Spring is here. After a long,
cold winter we are all looking forward
to warmer days and all the
activities we've been planning
since autumn. The changing of
the seasons is a good way to
remember that it is time for a
new toothbrush. Believe it or not,
toothbrushes don't last forever.
After about three months, the
bristles begin to deteriorate and
lose their effectiveness. If you
brush hard and aggressively, you
may notice that the bristles on
your brush may appear crushed
and splayed out even sooner.
There is also the germ factor.
Toothbrushes are easily contaminated
and harbor a lot of bacteria.
Getting a new one periodically
makes sense from a basic
hygiene point of view.
There was a recent article in
the popular media that pointed
out a possible connection
between dental X-rays in expectant
moms and low birth-weight
babies. We are not sure if the Xrays
are responsible for low-birth
weight in the newborns. However,
there is some solid research
that show that pregnant women
who have periodontal disease
are more likely to deliver preterm
babies. It seems that the
inflammation that occurs with
gum disease has powerful and
widespread effects on the body.
Profound chemical changes in
the body in response to this
inflammation can actually alter
the course of a pregnancy. It is
very important that women who
plan on having a child go to their
dentist for a thorough exam and
A study was reported that linked
dental X-rays with low birth-weight
babies in expectant moms. We are
not sure if there is a cause and effect
link between the X-rays and low
birth-weight babies. It has always
been the policy of dentists to avoid
X-rays on pregnant women unless
absolutely necessary. When a pregnant
woman comes to our office with
a condition that requires an X-ray in
order to provide the proper treatment,
we always use the smallest amount of
radiation possible and we protect our
patients with lead shields. If an
expectant mom had an abscess or
severe gum disease, it would be necessary
to take an X-ray to diagnose
and treat the problem. Researchers
need to determine if it is the X-rays
that effect the baby or if it is the
abscess or gum disease.
Do you have apprehensions
about taking your child to the
dentist for his or her first checkup?
Could that be one of the
reasons why you haven't made
that first important appointment?
Well, your child's first visit to
the dentist does not have to be
for a check-up. There's no reason
why it can't be a social visit
just to "get acquainted."
If your youngster hasn't been
to the dentist yet, the next time
you have an appointment take
There is a small, but very
important structure that is vital to
the proper functioning of our teeth.
Teeth are not simply fused to our
jaw bones. There is a system of
fibers called the periodontal ligament
that forms an attachment
between the roots of the teeth and
the bony supporting socket. During
normal chewing, tremendous
pressure is applied to the teeth and
transferred along the root to the
underlying bone. The periodontal
ligament serves an as effective
"shock absorber." It cushions both
the horizontal and vertical forces
applied to the teeth.
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