New Study: Muscle Loss and Diabetes May be Linked to Poor Oral Health

Lowering the Risk of Diabetes and Muscle Loss

A group of researchers from Shimane University, in Izumo, Japan, came out with a small, longitudinal study saying that among older adults, there seems to be an increased risk of diabetes and muscle loss if they have poor oral health. They talk about poor oral health as ‘oral frailty’ which is a measurement of number of remaining teeth, chewing ability, and difficulties eating and swallowing.

Participants totaled 635, between 40 and 74 years. The researchers assess their chewing ability, or masticatory function. They also counted the number of teeth, measured calf circumference twice for both legs, as well as skeletal muscle mass and handgrip strength. To assess sarcopenia (loss of muscle and weakness due to aging), the researchers applied a standard diagnostic algorithm that incorporates muscle strength, mass, and physical performance. They also screened for diabetes and adjusted the results as per sex, age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol use, and level of physical activity.

What were their findings?

Having fewer remaining teeth and poor chewing ability were significantly associated with a weaker handgrip and possible sarcopenia. It was also significantly associated with diabetes. There were no statistically significant associations with calf circumference or skeletal muscle mass. It was speculated that those with reduced chewing ability or fewer teeth may have an increased risk of diabetes because of eating more soft, sugar-rich foods and having shorter mealtimes. Both factors would cause a bigger spike in blood glucose levels after eating.

What are their recommendations?

To maintain chewing ability, dentures are recommended to prevent further tooth loss. Gum disease must also be treated early as they can cause tooth loss and can lead to decreased insulin sensitivity and impaired glucose tolerance. To reduce the risk of diabetes and sarcopenia, older people should eat more slowly and brush their teeth after meals. By taking care of their oral health, they would help maintain their overall health.

However, the study has some limitations. The research is relatively small, though statistically significant. It was unable to establish any causal relationships due to its cross-sectional design and it did not account for potentially important features of oral health, such as gum disease, denture use, and brushing teeth.

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Watching the Oral Health of Older Adults in Bellevue

Older adults face many oral health risks that is why we at Overlake Dental make it our business to especially pay attention to our older patients’ health of teeth and gums. Come see us in Bellevue.

What to Expect During Teeth Cleaning at the Dentist

Difference of Professional Teeth Cleaning

If you want to know exactly what to expect during a teeth-cleaning procedure at the dentist’s office, let us give you a step-by-step account. This aims to ease some of your nervousness or anxiety about teeth cleaning. Better you know what’s going on. It’s actually painless and simple.

First, there’s a physical exam of the mouth, mostly done by the dental hygienist who looks inside your mouth, checking your teeth and gums with a small mouth mirror. The hygienist will look for signs of caries, gingivitis, and other concerns. The dentist gives the go signal to proceed.

Removing plaque and tartar along the gum line and in between the teeth is done with the aid of the mirror and the scaler. You’ll hear scraping, which is the hard sticky substances being removed. The more deposits you have, the more it takes time to scrape. Brushing and flossing may prevent plaque from hardening into tartar, but tartar already present can only be removed by professional scraping.

Gritty toothpaste-cleaning follows. The hygienist brushes your teeth with a high-powered electric brush dipped in a gritty toothpaste. The brush makes a grinding noise as it deep-cleans teeth surfaces and removes any tartar left behind. Professional cleanings use toothpaste that smells and tastes like regular toothpaste, but has a gritty consistency that gently scrubs teeth. You can’t use any abrasive toothpaste like this at home because it can wear down the enamel. That’s why this professional cleaning is done twice a year.

Then comes expert flossing by your hygienist which beats your own flossing at home, whether you floss or not. It can get deep between your teeth and locate any potential trouble spots where you might bleed at the gums. A professional flossing removes any leftover plaque or toothpaste from earlier in the cleaning process.
Next, you rinse out your mouth to get rid of any debris left. Your dental hygienist will usually give you a glass of rinse that contains liquid fluoride. You give it a good swish around in your mouth a few times.

The last step is applying fluoride treatment. This will help teeth fight against cavities in the next months. You can choose your flavor; it is either sticky or foamy and placed in a mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. This is left on your teeth for a minute or so. Additionally, a little fluoride varnish is painted onto the teeth that will harden when you salivate. You can eat or drink after this.

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No Anxieties with Professional Teeth Cleaning

Feel at ease and relax when you have your professional teeth cleaning here at Overlake Dental. We guarantee you’ll have a worry-free and comfortable experience.

Making Brushing A Fun Time For Kids

Here are some of the fun ways you can teach or do with your kids to instill in them good oral hygiene habits.

  • Have a few minutes of fun before or during brushing. Play or sing your child’s favorite song first and/or dance to the tune. There are videos and brushing apps to make this really fun. You can even read a 2-minute story with changing voices to get the child engaged.
  • Have a routine and stick to it. Establishing the same time twice a day as brushing time will establish normalcy. Whether the child is tired, or the family is on vacation, you must stick to the schedule, making sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes as required.
  • Reward good brushing behavior. Find out what motivates the child. Keep tabs in a chart or even an ordinary calendar where every once in a while you reward your kid for excellently brushing and flossing. It might be a small toy for his collection, stickers, a book or something else. Don’t forget to express how proud you are of them.
  • Pick a character that symbolizes good oral hygiene. There are TV programs and even books that depict characters who espouse proper tooth brush and flossing. They serve as good examples or heroes. Watch or read them together with your child who can follow their lead.
  • Invent your own story. You can play-act or make believe that your child is the superhero of good tooth brushing.
  • Get your kid to choose his/her own toothbrush and toothpaste. Just teach your child that those with the ADA Seal of Acceptance are the best products. Toothbrushes and toothpaste come in different shapes and sizes and colors. Shopping has never been this fun!
  • Make brushing a family affair. Know that children learn from you, so set a good example. The family that brushes together has even more reason to smile.

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More Child-Friendly Brushing Tips

At Overlake Dental in Bellevue, we practice child-friendly dentistry. Bring your kids to us and know what services we offer. We help parents along so that their kids develop the best and smartest attitude towards oral health.

Teeth Whitening Before The Wedding

A Perfect, Bright Smile on a Perfect Day

If you haven’t noticed, people can’t stop smiling during weddings. The bride and the groom, most especially, cannot help smiling and must keep their smiles on – for the pictures. It helps if you have drop-dead, gorgeous white teeth while smiling because they make for awesome photographs to keep forever.

Before their wedding day, many couples consider teeth whitening because they know that their pictures will show them smiling and exposing their teeth. Everything should be perfect in a perfect wedding. However, there are different ways to whiten your teeth before your wedding day.

Some may opt for the whitening trays which could be more convenient for busy couples, or more affordable for those on a budget. You can get these from your dentist. You can also use whitening toothpaste or strips with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That way, you know they are safe and effective. Frankly, getting a professional in-office whitening is better because you see the results right away. Whatever you choose, stay away from home remedies. They can actually do more harm than good to your teeth.

Possible Teeth Sensitivity

However, teeth whitening may cause you to have more sensitive teeth, which might make you uncomfortable. Dentists recommend that you schedule a whitening procedure at least a month from your wedding day. This will give your mouth and your smile some time to adjust.

On the wedding day itself, be sure to have a handy emergency kit that contains dental floss and mirror, just in case anyone in the entourage needs to remove something between their teeth. Include some sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance for a breath booster. Keep your breath fresh by avoiding foods like garlic and onion. Remember, if you keep regular dental visits, you will not run the risk of having a dental emergency or a procedure when your wedding day is just around the corner.

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Teeth Whitening at Bellevue Overlake Dental

Plan your teeth whitening procedure early by scheduling one with us at Overlake Dental. Have perfect photos on one of the most important dates of your life together.

The Treatment Goal for Periodontitis

What to Expect for Periodontitis Treatment

During a routine oral examination, your dentist will be able to see signs of periodontitis. Your dentist will probe for the presence of gum pockets and measure them. If plaque and tartar are present, your dentist will do a professional cleaning to remove them. An x-ray may be taken to find out the degree of gum and bone involvement. Depending on the outcome of all these, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist for further testing and treatment.

Remember that the goal of perio-treatment is to free your teeth and gums of all plaque, tartar, and bacterial infections. That is why professional cleaning or deep cleaning (called scaling and root planing) is first done. This involves scraping all tartar on rough spots on crown and root, polishing and applying fluoride. Without bacteria, periodontitis will not progress.

Your periodontist will also instruct you to stick to an oral hygiene routine at home. This involves fluoride brushing, flossing, using an electric toothbrush which is more effective, a water pick, and mouthwash. Your specialist will also ask you to stop smoking, if you do. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed if gum infection is persistent and does not respond to cleanings alone.

Follow up with your specialist as often as needed to determine and assess your perio-treatment progress. If periodontal pockets are still present, surgery may be recommended. Flap surgery is done under anesthesia where your gums are lifted and your roots cleaned; your gums will be sutured back into place, fitting snugly around the roots. Hence, pockets are eliminated. If there is also bone loss, bone grafting may be done simultaneously with flap surgery. This regenerates the lost bone.

Without treatment, periodontitis will progress to the point that your jaw bone can be destroyed. You can have painful abscesses. Your teeth can drift apart, get loose in their sockets until they fall out or need pulling out. Gums will continue to recede and expose more roots. Periodontitis carries the risk of increased respiratory disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

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Perio-Protect at Overlake Dental in Bellevue

When you think you might be suffering from periodontitis, come see us in Bellevue and we can discuss about your treatment plan.