WHEN WE THINK of being healthy, how much are we thinking about oral health? Just because we go to our dentists for oral health concerns and physicians for overall health concerns, it doesn’t mean there’s no connection between the two.
The Mouth Is the Bridge Between Body and World
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the mouth is definitely the gateway to the body. What we eat affects our health, as well as other mouth-related habits like smoking or nail-biting, and problems in overall health may show their first obvious symptoms in the teeth and especially the gums. It’s easier to maintain good overall health by maintaining good oral health, and vice versa.
Gum Disease and Chronic Diseases
A recent CDC report provides the following data related to prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.: 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. In its early stage, gingivitis, it’s the result of plaque building up and irritating the gums, causing swelling, tenderness, and infection. Over time, gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis, which weakens the support structures around the teeth. Studies have suggested a link between gum disease and a number of chronic conditions.
Nearly a quarter of diabetics also have gum disease. Diabetes makes it more difficult for the body to fight off harmful bacteria, which makes it easier to develop gum disease and harder to keep it under control. Gum disease, in turn, can make it harder to control blood sugar levels and manage diabetes.
Researchers have found that men with gum disease are 30% more likely to develop blood cancers, 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, and 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. Cancer treatments themselves can have an impact on oral health as well. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can have side effects like dry mouth, sensitive gums, sores in the mouth, and jaw and facial pain.
The reasons for this are not yet clear, but heart disease and gum disease have a tendency to go hand in hand. As many as nine in every ten people with heart disease also have gum disease. One theory is that inflammation is the link between these two conditions.
Beyond these types of conditions, gum disease is also linked to osteoporosis, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain lung conditions, and even stroke. Gum disease in pregnant women is also linked to preterm births and low birth weights.
Healthy Mouth, Healthier Body
All these connections between gum disease and chronic diseases can seem scary, but gum disease is preventable when we maintain good daily habits like brushing for two full minutes twice a day and flossing daily. Just as important is scheduling regular dental appointments and keeping the dentist up-to-date on our medical histories!
Thank you to all the patients who support our practice!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
If you are having a dental emergency or pain we are here to help you. Our office will remain OPEN unless ordered to close by the Federal, State, or Local Government.
Currently the Connecticut State Dental Association has recommended that Connecticut Dentists postpone elective and routine care until MAY 20, 2020.
The recommendations from the CDC, the ADA, and the Connecticut State Dental Association and the CTDHP, recommend only treating emergencies or urgent care. Practices are encouraged to exceed standard infection control procedures and implement policies to minimize patients’ time and possible contact in the waiting room.
Please Review our Office Protocols Effective Immediately
*ALL Healthy Hygiene appointments will be postponed Until after June 1, 2020
During this time, Stony Hill Dental Care is fully committed to keeping you informed and up-to-date regarding your safe care in our practice as the COVID-19 situation evolves. We recognize the uncertainty this global health issue is creating and the decisions we are making heavily rely on the guidance received from the CDC and the Connecticut Department of Health. We intend to protect the local Stony Hill patient community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations for dental office infection control. Dr. Kostrzewski and the team at Stony Hill Dental Care are always focused on your safety and work hard to prevent the spread of infection, which is why we have consistently practiced under the strict guidelines of “universal precautions” – assuming every patient is infected with the most aggressive disease possible – since our inception.
What does all of this mean on a day to day basis? Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, dental light, drawer handles, keyboard, mouse and countertops, have been meticulously cleaned and disinfected. Even pens, pencils or other such items are disinfected between patients. We routinely drape chairs and other surfaces with plastic coverings, which are replaced after each patient.
Non-disposable items such as dental instruments are always cleaned and sterilized between patients and undergo a strict protocol, in sync with the rigid principles of universal precautions. Disposable dental instruments and needles are never reused. Infection control precautions also require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, masks, gowns, and eyewear when needed. After each patient, disposable gloves and masks are thrown away. Before seeing the next patient, everyone in the treatment team washes their hands and puts on a new pair of gloves. If they plan to leave the treatment room for any reason, they remove their gloves and dispose of them immediately within the room.
What about the new Coronavirus?
With so many news stories, it’s understandable to be concerned about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Please know that the precautions our team already takes every day to prevent the spread of infection in our practice also help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, to step up our game during these extremely challenging times we want to share our recently established guidelines.
We want to thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented time. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office and we will be happy to discuss further.
In summary, if you are ill with flu-like symptoms, you should reschedule your appointment.
If you or someone you are in close contact with have recently traveled to one of the countries with large outbreaks of COVID-19 (China, Italy, Iran, South Korea) or if you have been exposed to someone else who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or who was quarantined as a precaution, wait 14 days until you come to Stony Hill Dental Care to make sure you have not caught the coronavirus.
It’s important to know that the majority of people infected with the coronavirus experience flu-like symptoms and then recover. Most people do not develop serious respiratory complications.
Those most at risk of becoming seriously ill are elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, among others. Children, thus far, have been largely unaffected.
Here are a few things that you may already be aware of that you can do on your own to help keep yourself and those around you healthy:
Bethel, Connecticut – The “Halloween Candy Buy Back” Benefits Children and Supports the Troops
One area dentist is redefining the phrase “put your money where your mouth is.” This Halloween, trick-or-treaters can bring their excess candy to Stony Hill Dental Care and receive $1 per pound. Dr. Walter Kostrzewski has joined the movement to reduce sugar loaded holiday consumption and consequences by giving away dollars, toothbrushes and local favors and everyone is loving it.
“We are holding a fun event that offers a great option for families who are struggling with the thought of their kids eating excessive amounts of candy! Of course we also get a chance to remind kids that visiting your dentist twice a year and brushing daily are great preventative measures, says “Dr. K” from Stony Hill Dental Care of Bethel, Connecticut. Kids can still have all of the fun of trick-or-treating, and now their piggy banks will benefit as well. This practice has chosen to participate in a national event that is taking place all over the country. It’s called the Halloween Candy Buy Back and it’s been a lifesaver for parents who want to limit the amount of damage that can be done to their children’s teeth.
Global sugar consumption for kids increases by about 2% annually and currently sits at 50 million tons per year, which means parents need to be sure their kids teeth are being cared for more than ever. Candy, as well as hurting children’s teeth, can lead to hyperactivity and weight gain. In some cases, the wrong types of candy can also lead to broken and damaged teeth and braces.
Candy will be collected at Stony Hill Dental, November 4th the first Monday after Halloween from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. The candy will then be shipped to troops overseas with care packages and thank you notes. Each child is eligible to receive $1 per pound up to ten (10) pounds for all unopened, uneaten candy. Plus, we will provide paper and writing utensils for anyone that would like to create a morale boosting letter for our service members.
“Dr. K” works hard to raise public awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and great dental hygiene. Stony Hill Dental Care offers affordable and convenient dental care. “Dr. K” is available to provide more information at 203-858-6418, or visit www.stonyhilldental.com.