Alzheimer’s Disease and Dental Health

Brushing and flossing may be a normal part of your daily routine but what if I told you that having a disease free mouth may decrease your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease for years to come. Recent studies have shown that the bacteria that causes gum disease is also found in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some studies even show that the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease doubles when gum disease is present.

A type of bacteria called P. gingivalis is one of the primary bacteria found in patient’s mouths with gum disease. This is the same bacteria that has been found in the brains of an Alzheimer’s patients. Periodontal disease also know as gum disease is an inflammatory disease of the gum tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Numerous studies have shown that Alzheimer’s and Dementia are also inflammatory diseases of the nerves in the brain. Bacteria from gum disease can travel from the mouth into the blood stream and then to the brain which can possibly lead to inflammatory diseases of the brain.

Of course, not every patient that has gum disease will have Alzheimer’s and not every patient that has Alzheimer’s will have gum disease.

Click on the link to learn more about Gum Diseases

How to increase your chances of beating any virus?

Raise your hand if you have experienced any sense of anxiety, fear or stress as a result of COVID-19 news. As we near the end of this first week of Shelter-in-Place and Stay-at-Home orders for most of us in north Texas, I wanted to check-in and share some of my thoughts.

 I wish I could tell you there is a simple way to never be exposed to any bacteria, viruses or germs and never get sick but as we all know that is nearly impossible. So let’s talk about two different ways you could decrease your chances of getting sick.

First would be to minimize your exposure to bacteria and viruses, which is exactly what we are trying to do during this COVID-19 pandemic:

1.            Wash hands

2.            Cover your mouth when coughing or cough in your elbow

3.            Don’t touch your mouth or eyes.(Don’t put dirty objects in your mouth either)

4.            Keep safe distance from others(Social distancing)

5.            Stay home if you know you are sick or stay away from someone if you know they are sick

Second way to decrease your chances of getting sick is to boost your defense ie your immune system.

Don’t forget our body has a natural defense system to fight virus and bacteria. The immune system is our body’s defense mechanism that protects us and attacks virus and bacteria that we come in contact with. So if we could boost our immune system it would decrease our chances of getting sick.

Following are a few ways to help support your immune system so it’s ready to fight those harmful bacteria and viruses:

1.            Eat healthy. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetable and whole grains.

2.            Exercise. Try to get at least 30 mins of exercise daily.

3.            Don’t smoke and/or only drink alcohol in moderation.

4.            Get adequate sleep. Generally 7-9 hours of sleep daily.

5.            Try to minimize stress. Easier said than done sometime. Techniques such as focus breathing, body scan, mindful mediation, guided imagery and prayer all help reduce stress.

I know most of you already know this information but I am hoping as you read this you become more mindful and implement these habits in your daily routine.

Be safe and stay healthy.

Attention Men: Don’t Avoid the Dentist!

Compared to women, men are less likely to visit a dentist, oftentimes, only seeing a dentist when a problem arises. Here are some dental health tips for men:

1) Change your toothbrush/brush head every 3-4 months

2) Do a visual check in your mouth to looks for signs of any abnormal growth, skin irritation, and swelling. Men that smoke cigars, cigarettes, use snuff or chew tobacco are at a higher risk for oral cancer

3) If you play contact sports or clench your teeth during workouts, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from unnecessary trauma

4) If your gums bleed when brushing, contact you dental office for an evaluation in the event it’s due to gum disease

5) Certain prescription medications can cause dry mouth; review these medications with your dentist so that he/she can customize a hygiene plan to meet your needs.

6) Be mindful of your diet; avoid sipping soda or energy drinks throughout the day

7) Don’t forget to Floss! Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth.

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

One of the main goals of orthodontic treatment is a beautiful smile. While orthodontics certainly enhances and plays a key role in achieving a perfect smile, there are many other benefits to having braces.

Some of these benefits are:

  • Reduced cavities and periodontal disease – Teeth that are malaligned create areas where the food traps. This trapped food creates more plaque and bacteria, which can eventually lead to having cavities and periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Reduced risk of injury – Having straight teeth reduces the risk of injury to the mouth especially during contact sports. Patients that have protruded upper teeth “buck teeth” are more likely to have trauma to their teeth or mouth. Additionally having teeth that are misaligned can wear teeth unevenly and cause enamel to chip at the edges of the teeth.
  • TMJ(Jaw Joint) Problems – Misaligned teeth can lead to jaw problems also known as TMD. Teeth, jaw joint and muscles of the face work together to create a healthy harmonious system. Having misaligned teeth can create stress in other areas of the system which can lead to TMJ problems.
  • Improved ability to chew food – Having teeth that are properly aligned and biting properly certainly enhances a patient’s ability to chew food. Patients with an improper bite have difficulty chewing their food and have a tendency to swallow larger bites leading to poor digestion.  
  • Easier to brush, clean and floss teeth – It goes without saying that having straight teeth makes it easier to brush, floss and clean teeth. Having straight teeth makes it easier for patients to clean their teeth with ease and maintain them in good health. Straighter teeth have less “hidden areas” where food and bacteria can build up.

Click this link to receive a special offer for orthodontic care at our office.

Don’t wait until it HURTS

Many times a patient gets diagnosed with a cavity and the most common question they ask is “Why doesn’t it hurt?”

If you get your regular dental check-ups it is likely that we can catch the problem early before there is any sign of pain. A small cavity that only requires a filling indicates that the decay is not close enough to the nerve to cause any pain. As the cavity gets larger it gets closer to the nerve of the tooth resulting in pain.  At this point you will need more extensive treatment to save the tooth.  The longer you wait the more costly and time consuming it will be.  So if you are not having pain that is a good thing! Staying proactive and seeing you dental team on a regular basis will help you keep your teeth healthy and catch cavities while they are still small.  With that being said don’t wait until it hurts, get proactive in your dental care.

Your mouth is a window to your overall health

There is a strong connection between your oral health and systemic health. Taking good care of your teeth will help you maintain good general health. Several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, respiratory disease, cancer, endocarditis, premature birth and low-birth weight have been linked to poor oral health. It has been shown that the risk of having these conditions is higher in patients with unhealthy mouths. In all of these diseases the bacteria in the mouth can travel through the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body, such as heart, lungs and arteries.

There are several systemic diseases that affect your oral health. Some of these include diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS, autoimmune disease and cancer.  Also, certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants negatively impact your oral health. Patients that have been diagnosed with any of these conditions are at a higher risk of having problems in their mouths.

In order to keep bacteria levels in the mouth to a minimum, it is imperative to have a healthy oral regimen. This includes having regular dental checkups and professional cleanings, as well as replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Also, avoiding tobacco and having a healthy diet will help maintain a healthy mouth. Remember, the mouth is the window to your overall health.

Is gum disease dangerous? Can you treat it?

Affecting some 80 percent of the American population, gum disease hides in your mouth and destroys gum tissue and teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. According to scientific research, there is a direct connection between gum disease and other health issues, including strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis, respiratory problems, diabetes complications, low birth weight, and dementia.

We can detect symptoms of gum disease before they take effect. In early stages, you can sometimes prevent it by improving oral hygiene and changing your oral care products. If gum disease, however, has already set in, we offer a range of therapies that we can use to treat it, including:

  • Scaling – to remove hardened plaque from below the gum line
  • Root Planing – to reduce rough areas on teeth roots
  • Antibiotic Therapy – to battle infection
  • Laser Treatment – to remove bacteria and promote gum reattachment
  • Surgery – advanced cases may require the care of a periodontist, in which case we will refer you to a trusted colleague