The mouth is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body because it’s exposed to so much germs and other organisms. If something goes wrong with your mouth, then you could have a very serious problem. You might not even realize what went wrong until years later when you’re sick or need medical attention.
Most of us have experienced some sort of dental disease at one time or another. Dental diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms. These infections can cause cavities (holes) in teeth which will eventually lead to decay and loss of tooth structure.
Other types of diseases include periodontal disease (gum disease), gingivitis (inflammation of the lining around the teeth), abscesses (infections that form inside the mouth) and others.
In general, these diseases affect all ages and most commonly occur in children. They can affect any part of the body but they tend to get worse in older adults. The good news is that there are many things you can do to prevent them from occurring.
There are also treatments available if they do occur. For the most part, these diseases are not considered to be fatal and they are often curable if addressed promptly by a medical professional.
The first step in treating any type of mouth disease is to locate the cause and then address it accordingly. If a patient comes in with a swollen, red and painful area on their gums, you may suspect that they are dealing with an abscess (a localized infection that has walls around it). In this case, you may need to lance and drain the area which involves making a small incision in the skin so the pus can be released and drainage can occur.
If the patient is dealing with severe trauma to the mouth such as a burn or a laceration, you would clean and dress the wound accordingly. If a patient is dehydrated, they may require IV therapy to re-hydrate them.
Not all mouth diseases are curable but they can all be managed by a medical professional. It is important that you address the disease appropriately. If left unmanaged, it could get worse or even spread throughout the body.
Most diseases can be cured or managed with proper care and treatment.
We live in an increasingly toxic world and our bodies reflect the toll that environment takes on us. At one time, most of us were exposed to a lot less toxicity than we are today. As a result, our organs are being placed under a lot more stress than ever before.
Many of these toxins are known as carcinogens (substances that cause cancer). As a result, your risk of developing mouth cancer is higher than it once was. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help reduce your risk of mouth cancer or even to help improve your mouth health.
You can start by making sure you visit the dentist on a regular basis. You should visit the dentist within 6 months of the first sign of any dental problem (and no later than 12 months). The dentist can use various tests to detect any signs of mouth cancer or disease.
Periodontal disease is linked to several health risks and conditions including, but not limited to: heart disease, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia (toxemia during pregnancy), rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also linked to low birth weight and preterm birth in babies born to mothers with periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an infection that occurs in the gums and bone that surround the teeth. This infection can lead to destruction of the bone that holds the teeth in place. There are different forms of periodontal disease that range from gingivitis (gum disease) to periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
The earlier you catch and treat these diseases, the easier they are to manage or cure.
If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone destruction which places your natural teeth at risk of falling out. It is common for patients with periodontal disease to have to have teeth pulled and ultimately be put into a situation where dentures or implants are necessary.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth that is allowed to grow out of control. While most people assume this disease only affects people with poor dental hygiene, that is not necessarily true. A variety of things can cause the bacteria to grow out of control such as:
o Having had a previous illness that caused you to be sick for an extended period of time
o Certain medical conditions or medications that keep your body from fighting off infection normally
o Poor dental hygiene such as not brushing and flossing on a regular basis, not visiting the dentist on a regular basis and having missing teeth that allow bacteria to get in the empty space and set up housekeeping
If you are at risk for developing periodontal disease or currently have signs of this disease, there are steps you can take to help prevent further damage and ultimately the loss of your teeth.
o See your dentist on a regular basis. The dentist will be able to catch any signs of periodontal disease early when it is much easier to manage and treat.
o Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a toothpaste that contains the minerals fluoride and/or pyrophosphate. These work to make your enamel stronger and more resistant to bacteria that can attack the teeth.
o Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing not only removes bacteria from between the teeth, but it helps to remove food particles from in-between the teeth where toothbrushes can’t reach.
o Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles are worn down.
o Eat a balanced diet and limit your intake of sugars.
o Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
It is also a good idea to visit your dentist before you become pregnant. The dentist can detect any signs of periodontal disease and make recommendations to improve your dental health before you become pregnant. This is important because the hormones that your body produces when you are pregnant can reduce your body’s ability to fight off infection.
This can cause periodontal disease to progress faster and with more severity. In addition, pregnant women who have periodontal disease are more likely to deliver low birth weight or preterm babies.
If you do have periodontal disease when you become pregnant, there are some steps you can take to minimize the impact on your pregnancy:
o See your dentist on a regular basis and follow their recommendations for improving your dental health.
o Be sure to visit your dentist before you become pregnant to make sure you are in the best possible condition before becoming pregnant.
o During your pregnancy, be sure to clean in and around your teeth at least once a day. This will help to keep the plaque under control.
o Brush and floss at least once a day.
o Be sure to see your dentist on a regular basis even if you are not experiencing any pain or other symptoms.
o During your visit, the dentist may recommend a more intensive cleaning to remove as much of the plaque as possible. This is especially important during the second and third trimesters when the immune system is slightly depressed.
o Take extra care with your teeth when you experience morning sickness. The less time you spend brushing your teeth, the more time the bacteria in your mouth have to multiply.
What are some tips for taking care of your teeth during pregnancy?
Having healthy teeth and gums is important during pregnancy. You may find that you will start having dental issues sometime during your first trimester. The following tips can help, but don’t hesitate to contact your dentist if you are having any issues:
o Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
o Floss at least once a day.
o Use a soft bristled brush or an electric toothbrush if you find that your gums are becoming sensitive.
o If you tend to have swollen or bleeding gums, use a toothpaste that contains the mineral strontium chloride.
What is the difference between a dental dam and a latex glove? Should I be using one over the other when performing anilingus on my partner?
Dental dams are made of thin latex and are used to prevent the transfer of bacteria during certain mouth to genital encounters. They can also be placed over the genital area to prevent the transfer of bacteria during cunnilingus or anilingus (rimming). They do NOT protect against STI’s or HIV transmission. An easy way to remember this is “latex for lay, not latex for lay.” Always remember that!
Dental dams are more widely available at your local drug store than latex gloves and are less expensive. However, most people find that the latex gloves make the experience more pleasurable for their partners. If you do decide to use latex gloves, be sure to use powder free ones because the powder can be a pain (literally) for your partner.
Also, be sure to remove the gloves before putting them in your mouth because many of them have a plastic taste which can be an issue for some sensitive palates.
If you don’t have a dental dam, a piece of latex or nitrile glove can be substituted. Some people are concerned about whether or not to use gloves that have been worn and those that are for one time use. There is little difference between the two.
However, if you’re really concerned about your partner’s potential sensitivity to the gloves, you could mark a new pair with an “S” for side one and an “A” for inside out so that you don’t get them mixed up.
How do I arrange toys in my toy chest in a way that will prevent them from becoming contaminated and causing infection or yeast infection?
If you are storing your toys in a dresser, it’s important to keep them in a place that keeps them separate from your underwear. It’s best to keep them in some sort of container (example: a small chest with a lid or even a Tupperware container will work). If you have room in your dresser, you can loosely pack your underwear in the bottom and place your toy storage container on top of that so that there is still some air flow. If you keep your toys in a container, it’s best to place that container somewhere that will allow for air flow as well.
The safest way to clean your toys is to use hot water and antibacterial soap. If you have access to a dishwasher (not all of us do) that would be the safest way to clean them because the heat from the water will kill most bacteria. If you do not have access to a dishwasher, antibacterial soap will do the trick.
You want to make sure that you get inside and around any cracks or crevices your toy has. If you’re particularly worried about bacteria or yeast growing on your toys, you can also add a 1/2 cup of bleach to the water (just don’t mix it with any other clothing because it will also bleach those!). Be sure to rinse them thoroughly before you use them again.
When drying your toys, it’s important that you dry them completely before storing so that mold or mildew doesn’t have an opportunity to grow. A lot of people store their toys in Ziploc bags, but these can actually promote the growth of certain types of fungus if they aren’t dried out completely (what you don’t want inside of you, you probably don’t want growing on the outside either). If you dry your toys, it’s best to place them in some sort of cotton bag or even loosely wrap them in a wash cloth.
Is it okay to let someone use one of my dildos?
Yes, it’s okay to let someone use one of your dildos. It’s also okay to not let someone use one of your dildos. Your dildos are YOUR dildos. You should never feel obligated to let someone use one of your toys or else they’d stop being special and the fun would be gone. You should only let someone use one if you want to. It’s really that simple. Certain people will have a preference as to which one they want you to let them use, but again, it’s always your choice.
Of course, there’s a catch here. If you allow someone to play with one of your dildos and they break it (which has happened to me before with a former partner), don’t be surprised if they blame you for breaking it or say that it was old and worn out. Trust me, I’ve heard them all and it’s just something that you’re going to have to deal with.
Just pretend that their mother is standing in front of you and apply all the standard techniques for dealing with these situations. It’s really not all that bad and you’ll feel better afterwards.
How do I let people know that they can use my dildos? Is there a way to signal this without verbal communication?
Unfortunately, there is no universal sign for using someone else’s dildo so you’re going to have to talk about it. You can either bluntly ask them if they’d like to use one, or you can be a little more subtle by saying something like “You know, I have this great dildo that I’d love to use on you if you’d like”. This latter approach seems to work better for most people, especially those who are embarrassed about using someone else’s toys.
If their eyes light up and they start jumping up and down yelling “Pick me! Pick me!” then you know they’re definitely interested.
However, if they look at you with a blank stare, this may be a sign that they don’t want to use your toy. In this case, you could try the blunt approach and ask them if they’d like to use it anyway. If they still say no then you’ll at least know not to bring the topic up again in the future.
Why is it that when I want to use someone else’s dildo they’re always busy?
It’s probably because they don’t want you to use it. If you ask anyway, they’ll just give you the excuse that they’re busy. Of course, there are people out there who will use your toys as a way of avoiding having to play with you at all so if this happens then it’s best to just remove them from your circle of friends or even better, don’t let them borrow your toys in the first place.
What about lesbian or gay men? Can they use your dildos too?
It’s not a perfect science but if you think back to the “do they want me to ask” scenario, just substitute it with “do they want to have gender specific genitals”. If a lesbian wants to use your dildo then by all means let her but if a gay man is interested in your toys then you should probably just offer to play with them manually instead.
A related question that I often get is whether or not you should use condoms when sharing toys with other people. The answer is that it’s up to you. If you’re sharing toys with a steady partner then it’s really up to you and them to decide if you’re going to use one, especially since they’re the ones who are most likely to catch something from your shared toy.
If you’re playing with a stranger then it’s up to you to decide whether or not to use protection. If you’re going to play with them multiple times then you might want to consider using one since you don’t know their sexual history. However, if it’s just a one time thing then the decision is entirely up to you.
Are there any special cleaning instructions for your toys?
Not really. Just wash them with soap and hot water after you’re done using them. For my non-porous toys, I like to add a quarter cap full of bleach to a full load of laundry (be sure to always use gloves when handling bleach) but this isn’t really necessary if you’re going to use your toys right away. It’s more just a way of killing any potential icky spores that might be lingering on the surface.
I’ve also heard that you can use 10% vinegar and water in a spray bottle to sterilize toys but I don’t like to use this method as much since it tends to deteriorate certain materials (like jelly rubber) over time.
But I barely have enough room in my dorm room for my clothes and textbooks!
How am I supposed to store all these toys?
This is a common misconception that I wish people would stop spreading. You do not need to have a room entirely devoted to your toys. In fact, it’s best to only keep your most used and favorite toys out in the open. The rest can go in a box (preferably in a closet) and only take them out when you’re going to play with them.
Sources & references used in this article:
Contact ulcers and granulomas of the larynx: new insights into their etiology as a basis for more rational treatment by PH Ward, D Zwitman, D Hanson… – … –Head and Neck …, 1980 – journals.sagepub.com
An Account of the sore throat attended with ulcers by J Fothergill – 1751 – books.google.com
Persistent oral ulcers and sore throat by CN Sang, JP Joyce, ER Farmer – Archives of dermatology, 1991 – jamanetwork.com
Unusual esophageal ulcers containing enveloped viruslike particles in homosexual men by L Rabeneck, WJ Boyko, DM McLean, WA McLeod… – Gastroenterology, 1986 – Elsevier
An Account of the Sore Throat Attended with Ulcers: A Disease which Hath of Late Years Appeared in this City, and in Several Parts of the Nation. By John … by J Fothergill – 1748 – books.google.com