Dental Health Archive


Toothbrushing tied to lower pneumonia rates in hospitalized patients

A 2023 study suggests that toothbrushing twice daily can lower rates of hospital-acquired pneumonia in seriously ill hospitalized patients.

Is that dental pain an emergency?

Tooth, gum, or jaw pain can stem from many health problems. For example, tooth pain can result from a cavity, cracked filling, or an infection. Gum pain can come from irritation due to tooth brushing, food, dentures, gum disease, or infection. Jaw pain can be triggered by disorders of the temporomandibular joint, narrowed heart arteries, or even a heart attack. All persistent tooth, gum, and jaw pain should prompt a call to a dentist as soon as possible. Sudden neck or lower jaw pain can signal an emergency and warrants a call to 911, especially in a person with known heart problems.

Ready to give up the lead vest?

Dental x-rays have long involved donning lead-lined shields. But new guidelines from the American Dental Association say that using the vest is no longer necessary. What has changed?

Toothbrushing can be a literal lifesaver in the hospital

A 2023 study found that patients in intensive care units (ICUs) were less likely to die and spent less time on a ventilator during their stay when their teeth were brushed twice daily. Toothbrushing appears to protect patients from pneumonia, the most common ICU-acquired infection.

One more reason to brush your teeth?

New research suggests that people who are hospitalized in an intensive care unit are far less likely to develop pneumonia if their teeth are brushed twice daily. They also need ventilators for less time, are able to leave the ICU more quickly, and are less likely to die in the ICU.

Rinse, brush, floss, scrape, and repeat

Maintaining good dental health protects against not only gum disease but also helps ward off many other age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and dementia. The most common form of gum disease is gingivitis, which begins when bacteria buildup in the mouth causes plaque and tartar to form on teeth and can lead to tooth decay. Because regular dental care can be expensive, daily self-care is the best preventive medicine. A proper dental routine consists of five steps: rinsing, brushing, flossing, tongue scraping, and another rinse.

Can tongue scraping improve bad breath?

Scraping the tongue with a special tool or a spoon can improve bad breath by removing the white or yellowish coating on the tongue consisting of food debris, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

What color is your tongue? What's healthy, what's not?

The tongue's appearance gives doctors an idea about certain aspects of your health, and its color is an important clue. Some changes in the tongue's color or appearance are signs of health issues and should be seen by a doctor.

Sleep apnea may lead to weaker bones and teeth

A 2022 study found that people with sleep apnea are more likely to have low bone density. Apnea may trigger low oxygen levels and inflammation that impair the body's continuous bone renewal process.

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