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Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

A Dental Exam Before Beginning Chemotherapy?

In Dental Care on October 25, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Routine dental examinations prevent against tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues detrimental to not only our oral health, but our overall physical health as well.

Basically this regular exam, teeth cleaning, oral cancer screening, and any other diagnostic procedure such as digital radiography, allow our dentists to gain a complete picture of our oral health.

In order for our trusted family dentist to accurately communicate our current oral health situation, we actually need to go to the dentist!

But that’s been said before, and it will be said again – at least as long as you’re a reader of this little dental-centric blog.

Dental exams become anything but routine when we factor in some other health-related variables. Pregnancies, diabetes, even chemotherapy all represent opportunities for the cavity creeps to grab hold of our optimal oral health and throw a wrench in the works. A Dental Exam Before Chemotherapy

In order for us to receive a total picture of our overall systemic health, it is essential we pay attention to our teeth and gums too.

Without oral health concerns, our picture is out of focus.

It’s the whole incisor, to our oral systemic health connection we’ll all learn more about, as this area of research and patient education becomes more widely known.

When Life Happens, See the Dentist

Maybe going to the dentist isn’t our first thought on receiving the positive pregnancy test news, and perhaps diabetes and dentistry don’t seem like two subjects that go hand in hand. In order for us to maintain optimal health and wellness, we need to actively promote our own optimal oral health.

If not, we’re missing a crucial part of the equation. But our trusted local social dentists are not going to let that happen.

A Dental Exam Before ChemotherapyGiven October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; we’d like to take the opportunity to promote some local dentistry as it relates to chemotherapy and breast cancer.

Chemotherapy is another cancer treatment regime, or area of health care, where dentistry factors into the equation.

According to Dr. Reitz, in his weekly dental article for the ReadingEagle.com (Reading, PA.);

Both chemotherapy and radiation therapy are effective in treating fast-growing cancer cells but are also toxic to rapidly dividing cells such as bone marrow and mucus membranes.

Mucus membranes line our mouth, throat, digestive and respiratory systems.

In his article, Dr. Reitz explains how everyone experiences mouth ulcers at one time or another, which is totally normal. But more importantly, a similar ulceration occurs during chemotherapy, but to a greater degree and often more painfully.

Dr. Reitz goes on to mention how, in addition to the chemotherapy being toxic to mucus membranes, it also prevents cells in the mouth from reproducing, making it difficult for oral tissue to repair itself.

A healthy mouth contains many different bacteria, some beneficial, others detrimental.

It’s thought that chemotherapy reduces the amount and consistency of saliva, allowing more bad (pathogenic) bacteria to proliferate. Click the link to learn more about how chemotherapy affects mouth ulcer causes and treatment, read Dr. Reitz’s entire article from the ReadingEagle.com.

Then, be sure to SHARE this dental health information with your entire friend list!

Better yet, take this article and post it to your Facebook Wall – and be sure to give a ‘Like’ to Dr. Reitz while you’re at it!

 

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Why Going to the Dentist is Like Getting an Oil Change

In Dental Care on August 18, 2011 at 4:30 AM

It’s been said that an oil change every 3000 or so miles goes a long way toward maintaining the longevity of our vehicle’s engine. Jalopy or Jetsons, we’ve pretty much followed this rule as a mandatory maintenance milestone.

Whether or not that recommendation still holds true or not, was the question posed by the NY Times in an article published last September.

It seems that with advancements in fuel technology and engine components, that long standing belief might not hold water anymore…or oil.

Even in the face of this conflicting info between generational automotive axioms and technological leaps forward in everything from manufacturing to maintenance, we can still relate oral health to auto care.

Preventative Maintenance

No matter which side of the oil change debate our family resides, hopefully we can all agree that the main reason – benefit – for changing the oil is to take some preventative maintenance.

Internal engine parts need proper lubrication, changing the oil at regular intervals ensures contamination is kept to a minimum and viscosity is optimally maintained.

This precautionary action maintains optimal engine performance while also saving us money.

The idea being if we invest a small amount of money regularly toward maintaining peak engine performance, we ultimately save ourselves from having to fork over huge sums of money later for things like cracked heads, busted seals, and sludge covered valves.

If we ignore this regular attention to our vehicles, it will come back to bite us in more places than the bank account.

This same principle can be applied to dentistry too, at least from our perspective as dental patients.

Just as internal engine parts require lubrication, our teeth and gums require proper care and preventative maintenance to sustain our own optimal oral health.

Replace cracked heads with cracked teeth, and sludge covered valves with visible tartar build-up, and things start to come into focus.

We need not walk around with a busted grill just because we’ve ignored our smile appeal.

Ignore the dentist and not only will we resemble Austin Powers from the nose down and the chin up, we’ll be doing even more of a disservice to our overall health too.

It’s no secret that oral health directly correlates with overall physical health. Recent studies have linked periodontal disease to breast cancer, even to complications inhibiting conception and negatively impacting pregnancy.

This is no joke. For a little preventative dental maintenance, we can not only save ourselves money in the long run, we can also make sure our internal operating systems are at peak performance…or at least somewhere near approaching healthy.

Read more about how oral health affects overall health in this study published in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Periodontology. Researchers found that subjects who maintained a healthy weight and had high levels of physical fitness had a lower incidence of severe periodontitis.

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the supporting bone and tissues around the teeth. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults, and research has suggested gum disease is associated with other diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. (Another Reason to Stay in Shape: Healthy Teeth and Gums – perio.org)

Does a regular cleaning, oral cancer screening, and possible diabetes indicating, dental exam appointment really seem like a better choice than ignoring the inevitable?

Don’t change our oil, and our vehicle’s engines will die earlier than they should.

Don’t take care of our teeth…and we can always get dentures, right?

Does Gum Disease Inhibit Pregnancy?

In Gum Disease on July 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According to a recent ScienceDaily® article highlighting another health complication related to gum disease, Professor Roger Hart told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology that the negative effect of gum disease on conception was of the same order of magnitude as the effect of obesity.

That’s a pretty staggering and scary proclamation. And one we should share with every woman we know that could be contemplating a family.

Photo Courtesy of Jenny Rollo©

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.1

It’s when this bacteria, if left unchecked due to poor oral health habits, creates inflammation around the tooth; the gum starts to pull away from the tooth, creating spaces (periodontal pockets) that become infected.2

The inflammation sets off a cascade of tissue-destructive events that can pass into the circulation. As a result, periodontal disease has been associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, respiratory and kidney disease, and problems in pregnancy such as miscarriage and premature birth.3

Conception Complications

Prof Hart, who is Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Western Australia (Perth, Australia) and Medical Director of Fertility Specialists of Western Australia, said:

“Until now, there have been no published studies that investigate whether gum disease can affect a woman’s chance of conceiving, so this is the first report to suggest that gum disease might be one of several factors that could be modified to improve the chances of a pregnancy.”

The researchers followed a group 3737 pregnant women, who were taking part in a Western Australian study called the SMILE study, and they analyzed information on pregnancy planning and pregnancy outcomes for 3416 of them.

They found that women with gum disease took an average of just over seven months to become pregnant — two months longer than the average of five months that it took women without gum disease to conceive.4

Information on time to conception was available for 1,956 women, and of, these, 146 women took longer than 12 months to conceive — an indicator of impaired fertility. They were more likely to be older, non-Caucasian, to smoke and to have a body mass index over 25 kg/m2. Out of the 3416 women, 1014 (26%) had periodontal disease.5

Additionally, Professor Hart mentions that all women should also be encouraged to see their dentist to have any gum disease treated before trying to conceive. It is easily treated, usually involving no more than four dental visits.

Schedule a dental appointment and talk to your dentist about gum disease and Periodontitis BEFORE you decide to plan a pregnancy.

For more staggering statistics on the study, click over to the ScienceDaily® article here.

Then go share this important piece of dental health information!

 
 

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