Diabetes & Your Oral Health
Posted on Feb 28, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Although many adults feel that brushing their teeth twice a day is sufficient for maintaining a healthy mouth, these measures fall short of preventing cavities and gum disease. It is estimated that only 12% of the adult population in the U. S. floss their teeth daily. Additionally, many adults fail to keep their 6-month dental hygiene appointments, using a rationale of “if it doesn’t hurt, nothing is wrong.”
In a developed country such as the United States, it’s amazing that so many people have some level of periodontal (gum) disease, nearly half of all adults over the age of 30. The bacteria of gum disease not only contributes to cavities and tooth loss, it causes an inflammatory reaction in the body and has been linked to heart disease, stroke, memory loss, arthritis, preterm babies and impotency.
Now, research has shown a link between gum disease and diabetes. It’s yet to be determined where the connection begins. Further research is needed to pinpoint if one disease causes the other. However, considering that there are more than 25 million adults who are diabetic, the need for continued study is important.
On the positive side, it has been shown that once diabetics improve their periodontal health, they can also improve the complications of diabetes and even the control of blood sugar.
As studies continue on health problems related to gum disease and diabetes, remember that preventing the disease is easier and less expensive than treating it. If you have been less than diligent with your daily and flossing regimen or have delayed regular dental check-ups, a periodontal exam is warranted. Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange this first step to a healthier smile and healthier you, overall!
Gum Disease & Breast Cancer Link
Posted on Feb 26, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Research continues to show how a healthy mouth relates to your overall health. For example, a recent study of 3,000 individuals in Sweden showed those with gum disease and missing teeth had greater than 11 times the risk for breast cancer. Past studies have already associated gum disease with heart disease, stroke, pancreatic cancer, and premature babies.
Gum disease begins with the formation of plaque, a bacterial film on the teeth and gums. As gum disease progresses, it can lead to bad breath, tender and bleeding gums, and eventual tooth loss. Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Although poor oral hygiene or failure to have regular dental cleanings are frequently blamed for gum disease, other factors can contribute. These include genetics, certain health problems that affect the immune system (leukemia, diabetes, AIDS, etc.), medical conditions or treatments that deplete saliva, smoking, stress, and diet.
To combat gum disease, your level of gum disease is first established. Naturally, the sooner it is treated, the less time and expense is required. Treatment may involve deep cleaning below the gum line, gum surgery, bone grafts and antibiotics.
If you suspect you have gum disease, it will only worsen without treatment. Call (828) 274-9440 promptly for a complete examination and treatment recommendations. Restoring your mouth to a healthy state is a positive way to avoid the risk for more serious health issues.
Vitamin C & The Heart-Gum Connection
Posted on Feb 24, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
The Heart Attack Connection: According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people who have periodontal (gum) disease are twice as likely to get heart disease. Research has also shown that the more dental problems one has (missing teeth, cavities), the higher their risk of having heart disease.
The Stroke Connection: A study published by the American Heart Association shows that people with higher blood levels of oral bacteria had greater risks of getting atherosclerosis in the neck’s carotid artery, which increases one’s potential for stroke.
Although it has not been determined how gum disease affects stroke and heart attack risk, it is known that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through diseased tissues in the mouth. Once bloodborne, this bacteria causes a plaque clogging artery, leading to a higher risk for major – even deadly – consequences. As a Periodontist, this is further proof that the link to your oral health and your overall health should be taken seriously.
Some helpful news was recently released in the Journal of Periodontology, however. Apparently, people who consume at least 180 mg of Vitamin C per day give gums and teeth a healthy boost. Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory that binds cells to build connective tissue with collagen. It also increases bone regrowth, which helps to restore healthy gums and teeth.
Recommended sources of vitamin C include coconut water, citrus fruits, red peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli and oranges. Because chewable vitamin C is highly acidic, it can erode tooth enamel and should be avoided. A non-acidic vitamin C can be purchased in a white powder form if your diet falls short of vitamin C rich foods. Another option is vitamin C chewing gum.
Healthy teeth and gums create a more attractive smile, help you avoid bad breath and help you avoid tooth loss. While foods and vitamins are beneficial in maintaining a healthy mouth, starting with a ‘clean slate’ is to your advantage. If you haven’t seen your dentist on a regular basis and do not floss daily, arrange a periodontal examination by calling (828) 274-9440.
When you also consider that a healthy mouth can help you avoid heart attack and stroke, that’s a significant reason to be committed to your oral health.
Survey Says Smiles Trim Years Off Best!
Posted on Feb 20, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
If you began 2014 with a resolution to “get fit,” you may be finding your enthusiasm is waning about now. As we age, losing weight and keeping in shape is a daunting task for most of us.
Findings of a survey of over 1,000 American adults were recently shared by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The survey assessed how today’s consumers invest in their appearance.
A whopping 80% of those polled said they would invest to minimize the effects of aging. And, while 48% claimed they would spend on weight loss measures, 62% said they would spend money on their smile, with females more likely to invest in their smile than males.
About half felt the appearance of a smile can conceal the effects of aging while only 10% felt a physique could conceal one’s true age. Adults age 50 & over claim a smile is a better feature at camouflaging the years than adults in the 18-29 age category.
As a Periodontist, I specialize in the health AND appearance of gum tissues. Two procedures I regularly perform involve gum recontouring. Most contouring is performed as a gingivectomy that removes excess gum tissue around teeth. This is frequently done to repair a “gummy smile,” for example.
Gingivectomies are also performed in crown lengthening. This enhances the appearance of a smile for people who have porcelain veneers or crowns placed. This gives an even line of gum tissue for a smile that is flattering and attractive!
The appearance of your smile can be a major factor in self-esteem, self-confidence and of course, appearance. It is important to have both a healthy smile and one that makes us feel good from the inside out! To discuss your smile, feel free to contact us at (828) 274-9440.