Love Your Heart With A Healthy Mouth!

Healthy gums reduce your risk for systemic inflammation and might be good for your heart as well! Through studies, the American Heart Association (AHA) supports that there is an association between periodontal disease and heart disease. Their findings join previous conclusions of the American Academy of Periodontology along with statements published in the American Journal of Cardiology and by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The relationship between the two diseases seems to be the result of chronic inflammation. Development of cardiovascular disease in some patients can be triggered by the inflammation of gum disease. Like many serious diseases, periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are both complex diseases that develop over time and can stem from a number of factors.

For example, tremendous research has been devoted to breast cancer. Still, no one can say for sure what causes it to develop. Although certain risk factors increase one’s potential, a direct link is unknown. The same dilemma exists with periodontal disease and coronary artery disease. While it’s known that gum disease inflammation triggers a reaction in the coronary system, pinpointing how the process leads to heart disease is yet undetermined.

The American Heart Association does point out, however, the association is real and independent of shared risk factors, such as smoking, being overweight or having a family history of heart disease. Just because we don’t have all the answers at this time, the AHA warns of the increased risk and encourages reducing the potential of developing periodontal disease.

Additional long-term studies are needed to better understand the relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. For now, just know that healthy gums help to minimize harmful inflammation in the body and therefore reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

For those who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, prompt treatment is advised to restore your gums to a healthy state. Periodontal disease only worsens without treatment and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, in addition to health risks throughout the body. Early symptoms include gums that bleed easily when brushing, swollen gums that are tender and red, and persistent bad breath.

Baby Boomers Should Pay Attention To Oral Symptoms

While baby boomers are cautious about some symptoms that can signal serious health conditions, an Academy of General Dentistry survey found that 63% of ages 45 to 64 were unaware that symptoms in their mouths may be linked to a more serious condition.

For instance:
• Bad breath and bleeding gums can indicate diabetes. – The American Diabetes Association reports that 90 to 95% of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes, which usually begins after age 45. Unfortunately, only 29% of the baby boomers surveyed were aware of this connection.

• After the age of 45, the risk of developing heart disease triples. – According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading killer of Americans. While a sore and painful jaw can be a warning sign that a heart attack may be looming, a whopping 60% surveyed did not identify these symptoms as warning signs.

Researchers believe that certain diseases often manifest themselves in the mouth. The survey revealed that 25% of baby boomers, although unaware of the connection of these symptoms, had experienced at least one of the symptoms they ignored.

We encourage our patients to share any oral change or symptom they’ve experienced at every hygiene visit. These check-ups are not only designed to keep your teeth and gums healthy, they can help you pinpoint areas that may require medical care.

Red Wine Enables You To Toast ‘To Your Health!’

Research has suggested that moderate drinking could be good for your heart. Various studies show, for most people, that just 5 ounces of red wine a day could contribute to:

• Gum Health: The antioxidants help destroy bacteria, reducing the risk for gum disease.

• Bone Health: Alcohol can affect the hormone estrogen, leading to increased bone density.

• Heart Health: By helping to prevent aortic stiffness, alcohol can work against cardiovascular disease.

• Mental Health: By keeping blood vessels supple, the supply of oxygen to the brain increases from the effects of moderate amounts of alcohol.

Sources of the studies include the New England Journal of Medicine, American Association of Dental Research, and Annals of Rheumatic Disease.

Patients’ Excuses For NOT Flossing!

We’ve heard every excuse under the sun as to why folks don’t, or ‘can’t,’ floss! And for each, the benefits of flossing outweigh the gripes in every instance. Here are some reasons and why each just don’t fly!

“My hands are too big.” Our Response: Floss holders are available. These are especially helpful for people with dexterity problems, such as arthritis sufferers.

“My gums bleed.” Our Response: Gums that are red, swollen, or bleed easily indicate gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease. This should be treated immediately. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss and will only worsen if not treated.

“I have my teeth cleaned twice a year, so I don’t need to floss.” Our Response: In less than two days, plaque on teeth can turn into calculus. To remove calculus, a professional cleaning is required. The easiest way to prevent calculus is through daily flossing that takes very little time and energy.

“My teeth are too tight for the floss.” Our Response: Waxed or polymer floss is recommended for people with tight spaces between teeth.

“Flossing takes too long.” Our Response: Once you are in the habit of daily flossing and are good at the technique, the time involved is a minute or two. This investment of time can save you much in dental care to repair gum problems and cavities.

“I may damage my gums when flossing.” Our Response: Technique is important and will be reviewed with you during your regular hygiene appointment.

We want to help you become a Super Flosser! Ask for instructions at your next visit!

Insurance Coverage For Dental Implants

Dental insurance policies cover some basic oral health needs, such as filling a cavity, as well as routine care of check-ups and cleanings. However, it’s important to remember that insurance companies are in the business to make a profit. It is up to you to ensure your needs are being proactively met for your long-term oral health. Because insurance companies seek to cover ‘basic’ needs with the least expense to them, Dental Implants are often not covered by many group insurance policies.

Dental Implants are an upfront expense, meaning the total cost occurs at the time of treatment. For example, the treatment fee for those who select Dental Implants is higher than those who opt for a three unit crown & bridge. However, Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime. Therefore, future expenses are not incurred.

Insurance companies realize the probability that you will change insurances in time. By providing coverage for only the crown-&-bridge, they are hoping they won’t be covering you for future needs that may include a broken bridge, root canals and replacement crowns. And, if you are on their plan when these incidences occur, there is a limit to what they’ll cover in any given year, regardless.

The fact that Dental implants are not covered by many policies has nothing to do with their effectiveness. It has more to do with what gives these companies (not you) the best deal. When health care decisions are made based upon what is in your long-term best interest rather than the bottom-line of an insurance company, your oral well-being will serve you well through an overall healthier you!

Advantages of Dental Implants Vs. A Bridge

While a bridge or partial will initially cost more than having Dental Implants, I put strong emphasis on ‘initially’ for several reasons.

Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime. They are held in the jaw bone, just like natural tooth roots. This means that they do not rely on adjacent teeth for support. Leaving natural teeth untouched, rather than crown them merely to support a bridge, provides a significant long-term benefit to your oral health.

Additionally, Dental Implants will never need (or cause the need for) a root canal or repair of cavities. It is a fact that the teeth adjacent to a missing tooth are most likely next in line to require removal. Since Dental Implants replace missing teeth using the natural foundation of your jaw bone, this removes the vulnerability of adjacent teeth.

Another benefit is how Dental Implants look and feel like your own teeth. Once placed, Dental Implants integrate into the structure of your bone. Through this, they help to prevent the bone loss and gum recession that often accompany bridgework and partials.

Over time, this bone loss is obvious through changes in facial appearance. Bone loss contributes to deep wrinkles around the mouth, causing the corners of the mouth to turn downward even in a smile.

Because some people prefer to keep their Dental Implant treatment a private issue, no one ever need know that you have implant-supported teeth. Some implant systems allow you to remove attached teeth, but many are non-removable. These types mean you’ll never have to remove your teeth from your mouth again. You’ll be able to wake up with a smile and brush your implanted teeth along with your natural teeth!

Even more important, for most people, is how Dental Implants restore the ability to speak and eat with comfort and confidence. Since they are held by the jaw bone, Implants are secure, stable and eliminate irksome clicks and movement without messy pastes and adhesives. They enable you to eat a healthy selection of foods you love and speak and laugh confidently in social settings.

The success rate of Dental Implants is excellent. Properly selected, placed and maintained, this lifetime solution makes them a wise choice when it comes to tooth replacement. By comparing Dental Implants to a bridge based on the long-term advantages rather than initial costs, Dental Implants are an excellent investment.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs, call 1-855-9-Smiles.

Injectable Contraceptives Could Affect Periodontal Health

A recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology has shown that users of the injectable contraceptive DMPA had increased incidences of gum disease, ranging from Gingivitis to the most severe form, Periodontitis. DMPA is administered every three months. Study participants were non-pregnant women aged 15-44, including current users of DMPA, past users, or those with no usage of DMPA.

The study found that current and past DMPA users had significantly increased periodontal pockets and gingival bleeding than women who have never used DMPA. Current users were more likely to have Gingivitis, while past DMPA users were more likely to have Periodontitis.

Periodontal disease affects gum tissue and the bone that supports teeth. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, causes red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Research has associated gum disease with other diseases in the body, such as diabetes, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

If you are currently taking DMPA or have used it in the past, be aware that you may have higher risk for periodontal disease. In addition to staying committed to your at-home oral regimen, maintain your 6-month check-ups and cleanings with diligence. And, please make us aware of this at your next visit. We want to enhance your oral health as a benefit to your overall well-being!

Just A Couple Of Minutes For Lifelong Rewards!

Suppose you learned that an investment of 2 minutes per day could save you hundreds (thousands even!) of dollars, give you fresher breath and decrease your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Is a minute or two a day worth all this?

People who floss their teeth on a daily basis add, on average, 10 years to their lifespans. And, once you’re in the habit of flossing, it becomes a seemingly simple task. Daily flossers also like the great feeling it creates that it’s definitely noticeable when flossing is skipped for even a day.

Our hygienists have heard every excuse under the sun from those who resist flossing. Yet, once people get into the habit, it becomes effortless and can be accomplished in about a minute.

Join the gang! You, too, can be a super flosser! Our Hygienists will show you how and help make this easy and comfortable. Just ask at your next check-up or call 1-855-9-Smiles to arrange an exam and cleaning so your mouth has a great foundation to get you started. Each Hygienist is happy to help you with your ‘beginners’ technique. Within a week or so, you’ll find flossing is a habit you’ll be proud to keep, even day!

All-On-4 Implants Ideal For Those With Severe Bone Loss

If you’re a long-time denture wearer, you’ve likely experienced bone loss. For those who sleep in their denture, the added 24/7 pressure on the bone ridge accelerates this rate of bone loss.

When natural tooth roots are no longer held by the jaw bone, the bone begins to lose height and width. To see the extent of bone loss you have experienced, look in a mirror without your denture in place. Does your mouth have a sunken-in appearance and deep wrinkles around your lips? Also, compare photos from when you were first fitted for a denture to now. Does your chin seem more pointed and does your nose appear closer to your chin? This facial collapse is a sign of severe bone loss and will only worsen. Unless, however, you recreate stimulation to the bone, which is just one of the many advantages of dental implants.

Dental implants require a specific amount of bone mass to adequately support each implanted portion. Since an implant is placed in the upper or lower jaw bone, they must be positioned to avoid compromising other areas. For instance, the lower jaw contains a nerve that runs horizontally through the bone. An implant placed too close to the nerve will eventually require removal. Insufficient bone in the upper arch risks an implant being placed too close to the sinus cavity.

To repair severe bone loss, bone grafts can be performed to rebuild the jaw. This is typically performed in a hospital or outpatient facility, using a portion of the patient’s hip bone. Less costly are bone rebuilding materials, which are applied to existing jaw bone. This process does not require the added procedure of bone harvesting or a hospital setting.

There are also implant systems that do not require as much bone for a dependable foundation. Because of the unique angles of the ‘All-On-4’ system, these implants do not rely on the bone density needed by traditional implants. All-On-4 is also more affordable than most other types since only four implants are needed per arch.

A consultation and examination will allow you to learn what types are best for you and associated fees. Call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles, and sooner than later is advised. Don’t allow bone loss to continue further.