Based on a study announce by the American Heart Association on November 14, 2017, a visit to your dental office may help lower your blood pressure reading–significantly. The study found that patients diagnosed with periodontitis (gum disease) receiving periodontal scaling and root planing treatment (a deep cleaning), had systolic blood pressure lower by nearly 13 points and diastolic blood pressure lower by nearly 10 points six months after treatment.
Also announced this week, the American Heart Association lowered the high blood pressure definition to a reading of 130/80 or greater (it was previously 140/90) meaning that millions more of Americans will be classified as having high blood pressure.
Read more about the new blood pressure guidelines and the connection between treating gum disease and lowering blood pressure, here:
Canker Sores (also known as aphthous ulcerations or aphthous stomatitis), are small ulcers usually found on the inside of the lip or cheek or on the tongue and can be a troublesome burden for patients. Some patients live with them as frequently as every one to two months. Once one ulcer heals, another one can soon appear in a different location.
Canker sores are not to be confused with cold sores. Cold sores are usually found on the outside of the lip; they are caused by the herpes virus which is contagious and can easily spread from one person to another. Canker sores are non-contagious; they cannot be spread from person to person.
The etiology of canker sores is still unknown; however, there may be some contributing factors. Canker sores often occur when a patient is not feeling well. Sometimes they show up right before a patient becomes sick—like a warning sign that the immune system is compromised and that extra care (drinking plenty of water, eating well, and getting enough rest) is needed. Stress may also induce a series of events leading to canker sores. Additionally, canker sores can be caused by a source of trauma, such as, a tiny scratch from a toothbrush bristle or a reaction to acidic foods, like walnuts or chocolate.
Over the years there have been numerous medications and coping strategies offered to help alleviate the pain from canker sores, but most have failed to deliver. Canker sore treatment has greatly improved, though, and your dentist or physician may apply a topical treatment to larger, more painful sores to stop the pain and seal and protect the damaged tissue while it heals. Because canker sores usually last for two weeks or less, you may choose to simply “ride it out” on your own. If this is the case, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water, drink plenty of water to help keep mouth pH values closer to normal, and avoid acidic foods.
Contact your dentist or physician if your canker sores become worse or increase over time.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness month and it is estimated that 43,250 people this year alone will be diagnosed with oral cancer. If detected early, there is a 80-90% survival rate, but left undetected, that rate goes down to 50%. Most cases of oral cancer that are identified are detected by medical and dental technicians. However, in between dental and medical visits, be aware of changes in your mouth and contact your dentist or physician if an abnormality persists for more than two weeks. Continue reading
Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Well, if you are, you’re not alone. According to the results of an American Association of Endodontics survey, 80% of Americans have some fear of the dentist (source: J of Conservative Dentistry 2009 12:85-6). While it can be a relief to know that fear of the dentist is common, dental fear or anxiety doesn’t have to be something a patient is forced to live
with. In fact, there are several ways to mitigate the fear associated with dental visits. Continue reading
Patients can be surprised when their dentist tells them they have a cavity: “I don’t have any pain or sensitivity,
though.” So how can this be? Let’s begin with a brief description of tooth anatomy.
Halitosis (aka, bad breath) can be embarrassing, but, luckily, it can almost certainly be remedied. There are several reasons why a person may have halitosis, but about 90% of people with chronic halitosis simply need a dental cleaning and oral hygiene instruction by their hygienist or dentist.
Once in a while, I see a new patient who is apprehensive about having X-rays taken due to a concern over radiation. I’d like to address that concern and, hopefully, alleviate it. Continue reading
Patients are fortunate to have dentures as an option for replacing missing teeth, allowing for everyday activities often taken for granted: eating, talking, and smiling. Dentures can even make us look younger and feel more confident. It’s no secret, though, that dentures can be frustrating-if the fit isn’t just right. Continue reading