Receding Gums Awareness Month Declared for January | Alhambra Dentist

Because January has been declared Receding Gums Awareness Month, it is important that we spread the word of this revolutionary new procedure to patients that are in need of repairing their receding gums, Dr. Chao’s Pinhole Surgical Technique. If gums recession is left untreated, this condition will worsen and lead to more severe dental issues in the future, even tooth loss. In order to combat this issue, the Pinhole Surgical Technique can reverse the issue with little to no pain, making it the ideal option for patients suffering from receding gums.

In this video, Dr. Chris Bowman visits the set of Charlotte Today to discuss the procedure and educate their viewers on the benefits of having it done. Each one, teach one…

If you would like more information about Receding Gums Awareness Month, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Time to Celebrate Receding Gums | Alhambra Dentist

While it isn’t the most talked about subject around, receding gums is something that will likely happen to you as you begin to age. Because it is a natural fact of life, it is important that we all have the knowledge we need in order to obtain the proper treatment. If left untreated, gum recession will begin to cause more issues in the future. Thankfully, January is Receding Gums Awareness Month, so let’s celebrate by taking a deeper look at what you need to know…

What is Receding Gums Awareness Month?

Receding Gums Awareness Month promotes public awareness of the causes of receding gums and related health and aesthetic issues. Although many people perceive that receding gums, or gum recession is an “older” person’s issue, the fact is that receding gums affect people of all ages, even in their teens.

Why was this day created?

Receding Gums Awareness Month creates an opportunity for the public to learn about receding gums and how gum recession can affect a person’s smile and their overall health. With this information people can consult their dentists for advice on treatment options, including the minimally invasive treatment known as Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation®. A new website, www.AskYourDentistAboutPinhole.com provides information on receding gums and their treatment as well as a “find a dentist” service.

Receding gums may be caused by improper or overzealous brushing, gum disease or the natural aging process. A certain percentage of children and adults who undergo orthodontia may also develop gum recession as a side effect of the repositioning of teeth during the orthodontic process.

This month recognizes the new way to correct receding gums without conventional gum grafting surgery. Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation was invented and patented by dentist, educator and inventor John Chao, DDS who has personally trained over 3,000 doctors in the procedure, which is now available across the US as well as Europe, Asia and South America.

How should this day be celebrated or observed?

Receding Gums Awareness Month provides information to encourage the public to seek professional advice if they suspect that they have receding gums. Information is available at www.AskYourDentistAboutPinhole.com Dentists and periodontists may use Receding Gums Awareness Month to increase public awareness of gum recession in their communities and to encourage patients and the general public to schedule dental examinations and possible treatment.

If you would like more information about Receding Gums Awareness Month, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

10 Latest “Impossible” Surprises in Dentistry | Alhambra Dentist

  1. Root canal treatment can be painless. Yes, it can be, if it is done in a caring, careful manner using the latest and best technology in anesthesia. By caring, it is meant that the dental environment, the staff and the doctor reflect the confident, sincere, caring attitude that can quickly relieve the patient’s anxieties and gain the patient’s complete trust. Then, by using the latest in painless techniques, the patient can experience an entirely new painless experience. Yes, even the injection can be invisible and painless. After the injection the patient will often say something like, “What was that?”, “Did you just give me a shot?”. By seeing your dentist regularly, hopefully you won’t need a root canal. But if you do, don’t worry and don’t postpone it. It won’t hurt.
  2. Fillings don’t have to be done with shots and drills. Small or medium size cavities can be cleaned with “air abrasion” technology. Under a surgical microscope, the cavity is located and painlessly air-brushed with a miniaturized nozzle emitting a fine stream of powder. This is painlessly done, and many cavities can be filled at the same time. This method is especially good when cavities are not deep. The cavities are filled with hard, durable composite fillings made of ceramic particles filled with resins. The fillings are tooth-colored and are practically invisible.
  3. You don’t have to undergo gum surgery to treat advanced gum disease. Adults lose teeth mostly because of advanced gum disease. Plaque deposits under the gum lead to infection and inflammation in susceptible patients (who have a genetic predisposition for this disease). Bone loss results and eventually the teeth loosen and are lost. Gum surgery allows the surgeon to “reflect” the gums away from the root so that plaque can be thoroughly removed. New technology, called dental endoscopy, allows the dentist to see under the gums with a miniaturized fibro-optic camera that directs the ultrasonic instruments to vibrate away the plaque. The removal of plaque in this manner averts surgery and produces the same results as surgery, but without the downsides, which is pain, bleeding and swelling and occasional complications such as post-operative infections.
  4. Even loose teeth can be saved. When teeth are visibly loose, teeth are often extracted and replaced with dentures, bridges or implants. Traditionally, there are methods to save loose and mobile teeth. These methods include splinting, which calls for tying the loose teeth to the normal teeth with hidden braces, and thorough non-surgical gum treatment (See above paragraph on endoscopy). So, you don’t have to lose your teeth, even if they are loose.
  5. You can get a crown done in one appointment without impressions. Before the advent of CAD-CAM technology, the only way a crown could be done is for the dentist to remove the decay by prepping the tooth, taking impressions of the teeth and sending the impression to the laboratory where technicians make the crown. The process generally took two to three weeks. In the meantime, the patient wears a temporary crown. On the return visit, the tooth is usually numbed up again and the crown is fitted and cemented onto the tooth, if everything goes well. If not, the crown is returned to the lab and the temporary crown is placed back onto the tooth until the next visit. With the new CAD-CAM computer, your doctor takes an optical 3-D image of your teeth a special camera, creates a tooth for you with the computer, and then directs the computer to mill out a new tooth out of a block of pure porcelain. There would be no human error and the fit is consistently precise and accurate. All this is done in one visit, and no more than two hours in most cases.
  6. You don’t have to wait for X-rays to be processed by a machine. Digital x-rays are instantly projected onto the computer monitor in front of where you are sitting. You no longer have to look at a tiny spot on a small dental film to see what the dentist is talking about. Now the image is 40 times the size of the film and you can see what the doctor sees. Besides, these images can be enhanced by color and texture so that you can see the “pathology” also.
  7. MRI-like 3-D imaging has come to dentistry. A select number of dental offices are using 3-D scans to image teeth, bone, gum, nerve, root formation, blood vessels and sinuses in appropriate situations, such as implant placement, root canal treatment and gum treatment. 3-D scan allows the dentist to see and measure accurately (up to .1 millimeter or 256th of an inch). This information can lead to better diagnosis and more alternatives in treatment. Additionally, complications are avoided through the use of this diagnostic advancement.
  8. Denture patients can have a virtual face-lift when they have new dentures that are anchored to mini-dental implants. Yes, mini-dental implants, which are miniaturized implants, can be placed in a short time without surgery and stitching. Then dentures can be constructed in a few hours that would lock on to these mini-implants. These dentures are so tightly secured onto the mini-implants that the patient will have a hard time removing them in the beginning. Because the dentures are locked onto implants, special cosmetic enhancements are now possible. The bite and the arrangement of the teeth can virtually duplicate that of the idealized originals. The effect is a virtual facelift…all done in one day.
  9. Test-Drive Veneers™ invented by this columnist, can be placed onto the front teeth in three minutes or less to give the patient a test-drive experience of what it would be like to have a new, great smile. Up until this innovation was configured by the author, you could only try out veneers if they are made up by a laboratory first. This entailed one appointment for impressions for the lab tech to fabricate temporary veneers, a second appointment would be needed to try out these temporaries. Test-Drive Veneers™ combine art and technology to adapt new, beautiful veneers to your teeth in a matter of 3 minutes or less. They look shiny and real to begin with. But they can be changed, moved or altered in color to suit the preferences of the patient. The patient can realistically anticipate the final result by seeing the virtual result. Most of the time, the final veneers are much more stunning than the temporaries. You have a lot to look forward to…, like having a great, magnetic smile for the rest of your life.
  10. If one tooth looks longer than the others because the gums have receded, gum repair can now be done in 30 minutes or less through a tiny “pinhole” without cutting or stitching. This instant, virtually painless procedure has been invented and patented by the author. The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry, a highly respected, peer-review dental journal, will publish this innovative method, called Pinhole Surgical Technique®, in its October 2012 issue. Prominent figures in the dental profession have described this new method as “a major breakthrough” in the field of gum regeneration. So, if you have a “long tooth” that shows in your smile, you can have that long-tooth look repaired in 30 minutes or less.

Dr. John Chao is well known as an authority on dentistry throughout Southern California. He is the host of Smile Talk, a popular radio talk show on KFWB 980 AM, airing 7-8 p.m. on Sundays. He is a lecturer and clinical instructor at the Ostrow of Dentistry of USC in the Community Dentistry Division, teaching on the subjects of pain and anxiety management, ethics and professionalism. For his work at USC, he has been named “Outstanding Part-time Faculty for 2012.” As the inventor of the “Pinhole Surgical Technique®”, he uses his office in Alhambra as an educational center for interested dentists from the US and other countries. For questions, comments or information, contact Dr. Chao at ChickensWelcome.com, or 626-308-9104.

 

90% of Cells in the Body Are Not Human | Alhambra Dentist

But You Need Them to Maintain Systemic and Dental Health

The vast majority (approximately 90%) of cells in the human body are not human at all, according to a 2006 article published in Cell, a highly respected peer-review research journal that covers a broad range of disciplines within life sciences. This profound discovery within the field of human biology is explained by the intriguing fact that many of these non-human cells play important roles in normal human physiology. These beneficial germs (microorganism) involved in the absorption of nutrients into the body, synthesis of vitamins and protection of human cells from infection. It may be said that survival of the human body (host) depends on the interaction between human and non-human cells. Therefore, it is not entirely correct to say that the human body remains healthy because it fights off bacterial invasion. Actually, it may be said that life is maintained by an interdependent, mutually beneficial coexistence between the human and non-human cells.

The human body contains “ecological niches”, such as the oral cavity, to acquire and retain beneficial microorganisms, according to a recent article published this year in Periodontology 2000, a highly respected journal in the field of dentistry. The latter article further stated that the oral cavity is a warm, wet and nutrient-rich environment that is ideal for supporting microbial growth. The benefit of having beneficial microorganisms is not without consequences. Undesirable microorganisms continually challenge the delicate biological balance between the human body (host) and beneficial non-human cells. The host deals with the microbial challenge through the release enzymes and immune factors in the saliva and the blood supply. Thus, in the healthy individual there exists a dynamic balance that arises out of numerous, complex host-microbial interactions. These interactions can be loosely called “inflammation”, a healing process. However, a substantial disruption of this balance over time can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation triggers the release of a cascade of self-destructive immune factors, such as white blood cells and enzymes, that may lead to adverse oral conditions, such as periodontitis (gum disease).

Furthermore, chronic inflammation and its associated toxic by-products may invariably be released into different parts of the body through the circulatory system. Recently research, widely disseminated through the news media, points to the close association between the oral inflammatory processes and systemic disorders, such as diabetes, arthrosclerosis, respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain forms of cancer and even low-weight or pre-term babies.

How does the body facilitate and accommodate beneficial microbes in the oral cavity? Dynamic balance is, by and large, maintained in biofilms, which are initially formed by host cells. This microscopically thin cellular scaffold initially attracts beneficial aerobic microbes that would exist in communal harmony with the host cells.

How do gum disease and cavities develop? Unwelcome anaerobic microbes may invade the biofilms in large numbers under certain conditions, such as inadequate oral hygiene, dry mouth and high sugar intake. The affected biofilms then become dental plaque, which leads to cavity formation and periodontal disease. It is also known that internal (endogenous) factors such as stress, and external (exogenous) factors such as smoking, are associated higher risk of occurrence of gum disease and cavities.

The take-home lesson of understanding this interesting aspect of oral biology is that oral health stems from a dynamic balance of cells of the human body with oral bacteria and other microbes. Provided the body is generally healthy (not under unusual stress), this biological balance can be maintained at a healthy level throughout an entire lifetime if healthy habits are followed on a daily basis, with professional care at regular intervals. These healthy habits include proper brushing, flossing and use of dental aids such as mouthwashes and hydroelectric devices (“water-pik,” “hydrofloss,” etc.). Proper nutrition, stress control and low intake of sugar products are also important in safeguarding this dynamic balance in the mouth. However, the patient should understand that since so many factors must be in sync to maintain this dynamic balance, even with the best of home care, there is no guarantee that this dynamic balance would not change. To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is therefore recommended that everyone see the dentist regularly for checkups.

An ancillary conclusion to be drawn from this up-to-date concept of biochemistry in the oral cavity is that antibiotics must not be taken indiscriminately. If antibiotics is prescribed, it is only for a particular condition, such as infection causing pain and swelling in the cheeks. Continual use of antibiotics to ameliorate recurrent acute conditions would tend to obliterate beneficial microbes, as well as those causing the infection. This results in difficulty to form a new dynamic balance that leads to more decay and gum infection. In fact, yeast and other opportunistic microorganisms may take over as a result. It is imperative that the offending tooth/teeth be treated or removed and replace. rather than depending on an antibiotic prescription when an infection recurs. Of course, it is better to prevent the problem in the first place by following good dental hygiene habits and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and maintenance.

If you would like more information about systemic deseases, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Alzheimer’s Disease Is Linked to Oral Bacteria | Alhambra Dentist

Abnormal inflammation within the brain is thought to play a pivotal role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study further states that inflammation from the body may worsen that brain inflammation, specifically gum disease being a chronic infection associated with elevation of serum inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein), has been found to be associated with several systemic diseases, including AD. This study reports on the mechanisms through which gum disease can contribute to the onset and progression of AD.

In simple language, gum disease can cause the inflammatory level of the whole body to go up. This can raise the inflammatory level in the brain. Thus, heightened inflammation caused by gum disease can lead to AD. The good news is because chronic periodontitis is a treatable infection, it might be a readily modifiable risk factor for AD. In other words, treat gum disease and you will lower the risk of getting AD.

In confirmation of the above study, Dr. Judith Miklossy, the director of the International Alzheimer Research Center in Switzerland, states in an interview that, “Yes, six different periodontal pathogen spirochetes [gum disease bacteria] were found to be present in the brain in Alzheimer’s patients. Recently, we have reviewed all the data in respect to the detection of spirochetes in Alzheimer’s disease and the analysis of this data showed a very strong statistical association between the spirochetal infection in Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is extremely important to take care of the oral health.”

Spirochetes is a group of very toxic germs, some of which are associated with syphilis and Lyme disease, while others are found in the oral cavity. It is postulated that these oral types of spirochetes actually find their way to the brain to compound the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So, the conclusion is very clear. See your dentist regularly. When you go to your regular dental check-up, seriously consider any advice given by your dentist about your gum condition. Remember, it’s not only your teeth, it’s your brain and the rest of your body that will benefit when your gums are healthy and free of any infection.

If you would like more information about Alzheimer’s disease, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Educating the Public About Pinhole | Alhambra Dentist

You may have heard of the saying “getting long in the tooth” when used to describe someone as aging. But have you ever thought about where this saying comes from? It turns out that as we age, our gums begin to recede. And with this recession comes an unattractive smile, an increased tooth sensitivity and a higher chance of tooth loss. In order to prevent this, your dental professional may suggest gum rejuvenation as a treatment option.

Gum rejuvenation is a ground-breaking dental procedure that will not only renew your bright smile, but can be done with no incisions, stitches or grafts. Created by Dr. John Chao, the Pinhole Surgical Technique is an increasingly popular option because the turnaround time is quick (procedure can be done in one visit), recovery time is minimal (patients have been able to eat the same day) and because there is no incisions or grafting, it is virtually pain-free.

This month is National Gum Rejuvenation Month and to celebrate, we have been filming a commercial to get the word out to the public about this life-changing procedure. Not only will the improvements Pinhole Surgical Technique made to their smiles boost their self-esteem and fix any sensitivity issues, but the health benefits and gum disease prevention will improve their overall quality of life. It is important that our patients have every treatment option available to give them the smiles they deserve. Look for our new commercial coming soon. If you would like to learn more about Pinhole Surgical Technique, visit www.AskYourDentistAboutPinhole.com.

If you would like more information about Pinhole Surgical Technique, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Good News: Healthy Gums Lower Blood Sugar | Alhambra Dentist

According to the American Diabetic Association, roughly 10% of the U.S. population have diabetes and about 30% (84 million) have prediabetes. 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Now for the good news…

It has been known for a long time that people with diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes, have more gum disease than those without diabetes. According to the American Dental Association, scientists are finding that gum disease may raise blood sugar levels in people with and without diabetes. Conversely, the good news is that in people with type 2 diabetes, treatment of severe gum disease can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels. The benefit is about the same as you might find if you add another drug to your usual diabetes medicine.

For the 84 million Americans who have prediabetes, there is also good news. The American Dental Association has reported a study in Denmark that showed periodontitis accelerates the progression of prediabetes into diabetes. Hence, treating and controlling periodontitis is a way to lower the risk onset of diabetes for these 84 million Americans who are pre-diabetic.

How would one know whether or not one is already pre-diabetic? When you see your physician on a regular basis for routine blood tests, screening for diabetes will reveal your status. One of the clues to whether you have additional risk factors for diabetes is a family history of diabetes. And incidentally, one of the risk factors for gum disease is family history of gum disease and loss of teeth.

How does gum disease make blood sugar levels go up? Scientists think that some of the germs in infected gums lead into the bloodstream after normal activities such as chewing or tooth brushing. This starts a reaction from your body’s defense system, which in turn produces some powerful molecules (biochemicals, such as cytokines) that have harmful effects all over your body. One of the things these molecules do is to raise blood sugar levels.

Since 40% of the population has issues with diabetes or prediabetes, and half of the population have periodontitis, it is essential that everyone visit the physician and the dentist regularly.  It will save your life and your teeth. Healthy teeth mean a healthy life, and a healthy life means healthy teeth.

If you would like more information about gum disease, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

What Causes Loose Teeth and How to Save Them | Alhambra Dentist

A loose tooth in a child often signals an exciting rite of passage. Once a person reaches adolescence, however, a loose tooth is no longer a normal occurrence. Adults may be alarmed when they notice loose teeth. Adult teeth are permanent and designed to last a lifetime. Some causes of loose teeth in adults are harmless. Others require the care of a dental professional to save the tooth, remove it, or replace it with an implant or bridge.

Gum disease. Poor dental hygiene may cause a loose tooth. Also known as periodontitis, this stage of gum disease involves inflammation and infection of the gums, usually caused by poor dental hygiene habits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States report that half of the country’s adults aged 30 or older have gum disease.

When brushing and flossing efforts do not remove plaque, gum disease can develop. Plaque contains bacteria. It sticks to teeth and hardens over time until only a dental health professional can remove it. Hardened plaque, known as tartar, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating gaps that can become infected. Over time, this process can break down the bone and tissue supporting the teeth, causing the teeth to become loose.

Other signs of gum disease include:

  • Gums that are tender, red, painful, or swollen
  • Gums that bleed when the teeth are brushed
  • Gum recession
  • Changes in the way the teeth fit together

Any signs of gum disease should be checked by a dentist as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can prevent tooth loss.

Pregnancy. Raised levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can affect the bones and tissues in the mouth. Having more of these hormones can alter the periodontium, which is the collection of bones and ligaments that support the teeth and keep them in place. When the periodontium is affected, one or more teeth may feel loose.

The changes to this part of the body will resolve after pregnancy, and they are not a cause for concern. However, anyone experiencing pain or loose teeth during pregnancy should see a dentist to rule out gum disease and other oral health problems. It is safe for pregnant people to have dental checkups, cleanings, and X-rays, according to the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In fact, because of a possible link between gum disease and premature birth, pregnant women are encouraged to see dentists regularly.

Injury to the teeth. Injuries sustained because of contact sports may cause loose teeth. Healthy teeth are strong, but an impact from a blow to the face or a car accident, for example, can damage teeth and surrounding tissue. The result may be chipped or loose teeth.

Similarly, clenching the teeth during times of stress or grinding them at night can wear down the tissues and loosen the teeth. Many people are unaware of their clenching or grinding habits until they result in jaw pain. A dentist may be able to detect the problem before the teeth are permanently damaged. Anyone who suspects that an injury has damaged the teeth should see a dentist as soon as possible. Sports injuries, accidents, and falls, for example, can cause dental damage.

Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to weaken and become porous. As a result, even minor bumps and impacts can lead to broken bones. While osteoporosis commonly affects the spine, hips, and wrists, it can also damage the bones in the jaw that support the teeth. If the jaw bones become less dense, the teeth may loosen and fall out. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. also report a possible link between bone loss and an increased risk of gum disease.

Certain medications used to treat osteoporosis can cause dental health problems, though this is uncommon. In rare cases, drugs called bisphosphonates, which help to treat bone loss, can lead to lose teeth. This is known as osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Authors of one study suggest that osteonecrosis rarely occurs in people who are taking bisphosphonates in pill form, but that the condition may develop in people who receive the medication intravenously. Trauma and surgical procedures, such as tooth extraction, can also cause osteonecrosis.

How to prevent teeth from coming loose:

Loose teeth cannot always be prevented, but a person can take steps to reduce the risk. Tips for tooth and gum health include:

  • Brushing the teeth thoroughly twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Refraining from smoking
  • Attending dental checkups and cleanings as often as recommended
  • Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while playing sports
  • Wearing a bite splint, when nighttime grinding or clenching is an issue
  • Asking a doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplementation to help prevent osteoporosis
  • Keeping diabetes under control, as diabetes is a risk factor for gum disease
  • Being aware of medications that may affect the teeth

Treatment options for a loose tooth:

A range of treatments can help, and the best option will depend on the cause of the looseness. Treatments include:

Splint loose teeth to firmer teeth.  Splinting means a way of stitching your teeth together with hidden wiring.  You have probably seen a retainer-type of wiring the back of the lower front teeth to prevent teeth from moving after braces. That’s what your dentist can do for your loose teeth.    In some select cases the loose teeth can be splinted together with crowns.

Scaling and root planing. This is a type of deep cleaning procedure that can treat and help to reverse gum disease.

Medications or mouth rinses. These can help infected gums to heal and combat bacteria in the mouth.

Surgery. The aim will be to remove inflamed gum tissue and bone that has been damaged by gum disease.

Bone grafts. These can help to rebuild bone lost to gum disease.

Soft tissue grafts. Also known as gum grafts, these can prevent further gum or tooth loss in people with gum disease.

Dental appliances, such as bite splints. These can reduce damage from grinding and may help the mouth to heal after dental surgery.

Treatment for diabetes. Appropriate treatment is important for dental health.

So, if you have loose teeth or suspect you might be prone to have them, see your dentist as soon as possible.  As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.”  What we dentists can also say, “Splint your teeth in time, you will be fine.”

If you would like more information about loose teeth, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Marijuana Use May Lead to Gum Disease | Alhambra Dentist

Long-term marijuana use may lead to gum disease, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Marijuana (cannabis) is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

According to a 2014 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as many as 22.2 million people used cannabis in the previous month.

Marijuana use is common among teenagers. NIDA reports that nearly 20% of 12th graders are currently using marijuana. Short term detrimental effects include feelings of fear, anxiety, delusions, psychosis and hallucinations.

In the context of prior research, marijuana use may raise the risk of accidents and injuries, bronchitis, cardiovascular problems, infectious disease, and poor mental health, according to authors of the JAMA article.

The JAMA 30-year study tracked 1037 individuals from 3 years old to when they turn 30. This study found “clear evidence of an adverse association with cannabis use – namely, periodontal disease”. This study was able to isolate risk factors associated with smoking cigarettes from those associated with marijuana use. The evidence regarding marijuana use include loss of bone that support the teeth. This loss is generally the main detrimental result of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is the major cause of the loss of teeth in adults. Nearly 50% of American adults 30 years of age or older have gum disease. Poor oral hygiene, smoking and diabetes are known causes of periodontal disease.

If you are using marijuana under the care of a medical provider, it is recommended that you see your dentist regularly to check for gum disease. Certainly, you should discuss with your dentist the additional ways you can prevent gum disease. This may consist of developing thorough (but gentle) hygiene habits, more frequent regular checkups and the proper use of hygiene aids, such as appropriate mouth rinses and flossing devices.

If you would like more information about the dental effects of marijuana use, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.