Oral Health Connections To Alzheimer’s Disease

posted: January 30, 2019

50 million

This is the number of people the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. They also warn that there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia)

In the U.S., the disease affects over 5 million adults, with one in three seniors dying from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death. (https://www.alz.org/)

Research is actively pursing a way to not only predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, but prevent it. Of course, this requires finding its cause. Major studies are continually making headway in this pursuit. One of its possible ties has revealed itself in a way that may surprise you – Periodontal (gum) disease.

The oral bacteria of gum disease is getting more and more attention from researchers for its ability to create inflammatory reactions far beyond the mouth. Research has already found links between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, impotency, preterm babies and more. Now, the correlation between oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia adds to a long, concerning list.

Obviously, the bacteria in your mouth are far more destructive than the cause of bad breath and cavities. According to researchers, the infectious bacteria of gum disease has been linked to brain tissue degeneration. In one study, brain tissue samples from patients with and without dementia showed that a particular component of oral bacteria was found in 4 out of 10 Alzheimer’s disease tissue samples. This same bacterial component was not found in any of the brain tissue samples of people who did not have Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers think these bacterial components found in the brain may trigger a response by the immune system that lead to pathological changes. Through this chain reaction, the study shows a pathways is created to Alzheimer’s. While the findings do not prove that oral bacteria causes Alzheimer’s disease, the links shown are sound reasons to maintain good oral health.

Because the bacteria of gum disease can weaken oral tissues, bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream and travel through the bloodstream to the brain. This can lead to degeneration in brain tissue that appears similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

This extensive research was conducted after a previous study on mice infected with specific periodontal bacteria. Researchers in this study found the bacteria traveled to the brain in mice, which prompted further studies involving humans.

Periodontal disease begins silently. It is not always obvious in early stages. However, as gum disease progresses, you may see blood when brushing and have frequent bad breath and sore and swollen gums. As it worsens, gum tissues turn from a healthy pink color to red.

Some level of periodontal disease exists in over 47 percent of the adult population. (https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm) Its early-stage, gingivitis, is one of the most common diseases found in humans and is more common than the common cold. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, nearly 64 percent of adults ages 65 and over have moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease.

Yet, preventing gum disease requires minimal time and expense. Twice daily brushing (at least two minutes each time) and flossing will help keep oral bacteria to a minimum between regular dental check-ups and cleanings. These visits remove any built-up If you are a smoker or take medications that are drying to oral tissues, hygiene visits every four months may be advised.

Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible way to spend one’s final years, and just as bad when we watch people we love as they suffer through years of decline. Keep the bacteria levels in your mouth under control and stay involved with regular dental visits to lower your risk.

Remember – gum disease only worsens without treatment. In addition to increasing susceptibility for serious diseases, it is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. If you are having symptoms of gum disease (as mentioned above), contact our office at 843-871-6351 or tap here for an appointment.

If you prefer, you can begin with a no-charge consultation to discuss the exam and treatment process, comfort options, and payment plans.

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This Year, Save Money On Dental Care With Easy Care Tips!

posted: January 14, 2019

We’re only a couple of weeks into the new year and many people are already stumbling over their good intentions on New Year’s Resolutions. This is common – very common.

It is estimated that only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions and a whopping 80 percent fail by February. (https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail)

Although losing ten pounds or training to run a marathon may not be achieved by the end of the year, we’d like to suggest a “replacement resolution” that is easy to keep, takes mere minutes a day, and can save you much in time and money.

What, you ask, could this be?

The simple steps you take to maintain good oral health can pay off greatly by helping you avoid cavities and in the prevention of gum disease. As an added bonus, you’ll have a brighter smile, fresher breath, and even enhance your overall health.

How could good oral health improve your overall health?

The bacteria in our mouths can accumulate to the point where they can cause inflammation in gum tissues. This can cause the gums to become swollen, tender, red, and bleed easily when brushing.

If not treated promptly, this early-stage of gum disease (known as gingivitis) can progress to periodontal disease. In addition to attacking gum tissues and the bone that support teeth, this disease can weaken gum tissues and allow entry of infectious bacteria into the bloodstream.

Once bloodborne, the bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Research has shown it can increase one’s risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm births, impotency, and some cancers. That’s pretty scary stuff – far scarier than a cavity.

By being committed to a good oral hygiene regimen at home and having dental cleanings and exams every 6 months, you can prevent cavities, gum disease, and even protect your overall health. And, it’s easy; perhaps as easy as making small adjustments to your existing routine.

Let’s look at your daily brushing habits. First, you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day. And, it’s not just your brushing but in HOW you brush.

For example, you should use a soft or medium bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride. Additionally, each brushing should last at least two minutes, even if using an electronic toothbrush.

But, it’s not just in the time you spend at the sink, but the technique you use. For example, you should brush all sides of all teeth, including the tops and backs. You should also brush near the gum line to dislodge oral bacteria that has gathered at the base of teeth.

Flossing your teeth is also important. This action dislodges food particles caught between teeth, which if left to rot, can provide fuel for more bacterial growth. Our hygienists can help you with the proper way to floss your teeth – comfortably! Ask at your next visit.

If flossing seems too difficult, consider using a water flosser. These have proven to be just as effective as manual flossing. Ask us about which brands are easy and affordable. (Hint: Most of them are!)

Many people do not realize what a hotbed of bacteria exist in the tongue, but it can house over 25,000 types of bacteria with over 700 species identified in its oral microbiome. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5585543/) This is why we recommend either brushing your tongue at the end of brushing teeth or using a tongue scraper.

A tongue scraper is often a flexible strip that you slide over the surface of the tongue, from back to front. Rinsing of the scraper is done after each pass. These are easy to use and take just seconds but the action can uproot millions of micro-organisms.

The goal is to minimize oral bacteria. You can help this further by keeping the mouth moist. Although saliva is designed to rinse bacteria and food particles from the mouth, it can only do so much. With today’s frequent snacking habits and our sugary, carb-laden diets, saliva flow is up against the odds.

You can aid saliva flow by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Colas, tea and coffee don’t count. They actually make things worse! Because these beverages contain caffeine, they can be drying to oral tissues, which depletes saliva.

Be sure to minimize sugar intake, alcohol consumption, smoking, and caffeine. At the very least, swish with water several times afterwards. Sipping colas or sucking on candy or mints containing sugar can place you at high risk for developing cavities and gum disease.

Your 6-month oral hygiene check-ups are structured so you are given a ‘clean slate’ of sorts twice a year. During this time, our hygienists remove plaque (a film of bacteria) and calculus (a hardened form of plaque) from teeth. They can also point out areas at risk to help you avoid further damage with instructions for effective at-home care.

Delaying or avoiding these twice-a-year dental visits can heighten your potential for tooth decay and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. This is unfortunate, especially since it takes mere minutes each day to avoid and is so inexpensive to do.

So, if you want a resolution you can easily keep and reap the rewards almost immediately. make it to have good oral health for 2019 and for the rest of your life! Our Summerville dental office can help! Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a no-charge consultation to begin.

 

 

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Could Healthy Gums Lower Cancer Risk?

posted: October 06, 2018

Research has shown an indisputable correlation between the bacteria of gum disease and a number of serious health problems. This occurs because the infectious bacteria of gum disease can migrate to other parts of the body, triggering problems elsewhere in the body.

Oral bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Once bloodborne, they have been found to trigger inflammatory reactions far beyond the mouth.

Periodontal disease bacteria are highly destructive. They destroy teeth, gums and bone structures that support tooth roots. This disease will only worsen without treatment. Symptoms include swollen and tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, persistent bad breath, and gums that darken in color.

Eventually, pus pockets form on gums and some teeth may loosen. To no surprise, advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Findings now reveal that advanced gum disease can cause the release of inflammatory components, enzymes and other factors that have been linked to the development of some cancers.

Highly concerning, the National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly half of adults in the U.S. have some level of the disease, even though it is one of the most preventable of all diseases. It is hoped that the recent revelations that link oral bacteria to serious health conditions may lead to heightened awareness to its prevalence. And, thus, more efforts to avoid or successfully treat it.

For many years, it was suspected that chronic infections and inflammation are associated with a higher risk of developing cancer. This prompted more research to focus on deeper studies into the relationship between bacterial and viral infections and carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis is the process that causes normal cells to mutate into cancerous cells.

For example, one study of over 48,000 American men between ages 40 – 75 showed that participants with a history of periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of cancer than those without gum disease. This was after adjustments were made for risk factors such as smoking and diet.

It was also found that, of those with a history of periodontal disease, their susceptibility to certain cancers came with a 30 percent or higher risk. The study showed that a history of periodontal disease increased the risk of lung cancer by 36 percent, kidney cancer by 49 percent, pancreatic cancer by 54 percent, and caused a 30 percent higher risk of blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

The study also showed that even non-smoking participants with periodontal disease still had a 35 percent higher risk of blood cancers as well as a 21 percent overall increased risk for cancer.

Chinese researchers also conducted a study of over 321,000 men and women, adjusting for those who were diabetic, drank alcohol and/or smoked. They found a much greater lung cancer risk in the participants who had periodontal disease with women who had gum disease having a higher risk of developing lung cancer than men.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, it is important that you have treatment promptly. In our office, we treat patients gently, respectfully and to the highest standards and make appropriate recommendations for the individualized needs of each patient.

Begin by calling 843-871-6351 to schedule a no-charge consultation appointment. If dental fear is an issue, we can discuss comfort options, including oral and I.V. sedation. We can also discuss payment plans that helps to finance treatment into easy, monthly payments.

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Three Questions About Gum Disease You Should Be Asking.

posted: August 06, 2018

Through decades of research and findings from countless studies, there is no doubt that your oral health plays an integral part of your overall health. Not only does oral bacteria overload lead to tender, bleeding gums, it causes cavities, bad breath and some serious health problems far beyond the mouth.

Studies have shown that oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, it can cause inflammatory reactions that have been associated with a long list of diseases and health conditions. These include stroke, heart disease, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers.

Still, with all these findings, it’s perplexing that nearly half of American adults have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. I believe the problem lies in the fact that gum disease can begin – and even exist to a certain extent – without obvious symptoms.

To help our readers be in a better position to avoid (or respond promptly to) gum disease, I hope the following Q&A will help in your appreciation of good oral health:

What is gum disease? Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It forms from accumulated oral bacteria. Like any infection (which is bacteria that is straining the capability of the immune system), it causes redness, tenderness, and swelling. Because it is hidden inside the mouth, gum disease is easier to ignore than if the same were to occur on a skinned knee. Early-stage gum disease causes the gums to bleed when brushing, tender gums, and frequent bad breath. As it progresses, gums swell and turn red. The gums loosen their grip around the base of teeth. Eventually, persistent bad breath occurs and may be accompanied by pus pockets that form on gum tissues. As the bacteria eats away at the structures that support tooth roots, the need for tooth removal can occur.

Why should I worry about gum disease? As if the discomfort, bad breath, and rotten teeth weren’t enough, many people are unaware that gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. When a tooth is lost, it creates a domino effect that can lead to more tooth loss. Replacing teeth can be expensive. For some tooth replacement options, it typically causes bone resorption. This is when the jaw bones that once supported natural tooth roots begin to shrink in mass. A thinning jaw bone is what causes a denture or partial to slip or rub uncomfortably on tender gum tissues. (Dental implants, fortunately, mimic the presence of tooth roots. This halts the process of resorption.) Additionally, as mentioned prior, gum disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to a number of serious, even deadly, health problems.

How do I prevent gum disease? Although I’d like to say that twice-daily brushing and daily flossing is sufficient, that’s only part of the equation. It is necessary to keep the mouth moist. Aging and the side effect of many medications can be very drying to the mouth. This mean that oral bacteria are not being washed away efficiently. Also, American diets are full of sugar. Sugar is especially challenging in the mouth, triggering acids that can damage almost immediately. Too, just over 52 percent of the adult population visit the dentist every six months. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 20 percent (in 2014) stated they only saw a dentist every “few years.” (https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/dental-statistics/patients) Your dental check-ups are structured to remove built up oral bacteria that has hardened on teeth (known as tartar, or calculus). Seeing your dentist every six months helps you to prevent, or greatly minimize, the risks associated with gum disease.

As a dentist in Summerville, I’ve been pleased to offer a “dental home” where our patients know we will treat them thoroughly, respectfully, and with gentle hands. We keep our fees affordable so all individuals can enjoy the benefits and confidence of a healthy smile.

If you suspect you have gum disease or have not had a dental cleaning in over six months, call 843-871-6351 to schedule an appointment. If preferred, ask to begin with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we’ll discuss your unique needs and how we can assist you in achieving the smile you desire.

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The Numbers Your Hygienist Is Calling Out During Your Checkups

posted: March 20, 2018

For years, I never knew what my ophthalmologist was looking for when he shot that puff of air into each eye. I finally asked. Now, knowing it is a test for glaucoma makes it a little easier to tolerate.

As a dentist, I felt the same thing may apply to those 6-month dental checkups. During this time, your hygienist takes a small ‘probe’ and runs it along 3 positions at the base of each tooth and on both sides. During probing, you may hear her record numbers three-at-a-time, such as 3-3-2, 2-3-2, 1-2-2, 2-3-3, etc.

What do these numbers mean?

What you may not know is how these probes have measurements near the blunted tip. A dental probe is actually a gauge that shows the depth between your tooth and the gum tissues that surround it. Depth? Allow me to explain.

Of course, your teeth are more than the white, enamel-coated portions you see in the mirror. Each tooth is wrapped tightly with gum tissues at its base. Gum tissues help to seal bacteria from penetrating the structures below.

As you know, each tooth has roots that we can’t see. The root portion is what is anchored into the upper or lower jaw, giving the tooth a firm foundation and the stability necessary for biting and chewing.

The portion of your teeth that is beneath the gums is not coated by protective enamel as the portion of the teeth we see. The root areas are very sensitive. This is why darker, tooth root areas appear when the gums recede. This is the reason you may experience a jolt of pain when drinking hot or cold when these sensitive areas are exposed.

Not only are these parts of the tooth highly sensitive, they are more susceptible to the penetration of oral bacteria. When bacteria accumulation eats away at healthy gum tissues, it can weaken the gums and interfere with their ability to keep the tight seal around teeth.

The numbers your Hygienist is calling out during the probing part of your cleaning indicate how far down the gum tissue has loosened from the tooth (the depth). The higher the number, the farther down the probe can go. So, like a golf score, a lower number is better.

Hearing 1 or 2 is good. That means the probe is unable to go down into the gums or can penetrate only slightly. A 3 means there is room for improvement. Perhaps you were not as thorough when brushing at certain angles around back teeth. Or, you weren’t flossing often enough to remove food particles caught between teeth. When oral bacteria builds, the gums react by becoming inflamed.

This inflammation is what causes the gums to feel tender. If you dread a cleaning because it is uncomfortable, it’s likely because your gums are sensitive due to inflammation. They may also appear more red in color versus a healthy pink and be swollen in some areas. This is the same reaction you’d have from a cut on the skin that is becoming infected – it becomes red and swollen.

Naturally, hearing a 4 or a 5 from the hygienist is not good. These numbers indicate trouble. The higher numbers indicate a depth that is due to bacterial overload that has created inflammation.

Periodontal (gum) disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, research has found that the potent bacteria of gum disease is linked to a number of serious health problems far beyond the mouth.

Oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased gum tissues. It has been shown to cause inflammatory triggers that contribute to diseases and conditions that range from cancer to stroke. (https://www.humana.com/learning-center/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/gum-disease-and-health)

When you take good care of your oral health at home and have regular dental checkups, you’re doing more than protecting your pearly whites. You are keeping your gums healthy, which in turn help to support good overall health.

At your next hygiene visit, ask your hygienist how to have all 1’s and 2’s. She’ll develop an individualized program that works well for you. Thorough, twice-daily brushing and daily flossing can help you avoid expensive repairs for cavities and gum disease as well as mean a more comfortable dental cleaning.

If you are behind on regular dental checkups, call 843-871-6351 to schedule. We’ll be happy to help you get back up to speed!

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Make Dental Check-ups Part Of Overall Health Screenings

posted: January 15, 2018

For people who have health insurance, the first of the year resets a new year of benefits. In addition to annual physicals, many plans cover annual or periodic screenings, such as skin cancer exams or pap smears.

As you fill your calendar with these appointments, you may want to read up on some recent research that shows how your oral health relates to a number of serious health problems, including some cancers.

Research has shown that periodontitis (advanced stage of periodontal disease) causes the release of inflammatory components, enzymes and growth factors that have been associated with cancer development.

One particular study of over 48,000 American males between the ages of 40 and 75 showed that those who had a history of periodontal disease had a 14% higher risk of cancer than those without the disease. This was after taking into account risk factors such as smoking and diet.

For example, findings of one study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention revealed that post-menopausal women with a history of periodontal disease had a 30% or higher risk of some cancers.

The study showed that a history of periodontal (gum) disease increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 54 percent, lung cancer by 36 percent, a 49 percent higher risk of kidney cancer, and a 30 percent higher risk of blood cancers (including leukemia and lymphoma).

In the study, even non-smokers with gum disease had a 35 percent higher risk of blood cancers as well as a 21 percent increased risk for cancer overall. (See Women’s Health Initiative: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/science/womens-health-initiative-whi)

Another study conducted in China revealed that people who have gum disease have a higher risk of developing lung cancer. The study included over 321,000 adults, also citing that findings showed that this risk is even greater for people who drink, smoke, or have diabetes. The research also found that women with gum disease were more likely to develop lung cancer than men with periodontal disease.

The correlation seems to originate with how certain oral bacteria are involved in the development of cancerous cells in the lungs. Another study showed that the successful treatment of periodontal disease could significantly lower the risk of lung cancer. (http://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/1056-periodontal-disease-increases-lung-cancer-risks?highlight=WyJjYW5jZXIiLCJjYW5jZXInIiwiY2FuY2VyJ3MiLCJ3b21lbiIsIndvbWVuJ3MiLCJjYW5jZXIgd29tZW4iXQ==)

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer death in men and women, outnumbering deaths due to colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

An article in Oncology Nurse Advisor (http://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/headlines/periodontal-disease-prostate-cancer-inflammation-lower-risk/article/412935/) shared the results of a study on men with high PSA levels who also had periodontitis (advanced gum disease). After treatment for their gum disease, nearly all showed significant improvement of their PSA levels.

For decades, research has continuously revealed links between the bacteria of periodontal disease and serious health problems. By entering the bloodstream through weakened tissues in the mouth, the infectious bacteria of gum disease can trigger problems elsewhere in the body by activating systemic inflammation associated with a number of harmful reactions.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease, capable of destroying teeth, gums and the bone structures that support tooth roots. Gum disease will not go away without treatment with early treatment, being the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Know the symptoms associated with gum disease, including swollen and tender gums that bleed when brushing, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, persistent bad breath, gums that turn red in color, pus pockets that form on gums and teeth that loosen.

Having symptoms of gum disease? Call 843-871-6351 for a free consultation. Here, you’ll find patients are treated respectfully and with a gentle touch for all procedures. We have a reputation for providing skilled, ethical care, making appropriate treatment recommendations based upon the unique needs of each patient.

Make your oral health a priority this year and every year. Your smile and you overall health depend on it!

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Worried About Being Up Close During The Holidays Because Of Bad Breath?

posted: November 20, 2017

Nobody wants to be the person at a gathering who walks away, leaving others behind with a memory of ‘there goes the one who had bad breath.’ Bad breath can have a lasting impression, one that nobody wants. As holiday parties and family gatherings approach, there are steps you can take to ensure you are not remembered in this negative manner.

Bad breath is the accumulation of oral bacteria, which are living, eating and breeding organisms. Because anything that eats also produces waste, this is what they deposit in your mouth. Imagine these wriggling creatures using your mouth as their breeding ground and toilet — a motivating reason to brush often if there ever was one!

Although occasional bad breath is something we all deal with — after a morning of coffee or a tuna sandwich lunch, perhaps — persistent bad breath is a warning sign. Having bad breath on a frequent basis is a symptom of gum disease. Other symptoms you may also notice are sore and swollen gums, gums that bleed when brushing, and gums that deepen in color.

If gum disease is not the reason for your breath odor, there are ways to keep your mouth fresh throughout the day. These include:
• Dry mouth is the leading cause of occasional bad breath. The reason your mouth is stale and sticky when you wake up is because your gum tissues have gone for hours without oral bacteria being ‘rinsed’ out of the mouth. After a mouth has been closed all night, the tissues dry out and bacteria accumulate. As they multiply, they form a smelly, sticky film known as plaque.
• Another cause of dry mouth is the consumption of beverages that have a drying affect on oral tissues, such as alcohol or coffee.
• Sugary drinks give oral bacteria their favorite ‘food,’ helping them to reproduce more rapidly in your mouth.
• Some medications have side effects that lower saliva flow, which is your mouth’s natural cleanser. You may notice a drier mouth when you take an antihistamine, for example. Many medications for depression and some for urinary incontinence can have a drying effect.
• For those who tend to breath through their mouths, the regular flow of oxygen decreases the amount of saliva in the mouth.
• Poor oral hygiene is an obvious reason for bad breath. When oral bacteria accumulate in the mouth and are not removed through regular brushing and flossing, they continually reproduce. As your mouth fills with bacteria, plaque forms. As plaque multiplies, it becomes a hard substance known as calculus. This eats away at tooth enamel and gum tissues. In other words, bacteria are causing ‘mouth rot.’
• Diseases and illnesses that can cause dry mouth are pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, diabetes and acid reflux. Liver or kidney problems can also contribute to dry mouth.
• The worst cause of dry mouth is smoking. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are the worst culprits in causing a dry mouth.

If gum disease is not the source of your bad breath, simple measures to enjoy a fresh mouth are:
 – Brush regularly, at least two minutes per time. Use a tongue scraper daily to remove embedded bacteria, especially towards the back of the tongue. If you don’t have a tongue scraper, use your toothbrush after tooth brushing.
 – Either floss daily or purchase an electronic flosser.
 – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you take medications that are dying to oral tissues, purchase an oral rinse specifically designed to restore oral moisture.

Of course, it’s important to begin with a clean, healthy mouth. If you suspect gum disease or are behind on regular dental check-ups and cleanings, call 843-871-6351. Or, if preferred, begin with a private, no-charge consultation.

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Good Oral Health Especially Important For Diabetics

posted: September 26, 2017

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. That’s 9.3 percent of the population and is an increase from a 2010 estimate of 26 million.  This does not include the one in four who have diabetes yet don’t know it.

The CDC states, “Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels.  Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use.”

Based on health data from 2012, the National Diabetes Statistics Report was released in 2014 revealing that non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults. The age of those being newly diagnosed is also a particular concern. In the 2012 data, 208,000 people under the age of 20 were diagnosed with diabetes (both types). (https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesfactsheet/)

Sadly, the rate of those struggling with diabetes is expected to triple in the coming decade. A National Institutes of Health report states diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that compromises the body’s ability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is a leading cause of death because of the vascular complications attributed to it.

The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 (insulin dependent) and Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with symptoms typically emerging after the age of 45.

Signs of gum disease

Early symptoms of diabetes include bad breath and bleeding gums although the general public rarely associates one with the other. For scientific researchers, however, the emergence of diabetes through oral problems makes perfect sense.

Periodontal (gum) disease is said to be the sixth greatest complication of diabetes. Like diabetes, periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition.

Oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body.  Research has shown that gum disease is linked to other inflammatory diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease.

With gum disease and diabetes, research has also shown that one tends to trigger the other. Gum disease has been found to occur more frequently – and with greater severity – in diabetics with poor glycemic control. On the flip side, properly managing glucose levels has shown to be helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.

Over 47% of American adults have some level of periodontal disease. Symptoms include gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses, the gums darken in color, pus pockets form and teeth loosen and may eventually require removal. Due to its widespread prevalence, gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Because diabetics have a particular vulnerability to internal inflammation, they are urged to be especially committed to good oral health. This begins by knowing the signs of gum disease, maintaining a thorough at-home oral hygiene regimen and having dental check-ups every 3-4 months.

Whether you are diabetic or not, you are urged to react to signs of gum disease promptly by having a thorough examination. Early symptoms are often ignored or deemed ‘normal,’ allowing gum disease to worsen and require more-extensive treatment. Remember – by the time obvious symptoms begin, the infectious bacteria are running rampant.

Call 843-871-6351 if you have questions or to arrange a no-charge, no obligation Consultation.

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Suspected Link Between Gum Disease & Pancreatic Cancer

posted: August 08, 2017

For decades, research has shown links between the bacteria of periodontal disease and serious diseases and conditions in the body. The list includes heart disease, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and erectile dysfunction.

Based on findings of previous studies, a long-term study has revealed the bacteria of gum disease as a contributing factor to developing pancreatic cancer, which will be diagnosed in over 50 000 people this year. Because pancreatic cancer typically goes undiagnosed until advanced stages, fewer than 10% of those diagnosed will be living 5 years later.

One study, however, determined that people with 2 types of periodontal disease–causing oral bacteria have a greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in June 2016 (http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2526607), oral bacteria may provide an early marker for pancreatic cancer.

In the study, the DNA in saliva from over 360 adults who eventually developed pancreatic cancer was compared to samples of DNA in saliva to a similar number of adults who remained healthy.

In both groups, adjustments were made for age, gender, race, and body mass as well as for alcohol consumption, smoking and having diabetes. Participants who developed pancreatic cancer within two years of providing DNA samples were omitted to ensure no pre-existing factors could distort statistical outcomes.

Coupled with findings from previous studies, researchers were able to pinpoint two specific types of periodontal disease pathogens. Researchers noted that one pathogen type was more prevalent in the saliva of subjects who developed pancreatic cancer, showing a 59 percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The second pathogen type was shown to increase the risk by 50 percent.

This study is yet another reason to acknowledge that your oral health is an integral part of your overall health. When your teeth and gums are healthy, you can prevent gum disease, cavities, and according to research, the penetration of potent oral bacteria into the bloodstream.

Signs of periodontal disease include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, frequent bad breath, gums that deepen in color from a healthy pink to red, and gum recession as gums pull away from teeth, exposing darker and sensitive tooth roots. Eventually, teeth will loosen and may require removal.

More than 47 percent of American adults have some level of periodontal disease. However, achieving and maintaining good oral health is quite simple. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, having 6-month dental check-ups and avoiding a dry mouth are easy ways to limit oral bacteria.

Obviously, periodontal disease bacteria is potent. As more findings are revealed, I’ll share updates. In the meantime, be proactive when it comes to the symptoms of periodontal disease. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 843-871-6351 to arrange a no-charge consultation. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss ways to help you achieve a healthy, confident smile.

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How Gum Disease Forms

posted: July 25, 2017

Like many diseases that form in our bodies, periodontal (gum) disease begins without obvious symptoms. However, unlike our response to something unusual like a lump or bump, the initial signs of gum disease are often ignored. Why?

An estimated 25% of men over the age of 39 have an annual prostrate exam and an estimated 50% of women ages 40 to 85 have an annual mammogram. Yet, the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that over 47% of American adults have some level of gum disease. I believe this is because our population is truly unaware of the signs, and subsequent risks, of periodontal disease.

A couple of generations ago, many people believed they had to use a stiff toothbrush and really scrub their teeth to get them clean. Many grew up believing that abrasive substances such as baking soda helped to do a good job. Today we know that this will wear down tooth enamel and wear away gum tissues that support teeth. Still today, some people assume that seeing blood in the sink when brushing is a sign they are doing a good job.

Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Losing a natural tooth is often the beginning to subsequent tooth loss. As a matter of fact, statistics show that when you lose a tooth, the next you’re most likely to lose is one adjacent.

Losing teeth creates a long list of decisions and expenses. Yet, tooth loss is just one problem associated with gum disease. Decades of research has shown that the bacteria of gum disease is associated with serious health problems in the body.

We now know that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Once bloodborne, the bacteria has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions associated with heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.

When you think about it, gum disease is one of the most preventable of all diseases. A thorough at-home routine of twice daily brushing, daily flossing, drinking plenty of water and limits on snacking and sweets are easy ways to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum.

Additionally, it is important to have regular dental check-ups and cleanings. These visits are vital to keeping a healthy smile by removing accumulated tartar and noting signs of gum disease at their earliest stages.

How gum disease develops should be familiar to everyone. Below is its path of development:

•  Accumulation Of Oral Bacteria: The mouth is a warm, moist environment that is open access to a tremendous amount of bacteria. Bacteria is on food, utensils and even our toothbrushes. Bacteria in our bodies is a fact of life and something we are structured to manage. However, at certain levels, the problem exceeds the limits that can be effectively handled. Too much bacteria in the mouth is how gum disease begins.

•  Formation of Plaque: Without regular and thorough brushing, flossing and saliva flow, oral bacteria reproduce rapidly. Just over the course of a day, their accumulation forms a sticky film that coats teeth and gums. This film is known as plaque.

•  Development of Calculus: In about 48 hours, plaque can harden into tartar, also known as calculus. This hardened form of oral bacteria attaches to teeth and can no longer be brushed or flossed away. Tartar will continue to reproduce as oral bacteria subsist on tooth enamel and gum tissue.

•  Gingivitis: As the first stage of gum disease, gum tissues are now inflamed. The gums become tender, bleed easily when brushing and your breath will feel not-so-fresh. By taking proper measures at this point, you may be able to restore your gums to a healthy state. Halting gingivitis at this stage is important to avoid the further development of gum disease.

•  Periodontal (Gum) Disease: At this stage, gum tissues are inflamed and tender. The gums will turn red and some teeth may show darker root portions as gum tissues loosen their grip around teeth. You’ll have persistent bad breath. As gum disease worsens, pus pockets may form and some teeth will loosen.

Want a healthy mouth? Want to avoid problems in the first place? Want to give your overall health a leg up? Begin by looking at your daily oral care routine. If you’ve delayed your 6-month dental check-ups, schedule one as soon as possible. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

With proper care, you can easily enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease as mentioned above, call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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Moms-To-Be Will Want To Read This, Especially.

posted: July 10, 2017

Women who are pregnant, even early on, have a long list of precautions to follow to help in the healthy development of their unborn babies. These include dietary restrictions as well as avoiding alcohol, smoking and many medications.

New findings now add another precaution to the list. Studies show that it is important for pregnant women to maintain excellent oral health throughout their pregnancy — for their own health and that of their baby.

Pregnant women have elevated hormones, which increases their potential for periodontal (gum) disease. Because of this, many experience Pregnancy Gingivitis, causing swollen, red and sore gums that bleed while brushing. This also makes the gums more susceptible to inflammation and sensitive to the oral bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease, leaving an estimated one-third of all pregnant females with gum disease.

Even worse, it is now known that the oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in compromised gum tissues. Studies show that gum disease increases the risk for preterm delivery (before 37 weeks) and low birth weight babies.

When the infectious bacteria of gum disease reaches placental membranes, it can trigger inflammation that can lead to pre-eclampsia or early labor. For instance, the preterm birth rate for women without periodontal disease is approximately 11% compared to about 29% for moms-to-be with moderate or severe levels of gum disease. Gum disease also increases the risk for late-term miscarriage.

In one study, pregnant women who had higher levels of oral bacteria also had higher percentages of preterm births and babies born at low birth weight. Showing a direct connection between the oral health of the mom-to-be and her unborn baby, the same elevated antibody levels were noted in amniotic fluid and fetal cord blood samples of preterm or low birth weight babies.

Fortunately, studies show that successfully treating gum disease reduces the risk of preterm births, motivating a growing number of obstetricians to advise their pregnant patients to be evaluated for signs of periodontal disease. Typical signs include gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, tender or swollen gums, and gums that turn red in color. Eventually, pus pockets may form at the base of some teeth and teeth will loosen and may require removal.

Take extra good care of your smile during pregnancy for the good of your own health as well as that of your baby. If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease or Pregnancy Gingivitis, our non-surgical treatment is safe and effective for nearly all levels of gum disease.

Begin with a free consultation by calling 1-877-966-9009.

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Diabetic? Give Oral Health Added Attention

posted: January 18, 2017

If you are diabetic, you’re in lots of company. The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in recent decades and is expected to triple in the next ten years. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level. A report published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine through the National Institutes of Health states that diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” 

For those who are not familiar with diabetes, it is a metabolic disease that compromises the body’s ability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is a leading cause of death because of the vascular complications attributed to the disease.

The most common types of diabetes are type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with initial symptoms emerging after age 45. Early indications of this disease are bad breath and bleeding gums.

The emergence of diabetes through oral problems is typical even though the general public rarely associates one with the other. For those in the medical and scientific field, it makes perfect sense. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. Other inflammatory diseases (such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease) have been linked to gum disease by numerous research studies.

Signs of gum disease

Periodontal disease is not only cited as the sixth greatest complication of diabetes, research has shown that one tends to trigger the other. Gum disease has been found to occur more frequently – and with greater severity in diabetics – with poor glycemic control. Proper management of diabetes for controlled glucose levels has been shown to be helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.

Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, gum recession that expose dark tooth root sections, and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses the gums deepen in color, pus pockets form at the base of teeth and teeth will loosen. Eventually teeth require removal. As a matter of fact, periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

While it is important to be familiar with the signs or gum disease, diabetics are urged to be as proactive as possible when it comes to their oral health due to their particular vulnerability to internal inflammation. For our diabetic patients, we advise having a dental check-up every 3-4 months.

If you have diabetes, arrange for a thorough examination at your earliest convenience. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment. It’s early symptoms are easily ignored. By the time obvious symptoms begin, it is typically well underway. Too, delayed care often results in more treatment time and greater expense.

Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 if you have questions or to begin with a free Consultation to discuss your symptoms and oral health.

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Save Money At The Dentist In The Coming Year

posted: December 05, 2016

As the new year mark nears and many adults overindulge in holiday goodies, thoughts of New Year’s Resolutions are already being contemplated. Losing weight, getting better muscle tone and building stamina are common resolutions we tend to make — and remake, year after year.fitness-female

As fitness centers and personal trainers become busier after January 1st, a very important part of our overall health doesn’t always get due attention — your smile. While we try to do everything we can to keep a healthy body, the health of the mouth is vital to our overall health and well-being. How? Read on…

One of the many benefits of your dental check-ups (exams and cleanings) is the ability to remove calculus buildup that has occurred between visits. Calculus (also known as ‘tartar’) is formed from plaque accumulation. This is the sticky film you feel on your teeth at the end of the day before your evening brushing.

Calculus is a hardened mass of plaque that attaches to teeth. As oral bacteria thrive in your mouth by subsisting on tender gum tissues, they reproduce rapidly. As they accumulate, oral bacteria can easily progress from gingivitis (an initial stage of periodontal disease) to full blown periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease symptoms include persistent bad breath, tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, gums that turn red in color, receded gums, and pus pockets that form at the base of some teeth.

Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. Even worse, it can enter the bloodstream through weakened gum tissues. The infectious bacteria of gum disease has been found to trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. Research has linked this to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies, erectile dysfuntion (ED) and more.

Obviously, oral bacteria is potent stuff and potentially destructive to areas far beyond the mouth. Yet, keeping a healthy mouth takes mere minutes a day. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, drinking plenty of water and limiting sweets are simple, effective ways to reduce risks. You’ll enjoy a clean mouth, fresher breath, and savings from avoiding treatment expenses of cavities and gum disease.

Your regular 6-month check-ups are a tremendous part of helping you avoid problems in the first place. Additionally, we provide Oral Cancer screenings with VelScope technology as part of annual exams at no additional cost. This quick and painless early detection process far surpasses what a visual exam can detect.

If you’re behind on your 6-month oral hygiene visits, call 1-877-966-9009 to schedule. These twice-a-year visits are a direct path to a healthy smile with minimal problems! Please note that we are highly experienced in treating patients who are afraid of dental visits and are a ‘lecture-free zone!’ You’ll be treated gently, respectfully and ethically.

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Sore Gums That Bleed? You May Be Able To Undo Gingivitis!

posted: June 21, 2016

The human body is an amazing structure. It can react both physically and emotionally, process and distribute nutrition efficiently, and even heal itself.

Every body contains bacteria, some of which is good bacteria. When ‘bad’ bacteria enter the body, the white blood cells are signaled. Their job is to swoop in to attack bacteria so the healing process is not complicated. However, these ‘white knights’ are not always able to overpower an overgrowth of bacteria.

Because bacteria reproduce rapidly, they can overwhelm the body’s built-in defense mechanisms. This is when infection begins. Just as a cut on your foot can become infected, oral bacteria can cause infection in the mouth. This is what leads to periodontal (gum) disease, an inflammation that attacks teeth, gum tissues and the bone that supports tooth roots.

Symptoms of gum disease begin with tender gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath, receding gums, gums that darken to red in color and pus pockets that may form at the base of some teeth. Without treatment, gum disease will eventually cause teeth to loosen, which often requires removal.

In most cases, gum disease progresses because people don’t realize that bleeding gums are not normal. Without proper tooth brushing, flossing and dental checkups, the result leads to a build-up of bacteria. This is a sticky substance that coats the teeth and gums. This film is known as plaque. When plaque is not thoroughly brushed away on a daily basis, it can harden into a mass of bacteria called calculus (or tartar).

Oral bacteria thrive on gum tissues and tooth enamel as they reproduce. The greater their numbers, the more rapidly they accumulate. Often, by the time people realize that something is wrong in their mouths that won’t go away, only dental treatment will be able to eliminate the bacterial onslaught. This is especially true when bacteria have penetrated beneath the gum line.

Conquer nasty oral bacteria before they cause destruction to your smile

Conquer nasty oral bacteria before they cause destruction to your smile

Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease. Symptoms are typically gums that ache in one area and some bleeding when brushing. These signs signal the need for immediate attention. With prompt attention and proper measures, you can halt and reverse the need for dental treatment and restore your gums to a healthy condition.

Begin by twice daily brushing with a soft bristle tooth brush using a tooth paste with fluoride. Brush for at least two minutes each time and floss daily. Avoid popping the floss between teeth so you don’t damage vulnerable gum tissues. Ease the floss between teeth in a back-&-forth motion to scrape the sides of each tooth.

To remove a tremendous amount of bacteria from the mouth, use a tongue scrapper daily. Scrape from back to front, rinsing after each pass. Or, you can use your tooth brush to brush your tongue after each brushing. Either method helps to dislodge bacteria that is embedded in the tongue. Be sure to get the back of the tongue where most of the bacteria live.

Drink lots of water during the day. (Sorry – colas and tea don’t count!) This will aid saliva flow so it is able to move bacteria from your mouth on a continual basis. Avoid or cut down on foods and drinks that are drying to the mouth, including alcohol, coffee, colas and spicy foods. Minimize sugary foods and reduce carbohydrates, which are the super-food that rev up the reproduction of oral bacteria.

If you smoke, use an oral rinse that will replenish the mouth with moisture. These are available over-the-counter. Just avoid those that contain alcohol. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are terribly drying to oral tissues. Be aware that a dry mouth provides oral bacteria with a favorable environment for reproduction.

If you adhere diligently to these steps before gingivitis progresses, gum tenderness and bleeding should cease in a week or so. If you do not see marked improvement after two weeks, make an appointment as soon as possible. We will determine if full-blown gum disease is underway and, if so, recommend appropriate treatment.

The key is to act promptly. Gum disease only worsens without treatment and is the nation’s leading cause for adult tooth loss. Additionally, the bacteria of gum disease has been found to trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. It has been linked to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, preterm babies and impotency.

Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with gum disease. Also, arrange an appointment if you are behind on your cleanings and exams. These appointments can catch problems in early stages and often save you time and expense for future repairs.

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Regular Dental Care Can Saves You Money!

posted: April 29, 2016

As part of our family’s desire to enjoy good health, we exercise often, eat healthy foods and indulge in moderation. Like most adults, we try to do everything we can to prevent problems from occurring and catch any that do as early as possible.

Many adults have an annual check-up with their family physician, and annual eye exam, and a dermatologist exam yearly. My wife and I have periodic colonoscopies and she has a regular mammogram. These are all steps to help ensure we are doing the right things and that no hidden problems can be detected.

Just as important to our overall health, however, is the well-being of your oral health. Your regular 6-month check-ups are designed to help you avoid problems in the first place. Additionally, your annual Oral Cancer screenings are performed with VelScope technology at no additional cost. This provides an early detection screening that far surpasses what a visual exam can see.smiling patient

One of the many benefits of your dental exam and cleaning is the ability to remove any calculus buildup that has occurred between visits. Calculus (also known as ‘tartar’) is a cement-hard attachment to teeth, formed from plaque accumulation. This is actually a hardened form of oral bacteria.

Oral bacteria thrive in your mouth because they eat away at gum tissues and bore into tooth enamel. They reproduce rapidly and can easily go from gingivitis (an early stage of periodontal disease) to full blown gum disease. Gum disease causes persistent bad breath, gums that bleed easily when brushing, gums that turn red in color, receded gums, tenderness and pus pockets that form on gums at the base of some teeth.

Not only is gum disease to blame for the majority of adult tooth loss in the U.S., it can become bloodborne, causing problems elsewhere in the body. The oral bacteria of gum disease has been found to trigger inflammatory reactions that research has linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies, arthritis, diabetes and erectile dysfuntion (ED).

Obviously, oral bacteria is potent stuff and damaging far beyond the mouth. Yet, keeping a healthy mouth takes only minutes each day. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing and limiting sugary snacks are simple, yet effective, ways to reduce risks and enjoy a clean mouth and fresher breath. And, the pay-off is NOT having to have cavities repaired, NOT needing deep gum therapy to remove bacteria, and NOT losing teeth due to gum disease. NOT to mention the great smile you’ll be confident sharing!

Remember, your 6-month check up is the best way to reduce your risk of problems that can sneak up on you. If you’re behind on your oral hygiene visits, call 1-877-966-9009 to schedule. These twice-a-year visits are a direct path to a healthy smile with minimal problems!

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