It’s Flu Season. Is Your Denture Increasing Your Flu Risk?
Posted on Oct 31, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
With flu season upon us, many people are headed to drug stores or their doctor’s office to get a flu shot. By injecting a small amount of the particular strain of flu that is anticipated for this season, this action will hopefully help individuals to build up a resistance to getting it.
Even with this shot, however, some people still acquire the flu. And, for some people, the flu bug can be a dreadful illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. According to Harvard Health Publishing (https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/10-flu-myths): “in the United States alone, 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu”.
Although we take precautions such as washing hands and covering our mouths when we sneeze, germs are everywhere – especially in colder months when air circulates in tigher spaces.
When it comes to germs, an often overlooked source of germs are dentures and partials. Dentures, because of their porous nature, can be coated with a sticky bacteria known as biofilm. It has been found that this biofilm can harbor MRSA or bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics.
One study, published in the Journal of The American Dental Association, was conducted to determine methods to effectively kill bacteria in the material that make up the gum base of dentures and partials. The results, reported on by NBC News in 2012, revealed how truly serious these bacteria levels were. (https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/dirty-dentures-dangerous-mrsa-may-be-lurking-dentists-say-662637)
What was shared was that dentures are “covered with thin layers of icky, sticky bacteria known as biofilms. Worse, some of the biofilm germs may be bad bugs such as MRSA, or drug-resistant staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which can lurk on the dentures until they’re breathed into the lungs, where experts fear they may cause nasty, hard-to-treat infections.”
The problem, and risks, don’t stop there. When bacteria in the mouth are breathed into the lungs, infections become much more difficult to treat. This is especially concerning due to the high number of denture and partial wearers who sleep in their appliances.
One study found that wearing dentures while sleeping doubles the risk of pneumonia in elderly adults. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4541085/) While sleeping in dentures obviously increases health risks, these icky organisms can create quite an obstacle to adults who have immune systems that are already compromised.
Just because we don’t see the actions of the little critters that live inside our bodies, we must not forget that bacteria are there – living, eating reproducing, and emitting waste. The tiny hide-outs of denture ‘pores’ give oral bacteria an ideal environment to thrive and reproduce.
With the additional frustrations of wearing dentures and partials, it’s no surprise that dental implants have become the preferred choice of today’s adult when it comes to replacing natural teeth.
Dental implants are held by the jaw bone, restoring a sturdy foundation for biting and chewing. They also recreate stimulation to the bone that supports them, thus halting the rate of bone loss that occurs from wearing dentures. And, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, making them an excellent investment.
As a Periodontist, my specialty includes advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. Over the years, I have been impressed with their track record, having one of the highest of all implant-in-bone success rates.
Why worry over the health risks associated with wearing dentures and partials? Dental implants are dependable, safe, lasting, and provide a natural look and feel. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule an appointment to determine if dental implants are right for you.
Being Overweight Can Make You More Susceptible To Gum Disease.
Posted on Oct 22, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
An alarming percentage of Americans are more than just fat, they are obese. Obesity is when body mass index is 30 or greater. According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of adults in the U.S. who are categorized as obese was 39.8 percent in 2015~2016. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813989/)
This means that nearly one-third of an obese adult is made up of fat. And, it’s not just our country that suffers from toting an excessive load of weight. In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that approximately 600 million obese adults were obese with numbers expected to rise due to high-calorie diets and sedentary lifestyles.
An oft-unknown side effect of obesity is chronic inflammation, which has been found to exacerbate other inflammatory disorders, including periodontitis (advanced gum disease). The systemic effect of obesity seems to trigger a predisposition to a variety of serious health conditions. In addition to a higher risk for periodontal disease, these include Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
These findings are nothing new, however. Over a decade ago, the Journal of Dental Research reported that “The possible causal relationship between obesity and periodontitis and potential underlying biological mechanisms remain to be established; however, the adipose tissue actively secretes a variety of cytokines and hormones that are involved in inflammatory processes, pointing toward similar pathways involved in the pathophysiology of obesity, periodontitis, and related inflammatory diseases.” (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/154405910708600503?journalCode=jdrb)
As research continues to study the cause-&-effect, Periodontists have learned that obese patients have a 6 times higher potential to develop periodontal (gum) disease. While the role of a periodontal specialist is to tend to the oral well-being of patients regardless of their BMI, addressing this higher risk with obese individuals can be a sensitive issue.
Losing weight is not easy. And, research has even shown that factors such as sleep quality and what we eat (as much as how much we eat) can cause the brain to make the path to shedding pounds even more difficult.
For instance, studies have shown that sugar can be addictive. Sugar consumption even activates the same regions in the brain that react to cocaine. Giving up sugar to the recommended 6 teaspoons per day limit can be rather challenging for those who have a “sweet tooth.” (https://www.brainmdhealth.com/blog/what-do-sugar-and-cocaine-have-in-common/)
Insufficient sleep also complicates the brain’s ability to regulate hunger hormones, known as ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates the appetite while leptin sends signals of feeling full. When the body is sleep-deprived, the level of ghrelin rises while leptin levels decrease. This leads to an increase in hunger.
The National Sleep Foundation states that “people who don’t get enough sleep eat twice as much fat and more than 300 extra calories the next day, compared with those who sleep for eight hours.” (https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/the-connection-between-sleep-and-overeating)
As difficult as losing weight can be, it is important to be aware of risk factors that can make you more vulnerable to gum disease, which is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Early symptoms include gums that are tender, swollen, and may bleed easily when brushing teeth. This stage is known as gingivitis, which can be reversed with prompt and thorough oral hygiene measures.
As it worsens, however, the inflammation of oral bacteria can lead to persistent bad breath, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, and gums that darken in color. If untreated, pus pockets can form on gums and teeth may loosen, eventually requiring removal.
There is no doubt that an association between obesity and periodontal disease exists. Overweight adults should take special precautions to maintain good oral health, both at home and through regular dental check-ups. This is particularly important since the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to serious health problems because of its ability to trigger inflammatory reactions. These include heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, preterm babies, impotency, and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, however, it is paramount that you be seen by a periodontist promptly to halt further progression. A periodontist is a dental specialist who has advanced training in treating all stages of gum disease as well as in the placement of dental implants.
Call 828-274-9440 to schedule an initial examination and consultation.
Gum Health Is A Factor In Sexual Health For Men
Posted on Oct 15, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Men in their 30s who suffer with severe periodontal (gum) disease are 3 times more likely to have erection problems, according to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. (https://www.perio.org/consumer/erectile_dysfunction)
This supports previous research that shows links between periodontal disease and heart disease, a common contributor to erectile dysfunction. Although solid findings have not found the connection points of cause-&-effect, the association is thought to be related to inflammation brought on by gum disease bacteria.
These are all valid reasons that men should take an active role in the health of their teeth and gums before other areas of the body are affected. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimate that nearly half of U.S. adults have periodontal disease. Of that, 56 percent of males have gum disease and over 38 percent of females have some level of it.
Other areas where periodontal health has been associated with the status of men’s health, in particular, include prostate health, heart disease, impotence and cancer. For example, research has found that men with a history of gum disease are 14 percent more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums. Additionally, 59 percent of men are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer with 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancer (such as leukemia).
Periodontal disease, according to numerous research, is now found to be associated with a long list of serious health problems. In addition to those listed above, it has been linked to arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies, erectile dysfunction (ED) and even Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Gum disease is one of the easiest of all diseases to avoid. Twice daily brushing and dail flossing take only minutes per day. Having 6-month dental check-ups and cleanings are structured to help you maintain healthy gums and be cavity free between visits. And, if problems do exist, they can be caught early so treatment needs will be minimal.
Men can do a better job of protecting their overall health by keeping their gums healthy. It is also important to know the symptoms of gum disease. These include gums that bleed when brushing, sore or swollen spots on gums, persistent bad breath, and gums that are red rather than a healthy pink color.
If you have any of these symptoms, call (828) 274-9440 or tap here to schedule an examination appointment as soon as possible. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.
A Dry Mouth Can Contribute To Gum Disease
Posted on Oct 03, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
An estimated 47 percent of American adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, which is the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss. Missing teeth lead to a long list of problems, from gastrointestinal to psychological. Some studies even indicate that the number of natural teeth a person has is indicative to their lifespan.
Some medications, age, and smoking along with certain foods and beverages can lead to oral dryness. A dry mouth enables oral bacteria to linger and multiply. The longer bacteria remain in the mouth, the faster they are able to reproduce.
A buildup of this bacteria creates a sticky film, known as plaque. While daily brushing and flossing curtail the accumulation of bacteria, an adequate flow of saliva helps to keep bacteria levels under control throughout the day.
Your saliva is more than just moisture in the mouth. It is the first stage of the digestive process and helps you to chew and speak. However, modern science is also looking to saliva to reveal a number of health problems.
Saliva tests can now use the type and quantity of oral bacteria to reveal if you are at greater risk for developing gum infections. Additionally, research is using saliva to reveal the early presence of breast cancer, oral cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, Sjogren’s syndrome, and indicate the presence of tumors in the body and where they are located.
There is an intricate connection between your oral health your overall health. For decades, researchers have studied the link between the bacteria of periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, preterm babies, and some forms of cancer.
Obviously, maintaining good oral health is important. And, it’s clear that adequate saliva flow is a beneficial component in this effort. To combat dry mouth, it is recommended that you drink plenty of plain water throughout the day. Consider using an oral rinse especially formulated for dry mouth and be dedicated to your brushing and flossing routine at home.
Because your 6-month check-ups and cleanings are structured to remove build-up that has accumulated between visits, they appointments help you to minimize or eliminate damage to teeth and gums.
It is estimated that about 40 percent of Americans take at least one type of medicine that causes oral dryness. If you take medications that are drying to oral tissues, ask your doctor if there are alternatives without this side effect. Some medications that have a particularly drying effect include antihistamines, aspirin, asthma medications and ‘cough and cold’ syrups.
To check the level of tooth loss on a long list of prescription medications, use the link below. For example, this shows Stelara with only 1 case of tooth loss but Prednisone has 436 cases and Zometa has 1,571.
At each appointment, remember to update us on all the medications you take (both prescription and over-the-counter). We know your goal is to avoid gum disease and subsequent tooth loss. Knowing your medical and dental history and list of medications can help us be more proactive on your behalf.
If you have concerns about the health of your gums or have already experienced tooth loss, begin with a consultation. Call 828-274-9440 or tap here to begin.