The Teeth & Kidney Connection

Post by: Gerarda on 15 Mar 2021

March is National Kidney Month, a time when people take part in activities to raise awareness about kidney disease. While this year’s focus is on “taking charge of your health and the many factors that go into managing your kidney disease”, my focus is on teeth and kidney disease.

Despite the fact that chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1.7 million people in Europe and 37 million people in America, it is often overlooked until symptoms appear. By that time it is usually very advanced. CKD is progressive and can put a person at risk for other serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones and of course kidney failure.

Although good dental care is important for everyone, it is especially so for people with kidney disease.

Cavities and gum disease are chronic bacterial infection. It is essential for everyone to have these treated, but even more so for someone with kidney disease. If left untreated oral bacteria and inflammation don’t stay in the mouth, but travel throughout the body, especially if you have a weak immune system. Chronic infections create continuous inflammation which is especially harmful to people with kidney disease.

Along with screening for all types of infections, even a dental check-up is required for any person being evaluated for a kidney transplant. That is how important infection and inflammation are to the transplant process. If problems are identified during the examination, the kidney transplant will be delayed or even cancelled depending on the severity of them.

It is important to remember what might start out being a minor infection for a healthy person could become a major problem for someone with kidney disease. Infections in the body that are normally helped by the body´s natural healing system of inflammation cause serious harm in CKD patients who have prolonged or chronic infection. Anti-rejection medication used after a transplant weakens the body´s defenses against infection.

If you have kidney disease, are on dialysis, have had a kidney transplant or in the screening process, it is important that you tell your dentist.

The Bitter Truth of Lemons

Post by: Gerarda on 10 Mar 2021

The biggest delinquent in tooth erosion (loss of tooth enamel) is acidic drinks. People are constantly being told that drinking the juice of a lemon the first thing in the morning is a great detox for the liver or the gastrointestinal tract. What you are not told is the fact that lemon is a highly acidic food. While lemon might be good for your digestive system and a good source for Vitamin C it is not good for your teeth.

If you must drink lemon juice, drink it with 250ml of warm water (not hot) to lessen the acidity. After drinking the lemon water, rinse your mouth with water immediately. This removes any acid that may remain on the tooth surface and reduces the acidity of your saliva.

DO NOT brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after drinking the lemon water.

Use a soft toothbrush with a fluoride toothpaste (fluoride strengthens tooth enamel) and brush gently. The acid in the juice softens tooth enamel and makes it more prone to erosion during brushing.

 

The Pandemic and Your Teeth

Post by: Gerarda on 28 Oct 2020

We have noticed a marked increase in broken teeth and sore jaws with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems since the pandemic of COVID-19 started and people were in lockdown; enough to warrant more than a passing thought. The need for mouth guards to prevent people from grinding and clenching their teeth is correspondingly up.

The Spanish Dental Association (Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Dentistas de Málaga, COEMA) hasn’t done a survey to verify this increase in dental problems since the pandemic started, but reports from colleagues of pandemic-related dental problems are common says Dr. Mikael Kahn. Mikael says, “Bacteria doesn’t take a break, nor does it know there is pandemic! One can postpone dental treatment for a while, but sooner or later it gets to a point where one can´t put it off any more.”

The combination of being in lockdown and therefore, delaying treatment, the stress of being without a job or wondering how one will pay one’s rent, or the fact that one has adverse working conditions, has caused the problems of broken teeth and sore jaws.

We are seeing the amount of stress people are under, having a severe impact on their teeth because of clenching and grinding. This in turn has created problems with their jaw and TMJ. Additionally, with people working from home more often than not they don’t have appropriate chairs to sit in for long periods of time and therefore, are hunched over at their computers. This in turn can increase grinding (bruxism).

In addition to stress and delayed care, we are seeing more cavities as people are snacking more because they are working from home and have ready access to foods that they would not ordinarily have at work. Consequently, people are also brushing less frequently. When people get out of their routines, many times the oral hygiene follows suit.

Having reviewed our records from the same period as last year from June to October, we have seen a 54% increase in the need for mouth guards, 87% increase in broken teeth treated either by composite repair or crowns and a 12% increase in treatment for cavities.

While we can´t say definitively that these statistics are a direct result of the lockdown we experienced in the spring, we can say that we have treated more broken teeth and TMJ problems than ever before during the same period.

What to Expect From a Dental Appointment

Post by: Gerarda on 15 Oct 2020

When you visit a dentist for the first time for an examination (check-up) or if you have an appointment for a specific problem, the dentist will ask you various questions about your symptoms. Some include:

• What is the problem?
• How long have you had the symptoms?
• Have your symptoms been constant or sporadic?
• How often do you brush your teeth?
• Do you brush before breakfast or after?
• Do you use dental floss? How often?
• How often do you visit a dentist?
• What if any medical conditions do you have?
• Has your health changed over the last year?
• What medications do you take? Take a list with dosages.

Make notes if you have sporadic symptoms as sometimes we think we will remember how we felt, but over time we forget. It is important for the dentist to know under which circumstances you have pain.

If you have pain on the day of your appointment try not to take a pain reliever too close to your appointment as it can mask your symptoms. Sometimes the pain is so unbearable though that you need to take something. If that is the case by all means do so. With pain on that level the dentist will diagnose the problem anyway.

Remember a visit to the dentist is not something to fear. The dentist and hygienist are there to help and make your visit as pleasant as possible.

Take control of your oral health by scheduling regular appointments for a check-up and clean.

 

 

The New Normal

Post by: Gerarda on 17 Aug 2020

Coming for a dental appointment will look a little different from your pre-COVID-19 appointment. Now when you book an appointment it takes more than the two minutes it did in the past. Before being given an appointment patients are screened for their health and travel history. Following the Spanish Dental Association guidelines we also inform you of our new protocols before coming to the clinic, such as:

  • come to your appointment unaccompanied, unless you need assistance
  • take your temperature when you arrive
  • give you plastic bags for your mask and personal belongings
  • give you a set of shoe covers to wear before you enter
  • wash your hands with soap and water
  • use alcohol gel
  • sign applicable forms

When you arrive at the clinic you will see that everyone is dressed in PPE. There is a series of protocols and they are put in place for a reason. That reason is to keep you as patients safe, to keep our staff safe and to keep patients who come after you safe as well.

That is only part of the new normal before your dental treatment. When you go into the surgery there is also a set of protocols before treatment.

Rest assured we are providing an environment that is as safe as possible to minimise the risk of COVID-19 contagion.