Are Osteoporosis and Gum Disease Related? Part 4

Welcome back, my faithful readers!  We are very happy that you  returned for the final installment of this article series on osteoporosis and gum disease.  As we promised last week, our installment this week will be a discussion about the nutritional aspects of reduced calcium in our diets and how we can change that.  For those of you who have been with us through this series,  you may recall, we have talked about how osteoporosis and gum disease are related, citing that the root connection lies in inflammation and the “mining” of the calcium from your bones to feed the need of the various cells in your body to function as designed by our Creator.  Dr. Scharf is a licensed Periodontist in Long Island and it is his goal to keep you informed about topics which pertain to keeping you and your family safe and healthy.  So, today, let’s get started in our discussion on the nutritional aspects of this topic.

How About Those Calcium Supplements?

If you’re among the millions of women  who have taken calcium supplements for the prevention of osteoporosis,  we may have some information which may be new to you.  In the past, many if not all medical practitioners have been recommending taking calcium supplements to ward off the dreaded osteoporosis disease which is especially prevalent in women who are peri menopausal and postmenopausal.  But, recently,  research has shown that oral calcium supplements may not be the best advice medical practitioners can give to their patients.  As I’m sure you’ve been advised by your medical practitioner, that focusing on getting extra calcium into your diet sooner rather than later is important.  While it is true that waiting until menopause is better than not doing anything at all,  your risk of fractures is increased the longer your wait.   The statistics show that women generally live longer than their men but that doesn’t mean they have an appropriate quality of life after they outlive their men.  In fact, statistics show that one in three women over the age of 50 will experience the complications of bone fractures with the pain and inconvenience they bring.  Better solutions to osteoporosis prevention and management of fractures dilemma are being offered to women, especially those who are postmenopausal.

Next, The Cardiac Aspect

As mentioned in one of our previous installments, recent research has shown that, in addition to the normal uncomfortable side effects of calcium supplements (i.e. constipation, indigestion and increased kidney stone risks),the taking oral supplements for calcium can increase the risk for having a heart attack or other cardiac event!  The study to which we refer was quoted in JAMA Journal of Internal Medicine and revealed that more than 11,000 deaths which occurred as a result of cardiovascular disease were linked to increased and continued intake of calcium supplements! WOW! THAT got my attention…how about you?

Now for the Nutritional Aspect

When speaking nutritionally, diet books and dieticians will tell you that calcium is available in so many different types of foods.   Those foods are so much more readily available to we Americans  that it makes one wonder why calcium supplements are so necessary for the large segment of the American population who use them.  While we can readily understand that there are situations and circumstances which may require the use of calcium supplements, these cases are considerably more rare than one might think.  For most of us, increasing our calcium intake can be as simple as changing our diets to include foods which are actually healthier for us anyway.  Those changes could include but limited to:

  • Eating dairy products with high calcium content – cheese, yogurt, kefir, almond milk, soy milk etc – raw milk only as pasteurization destroys some of the nutritional value of cow’s milk
  • Eating more veggies which are fortified with calcium like broccoli and kale – many other green fresh veggies contain significant amounts of calcium as well as protein
  • Bok choy and watercress
  • Sardines with bones
  • Almonds

As a side note:  Increasing your activity levels will also help keep your bones strong and healthy.  Weight-bearing activities can include walking, running, bicycling, aerobic exercise, strength-building exercises, etc.

As you can see, simple changes can help you achieve increased calcium intake as well as keep your bones strong and healthy.  Maintaining good oral health can also help keep bony structures in your mouth strong and healthy.  One way to do that is to establish and maintain regular visits to your dental professional.  Dr Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help you achieve these goals for each and every member of your family, regardless of age.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://www.drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Are Osteoporosis and Gum Disease Related? Part 3

Welcome back, faithful readers!  It is our hope you’re enjoying this article series and are learning a few things, too,  about osteoporosis and gum disease.   If you were with us last week, you may recall that we have been talking about the crimes going on inside your body as the calcium is stolen from your precious skeletal system to fuel cellular needs  all over the body so that those cells can function as designed by the Creator.  We also had talked about the increased risks of fractures and breaks of bones which can occur as the bones become less dense, more brittle and weakened as this theft of calcium continues.  Today, I’d like to talk about how osteoporosis can affect your oral health — and, yes, you will see how osteoporosis and gum disease are related.

Allow Us to Clarify

In the interests of crystal clarity, there is one particular point in this discussion about osteoporosis that we feel we need to stress.  Yes, it is a condition resulting from a deficiency in calcium in the body and what the body does to remedy that deficiency.  However and more importantly, it needs to be emphasized that the deficiency which causes the “mining” of the calcium from your bones is a direct result of not enough calcium being consumed in our diets.  The diets that most adult Americans consume really doesn’t supply enough of a number of nutrients, not just calcium.  This segment of this article series isn’t intended to cover that particular aspect but that will be covered next week in more depth.  We felt it was important to keep this fact upfront since you will see how it has a major impact on the whole topic.  Today, we’re focusing on how oral health is affected and next week we’ll get into the diet thing and how to improve it.

How About Those Oral Tissues

Did you know that your oral tissues include soft and bony tissue types and these tissues are living organisms which require nourishment, protection and appropriate care.  For example, your jaw is comprised of bony tissue as are your teeth, and as such, these structures are at risk for calcium “mining” just like any other bone in your body.  Osteoporosis and the body’s ability to weaken bony structures doesn’t really care where the calcium comes from, only that it can get it.  Each cell type MUST function as designed and that rule takes precedence over everything else, even  if it means sacrificing  your oral and overall general health in the process.

And then there’s inflammation.  Inflammation, another term used for gum disease, is another source of deterioration which can rob you of healthy bony structures in your mouth and virtually anywhere in your body.  And, did you know that both of these conditions could be working against your oral tissues simultaneously right now and you don’t even know it?  But your dental professional will!  Keeping up with those dental evaluations and cleanings will enable your dental professional to identify and treat those areas in which inflammation and bone loss are weakening the bony structures in your mouth.  Not attending to the health of your oral tissues puts you at increased risk of tooth loss and loss of bony support for the remaining teeth — even denture wearers will have problems with proper fitting plates, needing to replace their dentures more often than should be necessary.

Are you aware that inflammation that is eating away at your bony oral  tissue and is also providing a wealth of bacterial opportunity for infections which can be transported throughout your body, infecting every type of tissue and organ in its path!  The result can be heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, strokes and various cardiovascular diseases to name only a few disease which have been linked to gum disease and periodontal disease.

While we haven’t painted a very pretty picture to be sure, we hope you will join us next week as we will dig deeper into the nutritional aspect of this very important topic and we will provide some ways to correct that calcium deficiency that is wreaking havoc inside you.  In the meantime, Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Are Osteoporosis and Gum Disease Related? Part 2

Welcome  my faithful readers!  It is our hope that you enjoyed part one of this multi part series on osteoporosis and gum disease .     We are glad that you have returned for part two of our series today.  For those of you who were with us last week,  you may recall that in part one, a discussion was had  regarding what osteoporosis is and how it is caused — basically, it’s the result of cellular need for calcium to function as designed by the Creator  when not enough calcium or when not enough of the appropriate kind of calcium is available, which results in  the body “mining” the calcium from the bones to satisfy this basic cellular need.  And, as promised in part one,  our discussion today  will involve some recent research about calcium intake in the form of nutritional food consumption versus supplementation and how this figures into the overall general health and the oral health of each and every member of your family.   We have made it our goal to educate you on as many health issues as possible, especially those that apply to oral health and the various connections to overall general health.  So, if you’re with me, then let’s get started.

Osteoporosis, Is It Something to Anticipate?

Now, I’d like a show of hands here, how many of you are aware of how the number of people who suffer from osteoporosis in its various stages of development?  It is very important to note here that osteoporosis is a real condition of which we should all be more knowledgeable as research is reporting increasing prevalence here in the United States each year.  The estimates given are that by the year 2020, more than half of those adults in America over the age of 50 years will have osteoporosis to some degree!  Why this  concern about this prediction?   Since inquiring minds need to know, we’re so glad you asked!  The reason for the concern is this:  osteoporosis literally steals the calcium from your bones so that the needs of cells all over the body can be satisfied.  Yes, this is the same calcium needed to keep your bones strong and dense.  The theft that is occurring inside your body is causing your bones to become more fragile, less dense and more brittle.  What does this mean to you and those you love?  Basically, it means you and your family are at a significantly increased risk of bone fractures and breaks as well as longer healing times when those fractures and breaks occur.  I’m sure it is safe to say that we have all known someone who, after broken or fractured hip injuries, for example,  have taken a long time to heal and have not flourished in other health areas.  This is especially so for those elderly among us who suffer from other major health conditions as well.

Calcium to the Rescue?

So,  you understand the problem and now the answer seems simple — just bump up the calcium intake with a pill, right?  Well, yes … and no…while the answer may seem simple, the traditional method of doing so isn’t as simple as the medical community had previously believed.  Why not, you ask?  It seems that recent research is showing that getting more calcium into your diet by utilizing oral supplements seems to be paving the way for elevated risks of heart attack and other heart diseases!  How’s THAT for  getting your attention?  What, I don’t have your full attention yet?  OK,  then get this:  not only do calcium supplements have some rather unpleasant adverse side effects like minor constipation, increased risk of kidney stones and indigestion, a recent non  randomized study  done by JAMA’s Internal Medicine reported that over 11,000 deaths occurring in 2013 (data released in 2013) which were related to cardiovascular diseases were actually linked to increased and continued use of calcium supplements!  And, the research goes on with more and more data stacking up against getting that extra calcium from a supplement instead of nutritious food choices.

We still need to talk about how this calcium theft affects your oral health and changes or suggestions for changes that you need to consider in your diet and lifestyle to get the calcium required for all of those cellular functions that keep that biological engine we call your body running smoothly.  And to that end, I hope you’ll come back for the next segment to learn more about this important topic.

In the meantime, Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Are Osteoporosis and Gum Disease Related? Part 1

Welcome to all of our faithful readers and patients!  For those of you   who have become regular followers of this blog, you already know that we historically  begin these blog posts  with various questions which are designed to get your brain involved.  Our blog post today will follow that format…currently, the questions we want to ask  you pertain to osteoporosis.  Unless you live under a rock somewhere, and never watch any TV,  we will assume that you know there are probably millions of people world-wide suffering  from a disease called osteoporosis in one stage or another, some mild, some more severe.  Also, it is also likely that you’re potentially among those who suffer from this disease, and know how problematic it can be.  Today, our queries to you involve this disease.  Do you have osteoporosis or know someone who does?  Do you or someone you love have gum disease?  Are you aware that they could be related?   For those of you who answered yes to any of these questions,  I hope you stay with us in this article series while we talk about osteoporosis and gum disease and how they are related to each other. This will be a multi-part series to enable us ample time and space to give adequate discussion to this important topic.   Dr. Scharf is  a licensed Periodontist in Long Island and he wants to share some important health information with you today.

First, Let’s Get the Basics:  What is Osteoporosis?

Today, we’d like to begin by giving you a very simple definition of osteoporosis.  It is a much more complicated process but,  basically, it’s the result of a process that literally “mines” the calcium from our bones to make up for insufficient  calcium being available or when the quality of the calcium that is available in the body is not of adequate quality.   Please allow us to elaborate just a little  further by saying that each type of cell in the our bodies require calcium as one of its essential components for the various daily assigned functions within each body system.  Unfortunately, if you’re not consuming enough of the foods which contain calcium, then this essential mineral is not available for cellular use.  Because the cells MUST function in the way each of them was designed, when insufficient calcium is available in the body, the body “mines” the calcium from the only reliable source it has…the skeletal system (your bones)! The resulting condition is called osteopenia (early  or “pre”stage) or osteoporosis (more advanced stage) in which the calcium level in the bones is reduced, creating a condition involving reduced bone density, making fractures and breaks in the bones a significant risk.  This reduced bone density risk increases as we age and the elderly are at particular risk due to decreased calcium intake that seems to accompany aging.

Also Important is the SOURCE of Calcium

OK, so now that you “get” that you need to ensure your body gets enough calcium, did  you just make a decision to pick up a calcium supplement at the drugstore?  Wrong decision!   While this has been the recommendation of medical professionals for decades for people of both genders, especially women, to enable them to get sufficient calcium into their systems, recently released research doesn’t necessarily support taking calcium supplements for resolving the calcium insufficiency.  Interestingly, the reasons for their position, by making this statement, seem to hinge upon side effects  found  which apply to heart health.  In the next segment, we will discuss the research findings and the recommendations which result from those findings.

In the meantime, let us stress the importance of getting acquainted with a local dental professional  for each and every member of your family to identify and treat any existing gum disease or periodontal disease .   Dr. Scharf  wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help you identify and improve any oral hygiene as well as gum disease and periodontal disease issues which may exist.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him online at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Gum Disease Anyone? Do You Know What Type You Have? Part 2

Welcome back  my faithful followers!  For those of you who were with us last week,  you’ll likely remember our  discussion on gum disease, its various stages and some of the reasons  you should increase your awareness of it.  We wanted to make you aware of  the ways it can affect the health of you and those you love.  Dr. Scharf is a licensed Periodontist in Long Island who feels it’s his duty to educate his readers (and patients) about all things oral, to the best of his ability. So,  let’s get started on today’s discussion on gum disease, specifically periodontitis, the more advanced and serious stage of the disease.

First Things First: The Big “P” (Periodontitis) Follows Gingivitis!

As you may recall,  discussed last week we discussed gingivitis and shared that it is the earliest stage of gum disease.  Also shared last week,  when it is discovered early,  gingivitis can successfully be treated , re-establishing oral health which can be maintained with appropriate follow up.   We also shared that, if the gingivitis remains undiscovered and / or untreated, it will progress to periodontitis, the more advanced and serious of the stages of gum disease.  This advancement or progression will lead to some serious health complications for you and your loved ones.  Additionally, we shared   the causes the gingivitis, specifically inflammation resulting from bacterial activity below the gum line where it is more difficult to clean with just simple brushing and flossing techniques.  Today, we want to stress that it is that same inflammation, fueling the progression of gingivitis to periodontitis that, if  left untreated,  will become plaque both above and below the gum line.

Let’s Talk About How the Disease Process Works

First, let’s get it out in the open…bacterial activity is alive and well inside the plaque on your teeth, both above and below the gum line! Why is that important? Well…that bacterial activity results in toxins being created which irritate your gum tissue.  Chronic inflammation caused by those toxins begins a destructive process in which our immune systems will actually turn in against the body itself as it kicks in to heal the inflammation, which causes more inflammation, which causes more input from the immune system — do you see the vicious cycle that the bacterial activity has caused? What does this mean?  What happens as the body turns on itself is not a pretty sight!  The ugly process causes gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, creating pocketing where infection can live, and bone tissue can be eroded, resulting in tooth loss and serious infections in the gum tissue.   As if it could get worse, all of that infection which has collected in the pocketing around the teeth gets a tour of the body via the bloodstream, traveling  throughout your body, into every tissue type and organ in your body!

There Are Four Types of Periodontitis

Here are the four forms of periodontitis which are being treated by dental professionals today:

    • Aggressive periodontitis – this type is one which is found in otherwise healthy people and is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment to the teeth and bone loss – this generally has a familial connection
    • Chronic periodontitis – this is the most common type and is generally found in adults but can be found at virtually any age – this type is characterized by inflammation of the tissues which support the teeth, pocketing around the teeth and the shrinking away of the some of the gum tissue from around the teeth – this is generally slowly progressive but can have periods of rapid deterioration.
    • Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic disease – this type actually can begin at a much younger age and has been associated with heart disease, respiratory disease and diabetes

 

  • Necrotizing periodontal disease – in this type of periodontitis, the gum and gingival tissues, ligaments and bones actually die prematurely – the systemic conditions or diseases which are connected to this type are HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression

 

Whew! What a ride we’ve taken today!  The disease and damage we have shared in this article series is truly not a pretty sight!  It is our hope that it helps you to understand the importance of achieving and maintaining good oral health for each and every member of your family. Establishing an ongoing relationship with a dental professional is your first step in the process of protecting your family. Dr. Scharf  wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help to achieve those goals of health and well being for your family.  Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or visit  him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Gum Disease Anyone? Do You Know What Type Your Have? Part 1

Welcome to my faithful readers!   Did we offend you by asking the questions  in the title of this post?  If so, please don’t be offended! The Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics tell a chilling story, revealing that American adults aged 30 years or older have a 1 in 2 chance of having gum disease in some stage of development.  I think it goes without saying that you likely fall  into a very large category! And, as such,  you may not be aware of exactly where you fall in the spectrum of “gum disease” as well as  may not totally understand the importance of  knowing more about it and how essential that knowledge is for your good health and that of those you love.   We want to talk to you today about the types of gum disease and how they can affect virtually every aspect of your life.  So, let’s  get started with our discussion of the types of gum disease.

There Are Two Basic Types of Gum Disease

First a few basic pieces of information…there are two basic types of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis – the early stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat
  • Periodontitis – the progressive, later stage of gum disease which has several forms – requiring more in depth treatment

It is important for you to know that these two types of gum disease are connected which means that, once the gingivitis begins, if treatment isn’t initiated and maintained , it will progress to the more serious and severe stages of periodontitis.  It is our plan to explain both types individually  to help you understand the health implications associated with each of them.

First, the Milder of the Two – Gingivitis

Let me ask you some more questions without getting too personal…have you noticed the “pink” toothbrush after brushing?  Or perhaps even noticed “pink” water after rinsing your mouth post-tooth brushing?  If you’re like many people,  maybe you’ve noticed red, swollen gums or places in your mouth that are sensitive to temperatures when enjoying various  of  your favorite foods or beverages.  I’m sure we have all experienced these situations at one time or another, whether fleetingly or routinely.  As noted above, gingivitis is the earliest stage of development of gum disease and it is the mildest form of it.  Inflammation caused by bacterial interaction under the gum line is the root cause of the symptoms noted above and this area of your mouth is not easily reached for appropriate cleaning when you routinely brush your teeth.

What Are The Other Causes or Contributors to Gingivitis Development?

I’m so glad you asked!  While it is quite true that the most common cause of gingivitis is poor or inadequate oral hygiene (or oral cleaning habits) and the associated bacterial activity beneath the gum line, there are also some diseases and conditions which will contribute to the development of gingivitis and its inflammation:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Aging
  • Stress
  • Poor or inadequate nutrition
  • Hormonal changes and puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Substance abuse
  • HIV
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Various other systemic diseases
  • Use of certain medications

I’m sure you’ve already noted  that the other contributors are quite numerous and varied and not all of them are totally within your control.  The good news that I have for you today is that gingivitis is treatable and curable.  It is at this earliest and mildest stage of development that good oral hygiene habits can be developed and initiated in your lifestyle and that of those you love.  Developing and maintaining those good oral hygiene habits combined with regular and routine dental checkups, regular dental cleanings and early gum treatments will allow your gums to heal from the inflammation caused by the gingivitis. Once your gum disease is better controlled, regular followups with your dental professional will keep your mouth healthy.   Sounds like a win-win situation to me, how about you?

Next time, we will dig more deeply into the second and more serious type of gum disease, periodontitis.  In the meantime, Dr. Scharf  wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help achieve these goals for you and those you love.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat all types of gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Are You at Increased Risk of Hypertension Due to Oral Hygiene Habits?

Welcome back to my faithful  readers!  Today, we’d like to ask you some questions about hypertension which we hope will be quite thought provoking.  First, are you personally suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure) issues?  Or, second, is there someone you love who suffers from this malady?  Or, third, do you know what other health problems can accompany or be the result of having hypertension?  If your answer was affirmative to any of these questions, then please read on and allow us to share some very important information with you about how your oral hygiene could potentially be putting you and those you love at an elevated risk for hypertension and any health issues which stem from it.

Some Recent Study Information

Last summer (in 2015), a study was released by group of Korean researchers who assessed data gathered from 2008 to 2010 from over 19,000 people who took part in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES).   For the purposes of this study, they assessed things like the daily oral hygiene activities of the study participants which included the number of times each brushed their teeth as well as whether or not they used of any secondary dental products like dental floss, inter-dental brushes, electric toothbrushes and mouthwash.  Among the over 19,000 study participants, there were 5,921 who were already diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) by either their use of anti-hypertensive drugs or an average blood pressure reading which was higher than 140/90 mm/Hg.  

Here Is What They Found

The published report of study data reveals some interesting points:

  • For those study participants both with and without periodontitis (which is the most severe form or stage of gum disease), a decreased risk was noted for the likelihood of the development of hypertension due to increased frequency of their teeth brushing.
  •  Conversely, those study participants whose oral hygiene was considered poor suffered increased risk of hypertension development.  

Their conclusion was that oral hygiene (whatever it may be) may be called an independent risk factor for the development of hypertension and the inflammation and infection stemming from poor oral hygiene may actually be a catalyst for that development.  

Now, Let’s Walk a Little Further Down the Hypertension Trail

If you live and breathe on this great planet of ours, then you already know that the American Heart Association makes no secret of the fact that an estimated 80 million American adults have already been diagnosed with hypertension.  You also can likely attest to having heard it called the “silent killer” because this killer disease can be alive and well inside you and  wreaking its havoc without you (the host) ever being aware of it…until it’s too late!  What lies further down the hypertension trail?  We would like to refer you to halls of medicine, where the well-documented proof of stroke, heart and arterial damage and kidney damage resulting from untreated hypertension can be found.  And, if these  serious conditions aren’t enough to get your attention , let’s mention here that other serious health conditions have also been linked to this same chronic inflammation that exists with gum disease and periodontal disease, and some of those conditions are (just to name a few):

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Cardiovascular disease  

None of these health conditions paint a pretty picture over the long term for you and those you love.

What’s Your Takeaway?

What can you do to protect you and those you love?  Your first step should be to avail yourself of good regular dental care. It has been proven that by incorporating good dental hygiene habits into the daily lifestyle of each member of your family, the process of achieving better oral health which will lead to improved overall general health for all involved can commence.  You may ask, what do these good dental hygiene habits look like?  The best recommendations of dental professionals include teeth brushing and flossing at least twice a day, regular dental examinations and treating any gum disease found in those examinations.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help you achieve these goals.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

 

How Important Is Flossing Your Teeth?

Hello to all of my faithful readers!  Our topic for today is how much do you know about flossing your teeth?  You have, no doubt, heard a great deal in the media about flossing your teeth and we have talked about it in the past on this blog, but we question you, today,  about your knowledge of how important it is to the ultimate goal of keeping your natural teeth?  In our opinion, flossing your teeth is a vitally important component to your daily oral health regimen, and, at the risk of sounding redundant,  we want to try to help you understand why we have this opinion.   Our goal has always been to keep you and those you love as informed and healthy as possible.  So, let’s get started on today’s topic. 

Recently published conflicting information

 Last summer, some of you may have read a report released by the Associated Press that reported that much of the research centered around flossing seems unreliable and unimpressive as to the benefits of flossing in regard to oral health.  However, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) highly disagrees with this report! If you are not familiar with who the AAP is, allow me to educate you.  This is a group comprised of leading, recognized dental experts who have great expertise in diagnosing, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease (also known as gum disease). Regardless of the Associated Press report, the AAP is standing firm in their belief that keeping the spaces between the teeth and at the gum line as clean and free of food particles as possible is absolutely vital for achieving and maintaining healthy gums and teeth.

Enter other agencies to join the fray

 Last year, even the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Human Services jumped into the fray by making the move to eliminate flossing from the federal 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines, using the above mentioned  research data as their reason for this action.  This action by these U.S. Departments notwithstanding, the AAP has not changed its position one iota.  The AAP is still  strongly recommending daily flossing  to continue to be a part of the complete oral health regimen required by everyone who wants to keep the teeth they were born with.  They feel, as we do, that when flossing is combined with brushing twice a day and annual comprehensive periodontal evaluations, a greater amount of protection from gum and periodontal disease is being provided to you and those you love.  We all know that, over time, gum disease and periodontal disease will lead to more serious and even life-threatening illnesses.

Wondering why the concern?

I’ll bet you’re wondering why we’re so concerned about flossing being maintained as part of our oral health regimen.  Basically, the bottom line is this:  normal teeth brushing doesn’t get all of the food particles out from between the teeth and at the gum line.  If food particles are allowed to remain in the spaces between the teeth and at the gum line, irritation and inflammation is the result.  Bacteria that live in the mouth have a place to live and grow, causing infections and inflammation to prosper unchecked.  This leads to bacterial infections which get into the bloodstream and are transported to virtually every part, organ and tissue type in the human body.  While this bacteria is traveling around in the body, it is also eating away at the supportive structures in your mouth, causing gum disease that leads to bone loss and eventual tooth loss.  Those food particles which aren’t being removed by normal tooth brushing are basically providing a negative double health whammy for you and those you love!  This is especially problematic in this age of increasing interest in eating and living a healthier lifestyle!  

 Hopefully, this article has given you some increased insight into  why flossing your teeth is so important as well as the reason your dental professional and AAP continue to recommend it as a vital part of your daily oral health regimen, regardless of how the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Human Services feel about it.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help you and your loved ones achieve and maintain a healthy mouth and improved overall general health.  Call  him at (631)661-6633 or visit him online at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel

Are You Taking Care of Your Dental Implants? Part 2

Welcome back to my faithful readers!  As promised last week, today, we will conclude this topic on how to care for your dental implants.  If you were with us last week, you may recall  that we discussed some basic background in regard to the need for dental implants as well as what dental implants are.  This week, we will discuss the placement of dental implants and how you should take care of them.  Dr. Scharf cares about the oral and overall general health of you and those you love.  So, let’s finish up this very important topic?

How about the placement of dental implants

First of all, let’s be real here…the placement of dental implants actually does involve oral surgery.  Whew! Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain that it will require a multi-step process, beginning after the existing periodontal disease has been treated.  The multi-step surgical process actually begins with preparatory procedures that pretty much deals with removing badly damaged teeth and any necessary bone grafting determined to be needed to support the implant structure.   Since the process involves multiple surgical steps to achieve the final goal of new, natural looking dental implants which will serve the intended function of your natural teeth for many years to come, it is important to understand that the entire process may take 4 to 12 months to complete.  This, of course, will depend upon the overall condition of your oral tissues.

Now, the importance of appropriate care of those precious dental implants

So, you’ve spent the better part of a year’s time and a bundle of money to get that beautiful, dazzling smile back and you wonder how long it will last.  Make no mistake, while all of that is quite true, the success of your time and investment is largely dependent upon how well you have mastered and maintained your recommended oral hygiene regimen.  The care that is required for the new dental implants will be very much like that which was recommended for good oral health prior to surgical placement of the implants.  Strict and committed attention to basic good oral health regimens that utilize teeth-brushing and flossing at least twice daily and regular, routine visits to your periodontist will go a long way to keeping those implants healthy.  It is important to remember that, while the materials used for the implants and the root structure are man-made, they are still prone to infection common to the gums into which they have been placed.  The best oral health care regimen to maintain your new implants in a healthy oral environment will be thoroughly discussed and explained by your dental professional, your dental hygienist or your periodontist himself.  This path will likely have already been forged during the treatment stage of the periodontal disease which will have preceded the beginning of the multiple step surgical process for the dental implants.  By the time you’re ready for those implants, you will have already become aware of what is needed to achieve good oral health and the necessary habits developed and employed in your daily hygiene regimens.  The bottom line is this:  you will need to change your previous oral hygiene patterns to achieve improved oral health and to maintain those beautiful, natural-looking dental implants.

What does all of this mean to you?  It quite simply means that you have control and can achieve improved oral health which, in turn, will achieve improved overall general health since many serious long-term health problems begin with inflammation in the gums.  Dr. Scharf  wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he wants to help identify gum disease in you and those you love and help to achieve that improved oral health mentioned above.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://www.drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

 

Are You Taking Care of Your Dental Implants? Part 1

Hello again!  I welcome my faithful readers as well as those concerned with good oral health!  Here are some questions for your consideration:  Do you have dental implants?  Do you know someone who has them?  How much do you know about them?  While these are truly important considerations, my query to you today is  simple:  do you know how to care for those precious dental implants? Our goal, for today and  has always been, is to enlarge your knowledge and understanding  of all things relating to dental.  So, our plan for this short article series is to cover what dental implants are and how you should be caring for them.

First, a little background:  What causes the need for dental implants?

As a review for those of you who may not be fully aware, when gum disease is present, damage is constantly occurring to the various oral structures in your mouth, both in the soft tissues as well as the bony structures.  The aforementioned damage, if left untreated, leads to painful red, bleeding and puffy gums, tooth decay, bone deterioration and eventual tooth loss.  When those natural teeth are removed, a gap is created which affects both the alignment and the chewing function of the remaining  natural teeth. Digestive issues can also become a problem when the chewing mechanism is compromised.  While there are various ways to “bridge” (pun intended) this gap, the best  option is the placement of dental implants.  This is especially the case when there are multiple missing teeth due to the advancement of the gum or periodontal disease.  The first step will be the identification and treatment of the periodontal or gum disease.  Once that is treated and control over it has been gained, your periodontist will likely give you some options for replacing the missing teeth.  The best option, as noted above, is to have dental implants placed in those gaps caused from missing teeth.  

Second: What exactly are dental implants?

Again, for those of you who may not be aware of just exactly what dental implants are and what function they serve, I will give you a brief synopsis of dental implants. Dental implants are, quite simply, man-made, artificial restorations of your own natural teeth and their roots.  These implants are placed to fill the gap created by tooth loss which has been caused by gum disease, periodontal disease, injury or other systemic conditions.  They are made to function just as your natural teeth do in the maintenance of proper alignment of the remaining natural teeth as well as re-establishing your basic chewing mechanism to its previous efficient state.

I hope you will return for next week’s segment in which we plan to discuss the placement of dental implants and the care that is needed to keep them healthy and functional.  In the meantime, it is vital to avail yourself and those you love of the expertise of a dental professional who is concerned for their oral and overall general health.  Dr. Scharf  wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and he can help you achieve these goals.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://www.drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.