Category Archives: Diabetes

Marijuana Use May Increase Risk For Periodontal Disease

Cannabis or medical marijuana has been said to be a beneficial treatment for pain, seizures and spasms. As its use widens, researchers are finding new ways to utilize this now-legal substance in appropriately prescribed doses.

While there is a debate as to side effects of its use, many researchers feel there is too little data along those lines. For instance, insufficient data exists regarding some claims that cannabis exposure in children and adolescents may cause impaired brain development or lead to mental illness.

However, there are a number of studies showing undesirable side effects when it comes to the oral health of frequent marijuana users. In one, as part of the Centers for Disease Control’s 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, study participants who used cannabis one or more times for at least 12 months had more symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease than other participants. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170524152634.htm)

This increased propensity for gum disease has also been shown in a long-term study of nearly 1,000 New Zealanders. In that study, people who smoked marijuana for up to 20 years had more gum disease even though other health factors were no worse than those of non-smokers.

For decades, it has been known that the harmful chemicals of cigarette smoke were toxic to the soft tissues of the mouth. A study is also underway to determine the risk factors of e-cigs, or vaping, which users claim is a safer method of smoking. However, the argument has been that chemicals are easily absorbed by the moist tissues in the mouth and, therefore, the potential for detrimental side effects is greater.

Regardless of your use or non-use of cannabis, it is wise to know the signs and symptoms of gum disease. These include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, receded gums, gums that darken in color from a healthy pink to red, persistent bad breath, and pus pockets that form on gums at the base of some teeth.

Not only is gum disease the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, the bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to serious health problems. It has been shown that the infectious bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body.

The inflammatory triggers associated with gum disease bacteria have been linked to heart disease, stroke, memory loss, preterm babies, some cancers, impotency, diabetes and arthritis. As more research is being conducted, a growing number of health problems are showing links to this potent bacteria.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, seek treatment at your earliest convenience. Gum disease only worsens without treatment, resulting in more treatment time and expense. Call 586-739-2155 to schedule.

Links Between Gum Disease & Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

For years, researchers have found that the inflammation caused by the infectious bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Studies have shown that this potent oral bacteria correlates to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers and preterm babies.

With these serious health risks, men, in particular, should be made aware of another. Researchers have given a closer assessment to recent studies and found that erectile dysfunction (a condition causing difficulty having or maintaining an erection) is more common in men with gum disease.

One article published by Reuters.com reveals that reviewers analyzed data from five studies published between 2009 and 2014. The combined studies included 213,000 male participants between the ages of 20 and 80, according to a report in the International Journal of Impotence Research.

In every study, men who had chronic periodontitis (advanced gum disease) were more likely to have erectile dysfunction, especially males younger than 40 and older than 59. The article stated, “After accounting for diabetes, which can influence both gum disease and sexual function, erectile dysfunction was 2.28 times more common for men with periodontitis than for men without it.” (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-periodontitis-erectile-dysfunc-idUSKBN13K1UP)

In the U.S., an estimated 18 percent of males have erectile dysfunction. Men over the age of 70 are more likely to have ED compared to 5 percent between the ages of 20 and 40.

However, the men who are most affected by ED are getting younger. One outpatient clinic showed that one in four men who sought help for erectile dysfunction were under the age of 40.

Could a healthy mouth lower the risk of ED? In a 2013 study, it was found that treating periodontal disease improves ED symptoms. Thus, a growing number of physicians are advising male patients who have both ED and periodontitis to seek periodontal treatment as a way to reduce its risk.

Researchers are learning much about the hazards of chronic inflammation in our bodies. As an inflammatory disease, periodontal disease has come under closer scrutiny as a potential trigger for other serious health problems. For example, nearly half of the men with ED in one study also had diabetes, another chronic inflammatory disease with links to periodontal disease.

Although many serious health problems are linked to oral bacteria, gum disease is one of the most preventable of all. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, a diet limited in sugar and carbohydrates and drinking plenty of water are simple guidelines to follow. Yet, it is estimated that over 47% of American adults have some level of gum disease.

For the good of your overall health and well-being, renew your commitment to a healthy smile. Begin with a thorough examination. We’ll discuss how to get your oral health in good shape and ways to maintain it between dental check-ups.

Call 586-739-2155 to schedule or ask to begin with a free consultation.

 

 

 

 

Vitamin C And Your Smile

I have always been health conscious and committed to a balanced diet. However, there was no other period in my life that I was more focused on what I put into my body than during my pregnancies,. Like most moms-to-be, I was very careful about my food choices and took a pre-natal vitamin to supplement what my diet may have lacked.

Today’s busy adults are not always diligent about eating a healthy diet that provides adequate fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Many eat too fast, not chewing our food properly for the digestive process to begin. Too, most of us do not drink enough water.

To supplement what we may not get in our diets, many adults take a multi-vitamin.  While vitamins bolster your overall health by making sure you’re getting the elements you need, remember that your smile needs an ample supply as well.

According to the Journal of Periodontology, consuming at least 180 mgs of vitamin C a day gives your gums and teeth a healthy boost. Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory that uses collagen to bind cells to build connective tissues – beneficial to gum tissues. Vitamin C has even been shown to increase bone regrowth, helping to restore healthy teeth.

Want to get your C the natural way? Good sources of vitamin C are coconut water, citrus fruits, broccoli, red peppers, brussel sprouts and tomatoes.

If you aren’t getting sufficient vitamin C through your diet, look for non-acidic alternatives available over-the-counter. These forms of vitamin C come in powder or chewing gum. We prefer you avoid most chewable vitamin C products, however, since they can be highly acidic. This level of acidity can damage tooth enamel, leaving you susceptible to decay.

Keeping your gums healthy is not only necessary for maintaining good oral health. Studies now show that the bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissues. As it travels throughout the body, it can trigger inflammatory reactions. This has been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis and impotency.

Signs of gum disease are tender gums that bleed when brushing, swollen gums, gums that deepen in color, receded gums and persistent bad breath. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment and is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Keeping your mouth healthy means you enjoy fresher breath and helps you avoid periodontal (gum) disease and cavities. In addition to a healthy, balanced diet and vitamin supplements, your 6-month dental cleanings and exams give you added support.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, call promptly so treatment can be scheduled without delay. Or, if you haven’t had regular dental cleanings, call 586-739-2155 to schedule.

Gentle Dental Care + Sedation = Confident Smiles!

If going to the dentist invokes feelings of anxiety, nervousness or fear, you are in good company. Over 70% of American adults are estimated to have some level of fear or anxiety associated with dental visits.

For many adults, this keeps them from having regular dental care. And, it’s the regular cleanings and exams that help to prevent problems in the first place. Because fear holds many people back from having these appointments, their needs become gradually more complex as a result. As a matter of fact, many high-fear adults only see a dentist when a problem becomes so painful they are forced to set their fears aside to achieve pain relief.

As far as who has dental fear, it certainly doesn’t discriminate. With fearful adults, there is no typical age group, income level, or gender and it effects all ethnic groups.

As a dentist who has built a reputation for a gentle touch, I see a number of patients who come from a wide vicinity because of their fear issues. Sadly, by the time they arrive, many high-fear patients have already lost natural teeth and are at risk of losing more. A large percentage have some level of periodontal (gum) disease.

In addition to being the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, the bacteria of gum disease has been found to trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This infectious bacteria has been associated with heart disease, stroke, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, impotency, preterm babies and more. This greatly amplifies the need for good oral health.

In addition to providing respectful care with a gentle touch, we offer Oral Sedation or I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep) in addition to our standard relaxation features . We also pace your care according to what is comfortable for you. Patients tend to relax when they realize they are in charge of what is done at each appointment and how frequently those appointments occur.

No matter how you would categorize your anxiety when it comes to dental care, we know you can overcome these challenges and achieve a healthy mouth and confident smile. Many of our formerly-fearful patients have even overcome their dread of dental care altogether. We love seeing these patients walk in with a smile and leave smiling – and knowing that they love sharing their smile often!

Begin by calling 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a no-charge Consultation. This is a discussion that takes place in a private, living-room style setting that is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, we’ll discuss your concerns and how we can help you move at a pace that’s right for you.

Let your smile be a beautiful reflection of who you are, inside and out! We’ll help you convert your fear of dental visits to the terrific smile you desire.

How To Make Dental Implants Last A Lifetime

Of all implant-in-bone procedures performed today, Dental Implants hold the highest success rate of all – over 94%. That includes hips and knees. However, like any medical procedure, Dental Implants can fail. How can you help to ensure an optimal result and enjoy a confident smile for your lifetime?

One of the keys to the lasting success of implants begins with the Doctor you choose. An experienced and skilled implant Doctor will make a proper diagnosis, selecting the best implant system for your needs. The Doctor will also provide precision placement so the implanted portions are to a proper depth and angle.

The highest risk of implant failure actually occurs after an implant patient leaves the office. The implant recipient has a significant role in the life of their implants.

Fortunately, removing a dental implant is a rare occurrence. Most often, an implant has to be removed because of the onset of an infection that cannot be adequately treated while the implant remains.

Infection typically occurs when oral bacteria amasses and creates an inflammatory state. Once this inflammation penetrates the gum tissues and bone surrounding the implant’s post, it becomes more difficult to treat. With prompt treatment, some infections can be resolved without complications. However, at a certain level the implant must be removed.

What leads to the problems associated with inflammation caused by oral bacteria? After all, we all have bacteria in our mouths, don’t we? Yes, oral bacteria is a normal part of any mouth. The problems begin when too much bacteria develop and are not sufficiently removed on a daily basis. While the most common cause is poor oral hygiene, smoking (which is drying to oral tissues) and diabetes contribute as well.

Another lesser-known but significant reason for failure is teeth grinding. Bruxing (clenching and grinding teeth during sleep) contributes to implant failure in more cases than many realize. One study of dental implant recipients noted that 29% of patients who were teeth grinders had failed implants. Nearly the same number of patients with diabetes experienced implant failure.

Bruxing is as much of a problem for natural teeth as for teeth held by implants. The force of grinding is often so much that it wears the tops of teeth down, referred to as worn teeth. Not to be outdone, the force of clenching can be hard enough to crack a walnut. Grinding and clenching can cause teeth to chip, crack, break and even tilt out of position. These actions can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, ear ringing, dizziness, and sore facial and neck muscles.

Obviously, a newly-placed implant is not up for the challenges of bruxing. That’s why it is important to resolve the problem before implants are placed. However, bruxing should be corrected regardless of the situation.

Bruxing and clenching are the result of a misaligned bite in most cases. Once the misalignment has been pinpointed, mild cases may be corrected with simple reshaping of selected teeth. More severe misalignment may require the placement of crowns to adjust tooth height or even orthodontics.

Keeping a clean, healthy mouth and ensuring your teeth are in proper position will help in protecting the life of your implant, After placement, we will advise you on ways to avoid risks and potential failure. It is our goal for every patient to have a positive experience and successful outcome.

While not all aspects of after-treatment are within our control, I believe that thorough communication with patients is important. It is our belief that patients are able to increase their success potential when they understand the importance of their role.

To learn more about Dental Implants, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and make recommendations. If desired, we can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, most interest-free with no down payment required.

Pancreatic Cancer Research Shows Links To Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Over the past few decades, scientific studies have focused increased attention on how periodontal (gum) disease has connections to our whole health. And, rightly so.

As research has become more focused, links have been found between infectious oral bacteria and a growing list of serious health problems. These include heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and more.

The potent bacteria of gum disease can travel through the body by entering the bloodstream through tears in weakened tissues. It is now known that it can trigger inflammatory reactions that are related to the development of the conditions mentioned above.

Recently, studies have added to that list, revealing that periodontal disease bacteria is a risk factor in the development Microscopeof pancreatic cancer. While this has been suspected based on the results of previous studies, one particular, long-term study focused on how the risk exists.

The study included over 350 adults who had DNA analyzed (through saliva samples) and eventually developed pancreatic cancer. Researchers compared the saliva DNA samples of this group to a similar number of adults who remained healthy.

For true comparisons, adjustments were made in both groups for variations in age, race, sex, body mass, use of alcohol, smoking and being diabetic. To eliminate pre-existing factors that could influence statistical outcomes, participants who developed pancreatic cancer within two years or less from the time their DNA samples were taken were omitted.

Using findings from previous research along these lines, this particular study closely scrutinized two types of oral bacteria pathogens. Researchers found that one pathogen was far more prevalent in the saliva of participants who developed pancreatic cancer with a 59% increased risk of developing the deadly cancer. Just as alarming was that the second pathogen was shown to increase this risk by 50%.

Because pancreatic cancer is not commonly diagnosed until it is in advanced stages, it has a deadly track record. Of those who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, less than 10% will still be living in five years.

Obviously, this infectious oral bacteria is nothing to take lightly. When you consider its ability to create inflammation elsewhere in the body with devastating (and even deadly) results, the health of your gums should be a top priority.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include tender gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath, gums that are sore and swollen, gums that deepen in color and pus pockets that form at the base of teeth. In latter stages, teeth will loosen and require removal. Even though gum disease is the nation’s number one cause of adult tooth loss, still, nearly half of the adults in the U.S. have some form of it.

Periodontal disease begins without obvious warning signs. By the time symptoms begin, it is often well underway. Unfortunately, many people assume seeing blood in the sink is a sign that they are doing a good job when brushing. Too, because gum problems are not visible (being concealed inside the mouth), they are easier to ignore than conditions that can be easily seen.

When gum disease is not treated, it continually worsens. As research continues to reveal, however, the destruction of periodontal disease bacteria doesn’t just affect your smile. Your overall health and well-being are at risk as well.

What can you do to protect your smile AND your overall health? First, have a thorough examination to determine the presence of periodontal disease. If it exists, we’ll recommend treatment to restore your mouth to a healthy state. We will also create an effective regimen to follow at home to keep your smile healthy between visits.

You can also begin with a no-charge, no obligation consultation appointment. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and explain how you can enjoy a healthy, confident smile affordably and comfortably.

Weight Can Be Affected By Sleep Quality

It’s the first week of January. Drive by any fitness center and you’ll see a parking lot full of new and rededicated members. Trying to shed pounds through a treadmill takes an enormous amount of time and energy. Although we applaud those who want to tone and boost stamina, weight loss this way is a long, slow process. This is probably why the parking lot will look much differently by the end of March.

Want to lose weight? Begin by checking your quality of sleep. Through scientific research, we now have a better understanding of how the brain functions and plays a prominent role in our lives.

Based on findings surrounding the importance of restful sleep, I decided to become trained in oral sleep devices to offer to our patients in need years ago. The severe (and even deadly) health repercussions of sleep disorders made me determined to help heavy snorers and sleep apnea sufferers.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that people who suffer from disorders like sleep apnea may find it harder to begin or sustain an exercise program due to daytime sleepiness and fatigue. However, being overweight not only contributes to sleep problems such as sleep apnea, sleep problems can contribute to obesity.

The National Sleep Foundation cites a 1999 study by scientists at the University of Chicago. The study found that accumulating a sleep debt in just less than a week can impair metabolism and disrupt hormone levels. The study restricted 11 healthy young adults to 4 hours of sleep for 6 nights. Researchers found the participants’ ability to process glucose (sugar) in the blood not only declined, some fell to the level of diabetics. (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/obesity-and-sleep/page/0/1)

In another recent study, it was revealed that sleep quality affects the mix of gut bacteria that impacts whether you are lean or obese. The natural circadian rhythm of our bodies has peaks and lulls that determine certain functions, such as when to sleep. Apparently, intestinal bacteria have a circadian rhythm, too. These help in the production of serotonin and neuro-transmitters that influence sleep.

During sleep, good gut bacteria sweep away the build-up of ‘bad’ bacteria. Researchers noted that insufficient sleep can hamper the ability of the good bacteria to sweep out the bad kind. This leads to an imbalance of the two, which can contribute to anxiety, depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), ADD, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Weight gain and obesity from insufficient sleep has to do with the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates the appetite while leptin sends the brain a message when you are full.

Lack of sleep suppresses the production of leptin, leaving you feeling less satisfied after eating. Too little sleep makes this worse by increasing ghrelin levels, which stimulates your appetite so you are hungry more often. When these two hormonal imbalances collide, the result is weight gain.

Now that scientists have found the additional complication of imbalanced intestinal bacteria, sleep is taking a higher priority in healthy living commitments. While the recommended amount of sleep is 7 hours each night, though, nearly 35% of American adults get less.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. In addition to weight gain and obesity, sleeping less than seven hours is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, migraines, depression and impotency. (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html)

Symptoms of sleep apnea are typically daytime fatigue, being more accident prone, nodding off easily during the day, poor attention span and alertness, and feeling cranky or unmotivated. It has been said that sleep apnea sufferers behind the wheel are more dangerous than drunk drivers.

In the past, a common remedy for sleep apnea has been CPAP therapy. However, many who have the devices are not consistent users, citing feeling confined, claustrophobic, embarrassed or being uncomfortable with the noise. For those with mild to moderate sleep apnea, we make custom-fitted, FDA-approved oral devices that are small and comfortable so they do not interfere with sleep.

Begin with a free consultation to have your questions answered thoroughly. We can discuss costs, payment options and even put you in touch with patients who have opted for oral appliance therapy and now sleep restfully every night!

Don’t give up on the treadmill, though. Just give your potential to lose weight a leg up by tending to your quality of sleep. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.

Can A Healthy Smile Protect Your Heart?

Bacteria in our bodies is not always a bad thing. For example, certain bacteria in the gut actually enhance the process of digestion and help to keep the digestive system operating efficiently.

However, some bacteria is not good. When too much bacteria invade the body, the immune system becomes overburdened. This is why an untreated cut can become infected.

The body’s natural defense response, white blood cells, aren’t always able to conquer infection at certain levels. This is when your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic – to give the immune system added reinforcements.

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection in the mouth. This is where oral bacteria have amassed to the point that the immune system cannot manage infectious growth. While gum disease destroys tissues in the mouth and the structures that support teeth, this infectious bacteria doesn’t always stay confined to the mouth.

The bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. As it travels throughout the body, it can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere. Over the years, the bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to everything from stroke to preterm babies to diabetes.

One of the first correlations between oral bacteria and other serious health problems was found in heart disease. An excellent explanation of how this occurs can be found in Harvard Medical School’s newsletter: Harvard Health Publications.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/heart-disease-oral-health

They explain the sequence of events as: “In people with periodontitis (erosion of tissue and bone that support the teeth), chewing and toothbrushing release bacteria into the bloodstream. Several species of bacteria that cause periodontitis have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in arteries in the heart and elsewhere. This plaque can lead to heart attack.

“Oral bacteria could also harm blood vessels or cause blood clots by releasing toxins that resemble proteins found in artery walls or the bloodstream. The immune system’s response to these toxins could harm vessel walls or make blood clot more easily. It is also possible that inflammation in the mouth revs up inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.”

Through numerous studies and years of research, we now know that your oral health is closely related to your overall health. By achieving and maintaining a healthy smile, you’ll be doing your body good!

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of gum disease, please know that it will only worsen without treatment. Common signs are: gums that bleed easily when brushing, tender gums, gum recession, frequent bad breath, gums that darken in color from a healthy pink to red, and pus pockets that form near the base of some teeth.

Gum disease is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. And, studies have shown that the loss of natural teeth compromises the digestive process, social confidence and one’s lifespan.

Don’t delay care. Make sure you are current on your twice-a-year dental exams and cleanings and be committed to your at-home oral hygiene regimen. Twice daily brushing and daily flossing is necessary to keep oral bacteria at a manageable level.

Ready for a clean mouth that supports your overall health? Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for more information about an examination and cleaning. Or, ask to begin with a no-cost consultation.

Smoke? Lecture-Free Ways To Keep Your Smile Healthy

If you smoke, the last thing you probably want to hear is a lecture on why you should quit. Chances are, you know a number of reasons why. We understand that smoking is addictive and not easy to quit. As a matter of fact, it’s very difficult.

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that “more people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.”

The majority of smokers who try to quit do so without assistance, though only 3 – 6% of attempts to quit without assistance are successful. So, whether you plan to quit or are content with your habit, we want your smile to stay in good condition. And, it can with proper care and regular check-ups.

First, let’s deal with a dire issue. Because smoking (as well as smokeless tobacco) is responsible for nearly 90% of oral cancers (lips, mouth and throat), it is paramount that you have an annual oral cancer exam. We do these as part of your six-month cleaning and exam appointments.

Oral cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers because symptoms rarely emerge until it is at rampant stages. Before symptoms are obvious to you, we may be able to detect signs of oral cancer visually and by touch.

Smoking is drying to oral tissues, which creates an environment where oral bacteria are able to actively thrive and reproduce. Periodontal (gum disease) begins with persistent bad breath, tender gums and gums that bleed easily when brushing.

As gum disease progresses, pus pockets form at the base of teeth. Teeth loosen as oral bacteria attack the bone and tissues that support tooth roots. Eventually, these teeth will require removal.

The bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers and impotency. This occurs because the potent bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues, causing inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body.

Smoking also gives you an increased risk of bad breath, increased plaque and stained teeth. By keeping oral bacteria in your mouth under control, you can avoid the treatment time and expense for gum disease, cavities and whitening. (Our Zoom WhiteninZoom_Logo copyg system works wonders for our smoking patients, by the way!)

Be aware that smokers have longer healing times following extractions, gum treatment and oral surgery. When healing takes longer, there is a higher risk of bacteria settling into incised tissues. It is a fact that smokers have a higher risk of implant failure.

The best way to avoid many of the problems mentioned above is to keep oral bacteria under control. How do you do that?

First, be very committed to your at-home oral hygiene routine. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a fluoridated toothpaste and soft to medium bristle tooth brush.

Brush your tongue after your teeth. This dislodges a vast amount of bacteria from the tongue. Be sure to get to the back area of the tongue, where most bacteria are embedded. Gently run the brush over the roof of the mouth, under the tongue and inside of the cheeks before rinsing.

If you use a mouthwash, check the label to make sure yours contains no alcohol. Alcohol dries out oral tissues, which makes bacterial growth easier. And, to combat dry mouth, consider using a mouthwash especially formulated to replenish oral moisture. These are available over-the-counter at most drug stores. Be consistent in using these products.

Floss daily. I can’t stress this enough. If flossing seems awkward, ask our hygienists to help you with your technique. We have a flossing video on our web site you may want to check out: http://www.banrbarbatdds.com/videos.php#flossing_tips

You may want to try one of the water or electronic flossers now available. There are also floss holders that make the process easier for some people. Just be sure to avoid ‘popping’ the floss between the teeth onto tender gum tissues. This can cut into the gums, leaving them vulnerable to oral bacteria.

Be sure to keep your 6-month check-ups. These cleanings and exams remove buildup that can occur between visits and help you avoid problems before they occur or catch others while still small.

Drink lots of water — not coffee, tea, colas, sports drinks or energy drinks — most contain caffeine, which is very drying to the mouth.

Limit sugar and carbohydrates. These are oral bacteria super boosters. Instead, opt for crunchy fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and cheese.

We don’t lecture our patients. It is our job to help patients have the very best smile they can regardless of our own preferences and opinions. If you smoke, we care just as much about your smile as our patients who do not. Know that we are here for you regardless of your needs or goals.

If you’re past due for a dental check-up and cleaning, call 586-739-2155. Let’s get you in so you can have a clean slate with your renewed commitment to a healthy smile!

 

Why Healthy Teeth & Gums Improve Overall Health

We’ve all had moments where we wanted to take the easy route to solve a problem. This is especially true when adults feel stressed and money is tight. These circumstances make it hard to ‘stay the course’ when a less costly, ‘quick fix’ solution seems so appealing.

For missing teeth, dentures and partials may seem like such a simple solution. Although these recreate the presence of teeth in the mouth, these do little to improve one’s oral or overall health.

The pressure of dentures or partials on the gums actually contributes to bone loss. Bone loss occurs naturally when tooth roots are no longer present in the jaw bone(s). Bone loss is what causes difficulty eating, embarrassing slips and changes that age facial appearance far beyond one’s actual years.

Although it may seem ‘easier’ to have teeth removed or cheaper to avoid dental visits, the long-term health repercussions will eventually emerge in costly ways — physically, emotionally and monetarily.

When your mouth is healthy, you avoid the expense of dental repairs, including tooth replacement. It requires just minutes each day to keep teeth and gums in good shape through a twice-a-day commitment of brushing, daily flossing and regular dental check-ups.

However, problem after problem and frequent dental visits and associated expenses can be depleting. For those who are contemplating dentures to ‘solve’ their dental problems, here’s my advice: Ask someone who has worn dentures for over ten years, if they could go back in time, would they have made more effort to keep their natural teeth?

At this time, nearly half of all American adults fail to brush twice a day. When you assess the damage to not only your teeth and gums, but your overall health, these few minutes at the sink are the simplest ways to enjoy a healthier YOU! And, research has proven that your oral health affects many other aspects of your overall health.

Research has shown that adults who are missing all of their natural teeth die at an age that is ten years earlier, on average, than those who have their natural teeth. Research also indicates that toothless adults (regardless of whether they wear dentures) have a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

One study linked the effects of having fewer teeth and bleeding gums. In the study, cardiovascular (heart) problems, high blood pressure and high cholesterol showed a connection to the number of natural teeth and gum disease.

Poor dental hygiene and bleeding gums contain up to 700 types of bacteria. Through tears in weakened gum tissues, these bacteria are able to penetrate the bloodstream. This bacteria, once bloodborne, can increase the risk for heart attack regardless of how fit and healthy the adult is otherwise.

Studies have also shown that the number of natural teeth one has affects their potential for internal inflammation. A Swedish study of over 15,000 adults showed that, as the number of teeth declined for an adult, the higher the levels were for increased inflammation and conditions that lead to hardening of the arteries.

Along with higher cardiac risk, having few teeth was related to higher levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and waist circumference. Those with fewer teeth also meant a higher potential for developing diabetes.

It is also important to understand that your gum health is just as important as healthy teeth. Gum disease symptoms are often ignored when “nothing hurts,” including bad breath and tender, bleeding gums. This results in plaque, a sticky film of oral bacteria, on teeth and gums. Once it hardens into calculus (which takes less than two days) the results are the beginning of cavities, gum disease, receded gums and tooth loss.

It’s amazing that the risk of developing heart disease can be reduced by maintaining a healthy mouth. As research continues to reveal correlations between oral health and overall health, our population’s commitment to achieving and keeping a healthy mouth will hopefully increase significantly.

Call us toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to begin a path to achieving a healthy smile and an overall well-being.