November 15, 2012
Your Kentucky dentist would like to acknowledge Alzheimer’s awareness month by describing the connection between gum disease and brain health. Anyone with poor oral health habits can develop gum disease, but when these habits have such serious repercussion, why engage in them?
What is Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection of any of the periodontal tissues, including gums, the jawbone, and the tissues that connect them. Periodontal disease, or gum disease can cause serious harm not only to your gums and bones, but to other parts of your body as well, including your heart and brain. The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. If your gums are red and swollen you may have gingivitis, but with careful attention to your daily oral health regimen and consultation with your Erlanger dentist, you can work to rid yourself of infection without suffering any long-term repercussions. If, however, you do not treat gingivitis promptly, it can progress to the much more serious periodontitis. In this stage of gum disease gums become severely compromised. They will be very swollen, and bleed easily. Advanced stages of gum disease cause gums and the alveolar bone to become so infected that they can no longer properly carry out their function of support tooth roots. Most cases of tooth loss are a direct result of gum disease that has gone untreated.
Gum Disease and Brain Health
As the body utilizes all its immune functions to fight off gum disease, it can flood the body with particles that cause inflammation not only in the gums, but in other areas as well. Of particular interest to your Kentucky dentist is the inflammation of the brain caused by gum disease. Multiple studies have been conducted showing that the body’s immune response to gum disease has direct effects on brain health and cognitive ability. Those who have suffered or do suffer from periodontal disease are more likely to score lower on tests of cognitive ability. Similarly there is a direct correlation between incidences of gum disease and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Meet With Dr. Sand Wall Today
If caught early, gum disease is curable, so schedule an appointment today. You can reach our Kentucky dental office at (859) 344 – 8500. We gladly serve patients from Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, Taylor Mill, and surrounding communities.
October 18, 2012
We are in the middle of National Bone and Joint Awareness Week. You may not realize the different ways that your bone and joint health relate to your oral health. Consider your jawbone, for starters. Without proper function, and regular mineralization, you could have TMD (tempormandibular joint disorder) or facial collapse from lack of bone density. Arthritis is a painful condition that affects your joints though inflammation of tissues. Your Kentucky dentist, Dr. Darlene Sand Wall, explains the connection between healthy teeth and arthritis in the knees.
Research Study Links Gum Disease Bacteria to Arthritis
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, OH, analyzed DNA information to determine that the bacteria that cause gum disease can travel all the way from the mouth to the knees. Synovial fluid surrounds the knee caps. This protective liquid is sterile in people with good health. However, when someone already has arthritis, the bacteria are able to take advantage of an already unhealthy situation, and settle in the knee joints. These findings are certainly compelling in terms of oral-systemic health (a connection between your mouth and body). (more…)
October 12, 2012
As a preventive care measure, most dentists advocate an oral cancer screening during your regular dental check-up. During your oral exam, Dr. Sand Wall will examine the inside of your mouth for lumps, suspicious lesions, and discolorations, such as red or white patches. Oral cancer is often found in places you may not look, such as under the tongue or inside the cheeks.
Most mouth sores are noncancerous. However, if Dr. Sand Wall finds a sore of unusual appearance, she may perform a painless oral brush biopsy to test the abnormal tissue for cancer. The objective, as with any type of cancer, is to detect oral cancer early when it is most easily treated.
Oral Cancer Statistics
The American Cancer Society estimates that 35,000 people will get oral cancer in 2012. The number of fatalities for 2012 is estimated at approximately 6,800. The good news, however, is that the death rate from oral cancer has declined steadily since the 1970s – a statistic many experts credit to early detection.* (more…)
October 6, 2012
While all cancers are serious, breast cancer takes center stage in October. As your trusted Erlanger dentist, Dr. Darlene Sand Wall wants to send well wishes and thoughts of hope to all the women, and the few men, affected by breast cancer. You’ve probably noticed the hoopla that reminds us about the ongoing fight against breast cancer this time each year. Your favorite NFL players are wearing hot-pink shoes, and many stores are accepting donations for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Retailers donate a percentage of sales from “pink ribbon” products to the Komen Foundation, as well.
To participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Sand Wall wants to share with you how oral health and breast cancer are related, and how to address the oral health concerns that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy may experience.
Studies Show a Potential Oral Health Link
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a study, spanning from 1985 to 2001, that showed gum disease may increase a person’s risk for developing breast cancer. Experts go back and forth over whether gum disease actually contributes to the cause of various cancers and systemic health problems, but there is no question that the disease is more prevalent in people with certain health conditions. (more…)
June 22, 2012
You know by now that brushing and flossing your teeth are important for good oral health. Many people don’t know, however, that keeping your mouth healthy is important to your overall health, as well. We should be careful about what we put in our mouths, of course, but we should also take care what we leave behind in our mouths. Dr. Darlene Sand Wall explains why your mouth is more important than you may think.
Your Mouth and Your Body
Bacteria and bacterial plaque constantly form around your teeth and gums. If allowed to remain for more than 48 hours, plaque calcifies into an insoluble substance called tartar, which cannot be removed by simply brushing and flossing your teeth. If you do not attend your six-month dental checkup, tartar remains and begins to attack your teeth and gums. Your mouth’s defenses, including saliva and tooth enamel, become compromised, and you have a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease, leading to the loss of one or more teeth. The same bad bacteria that attack your mouth can enter into your bloodstream through the infected, defenseless gum tissue, causing further infection as it passes through your body. For this reason, periodontal (gum) disease has been linked to potentially fatal systemic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and dementia, among others.
Your Body and Your Mouth
Maintaining your oral health can benefit your physical health, but monitoring your oral health can also warn you of irregularities in your body. Many of the earliest symptoms of a systemic disease can manifest in the form of lesions in the mouth and other oral problems. At your Erlanger dental checkup, Dr. Sand Wall will conduct a visual oral cancer screening using advanced VELscope technology. A fluorescence-based system, VELscope detects tissue abnormalities that can indicate a risk of cancer.
If you would like to learn more about your oral dental health, call our Erlanger, Kentucky office at (859) 344-8500 to schedule a consultation.