Riverwalk Dental

Surprising new research published in Massachusetts’ Tufts University’s journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience finds link between bacteria that affects oral hygiene may also contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease

Recently, researchers at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine found a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.  According to the CDC, about 47% of adults over 30 and 70% over 65 have gum disease, so the team at Riverwalk Dental felt it was important to share this information with their patients and visitors.

“Your mouth truly is the gateway to your body,” states Jake Jinkun Chen, professor of periodontology at Tufts in Boston.  “Chronic inflammation or infection is believed to be a key determinant in the cognitive decline that occurs as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.”

According to Healthline Media and Tara Fourre, research manager for global oral health innovation and microbiology at Johnson & Johnson, the bacteria found in your mouth not only ends up in your digestive system, but also your bloodstream. “Each time you chew, brush, or floss, these germs get pushed into small vessels in your gums.”

This is not, of course, a recommendation to avoid these actions that clean and keep your teeth healthy, it is in fact a recommendation to do it often.  By doing so, bad bacteria are inhibited from reproducing in your mouth, and in turn preventing bad bacteria from entering your bloodstream.

How is oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease connected?

In the previously mentioned study at Tufts University, Professor Chen conducted experiments on healthy mice in which he placed bad bacteria in the mouths of the animals and measured the amount of bacteria found in their brain six weeks later.  Chen’s study showed that the bacteria placed in the mouths of the mice eventually found its way to the animals’ brains.

Here is the critical link:  The bacteria found in the mouths of the mice, and the mouths of humans, cause inflammation, and Alzheimer’s is an inflammatory disease.  According to Professor Chen, “Chronic inflammation or infection is believed to be a key determinant in the cognitive decline that occurs as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.”

Does this mean if you have gum disease you will, at some point, develop Alzheimer’s disease?

No, not necessarily.  These findings are encouraging and very likely a key to getting answers behind Alzheimer’s, but correlation isn’t necessarily causation.  According to Science.org, neurobiologist Robert Moir of the Harvard University–affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston expands on this by saying, “I’m fully on board with the idea that this microbe could be a contributing factor [in Alzheimer’s disease]. I’m much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer’s disease.”

In agreement with this conclusion, SciTechDaily and Jake Jinkun Chen, professor of periodontology and director of the Division of Oral Biology at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, expands on this concept by saying such inflammatory bacteria “can generate systemic inflammation and even infiltrate nervous system tissues and exacerbate the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.”

How can we protect ourselves from this potential cause, and very likely exacerbating factor for Alzheimer’s disease?

As the doctors at Riverwalk Dental stress so often, every day brushing and flossing is an absolute necessity.  If you read our articles regularly, this is obvious.  But it is also the deep cleaning that removes the plaque buildup, tartar, as well as deposits of bacterial build up between your teeth is extremely important to oral health and key to avoiding inflammatory bacteria from entering your bloodstream and eventually to your brain.

Other easy habits to establish include drinking water while eating and intentionally rinsing your mouth at the end of each meal.  Before particles of sugar and other sticky substances form a firm connection to your teeth, water can rinse those particles away easily.

We as doctors and scientists cannot say for sure if there is a direct cause an affect between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease, but there is no question much of the bad bacteria found in your mouth can and will, if in existing in abundance, enter your bloodstream.  And as Professor Chen’s research showed, these bad bacteria eventually flow to your brain.  Therefore, there is very strong evidence the inflammation cause by these bacteria in your body intensifies the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

A healthy mouth is a healthy and happy mind!

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Riverwalk Dental, Merrimack Valley District Dental Society, and Giving Back to the Community

Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi are pleased to be part of one the most generous charitable dental organizations in the Bay State, the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation. Riverwalk Dental’s local chapter is the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society which serves those in need throughout Andover, Billerica, Bradford, Byfield, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Merrimac, Methuen, North Andover, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wamesit, and Westford.

“We are so grateful to be able to serve patients throughout Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, and so many folks in the Merrimack Valley area, Dr. Patsi and I feel strongly it is important to give back,” stated Dr. Beninato when speaking to us, the staff of Riverwalk Dental.  “Being part of an organization such as the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society and the great work the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation does is truly rewarding because of the hope the offer to so many in need.”

Recently, the Lynn Journal, a Massachusetts publication, cited the awarding of $15,000 for the “Expanding Access to Dental Care” grant to provide oral health care to middle school students in the city of Lynn on behalf of the ForsythKids Program.  The Lynn Journal article quotes ForsythKids Public Health Dentist Helen Nguyen, MPH, DDS as stating:

This grant allows our team the wonderful opportunity to support high-risk children and their oral health during a critical time in their lives. Bringing care to middle school children is essential because children transition completely to adult teeth at this age.

This program is only a fraction of the efforts put forth by the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society and the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation.  The Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) also received $12,500 in grant money to continue funding the Massachusetts Donated Dental Services program (DDS).  This effort includes care for 40 individuals with disabilities, fragile medical conditions, and/or those unable to afford care. Not only will monetary contributions be made, but patients will also receive $90,000 in pro bono dental care for their oral health challenges.

Other efforts our Foundation contributes include a $6,700 grant for Franciscan Children’s to purchase a hand-held x-ray machine for the Pediatric Dentistry Program, a $15,000 grant to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) University Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene for the Neighborhood SMILES and Worcester EYES Program, and $15,000 Access to Care Grant for Tufts University School of Dental Medicine for dental services for our military veterans in the Greater Boston area.

Riverwalk Dental is proud of the service and philanthropic efforts of the Merrimack Valley District Dental Society and the Massachusetts Dental Society Foundation.  Our chapter already contributed $20,000 to these efforts and we are aiming to increase this throughout the year.

Teeth hypersensitivity: Yes, a problem your dentist can solve

It is widely reported among dental professionals throughout Massachusetts and all throughout the country that patients often endure the pain and discomfort of overly sensitive teeth because they are not aware that dentists have a wide range of treatments that can help or even eliminate the problem.  According to Massachusetts General Hospital, even less severe, more easily lived with and commonly witnessed cold sensitivity in teeth, although difficult to study, can be addressed.

Adding to this issue, research shows that patients do not necessarily perceive dental hypersensitivity as a condition similar to a toothache or bleeding gums.  Living with such discomfort can make eating and drinking a chore every day.  This is very likely not necessary at all, and your friends at Riverwalk Dental would like to explain why this is the case, what are the causes, and how to find relief.

The Cause of Dentin Hypersensitivity

Dentin is a live layer just below the enamel part of your teeth.  Exposure of this part of your teeth is what often causes the sharp, painful sensation experienced when the enamel part of one’s tooth wear away or the gums recede from the tooth.  This exposes the dentin, causing the sharp pain one experiences when they suffer from dentin hypersensitivity.

If you are brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush that is so firm it is causing erosion of your tooth enamel, your teeth over time will become more and more sensitive.  If you find you are in fact developing sensitive teeth, consider changing your brushing habits and/or toothbrush to both clean your teeth as well as protect them from this self-inflicted erosion.

Periodontal diseases are another means of your teeth’s dentin to be exposed and in turn cause tooth oversensitivity.  Periodontal diseases are caused by infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support your teeth.  Gingivitis is the early stages of this form of gum disease, and is easily addressed, but without treatment such a condition could cause the gums to recede from your teeth, bone can be lost, and teeth can even loosen or fall out.  Without treatment, dentin sensitivity would likely follow adding more discomfort and possibly more permanent damage over time.

Another common cause of dentin sensitivity is due to teeth whitening.  Over the counter whitening products can and often work well, but without the supervision of your dental professional, sometimes serious damage can occur.  It is recommended that Riverwalk Dental patients work with Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi to ensure you get the smile you aim for while also protecting your teeth from long term damage.

How to Address Dentin Hypersensitivity

If you are just beginning to witness tooth sensitivity, consider any changes recently in your brushing habits.  Did you change to a firmer bristle brush?  Are you applying too much pressure to the brush as you glide it along your teeth?  Oftentimes tooth sensitivity can be temporary, and resolved quickly, simply by recognizing these new habits and correcting them.

If you have started a tooth whitening treatment, come and visit Riverwalk Dental and let us assess the process you are using.  We may be able to improve upon this process to both whiten your teeth while also preventing any damage to your teeth that may very well be causing the oversensitivity.

If you find that none of the aforementioned causes could be the reason for your teeth’s oversensitivity, consider using a toothpaste deigned to address dentin hypersensitivity.  Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste, Sensodyne, and other toothpastes can help ease the pain caused by dentin exposure.  There are also prescription strength toothpastes that Riverwalk Dental can prescribe and have a high probability of offering relief.

There are also more permanent solutions as well one may wish to consider if sensitivity is persistent.  Adhesive systems that occlude, or block dentinal tubules, can offer much more lasting relief.  In severe cases, laser treatments can also offer a more permanent solution, but consultation with Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi is strongly recommended in these circumstances.

It is important to remember that a resolution to any pain you feel in and around your mouth can be resolved by a visit to Riverwalk Dental.  Don’t be a stranger, we are here to help!

Answers to Common Questions Regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine in Massachusetts

With the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts, Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi want to help our clients with the most common questions we receive from our patients, as well as questions we have asked the authorities on vaccine distribution and administration throughout the Bay State.  Our clients are always welcome to call and discuss these details but publishing them in one location in which patients can access at any time, we feel, is to the most benefit of our clientele.

Question 1:  Can I get the vaccine?

This is our most common question.  This process is evolving over time, but as of today the supply of vaccine is limited.  At some point, likely in the near future, the COVID vaccine will be made available to everyone.   As opposed to listing out who is eligible at the time of this publication, it is best to check the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Information website regularly.  This website is located here.  Currently, Phase 1 and Phase 2 groups can now get the vaccine, which includes, but not limited to people 60 years old or older, first responders, health care workers, educators, and more.

It is important to recognize that eligibility will change over time, so checking the mass.gov website regularly is important.

Question 2:  Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

This is another prominent question asked from our patients all throughout Massachusetts, and it is a critical one.  It is important to recognize that the Food and Drug Administration is highly experienced in the rollout of many vaccines and medications over decades.  It is critical when an emergency vaccine enters the market that they use this experience to weigh the benefits against the risks.  Today, the FDA clearly sees a huge benefit to the use of the new COVID vaccines over the risks to public health.  All COVID-19 vaccines have gone through rigorous testing prior to approval, inclusive of tests on many different ages, races, ethnicities, and medical conditions.

It is important to also note that there is never a guaranty of safety with any vaccine or medication, but our clients should rest assured that the benefit of the vaccines have proven to outweigh the risks thus far.

Question 3:  Is getting the vaccine safer than achieving immunity by contracting the illness?

This is a nearly impossible question to answer fully.  Getting the COVID virus not only puts you at risk of serious, long term health problems, but also those around you.  There is also questions as to whether immunity by getting COVID-19 lasts long-term.

Nevertheless, there is no perfect solution to immunity from the COVID virus.  Both the vaccine and the illness are new.  Without a time-tested, proven remedy, it is important that each person make this decision for themselves.  What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people.

Question 3:  What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Some COVID-19 vaccines have had more adverse reactions than others.  According to the CDC, information about specific side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available when they are approved, which has not been done at the time of this publication.  Nevertheless, the COVID-19 vaccine can have the same common side effects one experiences with most vaccinations and the symptoms typically subside after a week.

Question 4:  Seeing the COVID-19 vaccines are so new, is it possible to know the long-term side effects?

This is another important question and perfectly reasonable.  Because the vaccines are so new, it is true that the long-term side effects are unknown.  Nevertheless, the FDA and the CDC are continually monitoring the effects of the vaccine to ensure that even long-term side effects are identified as soon as possible.  It is again important to stress that contracting COVID-19 can also have long-term effects on one’s overall health.

Riverwalk Dental is here to help you in your decision making regarding COVID-19, preventative measures, and vaccinations.  We hope you find this information helpful, and you are always welcome to call our office and ask further questions.

When is a good time to start going back to the dentist in the world of COVID-19?

Friends, family members, and dental clients ask the question, “When is a good time to start going back to the dentist as the world evolves through the COVID-19 pandemic?” Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi are asked this question frequently, and we at Riverwalk Dental see this question as critical to our clients’ health and wellbeing.  So, for our most recent article, we believe it is important to answer this question from us to you, along with the advice and direction of the Massachusetts Dental Society, the CDC, and the American Dental Society.

Concerns about COVID-19 and visiting your dentist are real concerns that are taken seriously by the staff at Riverwalk Dental.

Disinfection and Dentistry

When answering the question as to whether it is safe to go to the dentist, it is important to understand that we in the dental community have always, as a necessary part of operating safely, taken the spread of any germs or viruses very seriously.  Unlike other professions, dentistry has constantly been focused on the prevention of any kind of contamination in our offices.  The proper practice of dentistry has always been rooted in hygiene and an extraordinary focus on preventing any transmission of infection.  Simply by virtue of our focus on oral health, the team at Riverwalk Dental has always understood the need to keep all equipment and surfaces free of bacteria and viruses and we are proud of our perfect record to achieve this goal.

Today, like all other businesses, we have taken our already extremely high standard for hygiene and brought them to levels previously unseen. These include but not limited to:

  • Limiting patient appointments to ensure social distancing.
  • Screening of all people who enter our office prior to extending routine care.
  • Require masks for everyone.
  • Adhering to all other CDC requirements and Massachusetts reopening guidelines.

Riverwalk Dental’s perfect record of preventing the transmission of harmful contaminants will not be tarnished.

What are Other Experts Saying?

According to a recent article published by the Massachusetts Dental Society Word of Mouth magazine, they state it plainly for the citizens of the Bay State;

The Massachusetts Dental Society wants to let residents know that you shouldn’t let that fear force you to overlook your oral health. It is safe to go to the dentist right now, even for routine cleaning and exams. Your teeth and gums hold important clues to other health issues (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, premature births, and osteoporosis), so delaying your routine dental care could be detrimental to your oral and overall health.

This article goes on to cite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA), who also echoed this information and underscores the fact that there have been zero instances reported of COVID-19 transmission taking place in a dental office.

In the age of COVID-19 it is important to be cautious, and it is also important to ensure that you are not at the same time avoiding preventative measures that, if left undiagnosed and untreated, could lead to more serious problems in the future.  According to Safety.com, “A study released Aug. 10 [2020] found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients with extreme gum disease were 22 times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory problems and to be placed on a ventilator.”  In other words, poor oral health can have a multiplying effect on one’s overall health, especially if combined with a highly infectious virus like COVID-19.

The staff at Riverwalk Dental want you to be healthy and feel safe.  We want to assure our clients that we have always had a keen eye on hygiene in our office and our perfect record reflects our dedication to this for you.  If you haven’t visited in a while, make an appointment and come in for a visit soon.

Vaping and E-cigarette use and dental care:  What patients and parents need to know from Riverwalk Dental

Most people are aware that the use of E-cigarettes and vaping products is very much on the rise throughout Massachusetts and all throughout the country.  According to the Surgeon General of the United States, E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth throughout America today.  Although such products have proven to be less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco is not without its dangers.

According to the Massachusetts Dental Society, there are several factors people sometimes do not consider when choosing to vape, and those in particular who are not moving away from traditional smoking to an E-cigarette should consider:

  1. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug no matter how it is delivered into one’s bloodstream. A person choosing to vape the drug instead of smoking it will still become addicted to the chemical.
  2. Vaping generates an aerosol that coats the lungs of the user. According to USNews Health, ultrafine particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs plus flavorings like diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious and irreversible lung disease called obliterative bronchiolitis have been found, as well as even heavy metals including nickel, tin, and lead.
  3. In an article written by the Massachusetts Dental Society, vaping sweet flavored E-cigarettes can increase the risk of cavities. In fact, scientists have evaluated e-cigarette aerosols and found that they have similar properties to high-sucrose syrups, gelatinous candies and acidic drinks which cause serious issues with everyone’s oral health.

The doctors and staff at Riverwalk Dental want all our patients to be healthy and happy. If you are a current cigarette smoker, moving to smokeless tobacco could be your answer to weaning yourself off of a product that is likely causing serious problems for your oral health, heart, and lungs.  Yet such products are not without their own risks.  We encourage our clients to educate themselves before considering their options.

If you are not currently a smoker, please consider never using a vaping or E-cigarette product.  Although these items appear on the surface to be harmless, they are not.  Addictive chemicals will not just hurt your pocketbook with an unnecessary expense, it could lead to serious problems in the future including gum disease, tooth decay, and serious damage to the most vital organs of your body.

Riverwalk Dental of Lawrence Massachusetts is keeping patients safe with state of the art water filtration

The safety and health of Riverwalk Dental’s patients is Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi’s greatest concern.  Elsewhere in Andover, Shrewsbury and other areas throughout Massachusetts we’ve seen issues with brown water during hot summer days and despite this being far less of an issue in Lawrence, over time bacteria and other contaminants can and will build up in water lines.  Called biofilm, this is a bacteria filled layer that, over time, adheres itself to the walls of the tubing used in dental procedures.  It is possible that such bacteria can eventually break off the tube walls and be ingested by patients, with serious consequences.

Earlier this year as many as 20 children at a Georgia Pediatric dental clinic became ill, and a direct link was made between these children’s sickness and contaminated dental equipment.  Despite the fact that these issues have not occurred in Lawrence or any part of Riverwalk Dental’s service area throughout Merrimack Valley and Southeaster New Hampshire, the team at Riverwalk Dental felt it important to invest in the newest and most effective technology to address this potential issue.

Therefore, earlier this year the purchase and installation of a water filtration system was completed at Riverwalk Dental.  This system is capable of purifying water that meets or exceeds ADA water quality recommendations.

This technology was developed for NASA and now used at Riverwalk Dental to ensure the safety of our patients!

The team at Riverwalk Dental hopes this news will reinforce our clients’ peace of mind and underscore our dedication to our patients’ health and well-being.

If you seek children’s dental care, you are fortunate to be living in Massachusetts

massachusetts stateHave you ever considered how fortunate you are to live in Massachusetts?  If you’ve been down and out about living in the Bay State for any reason, here is some great news for your children and their teeth – Massachusetts is by far one of the best states for children’s health care.

According to Wallet Hub, Massachusetts receives a total score for “Best States for Children’s Health” behind only Vermont by a mere one-tenth total score, with Vermont scoring 65.65 and Massachusetts scoring 65.55.  Rhode Island comes in much further behind with a score of 61.28, 4.27 points below Massachusetts’ total score.

Wallet Hub compared every state in the Union with 33 key indicators of the cost, quality, and access to children’s health care.  Of these key indicators, those most important to parents and children throughout the Merrimack Valley, MA area include:  Share of Children Aged 0 to 17 Years with Recent Medical & Dental Checkups, Presence of School-Based Dental-Sealant Programs, Dental Treatment Costs, and Dentists per Capita.

Starting off life with a bright and healthy smile is an important part of a happy and successful life.  Parents and all adults in Massachusetts are fortunate to live where we do, and to have the access to important health services, such as effective dental services.

Yet it is incumbent upon you to take the first step.  The team at Riverwalk Dental is here to serve you with the newest technology that makes a visit to the dentist a pleasurable and comfortable experience.  Contact us today!

What’s new in tooth polishing? Expert advice for your smile.

Polishing one’s teeth is imperative to a healthy smile.  Yet as dental professionals, we see in our travels throughout Lawrence and really anywhere in Massachusetts and throughout New England people consuming products that reverse the work they do to keep their teeth bright and healthy.  According to WebMD.com, tomato sauces, soft drinks, coffee, tea, wine, as well as fruits and berries create stains on our teeth that can be stubborn to remove, although too much of what can remove these stains can be harmful as well.  The important information that follows will help address these issues.

How does a person who wants to eat the food they love but also wants a wonderful smile achieve the best of both worlds?  New information is available to help our patients in the Merrimack Valley area understand the latest techniques and products available.

In an article written by the Indian Society of Periodontology titled, “Tooth polishing: The current status,” there is a concern that overzealous use of polishing procedures can, and often does, wear the surface tooth structure over time.  Doing this correctly is very important.

First, though, it is important to identify the type of stain one has on their teeth, due to the fact that some stains simply cannot be addressed through polishing alone.  Endogenous stains are those that are acquired during tooth development and are caused by factors that cannot be addressed by polishing alone.  Exogenous stains, on the other hand, are those that are caused by our habits that discolor our teeth and can be addressed over time by way of conscious and deliberate polishing.

Make an appointment with Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi for help understanding this determination.

Image provided with permission by Pixabay

Choosing the right toothpaste:  Prophylaxis paste

A prophylaxis paste is one that has a mild abrasive to help polish teeth.  These polishers are effective at removing exogenous stains from teeth, but need to be considered carefully due to their abrasive nature and how that can change one’s teeth over time.  In fact, according to the Society of Periodontology article, “excessive abrasion scratches the enamel, resulting in a less polished appearance and ultimately, contributing to an increased rate of exogenous stain reformation and bacterial plaque retention.”

Therefore, using such toothpaste should be done sparingly and with an understanding of the particle size used in the paste.  Raabe Family Dentistry out of Denver, Colorado published an excellent index of the abrasiveness of common toothpastes which can help patients vary the products they use based upon need and effectiveness.

Choose the right polisher:  Traditional toothbrushes and mechanical toothbrushes

Traditional toothbrushes are affordable and easy to use.  There is no concern over batteries running out and they can be taken and used just about anywhere.  As long as these brushes are replaced periodically, they are sufficient for general use, although they do have their drawbacks.  In particular, one needs to be conscious of how they are brushing and make an effort to do it correctly.  Generally speaking though, one should hold the brush at a 45 degree angle and brush for at least two minutes.

Mechanical toothbrushes definitely have their advantages.  These toothbrushes are typically more effective at removing plaque and gingivitis than traditional toothbrushes.  According to Healthline, electronic toothbrushes reduced plaque by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent when compared to a normal toothbrush.  Over time, this could mean a world of difference in one’s oral health.

Patients should speak to Dr. Beninato and Dr. Patsi about their concerns regarding the effectiveness of their polishing efforts and choose the right product and tools to meet their needs.  Contact us today for an appointment.

Is your mouth really a reflection of your overall health? Riverwalk Dental cares about their patients’ total well-being

Image by NIAID of FlickrMany of Riverwalk Dental’s patients are aware that a simple saliva swab test can tell a lot about our DNA and today, even our ancestry.  We also recognize that annual checkups prevent tooth decay and the sometimes painful affects caused when our teeth are neglected over a period of time.  But what about our overall health, and how important is that to a healthy and well maintained smile?

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), “[T]he mouth is the center of vital tissues and functions that are critical to total health and well-being across the life span.”  Yet the report also states that overall, people perceive oral health as less important than other factors that reflect their general health.  This often leads to people postponing care and maintenance of their oral health, causing greater harm and expense over time than necessary.

Consider the fact that one’s mouth is truly the most important gateway into one’s body.  According to Dr.  Kara Fitzgerald, ND of The Sandy Hook Clinic, the microbes in the mouth are a significant contributor to digestive microbiome (the totality of microorganisms and their total genetic material present in our bodies) and every individual is swallowing upwards of one-trillion bacteria in a single day!

Oral disease and disorders do affect one’s overall health throughout our lives.  Oral hygiene and dental checkups are key to ones overall health and well-being.  Occasionally, patients that visit our office in Lawrence Massachusetts will discuss with our staff not just the issues they are experiencing in regard to their teeth and oral care, but also other medical issues they are undergoing.  It can be a surprise for them to learn how the care of their teeth and mouth can be a factor in the health challenges they are facing overall.

According to the NIDCR’s Surgeon General report on Oral Health in America, there is strong evidence linking issues affecting oral care and infectious disease such as periodontitis  to increased  risk  for  cardiovascular,  cerebrovascular, and lung disease, as well as  exacerbation of diabetes, and early indications of osteoporosis.

Sound impossible?  Consider the fact that so much of what enters one’s body comes from one’s mouth.  Bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens (disease-producing agents) often originate from our mouths and enter our bodies every day.  In an article written in Harvard Magazine out of Cambridge Massachusetts, chronic stomach and intestinal problems may begin with what is in everyone’s mouth. In a study published in Science Daily Magazine, an international team of researchers reported on strains of oral bacteria, when swallowed in average quantities a day, can lodge in the gut and even trigger inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The message we wish to communicate to our patients is; keep up on your visits to our office and continue to maintain a healthy smile!  Not only will you feel and look great, you will also be doing the right thing for your overall health and well-being.

The doctors at Riverwalk Dental understand the importance of oral health and its affect on everyone who visits our office.  We hope this article will help our patients understand the importance of consistent and continued care of their oral health to live a long and healthy life.