Leukoplakia is a dental condition categorized by the development of thick, white patches on your gums, cheeks and sometimes on a person’s tongue. They can’t just be scraped off, and professional treatment is recommended if you notice their onset. Below, we take a closer look at what causes the condition, and how a dentist or doctor can help you treat it.
Causes and Symptoms of Leukoplakia
Doctors and dentists don’t really know what causes leukoplakia, but they suspect that it is brought on by chronic irritation from tobacco products. Most cases of leukoplakia are noncancerous, although some can be cancerous and mouth cancer may form next to areas of leukoplakia. If you notice any odd formations, or white areas with red speckles, consult a medical professional.
Symptoms of leukoplakia include:
- White or grayish patches on the gums, cheeks or tongue.
- Thickened or hardened patches in your mouth.
- Speckled red dots on the white patches.
- Raised red lesions.
- Persistent changes in tissues of your mouth.
- Ear pain when swallowing.
- Slow reduction in your ability to open your jaw.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Leukoplakia
Diagnosing the condition can be done by your dentist or doctor. They will look for the above symptoms, and they’ll ask about your tobacco use, family health history and rule out any other potential causes. If your dentist wants to ensure that the formation is non-cancerous, they may test the substance using a oral brush biopsy. This is a non-invasive procedure that collects cells from the source. A more invasive but more conclusive method involves removing some of the tissue and having it analyzed.
If the tests show that cancer is present, it will be surgically removed from your mouth. If the entire piece can be removed, the only additional treatment you may need is regular monitoring. If the development is non-cancerous, treatment involves removing part or all of the patches, stopping the source of irritation (giving up cigarettes or chewing tobacco) and getting regular check ups from your dentist. On rare occasions, the condition can be caused in part by a weakened immune system, which means the dentist or doctor will also provide a medications in addition to regular treatment.
Bloomington Dental Clinic
If you notice symptoms of leukoplakia, make an appointment with your dentist or family physician. The sooner it is treated, the better outcomes are. For more information, or to talk to Dr. Brooks about a mouth condition, reach out to his office today.
Bad breath (aka “halitosis” in the medical world) is an annoyance at best and a potential sign of a serious condition at worst. There are many things that can cause bad breath, and several conditions that it may indicate. In this article, we are going to discuss bad breath and how it relates to your oral health. We will talk about some of the causes of bad breath, as well as some tips for prevention and treatment.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are several potential factors that can lead to bad breath. Here are a few of the most common:
- Eating Foods with strong odors (onions, garlic, etc.)
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
Bad Breath Prevention & Treatment
Perhaps the best way to prevent bad breath is to practice good oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist for routine cleanings twice a year.
Beyond that, preventing and treating bad breath really depends on the underlying cause. If your bad breath is the result of your diet (consuming a particular food), or a lifestyle habit (smoking, for example), cutting down on those factors will likely help reduce the halitosis. If gum disease is the culprit, additional treatment may be required, and your dentist can help with that.
Smiles for Life Dental Clinic
At Smiles for Life Dental Clinic, we provide family and cosmetic dental care to patients throughout the Twin Cities. Dr. Brooks and his team of hygienists make it a point to treat each and every patient that walks through our doors with the respect that they deserve. Whether you need to schedule a routine cleaning, or you’re interested in learning more about invisible braces, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to set up your appointment at our Bloomington or Farmington dental offices.
Most people know that neglecting your oral hygiene can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. But what many people do not realize is that failing to take care of your dental health can lead to health issues in other parts of the body. In this article, we are going to talk about how issues in your teeth and gums can impact other areas of your body.
Heart Disease & Stroke
Gum disease is bad, not only for your gums, but for your heart too. Periodontitis can increase your risk of developing heart disease, or having a stroke. Buy why is that the case? Bacteria that builds up in the gums can travel through the bloodstream to other areas of the body. Thes bacteria can build up in the arteries, causing blood clots, and leading to stroke and various heart conditions.
Bacterial build-up in the gums can lead to gum inflammation – this is one of the most common symptoms of gum disease. These bacteria can cause similar reactions to tissues in other areas of the body. Inflammation has long been linked to the development of cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Gum disease and bacteria can also increase a patient’s risk of developing diabetes.
Preventing These Issues
It’s essential to keep up with your oral hygiene – not just for your teeth and gums, but for the rest of your body too. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing daily, and that you visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Bloomington Dental Health
At Smiles for Life, we have the ability to handle all of your family and cosmetic dentistry needs. For decades, we have been providing top-notch dental care to patients in Bloomington, Farmington, and the surrounding Minnesota areas. If you’re having tooth pain, or you just need to schedule a routine check-up and cleaning, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Contact our dental clinic in Bloomington to set up your appointment today!
Although gum disease is easily preventable, many patients still suffer from its effects. By being proactive about your periodontal (gum) care, you can help prevent gum disease and other health issues. In this article, we are going to discuss the basics of periodontal gum care.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease essentially means gum disease. “Peri” means around, and “Odontal” means teeth, so periodontal disease impacts the gums and other structures that surround the teeth. Bleeding of the gums is perhaps the most common sign of periodontal disease. If you notice any bleeding from your gums, it’s time to set up an appointment with your dentist to fully diagnose your condition and talk about treatment options.
Gum disease poses a serious threat to your oral health – and can even have a negative impact on other areas of your body. It’s important to take steps to prevent gum disease before it progresses. Here are a few things you can do to prevent gum disease and other periodontal conditions:
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups
- Brush and floss on a regular basis
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is with a periodontal evaluation from your dentist. A periodontal evaluation assesses all of the following:
- Your overall teeth and gum health
- Plaque levels
- Your bite
- Any potential risk factors
Dental Clinics in Bloomington, MN
Dr. Tim Brooks is an experienced family and cosmetic dentist who has been practicing in Minnesota for decades. Whether you need a routine dental cleaning, or you need a crown put in, we’ve got you covered at Smiles for Life. We work hand-in-hand with every patient to provide compassionate, individualized care. Contact Smiles for Life today to set up your appointment at our MN dental offices – located in Bloomington MN.
February is American Heart Health Month, and we want to help build awareness of how important it is to maintain the health of your heart. We use this time to address the fact that heart disease remains the number one killer of both women and men in the United States.
There are many risk factors such as getting older or having a family history of heart disease, but it is also known that there is a direct correlation between heart health and gum disease. Leaving “gum disease” untreated can cause serious heart problems. When gums bleed or are swollen, it is a sign of gum disease and should be evaluated. Bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream, attach to blood vessels, and may also trigger clot formation. To combat your risk factors, it helps to know your numbers.
At Smiles for Life, we recommend our patients have their blood pressure taken at each dental appointment, so they know this critical number. Blood pressure is the silent killer that leads to strokes and heart attacks. Since so many people see their dentist more often than their physician, it only makes sense to provide this number at their dental appointments so they can have access to this early warning sign. It could save a life!
Our team will help you prevent and treat gingivitis and periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, by doing a complete evaluation and making a treatment plan customized to you. Contact Smiles for Life today to schedule your next appointment or a free consultation.