Many may think this is an odd topic for a dental hygienist to be discussing and at one time in my 19 year career I would have agreed with you. I have been privileged to be blessed with hours and hours of continued education over the years and this topic can have potentially dangerous outcomes.
For many years when my client would dose off during their hygiene appointment I used to pat myself on the back and think I must be so gentle if my clients can fall asleep during their maintenance visits. Fast forward many years I hear about this serious medical condition called sleep apnea and although I continue to work diligently to keep my clients so comfortable they could potentially fall asleep, now I realize my clients may be falling asleep in my chair due to a serious medical condition called sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is when an individual stops breathing or has very shallow breathing when sleeping. These absences of breathing are generally 10 to 20 seconds in length and can occur 30 times in a 1 hour period of time. When breathing returns the individual with generally make an audible noise like they are gasping for air. There are 3 types of sleep apnea 1. Central Sleep Apnea: often occurs in older population, people with heart disorders like congestive heart failure, those that have had a stroke, those on long lasting narcotic pain medications. This is when the brain doesn't send out the signal for your body to take a breath. 2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea- this is the most common and is due to having a restricted airway for a multiple of reasons. 3. Is a combination of the two types.
These absences of oxygen can lead to medical complications such as but not limited to the following:
1. Daytime fatigue- leading to poor job performance, lack of concentration, falling asleep while driving.
2. High Blood Pressure or Heart problems due to the sudden drops in blood oxygen levels.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
4. Metabolic Syndrome- leading to increase in waist circumference, abnormal cholesterol readings
6. Liver Disease
7. Complications with medications
Symptoms to Watch For in Yourself or Loved one
1. Loud or frequent snoring
2. Choking or gasping while you sleep
3. Insomnia due to difficulty staying asleep
4. Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
5. Trouble concentrating
6. Memory or learning problems
7. Moodiness or irritability
8. Waking up with headaches frequently
9. Low sex drive
Symptoms your Dental Professional Will Watch out for
1. A large uvula: tissue that hangs from the roof of your mouth, way at the back.
2. When it is difficult for your hygienist to see the back of your throat due to your tongue posture
3. Large tongue with scalloped boarders.
4. Falling asleep during dental procedures.
5. Mouth Breathing
Personal Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
1. Males are 2 times as likely to have sleep apnea over women
2. More often in older adults
3. Family history
4. Use of Alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers as they relax the throat muscles
5. Smoking makes you 3 times more likely to have sleep apnea over non smokers
6. Nasal congestion
7. Excess weight makes you 4 times more likely than someone that is at their healthy weight
8. Large neck circumference: for men anything over 43 cm, for women anything over 38 cm are at a higher risk
9. Narrow Airway either naturally or from large tonsils or adenoids
Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition please see your medical doctor is you feel you are at risk. They will likely have you take a short Sleepiness Scale test called Epworth Sleepiness Scale and possibly refer you to a sleep center. If you suspect you have sleep apnea and are prone to falling asleep when watching TV or when reading ask someone else in your home to watch over you during your nap and see if you make that classic struggling to get your breathe noise. When in doubt always see you MD.
Three Primary Treatment Options for those with sleep apnea
1. Gold Standard is a CPAP machine worn during sleep
2. Oral Appliance for those who can't tolerate a CPAP. Mild to Moderate Sleep Apnea
The official website of Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Two minutes, two times a day can often sound like a nightmare if you have been blessed with a child who doesn't like to take time out of their day to brush. I often get this questions when talking to parents, it's a battle I have known all to well having 3 children of my own.
It doesn't have an easy answer I am afraid to say and often takes inventive strategies that will at times have to be changed up to keep your child interested. Below I will list some of the new products and tips you may want to add to your arsenal of ideas.
1. Download the Oral B brushing app for children "Disney Magic Timer". Then if needed to keep it interesting find others like Aquafresh Time 2 Brush, Happy Teeth, Healthy Kids,and Brush up to name a few.
2. Try a power toothbrush, they are great for removing plaque, talk about tickling the sugar bugs off their teeth. Always make sure the brush head isn't to bulky for your child's mouth
3. Several company's have a version of the flashing toothbrush handle that will flash for the recommended two minutes.
4. Take your child to a hygienist that is animated and loves to treat children. As a mother I know that sometimes my children listen to there teachers more than me and I think having someone else passing on the info in a fun way can have a huge impact.
5. Download fun brushing sheets you can post on your fridge or child's room and have a small reward when your child has a month of good brushing habits.
6. Two minute egg timers are always a good option to try
7. Tooth fairy dust! On nights when brushing has been a struggle sprinkle fairy dust (glitter) on the counter of your bathroom and have your child watch my tooth fairy helper video you see below.
So I have given you seven new options to try, let me know how it goes by leaving a comment!
Have your own tip, I would love to hear it.
Your baby will start to show signs of their first tooth erupting anywhere from 4 to 14 months of age. These symptoms often come anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks prior to that first tooth poking through the gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Teething
-chewing solid objects
-irritability or crankiness
-sore tender gums
-decrease in appetite
-a slight increase in body temperature
Note there has been no research that indicates a high temperature or diarrhea being a symptom of teething.
What can we do to help relieve the symptoms of teething.
1. rub baby's gums with a clean finger or moistened clean cloth, the pressure can eze the discomfort.
2. use a cool wash cloth, spoon or teething ring (NEVER a frozen object as extreme cold can be harmful)
3. if child eating solid food, peel a carrot or cucumber that has been chilled (WATCH over child )
4. have a drool cloth on hand to wipe chin to avoid skin irritation
5. water based cream placed on the chin to help with skin irritation
6. Tylenol as per Dr. recommendations
7. Advil if your child is over 6 months of age per your Dr. recommendations
NEVER use solutions on the gums with Benzocaine, it has been associated with a rare but serious condition that reduces oxygen in the blood.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends AVOIDING all topical numbing gels and IF you decide to use them NEVER use more than 6 times a day and NEVER before feedings.
What you don’t know could be hurting you or someone you love. Years ago when I first started working as a dental hygienist my primary concern if my client was a mouth breather was that I was going to cause a lot of bleeding when working around the front teeth. As time has passed and I have grown as a hygienist the concerns with having a client that is a mouth breather has increased and I would like to share some of what I have learned about mouth breathing and the effects on growth and development of children as well as its effects to the mouth breathers general health.
Mouth Breathers can have some or many of the following:
I will start with a little background information about what happens when breathing through our nose. When we breathe through our nose we produce more “Nitric Oxide”.
Nitric Oxide Role In the Body
1. Increase the oxygen exchange efficiency and increase our blood oxygen by 18%.
2. It increases the lungs ability to absorb oxygen
3. Its a vasodilator and brain transmitter.
4. It increases oxygen transport through the body to its organs and is crucial for the efficiency of smooth muscles.
In keeping the above in mind mouth breathing is linked with the following.
Mouth breathing is much easier to correct as a child than waiting for adulthood. Often it can be very difficult and the best solution is to look to those that specialize in breaking these habits. We are lucky to have someone close by who specializes in Myofunctional Therapy and I strongly encourage mouth breathers to seek out her services. If you are interested in contacting her she is in Owen Sound and can be reached at the following number. 519-373-2297 or at http://www.tongueandlunglady.com/
General Dentistry Jan/Feb 2010 Yosh Jefferson DMD, MAGD Mouth Breathing: Adverse effects on facial growth health, academics and behavior
The Negative Effect of Mouth Breathing on the body and development of the child Dr. John Flutter BDS Dental Surgeon
I can almost see the look on your face, and yes I have said these same five words more times than I can count. I probably still find myself falling back into this old habit. These days I ask "are you using anything between your teeth". Yes i give you my blessing, you no longer need to floss your teeth, BUT i do want you to be using something to get the bacteria out from between your teeth.
So I challenge you to go ahead and try one of many new alternatives on the market. Below I will list some of my favorites.
Soft Picks: I LOVE these and yes when I talk about them I get really excited. They come in a package of about 80 to 90 picks and have a great plastic case that can hold about 20 picks that you can throw in your pocket and take them with you. Each pick has small plastic projections that not only clean between your teeth but also massage your gums. Massaging the gums gets the circulation going and keeps your gums firm and health.Copy and paste the following link to see an example. http://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/picks/gum-soft-picks-120-ct-632g.html
Proxa Brush: Another great product from the same brand, these are better suited for someone with spaces between their teeth or have bone loss around their teeth. When you have spaces between your teeth these are a much better option over floss. Areas like this when the floss goes in, it tends to just push the bacteria back and forth were the proxa brush fills the space and grabs the bacteria and pulls it out
Copy and paste following to check out these great tools. http://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/interdental-brushes/gum-go-betweens-proxabrush-cleaners-moderate-3612rm.html
Floss Picks: Yes technically this product is floss but most find them much easier to use. I much prefer the type that has a Y shape as I find them much easier to use in the back teeth. Two brands I like are Plackers and Gum. The following will take you to the Placker web site. http://www.plackers.com/Flossers/floss-right-angle-whitening-flossers.asp
The Placker model has a great pick on the end you can use to get in tough areas.
Reusable Floss Wand: This has the same idea as above but with less waste and you can chose the type of floss that works best for you. http://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/floss-handles/gum-flossmate-floss-handle-845pa.html
Water Pick: This is a great and sometimes messy option that many have great success with. Not only will this clean the bacteria between the teeth it is very stimulating to your gums. https://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/products/dental-water-flosser/WP-670/
Air Flosser: This option is one of the newest on the market, similar to the water pick this uses air to clean between the teeth. http://www.sonicare.com/professional/en_us/OurProducts/AirFloss.aspx
So as you can see you have many options available now and most will feel much easier than floss. I challenge you to go out and find the option that speaks to you. The bacteria left between the teeth causes decay between your teeth and leads to gum disease. An unhealthy mouth is being linked to many health concerns and because of this I want to work with you to find the tool you can work into your daily life.
Let Kim Make you Smile
Your mouth can hide a secret....
Velscope technology is used in many offices around our Country everyday. It uses fluorescence to note early changes in cells during your annual complete oral cancer exam. When used it can show changes we as your dental professionals can't see through our naked eye.
Often what we see corresponds with what we saw during our visual oral cancer exam, most often the change we see through the velscope is a cheek biting trauma or mouth sore/burn. It's when we can't correspond what we are seeing with something we saw with the naked eye we start to use our critical thinking skills. We are trained to determine if perhaps the tissue we are looking at is just more vascular (has more blood in that area). A simple test we can do quickly rules out areas with greater blood supply.
So after your dental hygienist has ruled out the above the next step may be to re evaluate the area in two weeks or a referral to an oral surgeon. It is very important you understand that this doesn't mean we think you have oral cancer. We are looking for a second opinion and possibly a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis. Often this biopsy will come back as being dysplasia anywhere from mild to severe. These can be precancerous and now they can be removed before they become malignant.
A very simple exam can save your life and with the face of oral cancer changing drastically over the last few years an exam that needs to be done and because of this your exam is always part of your dental hygiene exam one time a year at no additional charge when done at our office.
Do I have your attention? Are you waiting for a picture of a perfect white smile? Well keep looking because as a dental hygienist my greatest accomplishment is taking someone from feeling embarrassed by having been away for so long to feeling confident they are heading in the right direction. At LEAST twenty percent of the clients I see come in feeling embarrassed and that their mouth is likely the worst I will ever see. Please know that is NEVER the case, know that when you come in after a long hiatus I am just so happy you are at a place where you are ready to come back. I'm most happy because I know how having oral diseases affects your over all health. Gum disease is linked to many serious diseases like Heart Disease, Stroke, and Respiratory Illnesses to name a few.
So I ask that you never stay away from the the hygienist because you are embarrassed by the condition your mouth is in, it is our job to take you from were you are to a place of good health. As a hygienist I would be honored that you chose me to work along side of you, to help you achieve a healthy smile.
Don't delay make your appointment today, we will work together to make you comfortable in the cozy environment of my office. My office is small because my primary focus is you and making you feel at home and well cared for.
Hanover Dental Hygiene Care
519 506 8586