An Oral Health Guide In Anticipation Of Halloween

As we move away from summer and into the fall season, thoughts of Halloween start to play in the minds of children and parents across the country. As the first celebration of the fall season, Halloween is one that has historically been detrimental to oral health and fundamental to keeping many dentists in business! So much sugar consumed in such a short period of time. Dentists can pretty much count on emergency appointments with children who have toothaches in the weeks after Halloween.


As a dentist who employs and works with the Bale-Doneen method, I want to share what they have posted on their website in honor of National Dental Hygiene Month. Teaching children to keep their mouth clean is an important lesson to establish early. To that end and to the hopeful avoidance of the scary things that can happen when one doesn’t tend to their oral hygiene, I am posting an article from in its entirety.


4 Scary Reasons to Take Your Dental Health Seriously


October is National Dental Hygiene Month, which honors the work of a potentially lifesaving member of your heart-attack-and-stroke prevention team: your dental provider. Recent research links poor oral health to increased risk for many deadly disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading killer of Americans.


Conversely, people who take excellent care of their teeth and gums and get regular dental care live longer, compared to those who neglect their oral health, according to a large study of older adults. That is a great reason to schedule a dental checkup and brush up on the best ways to optimize your oral health. Use these BaleDoneen Method recommendations to safeguard your smile—and your arterial health.


Get Checked for Gum Disease


Periodontal disease (PD) affects the majority of U.S. adults over age 30, many of whom don’t know they have a serious oral infection that can lead to tooth loss, if untreated. Also known as gum disease, PD often has no obvious symptoms in the early stages. Warning signs include red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, receding gums, loose or sensitive teeth and persistent bad breath.


To find out if you have gum disease, ask your dental provider to do a painless exam, using a mirror and periodontal probe to check for signs of oral infection. If you have PD, treatments include deep cleaning, a daily program of oral care to follow at home, prescription mouthwashes, dental trays with antibacterial gel, and in some cases, a short course of oral antibiotics. Early diagnosis and optimal dental care are crucial if you have PD, which has recently been linked to the following health threats:


Heart attacks and strokes. People with periodontitis are more than twice as likely to suffer heart attacks—and have up to triple the risk for stroke—compared to those with healthy gums. A landmark peer-reviewed BaleDoneen study explains why. The research, published in Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ), was the first to identify PD due to high-risk oral bacteria as a contributing cause of arterial disease (plaque). These bacterial villains often enter the bloodstream and inflame plaque in the arteries, leading to blood clots that can trigger heart attacks and strokes.


Alzheimer’s disease. Having chronic gum inflammation (periodontitis) for ten or more years is associated with a 70% higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study of patients ages 50 or older with gum disease. “Our findings support the notion that infectious diseases associated with low-grade inflammation, such as chronic periodontitis, may play a substantial role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease,” the study team concluded.


Women with gum disease have triple the risk for esophageal cancer and to a lesser extent, increased risk for breast, lung, gallbladder and melanoma skin cancer, compared those without PD, even if they don’t smoke, researchers reported in August. The study included 65,869 postmenopausal women ages 54 to 86 whose health was tracked for up to 15 years. The researchers theorize that cancer-causing pathogens in the mouth may spread to other parts of the body through the blood and/or swallowed saliva.


People with diabetes have higher rates of PD than non-diabetics, with those who don’t have their blood sugar under control being at especially high risk. That’s probably because people with diabetes are more vulnerable to infections, but the relationship between PD and diabetes goes both ways. Severe PD can increase blood sugar, which in turn puts people with diabetes at increased risk for other complications of their disease, the American Academy of Periodontology reports.


What Are the Best Ways to Protect Your Oral Health?


If you use nicotine in any form, here’s even more motivation to snuff out the habit: It’s a leading risk for developing gum disease. We also advise these measures to optimize your oral health:


Brush and floss twice a day. Although you may have seen headlines claiming that there’s not much science to support flossing, in a nine-year study of 5,611 older adults, people who never flossed had a 30% higher death rate than those who flossed daily.


Go to bed with a clean mouth. The study found that never brushing at night raised mortality risk by 25%, versus nightly brushing. Since your mouth produces less saliva to wash your teeth and gums when you’re sleeping, it’s particularly crucial to floss and brush thoroughly before bed. We recommend using a sonic toothbrush for the best results.


Get a dental cleaning every 3 months, or as advised by your dental provider. The study also found that people who hadn’t gone to a dentist in the previous year had a 50% higher death rate than those who went two or more times annually, leading the researchers to conclude that good oral health promotes longevity by helping people avoid lethal systemic diseases sparked by infections and chronic inflammation, such as CVD.


Share our PMJ study with your dentist and hygienist. Because this science is so new, your dental provider may not be aware of it. Download or read the study online at Use it to encourage him or her to join your heart-attack-and-stroke prevention team!



A Few Thoughts To Chew On For Oral Health

oral heath

Your Oral Health is So Important

As a dentist, I see people of all ages coming to salvage their oral health oftentimes when it is barely salvageable. The common neglect of oral health is rampant in our indulgent society. We have access to every kind of rich food on a daily basis. And, we do indulge in it. In a sense, every day of the year is a holiday when it comes to what people eat. And that is the downfall when it comes to oral health.

Premium fuel for the body is as important as using good fuel in your car. We’ve been told endlessly to monitor our sugar consumption. Sugar is like acid to teeth. It corrodes, causes cavities and disrupts the balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth. Nonetheless, we are a society sugar-obsessed. Sugar is in just about every processed food on the supermarket shelves.

If you were not taught good oral health practices as a child, it is your responsibility as an adult to discover the healthy practices and adjust your behavior if you want to keep your own teeth. Your teeth allow you to smile comfortably and chew correctly.

The American Dental Association provides diet guidelines for good oral health. I’ve provided those guidelines in hopes that you’ll begin to realize their importance.

Keep These Tips In Mind When Choosing Your Meals And Snacks

•Drink plenty of water.

•Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:  whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes, low-fat and fat-free dairy foods

•Limit the number of snacks you eat. If you do snack, choose something that is healthy like fruit or vegetables or a piece of cheese.

•Foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm to teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day, because more saliva is released during a meal. Saliva helps wash foods from the mouth and lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities.