Dental insurance policies help many people effectively budget for the cost of maintaining a great smile. Compared to medical insurance, understanding dental insurance policies is a breeze. Most policies are straightforward and specific regarding what procedures are covered and exactly how much you have to pay out-of-pocket. Dental insurance is available as part of medical insurance plans or as a standalone policy.
Waiting Period for Dental Insurance
Most dental insurance policies have waiting periods ranging from six to 12 months before any standard work can be done. Waiting periods for major work are typically longer and can be up to two years. These periods are set in place by insurance companies to guarantee they profit off a new account and to discourage people from applying for a new policy to cover impending procedures. (For related reading, see: 6 Dental Insurance Plans With No Waiting Periods.)
Deductibles, Co-Pays and Co-Insurance
An insurance deductible is the minimum amount that must be paid before the insurance policy pays for anything. For example, if the deductible is $200 and the covered individual’s procedure is $179, the insurance does not kick in and the individual pays the entire amount. Co-pays, which are a set dollar amount, may also be required at the time of the procedure.
Once a deductible is met, most policies only cover a percentage of the remaining costs. The remaining balance of the bill paid by the patient is called co-insurance, which typically ranges from 20% to 80% of the total bill.
How Dental Insurance Categorizes and Pays for Procedures
Dental procedures covered by insurance policies are typically grouped into three categories of coverage: preventive, basic and major. Most dental plans cover 100% of preventive care such as annual or semi-annual office visits for cleaning, X-rays and sealants.
Basic procedures are treatment for gum disease, extractions, fillings, and root canals, with deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance determining the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses. Most policies cover 70% to 80% of these procedures, with patients paying the remainder.
Major procedures such as crowns, bridges, inlays and dentures are typically only covered at a high co-payment, with the patient paying more out-of-pocket expenses than other procedures. Every policy differs in how procedures are categorized as preventive, basic and major, so it is important to understand what is covered when comparing policies. Some policies group root canals as major procedures, while others treat them as basic procedures and cover much more of the cost. (For related reading, see: 4 Important Steps for Choosing Dental Insurance.)
Dental Insurance Does Not Cover Cosmetic Procedures
Most dental insurance policies do not cover any costs for cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, tooth shaping, veneers and gum contouring. Because these procedures are intended to simply improve the look of your teeth, they are not considered medically necessary and must be paid for entirely by the patient. Some policies cover braces but usually require paying for a special rider and/or delaying braces for a lengthy waiting period.
While most medical insurance policies have yearly out-of-pocket maximums, the majority of dental policies cap the amount of annual coverage. Coverage maximums typically range from $750 to $2,000 per year and generally speaking, the higher the monthly premium, the higher the yearly maximum. Once the yearly maximum is reached, patients must pay for 100% of any remaining dental procedures. Many insurance companies offer policies that roll over a portion of the unused annual maximum to the next year.
Applying Tax Credits for Dental Insurance
Any leftover tax credit not used to pay for your family’s health insurance purchased through Healthcare.gov may be applied to pediatric dental insurance premiums if your medical insurance policy does not include dental coverage. If your health insurance policy includes children’s dental coverage, you cannot use tax credits to buy an additional plan. ... See MoreSee Less
Surgeon General's advisory: More should carry antidote to counter opioid overdoses
The U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory Thursday urging more Americans to carry naloxone, which can reverse the opioid overdoses that kill a person every 12½ minutes in this country.
Dr. Jerome Adams said people at risk of an opioid overdose, as well as their family and friends, should keep the antidote on hand. Many police officers and emergency medical technicians already carry it.
This is the first surgeon general advisory in 13 years. The last, in 2005, dealt with alcohol use during pregnancy.
"Surgeon general advisories are issued when there is a major health problem and a need for a call to action," Adams said in an interview at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, where he's scheduled to speak Thursday morning. "One of the things we're trying to do is help the public understand that we're losing a person every 12.5 minutes from an opioid overdose, and ... over half of these overdoses are occurring at home.
"So we have firefighters, we have EMTs, we have police officers carrying naloxone, but we can save so many more lives if we can empower the citizens, the loved ones, the family members to carry naloxone."
Whether people realize it or not, Adams said, "folks are overdosing around them each and every day and they can help save a life."
Adams said he plans frequent talks about the advisory, including events designed to highlight it. He stressed that the opioid epidemic touches every community. During his flight to the summit, he said, a flight attendant told him her son — an honor student — died from an overdose. Nationally, an estimated 2.1 million people struggle with opioid addiction, and opioid overdose killed more than 42,000 in 2016 alone.
The anesthesiologist was sworn in to his new position by Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday. Video provided by Newsy Newslook
"It's all around us," he said.
Adams, formerly Indiana's health commissioner, said he hopes more widespread naloxone availability will help stem the fast-rising rate of death from opioids such as prescription pills, heroin and fentanyl. The national opioid death toll doubled from 2010 to 2016 – with especially sharp increases in fatalities linked to the synthetic fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin.
“Every grain is like a powerful bullet that can kill a human being,” said U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, a speaker at the summit.
Adams said more than three-quarters of opioid deaths happen away from medical settings, so ensuring more people have naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is crucial. While the antidote is not a long-term treatment, it can suspend the effects of overdose until help arrives.
Naloxone "is basically a tourniquet," said Dr. Jay Butler, Alaska's chief medical officer, adding that he usually carries a pencil box-sized naloxone kit. "We actually have made (kits) available through a state program, so they're free of charge."
All states have laws that encourage access to the drug, which comes in a shot and as a nasal mist, and most allow pharmacy sale without a prescription.
In Kentucky, where more than 1,400 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, specially trained pharmacists can dispense naloxone without a prescription. It’s also available through the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition.
Naloxone, which can vary in price and sometimes costs more than $100, is covered by most insurance plans. It also may be available to the uninsured through local public health programs or at discounts offered by retailers or manufacturers. Adams said he's working with the two naloxone makers to ensure universal low- or no-cost access.
Adams and other health officials reject criticism that naloxone enables addicts who continue using opioids even after repeated overdoses.
"You can think of (naloxone) as CPR. You can think of an Epi-Pen,'' Adams said. "We don't give you one shot at a lifesaving intervention and then just leave you. We treat you as if you have a problem that is going to take a long time to definitively fix.
"Addiction's a chronic disease," he said. "It's not a moral failing and there's not going to be a magic fix. It's important that we use naloxone as a bridge to definitive treatment and long-term recovery." ... See MoreSee Less
Tooth loss in middle age is tied to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, independent of traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, poor diet, and diabetes.
This was the conclusion of preliminary research led by Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, LA, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA.
"In addition to other established associations between dental health and risk of disease," explains study co-author Lu Qi, who is a professor of epidemiology at Tulane University, "our findings suggest that middle-aged adults who have lost two or more teeth in [the] recent past could be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease."
This study is not the first to investigate the link between dental health and cardiovascular disease (CVD), but it is the first to focus on tooth loss during midlife and exclude that which occurs earlier.
The new findings were presented at the American Heart Association's (AHA) 2018 scientific sessions on Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, held in New Orleans, LA.
The study is not yet published as a peer-reviewed paper, but you can read the abstract in the journal Circulation. ... See MoreSee Less
Electronic cigarettes have long been touted not only as a safer alternative to cigarettes but as a potential avenue by which existing smokers might quit. The industry, now worth $11.4 billion, hasn’t been hurt by this one-two pitch of safety and good public policy.
New research shows, however, that e-cigarettes are hurting a lot more than they help.
Researchers at Dartmouth College’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center said vaping has led more people to start a real smoking habit, rather than avoid tobacco or quit in favor of e-cigarettes, according to a study published Wednesday.
Using 2014 census data, published literature and surveys on e-cigarette usage to build a model, the scientists were able to estimate that about 2,070 cigarette-smoking adults in America quit in 2015 with the help of the electronic devices. However—and perhaps more alarming—the model estimated that, at the same time, an additional 168,000 adolescents and young adults who had never smoked cigarettes began smoking and eventually became daily cigarette smokers after first using e-cigarettes.
The model estimates that e-cigarette use in 2014 would eventually lead to about 1,510,000 years of life lost—a figure based on an optimistic 95 percent relative harm reduction of using e-cigarettes compared to traditional cigarettes.
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy, Dartmouth College Samir Soneji, an associate professor of health policy at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the paper’s lead author, said that advertising e-cigarettes as a means to quit or reduce smoking has done damage, mostly to young people. E-cigarettes use cartridges of chemicals, including nicotine, that are transformed into vapor. Despite a federal requirement that purchasers be at least 18 years of age, use of the product in popular culture, combined with its fruity flavors, have proved a strong draw to younger, would-be vapers. These characteristics have been at the core of keeping youths interested in the devices, Soneji said, and should be the focus of restriction efforts by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“The harms of e-cigarette use among adolescents and young adults are serious,” he said. “Kids who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes—notably kids who were otherwise not at a high risk of starting to smoke.” Currently, Soneji said, the risk of initiating cigarette smoking is three times as high for adolescents who vape than for those who do not.
In 2015, 68 percent of Americans who smoked wanted to quit, with about 55.4 percent of them doing so successfully for at least one day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That same year, 45.5 percent of high school-aged cigarette smokers said they had tried to stop smoking over the previous 12 months. After first regulating the devices in 2016, the FDA embraced vaping as a way for smokers to quit.
Last July, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that e-cigarette users were indeed more likely than non-users to attempt to quit smoking—and be more successful at doing so. However, at around the same time the survey was conducted, e-cigarette use among high school students was jumping from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015, making the products the most commonly used tobacco product by young people in the U.S.
“E-cigarettes could, indeed, provide more population benefit if they were more effective as a cessation tool.”
Current research already points toward e-cigarettes being a public health risk because of the chemicals they use, making the new research even more problematic for the industry. However, the Dartmouth researchers point out that a future in which e-cigarettes do help people quit isn’t impossible—as long as they’re kept out of the hands of young people.
“E-cigarettes could indeed provide more population benefit if they were more effective as a cessation tool,” Soneji said. “For example, if smokers who used e-cigarettes to help quit were twice as likely to actually quit compared to smokers who used nicotine-replacement therapy, then the benefits of e-cigarette use would approximately balance the harms of e-cigarette use.”
Representatives from Reynolds American Inc., which owns market-leading e-cigarette Vuse, and competitor Altria Group Inc., maker of MarkTen and APEX, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Alex Clark, executive director of Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, an e-cigarette industry lobby group, called the study’s results “surprising,” given government studies showing an overall decline in smoking. (A recent CDC study shows that while smoking has declined, vaping has increased.) Clark said his organization prefers that e-cigarette makers be truthful in advertisements by marketing products as “less risky alternatives” to smoking that have the ability to help smokers quit.
The government has made some effort to dissuade young adopters, with a new requirement for product warnings set to take effect this summer. In October, the FDA addressed youth use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS) through its “The Real Cost” campaign. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that vaping devices are by far the most common source of experimentation with tobacco products among children.
“While we continue to encourage innovation of potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery for currently addicted adult smokers, we can all agree no child should be using any nicotine-containing product,” he said. ... See MoreSee Less
Moms Who Have Larger Families Are More Likely To Lose Their Teeth, New Study Finds, But Don't Panic
The idea that children are hard on women's bodies (and their teeth!) is nothing new, but now there's some new evidence that supports this. In fact, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, moms who have larger families are losing their teeth more often than women with fewer kids. Fortunately for moms of multiples, you aren't necessarily doomed to lose your teeth; preventative dental hygiene practices may be the key to retaining your molars after motherhood.
To determine how motherhood impacts dental health, researchers looked at data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which contains information on the health, educational, and household income of more than 120,000 adults 50 years or older from 27 European countries plus Israel. Included in that data is the full reproductive health and number of natural teeth of 34,843 survey respondents from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and Israel, according to Science Daily. This information allowed researchers to examine the correlation between multiple children and missing teeth.
The average age of those surveyed was 67, and the average number of missing teeth was 10. Perhaps unsurprisingly, tooth loss increased with age — with roughly seven fewer teeth for women in their 50s to 60s, and up to 19 fewer teeth for men in their 80s and older.
Using statistical analysis, researchers found that having a third child was associated with significantly more missing teeth for women, but not men. Researchers stated that their findings suggest that an additional child is harder on the mother's mouth health than on the father's, likely because of the impact of pregnancy on a mother's body and the tendency to prioritize the health of their children over their own. Along with a lower number of children, higher levels of education were also linked to lower risk of tooth loss in women.
This isn't the first study to suggest that having multiple children leads to dental complications. A similar study conducted by researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry in 2005 looked at the dental health of 2,635 pregnant women, finding that many had dental problems. What's more, "as the number of children increased, so did a woman’s risk of periodontal disease, missing teeth and untreated cavities," according to The New York Times.
Dental complications during pregnancy are very common, according to the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of periodontal disease due to pregnancy gingivitis, a condition caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy that leads to gum sensitivity and bleeding, and the impact of morning sickness vomit on tooth enamel. For this reason, it is more important than ever that pregnant women receive treatment for any dental issues, but that is unfortunately not often the case.
A 2001 study out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while a quarter of surveyed pregnant women reported dental health issues, only about half of them sought treatment. Leaving such issues untreated can have devastating results for both mother and baby, according to a study by the Society for General Microbiology. Bacteria from a mother's mouth can pass through her blood and amniotic fluid to her unborn child, potentially leading to an increased risk of a premature delivery, a low birth-weight baby, premature onset of contractions, or infection of the newborn child, according to another report from Science Daily.
Based on their recent findings, researchers at SHAPE concluded that education about the importance of dental hygiene during and after pregnancy may be the key to preventing tooth loss. They told Science Daily:
On the basis of our findings, enhanced promotion of oral hygiene, tooth friendly nutrition and regular (preventive) dental attendance — specifically targeted at expecting and parenting mothers — seem to be sensible strategies for clinicians and health policy. All of the evidence seems to suggest that moms can greatly benefit from dental health care both during and after pregnancy, and studies such as these are an important part of informing parents that their own bodies need a little extra TLC from time to time, too. ... See MoreSee Less
HPV is Causing an Oral Cancer Epidemic in Men by Outwitting Natural Defenses
Five years ago, when actor Michael Douglas candidly revealed that his throat cancer was linked to having oral sex, two things happened.
He made headlines that mortified his family. And he helped publicize the fact that a pervasive, sexually transmitted virus called HPV was unleashing an epidemic of oral cancer among men.
Since then, scientists have made headway in figuring out why HPV, the human papillomavirus, has this glaring gender bias. Men are four times more likely than women to be diagnosed with oral cancer, a hard-to-detect, hard-to-treat disease that has overtaken cervical cancer as the most common HPV-related malignancy in the United States.
To be sure, changes in sexual norms over the last few generations have played a role in this alarming trend. But research increasingly shows the real problem is something men have practically no control over: their immune response.
Compared with women, men are more likely to get infected with HPV — including “high-risk” cancer-causing strains. They also are less able to wipe out infection on their own, and more likely to get reinfected. The reasons are unclear.
“There is good evidence that men acquire oral infections more readily than women, even if they have similar sex practices,” said Ashish A. Deshmukh, a University of Florida HPV researcher. “And more than the acquisition, it’s the persistence of the virus. The clearance rate is not that fast in men.”
Michael Becker of Yardley has stepped up as the face of this immunological inequity. The 49-year-old former biotech executive is health-conscious, clean-living, happily married for 26 years – and battling terminal oropharyngeal cancer, the medical term for malignancies in parts of the mouth and throat.
He’s also battling the misconceptions and ignorance that keep too many parents from protecting their pubescent children — especially boys — against HPV-driven cancers. Two shots. That’s all it takes for the leading vaccine, Gardasil, to prevent most cervical cancers, less common genital malignancies, and the disease that is killing Becker.
“I can’t tell you how many emails I got from parents after the CBS segment,” he said, referring to a national television interview last month. “They said, ‘What do you mean this vaccine is for boys?’ and ‘What do you mean oral cancer incidence has eclipsed cervical cancer?’ ”
HPV is a family of more than 100 virus types that can live in the flat, thin cells on the surface of the skin, cervix, vagina, anus, vulva, penis, mouth, and throat.
The virus is spread through contact with infected skin, mucous membranes, and bodily fluids. Some types can be passed during intercourse or — as Douglas pointed out — oral sex.
While virtually all sexually active people will get infected at some point, the virus is usually wiped out by the immune system without so much as a symptom.
But not always.
In the cervix, persistent infection with high-risk HPV types can lead to precancerous changes that, left alone, slowly turn malignant. Fortunately, the Pap smear enables the detection and removal of abnormal cells before cancer develops. What’s more, age-related changes in cervical cells reduce the risk that HPV will take hold there as women get older.
No such screening test exists for oropharyngeal sites – the tongue, soft palate, tonsils, the throat behind the nasal cavity – and symptoms usually don’t appear until cancer is advanced. Becker, for example, had metastatic disease by the time he noticed a lump under his jaw line in late 2015.
Traditionally, smoking and heavy alcohol use are the big risk factors for oral cancer, but the non-HPV tumors linked to these bad habits have been declining in recent years.
HPV-related tumors, in contrast, have increased more than 300 percent over the last 20 years. The virus is now found in 70 percent of all new oral cancers.
About 13,200 new HPV oral cancers are diagnosed in U.S. men each year, compared with 3,200 in women, according to federal data. Treatment — surgery, chemotherapy, radiation — can have disfiguring, disabling side effects. About half of late-stage patients die within five years.
Oral HPV infection rates are skewed by gender, just like the resulting cancers. The latest national estimates of this disparity, published in October, come from Deshmukh and his University of Florida colleagues. They used a federal health survey that collected DNA specimens to estimate that 7.3 percent of men and 1.4 percent of women have oral infections with high-risk HPV types. That translates to 7 million men and 1.4 million women.
The chance of oral infection increases for women as well as men who have simultaneous genital HPV infections or a history of many sex partners, but male infection rates still far surpass female rates.
Patti Gravitt, an HPV researcher at George Washington University, believes these estimates are a bit oversimplified because women counted as uninfected may actually have undetectably low virus levels, or HPV may be hiding in a dormant state in their cells.
Still, Gravitt said the study is in line with others that suggest “men are more susceptible to HPV viral infection than women.”
In women, an HPV infection usually sets off the body’s defense mechanisms. The immune system makes antibodies that kill off the invader, then immune cells remain on guard, ready to attack if the virus reappears.
But in men, something goes awry. The HIM study — for HPV in Men — documented this by collecting genital, anal, and oral samples from 4,100 unvaccinated men in Florida, Mexico and Brazil between 2005 and 2009. The samples were tested for the presence of two high-risk HPV types and two that cause genital warts.
Among 384 men who developed infections during a 24-month period, only 8 percent produced antibodies. But this response rate varied depending on the site of infection; none of the small number of orally infected men produced antibodies.
Rather than putting the immune system on guard and protecting men from the virus, infection sharply increased the chance of getting infected again with the exact same HPV type. And many men who got reinfected were celibate at the time.
How could this be? Anna R. Giuliano, the researcher at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., who led the HIM study, said recurring infections may be due to reactivation of dormant virus, or to auto-inoculation – the man spreads infection from one part of his body to another. Or to something else entirely.
While the scientific understanding of this puzzle is evolving, one implication is clear. “HPV vaccination is the only reliable method to ensure immune protection against new HPV infections and subsequent disease in males,” Giuliano and her co-authors declared in a recent paper.
Becker hammers that message – when he is not being hammered by chemotherapy – using his self-published memoir and his blog. This week’s blog gave a shout-out to Sunday’s first-ever International HPV Awareness Day, declared by Giuliano and other members of the International Papillomavirus Society.
Becker realizes that the novelty of the vaccine, the complexity of HPV, and its link to sex are obstacles to immunization. But he focuses on the life-saving aspect.
“Parents are being asked to vaccinate their 11-year-old child and they can’t imagine 30 or 40 years down the line, it will prevent cancer,” Becker said. “If you don’t know it’s connected to six cancers, you’re not going to care. So it really should be cast as an anti-cancer vaccine.”
#completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #hpv #michaeldouglas #oralcancer ... See MoreSee Less
Did you know that dentists are often the first to catch symptoms of sleep apnea? If you’re having trouble sleeping, ask about it during your next dental visit! #dentistry #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #sleepapnea #snoring ... See MoreSee Less
Kiara Hill worked in our dental office as a high school student. Apparently this first exposure to the dental profession made an impact on her. She now attends Howard University College of Dentistry and will treating her first patients this summer. Help us wish Kiara all the best and welcome to the wonderful world of dentistry. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #HowardUniversityCollegeofDentistry ... See MoreSee Less
Did you know taste buds only have a lifespan of 10 days? Have you ever noticed that it only takes a couple of days to heal after burning your tongue? That’s because your taste buds life cycle is shorter than two weeks! Taste buds have very sensitive microscopic hairs called microvilli (say: mye-kro-VILL-eye). Those tiny hairs send messages to the brain about how something tastes, so you know if it's sweet, sour, bitter, or salty. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds.
#completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #tastebuds #tongue ... See MoreSee Less
3 Seemingly Harmless Habits That Actually Turn Your Teeth Yellow
Despite a steadfast commitment to dental hygiene, it's not uncommon to notice teeth discoloration, especially as you age. But as Prevention reports, a few seemingly innocuous lifestyle habits can actually contribute to a less-than-stellar smile. While drinking too much coffee and smoking are the obvious offenders, small things like overusing mouthwash, eating too many acidic fruits, and brushing your teeth too hard can yellow your smile over time.
All three of these habits actually weaken your tooth enamel, explains Harold Katz, DDS, founder of The California Breath Clinic. While the outer layer of your tooth enamel is a white to whitish-blue-gray color, the layer just beneath that, called dentin, is yellow. "What is disheartening is that many commercial mouthwashes are very acidic, and if used very frequently, they may destroy precious tooth enamel," Katz told the magazine.
Same goes for acidic foods and drinks like oranges, lemons, tomatoes, pineapples, vinegar, carbonated beverages, sports drinks, and some vinegar-based salad dressings. "That doesn't mean you need to cut all of these out of your life, but it's a good idea to sip some water after eating or drinking them," he advises.
Finally, brushing your teeth too enthusiastically can also wear down your enamel, allowing your yellow dentin layer to shine through. Although your teeth may feel cleaner, brushing harder and faster doesn't necessarily mean a healthier mouth. "This can be especially true if your toothpaste contains abrasive agents, such as choices that aren't approved by the American Dental Association," explains Mazen Natour, DMD, a Manhattan-based prosthodontist. ... See MoreSee Less
Oral cancer typically is diagnosed between the ages of 55 and 64. It tends to affect more men than women, and will make up about 3 percent of all cancers diagnosed in 2017.
The American Dental Association says symptoms of oral cancer may include:
*A mouth sore or irritation that does not go away within 3weeks. *Red or white patches. *A lump. *Rough spots on normally smooth areas of the mouth. *Unexplained ear or throat trouble. *Frequent hoarseness while talking. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #oralcancer ... See MoreSee Less
Sleep apnea is a common and serious sleeping disorder that happens when your regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. Snoring is common among patients with sleep apnea but not all snorers have sleep apnea.
There are two main types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea. The more common form, it is the result of blocked airflow during sleep, usually when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses while you sleep. Health factors, such as obesity may contribute.
Central sleep apnea. Results from a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles. The airway is not blocked, instead the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath. This type of sleep apnea can occur with conditions such as heart failure, brain tumors, brain infections, and stroke.
Sleep apnea can affect any one at any age, although men are more likely to develop the disorder. The risk is also greater for those: over 40 overweight with large tonsils, large tongue or small jaw with a family history of sleep apnea with a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including: high blood pressure stroke heart failure, irregular heartbeat and heart attack diabetes depression worsening of ADHD.
Sleep apnea can be treated. There are several options: Adjusting sleeping habits. This may mean simply not sleeping on your back
Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). This is a device which improves breathing while you sleep. The device supplies air through the nasal passages and the air pressure keeps the airway open while sleeping.
Oral appliances. Certain oral devices can shift and support the ja w to prevent the airway from collapsing. Research shows that oral appliances can successfully prevent sleep apnea in some mild to moderate cases.
Surgery. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, upper airway surgery may be recommended when other treatment options are unsuccessful in eliminating the symptoms of sleep apnea. Depending on the location and nature of the airway obstruction, the procedure may be minimally invasive or more complex. It may be necessary to remove the tonsils or other parts of the soft palate or throat.
If you think you have sleep apnea, make sure to speak with your physician or dentist for more information and possible evaluation. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #sleepapnea #snoring ... See MoreSee Less
Gum Infections Tied To Increased Risk of Stomach Cancer Precursor
Gum infections may increase people’s risk for sores in the digestive tract that can lead to stomach cancer, a small study suggests.
Researchers focused on what’s known as periodontal disease, serious infections in the mouth caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Daily brushing and flossing can prevent gingivitis, the milder form of periodontal disease, but untreated cases can lead to permanent damage to the gums and bone.
The new study involved 35 people with so-called precancerous lesions: abnormal cells or sores in the digestive tract where cancer is more likely to occur compared to normal tissue. The researchers also studied a control group of 70 similar people who didn’t have these lesions.
Overall, 32 percent of people with precancerous gastric lesions had the kind of bleeding during dental exams that is a hallmark of periodontal disease, compared with 22 percent of individuals without precancerous lesions, the study found.
People with gastric precancerous lesions were also more likely to have high levels of several types of bacteria in their mouths that can contribute to periodontal disease.
“These bacteria are commonly found in periodontal pockets and are invasive because they can produce a variety of molecules that can cause damage to host tissue as well as host responses to bacterial colonization, therefore contributing to cancer development,” said senior study author Yihong Li, a researcher at the New York University College of Dentistry in New York City.
“The periodontal pockets are not easy accessible by a regular toothbrush and could serve as a reservoir of bacterial colonization and potentially a source of chronic inflammation and carcinogenic bacterial (growth),” Li said by email.
Many cases of gastric cancer are linked to smoking and eating foods with a lot of salt or preservatives, researchers note in their report in the Journal of Periodontology. Poor oral health has also been tied to these tumors.
The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how oral health problems might contribute to stomach cancer, the researchers note. Precancerous lesions also don’t always develop into cancer.
Even so, the findings add to the evidence that periodontal disease may play a role in the development of stomach cancer, said Jean Wactawski-Wende, a researcher at the University at Buffalo who wasn’t involved in the study.
Inflammation may play a role, Wactawski-Wende said by email. Periodontal disease may cause inflammation in the mouth and also contribute to inflammation throughout the body. Some bacteria from the mouth might also travel from the mouth to the gastrointestinal track.
“This study is small and not able to prove causation; however, there is growing evidence that periodontal disease may be associated with certain types of cancer, including GI cancer,” Wactawski-Wende added. “Maintaining good oral hygiene through teeth brushing and flossing and seeing a dentist regularly may be prudent.” #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #gums #stomachcancer ... See MoreSee Less
Erela Katz Rappaport, DMD shared San Diego Academy for Systemic Health's post. ... See MoreSee Less
SDASH board meeting, working together to make San Diego the number one healthiest city in the United States by 2022. Save the date April 5 : Amy Doneen , DNP, will be speaking on the new science of heart attack and stroke prevention.
Regular Dental Visits Associated With Lower Stroke Risk, Study Suggests.
Medscape (1/19, Hughes) reported that a new study found “regular dental care was associated with a lower stroke risk,” and the findings also “strengthened the link between gum disease and increased risk for future stroke, showing a graded relationship with the extent of gum disease and stroke risk.” The study was “one of the largest, US-based community studies of periodontal disease, dental care utilization, and ischemic stroke,” according to lead author, Souvik Sen, MD, University of South Carolina School of Medicine. “Our results show that individuals who regularly attend the dentist had half the stroke risk of those who do not receive regular dental care,” he said. “And our study of periodontal disease showed the more severe this is, the higher the risk of future stroke.” The findings were published in Stroke #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #stroke ... See MoreSee Less
Careful! Coffee Concoctions Are Just as Bad as Soda
We know how much you love your daily Starbucks run, but refrain from getting any fancy coffee drinks. A latte here or a cappuccino there might not seem so bad, but the calories and sugar really add up. Take a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha, for example. A Grande one of these is over 400 calories, and it has 12 grams of saturated fat and over 50 grams of sugar. And matters only get worse if you go for a Frappuccino — yikes. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #coffee #soda ... See MoreSee Less
Dentists Can Help Spot Early Signs of Eating Disorders
When it comes to the early detection of eating disorders, dentists are in a unique position for spotting the early warning signs and referring patients to the proper behavioral health professionals.
This was part of the conversation during the Nov. 1 briefing, Waiting on Cures: The role of Health Professionals in Early Detection of Eating Disorders, in the Russell Senate Building on Capitol Hill. Dr. Richard W. Gesker, spoke on behalf of the ADA at the event, which was hosted by the Eating Disorders Coalition. The goal of briefing was to explain to legislators the value of health care providers identifying eating disorders early as well as the need for implementing the 21st Century Cures Act by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"Dentistry isn't just about changing lives, today we are speaking about saving lives," said Dr. Gesker, who is the chief dental officer at Mary's Center, a federally qualified health center that provides dental, medical and behavioral health services at multiple locations in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.
For dentists who suspect they have a patient with an eating disorder, Dr. Richard Gesker and Dr. Jessica Yoo, also of Mary's Center, underscored the importance of making sure the patient is comfortable talking about the patient's condition and urged providers to consider all risk factors — from the social, demographic and psychiatric perspective — when making their assessment. They also stressed the need to help patients find behavioral health homes for treatment.
During his presentation, Dr. Gesker explained how certain changes in the mouth, including stains to tooth enamel and receding gums, can be key early warning signs a patient has an eating disorder. Other signs include reduced salivary secretions, dry mouth and gland enlargement.
One audience member inquired about tooth erosion and wondered if dentists could tell the difference between stains from purging or those from other sources such as citrus.
"The pH of a lemon is much less acidic than the pH of the stomach, which is almost equivalent to battery acid. However, lemon pH can also be damaging to the tooth enamel," he answered. "You can't trick your dentist if they're well trained."
The panel was moderated by Bryn Austin, ScD., president, Eating Disorders Coalition. In addition to Dr. Gesker, speakers were Jessica Luzier, Ph.D., clinical director, West Virginia University Disordered Eating Center; Alexis Duncan, Ph.D., associate professor of public health, Washington University's Brown School; and Gail Schoenbach, a patient in recovery and Eatings Disorders Coalition board member who also serves as the executive director of FREED — For Recovery and the Elimination of Eating Disorders — and the Start To Advocate Today Foundation.
In October, 65 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives sent bipartisan letters of support to the Center for Disease Control urging the agency to include eating disorders surveillance questions within the CDC's national surveillance systems. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
Dentures Linked to Higher Risk of Weak Joints and Muscles
Wearing dentures has been linked to a higher risk of musculoskeletal frailty, research has found.
Over 50s with fewer than 20 of their own teeth are more likely to experience frailty in their joints and muscles, a study by scientists at King's College London found.
Although the reason for this was not proven, they believe this is because denture wearers avoid eating certain foods and so are missing out on vital nutrients.
They said that although dentures improves masticatory function, their bite force is much weaker than that of natural teeth.
The team found that those with more than 20 teeth were significantly less likely to be frail and were also found to have consumed the greatest amount of nutrients over the study period.
The participants with fewer than 20 teeth and who did not use dentures - as well as those who did use dentures - were found to have consumed the least amount of nutrients, when compared with the Recommended Dietary Intakes recommended by the US food and drug administration.
Researchers said their findings highlight the important need for older people to be able to maintain the ability to not just chew, but to chew effectively, in order to take on board the essential nutrients necessary to maintain muscle mass and stave off musculoskeletal frailty.
The study, which is published in Geriatrics & Gerontology International, was led by Dr Wael Sabbah of King's College London Dental Institute.
He said: 'Few studies have examined the relationship between oral health, particularly periodontal disease, the number of teeth and general frailty.
'While others have argued that older adults who need dentures were more likely to be frail, there were few attempts to explain the underpinning cause of the relationship.
'The findings of this analysis, along with that reported in earlier research, suggest that the use of denture could be a neglected intervention that could potentially have a preventative impact on musculoskeletal frailty.'
The research team made its findings after analysing the health of 1,800 Americans aged 50 years and older.
Participants were categorised into three groups: those with at least 20 teeth, denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth, and non-denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #dentures ... See MoreSee Less
6 Ways to Make Your Mouth Extra Kissable for Valentine’s Day
From the “Kiss Me” messages on tiny candy hearts to romantic songs on the radio, a kiss is probably on your list this Valentine’s Day. Before cozying up to your loved one this year, make sure your mouth is in good health because, as it turns out, a kiss is more than just a kiss.
Kissing stimulates saliva, which can help fight cavities. However, if the person you’re kissing has poor dental and overall health, you run the risk of getting unwanted germs, illnesses or diseases instead of candy, flowers or cards this Valentine’s Day.
Here’s what you need to know about making your smile a vision of love for February 14.
Cavities Can Be Contagious
Whether through kissing or something as simple as sharing a fork, the bacteria that causes cavities can spread to another person. Brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth once a day for cleaner kisses and a cavity-free smile.
Beware Bad Breath
Bacteria is a big culprit of bad breath, so regular habits like brushing and flossing are especially important. Other ways to stay fresh are over-the-counter antimicrobial mouthwashes or chewing sugarless gum. Both can freshen your breath instantly and get saliva flowing—especially after you eat foods with a strong scent. (And look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on both!)
Share a Life (But Not a Toothbrush)
For many couples, a big relationship step is keeping a toothbrush at each other’s place. Just make sure you each have your own because sharing toothbrushes also means sharing germs.
Brighten Your Smile
Nothing is more attractive than a confident smile. If whitening makes you feel better about yours, talk to your dentist about which option is best. There are a number of over-the-counter whitening products, or you could get an in-office treatment at your dentist.
Smoking Isn’t Attractive
Smoking is bad for your breath and stains your teeth – not to mention terrible for your overall health. Smoking affects how well you smell and taste. People who use tobacco twice as likely to get gum disease as someone who doesn’t smoke. Smokers are also more at risk for oral cancer. Give yourself a gift this Valentine’s Day and quit today.
Don’t Forget About the Dentist!
A good relationship with and regular visits to Dr. Rappaport's dental office can help keep your mouth at its best all year long. We can help keep you healthy, discuss any concerns and give more advice on keeping your smile fresh.
#completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #kissing #valentinesday ... See MoreSee Less
6 Things That Happened When I Tried Tongue Scraping For a Month
Who knew that getting rid of the gunk could do so much?
By Allison Young
The first time I heard about tongue scraping, I have to admit that I scoffed. My tongue was just fine the way it was, thank you very much. But then I was in yoga and overheard a class regular raving about his better breath and improved digestion—and he attributed it all to tongue scraping.
At first I was skeptical. Then the yoga teacher, Lorilee Gillmore—an Ayurveda guru and owner of Phoenix-based Moksha Ayurveda—who’s been tongue scraping twice a day for almost seven years joined in on the applause, so I decided to give it a try. It’s not some new trend, after all, but an ancient Ayurvedic practice dating back some 3,000 years. I figured I had nothing to lose (well, except the buildup on my tongue).
Here’s the drill: Use a tongue scraper (Dr Rappaport's office has them) or metal spoon. Scrape from back to front 7 to 10 times first thing in the morning (even before drinking water), rinsing off the buildup in the sink. Then rinse your scraper and mouth and continue to brush and floss as usual.
Talk about instant gratification; I was hooked straightaway. And real, science-backed benefits that I experienced firsthand kept me going back for more. It might sound overly dramatic, but this may be the closest thing to a magic pill I’ve ever found. Here’s why.
1. IT GOT RID OF THE GUNK AMA is the Ayurveda term for that white coating on your tongue, a combo of bacteria and food debris. Stick your tongue out in front of the mirror and see for yourself. “It’s toxicity that’s created due to weak digestion, and if you don’t scrape it off, it’s reabsorbed into your body,” says Gillmore.
2. IT STARTED MY DAY OFF ON A HEALTHY NOTE Kicking my morning off with a healthy habit not only gives me a major sense of accomplishment, but that positive momentum also carries me through the rest of the day. I’m more likely to eat a healthy breakfast, take my vitamins, drink more water…you get the drift. And because I tongue scrape at night, too, after I wash my face but before I brush and floss, I now spend a little more time and care on my nighttime teeth routine. It’s a win-win.
3. MY BREATH IMPROVED We’ve all wondered at some point whether our breath is more cool mint or fire-breathing-dragon, but until there’s an app for that, all you can do is hope for the best, right? Wrong. Turns out that gunk on your tongue contains gas-emitting compounds that cause gnarly breath, and scraping it off can halt halitosis. One study found that tongue scraping was 75 percent effective at reducing bad breath culprits, even more than tooth brushing (which was only 45 percent effective).
4. MY WHOLE MOUTH FELT CLEANER It’s not just my breath that got a makeover; tongue scraping gave me that fresh-from-the-dentist feeling from tongue to teeth to gums, and research has my back. Studies show that tongue scraping reduces levels of streptococcus mutans and lactobacillus, both plaque-causing bacteria that can lead to cavities and gum disease. No wonder I got glowing reviews on my next dental exam: better gums (check!), less plaque scraping (check!), and no cavities (check!).
5. MY TASTE BUDS GOT A MAKEOVER Before I started tongue scraping, Gillmore assured me that food would actually taste better. The idea is that, if you clean your taste buds, they will work better. Some experts even claim it can curb your appetite, since food tastes more satisfying. Now, I can’t say I lost any weight or ate less overall, but my food satisfaction did soar. All of a sudden strawberries tasted sweeter, dark chocolate richer, and sea salt saltier. Was it all in my head? Maybe, but a study in Journal of Clinical Periodontology did find that taste sensations improved after just two weeks of tongue scraping.
6. I’M MORE IN TUNE WITH MY TONGUE (AND HEALTH) If I ever get a stomach bug, my tongue is the first to know; it turns pasty white. That’s because your tongue can act like a crystal ball to your health, tipping you off to digestive disturbances, vitamin deficiencies, infection, and even stress. “Get in tune with your tongue and you will become more in touch with your general wellbeing,” seconds Gillmore. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
As if severe hot flashes alone weren't enough of a problem for menopausal women, a new study finds these symptoms may also be tied to a greater risk for sleep apnea and related heart issues.
The study included nearly 1,700 middle-aged women, about 25 percent of whom were at intermediate or high risk for obstructive sleep apnea -- for instance, they generally were older, had higher levels of body fat and had high blood pressure.
Compared with women who had mild or no hot flashes, those who reported severe hot flashes were nearly twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea, the researchers found.
In sleep apnea, pauses in breathing or shallow breathing prevent a person from getting a good night's sleep.
Sleep apnea has been linked to a significantly increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and early death, the study authors pointed out in a news release from the North American Menopause Society.
According to JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the society, "Sleep disruption is a common complaint at menopause. It is important to recognize the high number of undiagnosed sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea."
Although the study found an association between severe hot flashes and the chronic sleep disorder, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
"Early morning headaches or excessive daytime sleepiness should raise concern for obstructive sleep apnea, and signal a possible need for sleep apnea testing," Pinkerton suggested.
The study was published online Nov. 1 in the journal Menopause. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #sleepapnea #menopause ... See MoreSee Less
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.
Inspired by the mechanisms mussels use to adhere to inhospitable surfaces, UC Santa Barbara researchers have developed a new type of dental composite that provides an extra layer of durability to treated teeth. The potential payoff? Longer lasting fillings, crowns, implants and other work.
"It's as hard as a typical dental restoration but less likely to crack," Kollbe Ahn, a materials scientist at UCSB's Marine Science Institute, said of the composite. The research is highlighted in the journal Advanced Materials. The paper, of which Ahn is the corresponding author, is the result of collaboration between research and industry.
On average, a dental restoration lasts five to 10 or so years before needing replacement. The time frame depends on the type of restoration and how well the patient cares for the treated tooth. However, the continual onslaught of chewing, acidic and hard foods, poor hygiene, nighttime tooth grinding, generally weak teeth and even inadequate dental work can contribute to a filling's early demise -- and another expensive and possibly less-than-pleasant experience in the dental chair.
According to Ahn, one of the primary reasons restorations fall out or crack is brittle failure of the bond with the surrounding tooth. "All dental composites have micro-particles to increase their rigidity and prevent their shrinkage during their curing process," he explained. "But there's a trade-off: When the composite gets harder, it gets more brittle."
With enough pressure or wear and tear, a crack forms, which then propagates throughout the entire restoration. Or, the gap between the tooth and the restoration results in restoration failures, including marginal tooth decay.
So Ahn and his colleagues looked to nature -- mussels, to be exact -- to find a way not only to maintain strength and hardness but also to add durability. Having perfected the art of adhering to irregular surfaces under the variable conditions of the intertidal zone -- evolving to resist pounding waves, the blazing heat of the sun and cycles of salt water immersion and windy dryness -- mussels presented the ideal model for more durable dental restoration materials. The byssal threads they use to affix to surfaces allow them to resist the forces that would tear them from their moorings.
"In nature, the soft collagenous core of the mussel's byssal threads is protected by a 5-to-10 micrometer thick, hard coating, which is also extensible and thus, tough," Ahn said. This durability and flexibility allow the mollusks to stick to wet mineral surfaces in harsh environments that involve repeated push-and-pull stress.
Key to this mechanism is what the scientists call dynamic or sacrificial bonding -- multiple reversible and weak bonds on the sub-nanoscopic molecular level that can dissipate energy without compromising the overall adhesion and mechanical properties of the load-bearing material.
"Say you have one strong bond," Ahn explained. "It may be strong but once it breaks, it breaks. If you have several weaker bonds, you would have to break them one by one." Breaking each weak bond, he continued, would dissipate energy, so the overall energy required to break the material would be greater than with a single strong bond.
This type of bonding occurs in many biological systems, including animal bone and tooth. The mussel's byssus contain a high number of unique chemical functional groups called catechols, which are used to prime and promote adhesion to wet mineral surfaces. The new study shows that using a catecholic coupling agent instead of the conventional silane coupling agent provides 10 times higher adhesion and a 50 percent increase in toughness compared to current dental restorative resin composites.
While research has proven this toughening mechanism in soft materials, this study is one of the first -- if not the first -- to prove it with rigid and load-bearing materials.
This proof-of-concept, which also demonstrates no cytotoxicity, could mean tougher, more durable dental fillings. And that, in the long run, could mean fewer dental visits. Because each replacement filling also requires the dentist to file the surrounding tooth to prime its surface, given enough replacements a tooth might need to be crowned or extracted; and if not replaced, the tooth loss could have adverse consequences for the individual's diet and health.
The next step, Ahn said, is to increase the material's durability even further.
"By changing the molecular design you could have even denser coupling agents that exist on the surface, and then we can have a stronger and more durable dental composite," he said, estimating a commercial product within a couple of years. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
Dr. Sahota says there’s one thing she sees in new moms, breastfeeding or not. “I definitely see moms who are, as simple as it sounds, are not able to take care of themselves as well as they did before the baby,” she says. “Moms that are just not brushing as much as they used to, whether they’re brushing once a day or not brushing at all.”
A dip in dental care could lead to more gum disease and cavities. Cavity prevention is especially crucial for moms, as even the simple act of sharing a spoon with could transfer that bacteria into your baby’s mouth. “It’s really important to do the basics: Brush twice a day, floss once a day. See your ADA dentist regularly,” she says. “Make sure you have prevented decay and don’t have any cavities so you don’t transfer that to your baby.”
Dr. Sahota says she also sees more teeth grinding (bruxism) in moms. “I see a lot more head and neck muscle tension, which causes our jaws to be a little bit more tense and then that causes us to grind our teeth,” she says. “Trouble sleeping when we’re pregnant, that can cause us to grind our teeth a little bit. Postnatally, stress can increase and it can also be an issue.”
All moms need to stay hydrated, especially if breastfeeding. “Not drinking enough water, that in itself is a very dangerous thing for your mouth,” she says. “If we have a dry mouth, we put ourselves at risk for gum disease, for cavities, so many things.”
And there’s one last piece of advice Dr. Sahota gives all moms. “Just like if you’re on an airplane, you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you put it on your child,” she says. “If you’re not healthy, you will not have the time and the energy to make sure your children are also healthy.” #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
It is now recommended that babies visit the dentist for the first time after their first tooth grows in and before their first birthdays, according to the American Dental Association. The reason for this early visit is pretty simple: Even babies can get cavities. Kickstarting a healthy, twice-daily brushing routine when they're young is one of the best ways to prevent cavities and other oral health problems. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
It's something that happens only in movies—the wakeup kiss. Looks awesome on the big screen, but in real life, there's something else to contend with: morning breath.
That sour, stale dragon breath is why most of us make an effort not to breathe too close to anyone before brushing our teeth in the morning. But why is morning breath so stinky? Sure, you’ve just gone eight hours without brushing your teeth, but you do that plenty of times during your waking hours, too.
A lot of it comes down to lack of saliva production while you're sleeping, says Mazen Natour, D.M.D., a Manhattan-based prosthodontist. Saliva normally clears out odor-causing bacteria. So overnight, when we’re not producing enough of it, the smelly bugs can multiply.
So, the drier your mouth, the higher your chances of getting nasty morning breath. Breathing through your mouth, snoring, and using certain medications can also contribute to dryness, which can make morning breath even worse (Here are 5 products that will cure your bad breath).
In most cases, morning breath is nothing to worry about. But in some situations, unusually bad breath could indicate an underlying health problem. It’s often the first sign of gum disease, which is linked to heart disease and strokes. Other times, it indicates an infection like an abscess or a gastrointestinal problem like GERD, says Dr. Natour. Talk to your doctor if your breath is suddenly stinking more than usual.
If you want to make your breath more tolerable in the morning, make sure to brush and floss carefully right before bed, since leftover food particles provide more food for bacteria to multiply in your mouth overnight. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
CHRONIC GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS may begin with what is in a patient’s mouth. In a study published Thursday in Science, an international team of researchers—including one from Harvard—reported on strains of oral bacteria that, when swallowed in the 1.5 liters of saliva that people ingest every day, can lodge in the gut and trigger inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
“For some time now, we’ve noticed that when we look at the microbiome of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, we’ve found microbes there that normally reside in the oral cavity,” says study co-author Ramnik Xavier, chief of gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and co-director of MIT’s Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics.
“Over the years,” Xavier explains, “we’ve spent a lot of time identifying genes associated with inflammatory bowel disease—basically, identifying genetic variants that increase patients’ risk of disease.” Simultaneously, “There’s always been this other search, asking, ‘Are there pathobionts?’”—in other words, microbes that live innocuously in one part of the body but can turn pathogenic when moved to another. “For some time we have been looking for pathobiont organisms for Crohn’s and colitis.”
The researchers believe they have found them: two strains of Klebsiella bacteria, microbes commonly found in the mouth. In the study, led by Koji Atarashi from Japan’s Keio University, scientists administered saliva from two patients with Crohn’s disease to two groups of germ-free mice. Although one group did not get sick, the other developed a strong immune response associated with Crohn’s. Sorting through the bacteria in that group’s saliva sample, the researchers pinpointed a strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae as the trigger for the immune response. A subsequent experiment using samples from two ulcerative colitis patients turned up another inflammation-causing strain, of Klebsiella aeromobilis.
“So then we asked the question,” Xavier says, “is this unique to two-plus-two patients in Japan, or do we see these same pathobionts in other clinical centers?” Checking databases of thousands of IBD patients at MGH and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Xavier and others found that people with inflammatory bowel conditions had significantly more Klebsiella bacteria in their gut microbiome than healthy patients did. Most likely, he explains, oral bacteria, including Klebsiella, traffics through everyone’s gut in the saliva we swallow. Usually it passes through harmlessly; but in people with a genetic susceptibility to IBD that alters the gut microbiome, the Klebsiella has a chance to take hold in the intestine and proliferate, inducing an immune response that causes the disease. “This is a clear, elegant example of gene-microbe interaction,” Xavier says.
And there is another twist: Klebsiella bacteria are often extremely resistant to multiple antibiotics. That explains, Xavier says, “why antibiotics have limited value in treating patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. And with this bug, the more antibiotic resistance it acquired, the more likely it was to persist in the gut and cause this immune response.” In their experiments, when the researchers introduced saliva from IBD patients to healthy, normal mice, the Klebsiella generally failed to colonize the gut; but when those mice had been given antibiotics beforehand to which the bacteria had resistance, the Klebsiella did persist and multiply in the intestine. “For a long time, I’ve tried to discourage patients from taking antibiotics for inflammatory bowel disease,” Xavier says. “Because we also showed in a 2014 paper that patients who took antibiotics—and this has been seen in the old clinical data accumulated before the microbiome was even examined in IBD—that patients who took antibiotics early in the disease had more complicated outcomes.”
There is more research to be done to confirm and extend the results of this study, but Xavier believes this paper opens a useful path for other disease investigation. “This is a direction that research on the role of the microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease—and many other diseases—should take,” he says. “Because once you identify these types of bugs, then you have a target.” Already, he adds, other teams are working on therapies to kill or remove these two Klebsiella strains. With this paper and others forthcoming that are related to it, “We’ll be in a good position to define what the microbiome changes are in inflammatory bowel disease and where we can intervene.” #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth #guthealth ... See MoreSee Less
Dental Visits Among Metrics Used To Rank “Happiest Cities.”
Access to health care, safe physician practices, high-quality hospitals, and health-conscious residents form the foundation of a community’s overall health.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., ranked highest on Healthgrades’ National Health Index, a list of the 25 U.S. cities leading the way in health care. Healthgrades measured access to care, risky behaviors, hospital quality and population health. The Twin Cities have a high number of doctors per capita and easy access to quality hospitals in the area, the study found.
The cities in the top five behind Minneapolis/St. Paul:
States that can better provide health insurance for residents are likely to have an overall healthier population, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“There is a large body of research showing that people who have health insurance are likely to access care and to get appropriate care like cancer screenings, and that leads to ultimately better health outcomes,” Rachel Garfield, an associate director at Kaiser Family Foundation, told U.S. News.
Health is often connected to livelihood and regular health habits. Visiting the dentist, for example, is one indicator of overall well-being, Gallup researcher Dan Witters told Time.
"People who go to the dentist are generally better at evaluating their lives and in control of their health, while poor oral health is linked to many serious physical issues downstream,” Witters said. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
“The idea is to get the tooth back in the mouth as quickly as possible,” says Gene Solmundson, the dentist for the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League. First, locate the tooth. Pick it up carefully, touching only the shiny crown and not the bloody root. “Don’t put it in your purse or in your pocket,” Solmundson says. Adults and children old enough to avoid accidentally swallowing a tooth — every year in the United States, more than five million of them are knocked out — can keep it tucked inside their cheek. Hockey players tend to be impatient with midgame dentistry, even in cases involving a mouthful of busted teeth. “They just want to get back out on the ice,” says Solmundson, who has a dental-exam chair in the Jets’ locker room and is a founding member of the N.H.L.’s Team Dentists Association.
Rinse off any debris using milk, saline solution or water. Don’t touch or scrub the root, and leave be any fleshy bits. Insert the clean tooth into its empty socket as soon as possible to give the periodontal ligaments, nerves and blood supply the best chance to heal and reattach. “When it’s in the right place, the person should be able to bite their teeth together normally,” Solmundson says. Go see a dentist, who will usually splint the tooth so it doesn’t fall out again or get swallowed during sleep.
Above all, do not let the tooth dry out. A tooth stored in the right type of liquid can be successfully replanted up to an hour later, but a desiccated tooth has little chance of surviving. Hockey-team dentists tend to store teeth in pH-balanced liquids made for transporting human tissue, but cold milk, saliva and saline solution work, too. Use water as a last resort. Young children who dislodge a primary tooth should have a dentist examine their mouths before reinserting the tooth to avoid damaging the permanent replacement growing in under the gum. Solmundson has fixed dozens of teeth knocked out of the mouths of pros, gaptoothed youth-league players and so-called beer-league players, who are, he says, especially prone to the reckless play that might end in a puck or stick to the mouth. The best way to save a tooth is to keep it in your mouth. “Wear a mouth guard,” he says. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
Cold and Flu Season: 5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick
When he’s feeling under the weather, ADA dentist Dr. Gene Romo says one thing always helps him feel a little more like himself. “Brushing my teeth when I’m sick actually makes me feel better,” he says. “My mouth feels clean, and in a way, I feel like my health is starting to improve.”
When you have a cold or the flu, taking care of your body is your top priority—and that includes your mouth. “It’s important to take care of your dental health all year round, but especially when you’re sick,” Dr. Romo says.
Here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:
Practice Good Hygiene When you’re sick, you know to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Don’t forget to keep up your dental and toothbrush hygiene as well.
According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. “The number one rule is not to share your toothbrush anytime, but especially when you are sick,” Dr. Romo says.
You also probably don’t need to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick. Unless your immune system is severely compromised, the chances of reinfecting yourself are very low. “But if you’re still in doubt, throw it out,” says Dr. Romo. “Especially if you’ve had your toothbrush for 3-4 months, when it’s time to replace it anyway.”
Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops Read the label before you pick up a bag at the drug store with an eye to avoid ingredients like fructose or corn syrup. “Many cough drops contain sugar, and it is like sucking on candy,” says Dr. Romo. “Sugar is a culprit when it comes to cavities.” The longer you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time cavity-causing bacteria has to feast on that sugar, which produces the acid that can leave holes in your teeth.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but Dr. Romo says it’s actually better to wait. “When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them,” he says. “If you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.”
Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges or candies to keep that saliva flowing.
Choose the Right Fluids When it comes to your mouth and your body, one beverage is always best. “The safest thing to drink is water,” Dr. Romo says. “Sports drinks might be recommended to replenish electrolytes when you’re sick, but drink them in moderation and don’t make them a habit after you’ve recovered because unless they are a sugar free version, they contain a lot of sugar.”
You might also want something to warm you up. “When you have a cold or the flu, you may want something comforting to get through it, like tea,” he says. “Try not to add sugar or lemon if you can avoid it. Sugar can helps to fuel cavity-causing bacteria, and lemon is acidic. It’s something to keep in mind once you’re feeling 100% again, as well.” ... See MoreSee Less
Fingernails. Pieces of paper. Safety pins. Strands of hair.
When appropriate tools aren’t around, Americans resort to using some common, however unusual, items to remove that piece of food stuck between their teeth, according to a national survey conducted by Ipsos.
The survey of 1,005 adults, released in October, found that most Americans say they have used the following items to remove food between teeth: fingernails (61 percent), folder paper or cards (40 percent), cutlery (21 percent), safety pins (14 percent) and strands of hair (7 percent).
In addition, the survey, conducted on behalf of Waterpik and in consultation with the ADA, found that 63 percent of the surveyed adults admit they know better than to use those items in comparison to dental picks, interdental brushes, floss and water flossing tools. Also, 42 percent say they’ve felt pain as a result of removing something in their teeth when using those unusual items.
Additionally, results from a separate ADA member survey echoes the findings from the public survey. ADA member dentists reported that patients have told them they’ve used unsanitary — and unsafe — items to clean between their teeth, including: twigs, toenails, matchbooks, loose electrical wires, screwdrivers and pocket knives.
These findings highlight the importance of flossing and the need for ADA members to talk with their patients about cleaning between their teeth daily with appropriate items to remove food debris that can cause plaque build-up, which can lead to dental decay, gum sensitivity and bad breath.
“It’s really easy to use clean and safe items on-the-go and at home — like string floss, dental picks and water flossers,” said Dr. Brittany Seymour, ADA spokesperson and assistant professor at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, in a news release.
“The key is finding what works best for you to stick with every day,” she said. “If you’re not sure, start by looking for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That way, you know it’s safe for your teeth and will get the job done, removing germs rather than introducing them.”
According to the survey of the public:
Sixteen percent said they always floss at least once a day.
Twenty percent said they only floss when they need to or when something is stuck in their teeth; and 8 percent said they simply never floss.
The biggest reason reported for not flossing among those who do not floss at daily is because it’s too time consuming (55 percent). Another 16 percent said it was too painful and 9 percent said they find it gross.
Forty-four percent of those surveyed admit they have exaggerated to their dentist about how much they floss when asked.
Dentists can recommend products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to their patient because they have been shown to be both safe and effective. ADA-accepted manual interdental cleaners include traditional string floss and wooden plaque removers. Last February, Waterpik Water Flossers became the first powered interdental cleaner to earn the ADA Seal of Acceptance; and their battery operated lines earned the Seal earlier this month.
The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs recognition of ADA Seal of Acceptance products means the products passed clinical and/or laboratory tests and met ADA and applicable American National Standards Institute-approved dental standards. #completehealth #completehealthdentistry #dentist #dentistry #sddentist #ranchobernardodentist #powaydentist #oralhealth ... See MoreSee Less
Add one more reason to why you should brush and floss regularly: Gum disease bacteria are now tied to higher odds of esophageal cancer.
The study tracked the oral health of 122,000 Americans for 10 years. It found that the presence of two types of bacteria linked with gum disease may hike the risk of the cancer.
The presence of one oral bacterium in particular, called Tannerella forsythia, was tied to a 21 percent increase in the odds of developing esophageal tumors, said a team led by Jiyoung Ahn. She is associate director for population science at NYU Langone Health in New York City.
Gum disease has already been linked in numerous studies to a heightened risk of the number one killer, heart disease. But an expert in esophageal cancer who reviewed the new findings stressed that researchers can't yet prove a causal link to esophageal tumors.
"What is not clear is whether the presence of these bacteria or the resultant periodontal disease is primarily responsible for the development of cancer," said Dr. Anthony Starpoli, associate director of esophageal endotherapy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Still, Starpoli believes specialists should "consider a proper evaluation of the oral cavity as well as the remainder of the digestive tract in the hope of early diagnosis of esophageal cancer."
Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, the study authors noted. Because it's often only diagnosed at an advanced stage, five-year survival rates are between 15 to 25 percent.
Ahn said, "Esophageal cancer is a highly fatal cancer, and there is an urgent need for new avenues of prevention, risk stratification, and early detection."
The news from the study wasn't all bad: The investigators found that some types of mouth bacteria were associated with a lower risk of esophageal cancer.
Learning more about the bacteria communities living naturally in the mouth "may potentially lead to strategies to prevent esophageal cancer, or at least to identify it at earlier stages," Ahn noted in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research.
One other expert agreed.
"The study suggests that there are some oral bacteria that may contribute to the development of this highly deadly cancer but also, and very importantly, suggests that some bacteria may provide a protective effect," said Dr. Robert Kelsch. He's an oral pathologist at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
"Knowing which bacteria are good and which are bad could lead to preventive treatments or serve as predictors of risk of development of this cancer," Kelsch said.
Ahn added that good oral health -- including regular tooth brushing and dental visits -- may help protect against gum disease and health conditions associated with it.
The study findings were published Dec. 1 in the journal Cancer Research.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on esophageal cancer. ... See MoreSee Less