June 15th, 2018
People who have diabetes are usually familiar with many of the other health risks they face, including damage to the nerves, eyes, heart, and kidneys. But did you know that if you have diabetes you also have a much greater chance of developing gum disease? It's true, and like other diseases related to diabetes, the risk potential severity of gum disease is directly related to how well blood sugar is controlled.
In diabetics, there are two primary mechanisms that increase the risk of developing gum disease, also called periodontal disease:
- Bacterial growth: Bacteria love sugar including the glucose found in blood and bodily fluids. Elevated levels of sugar in saliva can provide a very hospitable environment for bacterial growth. The risk may be elevated if your gums bleed.
- Circulatory changes: In diabetes, the blood vessels become thick, making it more difficult for blood to carry oxygen to the gums and to carry away harmful waste products. This decrease in circulation can weaken the mouth's natural resistance to decay. If you smoke, circulation can become even more compromised, significantly increasing your risk of periodontal disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
If you're diabetic, the number-one key to preventing gum disease is to make sure you do all you can to keep your blood sugar under control. In fact, studies show diabetics who have excellent control of their blood sugar levels have no more risk for gum disease than those who don't have diabetes. Here are some other tips to keep your gums healthy:
- Floss your teeth gently, curving the floss so it can gently reach just below your gum line to remove plaque and food particles. Rinse your mouth when you're done flossing.
- Use a soft-bristle brush to brush teeth twice daily, using small circular motions. Avoid pressing too hard on tooth surfaces.
- Brush your tongue gently to remove germs that can hide there.
- Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash to kill germs that are hard to reach.
- Keep track of how well your blood sugar is controlled and let Dr. Kelly Peterson know at each visit.
- Be aware that having diabetes may mean it takes you longer to heal after undergoing oral surgery.
Most importantly, be sure to visit our Marysville, WA office for regular checkups and tell Dr. Kelly Peterson about your diabetes so you can be sure to get the care you need. Follow these steps, and you can enjoy healthy teeth and gums for years to come.
May 15th, 2018
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, this form of cancer kills roughly one person an hour, every 24 hours. This means that nearly 10,000 people will die this year from this type of cancer.
Often, the cancer is discovered late, which is the main reason the death rate is unfortunately so high. Dr. Kelly Peterson and our team want you to know the precautionary steps you can take to avoid oral cancer.
Here are some of the most effective methods:
- Good oral hygiene is the first step in oral cancer prevention.
- Visit our Marysville, WA office every six months for a dental exam.
- Quit smoking or using chewing tobacco, if you do.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Consume cancer-fighting foods such as vegetables, berries, garlic, green tea, etc.
- Change how you prepare foods; baked, boiled, or steamed foods are healthier than grilled or fried.
- Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy immune system.
- Limit the amount of time you spend in the sun, and be sure to use sunscreen.
- Conduct an oral self-exam each week.
We know the thought of oral cancer can be frightening, so we hope the above advice can help patients catch it early or prevent it from ever happening. If you notice a negative change in your oral health, contact our Marysville, WA location right away and schedule an appointment with Dr. Kelly Peterson.
If you’re ever concerned or have questions about this common form of cancer, don’t hesitate to ask a member of our team.
May 8th, 2018
Nearly 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer annually in the United States, with more than 8,000 dying every year from the disease. Oral cancer has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body, most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.
Dr. Kelly Peterson and our team want you to know that cancers of the mouth and throat, which account for about three percent of all cancers in the United States, are largely preventable. However, we want you to know about certain risk factors that affect the likelihood of developing the disease.
- Use of tobacco products including smoking cigarettes, cigars or a pipe, or chewing tobacco all elevate risk for developing oral cancer. Tobacco use especially, is a serious risk factor because it contains substances called carcinogens, which harm cells in your mouth.
- Consumption of alcohol in excess can also increase your risk. If you drink alcohol regularly, you have an elevated risk of getting oral cancer. Alcohol abuse (more than 21 drinks in one week) is the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
- Excessive sun exposure. People who spend lots of time outdoors and do not use proper amounts of sunscreen or lip balm have a greater risk for developing lip cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight may also cause melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
If you notice unusual lumps, bumps, or red or white patches in your mouth that don’t go away, sores that won’t seem to heal, persistent soreness, or pain or difficulty swallowing please consult Dr. Kelly Peterson and our team immediately.
Other factors that may influence your risk for developing oral cancer include:
- Age: Oral cancer is typically a disease that affects older people, usually because of their longer exposure to other risk factors. Most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40.
- Gender: Oral cancer strikes men twice as often as it does women.
- A history with viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
During your next visit, Dr. Kelly Peterson will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you have been putting off a visit to our Marysville, WA office for your regular checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits can be the first line of defense against oral cancer because we can identify early warning signs of the disease. Give us a call today!
May 1st, 2018
Keeping on top of your oral health is key when it comes to making sure your whole body stays healthy. The bacteria that occur naturally in your mouth can produce harmful bacteria such as strep and staph, which can lead to serious infections and sickness.
When you follow good dental habits like daily brushing and flossing, and eat a healthy diet, you can discourage harmful bacteria from traveling from your mouth to other parts of your body. Protect yourself and learn more about the link between oral hygiene and a healthy body.
Until recently, tooth decay was more common because of the lack of regular dental care and research behind fluoride. Tooth decay is much less problematic today, due to fluoridated water and toothpastes that contain fluoride.
Nowadays, gum disease has replaced tooth decay as the most frequent dental problem. Periodontal disease is on the rise among adults because people don’t floss regularly and then ignore gum tenderness and bleeding. If left unchecked, periodontitis can cause inflammation that may cause harm to other parts of the body.
Oral Health and Chronic Disease
Many scientists believe inflammation-related infections can trigger systemic disease or intensify existing conditions. Remember, bacteria overgrowth in inflamed gum tissue is able to enter the bloodstream through your eating processes, which is why it’s so vital to visit our Marysville, WA office if you notice sustained gum irritation and inflammation in your mouth.
Caring for your teeth and gums every day can prevent the onset of disease and save you trouble in the future with regard to your body’s health. If you think you may be showing signs of periodontal disease, or notice anything else out of the norm, please contact Dr. Kelly Peterson and schedule an appointment.
We want you to be proactive about your health!