Our team at Fashion Isle Smiles would like to share with you some evidence-based dental health advice that could change your life. While merely living longer isn't necessarily a good thing, living better during those extra years is. Fortunately, improving your oral hygiene will not just extend your life, but will improve the quality of your life. Research has demonstrated that people with good oral hygiene live seven years longer than those with poor oral hygiene. Your mouth is connected to every system in your body and the condition of your mouth can impact the function of your lungs, heart and brain. The environment in your mouth can even alter levels of toxicity and inflammation throughout your body.
Maintaining a clean mouth can:
What if I told you that no matter how frequently you brushed and flossed your teeth, you might still be at high risk for developing dental decay and gum disease? For some people this is the case. On the other hand, there are people who are not very consistent or thorough with oral hygiene, yet they never seem to have cavities or gum issues. How is this possible? A growing body of evidence indicates a link between genetics and susceptibility to oral disease. In order to explain how genetics plays a role in oral health, let’s first take a look at how genes work altogether.
Genes consist of DNA that codes for specific traits in humans. A unique set of genes are passed down from parents to offspring, creating unique individuals despite sharing DNA similarities with our parents. For example, there are specific genes that code for eye color, so an individual can express eyes of blue, green, or brown depending on their inherited genes for eye color.
Studies have shown that genes may influence the following oral health factors:
According to some research, the genes that increase risk for oral diseases, just like the genes for eye color, are familial (passed from parents to children). Children with high rates of dental caries often have one or more parents with similar problems and tend to have siblings with tooth decay.
Knowing your inherent risk for dental disease is important in developing your oral hygiene routine and can help your dentists provide individualized care for you and your family. As dental practitioners, understanding the role of genetics helps us focus more attention on preventative measures for patients who are more susceptible to developing oral disease.
Perhaps you've seen the warnings on medication bottles - do not consume alcohol with this medication or avoid grapefruit juice when taking this drug. Are you aware of the numerous combinations of food and drugs to avoid? Many common foods interact with drugs by either increasing their absorption or interfering with their mechanism of action. Here are some foods that often interact with medications.
Green leafy vegetables, which are high in vitamin K, can decrease the ability of blood-thinners to prevent clotting. Blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin® (warfarin) interfere with vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. It is not necessary to avoid greens altogether, but problems arise from significantly and suddenly increasing or decreasing intake, as it can alter the effectiveness of the medicine.
Grapefruit juice increases the absorption of several drugs, for example cholesterol-lowering statins, so it is recommended to avoid grapefruit when taking statins. Unlike other citrus juices, grapefruit contains furanocoumarins, a class of compounds that alter characteristics of medications. Thus, grapefruit juice can cause the body to metabolize drugs abnormally, resulting in lower or higher than normal blood levels of the drug. Many medications are affected in this way, including antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, thyroid replacement drugs, oral contraceptives, stomach acid-blocking drugs, and the cough suppressant dextromethorphan. It's best to avoid or significantly reduce intake of grapefruit juice when taking these medications.
Glycyrrhiza, a natural ingredient used to make black licorice, can deplete the body's potassium while causing an increased retention of sodium. With potassium depletion, the activity of the heart failure medication digoxin, can be greatly enhanced, resulting in an abnormal heartbeat. Glycyrrhiza also can decrease the effectiveness of high blood pressure medicines and can break down warfarin, causing an increase in the body's clotting mechanism. Excessive amounts of natural licorice should be avoided when taking all of these medications. However, artificially-flavored black licorice is not a concern because it doesn't contain glycyrrhiza.
Salt substitutes typically replace sodium with potassium, and the increased intake of potassium can reduce the effectiveness of digoxin, resulting in heart failure. Additionally, ACE inhibitors might cause a significant increase in blood potassium levels, as these drugs are known to increase potassium.
Tyramine is an amino acid found in chocolate, aged cheese, smoked meats, fermented soy, and draft beers. Several medications interfere with the breakdown of tyramine, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors used to treat depression and drugs used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Always read drug warning labels and ask your physician or pharmacist about which foods or other drugs you should avoid when receiving a prescription for a new medication or trying a new over-the-counter drug.
As dentists, it’s our job to teach our patients the importance of daily brushing and flossing, in order to prevent the formation of dental decay and periodontal disease. However, to truly appreciate the benefits of oral hygiene, it’s important to understand the challenges we face as we go into daily battle with our toothbrush and floss.
Who is enemy number one? ORAL BACTERIA!
It’s estimated that at any given time, our mouth has a total of 20 billion oral microbes (bacteria), made up of at least 800 different species. The ability of specific bacteria to cause dental diseases is largely dependent on the environmental conditions found in the mouth, much of which can be controlled by our oral hygiene and what we eat. An important characteristic of pathogenic bacteria is the ability to create a biofilm, also known as plaque. Adhesion properties in bacteria are key to establishing communities and three-dimensional structures in plaque that are difficult to remove. Sugar provides the key fuel for bacteria’s ability to achieve strong adhesion. Once established, bacterial plaque will continue to multiply and grow.
Dental decay is a direct result of bacteria that release acid, and periodontal disease is associated with an over-accumulation of different species of bacteria. In either case, the destructive bacteria reaches a point where it dominates the good bacteria and infiltrates in such a way that causes destruction of the hard and soft tissues of the mouth.
With an understanding of how bacteria leads to disease, we can better equip our mouths to fight these organisms by:
Yoga and meditation have endless benefits for seniors, keeping the body resilient to injury, offering healthy coping mechanisms for stress, and providing an unequaled well-being boost whenever you need it most. However, getting started can be a bit intimidating. If you’re a beginner, keep these simple tips in mind so you can optimize the benefits of your practice.
Support Your Gut Health
Your gut health has an impact on many other important areas of the body. It plays a role in our mood, our energy levels, the body’s inflammatory response, and various cognitive functions. Recent research has even discovered a connection between disruptions in gut bacteria and Alzheimer's disease! Fortunately, regular physical activity can promote a healthy gut microbiome and keep the rest of your body operating smoothly. In addition to supporting your gut health with a daily yoga routine, consider supplementing with probiotics to give your microbiome an extra boost.
Set Yourself up for Regular Practice
Committing to regular yoga and meditation practice is crucial to enjoying long-term benefits like greater flexibility, muscle strength, and mental resilience. To maintain a consistent practice, Headspace recommends prioritizing your yoga and meditation sessions instead of treating them as activities you’ll get to when you have the time. Consider dedicating a special corner of your home, or even an entire room, to your practice. This space should make you feel comfortable and at peace. Remove distractions from this area, including limiting furniture, frustrating clutter, and any items that don’t align with the goals of your practice.
Let Go of Expectations
Everyone has expectations when they start something new. Though they can be great motivators, expectations can also cause discouragement when things don’t go as you had hoped. Try not to judge yourself if you’re unable to keep up with the yoga teacher or you find yourself fighting to control racing thoughts during meditation. It will take plenty of practice to train your mind to focus on a single thought. Likewise, continuous practice will teach you how to optimize each yoga pose for your own body. You'll get much more out of your yoga and meditation sessions if you act as a mindful observer rather than struggling to exert control over yourself.
Be Mindful of Your Body
Listening to your body while doing any form of exercise is extremely important for preventing injury and enjoying the greatest benefits. It’s easy to tune out how you feel when you’re in a yoga class focussing on following a teacher or comparing yourself to others. Body awareness takes time to develop — be extra careful if you're new to yoga since overstretching can be dangerous. Instead, be gentle on your body and only stretch as far as it feels good. You can modify poses to make them more accessible, using props, pillows, and resistance bands — starter kits can be found for as little as $30 and can be the best way to help ease your way into the practice. If yoga is uncomfortable for you right out of the gate, try getting starting with chair yoga or do low-impact floor poses as you gain strength and flexibility in your muscles.
Start Each Session by Setting Intentions
You can really optimize your yoga and meditation sessions if you take a minute to set intentions before you begin. Intentions aren’t goals but more like determinations or ideas that you would like to focus on. EkhartYoga recommends setting your intention by thinking of a personal quality or trait that you want to enhance and grow through your practice. Whether that's courage, peace, calm, forgiveness, or openness to change, your intention should resonate with you.
Yoga and meditation can do wonders to improve a senior's quality of life. If you suffer from chronic conditions, these wellness activities can help you manage pain and maintain your mobility. And if you're completely healthy, yoga and meditation will help you stay that way. Your senior years can truly be enjoyable with the help of some mind and body care.
The majority of people who grind their teeth do so at night while they are sleeping, completely unaware of what they are doing. In fact, it’s often significant others who are woken up at night by the sounds of teeth crunching together in what sounds like someone chewing on gravel. Nevertheless, this habit can be extremely harmful to your teeth and oral health. Let’s review some of the signs of severe bruxism:
Results from a recent study provide more evidence that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia could be the result of an infectious bacteria. Researchers took brain tissue samples from deceased Alzheimer’s patients and found the exact same bacteria that has been linked to chronic gum disease: Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis). During clinical testing, mice were exposed to this same bacteria. Brain tissue samples were measured and not only found to have been infected with P. gingivalis, but also contained some of the same biomarkers and proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore, P. gingivalis was found in human brain tissue of patients who were not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, providing more evidence that the gum disease, specifically P. gingivalis, could potentially contribute to these cognitive diseases. In the people aged 65 and older, 10% of the population suffers from Alzheimer’s and 70% suffer from advanced gum disease. Most people believe that dementia is the cause for improper oral hygiene in older adults. However, given the strong evidence, it’s possible that gum disease from improper oral hygiene increases chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia. Therefore, maintaining good habits throughout the life cycle may prevent the onset of cognitive decline observed in aging adults.
Dominy, S. S., Lynch, C., Ermini, F., Benedyk, M., Marczyk, A., Konradi, A., ... & Holsinger, L. J. (2019). Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors. Science advances, 5(1), eaau3333.
Fluoride is an essential mineral for bones and teeth. The water supply has contained fluoride for more than 70 years and has positively impacted dental health in the United States. The American Dental Association recommends water fluoridation as a safe and effective strategy for preventing cavities and reducing tooth decay by 20 to 40%. The evidence-base for fluoride is strong, yet controversy about this mineral still exists. Fluoride concentrations in water vary by region, but there is an optimal level of fluoride (0.7 ppm) known to ensure an effective level of fluoride to reduce the incidence of tooth decay, while minimizing the risk of cosmetic fluorosis in the general population.
Fluoride protects teeth by making enamel resistant to acid and demineralization, thus preventing cavities. The CDC estimates that fluoridated water reduces tooth decay by 25% among children and adults. Approximately 3.0 to 4.0 mg of fluoride is needed per day for adults, and the upper limit is set at 10.0 mg per day. The adequate intake levels for children are provided below in mg/d:
Children and adults with cerebral palsy are at an increased risk of oral health problems. While cerebral palsy does not involve any defects of the mouth, teeth or gums, other problems such as acid reflux and vomiting can lead to damage of the teeth and soft tissues in the mouth. Understanding how cerebral palsy affects oral health can help you plan for your loved one's current and future oral health care needs.
Oral Health Risks Associated With Cerebral Palsy
Children, teens and young adults with cerebral palsy typically have weak jaw muscles. The muscles may be tight, which makes it hard to brush the teeth. Swallowing disorders are common in people with cerebral palsy, which could lead to food sitting in the mouth for an extended period of time. This promotes tooth decay. Other aspects of cerebral palsy that increase the risk of tooth decay, gingivitis and other oral health problems include:
Caring for Oral Health at Home
A person with cerebral palsy may have a difficult time holding a toothbrush and cleaning all of the surfaces of each tooth. Drool, sensitivity and a fast gag reflex may also impede good brushing. Maneuvering dental floss could be difficult for a person with cerebral palsy. Parents or caregivers may have to handle the person's oral hygiene needs in order to ensure that all of the teeth are cleaned every day.
Dental Treatments for People With Cerebral Palsy
The increased risk of cavities and gingivitis in people with cerebral palsy may require additional dental treatments beyond what is usually done for a child, teenager or young adult. It is a good idea to locate a dentist who is experienced in providing care to people with special healthcare needs. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants may be recommended in order to lessen the risk of tooth decay. A prescription toothpaste may also be recommended. Working with a speech therapist for assistance with swallowing disorders could also help with the oral health care needs of a person with cerebral palsy.
Extra Dental Costs for Oral Health Care
People with cerebral palsy may have higher oral health care costs than people without the disorder. They may need more frequent dental cleanings because of the higher risk of tooth decay. Most insurance companies only cover dental cleanings twice per year, so extra cleanings would be out of your pocket. In 2018, a dental cleaning costs $75 to $200. Cerebral palsy may also lead to misalignment of the teeth, necessitating orthodontic care. The costs of orthodontic care range from $3,000 to more than $10,000 in 2018, and that does not include any extractions or implants. Overall, the lifetime cost of oral health care for someone with cerebral palsy will be higher than the costs for people without the condition.
Oral hygiene is important for everyone for maintaining good dental health, but for someone living with
cancer, like mesothelioma, that hygiene becomes even more important. Mesothelioma is a devastating
cancer of the tissue lining the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Dental complications are
common in these patients, which can cause added discomfort and pain. Practicing good oral hygiene can
help patients prevent these uncomfortable complications.
What Cancer and its Treatment Does to Dental Health
Cancer can impact the mouth and dental health , but it is treatment for cancers like mesothelioma that
really have a detrimental impact. Chemotherapy, for instance, can cause mouth pain, dry mouth that
can lead to infections, blooding in the gums, difficulty eating, and a condition called oral mucositis,
inflamed and painful sores in the mouth. Radiation therapy may also cause dental complications,
including many of the same caused by chemotherapy, but also by increasing the risk of cavities and
See the Dentist Before Treatment
If you are facing chemotherapy or any other treatment for mesothelioma, it is important to see your
dentist in advance. A dentist can check for any existing problems and treat you before beginning
treatment so the issues don’t get worse. You will also get good advice on how to care for your teeth and
mouth as you go through treatment. Going into chemotherapy or radiation in good dental health sets
you up for a better outcome and a lower risk for complications.
Oral Hygiene During and After Treatment
Even if you have excellent oral health before starting mesothelioma treatments, you still need to
practice good oral hygiene to maintain that good health. Here are some things you can do to keep your
mouth healthy and happy:
Oral hygiene is always important, but as a mesothelioma patient going through chemotherapy your
dental health may be compromised, and good hygiene practices suddenly become so much more important.
Don’t let dental health slide. Talk to your doctors and your dentist about oral health before, during, and after treatment so you get the best care.