low birth weight

The Effect of Birth Control on Oral Health

January 26th, 2016

blog

Birth control pills have many benefits and are a popular contraceptive method which increases estrogen/progesterone levels. However, they can also negatively affect your oral health.

According to The American Academy of Periodontology, many factors such as smoking, poor nutritiongenetics, and medications (including oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and heart medications) can impact gum health. These factors may increase risk for gum disease, which 75 percent of Americans, and especially periodontal disease, an advanced type of gum disease linked to osteoporosis, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and low-birth-weight babies that 50% of Americans have.

Many studies have demonstrated the clear connection between dental health and sex hormones. The risk for periodontitis is especially high during puberty and pregnancy due to increased estrogen levels, which promote the flow of blood in the mouth and forces gums become red, swollen, and more susceptible to bacteria. Furthermore, women have a greater chance of having dental problems because of their hormones.

There is also evidence that those who use oral contraceptives had more bleeding sites, tooth attachment loss, gum gaps, inflammation, and gum destruction. If you are our patient, please let us know your history and habits so we can effectively treat and prevent gum disease. Certain medications can impact the effectiveness of antibiotics. To prevent and resolve gum disease, make sure to use an antimicrobial mouthwash, floss, and avoid smoking, stress, and sugar.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

Resources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-beaton/birth-control-pills-may-cause-bad-breath----and-worse_b_8513492.html

https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html

http://myfancytips.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/All-About-The-Serious-Side-Effects-Of-The-Birth-Control-Pill-3.jpg

The Daily Grind

January 21st, 2014

stress woman

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, may be a habit that can easily go unnoticed. Most people usually grind their teeth throughout the day, and for the most part, occasional teeth grinding does not cause significant harm. However, grinding can continue on a regular basis and often occurs during sleep. After a night of grinding, people tend to wake up with a headache and even a sore jaw.

Although teeth grinding may not initially seem too big of a problem, chronic bruxism can lead to the fracturing and loosening of teeth. Constant grinding can also result in micro-cracks in the enamel, which makes teeth more susceptible to decay. Bridges, crowns, root canals, and implants may then be necessary down the road. Teeth grinding not only results in tooth loss, but can also cause hearing loss and problems with the jaw.

Here are some tips to prevent teeth grinding:

Researchers have attributed teeth grinding to stress and even anger. When things get heavy, take a break and go for a walk. Learn how to find an outlet during stressful and frustrating situations; your teeth will thank you!

Try to avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as certain carbonated drinks and coffee.

Chewing on pencils and pens may be a way to pass by time, but it can allow jaw muscles to become used to clenching frequently, leading to a higher likelihood of teeth grinding.

It is possible to also train yourself from clenching and grinding teeth. Be mindful of jaw movements throughout the day. Positioning the tip of your tongue between your teeth can help allow jaw muscles to relax.

If you believe that you may be grinding teeth, or you are aware that teeth grinding continues to persist, don’t hesitate to come in for a consultation. We can look for signs of bruxism and assess its causes whether it be stress-related, TMJ, bite issues, etc, and see if a night guard is necessary to protect your teeth.

Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions about oral health and teeth grinding. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

References: Webmd, mayoclinic

Pic credit: http://goo.gl/qiQh1K

Are you prepared for an emergency?

March 18th, 2013

Emergency preparedness is something that we all value. It’s a safeguard against the unthinkable. Emergency responders, especially, bear much responsibility for keeping the community safe and lending support during times of need.

Recently, dental responder legislation is awaiting presidential signature and enactment since its being approved by the House of Representatives, gained consent from the Senate, and approval by Congress. This means, dentists, dental schools, and dental facilities may be included in state public emergency plans!

In Wellesley, the Health Department has always valued dentists and their medical training. They have included dentists in their preparedness events, including the outbreaks of the norovirus and flu. The Wellesley Health Department also includes dentists in their Volunteer Reserve Corps, advanced CPR training and other wonderful events that benefit the community in such tangible and essential ways.

Drs. Ali & Ali are actively involved with the Wellesley Health Department and enjoy being the Smile Ambassadors for oral health. Urging dentists to play a more prominent role in public health and safety is a very positive change, and at Wellesley Dental Group, we will continue to serve our community gladly.

As it happens, Dr. Femina Ali attended an Emergency Preparedness event at the Wellesley Health Department in March, which discusses the importance of beginning safety measures at home. Some of the discussions that resonated with her were that emergency preparedness lies within the small measures one takes on a regular basis. Some tips she wants to share is that:

  • Stock emergency supplies, which can include 3 days worth of food and water in airtight containers, medicines and medical records for both you and your pets, and a photo of you and your pet together in case you are separated. Visit the American Red Cross for more ideas.
  • Conduct a home hazard hunt, which involves taking a closer look at ordinary items in your home that can cause injury. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.
  • Determine 2 escape routes out of every room and be sure you install smoke detectors on every floor, especially near bedrooms. Check batteries every 6 months.
  • Learn CPR.
  • ICE your cell phone so emergency responders know whom to contact.
  • Know your emergency phone numbers and keep them by the phone. Know the Mass 211 phone number, which is an information hotline for times of emergency. Visit their website for more information.

If you would like to learn more about the Wellesley Health Department and emergency preparedness, please visit their website here, or call them at: (781) 235-0135. Their office can be found at the Annie F. Warren Building on the Second Floor on 90 Washington Street, in Wellesley, MA. Check them out for more events so you, too, can be prepared!

Their next event is a workshop on Perimenopause and Menopause with women's health expert Dr. Ronee Skornik from Women’s Health Associates in Wellesley. The event will be held at the Wellesley Free Library from 6:30-8:39 pm on Thursday, March 21.

Resources:

ADA

Wellesley Health Department

American Red Cross

Mass 211

Wellesley Free Library

MA Health and Human Services

Is Tongue Brushing Necessary?

March 12th, 2013

 

Most people know that brushing and flossing teeth is necessary to maintain healthy teeth, preventing cavities and tooth decay. Often times tongue brushing is discounted. However, tongue brushing is just as important for your overall dental hygiene.

Taking a step into history, many eastern cultures have paid close attention to tongue hygiene. In Chinese medicine, tongue inspection was thought to be a critical aspect of making medical diagnoses and determining prognosis. It has also been recorded that Native Americans took part in a daily ritual that not only involved teeth brushing, but also tongue scraping, followed by a mouth rinse of concoctions of various herbs. Rudimentary tortoise shell and bone inscriptions have been able to reveal thoughts on tongue hygiene that even date back to the 16th century BC!

There must be a reason why tongue hygiene has been integral in terms of determining health in various cultures. Studies have shown that keeping your tongue clean and healthy is, indeed, essential. Many microorganisms have been found to reside on the dorsum of the tongue. Scientists have found that tongue brushing can lead to the decrease in bacterial counts on the tongue. Bacteria have been found to colonize the tongue and periodontal packets, which influence the generation of sulfur compounds in periodontal health and disease. These are the very compounds that cause patients to have halitosis, or simply known as bad breath.

It is very easy to forget about brushing your tongue, but it gets easier when practiced on a daily basis. People also tend to shy away from tongue brushing because their gag reflex starts right up. Doctors recommend that the best time for tongue cleaning is in the morning on an empty stomach, to reduce the possibility of vomiting and gagging. It has also been suggested that gag reflex becomes more controlled with the continual cleaning of the tongue.

Here are a couple steps to get you on your way to tongue bushing!

1. Place the tongue as far out of the mouth as possible

2. Look for the locations where there is debris accumulation; unfortunately, this is usual towards the back of your tongue.

3. Place the tongue cleaner as far as possible and make contact with the flattened tongue.

4. Pull the tongue cleaner forward slowly to the front of the mouth, making sure to cover as much surface area as possible.

5. Rinse the tongue cleaner and repeat!

Tongue brushing can be a hassle in the beginning, but once it becomes routine, the difference in your oral health will be so noticeable. Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions about oral health and tongue brushing. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

 

References:

Christensen G. Why clean your tongue? J Am Dent Assoc 1998; 129: 1605–07.

Danser M. M., Gomez S. M., Van der Wejden, G. A. (2003). Tongue coating and tongue brushing: a literature review. 3:151-8.

 

A relaxing trip to the dentist

March 6th, 2013

Imagine not being afraid to go to the dentist. Imagine being able to accomplish all your dental care in as little as one appointment. This is what Sedation Dentistry can do for you. Oral Sedation Dentistry protocols have been used safely for over 30 years with millions of dental procedures. Years of neglect can be reversed in a few hours. You will be able to smile with confidence and chew your food without pain. If you've been putting off years of dental work, Sedation Dentistry can change your life.

After a consultation to discuss the level of sedation that is needed as well as an in-depth review of the patient's medical history, your dentist will recommend the right level of sedation.   Every patient is different and requires different levels of sedation.

Another form of calming treatment that dentists use is called relaxation dentistry. This process uses nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) to numb the nerves. Nitrous oxide is administered by placing a tube onto the patient's nose and having them inhale for a few minutes prior to the dentist starting. The patient has the option to keep the nitrous oxide mask on through the entire procedure, or having it removed once numbed enough. Most patients request to keep their masks on, as nitrous oxide can wear off.

Dentists treat millions of patients with sedatives and relaxation dentistry every year. Those who fear going to the dentist are able to rest at ease knowing that every visit will be painless and soothing. Another great thing about these forms of dentistry is that they're safe and effective for people in all age groups.

When thinking about whether sedation or relaxation dentistry is right for you, please chat with us to see whether it’s a good fit and what you need to do to prepare. Drs. Ali & Ali specialize in these forms of density and would love to make your next visit one that leaves you calm and relieved. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Sources: MouthHealthy.org

Thinking about your wisdom teeth...

March 4th, 2013

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that usually come in around the ages of 17 and 25. Getting new molars can be exciting. Who doesn’t want an extra set of teeth to gnaw on delicious food? New molars may at first seem like wonderful assets, however, sometimes they can lead to complications that can cause problems down the road.

There are instances when new teeth cannot fully come out all the way, resulting in what is known as impacted teeth. Since they are located towards the back of the mouth, these third molars may be tricky to clean, which can lead a buildup of food particles and bacteria. Once there is an accumulation of bacteria, the gum surrounding the tooth can become infected and swollen, which is the dental disorder known as pericoronitis. However, pericoronitis can be kept under control with antibiotics and warm salt-water rinses.

Partially erupted wisdom teeth can also lead to periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. In periodontitis, inflammation around the teeth causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This can lead to the formation of “pockets,” which can become easily infected. Research has shown that once gum disease has been established in the wisdom teeth area, problems will be persistent and progressive. Dentists do suggest that a solution to this problem is to have your pesky molars extracted.

You may look at your teeth right now and say to yourself, hey, my wisdom teeth don’t look bad at all. They may seem to have come in normally and don’t really give you any problems. However, even if you are pain free, that doesn’t mean you should be worry free. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have shown that wisdom teeth that have come out fully can still be susceptible to disease and infections. Here at Wellesley Dental Group, we have Dr. Ghazi, our periodontist, who specializes in wisdom teeth extractions. Be sure to make make an appointment with us for a consultation.  Regular check-ups cleaning are essential to keep your teeth happy and healthy.

Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions about oral health. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

References:

Ash M. Costich ER, Hayward JR: A study of periodontal hazards of third molars. Journal of Periodontology 1962;33:209

Elter JR, Coumo CJ, Offenbacher S, et.al. Third molars associated with periodontal

pathology in NHANES III. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 2004; 62:440

Periocoronitis article from Colgate

 

 

 

 

Quick tips to healthier teeth

February 28th, 2013

Amid your busy schedules and rush to and from work, it’s easy to grab a snack that may not be the best thing for your teeth. Here are a few quick tips on how to keep your pearly whites in good shape.  Hold the sugar. Some of our favorite snacks unfortunately end up hurting our teeth. Foods high in sugar content, including cookies and carbonated drinks, end up increasing the amount of energy that acid-producing bacteria in your mouth consume.  Instead of making a grab for hard candies and cake, pick up some fresh fruit, such as apples or pears, which have high water content; these healthy alternatives will offset your sugar intake and keep you hydrated.
But what about potato chips and pasta? Although they aren't sweet, these foods can easily get stuck between the teeth and small crevices. Bacteria and also the pre-digestive process can easily convert starches to sugar in no time.
Watch what you’re chewing Sometimes you can be sitting in class or in your cubicle, gnawing away at your pencil without realizing it. Or maybe you can’t seem to find a pair of scissors and decide to use your teeth to remove clothing tags. Kick that habit! It has been shown that chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, pens, and even bobby pins can wear down your tooth and enamel surfaces. Hard foods including some nuts and fruits should be cut into smaller pieces before eating. Chewing on hard substances can lead to cracks in your tooth. Try to choose softer foods that don’t make you use excessive force.
Even though we want to keep our teeth healthy at all times, there are those instances when we want to treat ourselves to a delicious slice of pie or dig into a plate of French fries. Make sure to brush! Brushing is recommended after every meal; however if you don’t have time, rinse with plain water to clear your mouth.  Good dental hygiene makes for a healthier smile and a healthier you.

Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions about oral health. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

From our guest blogger, Jacquelyn Chou from Wellesley College.

 

My Sinsational experience

February 26th, 2013

For the last few years I’ve wanted to brighten my smile. As a tea lover, whitening toothpaste never worked well enough and I shudder to think what my teeth would look like without any assistance. Since I have fairly sensitive teeth, I’ve shied away from truly considering whitening because I’m not willing to buy into the thought that beauty means pain. How could I get the radiant teeth I’ve always wanted but not feel as though my teeth would disown me?

Once I started with Wellesley Dental Group, I kept hearing about Sinsational Whitening that not only is great for sensitive teeth, but also takes less than half an hour. I’d seen patients walking out of the office with pretty orange organza bags with a sleek whitening pen and feel jealous. I’d feel even more jealous when I’d see their gorgeous grin. I decided to take the leap.

Despite what everyone told me, I couldn’t fully believe that I wouldn’t experience any discomfort. My palms were damp from my nerves as Tanya polished my teeth, making sure the gel would be able to percolate through every part of my teeth. She smiled reassuringly once she was done; admiring her work before deftly glossing my lips with Vitamin E oil so the whitening gel wouldn’t sting. I was brimming with excitement and trepidation simultaneously.

I felt as though I were given the royal treatment, relaxing comfortably with the gel and interesting mouthpiece in place (it’s fashioned after a scuba mouthpiece!). True, not talking for twenty-some-odd minutes was a bit tough, and my jaw got a bit tired from clamping down, however, this was pretty great. What’s more, I was in no pain whatsoever. Shocking!

Once I was done, and time really did fly, I couldn’t wait to see my teeth sparkle. They did and I had boosted my color a few shades. I was given one of those whitening pens so I could continue to whiten my teeth over the next week: every night for half an hour before I’d go to sleep.

For something as convenient as Sinsational, I’ll definitely do it again once my tea drinking catches up with me!

Do you have any whitening stories? Has any whitening treatment dazzled you? Share in the comments below.

Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions about whitening. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

Post by Julia Di Cicco for Wellesley Dental Group

Stomach flu (gastroenteritis)? The new norovirus is here...

January 25th, 2013

 

[caption id="attachment_4103" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Image from psu.edu"][/caption]

With the flu season just off its peak, there's a new bug to worry about. The norovirus. A new strain that first showed up in Australia, it will likely affect millions Americans this year. According a the CDC epidemiologist,  "people haven't been exposed to it before, so they're more susceptible" - so make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, as it is the best defense against this bug. Also, the CDC recommends that you disinfect surfaces with a diluted bleach solution, which is made of 5-25 tablespoons of household bleach with one gallon of water. This diluted bleach solution and hand washing  help control this highly contagious bug.

 

 

[caption id="attachment_4104" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="An electron micrograph of the norovirus virus from USA Today."][/caption]

 

How can you differentiate between the flu and the "stomach flu" (or gastroenteritis)? When you are infected by the norovirus, you will experience nausea, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Good news is, most people recover after 1-3 days without any treatment. However, if you feel dehydrated and cannot keep anything down, please consult your physician as you may need some re-hydration with liquids or IV fluids. As with the flu epidemic, the elderly and children under 6 years of age experience the most severe symptoms.

 

For more information, please visit:

CDC

USA Today

Reader's Choice Awards 2013! Who is your favorite?

January 23rd, 2013

 

It's that time of the year again! Our patients make WDG such a special place - a true family. Let your voices be heard by voting for your favorite places in Wellesley and beyond!
We hope your favorite dental practice is  Wellesley Dental Group/Drs. Ali & Ali!
Please vote and encourage your friends and family to vote and support local businesses.  Here is the link to the ballot for your convenience. You can also vote through ballot forms in your local newspaper.
With your help, we can do it. Let 2013 be our 6th year in a row!

 


Metamorphosis

January 16th, 2013

As you may have noticed, Wellesley Dental Group is undergoing renovations. We are incredibly excited to see the final product and we thank all of our patients, our friends at Haynes Management, Fraser Medical Building, Phillip’s Park Apartments, and all our neighbors for their patience through the noise and constantly changing façade. We love watching our WDG home morph into what we’ve always wanted it to look like. We want to share some photos of our progress with you.

Our new entry. While we will probably change the color of our door, we can’t be happier with our copper roofing as well as the more open feel. Soon, windows will be put in and we will be one step closer to our final vision. At the moment, we're choosing which outdoor lights we like best and are looking at some lovely railing.

Our siding is almost done! What's next is more stone-work by our new, big windows. The reception area is so much more open and airy, we love the change.  We find that the added sunlight lends itself well to our team and patients having brighter smiles.  What do you think of the color?

Thank you so much to our patients for sharing your thoughts about which colors, siding, and stone work to use. Without your help, it wouldn't be the same!

 

 

Pre-term birth linked to gum disease

January 14th, 2013

[caption id="attachment_4003" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Prevent premature birth by taking care of your gums."][/caption]

During pregnancy, between 50-70% of women will develop gingivitis. Gingivitis, while normally a serious condition, poses even more risks for mothers-to-be. In numerous studies (like this), low birth weight and pre-term birth are associated with gum disease, both of which are very serious and put the baby at risk for conditions such as respiratory disorders, blindness, and learning disabilities.

Why are pregnant women more at risk? Changes in the hormone, progesterone, occur during pregnancy. This change allows gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow more easily and gum tissue will also be more sensitive to plaque. Sometimes pregnancy tumors (non-cancerous growths) will form on inflamed gum tissue. If a woman has gingivitis before becoming pregnant, her gingivitis has a high likelihood of becoming more serious.

What can you do to minimize risk? Periodontal treatment can be done during pregnancy.By the time symptoms of gum disease are noticed, the infection is established and bacteria is already circulating through the woman’s body. If you are planning to become pregnant, or are already pregnant, meet with your dentist to create a plan to maintain good oral health. Good gum health practices are important to keep before and during pregnancy as preventative measures.

For more information about gingivitis and ways to maintain healthy gums, visit this article on our blog: Gingivitis, The Silent Destroyer. Also, these three articles are must-reads for expecting moms: Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy, Pregnancy GingivitisPremature Births Remain a Medical Mystery

Book your preventative check-up and assess your risks with our own Drs. Ali.  If additional help is needed, we always have our periodontist, Dr. Ghazi, who will help resolve any gum issues.

We highly recommend becoming familiar with both your dental benefits and needs.  Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions and advise you on how best to minimize your chance of gum problems. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

Sources:

ADA- Know Your Teeth

WebMD

LiveScience

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