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.

ALMOND ALERT! Almond Nuts Causing Epidemic of Broken Teeth | Alhambra Dentist

In the last few months, virtually every day, one or more patients have come in with cracked, broken or sensitive teeth. It’s an epidemic. The culprit is most often…ALMONDS. Recent publicity regarding the nutritional value of almonds has been abundant. These claims have basis in the numerous scientific studies dating as far back as the 1990’s. Most recently the International Society for Horticultural Science published the following statement: “Nuts have been shown to possess substances which significantly reduce risk of coronary heart disease, some types of cancer and several other diseases…” Hazelnuts and almonds, as well as other nuts, have been the subject of studies cited.

The nutritional value of almonds need not come at the expense of broken or cracked teeth. Almonds can be purchased in slivered form, albeit slightly costlier. Considering the cost of fillings and crowns, the cost of buying almonds in a “kinder” form is minimal. Another suggestion is to put almonds into a blender with milk or juices. Nutritional value is thus preserved without the risk of damaging teeth. While we are on the subject of foods damaging to teeth, be careful of the following:

Popcorn. Popcorn is a favorite vehicle for losing weight, if no butter is used. Popcorn is easily substituted for more caloric snacks. However, there is always a chance of a stray kernel that can crack or damage teeth. These little kernels are as hard as rocks.

The first thing that I do when I’m trying to lose weight is substitute something with low calories for my usual snacks. Popcorn is a great substitute for chips and other salty snacks, but a stray kernel (and there is always a stray kernel, isn’t there?) that hits your teeth right can fracture or break your teeth. Another thing to be on the lookout for with popcorn is the stray kernel shard. Sometimes those little pieces can get right under your gums against your tooth and be nearly impossible to get out since it is suctioned to the tooth.

Ice. While ice has more nutritional value than plain water, the pleasure of chewing on ice is again cracked teeth that may require costly dental restorations.

Hard candy. Hard candy may be delightful treats but may also expose teeth to higher risk of decay and breakage. Certain kinds of cough drops are also hard. Do not chew them. Let them melt in your mouth.

Foreign objects in food. Every now and then a patient reports having broken a tooth by biting on a tiny rock, sliver of metal or other kinds of foreign objects in his/her food. This could be food served at a restaurant or purchased from a supermarket. If this happens, you should notify the manager of the restaurant or market immediately. Preserve the foreign object and keep it in your possession. You may request reimbursement from the establishment for the expense of restoring the broken tooth.

If you have mouth odors, bad taste, bleeding/swollen gums or worn teeth, be sure to see your dentist for diagnosis and treatment. You should also contact your physician regarding the advisability of using nuts or any food supplement as a means of improving your health and lowering the risk of disease. But if you do experience a sharp pain in the tooth or jaw when you bite on something hard, go to your dentist right away before the nerve in the tooth gets damaged and needs root canal treatment.

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

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Your Tongue and Bad Breath | Alhambra Dentist

In traditional Chinese medicine, some doctors can diagnose an issue just by looking at the patterns and colors on the tongue. Medical doctors and dentists can also tell a lot about your health by looking at your mouth and tongue.

What if you notice your tongue has white spots? It could be tongue plaque. Your tongue naturally cleans itself and renews the cells on the surface to get rid of bacteria, dead cells, and debris. But when someone has tongue plaque, that renewal doesn’t happen, and your tongue gets covered in a white film. This can happen with age, dry mouth, tobacco and alcohol use, and also with fever or illness. You can clean off tongue plaque by scraping your tongue and using mouthwash. There are a few other conditions that can cause white spots on your tongue. If you see separate white spots on your tongue, it could be a sign of a superficial fungal infection, an inflammatory condition, or early signs of tongue cancer. It would be best if you see your dentist or doctor when you suspect something is wrong.

Another reason for having white coating on your tongue is if you’ve been on antibiotics for a while. Prolonged antibiotic therapy could lead to a yeast infection in your mouth that turns your tongue white. For this reason, doctors will also encourage you take probiotics to replenish the “good” bacteria in your intestines when you are undergoing antibiotic therapy.

A healthy tongue should be pink and covered with small, uniform papillae bumps. When you’re brushing your teeth, it’s a good idea to brush your tongue to get rid of any bacteria that might be lingering on the surface. A tongue scraper also does the same thing and is a handy tool to have. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you how to do this if you’re not sure.

Another side effect of having plaque on your tongue would be bad breath which has other causes. So, if you are plagued by bad breath, it could be periodontal (gum) disease. In this disease, bacteria induce a chronic inflammatory process which, over time, results in loss of bone around the roots of the teeth. This loss of bone is mostly symptom-free and painless until the advanced stages, when a white coating on the tongue appears, along with bad breath and loose teeth.

Untreated, periodontal disease is associated with systemic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis and even Alzheimer’s disease. So, if you see white spots, a cream-colored coating or any lesions on your tongue, see your dentist or physician for diagnosis and treatment.

There appears to be more and more medical experiments and studies delving into what in Chinese medicine makes it work, how it works, and why it works. Maybe Chinese medicine has more to contribute to western medical science than what is known in the public sector.

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

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

November Declared National Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Month | Alhambra Dentist

It is important to maintain healthy gums as they contribute to our overall health in many ways. Unfortunately, through various reasons these gums can begin to recede. Not only is it an aesthetic issue, but it can become the reason you develop other health issues, both dental and otherwise. In order to treat this issue, we must undergo some type of gum recession treatment. And while there are a few options, Dr. John Chao’s Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation is a minimally-invasive treatment option that is taking the gum recession issue by storm. So much so, November 2018 is the inaugural year for the National Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Month, a month dedicated to spreading the word about this treatment option to the public.

“The need for an easier, less painful treatment for gum recession motivated me to invent Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation®,” says Dr. Chao. “Pinhole® is scalpel free, suture free and graft free. The entire procedure is done through small pinholes made in the gums.”

There are currently 3,100 dental professionals that offer the Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation treatment worldwide. Not only will this minimally-invasive treatment option going to offer little pain and recovery time but will give patients the ability to have a healthy smile that can last a lifetime.

To read the official press release regarding National Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Month, click here.

To find out more information about the procedure, click here.

For Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation FAQs and to find a dentist, click here.

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.

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.

Good News on the Opioid War Front | Alhambra Dentist

New Study Shows Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) in Combination are just as Effective as Narcotics

The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated in March 2018 that “Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids – including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl- is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year…”

There is good news on the war on opioids. It has been common in the U.S. to treat dental pain with a combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen in lieu of opioids. A new study from an emergency department in New York tracking pain of the extremities further confirmed and extended the advocacy of this non-narcotic practice for the medical use.

This medical study was a randomized, controlled trial that compared the effectiveness of a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) with combinations of acetaminophen with various dosages of oxycodone or codeine.

416 patients participated in the study. For blinding purposes (so no one knows what he/she is taking), the combinations of medications were delivered in identical capsules. Pain was assessed on a scale of 0 – 10, with 0 representing no pain, and 10, extreme pain. The reduction in pain score for the acetaminophen-ibuprofen group was 4.3 compared to 4.4, 3.9 and 4.2 in the groups who had taken oxycodone or codeine. The difference was determined to be statistically insignificant.

The authors concluded that, “For patients presenting to the ED [ Emergency Department] with acute extremity pain, there were no statistically significant or clinically important differences in pain reduction at 2 hours among single-dose treatment with ibuprofen and acetaminophen or with 3 different opioid and acetaminophen combination analgesics,” and that “further research to assess adverse events and other dosing may be warranted”. In other words, the non-narcotic group received the same degree of pain reduction as those groups who had received narcotics.

When you have need for pain pills, ask your physician (and your dentist, if appropriate) whether you can control pain with the acetaminophen-ibuprofen combination, in lieu of taking opioids. Do not exceed the recommended daily dosages nor take these non-opioid medications long-term without consultation with your doctor. Never take more than you need to control pain.

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

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Too Much Sugar: Diabetes and Gum Disease | Alhambra Dentist

We know too much sugar can cause cavities. So, it is not surprising that too much glucose, also called sugar in your blood from diabetes, can cause pain, infection, and other problems in your mouth, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Glucose is present in your saliva – the fluid in your mouth that makes it wet. When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva help harmful bacteria grow. These bacteria combine with food to form a soft, sticky film called plaque. Plaque also comes from eating foods that contain sugars or starches. Some types of plaque cause tooth decay or cavities. Other types of plaque cause gum disease and bad breath.  Therefore, diabetics who are not careful in controlling sugar intake are more prone to cavities as well as gum disease.

Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way, according to the American Diabetic Association. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, especially when blood glucose is high, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Research suggests that people with diabetes are at higher risk for oral health problems, such as gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (serious gum disease). People with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.

It can be said that overconsumption of sugar may be a major cause of two of the most prevalent diseases in the world – gum disease and diabetes.

National surveys have found that the average American consumes around 85 grams of sugar every day. According to the new USDA guidelines, we should really be eating a fraction of that amount. The recommended sugar intake for adult women is 22 grams of sugar per day, for adult men it’s 36 grams daily, and for children it’s 12 grams a day.

Over time, consistently taking in more sugar will lead to insulin disease, otherwise known as diabetes. What’s alarming is that many people do not realize they are on the road to diabetes. This epidemic of “on the way to diabetes” is called prediabetes. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t appear suddenly and the slow, long and invisible road that is “prediabetes,” which is where blood sugar levels are consistently higher than normal over a long time, slowly affects insulin signaling.

So, overconsumption of sugar leads not only to cavities and gum disease, but also can predispose you to prediabetes and even diabetes. In summary, cut down on the sugar intake, be consistent with your home dental care, as well as your dental visits.

If you would like more information about the affects of too much sugar, 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.

Drinks Destroy Teeth. Every Sip is an Attack. | Alhambra Dentist

Fizzy drinks make fuzzy teeth! Keeping teeth healthy for a lifetime means preventing tooth decay and erosion. Tooth erosion is a newer phenomenon, and one that is preventable, according to the Indiana Dental Association, which provided the following information:

Erosion is the chemical loss of enamel due to acid. Acid is found primarily in soft drinks, sports drinks, juices and acidic foods. Acid reflux, vomiting and other illnesses that produce stomach acid in the mouth can also erode tooth enamel.

Enamel is the protective outer layer of teeth. Throughout the day, your enamel undergoes a continuous dissolving and repairing cycle. Milk, fluoride, water and fluoridated toothpastes can repair and build back the minerals essential to healthy teeth. Low pH beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices and wine dissolve enamel. Sour candies can also erode enamel.

When acid continuously attacks teeth, they cannot repair themselves and will gradually begin to turn fuzzy and dissolve. Dentists consider every sip of a low pH drink an acid attack. Even one bottle of soda or sports drink sipped over hours can do extensive, irreversible damage to tooth enamel.

Decay is literally a soft spot in the enamel which penetrates the dentin, or a hole in the tooth. Decay is caused when the mouth’s bacteria react to sugar. The chemical interaction between bacteria and sugar produces acid. The acid-producing bacteria eat the enamel until a hole is made in the tooth, also known as a cavity. Preventing cavities involves brushing, flossing and keeping sugar to a minimum.

Acid attacks do the most damage when you are very thirsty or have a dry mouth. Saliva, your mouth’s natural defense shield, covers your teeth and provides some protection against acid attacks. When you’re dehydrated, you lack saliva and your teeth are more vulnerable to acid attacks.

Stop the continuous acid and sugar attack on your teeth by limiting the quantity of soft drinks and sports drinks. Instead, choose healthy drinks such as milk and water. Reduce the size of the drink and use a straw to draw the damaging liquid away from your teeth. Food consumed with acidic drinks can often help counteract acid attacks. Most important is to brush your teeth before bed to reduce bacteria and to help harden your enamel. Wait at least one hour after drinking an acidic drink to brush your teeth to allow your saliva to begin the repair process.

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

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.