The American Diabetes Association has declared November National Diabetes Month. If you or a loved one has diabetes, you may already know that diabetes puts you at greater risk for gum disease. Let's look at four must-know facts about diabetes and gum disease.
#1. Gum disease is an acknowledged complication of diabetes.
High levels of blood sugar can interfere with your mouth's ability to fight infection, making you more susceptible to gum disease. People with poorly controlled diabetes may have more severe gum disease and may ultimately lose more teeth due to gum disease—in fact, one in five people who have lost all their teeth have diabetes.
#2. Gum disease makes diabetes harder to control.
Diabetes and gum disease are a two-way street when it comes to adverse health effects. Not only does diabetes increase the risk of gum disease, but gum disease can make diabetes harder to manage. Infections such as gum disease can cause blood sugar levels to rise. This is because chronic inflammation can throw the body's immune system into overdrive, which affects blood sugar levels. Since higher blood sugar weakens the body's ability to fight infection, untreated gum disease may raise the risk of complications from diabetes.
#3. You can do a lot to take charge of your health.
If you have diabetes and gum disease, you may feel as if you've been hit with a double whammy. While it's true that having both conditions means you are tasked with managing two chronic diseases, there is a lot you can do to take care of your health. Do your best to control blood sugar by taking prescribed medications, following a balanced diet, and exercising. In addition, pay special attention to your oral healthcare routine at home: Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can go a long way in preserving good oral health.
#4. Preventing and managing gum disease should be a team effort.
We can work together to prevent, treat, and control periodontal disease. Come in for regular professional dental cleanings and checkups so we can monitor the health of your teeth and gums and provide specialized treatment such as deep cleanings when necessary. Diligent dental care can improve your oral health and help control your diabetes.
Remember, we're on your team. Let us know if there have been changes in your diabetes, your medication, or your oral health. If you have questions about diabetes and your oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”
Just as its name implies, Thanksgiving is a time when we gather together to give thanks for what we’ve been given. And while you’re preparing to dig into that Thanksgiving feast, remember to give thanks for your teeth.
Even though most of us don’t often think about our teeth, or if we do, we think that they’re strong as steel, under that outer hard shell of enamel is a sensitive nerve and other living tissue that needs to be treated with respect to avoid a holiday-dampening dental emergency. What are some things you can do to make sure you get to enjoy Thanksgiving the way it’s meant to be enjoyed?
Use the right tool for the right job: Your teeth are meant to be used for chewing food. They are not nutcrackers or bottle openers. Human teeth are not designed for crushing hard shells of nuts or for the angled forces needed to open a bottle. Using them in ways for which they are not designed increases the risk of cracking a tooth. Cracked teeth are painful and often require pricey repairs. Take a couple extra minutes to grab the proper tool to save yourself the grief and pain.
Avoid known problem foods: Popcorn kernels (which includes caramel corn) and hard candy (such as candy canes) are known tooth-breakers. (Just ask any dentist!) A single popcorn kernel can cause damage ranging from a broken cusp to a cracked tooth. Biting down on hard candy or candy canes can cause chips, cracks or fractures in your teeth. For those with braces, the pressure from biting on hard candy can break the brackets off your teeth. Hard candies also expose your teeth to cavity-causing sugars for a longer period of time because of how long they remain in the mouth.
Our Thanksgiving meals are carbohydrate (carb) heavy--think stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, pies, and cakes. Carbs wreak havoc on your mouth including your teeth. So what are some things you can do to protect your mouth?
- Eat your carbs as part of a balanced meal. (Turkey, cranberries, salad etc.) The protein helps to counteract the effect of the carbs and cranberries defend your teeth against decay-causing bacteria.
- Don’t graze: Each time you put something in your mouth, acid attacks your teeth for about 20 minutes. Munching on small amounts of food throughout the day keeps the teeth bathed in acids that cause cavities.
- Drink milk with your meal. Milk contains calcium that your teeth need. The calcium in milk may counteract the calcium lost due to acids attacking your teeth while eating.
- Brush and Floss as soon after eating as you can. Toothpaste helps neutralize acids attacking your teeth, and the mechanics of brushing and flossing removes the food particles from your teeth. If you can’t brush and floss, try to chew sugarless gum or drink a glass of water.
I hope these tips will help you be thankful for your teeth and a healthy smile, and if you are not, give my office a call. We’ll help you reach a smile you of which you can be proud! I can be reached at 440-960-1940 or via the contact form on my website at www.drjrobb.com You can also interact with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drjenniferrobb
*Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare practitioners.
These are just a few benefits of good oral health. What’s surprising to most people is that your oral hygiene plays a role in your overall health. Oral health mirrors the condition of the body as a whole. Research has shown links between oral health and heart disease, facial pain, pancreatic cancer, and Alzheimer’s Disease just to name a few!
We have long known that chronic (or long-term) inflammation is involved in periodontal and gum disease. Current research is investigating the role of chronic inflammation in many other diseases. At least one Canadian dentist is convinced that periodontal disease and dental decay is an early warning factor for heart disease and obesity.
There are times that your dentist may spot something in your mouth that makes him or her suspect a potential health condition that your physician has not yet diagnosed for you. When that happens, your dentist will refer you to your physician for appropriate evaluation.
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself on the track to good oral health today! Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and see your dentist!
*Note: Information in this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your health care professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who treats both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
Moving teeth to better positions through orthodontics not only improves dental function and health, it can vastly improve your appearance. But to achieve a result that continues to be attractive as you age requires thorough planning and forethought.
That’s because your body continues to change all during life. While the most accelerated growth happens in childhood and adolescence, even older adults continue to change, especially in their facial features. A good deal of research has helped identify and catalog these changes, which orthodontists now incorporate into their corrective treatments for poor bites (malocclusions).
For example, the lips grow until they reach their maximum thickness in girls usually around age 14 and boys age 16. But researchers have also found lip thickness gradually diminishes for most people beginning in their late teens until about age 80. In other words, the appearance of your lips in your elderly years will be vastly different than in your teens. The same holds true for other facial features: our facial profile flattens as the nose becomes longer and more pronounced while the lower part of the face shortens.
Using this knowledge of the effects of aging on the face, orthodontists now attempt to anticipate “where” the facial features will be decades down the road. This projection can help them design a treatment plan that takes advantage of these projected changes.
For example, orthodontists may begin treatment before a patient’s teenage years with techniques that serve to guide jaw growth. Keeping that development on track will help if or when braces may be needed a few years later. Guiding jaw growth will help shorten the distance of where a patient is in their orofacial development and where they should be later in life with normal development.
Orthodontists aren’t predictors of the future. But armed with an understanding of the aging process, they can help patients head in the right direction to produce a smile and facial appearance that will endure well into later life.
If you would like more information on moving teeth to achieve a more attractive appearance, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Aging Makes Beauty Timeless.”
Many people become anxious at the dental office. You might be one of them. There are many reasons that people are anxious about dental work and it is important to find out what is at the root of your anxiety so that we can all work together to address your anxiety and make you as comfortable as possible.
- Can be because it is a new experience
- Can be due to a previous dental experience
- Can be due to transference of a parents’ fear—Fathers play a key role in transmitting dental fear to their children. Fathers who can display calm or positive emotions and verbalize positive thoughts at the dentist will be a reassuring model for their children. Parents, you need to watch your own anxiety—your kids pick up on it so watch what you say (Ex. “it won’t hurt too much”) don’t talk about shots or the idea of pain. Don’t let siblings tell the child patient how hard or how painful the dentist will be.
Whether you’re an adult or child, it is best to schedule your appointment for the time of day when you are least stressed. For children, this is often first thing in the morning when they are well rested.
Before you arrive for your appointment:
- Control your imagination. Expect the best outcome
- Talk to the dentist/office. Let them know how you’re feeling.
- Have a snack high in protein to stabilize blood sugar. This helps calm your nerves. (Protein has a longer calming effect than sweets.)
- Avoid Caffeine on the day of your appointment.
At the dental office:
- Practice 7/11 breathing (inhale for 7 counts, exhale for 11 counts) to slow anxiety
- Distract yourself with a favorite soothing music.
- Know the hand signals or pre-arrange them with office to let them know when you need a break.
If the noise of the drill bothers you, ask about using a dental laser, which has a different sound than the standard drill, or about using a product like Caridex that breaks down the cavity so your dentist can manually scrape it out without the drill.
If the idea of a shot bothers you, ask about using a dental laser that produces its own numbing effect over time or if you’re having dental treatment on an upper tooth, you might be able to use Novenase, which is inhaled rather than injected.
If you tend to gag, remember that this is a reflex that stems from feeling of choking that causes your throat to spasm which makes swallowing and breathing difficult.
Sometimes applying numbing gel to your mouth will confuse oral nerves and reduce your gag reflex. Sometime placing salt on your tongue will distract your oral nerves and reduce gagging. If the dental mirror against your tongue is a trigger, sometimes the dental mirror can be placed in a different location. For impressions, ask if a faster setting material can be used so that the impression is in your mouth for a shorter period of time.
If the cause of your dental office anxiety is not mentioned here, talk with your dentist about it and together brainstorm options.
Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare providers.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053
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