Your dentist in Douglasville has known for quite some time that there is a strong link between gum disease and other whole-body concerns, such as an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. But recent research by the American Academy for Cancer Research has also shown a connection between gum disease and the development of colon cancer. During this Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we want to share the findings so our patients can do everything possible to protect themselves from gum disease and the potential negative side effects.
This new long-term study followed the health of 42,486 Americans, both men, and women, for several decades. The goal was to monitor the health, diet, and results of colonoscopies to determine if there was any possible link between gum disease and colon cancer. While the results did support the theory, researchers say more studies are needed to back up these findings.
Scientists were interested in looking at two particular types of intestinal lesions that often precede colon cancer — serrated polyps and conventional adenomas — as well as participants’ history of gum disease. They found that those patients who had a history of gum also had:
- A 17% increased risk of having a serrated polyp
- An 11% increased risk of having a conventional adenoma
- A 20% increased risk of having a serrated polyp if the participant had lost four or more teeth
6 Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease can present itself in a number of ways, but there are some signs that are more common such as:
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
- Pain when chewing
- If you recognize any of these signs of gum disease, call your dentist in Douglasville to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. When gum disease is caught in its earliest stages it can often be treated successfully. However, when gum disease becomes more serious, it can become irreversible.
Reduce Your Risk of Gum Disease
It’s important to remember that uncontrollable factors such as age and genetics can increase someone’s chances of getting gum disease. But there are also habits and lifestyle factors that we can control that can also increase the risk. Following these tips from your dentist in Douglasville can reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease:
- Follow a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Stop using tobacco products
- Keep seeing your dentist for bi-annual checkups and cleanings
Gum disease isn’t something to take lightly, and it’s crucial to monitor any changes that occur in the mouth to catch problems before they have a chance to become bigger concerns and cause health problems. If you notice any of the signs of gum disease or it’s been longer than six months since your last visit, schedule a dental appointment today.
As we head into the one-year mark of this pandemic, there are still several unknowns. But one thing has remained constant the whole time — stress levels are high, and rightfully so. Stress isn’t the best thing for health, especially at times like these. Prolonged periods of high stress can put us at increased risk for heart disease, actually make our immune systems less effective, and cause some unwanted gut problems. That’s not all. Dentists have also noticed an increase in oral health problems the past year, including this dentist featured in the New York Times. In today’s blog, your dentist in Douglasville explores some ways how stress can affect your oral health.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
You know how your body reacts kind of automatically when you’re stressed out? Maybe you start to sweat even though you’re not hot. Or perhaps your heart starts beating so fast it’s all you can hear. These and other subconscious reactions happen, and they’re not always so obvious. In fact, sometimes we don’t even notice that our body reacted at all. One great example of this is when we grind or clench our teeth. Many times we’re not even aware that we’re doing it, but it can certainly cause trouble. The constant pressure of teeth on teeth during clenching or grinding can cause tooth damage such as chips, cracks, or breaks and will require treatment from your dentist in Douglasville.
Unfortunately, the problems with clenching and grinding don’t end with damaged teeth. These repeated motions over and over again can start to cause jaw pain as the muscles in the jaw joint are overworked. If this happens over a long period of time, this can develop into TMJ disorder, and the pain can become severe and lead to other problems such as headaches, neck pain, and difficulty chewing.
Now, besides the problems associated with clenching and grinding, there’s also the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissue and is usually caused by poor dental hygiene or tobacco use. However, stress may also increase the risk of developing gum disease. Your dentist in Douglasville can treat gum disease if it’s caught early, but if the disease becomes more severe it also becomes irreversible. Untreated advanced gum disease can cause tooth loss and increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and some cancers.
It’s important to note that scientists have yet to determine one absolute cause of canker sores. But research conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry suggests a possible correlation between high levels of stress and the development of canker sores. Even though these painful bumps may be a little bit painful and a lot bit annoying, they’re not contagious or dangerous and should go away on their own.
Lower Your Stress, Lower Your Risk
We know it’s hard to lower your stress levels, especially nowadays, but we can’t stress enough just how important it is to try different ways to live as stress-free of a life as possible to lower your risk of health problems. Some ways to reduce stress include:
- Getting Enough Sleep. We need to sleep in order to recover and keep our bodies functioning properly. Aim for 8 hours a day and follow a regular routine of waking up at the same time every day.
- Exercising Every Day. Whatever your exercise of choice is, try to do it every day. Hop on a bike. Go for a walk. Do some high-intensity interval training. Just get sweating. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins which can decrease stress and keep us healthy.
- Breathing It Out. Meditation has been used for centuries as a stress-reduction tactic. Find a quiet space, focus on your breath, and clear your mind to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and help you relax.
Everyone is different, but try to find a stress-reduction technique that works for you and practice it every day. Your body, mind, and overall health will thank you for it.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and strives to raise awareness of a chronic disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans. But what does this have to do with your dentist in Douglasville? Well, the truth is, there is a strong connection between oral health and diabetes, and it’s ever more important for diabetics to take care of their teeth. In fact, research shows that diabetes can result in complications throughout the body including heart, kidney, nerve, eye, and gum disease. Here are a few easy ways to protect your teeth and your overall health.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways for diabetics and non-diabetics to reduce their risk of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, gently brushing your tongue, and flossing daily. However, just quickly brushing or using the wrong tools won’t do much to protect your teeth. Make sure you brush for two minutes, use fluoride toothpaste to protect teeth against decay, and use gentle circular motions to effectively remove plaque and bacteria without damaging your enamel.
Additionally, it’s also incredibly important to see your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months for a deeper professional cleaning that will remove plaque buildup that at-home brushing alone won’t touch.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Diabetics know just how important it is to choose healthy foods to maintain their blood sugar levels. But eating a well-balanced diet can also help protect oral and overall health. Fresh crunchy fruits and crisp vegetables can fuel your body with essential nutrients and can also help gently scrub bacteria off of your teeth in between brushings. And of course, your dentist in Douglasville would caution anyone, especially diabetics, of eating too much sugar. This includes hidden sugars that are often found in foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Make sure to work with your doctor to find a dietary plan that works for you and your body.
Check Your Blood Sugar Regularly
While this is a regular part of every diabetic’s life, checking and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to protecting your health. This is true for oral health, too. If your numbers are not controlled properly, you can experience loose teeth, gum disease, and other issues. But that’s not all. If there is an infection such as gum disease in the body, blood glucose levels will become elevated and can be difficult to control.
Our dental office in Douglasville is dedicated to doing our part to help raise awareness about how diabetes can affect oral health during Diabetes Awareness Month and all year long. To help us better care for you, make sure to share your health history with your dental team and discuss any changes in your mouth or overall health with your dentist at each visit.
If you have gum pain, swollen gums, or increased tooth sensitivity, particularly along the gum line, you may be experiencing gum recession. This oral health problem can lead to other issues down the road, including increased tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and even tooth loss. So what exactly causes receding gums, and how is it treated? Your dentist in Douglasville is here to help.
Gum Recession: 101
Let’s first dive into what gum recession is so we can better understand how it affects oral health, what can cause it, and how it’s treated. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue starts to pull away from teeth, exposing teeth roots. Without this protection covering the roots and the inner workings of the teeth, it’s highly likely that tooth sensitivity will increase. Additionally, teeth are at greater risk for decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. But that’s not all. Once gum tissue is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no growing it back. However, your dentist may have treatment options available to help with gum recession.
Gum Recession Causes
There are a whole host of things that can cause gums to recede, and the cause can vary from person to person and include:
- Gum Disease
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
- Grinding and Clenching
It’s best to talk with your dentist in Douglasville to determine the main cause of your specific case so they can recommend the best gum recession treatment for you.
Treating Gum Recession
Just like there is no singular cause of gum recession, there’s also no singular treatment that’s right for everyone. Your treatment plan will be custom created just for you based on how severe your recession is. Treatment options can include:
- Scaling & Root Planing: The most common type of gum recession treatment is done right in your dentist’s office and is called scaling and root planing. This procedure is similar to a dental cleaning, but the difference is both the tooth and the roots are cleaned during a scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from up under the gums and from the roots of teeth. You will most likely be numbed for this treatment to help keep you comfortable and relaxed.
- Antibiotics: Another treatment option that is often paired with scaling and root planing is the use of an antibiotic. The antibiotic helps remove any bacteria that may still be hanging around.
- Surgical Treatment: More advanced gum recession may require more advanced dental treatment. Thankfully, there are several surgical techniques that dentists can use to help combat gum recession. This treatment option is not appropriate for everyone, and it’s important to note that just because you have gum recession, it doesn’t mean you’ll need surgery. The best to find out how to treat gum recession is to talk with your dentist in Douglasville.
Receding gums may sound scary, but try not to worry. Besides having several treatment options to choose from, there are also things you can do to prevent gum recession from happening in the first place, and most of them are easy. Make sure you brush and floss every day and make sure you’re brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, small circles. Lastly, see your dentist in Douglasville twice a year to further protect your oral health.
Every February seems to bring out the love in people, and there are hearts everywhere we look. From heart candy and heart decorations, we’re surrounded by bright, red hearts. But we’re not here to talk about those kinds of hearts. Today, we want to focus on your heart and how your oral health can actually affect heart health.
Heart Health Month
Another holiday that happens in February besides Valentine’s Day is one that’s really important to your dentist in Douglasville. It’s Heart Health Month, which strives to raise awareness of what increases our risk of developing heart disease and what we can do to help lower that risk. But what does this have to do with your dentist? We’re glad you asked.
The Connection Between Oral Health & Heart Health
When we talk about oral health as it relates to heart health, we want to put the focus on gum disease. Even though gum disease is an infection that originates in the mouth, it doesn’t mean that it can’t affect other areas of the body. The truth is, gum disease has been linked to a whole list of health concerns outside of the mouth including diabetic complications, lung conditions, and heart disease. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people with gum disease are at increased risk for a heart attack. But how does an infection in the mouth cause problems elsewhere in the body?
As it turns out, our gums have a direct connection to our bloodstream, and when an infection occurs in our gums, it can also easily enter the bloodstream. When this happens, your body produces too much of something called C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause:
- inflamed arteries
- blood clots
- heart attacks
Elevated CRP levels can also be a warning sign before you may even know a problem is lurking in your body. The New England Journal of Medicine states that high CRP levels may be a top indicator of someone’s risk of a heart attack — more so than high cholesterol!
Know the Signs to Protect Yourself
Oftentimes symptoms of gum disease go unnoticed or people think they’re normal. However, being able to recognize when there may be a problem can mean the difference between successful treatment and bigger problems. Some common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville as soon as you can.
The best way to protect yourself against gum disease is to make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day. Proper at-home oral hygiene will remove plaque and bacteria buildup before it has a chance to infect the gums. It’s also crucial to maintain regular checkups with your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months. Not only do these appointments help remove buildup that regular brushing just can’t get, but they also help your dental team keep an eye on your oral health so any problems are caught and treated early before they have a chance to affect the rest of the body.
The Great American Smokeout is hosted on the third Thursday of every November. Its purpose is to help smokers set a day to work towards a smoke-free life. As you probably know, quitting smoking can help you get healthier, but it can also protect your children’s health, too. The truth is, those who live with smokers, including children, are at risk for similar health concerns as the actual smoker. To help celebrate the Great American Smokeout and raise awareness of the importance of quitting, our dental office in Douglasville is sharing some ways smoking can put others living with you at risk, even if they aren’t smokers themselves.
Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cavities
You may already be aware of the oral health complications that tend to affect smokers, such as bad breath and an increased risk of gum disease. But one thing you may not know is that secondhand smoke can also carry oral health risks. A study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed a potential link between secondhand smoke and the prevalence of cavities in children’s baby teeth. But that’s not all. There are several reasons smokers should avoid lighting up when children are around.
Children of Smokers are at Risk
An increased risk of developing more cavities is certainly something that worries your Douglasville dentist. However, children of smokers have even more risks that go beyond oral health alone. In fact, children of smokers tend to get more ear infections, more colds that last longer, and are at greater risk of bronchitis than children of non-smokers. The risks of secondhand smoke can even go beyond childhood if kids are continuously exposed to it. Constant exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to underdeveloped lungs and even heart disease and lung cancer. Unfortunately, the risks don’t end there. Children of smokers are nearly 4 times more likely to start smoking than those with non-smoking parents. Once someone starts the habit, it’s more likely that they themselves will become addicted and their risk of serious health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, will drastically increase.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Both smoking while pregnant and smoking around a pregnant woman carry risks to the unborn baby. Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause serious concerns including:
- Low birth weight and perhaps an unhealthy baby
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Premature birth
Even though our Douglasville dental office supports the Great American Smokeout, we aren’t here to lecture or judge anyone for smoking. Instead, we’re here to support our community in their journey to quit — which is exactly the mission behind the Great American Smokeout. Quitting smoking can not only help you live a longer, healthier life, it can also help protect your children.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, there are various resources you can use both online and in person. Try a few different things to find what’s best for you and always remember to never quit trying to quit.
Often we think of a healthy mouth as straight, white teeth. But the truth is, a healthy mouth goes beyond our smiles. Our gums are easily overlooked when it comes to talking about our oral health. However, our gums are crucial to not only our mouths but to our overall health. At our dental office in Douglasville, we strive to educate our patients about the importance of healthy gums, so in this blog, we’re going to talk about just how serious of a role our gums play in our bodies.
When we don’t take care of our gums, we can develop a serious condition called gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Plaque is loaded with dangerous bacteria that if not removed, can lead to infection of the gums. This infection is gum disease. There are three stages of gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated.
Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis when the disease starts to affect the bones holding our teeth in place.
Advanced Periodontitis – As periodontitis gets worse, it can turn into advanced periodontitis. If this happens, the bones supporting our teeth are beginning to break down, and we may experience tooth loss.
Gum Disease & Your Body
The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to other serious problems in the body. In fact, many research studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and several health conditions, such as:
Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
In the early stages, gum disease may not necessarily show any signs. This is why appointments with your dentist in Douglasville every six months are so important. Your dental team is trained to look for early warning signs of gum disease so they can recommend treatment quickly. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
If it’s been more than six months since your last visit or you notice any signs of gum disease, call our dental office in Douglasville to schedule a visit.
February marks the beginning of a month-long dedication to heart health. It’s officially known as American Heart Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness of the risks associated with heart disease. Many people know that things like smoking and a poor diet can cause troubles with the heart, but at our dental office in Douglasville, we also know that your oral health can affect your heart health.
The Mouth is the Window to Whole-Body Health
You may have heard the expression that the eyes are the window to the soul, and while that may be true, another part of your body can tell you a lot about your overall wellbeing. The truth is, your mouth can give your dentist in Douglasville insight to other problems that may be going on in the rest of your body. More specifically, researchers have found a connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.
More About Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious dental problem that requires early treatment to resolve. Without proper intervention, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health concerns throughout the body. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has concluded that people who have gum disease are at increased risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. This happens because the bacteria that cause gum disease have a pretty easy path into the bloodstream and can raise the levels of something called C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP can cause some scary problems such as:
- Blood clots
- Inflamed arteries
- Heart attack
Signs of Gum Disease
Some of the most common signs of gum disease are easy to explain away and some may think they’re actually normal. However, any of the following signs could mean that you may have gum disease.
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
If you notice any of the signs of gum disease, it’s important to see your Douglasville dentist as soon as possible.
The team at our Douglasville dental office wants to encourage all of our patients and neighbors to practice a good oral hygiene routine at home as well as get professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups at least twice a year. These appointments can help catch and treat gum disease before it has a chance to cause bigger, more serious complications.
Don’t leave your heart at risk, call to schedule an appointment today.
Even though the craziness of the holidays is behind us, it doesn’t necessarily mean our stress levels have decreased. Everyday life can certainly cause anxiety and contribute to more stress. As many people know, stress can impact our health and overall well-being, but did you know stress can also contribute to oral health problems? Today, the team at our Douglasville dental office will cover some ways your oral health may be affected by stress.
Increased Jaw Pain
When we’re overly stressed, our bodies respond in different ways. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how our bodies are reacting. One common side effect of high stress that can go unnoticed is tooth clenching and grinding. When we continuously grind or clench, we place unnatural, increased force on our teeth and our jaw joints. Not only can this cause teeth to break or chip, but it can also increase jaw pain. If left untreated and clenching and grinding continues, you could develop TMD (also known as TMJ).
Gum disease is often caused by poor dental hygiene, but there are other factors that can put you more at risk for developing it. Stress just so happens to be one of those things. Studies show a positive link between prolonged exposure to high levels of stress and a greater risk for gum disease. If not treated promptly by your dentist in Douglasville, gum disease can contribute to concerns throughout the body such as heart disease and tooth loss.
These annoying and often painful sores can seem to pop up out of nowhere, and the truth is nobody truly knows what causes them. However, research has concluded that canker sores seem to have some sort of correlation with both certain foods and also high stress. Unlike cold sores, canker sores aren’t contagious, just annoying, and should go away on their own.
Relax & Protect
The best way to protect your oral health against the damaging effects of stress is to find ways to relax and lower stress levels. Some healthy relaxation methods include:
- Eating. Giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly can help fight off stress. Balance your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Sleeping. Many Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly, and when we’re tired our bodies aren’t able to adapt and overcome stressful situations as easily. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.
- Moving. Exercising helps our bodies release more endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone, all of which help make us feel happy and good and lower stress. Go for a walk, hop on a treadmill, or take a yoga class.
As you embark on a new year, make a commitment to yourself to keep stress low. Your body and your mouth will thank you.
November is recognized as National Diabetes Awareness Month and serves to raise awareness of diabetes, other health problems associated with the disease, and the importance of regulation. In fact, one of the little-known facts about diabetes is that it directly relates to oral health. Our dental office in Douglasville wants to help do our part this month and let our patients know all about the importance of sharing a diabetes diagnosis with your dentist.
“How Does Diabetes Affect My Oral Health?”
One of the most important parts of managing diabetes is keeping blood glucose levels stable and within a healthy range. Properly managing diabetes can reduce the risk of complications or other health problems such as heart disease. But healthy blood glucose levels can also keep mouths healthy too. Recent research has shown a strong connection to diabetes and gum disease. In fact, studies show that this connection may go two ways. For example, people who have diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease but at the same time, gum disease can make diabetes difficult to regulate, causing it to progress more rapidly.
“What Information Should I Tell My Dentist About My Diabetes?”
Your Douglasville dentist will start each new patient appointment by getting to know the person behind the patient. They’ll ask questions about health history, oral health goals, and any problems patients are worried about. Dental teams do this to better diagnose, treat, and prevent any problems that may arise. If you have diabetes, it’s important to share that with your dentist along with the following things:
- Results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose)
- Information about any prescriptions
- Your need for antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes
“Does My Oral Hygiene Routine Need to Change?”
We always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day, whether they have diabetes or not. Following this proper at-home oral hygiene routine will not only keep teeth clean, but can help reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease and, in turn, protect against the progression of diabetes or unwanted spikes in blood glucose.
The team at our Douglasville dental office is committed to protecting the health and smiles of all of our patients. Knowing all about any disease or health problem you have, including diabetes, can help us provide you with better care catered to your individual situation. If you have questions about how diabetes can affect your oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help.