Tag Archives: dental news

The Relation Between Gum Disease and Your Health

We’ve been discussing a lot about cosmetic dental work over the holidays, but a bit of news turns our attention to some critical health issues. Inadequate gum health may not just enhance your risk of needing dental implants. NYC residents should be aware of research from Yale University that links gum disease to a larger incidence of pneumonia. Oral health, particularly the health of the gums, has long been connected with various health issues in other parts of the body, including heart disease and diabetes, but this latest dental news reveals that there’s a connection between the mouth and pneumonia.

How does gum health relate to pneumonia? Well the easy explanation is the fact that bacteria in the mouth are breathed into the lungs from the throat, infecting the lungs and causing respiratory illness. This link between oral health and respiratory disease has been established for several years. The science behind it is a a bit more complex, but the basics should be adequate to motivate all of us to take excellent care of our gums. Diseased gums harbor a host of numerous bacteria which can be absorbed into the bloodstream, but they can also be inhaled into your lungs. Dr. Samit Joshi of Yale University suggests that changes occurring in oral bacteria can increase the susceptibility to acquire pneumonia. Increasing symptoms of gum disease are a source of that bacteria change.

Leading British dentists are warning individuals about the risk, pointing to several studies linking oral health and respiratory disease. Both the elderly and the young are especially at risk, and their gum health should be monitored closely. CEO of the British Dental Health Foundation offers some advice:

  • Brush teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste
  • Reduce sweet food and drink intake
  • Visit a dentist regularly

Sound advice for any situation, but winter months presents a greater cocktail of respiratory germs, with more people locked indoors, and colds and flues on a higher level of incidence, so extra vigilance is a great idea. Things to look for include bleeding from the gums during regular brushing, bad breath, frequent mouth infections, or loose teeth. These are all signs of gum disease, that could contribute to pneumonia.

According to the CDC, pneumonia accounts for about 17.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the United States, so keeping track of your oral health and the oral health of your loved ones is not just about pretty teeth, it’s about protecting lives.

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A Look at Oral Cancer

oral cancer nycLives all around us are being touched by cancer. We all have friends, family members, or co-workers that have battled this ever-spreading disease, yet we try to ignore the possibility of it ever happening to us. However, ignorance is not bliss in this instance, and we should be aware of warning signs. This is true for the mouth as well. Oral or pharyngeal cancer affects almost 37,000 Americans each year, and is usually far-advanced before it is detected. Traditional methods of detecting oral cancer relied on visual check and physical palpitations by hand. New methods of detection are making dental news, making your Dental Life professional a key part of your cancer prevention regime. And while your dentist is not responsible for treating oral cancer, he is certainly a vital part of early detection and dealing with the effects of cancer.

Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use as well as HPV (human papillomavirus). Men over 40 are also more susceptible, but just because you don’t fall into one of these categories does not mean you are immune to oral cancer. Anyone can get oral cancer, so it is important to know the signs for early detection.

Symptoms of oral cancer can include:

●      White or red patches in your mouth

●      Loose teeth

●      Oral Bleeding

●      Mouth sores that do not heal

Keep in mind that these symptoms do not mean you have cancer. Many people have similar issues that are not cancerous at all. However, it is important to keep an eye on these issues and check with your dentist if they persist. More advanced signs of oral cancer can include:

●      Earaches

●      Lump in the neck

●      Difficulty or pain with swallowing

●      Numbness in the mouth

nyc oral cancerSo, what should you do if you are suffering some of these symptoms? Scheduling an appointment with your dentist is often a good first step. A dentist will not treat oral cancer, but he can quickly eliminate other factors that may be causing your symptoms. A dental visit may be all you need to put your fears to rest and ensure your mouth is in optimal health. After you have explained your concerns, the dentist will perform an examination of your mouth’s condition. This will involve a physical inspection, but may also include some of the latest technology in dentistry news, including an intra-oral screening light that helps make cancer easier to spot. With three different colors of lights, the tool allows your dentist to check for unusually high cellular activity, and monitor vein condition. If any sign of possible cancer is apparent, your dentist will refer you to a specialist for further investigation.

Oral cancer can lead to damaged teeth which can be addressed after the cancer has been treated. Cosmetic dentistry brings bright smiles back to cancer patients with the use of a number of progressive treatments, including dental implants. NYC cancer survivors have the benefit of many of America’s finest dental professionals. Remember mouth reconstruction is a crucial part of healing from oral cancer.


Planning on Losing Weight in the New Year?

Ny Dental ThanksgivingDo you feel about as stuffed as that turkey that was on the table this Thanksgiving? In the height of holiday season the last thing we want to think about is our weight. Usually it isn’t until the new year approaches and we start feeling a little extra tightness in the waistband that we consider making a resolution to exercise, diet, and lose weight. However, weight loss is a good thing to keep in mind right through the holidays, especially as NY Dental professionals ponder new information from a recent study revealing an alarming connection between obesity and gum disease.

In the study, 31 overweight individuals who had gum disease were given the same periodontal care. However, a control group underwent gastric bypass surgery to facilitate weight loss. After a period of time, all participants’ gum conditions had improved some due to the periodontal care. However, those who had enjoyed weight loss due to the surgery showed far greater improvement in overall gum health, reduction of inflammation, and a marked decrease in glucose levels.

Gum Disease Ny DentalInflammation of the gums can lead to harmful effects over time, causing bone erosion and tooth loss. It also allows harmful oral bacteria to enter the blood stream. This bacteria has been linked to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and other conditions.

One of the theories scientists propose for the connection between obesity and oral health is that excessive fat cells, called adipocytes, create more cytokines which reduce the ability of insulin to properly deal with sugars in the body. The result is elevated sugar in the blood stream which presents a constant assault on the gums and teeth. Other studies show that the blood vessels in the mouth show thickening in obese individuals, which decreases blood flow to the tissues. Reduced blood flow allows bacteria to stagnate without being removed by the immune cells in the body.

In earlier dental news, previous studies confirm the findings of this latest research, and there are many convincing factors that explain the connection. Not only does obesity promote periodontal disease, but it also increases risk of adult onset diabetes, which in turn has its own gum disease risks.

holiday goodies NY DentalSo, as you enjoy your holiday goodies, keep in mind moderation is always a good habit. Start planning today for a weight loss program that includes healthy eating and regular exercise. A healthy wight not only makes you feel better, but your mouth will thank you as well. Making an appointment with your dental care professional wouldn’t be a bad New Year resolution either!


Shrinking Jaws: Fact or Fiction?

Cosmetic Dentist NYCWhether we like it or not, every one of us faces the effects of aging on our bodies. Hair thins and whitens, taut muscles sag, wrinkles appear; but did you know that your jaw shrinks as you age? A study released by the Faculty of Dentistry at Malmo University is circling dentistry news and reveals that jaws do reduce in size, causing teeth crowding in seniors. Surely another sign of aging is not what we all wanted to hear!

The study was a fascinating one. Dental students in their twenties had molds taken of their teeth. Researchers repeated the molds in ten years, then again a full forty years after the first sample was taken. Comparison of the three different molds showed that the jaw size had indeed shrunk in that forty year time span. The lower jaw was affected more than the upper, and the shrinkage occurred whether or not the individuals had their wisdom teeth removed. Manhattan cosmetic dentist professionals are taking special note of this study because of the effect jaw shrinkage can have on the bite of their patients.

Dental news, ny dentalSo, how does this bit of dental news affect you? Regardless of your age, the inevitable effects of aging are already at work on your body. When you consider having cosmetic dentistry work done, it is important that you discuss jaw space issues with your dental professional. While continuous shrinking of the jaw is normal, dental reconstruction is not a natural occurrence. However, with proper planning, qualified dental professionals can still perform procedures that will enhance your smile, preserve the longevity of your bite, and give you more confidence.

dental implants nycA key to maintaining jaw size is dental implants. NY dentists have long recognized the value of replacing missing teeth with dental implants. If space from missing teeth is allowed to remain, atrophy of the jaw and gum tissue begins to accelerate the otherwise normal rate of jaw shrinkage. Removable dentures allow the atrophy continue, accelerating the rate of shrinkage. Most of us have probably seen an older person struggling with a denture that has become too large due to shrinkage in the mouth. This is due both to the normally occurring shrinkage of the jaw, but also to the accelerated shrinkage caused by missing teeth. In contrast, titanium posts used for dental implants are actually interpreted by the body as the bone of a natural tooth, reducing the risk of natural bone loss around the implant. Dental implants actually become a great tool to help reduce the effects of aging on your jaw.

When you start to think of the effects of aging, trusting the care of a dental professional can give you a healthy mouth for many more years of enjoying delectable meals with friends and family. Jaw shrinkage is not something to fear, but instead to face with confidence, knowing the options before you. Dental implants are no longer a luxury, but a means of keeping you smiling for your grandchildren and others you care about.


A Whole Look At Tooth Decay

nyc cosmetic dentists“You need to brush and floss more.” That sums up most of the advice that American patients receive from their dentist. With advice like that, it’s easy to forget that cavities are not the cause of a problem, but rather a symptom of poor oral health. Cavities are caused by bacteria that live in the mouth on teeth and gums. The bacteria feed on remnants of food stuck on and between the teeth and they leave behind waste. However, their waste is highly acidic. That acid dissolves the enamel surface of the tooth and creates holes in the tooth or cavities.

 

While these bacteria aren’t picky eaters, they have a bit of a sweet tooth. Research shows that they get something like a sugar rush.  They can consume sugar and starch more efficiently than foods lower on the glycemic index. Once the bacteria are well fed, they can reproduce more quickly, and the cycle continues, creating a more acidic environment. An acidic mouth is ideal for bacteria, but not for teeth.

Sugar accounts for roughly 20% of the average American’s diet and according to Michael Pollan, a food journalist, “nearly 10 percent of the calories Americans consume now come from corn sweeteners; the figure is 20 percent for many children.”

  • Regular Visits To The Dentist.
  • Floss.
  • Mouthwash.
  • Toothpaste.
  • New Tooth Brush.
  • A Healthy Diet ?

A great way to fight cavities all day is to consume a diet rich in whole natural foods. The American or western diet is notoriously heavy on sugar and starches, while low in the vitamins and minerals that can strengthen teeth against decay.

Some food can be tricky, so it is best to read the label. The label lists all of a product’s ingredients in order of most to least. Fresh meat and produce don’t have labels because they are considered unadulterated or pure. Even foods that look natural can be hiding high fructose corn syrup and other additives that cavity causing bacteria thrive on. A traditional loaf of bread has about 6 ingredients: yeast, water, honey/sugar, salt, whole wheat flour, and butter/oil, most supermarket breads have closer to 30 including enriched white flour. For decades some NYC cosmetic dentists have theorized that the cause of tooth decay in western society has been a diet heavy in refined grains, including processed corn, wheat, and sugar products.

Make the healthier choice. Switch to a diet of whole, unprocessed foods. Your body and your dentist will thank you.


Mysterious Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning Mouth SyndromeMost people have experienced the several days of discomfort that comes along with a pizza or hot coffee burn their mouth… just imagine if the burning sensation persisted all day, every day. Burning Mouth Syndrome is a frustrating and somewhat mysterious condition that affects about 5 percent of Americans, primarily middle aged and menopausal women according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

The cause of Burning Mouth Syndrome is not clear but there are several possibilities including systemic conditions such Diabetes, or Sjogren’s syndrome which causes a dry mouth; and diet deficient in iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins D and B-12, or niacin. Recent research suggests that hormonal changes and possibly neurological damage that occurs during menopause may render the brain unable to turn off pain receptors in the tongue. Finally, cancer therapies including radiation and chemotherapy, as well as certain medications are also thought to be responsible for the characteristic symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome which are typically described as:

  • A dry, gritty feeling in the mouth
  • A scalded sensation often on the palate, lips and tip of the tongue
  • Bitter, metallic or other taste changes

nutritional deficiencyUnfortunately, because Burning Mouth Syndrome may have many contributing factors and manifests no physical signs, it can be very difficult to diagnose and treat. Currently there is no cure for this frustrating condition but there are medications available to help alleviate and manage symptoms. Patients may also find it helpful to:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep the oral tissues moist and lubricated
  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods
  • Chew sugar free gum (preferably with Xylitol) because it stimulates saliva flow
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol-containing products which can irritate the oral tissues.
  • Consult your physician if you are experiencing these symptoms prior to or during menopause.
  • Ensure that you are eating a balanced diet. Consult a nutritionist if necessary.

Burning Mouth SyndromeDon’t suffer in silence with this uncomfortable condition. Be sure to tell us about all of your medications, health conditions and symptoms and your dental team will work in collaboration with your physicians and other health providers to ensure that you are correctly diagnosed and that you receive the relief you need.