As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Reno. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful.
The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Reno prior to starting chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and Oral Health
As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include:
These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Reno during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment.
The Importance of Regular Dentistry
Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Reno is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.
During this time of the year, it seems as if everyone we encounter is sneezing, sniffling, or coughing. While we do as much as we can to avoid getting a cold, sometimes we just get sick. When we do get a case of the coughs we just want it to go away, so we will try almost anything to make it stop. Most commonly, we’ll suck on cough drops and take cough syrup throughout the day. Even though these medications can alleviate our symptoms, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that the common ingredients in cough medicine do pose risks to oral health.
Many cough syrups and cough drops contain ingredients that can cause damage to teeth. More specifically, those medications containing sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and alcohol are the most concerning to your Reno dentist. The truth is, these ingredients can make us feel better during the course of a cold but can have long-term negative side effects on oral health.
We’ve all heard Mary Poppins sing about how a spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down, and she was right. Most cough syrups and cough drops contain sugar to help mask their naturally bad and bitter taste. But just like sugary snacks and foods, these sugars can be dangerous to teeth. When we introduce sugars into our mouths we can essentially create a feeding frenzy for bacteria. These bacteria will feed on sugar and then release an acidic byproduct. This acid will wear away tooth enamel and increases the risk of decay and cavities.
Besides sugar, some cold medicines contain small amounts of alcohol. Alcohol is known to cause dry mouth, even in smaller quantities. Normally, our mouths produce a lot of saliva — between 0.5 and 1.5 liters every day. This saliva helps neutralize dangerous acids and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. However, when alcohol causes dry mouth, saliva production slows and acids and bacteria stick around. This can increase the likelihood of decay.
Feel Better While Protecting Teeth
Even though cold medicine can increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities, you shouldn’t suffer through a cold by not taking it. However, your dentist in Reno my recommend:
Taking a pill instead of liquid medication. Liquid medication can basically coat your mouth with sugar and alcohol, while pills greatly reduce how much contact your mouth has with those ingredients.
Taking cold medication with food. When we eat we tend to produce more saliva which, as we know, will help wash away sugar and alcohol before they have a chance to cause damage.
Brushing your teeth after you take medicine, especially before bed. Taking medicine then brushing your teeth will help reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol left in the mouth. This is particularly important before bed. Taking cough syrup before bed without brushing your teeth after means the ingredients are lingering in the mouth all night long.
While we truly hope our patients and neighbors stay healthy all year round if you do happen to get sick, try taking medicine using the tips above to protect your smile.
Your Reno, NV dentist’s office can help your smile by providing restorative and preventive dental care that keeps you in good health. In between visits, you should be doing your part to protect your smile. Tooth decay can do permanent damage to your tooth, cause an infection, and – if nothing is done in time – even make an extraction necessary. When you consider how harmful a cavity can be, it becomes easy to see why an effective approach to daily dental care is so important. Consistently brushing and flossing will help, but you should think about oral care as more than just a matter of cleaning your teeth. Your diet choices, and your habits, can also have an impact on your dental health. Continue reading “Avoiding Dental Health Troubles Through Smart Daily Care”→
Your Reno, NV dentist’s office is ready to provide you with great general dental care when you need to come in for routine treatment, or if you have a dental problem. While having access to professional oral health care is important, you always need to be mindful of how your daily efforts to protect your smile might benefit you. For instance, if you take pride in your thorough, consistent brushing habits, but fail to floss, you can leave the spaces between your teeth without quality support. This can leave you at risk for problems like tooth decay and gum disease, despite what you may have considered to be a great effort to prevent dental troubles. Continue reading “Flossing Offers Vital Support For The Spaces Between Teeth”→
There is no shortage of information concerning how to prevent cavities from forming on your teeth. That knowledge is widespread, but so are cavities. Why is this problem so persistent? Many people can be mistaken in their assumption that their oral health habits are up to the task of protecting their smiles. For instance, a person might feel good about their chances against tooth decay because they brush two times a day, only to find that they are having cavity troubles because they never floss. A combination of quality dental care at home, and preventive dental care at your dentist’s office, will help you combat oral health troubles. Good habits do more than just protect you from cavities – you are also protecting yourself against gum disease, which can cause serious issues if it is left untreated. Continue reading “3 Oral Health Mistakes That Put Your Smile At Risk”→
What is it about routine dental exams that make them so important to your overall oral health? Can they really do more to help you prevent dental troubles if you already take care to brush and floss, and monitor your diet? While daily care is crucial to your smile’s condition, there are also vital benefits to regular exams that can help you keep on top of your oral health needs. When you see your dentist, your smile is checked for any possible issues that might affect you – that includes a cavity check, as well as a check for gum disease, and signs of harmful conditions like oral cancer. Unless you are told to plan around a different schedule, you should anticipate seeing your dentist every six months. Continue reading “Quiz: What Are The Benefits That Come With Routine Exams?”→
When it comes to protecting yourself against gum disease and tooth decay, what you do on a daily basis matters. If you typically rush to work without properly cleaning your teeth, or if you tend to depend on sugary snacks to keep you satisfied between meals, you can be more likely to need restorative dental work. Preventive dental care is not just about what you do at home, of course. Combining professional and personal care can help you keep your smile in top form. Patients gain that support by attending routine dental exams, which should take place every six months. Continue reading “Control Your Oral Health Risks With Smart Daily Practices”→
How sure are you about the state of your smile? If you only make trips to the dentist to address active concerns, you may not realize how important it is to plan for routine preventive dental care. Ongoing checkups give your dentist the opportunity to keep up with a regular study of your smile. They can alert you to problems with your teeth, symptoms of gum disease, and many more troubles. Ongoing care also means enjoying regular professional teeth cleanings, and digital x-rays of your smile. With this regular support, you can look forward to prompt treatment for your oral health troubles, and better protection against future problems. Continue reading “Is Your Dentist Making Sure Your Smile Is Fully Healthy?”→
Your only means of improving your cavity defense will involve making adjustments to your brushing and flossing habits…right? Actually, if you think of preventive dental care as being just about these actions, you can overlook other ways in which you might be affecting your oral health. Your diet choices can shift your cavity risk in crucial ways. How can you make sure your typical meals and snacks are doing a better job protecting your smile? You may be surprised at how little changes can have a big impact. With a new approach to snacking, or an adjustment to your standard meals, you can make sure you are less likely to need a dental filling or dental crown in the near future. Continue reading “3 Small Diet Changes To Help You Reduce Your Cavity Risk”→
A buildup of tartar puts you at a greater risk for worrying oral health threats. This stubborn concentration of bacteria and debris can make you more likely to suffer tooth decay, and to experience gum disease. If tartar has already formed on your smile, it will take a professional cleaning from your dentist to remove the accumulation. Fortunately, you will receive this cleaning as part of your routine preventive dental care, where any problems caused by tartar can be identified, and addressed. If you want to make sure you avoid tartar formation, make sure you practice effective oral hygiene habits on a daily basis. Continue reading “How Can I Stop Tartar From Hurting My Oral Health?”→