oral microbiome

Proper Oral Hygiene Can Boost Your Immune System

June 22nd, 2020

Being sick...none of us have time for that. Luckily, our body's immune system is our defense mechanism against harmful bacteria, germs, allergens, and foreign particles that enter our body. That’s why keeping a strong and healthy immune system is key to fighting infectious diseases like COVID-19. Your immune system is a complex system made up of many cells, organs, and tissues that span throughout your entire body, including your oral cavity. In fact, your mouth is generally the first entry point to the rest of your body. Therefore, it’s important to maintain good oral health to help keep your immune system and overall health strong, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When your immune system is functioning properly, normal oral bacteria and your natural microbiome aren’t typically a dangerous threat. However, when your oral health is not being maintained, bacteria can breakdown your pearly whites and lead to gum disease and inflammation, which can ultimately weaken your immune system. The early stages of gum disease is also known as gingivitis, which can be reversed with proper oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, healthy diet and stress maintenance, and regular dental visits for comprehensive care. Some signs of gingivitis include inflamed gums, presenting with swelling, redness, and possible bleeding. A more severe form of gum disease is known as periodontitis, and the damage is typically irreversible. In periodontal disease, the inflammatory response triggered by bacteria not only impacts your teeth and gums, but also attacks your surrounding oral tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. If untreated, periodontal disease can lead to both bone and tooth loss. Consequently, your immune system begins to work extra hard to help fight gum disease, and may promote inflammation within other parts of your body. Sadly, an unhealthy mouth has been linked to many systemic health conditions and inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, preterm birth, and more! The case for having good oral hygiene undeniably keeps getting stronger. It’s important to keep your mouth healthy to help allow your immune system to be strong for taking care of the rest of your body!

During a pandemic, it’s important to do everything you can to strengthen your immune system. Here are some ways you can help your body stay healthy during these unprecedented times:

  • Minimize stress: Some research suggests that stress can exacerbate inflammatory disease such as gum disease. Try to stay active and keep a healthy diet to help relieve stress.
  • Exercise regularly and stay hydrated
  • Get adequate sleep: It is recommended that most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens might need more sleep for their growing bodies.
  • Brush your teeth daily
  • Floss daily to remove bacteria between your teeth
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces including bathroom surfaces, toilets, faucets, sinks, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones and keyboards
  • Wear a mask and practice social distancing
  • Eat a healthy diet heavy with fruits, vegetables, lean meats and healthy fat
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups/professional cleanings/outstanding treatments

It's also important to avoid practices that are harmful to your teeth and body:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid high sugar diets
  • Avoid acidic drinks like soda and energy drinks
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Avoid nail biting, chewing on ice, and using your teeth to open bottles or objects

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19.  Our office follows the recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group. We look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors, and friends.

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

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://www.guardiandirect.com/resources/articles/how-good-oral-health-may-help-you-keep-your-immune-system-strong

https://www.colgateprofessional.com/education/patient-education/topics/systemic/why-a-healthy-mouth-is-good-for-your-body

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Save your Child from the Most Common Chronic Childhood Disease

March 16th, 2019

Parents try their hardest to keep their kids from experiencing harm and pain. It can be heartbreaking to see your child or loved one suffer from tooth aches and tooth decay. No matter the age, babies, kids, teens, adults, and elders can unfortunately develop dental cavities. It is commonly known that tooth decay develops as bacteria feed off of the left-over food particles on our teeth by producing acids that wear down tooth enamel. But, you may be wondering, "how is tooth decay possible for babies who aren't even consuming solid foods?" You may have heard of the term, baby bottle tooth decay, which is a leading factor for a high rate of cavities in babies who particularly go to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice in their crib.  Milk, which we know to be good for bone growth and development, does contain sugar so when it is constantly in contact on baby teeth throughout the night, it can lead to the development of cavities and future oral health problems for little ones. Baby bottle tooth decay can also be a sign that nutrients and natural healthy bacteria that help fight cavities may be out of balance in your child. When baby teeth become decayed, not only can it affect incoming permanent teeth, but also can negatively impact chewing, drinking, speaking, and the growth of the mouth. The decay may present itself with this appearance:

It is therefore important to develop good oral hygiene habits and nutritional diet from a early age.  Our oral microbiome, or the normal friendly bacteria within our mouths, are needed to help us fight infections and keep the harmful bacteria from attacking our immune system. For instance, Streptococcus mutans, is typically the main bacterial culprit in causing tooth decay. Babies often get a load of healthy probiotics through breastfeeding and gains vitamins including A, D, and K through breastmilk.

We must encourage our children to eat healthy and also monitor their brushing and oral habits to help ensure strong teeth and a healthier overall body. For children under the age of 3, a smear of fluoride toothpaste on a child sized toothbrush is recommended for toothbrushing.

It is recommended that your child have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first baby tooth erupting. This is very important as the enamel of baby teeth is not as strong as adult's. Be sure to see if the community you live in has fluoridated water. Fluoride, which can be applied at dental visits, and found in toothpastes, and natural water, helps fight tooth decay and remineralize tooth enamel. In addition, try to switch your child from a bottle to a regular cup as soon as possible because the liquid is less likely to sit for a long time on teeth.

If your child has extensive tooth decay but the tooth is still deemed restorable by the dentist, stainless steel crowns are the recommended treatment option by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Otherwise, extraction and space maintenance may be required.  Losing a baby tooth earlier than expected can lead to crowding when the permanent teeth come in, as well as other oral issues. Tooth decay can also surprisingly be passed from the mother or caregiver to an infant or child through saliva. Be sure to keep feeding utensils and pacifiers clean.

Save your child from experiencing tooth pain, trouble sleeping, oral infections, growth issues, and time away from school for additional dental treatments that could be prevented.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they 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. DerekDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Stephens would be more than willing to help.

References:

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/infant-oral-care/treatment-for-baby-bottle-tooth-decay-0414

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/How-to-Prevent-Tooth-Decay-in-Your-Baby.aspx

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/uae-health/save-your-kid-from-tooth-decay

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Uncovering the Past: Bacteria Withstanding the Test of Time

February 25th, 2014

ANCIENT TEETH Recently, a team of researched have discovered well-preserved oral bacteria on skeletons around 1,000 years old! What secrets do these remains hold?

The scientists found that dental plaque was what kept the bacteria and particles of food on the teeth in tact, which allowed the research team to look further into what oral pathogens were present in the past. They found that even with the drastic changes in diet and hygiene (we hope!), the ancient human cavity is the home to a variety of pathogens and bacteria similar to the ones found today.

What’s even more exciting was that the ancient human oral microbiome found contained the basic line of antibiotic resistance, which is more than eight centuries before the invention of therapeutic antibiotics in the 1940s! The scientists also uncovered dietary DNA from the dental plaque found, which give the researchers a window into the types of vegetables and fruits consumed.

Although these were exciting finds for the research team, the scientists have a long road ahead of them. Gaining a wealth of data is always an exciting event, but it will be a challenge for the researchers to piece together and identify the genetic sequences that came forth from the ancient oral microbiome they discovered.

These findings can truly be a great step forward towards a better understanding of the evolution of the human oral microbiome and the beginnings of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects more than 10% of the world population and has been associated with several systemic diseases including pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and even type II diabetes. Through analyzing the human oral microbiome, scientists can track the progression of bacteria, paving new ways to prevent periodontal disease and contain bacterial production within the oral cavity.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they 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. Kim or Dr.PradhanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140223131629.htm
http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/6158/20140224/1000-year-old-dental-plaque-reveals-microbial-pompeii.htm
http://images.natureworldnews.com/data/images/full/4756/fossilised-dental-plaque-calculus-on-the-teeth-of-a-middle-aged-man-from-the-medieval-site-of-dalheim-germany-ca-ad-1100.jpg?w=600

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