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All About Asthma and Oral Health

May 24, 2018

All About Asthma and Oral Health Asthma is a scary, chronic disease that affects over 20 million adults and more than 6 million children in the United States. If not managed and treated proactively, asthma can make it difficult to breathe, cause the chest to tighten, and can even lead to death. At our dental office in Sheboygan, we also know that asthma not only affects your lungs and respiratory system, but can actually have a negative effect on oral Read More...

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All About Asthma and Oral Health

woman reaches for asthma inhalerAsthma is a scary, chronic disease that affects over 20 million adults and more than 6 million children in the United States. If not managed and treated proactively, asthma can make it difficult to breathe, cause the chest to tighten, and can even lead to death. At our dental office in Sheboygan, we also know that asthma not only affects your lungs and respiratory system, but can actually have a negative effect on oral health, too.

Asthma & Dry Mouth

Since asthma causes the airways that carry oxygen to and from your lungs to become swollen, less air is able to pass through. This can make breathing difficult. When we can’t get enough air or just can’t seem to catch our breath we will involuntarily start to breathe out of our mouths instead of our noses. While mouth breathing can make it easier to breathe, it can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there’s a decrease in saliva production, and that’s when the problems start. Without saliva, the bacteria and acids in the mouth that are typically rinsed away are left to attack teeth. This increases the risk for decay and cavities. Many asthma medications also list dry mouth as a side effect, which can make the problem even worse.

Asthma & Gum Disease

Besides the increased risk for cavities, asthma patients are also more likely to have gum disease. In fact, a survey conducted by the Journal of Periodontology concluded that people with gum disease were five times more likely to also have asthma. Gum disease is another serious disease caused by a bacterial infection. If not treated gum disease can affect the health of the rest of the body including increasing the risk for heart disease, even more respiratory complications, and even some cancers.

How to Protect Your Smile

If you have asthma, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease including:

  • Drinking Plenty of Water. The more water you can drink every day, the better. Just as water helps hydrate the body, it does the same for your mouth. Drinking water can help rinse away the bacteria that your saliva is usually responsible for.
  • Rinsing After Taking Medication. Since many asthma medications can contribute to dry mouth, it’s wise to rinse your mouth with water after taking any medicine. This can help remove any of the drying ingredients.
  • Brushing and Flossing Regularly. It’s always important to brush and floss every day, but perhaps even more so if you have asthma. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can help remove bacteria and plaque that could lead to cavities or gum disease.
  • Talking to Your Dentist in Sheboygan. At your dental appointments your team will ask about your health history. It’s important that you let them know you have asthma and share which medications you use so they can keep a close eye on your dental health.  

We’re always welcoming new patients at our Sheboygan dental office and would encourage you to call to schedule an appointment if it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen a dentist. Preventive dental care, along with a good oral hygiene routine at home, can help protect your smile from cavities, gum disease, and other oral health concerns.

National Women’s Health Week

women cyclingIn just a few days we’ll celebrate National Women’s Health Week which kicks off appropriately on Mother’s Day, May 13th. This seven day celebration serves to raise awareness of the importance of following healthy habits for women of all ages. At our dental office in Sheboygan, we know that dental health is an important part of overall health, and there are certain areas of oral health that specifically affect women throughout different phases of life.

Women’s Oral Health Priorities Change Over Time

As bodies change, chemistry throughout the body tends to change too. This includes the mouth. Since women experience hormonal changes at various times in their life, they actually have more oral health concerns to worry about, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Puberty

Typically puberty in girls begins between 8 and 14 years old. Girls will experience quite a transformation during this time since a lot is happening inside their bodies. Hormone levels fluctuate and these hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, can affect oral health. Both estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums which may cause them to become inflamed, red, and sore. Bacteria in the mouth can also build up easier, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.

Menstruation

Just as during puberty, hormone levels continue to ebb and flow throughout a women’s childbearing years. Gums may still become sore or perhaps bleed when brushing or flossing close to when a period is about to begin. Some women may even experience a canker sore during this time. During menstruation, it’s also common to experience a decrease in saliva production, which will make a mouth feel dry and can potentially cause the breath to smell bad.

Pregnancy

Another time in a woman’s life when hormones and dental health changes is during pregnancy. Since about half of all pregnant women will get pregnancy gingivitis, dental care is especially important. What’s more is that poor dental health during pregnancy has been associated with premature babies, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. It’s recommended that pregnant women visit their dentist in Sheboygan during the second trimester.

Menopause

During menopause women’s estrogen levels drop… which is directly related to bone loss. Women who have gone through menopause are aware of the risks associated with bone loss and are most commonly concerned with osteoporosis. While osteoporosis leads to brittle bones, it can also decrease bone density in the jaw increasing the risk of tooth loss. There are several ways dentists can replace these lost or damaged teeth, including dental implants and dentures.

Our Sheboygan dental office is here to care for all of our patients during every stage of life. If you’re experiencing changes in your oral health, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, there’s no better time than now to schedule an appointment. Give us a call today!

Play Hard & Protect Your Smile

girls playing field hockeyEach April, several dental associations join together to sponsor National Facial Protection Month. The goal is to raise awareness on the importance of wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports. As the weather warms up and more and more people start playing sports, its timing couldn’t be better. At our dental office in Sheboygan, we want to share a few facts about facial and mouth injuries common to sports and how you can protect you or your child’s smile during every game and every practice.

How Common are Mouth Injuries?

There’s a good reason the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists decided to dedicate an entire month to educating people on the importance of protecting teeth when participating in sports. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s “Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries” attribute as many as 39% of all child dental injuries to sports, and usually from direct hits by a ball or another player. And that’s just kids. If we include college, professional, and recreational adult athletes, that number rises.

How to Reduce the Risk of a Mouth Injury While Playing Sports?

Even though an injury to the mouth can happen to anyone, those who play sports, especially contact sports, are definitely at increased risk. In fact, most sport-related mouth injuries are sustained when playing basketball, a sport where a mouthguard isn’t a required piece of protective equipment. That’s no coincidence. Wearing a mouthguard can greatly reduce the chances of a chipped or broken tooth or even getting a tooth knocked out.

All About Sports Mouthguards

The quickest and easiest way to get a sports mouthguard is to head on over your local sporting goods store and grab a boil-and-bite model in your favorite color. While these stock mouthguards can be somewhat custom-molded to your teeth after a quick dip in boiling water, they’re usually uncomfortable and don’t offer as much protection as a completely custom mouthguard, and tend to be chewed on instead of left in the mouth where they belong. The other option you have is to get a custom-made sports mouthguard from your dentist in Sheboygan.  

Custom mouthguards are specifically molded to fit every contour of your teeth and provide the ultimate protection. They’re also constructed from higher end materials to ensure extended comfort. This means less time out of the mouth and more time protecting your teeth.

Our Sheboygan dental office is always here to help protect our neighbors’ smiles, and it’s important to us that as you’re getting game-ready this spring, you don’t forget your mouthguard. If you’re looking for custom sports mouthguard, give us a call!

Oral Cancer By The Numbers

oral cancer awarenessIt’s scary when anyone mentions the word cancer, and oral cancer is no different. A serious and sometimes life threatening disease, oral cancer affects thousands of Americans each year – yet awareness and education regarding its seriousness isn’t often talked about. This Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the team at our dental office in Sheboygan wants to help change that by providing you with some startling statistics about the disease, as well as key signs to look out for and ways you can protect yourself.

Oral Cancer Statistics

The number of oral cancer patients is expected to rise in 2018. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that over 51,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed this year alone. Additionally, out of all the known people with the disease, over 10,000 will die by the end of the year. Even though mortality rates were declining in the past, throughout the past 10 years they’ve stayed relatively the same. While these statistics are absolutely scary, oral cancer can be treated successfully. Currently, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 65%

What Are The Signs of Oral Cancer?

One of the key points to surviving oral cancer is detecting and treating it early. This makes being able to recognize the common signs incredibly important. Signs of oral cancer can include:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
  • A chronic white or red area
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
  • A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
  • Coughing up blood
  • Ear pain

If you suspect any problem at all, get help from your dentist in Sheboygan as soon as possible.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

While oral cancer can affect anyone thanks to genetics or even gender and age, there are a lot of lifestyle factors that can greatly increase your risk including:

  • Using Tobacco: Whether you smoke cigarettes or cigars, or use smokeless tobacco, it can put you at risk for oral cancer. Around 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are tobacco users.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Drinking alcohol excessively also increases the likelihood of oral cancer. Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol often.
  • HPV: The sexually transmitted disease of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can also increase someone’s risk of oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Prevention

Changing a few lifestyle factors can help prevent the development of oral cancer. Quitting smoking, along with reducing your alcohol intake, are a few great places to start. However, it’s also crucial to maintain good oral health and get dental checkups every six months. These exams and cleanings can help spot any potential problems early, when treatment is most successful.

Don’t have a dentist you trust? We welcome you to call our Sheboygan dental office to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

4 Things You Need to Know About Calcium

foods with calciumWhen most people think of calcium, they often associate it with building super strong bones. While that’s certainly part of its benefits, the team at our dental office in Sheboygan also knows that calcium is crucial for a strong smile, too. But before you start diving in to a calcium-rich diet, consider some important facts to keep your body, and mouth, healthy.

Know How Much Calcium You Need

Your recommended level of calcium intake depends on your age and your gender. The following chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) shows just how much calcium each age group needs each and every day.

  • 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
  • 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
  • 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
  • 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
  • 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
  • 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females

Too Much Calcium Is a Real Thing

While you should always try your best to get your recommended daily intake of calcium, there’s no need to go overboard. In fact, your Sheboygan dentist wants you to know that ingesting too much calcium can have adverse effects on your oral and overall health. Excess calcium can lead to gum disease, plaque deposits, and has even been studied to potentially increase the risk for heart disease. Just like most things in life, calcium is best in moderation. Make sure to follow the recommended amount for your age and gender.  

Mix in Some Vitamin D

Even if you’re getting your recommended intake of calcium daily, it may not be enough to keep your bones and teeth strong. In order for calcium to be absorbed into the body properly, it needs an adequate amount of vitamin D, too. Your body needs both vitamin D and calcium to function, so read the nutrition labels on your food and provide yourself with a nice mix of the two.

Look Past the Dairy Aisle

The most common way to get calcium is to eat or drink dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. And while those are excellent sources of calcium, and usually vitamin D too, there are plenty of other non-dairy options to explore including:

  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Soymilk
  • Orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified cereal

Our Sheboygan dental office strives to keep our patients as healthy as possible, and not just their smiles. That’s why we encourage each and every one of them to eat well balanced meals and get enough calcium and vitamin D. That, along with maintaining bi-annual dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly, will help keep their smiles and bodies strong, for life.

The Importance of Good Nutrition for Good Oral Health

national nutrition monthEvery March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month to raise awareness on the importance of eating a healthy diet for overall health. At our dental office in Sheboygan, we want to do our part and take this opportunity to also share the oral health benefits of eating a well-balanced diet.

Nutrition Can Be Confusing

While we know the basics to eating well include things such as avoiding too much fast food and eating more vegetables, the ins and outs to really optimizing your nutrition can get convoluted and confusing. Things have changed from the days of the Food Guide Pyramid released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. In fact, they’ve changed twice. Currently, the USDA recommends following the MyPlate recommendations for dietary guidelines. However, it’s still not quite that simple. The MyPlate model is individualized based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. So proper nutrition isn’t so clearly defined anymore. Head on over to the MyPlate Checklist to find your ideal balance, but essentially a lot of the basics still stand, including eating plenty of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy

What Does This Have to do with Your Mouth?

Following a well-balanced diet has been proven to keep you healthy and help protect your body from serious diseases. It turns out, what you eat also affects the health of your mouth, too. If you choose nutrient-rich foods and follow your MyPlate recommendations, you’re taking steps to keep your oral health in great shape. However, if your diet is poor, you’re putting your mouth at increased risk for dental problems.

Oh, Sugar!

Your dentist in Sheboygan really doesn’t like sugar, and with good reason. This sweet stuff can wreak havoc on your teeth. When sugar is introduced to the mouth, acid levels surge. It’s this acid that attacks tooth enamel, wearing it down and leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and at risk for decay and cavities. A reduction in enamel may also increase tooth sensitivity or give teeth a dark, dull appearance.

But Wait, There’s More!

Although sugar tends to get all of the attention when it comes to talking about food and oral health, there are hidden sugars you should be aware of. Carbohydrates, while not typically sweet in taste, break down into simple sugars as we eat them. These sugars are just as dangerous as the stuff found in sugar-packed treats. Try to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels to reduce both your sugar and carbohydrate intake, as well as your fat, cholesterol, and sodium consumption.

Our Sheboygan dental office prides ourselves as being active members of your healthcare team, and we’re to help get you healthy any way we can. Schedule your appointment with us today.  

Don’t Forget About Your Pet’s Oral Health

dog with toothbrushThe team at our dental office in Sheboygan is committed to providing our neighbors with top-notch dental care so that each and every patient not only has a healthy smile, but a beautiful one too. However, there are some members of our community whose dental health is often overlooked…we’re talking about our beloved pets. And while we’re not currently accepting patients of the fuzzy kind, we still find it important to share some of the best ways to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

You make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, everyday as recommended by your dentist in Sheboygan. The same type of care is also important when it comes to the oral health of your pet. You can use a toothbrush designed just for your animal or simply a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger and some pet-friendly toothpaste. Never use a human toothpaste on an animal.

Once you have all the necessary tools to brush your furry friend’s smile, the technique is very similar to brushing your own pearly whites. Hold the brush or your finger at a 45 degree angle and gently scrub in small circles. Pay attention to the side of the teeth that touch the cheek as that area often accumulates the most tartar. Brushing should occur two or three times a week for Fido, and twice a day for yourself.

Give Your Pet Things to Chew

Just like eating tooth-healthy snacks such as apples or cheese can scrub away plaque on your teeth, providing your pet with toys or treats to chew on can do the same for theirs. However, your vet may recommend foregoing the typical hard bone and choosing a dental treat instead. Hard bones, while delicious for dogs, can cause tooth damage. You can also find tons of fun toys that help strengthen teeth and reduce plaque all while playing.

Know the Signs of Disease

Animals can also be affected by dental disease, and as their owner, it’s important that you know what to look out for so you can get to a vet as soon as possible. Typical signs of a problem are very similar in pets and in humans. Keep an eye out for:

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Swollen gums
  • Loose teeth

If you notice any of these symptoms in your animal, schedule an appointment with your vet. But if you notice them in your own mouth, call your Sheboygan dentist.

Has it been awhile since your last dental visit? Call our Sheboygan dental office. We’re always accepting new human patients and would happy to see you.

American Heart Health Month & Its Link to Dentistry

heart health monthYou may be wondering why your dentist in Sheboygan is choosing to talk about heart health. As a dedicated member of your medical team, we’re not only concerned with keeping your teeth and gums healthy, but rather we’re committed to keeping your whole body healthy. And it just so happens that your oral health plays a key role in overall wellness, including heart health. So during this American Heart Health Month, we want to provide all of our patients with important information on how keeping your smile in tip-top shape can help you maintain a healthy body.

How Does Dentistry Play a Role?

As research continues to advance what we know about heart disease, a strong correlation between oral health and heart health has been discovered. This link begins with gum health and, more specifically, gum disease. Gum disease is essentially an infection in the gum tissue that can lead to tooth loss. But perhaps what’s more concerning is that this infection has a direct route to the bloodstream. If it spreads, your body will produce excessive amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is one of the known indicators of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of CRP can lead to some serious health issues including:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

How to Avoid Gum Disease

The best way to avoid gum disease and the dangerous effects it can have on your heart is to prevent it by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. It’s also crucial to visit your Sheboygan dentist twice a year to remove buildup that your toothbrush just can’t touch.

Know the Signs

One of the scariest things about gum disease is that it can develop rapidly before you even suspect a problem. It is treatable and success is more likely if caught in the early stages. Knowing this, you should be aware of some early signs of gum disease so that you can seek treatment early. Some things to look out for include:

If you recognize any of the signs above, or it’s been more than six months since your last dental cleaning, call our dental office in Sheboygan to schedule an appointment. Your smile and your heart will thank you.

5 Signs That It’s Time to See a Sheboygan Dentist

man with tooth painWhile we always recommend visiting your dentist at least every six months, there are times when people fall out of the habit and miss a few appointments. Oftentimes a move to a new city or even a fear of the dentist can make it all too easy to pass on seeing the dentist as often as you should. However, the team at our Sheboygan dental office want you to know that there are a few signs and symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore…

It’s Like a Desert In Here!

Experiencing dry mouth isn’t only uncomfortable, it’s also concerning. Having periods of occasional dryness is normal, especially with some forms of medication. However, if it becomes an ongoing issue and you just can’t seem to quench the dryness, you may want to see your dentist. Chronic dry mouth leaves the mouth exposed to bacteria and increases the risk for decay.  

There’s An Unpleasant Smell

Sometimes bad breath is unavoidable (think a garlicky pasta dish). But when bad breath becomes chronic, it can be concerning. Bad breath that doesn’t go away is a symptom of gingivitis, or early gum disease. If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly and effectively, it can easily progress into gum disease and lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.

Red & Puffy Gums

Any gum discomfort or discoloration should raise some red flags for you. Gums are supposed to be a healthy shade of pink, painless, and are definitely not supposed to bleed. Any inflammation, soreness, or blood when you brush or floss are all signs that your dentist will want to know about as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate gum disease which, if left untreated, can lead to whole body problems such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

You’re Feeling Sensitive

We don’t mean emotionally sensitive, but rather the zinging surge of pain associated with tooth sensitivity. Whether you notice an increase in sensitivity with eating hot or cold foods or while brushing, it’s something you should bring to the attention of your dental team. Sensitivity may be caused by something as simple as brushing too hard, but it can also be a sign of eroding enamel receding gums, both of which need professional treatment to fix.

You Have a Toothache

The most obviously sign that it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Sheboygan is suffering from the unique pain of a toothache. The uncomfortable feeling of tooth pain isn’t something you should ignore, and it probably won’t go away on it’s own. Getting in to see a dentist is the best way to determine the root of the problem and get you some relief.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, we recommend scheduling an appointment at our dental office in Sheboygan sooner rather than later. Many of these dental concerns can be treated easily and successfully if caught early. Don’t let the problem continue to worsen. Call to schedule a visit today.

Are You Wasting Money on Whitening Toothpastes?

woman holds toothpasteWe all want to have a bright white smile. And to get it, we often turn to the toothpaste aisle at the local grocery store where there are boxes and boxes of toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth. But the one thing you want to know before you buy is if whitening toothpastes actually work. That’s why we’re here! Join the team at our Sheboygan dental office as we uncover the truth about whitening toothpastes.

The Good News

Whitening toothpastes can be effective at diminishing or removing surface stains that cause our teeth to look discolored. A dull smile as a result of smoking or drinking too much coffee, tea, or soda can see results from using a whitening toothpaste. However, regular use is crucial in order to see an improved appearance. Make sure to use the whitening toothpaste twice a day for several weeks for the best results. While whitening toothpaste can work, there are a few things you should be aware of.

  • Not all whitening toothpastes are created equally. Choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Whitening toothpastes aren’t without risks.

The Not-So-Great News

Even though whitening toothpastes can scrub away stains to give us a whiter smile, they can scrub away stuff our teeth need in order to stay protected. Whitening toothpastes typically contain abrasive ingredients which work to rub stains away. However, these same abrasive ingredients can wear away tooth enamel if not used responsibly. A lack of protective enamel leaves teeth exposed to bacteria, and the chance of cavities or tooth sensitivity increases. Furthermore, thinner enamel tends to show more of the dark inner tooth, or dentin, giving teeth a even more discolored appearance — exactly the opposite of the look we were trying to achieve in the first place.

The Other Options

There are other smile whitening solutions available that aren’t whitening toothpastes. Consider doing the following to get a brighter looking smile:

  • Maintain dental cleanings with your dentist in Sheboygan
  • Rinse your mouth with water after drinking tooth-staining coffee or tea
  • Quit smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Snack on cheese, apples, celery to help gently scrub your teeth between brushings

If you’re truly looking for the biggest bang for your buck, we encourage you to call our Sheboygan dental office to schedule an appointment to discover the best professional tooth whitening treatment for you.

All About Asthma and Oral Health

May 24, 2018

All About Asthma and Oral Health Asthma is a scary, chronic disease that affects over 20 million adults and more than 6 million children in the United States. If not managed and treated proactively, asthma can make it difficult to breathe, cause the chest to tighten, and can even lead to death. At our dental office in Sheboygan, we also know that asthma not only affects your lungs and respiratory system, but can actually have a negative effect on oral Read More...

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