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How gum disease is related to pancreatic cancer

How gum disease is related to pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer that can develop in the human body. Responsible for over 40,000 deaths a year, 95% of people diagnosed die within the first 5 years. More and more doctors are turning to the mouth as an early detection tool for these kinds of cancers and diseases.

A certain kind of bacteria that causes periodontal disease has also been linked to patients that have pancreatic cancer. Looking at oral samples, researchers have found connections between Porphyromonas gingivalis. In this study the prevalence of this bacteria was accompanied by an overall 59% greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Those who carried Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans were 50% more likely. Both types of bacteria cause periodontitis which is a serious gum disease.
The microbiome of the mouth is a really fascinating place to do bacterium studies. With over 700 different kinds of species of bacteria, there’s a lot of variation. Five previous studies show that those who suffer from gum disease – bleeding, or swollen gums, and those who have missing teeth associated with gum disease are also linked to have an increased likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer.

It seemed odd at first but the statistics don’t lie. Looking at what general inflammation means and how that’s important in relation to cancer is important to help with an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis with a cancer as aggressive as pancreatic could mean the difference between life or death with most patients.
Your dentist could be the first line of defense in knowing what’s going on with the rest of your body, so it’s important to make sure you’re regularly seeing them and taking care of your oral health. Anything that raises a red flag to me, I’m sure to notify my patients. I’m always thinking of their health collectively.

A Nasal Spray to Numb Teeth?

A Nasal Spray to Numb Teeth?

Is there anything more uncomfortable than getting a shot in your gums? Even if the numbing relief soon follows, the thought alone is enough to set most people’s teeth on edge. Unfortunately, it’s been one of the necessary evils in dental work, that is, unless of course you have Superman’s pain tolerance. However, fret no more, because a new nasal spray anesthetic will take all that pain away without the need of invasive needles.

Kovanaze has been approved by the US Food and Drug administration as a ‘nasal spray anesthetic’ and will soon be available for clinical use. Basically dentists, like myself, can now spray the nose to numb the upper teeth. Since so many procedures require a numbing of the gumline to perform, Kovanaze will be easier to administrate and safe for almost everyone.

Since your sinuses are connected to your mouth, it only makes sense that an anesthetic could be administered nasally. By restricting the blood vessels around this cavity, it makes a successful solution and effective anesthetic. The pain that travels through these nerves can be centralized to reduce discomfort during dental procedures.

Nobody likes needles. My patients get nervous about needles and even most dentists get nervous about administering them. They’re uncomfortable and a little scary, especially when working with kids. We’re excited about this option in my office. Alleviating discomfort on any level is important to us and a nasal spray would certainly help take away a little of the anxiety that comes with most procedures.

Knowing there’s a safe, comfortable way to better treat my patients is always top priority in my book. Using top of the line products like this will ensure that my patients are happy and content sitting in my chair.

The Flossing Feud

The Flossing Feud

As unpopular as flossing may be, the recent post from the Associate Press that claims it’s not important at all, is pure baloney. As much as we’d all like to believe flossing isn’t important, and excitedly cross that off our nightly ritual, countless years of studies have proven flossing’s effectiveness. If you want to keep your mouth healthy, you better keep that string moving.

Most dentists agree on the importance of flossing. With so many years of experience I can tell you that I’ve seen the benefits of flossing, first hand. Not only is plaque removal vital to the sustainability of a healthy oral ecosystem – flossing plays a direct role in removing plaque from the teeth. The trick is to make sure you’re flossing in a C-shape around each tooth. Flossing with intention rather than haphazardly makes a world of difference.

There are so many options available for flossing as well, if you don’t like standard string floss, technology has created water powered flossers for you home. These use gentle water pressure to remove plaque and are very effective in cleaning all your teeth but for those who don’t want to spend extra money on a flossing device, good old traditional floss does the trick just fine.

The studies that were ran that allegedly disproved the notion of flossing haven’t been running as long as the studies that prove its effectiveness. Preventing tooth decay in the long run, into our older years, starts with good flossing habits young. Maintaining the integrity of your mouth is a lifelong battle that’s best set-up for success early on.

Not to mention there are specific people who benefit from flossing more than perhaps the average person. People who suffer dry mouth or who drink coffee or eat other acidic or high – carbohydrate diets will see an improvement in their mouth through flossing. Since these things aid in plaque production, removing it from the source every day becomes especially important to avoid the onset of gingivitis. Flossing also strengthens the gum line so that means when you see your dentist there’s less discomfort and bleeding than in the patients who don’t floss.

Although new data keeps being released all the time about what’s really effective and what’s not, I can say from firsthand experience that I’m pro-flossing, as are most dentists. So when you come to visit me for your next checkup, you’ll still be hearing that timeless reminder to keep floss in your daily care routine.

Mentoring

Mentoring

One of the best ways to learn what your career will actually look like is by doing a mentorship. Dentistry is no different. A highly demanding career, being a dentist is comprised of exciting and rewarding work. After all, working with people’s smiles is the highlight of the career, but there is a lot of technical skill and experience behind any good dentist.

Dentistry has provided me with the best career possible. One of my favorite parts of being a dentist is being able to work in a field that allows for continual learning. Technology is getting more advanced every day, and making our jobs both easier and more educational. With new and improved machines, dentists are on the first line of defense against any oral problem that may be plaguing our patients.

As we learn more and more about people and their health, the human mouth comes as a really fascinating point of intrigue. Not only is a person’s medical history available through their saliva, so is life changing information like their DNA makeup as well as their day to day habits. There truly is a story written in every person’s mouth.
It’s also a job for people who like people. Dentistry has given me the gift of getting to know countless people and then later their families as their kids become old enough to start seeing me. This is one of the most heartwarming experiences, as I get to see families evolve. Most of my patients have been with me since they were little, getting to watch them grow and hear all their stories as they enter adulthood and beyond are really a driving factor in why I love what I do.
Since the science of dentistry is always expanding, my skills are constantly being tested to avoid becoming outdated or irrelevant. This is an exciting career for people who like new things and information. We’re constantly pushing forward and challenging ourselves to remain updated and current on the latest information. Not only does it give us something to talk about at our dentist dinner parties, it also keeps the mind young and fresh and eager to learn.

There’s nothing more rewarding than finding young minds who are looking to start a career in dentistry. Since I’ve found such joy and love and passion in my career, I’m always excited to pass on my wisdom to those excited to hear it. If you have kids that are interested in becoming a dentist, consider bringing them in for a nice chat with me. I’d love to show them the office and equipment and perhaps even spend a day showing them what my day – to – day job looks like.
Being a dentist is certainly a calling and if your kid or someone you know is hearing that call, put them in touch with me so we can explore this mutual passion together.

Guided Bone Regeneration

Guided Bone Regeneration

Guided bone regeneration surgery is a dental procedure that uses the barrier membranes in a patient’s mouth to help guide and direct the growth of new bone and tissue in areas with insufficient volumes. This procedure is mainly for prosthetic restoration in patients with dental implants although esthetic restoration is sometimes used as well.

Guided bone regeneration is applied in the oral cavity to support new hard tissue growth to allow stable placement of dental implants. A very reliable and successful procedure when using bone grafting with guided bone regeneration.

The use of barrier membranes to help direct bone regeneration is not a new practice and the theoretical practices date back to 1959. By excluding unwanted cells from lining healing sites, the growth of desired tissues is much easier. Positive clinical results of regeneration led to the focus on the potential for re-building alveolar bone defects using regeneration. The theory of regeneration was challenged in the use of dentistry for awhile, but is now seeing a resurgence in positive clinical trials as a safe and effective treatment.

With the use of dental implants becoming widespread and predictable for the restoration of missing teeth and other cases, it’s clear the regenerative technique is an important step which assists the process of bone regeneration. The clinical success of implant therapy was taken from the direct anchorage of the implant in the bone tissue without the interposition of fibrous tissue. Clinical trials have been positive in proving to promote bone growth.

Guided bone regeneration has been reported as a reliable and successful means for augmenting bone regrowth in the case of vertical and horizontal defects in particularly edentulous patients. The data pulled from these implants suggests that GBR should be considered a safe technique to obtain bone formation and placing dental implants, especially in cases in which it would be otherwise impossible.

As patients with dental implants increase, so has the demand of treatment protocols that take less time and require fewer surgeries. With GBR, the patient undergoes a surgical procedure once, placed with initial stability, so the tissues regrow back without any pockets or problems that will cause the implants to uproot from there. It is clear that the use of a regenerative technique with dental implant placement is an important step which assists the process of a bone regeneration. Isolating the bone defect from the surrounding connective tissues provides bone-forming cells with access to a secluded space intended for the regeneration to take place.

The evolution of surgical techniques, awareness of tissue without the interposition of fibrous tissue, and the considerable research conducted to promote bone growth have all led to positive, safe, results.

Based on the research, GBR is not only a safe and effective technique for obtaining bone formation, but also makes dental implants available in situations where it would not otherwise be possible.

How Being Pregnant can Change Your Mouth

How Being Pregnant can Change Your Mouth

Being pregnant is such a magical time, bringing with it, glowing skin, luxurious hair, and fantastic nails. Those same hormones that bring you your pregnancy glow are the same hormones responsible for the changes you may also experience in your mouth. Due to this constantly changing hormonal state the gums become very sensitive, and pregnant women may find themselves more vulnerable to oral problems. These discomforts can manifest in a few different ways, but with a diligent maintenance routine, they’re easily manageable.
Pregnant women may find that they become more susceptible to gingivitis because of their changing hormonal state. It is a mild form of gum disease that causes your gums to be red, tender and sore or irritated. Keeping your teeth clean, with flossing and mouthwash diligently on top of brushing, should keep the susceptibility of the disease developing very unlikely. If for whatever reason you’re experiencing any symptoms that look like gingivitis, go to your dentist before the problem worsens. Gingivitis can become a serious issue if not treated and taken care of appropriately.
What you eat is also really important when you’re thinking about how to take care of your teeth. Being sure you’re stocked up on vitamins and healthy snacks are a great way to keep your Ph balance in check and keeps your teeth and bones strong and healthy. Also keep in mind that whatever you eat, you also pass down to your developing little one. Although cravings can be a humorous aspect of pregnancy, as your appetite increases with your growing body and baby, keep in mind that mindless snacking can be an invitation to plaque. Foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for both of you are things like, raw fruits and vegetables, and/or yogurts and cheeses. Your physician will be able to provide advice as to what foods to avoid and enjoy while pregnant.
Morning sickness is a less fun side effect of growing a little one, but it happens to almost every woman. Unfortunately, on top of being uncomfortable, vomiting can also be detrimental to tooth health. The rising acid levels eat away at your enamel, and some women who experience many months of morning sickness can also experience unpleasant mouth symptoms. If you are getting sick frequently, be sure to take extra care of your teeth and mouth. An easy swish with a mix of baking soda and water will neutralize any acid left hanging around and will protect the integrity of your teeth.
It’s safe to go to your dentist at any point during your pregnancy if you’re having uncomfortable symptoms or have questions about oral changes. Dentists, like doctors, are well versed in handling dental care at any point of a person’s life and if you’ve been with your dentist a while, like most of my patients have, they’ll be excited to see you during this beautiful and exciting time of your life. A little extra TLC will go a long way in protecting your new, slightly more sensitive teeth so be sure you’re flossing with every brush and not skipping.
Never hesitate to get your dentist’s opinion on anything that may pop up that you’re not sure about. Sometimes mild canker sores and ulcers can form due to the changing hormones, if you have a question, contact us! I’m always happy to see and answer any questions my patients may have so I can support and be excited for them on the next chapter in their lives.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

Periodontal Disease, Early Indicator of Pancreatic Cancer? Research Points to Yes.

The link between your oral health and physical health is growing stronger every day as more and more research is completed. Many illnesses and diseases develop preliminary symptoms that are being found, firstly, in a patient’s mouth. One of the newest correlations found, is between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer – the 4th most common cause of cancer related mortality.

Pancreatic cancer is expected to rise to the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths, and even though it accounts for only 3% of new cancer cases each year, it’s lack of symptoms can lead to a late diagnosis. In this particularly aggressive form of cancer, and a late diagnosis is the difference between life, and death.

Thankfully researchers come bearing good news. Evidence indicates that chronic infections, and inflammation, of the gums is associated with an increased risk of cancer development. Frequent occurrences of periodontal disease may be one of the earliest forms of detection available for pancreatic cancer. Now before you become worried about the state of your health, keep in mind there are two types of bacteria that can cause periodontal disease. Participants with Porphyromonas gingivitis had a 59% greater risk of cancer development than those without. This study concluded that those who had poor oral health, may be at a predisposition for pancreatic cancer to develop.

While genetics still remain to be the most steadfast way of determining a person’s likelihood of developing cancer, the new research available from NYU concluded that periodontal disease, did, in fact, precede pancreatic cancer. This is important and exciting news for anyone with a history of illness. Being able to catch pancreatic cancer in its developing stages might be the best way to decrease its mortality rate.

It is important to acknowledge that these findings do not confirm that one causes the other, only that, in some, way they’re correlated. It’s more plausible to think that periodontal disease acts as a symptom of developing cancerous cells. Inflammation in the body is a known precursor for cancer development.

The medical field is expanding constantly, and rapidly, and we’re lucky to live in a country that is on the cutting edge of research. I’ve always known that the mouth is a glimpse into the rest of the body and being able to monitor my patients’ health more thoroughly is exciting and important to me.

Most of my patients have been with me for many years, their loyalty is my bread and butter. Keeping them healthy is my top priority and in hard cases like these, cancerous illnesses and the like, it breaks my heart to discover bad news. But with early detection, as this research detects, hopefully we can start winning more battles against pancreatic cancer.

Be sure you’re scheduling with me regularly especially if you notice inflammation in your gums. Keeping your mouth healthy is a necessary step in keeping the rest of you healthy as well.

Marijuana and Gum Disease, What’s Really Happening.

Marijuana and Gum Disease, What’s Really Happening.

As more and more information gets released about medical marijuana uses, one of the less than appealing aspects about its users, is the increased likelihood they’ll develop periodontal disease. A strong correlation between heavy users of the herb, and the increased incidences of gum disease (especially in young adults), has been noticed by researchers, doctors, and dentists alike. So before you light up, consider the harms associated with heavy smoking.

Since it’s recent, State-specific legalization, studies can, and will, be coming to more concrete conclusions about the positive, and negative, aspects of marijuana use. Those prescribed the herb are usually looking for safer ways to alleviate various pains and discomforts, without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. But like any medication, this, of course, is not without its respective challenges.

The mouth’s ecosystem is a series of routinely healing the attacks our environment takes on it. Foods, drinks, brushing and flossing habits, all greatly affect overall mouth care. Drinks and food eat away at enamel and create plaque. That, in it of itself, is already a difficult repair to naturally reverse itself. This is why we need to brush, floss and visit the dentist, because without those things we’re prone to disease and our health is adversely affected.

Anytime you introduce smoking to your habits, your mouth has an even more difficult time recovering. The hot smoke held in your mouth wreaks havoc on your gums that normal maintenance doesn’t help fully recover from. Studies show that with time, the mouth repairs itself quite well. Those who quit smoking in their late 20s had almost no signs of oral health problems in their 30s. But if you’re smoking every day, the mouth doesn’t have time or resources to properly heal itself.

The most common issue with marijuana use, is the dry mouth it causes with most users. There are a lot of medications and habits that contribute to dry mouth, but the effects of it are all the same. Dry mouth leads to less saliva production which helps keep the bacteria in the mouth balanced. ‘Cottonmouth’ can lead to periodontal disease for simply allowing the acid in the mouth to get out of control.

Some studies have found that the actual chemical THC found in marijuana can’t be completely broken down by the mouth and can lead to gum disease. As marijuana usage increases each year with its movements towards legalization, new and more comprehensive studies of side effects can be completed.

I recommend, if you are a smoker of any kind, that your visits to me are well maintained. I’m always invested in the health of my patients and being in dentistry as long as I have, you learn that the mouth can tell you a lot of secrets about a person’s health. Don’t be embarrassed about confiding your habits in me, together we can better monitor your health and figure out what’s working for you and not working for you.
The times maybe changing, but I’m not going anywhere. So be sure you’re checking in with me on a regular basis.

Soda – Kryptonite for your Teeth

Soda – Kryptonite for your Teeth

Almost no one reaches for a glass of milk or water anymore, instead our convenience stores are lined with refrigerated soft drinks and sports drinks. We start our mornings with coffee or juice and end our evenings with wine or beers. While these things are okay in moderation, they may be doing more harm than good to our teeth.
These drinks cause suffering to the consumer by altering the natural PH balance in your mouth. An overall mouth PH balance less than 4.0 is considered to be corrosive to teeth, and make them more prone to decay. Most sodas have a PH of 2.37 – 3.4. Gatorade and Powerade have a PH balance in the high 2s, things like Vitaminwater are doing a little better, at around 3.2 and orange juice is at 3.8.

For adults, alcohol can cause some serious damage to our teeth as well. Alcohol not only strips away at the enamel; it can also turn into sugar in your metabolism which settles onto your teeth. Alcohol also strips your body of water, leaving you dehydrated and with a dry mouth. A lack of saliva means that bacteria is more likely to grow out of control and we know what that means – more plaque buildup.

It’s near impossible to keep track of the PH levels of all the drinks you’re consuming throughout the day, but it is important to keep in the back of your mind that sugary drinks have real ramifications on the health of your teeth. When the sugar interacts with the natural bacteria in your mouth, acid is formed that latches onto the surface of the teeth. This creates plaque and plaque dissolves the tooth structures and can even leave holes, cavities, in the teeth.

For the parents out there, kids and teens are much more susceptible to decay and tooth erosion because the enamel isn’t quite developed. Teach them good brushing habits young and try to encourage as much water intake as possible so they learn to think twice about reaching for that soda first.

Enjoying the things we sip on is a wonderful facet to life, and like with anything, everything is okay in moderation. If you’re prone to dental disease, sugary drinks might be the culprit. There are some easy tricks to make sure that your mouth stays balanced and your teeth stay healthy.

You can use a straw to make sure the soda stays as far away from your teeth as possible. ‘Rinse’ or swish your mouth with water after drinking a soft drink so that the natural PH balance is restored more quickly and the sugar doesn’t have a chance to settle on the surface of your teeth. Never go to sleep without brushing your teeth and try to only keep water at your bedside to rehydrate. The longer sugar sits on your teeth, the more problems it leads to.

Also be sure you schedule checkups regularly with me so I can keep your teeth in tip top condition. I’ll be able to tell you if your diet is working for you just by looking at your teeth and you might hear me suggest to cut back on sugary and acidic drinks, but only because I’m looking out for you!

Straight from the Mouths of Smokers

Straight from the Mouths of Smokers

As more and more research gets released on the negatives health consequences of smoking, it comes to no surprise that oral health is on the front lines of assault in the mouths of smokers. The mouths of people who smoke are a difficult terrain for even the most experienced dentist to navigate. Patients who smoke up to a half a pack a day are 6 times more likely to suffer from Periodontal disease than those who abstain from smoking. Most procedures, like dental implants, which normally have a 95% success rate, are at a high risk of failing in smokers vs. nonsmokers. So before you pick up another pack, think about these few things:

1. Periodontal disease is a very real problem. Although most adults, at some point in their life, will suffer from some form of this, the likelihood of recurring infections and severity of the disease increases dramatically with smoking. Since smoking dries out the mouth, there is a higher buildup of plaque along the teeth, which leads to the formation of harmful bacteria. The first sign of gum disease is usually bleeding, but if you smoke, the gum has become hardened due to the inhalation of tobacco and chemicals. Because of this, smokers are less likely to show these initial symptoms. This allows disease to spread unnoticed and can wreak havoc on the soft tissues of the gum and can even lead to jaw bone infection.
2. Procedures like crowns and bridges can have a dramatically positive effect on your smile and they look amazing when first placed. If you smoke, the gum pulls away from the teeth and what once looked shiny and perfect, becomes deteriorated. Porcelain laminates also start to lose their luster much faster if you’re a smoker. Those cosmetic procedures aren’t cheap, and it’s a shame to see them go to waste.
3. Dental implants can replace damaged and lost teeth in the mouths of smokers, but smokers should know they have an increased risk that the procedure will fail. Especially in the first weeks of the healing process, which lasts between two and three weeks. Smoking in the post-surgical time period after implants are inserted delays healing and increases the likelihood of infection and complications.

Smoking is incredibly hard on all aspects of our health and places and immense amount of stress on our bodies. Your mouth and teeth are just one facet of this problem, but they often are the most visible indicator of poor health. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting before you run into oral complications. If you have no intention of quitting soon, be sure you’re paying extra time and attention to your oral hygiene. Schedule dentist appointments regularly and keep on top of attending them. I love taking care of my patients and aim to make sure they’re looking and feeling their best, reminding them of the consequences of their habit is a well-intentioned attempt to look after their wellbeing.

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