Oral Health and Body Health

There is a relationship between our teeth, gum and body. Our body is considered an ecosystem and our mouth is the main entrance to it. What goes through our mouths and into our body determines many of the diseases we contract.

Each tooth is surrounded by gums that create a seal that controls the bacteria that enters our body. If we fail to take care of this seal, and allow it to be weakened, we open the door for all kinds of things to enter our bloodstream causing a myriad of problems.

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According to OraGuard, Ltd, listed below are of some diseases that we can develop as a result of bacteria entering the body through the mouth and gums:

 

  • IBS
    Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and attack the friendly bacteria in your gut. And that’s when your digestive issues begin to worsen.
  • Breast cancer
    Women may be 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer due to lack of good oral care.
  • Prostate cancer
    Research has shown that men with indicators of periodontal disease and prostatitis have higher levels of PSA than men with only one of these conditions.
  • Diabetes
    Serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.
  • Weight gain
    Oral health, diabetes, and obesity are intertwined and inflammation is at the core of  this complex interaction
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
    Research shows gum disease bacteria lipopolysaccharides (the surface of the bacterium) in samples from people suffering from dementia and none of the people who do not have the condition.
  • Cardiovascular disease including stroke, heart attack, infective endocarditis, and thickening of the arteries
    When bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation.
  • Low birthweight and premature birth
    Periodontal health also plays a key role in a healthy pregnancy. Research suggests that pregnant women with gum disease are at higher risk for pre-term and low birth weight deliveries.
  • Bacterial pneumonia
    Bacterial infections in the chest are believed to be caused by breathing droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    Those who had moderate to severe periodontitis had more than twice the risk of RA compared to those with mild or no periodontitis

We don’t realize how important our oral health is in relation to a healthy body, but we need to think about not only what we put in our mouths, but how we take care of our mouths, which includes our teeth and gums. Good oral health is not only brushing your teeth and visiting your dentist, but don’t forgot to do this as well.

Contact our office at Brogdon Dental to set up your cleaning today.

 

 

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Chew on this…

Have you heard that chewing gum can be beneficial to your dental health?  Studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.

A 2015 study published in the journal PLoS ONE states, chewing gum for up to 10 minutes can remove 100 million bacteria, or 10% of the microbial load in saliva.

Chewing gum also has an interesting history.  According to wrigley.com…

People worldwide have chewed on natural materials for hundreds of years. Some of these materials include thickened resin and latex from certain types of trees, various sweet grasses, leaves, grains and waxes.

The ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum (or mastiche, pronounced “mas-tee-ka”) for centuries. This substance is formed from the resin contained in the bark of the mastic tree found mainly in Greece and Turkey. Grecian women favored chewing mastic gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath.

The Indians of New England taught American colonists to quench their thirsts by chewing the gum-like resin that forms on spruce trees when its bark is cut. In the early 1800’s, lumps of this spruce gum were sold in the eastern United States, making it America’s first commercial chewing gum. Sweetened paraffin wax became an acceptable alternative around 1850 and eventually surpassed spruce gum in popularity.

Chewing sugar free gum can help your teeth in a number of ways. It increases the production of saliva, which helps neutralize plaque acids, it can help clean away food debris, can strengthen teeth, and can reduce the problems associated with dry mouth. Besides all that, it freshens your breath and tastes good too!

When choosing a sugar free gum it helps to look for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

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One Reason for Dental Cleaning

There are many reasons to see your dentist for dental cleanings and its not just to keep your smile looking bright. One of those reasons could be your breath.

Some of the causes of bad breath include:

  • Food We Eat 
  • Infrequent Brushing and Flossing
  • Oral Diseases and Infections
  • Dry Mouth
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Medical Conditions

Some of the things you can do to prevent bad breath is to brush and floss at least two times a day, especially after a meal that contains foods that are known to cause bad breath. Also consider the use of a tongue scraper. Rinse thoroughly with water or mouthwash afterwards.

If your bad breath is caused by smoking, take steps to stop. This can also help combat periodontal disease. If you experience dry mouth, try sipping water throughout the day and during meals. Chew sugar-free gum or dissolve sugar-free candy in your mouth to help produce more saliva.

Gum, mints, mouthwashes and breath sprays are just temporary measures to mask your bad breath. Make sure that you call our office at Brogdon Dental to schedule an appointment for a complete examination of your teeth and gums and a thorough cleaning by our hygienist. We recommend you visit our office every six months for routine cleaning.

Dehydration and Oral Health

Although summer may be coming to a close, temperatures continue to soar in to the upper 90’s. The end of summer has many students heading back to school.  With the beginning of the new school year brings the start of high school athletics. Many kids will participate in practices, especially football, in the late afternoon heat after classes. The need to maintain adequate hydration is essential, especially considering the many problems it can cause. Failure to drink enough fluids before physical activity can result in serious issues.

One of the first warning signs of dehydration is dry mouth.  You may find that you have trouble swallowing, and others may notice that you have bad breath, which is one of the problems associated with a dry mouth.  If your mouth is not producing enough saliva it can become an breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria causes infections that may lead to cavities and gingivitis.

We need sufficient saliva in our mouths to wash away food debris and reduce plaque, which is why severe tooth decay and gum disease can occur if dry mouth is left untreated. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 30 percent of all tooth decay in older adults is caused by dry mouth. (www.toothwisdom.org)

Besides drinking plenty of water and brushing and flossing daily; chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free mints can help fight dry mouth since they stimulates saliva production. Products that contain xylitol (a sugar substitute) can actually help prevent cavities.

As the temperatures still continue to rise, keep a check on your hydration. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Experts recommend at least a gallon (eight 8-ounce glasses) of water per day. Dehydration effects every part of your body including your oral health. Keep drinking water.

Medications and Cavities – Adults over 60

Are you over 60 and finding that you’re suddenly getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years? As we get older, many people start experiencing cavity prone years again. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. It’s a side-effect of many medications, including those prescribed for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

According to the American Dental Association here are some recommendations for relief from dry mouth:

  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
  • Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
  • Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
  • Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
  • Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
  • Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.

It’s important to tell Dr. Brogdon about any medications that you’re taking. We can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and in turn prevent cavities.

Dental Care and Diabetes

Did you know that over 29 million people today are affected by diabetes?  Diabetes can affect the whole body including your mouth.  Proper Dental care is  important for people with diabetes because they face a higher than normal risk of oral health problems due to poorly controlled blood sugars.

So what can you do if you have diabetes to insure good oral health? Here are some day to day dental heath care tips courtesy of  webmd.com:

  • Have your teeth and gums cleaned and checked by your dentist twice a year. (Your dentist may recommend a closer interval depending upon your condition.)
  • Prevent plaque buildup on teeth by using dental floss at least once a day.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal. The best time is at least 30 minutes after eating to allow re-mineralization of any enamel that had been softened by acid in the food. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • If you wear dentures, remove them and clean them daily. Do not sleep in them.
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
  • Antibacterial mouth rinses can reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease, according to the American Dental Association.

Contact our office at Brogdon Dental for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Regular Dental Visits Do Matter

No matter what your age, your oral health is important. Even though regular dental exams and good oral hygiene can help prevent most dental diseases, every year over 100 million Americans don’t see a dentist.  It is important to schedule regular dental appointments because they can help find oral health problems early on. By finding out the problems early, treatment can be simpler and more affordable.

According to American Dental Association here are some signs you should see your Dentist:

  • Your teeth are  sensitive to hot or cold
  • Your gums are puffy and/or they bleed when you brush or floss
  • You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.
  • You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look
  • You have persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  • You are pregnant
  • You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck
  • You have difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay
  • You have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, or are HIV positive
  • Your mouth is often dry
  • You smoke or use other tobacco products
  • You are undergoing medical treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy
  • Your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up; you have an uneven bite
  • You have a spot or sore that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth and it isn’t going away.

Even if you don’t have any of these symptoms, you can still have oral health problems that only a dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits can help prevent problems from developing. Don’t put off your dental visit.  Call Brogdon Dental today at 423-870-5698 to set up your appointment.