Patient Newsletter

The Oral-Systemic Connection

January 5th 2015

145991961We live in an era of health consciousness, and that’s a good thing. Many people try to exercise and eat right. But being healthy is not simply a matter of what you put in your mouth, it’s also dependent on how you take care of your mouth. More and more evidence shows that there is a direct link between oral health and overall health.

The oral-systemic connection characterizes the link between diseases and conditions in the mouth and health problems throughout the body. For example, periodontal or gum disease—called gingivitis in its early stages and periodontitis later—is caused by bacteria that can have access to the bloodstream when gum tissue bleeds, a common symptom of gum disease. Thus, preventing or treating gum disease and other oral infections early can be critical to avoiding secondary health concerns. So, those bi-annual dental checkups are more than just a matter of clean teeth. They can mean the difference between life and death.

Medical Conditions that Start in the Mouth

While research continues, the following is a partial list of medical conditions and diseases that have already been found to have a connection to oral health:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Some forms of cancer
  • Some autoimmune disorders
  • Low birth weight in newborns

Furthermore, the importance of maintaining oral health in order to have a proper diet and nutrition cannot be understated. People who have missing teeth are often unable to eat raw fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods that require chewing. Therefore, they choose softer foods that tend to be higher in saturated fats and sugar, both of which can have detrimental effects on the body when over consumed.

The Oral-Systemic Connection and You

What can you do to keep your oral-systemic connection healthy? First of all, brush your teeth and floss twice each day. Be sure to floss well below the gum line where bacteria hide. Secondly, see your dentist at least twice each year for a checkup. With regular visits, you and your dentist will better be able to recognize changes in your oral health and fend off any conditions that could compromise your general health.

Keep Your Smile Happy and Healthy This Holiday Season

November 26th 2014

84468671The holidays are a great time for family, lots of food, and guilt-free indulgence. However, the last thing you probably want is to have to spend some quality time with your local dentist right in the middle of all this fun. That’s why it’s always important to make smart choices and be aware of potential problems that could threaten your oral health. Here are five helpful tips to keep in mind when you’re sitting down at the table with your loved ones to enjoy that big, scrumptious meal:

  • Be careful when it comes to chewy treats. Having a sweet tooth is fine in moderation, but when it comes to sticky substances, less is always more. Foods like caramel and taffy can encourage tooth decay and even yank out fillings.
  • Don’t crack nuts between your teeth. Nuts offer several valuable health benefits, but don’t treat your mouth like you would a nutcracker’s. Shelling nuts with your teeth can cause serious enamel and gum damage. You’re definitely better off removing the shells before enjoying your snack.
  • Enjoy your wine, but not too much. The high acidity levels in wine can eat away at the enamel on your teeth, which is really important to retain when it comes to fighting off decay and cavities. Avoid swishing wine around in your mouth for too long, and be sure to drink plenty of water in between glasses.
  • Don’t let stress get you down. Holiday anxiety is a very common, understandable problem, but be careful – it can lead to grinding and clenching of the teeth. Seeing your local dentist about a nightguard can help you protect your smile while you sleep and avoid unpleasant damage.
  • Feel free to feast! Yes, you heard right! When you eat, more and more saliva is produced, which can be a beneficial agent when it comes to neutralizing acids and repairing tooth enamel. Just be sure to take breaks here and there from the food so that it has time to work within your mouth.

Don’t Just Brush Your Teeth… Brush Your Teeth Correctly

October 27th 2014

brushingMost people know that good oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day. And for most, those two times are usually in the morning—as you’re rushing to work or getting the kids off to school—and at night, when you’re fighting to keep your eyes open before falling into bed. Regardless of whether your day is beginning, ending or somewhere in between, proper brushing is worth the time and effort for good oral health.

First off all, did you know that proper brushing requires at least two minutes? Most adults spend a fraction of that time brushing their teeth every morning and night. Try looking at the clock when you start brushing, then brush normally and check the time when you’re finished. Chances are you didn’t spend enough time to thoroughly clean your teeth. To really do a good job and ensure better oral hygiene, spend two minutes brushing.

What is the Best Technique for Brushing Teeth?

When brushing your teeth, it’s important to hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gum line and sweep or roll the brush away from your gums. Don’t brush side to side, which can scrape your gums. And be sure to use short strokes as you brush away from your gums.

Start out cleaning the outer surface of your upper teeth and then your lower teeth. Continue by brushing the inner surface of upper and lower teeth. Then, brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth, concentrating on your molars. Finally, be sure to brush your tongue, too.

Tools for Proper Brushing

Always choose a soft brush with round-ended bristles. Stiff bristles can hurt your gums. A powered toothbrush can be a good choice, too, especially if you have difficulty brushing because of limited manual dexterity. The type of toothpaste you choose is an individual matter. There are a variety of toothpastes to address a variety of concerns from teeth whitening and cavity prevention to eliminating tartar and reducing teeth sensitivity. Talk with your local dentist about which toothpaste is best for you.

 

Prepare Little Smiles for Trick-or-Treating with Preventive Dentistry

October 17th 2014

160051708Halloween is undeniably a favorite holiday for millions of children from across America, offering the perfect opportunity to dress up in creative costumes and bring home tons of sweet treats. While we’d never discourage any of the festivities and fun of trick-or-treating, we do want to emphasize the importance of keeping those precious pearly whites healthy this holiday season. With preventive dentistry solutions like dental sealants and fluoride supplements, we can help ensure your child’s continued oral health all year round.

Preventing Cavities this Holiday Season

The two most common childhood dental concerns are tooth decay and periodontal disease. Because prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to your child’s oral health, routine dental exams and cleanings are integral to a future of healthy smiles. Particularly around the holidays, it is important to consider the effects of sugary treats – including Halloween candies like lollipops, chocolate, and candy corn – on a child’s vulnerable teeth. Your child’s tooth enamel isn’t as resistant to plaque buildup, so twice yearly cleanings are vital.

During your child’s dental visit, ask about dental sealants and fluoride supplements. Dental sealants effectively protect teeth from cavities, especially in hard-to-reach places like the first and second molars. Fluoride supplements can actually fortify tooth enamel, remineralizing the surfaces of the teeth to further ward off attacks from cavity-causing bacteria. After your child is done divvying up all of his or her favorite treats from Halloween, consider donating the excess to a Halloween buyback program. This will help keep those cavity-causing temptations out of reach, further protecting your child’s smile.

Keep Your Child’s Smile Shining Brightly!

Your child’s dentist is your ongoing partner in building a strong foundation for oral health in the future. If you have questions about preventive dentistry services, including fluoride and dental sealants, contact your local dentist’s office for more information.

The Benefits of Green Tea

August 8th 2014

shutterstock_185075840People are always trying to find the tastiest and best ways to quench their thirst. Whether it is a glass of water or an energy-inducing sports drink, finding a beverage that is both satisfying to their taste buds and nourishing to their bodies can be difficult. What people may not realize is that tea, specifically green tea, has amazing benefits for your body, and is also delicious! Being excellent for your oral and bodily health, green tea is an excellent option for those who wish for something flavorful and wholesome.

For those who are heart conscious, green tea is amazing for your heart! Green tea contains catechin, which is an antioxidant that fights and prevents cell damage. This equals a strong, healthy heart. Studies have also proven that consuming green tea increases the amount of activity in the brain that controls working memory. Another instance where green tea is good for your brain, it has been shown that green tea blocks the development of the type of plaque that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Green tea has also been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels, which is great for those who have diabetes. Having an amino acid called theanine, a calming effect can take place while drinking green tea. This is especially helpful for those who are under high levels of stress. Though losing weight is never an easy experience, green tea boosts your metabolism, making you burn more fat calories. A high valuable beverage, green tea has the potential to help your smile, heart, and brain!

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1131 Commerce Park Drive East, Watertown, NY 13601 USA
Peter M. Virga, DDS Watertown NY dentist (315) 788-1070