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Don’t Wait: Why Adults Should Visit the Dentist Regularly

2021-08-15T01:47:16+00:00August 15th, 2021|Adam Brown DDS, Dental Anxiety|

Adult Dental Anxiety

As a kid, you may have learned the fundamentals of oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and going to dental checkups every six months. Indeed, these practices are essential to maintaining a child’s oral health. But keeping a solid dental routine is just as vital for adults as it is for kids. Among other things, doing so helps you to prevent tooth decay and tooth loss, avoid expensive medical bills, and foster your all-around health and well-being. 

What’s the moral of the story? Don’t outgrow your good dental habits! Below, Adam Brown DDS will discuss some of the best reasons for going to the dentist and practicing consistent oral hygiene as an adult. And we’ll also cover some of the most common adult dental problems, as well as how you can overcome dental anxiety. 

 

Why Go to the Dentist as an Adult? 

So, you know that taking your child to the dentist is important. Let’s discuss why you, an adult, should also make regular visits to your local dentist office:

Maintaining Strong Teeth 

Dentists and dental hygienists have the expertise and equipment necessary to deeply clean your teeth. Even if you brush for two minutes, twice a day at home, you can’t eliminate the hardened plaque and biofilm (a.k.a. calculus) found in your teeth. And that’s especially the case if the calculus is located beneath your gingiva.

Along with following a dental hygiene regimen at home, going to checkups and cleanings at your dentist’s office every six months can help your teeth stay healthier and stronger than if you only use a toothbrush at home. 

It’s well known that adults are more prone to plaque buildup and periodontal disease. Oftentimes, such issues slowly progress and go unnoticed until they’re severe. If you skip your dental visits, gum disease and other problems can go undetected, eventually leading to tooth decay and tooth loss.

Reducing the Likelihood of Expensive Bills

As with other health problems, issues with your teeth and gums will be easier and safer to treat when you catch them early. And that means that you won’t have to spend as much money fixing those problems. For example, say you have a minor cavity. If you allow, even unknowingly, that cavity to keep spreading, it can enter the dental pulp over time and ultimately lead to infection. To put it into perspective: Your $175 filling just turned into a $2,000 root canal and crown, if not a $4,000 implant procedure.

Be proactive about being preventative. Get regular exams at the dentist so that any potential issues are addressed before they turn into emergencies.

Benefitting Your Overall Health

It’s well established that your oral health is strongly linked to your overall health. A number of diseases are often discovered through oral health issues. For instance, pneumonia and endocarditis, as well as pregnancy complications, are sometimes identified when patients come in with a dental problem. In fact, it is recommended that any woman planning to get pregnant should get a dental exam and address any issues as soon as possible. 

Health issues outside of your oral health can also impact your oral health. Heart disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, for instance, tend to leave your body more prone to infection. This, in turn, can cause a variety of oral health problems. You won’t necessarily become diabetic because of poor oral health, but any oral health complications you have could be exacerbated by diabetes. Moreover, going to the dentist regularly can help you foster your mental health by boosting your self-esteem and giving you peace of mind. 

Minimizing Bad Breath

Anyone can have bad breath every now and then. But if you notice that your bad breath has become regular and cannot be mitigated by strong mouthwash or breath mints, you might have something a little more serious going on. 

Enter halitosis—the fancy medical term for chronic bad breath. Factors like dry mouth, leftover food particles, and tobacco use are common causes of halitosis. But severe health issues like sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, and liver or kidney disease can also be the culprit. If you think you might have this problem, it’s advisable to visit the dentist so that you can be examined and determine whether your bad breath is or is not related to your oral health. 

Detecting Oral Cancer Early

We mentioned that going to the dentist is an excellent way to detect tooth and gum problems, and that includes oral cancer. Oral cancer comes with a higher death rate than some other types of cancers, primarily because it frequently goes undiscovered until it is well developed. And with each year you age, your chances of getting oral cancer become higher. 

Don’t rely on yourself to be able to identify oral cancer because it’s almost impossible. Oftentimes, there is no alarming pain or symptoms when oral cancer begins to develop, and it can appear in any area of the mouth and throat. 

A professional dentist or dental hygienist has the education and training necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of oral cancer early in development. By going to the dentist every six months, you stand a much better chance of detecting the onset of oral cancer.

Increasing Your Self-Confidence

There’s no getting around the fact that straight, white teeth make for a great smile, which can add some major self-confidence. As we’ve said before, brushing and flossing each day can go a long way in maintaining your smile, but going to the dentist is the surest way to get rid of the plaque under your gum line, clean the hard-to-reach places between your teeth, and take care of stains. A deep cleaning, not to mention professional whitening services, will promote a healthier and brighter smile than you can attain by yourself. 

Yes, poor oral health can have a negative impact on your self-confidence. But, like it or not, it can also play a role in how others perceive you. It’s unfortunate, but bad teeth can negatively impact an individual’s personal and professional life. Going to the dentist to correct any dental problems and returning for regular checkups is the best way to keep your oral health in excellent shape. And doing so will inevitably shine through your smile and increase your self-esteem.

Getting Checked for Things You Can’t See

Many people may choose not to go to the dentist every six months because they brush and floss religiously, and their teeth and gums appear to be fine. However, even if everything seems good on the surface, you never know what underlying dental health issues—those which can only be diagnosed by a dentist—are developing in your mouth. Therefore, the safest bet is to attend regular checkups and to get any necessary exams, X-rays, and other simple procedures that can help you stay ahead of potential health issues. 

 

How Age Impacts Your Dental Health 

All of your body’s cells, tissues, and organs are impacted by the aging process. The changes that come with age affect every part of your body, and that includes your teeth and gums. Here are some of the most common dental health issues that adults face:

Cavities

Essentially, cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth that convert sugars and starches into acid. The acid then goes to work at eating away tooth enamel and, thus, cavities form. And these cavities often develop at the tooth’s root because of gum recession. 

Moreover, bacteria build-up occurs more easily if you suffer from dry mouth, which can also lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. There are several reasons older adults are more prone than younger people to get dry mouth. For some, it’s simply because of age. For others, it’s due to particular medications they take. And specific health conditions can lead to dry mouth as well. 

Gum Disease

Dry mouth is a serious condition because of how critical saliva is to oral health. Saliva helps your gums remain healthy and protects your teeth from decay. So, when your mouth is not producing enough saliva, it can put you at risk for a number of issues. Gum disease, tooth decay, mouth sores, thrush, and difficulty chewing, swallowing, and tasting are some of the most common examples.

Dry Mouth

It’s normal for the salivating glands in your mouth to produce less saliva as you progress in age. But dry mouth more often occurs in older adults as a result of medical problems. 

For instance, a wide range of medications can decrease saliva production, including those used to treat pain, depression, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You can also get dry mouth when undergoing cancer treatment, and many different health conditions (e.g., stroke, diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, etc.) can be the culprit. 

Some of the most common dental health issues that occur in adults have to do with the gums. In the simplest terms, gum recession refers to when your gum tissue begins separating from your tooth; this exposes the root of your tooth and leaves you more vulnerable to bacteria build-up, which can result in inflammation and decay. 

Oral Cancer 

Perhaps the most severe dental health condition is oral cancer, which is most common in individuals over the age of 45 and twice as common in men than women. Lifestyle choices can play a big role in the development of oral cancer. People who smoke and/or use other forms of tobacco are the most susceptible. And people who add excessive drinking into the mix increase their risks even more. 

But those are not the only factors at play. Poor dental and oral hygiene, regularly taking immunosuppressants, and gum damage from rough teeth, fillings, or dentures can also cause cancer. Certain infections like the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) can be a cause as well.

 

Overcoming Dental Anxiety 

It’s no secret that a lot of children dread going to the dentist. But dental anxiety is also common in adults. Rather than allowing your anxiety to keep you from maintaining your oral health, consider this information and advice: 

The Most Common Culprits

There are many reasons why adults struggle with dental anxiety. In most cases, the fear of going to the dentist stems from childhood—usually because of an unpleasant or painful experience that is permanently imprinted on the mind. The good news is that there have been many advances made in dentistry over the last few decades, and most modern dental procedures cause much less pain (if any) than they used to. 

Another common culprit of dental anxiety is the fear of needles. A lot of people hate needles in general, while others are afraid that the anesthesia used in a procedure will not be effective. And sometimes, people are simply scared of being embarrassed. 

Say, for instance, that you’ve been dealing with a toothache for a while and are hesitant to visit the dentist because you’re embarrassed about your teeth or dread receiving bad news. Don’t worry—the team at Adam Brown DDS doesn’t judge or shame anyone!

Practical Steps to Take

If you’re struggling with dental anxiety, the best thing you can do is speak to your dentist. Chances are whatever is causing your anxiety is something that your dentist has heard many times before. And the only way they can help you is if you explain your fear and remain open to their suggestions. 

One thing you can do is to ask your dentist to thoroughly explain each stage of the appointment or procedure at hand so that you can mentally prepare. You could also agree on a stop signal such as raising your index finger or tapping your leg to notify your dentist that you need a break. 

Some individuals cannot stand the drilling or buzzing sounds during a dental procedure. If this is the case with you, consider bringing headphones to your appointment. In severe cases of anxiety, nitrous oxide or IV sedation can be administered; but those options are only chosen when the patient agrees to it. 

 

Conclusion 

The necessity of going to regular dentist visits doesn’t stop when you enter adulthood. The older you get, the more susceptible you become to dental health problems, and visiting the dentist is the surest way to prevent or mitigate them. 

Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from going to the dentist and getting any procedures necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you’re ready to make your next appointment, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact Adam Brown DDS today! 

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Should You Be Smooching Your Dog?

2020-06-11T13:19:15+00:00March 24th, 2020|Oral Health|

We love our pets, and as we find ourselves spending more time at home these days, an upside is being able to hang out with our little (or big) furry friends. But, if you are a dog owner could your oral health be at risk? Studies indicate those sweet doggy kisses we look forward to every day might be negatively impacting our gums and teeth.

 

Recent research shows that pets, such as dogs and cats, share the same type of bacteria as humans that causes periodontal (or gum) disease. However, despite the fact we share the same or similar oral bacteria, there is no scientific evidence showing that humans can actually develop gum disease directly from a pet. In fact, there have been certain defenses found in the mouths of humans that actually combat outside germs, such as those from dogs and cats, and prevent them from developing into gingivitis, cavities, gum disease, etc. But, simply knowing there is a chance of contracting something like gingivitis from your dog means we should look into it more.

Gingivitis is not something anyone wants, as it is a mild form of gum disease that is fairly common among American adults. If you notice your gums beginning to recede and turn white, gingivitis is most likely the culprit. A few other signs include swollen and bleeding gums, even painful irritation and loose teeth. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral care, so if you have fallen off the wagon a bit, it’s best to get right back into the routine of brushing and flossing regularly to keep from this uncomfortable situation, especially if you are a pet lover.

The fact is, your dog’s mouth is disgusting and teeming with germs. Simply relying on your body’s own defense systems to keep you healthy may not be wise. And it’s not just your oral health that could be at risk.

 

What You Could Catch

The odds are slim you will get sick from kissing your pet, but there is still a chance. So what could you catch?

According to the CDC, campylobacteriosis is the most common infection given to humans from their pets. Campylobacteriosis sounds like a good time, but it is actually an infection transmitted by the stool of an animal—an animal that may or may not seem or look sick. As we all know, animals tend to lick their rear-ends causing them to pick up particles of stool into their saliva, and well…there you go.

Once this is transmitted to a human, it can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain.

Giardia is another infection that can be transmitted from our pets. This is a tiny, intestinal parasite that can cause the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Vomiting

Giardia is spread by the animal swallowing stool particles containing the parasite and passing it on to you; however, the risk of contracting this infection from your dog or cat is extremely low.

 

Keeping Your Mouth Clean

The good news is there are ways to build up your own defenses against these nasty infections, and the best way to maintain a healthy relationship with your pet is by maintaining your own oral health. Follow these procedures and keep your mouth clean!

 

  • Begin by brushing correctly. The best way is to brush in small, circular motions. This will keep the toothbrush bristles from pushing your gums away from your teeth, which causes irritations that can lead to any of the conditions previously listed.

 

  • Floss every day. Flossing is incredibly important for your oral health. This keeps food from resting between your teeth, which begins to rot and aid in gum disease. Floss every morning or at night right before bed. Be sure not to jam the floss down on your gums. Use soft, clean motions, going back and forth. Hit every area between the teeth and rinse with water or mouthwash after.

 

  • Watch your diet. Sugary drinks and foods, alcoholic beverages, even fatty meats can all have negative effects on your gums. You don’t necessarily have to cut these things out of your diet completely, but if you are the type of person who enjoys these on a regular basis, try and cut back a bit. At the very least, make sure you brush your teeth right after eating or drinking sugary or fatty substances.

 

Carolina’s Dental Choice wants you to keep up on your oral health and show your pets the attention they need.

 

*Source: https://www.self.com/story/kissing-pet-health-effects

 

 

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Staff Spotlights: Meet Your Dental Hygienists

2020-06-11T13:20:23+00:00February 24th, 2020|Adam Brown DDS|

At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we know that excellent dentistry is all about the people serving you. A great dental hygienist can truly make all the difference when it comes to how your dental experience will go. Your hygienist will spend the most time working one-to-one with you, developing your baseline and initial care plan, and assessing your overall oral health and conditions related to your oral health. Because our hygienists are dedicated to providing quality dental care and getting to know their patients, we figured that our patients should get to know our hygienists.

Without further adieu, meet your Carolina’s Dental Choice hygienists, Kristi Eudy, RDH, and Donna Young, RDH.

 

What inspired you to choose dentistry? How did you come into healthcare?

Kristi: Growing up, I was actually one of those kids that loved going to the dentist! I was never afraid of a dental appointment, and I really liked my dental hygienist. She was a big inspiration for why I chose this field.

When I was in college, I was exploring another career path and finding that it wasn’t my thing. So after I went to UNCC for a year, I had a dentist appointment and my hygienist chatted with me about her career and why she entered the field, and that’s how I came to pursue dental hygiene! I love that my career comes back to having a really great experience with my own hygienist.

 

Donna: When I was a student at Wingate University, I took a part-time job cleaning dental patient rooms after treatment and working sterilization. The dental assistant actually started training and teaching me more about the field. The more time I spent there, it became clear to me that I really wanted to pursue dental hygiene. After I finished my Bachelor of Science at Wingate, I went onto dental hygiene school, obtained my license, and I’ve worked here ever since!

 

What’s the best part of your day?

Kristi: The best part of my day is making my patients smile and ensuring that they leave happy from our office. Even just a cleaning can make such a difference in a patient’s day; it’s so rewarding to see how a smile they’re confident in can bring out their personality.

 

Donna: The best part of my day, by far, is interacting with my patients! Sometimes it may be catching up on what has been going on in their lives the past six months, or sharing joys and concerns. It’s like reconnecting with longtime friends. The rewarding part is when trust is established in a relationship with a patient. Then, you have the opportunity to be real. I think patients appreciate that. They appreciate the truth, especially when it comes from an honest place.

And best of all, it’s rewarding to know I made a difference in someone’s smile, which speaks volumes.

 

How do you make people more comfortable at the dentist?

Kristi: At the start of an appointment, I always talk to my patients and assess if they have any fears about the dental visit. For example, if someone has a deadly fear of needles, I assure them that the appointment won’t include any needles, and the patient can see what equipment we’ll be using before we start actually using it. Just talking patients through what the appointment will entail can make them more at ease. We want to ensure our patients are comfortable for their entire experience, so if you’re ever uncomfortable or unsure about something, let your hygienist know!

 

Donna: The fear of dentistry is real! Dental anxiety could stem from something someone told them about the dentist or a bad experience as a kid, but we’re here to make our patients comfortable, ease them into the appointment, and talk them through their experience while they’re with us. Most often, I help talk patients through their fear. The biggest way to make our patients more comfortable is simply by talking to them.

 

Best dental product or technique you’d recommend?

Kristi: I recommend an electric toothbrush for all of our patients! An electric toothbrush tends to remove more plaque from your gums and teeth without you having to do more work. Even if you’re brushing thoroughly with a manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush covers more hard-to-reach places and does a better job overall.

 

Donna: My top recommendations are electric toothbrushes and flossing. I really like the Oral B electric toothbrush; it does so much more than a manual brush can do. Flossing might sound simple, but it does so much more for your oral health than people think it does. There are many effective dental tools available for use, but they should be used in addition to a quality electric toothbrush and daily flossing.

 

Any tips or tricks for children to have better dental routines?

Kristi: I like setting a timer on their phone or having some sort of hourglass in the bathroom for brushing their teeth. Then, as long as the timer or hourglass is going, they have to brush their teeth. You want them to brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes, and make sure they brush their teeth at least every morning and every night.

 

Donna: I always recommend to parents that when their children are old enough to sit in a tub, to give them an age-appropriate toothbrush to hold. Kids might chew on a toothbrush and get used to the feel of it in their mouth, and adapt to the feel of toothbrush in their hand.

I also like the idea of parents and children making a routine of brushing their teeth, side-by-side, together! Maybe put on a song for the duration of brushing, and really make it a positive routine for the child. It’s important not to skip a night of brushing your child’s teeth because you’re tired or heading to bed late because then it becomes easier to fall out of routine.

So my advice overall is to always start young with your children and be consistent! And don’t forget to visit the dentist sooner rather than later with your young children, especially for preventative care – don’t wait until they have a problem to go to the dentist for the first time!

 

What’s a misconception that people have about dental hygiene?

Kristi: I think a common misconception is that people see us as an elective. We’re not always treated along the same line as other careers in the medical field, and I think people tend to think of hygienists in the cosmetic side, rather than as a necessity. But being a dental hygienist is so much more than plaque and tartar being scraped off every six months – dental hygiene correlates directly to the health of your whole body, not just what’s in your mouth.

 

Donna: Some people think we’re just cleaning their teeth, but in reality, dental hygiene is truly preventative care for much larger issues they could encounter down the road. We’re doing a whole lot more than cleaning off what you can’t do with your toothbrush.

 

What’s a cool part of your job that most people don’t know about? /What do you wish people knew about your position?

Kristi: Dental hygienists are always learning! We’re required to take six hours of continuing education a year in North Carolina, that you can do online or in the classroom. I’m one of those people that would be a perpetual student if I could, so being a dental hygienist means I always get to pursue my love of learning. Outside of those six hours, I also like to read weekly updates from the Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) Magazine and Dimensions of Dental Hygiene journal.

 

Donna: I think what’s cool is really becoming engaged with the patient and their life, and their families. You develop deep relationships with people. I’ve been a hygienist here for 22 years and I’ve seen patients, watched their children grow, and experienced whole generations in this practice. We get to know our patients as real people and become part of their lives too – we’re not just working in their mouth every six months. It’s really incredible. Plus, when we get to know people and serve them for that many years, you already know their likes and dislikes when they’re in the chair and we can just work seamlessly together.

 

What’s the next big thing that makes you excited about dentistry?

Kristi: I’m really looking forward to sub-gingival air polishing! It probably doesn’t sound very cool or mean anything to people outside of dentistry, but it’s exciting because it actually goes below the gum line to remove the biofilm that hangs out under the gums and the base of the pockets.  A lot of the continuing courses I take are talking more and more about this, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to implement it soon into our own bio-film removal processes. 

 

Donna: That’s a tough question! It’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing because dentistry is always changing, and we’re constantly learning better techniques to serve our patients, and learning about new products to be more in tune with our patients’ needs. Honestly, the constant change and innovation in the field is what makes dentistry exciting to me!

 

 

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Water: The Best Beverage for Your Health

2020-06-11T13:20:37+00:00February 24th, 2020|General, Oral Health|

It is remarkable the role water plays in our lives when you stop and think about it. Hydrating ourselves has become so habitual it’s second nature to fill a glass of water and chug it down. But do you ever stop and think about the importance water plays in our lives? And as it turns out, more and more people are thinking about the importance of hydration these days, and rightly so since our bodies are made up of 60% water and it is a necessary component to our survival.

 

In a recent episode of “Man vs Wild” host and survivalist, Bear Grylls mentioned what he called “The Rule of 3s,” which is this: humans can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, three hours without shelter, and three minutes without oxygen.

One of the most famous football players to ever play the game, Tom Brady, claims to drink anywhere from 14 to 37 glasses of water a day! Of course, he is a professional athlete, and this could be highly dangerous for a non-athlete to drink this much, but Brady’s water intake is just another indication of the importance of drinking water.

Despite what we know about the important relationship we, humans, have with H20 there are still those who fail to see the necessity for regular hydration. Even those of us who do drink water every day, we are probably not drinking enough. Part of the problem is most people know water is important, but they don’t really know why. Sure, it hydrates—but what does that even mean? How much water does it take to be hydrated? And is that all water does—are there other benefits?

What role, more specifically than, “important!” does water play in our lives? In particular, what is its effect on our oral health?

 

The Basics

Here are just a few of the important things water does when we drink it:

  1. Creates Saliva. Saliva is mostly water mixed with electrolytes, enzymes, and mucus and it helps breakdown food particles and keeps your mouth healthy. By drinking water, on a regular basis, you are able to maintain the correct amounts of saliva in the mouth. As we get older, however, the amount of saliva in our mouths begins to reduce, which is all the more reason to drink water—even more of it as we get older.
  2. Regulates Body Temperature. When we get hot, either from weather conditions or physical excursion, our bodies begin to sweat as a method of cooling the body temperature down. The sweat produced is from the water in our bodies, and if we do not replenish that water we become dehydrated. This is why it’s so important to drink plenty of water when you find yourself sweating.
  3. Helps Protect Your Body. Water actually lubricates your cushions your joints, spinal cord, and body tissues. This, in turn, helps to keep your body young and spry and helps keep you from becoming injured during physical activity.
  4. Aids in Ridding Your Body of Waste. Our bodies need water in order to sweat, urinate, and have bowel movements. By drinking plenty of water, your kidneys are better able to break down waste so that it can be properly excreted.
  5. Allows for Maximum Physical Performance. While performing in physical activity, it is common for the body to perspire up to six to ten percent of body weight. Drinking water during these times keeps your body regulated. Water also keeps up your strength and endurance while performing.

Exercising without hydrating can be fatal. Blood pressure can decrease, hyperthermia can set in, and in extreme cases, extreme dehydration can cause seizures.

  1. Keeps You Regular. A healthy intake of fiber helps prevent constipation, but drinking plenty of water is important as well. Bowel movements need to contain a certain amount of water in order for the movement to work successfully (that is, ridding your body of waste left over from what has been taken in). Without enough H20, constipation can set in.

*(Tip: if you are experiencing constipation, drinking carbonated water can help.)

  1. Aids in Digestion. Experts have recently confirmed that drinking water before, during, and after a meal will help your body break down food more easily, which helps your body successfully pull out the most nutrients.
  2. Helps You Lose Weight. Studies show that, particularly for young girls and women, drinking plenty of water helps the body rid itself of extra fat cells. So drinking water while dieting is even more powerful, which is why it’s so important to have a glass of water before, during, and after every meal—even if that meal is a healthy one.

 

The list of benefits to staying hydrated goes on and on, and as experts pay more attention to the effects of water on our health, even more revelations come to light. Let’s take a closer look at the effects water has on our teeth.

 

Water and Your Teeth

Drinking water, on a regular basis, actually strengthens your teeth. What’s more, drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities (but more on fluoride in a bit).

By keeping your mouth hydrated, you are able to strengthen the teeth by keeping them clean and clear from leftover food particles, which can cause decay and disease. Water will also wash away excess sugar left over from meals or drinks. This sugar, when left in the mouth, can combine with other chemicals to create a dangerous acid that eats away at the enamel on your teeth. But a quick glass of water can keep this from happening—remember, water before, during, and after each meal!

The same goes for the gums inside your mouth as well. Food and the chemicals from the food we eat love to attach themselves to our gums. This is why it’s a good idea to swish the water around in your mouth when you drink, especially after meals.

 

 

Fluoride: A Dangerous Chemical, or A helpful Agent?

It’s tasteless, odorless, and it prevents tooth decay—it even has whitening agents to help keep your smile nice and bright. So why would anyone want to remove fluoride from water? Well, ever since the mass introduction of fluoride into our pubic water systems back in the 1940s, there just hasn’t been much hubbub about it. Sure, there have been the naysayers since the beginning, but they never got loud enough to cause any real question. But now, in 2020, new findings are being revealed about the effects of fluoride, and the information coming to light may be worth your time.

What really seems to have gotten people to start questioning the benefits of fluoride is the popularity of home water filtration systems. People are becoming much smarter about their health these days, and the foundation for any healthy human being is a pure water source. At the same time we want to keep healthy, we also want to reduce our use of plastics, which has caused many to look elsewhere for freshwater, besides buying plastic bottles every week.

 

What Studies Show Us About Fluoride

According to the Harvard Public Health Magazine, a study done shows that fluoride does indeed help prevent tooth decay from children; however, there was absolutely no evidence that it had any positive effects on adults. The study also indicated that the research done back when fluoride was first introduced (the 1940s) is quite flawed, which indicates we don’t have clear evidence for the overall effectiveness of this (natural) chemical added to our water.

The Harvard article goes on to question that just because we have superficial evidence of fluoride helping to prevent tooth decay and cavities—for youngsters, at least—why are we drinking it? By ingesting fluoride we are allowing it into our bloodstreams, our brains! We are, and have been for some time, drinking a chemical of which we do not know everything about. Could there be negative side effects we’ve been living with for years?

 

The Good and the Bad

The truth is we just don’t know enough about the effects of fluoride—which does seem a bit ridiculous, as we have been incorporating it into our diets for decades. But, we can give a quick breakdown of what we do know. Here’s what is good about using fluoride:

  • As mentioned above, it has been proven to help prevent tooth decay.
  • It protects from cavities.
  • Even though we do not know a lot about the effects of fluoride, in the past seventy years of its implementation, it has been endorsed by numerous U.S. Surgeons General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • It saves money and trips to the dentist.
  • Fluoride, in and of itself, is a natural chemical found in groundwater and the ocean.

 

Now, here’s the bad:

  • Excessive intake can cause Dental Fluorosis. This can visibly show as white spots on the teeth, or in more serious cases, as brown spots that can weaken the teeth.
  • Ingesting excess amounts of fluoride can also cause skeletal Fluorosis. This type of fluorosis is actually a bone disease created by an accumulation of fluoride in the bone and is known to be very painful.
  • In some cases, taking in excess amounts of fluoride has caused major thyroid problems.

 

The Result

Research on the effects of fluoride seems to be a bit shaky. But even though reports conflict—some say it’s useful for children but of no use for adults, while others say it’s good for all—Carolina’s Dental Choice does have some advice for you:

  1. Don’t overdo it. If you have fluoride in your water, maybe get toothpaste that doesn’t have it.
  2. Try incorporating fluoride-free water into your diet as a change and see if you notice any differences.
  3. Since this is a topic growing in popularity, it’s a good idea to keep up on what research has been, and continues to be, done.
  4. See your dentist. The most important thing to do is see a professional who can look at your teeth and their reaction with fluoride and then advise on what to do moving forward.

 

If you have any questions regarding your water intake, or the effects fluoride is having on your oral health, don’t hesitate to contact us at Carolina’s Dental Choice. And in the meantime, keep drinking water!

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Warning: Teething Jewelry May Pose Significant Risk

2020-07-16T16:58:35+00:00December 27th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, Children's Health, Dental Trends, Oral Health|

You may have seen it advertised in women’s magazines or on parenting blogs, cute jewelry marketed as a way for moms to look stylish while caring for a teething tot. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning that the jewelry may present a serious choking hazard or strangulation risk.

what age and order do baby teeth come in

“Teething jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry that can be worn by either an adult or child, and is often marketed to relieve an infant’s teething pain,” states the FDA’s safety warning. “The beads of the jewelry may be made with various materials such as amber, wood, marble, or silicone. Jewelry marketed for teething pain is not the same as teething rings or teethers, which are made of hard plastic or rubber, and are not worn by an adult or child.”

The American Dental Association has joined the FDA in cautioning parents and caregivers that the jewelry has not been proven safe or effective. The FDA received a report of a 7-month-old child who choked on the beats of a wooden teething bracelet while under parental supervision. An 18-month-old child strangled to death when his amber teething necklace became wrapped around his neck during a nap.

“Teething jewelry may also be used by people with special needs, such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to provide sensory stimulation or redirect chewing on clothes or body parts,” the FDA safety warning also states.

The jewelry poses similar risks of choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth, and infection for these people.

Instead of using teething jewelry to treat teething pain, parents and caregivers should adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations. Teething typically begins between ages 4 to 7 months and may cause mild irritability, crying, a low-grade fever, excessive drooling, and a tendency to chew on things.

  • Try gently rubbing or massaging the gums with one of your fingers, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad
  • Teething rings are helpful, too, but they should be made of firm rubber. Teethers that are to be frozen tend to get too hard and can cause more harm than good. Never allow an infant to use a teether that is frozen solid. Either simply chill them in the refrigerator or allow them to thaw to the point you can easily squeeze the contents around. Be warned that liquid-filled rings or other objects may crack and leak.
  • Pain relievers and topical medications applied to the gums are not necessary or useful since they wash out of a baby’s mouth within minutes.
  • Stay away from teething tablets that contain the plant poison belladonna and gels with benzocaine. Belladonna and benzocaine are marketed to numb your child’s pain, but the FDA has issued warnings against both due to potential side effects.
  • If your child seems particularly miserable or has a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), it’s most likely not a result of teething pain. Consult your pediatrician.
  • When your child’s baby teeth have begun to come in, gently brush them with a soft child’s toothbrush. To prevent cavities, never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, either at nap time or at night. By avoiding this situation, you’ll keep milk from pooling around the teeth and creating a breeding ground for decay.

Baby teeth are important to your child’s health because they form the foundation for chewing, speaking, and smiling. If a baby tooth is lost too early, permanent teeth can drift into the empty space, making it harder for other adult teeth to erupt. This process contributes to crooked and crowded teeth in later years.

Your child’s first dental visit should come after their first baby tooth has emerged but before their first birthday.

 

 

If you have questions about your child’s oral health, contact Carolina’s Dental Choice so that we can help you address any concerns. Visit us at carolinasdentalchoice.com to schedule an appointment or call us at 704.289.9519.

 

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Gifts to Make Them Smile | Holiday Gift Guide

2020-07-16T16:58:42+00:00December 15th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, Teeth Whitening|

stocking stuffer santa dentistPerhaps when you were younger, Santa stuffed your Christmas stocking full of chocolate coins and peppermint twists — and a new toothbrush to remind you not to let all that candy rot your teeth. Santa’s always been a smart guy.

Whether Dasher, and Dancer, and Donner and friends will deliver dental care to your door this holiday season, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to help you give the gift of dental health this year. We’ve put together a list that includes something for everyone.

PRESENTS WITH A PURPOSE

Do you have a co-worker that likes to travel or travels a lot for work? Consider travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and other small packables (like shampoos) and put them together in an attractive travel bag. Tuck in a small first-aid kit, sewing kit, shower cap, earplugs and other travel must-haves or comfort items. Travel items are also great for anyone planning a get-away. Combine the above items with a travel journal, pen, or guide book.

Got a college kid? Put together a semester’s worth of dental supplies including a toothbrush in their favorite or school colors, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, breath mints, single use travel brushes for those late nights in the library in a reusable tote.

And if you’ve got a sports fan, use the same idea but customize it for the team. You can find a Carolina Panthers toothbrush and partner it with a black, blue and silver toothbrush holder or rinse cup. Or consider a Charlotte Hornets toothbrush with a purple or teal hand towel.

Kids can benefit from the same kind of package featuring their favorite characters like Spider-ManHello KittyStar Wars, and The Secret Life of Pets.

Dental insurance for a year would make a wonderful gift for someone who might need an extra hand with expenses in the short-term, a student, or someone waiting for benefits with a new employer. Many options can be found online with different levels of coverage, so check carefully before signing up. In North Carolina, options include: Blue Cross Blue Shield NCAflacHumana, and United Health Care. Low-income children in North Carolina who do not qualify for Medicaid may be able to obtain health and dental insurance through the North Carolina Health Choice Health Insurance Program for Children.

MAKE IT HOMEMADE

Do you have a small child on your list who has not yet lost their first tooth? Sew up a customized Tooth Fairy Pillow with a little pocket in it for the tooth (and later the money)!

teeth cookie cutters dentistNot crafty? No worries! The artists of Etsy have you covered. There is a wide selection of dental-themed gifts available, sure to initiate grins from lots on your list like personalized tooth ornaments, tooth-shaped earrings and charms, tooth-shaped soap, wall art, and even a Tooth Fairy wand (should she need a hand during busy season). Meanwhile, Shutterfly can help you put together a customized mug or calendar or mousepad featuring photos of all your family members’ smiles.

If you’re a baker, there are tooth-shaped cookie cutters perfect for whipping up a batch of cookies for your dental office or dental student.

BE PRESENT

So many times we focus on giving things, but things may not be what a person actually needs. Instead hands-on help would be most appreciated! Whether that person is elderly, has mobility issues, or is a new parent, consider being present as a present.

Make a “gift card” for a homemade dinner once a month throughout the year. Whether you invite the recipient over — which also provides social support — or take a casserole over to their house, you’re giving more than just food.

Offer to drive. Making it to appointments can be a hassle without transportation. Talk about coordinating so that you can give your lunch hour to help someone get to the doctor, dentist, or even just run errands.

Lend a hand. Little things like taking out the trash each week, raking leaves, mopping the floor, or walking the dog are great ways to help someone mark a chore off the list. Maybe you have a skill that could be useful like repairing a porch railing, painting the bathroom, or organizing, but always make the effort to learn what kind of help a person needs.

EXPLORE DENTAL HISTORY

Books are a great gift and there are many available with a take on teeth. For the beginning reader, “I Lost My Tooth” by Mo Willems features an ensemble cast of squirrels and “The Tooth Fairy” with Peppa Pig both help explain the process of losing and regrowing teeth. Adult readers with an interest in non-fiction will find the “The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine” by Thomas Morris a fascinating jaunt through the things we’ve done to the human body in what’s described as a “wryly humorous collection of stories about bizarre medical treatments and cases offers a unique portrait of a bygone era in all its jaw-dropping weirdness.” And keeping with the science theme, “Evolution’s Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins” by paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar studies human evolution and climate change through the records stored in fossilized teeth.

Surprise your family with a vacation to Baltimore, Maryland! The world’s first dental school was founded there in 1840 by Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris. The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (which later merged with the University of Maryland) taught generations of dentists. You can visit the National Museum of Dentistry located on the campus and explore dozens of exhibits featuring some of the objects from their 40,000-piece collection.

Vintage dental tools can make for a wonderful (if not quite unusual) conversation starter. Forceps, pelicans and toothkeys were commonplace in by-gone dental offices and some were made by blacksmiths. Many pelicans, aptly named for their shape, are made of silver and have hallmarks from a variety of countries, including England and France. Old dental chairs and equipment can be found at local antique shops and online as well as old dental advertising for products or services. In the early days, the local barber doubled as the neighborhood dentist!

DESIGNER GIFTS FOR DESIGNER SMILES

Rhythm is Love (Ylang Ylang + Mint) Organic Toothpaste, made in France, is a collaboration between dental and artistic professionals. Uniquely flavored with ylang ylang, yuzu, and mint, the toothpaaste is sure to add a flavor and flair to anyone’s brushing routine.lebon mint toothpaste designer

Twice Early Bird and Twilight Toothpaste is a morning and night duo lights. The Early Bird formula is wintergreen and peppermint, and the Twilight blend combines lavender and mint for a relaxing finish to a long day.

The Burst Sonic Toothbrush is a powerful electric toothbrush with charcoal bristles that sonically vibrate 66,000 times in two minutes to get teeth super clean. It also features a quadpacer that will gently buzz every 30 seconds to ensure that every area of the mouth gets equal attention.

Minimalist, metallic and cool, the electric toothbrushes from Quip were one of the first approved by the American Dental Association. Compact and lightweight, the design looks and works great. Quip brushes suction cup to surfaces like mirrors or counter tops and are shower safe! 

Cocofloss bills itself as freshening, whitening, and soothing this colorful alternative to traditional floss adds a colorful and fun twist to the flossing routine. The 9-piece Floss Fanatic Set is available in a variety of flavors including coco, vanilla, mint, strawberry, and orange.

An electronic UV toothbrush sanitizer from Pursonic protects your toothbrush from germs and bacteria floating around and uses ozone and photo catalyst technology to kill germs and bacteria left behind.

Steripod makes an easy to use toothbrush protector great for home or travel as well as a razor protector and tongue scraper. The protective pods are designed to prevent cross-contamination like beard whiskers in toothbrush bristles.

Dental care can be part of a luxurious self care routine with a whitening treatment followed by a massage, manicure, and facial. Carolinas Dental Choice offers Opalescence whitening products to brighten your smile!

SOMETHING SWEET

Giving something sweet to eat seems like a holiday tradition. If you’re shopping for someone with braces or orthodontic work, avoid these foods in order to protect their teeth: popcorn, nuts, hard candy, caramel, pretzels, and peanut brittle. Foods that are good for teeth are whole grains, fruits, lean meats, and vegetables. Sugar-free gum and candies are great options. And get creative when putting together a basket of goodies. Don’t forget treats for all family members! Pick up some dental chews for Fido or tartar cleaning snacks for Fluffy too.

If you’re looking for another way to recognize a caregiver such as a dental professional or nurse, think about things that will help them care for themselves. Massages, pedicures, manicures, a trip to the salt cave, compression socks, aromatherapy treatments, and meal delivery kits are great ways to support those whose job is to focus on others.

GIFT BY GIVING

For the person who has everything, consider making a donation to a dental organization such as Operation SmileDental Lifeline, the American Dental Association initiative Give Kids a Smile, or America’s Dentists Care Foundation’s Missions of Mercy. Helping others guarantees a smile. You can also ask your dental practice how they are involved with the community and support their individual efforts.

Everyone at Carolinas Dental Choice wishes you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. Are your regular cleanings scheduled for 2019?

 

reindeer teeth gift guide

 

Did you know?

Reindeer only have front teeth on their bottom jaws! Reindeer have what’s called a dental plate or pad, which is a somewhat like an extra strong gum. Their premolar and molar teeth are made for grinding grass, hay, moss and lichen, and are very similar to those of other grass-eating animals such as cows and horses. Reindeer have 34 teeth total, compared to 32 teeth in people.

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Diabetes & Dental Health

2020-07-16T17:22:42+00:00November 27th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, General, Oral Health, Teeth Cleaning|

One in 10 Americans — or more than 30 million people — have diabetes, according to the Office of Disease Prevent and Health Promotion (healthfinder.gov). People with diabetes have an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums. These bacteria are what cause periodontal disease, a chronic, inflammatory condition that can destroy your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth, and even your bones. The American Dental Association states that periodontal disease is the most common dental disease among those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22 percent of those diagnosed. In fact, one in five cases of total tooth loss is related to diabetes. 

Dental complications due to diabetes also include oral burning — a burning sensation inside the mouth that may include a bitter taste and dry mouth that is caused by uncontrolled blood glucose levels — and thrush — the growth of a naturally occurring fungus that the body is unable to control and may cause sore, white — or sometimes red — patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks, or the roof of your mouth.

November is American Diabetes Month, and Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to help you ensure that your efforts to manage the condition include your oral health.

Even if you don’t have diabetes now, that doesn’t mean that you never will. Or, if you’re not someone who regularly goes to the doctor, you could even have diabetes and not know it yet. Approximately 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year — and 8.1 million people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it. Another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

HOW DIABETES WORKS

There are common misconceptions about diabetes. Diabetes is not simply caused by eating too much sugar. It is not a disease only seen in people who are overweight.

Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas, a gland situated behind and below the stomach, does not properly produce the hormone insulin. What is supposed to happen is that when you eat food that food is digested in the stomach and broken down and converted into glucose, a type of sugar. That sugar is required for your body to function. The stomach and small intestines absorb the glucose and then release it into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, glucose can be used immediately for energy or stored in our bodies, to be used later. However, in order to store the glucose for later, the body must have insulin. Think of it almost as if food is like going to work, cash is glucose, and your savings account and ability to retire is insulin. Without the savings account, all the cash gets spent!

HOW DIABETES DEVELOPS

It is thought a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors cause type 1 diabetes though exactly what those factors are is still unclear. What’s known is that in type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks and destroys your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving you with little or no insulin. Consequently, diabetes can be thought of as an autoimmune disease. You may be familiar with other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, or lupus.

It’s believed that genetic and environmental factors also play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes — although being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. 

RISK FACTORS FOR DIABETES

The Mayo Clinic outlines certain risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Weight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Family history. Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including black people, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are at higher risk.
  • Age. Your risk increases as you get older. This may be because you tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as you age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing among children, adolescents and younger adults.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you’re also at risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.
  • High blood pressure. Having blood pressure over 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood. People with high levels of triglycerides have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can let you know what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are.

SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES

According to the Mayo Clinic, Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it’s more common in people older than 40.

Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections

In addition to gum infections, you can look for other symptoms to show up in your mouth, if diabetes is left untreated, explains the American Dental Association.

  • You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.
  • Because saliva protects your teeth, you’re also at a higher risk of cavities.
  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often, which is called gingivitis.
  • You may have problems tasting food.
  • You may experience delayed wound healing (such as when you bite the inside of your cheek or have a tooth pulled).
  • You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.

Note that dry mouth isn’t just an annoyance. It can impact your oral health. Certain medications and other conditions can cause dry mouth, but symptoms include:

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Cracked lips
  • A dry, rough tongue
  • Mouth sores
  • An infection in the mouth
  • Bad breath

EFFECTS OF DIABETES

Most people have felt the short term effects of their blood sugar getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) such as when eating too much, being sick, experiencing a lot of stress, exercising too much, or not eating enough.

Early hyperglycemia may result in frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches. More severe hyperglycemia may include nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain.

Mild hypoglycemia can make you feel hungry or like you want to vomit. You could also feel jittery or nervous. Your heart may beat fast. You may sweat. Or your skin might turn cold and clammy. Moderate hypoglycemia often makes people feel short-tempered, nervous, afraid, or confused. Your vision may blur. You could also feel unsteady or have trouble walking. Severe hypoglycemia can cause you to pass out. You could have seizures. It could even cause a coma or death. If you’ve had hypoglycemia during the night, you may wake up tired or with a headache. And you may have nightmares. Or you may sweat so much during the night that your pajamas or sheets are damp when you wake up.

With diabetes it is not simply a matter of a person having only too much or only too little blood sugar, its that the body can not regulate blood sugar levels. Wild swings in blood sugar can have profound physical effects.

  • Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.
    Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage (retinopathy). Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none has yet been proved.
  • Depression. Depression symptoms are common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Depression can affect diabetes management.

MANAGING & PREVENTING DIABETES

For a person with diabetes, the main focus of treatment is to control the amount of glucose in the body so that blood sugar levels stay as close to normal as possible.

Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented. However, healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

  • Lose weight if you are overweight, and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your current weight.1 For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose about 10 to 14 pounds.
  • Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, at least 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional about which activities are best. Start slowly and build up to your goal.
  • Eat healthy foods. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

For tips on living with diabetes and caring for your oral health, you can also download tips from the National Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Research:

Talk to your dental hygienist and dentist at Carolina’s Dental Choice, if you have diabetes or have been experiencing any of the oral symptoms of diabetes such as dry mouth, gingivitis, or trouble tasting food. We can make recommendations to help you best manage your oral health now and in the future.

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