September is National Gum Care Month!

We know that gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease, can be difficult to recognize. Many people don’t realize that bleeding and swollen gums are a precursor to gum disease. This month, a national campaign is under way to raise awareness about gum health and periodontal disease, and we wanted to help do our part to spread the word.

Dr. Glass and Cindie will tell you early recognition and action are the most important steps to healthy gums, and ultimately a healthy body! Studies are published every year linking oral health to the overall health of your body. Studies have directly linked heart disease and diabetes to oral health. One of the most important steps to improving the care of your gums is recognizing the warning signs for gum disease. These include:
– Gums that appear red or swollen
– Gums that feel tender
– Gums that bleed easily (while brushing or flossing)
– Gums that recede or pull away from the teeth
– Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
– Loose teeth
– Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position

If you happen to notice any of these signs with you or your child, or if it has been longer than 6 months since your last cleaning please call today to schedule an appointment. It is important to take proactive steps to prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

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Sleep Deprivation Shown to Have Negative Oral Health Effects

Could inadequate sleep be a risk factor for periodontal disease? Over a third of US adults are chronically deprived of a full night’s sleep and new evidence suggests that it may be affecting oral health. Sleep is critical to physical and mental well-being, and evidence suggests that a combination of screen use, dietary habits and the prevalence of shift work may be interfering with access to a full night of restful sleep.

During sleep, the entire body experiences significant physiological changes that help re-organize and re-set for the next day. Core body temperature drops, metabolism drops by five to ten percent, and metabolic waste products are eliminated from the brain. Furthermore, sleep is critical in modulating the immune system. During sleep, the body works to reduce reactive oxygen species, downregulate inflammation and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

In particular, signals (such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha) regulated by the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis have been found to promote inflammation body-wide, playing a role in the development of periodontitis along with poor oral hygiene. In a preliminary study of 60 healthy subjects between 25 and 50 years of age, researchers found that when all other variables were controlled for, incidence of periodontitis and gingivitis rose as hours of restful sleep declined.

These findings may help explain in part the rising epidemic of periodontal disease, which is tied to a slew of unhealthy behaviors that are only becoming more widespread as time goes on. One of the best methods to address this broad-spectrum caries risk is to educate high-caries-risk patients on an “anti-inflammatory lifestyle,” that prioritizes adequate sleep along with diets rich in vegetables and low in refined carbohydrates. These actions have been proven to lessen the effects of other inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, IBS, and heart disease, and may be effective in reducing periodontal disease along with good oral hygiene.

Understanding of the role habit- and environment-derived systemic inflammation plays in various health problems continues to grow, and we can expect more unique approaches to treating diseases like periodontitis through comprehensive, whole-patient approaches.

Sources:

CDC Press Releases. (2017). CDC. Retrieved 24 May 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html

Grover, V., Malhotra, R., & Kaur, H. (2017). Exploring association between sleep deprivation and chronic periodontitis: A pilot study. Retrieved 24 May 2017, from PubMed Central

Study Estimates Nearly Half of American Adults Have Periodontal Disease. (2017). Ada.org. Retrieved 24 May 2017, from http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/science-in-the-news/study-estimates-nearly-half-of-american-adults-have-periodontal-disease

Re-blogged with permission from DOCS Education

It’s New Year’s Resolution Time!

The time is fast approaching for us to make our New Year’s Resolutions. We all know the most common resolutions people make (and break), but here is one more argument for why “Exercise More” should remain on your resolution list!

There is no disputing that exercise is good for us, but did you also know that regular exercise can reduce your risk of contracting Gum Disease? In a recent Journal of Periodontology study, researchers found that individuals who work out regularly and maintain a healthy weight are 40% less likely to develop gum disease. Gum disease, (also known as Periodontal Disease) is an inflammation of the gums caused by harmful bacteria in the mouth. It can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Regular exercise is known to reduce inflammation in your body, including your mouth. Exercise also helps improve digestion and can help your body make the best use of the nutrients you consume, protecting your mouth and your overall health.

Fitness can greatly contribute to dental health and your quality of life. It can help you manage stress, improve your mood and give you more energy. If you haven’t already added exercise to your list of resolutions, we encourage you to do so.

Prevention Magazine offers these 3 tips for making exercise a habit you can stick with:

  1. Do activities you enjoy. You’ll stick with it if its something you want to do.
  2. Commit to another person. Work out with someone else. If that’s not possible report your own efforts to someone who cares about you. You can also join a social website where registered users report in on their successes and offer each other support.
  3. Reward yourself. Sometimes the best way to challenge yourself to stick with something new is to offer yourself an incentive. A shopping spree, or a weekend getaway are always good suggestions.

Happy New Year!

 

SMOKERS: SO YOU THINK YOU’VE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE?

         We all know that cigarette smoking has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, respiratory disease and premature babies.  If that information isn’t enough to make you quit, consider this…”Smokers who smoked less than half a pack per day were almost three times more likely than non-smokers to have periodontitis. Those who smoked more than a pack and a half per day had almost six times the risk,” explains Scott Tomar, D.M.D., Dr.P.H. of the Division of Oral Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  And don’t think these statistics are specific only to cigarette smokers.  Cigar and pipe smokers also have a much higher prevalence of moderate to severe periodontitis, compared to former smokers and non-smokers. Not only that, smokers are also at a higher risk of alveolar bone loss than non-smokers.  Carcinogens in smoke interfere with healing, making smokers more likely to lose teeth and not respond to treatment.
     That may not look all that bad to you at first glance, but lets elaborate on that for a minute. The toxins from use of tobacco products are actually melting the jawbone away, elongating the tooth surface, restricting blood flow and creating an unstable environment. The teeth will become loose and will eventually be lost, even if there is no decay and the tooth itself is not diseased. Even if you live with a smoker, you are at risk from secondhand smoke endangering your oral health. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that subjects with periodontitis who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to develop bone loss, the number one cause of tooth loss.
     Most smokers are well aware of increased cancer risk being directly correlated to smoking, but studies show that 90% of people with cancer of the mouth and throat use tobacco. That number should be cause for alarm. 
     Smoking Marijuana (also known as Cannabis) can be just as detrimental. Cannabis smoke acts as a carcinogen and is associated with tooth decay, periodontal disease and pre-malignant lesions. Users are also prone to oral infections, possibly due to the drug’s immunosuppressive effects. 
      Just in case you are wondering if smokeless tobacco is a better option, the simple answer is no. Like cigars and cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products (for example, snuff and chewing tobacco) contain at least 28 chemicals that have been shown to increase the risk of oral cancer and cancer of the throat and esophagus. In fact, chewing tobacco contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes, making it harder to quit. One can of snuff delivers more nicotine than over 60 cigarettes. 

Smokeless tobacco can irritate your gum tissue, causing it to recede or pull away from your teeth. Once the gum tissue recedes, your teeth roots become exposed, creating an increased risk of tooth decay. Exposed roots are also more sensitive to hot and cold or other irritants, making eating and drinking uncomfortable.

     Regardless of how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health. Studies show that eleven years after quitting, former smokers’ likelihood of having periodontal (gum) disease was not significantly different from people who never smoked. If you need help kicking the habit, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or dentist for tips and resources. 

Be Kissable this Valentine’s Day!

It doesn’t matter if you are kissing your five year old, your spouse/significant other or your grandmother, no one wants to kiss or be kissed by someone with poor oral hygiene. Surveys have shown that the first thing most people will notice when meeting someone new is their smile. That is the perfect reason to maintain your healthy smile on Valentine’s Day and all year long. Your healthy mouth starts with you! Brushing and flossing twice a day and avoiding sugary and acidic foods will help you keep your smile bright and healthy. Another important thing to remember is to keep your 6 month appointments for professional cleanings. When bacteria and decay are caught and corrected early you prevent it from spreading to healthy parts of your mouth and causing your pearly whites further damage.
A dry mouth is one of the most common and easily reversible causes of halitosis (bad breath) so remember to drink plenty of water. If you choose to freshen your breath with mints and gum, remember to choose products that contain the natural sweetener xylitol as studies have proven that it actually reduces your risk of getting cavities.
If you are unsatisfied with the appearance of your teeth, there are many things that Dr. Glass can do to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted. From something as simple as a whitening tray to brighten your smile, veneers that change the overall aesthetics of your smile or orthodontia (yes, even for adults) to re-align wayward teeth, Dr. Glass can have you smiling more than ever before and will help you be sure your mouth is kissable all year long!

Periodontal Disease = Heart Disease? Maybe Not.

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the connection between periodontal disease and heart disease. Many researchers have suggested that gum disease can be a cause of heart disease, and that treatment of gum disease and good oral hygiene can reduce a patient’s risk of getting heart disease. As a result of this research, certain companies have marketed their products like toothpaste as being good for the heart.
The American Heart Association has reviewed hundreds of papers and studies and in a scientific statement concluded that so far there’s no conclusive evidence that gum disease is a contributing factor of heart disease. Confusing isn’t it? While we know that it is plausible for oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream and affect the heart, there is only enough evidence to show correlation between the two diseases, but not causation. We do know that diseases of the mouth and of the heart share many of the same risk factors including smoking, age and diabetes, and that may explain why they occur simultaneously in some people. It is possible that future research may find a cause and effect between these two diseases, but maybe not.

While it is comforting to know that periodontal health does not affect heart health, it is still important to maintain good oral hygiene. Most adults have some degree of periodontal disease and it is the most common cause of tooth loss. The condition ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Symptoms can range from bad breath to bleeding gums, and in the worst cases, teeth are lost. That in itself should be reason enough to make good oral health a priority. Dr. Glass recommends routine dental cleanings every 6 months to maintain good oral health. If you receive a diagnosis of periodontal disease he may recommend more frequent visits to return your mouth to good health and prevent further progression of the disease.