Oral health issues that may arise with age

by MikeMeehan 9/13/2018 2:09 PM

As you age, your body can experience shifts in health that affect your mouth in ways you might not expect. In honor of Healthy Aging Month, take a look at two conditions people may encounter with age that can affect their oral health – Sjögren’s syndrome and bone loss. Sjögren’s syndrome People age 40 and older can develop a chronic autoimmune condition called Sjögren’s syndrome. Currently, as many as 4 million Americans are living with Sjögren’s. While experiences with the disease vary widely, some of its symptoms include difficulty talking, chewing or swallowing; a sore or cracked tongue; a dry or burning throat; dry or peeling lips; and severe fatigue.  One symptom that’s shared to some degree among almost every person with Sjögren’s, however, is dry mouth. Without adequate levels of saliva to help remove mouth debris, your teeth become increasingly vulnerable to decay. Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the effects such as taking frequent drinks of water, reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, avoiding tobacco and limiting the number of carbonated beverages you drink. Additionally, chewing sugar-free gum, using artificial saliva and trying an oral rinse may help.  Bone loss As you age, you become increasingly vulnerable to bone loss. One of the more common causes is osteoporosis, which causes bone density to decrease. In the United States alone, over 53 million people already have osteoporosis or are at high risk for developing it. Women are especially susceptible to bone loss, since many experience lower estrogen levels after menopause. What does all this have to do with your smile? When your jaw bones lose density, you become more susceptible to loose teeth and tooth loss. It can also cause your gums to recede, leaving more of your tooth exposed and susceptible to tooth decay.  With these threats to your oral and overall health, it’s important to take proactive measures to stay in control. Calcium and vitamin D are both critical to preventing bone loss. It can also help to avoid smoking, limit alcohol consumption and engage in regular weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight training. Work with your dentist to prevent bone loss or to treat it if you’ve already begun experiencing symptoms.  By staying vigilant and working with your dentist and physician, you can help ease the effects of Sjögren’s syndrome and bone loss.

How dental benefits improve employees’ well-being

by MikeMeehan 5/25/2018 11:36 AM

Offering a dental plan to your employees isn’t just about oral health. Dental benefits have been shown to improve both oral health and overall well-being. Dental coverage emphasizes preventive care Americans lose more than 164 million hours of work every year due to dental disease. But dental coverage can go a long way toward helping employees avoid oral health problems that require them to call in sick. Preventive care, like regular dental exams and cleanings, is typically fully covered under most dental plans including many of those available from Delta Dental.  Adults with dental coverage are 73 percent more likely than those without to visit the dentist at least once a year. By visiting the dentist regularly, employees can address dental issues right away – before they become costly, painful problems that lead to time away from the office.  Oral health is linked to overall well-beingPeople who keep annual dental appointments are more likely to report good oral health. Those who rate their oral health as good tend to also give their overall well-being a good or better rating.  When it comes to physical health, regular dental visits can help with early disease detection. According to the book, “Oral Diagnosis, Oral Medicine and Treatment Planning,” signs and symptoms of over 120 diseases appear in the mouth including diabetes and heart disease. Catching these diseases early can mean higher chances of effective treatment and less medical costs down the road. And last, but definitely not least, dentists may screen for oral cancer during routine checkups, which can dramatically aid in early detection and successful treatment.  Oral health is linked to successGood oral health touches multiple areas of our lives like speaking, smiling, eating, expressing emotions and more. Without it, people can feel uncomfortable smiling and expressing themselves fully. They may even experience anxiety about their oral health that can make everyday life more stressful.  By feeling confident in their smile and satisfied with their oral health, employees can focus their attention on what matters most.  

Men Need to Visit the Dentist More, Survey Finds

by MikeMeehan 6/14/2017 9:42 AM

Statistics show men need to visit the dentist more. There are some strong indicators that show we need to encourage our fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friends to take better care of their oral health. Recent noteworthy stats June is Men’s Health Month, and oral health is an important part of overall health. According to the 2017 Delta Dental Adult Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, men need to focus more on their oral health. Here are some of statistics from the recent survey: Only 63% of men visit the dentist at least once a year Only 69% of men brush their teeth the recommended twice a day 59% of men skip a brushing session at least once a month In the same survey, 69% of respondents noted that a smile is most important for a first impression whether at work, on a date, or other circumstances. It seems we all value a bright smile, and it’s a good reason to keep your oral health a priority. Periodontal disease, a specific concern Other studies have shown that men are more likely than women to develop periodontal (gum) disease. For example, 56.4% of men develop gum disease compared to 38.4% of women. Periodontal disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health factors, so this is another alert to men. Watch for signs of gum disease such as swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums. There is another specific concern for men if they’re taking heart or blood pressure medication. These medications can cause a condition called dry mouth. With a lack of saliva, the risk of cavities increases. Some recommendations to combat dry mouth are increasing water intake, and avoiding salty foods, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks. Some standard tips for oral health The choices and habits of some men can put them at a greater risk of oral health problems. Here are some standard dental health tips as a reminder, not just for men, for everyone: Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day – It’s essential to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Visit the dentist – During your visit, get screened for gum disease and oral cancer. Choose healthier foods – Choosing fruits and veggies instead of pretzels and chips will not only help your overall health, it will prevent cavities from those foods that are high in carbs and sugar. Don’t use your teeth as a tool – This is often the reason behind dental injuries. Use your hand and arm strength to open those bottles and bags. No more tobacco – Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women. Gum disease, lost teeth, stained teeth and bad breath are some other possible impacts of using tobacco and tobacco products. Use these examples when you encourage a person (like your dad) to quit. On Father’s Day this Sunday, check in with your dad and make sure he is visiting the dentist. A new electronic toothbrush with a supply of dental floss would be a useful and considerate gift. Most importantly, tell him you care about him. That alone could be enough motivation for him to visit the dentist and pay more attention to his oral health.

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