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Canton, Michigan: (734) 844-1300


South Lyon, Michigan: (248) 437-1010

Dental Health and Your Overall Health

Posts Tagged ‘Dentist’

 

Dental Health and Your Overall Health

Posted on: September 21st, 2020 by admin

The condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall health. Find out how oral health is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.

Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a nice smile and pleasant breath. Recent research has found a number of links between oral health and overall health. While in many cases, the nature of this link still isn’t clear — researchers have yet to conclude whether the connections are causal or correlative — what is certain is that the condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall physical health.

Oral Health and Diabetes

Doctors have known for years that type 2 diabetics have an increased incidence of periodontitis or gum disease. In July 2008 the connection was further highlighted: Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health followed 9,296 nondiabetic participants, measuring their level of periodontic bacteria over the course of 20 years. “We found that people who had higher levels of periodontal disease had a twofold risk of developing type 2 diabetes over that time period compared to people with low levels or no gum disease,” explains Ryan Demmer, PhD, associate researcher at the department of epidemiology at the Mailman School and the lead author. While more research is needed before doctors can conclude that gum disease actually leads to diabetes, there are already a few theories about why this might be the case: One proposes that when infections in your mouth get bad enough, they can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body, which in turn wreaks havoc on your sugar-processing abilities. “There are all kinds of inflammatory molecules,” says Dr. Demmer, “and it’s believed that maybe some attach to insulin receptors and prevent the body’s cells from using the insulin to get glucose into the cell.”

South Lyon Michigan Dentist - Dental Health and Your Overall Health

Oral Health and Heart Disease

As with diabetes, the connection between poor oral health and cardiovascular conditions has been recognized — the two are often found together — but it still hasn’t been determined conclusively whether or not there is a direct causal relationship between them. (One reason is that there are a number of other potential risk factors — such as smoking and old age — that can lead both to gum disease and heart disease.) However, in a 2005 study funded by the NIH, 1,056 randomly selected participants with no prior heart attacks or strokes were evaluated for levels of periodontal bacteria: After removing the effects of the other risk factors of age, gender, and smoking, it was found that there was an independent relationship between gum disease and heart disease, says Moise Desvarieux, MD, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School and lead author of the study. One theory about why this may occur, says Dr. Desvarieux, is that small amounts of bacteria enter your bloodstream while you’re chewing. “Bad” bacteria from an infected mouth may lodge itself inside blood vessels, ultimately causing dangerous blockages. Strengthening his theory is the fact that when scientists have looked at atherosclerotic blood vessels, they have sometimes found fragments of periodontal bacteria. Meanwhile, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 established that aggressive treatment of gum disease reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis within six months.

Pregnancy Complications and Gum Disease

For many pregnant women, gum infections stem from the fluctuating hormone levels that come with pregnancy, says Marsha Rubin, DDS, practicing diplomat of special-care dentistry at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, who sees many pregnant patients in her practice. Others neglect their oral care during pregnancy since they have much on their minds, she adds. But that’s a mistake: Scientists believe that gum disease or inflammation in the mouth possibly triggers an increase in a chemical compound called prostaglandin, which induces early labor. While this theory has not yet been confirmed, a 2001 study found that pregnant women who develop gum disease between weeks 21 and 24 are four to seven times more likely to give birth before week 37. There is evidence that poor gum health in the extreme can lead to low birth weight as well. A number of studies — including a 2007 study of 3,567 Turkish women and a 2007 study of 1,305 Brazilian women — found a relationship between periodontal disease, preterm birth, and low birth weight.

Pneumonia and Gum Disease

There has been a link established between poor oral health and pneumonia, though much of the research focuses on high-risk populations. A 2008 study of elderly participants found that the number who developed pneumonia was 3.9 times higher in patients with periodontal infection than in those free from it. “The lungs are very close to the mouth,” says Rubin. “Even in a healthy mouth there is lots of bacteria, but bacteria in a not-healthy mouth can get aspirated into the lungs, causing pneumonia or aggravating COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.” Several intervention studies cited by the CDC show that an improvement in oral health can lead to a reduction in respiratory infection.

Pancreatic Cancer and Gum Disease

A study published in 2007 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute surveyed 51,529 American men about their health every two years between 1986 and 2002. Of the 216 participants who developed pancreatic cancer, 67 of them also had periodontal disease. Independent of the participants’ smoking status, the study found that having a history of periodontal disease was associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. This, according to the study, could be because of systemic inflammation or increased levels of carcinogenic compounds produced in the infected mouth. Interestingly, another viable theory about why gum disease may cause type 2 diabetes points to damage to the pancreas as well. “With the pancreatic cancer study, we thought it was very interesting that you have this localized infection that has an impact on a systemic organ that is very intimately tied to the pathophysiology of diabetes,” says Dr. Desvarieux. Reasons for why this might be are as yet unknown.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Dental Health Center.

Vaping and Your Oral Health

Posted on: July 23rd, 2020 by admin

As you’re no doubt aware, smoking is a dangerous habit that has serious health consequences. Although the dental effects of smoking pale in comparison to the life-threatening general health effects, they are nonetheless impactful and noteworthy. (Check out our slideshow on 7 dental health concerns for smokers.) Smoking stains the teeth and increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer, potentially limits candidacy for certain popular treatments like dental implants, and more.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services one in five people smoke in the United States. Many of these smokers have transitioned away from traditional combustible cigarettes in recent years to the supposedly “safer” e-cigarette and vaping alternatives.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are relatively new products that convert a liquid concentrate into an aerosol via a heating element. Many of those trying to quit smoking end up using ENDS because there is no tobacco involved. (It is called “vaping” because ENDS vaporizes the nicotine for ingestion, without using any tobacco.) The idea that switching to ENDS is a stepping-stone to quitting entirely. However there are a number of people transitioning to ENDS because of the trend, and there are even new smokers using them as an entry point to starting smoking.

So it begs the question: Is vaping really less harmful to health (specifically oral health) than traditional smoking?

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a loaded question. Vaping is too new for there to be any long-term studies evaluating its health effects as compared with smoking. So it’s rather disingenuous to get into any sort of true comparison at this point. But we can look at the potential oral health effects of vaping as a standalone.

Nicotine and Oral Health

E-cigarettes may not contain tobacco, but they do contain nicotine, the highly addictive chemical additive in traditional cigarettes. A vasoconstrictor, nicotine inhibits blood flow which can have damaging effects throughout the body. The level of reduced blood flow in the mouth is particularly high, compared to other parts of the body, causing the vaporized nicotine to directly enter oral tissues as the vapor is inhaled. This reduced blood flow can lead to tissue death and gum recession. As if this isn’t bad enough (recession can increase your risk of a number of dental problems), the reduced blood flow can hide the symptoms of serious gum disease.

Gum inflammation and bleeding are two tell-tale signs of gum disease. By inhibiting blood flow and creating a reduced level of bleeding and inflammation, nicotine can make it more difficult for a dentist to identify gum disease. Considering that gum disease has been linked with stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer risk, masking of its symptoms is a serious dental and general health concern.

Nicotine can also cause teeth grinding, which seriously damages the surfaces of the teeth and can impact bite alignment, leading to jaw-related problems like TMD.

Nicotine aside, there are other oral health concerns associated with vaping that still need to be studied. For example, the liquids used in vaping contain an array of chemicals (like diethylene glycol) that can potentially be harmful, depending on the concentrations and frequency of use. Many contain a menthol additive that has been shown to break down epithelial cells, potentially harming gum tissue. In addition, many dental patients who vape have reported issues related to dry mouth (xerostomia) which increases the risk of tooth decay.

The bottom line is simple. Although vaping might not share all the negative health effects of smoking combustible cigarettes, it has its own health concerns (specifically oral health concerns) that have not yet been fully studied or evaluated. If you use ENDS, speak with your dentist to learn more about the potential oral health effects.

The Benefits of Probiotics for Your Oral Health

Posted on: June 29th, 2020 by admin

Probiotics can benefit our oral health as well as our digestive health. How are probiotics beneficial for our oral health?

While the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved oral probiotics yet, we are seeing that research is beginning to suggest they may keep our mouths healthy. Below are a few potential health benefits of oral probiotics:

1. Preventing Plaque and Tooth Decay
A “bad” type of bacteria, Streptocuccus mutans, turns sugar into lactic acid, creating an acidic environment that can lead to the development of plaque and cavities. One study found that A12, a “good” type of bacteria, stops the growth of S. mutans and prevents plaque from forming. In addition, Bifidobacterium in the digestive system has been found to prevent tooth decay, as it reduces the amount of strep bacteria in the mouth.

2. Managing Gingivitis Symptoms
Gingivitis, or gum disease, produces such symptoms as sensitive teeth and swollen, sore gums. One study involved more than 50 gingivitis patients who took either a Lactobacillus reuteri probiotic supplement or a placebo. Two weeks later, the patients who took the highest dosage of probiotics displayed fewer symptoms and had less plaque than those who took the placebo.

3. Decreasing Gum Disease Inflammation
One study found that patients who took supplements containing the bacteria Lactobacillus brevis experienced a decrease in oral inflammation. Another study showed that a daily regimen of probiotic milk reduced inflammation in the mouth.

4. Preventing Halitosis
Commonly known as bad breath, halitosis can result from “bad” bacteria in the mouth or gut. A study involving more than 20 patients who took either a supplement containing the probiotic Streptococcus salivarius or a placebo, along with an antimicrobial mouthwash for three days, showed that 85 percent of those who took the probiotic supplement had less “bad” bacteria in their mouths than those who took the placebo.

South Lyon Michigan Dentist - Probiotics and Oral Health

Probiotic Sources
You can choose to take probiotics either as food or as supplements. Such enriched or fermented foods as soft cheeses, milk, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, dill pickles and yogurt are excellent sources of probiotics. Because they’re not so concentrated as supplements, these foods are better sources of probiotics for those at high risk of infection.You can find concentrated sources of probiotics in pill or in powder form. Your doctor or dietician may recommend that you take prebiotics along with probiotics. Prebiotics help healthy probiotics develop and grow.

Probiotic Side Effects
A healthy person shouldn’t experience any side effects from probiotics. However, if your risk of infection is high from an autoimmune disease, you shouldn’t take oral probiotic supplements. In addition, children, pregnant women and the elderly should talk to a doctor before taking probiotics. Even if you’re healthy, it’s wise to consult with your doctor before taking any kind of supplements, and you should never take more than the recommended dosage of probiotics.

Ask Your Dentist
We are just beginning to understand how our gut biome affects our health, especially oral health. While the initial results and data have been encouraging, we advise that you speak to an oral health expert, before making significant changes to your dental routine. Contact any of our dentists at South Lyon’s Lifetime Dental Group to determine your oral health needs with exams and specialized dental treatments.

National Toothbrush Day

Posted on: June 26th, 2020 by admin

Whether you’re in South Lyon or Canton or any other city near Lifetime Dental Group, today is a day of celebration! Break out your favorite flavor of toothpaste because today, June 26, is National Toothbrush Day! In honor of our favorite under-celebrated holiday, we’ve rounded up a few facts about the little brush that has a big impact on your oral health.

• Soft-bristled toothbrushes are best. Hard bristles can be painful when brushing and may eventually erode tooth enamel at the gum line.

• Rounded bristles are better than blunt-cut bristles, which may damage delicate gum tissue.

• Nylon bristles were not introduced until 1938. Before that, toothbrushes were made with boar-hair bristles!

• You should replace your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months or when the bristles look frayed.

• Toothbrushes should be stored in an upright position to keep bacteria away.

• The first mass-produced toothbrush was made in 1780 by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England.

• Manual toothbrushes are just as effective as electric toothbrushes. The difference is that most people don’t spend enough time brushing with a manual toothbrush to get the job done properly.

• Although it’s recommended that people spend at least two minutes brushing twice a day, most people only brush for 46 seconds per session. Make sure you’re getting the full two minutes in by using a toothbrush timer or the timer on your phone.

How Can Dentistry Enhance Your Overall health?

Posted on: May 18th, 2020 by admin

By Dr. Russell Thaler, Periodontist in South Lyon, Michigan

I hope everyone is safe and healthy during this global pandemic. Now, more than ever, it’s important to take care of your physical, emotional. and oral health. All of our lives have been impacted by this virus. The World Health Organization states that older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Dr. Russell Thaler - Periodontist

How can Lifetime Dental in South Lyon, Michigan help?

At Lifetime Dental, many of our patients are surprised to learn that not only do we treat your oral health, but we are treating your overall health.

According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of Americans aged 30 or older have periodontitis (gum disease), the more advanced form of periodontal disease. This equals approximately 64.7 million Americans.

Periodontal disease has been extensively linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and respiratory disease. As oral healthcare providers, we are also often the first to notice something in your mouth that could be associated with your overall health.

During our comprehensive exam, we will evaluate you for oral cancer, oral disease, cavities, and gum disease and establish a comprehensive treatment plan. Our treatment of any of these dental or gum issues will not only improve your oral health but will improve your overall general health too by reducing the inflammation and/or infection that harming your body.

Here at Lifetime Dental in South Lyon, Michigan, we care deeply about you and your health. We are here for you now and always.

Compassionate Dental Care in Canton, Michigan and South Lyon, Michigan


Lifetime Dental Group utilizes the latest in dental technology and compassionate chairside manner. Our Canton dentists and South Lyon dentists are dedicated to your continued oral health and wellness. Lifetime is Metro Detroit, Michigan's #1 family dentist practice!

canton dentists - canton michiganEvery smile is unique, which is why our team provides services to achieve our patient’s specific goals and needs. We take the time to get to know our patients and build a relationship so that we can provide our services on a foundation of trust. When you visit our practice, you will always see a familiar face welcoming you.

Whether you’re looking for a smile makeover using the latest in restorative and implant dentistry, or are seeking to sustain better overall oral health, we have the knowledge and experience within our specialized staff to meet your needs. We understand how difficult it can be to receive specialized care, as you may need to visit other practices to do so. Lifetime Dental houses a modern dental facility utilized by a team of specialists, dentists, hygienists, and staff to provide the care you need in the convenient locations of Canton and South Lyon.

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