A Healthy Mouth and Healthy Aging

For over 20 years, September has been designated healthy aging month. This is an annual celebration of the positive side to growing older. During this month, a variety of sources provide Inspiration and ideas for baby boomers and adults aged 45 and above to help them to improve their physical, mental, social, as well as financial well-being.  It is our hope that we at Designs For Dental Health can provide some pertinent information to contribute to our fellow baby boomers.

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It is interesting to note that there are over 76 million baby boomers today over the age of fifty and the first of the 82 million Generation X-ers are about to reach that milestone in 2015.  Why not use September as a time to look back on where you’ve been and consider what you might truly like to do with the rest of your life.  If you’re happy and fulfilled with what you’re currently doing, keep on keeping on!  If not, this is definitely the time to make a change.  From my point of view, I’m happy to keep on doing what we, as your dental care providers, love to do most.  Help to keep you healthy! dreamstime_l_21764121

So, with that in mind, here’s our question for you today: How’s your smile? 

  

First of all, research supports the idea that those who smile more are just plain happier.  Secondly, those with a healthy mouth are much less likely to develop a myriad of diseases commonly suffered by those of us in the 60+ population. So ask yourself- when is the last time that you had a comprehensive dental examination to determine your overall oral health and the best methods used to maintain it?  I promise to provide such a comprehensive examination free of charge for anyone over age 55 who has been a patient in our practice for more than 5 years and who requests it.  That’s right!  All you have to do is ask! I’ll sit down with you for as long as it takes to discuss your concerns and desires.  Then, we’ll do a comprehensive examination including an oral cancer screening, evaluation of your teeth, gums, and bite. Together, we’ll discuss any options that might be available to you to improve your dental health and from that discussion we will arrive at the best treatment plan for you.

 

Consider this – a mere 60 years ago, it was assumed that we would lose all of our natural teeth as we aged.  Now we know that a healthy mouth and teeth will help you to not only look good, but to eat delicious and nutritious foods, to speak clearly and to be confident.  An excellent quality of life demands a vibrantly healthy mouth.  Just consider the fact that those whose oral health is subpar are at risk for various serious medical conditions including: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, cancer, and various other diseases which are common in older adults.

 

What are some common oral health problems?

 

  1. Dry mouth.   Reduced salivary flow is most commonly the result of cancer treatments, the use of certain medications, and certain diseases. Dry mouth is a significant cause of decay and gum disease in older patients because saliva serves to buffer acids that are produced as we eat.  Without the protection of these buffers, rapidly advancing problems occur. 

  2. Darkened teeth.   Our teeth tend to darken with time as the pulp in our teeth recedes and the outer layer of enamel becomes thinner, thus allowing the darker dentin to show through. There are various methods available to whiten the teeth for a more youthful appearance.  These techniques do not harm teeth and most patients are extremely happy with their whiter, more beautiful smiles. 

  3. Root decay. As the gums recede, exposure of the tooth roots result. Exposed root surfaces are less resistant to decay than enamel and decay here is quite common. Good brushing and plaque removing habits go a long way to protect these surfaces. In addition, the judicious use of fluoride rinses can be most helpful to protect these exposed surfaces. 

  4. Gum disease. Inflammation of the gums and resulting bone loss in more advanced cases is quite common in adults over the age of 50.  Gum disease is worsened by poorly fitting tooth restorations, less than ideal dietary choices, and certain diseases like anemia, cancer, and diabetes.  The best way to fight gum disease is to practice excellent oral hygiene and have regular dental exams and cleanings as recommended in your particular case. 

  5. Tooth loss. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss; however, teeth which have broken due to old, large silver fillings or simple attrition require prompt attention to avoid unnecessary loss of teeth!  Restoring a broken tooth is always better and less expensive than losing a tooth and later trying to replace it. 

  6. Uneven jawbone. This common problem is a result of premature tooth loss.  Once a tooth is lost, the bone previously around that root vanishes and teeth adjacent to and opposing the missing tooth will shift.  This causes an uneven bite and places for food and bacteria to become trapped. 

  7. Oral cancer. Routine examinations are essential to identify possible cancerous conditions in the mouth. Always report unusual lumps or bumps or discolorations to your dentist or hygienists promptly! 

So what is the best way to maintain your good oral health?  It’s the same regardless of your age!    

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  1. Brush at least twice a day with good quality toothpaste as recommended by your dentist or hygienist. The most important time to brush is just before bed!! 

  1. Floss or otherwise thoroughly clean between your teeth at least one time each day. 

  1. Visit your dentist or hygienist on a regular basis as recommended by them for regular cleanings and oral examinations.  

  1. Use appropriate rinses or fluorides or other such adjuncts as recommended by your dental professionals. 

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If you have any questions about healthy aging month or would like a complementary comprehensive examination please call us at 908.359.6655 or contact us via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Gum Disease, Inflammation, and Your Health

All of our body’s organ systems are interconnected. What happens in one system can and often does affect other systems. One prominent and currently emphasized interrelationship is the one between periodontal (gum) disease and cardiovascular disease. And in particular, it is inflammation which is the common link between these two conditions.

Inflammation by itself is not a bad thing. Acute inflammation is the body’s normal response to injury and infection. This type of inflammation is experienced as redness, pain and swelling. Immediately after an injury, there is a biochemical reaction which improves blood flow to the affected area. Nerve and other cells send out signals to recruit white blood cells which help fight foreign bodies. This acute inflammation is absolutely necessary for normal good health.

There is another kind of inflammation which is our main concern in this article. That is chronic inflammation which is also known as low–grade or systemic inflammation. This inflammation is long–lasting and examples include autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In these cases the body mistakenly initiates an inflammatory response even though there is no actual infection or injury to be fought. Other examples of chronic inflammation include inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

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Chronic “hidden” inflammation occurs throughout the body when something engages the immune system. This engagement varies from person to person but may include repeated or prolonged infection, smoking and gum disease. Obesity also makes one prone to inflammation as fat cells turn out inflammatory proteins called cytokines. Most people don’t know that they are inflamed. There is a test which measures the inflammatory marker called the C–reactive protein but it is not used routinely to determine increased risk of associated diseases. The important point is that inflammation is the primary cause for most of our serious chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease to name but a few.

As far as the connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, research indicates that heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke and bacterial endocarditis may all be linked to oral health. Researchers believe that gum–disease–producing bacteria enter the bloodstream and make their way to the heart. And just as these bacteria create chronic inflammation and damage of the gums and bone around the teeth, the same bacteria can cause a similar response in the blood vessels. Inflammation can begin and accelerate the build-up of plaques with in blood vessels – called atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. These plaques decrease the flow of blood to both the heart and the brain, and if such a plaque breaks free can result in a heart attack or stroke.

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What can you do? Roughly 75% of adults have some form of gum disease and 30 % have moderate to advanced periodontitis. Those with more advanced gum disease are much more likely to develop associated inflammation-related heart disease or stroke or the other inflammation-related illnesses. Having a thorough periodontal examination and following up with necessary gum disease periodontal therapy is the best first step. Avoid the obvious creators of inflammation which have been proven to be unhealthy. Prime examples are smoking and heavy drinking of alcohol.

There are many who advocate an “anti-inflammatory” diet. Many of the recommended foods would be typical of Mediterranean cuisine and certainly represent good nutrition. Such a diet would include:

• Generous amounts of fruits and vegetables

• Using healthy fats like olive oil

• Eating small portions of nuts

• Drinking red wine in moderation

• Eating fish regularly

• Limiting or eliminating red meat

If you would like more information about inflammation, gum disease and your health, please feel free to contact us by telephone at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

All-on-4®, A Dental Miracle

All–on–4® is the name for a technique used in the total rehabilitation of patients who have lost or will soon lose all of their teeth in one or both arches. This system was developed in the 1990s through studies which were funded by Nobel Biocare which has been a corporate leader in the implant industry since the early 1980s.

The All-on-4® treatment concept is a miracle because patients arrive at their dentist’s office in the morning with either no teeth or teeth which cannot be saved in one or both arches.  At that appointment, the implant surgeon (usually a periodontist or oral surgeon), the prosthetic dentist (in this case, me) and a lab technician work collaboratively.  A few hours later the patient leaves the office with a complete set of teeth which are not removable, which function well and which look amazing.

In addition, no grafting is required before placing the implants with this system. Therefore, most patients who have been told that they are not good candidates for implants because of a lack of bone, or large sinuses, or other anatomical circumstances are perfect candidates for the All–on–4® procedure.

There is no grafting, and no lengthy healing time required. Four implants are placed in each treated jaw. This procedure takes advantage of the dense bone which is available in the front of both the top and bottom jaws and places two implants there. Two more implants are placed in the back of the jaws and at an angle to both avoid sensitive anatomic areas as well as to take advantage of available dense bone there. Permanently fixed bridges can then be secured to these four implants immediately because of the solid primary stability which is gained by these strategically placed implants.

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The full dental bridge which is attached to these implants is not removable, has no coverage of the palate, and can be used immediately to eat a complete diet without restriction. After four to six months, a final fixed prosthesis is placed over the implants once total healing is assured.

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The advantages of All–on–4® are many:

1. Get implants in one day with minimal surgery.

2. Entire procedure completed in one location and one day.

3. Avoid the expense and healing time of bone grafting.

4. Have fixed, not removable teeth.

5. Have a complete new set of teeth which look and feel natural – Smile Again!

6. Have the ability to again eat all the foods that you desire.

If you have any questions about the All–on–4® procedure or if you know someone who would benefit from it, please contact us at 908.359.6655 or via our website at www.designsfordentalhealth.com

Need a Dose of Commitment?

Need A Dose Of Commitment?

If you had plans to change or improve or evolve in some way this year, I would love to know how you are doing!

Year after year, all of us who are regulars at the gym witness the “January Phenomenon.”  For about six weeks beginning at the end of December, there are too few parking spaces near the gym entrance.  It seems like long walks in the cold wearing only gym clothes is the norm until mid February.  Similarly, those of us who like to take classes – and I do love spin class – must arrive very early to claim an available bike as classes are generally full during that same time period.  Those that arrive in the nick of time are often bikeless and very disappointed.

Maintaining my commitment to exercise has never been an issue for me – I enjoy both working out as well as the people I’ve come to know at the gym.  As reported to you earlier this month, I began the “Clean” nutritional program again this year for the second time.  I felt great and had lost most of the holiday pounds which had been gained.  Then, came my birthday last week!  My wife loves to travel that week, so we went away for five days to “celebrate.”  Boy did we celebrate!  We traveled with two of our closest friends and played golf, ate great food, drank some nice wine, and forgot the cold weather – and our commitments.  Actually, for the first few days, except for some really nice wine, I ate only foods which were on the program and did not overindulge even a tiny bit.  On my birthday, fuggettaboutit!  What the heck, it was my birthday!
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That one day turned into a four-day food fest, and I felt like the prior two and a half weeks were wasted.  But, not true!  On Monday I started the program in earnest all over again without any signs of withdrawal!   So, I’m back on track with goals in tact and a plan to succeed.  The discomfort in my arthritic knees and the mirror in my bedroom are all I need to stay on track.  In the back of my mind is always the thought that a little compromise grows into a big one resulting in a loss of focus and the end of commitment.  Rewarding one’s self is another story and can help us meet our obligations to ourselves for the long haul.  That’s my view.

So, I wonder.  What can you share about your commitments?  What helps you to meet your goals or resolutions?  What experience can you share to help others?  I’d love to hear from you!  You may add a comment on this blog, send me an email via our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com , or post a comment on our Facebook page.  May you all enjoy smooth sailing in the direction you have chosen for your lives!  All the best in 2013!

New Year ~ Old Resolution: How Dr. Nadler eats “Clean”

On January 2, I began my annual nutritional cleansing program as I have done for the past decade and a half.  After a solid month of holiday and party food, I usually have a few pounds to shed and just don’t feel 100 percent.

This year, just like last year, I began the twenty-one day “Clean” program, which I had heard about from another dentist who attends the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, where I also studied.  Not only does this cleanse help me to lose weight – eight pounds so far – but, it also has changed the way I eat entirely.  And, most importantly, this program introduced an awareness of the quality and healthiness of the foods that my family and I eat.

I had never before heard of GMO’s – Genetically Modified Organisms.  These are foods which have been engineered for a variety of reasons to produce more crops, be more insect resistant, be bigger and so forth.  And, there are a growing number of consumers, health professionals and producers who feel that GMO’s can be hazardous to our health.  I guess this is why we see an ever-increasing assortment of organic and gluten-free products and dairy substitutes like almond milk in our grocery stores.

To get a better sense of what has been happening to our food supply, I recommend that you watch a 2008 movie called “Food, Inc.”  This 90-minute documentary created quite a stir in the agribusiness community and was highly rated by critics.  You may also wish to read a short article (read here) entitled “GMO alert:  top 10 genetically modified foods to avoid eating.”

As for the cleanse, the program is rather rigorous as there is only one solid meal per day for three weeks.  Only fresh, non-processed, preferably organic foods are consumed.  After the initial cleanse, different foods are reintroduced to the diet.  This way, you can easily see which foods may be having a negative effect on your health and well-being.  After last year’s cleanse, I learned that dairy (except eggs) were out for me.  I have also eliminated gluten and starches like potatoes.  The result?  More energy, excellent health, much less flab.

So, if this is of interest to you, check out the book CLEAN by AlejandroJunger, M.D.  If you have any questions about this program or my experiences with it, feel free to call me in the office at 908.359.6655 or send an email via our website at www. DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Change your diet, Protect your teeth!

Change Your Diet, Protect Your Teeth

Food and Oral Health

Every few months, we remind our blog readers about the basic formula that leads to tooth decay and poor oral health:

Bacteria + Food + Time = CAVITIES or GUM DISEASE or BOTH

You probably already know that the foods that put you at the greatest risk for tooth decay and gum disease are those high in sugar, any kind of sugar.   An easy way to address this is to opt for snacks that are lower in sugar and higher in nutritional content.  This not only reduces the risk of cavities, but also helps to strengthen overall health by nourishing the body.

For “mouth healthy eating”, the ADA mouthhealthy website makes the following recommendations:

“For good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:
  •  whole grains
  •  fruits
  • vegetables
  • lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes
  • low-fat and fat-free dairy foods”

    Are there foods that can protect my teeth?

Beyond controlling sugar intake to make a positive impact on your oral health, there are also some foods that are known to help protect and strengthen the teeth.

Cheese: Cheese, especially cheddar cheese can help balance the pH levels in your mouth, neutralizing the natural acids found in foods.  Neutralizing these acids can help protect the enamel on your teeth, which erodes when exposed to acids.

Crunchy Vegetables: Crunchy veggies actually help clean your teeth while you eat, helping to remove food particles as you chew, limiting the build-up of plaque.  Also, chewing crunchy vegetables can help increase saliva production in the mouth, which helps wash away food particles and neutralize cavity-causing acids.  And they are extremely nutritious!

Sesame Seeds: These flavorful little seeds are abrasive enough to help remove plaque from your teeth while they are being chewed.  In addition, they are high in calcium and can help promote strong teeth in children.

 Are there supplements that can help support my oral health? 

There are certain supplements that can help keep your gums healthy, which in turn can help promote your overall oral health.  Check out the answers provided by Dr. De Vizio DMD and Dr. Gerry Curatola on the Colgate Oral Health Sharecare website:

Yes, supplements such as Vitamin B and iron can help keep your gums healthy. Vitamin B is essential for growth and iron for healthy blood, which in turn contributes to healthy gum tissue. Vitamin C keeps gums healthy by producing healthy connective tissue that holds teeth in their sockets. The antioxidant nutrient, co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) provides energy needed for gum cell growth and healing of gum tissue. Other nutrients important for gum health include vitamin A and beta carotene, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, and flavonoids. ~Dr. De Vizio DMD

Japanese researchers in the 1970’s biopsied diseased gums and discovered that there were deficiencies of key antioxidants necessary for proper cell function. Since then, ongoing research has identified the most important are Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, B-12, Vitamin D, and Essential Fatty Acids- Omega 3, 6, 9. ~Dr. Gerry Curatola

 Promoting Your Health with Food

As you can see, not only can eating certain foods CAUSE cavities, but eating others can actually help PREVENT them.  This won’t replace the need to brush and floss regularly and get regular dental check-ups and cleanings, but it can help to promote and protect your oral and overall health.

To learn more about maintaining your oral health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Richard M. Nadler by calling our Hillsborough NJ dentist office at (908) 359-6655. Remember to visit our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com for more information about our office and services.