Posts from 2020-02-21

Good Dental Hygiene could help save your life

Good Dental HygieneWe all know that good dental hygiene can help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and gingivitis but new studies have found that brushing your teeth 3 or more times a day significantly reduces the risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.  Many studies (including this recent one by  Dr. Tae-Jin Song of Ewha Womans University) have been done about the linking between oral health and cardiovascular health.  Some studies have found oral bacteria in those people receiving treatment for stroke.  Additionally, there has been a link discovered between those with severe gum disease and hypertension.  The findings of Dr.Tae-Jin Song  (mentioned above) concluded that, "Poor oral hygiene can provoke transient bacteremia and systemic inflammation, a mediator of atrial fibrillation and heart failure."  The long term study also found that "Brushing the teeth three times or more a day was linked with a 10% lower chance of developing A-fib and a 12% lower risk of heart failure.”

There are currently more studies being done to find out what else oral gum diseases effect.  They have found some links between oral health and poorly controlled diabetes.  An infection in your gums can cause insulin resistance which results in difficult-to-control blood sugars.  Scientists have also found a link with oral health and preterm births.  The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that as much as 18% of preterm/low birth weight babies born in the United States each year may be attributed to oral infections. 

These studies help to increase the emphasis on good oral health.  Not only does good oral health improve the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums but has long term effects on your overall health. 

Chewing Gum Can Increase Dental Health

Gum and Dental HealthIt has long been considered a dental taboo to chew gum but recent studies have shown that sugarless gum may actually be helpful instead of harmful.  In fact, these studies have determined that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after each meal can indeed help prevent tooth decay.  The primary reason that the gum is useful in dental health is that it increases the flow of saliva.  Having additional saliva in your mouth is beneficial in that it assists in washing away debris and food.  Increased saliva also brings with it more calcium and phosphate, both of which helps strengthen tooth enamel. 

Not all types of gum fall into the category of being dentally beneficial.  You will want to look for gum packs that have the ADA Seal on the front, indicating that it is sugar free.  These gums are instead sweetened with asparteme, sorbitol, or xylitol all of which are non-cavity causing sweeteners.  Chewing gum does not replace your daily brushing (twice a day) and flossing.  It serves as an additional and fun way to help reduce tooth decay!

Dental Amalgam Fillings: Are They Safe?

Are you dental fillings safe?

What exactly is dental amalgam?

It is a material mixture of metals (including silver, tin, & copper) and 50% of the mixture is mercury which allows for the reaction and binding of all other materials. This mixture is used as a dental filling for cavities caused by tooth decay and has been used for 150+ years.

What is a dental amalgam called?

The term dental amalgam is more commonly referred to as "silver fillings" due to their silver coloring.

What are people concerned about with "silver fillings"?

There has been a growing amount of concern about the mercury that makes up half of all fillings. Over-exposure to mercury can have adverse effects on the kidneys and brain. There are people that are worried about bioaccumulation of mercury.

What is bioaccumulation?

Bioaccumulation refers to the continual and consistent build up of a chemical in organs or tissue. This is the idea behind the over-exposure to mercury by eating certain types of fish on a regular basis.

Is the mercury concerns the same between mercury in fish and mercury in the dental amalgams?

In a short answer, No. There are several different chemical forms of mercury (learn more here). In addition, they would be absorbed in a different way (dental amalgams would be mercury vapor and absorbed by lungs whereas mercury in fish is processed and absorbed in the digestive tract). The body has different levels of tolerance for each type of method, makeup, and strength.

Is there any danger with my dental amalgams?

NO! After a great deal of study and tests the FDA has found that "Dental amalgam is one of the safest and most affordable and durable materials available." The materials used in the amalgam is one of the longest lasting filling materials and poses no threat to the body. "The weight of credible scientific evidence reviewed by FDA does not establish an association between dental amalgam use and adverse health effects in the general population. Clinical studies in adults and children ages 6 and above have found no link between dental amalgam fillings and health problems."

To learn more about the FDA findings click here.