Diabetes pen nib pointing to the words in the dictionary, shot with very shallow depth of field,

Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes can cause serious tooth and gum problems. 

Diabetes affects 1 in 10 people in the United States and can lead to vision loss, kidney damage, high blood pressure and problems with feet and hands. People with diabetes are also far more at risk for periodontal disease than the general population, and experience almost 3 times the rate of tooth and gum problems. Research suggests that diabetes is the primary systemic risk factor for periodontal disease.

People with diabetes are often aware of the importance of podiatric (foot) and opthalmic (vision) screenings, but many do not realize the two-way relationship between oral health and diabetes. Tooth loss, for example, is up to two times more frequent in people with diabetes than non-diabetics. Periodontal disease can affect insulin sensitivity, lead to unhealthy blood sugar levels and damage the bone and gum that hold your teeth in place.

So if you have diabetes, paying special attention to your oral health can not only improve your quality of life and overall health, but it can also save you money. Statistics show that receiving dental care reduces average medical costs by about $2800 per year.

Dental Tips for People with Diabetes

The good news is that you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. By following our simple tips, you can help prevent some serious problems in your mouth.

  1. Take control of your blood glucose. Develop a healthy eating plan and get regular exercise if you’re able. Try to eat consistently. Focus your attention on carbs, portion control, and eating lots of fiber and non-starchy vegetables.
  2. Brush, floss, rinse and chew. We call these the Daily 4. Brush your teeth for two minutes two times daily. Floss your teeth before bed. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after meals. And chew gum to help your mouth produce helpful bacteria that attack plaque.
  3. Visit your dentist for routine checkups. Consider all the medical professionals in your life a kind of health management team. Start a conversation with your dentist about your diabetes and any symptoms you’re experiencing. Speak with your doctor about your oral health. Remember that health is holistic and there are many connections between your oral health and the rest of your body.
  4. Quit smoking. You can watch one of those ads here.If you’re still smoking, it’s time to stop. We know it’s difficult, but the evidence against smoking is inarguable. In fact, a federal court has ordered all major tobacco companies to begin running advertising over the next year that admits they made cigarettes more addictive and lied about the health risks associated with smoking.
  5. Talk with a diabetes educator. If you’re worried you’re not doing the best you can to manage your diabetes, you might want to consider meeting with a diabetes educator. As a member of your healthcare team, a diabetes educator makes managing your diabetes easier. They work with you to develop a plan to stay healthy, and give you the tools and ongoing support to make that plan a regular part of your life. You can find a diabetes educator near you at diabeteseducator.org.

Symptoms of Gum Disease, Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Since gum disease is often painless, you may not even know you have it until it becomes serious.

So if you have diabetes and want to monitor your oral health for the best results, watch out for the following symptoms. If you think you are experiencing any of these, schedule a conversation with your dentist to evaluate your gum health. Your problems may only be minor, but

  1. Swollen or tender gums
  2. Gums that easily bleed while brushing and flossing
  3. Receding gum line
  4. Difficulty chewing
  5. Chronic bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  6. A buildup of pus between teeth and gums
  7. Loose teeth or teeth that are drifting apart

 
Taking control of your oral health can help you manage or prevent diabetes. In addition to following our tips, regular conversations with your dentist about your overall health and symptoms can help them provide the best care for your future. If you’re diabetic or experiencing any of these symptoms, we’re always just a phone call away!

Blue heart painted on blank background with thick strokes

We Love Dental Hygiene

Every year for National Dental Hygiene Month, dentists around the country remind their patients to floss and post a bunch of boring tips on social media. Rather than contributing to the noise, we decided to focus on our dental hygienists. After all, they’re the dental hygiene experts!

We asked our hygienists to share something about themselves that makes them unique. And a few people surprised us with their responses! We have a part-time psychic, a dog hygienist, a few world travelers and even someone who races motorbikes!

Read all about our hygienists below. And if you’d like to meet any of them, give us a call to make an appointment today!

 

Heather #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Heather

I have been a dental hygienist for 16 years. Aside from dentistry and caring for my patients’ oral health, my other passions include traveling the world and learning about therapeutic massage. This photo was from a trip to Thailand where I had the opportunity to not only experience a very beautiful part of the world, but also study Thai massage.

 

Amanda #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Amanda

I’ve been practicing dental hygiene for 12 years. I also have a passion for raising awareness for premature birth and the health risk for pregnant women with periodontal disease. Our family loves to support the March of Dimes Kentuckiana to give back for all the support they showed us on our 10-week journey in the NICU.

 

Andrea #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Andrea

Hi, my name’s Andrea and dental hygiene is just one of my passions. I’m a member of Toastmasters International – a group that promotes leadership, communication, and community involvement. Through Toastmasters, I’ve been able to promote oral health in non traditional ways and meet many great people.

 

Whitney #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Whitney

I’m a new hygiene graduate from the University of Louisville. My husband introduced me to a new hobby called MotoTrials. When I’m not practicing hygiene, I’m competing and spending time with my 5-year-old daughter. We travel a lot with this sport and even had the opportunity to go to Spain this year!

 

Jessica #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Jessica

Jessica is not just a Dental Hygienist at our New Albany office – she’s also an actress and psychic medium! Jessica has acted at Kentucky Center for the Arts and recently starred in Sordid Lives by Pandora Productions.

 

LaTosha #WeLoveDentalHygiene

LaTosha

I have been a dental hygienist for 12 years! I am a kid at heart and a thrill seeker. I stay physically active by going to the gym and playing softball. I like roller coasters, zip lining and other adventurous activities. But most importantly I love sharing those experiences with my family and friends.

Lynnetta #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Lynnetta

Hi, my name’s Lynnetta and I’ve been practicing dental hygiene for 36 years, 30 of those with Dr. Robert Fuchs. A passion of mine is baking and decorating cakes. I love bringing treats to my Audubon family. The best part of being a hygienist are the relationships I develop with my patients, some whom are 3rd generation. It also allows me time to travel to NYC to see my grandson, Jonah, and his soon to be little sister!

 

Kristie #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Kristie

My name is Kristie and I’ve been a practicing dental hygienist for 13 years. I play music and sing, and I have a huge soft spot for animals. I’m a health and fitness enthusiast, but traveling the world with my husband is currently my biggest passion. I guess you could say I’m all over the map.

Dana #WeLoveDentalHygieneDana

I have been a dental hygienist for 44 years. I love dogs and in 1996 I taught myself how to clean teeth without sedation. In 2011 I moved to Asheville and got a job at the Animal Hospital of North Asheville doing their non-anesthetic dentals.

 

Nicki #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Nicki

My passion for helping people extends well beyond their teeth. I’ve co-founded a non-profit called David’s Hope that supports people and their families that have been affected by addiction and PTSD. This work has led me to pursue a degree in nursing so that I can continue working daily with those in recovery. This is one of my favorite photos of my brother, my mom, and myself about a year before he lost his battle with addiction.

 

Amber #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Amber

I have been practicing dental hygiene for four years. Dental hygiene has been my dream career since I was 12 years old! When I’m not on the clock, I enjoy anything that involves coffee, spending time with my pug and trying new things.

 

Rachel #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Rachel

I’ve been a hygienist since 2014. Like most little girls, I’ve LOVED horses for as long as I can remember and started riding when I was 8 years old. I competed as a teenager and young adult in Hunter Jumper, paying my way by working at the stables I rode at. Today I enjoy simple trail rides with my trusty girl Chloe. And I’m also lucky enough to share my passion with my daughter, who loves to ride with me on her pony Lacey. This picture was taken at a benefit ride for children battling cancer.

 

Olivia #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Olivia

I have been a practicing dental hygienist since 2012 with a large passion for cycling. Endurance mountain bike racing is my passion outside of the mouth. I love the sweat, the mental challenge, and the skill that comes along with this sport.

 

Renee #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Renee

I’m Renee Hamilton and I’ve been a hygienist for over 13 years. It’s a passion of mine to help others have a healthy smile by educating them to the best of my ability. Another passion I have is skincare and I’ve been a Nerium brand partner about 4 years. My husband I have 3 beautiful children, Trace (8), Dayne (5) and Mollie (1), and they are my “WHY” for every single thing I do.

 

Diane #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Diane

Hi, my name’s Diane and I’m a dental hygienist in Maineville, Ohio. I have three sons and four grandsons. Yep, that equals seven boys! Travel has always been another remarkable part of my life. Over the years, my travels have taken me to forty-nine American States and over ten foreign countries.

 

Amanda #WeLoveDentalHygiene

Amanda

I’ve practiced dental hygiene for 16 years and been in dentistry for 21. When I’m not in the dental office, my passion is traveling! I love seeing new countries and experiencing new cultures. This is a pic of me in Edinburgh a few weeks ago – my second time there!!

Halloween celebration concept with candy corn and jack o lantern cup on wooden table.

The Worst Halloween Candy For Your Teeth

Binge-eating a pillowcase full of peanut butter cups and candy corn while you’re dressed as Wonder Woman is kind of the point of Halloween, isn’t it? But we all know that candy isn’t the healthiest snack on the block – even if you promise to brush and floss when you finally finish stuffing your face.

Sadly, the only candy out there that doesn’t contribute to tooth decay and cavities is probably sugar-free gum. But you’re not knocking on your neighbors’ doors in search of chewing gum, are you? Learn more about the negative effects your favorite candy can have on your teeth or—if you’re impatient—scroll to the bottom of the page to find out the worst!

Closeup of chocolate,peanut and caramel bar isolated on white with clipping path

Chocolate

Examples: Hershey Bar, 3 Musketeers, M&Ms & Peanut Butter Cups

If you’re a chocoholic, you’re in luck. As long as you’re eating a simple bar of chocolate without caramel or many other ingredients, you’re getting a snack that will wash off your teeth fairly easily. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, even has some health benefits! It’s an iron-packed source of antioxidants that may improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve brain function.

Chocolate is probably the best candy for your teeth. But remember, moderation is the goal here. Too much of anything is bad for you.

Sour candy isolated on a white background

Sour Candy

Examples: Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, SweeTarts & Pixie Stix

Sour candy has a higher acidic content than other types of candy. It’s probably no surprise to you, but eating something like Pixie Stix–which are nothing more than flavored sugar you don’t even have to chew–doesn’t provide any nutritional value and can lead to cavities in addition to blood sugar issues.

If you’re going to indulge with sour candies, try rinsing with a glass of water afterward to wash away the cavity-causing acidity contained in these mouth-puckering bites.

Lollipops in a variety of colors isolated on a white background

Hard Candy

Examples: Jolly Ranchers, Runts, Lemon Heads & Lifesavers

Hard candy like lollipops and jawbreakers is just as bad for you as sour candy, and for many of the same reasons. Because we often suck on hard candy to get it to dissolve, it is in our mouths much longer than other Halloween candy. This just leaves more time for sugars to attack and break down tooth enamel.

If hard candy is a habit for you, we don’t have a lot of good news to share. Try switching to sugar-free gum when you get that urge. And of course remember to rinse after you’re finished with hard candy, even if it’s just tap water.

Gummy bears

Gummy and Chewy Candies

Examples: Gummy Bears, Swedish Fish, Bit-O-Honey & Mary Janes

Like we mentioned above, about the only candy you really want to be chewing on is sugar-free gum. The mixture of sugar and gelatin in gummy bears and worms is very acidic and will wear down tooth enamel, which can lead to exposed nerves and sensitive teeth.

Hey. We love Haribo Gold Bears just as much as the next person, but let’s try and limit ourselves to one bag a week. We can live with that, right? Hopefully. Maybe. Let’s just say we’ll give it a shot.

Saltwater taffy on a white backgroundTaffy or Caramel

Examples: Caramel Chews, Saltwater Taffy & Riesen

The worst halloween candy for your teeth is a tie between taffy and caramel. These bite-sized, sticky morsels of pure sugar get trapped in the grooves of your teeth and are more difficult to rinse away with salvia or water than the average candy. When sugar like what’s inside taffy or caramel gets stuck to teeth, it creates excess bacteria in your mouth which allows acids to thrive and develop into tooth decay. Caramel also contains small amounts of saturated fat, which increases your risk of heart disease.

The worst part of very sticky Halloween candies is that they can pull out fillings, bridges or braces! If you’ve got an orthodontic appliance or fillings, it is best to just stay away entirely.

 

Plus size women jogging and exercising at the park and walking outdoor in the city streets in Chicago, United States - USA. Weight loss concept

Walk for Women’s Health & Fitness Day

The last Wednesday in September is National Women’s Health & Fitness Day, a day that encourages women to take control of their health, make healthy choices and engage in regular physical activity. This year’s theme is: “Fitness…It’s a Smart Choice for Life!”

In addition to eating right, drinking enough water and getting regular checkups, studies show that getting just 150 minutes of exercise per week could add an extra 3.4 years to your life! Women’s Health & Fitness Day is the perfect chance for us to get up, get moving and get started on our health and fitness goals.

What are the health benefits of walking?

Hippocrates famously said “Walking is the best medicine.”

And believe it or not, walking might be healthier than running. Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running – and it doesn’t put as much wear and tear on your knees and hips.

Walking also eases back pain, lowers stress and protects against dementia, osteoporosis and depression.

How long should I walk?

How long you should walk probably depends on your current level of fitness. A lot of people go by the 10,000 steps rule which amounts to roughly five miles – but that sounds a little scary to anyone just getting started! We recommend taking a walk in the morning, during your lunch break or after work, because these are great times of day to clear your mind and destress.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, try walking for five minutes, taking a break and going for another five. Research shows that doing anything physically active is infinitely better than doing nothing. So if you only make it five minutes, don’t beat yourself up – you’re doing great.

Need more help getting started?

We know it’s easier said than done. So if you’re nervous about getting started on the right foot, try sharing this post with a friend and inviting her to walk with you! Remember that health and fitness isn’t all or nothing – it’s step by step. So set a reachable goal just for today. And worry about tomorrow tomorrow.

If you’re looking for a little extra motivation, check out some of the materials we’ve gathered for you below.

Make Activity Part of Your Lifestyle - Oregon State University

Oral Care Tips for Healthy Aging

Oral Care Tips for Healthy Aging

Growing older often means facing new and unexpected health challenges. Knee pain, weight gain, vision and hearing problems – these are all normal side effects of aging. But there’s a misconception that tooth loss is in inevitable, and that’s just not true.

Depending on lifestyle and genetics, some people keep their natural teeth their whole lives. Others manage with only a few implants, crowns or a bridge. But if you take care of your teeth and gums throughout your life, you might be able to avoid complicated health issues down the road.

Why Oral Health Matters at Every Age

When people think of a healthy smile, they often think of straight or white teeth. But good oral health involves much more than a year in braces or the occasional teeth whitening.

Your mouth basically acts as a window to your overall health. Links have been found between cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. These diseases can manifest as gum inflammation, tooth loss or sores. Women especially should pay close attention to their gum health during pregnancy – as periodontitis has been linked with premature birth and low birth weight.

Teeth become less sensitive and more susceptible to tooth decay as you age. Following an oral care routine while improving other habits can not only improve your quality of life, but help you keep your teeth and gums healthy too. Healthy natural teeth will keep your healthcare costs down in the long run, because you’ll need fewer fillings, sealants, or more costly procedures like root canals and crowns.

5 Oral Care Tips for Healthy Aging

Follow the Daily 4

Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew. It’s not a new concept, but it bears repeating. Brushing twice, flossing, using mouthwash and chewing sugar-free gum each day is a routine that keeps your mouth healthy. If you have trouble cleaning the spaces between your teeth near your gum line, we recommend Soft Picks from GUM®. If your gums or teeth are sensitive, talk to your dentist about toothpaste options and soft-bristle toothbrushes.

Don’t Smoke

Another one we’ve all heard time and time again. Smoking cigarettes not only stains your teeth and makes it harder to breathe, it can also lead to heart disease, lung cancer, pregnancy complications, erectile dysfunction, anxiety, poor vision and oral cancer. If you’re considering smoking alternatives like vaporizers, cloves or smokeless tobacco – don’t. None of these alternatives have been proven to be safe alternatives, and some could be even more harmful than cigarettes.

Rethink Your Drink

According to a major study, “the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet—and that was true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index.” And drinking sugar-sweetened beverages doesn’t just make you gain weight, it can also lead to diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and heart, tooth and gum disease. Sugary drinks eat away at the enamel of teeth, causing teeth to become weaker and thinner over time. This can lead to tooth decay, cavities and missing teeth.

You can add some flavor to your water with lemon, lime or cucumber slices. Or switch to sparkling water if you can’t live without a little carbonation in your life. 1% or skim milk is also a great choice because it includes calcium, which keeps your bones and teeth strong.

Replace Missing Teeth

If you are missing teeth, it is very important that talk with your dentist about replacing them. Your jaw is designed to operate with 28 teeth and as soon as one is out of the equation, the surrounding teeth start to drift into the empty space. This not only makes your good teeth more prone to decay and gum disease, but it can also change your appearance. The longer you wait after a tooth is extracted, the more bone volume you lose. And the more bone volume you lose, the more expensive and difficult it becomes to get teeth replaced.

If you’re interested in replacing one or more missing teeth, you have options! Talk with your dentist about dental implants, fixed partial dentures (fixed bridge) or dentures to replace your missing teeth.

Schedule an Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is commonly associated with alcohol consumption and tobacco products. However, recent studies have found other causes for oral cancer as well such as HPV. An oral cancer screening uses technology to check for abnormal cells or lesion in the oral cavity. Any abnormality detected will indicate the need for more advanced screenings and tests.

Early detection saves lives. The sooner your dentist catches an abnormal lesion or cell, the better and more predictable the treatment will be – because it will be less invasive. So ask your dentist at your next checkup to screen your mouth for oral cancer symptoms.

Natural Beauty with Braces, stunning eyes and a perfect candid expression. Wind blowing through her hair, sitting at the beach. Nikon D3X. Converted from RAW.

Thinking about Adult Braces? Know Your Options.

Has your dentist recommended braces for healthier teeth or a better bite? Is there something you’ve always wanted to improve about the appearance of your smile? Then you should know that braces and orthodontic care aren’t just for kids. At BracesBracesBraces and Mortenson Family Dental, more adults than ever before are choosing them. In fact, 20% of all orthodontic patients today are adults. Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age.

 

Why an Adult may need Orthodontic Care

There are many reasons orthodontic care may be recommended for adults. Crowded teeth, missing teeth or jaws that are out of alignment – a condition called malocclusion or “bad bite” – can cause excessive wear on teeth. They may cause jaw pain or difficulty chewing. And they can make teeth harder to keep clean, which may lead to cavities or worse.

Cosmetic considerations are important as well. An attractive smile is a real confidence booster. And since people are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever, it can make a difference at any age.

 

Options for Adults

When you think of braces, you may think of big metal appliances on the teeth. But there are other options available that may be right for you:

  • Invisalign® – These aligners are clear trays that fit snugly over the teeth. Many adults prefer them because they are virtually invisible when worn. Each aligner is designed to shift your teeth slightly. During treatment, you go through several sets. With each one, your teeth move according to the treatment plan mapped out by your orthodontist until they are in the proper position. These aligners are removable for eating and brushing, but should be worn 22 hours a day.
  • Braces – Wearing braces no longer means having a mouth full of metal brackets. Braces are smaller and lighter. Clear brackets and ceramic brackets that match your teeth can make them a much more attractive option for adults.

Advances in the design of these options can also make the course of treatment faster than before. At BracesBracesBraces, you and your orthodontist can evaluate your particular orthodontic needs, cost considerations and personal preferences to help you make the right choice.

 

Amber’s Experience with Adult Braces

 

 

Amber had issues with her teeth crowding each other. For cosmetic purposes, she was eager to have them treated. Braces were the best option for her. Her orthodontist used clear brackets, which were much less noticeable than metal ones.

 

What was your experience like as an adult with braces?

It was great! I had clear brackets so they were not super noticeable. I had so many other adults comment on how they were considering getting orthodontics after seeing me do it.

How long did your total treatment take?

Only about eight months. I just had a few teeth I wanted to shift.

Did you experience any unusual reactions from friends and family while undergoing treatment?

Just positive comments. I was surprised how many people commented that they wanted to explore braces as well.

How did you modify your diet while wearing braces?

I stayed away from really sticky and crunchy food that could have broken my brackets. But if I really wanted something that fell into that category, I was very careful and did not bite into anything directly. I only had one broken bracket throughout my entire treatment.

Are you pleased with your results?

Absolutely! If you are an adult and you are interested in braces, go for it. It is well worth the time and financial investment to be happy and confident with your smile. You will not regret it!

 

Ben’s Experience with Invisalign

 

 

Ben was experiencing jaw pain because of his bite. His dentist recommended braces to treat the problem. At his orthodontic checkup, he learned he’d be a good candidate for Invisalign, so that’s the option he chose.

 

What was it like being an adult wearing Invisalign?

At first, it was definitely an adjustment. It was tough not to keep poking at my aligners with my tongue and to remember to do the things I needed to do to take care of them. After about a month, though, it all just became second nature. It was great. People didn’t even realize I was wearing them until I pointed it out.

How long did your total treatment last?

From first impressions to final removal, about 14 months.

How often did you have to go for treatment?

I went every six weeks or so, to get my set of trays adjusted or replaced. I came in maybe a half-dozen times during the course of treatment. I was always in and out very quickly, in about 20 to 30 minutes.

How many hours a day did you wear your aligners?

I was really good until the last few trays. Probably 20 hours a day or so.

Was it difficult to keep up with cleaning your aligners?

Well, to help me remember to brush after each meal, I hid toothbrushes and toothpaste everywhere – in the kitchen, all bathrooms, office, car, briefcase – because otherwise I wouldn’t remember. I still find them in odd places as I clean the house.

Are you pleased with the results?

I’m thrilled. My jaw doesn’t hurt when I eat anymore, and my smile looks great. I went and got whitening afterwards, just to top off the whole experience! People notice it. I didn’t think my teeth were that bad before. But when people come up to you and say, “Wow, your teeth look great,” you just know you made the right choice.

 

If you’re an adult interested in exploring the possibilities of orthodontic care, contact BracesBracesBraces or Mortenson Family Dental today.

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