Total Health

Our dental office is dedicated to your overall health.

Maintaining good oral health can help you maintain your overall health and prevent disease.

Talk to the dentist about any questions or health concerns you may have

Your Mouth Holds the Key to Your Overall Health

Total Health: Beyond the Mouth
Your mouth holds the key to the health of the rest of your body. It can show many signs and symptoms of systemic disease or infection before they are visible elsewhere. We are trained to recognize these signs and administer testing that can identify disease or potential areas of concern. Regular dental visits will not only help you maintain healthy teeth and gums, but can also help you with prevention and early detection of serious health conditions and maintain optimal overall well-being.

Periodontal Disease
50% of the adult population has some form of periodontal disease (PD). PD is a serious inflammatory condition, caused by a bacterial infection, which contributes to your risk of other diseases such as heart disease and stroke. When bacteria cause gums to become infected and inflamed, the bacteria in plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. The bacteria can them enter the blood stream, travel to major organs and begin new infections. PD leads to destruction of the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth.
When fibers are destroyed, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected. As the disease progresses, teeth can become loose and fall out. Although good oral care can help prevent PD, research shows that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to the disease. Despite oral care habits, these people may be six times more likely to develop PD. Fortunately genetic testing is available through a simple saliva sample.

Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the United States. Research indicates that periodontal disease (PD) increases the risk of heart disease. If you have periodontal disease combined with other risk factors for heart disease, we may recommend you seek a medical evaluation. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, PD can also aggravate existing heart conditions, so it is essential to get regular periodontal examinations, and if you have disease, prompt treatment.

We may recommend saliva testing to determine your genetic risk or the presence of periodontal disease-related bacteria.

Oral Cancer
More than 43,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. Although we perform a visual examination for oral cancer, occasionally there are lesions in the mouth that are not visible to the eye. Between visits to the dentist, perform self-checks and immediately report any sores or lesions that do not heal within 10-14 days to your dentist. Early detection of oral cancer saves lives.

If you smoke, drink alcohol frequently, or have a persistent HPV infection, you are at increased risk for oral cancer.

Oral Cancer and HPV
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common, sexually transmitted virus that has infected more than 79 million people in the United States, with approximately 14 million new cases each year. Most do not realize they are infected, since HPV often has no signs or symptoms. Strains of HPV are linked to the development of oral cancer.

If you are sexually active, we may recommend a saliva test to check for persistent oral HPV infection. This will help determine your risk level for oral cancer.

Sleep Disorders
50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders like habitual snoring and sleep apnea. While snoring can be harmless, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, which occurs when the tongue and throat tissue falls back during sleep, blocking the airway. People suffering from sleep apnea can stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds or longer, hundreds of times a night. Untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness as well as an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and driving accidents.

If you have signs of a sleep disorder, we may recommend a sleep screening or test. We can help you improve your quality of sleep.

Diabetes
Diabetes and periodontal disease are bi-directionally linked. That means treating and managing one can help improve the condition of the other. Although patients with diabetes have a high risk of developing periodontal disease, improving the periodontal condition can help improve glycemic management of the diabetes.

If you have periodontal disease combined with other risk factors for diabetes, we may recommend you seek a medical evaluation and receive immediate periodontal treatment.

Adult Tooth/Root Decay
Although largely preventable, tooth decay (cavities) is the most prevalent chronic disease among children and adults. By age 65, 95% of adults have had decay in their permanent teeth. Without proper oral care, acid-producing bacteria flourish in the mouth and lead to tooth decay. Regular brushing and flossing will help remove bacteria and food from the teeth before they have a change to cause damage, but there are other factors that affect your decay risk. One of the primary causes of adult tooth decay is dry mouth, triggered by many common medications. Acidic foods and drinks, as well as the presence of acid reflux, also increase the likelihood of decay. The application of fluoride can help reduce decay and may be recommended for high-risk adults.

Nutrition
What we eat impacts our oral health and our overall health. The average American adult consumes 19 teaspoons of sugar per day, about four times the World Health Organization’s recommendation. In addition to weight gain, the overconsumption of sugar is now linked to heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease. The sugar we consume feeds the bacteria in our mouth, producing acid that slowly breaks down the tooth enamel. The more often the tooth is exposed to that acid, the more likely you are to develop decay. Bathing teeth in sugars by drinking sweet drinks such as juice or soda throughout the day is particularly damaging. Avoid sports drinks and energy drinks that are high in both sugar and acid, to protect your teeth.

Oral Healthcare During Pregnancy
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of periodontal disease due to hormone fluctuations. Because periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to preterm, low birth-weight babies, it is essential that you maintain optimal oral healthcare during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, ask us about your periodontal health so you can ensure a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Oral Healthcare for Infants
Dental disease is the number one most prevalent childhood disease and is 100% preventable. One quarter of all 3-year-olds already have decay in process, so infant oral health and prevention is critical. The rate of childhood tooth decay is surprising since babies are not born with the particular strains of bacteria that cause decay. These bacteria are transmitted through the saliva of family members by sharing foods, utensils, and kisses. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association recommend that children see a dentist by age one. Proper care for baby teeth also promotes proper chewing and good nutrition, speech development, and reserving space for the development of permanent teeth. Research published in the journal Pediatric Dentistry revealed that children who wait to have their first dental visit until age two or three have higher dental costs from increased procedures and treatments needed. Parents should clean infant mouths and gums regularly with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water.

Oral Healthcare for Children
By age 11, 51% of children have had a cavity in their baby teeth. 52 million school hours are lost each year due to dental disease. In addition to brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits, children should limit consumption of sugary, acidic beverages like fruit juices. Sealants and fluoride may be recommended to help prevent childhood tooth decay.

Information compliments of Henry Schein & The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health www.AAOSH.org