Oral health overview

Margaret Brackett - Contributing Columnist

Dr. Mary Tepper, dentist with S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs Pee Dee Center and Saleeby Dental Clinics in Florence County, will be spokesperson this week for an interview about oral health that assures well-being and dental points for readers to achieve dental health for their families.

The first point of discussion is the importance of good dental health to someone who has diabetes. The patient must maintain excellent oral hygiene. Usually, a morning appointment is advised for the diabetic patient. Individuals can be more prone to oral candidiasis —‘thrush’ This can look like cottage cheese on the tongue and cheeks. When the white is wiped away, there is usually bleeding. Candidiasis can be painful. Do not confuse with coated tongue which just needs more thorough brushing.

A person with asthma should maintain good dental health. The patient should rinse the mouth after using an inhaler.

Patients receiving treatment for cancer are given this advice. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can cause dry mouth which leaves teeth very prone to decay. There are several companies that have products which help alleviate dry mouth. It is important to have necessary extractions prior to this therapy. The extraction sites need to have adequate healing prior to the start of the therapy.

Many people have sensitive teeth. The sensitive portion of the tooth is the dentin. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth works by sealing the dentinal tubules.


Conventional “Full” dentures—made and placed in the patient’s mouth after the remaining teeth have been removed and tissues have healed.

Immediate Dentures—Complete dentures and partial dentures are inserted as soon as the remaining teeth are removed. The denture wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing.

Recommendation for diet with new dentures/partials—Begin with eating soft foods, cut foods into small pieces, chew slowly, chew using both sides of the mouth, be careful with hot and hard foods. You may have to change your diet. Don’t wear your dentures to sleep and clean your dentures after eating.

Speaking—For Pronunciation—Practice reading aloud, practice saying certain words. Teeth affect the way you look, the way you talk, and the way you eat. This is important!

Dental adhesives can be helpful. Some people will use a lot of denture adhesives in a poorly fitting denture when a new denture is indicated. This is not healthy for the mouth. Use pea-size amounts of denture adhesive or a thin strip of adhesive.

Strict Adherence to Products Instructions—The zinc contained in dental adhesives can be an issue if used in excessive amounts. The excessive overture of zinc-containing denture adhesives can be associated with development of copper deficiency. Completely remove adhesive from denture daily.

Dental Care—clean/brush dentures over a sink or basin filled with water to prevent breakage. The best way to clean dentures is to use an American Dental Association accepted denture cleaner. If not available and as a last resort use a mild soap/or mild dish wash liquid. Do not use bleach to clean dentures. When dentures are not in use, place in water or denture cleanser soaking solution. It is not good to wrap dentures in a napkin or put them in cup. This makes it easy to throw away. For adjustments and repairs, see your dentist. Avoid do-it yourself-repairs.

Reline—uses the existing denture, refits the denature base. The reline procedure often has to be done after a person has an immediate denture or if tissue changes have occurred. At times, a rebase is recommended. Rebase—involves making a new denture base.

Mouth Care—People who are without natural teeth still need to take care of their mouths. Thorough brushing the tongue is especially important. Dental care for people who wear dentures is important. Regular dental checkups are recommended to check for proper fit of dentures and check for signs of oral disease.

Bleeding gums—This indicates need for better oral hygiene. The oral hygiene needs to be improved. See a dentist to establish good dental health.

Tooth brushing prior to bedtime is very important. Lack of tooth brushing allows for the acids or sugar to breakdown the tooth structure, resulting in tooth decay. We need tooth brushing because there is a long time between bedtime and waking.

Additional Dental Information:—Always use a soft bristle toothbrush. The soft bristles is kindest to the gums tissue and enamel surface of the teeth, A hard bristle brush will wear away the enamel and make your teeth sensitive. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months. You can go by replacing a toothbrush by the seasons. If you have had an illness, replace the toothbrush. It is important to remember that prevention in dentistry is best— Prevention is less expensive and less extensive. It is very important to establish a dental home.


Margaret Brackett

Contributing Columnist

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.