Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Oral Longevity Initiative

Oral Longevity

Help Nursing Home Residents Pay for Care

Help Nursing Home Residents Pay for Care
A How-To Guide
Find out more about how Incurred Medical Expense regulations can help most nursing facility residents who are enrolled in Medicaid pay for dental care.
Oral Longevity
The OralLongevity™ initiative is designed to increase awareness about the oral health needs of older Americans. Specifically, the OralLongevity program encourages patients to visit the dentist where they can receive information and guidance from trusted professionals. Launched in September 2007, the program aims to create a dialogue among dental professionals, mature consumers and caregivers across the U.S. For more background information, read How the OralLongevity Initiative Evolved (PDF).
OralLongevity educational materials explore the link between oral health and general health and discuss ways to keep your teeth for life. By tackling oral health problems that impact adults over 60, the information and resources help dentists and consumers work together to maintain and preserve oral health, a healthy body and a great look throughout life.
The cornerstone of the OralLongevity outreach effort is a brochure and educational DVD that is formatted in searchable chapters on a variety of oral health topics. Dental professionals will be able to use the DVD in their office to educate patients and caregivers. Consumers can also access the information based on their individual needs. Topics in the brochure and addressed on the DVD include:
  • Dry Mouth
  • Cavities after 60
  • Oral Cancer
  • Dentures & Implants
  • Daily Mouth Care
  • The Effect of Diabetes, Arthritis and Medications on Oral Health
Additional OralLongevity information prepared for patients, such as helpful tips, questions and answers, fact sheets and more can be found in the Consumer Resources section.
For OralLongevity resources and materials to assist dental professionals, please visit the Dental Resources section. Dental professionals can find literature reviews, clinical publications, and case studies. This section also contains assistance on reaching out to older adults who may be living independently, in assisted living facilities or in nursing homes.

Need a dentist to answer your Oral Health Questions? Call Dr. Cherukuri

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stress and Oral Health

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Excess stress may give you a headache, a stomachache, or just a feeling of being "on edge." But too much stress could also be doing a number on your mouth, teeth, gums, and overall health.
The potential fallout from stress and anxiety that can affect your oral health includes:
  • Mouth sores, including canker sores and cold sores
  • Clenching of teeth and teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Poor oral hygiene and unhealthy eating routines
  • Periodontal (gum) disease or worsening of existing periodontal disease
So how can you prevent these oral health problems?

Mouth Sores

Canker sores -- small ulcers with a white or grayish base and bordered in red -- appear inside the mouth, sometimes in pairs or even greater numbers. Although experts aren't sure what causes them -- it could be immune system problems, bacteria, or viruses -- they do think that stress, as well as fatigue and allergies, can increase the risk of getting them. Canker sores are not contagious.
Most canker sores disappear in a week to 10 days. For relief from the irritation, try over-the-counter topical anesthetics. To reduce irritation, don't eat spicy, hot foods or foods with a high acid content, such as tomatoes or citrus fruits.

Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are contagious. Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that often appear on or around the lips, but can also crop up under the nose or around the chin area.
Emotional upset can trigger an outbreak. So can a fever, a sunburn, or skin abrasion.

Like canker sores, fever blisters often heal on their own in a week or so. Treatment is available, including  laser therapy, over-the-counter remedies and prescription antiviral drugs. Ask  Dr. Cherukuri about faster healing with laser treatment.. It's important to start treatment as soon as you notice the cold sore forming.

Teeth Grinding

Stress may make you clench and grind your teeth -- during the day or at night, and often unconsciously. Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism.
If you already clench and grind your teeth, stress could make the habit worse. And, grinding your teeth can lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet.
Ask Dr Cherukuri about what can be done for the clenching and grinding. She may recommend a night guard, worn as you sleep, or another appliance to help you stop or minimize the actions.

For more information, visit www.chinosmiles.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dental Emergencies

Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Most dentists reserve time in their daily schedules for emergency patients so be sure to call your dentist and provide as much detail as you can about your condition. If the accident occurs when your dental office is not open, visit your local emergency room.
Question: What do I do if I knock out my tooth?
For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, or in milk. Get to your dentist’s office right away.
Q: What if I crack my tooth?
For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. See your dentist as soon as possible.
Q: If I bite my tongue or lip, how do I treat it?
If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Q: How do I treat a toothache?
For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
Q: What if I think my jaw is broken?
If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.
Q: How do I remove an object that’s stuck in my mouth or teeth?
For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Q: How can I avoid a dental emergency?
There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:
  • Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities.
  • Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.
  • Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.
Visit our website www.chinosmiles.com or call 909 627 6699 for more information.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Preventative Dental Care for Children

Preventive Dentistry for Children
Photo Credit brush teeth image by Marjan Veljanoski from Fotolia.com
 Dental exams and treatment should start from an early age, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, or AAPD,


Preventative dentistry for kids means dental care designed to maintain healthy teeth and prevent problems. The AAPD explains that children should receive regular check-ups, cleanings and preventative treatments. Dentists and oral hygienists can also educate them on how to take care of their teeth through brushing and flossing.


Preventative dentistry for children has many benefits, according to the AAPD. Oral problems can inhibit eating and keep youngsters from getting proper nutrition. They can also interfere with speech. The AAPD warns that kids with painful dental problems like cavities may be unable to concentrate properly in school. They are at risk for low self-esteem if crooked or damaged teeth are visible. Early dental care prevents these negative effects. It also potentially saves money because uncorrected dental issues often cost more to fix later in life.

Time Frame

Children should be treated by a dentist within the first year after their first teeth erupt, the AAPD recommends. A professional can catch and treat problems early and prevent issues like cavities that badly damage teeth. Parents should also practice preventative care by cleaning their children's teeth daily until they are old enough to handle the task themselves. The Consumer Guide to Dentistry advises using a cloth or gauze to clean baby teeth until they come in fully and can be brushed.


Dentists use various techniques to take care of children's teeth, according to the AAPD. Preventative dentistry includes fluoride treatments and sealants to prevent decay, cleaning and polishing. Dentists can recommend injury-preventing mouth guards for kids who participate in sports and prescribe night guards for youngsters who grind their teeth overnight. They can also perform screenings for orthodontic issues and provide referrals to specialists if needed.

Summer is a great time to schedule dental exams for children. Click here to schedule an appointment.


Teethbusters: How Concession Snacks Damage Smiles
AACD Dentists offer advice on summer movie munchies
MADISON, Wis. (7/2/12) – For many, the movie theater experience isn’t complete without a trip to the concession stand. But those sugary, sticky, and butter-laden snacks are scarier than a blockbuster horror flick and play a big role in tooth damage, staining and cavities, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

Here’s a round-up of the best and worst theater snacks for your teeth from a panel of AACD dental experts including AACD President Dr. Ron Goodlin, DDS, from Toronto, Ontario, Dr. Colleen Olitsky, DDS, from Jacksonville, Fla., and Dr. Kellee N. Stanton, DDS, from St. Paul, Minn.

“Crunching down on an un-popped popcorn kernel is a common cause of painful dental fractures,” the panel points out. Each dentist noted that they have treated patients for broken teeth from popcorn. “Popcorn husks can also become lodged between the back teeth and gums, often requiring a course of antibiotics to clear up the resulting infection after removal.”

While candy is an obvious offender, some choices are better than others for teeth. The panel reviewed a variety of favorite movie sweets:
  • Sour Candies (Sour Patch Kids and War Heads) – These candies cause the most damage because they contain high amounts of citric, fumaric and malic acids, all which cause damage to tooth enamel.
  • Caramels (Milk Duds and Sugar Babies) – The caramel in these treats is super sticky enabling it to remain on teeth for a long period of time. Also, its stickiness can enable crowns or fillings to be pulled out.
  • Fruit and Nut-based Candies - (Raisinets and Boston Baked Beans) –While these may seem like a healthy choice, they are also sticky, allowing sugar to stick on teeth.
  • Candy Coated Chocolates (M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces) — While not as sticky as other sweets, the colored candy shell stains teeth.
Acid-Packed Drinks
Soda is another concession culprit and carries a one-two punch, according to the AACD expert panel. First, there’s the high sugar content. Next, and even worse, is the high acidity level which wears down tooth enamel. Acid levels are ranked on the pH scale where the lower the number, the more acidic the substance is. Whereas battery acid ranks at 1.0 on the scale, soda ranks near or below a 3 compared to water which ranks at 7.0 (neutral). It’s not surprising that AACD experts recommend bottled water or club soda or even opting for a small soda to reduce the damage.
Snacks for Your Smile
There’s no need to avoid movie candy and snacks altogether when heading to the movie theater say AACD experts, but look for better alternatives.
  • Dark chocolate is the least processed and closest to the cocoa bean, which contain tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Each of these offers a strong antioxidant that benefits the mouth and teeth.
  • Pixie Stix are a candy option the panel agreed on is because they are poured directly on the tongue, thus avoiding chewing altogether.
  • Cheese Nachos – From a purely oral health perspective, nachos are a reasonable choice because the sugar content isn’t high, they aren’t hard to chew and there’s not much acidity.
“The reality is that most people will continue to enjoy their favorite snacks at the theater,” says Dr. Ron Goodlin, AACD president. “Do yourself a favor and rinse your mouth with a glass of water after indulging in sweets to wash away excess sugar and acids; and don’t forget to bring your dental floss.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy July 4th!

Oral Cancer

Cancer is defined as the uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage to surrounding tissue. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
  • Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
  • A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss
If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist or health care professional immediately.

Who Gets Oral Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women, and men who are over age 50 face the greatest risk. It's estimated that over 35,000 people in the U.S. received a diagnosis of oral cancer in 2008.
Risk factors for the development of oral cancer include:
  • Smoking. Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.
  • Smokeless tobacco users. Users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancers are about six times more common in drinkers than in nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age.
It is important to note that over 25% of all oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol occasionally.

What Is the Outlook for People With Oral Cancer?

The overall 1-year survival rate for patients with all stages of oral cavity and pharynx cancers is 81%. The 5- and 10-year survival rates are 56% and 41%, respectively.

How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?

As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.
Your dentist may perform an oral brush biopsy if he or she sees tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious. This test is painless and involves taking a small sample of the tissue and analyzing it for abnormal cells. Alternatively, if the tissue looks more suspicious, your dentist may recommend a scalpel biopsy. This procedure usually requires local anesthesia and may be performed by your dentist or a specialist. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early, before it has had a chance to progress and spread.