Gum Disease Linked To Alzheimer’s: Keep Those Gums Healthy!

Dental health Gum disease Oral Health

gum disease treatment Phoenix

This post from Harris Dental in Phoenix gives you yet another reason to keep your gums in good condition.

Scientists have found a connection between a bacteria that causes periodontitis (advanced gum disease) and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Porphyomonas gingivalis is a bacteria that can result in chronic periodontitis. The bacteria was discovered in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

The research study is called “Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors.” Researchers concluded:

“Chronic periodontitis and infection with Porphyomonas gingivalis have been identified as significant risk factors for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Gum disease is inflammation or infection of the gums. For the most part, it is preventable.

Risk factors include tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, genetics, teeth grinding, inflammatory conditions, and poor nutrition.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, we remind our patients to brush and floss at least once a day. Twice is better! If you develop gum disease, don’t despair: it’s a treatable condition. We also offer a fullrange of general dentistry services. Schedule an appointment today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

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Save Your Breath

Dental health General Dentistry Oral Health

bad breath treatments Phoenix

This post from Harris Dental in Phoenix focuses on a problem experienced by many people, bad breath.

Bad breath, or halitosis, has several causes. The most common is poor oral hygiene. Halitosis often happens in the middlle of the day, due to an to brush teeth between meals. Small food pieces on the teeth, gums, and tongue grow bacteria. This in turn creates a sulfur compound, which emits the unpleasant odor.

While poor oral hygiene is the most common cause, other circumstances can contribute to or worsen the problem. The best remedy is scheduled, thorough brushing and flossing, but other actions might also be needed.

For example, a salivary gland problem or certain medications can cause dry mouth. Saliva moistens the teeth and gums, clearing away odiferous dead cells. Saliva also neutralizes the ever-present acids on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. Limiting caffeine, chewing sugar-free gum, using OTC saliva substitutes, and using a humidifier can add moisture to the mouth.

Remember, the best defense against bad breath is a good dental care routine – daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dentist.

If you struggle with bad breath in spite of vigilant oral hygiene, ask about it at your next checkup with Harris Dental in Phoenix. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

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Persistent Dry Mouth?

Dental health General Dentistry Oral Health

The Harris Dental Guide To Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a condition where your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, leaving you with a persistent dry feeling in your mouth. If you experience this, be sure to tell us at Harris Dental in Phoenix.

The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia, which is pronounced zero-STOE-me-uh. It’s a common side effect of certain medications, and is also common in people who are undergoing radiation treatment for cancer. It’s also caused by a condition of the salivary glands themselves, but that is less common.

Dry Mouth Causes

There are hundreds of different medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. This includes prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medicine. Antihistamines, decongestants, and pain medications may cause it, as well as many other drugs.

Dry mouth is also common in older people. Older people are often taking more medication than they did when younger. The body isn’t always as efficient in processing these medications as it once was.

Tobacco and alcohol use can also bring on symptoms of dry mouth, as well as so-called recreational drugs.

Chemotherapy may have an impact on the salivary glands, and their ability to produce saliva. It might return to normal once the treatment is finished.

Dry Mouth Complications

In addition to discomort, dry mouth can lead to increased plaque on the teeth. This can, in turn, lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Yeast infections and sores around the mouth can also occur.

People with dry mouth may also have poor nutrition, because chewing and swallowing are more difficult.

The treatment for dry mouth depends on what’s causing it. If you have persistent dry mouth but don’t know why, please let us know at Harris Dental in Phoenix. Our services include general and restorative dentistry. Call us to set up an appointment today.

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

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Gum Health Affects Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Dental health General Dentistry Gum disease Oral Health

gum disease increases diabetes risk Phoenix

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, we are concerned not only with the condition of your mouth, but also with how it affects your complete physical health and general well-being. This post looks at the connection between diabetes and oral health.

Scientists have known for quite some time that people with diabetes have higher rates of gum disease than those who don’t. Maintaining proper blood glucose levels is the key to minimizing the risk of gum disease and related problems for those affected.

Additional research is exploring the reverse relationship. In other words, whether poor oral health increases the risk of developing diabetes. Findings from a long-term study suggests that it does.

“We found that over two decades of follow-up, individuals who had periodontal disease were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life when compared to individuals without periodontal disease.” -Ryan T. Demmer, PhD, MPH1

Additional trials are exploring how tooth and gum health jolts the ability of diabetics to manage the disease.

“Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.”2

If you have diabetes, it is essential that you see a dentist regularly and are devoted to daily oral hygiene, proper nutrition, and other critical practices. In addition, your success in controlling your blood glucose levels will improve your oral health and vice-versa.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, our services include gum disease treatment and general dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

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1Angelo Milone, “Does periodontal disease cause type 2 diabetes?,” Endocrine Today, November 2008, http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/diabetes/news/print/endocrine-today/%7Bacdccbd7-a2b2-4a9e-ac08-b29b53116908%7D/does-periodontal-disease-cause-type-2-diabetes, accessed August 12, 2015
2“Diabetes and Oral Health Problems,” American Diabetes Association, September 18, 2012, http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/diabetes-and-oral-health.html#sthash.9IlHJB8l.dpuf, accessed August 12, 2015

 

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Oral Cancer: Early Diagnosis Makes A Big Difference

Dental health General Dentistry Oral cancer screening Oral Health

oral cancer screening Phoenix

This post from Harris Dental in Phoenix serves as a reminder of how important oral cancer screenings can be.

When it comes to oral cancer survival outcomes, two numbers are key: 40% and 90%.

  • 40% of those who receive a late-stage diagnosis die within five years.
  • The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.

Oral Cavity and Oropharynx—Mouth and Throat

Cancers that start in the mouth (or oral cavity) are labeled oral cancers. The oral cavity is composed of the inside tissue of the mouth and cheeks, the lips, the tissue beneath the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the front two-thirds of the tongue.

“Why only two-thirds of the tongue?” you might ask. Good question! The answer is that the back third of the tongue is considered part of the throat.

Throat cancers, or oropharyngeal cancers, start in the oropharynx, the part of the mouth behind the parts considered part of the oral cavity. The oropharynx is comprised of the soft palate, the tonsils, and the throat.

How Are Oral Cancers Diagnosed?

Some oral cancers create symptoms which prompt the patient to see a doctor and others are found by dentists and doctors during exams. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if more people received regular screenings.

A visual oral cancer exam is relatively quick and convenient, especially as compared to other cancer screening tests such as colonoscopies and mammograms. If an abnormality is discovered during an exam, the patient is referred to an appropriate specialist for further testing and diagnosis.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or snuff)
  • Heavy drinking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • HPV infection
  • Weak immune system
  • Frequent exposure to UV light (a risk factor for cancers of the lips)

Oral cancer screenings save lives, and are an important part of what we do at Harris Dental in Phoenix. We also offer a wide range of general dentistry services. Schedule an appointment today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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