John J. Kelly, DDS
Your Dental Health Blog
February 1, 2023
Welcome To Our Blog!
News and tips on your dental health and wellness. Enjoy!
IN THIS ISSUE
What can cause jaw pain, damage to your teeth and other uncomfortable symptoms? You may have heard the word “bruxism” – learn what it is, and how to stop it.
Cosmetic dentistry can do much more than simply making you look great – there are plenty of health benefits, too, some of which may surprise you…
Perhaps You MIssed…
There’s a common health condition that many people don’t know they have. It’s gingivitis, also known as gum disease.
The statistics are sobering. According to a study reported by the Centers for Disease Control…
- 47.2% of adults 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
- Periodontal disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.
- Chronic gingivitis affects 90% of Americans in some form or another.
Here’s a great description of the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease, from the vlogger known as Teeth Talk Girl. Check it out…
If you have it, you want to know it. Gingivitis, if untreated, can progress to a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontal disease. In advanced periodontal disease, the gum tissue (gingiva) swells and destroys neighboring teeth and bone in your jaw. Teeth can become so loose because of connective tissue damage that they fall out. When that happens, the tissue and bone form a hard attachment called a dentin cyst.
However, if you stop the infection in its tracks — by taking steps to prevent it — gingivitis will not progress to periodontal disease.
Other Risks of Untreated Gingivitis
Loose teeth and swollen gums are bad enough, but untreated gingivitis can have more serious health consequences. Studies show that people who have gingivitis are at increased risk of developing other health problems, including a stroke or heart attack. Here’s a video from British Heart Foundation to explain what can go wrong.
Why Does Gingivitis Happen?
The enemy of your gums is plaque, the thick calcified deposits that build up around the base of your teeth at the gumline. Dentists have special instruments that remove plaque, but if you ignore it, the gums can become inflamed.
If you have gingivitis, you might also have gum pain and swelling along with an unpleasant taste in your mouth. When you brush your teeth, you might notice your gums bleed a little, or a lot. Over time, your gum line may recede because of the plaque build-up and cause additional irritation and root caries, dental caries that form at the base of teeth where the gum tissue no longer is.
If you’re pregnant or diabetic, your risk of developing gingivitis is higher. Plus, having gingivitis during pregnancy increases the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby. That’s why it’s something you shouldn’t ignore.
How Can You Treat Gingivitis?
In mild cases, you may only need regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and more attention at home to cleaning your teeth and flossing properly. Anti-bacterial mouth wash may be of benefit in some cases, but talk to your dentist about this.
Another danger is that gingivitis will progress to periodontal disease, where the inflammation and infection spread to the bone and deeper tissues. If that’s the case, you’ll need more aggressive therapy that might include scaling the teeth to remove plaque and root planning. If the infection is severe, you may need surgery to restore the damaged bone.
What Can You Do to Prevent Gum Disease?
1. Brush twice a day with a toothbrush and floss daily. This will remove most of the plaque that forms on your teeth, which is where the germs causing this problem lurk. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well, where most of the bacteria in your mouth gather.
2. Don’t eat sugar and sugary foods. These provide an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause gum disease to multiply.
3. Avoid using antiseptic mouthwashes excessively. These kill the healthy bacteria in your mouth that keep your gums and teeth healthy. Use an over-the-counter rinse instead if you have to use a mouthwash at all.
4. Buy a soft toothbrush. Brushes with hard bristles and aggressive brushing can damage the gums and cause the gums to recede. When the bristles start to bend, it’s time to get a new one.
4. Avoid smoking, chewing tobacco, and consuming any other tobacco products. They greatly increase your risk of gum disease and periodontal disease.
5. If you have periodontal disease, get it treated by a professional. Don’t suffer in silence – the longer you wait, the worse it will get.
6. Have regular dental checkups with your dentist. Periodontal disease is usually caught before it becomes advanced, so dental checkups give you early warning signs that your teeth and gums might be headed for trouble if left unchecked.
7. Take care of your teeth and gums for a lifetime. You never know when gingivitis or periodontal disease may strike.
Now that you’ve heard how to protect your gums against gingivitis, put these tips into practice. Also, see your dentist at least every six months, or more often if they recommend it.
Pamper your smile and don’t be one of the millions with gum disease!
Feeling tired all the time is not normal.
There are many reasons for that sluggish feeling – working too hard, drinking too much, poor dietary habits, a sedentary lifestyle and stress can all contribute to feelings of tiredness. In addition, Sleep Disordered Breathing issues (including sleep apnea) can also be the cause.
Usually, you can identify the cause of temporary fatigue. However, if you feel tired all the time, despite taking enough rest and addressing relevant lifestyle factors, an underlying medical condition may explain your exhaustion.
A consultation with your doctor, or in the case of sleep issues, your dentist, is, therefore, advisable to investigate the cause of your fatigue. Your doctor or dentist, may consider the following health problems when assessing your symptoms.
Over 25 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, where the narrowing of your throat during sleep causes loud snoring and adversely affects your breathing.
As a result, you wake often during the night, and feel drained the following day. Although a diagnosis is possible based on your symptoms alone, your dentist or doctor may refer you to a sleep center to assess your condition more thoroughly.
Treating sleep apnea can reduce your likelihood of cardiovascular complications, including hypertension, heart disease, stroke and an irregular heartbeat.
Losing excess weight, cutting back on alcohol and changing sleep position can aid symptom management, though a specialized mask that delivers air while you sleep can help to keep your airway open. Other effective therapies include mouth appliances, allergy therapy, orthodontics and more.
In America today, more than one million adults are diagnosed with diabetes each year.
Tiredness is one of the main symptoms of diabetes and is usually accompanied by increased thirst and more frequent urination.
Weight loss, blurred vision, poor wound healing and frequent yeast infections are further signs of diabetes.
When you have diabetes, glucose levels remain high, as your body either stops producing insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal.
A simple blood test determines the diagnosis, and depending on whether you have Type 1 or Type 2, you will then require a combination of dietary changes, oral medication or insulin injections to control your blood glucose levels. Adhering to treatment is essential to avoid diabetic complications such as blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.
Proper monitoring, treatment, diet and lifestyle changes can help alleviate tiredness.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Anemia caused by iron deficiency is common among women of childbearing age, particularly during pregnancy. However, anemia can also occur if you have a medical condition that causes internal bleeding or poor iron absorption.
When you do not have enough iron in your blood, you cannot transport sufficient oxygen, so your body is unable to release energy efficiently.
As a result, you feel extremely tired, with breathlessness and palpitations, also common symptoms of anemia.
If a blood test reveals you are anemic, iron tablets and an iron-rich diet can help. However, your doctor may also investigate the cause of your anemia, allowing you to receive treatment for any underlying condition.
Around 1% of the population has it, though many people remain un-diagnosed, as they put their symptoms down to other causes.
When you have celiac disease, your body reacts adversely to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. Besides tiredness, people with celiac disease often experience digestive upset, anemia and unintentional weight loss.
However, symptoms are wide-ranging, with mouth sores, headaches, joint pain, numbness and infertility all possible presentations of the disease.
A blood test and an intestinal biopsy can confirm your diagnosis, after which a lifelong gluten-free diet is necessary. A strict diet can help reduce tiredness, as well as your risk of osteoporosis and certain cancers that are more prevalent in people with celiac disease.
Anxiety and Depression
Low mood and anxious feelings often occur together. Besides making you feel intensely worried and sad, anxiety and depression can leave you feeling drained of energy. You become abnormally tired.
Lifestyle changes can help you feel more relaxed and boost your mood, as well as enhancing your energy levels. However, if you have moderate to severe anxiety or depression, you will usually need a course of psychiatric or psychological therapy and medication to manage your symptoms.
Improving your mental well-being reduces your risk of social problems, substance misuse, self-harm and physical health issues.
Don’t delay getting unexplained fatigue checked out by an expert such as a dentist who treats sleep and airway issues, or your doctor!
With a timely diagnosis and treatment, you can feel more energized and reduce your risk of complications associated with any underlying condition.
MeeT DR. KELLY
Chicago dentist John J. Kelly, DDS practices restorative and cosmetic dentistry at his Chicago dental office in Edgebrook. He delivers a wide range of dental therapeutics, in addition to the treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing including Sleep Apnea, Child Facial Development issues and TMJ/Jaw Pain.