Posts for: July, 2015
For major-league slugger Giancarlo Stanton, 2014 was a record-breaking year. After the baseball season ended, he signed a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins — the biggest deal in sports history. But earlier that same year, Stanton suffered one of the worst accidents in baseball: He was hit in the face by an 88-mph fastball, sustaining multiple fractures, lacerations, and extensive dental damage.
After the accident, Stanton didn’t play for the remainder of the season. But now he’s back in Spring Training… and he’s got a not-so-secret weapon to help protect him against another injury: A custom-made face guard designed to absorb impacts and keep him from suffering further trauma.
As sports fans, we’re glad that Stanton was able to overcome his injury and get back in the game. As dentists, we’d like to remind you that you don’t have to be a major-league player to feel the harmful effects of a sports injury — and you don’t have to look far to find a way to protect yourself. In fact, you can get a custom-made mouthguard right here at the dental office.
Mouthguards have a long tradition in sports like football, boxing, and hockey. But did you know that far more Americans are injured every year playing “non-collision” sports like basketball, baseball — and even bicycling? And it doesn’t take a major-league fastball to cause a dental injury: The highest incidence of sports-related dental injuries occurs in 15-to-18-year-old males. In fact, about one-third of all dental injuries among children stem from various types of sports activities. These injuries may result in countless hours being lost from school and work, and cost significant sums for treatment and restoration.
Mouthguards have a proven track record in reducing dental and facial injuries: They are capable of absorbing the energy of a blow to the mouth, and dissipating it in a way that prevents damage to facial structures and teeth. But not all mouthguards are created equal: Custom-fabricated mouthguards, which are produced from an exact model of your mouth made right here in the dental office, offer by far the best protection. They fit better and safeguard the teeth more fully than any off-the-shelf or “boil-and-bite” type can. Plus, they’re more comfortable to wear. And let’s face it: No mouth guard can protect your teeth if you don’t wear it.
What’s more, some recent studies indicate that custom-made mouthguards may offer significant protection against concussion. An increasing awareness of the dangers that concussion may pose to athletes is one more reason why we recommend custom-made mouthguards to active people and their families.
To get his face guard, Giancarlo Stanton reportedly went to a specialist sporting-goods manufacturer in Illinois, and paid around $1,000. But you can get a custom-made mouthguard for yourself or your loved ones right at our office for a fraction of that price. And the peace of mind it can give you is… priceless.
If you have questions about custom-made mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry” and “Athletic Mouthguards.”
With all the high tech dental tools and treatments available today, plus the staggering array of over the counter hygiene products, it's easy to forget one of the biggest boons to good oral health. It's the simple act of brushing your teeth.
Yes, brushing your teeth, and gums, too, removes bacteria-laden plaque from tooth surfaces and the gums. It also freshens breath and keeps tooth enamel bright and shining.
Tips on Brushing
Doctors Steve Gilbert and Carlos Velez of Gilbert Dental Care in Philadelphia, PA urge all their patients to "brush up" on their tooth brushing technique by reviewing these recommendations:
- Brush teeth and gums two to three times a day for at least two minutes. The American Dental Association says this is the minimal tooth-cleaning schedule. However, it also cautions not to be overly aggressive with the toothbrush or to brush too long as these actions actually break down enamel and abrade the gums.
- Brush with very short, side to side strokes about the width of each tooth. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and slowly proceed around the mouth.
- Use a good quality, soft-bristled toothbrush as recommended by Doctor Gilbert, Doctor Velez or one of their hygienists. It doesn't matter whether you choose manual or electric. Common fluoride toothpaste has great anti-cavity properties, but avoid long-term use of whitening or anti-tartar products. They tend to be too rough on enamel. Make sure all toothpaste and rinses carry the ADA seal of approval.
- Remember to gently brush the tongue, cheeks, gums and the roof of the mouth. All carry plaque and need just as much attention as teeth.
- Divide the mouth into four parts, taking about 30 seconds or so with each. Time yourself for a while to catch the sense of how long you remain on each part of the mouth.
- After use, rinse your toothbrush with hot water and let air dry, preferably away from the germs of the sink and toilet area. Everyone has plenty of oral bacteria, and we don't need to be adding airborne micro-organisms to our toothbrushes.
- Change out your brush every three months or so and immediately after the flu or a cold. Many toothbrushes have color bands which indicate wear. Also, simply checking the bristles for wear and fraying tells you when to get a new one.
- Don't miss back teeth. Intentionally brush all surfaces of back molars. For tongue-side surfaces of upper and lower incisors, hold the brush vertically, and gently clean with an up and down stroke.
- Don't forget to floss. It's a vital part of at-home dental hygiene and a great partner in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease.
It’s hard to imagine, but little more than a century ago today’s “minor” bacterial and viral infections were often deadly. This changed with the advent of antibiotics, drugs which kill disease-causing microbes. Decades after the development of penicillin and similar antibiotics, we routinely rely on them for treating infection. They’re quite prominent in dental care in treating advanced forms of periodontal (gum) disease or reducing bacteria that cause tooth decay.
But the age of antibiotics may be in danger: their overuse in medicine and the food industry has led to the rise of resistant microbial strains — “superbugs” — that no longer respond to first line antibiotics or, in some cases, to second or third line drugs. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates more than two million people annually will contract one of these superbugs of which more than 20,000 will die. If current practices continue, the growth of resistant strains (as well as allergic reactions among users of antibiotics) will increase. The answer is a more modified use of antibiotics.
For healthcare providers, this means adopting new protocols in which we attempt to prescribe antibiotics that specifically target an identified microbe (which we’ve determined through more rigorous diagnostic testing), and in limited amounts. We must also rein in the practice of antibiotic use in the food industry, routinely administered to livestock to prevent disease or to enhance growth. Many countries, including the U.S., are now moving toward a more limited practice in which only animals that are demonstrably sick receive antibiotics. This will limit their release into the greater environment, which is a contributing factor to growing microbial resistance.
Patients also play a role in the better use of antibiotics. We must first change the perception that antibiotics are a “cure-all” — the answer to every illness. It’s also important for patients who’ve been prescribed antibiotics to complete the course of treatment, even if after a day or two they feel better; stopping antibiotic treatment prematurely increases the chances targeted microbes develop a resistance to that particular drug.
Altering our perception and use of antibiotics will require a tremendous effort for all of society. But making these changes will help ensure antibiotics continue to serve humanity as an important health benefit well into the future.