Sleeping Your Way to a Beautiful Smile

Sleeping Your Way to a Beautiful Smile

Can you sleep your way to a better smile? 

Grandma called it beauty sleep and you shrugged, even rolled your eyes but recent research shows that adequate sleep can hold off and slow down the effects of stress, age and all kinds of wear and tear on the body, even help with weight loss, but did you know it is also one of the greatest factors to having and keeping a beautiful smile? Getting a good night’s rest can do a lot more than preserve your good looks.

Studies can link a relationship of good sleeping habits to better heart health, lower blood pressure, and decreased incidence of diabetes, now add to that list improved gum and mouth health.  To thousands who suffer from periodontal disease, at any stage, that signals good news.

The Link Between Sleep and Oral Health 

Reduce inflammation with adequate sleep to improve oral health and get a beautiful smile.

Reduce inflammation with sleep to improve oral health

The less sleep you get per night relates to the onset of periodontitis–a disease in which deep pockets form between the teeth and gums, leading to loose and shifting teeth, and the destruction of the bone and connective tissue which hold teeth in place.

A study at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine examined over 200 factory workers to assess whether various lifestyle factors (i.e. exercise, diet, stress) had an effect on periodontitis. Throughout the four year-study, researchers used periodontal probes to monitor any changes in the pockets between teeth and gums.

According to the findings, workers who slept seven to eight hours per night were had a lower risk for periodontitis than those who slept less than six hours per night.  In fact, sleep deprivation was the second most influential factor associated with the onset of periodontitis, right behind smoking.

Lack of Sleep and Inflammation

The root of this association is most likely inflammation. Sleep deprivation is a known cause of increased inflammation, which in turn is a risk factor for other serious diseases like heart disease and stroke.

Research at the Emory University School of Medicine found that, when you are sleep deprived, there is an increased production of inflammatory hormones.  One such inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, was 25% higher in subjects who had less than six hours of sleep per night.

In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, inflammation is also a sign of gingivitis, the mild form of gum disease that can lead to periodontitis.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

It’s not how long, but how well you sleep that counts too.  Even if you get a full eight hours each night, you don’t get the same health benefits if you wake up often.

A few tips for those that have trouble getting a good night’s rest:

Routine: Your body clock wants to adjust to your needs, but it cannot adjust if those needs are always changing. Establishing a routine alerts the body that this is the time you need to go to sleep.

Wind-down without your electronics: Giving yourself time to wind-down before you sleep helps your mind relax. There are many different ways to wind-down, whether it’s reading, yoga, or sipping a cup of hot tea. Just be sure not to use electronics. The latest research shows that artificial light from laptops, TV’s, and iPhones suppress the hormone which regulates sleep, melatonin.

Get up instead of tossing and turning: You want to keep your bedroom associated with sleep rather than being awake. So if you are tossing and turning, get up and do a relaxing activity until you feel tired again. Then try and go back to sleep.

To offset some of the inevitable lack of sleep when things get way too busy and remember to:

Teaming with Toxins; Root Canals

Teaming with Toxins; Root Canals

Teaming with Trouble; Toxins and Root Canals

What root canals are really leaving behind. Toxins, trapped inside the body, swirling around inside your body, attacking your immune system and potentially triggering an immune response or inflammation. Ultimately wreaking havoc on organs and tissues, compromising an otherwise healthy body. These are the facts of getting a root canal.

Ask anyone, most of us would be opposed to having a necrotic cesspool of decay and disease trapped inside our body.

A morgue in your mouth

Trapping dead, and dying tissues and bacterial colonies locked inside the body is exactly what happens when a patient gets a root canal, a procedure originally designed to save a tooth with too much nerve and tissue damage to remain alive, or viable. In other words due to infection, trauma, or decay the nerve, blood supply and pulp inside the tooth have been compromised and the tooth is dying or no longer alive. Without some kind of intervention (sometimes a root canal) the tooth may abscess, continue to decay–potentially affecting surrounding teeth or it may fall out, leading to additional problems.

Root Canals are performed by removing all of the soft insides of a tooth: the blood vessel that nourishes the tooth, the nerve, and pulp. Harsh chemicals are irrigated into the “canal” made after grinding out the inside of the tooth. Chemicals used to irrigate the new canal into the root of the tooth are intended to sterilize as much of the canal, or hole, as possible and to kill any remaining, viable or nonviable tissue. This equates to essentially embalming what remains of the tooth.

The 100% guarentee

We know after decades of research, and thousands of patients, that removing 100% of the rotting tissue is not possible. In every case there is always necrotic (dead, diseased) tissue left behind, 100% of the time. The bacterial colonies and the infection eventually permeate surrounding tissue and bones, ultimately weakening and damaging local areas, but those same toxins and bacteria can also have a systemic effect on the rest of the body.

As toxins, from a root canal, infiltrate the blood stream and collect in organ tissues chronic health issues can become compounded and new health issues develop. Immune systems that are already under attack or otherwise compromised stand to sustain the most damage. As the medical news around this potential hazard continues to develop, many dentist are adopting new solutions to addressing a dead, dying or abscessed tooth.

If you have already had a root canal, or have had a root canal recommended come see our team and have an expert give you all of your options. Our team can give you healthy attractive alternatives that maintain and support your body’s overall health and immunity.

Oil Pulling Still Worth a Try

Oil Pulling Still Worth a Try

Oil Pulling, the old new thing in home dental care

Once a long lost practice, now rediscovered, oil pulling may be one more strategy you may want to put into the regime.

A simple practice known as ‘oil pulling’ may be one of the very best ways to prevent or treat mouth and gum disease. It has been a popular and practical exercise of Ayurvedic medicine for ages and was more recently introduced to Western cultures by a Dr. F. Karach, M.D. in the early 90s. Dr. Karach advocated oil pulling due to the results he detailed in the treatment of a variety of of illnesses including everything from migraine headaches and bronchitis, to gum disease, leukemia and heart disease – just to name a few.

A 2009 study conducted by researchers Asokan, Emmadi, Chamundeswari seemed to back up earlier claims and highlight the effectiveness of oil pulling on the treatment of gum disease. The trial involved swishing sesame oil to test it against plaque-induced gingivitis in 20 test subjects, and to compare its efficacy with chlorhexidine mouthwash. Results concluded that there was a significant reduction in “… the plaque index, modified gingival scores and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.”

How oil pulling works

Longtime practitioners of oil pulling recommend using sesame, safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil but recently the anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties of coconut oil has made it the preferred go-to oil to use. Practicing oil pulling is a simple process that starts with swishing a tablespoon of your preferred oil back, forth and around the mouth and teeth for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes –followed by a thorough rinse and routine brushing. By adopting this practice into your oral care routine – and doing it first thing in the morning, you may begin to reap some of the benefits including:

• Healthier gums
• Whiter teeth
• A significant reduction of plaque and tartar
• Fresher breath

Killing bacteria with oil pulling

At any given moment, the human mouth contains an assortment of active microbes, with bacteria being the most prolific. Experts estimate that more than 100 million microbes thrive in every milliliter of saliva – containing upwards of 600 different species of bacteria — some beneficial, others harmful. Without following a regime of proper oral hygiene, the nastier bacteria will eventually collect and form a sticky film on teeth and tongue. Left untreated plaque and other bacteria can flow into the digestive tract and potentially cause, or aggravate, a wide variety of chronic health issues.

The enzymes naturally found in food grade oils are thought to help pull toxins, pus and mucus away from not only teeth, gums and tongue, but also from the body’s cells, blood and digestive tract. Ayurveda suggests that oil pulling works by purifying, cleansing and detoxifying the entire system by removing harmful toxins. In Ayurveda each section of the human tongue is connected to corresponding vital organs of the body such as lungs, kidneys, stomach, colon, liver, spine, heart and small intestines. By keeping the teeth and tongue free of toxic buildup through the practice of oil pulling, you’re actually helping to keep the whole body healthy.

Conclusion

Proper dental hygiene is not only important for oral health, it is essential to all aspects of wellness. Adding oil pulling to already established oral care techniques including brushing and flossing and avoiding sugars and processed foods, makes it even more possible to maintain a healthier mouth and body.

More Information:

http://www.jaim.in/article.asp?issn=0975-9476;year=2011;volume=2;issue=2;spage=64;epage=68;aulast=Singh#ref19

http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article%20oil%20pulling.htm
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/08/coconut-oil-combats-tooth-decay.aspx
http://www.oilpulling.com/
http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/oil_pulling.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Health_Benefits_of_Oil_Pulling_
http://www.homemadebodycleanse.com/cleanse-recipes/sunflower-oil-pull.htm
http://www.jonbarron.org/article/oil-pulling-detoxing

And — How Coconut Oil Can Be Used As A Mouthwash (VIDEO)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/coconut-oil-mouthwash-video_n_2375038.html

Resources: Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. – Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:47-51.

The Tipping Point: Integrated Medicine

The Tipping Point: Integrated Medicine

If you don’t have what it takes to be the healthiest version of you, your dentist might, especially if they practice integrated medicine

It’s long been suspected by both primary care doctors and dentist that oral health held a link to the rest of the body’s wellness.  Today, science and research is bearing that out as more than antidotal. What starts in the mouth can benefit, or harm, the whole body. Integrated medicine practices incorporating the body’s whole health.

Now more than ever research demonstrates that our mental and physical health are linked to each other in more ways than we know. Poor oral health has been linked to heart disease, auto immune disease and diabetes to name just a few, while those same diseases have also been linked to chronic malaise, even depression and depression and malaise have been linked to obesity and high blood pressure.

The answers may be interrelated and, as it turns out one answer may be to keep your whole body healthy by starting with your mouth.

Emerging science tells us that many things influence our whole body health. More recently science has confirmed that even the health of our teeth and gums affect our overall health. Heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and many other disorders can all be affected by the health and wellness of teeth and gums. For decades practitioners believed a link exists between the two and now research bears this out.

The road to getting and staying healthy is often a lifelong commitment continually making and setting goals, re-evaluating ability and circumstance, then course correcting as needed. In the span of a lifetime the work is ongoing. As we build healthy habits and healthy bodies, and as we remember to be vigilant in the ways we preserve our healthy teeth and maintain optimal health be mindful of the many ways to optimize our best level of whole health.

Integrative Medicine and Whole Body Wellness.

Integrated Medicine is not a new practice but more of a merging of traditional Western Medicine and more nontraditional methods of medicine such as acupuncture.

Here at Marilyn K. Jones we strive to stay informed, we will work with you and your health care professionals to create a tailored health care program for you and your specific needs.

 

Restorations can Prevent Future Pain

Restorations can Prevent Future Pain

Choosing the right restorations can prevent pain in the future

Unexpected circumstances can turn an almost perfect smile into a painful one. Time changes things, even a perfect smile. If you are experiencing oral pain, need a future tooth replacement or restoration, or have had a restoration you are not happy with, consider the following;

A medical link exists for potential increased frequency in headaches, migraine headaches and even TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders) related to tooth loss without proper restoration. Even small changes in bite and tooth placement have been identified as having the capacity to be problematic.

 

When a tooth is lost…
due to trauma, decay or periodontal disease the surrounding bone material immediately becomes compromised.  Additionally the missing tooth no longer helps distribute pressure during chewing and biting, thereby increasing the amount of pressure and bite force placed on the remaining teeth. The additional pressure on the remaining teeth can be responsible for fractures to those teeth, excessive wear, and all too often the remaining teeth drift or shift to new positions in the jaw and in so doing, change the overall bite.

Changes in bite…
and tooth placement due to shifting can typically affect the aesthetics of a smile, what you may not know is that it can also compromise the health of the remaining teeth. First by creating changes in how straight teeth are potentially diminishing your ability to clean properly, secondly drifting teeth might not be properly aligned and bite force from normal chewing may potentially chip or crack teeth.

Bridges
Common practice traditionally replaced a single missing tooth with a fixed bridge. Unfortunately a bridge does not address any of the negative effects of a missing tooth. Soft tissues still retreat, bone mass in the jaw is still absorbed, the surrounding teeth are compromised by the process of preparing them for the bridge. With the lack of adequate bone and soft tissues the remaining teeth, often, are susceptible to drifting. Decay and rot also threatened the neighboring teeth once they’ve been drilled and filed for the bridge.

Implants
For decades dentist have been able to surgically implant permanent teeth to take the place of a tooth lost from trauma, decay or disease. For several decades dentist have been using all ceramic implants. The post that goes into the jaw bone is no longer metal but ceramic. Ceramics have proven over and over to be the ideal long term solution when getting an implant.  Uniquely capable of being integrated and accepted into the biology of the mouth, both promoting soft tissue gum growth and fusing seamlessly with living bone while not disturbing or compromising the surrounding teeth, thusly providing a solution to all potentially negative outcomes of a missing tooth.

Full Ceramic Implants
Ceramic implants are the answer to dentist concerns for the health of their patients and for the patient there is nothing that compares to the aesthetics of an all ceramic implant. Additionally ceramic implants unique properties will never leach into your tissues or body, they will not breakdown or corrode, they do not conduct hot or cold and are, in fact, so precisely fitted that they might fit better and look better than the original teeth, certainly more so than any other restoration option. All while leaving other healthy teeth perfectly in place and unadulterated.

For the best experience and a guarantee in your implant, to ensure a lifetime smile, call our office and make an appointment. Our professional staff is expertly trained. You can trust our extensive experience in implants and restorations to leave you with a beautiful, pain free smile for years to come.

Good Better Best Dentistry

Good Better Best Dentistry

Good — Better — Best

Best dentistry 

Not just your best dentistry choices but virtually all of life has multitudes of good choices. Options abound through the course of any given day. Even when faced with good options there is always “good,” “better,””best” to select from. When we look at options for nutrition, for example, we have healthy options–that are good– and healthy options that are sustainable and organic for our best options. Fitness experts will tell you that consistently getting exercise, even if it’s only 15 vigorous minutes a day, is a good place to start. While optimal best case fitness would be 30 to 60 minutes 3 to 6 times a week depending on your level of fitness.  There are good ways to use recreational time and there are “going the distance” recreational enjoyment. Even sleeping has good, better, best; consistently sleeping 7 hours a night is good, getting 8 hours of sleep is better and getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, at a regular time, following a bedtime routine, or meditation, every single night, is best.

What “Best dentistry” means

Medicine and dentistry follow the rest of life, there are always options for good, better, best. We know, after years of evidence, that it all ties in together ultimately affecting your overall health. Science shows us that diet affects our health, diet affects the health of our mouth too. Sleep and even stress levels affect our oral health, not just our bodies. We know there will be cavities, potential tooth loss, restorations, cleanings, braces, prevention, hygiene choices and that all of those have their own set of good, better, best options.

Best overall

At Marilyn K Jones, we know that your optimal health is intertwined with your oral health. We understand that science is continually finding connections to oral health and other disease processes, like diabetes, heart disease, dementia, autoimmune disease, arthritis, cancer and more. Knowing this we carefully choose the kinds of procedures, the materials and the methods we use to keep your teeth and mouth at their best, weather we are filling a cavity, doing a full restoration on a missing tooth, addressing severe gum disease, or simply selecting hygiene products for your best smile.

Metals and how M. K. Jones Best helps you

Our office has a variety of options to hand pick the dental options that will give you the greatest impact, weather checking for sensitivities to metals, or safely removing old hardware, mercury leaching fillings or infections that can be manifesting or hiding out from previous restorations.

Best to avoid

Because we are a biological practice we are acutely aware that less chemicals and less toxins are important to you, your health and to future generations, we have options and educational material to help you eliminate fluoride and other potential hazards from your life.

Good, Better, Best.

Life is a balance, choosing the best choices you can is all any of us can do. Here at Marilyn K. Jones we want to be a part of that and help you get the best that you can. Call us today.

 

TMD and TMJ Finally Deciphered

TMD and TMJ Finally Deciphered

Wondering what TMD and TMJ are and how to know if you have it?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder often called TMJ or TMD can occur as a result of a dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control the jaw movement.

A number of things may contribute to chronic TMJ/TMD including; stress, teeth grinding or bruxism, and often malocclusions (or the misalignment of teeth).

Did You Know?
12% of the U.S. population is estimated to suffer from TMJ/TMD, that’s about 35 million people.
90% of TMJ/TMD patients are women

Often a sufferer of TMJ/TMD will try conservative measures, or self-care, at home before consulting a doctor or a TMD dentist. A TMJ/TMD dentist consultation can save a lot of time, but most importantly it can save a lot of suffering.

TMJ/TMD is painful and can inhibit productivity, sleeping, even quality of life.

Temporomandibular joints are meant to bear a lot of use and are definitely a workhorse in the body, making it no surprise that those muscles and joints take an enormous amount of stress, use and pressure to get them inflamed, irritated and painful.

Where to start with TMJ

TMJ Facts and tips

Symptoms can include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw-joint
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Numbness in hands and arms
  • Sensitive and sore teeth
  • Locking jaw
  • Facial pain

Why See A Dentist?

A dentist familiar with and accustomed to seeing patients with this specific disorder will quickly determine all of the underlying problems that are contributing to pain and discomfort.

With a pinpointed approach to solving and mitigating the problem, you can be assured that you will feel results quickly. Don’t stay in pain or only temporarily alleviate the issue only to find yourself in the same situation a few months down the road.

What To Do Until Your Dental Appointment

  • Avoid chewing hard, crunchy or chewy foods.
  • Alternate between moist heat and cold packs to help reduce pain and inflammation in face
  • Heat applications help to improve circulation and carry away the fluids that have built up in the joint while the cool compress will then encourage the vascular structures to constrict helping slow further inflammation.
  • Take nonprescription nsaids or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Practice stress management and relaxation techniques.
  • Don’t let valuable time slip away, get out of discomfort and pain sooner, contact us at Marilyn K Jones today and set up an appointment to help you start feeling better now!

More Than Brushing: Answers to Bad Breath

More Than Brushing: Answers to Bad Breath

Bad Breath doesn’t discriminate

Ever notice a friend turning away, even while you retell the best parts of your weekend? Of course we have all experienced bad breath and like a lot of people, the first reaction to resolving the problem; up our dental dental hygiene game. Brushing and flossing are key to a healthy mouth that smells fresh and clean but you don’t need to brush after every meal, floss multiple times and use swimming pool amounts of mouthwash to keep from offending friends with halitosis (bad breath).

If you’be been haunted or plagued with chronic, smelly, bad breath, or have that bitter, nasty, morning breath taste in the back of your throat on a regular basis there may be more to it than just oral hygiene.

First you need to tackle the obvious contributors;

  • Get your teeth cleaned by your dentist and hygienist consistently one or more times per year according to your dentist recommendation. This will eliminate contributions to bad breath from pockets of bacterial colonies and decay.
  • Brush with a regularly replaced, soft bristled toothbrush twice a day.
  • Floss all of your teeth once a day.
  • Consider using a tongue scrapper to take one last measure to eliminating bacteria and odor causing detris in your mouth. The bonus is you may start smelling and tasting better than ever before, plus-no bad breath!
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is what hydrates the body and a well hydrated bodies ensure lots of healthy saliva. Lots of saliva helps wash away the bacterium that typically cause gingivitis, plaque, and yes, bad breath.

Next address dietary contributors;

  • Obvious contributors to smelly breath like onion, garlic, that extra frothy latte, are easy to identify and hard to say no to, if you must indulge, brush or follow with gum or breath mints.
  • Eat a varied, healthful diet. Diets especially low in carbohydrates can contribute to bad breath, so excluding foods that can cause inflammation, but adding in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins like nuts or cheese can help mitigate bad breath caused when body chemistry is not ideal.

Sweep your environment for other culprits;

  • Literally keeping things as tidy and clean as possible can reduce the potential for allergies. Allergies are a big contributor to rhinitis that can contribute to post nasal drip and major halitosis. If your nose gets stuffy, you breath through your mouth a lot, you may have allergy related bad breath.
    • Keeping dust to a minimum, using air filters, especially hepa filters to get the cleanest air inside your living space.
  • Introduce a humidifier. Humidifiers can improve the moisture content of air and reduce inflammation in mucus membranes inside the mouth, throat and nose, all of which will help keep the body best able to tackle the kinds of bacteria and inflammation that can cause stinky breath.
  • Many people also find that flushing their sinuses with a neti pot, daily, significantly reduces pollutants, pollens and other irritants that add to the kind of sinusitis underlying in many cases of chronic sinusitis.

There are other reasons for long term, recurring bad breath that can be related to conditions you may need to see a doctor for. Cracks in teeth, cavities, deviated septums, loose dental restorations, even allergies to the dental restorations you currently have are included in the list of potential culprits. If you have addressed all of the above problems and bad breath persist, call us today for an exam to help you get to the root of the issue. No one should have to live with the uncomfortable embarrassment and stigma that goes along with long term, chronic bad breath.

Don’t forget that alcohol, smoking, some prescription drugs and illnesses can cause bad breath all on their own despite other measures you take to get rid of it.

 

Dental Laser Surgery: Improved Surgical Outcomes

Dental Laser Surgery: Improved Surgical Outcomes

Lasers and laser surgery in dentistry: reduce pain, increase healing times, increase patient compliance, and ultimately, with the best machines and practitioners, give greater precision.

Lasers aren’t new in dentistry but the applications and the precision continues to make heady improvements. Lightwalker lasers, used at Dr. Marilyn K. Jones, have been leading the way in advancements for almost five decades, in precision, performance, consistency, and overall perfection.

Since the 1990’s dentists have been using special lasers in dental treatments. Lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light. The light from different lasers can be used to vaporize tissue, cut tissue, harden and enforce a bond between a filler and the remaining tooth, even to stop bleeding, cut away tissue or aid in whitening teeth.

Why Lightwalker Lasers are Special

With new innovations in surgical lasers comes viable solutions for patients and doctors to quickly and painlessly treat a myriad of oral conditions with improved healing, improved accuracy, and less overall invasiveness. Lightwalker Fotona lasers are so accurate and reliable they can be successfully used for very delicate procedures and very specialized procedures. Used to treat some types of decay or cavities, used in gum surgery, hard and soft tissue applications, for treating gum disease and even for a nonsurgical treatment and throat anomalies. Procedures that once were invasive, with long healing times are now nominally invasive, and have a much faster healing time with lasers and with much less trauma to sensitive oral tissue.

The Benefits of our Lightwalker Fotona Dental Lasers for oral laser surgery and other procedures Include:

  • A full range of hard- and soft-tissue treatments
  • Extremely precise hard-tissue cutting and ablation
  • Easy and effective endodontic treatments
  • Little or no bleeding surgical procedures, with simultaneous disinfection
  • Easy-to-select operating modes for greater simplicity
  • Greater patient satisfaction and less operator fatigue
  • Excellent training and support for medical staff

Do You Need Oral Surgery or Have Sleep Apnea?

Contact our office and we can schedule you for a quick consultation to see if our Lightwalker Fotona surgical lasers can treat or help remedy your dental, oral, or sleep apnea related problems.

Canker Sore Q and A

Canker Sore Q and A

Canker sore 101

Getting a canker sore is painful, unlike other common problems in the mouth, canker sores do not always have a definitive reason for their occurrence.  Following a few simple guidelines will reduce the likelihood of a canker sore, but it’s important to remember that while frequency can be decreased it won’t always prevent future sores from developing.

Canker sores are small, shallow lesions, usually grey or white “holes” or small craters, sometimes with angry red edges that form on soft tissues in your mouth such as gums, cheeks and even on the tongue. Canker sores are not on the lips, or outsides of the mouth, like cold sores–they are always inside the mouth. Canker sores are not contagious like cold sores and are not caused by a specific virus but infections and illness can make our mouths more susceptible. Canker sores can appear as a solitary lesion or in groups of two to six small lesions. The patients with the highest frequency of canker sore occurrence range in age from around ten years old to about twenty years old. Ultimately, cold sores can happen at any age.

The increased incidence of canker sores in young patients may be related to how frequently young patients immune systems are challenged. A canker sores can be disruptive to eating and sleeping habits, but they do go away on their own in a matter of days, not lasting longer than about two weeks at most. While a canker sore may not be a sign of imminent “oral doom”, they are extremely uncomfortable and painful, and in patients who are prone to them, getting more canker sores sooner, rather than later, is likely.

Things likely to increase canker sore frequency:

  • Hormones–Fluctuations in hormones can stress normal responses in the immune system and affect other normal functions in the body.
  • Stress–Both physical stress to the mouth itself, or the body can weaken the mouths protective and restorative abilities, as can excess stress of any kind. Physical, mental, emotional stress–if in abundance–impair our bodies ability to run all of its many systems efficiently. Canker sores are actually mini ulcers inside the mouth, resting and maintaining good stress management can help reduce canker sore frequency and duration.
  • Oral Trauma–Just as mentioned above–stress can cause canker sores, stressing the sensitive tissue inside your mouth with aggressive brushing, using a firm bristle instead of a soft brush, or from appliances worn inside the mouth that rub all are linked to higher instance or canker sores and mouth ulcerations.
  • Viral infection–While no specific virus has a direct link to causing a canker sore, viruses do compromise and strain the immune system. Staying hydrated and resting during an illness can help your body save energy to fight the infection and help prevent a subsequent cancer sore or other secondary infections.
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiencyIn historic times people were much more likely to suffer from scurvy and other disease processes brought on by malnutrition, these days thats far less common but canker sores still find a frequent link in people who are depleted, even minimally, of various minerals and vitamins. A diet lacking in vitamin B, zinc and folate (folic acid) or those who have low iron are the most susceptible to canker sores brought on due to nutrition.
    Immune system compromised
  • Food sensitivities and food allergies–Another culprit to recurring canker sores; foods that you may be sensitive, or allergic to or foods that are especially caustic as in the case with pineapple and other acidic fruits.
  • Health conditions like Crohn’s–or other immune compromising diseases–Those who suffer from any condition that impairs the digestive system or severely compromises the immune system are much more predisposed to experience recurring canker sores.

Prevention tactics and strategies

  • Avoid foods that are irritating or that you have potential allergies to.
  • Avoid aggressively brushing, too hard toothbrushes.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, saliva helps keep vulnerable tissues healthy.
  • Choose healthy foods high in complex vitamin B and other essential nutrients like zinc and folate.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing morning and night and also flossing daily.
  • Manage stress with healthy activities and periods of rest, and ensure you get a proper amount of sleep every night.

If you do find yourself suffering with a painful canker sore there are some things that may help mitigate the discomfort even if they don’t cure the problem overnight.

Try these tips to alleviate canker sore pain:

  • Rinse your mouth. Use salt water or baking soda rinse (dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 cup warm water).
  • Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on your canker sore a few times a day.
  • Avoid abrasive, acidic or spicy foods that can cause further irritation and pain.
  • Apply ice to your canker sores by allowing ice chips to slowly dissolve over the sores.
  • Brush your teeth gently, using a soft brush and foaming-agent-free toothpaste.
  • Homeopathic treatments and options are numerous as well. Coconut oil can help soothe and coat the ulcerated tissues while inhibiting bacterial growth. Some people find the appropriate essential oil may decrease pain and increase healing by supporting overall tissue health.

Treating a canker sore can generally be done over the counter but your dentist can prescribe medicated rinses and ointments that contain steroids, or other medications if indicated. Please call if for an appointment if you have severe canker sores, repeatedly experience them, have more than a couple at a time, have a sore lasting longer than two weeks or experience any other symptoms with your canker sore, such as fever, lethargy, difficulty swallowing, unusually large sores, pain that is not alleviated with over-the-counter medication, or sores that are spreading.