Good dental care is a long-term investment in one's general health and quality of life.  The following are
selected topics of oral and dental diseases that are related to diseases of other systems or vice versa

1. Is fetal health affected by a mother's oral health during pregnancy?
2. How early does a child need dental care?
3. What's the major dental problem in teenagers and adolescents?
4. What causes bad breath (Halitosis)?
5. Does fluoridation in drinking water benefit my teeth?
6. What is fluoride varnish and is it safe?
7. What is
evidence-based dentistry (EBD)?

1. Is fetal health affected by a mother's oral health during pregnancy?

It has been suspected that periodontal disease (infection of the gum) in women during pregnancy may
cause pre-term birth of the fetus. The first link of premature birth and mother's was confirmed in a
recent issue of
Dentistry Today (May 2006). Researchers found bacterial strain in the amniotic fluid
that are normally found in oral cavity, on a 37-year-old mother who gave birth to a low-weight
premature fetus at 24 weeks.

2. How early does a child need dental care?

As soon as the baby's teeth appear, decay comes along. Parents should routinely check their baby's
teeth which should have one kind of color, and clean them at least once a day, particularly before sleep.
Current dental professional suggests that tooth decay can be in part protected with fluoride contained in
drinking water or in tooth paste. Feed your baby with healthy foods instead of sugar-additive candies
and cookies. Give water only to your baby before sleep and allow no sucking with a bottle other than
water, as milk, formula, juices, and other sweet drinks all contain sugar in them which cause tooth
decay. Bring your child to the dentist for the first check up at 12 months of age or when the first tooth
erupts whichever comes first.

For more information regarding children before age 5, please see FAQ # 6 and visit
12345 First Smile

3. What's the major dental problem in teenagers and adolescents?

Tooth decay continues to be the major problem for this group of people. The best way of combat the
problem is to brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean daily with floss. Eat
foods that are nutritious and well-balanced, and limit eating snacks. Visit one' dentist on a regular basis
for professional cleanings and oral examinations, and ask about use of supplemental fluoride and dental
sealants (a plastic coating on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay).

4. What causes bad breath (Halitosis)?

Bad breath is a problem that bathers teenagers and people of other age groups. Two major factors
contribute to bad breath: preference for certain foods and/or tobacco use, and medical conditions such
as periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth, and other health problems. Garlic, onions, and other foods
that contain strong odors, though themselves are very healthy, should be avoided at least 12 hours
before going to public gatherings. If food factor is eliminated, then bad breath is a warning sign of gum
disease, which is caused by plaque, the sticky and colorless film of bacteria that forms on teeth. The
bacteria produced toxins irritate the gums and separate it from teeth. If left untreated, the gums, bone
and other structures that support the teeth will be damaged. So, it is important to have regular dental
checkups, and your dentist can detect and treat periodontal disease at an early stage.

5. Does fluoridation in drinking water benefit my teeth?

Extensive research suggests that optimal amount of fluoride in drinking water and other sources such
toothpaste and mouth rinse can reduce tooth cavity in children and adults. Leading health organizations,
including the
American Dental Association (ADA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all support community water
fluoridation. It should point out that purified bottled water does NOT contain any fluoride.

National Research Council (NRC) released its report, Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific
Review of EPA's Standard
, on March 22, 2006. The purpose of this report is to make
recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on whether the current maximum
contaminant level goal (MCLG) of 4 mg/L (equivalent to parts per million or ppm) protects children and
others from adverse health effects. The NRC committee did not examine the health risks or benefits of
fluoridation of water at levels recommended for preventing tooth decay. The current range for water
fluoridation of community water systems is 0.7 to 1.2 ppm (mg/L). It is considered as safe and
effective for preventing tooth decay.

However, some dentists and advocates oppose the addition of fluoride in drinking waters, for example,
dentist Hardy Limeback, PhD, DDS, head of preventive dentistry at the University of Toronto calls it
"one of the top 10 mistakes of the 21st century". A cover story entitled "Danger in Your Water" in the
August 2006 issue of
Prevention magazine, suggests a possible link between fluoride and osteosarcoma
(a rare form of bone cancer), lower IQs, and osteoporosis.

While the debate of fluoridation in community drinking water will no doubt continue before any action
will be taken, an important issue is that more and more people are using bottled water and drinking
water purified from municipal water, both of which contain no or lower than labeled levels of fluoride
according to a government
report. Furthermore, caries reduction by fluoride only delays the process,
thus it is important for people at all ages to have regular dental checks/exams to discover caries at an
early stage, and for children to receive fluoride varnish (see below) when tooth decalcification is

6. What is fluoride varnish and is it safe?

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that contains 5% sodium fluoride and is applied on teeth to help
protect it from new cavities and stop cavities that had already started.

Yes, fluoride varnish is safe and only a very small amount is applied. This method of has been used in
Europe for more than 30 years and is approved by the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is
endorsed by the
American Dental Association (ADA).

7. What is evidence-based dentistry (EBD)?

The American Dental Association (ADA) defines the term as follows:

Evidence-based dentistry (EBD) is an approach to oral health care that requires the judicious integration
of systematic assessments of clinically relevant scientific evidence, relating to the patient's oral and
medical condition and history, with the dentist's clinical expertise and the patient's treatment needs and

In adopting this definition for EBD, the ADA recognizes that treatment recommendations should be
tailored for each patient by his or her dentist, and that patient preferences should be taken into account
in all decisions. The treatment planning should also consider dentist experience and other
circumstances, such as patients' characteristics. EBD does not provide a "cookbook" that dentists must
follow, nor does it establish a standard of care. The EBD process must not be used to interfere in the
dentist/patient relationship, nor is it to be used solely as a cost-containment tool by third-party payers.
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