Stomach acid—with a pH that’s lower than vinegar—that regurgitates into the esophagus and mouth can dissolve tooth enamel and create erosive lesions near the back of the mouth. While many people with GERD recognize it by the uncomfortable heartburn symptoms, some patients only experience GERD while they sleep and may not know they have it. Some patients complain of not sleeping well but do not even realize they are suffering from GERD. Sometimes while doing your dental exam we see an increased loss of tooth enamel on your back teeth that is unexplained and we may advise you to check with your Doctor to be tested for GERD. Your Docor will prescribe a medication that will help inhibit the production of acid, which will in turn help with your GERD and help to save the enamel on your teeth. If you have concerns about GERD and the condition of your teeth ask us at your next visit.
Our team is constantly learning and striving to advance the standard of patient care in our office. As such we have recently added a new procedure to help fight periodontal disease, laser bacterial reduction(LBR).
Understanding of periodontal disease has increased greatly over the last few years, and we know that this disease is a bacterial infection in the gum tissues around the teeth.Â We now not only treat periodontal disease with the removal of mechanical irritants and disease tissue with your periodontal cleanings, but are also addressing the underlying infection that causes it with LBR.Â We recommend that our periodontal patients have their teeth and gums decontaminated with the diode laser during their cleaning appointments for three major reasons:
- To reduce or eliminate bacteria from your mouth getting into your blood stream
- To prevent cross contamination of infection in one area of your mouth to other areas
- To kill periodontal disease bacteria and stop the infection before they cause physical destruction or loss of bony support around your teeth.
The laser bacterial reduction (LBR) process is painless and normally takes about 5-10 minutes. We highly recommend you take advantage of this service at your next visit.
By Laura Martin, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine
Did you know that 29.1 million people living in the United States have diabetes? That’s 9.3% of the population. Approximately 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year—and 8.1 million people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it.
Diabetes affects your body’s ability to process sugar. All food you eat is turned to sugar and used for energy. In Type I diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, a hormone that carries sugar from your blood to the cells that need it for energy. In Type II diabetes, the body stops responding to insulin. Both cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body.
So what does this have to do with that smile of yours — and how can you protect it? First, it’s important to understand the signs of diabetes and the roles they play in your mouth.
The Symptoms of Untreated Diabetes
The warning signs of diabetes affect every part of your body. After a blood test, you may be told by a doctor that you have high blood sugar. You may feel excessively thirsty or have to urinate a lot. Weight loss and fatigue are other common symptoms. Diabetes can also cause you to lose consciousness if your blood sugar falls too low.
If diabetes is left untreated, it can take a toll on your mouth as well. Here’s how:
- You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. (Dry mouth is also caused by certain medications.)
- Because saliva protects your teeth, you’re also at a higher risk of cavities.
- Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis).
- You may have problems tasting food.
- You may experience delayed wound healing.
- You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
- For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.
Why People with Diabetes Are More Prone to Gum Disease
All people have more tiny bacteria living in their mouth now than there are people on this planet. If they make their home in your gums, you can end up with periodontal disease. This chronic, inflammatory disease can destroy your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth and even your bones.
Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed. Especially with increasing age, poor blood sugar control increases the risk for gum problems. In fact, people with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control. As with all infections, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control because you are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.
How Your Dentist Can Help You Fight Diabetes
Regular dental visits are important. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help to lower your HbA1c. (This is a lab test that shows your average level of blood sugar over the previous three months. It indicates how well you are controlling your diabetes.)
Your Diabetes Dental Health Action Plan
Teamwork involving self-care and professional care from your dentist will be beneficial in keeping your healthy smile as well as potentially slowing progression of diabetes. Here are five oral health-related things you can do to for optimal wellness:
- Control your blood sugar levels. Use your diabetes-related medications as directed, changing to a healthier diet and even exercising more can help. Good blood sugar control will also help your body fight any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.
- Avoid smoking.
- If you wear any type of denture, clean it each day.
- Make sure to brush twice a day with a soft brush and floss correctly daily.
- See your dentist for regular checkups.
Download this helpful infographic to learn more:
This article is reposted from the ADA
A perfect morning! Life couldn’t be much better, but you suddenly are out of your reverie when you notice the tingly feeling in your gums and traces of pink while brushing your teeth. What could be wrong?
Why Do Gums Bleed?
Unfortunately it is a symptom of gum infection or that which is commonly known as gingivitis. It is a common symptom when the gums are infected and therefore become sensitive. The slightest of touch can get them bleeding and that is what the trace of pink refers to. If you think this is just a one-time issue, it really is not and needs to be taken care at the earliest possible time. It is a manifestation of a more serious problem.
Gingivitis and Periodontal Issues
Gingivitis is one of the many problems. There are other periodontal diseases that can be related to the gum bleeding issue. It could be a serious bacterial infection or more serious problems like oral cancer. Either way, the risk of losing your teeth permanently is there as infected gums cause the teeth to loosen up. It is imperative to immediately get in touch with us to diagnose the problem.
On a less serious side, gum bleeding could also be a cause of high blood pressure, or allergies to certain types of medication like aspirin, sulphur and others. Sometimes blood thinners can also be the cause of gum bleeding. While these are not so serious issues, you may not know the actual cause until you get it diagnosed by a periodontist. It is never good to leave anything to luck, especially when it is a matter of health. However, try taking a preventive measure yourself by gently brushing your teeth after every major meal and flossing as well. This will ensure that you will stay in the pink of ‘Gum Health’.
Call us NOW to schedule your next cleaning- 703-835-9251