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Diabetes (also called diabetes mellitus) is a chronic systemic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugars in your food. As a result, a diabetic patient will have a high blood glucose (sugar) level which can cause a host of issues including problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, and heart. Diabetes can also lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process. Diabetes can also affect your oral health in many different ways.

Fast Facts About Diabetes

-Diabetes is a long-term condition that causes high blood sugar levels.

-Diabetes currently affects over 371 million people worldwide and is expected to affect over 550 million by the year 2030. In the United States, a new case of diabetes is diagnosed once every 30 seconds and more than 1.9 million new cases are diagnosed each year.

Types Of Diabetes

-Type 1 Diabetes – In this type, the body does not produce insulin. About 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1.

-Type 2 Diabetes – In this type, the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function. About 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type.

-Gestational Diabetes – In this type, pregnant females are affected

Common Diabetes Symptoms

1) Frequent need to urinate (polyuria)

2) Intense thirst (polydipsia) and hunger (polyphagia)

3) Unexpalined weight gain

4) Unusual weight loss

5) Fatigue (tiredness)

6) Cuts and bruises that do not heal

7) Male sexual dysfunction

8) Numbness and tingling in hands and feet

-If you have Type 1 and follow a healthy eating plan, do adequate exercise, and take insulin, you can lead a normal life with little to no complications.

-Type 2 patients need to eat healthily, be physically active, and test their blood glucose. They may also need to take oral medication, and/or insulin to control blood glucose levels.

-As the risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher for a diabetic, it is crucial that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are monitored regularly.

-As smoking might have a serious effect on cardiovascular health, diabetics should stop smoking.

-Hypoglycemia – low blood glucose – can have a bad effect on the patient.

-Hyperglycemia – high blood glucose – can also have a bad effect on the patient.

How Is Your Dental Health Affected By Diabetes?

-Periodontal Disease. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, diabetics have an increased risk for developing gingivitis (earliest and most treatable form of periodontal disease), an inflammation usually caused by the presence of bacteria in plaque. Plaque is the sticky film that accumulates on teeth both above and below the gum line. Without regular dental check-ups, periodontal disease may progress if left untreated. It also can cause inflammation and destruction of tissues surrounding and supporting teeth, gums, bone and fibers that hold the gums to the teeth. Research has shown that treating periodontal disease in people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar control.

-Burning Mouth SyndromeBurning mouth syndrome is a chronic burning in the mouth without an obvious cause. The discomfort can affect your tongue, gums, lips, inside of your cheeks, roof of your mouth or widespread areas of your oral cavity. Burning mouth syndrome appears suddenly and can be severe, as if you burned your mouth.

-Fungal infections (such as thrush and oral candidiasis). Since diabetes weakens your immune system, you may be prone to developing fungal infections. Symptoms include painful sores and difficulty swallowing. If you develop a fungal infection, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible.

-Dry mouth (xerostomia). Uncontrolled diabetes can decrease salivary flow, which can result in dry mouth. Dry mouth can further lead to soreness, oral ulcers, oral infections, and increased incidence of tooth decay.

-Infection and delayed healing. People with uncontrolled diabetes do not heal quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be impaired.

Dental Care Tips For Diabetic Patients

-Maintain Good Blood Sugar Levels.

-Keep your healthcare team informed including your dentist.

-See your dentist regularly for dental hygiene visits as well as oral examinations. It is recommended that you visit your dentist and hygienist at least every 6 months. For many diabetic patients, it is advised that they go on a more frequent schedule to maintain proper oral health.

-Brush and Floss Daily. This is to prevent plaque build up and keep periodontal disease away. In fact, it is recommended that diabetic patients brush following every meal to ensure good dental hygiene.

-Denture wearers should remove their dentures and clean them daily. Do not sleep in them.

-If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

-Maintain regular visits to your diabetes doctor to ensure there are no conflicts between dental treatment and your general treatment.

-Remember that healing may take longer in people with diabetes. Follow your dentist‘s post-treatment instructions closely.

-Patients with diabetes with orthodontic appliances should contact their orthodontist immediately if a wire or bracket results in a cut to their tongue or mouth.

Conclusion

Diabetes can be a scary diagnosis but with proper monitoring and care it does not have to be. A well controlled diabetic can leave a very normal life and stay healthy for a long, long time. Dental care should never be compromised even for healthy individuals.

 

Maintaining our oral health can be challenging at times. We all live busy schedules but research has shown that good oral health can lead to good overall health. Below are some tips to help embrace your oral health today!

Top Oral Health Tips

-Brush at least twice a day and floss daily before bedtime. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are major issues as we get older. Almost 75% of all teenagers have gums that bleed. This is one of the first signs of the development of periodontal disease. In its earliest form (gingivitis), the damage is reversible so it is best to catch it early. Other brushing tips include:

-Change your toothbrush at least every 6 months.

-Teenagers with braces may need to use special toothbrushes and other oral hygiene tools to brush their teeth.

-Older people with arthritis or other problems may have trouble holding a toothbrush or using floss. Some people find it easier to use an electric toothbrush.

-Become A Gum Chewer. Chewing sugar free gum (or gum with xylitol) after a meal can also protect by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes bacteria away and neutralizes acid.

-Do Not Smoke (Or Use Smokeless Tobacco). Not only will using tobacco products stain your teeth but their use will significantly increase the risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer.

-Eat A Well Balanced Diet. No matter your age, a healthy, well balanced diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. A well-balanced diet of whole foods (this includes whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and cheeses) will provide all the nutrients you need. Research has also shown consuming more fish (omega-3 fats) may actually reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease. It is believed the omega-3 fats will lower inlfammation in the body including the gum tissues.

-Avoid Sugary Foods. When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, they produce acids that can erode your tooth’s enamel, opening the door to tooth decay. Sugary drinks, including colas and fruit drinks, pose a special threat because people tend to sip them, raising acid levels over a long period of time. Sticky candies (like gummy bears and fruit roll ups) are another culprit, because they linger on teeth surfaces.

-Play Smart. Sports help maintain our body and mind health, but they can pose a major threat to teeth. Most school teams now require children to wear mouth guards. But remember: unsupervised recreational activities like skateboarding and roller blading can also result in injuries. An over the counter mouthguard can help soften the blow from theses traumatic injuries. A custom made sports mouthguard made by your dentist can be even more effective as research has shown a well fitted mouthguard can actually help reduce incidence of concussions.

-Maintain A Regular Appointment Schedule. It is recommended to have a dental examination every 6 months — more often if you have problems like periodontal disease. During a routine exam, your dentist or dental hygienist will:

-Check For Tooth Decay.

-Remove plaque and tartar that cannot be brushed or flossed away.

-Check For Early Signs Of Oral Cancer. Most cases of oral cancer can be treated if found early enough. Undetected, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become harder to treat. Once oral cancer progresses it becomes very very difficult to effectively treat.

-Wear and tear from tooth grinding (also called bruxism). Teeth grinding may be caused by stress or anxiety. Over time, it can wear down the biting surfaces of teeth, making them more susceptible to tooth decay. If your teeth show signs of bruxism, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard worn at night to prevent grinding.

-Signs of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease (also called gingivitis or periodontitis) is the leading cause of tooth loss. Unfortunately, by the time most people notice any of the warning signs of periodontitis, it’s too late to reverse the damage.

-Interactions with medications. Older patients, especially those on multiple medications, are at risk of dry mouth, or xerostomia. Reduced saliva flow increases the risk of tooth decay and gum problems. As many as 800 different drugs cause dry mouth as a side effect. Always tell your dentist about any medications you take. A change in prescriptions may help lessen the problem. Saliva like oral mouthwashes are also available.

-Get Children Started Early. 1 in 4 young children develops signs of tooth decay before they start school. Half of all children between the ages of 12 and 15 have tooth decay. Dental care should begin as soon as a child’s first tooth appears, usually around six months.

Oral Health Conclusion

Maintaining good oral health should become a habit from an early age. The earlier we get into the routine the easier it will be to stay healthy throughout our lives.

Everyone likes giving or receiving kisses especially around valentine’s day. It could be a spouse, child, or loved one, but are there any dental health dangers associated with kissing? With just one kiss, you can share over 500 different types of disease causing germs and viruses. Not knowing who you are kissing could be as dangerous to your health as having multiple sexual partners. What are the benefits, aside from the obvious?

Common Diseases and Viruses Transmitted By Kissing

-Cold Sores – This type of sore is caused by the herpes virus (family of diseases that causes Epstein-Barr, chickenpox, or herpes simplex). Cold sores appear as tiny, clear, fluid filled blisters that form around the mouth and lips. This type of sore is highly contagious. This is especially true while the sores are open and leaking fluids. Even sores that have formed scabs can be contagious.

-Upper respiratory tract infections - like colds can easily spread through a kiss. If you feel a cold or flu virus coming on you should avoid kissing. Many different viruses are responsible for causing the common cold. Colds are believed to be spread by direct contact with the virus. You can catch a cold from airborne droplets or from direct contact with secretions (fluids and mucous) from the infected person’s nose and throat.

-Mononucleosis (also called Glandular Fever) – This is called the “kissing disease” for a reason! It is easily transmitted to others through kissing, as well as sharing food, a cup, or even a straw.

-Hepatitis B – this may be transferred via kissing but it is quite rare, but it is transferable through saliva. Hepatitis B shows up in far higher levels in the blood than in the saliva. If the person you are kissing has bleeding gums (from periodontal disease), it will  be even more likely to be transmitted through the  mucous membranes (mouth, tongue, and gums).

-Tooth Decay – The bacteria that cause tooth decay are not found in the mouths of babies at birth.  A baby’s mouth must be colonized with infected saliva, which can be passed by a kiss on the lips from Mommy or Daddy.

-Periodontal Disease – It is possible to pass the bacteria responsible for periodontal disease through kissing.

Benefits Of Kissing

Even with all the potential dangers listed above, kissing does have some major benefits.

-Increased Salivary Flow - During the act of kissing, the salivary glands get stimulated. This releases increased saliva into the mouth. Saliva is mostly water but also contains electrolytes, sodium, proteins, and digestive enzymes. These digestive enzymes not only help in digesting food but also in resiting the attacks o viruses and bacteria. Saliva naturally guards our teeth. Saliva also contains the nutrients calcium and fluoride, which help re-mineralize any sort of injury on your tooth’s enamel.

-Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder Treatment - The physical action of kissing someone effects more than 34 different muscles in your face. Those with soreness within the TM joints at times notice that kissing helps to loosen up the jaw bone, the tongue and other muscular areas within the mouth area. Unstrained muscle groups can sort out any discomfort which is being a result of TMJ issues.

-Increased Immunity Strength – Kissing causes individuals to transfer antibodies from one to another. These antibodies may be new to you and thus will strengthen your immune system. Nevertheless, if you know someone is ill, it’s wise to try to keep from kissing them until finally they are healed.

-Improved Mood - kissing releases nature’s antidepressant, oxytocin. Kissing does not just increase the production of feel good chemicals in our bodies, it also lowers our cortisol and cholesterol levels, too.

-Increased Metabolism - During a really passionate kiss, a person can burn anywhere from 2-5 calories per minute. This is double your normal resting rate. Over an hour of kissing can lead you to burn almost 200 calories. While you should not rely on kissing to help you lose a significant amount of weight, it might give your metabolism an extra boost and help shed a pound or two.

The negative effects of kissing should not keep you from kissing your loved ones, but you should be sure to maintain your oral health to keep up your dental and physical health.

Preventive Tips While Kissing

-Use sugar free chewing gum, preferably with xylitol.

-Use mouthwash.

-Maintain good oral hygiene by following home care instructions and visiting your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

-Visit your dentist if you suspect you may have tooth decay or a periodontal disease.

-Only kiss someone if you know where he or she has been.

Conclusion

We love to kiss those we care about. We need to remember to protect them as well as ourselves by being clean and healthy.  Be smart about who you kiss and enjoy yourself!

The new year is fast approaching and it may be time to start thinking about what your New Year’s resolutions should be. These usually include losing weight, striving for a better job, or maybe even just being  a better friend or partner. Many people also set new goals for leading a healthier life going forward. So why not make some New Year’s resolutions regarding your dental health?

Making dental health resolutions can keep your teeth healthy, and studies have shown it can keep your entire body healthy as well.

Dental Health New Year’s Resolutions

Eat A Well Balanced Diet including Fruits and Vegetables

Eating a well balanced diet is important for yourdental health. If your body is not getting its propernutrition it can affect your entire immune system. Poor nutrition, increases susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including periodontal disease and tooth decay. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation. Healthy eating helps to protect your teeth and gum tissues. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery can actually help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath as well.

Quit Smoking or Using Other Tobacco Products

Using tobacco has been proven to be bad for your dental health as well as your general health. Some of the dental issues associated with smoking include:

-Tooth Discoloration.

-Tooth Decay.

-Gingival Recession.

-Periodontal Disease.

-Increased risk for cancer. This includes oral cancer as well throat, lung, and other systemic cancers.
People who smoke are almost twice as likely to lose their teeth as non smokers. It is not just smoking tobacco that has negative effects on your oral health: use of smokeless tobacco can be just as damaging to your dental health. The good news is, that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.

Use Alcohol in Moderation

You may already know that excessive alcohol intake can have an effect on your overall health, but did you know that it may also affect your dental health? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, those who use tobacco products, are more likely to maintain poor nutrition. Drinking excessive alcohol also  increases gum recession (periodontal pocketing). Studies show that smokers who regularly drink alcohol are less likely to brush and floss their teeth regularly and are less concerned about their basic health than non smokers.

Improve Dental Hygiene: Brush and Floss Regularly

Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from tooth decay and periodontal disease. These are caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health. Studies have shown that only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line,areas  where tooth decay and periodontal disease begins.

Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums and gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest form of periodontal disease and is reversible. If untreated it will worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums and, eventually, advanced periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to your general health, therefore, it is doubly important to maintain good dental health at all times.

See Your Dentist for Regular Examinations and Cleanings

By seeing your dentist at least twice a year for dental examinations and cleanings, you can help prevent any dental health issues before they cause pain or require more comprehensive or expensive treatment. Regular visits allow your dentist to keep track of your oral health and recommend an individualized dental hygiene maintenance regimen to address areas of concern.

Happy New Year!!

For the new year and for years to come you should resolve to improve your health, dental hygiene habits, quit smoking, drink in moderation, and improve your overall diet. Your teeth and body, and loved ones will thank you for it for many years to come!  Bring in the new year with a smile!