Good teeth can keep your health bills low. They can do even more–they can help protect you from a whole host of health problems. The following are 5 good reasons why you should take great care of your teeth.
Heart Disease & Stroke
Several studies have established that inflammation and bacteria in the mouth and gums can travel into the bloodstream, leading to thickening of the arteries and increasing the risk of a heart attack. Build up of fatty plaques in the vessels can break off and go to the brain and cause a stroke.
Just brushing once a day instead of two times could increase the risk of heart disease by 70%. This is according to one recent study published in the British Medical Journal which analyzed data from over 11,000 adults. So for a healthy heart keep up a good dental hygiene.
Did you know that preventing gum infections may ward off diabetes? Doctors have long known that Type 2 diabetics have an increased occurrence of periodontal disease. A recent study out of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health that followed 9,296 non-diabetic participants over 20 years found that people who had higher levels of periodontal disease had twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with low levels or no gum infections.
One theory proposes that serious oral infections can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body and that inflammation may destroy your ability to process sugar.
The close connection of your mouth and lungs is very obvious. So it stands to reason that keeping your mouth clean and healthy can also help keep your lungs protected according to a recent study in the Journal of Periodontology. In a pool of 200 participants aged 20 to 60, researchers found that patients suffering from a respiratory illness such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis, an upper respiratory infection, or COPD had poorer periodontal health than those in the control group. The reason for this association likely lies in the bacteria caused by periodontal disease, which forms in the upper throat. From there it can easily be inhaled into the lower respiratory tract and can obstruct breathing or develop into more serious lung-related problems.
More and more studies are being conducted that explore different parts of the body. The latest study out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden suggests that women may be over 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer if they have missing teeth and gum disease. Since this is one of the first studies of its kind, more research needs to be done to back up the results, but so far they seem to be on track with the current findings that poor dental hygiene can directly affect your general health.
If you’re pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, it is more important than ever to stay on top of your oral health. Due to hormonal fluctuations and the increased blood flow throughout your body during pregnancy, you are more likely to notice changes in your teeth and gums. According to the American Academy of Periodontists, about 50% of pregnant women develop gingivitis, a condition that leaves gums inflamed, bleeding, swollen, or tender. Left unchecked it can lead to periodontal disease, a serious infection that could create problems in the delivery room. While research is still being done, several studies suggest there is a direct relationship between infected bacteria in your mouth and premature deliveries, low-birth rate, and preeclampsia. To be safe, be diligent about brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist, and make sure to alert her to any pain or problems that pop up over the nine months.
As more and more research is done, it is becoming clear that there is a mouth to body connection. Even if some of the studies are inconclusive, it is safer to have a good dental hygiene than take a chance. After all, preventing the disease is less expensive than dealing with the consequence. So, get your regular dental check-ups, floss regularly and brush twice a day.
Do you have prescription drugs that you would like to dispose but you are not sure how? Help is on the way. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) is doing another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, scheduled for this Saturday, September 29. On that day anyone can bring their unwanted or expired medications—including opioid painkillers—to disposal sites across the country.
Prescription medications are now the most commonly abused drugs among kids ages 12–13 and second to marijuana among young adults, according to 2010 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Studies show that a majority of these drugs are obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Please be aware that using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes could be deadly.
The following are some of the ways you could dispose your unwanted prescription drugs:
- You could visit the Medicine Abuse Project at www.medicineabuseproject.org, to learn more about how to safely secure, monitor and dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications;
- You could also visit your local DEA-approved prescription drug disposal site (mostly police stations) on Saturday, September 29.
Also, please share with your personal doctor or dentist that they could aslo take advantage of free continuing education webinars on modern-day opioid prescribing. These webinars are available through the Prescribers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies (PCSS-O) (www.pcss-o.org).
On the last Take-Back Day, April 28, Americans brought a record 276 tons of prescription drugs for proper disposal to more than 5,600 locations. Let’s make this Saturday’s take-back another successful one!
Remember to search for a collection site near you by clicking the link at: “Take-Back“
We all know that good posture is important. Our parents reminded us every day and now we remind our children. Yet, many people don’t realize how posture affects their oral health. Yes, oral health!
Do you experience frequent headaches or pain in your lower jaw? Then, check your posture and consult your dentist about temporomandibular (“jaw joint”) disorder (TMD), as recommended by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
So, how is poor posture connected to your jaw joint pain? Improper posture places the spine in a position that causes stress to the jaw joint. When people slouch or hunch over, the lower jaw shifts forward, causing the upper and lower teeth to not fit together properly, and the skull moves back on the spinal column. Go ahead, as a test, try to slouch this one time and you will feel the pressure on your joint.
If you keep doing this movement, you would put stress on your muscles, joints and bones. After a while, this would cause inflammation in your muscles and joints followed by pain, especially, when you open and close your mouth.
Moreover, bad posture often rearranges the position of the facial muscles and will cause the bumps and grooves on the upper and lower teeth. This will then cause your teeth not to fit properly together.
One solution to this problem is an oral appliance that can help align the teeth in a position that will reduce facial pain caused by poor posture. The appliance can also prevent future damage to your teeth.
But a better option is to practice good posture, as recommended by Core Performance, a site dedicated to fitness and overall wellness. Core Performance provides the following tips for sitting and standing straight:
- Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down.
- Elevate your chest
- Keep your tummy drawn up and in
- If you’re standing with perfect posture, your ears should be in line with your shoulders, your hips with your knees, and your knees with your ankles.
- If you’re seated, there should be a line between your ears and hips.
If you currently feel any pain or have questions about your jaw joints, feel free to call us.
According to Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) men are less likely to visit the dentist than their female counterparts. We already knew this. Right?
- Men don’t see a need to visit the dentist.
- They are afraid or embarrassed.
- Men don’t have the time for a dental visit.
- They do not have a regular dentist to go to.
However, in my private practice the ratio is about 60:40–60% are females and 40% are males. Although the ratio is higher in females, 40% is much more than what it used to be. I believe that men are starting to pay more attention to their oral health. They are noticing the positive effects from a colleague’s improved smile, and then realizing that a great smile has a lot of value in the business world.
It could also be that in the past, most men worked for one or two employers in their lifetime and did not think much about their overall appearance. But things are different now. Due to the economic environment, jobs are more scarce and competition more fierce. Competition is even tougher for middle-aged men who have to go head to head with the younger candidates.
As a dentist, my primary focus is the overall health benefits of seeing a dentist on a regular basis–at least, every 6 months. Cosmetics will be a natural byproduct of a good, healthy oral hygiene. Of course, if patients want to do more with how they look, we can help them too.
If you do not have a regular dentist, we invite you to visit us for your regular checkups. You will see a big improvement in the way you look and feel.
Source: Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)
A study published today in Cancer, a scientific journal of the American Cancer Society, associates yearly or more frequent dental X-rays with an increased risk of developing meningioma, the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor. This type of tumor is usually not malignant.
Meningiomas affect the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. More than 90% are classified as benign, not malignant. But in some cases they can grow to the size of a baseball and disrupt the brain’s functioning, leading to vision problems, headaches, hearing and memory loss, and seizures.
The problem with the study is that people generally do not remember when they had their X-ray taken. Another problem with the study is that it was observational in nature, meaning it showed an association but not cause-and-effect.
In the study, the researchers examined a group of more than 1,400 patients aged 20 to 79 who were treated for the tumors between 2006 and 2011, and compared them to 1,350 similar people who did not develop the tumors. Those with tumors were more than twice as likely as the others to report having more frequent bitewing X-rays and panorex X-rays.The study did not connect having the X-rays to the risk of getting cancer.
So what should a patient do?
The best thing is to talk to your dentist.
Meantime, consider that the amount of radiation in dental X-rays has gone down significantly over the years, thanks to factors such as the improved speed of X-ray film and the advent of digital X-rays. (We use digital X-ray in our office.)
How do dental X-rays compare to other sources of radiation?
The amount of radiation that we are exposed to from dental X-rays is very small compared to our daily exposure from things like, cosmic radiation and naturally-occurring radioactive elements (for example, those producing radon).
The table below compares the estimated exposure to radiation from dental X-ray with other various sources. As indicated below, a millisievert (mSv) is a unit of measure that allows for some comparison between radiation sources that expose the entire body (such as natural background radiation) and those that only expose a portion of the body (such as X-rays).
Estimated Exposure (mSv)
Lower gastrointestinal tract radiography
Cosmic (Outer Space) Radiation
Average radiation from outer space In Denver, CO (per year)
|Earth and Atmospheric Radiation
Average radiation in the U.S. from Natural sources (per year)
Source: Adapted from Frederiksen NL. X-Rays: What is the Risk? Texas Dental Journal. 1995;112(2):68-72.
For learn more about brain tumors, including meningiomas, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Article Source: American Dental Association
- Take your infant to a dentist before the first birthday for an assessment of cavity risk, even if your child has only a few teeth.
- In general, brush your children’s teeth – 2 or younger — with a bit of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. At 2, start to use a pea-size amount of toothpaste.
- Reduce snacking. Eating any starchy or sugary food causes the pH level in the mouth to drop sharply. This leaves teeth acidic which is bad for the enamel. The frequency of exposure to acid (i.e. frequent snacking) is more harmful to the tooth than just the sugar content of food. Generally, it takes about 20 minutes for the mouth to balance the pH level in the mouth, so take a break from snacking.
- Do not share utensils with a child. For sure, do not “clean” a pacifier in your mouth, then give it to your infant. Research has shown that parents or caregivers with active tooth decay can pass cavity-causing bacteria via saliva.
- Brush preschoolers’ teeth for them. Generally, kids are not in a position to effectively brush their teeth until they are 7 or 9.
If you have any questions on any of the tips mentioned above, feel free to call our office at (818) 241-3155.
In the U.S., many people have access to the best oral health care in the world, yet millions are unable to get even the basic dental care they need.
The issue of lack of access to dental care is extremely serious because untreated oral diseases can lead to not only pain, infection, and tooth loss, but also contribute to an increased risk for serious medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and poor birth outcomes.
A report published on February 29, 2012 by chairman Bernard Sanders, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions contains more detail on our dental crisis.
The following are the key findings of the “Dental Crisis in America” report:
- More than 47 million people live in places where it is difﬁcult to access dental care.
- About 17 million low-income children received no dental care in 2009.
- One fourth of adults in the U.S. ages 65 and older have lost all of their teeth.
- Low-income adults are almost twice as likely as higher-income adults to have gone without a dental check up in the previous year.
- Bad dental health impacts overall health and increases the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and poor birth outcomes.
- There were over 830,000 visits to emergency rooms across the country for preventable dental conditions in 2009 – a 16% increase since 2006.
- Almost 60% of kids ages 5 to 17 have cavities – making tooth decay ﬁve times more common than asthma among children of this age.
- Nearly 9,500 new dental providers are needed to meet the country’s current oral health needs.
- However, there are more dentists retiring each year than there are dental school graduates to replace them.
Click here to read the complete report on the dental crisis.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration