Eating Disorders and your Teeth

Eating Disorders and your Teeth

It is currently estimated that 10 million Americans are affected today by an eating disorder such as bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating.  The consequences from such destructive eating habits range wildly and are dangerous to one’s health.  One of the first symptoms of pain and discomfort are felt from the damage done to teeth and gums.  A dentist, such as Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman, can be the first to detect these harmful changes and help someone dealing with an eating disorder make the first steps towards improving their health. Periodontal Associates wants to help you identify some leading eating disorders and how such habits can lead to gum disease and/or the need for dental implants.
Bulimia involves alternating periods of overeating (or binge eating) followed by purging.  The fluctuation of high calories followed by expulsion is traumatic to the digestive system which includes the mouth.  Purging the high fat and sugar contents of a binge can be done by self-induced vomiting, diuretics, and/or the abuse of laxatives.  The most common solution for most is vomiting, and by doing so, the contents of food along with the acidic stomach juices are then exposed to the sensitive tissues in the gums and teeth.  Studies have found that up to 89% of bulimic patients show signs of tooth erosion, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.  Although Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman can do many things to transform a smile, replacing enamel on teeth is not a possibility.
Anorexia involves restricting food and caloric intake in order to maintain a thin body image.  This can also include the same habits as bulimia with binge eating and purging; however, persons with anorexia often starve themselves.  In fact, anorexia is the highest psychiatric disorder resulting in death.
The negative side effects caused by both of these eating habits are destructive and obvious on teeth.  With deprivation or purging, the body is robbed of adequate amounts of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients necessary for good health.  The weaker the body, the weaker the immune system and organ function.  Periodontal disease (gum disease) is then harder for the body to fight off.  The acid from the stomach breaks down any healthy gum tissues leading to gum loss, bone loss, and eventually the loss of teeth.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman unfortunately have many patients that needed dental implants as a result of the acidic oral environment and lack of nourishment.  Research studies have  also shown that there is also a strong association between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications and respiratory disease.  With an already suppressed immune system, such conditions can be detrimental.
Salivary glands can become swollen and xerostomia (or dry mouth) can occur.  Lesions on soft tissues may begin to appear and gums will often begin to bleed.  The teeth may become more translucent as poor diet and a high acidic environment erodes the enamel.  Enamel is irreplaceable and results in sensitivity to hot or cold.  As enamel fades away, the teeth can then become more brittle which can result in future cracks and breaks.  When a tooth becomes so fragile and painful, a visit to Periodontal Associates in Aurora is needed as the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman, or your dentist, can be the first to spot these dangerous symptoms.  In order to help persons dealing with such eating disorders smile again and keep their teeth strong and beautiful, Periodontal Associates wants to share some thoughts on how to treat the oral health problems resulting in these dietary habits.
– Patients who purge or vomit should never brush their teeth immediately after vomiting.  Instead, rinse with baking soda to contrast again the high acidity from stomach juices
– Patients should be counseled on their daily oral and overall hygiene routine.
– Patients should have an oral exam to assess current damages done and future treatment needs to help fight gum disease, sensitivity, or replace severely diminished teeth with dental implants.
– Patients should be set up on a frequent recall or hygiene schedule at offices such as Periodontal Associates.
If you are concerned about a friend or family member or you are seeking more information regarding eating disorders and health concerns, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman urge you to contact the National Eating Disorder Association.  If you have suffered from a disorder in the past, please visit Periodontal Associates in Aurora, CO to maintain bi-annual exams and hygiene appointments. To schedule your next cleaning, please call us at (303) 755-4500.

Mouthwash: Pros & Cons

Mouthwash: Pros & Cons

“Brush and floss, brush and floss!”  Those are the words that are murmured over and over again by our hygienists here at Periodontal Associates, and in conjunction with that advice, Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Doug Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman always make a point to remind their Aurora patients about the benefits of using mouthwash regularly, especially for our patients who complete gum graft treatment.

Let’s first explore the plethora of positive outcomes that occur from mouthwash use. Mouthwash is not used in replacement of brushing and flossing, but the ingredients found in mouthwash help prevent and break away tartar and plaque, freshen breath, reduce gingivitis, and prevent tooth decay.  This liquid is able to flow through hard to reach surfaces as an extra safety barrier against bacteria as brushing cleans only the cheek, tongue, and biting surfaces of the teeth.  Periodontal disease starts and does its greatest damage between the teeth so mouthwash is best when combined with regular brushing and flossing to reach those most neglected places.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman rely on such mouth rinses for their periodontal patients to fight inflammation, and many patients with gum grafts will use mouthwash multiple times a day to keep it clean as directly brushing around gum grafts is delayed during healing.

Are there cons to using this mouth rinse?  The problems with mouth rinses are very few. The only concern to be aware of is for those with allergies.  As we age allergies can dissipate, but allergies can also first appear later in adult life as researchers believe it can be triggered by some sort of virus or infection.   Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman warn their Aurora patients to be proactive about their health and allergies as some patients can be allergic to antiseptic chlorhexidine and must be cautious about mouthwash.  Symptoms of mouthwash allergies can be the presence of a rash, itching or more severe reaction s can cause patients to faint or feel light headed due to a drop in blood pressure.  If you suffer from these allergies, please contact Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman at Periodontal Associates so they can help you find the best products to safely enhance your oral health.

 

As you have read, there are many more positive notions about using mouthwash regularly versus not at all, and researchers strive to only increase the benefits of this refreshing mouth rinse.  A new iodine mouthwash has been discovered to safely fight gingivitiswhile also lowering LDL cholesterol.  The Biomedical Development Corporation has already run a successful three month trial.  The center for Oral Health Research at the University of Kentucky will also continue to follow this new rinse in their own trials. The iodine mouthwash is hoped to be used once a day for a 30 second time period.  The iodine helps the thyroid function which then boosts the body’s immune response system. The mouthwash will not only fight bacteria in the mouth and gums, but it will also increase defenses again bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the entire body.   This is good news for Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman as many of our patients in the Denver metro area are at risk for other system disease due to their moderate to severe gum disease. Research studies have shown that there is a strong association between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetesheart diseasepregnancy complications, and respiratory disease.
More effective oral hygiene products like mouthwashes will lessen the concern for gum disease and correlated diseases, but it is important to also visit your hygienists and doctors like Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman regularly for check-ups and cleanings.  At Periodontal Associates, we are specialists in treating and preventing gum disease, and we welcome questions or concerns regarding your oral health.  Please contact us at (303) 755-4500 or click here for an appointment.  For more information, you can also visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com. Until then, please do not forget to brush and floss and, of course, rinse!

How Much Bacteria is in Your Mouth?

Bacteria can be found everywhere: on your hands, when you touch a doorknob, at a restaurant, in the bathroom, etc.  We sometimes get so caught up worrying about not touching things that carry bacteria that we forget that more than a large cup of bacteria can be found inside you!

More specifically, at any one time there can be up to 6 million bacteria found in your mouth; your mouth is a huge carries for bacteria.  GROSS!  The presence of bacteria in your mouth can cause bad breath and, more importantly, can eat away at your teeth causing cavities, dental infections, and gingivitis.  Even worse, some mouth bacteria can cause heart disease and kidney disease.

Here at Periodontal Associates, we stress the importance of controlling how much bacteria is in you mouth and not letting it get out of hand.  While we understand that bacteria can always be found in your mouth, and some bacteria is even good for you, it is important to maintain a strict hygiene regimen so that you don’t have painful and potentially costly dental issues.   Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Douglas Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman  can teach you the proper techniques so that you are knowledgeable.  In addition, it is important to schedule routine dental check-ups with your dentist so that any serious damage can be noticed and prevented.

Dr. Ken Versman, Dr. Douglas Heller, and Dr. Eric Beckman can help you keep your mouth healthy before bacteria does any serious harm.  To schedule your appointment, do not hesitate to call us at (303) 755-4500, clickhere for an appointment, or visit our website at www.periodontalhealth.com.