Caution On Rx Meds That Can Contribute To Tooth Loss

If you take antihistamines, aspirin, asthma medications and syrups, you may be taking one that makes you more vulnerable to tooth loss. It is estimated that about 40% of Americans take at least one type of medicine that can cause damage to their teeth.

These medications include prescription drugs and over-the-counter preparations and can contribute to gum tissue problems such as inflammation, bleeding or ulcers. Additionally, diseased gum tissue can lead to other dental problems, including tooth loss.

Some medications with damaging side effects to teeth include:
• Antihistamines – can cause dry mouth, and an increased risk of gum problems.
• Antihypertensives – can lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Aspirin – chewing aspirin can directly damage the tooth enamel, as aspirin is acidic. Always take aspirin strictly as directed.
• Asthma medications – some asthma drugs are highly acidic and can dissolve tooth enamel if used regularly over a long period of time.
• Chemotherapy drugs – can cause a dry mouth and lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Immunosuppressive drugs – can lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Oral contraceptives – can lead to an increased risk of gum problems.
• Syrups – medicated syrups that contain sugar can increase the risk of tooth decay if teeth are not brushed after these syrups are taken.

To check the level of tooth loss on a long list of prescription medications, use the link below. This shows drugs such as Stelara with only 1 case of tooth loss but Prednisone having 436 cases and Zometa a whopping 1,571.

At each appointment, it is important that you keep us updated on medications you take. We want to help you avoid tooth loss. Knowing your medical and dental history and list of medications (including herbal supplements) can help us be more proactive on your behalf.

Adults 65+ Can Beat The Odds On Dental Fear, Gum Disease & Tooth Loss

It is interesting that the percentage of American adults who have some level of dental fear (estimated at 75%) nearly parallels the percentage of adults ages 65+ who have some level of gum disease (70%).

This may be because it is the 65+ age group who endured dentistry in a different atmosphere than in most modern dental offices today. While today’s generation has a wider selection of dentists with reputations for gentle care and are attuned to the unique needs of fearful patients, many in the 65+ age group can recall less-than-pleasant experiences. Those born before 1949 also have the highest percentage of lost teeth and being totally edentulous (25%), or having no remaining natural teeth.

Lack of regular dental care leads to the formation of cavities, gum disease, tooth loss and health risks from oral bacteria, which can trigger systemic inflammation. These inflammatory reactions have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, preterm babies and even impotency.

Dental fear is a major factor in the frequency of dental visits among a large percentage of aging adults. If fear has kept you from regular dental visits, regardless of your age, you will find today’s dental environments highly sensitive to your comfort throughout each visit. In our office, we offer sedation options in pill form and I.V. (twilight sleep). However, we believe that finding a dentist you trust will help you ultimately release past fears and achieve the smile you desire.

If you are behind on regular dental exams and cleanings, call our office to arrange a full mouth exam. Once your mouth is restored to a healthy state, we can make recommendations to help you fulfill other needs for a confident smile!

If preferred, begin with a free consultation. Here, we’ll discuss your options in a private, comfortable Consultation Room so you can decide how you wish to proceed. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule a time convenient for you.

Could Treating Gum Disease Lower Medical Costs?

Could treating periodontal disease reduce medical costs and hospitalizations for pregnant patients and those with diabetes and heart disease? Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently conducted a study to determine if gum disease therapy could prevent or lessen some of the adverse effects associated with diabetes, coronary artery disease, arthritis and pregnancy.

Researchers analyzed medical and dental insurance records of 338,891 patients with periodontal disease from 2005 to 2009. Participants were either pregnant or had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, cerebral vascular disease or rheumatoid arthritis. The average age was 49 years with women comprising 45% of the patients and men 55%. Patients with gum disease who had 4 or more periodontal treatments in 2005 were compared to patients who were untreated.

Findings showed most had lower medical costs and hospitalizations following periodontal treatment. Although no significant difference was found among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, patients with diabetes or cerebral vascular disease had significantly lower medical costs, averaging 40% reduction in costs. The biggest decrease was among pregnant women who received treatment, having 74% lower medical costs than those with untreated gum disease. Coronary artery disease patients had nearly 11% lower costs.

Periodontal disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream of otherwise healthy patients through diseased and torn oral tissues. The bacteria has been found to create an inflammatory reaction elsewhere in the body, perhaps triggering or increasing severity of serious health problems.

So, back to our initial question: Could routine assessment and treatment of periodontal disease help to lower severity and costs of specific medical conditions? While the study’s findings do not prove that periodontal disease treatment directly improves the condition of these health problems, ensuring good periodontal health for those affected seems to provide positive outcomes when compared to those who do not have treatment.

As research continues, we will keep you up-to-date on the latest findings that link oral health to your overall health. In the meantime, pay particular attention to your gum health. If your gums bleed when you brush or you have tender, swollen spots on gums around teeth, call for an examination as soon as possible: Toll free 1-866-9-Smiles. Or, begin with a free consultation to discuss your needs prior.

Worn Teeth? Likely Cause Is…

If the tops of your teeth are worn or you’ve noticed they are shorter than they used to be, you’re likely grinding your teeth at night. Night-time clenching and grinding are common symptoms of bite misalignment.

The temporo-mandibular jaw joint is in front of your ears on each side of the head. This connects the upper jaw to the lower jaw. When upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, it places strain on head muscles and jaw joints.

Instead of your jaw relaxing at night while you sleep, misalignment can cause you to ‘seek out’ a proper balance of upper and lower teeth. Grinding back and forth is a common reaction in addition to clenching. Those who clench often wake up with headaches or sore jaw joints.

Grinding and clenching also disrupts restful sleep. The force of clenching can be strong enough to crack a walnut. Imagine the effort this causes to head muscles and jaw joints at night when your body should be at a resting phase.

Bite misalignment is often easy to adjust. In many cases, minor recontouring of certain teeth can help. Other cases may require wearing an oral appliance at night to hold the jaw in proper position. Orthodontics is occasionally required to reposition teeth, particularly with severe crowding or when there is an ‘open bite.’

Think of your bite as you would your legs. Having one leg shorter than the other may not be noticeable or uncomfortable. Yet, the hips, spine and even shoulders must adjust to rebalance the disparity. Your bite is similar, requiring proper alignment so other health problems can be avoided.

For a free consultation, Dr. Barbat is available as well as our Orthodontic Specialist, Dr. Jerry Wesley. Both are happy to answer your questions and discuss treatment options with no obligation. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.

Like Most Diseases, Gum Disease Begins Without Warning Signs

Because the initial symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease are silent, the early stages of the disease can be perplexing since patients don’t feel anything is wrong. However, like most diseases that form in our bodies, we don’t feel or see anything when they first begin. This allows the disease to progress without our knowledge.

Unfortunately, people tend to delay treatment until the symptoms of periodontal disease are obvious and uncomfortable. These include tender and swollen gums that bleed easily upon brushing, consistent bad breath, and gums that are red in color rather than a healthy pink. As gum disease progresses, pus pockets will form around teeth as bacterial growth accumulate. Eventually, teeth will loosen and need to be removed.

The reasons for a healthy mouth are more numerous than many realize. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that has been associated with other inflammatory diseases in the body. Because the bacteria of periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissue, it has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions in other parts of the body. This oral bacteria has been linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis, just to name a few.

The Center for Disease Control’s Division of Oral Health cites that one out of every two American adults 30 and over has periodontal disease. They also shared statistics, such as periodontal disease is higher in men than women (56.4% vs. 38.4%) with high prevalence rates among smokers (64.2%) and adults 65+, having prevalence rates of 70.1%.

This means that a significant portion of our adult population are living with bacteria-laden oral tissues that can contribute to inflammatory reactions, some with deadly risk levels. In other words, bacteria from gum disease can be a time bomb and should be treated at the earliest possible stage.

Treatment of early stage periodontal disease should require only a few visits with minimal expenses. We also make comfort a priority at all visits, regardless of the procedure being performed. If you suspect you have ANY level of gum disease or have missed 6-month exams and cleanings, call us toll free 1-866-9-Smiles. And remember, our office is a lecture-free zone!

Sleep Apnea Can Lead To Depression, According To Research

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, restricting an intake of sufficient oxygen. Research now suggests that people with sleep apnea also have an increased risk of depression.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that women with sleep apnea are 5 times more likely to develop clinical depression. Men with sleep apnea are twice as likely. While over 80% who listed classic symptoms of sleep apnea had never been ‘officially’ diagnosed, the participants averaged a threefold higher risk of depression compared to adults who have no breathing troubles during sleep.

Sleep interruptions that characterize the disorder have been shown in previous research to affect mood. The periodic declines in oxygen during sleep can lead to brain changes by triggering stress or inflammation. Although this study shows an association, rather than cause-&-effect, the researchers feel it’s plausible that sleep apnea could directly cause depression. The findings clearly indicate that the brain requires a pattern of steady sleep.

If you (or someone you know) display symptoms of sleep apnea or if you wear a CPAP but can’t tolerate it, please contact us. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, a small, comfortable oral appliance worn at night may be all that’s needed for peaceful sleep and better days! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a no-cost consultation.

More Men Seeking Smile Enhancements

When people want to improve their appearance, plastic surgery is often considered. While the recession created a dip in the number of adults having elective surgery, that number is improving, especially when it comes to men. Between 2009 and 2010, the increase in men having surgical procedures jumped drastically, including 14% more men having facelifts, 10% more having soft tissue fillers and 9% more males getting Botox injections.

This is likely attributed to the aging baby boomers, who are entering their mature years still active and fit. They want to look younger regardless of their age. Thus, more men are also realizing the impact of an attractive smile. According to the American Dental Association, a person’s smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature. At this time, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry estimates two thirds of cosmetic dentistry patients are female and a third are male.

Yet, with a growing awareness among men when it comes to their smiles’ appearance, there is still a long way to go when it comes to oral hygiene. An American Dental Association survey found only 66% of males brush their teeth twice a day versus 86% of females doing so.

Just like women, men have every right to resist the aging process with plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry. However, a smile that is bright and healthy is often the first step to projecting a younger, more vivacious individual. Once you are flashing a great smile, people will be less likely to notice a few crow’s feet!

If you have stained or yellowed teeth, whitening may provide a tremendous improvement. Crowding or poorly shaped and worn teeth can be beautifully corrected with porcelain veneers or crowns, giving a highly-natural look and feel. Our Orthodontist, Dr. Jerry Wesley,  offers traditional braces or Invisalign for more complex crowding or a misaligned bite.

If you are ready to look as terrific as you feel, let’s talk about smile enhancements during a no-cost consultation. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a time convenient to you.

Research Shows Link Between Oral Bacteria And Alzheimer’s Disease

Bacteria in your mouth from poor oral hygiene is far more destructive than the cause of bad breath and cavities. According to researchers, the bacteria found in gum disease has been linked to brain tissue degeneration. Research has already found links between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, impotency, preterm babies and more. The correlation between oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia adds to a long, devastating list.

In one study, brain tissue samples from patients with and without dementia showed that a particular component of oral bacteria was found in 4 out of 10 Alzheimer’s disease tissue samples. This same bacterial component was not found in any of the brain tissue samples of people who did not have Alzheimer’s disease.

Oral bacteria build-up can weaken healthy gum tissues. Bacteria is able to enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased gum tissues and travel through the bloodstream to the brain. This can lead to degeneration in brain tissue that appears similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

This extensive research was conducted after a previous study on mice infected with specific periodontal bacteria. Researchers in this study found the bacteria traveled to the brain in mice, which prompted further studies involving humans.

An early-stage level of periodontal disease, gingivitis, exists in nearly 97% of the population. Gingivitis is one of the most common diseases found in humans and is more common than the common cold. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, nearly 64% of adults ages 65 and over have moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association states that Alzheimer’s disease is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death. It affects over 5 million Americans, with one in three older adults dying from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The World Health Organization cites that about 36 million people globally are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers think these bacterial components found in the brain may trigger a response by the immune system along with pathological changes. It is this chain reaction that the study shows can lead to Alzheimer’s. While the findings do not prove that oral bacteria causes Alzheimer’s disease, the links shown are sound reasons to maintain good oral health.

Periodontal disease begins silently. You may not notice it in its early stages. However, gum disease is well underway by the time you see blood when brushing your teeth, have frequent bad breath, experience sore and swollen gums, and have gums that turn red rather than a healthy pink color.

Preventing gum disease requires minimal time and expense. Twice daily brushing (at least two minutes each time) and flossing will help keep oral bacteria to a minimum between your six-month oral hygiene exams and cleanings. If you are a smoker or take medications that are drying to oral tissues, hygiene visits every four months may be advised.

Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible way to spend one’s final years, and just as bad when we watch (or care for) people we love as they suffer through this nightmare. Keep your mouth as bacteria free as possible and stay involved with your dentist to lessen your risk.

Gum disease will only worsen without treatment. In addition to creating susceptibility for serious diseases, it is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. If you are having symptoms of gum disease (as mentioned above), call our office toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for an examination.