We live in very demanding times, and more and more people being diagnosed with stress with recent figures suggesting it affects up to 10% of the population. Whilst there is a general awareness of the majority of symptoms of stress many people do not realise the oral health implications.

In fact there are a high number of people I see who don’t realise the extent of their teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism). Headaches can be an immediate side effect of this grinding while permanent tooth damage can be a long term one. The majority of sufferers are aged between mid-twenties to mid-forties.

Although bruxism may be the most common stress related complaint, others include;

  • Mouth sores and cold sores
  • Poor oral hygiene/unhealthy eating routines
  • Periodontal disease
  • Prolonged grinding can lead to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems

What can you do?

If you are clenching or grinding we may recommend the use of a night guard which you pop in while you sleep and which will help to minimise the effects of the grinding. Underlying stress or anxiety may be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy.

If you are concerned that you have stress related bruxism, visit us for a dental health check which will include an inspection of your mouth and jaw. Please contact us in our Dublin dentist practice today at 01 668 3242.

Heart Disease

Research carried out in the early 2000’s has suggested that people who have periodontal disease are twice as likely to also have coronary artery disease. Some of the researchers have suggested that the link between gum disease and heart disease is due to bacteria in the mouth which can cause bleeding gums, leaving a way for the bacteria to get into the blood stream.

The bacteria then produce protein which can cause platelets in the blood to stick together in the heart blood vessels, making clots more likely to form. These clots can reduce blood flow so the heart doesn’t get all the oxygen and nutrients which it needs. A heart attack could be caused if this blood flow is badly affected.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.

What can you do?

If preventing gum disease may lower your risk of developing heart disease, isn’t it worth flossing and brushing regularly? You should also visit your dentist every six months for a full dental health check and a thorough cleaning of your teeth.

Dry Mouth

It goes without saying that saliva plays a very important role in the mouth, keeping it moist and helping to keep your mouth and teeth clean. It also breaks down your food and fights decay.

Dry mouth (Xerostomia) is a condition which sees a decrease in the saliva production and can greatly impact the quality of life for a sufferer.  Do not underestimate the effects of dry mouth, as it can affect your digestion, taste and speech.

While smoking, stress or vitamin deficiency may be a temporary cause, long term suffering can be caused by the menopause, medication (including high blood pressure or depression pills), diabetes, glandular fever and radiotherapy.

There are a variety of rinses, gels and sprays which can help limit the symptoms and improve the quality of life.

What can you do?

If you have any concerns please speak to your dentist. Common symptoms of dry mouth include a burning sensation in the mouth, bad breath, unable to retain dentures or strange taste sensations.  Please contact us in our Dublin dentist practice today at 01 668 3242.

Mouth Cancer – know what to look for

There are over 300 cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in Ireland every year.

Although anyone can be potentially at risk, mouth cancer carries a much higher risk to people who smoke (or chew tobacco) or drink more than the recommended number of alcohol units weekly. In fact 3 out of 4 people who have mouth cancer smoke and drink alcohol. Other factors like poor diet and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) are also linked to mouth cancer.

Although mortality rates in Ireland are rising because of being detected late, the good news is that early detection transforms survival chances to 90%.

As the early signs can be easy to ignore, it is important to carry out regular self-inspections when you are cleaning your teeth, speak to your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms;

  • Ulcers which do not heal within three weeks
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth
  • Difficulty in swallowing or a feeling that something is caught in the throat

Although most people know the importance of having a full dental health check every six months for gum disease and keeping the mouth generally health, many do not realise that dentists carry out checks for mouth cancer and check the soft tissue for signs.

What can you do?

Early detection transforms survival chances to 90% so regular check-ups with your dentist are essential. Although your dentists may not always communicate it, they will normally carry out an inspection of the soft tissue in your mouth during a full dental health check. Self-examination should also be carried out at regular intervals for some of the symptoms outlined above. If you’re a smoker you should obviously consider stopping immediately. If you have any concerns please book an appointment with our dentist Dr. David Keenan immediately.  Please contact us in our Dublin dental practice today at 01 668 3242.

Diabetes and your Oral Health

The International Diabetes Federation have predicted that the number of people living with the condition in Ireland will rise to over 278,000 people by 2030. This will mark a staggering rise of almost 50% on current levels of just over 190,000 people.

So, many of you will be wondering why a dentist is quoting these staggering figures to you and why I am positioned to comment on them? What you perhaps don’t realise is that a majority of gum disease sufferers were found to be at high risk of developing diabetes in a recent report.

However, like the old adage ‘which came first the chicken or the egg’, it’s not entirely clear which way around the diabetes and gum disease link works. Researchers studied a representative sample of 9,000 people who didn’t have diabetes, although 817 of them went on to develop the disease. The researchers found that individuals with elevated levels of periodontal disease were nearly twice as likely to become diabetic within 20 years, even after adjusting for age, smoking, obesity and diet.

Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar level control are likely to have gum disease more frequently and also in a much more severe manner.

The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be overemphasised for patients with diabetes as gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease) can be treated and reversed. However if left untreated, periodontitis (the advanced stage) can occur which in turn may lead to bone loss.

Risks like impaired vision and limb loss are well known to diabetics, however gum disease is rapidly being referred to as the sixth major risk.

What can you do?

Diabetic patients need to pay much more attention to their oral health and ensure a visit to your dentist every six months for a full dental health check and a thorough cleaning of your teeth. You should also inform your dentist if you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and ask for advice on keeping your mouth healthy.

If you are experiencing any difficulties please contact us in our Dublin dentist practice today at 01 668 3242.

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