When was the last time you had a dental exam?

Many people believe that since they aren’t experiencing dental symptoms – like tooth pain or bleeding gums – then all must be well.

Unfortunately, a sizable number of dental problems, including cavities and periodontal disease (bone loss around your teeth), just don’t produce obvious symptoms in their early stages.  At least not symptoms that tend to be obvious to patients.

In fact, by the time people the average person experiences pain, his dental issue is typically pretty far along.  And all too often, by then, the problem can also be quite expensive to handle.

It might amaze you to discover the types of problems your average dentist encounters every week, many of which you would expect to be painful, but they just aren’t.  They can still result in tooth loss though.

Pretty much anyone who has ever worked in a dental office for any length of time will tell you this is so.  And they will tell you that you can inform some people that they have a problem, but unless it is “real” to them, they just won’t do anything about it.

They may come back a few years later (or maybe sooner) – usually with an emergency – desperately wanting to save the tooth that you told them about earlier.  Of course, by now, it may be too late.  And very often they will have forgotten it was ever discussed at all, because it was never a realistic problem for them to begin with.

Human nature can be funny that way.

So, keeping that in mind, it’s generally a good idea to get checked out by a dentist.  Regularly.

The best news you can hear is that everything looks great.

But sometimes getting a confirmation that you don’t have cavities or gum disease is not the only reason to get a dental exam.  Over the years, I have detected cancer (not just oral cancer) – as well as a host of other non-dental problems – that might have been overlooked had the patient not scheduled an exam.  Obviously, we refer patients to an appropriate specialist for treatment when we discover medical problems outside the scope of dental practice.

Other benefits of getting a dental exam:  I can recall many patients who told me that what they thought were unrelated health problems simply resolved when their oral problems were gotten under control.  These have included digestive problems, low energy problems, elevated blood cell counts, hypertension, and more.

Over the years, some people have told me they don’t want to get a dental exam because they don’t want to discover they have any problems.   I guess that works.

Just maybe not too well.

Your overall health is connected to your oral health.  Take a look at this infographic.  Then think it over. . . .

 

 

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Why You Need Vitamin P

First of all, what the heck is vitamin P?  First discovered around 1936, the term is hardly used anymore – except maybe euphemistically for Prozac (fluoxetine) – which you definitely don’t need, unless you like playing Russian roulette with your health.  Prozac is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous drugs on the market. More about that some other time, perhaps.

But, real Vitamin P is better known today as a plant classification called flavonoids or bioflavonoids.

[Because of my interest in natural health, I subscribe to a number of health-related newsletters.  One of them (and I recommend this newsletter to anyone interested in sensible health and nutrition) recently reminded me of a subject I have already written about on a number of occasions. Namely, the importance of controlling inflammation, actions one can take to do so, and the nutrients that can assist with this problem. The newsletter I’m referencing here is called Health Alert, by Dr. Bruce West. Much of what follows in this posting comes from that source.  If you are interested in subscribing, their number is 831-372-2103.  I receive no financial benefit by recommending them.  It’s just good information.]

Nevertheless, here’s why real vitamin P is important to your health, and yes, even more specifically – to your dental health:Oral Health

The cells that line your blood vessels are truly amazing in terms of all the functions they provide.  Their end-result have a great deal to do with how you heal.  But they can’t do their job without the adequate nutrition that they need.  And the prime nutrient required by these cells is vitamin P.  Originally, vitamin P was named for an extract of paprika.  Today, we know it better as bioflavonoids.

But if you are deficient in vitamin P, you are likely suffering from sub-clinical scurvy.

At one time, scurvy was considered deadly.  Today, it is looked upon as an old disease that has been pretty much eradicated.  But the less deadly version – sub-clinical scurvy – can be found in much of the American population.  It’s even possible you may have it.

And while you probably won’t die quickly from scurvy as people did centuries ago, your odds of dying from damage to your blood vessels and the resulting strokes and/or heart attacks are significantly increased.  If you notice your toothbrush looks a little pink when you brush, or if you have outright bleeding gums, or possibly blood stains on your skin as a result of leaking blood (Schamberg disease), or you have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, blood clots, plaque, stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, and most other circulatory problems – you are suffering from sub-clinical scurvy and you need vitamin P.

Vitamin P feeds the lining cells of your blood vessels – called endothelial cells – and can restore your health after they have been suffering from a vitamin P deficiency.  That makes vitamin P a natural anti-stroke, anti-clot, and anti-heart attack nutrient.  It will help regenerate your endothelial cells to heal your blood vessels properly. It will even help to keep your blood flowing better (by making them less stick and sludgy) without the many side effects of poisonous blood thinners.

As a dentist, I know that vitamin P is also helpful in your fight against gum disease and tooth loss.  More teeth are lost (worldwide) due to periodontal disease (bone loss around the teeth) than to any other factor.  Vitamin P deficiency has a lot to do with this.  But it doesn’t end there. Because of its direct effects on collagen, vitamin P can also help you with ulcerative colitis, frostbite, arthritis, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and more.  It is even protective against radiation damage.1866219

But, by far, its main benefit is to the linings of your blood vessels.  And when it comes to your gums that’s crucial.

All kinds of products claim to be able to heal your blood vessels.  Frankly, most of them don’t work.  If you truly want to heal your blood vessels, then the most effective source of vitamin P, by far, is the juice of deep green buckwheat leaves harvested at the time of their peak nutritional content.  Possibly, the most powerful bioflavonoid in buckwheat juice is called rutin.  Now, most of us aren’t going to start an organic garden to grow buckwheat — that we then harvest at the optimal time — and then make juice from the leaves.  And, fortunately, we don’t have to.

One company – Standard Process – does that all for us.  They make the supplement Cyruta-Plus in a tablet that contains all the life force, nutrients, and bioflavonoids of the juice itself.  If you have gum problems, or any of the other problems listed above, 2-4 tablets of Cyruta-Plus 3x daily, would be a good place to start.  Give it one to two months to help repair the damage already caused by what has probably been a long-term deficiency.

If you are not easily convinced and need additional proof (other than observing the results for yourself), you can ask your doctor to have your CRP (C-reactive protein) level checked.  Most people with blood vessel inflammation will have an elevated CRP in their blood.  If this is you, this is an inflammation marker, and your chance of having a heart attack or stroke becomes significantly higher.

You might be tempted to try one of the advertised “super-potent, artery scrubbing” anti-oxidants which are advertised, like reservatrol or ascorbic acid.  Go ahead and try it.  Then have your doctor order a new CRP blood test.  After that treatment fails, try Cyruta-Plus (9 – 12 daily for 30 days) and get one more blood test.  See what happens.  Chances are you will be both shocked, and happy.

Not only will you have helped your gums and teeth, but you will have lowered your risk of heart attack and stroke, you will have helped your joints by improving arthritis, your gut will enjoy better digestion, your skin will thank you, as will your legs.  Plus, the potential for living longer is not a bad result either.

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Full Dentures – Problems and Solutions

Millions of people worldwide wear full dentures.  While we often associate this aging, wearing full dentures is not just limited to older adults.  Illness, accidents — sometimes even pregnancy — can contribute to tooth loss and, in a number of cases, this affects younger individuals as well.

Young or old, the psychological consequences of losing teeth can be severe.

Several studies have suggested that a smile is very often the first thing people notice about another person.  So, losing one’s teeth can be devastating in a variety of ways.

Toothlessness may affect digestion. This, in turn, can influence nutrition and health.   There can be issues with self-esteem, intimacy, and a host of other areas most people wouldn’t normally take the time to consider.

This is stressful enough.  But having to now replace the teeth can also become stressful for some.

Many people worry about whether they will be able to eat with their dentures.  Will people notice that they are wearing them?  Will they sound funny when they speak?  Will it hurt to eat with the dentures? Will they be able to chew their food?  How will the dentures affect the ability to taste food? Will the dentures slip when they talk?  What can they afford?

These are natural concerns, but for the first-time wearer, they add up to a lot of unknowns.Denture Profile

The truth is that no two situations are alike. But almost all denture challenges have solutions.

Another thing to consider is that there are many ways to go about addressing total tooth loss.  The solutions depend upon a person’s preferences, financial options, and — frankly — anatomy.

If a person were building a house and they decided to hire an architect, the architect would undoubtedly first gather a lot of information about the project.  For example:  Where is he going to be building? What does the client want: a log cabin or a mansion?  What does the foundation look like?  What is the client’s budget?

In some ways, restoring a person’s smile is not too dissimilar.

For the person without teeth, they may be surprised to learn that there are multiple ways to go about replacing the teeth.  The length of time will vary with each approach, as well as the cost.

To help clarify the options and give some sense of the costs, I put together a report that helps discusses different levels of care, from simple to more complex. Included is a sense of the pros and cons of each approach, and a general price range at today’s rates.  Of course, this can vary widely from area to area and doctor to doctor.

There is no cost or obligation to download the report.  We just hope it helps to clarify some of the questions many people have about dentures.  Click on the pulsing button (the one on the right) in the picture below to download your free report.  Have questions and want to set up a consultation?  Click the pulsing phone button on the left.

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Dentists Need to Know Your Supplements

A friend of mine recently sent me the link to this video: Dentists Need to Know Your Supplements, and I found it somewhat timely.

As readers of my blog may know, I have long been an advocate of dietary supplements.  While the ideal form of nutrition is always a healthy diet, today’s food is simply not the nutrient-rich, non-chemically altered, or non-genetically engineered food our grandparents ate.

While that might just be a topic for another discussion, I want to point out that whereas supplements have their place, it is always prudent to understand what you are consuming and what potential effects it may produce.  This advice holds equally true for vitamins and herbs as it does for medications.Supplements

While the side-effects of supplements are typically far less dire than those encountered with many common medications, there can be side-effects nonetheless — especially when used in combination with medications.

As dentists, we are particularly interested in knowing what herbal medications a patient takes that may cause drowsiness, excessive bleeding, cardiovascular problems or that interfere with other drugs.

Here are a few examples:

  • St. John’s Wort, used as a mood enhancer, can interfere with the effectiveness of many heart and blood pressure medications, as well as blood thinners.  On the other hand, garlic, ginseng, ginger, chamomile and gingko, to name a few, can cause bleeding after surgery.
  • A patient given sedatives by a dentist or oral surgeon before surgery who is also taking Valerian root and kava may experience an interaction that causes excessive drowsiness.
  • Ginseng has been associated with an increased chance of arrhythmias (irregular heart beats.  Patients who take ginseng and also get a local anesthetic with epinephrine (commonly used for fillings and many other dental procedures) may be putting themselves at risk for cardiovascular complications.
  • Echinacea, while it is widely considered to be an immune system enhancer, may inhibit wound healing and increase the risk of post-surgical infection.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and the simple message here is just because an herbal remedy is considered “natural” doesn’t mean you should neglect to inform your dentist that you are taking them.  Neither he nor you want to risk negative effects or complications that can come about as a result of interactions.

Doctor & Patiet CommunicationMore likely than not, your doctor will simply ask you to stop taking a particular supplement before surgery or modify the anesthesia accordingly.

Good communication is the key.

Here is another example of this point.  Not uncommonly, patients take “baby aspirin” as a blood thinner.  Of course, this is not an herb, but many people feel it is not worth mentioning because it is just a “baby” aspirin.  That is, until they fail to stop bleeding after an extraction.

You should always be sure to tell your doctor about ALL of the substances you are taking, including prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.  Even doctors aren’t always fully aware of every potential interaction between herbs and drugs, as new drugs are constantly being developed and introduced into the market.  It is in your best interest to let your doctor “know before you go.”

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