Recent Posts



Perscription Drugs That Contribute To Tooth Loss

Posted on Jan 30, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

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.

Does Dental Fear Lead To Gum Disease?

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

I’ve always found it 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%).

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 wide choice of dentists with reputations for gentle care who 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 (without any 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. The 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 are highly sensitive to your comfort throughout each visit. Sedation options are available in most offices, however, finding a dentist you trust will have the best impact on your ability to release past fears and achieve the smile you desire.

If you are behind on regular dental exams and cleanings, call our office for a full periodontal exam. Chances are you have some level of gum disease. Once your mouth is restored to a healthy state, we can make recommendations to help you fulfill other needs for a confident smile! Call (828) 274-9440 for an appointment.


Lowering Medical Costs For Diabetes, Heart Disease & More

Posted on Jan 26, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

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: (828) 274-9440.

Why You Can Have Gum Disease When Nothing Hurts?

Posted on Jan 19, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

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, call (828) 274-9440 or visit the web site of the American Academy of Periodontology: