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How Intermittent Fasting (IF) May Help Gum Disease

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Gum disease — more than 47 percent of Americans have it, that is almost half of our adult population suffering from a preventable dental health condition! It’s important now to address how to prevent, even in the most unassumable ways!

Having a healthy mouth is truly the window into your body’s overall wellness, so if you think you’re suffering from gum disease, there are ways to help treat and prevent it. Find out an interesting concept to tackling this overly abundant dental health issue through intermittent fasting!

A Quick Word on Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is inflammation of the gums. In its early stage, it’s referred to as gingivitis and can be swollen and prone to bleeding. In more advanced forms, periodontitis, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and can create pockets where teeth can become loose and fall out.

Gum disease is a result of plaque and tartar overgrowth and people are more at risk with poor oral hygiene habits. The best defense is preventative dental health habits such as brushing twice per day and flossing at least once.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Help Gum Disease?

If you’re not familiar with intermittent fasting (IF), in its most simple form is fasting for a 16 hour period and then only eating within an eight-hour timeframe. The best example is eating only from 12 pm to 8 pm, and then skipping breakfast the next day. It will vary from person-to-person — some use a six or even four-hour window between feasting and fasting.

How your microbiome plays in

Your microbiome which is composed of a beautiful ecosystem of bacteria, as we’re learning, is greatly tied to our health. When the balance is tipped, it can affect our digestion, immune health, and brain health. When there is an overgrowth of bacteria it causes both gum disease and bad breath.

The biggest research going into learning about the microbiome is how we influence our daily choices and activities. Through many studies, it is clear that the more diverse our bacterial ecosystem is the greater it benefits our health.

Not only is it now about what we eat — the modern diet has proven to be a disadvantage to a flourishing gut habitat — it may be about when we eat!

Fasting and your microbiome

There are many studies that site how fasting not only benefits our brains and metabolism but now our gut health. As the rhythm of our eating patterns is dynamic, so is how our gut bacteria respond to our feeding and fasting states. The rhythm is only disrupted when there is more feeding than fasting which leads to metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

Many biological things occur when you fast, namely, when your body burns energy reserves in response to it.

We’ve just begun to scratch the surface of how IF may help gum disease. We looked at what gum disease is and how to prevent it traditionally and broke into the conversation about IF and the microbiome. It will all tie together to gum disease, so stay tuned for part two!

In the meantime, schedule a teeth cleaning and help prevent the onset of gum disease today!

How Medications Affect Your Dental Health: Part One

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There are many variables in your dental health habits that are both beneficial and harmful to your teeth, and we’ve covered a couple of topics about food and beverages that damage enamel. The best and most simple advice dental care recommendations haven’t changed — it’s routinely seeing your local dentist for a teeth cleaning twice a year. At home care is brushing twice a day and flossing at least twice. These are the basics and the non-negotiables to healthy teeth. To further expand dental health habits for optimal health, you can address your diet and lifestyle habits to help prevent tooth decay.

Did you know there are other factors that can affect your dental health? Some medications tend to bring adverse side effects to your oral health. Read more to find out how medications can affect your dental health.

Medications and Dental Health

It is estimated that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescribed medication, and more than one in two take two, all ranging from antidepressants, opioids, and antibiotics. With a majority of the population on prescription medications, it’s important to address what their side effects are in terms of dental health. On the list of side effects it does not list “tooth decay,” but a majority of them do cause dry mouth. In addition to dry mouth, medications can also cause abnormal bleeding, inflammation, mouth sores, enamel discoloration, and an altered taste.

Dry Mouth and Dental Health

Dry mouth can inadvertently cause tooth decay because your saliva production decreases when you take certain medications. Saliva is a crucial component to dental health because it does a wonderful job of washing food and debris from your teeth after a meal and throughout the day. An absence of saliva leaves room for food to stick to your teeth and inhabit the small nooks and crannies leaving them susceptible to bacteria to produce acid and slowly demineralize the enamel causing cavities. Ultimately, dry mouth increases your risk for cavities and infection.

When you’re left taking a medication and it causes dry mouth, it’s not as simple as stopping the medication cold turkey — this can be harmful in and of itself. The question resides in how can you find a balance of addressing dry mouth while continuing your prescription medication? The first step is communicating with your dentist the medication you’ve been prescribed. If the medication is short-term — like an antibiotic — you don’t need to worry as much. If the medication is something you’ll be on long-term, this is when you’ll need to talk with your dentist and make a plan of action.

Small Changes to Help With Dry Mouth

There are small changes you can make to address dry mouth including:

  • Chewing sugarless gum (xylitol gum is great for dental health)
  • Drinking water throughout the day and after meals
  • Brushing and flossing regularly

Medications That Cause Dry Mouth

Over 500 types of medications are reported to cause dry mouth, here are the most common ones:

  • Decongestants and antihistamines – Because both of these medications address seasonal allergies by blocking histamine receptors, it also affects other parts of the body such as the mouth and tongue. Antihistamines deter saliva production, thus causing dry mouth.
  • Antidepressants – Both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, and atypical depressants are known to cause dry mouth. Likewise, they’ve been known to negatively affect bone health as well, linking them to tooth decay, gum disease, oral yeast overgrowth, and bad breath.

In today’s blog, we’ve covered how medications cause dry mouth through declining saliva production, small changes to help your dry mouth, and some medications that cause it.

Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll expand on the medications and additional dental issues that may occur when taking medication.

To schedule a teeth cleaning in our dental office, give us a call today!