Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Connection between Oral Health and Overall Health

Did you know that that the mouth can carry anywhere between 500 to 650 different species 20152of bacteria?! And researchers estimate that the average mouth carries about 20 billion microbes. They can be found on the tongue, teeth, gum and cheeks, and some of these bacteria are known to double their numbers every 20 minutes with the mouth acting like a petri dish! With the 100 billion microbes in saliva, we actually end up swallowing 100 billion microbes every 24 hours. Yikes! Now, not all these bacteria are bad. In fact, some of them are actually necessary to do the job of breaking down food.

The Continuing Question

Researchers continue to ask how does oral health impact overall health. Although many answers have been found, many questions remain

Many dentists and dental specialists have known for years about a connection and have been trying to convince patients. Science is finally starting to reach those without medical training. While the exact causal nature of the relationship between oral infection and other medical conditions still is being investigated, these relationships can’t be ignored any longer. Patients, doctors and dentists need to work together for a total approach to treatment and care.

The Mouth is the Gateway to the Body

With the mouth being the main avenue for things to go into and out your body and the fact of the bacteria in our mouths, it’s not stretching too far to assume that some of the infectious activity in our mouths can affect other systems. It’s also accepted that if one bodily system is not working properly, it can affect every other systems in the body.

Oral Health and Diabetes

With a chronic disease like diabetes for example, oral inflammation appears to compromise the body’s ability to control blood sugar. High blood sugar conditions are prime breeding ground for bacteria.

Oral Health and Heart Disease

Researchers are trying to figure out the connection between oral health and heart disease but are certain a connection exists. According to WebMD, “up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease have periodontitis compared to 66 percent of people with no heart disease.” Gum disease and heart disease also share similar risk factors such as smoking, unhealthy diet and being overweight. More recent studies have found dental bacteria in the plaque that clogs up arteries (the plaque that clogs arteries is different from the plaque in your mouth). Researchers believe that the bacteria travel through the bloodstream and settles in other areas of the body.

Oral Health and Pregnant Moms

Pregnant moms (as are women in general) are at increased risk of developing gum disease issues because of fluctuating hormones. They affect the production of saliva, which is the body’s natural defence against bacterial growth in the mouth. Pregnant moms who experience gum disease and decide not to seek treatment or do at-home oral cleanings differently are at a seven times higher risk for pre-eclampsia, which can lead to premature delivery and underweight babies. Gum disease actually triggers the release of the fluids that induce labor. One study found that 50 percent of the placentas tested from women who had experienced pre-eclampsia during pregnancy tested positive for at least one type of bacteria normally found in the mouth.

Oral Health and Osteoporosis

This is probably one of the more obvious possible connections, though research is continuing to determine exactly how one affects the other. Osteoporosis happens when the bones in the body start to become porous, which means the jawbone can be affected as well. It is a well-known dental fact that poor bone quality can lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease, if left untreated, can spread to the underlying bone. It’s unclear yet whether periodontal disease contributes to the overall extent of osteoporosis in the jaw, or if inflammation in the mouth could trigger similar porotic bone issues in other parts of the body.

While researchers continue their investigations, it’s important for us not to take our oral health for granted and to learn to take care of it to prevent these sorts of relationships from developing in our bodies. This is where CDIC can help. CDIC can provide an overall evaluation of any oral conditions and treatment solutions to eliminate them or reduce their effect on the rest of your body and life.

5 Healthy Oral Habits to Start Today

As we embark on a new year, let’s make 2015 the year that we vow to take better care of our teeth — and actually follow through on it. Unlike most resolutions we might make, taking better care of our mouth is not that difficult. It just requires a few really simple changes and relatively inexpensive “tools”.

Healthy Oral Habit #1 – Drink more water

This is usually a no-brainer when it comes to losing weight and being healthier overall, but there’s more to water than promoting digestive regularity and hydration. Water is also one of the easiest ways of keeping bacteria from forming on your teeth because it rinses food particles, and thus any bacteria lingering in your mouth away. It doesn’t replace the need to brush or floss, but it is part of an overall, thorough mouth-cleaning regimen.

Healthy Oral Habit #2 – Flossing

I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing our hygienist tell us how important it is to floss. The problem is, if our dentist and hygienist keep telling us to do it, why do we tell ourselves, “Oh, it’s not that important, I can get away without it.” By the way, it’s no secret to your dentist or hygienist that you haven’t been flossing. They can tell. Truth is, if you’re brushing only, you’re only getting your mouth 60 to 75 percent clean. The rest of the food particles and cavity-causing bacteria are in between teeth and potentially beneath the gumline where toothbrushes can’t reach and only dental floss can go. Most spools of dental floss can be purchased for less than $3 — a really small investment that can make a lifetime of difference.

Healthy Oral Habit #3 – Use teeth ONLY for chewing food

Our teeth are really strong. The enamel is actually stronger than bone, but that doesn’t mean our teeth are indestructible. Your teeth and mouth structures were designed for chewing food only, not crunching on ice cubes, fruit pits, popcorn kernels, pencils, pens, finger nails or anything else you might put in your mouth. Your teeth and mouth were also not designed to be used to open packages, parcels and plastic clothing tag ties. All these things can not only damage our teeth, but they can also do irreparable damage to your jaw joints, muscles and tendons.

Healthy Oral Habit #4 – Change your toothbrush at least every three to four months

If you don’t remember the last time you changed your toothbrush, it’s probably time. The general rule of thumb is at least every three to four months. Some toothbrushes even indicate when it’s time to buy a new one. If the bristles on your toothbrush start to “splay” — that is, they start spreading apart and don’t look like they did when you bought it, it’s time for a new one even if you haven’t used it for three months yet. It may also be a sign that you’re brushing too hard. Also, it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush after an illness. You can leave behind cold, flu and other germs on your toothbrush and you certainly don’t want to be putting that back in your mouth.

Healthy Oral Habit #5 – Eat more teeth friendly fruits and vegetables

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What you’re looking for is fleshy fruit such as apples, strawberries and pears. These three in particular are natural toothbrushes, and strawberries have teeth whitening properties. Crunchy vegetables such as celery and carrots help clean teeth and stimulate gums. Broccoli and brussel sprouts have good doses of calcium and iron. Both these nutrients are crucial for healthy teeth and bones. You can follow up these veggies with some fruit. The vitamin C in the fruit helps your body absorb the iron, but stay away from citrus fruit since the acid can actually harm your enamel.

Five easy healthy oral habits to get you started on the year you finally take control of your oral health. Of course, these habits won’t do it on their own. You will also need to visit Choice Dental and Implant Center for regular check ups and instructions on proper flossing and brushing techniques, and any other questions or concerns you might have.

Realistic Resolutions for your Dental Health in 2015

As we just entered the New Year, it’s time to set our sights on new achievements, accomplishment or improvements. There’s something in everyone’s life that can be improved–most likely, more than one something. For some, it’s losing weight, eating healthier or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

How about some dental health resolutions this year? Many of us overlook the importance of oral health and how it can impact how people see us and how we see ourselves. Taking better care of your mouth is really not that hard and the results can be life changing.

Flossing

Flossing is one of those things that everyone knows we should do, but we still think our mouth is just fine without it. In fact, statistics show that only 12% of people in developed countries floss every day. Flossing is essential to preventing cavities from forming in hard-to-reach and hard-to-treat areas between teeth, as well as preventing gum disease. “Flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth.” (WebMD) This means that if you’re brushing only, your teeth are only 60% clean. When you have a shower, do you clean only 60% of your body? Your teeth deserve the same thorough cleaning.

Regular dental checkups

Many people make the mistake of thinking that they don’t really need to see a dentist until there’s something wrong. Kinda like not seeing a doctor for annual physicals because if you don’t feel there’s anything wrong, there’s nothing to worry about. Any dentist will tell you that most dental problems are present when there aren’t any symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, the situation is pretty far advanced and will likely require more invasive, extensive and expensive dental treatment, than if it had been prevented with regular cleanings and check-ups, or caught and treated earlier. It’s only twice a year, and it will be worth it in the long run.

Brushing your tongue

Like flossing, many people don’t realize how important this simple thing is to maintaining your overall oral health. One of the principal causes of bad breath is bacteria in the mouth and that bacteria is not only on your teeth, but also on your tongue. Bacteria feeds on plaque and plaque can develop on your tongue just as well as your teeth. Our tongues are covered in hundreds of tiny, moist ridges which are prime breeding grounds for bacteria.

Drinking lots of water

Drinking water is not only critical for keeping you hydrated, but also for rinsing food particles and bacteria away from the surface of your teeth. Drinking water is particularly important after you’ve eaten something sweet, starchy or sticky and there’s no toothbrush around. Actually, it’s better to rinse with water immediately after eating or drinking something sweet, starchy, or sticky because brushing right away can actually further damage your enamel. So, rinse with water first, wait 20 to 30 minutes, and then brush.

Eating crisp, fleshy fruits and vegetables

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Most of us know that fruits and vegetables are necessary for a healthy diet. What most of us don’t know is that fruits and veggies are also necessary for dental health. Chewing fleshy apples, watermelons, and pears increase salivation and in the case of apples, act as a natural toothbrush. Carrots, celery and root vegetables and other firm veggies stimulate the gum while the water content also helps clean teeth. Leafy greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep your teeth, bones, and gums healthy.

See? That wasn’t so hard, was it? Such simple resolutions that can make a world of difference in your oral health in 2015.