There is nothing like a visit to Sick Kids Hospital or your local emergency room in the middle of the night with your child, to remind us all about the importance of our health. Did you know however, that teeth also play a critical role in health maintenance? Teeth can say a lot about a person and we’re not just talking about whether they are white, straight or cavity free. Our teeth “talk” to us in other ways too, providing clues to health conditions we might not otherwise have known to exist. Today – we’ll let you know how to be the detective, sharing what to look for when you smile at the mirror every morning.
First and foremost of course, good oral health hygiene ensures a healthy mouth, teeth and gums. Regular brushing, flossing and flushing (BFF) will aid in the fight against cavities, halitosis, gum disease and sometimes, much more. Becoming a BFF with your mouth is one of the first friendships you should encourage your child to develop. What’s a BFF? It’s when you Brush, Floss and Flush! Children, from a very early age, need to be encouraged to brush their teeth regularly. As they begin to mature, encourage them (both by doing it yourself and assisting them) to floss. A final step – “flushing” is when you rinse out your mouth with mouthwash or even simply some water, encouraging that final rinse to get rid of any “guck” that was missed or accumulated as a result of the first two steps. Helping kids realize the importance of this simple three – step process to becoming a BFF with their teeth will foster a lifetime of healthy dental hygiene habits.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, BFF is great but what else can I do to prevent an emergency call?” Dr. Corazza explains: “The mouth is teeming with bacteria. Most of it is good bacteria and serves a purpose and being a regular “BFF” will take care of it. However, some bacteria can cause infection, gum disease and tooth decay, which in turn can make certain existing health conditions worse.” Research has shown for example, that even some simple over the counter meds like antihistamines and decongestants might reduce the flow of saliva. Who knew? Saliva plays an important role in washing away food and helping to neutralize mouth bacteria. Some studies have even linked cardiovascular disease and endocarditis to “inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause” and Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth or low birth weight and diabetes.
Having spent a significant amount of time rotating through three busy downtown hospitals responding to the critical dental emergencies of medically compromised patients has taught Dr. Corazza the impact of poor dental hygiene to our overall health. These experiences left an impression on Dr. Corazza, both in his approach to patient care and in the role your dentist can play in helping you maintain good health. While he and his team will see you under any circumstances and coax you through any dental emergency, Dr. Corazza’s aim is to prevent such an emergency in the first place.
Watch for any signs of redness or inflammation and swelling around the gum line or for loose teeth. Even bad breath (halitosis) is a sign that your mouth might be trying to tell you something. As well, any unexplained sores, growths or mouth ulcers should be investigated immediately. “My goal is to educate patients,” says Dr. Corazza, “I certainly don’t want to frighten anyone. Simply becoming a BFF with your teeth and mouth will, in most circumstances, be enough to help you in maintaining good health. But it’s important to me that patients know what to look for and how to be their own detective, so that they know when to call or visit our offices.” Sounds like good advice to us! Invite Brinkley Dental to become one of your new BFF’s today!