3 Reasons The Man in Your Life Should See His Dentist

man relaxingYou’ll always hear your dentist in Sacramento talk about how important it is for everyone to come in for preventive dental checkups every six months. But there’s a special section of our population that tends to avoid these bi-annual visits and instead prefers to wait until they have a problem. We’re talking about the men in our lives. Unfortunately, the truth is that, on average, men don’t see the dentist regularly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, barely 60% of American men between the ages of 18 and 64 went to the dentist in the past year. That’s concerning. So to help celebrate Men’s Health Month, we’re here to share the main reasons men should see the dentist regularly. 

More Complicated, More Advanced Dental Treatment

Since men tend to skip out on visits to their dentist in Sacramento every six months, they’re at increased risk for needing more complicated and more advanced dental treatments. You see, when small problems aren’t caught early when treatment is typically quick and easy, they can become big problems that require more in-depth care. For example, a small area of decay can be caught at preventive dental appointments and treated easily with a filling. But if that area of decay continues to expand and affect more of the tooth’s structure it can start to cause pain. At this point, more advanced dental treatment is probably needed, such as a root canal and a dental crown. Additionally, if the decay progresses even farther, tooth extraction and replacement via a dental implant or dental bridge may be necessary. Long story short — many dental problems can be avoided by seeing the dentist regularly. 

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

We know that regular dental visits can help protect teeth through preventive care and quick intervention of any problems, but these appointments do more than that. Professional dental cleanings, exams, and x-rays help your dentist in Sacramento keep an eye on overall oral health, including the gums. One thing that’s incredibly common and can lead to both oral and overall health problems is gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissues that affects both men and women, but men are more likely to develop the disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women.

Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss as well as contribute to a host of other problems throughout the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and prostate health in men. In fact, numerous studies show a possible correlation between gum health and prostate health due to something called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). When gums are inflamed because of periodontal disease or the prostate is unhealthy, PSA levels increase. However, PSA levels are substantially higher in those with both a prostate condition as well as gum disease, suggesting a connection between the two. Gum disease can be treated successfully if diagnosed and treated early. 

Men Are More Likely to Get Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is another scary disease that tends to affect men more than women, and one that can also often be treated successfully if caught early. However, if oral cancer is caught in the later stages, it can lead to death. In fact, over 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and nearly 10,000 will die from it. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or the far back area of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). Oral cancer is twice as common in men than women, and oropharyngeal cancer is four times more likely to develop in men than women. 

Your dentist in Sacramento is here to protect your oral health and, in turn, your overall health. To do this, we recommend that every member of your family — man, woman, or child — has a preventive dental appointment at least every six months. Call to schedule an appointment today. 

Can Stress Cause Oral Health Problems?

man grinding his teehAs we all know, recently everyone’s life has quickly changed, and we’re all experiencing a temporary new normal. But with change and uncertainty also comes quite a bit of stress. Your dentist in Sacramento understands, and we’re with you. While we’re sure that trying your best to avoid getting stressed out is probably high on your priority list, taking care of your oral health may not be. That’s where we come in. Because, in fact, minimizing stress can also help protect your mouth.  

Clenching & Grinding

When we’re dealing with periods of high stress, many people resort to constantly clenching or grinding their teeth. While this is often done subconsciously, it can cause some serious side effects and concerns that we are well aware of. Habitually clenching and grinding over time can cause teeth to wear down and can even result in tooth damage. The constant force placed on teeth during clenching and grinding can weaken the enamel and cause chips, cracks, or fractures to occur. Additionally, stress grinding or clenching puts a lot of pressure on the jaw. This can cause severe jaw pain and even lead to TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be serious and lead to long-term pain and problems. Try your best to become aware of any jaw pain you have and work to notice when you may be clenching or grinding your teeth. Also, if you’re experiencing any jaw popping, clicking, or locking, we recommend contacting your dentist in Sacramento.* 

Gum Disease

Gum disease is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene, smoking, or not keeping up with regular dental appointments or cleanings. But those aren’t the only causes behind this serious oral health disease. Research shows a strong correlation between stress and gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can not only affect oral health and eventually lead to tooth loss, it can also affect overall health. Those with gum disease are at increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and certain cancers. Some of the common signs of gum disease include bad breath, bleeding while brushing or flossing, or swollen/tender gums. 

Lower Stress to Protect Yourself

Decreasing stress levels can help protect both your overall health as well as your oral health. There are many things you can try to lower your stress, including: 

  • Get Enough Sleep. Sleeping can be tough during times of high stress. But getting enough zzz’s can go a long way in lowering your stress levels. Listening to calming sounds at bedtime, avoiding blue light an hour before going to bed, and keeping a regular sleep schedule are all ways that may help you sleep better. 
  • Meditate. Mediation uses breathing techniques to lower the heart rate and make us feel more relaxed. There are a ton of free apps out there that can help teach you and guide you through meditation sessions. Set aside dedicated time each day to meditate and focus on deep breathing. 
  • Get Active. Hopping on a stationary bike, doing some yoga, or going for a walk will get your heart pumping and release endorphins — which are body-made chemicals that help us feel happier and less stressed.  

Keep in mind, stress and stress reduction techniques vary from person to person. Try to find the best de-stressor that works for you. 

Your dentist in Sacramento hopes that you find a stress-reduction technique that works for you and that during this time you’re able to find peace and relaxation — for both your overall health and wellbeing and your oral health. 

*At the time of publishing, the ADA recommends that all preventive dental appointments and non-emergency consultations be postponed. Please check with your local regulations. 

The Surprising Connection Between Gum Disease & Heart Disease

heart health monthEvery February, we celebrate Heart Health Month to raise awareness of how we can both evaluate our risk for heart disease as well as what we can do to reduce that risk. While it may seem out of character to hear your dentist in Sacramento talk about heart health, the truth is, there is a direct link between poor oral health and an increased risk of heart disease.  

Gum Disease & Heart Disease

The main concern between oral health and heart disease is gum disease. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissues that, if left untreated, could lead to painful gums and even tooth loss. But that’s not all. Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of heart attack. 

When infection infiltrates our gums, it also has a direct pathway to the bloodstream. And when infection enters the blood, your body reacts by producing an overabundance of C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Elevated levels of CRP can cause: 

  • inflamed arteries
  • blood clots
  • heart attacks
  • strokes 

Too much CRP may even be one of the top warning signs of a heart attack. In fact, according to The New England Journal of Medicine, elevated CRP levels can be more accurate at predicting a heart attack than high cholesterol.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Now that we know that gum disease can affect more than just your oral health, let’s take a closer look at what causes it in the first place. Gum disease is usually caused by a buildup of plaque brought on by poor oral hygiene. The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. Quick intervention from your dentist in Sacramento can help the problem from becoming more serious, but if gingivitis isn’t treated it can quickly progress and put overall health at risk. 

Gum disease can come on suddenly, and sometimes without any symptoms. Other times, symptoms are mistaken as normal and treatment isn’t sought. This is one reason why seeing your dentist regularly is so important. Your dental team will be able to diagnose gum disease early if you visit every six months, making treatment more successful. 

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Some of the most common signs of gum disease include: 

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffiness or tenderness of the gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loose-feeling teeth

If you do notice any of those symptoms, contact your Sacramento dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. 

Gum disease can more than double your risk of suffering a fatal heart attack or stroke. Reduce your risk by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and of course, seeing your dentist every six months or as recommended. Other steps you can take to protect yourself include not smoking and eating a well-balanced diet. 

The Great American Smokeout & Your Oral Health

cigEvery November, the American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to quit. As we all know, smoking can lead to serious health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Your dentist in Sacramento also wants you to know that smoking can have a negative effect on your oral health, too. Let’s take a look at some of the ways smoking can cause problems in your mouth. 

Oral Cancer

One of the most serious ways smoking can affect your oral health is by increasing your risk of developing oral cancer. While oral cancer doesn’t only occur in smokers, smoking does greatly increase the chances. In fact, smokers are six times more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers. Like any cancer, oral cancer can be deadly if not caught and treated quickly and appropriately. This is one reason why seeing your Sacramento dentist at least twice a year is so important. Your dental team will check for signs of oral cancer at every appointment so if something suspicious does show up, you’d catch it early and when treatment is often more successful. 

Gum Disease

Another serious oral health problem that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with smoking is gum disease. Gum disease can affect anyone but smokers are 50% more likely to get it than non-smokers. It’s a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and even other health are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

Bad Breath & Discolored Teeth

Smokers often have a clear giveaway that they smoke — their breath. Smokers’ breath isn’t something that goes away easily and it can linger around for quite a while. Bad breath may seem like no big deal but it can affect relationships and health. What’s more, the ingredients in cigarettes (such as tar and nicotine) can easily stick to any plaque that may be on your teeth, gums, or tongue. When too much of these sticky substances are introduced to the mouth, they can actually change the color of your teeth into a dull, dingy yellow. These stains are also tough to remove and sometimes even professional tooth whitening isn’t enough to get rid of them. 

Dry Mouth

Smokers may experience the discomfort of dry mouth more often than non-smokers. While dry mouth may seem like simply an annoyance, the truth is, it’s actually pretty bad for oral health. In order to stay healthy, your mouth needs to produce enough saliva to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids that would otherwise lead to decay and cavities. But when the mouth is dry there isn’t enough saliva to do its job correctly, leaving your teeth exposed to all of the dangerous bacteria and plaque acid.  

As you can see, the risks of smoking go well beyond the commonly known risks and can certainly take its toll on oral health. But there’s hope. Your dentist in Sacramento wants to encourage all smokers to pick a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. We understand quitting smoking can be very difficult, and it may take a few tries to finally kick it. Don’t give up. Quitting smoking now can save your smile and your life. 

The Importance of Healthy Gums

examining gums with mirrorOften we think of a healthy mouth as straight, white teeth. But the truth is, a healthy mouth goes beyond our smiles. Our gums are easily overlooked when it comes to talking about our oral health. However, our gums are crucial to not only our mouths but to our overall health. At our dental office in Sacramento, we strive to educate our patients about the importance of healthy gums, so in this blog, we’re going to talk about just how serious of a role our gums play in our bodies.

Gum Disease

When we don’t take care of our gums, we can develop a serious condition called gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Plaque is loaded with dangerous bacteria that if not removed, can lead to infection of the gums. This infection is gum disease. There are three stages of gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated.

Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis when the disease starts to affect the bones holding our teeth in place.

Advanced Periodontitis – As periodontitis gets worse, it can turn into advanced periodontitis. If this happens, the bones supporting our teeth are beginning to break down, and we may experience tooth loss.

Gum Disease & Your Body

The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to other serious problems in the body. In fact, many research studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and several health conditions, such as:

Signs of Gum Disease

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth

In the early stages, gum disease may not necessarily show any signs. This is why appointments with your dentist in Sacramento every six months are so important. Your dental team is trained to look for early warning signs of gum disease so they can recommend treatment quickly. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

If it’s been more than six months since your last visit or you notice any signs of gum disease, call our dental office in Sacramento to schedule a visit.

How Does Oral Health Affect Heart Health?

heart monthFebruary marks the beginning of a month-long dedication to heart health. It’s officially known as American Heart Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness of the risks associated with heart disease. Many people know that things like smoking and a poor diet can cause troubles with the heart, but at our dental office in Sacramento, we also know that your oral health can affect your heart health.

The Mouth is the Window to Whole-Body Health

You may have heard the expression that the eyes are the window to the soul, and while that may be true, another part of your body can tell you a lot about your overall wellbeing. The truth is, your mouth can give your dentist in Sacramento insight to other problems that may be going on in the rest of your body. More specifically, researchers have found a connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.

More About Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious dental problem that requires early treatment to resolve. Without proper intervention, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health concerns throughout the body. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has concluded that people who have gum disease are at increased risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. This happens because the bacteria that cause gum disease have a pretty easy path into the bloodstream and can raise the levels of something called C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP can cause some scary problems such as:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

Signs of Gum Disease

Some of the most common signs of gum disease are easy to explain away and some may think they’re actually normal. However, any of the following signs could mean that you may have gum disease.

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

If you notice any of the signs of gum disease, it’s important to see your Sacramento dentist as soon as possible.

The team at our Sacramento dental office wants to encourage all of our patients and neighbors to practice a good oral hygiene routine at home as well as get professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups at least twice a year. These appointments can help catch and treat gum disease before it has a chance to cause bigger, more serious complications.  

Don’t leave your heart at risk, call to schedule an appointment today.

Stress & Oral Health

woman and stressEven though the craziness of the holidays is behind us, it doesn’t necessarily mean our stress levels have decreased. Everyday life can certainly cause anxiety and contribute to more stress. As many people know, stress can impact our health and overall well-being, but did you know stress can also contribute to oral health problems? Today, the team at our Sacramento dental office will cover some ways your oral health may be affected by stress.

Increased Jaw Pain

When we’re overly stressed, our bodies respond in different ways. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how our bodies are reacting. One common side effect of high stress that can go unnoticed is tooth clenching and grinding. When we continuously grind or clench, we place unnatural, increased force on our teeth and our jaw joints. Not only can this cause teeth to break or chip, but it can also increase jaw pain. If left untreated and clenching and grinding continues, you could develop TMD (also known as TMJ).

Gum Disease

Gum disease is often caused by poor dental hygiene, but there are other factors that can put you more at risk for developing it. Stress just so happens to be one of those things. Studies show a positive link between prolonged exposure to high levels of stress and a greater risk for gum disease. If not treated promptly by your dentist in Sacramento, gum disease can contribute to concerns throughout the body such as heart disease and tooth loss.

Canker Sores

These annoying and often painful sores can seem to pop up out of nowhere, and the truth is nobody truly knows what causes them. However, research has concluded that canker sores seem to have some sort of correlation with both certain foods and also high stress. Unlike cold sores, canker sores aren’t contagious, just annoying, and should go away on their own.

Relax & Protect

The best way to protect your oral health against the damaging effects of stress is to find ways to relax and lower stress levels. Some healthy relaxation methods include:

 

  • Eating. Giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly can help fight off stress. Balance your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Sleeping. Many Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly, and when we’re tired our bodies aren’t able to adapt and overcome stressful situations as easily. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.
  • Moving. Exercising helps our bodies release more endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone, all of which help make us feel happy and good and lower stress. Go for a walk, hop on a treadmill, or take a yoga class.

 

As you embark on a new year, make a commitment to yourself to keep stress low. Your body and your mouth will thank you.

How Diabetes Affects Oral Health

diabetic testerWhen it comes to all of the health complications that can go hand-in-hand with diabetes, oral health is often overlooked. At our Sacramento dental office, we want our patients and neighbors to know just how drastically diabetes can affect oral health, and precautions that those with diabetes should take to keep their mouths healthy.

The Diabetic and Oral Health Connection

All diabetics know that diabetes directly affects blood sugar, also known as glucose. Glucose is important for our bodies as it fuels our brains and provides muscles with energy. But when someone has diabetes, their body is unable to properly regulate insulin, causing glucose levels to rise. If left untreated or if blood glucose levels aren’t managed properly, diabetes can raise the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and other whole body health problems. Diabetes can also increase the likelihood of developing gum disease, infections, and dry mouth.  To help reduce the risk of these additional health problems, follow the tips below.

  • Keep Blood Sugar Numbers Stable

Even though diabetics are at more risk for serious health problems, proper management of glucose levels can minimize that risk. Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and they all need to work hard to keep their blood sugar numbers within a healthy range. In fact, it’s one of the best ways that diabetics can lower their chances of developing other health complications as a result of diabetes.

  • Eat Well

Everyone, whether diabetic or not, should do everything they can to eat a well-balanced diet. Fueling your body with fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins can do wonders in protecting overall health and keeping glucose levels in check. Limiting sugary foods and drinks is great for managing your diabetes and is something your dentist in Sacramento recommends.

  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day not only helps protect teeth, but can also help protect against increased blood sugar. Without a good hygiene routine, oral health is put at risk for decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. This is concerning for anyone but particularly for diabetics. Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums, and like any type of infection, it can cause blood sugar to rise and make diabetes difficult to manage.

At our dental office in Sacramento, we’re here to help our community get healthy and stay healthy, even when patients have health concerns that may not appear at first to have any effect on oral health. The truth is that many diseases, including diabetes, have a connection to the mouth. If you have diabetes and notice anything unusual about your oral health, do not hesitate to give us a call. We’re always happy to help or answer any questions you may have.

Gum Disease vs. Gingivitis

worrying womanWhen it comes to gum disease and gingivitis, there’s often a bit of confusion between the two. Are they the same thing or are they different? Can they be treated the same way or not? What does it mean if you’re told you have one or the other? Not to worry, our dental office in Sacramento is here to help answer your questions.

A Closer Look a Gum Disease

Gum disease is ultimately a term used to describe an infection in the gums caused by a buildup of plaque that wiggled its way under the gum line. But gum disease itself has three stages that are all still commonly referred to as gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the earliest and most mild form of gum disease. When caught early gingivitis can be treated successfully and any damage that may have occurred can be reversed.

Periodontitis

The second stage of gum disease occurs if gingivitis is not caught and treated quickly. Known as periodontitis, this more severe stage of gum disease not only affects the gums but also the bones and tissues that hold teeth in place. Treatment may not reverse any damage already done but can help it from progressing any further.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is more severe yet and can’t be reversed. In this stage, the plaque buildup has caused substantial damage to the bone and tissues. Teeth may feel loose or appear to have shifted position and they may even fall out.

How to Know if You Have Gum Disease

In its early stages gum disease may not show any signs or symptoms, or at least not any that might raise concern. That’s one reason knowing all the symptoms of gum disease is important.

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen, red gums

How Gum Disease Affects the Body

We already know that gum disease may lead to tooth loss if not caught and treated early, but gum disease has also been linked to several serious systemic concerns including:

  • Lung disease
  • Cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

There’s a lot you can do to help protect yourself against gum disease including avoiding some of the known factors that increase the risk of developing it, such as using tobacco. You should also brush and floss everyday and maintain appointments with your dentist in Sacramento every six months.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our Sacramento dental office and would love to see you! We welcome you to call us today to schedule an appointment.  

Oral Health Risks for Seniors

handsome older gentlemanOur Sacramento dental office cares for patients throughout all stages of life and understands that patients of different ages have different needs. We also want our patients to know that oral health risks change with every birthday. Today, we focus on those risks that can affect the senior population.

  • Discolored TeethTeeth can begin to lose a bit of luster and take on a darkened appearance. This typically happens because the top protective layer of tooth enamel can become thinner as we age. With this layer gone, the insides of teeth become more visible. Since the color of the inner tooth is often dark and a bit yellow in color, teeth also look yellow or dark.
  • Dry MouthThere are numerous things that can cause dry mouth, but the most common culprit for seniors is medication. Many medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, list dry mouth as a potential side effect. When the mouth becomes dry there isn’t enough saliva to wash away decay-causing bacteria leaving teeth at risk for cavities, the need for a root canal, or even tooth loss if left untreated.  
  • Tooth LossIt’s a common misconception that it’s inevitable that we’re all going to lose our teeth, or at least some of them, due to aging. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The best way to protect teeth and keep them strong and healthy is to brush and floss regularly and see the dentist in Sacramento twice a year.  
  • Gum DiseaseGum disease is basically an infection below the gum line that results in red, inflamed gums and can lead to tooth loss. However, gum disease can also increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and as recent research suggests, Alzheimer’s disease. While there’s still more work to be done before scientists can truly say if gum disease is related to Alzheimer’s, one study published in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy strongly correlates diseases with levels of inflammation, including gum disease, to Alzheimer’s.  

Protect Your Teeth, Lower the Risk

Even though you can’t fight the aging process, and there’s still nothing you can do to keep from getting older, there are ways you can protect your oral health and reduce the risk of developing some of the most common oral health problems that affect seniors.

  • Brush and floss every day
  • See your dentist bi-annually
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you have dry mouth
  • Talk with your dental team about any changes in your mouth

If it’s time to make your oral health a priority so you can have a strong, healthy smile for a lifetime, we welcome you to call our dental office in Sacramento to schedule an appointment.