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Going Away to School? Remember the Toothbrush

Are you excited to leave high school behind and start your life anew in college? Are you excited to exercise your newfound independence in a university? Are you ready to meet new friends and brave new adventures in college?

When you begin packing for college, make a list, so you don’t forget anything you might need. For example, you might need a lamp by your bed in college. You might need a throw rug. When compiling your list, don’t forget the essentials. You don’t want to forget your toothbrush and oral care products, especially if the university is far away from home and not near shops. Usually, shops are five to 15 miles off campus, so you have to plan your shopping, but most college bookstores have these items. The problem with college bookstores is they can be higher priced than a local pharmacy.

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Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your dental care. These items are light, easy to carry and could just fit in a pouch so you don’t have to worry about excess luggage.

1. Toothbrush

A toothbrush may be just a little thing so it’s easy to forget, but it is a very essential to maintain your oral health and keep you feeling good about yourself. Remember, that a beautiful smile can be one of your weapons for braving your first day of classes and in meeting new friends.

Invest in a good toothbrush with soft bristles. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, if not after every meal. When using your toothbrush, remember that you have to brush not only your teeth, but also your gums, cheeks and tongue.

2. Toothpaste

Choose a toothpaste that is rich in fluoride and other minerals that can help strengthen your teeth and protect them from bacteria, plaque and tooth decay. It’s also an added bonus if your toothpaste has teeth whitening properties.

3. Dental Floss

Many dental experts, like Dr. Aaron Nicholas of Nicholas Dental Care, recommend their patients to floss at least once a day. Brushing your teeth is not enough as food particles can become stuck in between, around and at the back of your teeth where only dental floss can go.

4. Mouthwash

Mouthwashes or dental rinses are not only used for getting rid of bad breath, but also for fighting and preventing gingivitis, tooth decay, tartar, plaque and bacteria in the mouth.

5. Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter drugs for dental pain must also be included in your dental kit. You don’t know if when you’ll have a toothache, so it’s better to be prepared for unexpected events until you’re able to get to a dental clinic for a more thorough investigation, diagnosis and treatment.

If you have any dental problems when away at college, you can contact Dr. Aaron Nicholas for any treatment or procedure. The team of dental care professionals at Nicholas Dental Care will provide you with the dental care that you need to prepare you for College. Call us today at (301) 917-3844 to book your appointment!

The Link Between Heart Disease and Oral Health

Heart Disease and Oral HealthImage courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Did you know paying close attention to your dental health and hygiene can directly impact the rest of your body? Though this theory makes sense, it is also surprisingly difficult to prove. There are multiple mouth and body connections and tracking all the mechanisms gets tricky. However, after decades of research science is finally beginning to unravel the complexities. There is one connection in particular researchers have particular interest in; the link between the health of your mouth and the condition of your heart. Read on to find out why having your “heart in your throat,” might be more than just a simple expression.

Say Ahhh!

Physicians and dentists can tell a lot about your overall well-being by looking at the condition of your mouth. It can relay information about acid reflux, eating disorders, infections and more. However, the mouth not only reveals secrets about what is going on throughout the rest of your body, but also the health of your mouth can directly impact your health. Are you taking care of your teeth? If not, it could impact so much more than just your teeth.

The Problem With Periodontal Infection (Gum Disease)

People walk around with serious infections in their mouths all the time. In fact, Dr.  Susan Karabin, a New York periodontist says that gum disease often equates in size to the palms of both your hands. “If you had an infection that size on your thigh, you’d be hospitalized.” But few people pay attention to gum disease or any infection in their mouths for that matter. Why is that? Often it is because they are unaware of how serious these diseases can be.

Two Types of Plaque

To make the heart and mouth connection more clear, take a look at these two types of plaque.

1. Tooth Plaque

The plaque on your teeth is a sticky biofilm made up of saliva, bacteria, acid and food particles. It readily collects along the gumline causing irritation and an immune response. In the early stages gums swell, bleed and look redder. Then, if left alone for too long, the condition worsens. Pockets along the gumline deepen, bone and connective tissue starts to dissolve and teeth shift or fall out of place. Infection travels deeper and gains direct access to the bloodstream.

2. Arterial Plaque

The plaque that deposits on the inner walls of the arteries is mostly made up of fats and other substances. They build up and cause blockages that could lead to heart attack or stroke. The interesting note however is many species of bacteria that contribute to gum disease have been found in heart plaque.

Why Is Gum Disease Linked to Heart Disease

Again, the exact relationship is difficult to determine, but because scientists found the same bacteria in both types of plaque they have come up with two main theories. These are:

First Theory: Sticky Tooth Plaque Makes Sticky Heart Plaque
Bacteria colonize in the mouth and form a web-like barrier with extracellular DNA. This sticky biofilm protects the bacteria and keeps them anchored in place. This same bacteria enter the bloodstream through the gums. From there the same principle applies and the bacteria adhere to the fatty plaques that contribute to blockages in the arteries.

Second Theory: Bacteria Causes an Inflammatory Response

This theory capitalizes on the idea that bacteria in the mouth produce acids and cause an inflammatory response in both the gums and the arteries. The main difference is gum inflammation leads to gums pulling away from teeth whereas arterial inflammation constricts the passageways and reduces blood flow.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Heart?

Though there is still a question about the exact relationship, there certainly is a proven link between gum disease and heart disease. It doesn’t particularly matter, which comes first as far as cause and effect, it matters that you understand how important oral health is for overall health. If you have been putting off your visit to the dentist, now is the time to get back in the chair.