3 Ways to Help Prevent Tooth Decay

Prevent Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is an infection to the teeth that is caused by bacteria. When tooth decay occurs, the teeth’s enamel, dentin, and cementum are broken down. Tooth decay is often referred to as dental caries or cavities and can cause pain and fractures to the affected tooth or teeth. If left untreated and the decay turns severe, tooth death can occur. Luckily, there are many ways that one can prevent tooth decay.

Regularly Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth twice a day — once in the morning and once in the evening — is the beginning to all good oral health routines. It is also one of the easiest ways to help protect your teeth against decay.

Dentists typically recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes because they are the most useful in removing plaque and food particles from the teeth. Getting a small toothbrush can be helpful in cleaning some hard-to-reach places, like the back of the teeth. For toothpaste, one that contains fluoride is strongly recommended. Fluoride can help strengthen and even replace the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is a key part of the teeth that helps to prevent decay. As well, any type of toothpaste that is labeled as anti-cavity can be helpful.

Regularly Flossing Your Teeth

While many people brush their teeth regularly, many people ignore flossing. This is a bad thing, as flossing is a key part of any good oral health routines. One should floss twice a day, typically after brushing. To really help prevent decay, some people floss after each meal as well. Flossing can reach places between each tooth that cannot be reached by simply brushing the teeth. Food particles stuck between the teeth that can result in bacterial infections.  As such, flossing is important in preventing tooth decay.

There are different sizes of floss that one can buy depending on how big the spaces are between a person’s teeth.

Using Anti-cavity Mouthwash

It isn’t as important as brushing or flossing, but mouthwash is another good way to help prevent tooth decay. It is important to note, though, that not all mouthwashes will be effective in preventing tooth decay. One should use a mouthwash that is specifically labeled as anti-cavity and/or anti-tooth decay. If the mouthwash contains fluoride, then that’s even better.

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Root Canal Overview: Why Choose It, What Happens, and How Do You Recover?

Getting a root canal can sound pretty scary, but it can help get rid of excruciating tooth pain. If you are going to get a root canal, below are some details about the procedure to help you understand and hopefully minimize the worries you may have about it.

Why Choose Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure done by a dentist or an endodontist to treat an infection in the tooth. Underneath the tooth, there is a soft interior known as the pulp, which is where the tooth’s nerves and roots are. When a tooth is affected by a decay, crack, or inflammation, an infection may get into the tooth and cause damage to the pulp. Repeated or poorly done dental work could also cause these kinds of infections. Typically, these things can be treated with a crown, cap, or filling. However, this can sometimes cause further damage to the tooth.

While the pain caused by an infection to the pulp can be easily treated by removing the damaged tooth altogether, this can make chewing difficult. If the tooth affected is one of the front teeth, this can also affect how a person’s smile looks. A root canal is done so that the tooth is not completely removed while at the same time treating the infection just as effectively.

What Happens During the Procedure?

As mentioned above, a root canal is done so that the infection to the affected tooth is treated without removing the tooth completely. During this procedure, the dentist or endodontist will apply a local anesthetic and then make a small hole in the affected tooth. The pulp — where the roots and nerves of the teeth are — is removed through this hole. The dentist/endodontist will then treat the infection and then fill up the hole they made in the tooth. They usually use a rubbery type of substance to do this. Once this is done, the dentist or endodontist might make other improvements to the affected tooth. Then, the tooth is sealed and a cap is administered to make sure everything stays in place.

The entire procedure takes place over the course of several visits to the dentist or endodontist. During this time, it is highly suggested that the patient try and avoid chewing with the affected tooth to prevent further damage.

How Does One Recover After A Root Canal?

After each visit to the dentist or endodontist to treat the root canal, the mouth may feel numb from the anesthetic for a couple of hours. It is typically suggested that the patient doesn’t eat any food before the anesthetic wears off completely to avoid unintentional damage to the affected tooth that was just treated. Additionally, the patient could also bite the tongue or the insides of the cheek without realizing, only to be met with additional pain later when the anesthetic wears off. Once the anesthetic has worn off and the patient can eat, soft foods like yogurt are recommended for the next few days after a visit to the dentist or endodontist. Avoid eating anything crunchy or hard.

During the time in which the root canal procedure it taking place, the patient’s mouth may feel quite painful. Thanks to technological advancements, the pain from the root canal procedure can typically be treated with ibuprofen, which can be bought over-the-counter. Having an ice pack against the face can also provide some relief to the pain. If the patient grinds or clenches their teeth when they sleep, a mouth guard is recommended. Grinding or clenching of teeth causes unnecessary pressure to the teeth and could cause further pain to the affected tooth.

The tooth being treated with the root canal may feel a little different a few days after the complete procedure. However, if there are conditions like swelling, an uneven bite, or more pain caused by the affected tooth, call the dentist right away.

It is important to take the antibiotics prescribed and directed by the dentist or endodontist during and/or after the root canal procedure. If the patient doesn’t take the antibiotics as prescribed, the infection may return as the bacteria can adapt to the antibiotics and render it useless. The patient should also be sure to brush and floss their teeth in the morning and evening. Practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent further complications and/or an unsuccessful recovery.

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How to Treat Wisdom Teeth Pain

Treat Wisdom Teeth Pain

Developing wisdom teeth can sometimes mean a lot of pain. This is especially if the teeth cannot grow out normally due to the fact that there isn’t enough room for the teeth to appear on the surface. This results in parts of the wisdom teeth to stay within the gum line, growing at weird angles that may put pressure on other teeth. So how can you treat wisdom teeth pain?

Wisdom teeth pain can be irritable and annoying. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways someone can treat this pain or even completely get rid of it. Below are some ways a person can deal with wisdom teeth pain.

Removing the Wisdom Teeth

This is one of the most common and effective ways to deal with wisdom teeth pain. Removing the wisdom teeth means that the pain caused by it will be completely eliminated. It should be noted that whether or not a person is experiencing wisdom teeth pain, the dentist will typically recommend wisdom teeth removal.

The dentist may begin the removal procedure by numbing the area where the wisdom teeth are growing. However, general anesthesia could be used if more than one tooth is being removed, which is often the case. After this, the dentist will cut into the gum line to get to the parts of the wisdom teeth that weren’t able to appear. The tissue that connects the teeth to the jaw is then separated by the dentist in order to extract the wisdom tooth. The dentist may break the tooth into smaller parts for easier removal. After the tooth is removed, the dentist will then close up the gumline using stitches. These stitches will often be the kind that can dissolve after a period of time. If the dentist does not use these kinds of stitches then the patient will need to set up an appointment to remove the stitches.

After the wisdom teeth are removed, the patient will have to recover. Recovery can be a little painful, but it will only last a few days. The dentist may prescribe painkillers to help with the discomfort and antibiotics to avoid infections.

Over-the-Counter Medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a kind of medication that can be bought over-the-counter, meaning that no prescription from a doctor is needed to obtain the medication. NSAIDs may be referred to as painkillers, as they can help with relief from pain caused by many types of conditions — including wisdom teeth pain. Some common NSAIDs are Advil, Aleve, Bayer Excedrin, and Motrin.

Although these medications are commonly taken by a number of people, there are still a number of side effects to be wary of. For example, those that have health conditions like asthma are more likely to suffer from an allergic reaction to NSAIDs compared to those who don’t have asthma. It is also important to note that high dosage of NSAIDs can cause damage to the kidneys, as these drugs lower the amount of blood getting to the kidneys. As such, if you have asthma or kidney problems, talk to your doctor before using NSAIDs to treat any type of pain.

Specific Medication for Relieving Tooth Pain

A type drug that can be used treat tooth pain — including wisdom teeth pain — is called benzocaine. Benzocaine is a mild anesthetic and can be found in several topical medications like Orajel. These medications work by numbing the nerves of the teeth and gums for a period of time.

If used as directed by the label of the medication, a doctor, or a pharmacist, medications that have benzocaine in them don’t typically have a lot of potentially life-threatening side effects. However, if you have any sort of allergies, it is highly recommended that you speak to your doctor before using topical medication that contains benzocaine to treat your wisdom teeth pain.

Avoiding the Pain

Sometimes people only feel wisdom teeth pain when there is pressure placed on the areas where the wisdom teeth are growing. In these cases, it may simply be best to avoid putting pressure anywhere on or near the wisdom teeth. For example, one may want to chew with the front teeth or with the side of the teeth that aren’t causing pain. Unnecessary chewing — like chewing gum or soft candies — should also be avoided in order to lessen wisdom teeth pain.

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Preventing Hepatitis C

Preventing Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection that targets and damages the liver. Hepatitis C is transmitted through the blood of an infected person. Without proper care and treatment, the virus can become a major health problem despite being nearly curable with today’s advancements. Because of this, preventing hepatitis C is important.

Early detection and rapid treatment are vital with hepatitis C. In addition to getting your health under control, it is also imperative to prevent the spread of hepatitis C by being mindful of blood contact.

Sharing Needles Increases Your Risk of Hepatitis C

Sharing needles and cocaine straws increase your risk of getting hepatitis C. Sharing anything, especially sharp objects, that may cause bleeding and comes in contact with your skin must be avoided. Quitting drugs for your health is already important, but even if you can’t, having your own equipment and practicing proper hygiene can help you avoid contracting hepatitis C.

Do Not Share Razors, Toothbrushes, and Nail Clippers

These personal hygiene items are what they should be: personal. Toothbrushes can make contact with bleeding gums; cuts while shaving is widespread; and so are small accidents while clipping your nails. Avoiding sharing these personal items and keeping them sterile for your own safety at all times is paramount.

Choose Your Tattoo Parlor Wisely

One of the other ways hepatitis C is commonly transmitted is getting tattoos and piercings with contaminated equipment. Ensure the person who is giving you a tattoo or piercing is licensed and that they change needles for every new customer. Additionally, a good tip to remember is that you must witness all the instruments leave their plastic package to make sure they are going to be used for the first time.

Medical Professionals

As avoiding contact with potentially contaminated blood is vital, those who work in healthcare must protect themselves with the proper gloves and clothing as they are a high-risk group.

Sexual Contact

Hepatitis C is not a sexually transmitted disease, and hepatitis C via sexual contact is rare. However, it is not impossible, so safe sex can prevent hepatitis C if you have risk factors. Those who are sexually active with multiple partners, gay men especially, are at an increased risk of getting hepatitis C. Menstrual blood can also lead to the transmission of hepatitis C if your partner is infected.

Getting tested continually, especially if you are at risk, is recommended for everyone to prevent hepatitis C silently progressing and damaging the liver.

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Hepatitis C vs Other Forms of Hepatitis

Forms of Hepatitis

Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver tissue. All hepatitis types target the liver but can either be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis typically lasts fewer than six months whereas chronic hepatitis is lifelong. While they all share some symptoms in common, there are three primary and six overall forms of hepatitis viruses that affect the liver.

1. Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is transmitted through the feces of those infected with the virus. The virus is typically spread through oral contact with contaminated food due to poor hygiene. However, hepatitis A rarely results in liver failure and has a vaccination.

2. Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is transmitted via bodily fluids, which can be primarily spread through sexual contact and sharing needles. Pregnant women who have hepatitis B can also pass the virus onto their child at birth. Hepatitis B increases the risk of liver diseases such as cirrhosis, liver failure, as well as liver cancer without treatment. Hepatitis B also has a vaccination.

3. Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is spread through the blood of infected individuals. Sharing needles, contaminated blood transfusions, personal hygiene items such as razors, and in rare cases, sexual contact can cause the transmission of the virus. Hepatitis C does not yet have a vaccine and can result in liver failure and cancer without care and treatment.

4. Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D can also be contracted by those infected with hepatitis B as hepatitis D requires a protein produced by hepatitis B to target the liver. Just like hepatitis B, however, hepatitis D is also spread through contaminated blood; typically due to sharing needles, unscreened blood transfusions, and sexual contact.

5. Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is the same as hepatitis A and transmitted via contaminated feces. Hepatitis E only differs from hepatitis A in where it is found, which is Asia.

6. Hepatitis G

Hepatitis G is a new type of the hepatitis virus and is still relatively rare. Hepatitis G is spread via sex, contaminated blood, and sharing needles, and the virus is usually asymptomatic.

While the advancements in medical science have lowered the incidence rate of most hepatitis viruses, hepatitis B and C are still the most common types, affecting nearly 5 million people in the United States combined.

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Vaccinating Against Hepatitis

Vaccinating Against Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation in the liver. There are three types of the hepatitis virus: A, B, and C. Although these diseases are different, they typically cause similar symptoms such as fever, stomach pain, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, dark urine, and jaundice. The incidence rate of all types of hepatitis has been on the rise over the last 20 years, and while hepatitis A and B have vaccinations, hepatitis C is still without one. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are vaccinating against hepatitis.

Hepatitis A Vaccination

Hepatitis A is transmitted through infected feces, specifically consuming foods that are contaminated with the virus. However, hepatitis A can also be transmitted via anal sex. Almost 20,000 people contract hepatitis A annually, but most go into remission within six months. Liver damage and failure are rare with hepatitis A.

There is a hepatitis A vaccine, which can be administered as soon as children turn two, is effective for up to 20 years and is covered by most health insurance coverages. People who should get vaccinated for hepatitis A are children, people who travel frequently and internationally, gay males, and those who use drugs regularly.

Hepatitis B Vaccination

Hepatitis B is spread via bodily fluids, resulting in up to 40,000 new cases every year. The primary ways hepatitis B is transmitted include sharing needles and sexual contact. Just as with hepatitis C, hepatitis B can also be passed onto a child at birth.

Since there is a vaccination available, it is especially important for children, intravenous drug users, people with multiple sex partners, inmates, medical professionals, and people who travel internationally to get vaccinated for the virus. Hepatitis B vaccination is needed to be repeated three times with set time frames apart. Similar to hepatitis A, most health insurance plans cover the expenses of the vaccination.

Hepatitis C Vaccination

Hepatitis C is spread via blood, affecting nearly 30,000 people every year. As hepatitis C can be asymptomatic until there is serious liver damage, in most cases, the virus becomes chronic and can lead to liver diseases like cirrhosis or even liver cancer without treatment. Hepatitis C has an unstable nature compared to hepatitis A and B, which is why there is still no vaccination for it.

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Treating Hepatitis C

Treating Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that targets the liver, which causes inflammation in the liver and can lead to liver damage and diseases. In most cases, people with hepatitis C do not become aware of they have hepatitis C until they begin to show symptoms related to liver damage or disease. This means that treating hepatitis C can be a challenge.

Hepatitis C can be diagnosed with blood tests as well as liver function tests. Liver function tests work by measuring the amounts of albumin and bilirubin. In some cases, your doctor may also order a liver biopsy for further examination.

What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?

A lot of individuals with hepatitis C do not show any signs of the viral infection until there is some liver damage. However, one of the primary hepatitis C symptoms is a persistent pain, particularly in the abdomen below the rib cages.

Coupled with muscle pain and stomach pain, most people also experience fatigue, fever, nausea, itching, and dark urine. Along with nausea, hepatitis C can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, loss of appetite, and headaches.

Jaundice is also a common symptom of hepatitis C. Jaundice refers to the discoloration of the whites of the eyes and parts of the skin, usually a yellowish color which is associated with liver failure.

What Causes Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is primarily transmitted via contact with contaminated blood. Sharing needles is one of the primary causes of hepatitis C, which is why intravenous drug users are a higher risk of getting hepatitis C.

Getting tattoos and piercings with unsterile equipment that can potentially be contaminated with the virus can also cause hepatitis C. Sharing personal hygiene products like razors and toothbrushes can also put you at risk of getting hepatitis C. Although hepatitis C is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, cuts, sores, and menstrual blood can lead to the exposure of the virus during sexual contact with an infected individual.

Before 1992, blood donations were not screened for hepatitis C, so those who had had a blood transfusion prior to that date may also be infected with hepatitis C. Finally, pregnant women who have hepatitis C can pass the virus onto their child at childbirth.  

How Is Hepatitis C Treated?

The primary hepatitis C treatment is antiviral drugs to eliminate it from the body and prevent further complications associated with the virus. Antiviral medications are typically taken for up three months once daily. In severe cases where the liver is dangerously damaged, a liver transplant is also an option to prolong the patient’s life and improve their quality of life. Although liver transplantation comes with risks and generally involves a long wait list, it can be necessary in some patients’ cases.

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Hepatitis C Explained

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that causes liver damage. Without care and treatment, the viral infection can lead to liver diseases, including liver cancer. Affecting up to 4 million Americans alone, hepatitis C goes unnoticed until it begins to take its toll on the liver, and the patient starts to exhibit symptoms related to liver damage. In fact, it may take several years for an individual with hepatitis C to start showing symptoms.

Understanding Hepatitis C

The liver is a vital organ responsible for battling infections, flushing out pathogens, and digestion. Hence, when it is in distress and under attack, this begins to impact the whole body with a wide array of taxing symptoms. When hepatitis C targets the liver, the symptoms that most people exhibit are fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, loss of appetite, fever, stomach pain, itching, and dark urine.

It can be detected with a blood test, which can also identify the type of the virus.

Without a test, most people do not find out about their status until such time they begin to suffer from symptoms related to liver damage or disease. Once the virus severely impairs the liver, these are some of the signs and symptoms you should look out for: diarrhea, fever, jaundice, loss of appetite, dark urine, ankle swelling, stomach discomfort, and prolonged bleeding.

In the cases where the hep C virus cannot be destroyed, without treatment, the infection can result in cirrhosis. Cirrhosis symptoms are fatigue, weight loss, nausea, spider veins, and jaundice.

Treating Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C treatment depends on the genotypes, the severity of liver damage, medical history, and viral load. Unfortunately, medications are costly, come with adverse side effects, and are not effective in all patients. In most cases, most people get diagnosed when they already have chronic hepatitis C.

It is primarily treated with antiviral drugs to prevent liver diseases and cancer and typically taken for three months to a year such as ribavirin or peginterferon. However, with the recent treatments, hepatitis C virus can become undetectable in the blood after a few months of treatment.

Getting enough rest, giving up alcohol, and following your treatment to a T is essential. In advanced cases where the liver is severely damaged, a liver transplant can also be an option to prolong life and improve the quality of life.

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Treatment Advancements for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that targets the liver, resulting in complications such as liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer in severe cases. Thankfully, there has been substantial progress in the way hepatitis C is treated over the past few years, and the new hepatitis C treatments can nearly eliminate the virus within three months.

Here are the newest forms of hepatitis C treatments that have broken new ground.

Harvoni — Harvoni is an FDA-approved chronic hepatitis C medication composed of two drugs called ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. The medication is taken daily and highly effective in curing hepatitis C. However, Harvoni is quite costly so it is not an option for every patient. The side effects of the drug include nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and fatigue.

Ribavirin — Ribavirin is typically taken twice per day with a combination of other hepatitis C drugs and can be used by both adults and kids. As ribavirin comes with an increased risk of heart attack, people with heart disease cannot go on ribavirin.

Ribavirin can also result in anemia, so people who are anemic can only take the medication in small doses. Some common side effects ribavirin is associated with include headaches, muscle pain, stomach pain, nausea, anxiety, coughing, drowsiness, fatigue, and fever.

Daklinza — This new medication is used for hepatitis C with genotype 3 in combination with Sovaldi and can stop the life cycle of hep C at any stage. This combination of drugs is taken for three months once per day, but if there is considerable liver damage or cirrhosis, a drug called ribavirin can also be added to the daily regimen. The side effects that Daklinza most commonly causes are fatigue and headaches.

Your doctor will be able to determine which new hepatitis C treatment is the right option for your specific case depending on your risk factors and the condition of your liver and will combine a new treatment with a traditional medication if needed to increase the efficacy.

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