Dental Sealants: Oral Hygiene's Unsung Hero

Dental Sealants: Oral Hygiene's Unsung Hero

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Vice President, Raza Qadir. 

The common underlying theme amongst the many initiatives of MedEq’s Oral Health Committee is prevention. A key aspect within the goals of this committee is that various chronic issues, such as tooth decay, are preventable through healthy daily habits and specific, effective treatments. While the importance of oral hygiene, and straying away from harmful habits, continues to be made abundantly clear, today we hone in on a specific preventative treatment in the form of dental sealants.

Dental sealants can serve as a valuable tool, specifically towards underprivileged populations where access and education towards a healthy mouth are highly limited. They are commonly applied towards the younger population to prevent further oral health concerns. It is applied to the teeth as a plastic coating, serving as a protective barrier. Small food particles and bacteria that are common culprits for tooth decay and cavities are then blocked out of vulnerable areas in the mouth (1). These sealants can last up to many years, and can be reapplied during checkups. For this reason, this service is many times utilized in mission trip settings and school based systems. Children and adults that struggle to keep their teeth clean, have a lack of access to dental supplies, and those that are forced to consume unhealthy foods due to poor economic status, can all immensely benefit through this route.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: Causes and Symptoms

  Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: Causes and Symptoms

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Co-Founder, Nour Mahmoud

About 15% of American adults suffer from "chronic facial pain, such as jaw pain, headaches, or earaches. (1)" The hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear is known as Temporomandibular joint (Webmd). It functions very differently from any other joint in the body. Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) which is commonly known as "TMJ" can refer to various conditions that have an effect on TM joints, jaw muscles, and facial nerves. It is more common in women than men along with those between the ages of 20.  TMD can occur when the jaw twists during opening, closing or side-motion movements (1).  The trigeminal nerve is the motor nerve for the jaw muscles, when these muscles are damaged it may disrupt the trigeminal nerve and cause TMJ disorder (4).

People with TMJ may experience certain symptoms that include: pain in or around the ear, headaches and necks aches, toothaches, jaw pain when chewing, biting or yawning, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth and sensitive teeth when no other dental problems can be found (1).

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) and its Prevalence

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) and its Prevalence

Today's post is authored by Oral Health Project Group member, Nasheen Nizamuddin.

Dry mouth is a symptom in oral health that is prevalent at all age levels despite being most ubiquitous in elderly people. It is a condition that affects the amount of saliva in our mouth and is really bothersome to those affected by it. Saliva is imperative in a human’s day to day functions. It is necessary to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food and also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth (WebMD). It limits bacterial growth by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria which helps prevent frequent tooth decay. Lastly, it enhances the ability to, "taste and makes it easier to swallow. (WebMD)" The condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet is known as xerostomia or Dry mouth. Dry mouth can typically happen when a person is nervous or stressed. It causes discomfort and can interfere with swallowing and speech, it can also cause, "halitosis and impair oral hygiene by causing a decrease in oral pH and an increase in bacterial growth." If left untreated, long-standing xerostomia can result in severe tooth decay and oral candidiasis. Certain symptoms that are associated with dry mouth include: sticky dry feeling in the mouth, frequent thirst, split skin, burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and tongue, dry nasal passage, and tooth decay.  

Importance of Visiting the Dentist

Importance of Visiting the Dentist

Today's post is authored by Oral Health Project Group member, Samuel Gafencu.

There was a time in American history when words such as plaque, gingivitis, flossing, fluoride, and even cavities sounded foreign to the majority of the population. “More than 50 years ago, examinations of people entering the military showed that Americans' teeth were in pretty bad shape”(1.). During these primitive times, Americans were not prioritizing their oral health as much as they should be. In recent years however, there has been a strong push to educate the American public about oral health (1.). Advancements such as water fluoridation, easily accessible oral hygiene products and orthodontics have allowed people to properly take care of their oral health.  Despite these efforts, there are still a significant number of people who are not familiar with the importance of visiting a dentist regularly for their periodical oral cleaning and checkup.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Who it Effects and How

Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Who it Effects and How

Today's post is authored by Oral Health Project Group member, Minahel Munir. 

Dental hygiene is often regarded as an isolated factor from general health. The proper care and cleaning of teeth is usually pegged as an exclusively aesthetic concern. However, research suggests that many oral diseases can be linked to other health complications. In fact, “more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations” (1). Moreover, gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are the root causes of popular health ailments. Gingivitis is characterized as the inflammation of the gums, and often leads to bleeding. If left untreated, gingivitis can advance into periodontitis where, “the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets,”which, “collect debris and can become infected.” Due to both bacteria, and our immune system’s response, the bone and connective tissue begins to break down, and tooth loss often occurs (2).

Gauging Prevalence of Tooth Decay and Basic Prevention Techniques

Gauging Prevalence of Tooth Decay and Basic Prevention Techniques

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Vice President, Raza Qadir. 

When surveying the oral health landscape for the most prevalent chronic diseases, it may appear surprising that dental caries, or tooth decay, lies near the top of the list.The ubiquity of tooth decay amongst Americans impacts an astonishing proportion of all ages. Nine out of every ten adults over the age of 40, fifty percent of children aged twelve to fifteen, and around a quarter of the children aged two to five are affected by tooth decay in the United States (1).

Community Water Fluoridation and Oral Health

Community Water Fluoridation and Oral Health

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Vice President, Raza Qadir. 

The progression of oral health treatment methodologies have progressed immensely over the course of 70 years. Back in those primitive days, dentures were integral to oral care to combat exponentially higher rates of tooth decay. Nowadays, the prevalence of both dentures and tooth decay are significantly lower. The difference? The implementation of water fluoridation.

Effect of Tobacco on Oral Health

Effect of Tobacco on Oral Health

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Vice President, Raza Qadir. 
 

Despite the astounding popularity of the product, cigarettes, as we all know, entail serious health consequences. On top of being a leading cause of various cancers, tobacco is a leading cause of chronic diseases including stroke, heart disease, blindness and asthma. Did you know that of the nearly 5000 chemicals found in cigarettes, 69 of them are proven to cause cancer?  Smoking cigarettes can lead to oral cancers such as tongue cancer and also cancer of the throat and cancer of the esophagus.  While most oral cancers are treatable if they are caught early, they usually involve surgery to remove small tumors or radiation treatments to kill cancerous cells. But if left untreated, the tumors can develop into cancer or it can spread to lymph nodes and become even more serious.  Which is why it is extremely important if you are a smoker to have regular dental check-ups since any signs of oral cancer can usually be detected by a dentist.

Combating Oral Cancer via Healthier Habits and Early Detection

Combating Oral Cancer via Healthier Habits and Early Detection

Today's post is authored by MedEq's Vice President, Raza Qadir. 

 

As we expand our awareness of well-known diseases and cancers that plague overall health, it’s imperative that a strict emphasis is stressed upon the the main passageway into our bodies, the mouth. While it’s often times regarded as a part of the body only relevant to facial aesthetics and minor infections, oral cancer is a prevalent cancer that is lethal and requires well deserved attention.

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