Does Obesity Lead To Gum Disease?


Posted on Sep 21, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

What are the two most common diseases in the U.S. today? Obesity and gum (periodontal) disease. Studies are now showing that these two conditions may be related.

However, tracking down “cause and effect” have not been achieved as yet. What is known, however, is that changes in body chemistry affect metabolism, which, causes inflammation, a common element they share. People who have periodontal disease are more susceptible to inflammation, which in turn makes them more susceptible to obesity.

One new study analyzed data from population subsets at one point in time in order to explore potential connection of pathways between obesity and gum disease. Researchers noted an increased risk to develop gum disease for those with higher body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and percentage of body fat.

Certainly, there are a number of risk factors for developing periodontal disease. These include:

• Smoking or chewing tobacco
• Poor oral hygiene and lack of dental care
• Consumption of sugar and other foods that increase oral acid levels
• Aging
• Being diabetic
• Many medications (including steroids, antidepressants, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives)
• Improper fitting of dental appliances (dentures or partials)
• Pregnancy

Common signs and symptoms of gum disease are:

Gums that bleed easily
Red, swollen, tender gums
Persistent bad breath
Gums that pull away from the teeth (recede)
Changes in the way teeth fit together when biting
Changes in the fit of partial dentures
Permanent teeth that loosen or separate

Initially, gum disease begins with plaque accumulation. Plaque is the sticky film that coats teeth and gums that is usually most obvious when first waking in the morning. The film consists of bacteria, which can penetrate below the gum line. If not removed on a regular basis (preferably daily), plaque will harden into a bacterial mass known as tartar.

Plaque and tartar bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed. The tight grip around the base of teeth (which helps to seal out bacteria) will loosen. Thus, “pockets” of bacteria are able to form between the teeth and gums that become infected. As the disease worsens, these pockets deepen and gum tissues and the structures that support teeth are destroyed. Teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.

Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss. Research has also found links between the infectious bacteria of gum disease to other diseases affecting overall health. These include an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and preterm babies.

The prevalence of gum disease in the U.S. is at an alarming rate – affecting up to 50% of the adult population (ages 30-70) and 90% of adults over the age of 70. Yet, the obesity rates in America are at concerning rates as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, U.S. obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9% from 2000 – 2020. The highest percentage was among adults aged 40 to 59 years – 44.3%. (North Carolina ranks at 33.6%.) A healthy BMI is 18.5 – 24.9.

But, back to the gum disease-obesity connection…

A 2009 study showed that individuals with excess weight had twice the rate of periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and triple the rate for individuals with severe obesity. This was shown even after adjustments for other risk factors such as smoking, age and other medical conditions.

A leading factor lies in the fat cells, which were previously thought of as storage for energy. Now science has determined that fat cells produce a number of chemical signals and hormones, substances that lead to higher inflammation in the body. This, in turn, hampers the ability of immune system effectiveness. The inflammation add to the likelihood of periodontal disease.

As a periodontist in Asheville NC, I utilize some of the most advanced technology in the region to detect all stages of gum disease and restore the gums to a healthy state. This is true for all stages of gum disease, even the advanced level of periodontitis.

Depending on the level of disease, we can restore the tooth supporting structures (bone, gum tissue and ligaments) through thorough cleaning, tartar and plaque removal, and treating the deep pockets of infected tissue. Treatment is performed safely and comfortably, with oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep) available as needed.

When the severity of the disease requires surgical measures, we are fully skilled and equipped to restore oral health. We also assist restored patients with maintenance of proper oral hygiene for long-term success.

Understanding the relationship between obesity and risk factors that lead to periodontal disease is very important. If you have signs or symptoms of gum disease, please know that this condition will only worsen without treatment. The earlier your treatment, the less complex the treatment will be.

Call 828-274-9440 or visit: https://www.biltmoreperiodontics.com/services/periodontal-gum-treatment/

 

Sources:

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/threats-to-dental-health/periodontal-disease-and-obesity

https://www.obesityaction.org/resources/obesity-and-periodontal-disease/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191203082858.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

What Is Causing You To Have Bad Breath Odor


Posted on Aug 09, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It’s one thing to have “coffee mouth” or give off telltale signs of having onions on a burger at lunch. It’s another to be “that person” who has an embarrassing reputation for bad breath.

Bad breath happens to us all. After all, waking up first thing in the morning reminds us that our mouths are “not so fresh.” However, bad breath is generally easy to avoid. Below, I’ll share some ways to feel confident in closeness.

But first, let me explain how bad breath begins. The origin of most bad breath occurs from too many bacteria in the mouth. On a day-to-day basis, oral bacteria are normal and not problematic. However, when the mouth contains an overload of oral bacteria.

Bacteria thrive in warm, dark, moist places. That’s precisely the environment they have in the oral cavity (the mouth). Bacteria are living, eating and reproducing organisms. They thrive on rotting food particles in the mouth and attack tender gum tissues.

As they amass, a sticky film forms, known as plaque. If not brushed away daily, plaque hardens on teeth into tartar (or calculus). This cement-hard form of bacteria attacks tooth enamel and gums.

The faster bacteria reproduce, the faster is the damage potential caused by these destructive organisms. The accumulation of these bacteria results in the production and release of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which causes a smelly breath odor.

The most common causes of bad breath include poor oral hygiene, gum diseases and dry mouth, a condition in which the salivary glands cannot make enough saliva to keep the mouth moist.

Not surprisingly, one of the symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease is persistent bad breath. This is a foul odor in the mouth that exists even shortly after brushing. Gum chewing and mints may mask it temporarily, but it is actually the scent of gum tissues being destroyed in the mouth. You may also notice tender gums that bleed easily when brushing.

Dry mouth is another contributing factor to bad breath, primarily because oral bacteria thrive when they are not being rinsed away through saliva. Saliva is the mouth’s natural rinsing agent and sweeps bacteria out on a continual basis. Without sufficient saliva, bacteria are able to reproduce at a more rapid pace.

Several causes for dry mouth are smoking, some illnesses, snoring and mouth-breathing, and certain medications. The aging process also leaves adults with less saliva flow. Drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages are drying to the mouth as well.

When you feel your mouth is dry, the ideal aid to the saliva you have is drinking filtered water. Water is the perfect beverage when it comes to supporting your oral health. It also helps to keep your body more hydrated, which aids in overall function. Chewing sugarless gum also enhances saliva flow and is advised after meals when brushing is not possible.

The tongue is also a tremendous source of oral bacteria. With its tiny grooves, bacteria embed in the tongue and enjoy a warm, moist haven for reproduction. This is why using a tongue scrapper daily or brushing the tongue with your tooth brush can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth quite a bit. Be sure to get to the back of the tongue where the majority of oral bacteria live (even though you may cause some slight gagging while doing so).

If you want fresh breath, the key, obviously, is to control the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Begin with a clean mouth through your six-month dental cleanings and exams. These appointments help to remove buildup that has accumulated between visits, reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Then, twice daily, brush for at least two minutes, floss daily and use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue. Drink lots of water during the day. Limit sugary treats or drinks since bacteria are super-charged by sugars and carbohydrates. Swish after eating or drinking, especially coffee or a glass of wine to counteract drying effects.

If you are dealing with bad breath on a persistent basis, a periodontal exam is recommended. Through this, we can determine its cause and help to remedy or control it so you have worry-free closeness. The specialized skills of a periodontist provides you with a direct path to fresh breath.

Call our Asheville periodontal dental office at 828-274-9440. If fear or anxiety associated with dental visits has kept you from having regular dental care, please mention this when you schedule as well as during our initial consultation. We have an exceptional track record in caring for fearful dental patients and also offer oral or I.V. sedation, when desired.

 

 

Many Reasons To Repair Gum Recession


Posted on May 19, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you are occasionally experiencing sensitivity around one or more teeth, especially when eating ice-cream or drinking hot coffee, this is likely due to receded gums.

While using a sensitivity toothpaste can somewhat minimize these sensations (which can become painful jolts), the problem will remain. The source of sensitivity, most often, is because the highly-sensitive tooth’s root area has been exposed by the pulling away of gum tissues.

The gum tissues are designed to provide a tight seal around the base of each tooth, which blocks bacterial entry to the sensitive tooth root area. In addition to sensitivity, recession means oral bacteria can penetrate beneath the gum’s surface. Once beneath the surface, the accumulating presence of this bacteria can lead to inflammation of the gums.

Eventually, the infectious bacteria attack the structures that support natural teeth. This bacteria indicates the presence of periodontal (gum) disease. Signs and symptoms of gum disease in its first stage include:

• Gum tissues that turn red

• Gums that become tender or swollen

• Gums that bleed when brushing

• Persistent bad breath

Obviously, it’s important to ensure the gums are healthy so the grip they have around teeth is snug. It’s also important to be aware of the causes of gum recession. These are:

The aging process – As people age, their gums become drier. This causes them to shrink and be less capable of keeping a secure grip around the base of teeth.

Periodontal (gum) disease – As mentioned above, gum disease destroys oral tissues and the bone that supports natural tooth roots. A sign of periodontal disease is gum recession. Gum disease is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Poor dental hygiene – When twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and keeping the mouth moist are insufficient to rid the mouth of bacteria, their accumulation can result in the sticky film you feel on teeth. This is plaque. In just a day or so, plaque can harden on teeth into tartar. This is a cement-hard bacterial colony that cannot be removed by brushing or flossing . It can only be removed during a professional tooth cleaning. If not removed, teeth, gums and the structures below the gum line can be damaged.

Brushing too hard – Brushing teeth rigorously doesn’t mean you are doing a good job. Using a scrubbing, back-&-forth motion can wear away tooth enamel and cause the gums to recede. Other damaging actions when brushing are or using a hard bristled toothbrush or abrasive substances, such as baking soda.

Hormones – Females experience fluctuations in estrogen levels during puberty, menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause. During these times, the gums can be more sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco use – In addition to the many health hazards smokers risk, they are more likely to develop plaque due to the oral drying effects of smoking. This dryness can lead to gum recession (not to mention brown teeth and bad breath).

Bite misalignment – When teeth don’t come together evenly, too much force can be exerted on the gums and surrounding bone, allowing gums to recede. Bite misalignment can also lead to grinding or clenching teeth. These harsh forces on teeth can cause the gums to loosen their grip.

If you have mild sensations of sensitivity, desensitizing toothpastes can help soothe the nerves by forming a protective barrier over teeth while blocking sensitivity signals. Although this type of toothpaste can be helpful, it should be used as a temporary aid.

The goal should be to repair recession and halt the problem from recurring. To do this, we begin by determining why the gum recession is occurring. The next step is to restore the gums to their proper positions.

The corrective procedure most often performed is a “gingivectomy” performed by a periodontal specialist. In addition to treating all stages of gum disease, a periodontist specializes in contouring gum tissues. Using advanced skills, a periodontist is able to create a natural look and restore your oral health.

A gingivectomy can reposition or graft gum tissues over the area of recession to restore a healthy seal and protect the tooth structures below the surface.

Another advantage of a gingivectomy is to help save a natural tooth. When a tooth breaks near the gum line, a “crown lengthening” procedure may be advised. In this, a periodontist may be able to expose enough of the tooth structure for the placement of a crown.

A crown lengthening procedure is an ideal accompaniment to many cosmetic dentistry treatments. When there are different heights of gum tissues framing the teeth most visible in a smile. This tends to create a jumbled looking smile, when when the teeth are straight.

Crown lengthening rebalances the height of gum tissues that arch the teeth to restore a smile that is balanced. From this, the eye is drawn to the smile as a whole rather than one or two teeth with varying heights of gum tissue.

A gingivectomy is also performed for individuals who wish to correct a “gummy smile.” This is when a smile shows too much gum tissue above upper teeth when smiling fully.

Gingivectomies are performed while the patient is comfortably numbed. For some people, sedation may be a preference for enhanced relaxation. Oral sedation is available in pill form, which allows patients to ‘doze’ through procedures. I.V. sedation, also known as “twilight sleep”, is available for patients who prefer a deeper level of sedation.

Both sedations are administered by fully trained team members who use advanced safety monitoring equipment. We believe your safety is as important as your comfort.

In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we also offer a wide array of technology. This often saves the patient time in treatment, enhances comfort, and speeds healing. For example, our dental laser can seal tissues as it contours it. This eliminates or greatly minimizes bleeding.

Pain is how the body indicates that something is wrong. When the gum tissues have receded, they are not going to repair on their own. Let’s discuss your particular needs, whether for improved oral health or to enhance the appearance of your smile (or both) during a consultation appointment.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a time.

 

 

There Are Good Reasons To Keep The Mouth Moist


Posted on May 11, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Having good oral health takes a commitment. It requires us to devote time each day for oral hygiene, at least twice per day. However, it’s in-between these brushings that can impact the good that we are doing at the sink.

Nearly everything that causes problems in the mouth has to do with oral bacteria that has gone beyond manageable levels. Although the mouth is home to some very “good” bacteria, an overload of “bad” bacteria is what becomes the origin of many problems.

The reason people are advised to brush at least twice a day and floss daily is to remove accumulated oral bacteria from the mouth. When not removed on a regular basis, a sticky film of bacteria form, which coats the teeth and gums. This film is known as plaque. Without sufficient and frequent removal of plaque, it begins to harden at the base of teeth.

This is tartar (or calculus), which is actually a hardened mass of oral bacteria. Tartar cannot be brushed or flossed away; it requires removal by a dental professional who uses special tools during dental cleanings to scrap tartar from tooth surfaces.

Your periodic dental cleanings are important. If tartar is allowed to further amass, the bacteria can become inflamed, attacking gum tissues. As bacteria continue to reproduce, they create an inflammation that extends beneath the gum line. The infection they trigger can reach down into the structures that support natural teeth, including tooth roots, tissues, ligaments and bone.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. The advanced stage of gum disease, known as periodontitis, creates a bacteria so potent that research has linked it to serious diseases elsewhere in the body. These include some cancers, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, and impotency.

To help control bacteria in the mouth, saliva serves as a rinse that removes food particles from the mouth. Combined with brushing and flossing, good saliva flow helps to keep bacteria levels under control.

When saliva flow is compromised, oral bacteria are able to reproduce and multiply quickly.  As bacteria accumulate, a sticky film forms on teeth and gums from this buildup. As bacteria coat the interior of your mouth, bad breath begins. Then, the sequence of plaque, tartar and potential for gum disease (as mentioned above) begins.

Oral dryness is one of the biggest influences in developing gum disease. Even though poor oral hygiene is a key factor when it comes to bacteria overload, dry mouth is a common contributor because it has many causes.

A dry mouth can occur from:

• The aging process (affecting about 1 in every 5 adults)

• As a side effect of many medications (including prescription and OTC)

• Radiation therapy, especially for head and neck cancer

• Mouth-breathing, which may be due to nasal congestion or snoring

• Medical conditions, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and Sjogren’s syndrome

In addition to your twice daily brushing and flossing routines, it is important to know how you can support saliva flow and avoid the risks created by a dry mouth. These include:

• Drink plenty of plain water throughout the day. Leave off the lemon wedge, which is hard on tooth enamel.

• Avoid (or limit) caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea and colas. If you drink these beverages, rinse your mouth after or alternate with gulps of water.

• Consider using an oral rinse designed to replenish moisture in the mouth (available OTC).

• Be aware of medications that have a side effect of oral dryness. Some of the worst are antihistamines, depression and incontinence medications, and some that control blood pressure. If you take one of these, ask your doctor about options that may be less drying to the mouth. Or, increase your water intake and use a daily rinse to replenish oral moisture.

• If you snore or breath through the mouth during sleep, oral tissues are dry during these hours. Consider adjusting your sleeping position or adding a side pillow. Your physician may also have some suggestions, including an oral appliance.

• Certain health conditions can cause dry mouth, including acid reflux, sinus infections, diabetes and bronchitis . A bad cold can also force people to breathe more through their mouth. For these conditions, be especially committed to your oral hygiene routine at home (brushing and flossing) and up your water intake.

• Alcohol (including beer and wine) are very drying to oral tissues. Wine and mixed drinks have high levels of acidity and sugar that adds extra challenges to oral tissues. You can help to dilute the severity of these by swishing with water between drinks. Or, keep a glass of water nearby for occasional gulps that wash over teeth before swallowing.

• Smoking (cigarettes, cigars, vaping) are all laden with toxic chemicals (including e-cigs). Be aware of the added risks and be highly committed to your at-home care and drinking plenty of water to keep your mouth clean and moist.

It is also important to know the signs and symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease. It begins with gingivitis, which causes the gums to become tender and swollen. When brushing, blood may be present in the sink when rinsing.

Gingivitis, at this stage, can be contained and resolved if quickly addressed.  If not, the bacteria will continue to multiply. This creates inflammation in the gums. This means the inflammation has progressed to periodontal disease, which requires treatment since it is now below the gum line.

Beneath the gum line, the bacteria continue their attack on the structures that support natural teeth. This includes the bone structures surrounding tooth roots. At this point, the gums bleed easily and breath odor is persistently bad. The gums become red and swollen and may pull away from the base of some teeth (gum recession).

If the disease is not treated, it will worsen to the stage of periodontitis. This is an advanced level of gum disease that is highly infectious and destructive. Because it leaves the gum tissues in such a weakened state, the infection can easily penetrate the gums and enter the bloodstream.

Periodontitis causes the gums to turn spongy with a putrid breath odor. Pus pockets form on the gums and it may become painful to eat. Some teeth may loosen and eventually need removal.

Periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, it becomes even more destructive once in the bloodstream. Researchers have linked these bacteria to a wide range of serious health problems.

The bacteria of gum disease have been correlated to heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, memory loss and even impotency. This is rather telling as to the potency of this harmful bacteria and the destructive nature.

As a periodontal specialist, I find that most cases of dry mouth are due to factors that can be easily controlled with simple changes. If you have delayed or avoided dental care, call 828-274-9440 to request a consultation, or begin with a thorough examination in our Asheville periodontal office.

We offer the latest techniques, technology, and skills while always making patient comfort a top priority.

 

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