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

Dental Pain Relief With Patient’s Well-Being In Mind


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

The body relies on a nervous system for many reasons; one reason being to alert us that something is wrong. For example, when we burn our finger on the stove, the brain quickly sends pain sensations so we can remove the finger and take action to help it repair.

As a periodontal specialist in Asheville NC, I know how sensitive the gums can be, as well as teeth. A toothache or a cut in the mouth can be miserable for days. As a periodontist, ideally my skills allow patients to avoid being in pain by keeping their mouths healthy. When an individual maintains a clean mouth that has a low level of bacteria, they can avoid developing cavities and gum disease, which can both result in a significant amount of constant pain.

Yet, caregivers in the American healthcare system are very much aware of the opioid epidemic. We don’t want to deny legitimate patients the medications they need to get them out of pain, however, neither do we want to be a catalyst or contributor to an individual who becomes dependent on these or is trying to feed an already existing habit.

The dental profession has been very careful in this regard, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In 2012, dentists in the U. S. prescribed only 6.4% of the total opioid prescriptions. For procedures such as root canals or extractions, they help patients get through the initial part of recovery when pain levels are most extreme.

As opioid abuse became such a significant problem, dentists became more sensitive to prescribing these medications. In 2016, American Dental Association (ADA) issued a Statement on the Use of Opioids in the Treatment of Dental Pain.

“Dentists should consider non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics as the first-line therapy for acute pain management … [and]should recognize multimodal pain strategies for management for acute postoperative pain as a means for sparing the need for opioid analgesics.”

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics are commonly known as NSAIDs. These are typically over-the-counter meds, such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, etc. These are non-opioid, oral medications for temporary relief of acute dental pain.

NSAIDs work to provide effective pain relief by reducing inflammation in the bone, dental pulp, and gum tissues. The ADA encourages dentists to consider NSAIDs as the preferred go-to method for managing acute pain. When NSAIDs are taken after a dental procedure, they have been shown as effective as opioids for reducing pain intensity. For some pain levels, the dentist may prescribe a higher dose (by prescription).

Although NSAIDs are effective and less likely to cause dependency, they can also inhibit the an enzyme responsible for producing other prostaglandins that provide numerous beneficial effects. This includes those that protect the gastrointestinal mucous lining, blood flow to the kidneys, and blood clotting.

NSAIDs could also heighten the risks for serious cardiovascular issues, including heart attack and stroke. NSAIDs gave the potential to trigger issues that complicate the effects of low-dose aspirin.

Another option for managing dental pain is the use of Acetaminophen (such as Excedrin and Tylenol). Acetaminophen is an internal analgesic available in over-the-counter medicines for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains and helping to reduce fever. It can also be found in medicines that contain more than one active ingredient to treat migraines.

Acetaminophen is often used for things like headaches, muscle aches and menstrual cramps. It can also be an ingredient in other medicines.

Please know that I want no less for my patients’ comfort than I would want for myself or loved ones. Pain can be an overwhelming problem, although gum disease and cavities are highly preventable. With proper at-home oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, an individual can keep a healthy smiles and prevent tooth loss (to a signifiant degree).

Even so, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality shared that there were more than 615 emergency room visits for every 100,000 people in the U.S. in 2018. The statistic is much higher for low-income and minority groups.

Let’s work together to protect our population from the impact it has endured from opioid addiction. Prior to treatment, we will discuss the potential for discomfort or pain afterward and standard treatment options to help ease you through recovery.

If you are experiencing sore, tender gums that bleed easily when brushing or a deep ache like a toothache, do not delay in seeking dental care. When something is wrong in the mouth, there are very few instances that will go away on their own. Most problems worsen over time, leading to higher levels of discomfort and more-involved treatment to resolve the problem.

In our Asheville eriodontal dental office, we offer some of the most advanced technology available in dentistry, including ConeBeam 3D imaging, laser dentistry, and computerized dental implant placement technology. Additionally, we provide oral and I.V. sedation, safely and monitored closely.

Call 828-274-9440 or tap here to arrange an appointment.

Sources:

https://www.rdhmag.com/patient-care/article/14279378/the-dental-hygienists-guide-to-dental-pain-and-pain-management

https://www.deltadentalwa.com/blog/entry/2019/09/dental-pain-management

https://hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb280-Dental-ED-Visits-2018.pdf

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.

 

 

Pregnancy Gingivitis Can Affect More Than The Mother’s Health


Posted on Jul 14, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Is there any other time in a female’s life when they must be as health conscious as during pregnancy?

Pregnant women, it seems, are given a long list of guidelines to follow… What they should not eat or drink, what medications to avoid, and even down to what beauty products to give up. Yet, the 9 months of discipline is well worth the greater potential to bring a healthy baby into the world.

Along with the other health guidelines, obstetricians are now urging pregnant women to pay particular attention to their oral health. For decades, research has tracked a correlation between inflammatory bacteria in the mouth to a number of serious health problems, including many far beyond the mouth.

Once the infectious bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream (typically through tears in weakened gum tissues), it can trigger inflammatory reactions, many serious and some that can have deadly consequences. It is the nation’s’ leading cause of adult tooth loss and has been linked to heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and impotency.

However, because of their susceptibility, the risk for full-blown gum disease is higher for pregnant females with nearly a third developing gum disease. Yet, it’s not just the oral (and overall) health of the mother that can be affected.

Research has shown that gum disease increases the risk for pre-term delivery (prior to 37 weeks) and babies of low birth weight (less than 5.5 lbs.). One study showed the preterm birth rate for females without gum disease to be approximately 11% compared to nearly 29% for pregnant women with moderate to severe periodontal disease.

One study showed that pregnant women with gum disease were 4 – 7 times more likely to deliver prematurely (before week 37) and underweight babies than mothers with healthy gums. Too, the women with the most severe periodontal (gum) disease delivered most prematurely, at 32 weeks.

Other findings show that gum disease increases the risks of late-term miscarriage and pre-eclampsia. When oral bacteria reach placental membranes via the bloodstream, inflammatory reactions can trigger pre-eclampsia or early labor.

In one study, for example, pregnant females with higher blood levels of antibodies to oral bacteria also had higher rates of preterm birth and babies of low birth weight. These elevated antibodies have been found in amniotic fluid and fetal cord blood samples of infants who were preterm or of low birth weight at birth.

Oral problems in pregnant females can begin even when the mother-to-be is following the same oral hygiene routine as they have previously. The greater susceptibility can be blamed on fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy. These changes increase the risk for gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontal disease.

This is why approximately 40% of women develop gingivitis during pregnancy, known as pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to become swollen, tender and bleed easily when brushing.

This is the result of an increased level of progesterone in pregnancy, which makes oral bacterial growth easier. Progesterone also makes gum tissues more sensitive to plaque. For those who have significant gum disease prior to pregnancy, being pregnant can make the condition worse.

Gum inflammation typically appears between months 2 and 8 of pregnancy. Signs of pregnancy gingivitis range from gums that are red rather than a healthy pink. Gums will often bleed when brushing teeth and be swollen and tender in spots.

The goal is to prevent pregnancy gingivitis before it occurs. Be committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home, which includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily and swishing with an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Be sure to keep your 6-month cleanings and exams. These will remove any plaque buildup that has occurred between visits.

A periodontist has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of all levels of gum disease – in a way that is safe for pregnant women (as well as all patients). Signs and symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, swollen or tender gums, gums that loosen or pull away from the base of teeth, or gums that darken in color.

If you have any of these symptoms (whether pregnant or not), you are urged to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Call our Asheville periodontal dental office at 828-274-9440 to arrange an examination to begin.

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