancer at your regular check-up. While there are other reasons why you should visit your dentist for a regular dental check-up every six months, these are the most important. At the Tacoma Dental Group, we offer our patients several different dental services, including preventive dental care, dental fillings, dental digital X-ray, and more. You should also ensure that you visit your dentist regularly, so that any underlying problem can be detected early. After all, prevention is better than cure! For more information on how you can Schedule an Appointment for a Regular Dental Check-up, contact Dr. Ron Lo at 253-383-1551 or at tacomadentalgroup@gmail.com.

    Dental care