New Study Finds that Gingivitis May Cause Alzheimer’s Dementia

We all know how important it is to your daily life to maintain healthy teeth. But a growing body of literature is suggesting how oral health is related to full body health. Surprisingly, there may even be a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating brain disease that affects approximately 5.7 million Americans. It has grown to become the fifth leading cause of death in the world. Alzheimer’s dementia severely affects the brain, leading to cognitive impairment which makes it difficult for patients to perform basic tasks. This puts a heavy strain on patients’ lives as well as the lives of their family members and caretakers.

hidethepainharold.jpg

A new study, published by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Cortexyme, examined brain tissue samples from ten patients with dementia and ten patients without dementia. They found gum disease bacteria lipopolysaccharides (the surface of the bacterium) in the sample from four of the people with dementia and none of the people who did not have dementia. This bacteria can move from the mouth into the bloodstream, causing inflammation or disease. This is the process by which gingivitis contributes to heart disease.

While these early results suggest a linkage between gingivitis and Alzheimer’s, it is still a small sample size, and more research is needed to establish causality. These results could have come about by chance. It is also possible that people with Alzheimer’s disease have worse oral health, thus making Alzheimer’s the cause of the gum disease, rather than the other way around. Regardless, gingivitis can cause bad breath, tooth loss, pain while eating, and even heart disease. If you notice that you have swollen, puffy or dark red gums, or if you notice that you bleed while brushing or flossing, that is a sign that you work a little harder on your oral health. We recommend getting a professional cleaning twice a year in addition to regular brushing and flossing.

 

Advertisements

A Soda a Day Makes the Teeth Rot Away!

A Soda a Day Makes the Teeth Rot Away!

Despite its link to obesity and type 2 diabetes, soda is being consumed by Americans, especially children and teenagers, at a higher rate than ever before. According to the CDC, one half of the U.S. Population consumes sugary drinks on any given day, and 25% consumes more than one 12 ounce can of soda a day. This spells disaster for many Americans’ dental health.

When you drink soda, juice, or sports drinks, the sugar in the drink combines with the bacteria in your mouth to create acid that begins an attack on your enamel, the hard, protective surface of your teeth. (Although it lacks sugar, diet soda has acid within it that produces a similar effect.) These attacks last for twenty minutes and begin again every time you take a sip of soda. They continuously weaken the enamel, especially that of children and teens, whose enamel is not fully developed.

At A New Smile, we recommend completely cutting soda out of your diet, and if this isn’t possible, drinking it in moderation. If you must drink soda, use a straw to keep it away from your teeth, don’t sip it for a long time, and brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth out with water soon after.

Soda is pretty much sugary syrup, with absolutely no nutritional benefits. While you may believe you are clenching your thirst with soda, the caffeine and sugar actually speed up dehydration. Sports drinks may hydrate you, but they also damage your enamel, leading to tooth decay. Water is always a great option. It hydrates you, boosts your metabolism, helps you detox, and contributes to great skin, not to mention countless other health benefits. Did you know that lack of water is the number one trigger for daytime fatigue? So next time you’re feeling sleepy, consider picking up a glass of water rather than a can of soda!

The Surprising Effects of Chewing Gum on Dental Health

You can’t walk past a checkout counter in any convenience store or gas station without

Woman-Chewing-Gum.jpgseeing an abundance of chewing gum options. Many promise to deliver better breath, in addition to other oral health benefits. One has to wonder, however, what the actual effect of gum on the teeth and mouth is.

It turns out that chewing gum is good for your teeth! The act of chewing gum actually removes food particles from the surfaces of your teeth and stimulates saliva flow. The gum itself removes food particles while the saliva breaks down the food further. It is for this reason that many dentists recommend that you chew gum after meals.

One would assume, however, that only sugar-free gum would be good for your teeth. That, however, would be untrue. Actually, regardless of whether gum contains sugar or not, the act of chewing gum has all of the benefits that I have described above. It is still preferable to chew sugar-free gum, because there is no reason to add any extra sugar to your diet, but the benefits of the greater saliva flow and the stickiness of the gum still makes chewing gum with sugar beneficial. That said, if you want the best gum for your teeth, you should purchase gum sweetened with xylitol, which actually reduces decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.

While chewing gum can have beneficial effects on the teeth, it is important to keep in mind that nothing can replace brushing and flossing. While gum can clean your teeth if you temporarily cannot brush or floss, nothing beats a nice brushing or flossing. So, if you are away from home, with no other way to clean your teeth, pick up some gum!

New Study Finds Link Between Oral Bacteria and Esophageal Cancer

New Study Finds Link Between Oral Bacteria and Esophageal Cancer

There has been a huge increase in the amount of patients coming to our office with diagnoses of esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is exactly what it sounds like: cancer of the esophagus. The esophagus, as you may know, is a long hollow tube that transports food from the back of your throat all the way down to your stomach. Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide, it makes up 1% of cancer diagnoses in the U.S., and the American Cancer Society estimates that there were around 17,000 cases of esophageal cancer this year. There are many risk factors that can lead to esophageal cancer, such as smoking, obesity, acid reflux, and alcoholism, but a new study just found another: poor oral hygiene.

Jiyoung Ahn, an associate professor in the department of population health and the department of environmental medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York, wanted to study the link between oral bacteria and esophageal cancer. To do so, they analyzed mouthwash samples of people who developed esophageal cancer and samples of healthy people. They found that the people who developed esophageal cancer were more likely to have high levels of certain bacteria, such as the Tannerella forsythia bacteria, which was associated with a 21 percent increased risk of the cancer, and the Porphyromonas gingivitis bacteria. They also found that a few types of oral bacteria may be associated with protection against esophageal cancer, although more research is needed to solidify this result.

According to the American Dental Association, this study underscores the need for individuals to take care of their oral hygiene, “We know for sure that good dental hygiene — brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once a day, eating a healthy diet and seeing your dentist regularly — helps reduce the population of gum disease-causing bacterial species in the mouth, among which were the microbes found by the study to be associated with higher rates of esophageal cancer.”

If tooth decay, gum disease, heart disease, bad breath, and yellow teeth weren’t good enough reasons for you to take care of your teeth, then add esophageal cancer to the list! Every day, we find out more and more ways in which oral health is related to full-body and health. So remember, if you want a healthy body, make sure you have a healthy mouth by keeping your teeth clean, eating right, and coming in for regular oral cancer screenings!

 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Flossing

downloadWe know we should floss at least once a day, but not everyone knows the right way to do it. Use this step-by-step guide to find out how to properly floss your teeth.

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
 

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

 

Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.

 

When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

 

Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

Feel free to try it out yourself tonight before bedtime, and now that you know how to floss properly, go ahead and make it a part of your nighttime routine!

from the ADA’s Mouthhealthy.org – https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing-steps

 

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

00_Teeth_Yellow-Teeth-Are-Actually-Stronger-Than-Bright-White-Teeth–Here_s-Why_167843159-Subbotina-Anna-760x506If you’ve ever seen the results of tooth whitening, you know how powerful of an aesthetic procedure it is. It can transform someone’s smile from yellow and stained to white and radiant. Have you ever wondered how it works?

When teeth are yellow, the cause can be one of two distinct types of staining: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear on the surface of your teeth, while intrinsic stains are between the micro-cracks in your enamel as well as under your enamel, in the layer just below it, called your dentin.

The whitening agent (either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) penetrates the enamel to reach the discolored molecules inside your teeth, attacking both extrinsic and intrinsic stains. When it does so, it releases oxygen molecules which react with the discolored molecules inside your tooth, breaking the bonds that hold them together. The oxygen molecules then spread and whiten the entire tooth.

In addition to their effectiveness, teeth whitening is also completely safe, as approved by the American Dental Association. There are minimal side effects, such as possible gum irritation and tooth sensitivity.

If the bleaching gel touches your gums (which we almost entirely prevent using specialized application techniques), it can have a slight sting. In our office, however, we leave whitening patients with a bell in the case of gum pain, and our hygienists are always nearby to adjust the gel to make sure you are comfortable. Additionally, there are no lasting effects from short-term gum exposure to whitening gel.
Following the procedure, patients may experience some tooth sensitivity for 1-2 days. This is normal and no cause for concern, and can easily be ameliorated by taking ibuprofen. If sensitivity lasts longer, there is likely an underlying enamel problem that warrants a dental check-up.

One thing is for sure, though, when you walk out of the dental office with a bright white smile, you’ll leave feeling confident and ready to take on the world armed with nothing but your smile. Reach out to us below to learn more!

anewsmiledentalcenter.com / (305) 383-9944

Smoking’s Disastrous Impact on your Oral Health

Smoking’s Disastrous Impact on your Oral Health

You probably know by now that smoking is often disastrous for your health. The average life expectancy for smokers is 14 years shorter than the average life expectancy for a non-smoker, to give one frightening statistic. What you may not know about, however, are the serious afflictions that smoking an cause in your mouth.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is more likely and more harmful for smokers. Smoking interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells and reduces the blood flow in the gums and supporting tissues of the tooth, thus making them more likely to become inflamed. It makes you more susceptible to infections and, through impairing blood flow to the gums and alveolar bone, slows the healing process.

Yellow Teeth

This one needs little explanation. The nicotine and tar in tobacco can make your teeth yellow in a very short period of time and after a long period of regular tobacco use, you may even find your teeth to have turned brown.

Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Dental plaque is formed by bacteria attaching themselves to the tooth’s surface. Smoking can change the type of bacteria in plaque, introducing harmful bacteria to the tooth. Smoking causes an increase in plaque and tartar, which eventually leads to tooth decay and gum disease.

Bad Breath

If you’ve ever been near a heavy smoker when they are speaking then you probably know this one already. The smell of smoke in the mouth lingers to become a musty smell, reminiscent of vomit, which is worsened by the dry mouth that smoking causes.

Cancer

The most severe consequence on your teeth of habitual smoking is the increased likelihood of developing mouth cancer, which has an 83% survival rate when it is localized in the mouth, 62% when it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and only 38% when it has spread to distant parts of the body. This is why it is important for smokers to receive oral cancer screenings in our office with our Vizilite cancer detection technology.

The only effective approach to reduce your likelihood of developing these problems is to quit smoking and tobacco products altogether. Regardless of how long you have used tobacco products, quitting now can greatly reduce serious risks to your health.