The Hidden Dangers of Losing ZZZs!

April 4th, 2019

So why do you need to fill out a ‘sleep questionnaire’ in the dental office? In the last few years the American Medical Association has looked to the dental profession to begin screening for sleep disordered breathing conditions including sleep apnea. Dentists are perfectly poised to screen for these disorders, and since a dentist is more likely to find a sleep breathing disorder earlier, we can prevent a lot of systemic damage that might occur if the condition is allowed to worsen.

What are the consequences of a sleep breathing disorder or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)? The list is actually quite long:

• Stroke: Men with moderate to severe OSA are 3x more likely to have a stroke
• Hypertension: OSA is the leading cause of secondary hypertension
• Coronary Artery Disease
• Cardiac Arrhythmias: 4x more likely to have atrial fibrillation
• Congestive Heart Failure: Moderate OSA can increase the mortality of heart failure
• Heart Disease
• Sudden Death: 30% higher risk of heart attack or premature death
• Diabetes Type II: 58% of Type II diabetics will have OSA
• Obesity: Approx. 80% of OSA patients weigh 130% or more of their ideal body weight
• Sexual Dysfunction: Loss of libido and impotence
• Frequent Urination at Might: Also contributes to interrupted sleep
• Mood Disturbances: Leads to depression and anxiety
• Daytime Sleepiness: Slower reaction times, reduced efficiency, unable to concentrate, increase risk of accidents

What are your options for treating a sleep breathing disorder? First, it is very important to be accurately diagnosed. Many people are afraid of being told they must go sleep in a lab, but there are home sleep study options. If you have a severe sleep breathing disorder, you may still need to have a lab sleep test done to accurately diagnose you. Once you are diagnosed, then you will be given your options for treatment. While many people have had success with CPAP machines to help them breathe at night, there are many who can’t tolerate the CPAP while they sleep. Oral sleep appliances might be an option for you.

Oil Pulling? Are you pulling my leg?

March 5th, 2019

Oil Pulling?  Does this work? Are you pulling my leg?

Oil pulling has gained a lot of popularity in recent years.  I have had several patients inquire about the therapy and the affect it can have on their teeth. Since it has been a recurring question, I would like to address it here.

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic therapy that is intended to reduce bacteria and inflammation in the oral cavity.  By taking two tablespoons of oil in the mouth and swishing it around for 10-20 minutes, you can loosen plaque and bacteria in the mouth.  After swishing, you should spit the oil out.  The oil will be less dense and milky in color.  Oil pulling is most effective upon arising in the morning because our body works at detoxifying while we sleep.  Using a toothbrush and/or mouthwash after, can make your mouth feel fresh. My research has found nothing that indicates that oil pulling is harmful.  In fact, since the first mainstream nylon bristle toothbrush wasn't produced until 1938, oil pulling and chewing sticks were the most widely used methods of cleaning the teeth!

Sometimes after evaluating the oral health of our patients, I will recommend oil pulling with the addition of a drop of essential oil.  I especially like essential oils in cases where there is a lot of inflammation and bleeding gums.  Essential oils that are great for reducing bacteria in the mouth are: cardamom, clove, dill, frankincense, helichrysum, lemon, lime, melaleuca, myrrh, oregano, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, spearmint, thyme, and wild orange.

Choosing the right oil can have a big affect as well.  My favorite is coconut oil since it is naturally antibacterial and there are some studies that indicate it can whiten teeth as well.  Sesame oil also works well, but it can be more costly.


Diet and Dental Health: What to eat and what to avoid

February 27th, 2019

You are probably aware that guzzling soda and drinking those sugary Starbucks Frappuccinos aren’t particularly good for your dental health. But how much thought do you give to the effects of your diet on your teeth? Practicing healthy eating habits isn’t just helpful for your waistline, it also ensures that your teeth stay strong and cavity-free.

How diet affects dental health

Our team at Clear Creek Dental Clinic will tell you that your mouth is a complicated place on a microbiological level. Harmful bacteria form dental plaques which convert the sugars in food to acids that wear away at tooth enamel. Meanwhile, saliva washes away some of the detrimental acids, while minerals work to rebuild where teeth are damaged. The foods you eat are important for managing this balancing act between harmful bacteria and helpful rebuilding agents.

Rethinking your diet to prevent cavities

Carefully considering your dietary choices is a smart way to become mindful of the foods you eat and how they affect oral health.

Foods to eat

  • Calcium- and phosphorus-rich foods. We’ve all heard that milk builds strong bones, and your teeth are included in that. Milk, cheese, nuts, and chicken are strong sources of calcium and phosphorus. These minerals are used to repair damage to the teeth’s enamel.
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables. Biting into an apple stimulates saliva flow, which washes harmful acids from the surface of your teeth. Turn to other crunchy fruits and vegetables, including carrots, celery, pears, and lettuce, to increase saliva production.
  • Sugar substitutes. If you have a sweet tooth but want to decrease tooth decay, sugar substitutes such as Stevia or Equal provide a sugary kick without harming your teeth.

Foods to avoid

  • Sugary snacks. Cookies, cakes, candies, and other sugary treats provide a feast for the acid-producing bacteria in your mouth. Furthermore, these foods often get stuck in the ridges of your teeth, and provide a breeding ground for new bacteria.
  • Acidic fruits and vegetables. Foods high in acidity, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, peaches, and lemons, wear away the enamel of your teeth. Because these foods can be part of a healthy diet, remember to brush after eating them or swish with a mouth rinse to protect your teeth.

Eating well is an essential part of keeping your teeth healthy. Consult Dr. Jennifer Waters about your diet for tips on food habits that keep your teeth strong and cavity-free. For more information about the link between your diet and your oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Waters, please give us a call at our convenient Golden office!

The Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

February 20th, 2019

When was the last time you paid Dr. Jennifer Waters a visit? If you're like many people, chances are it was more than six months ago. We hear the reasons why people neglect regular dental visits all the time: lack of money or quality dental insurance, busy schedules, and fear. However, your twice-yearly checkups are so important for your dental health and for your overall health as well.

You may brush your teeth twice a day and even floss, and your teeth may feel fine, but regular dental checkups with Dr. Jennifer Waters aren’t about addressing problems and reacting — they are about cavity prevention. No matter how much you brush and floss, there is still a chance that food or other debris can get lodged between your teeth, and there is also a chance that food and beverages can wear down your tooth enamel in between visits, making your teeth vulnerable to decay.

In addition to a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing, these regular visits help us detect and prevent the onset of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. During your visit, we’ll check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. We’ll also check old fillings and restorations, as these can wear away over time from constant chewing, grinding, or clenching.

It's important to know that the majority of dental problems do not become visible or painful until they are highly advanced. And, unfortunately, serious oral issues are painful and expensive to treat. A deep cleaning twice a year by our team at Clear Creek Dental Clinic is the best way to hit all the spots you may have missed with brushing and flossing and prevent any problems that may have gone unseen.

Make sure your teeth get the professional attention they deserve! If you’re overdue for your next cleaning, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at our convenient Golden office!

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