Aging and Oral Health: Know the Facts

It’s a fact that getting older results in changes to our dental health, so have you ever wondered what you can do to make sure that your teeth withstand the test of time? Is it inevitable that as we age, we will lose teeth and require dentures? Let’s talk about aging and the realities behind senior dental hygiene!

A leading reason for tooth loss amongst seniors is gum disease. What starts as mild gingivitis can advance to a severe gum disease called periodontitis, which can lead to the loss of teeth and irreversible gum damage if left untreated. According to the CDC, “70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease,” which is not a comforting statistic! However, it is a myth that senior adults need to lose their teeth, and with preventative care, there is no reason that gum disease leading to tooth loss cannot be kept in check.

Another age-related oral health occurrence is stained and weakened enamel. Our teeth aren’t immune to showing the signs of aging, and years of eating and drinking will eventually make themselves known on the surface of your teeth. Acids and sugars wear away enamel over time. This, too, can be slowed down significantly through measures such as a balanced diet with less acidic foods and standard oral hygiene.

A few more things to watch out for are decreased nerve sensitivity, dry mouth caused by medications, and gum recession. Decreased nerve sensitivity can lead to an absence of pain, but that does NOT mean that no problem exists–this can mask issues and lead to delays in treatment. Dry mouth can cause gum infections and increase the chances of tooth decay. Gum recession can expose the sensitive root of a tooth and provide a haven for bacteria to accumulate.

Unfortunately, in addition to all of the above, aging and its associated health problems can create physical limitations that make it more difficult to properly maintain oral health. Chronic health conditions can lower morale and lead to mental health issues like depression, which can make daily tasks more likely to fall by the wayside. Lower energy levels can mean prioritizing other health needs instead of oral care. In order to combat these factors, consider ideas like using a water flosser, setting tooth-brushing alarms on a phone or an alarm clock, and using a toothbrush with an extra-large handle.

This may all sound grim, but the good news is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Knowing how to find and treat problems is most of the battle when it comes to dental health. Plus, technology is always advancing, and new treatments will only get better with time. Following the below tips can help make sure your natural teeth will last for a lifetime!

consume enough calcium, stay hydrated, use a soft-bristled electric toothbrush
  • Make sure you have adequate calcium intake to support your teeth.
  • To treat dry mouth and prevent enamel loss, stay hydrated and moderate your intake of beverages with alcohol or caffeine.
  • To minimize gum recession, gently brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and speak with your dentist to see what mouthwash may be right for you.
  • Consider an electric toothbrush to be sure you are brushing more thoroughly and for a long enough time.

And, of course, two of the most crucial ways to maintain your overall dental health as you age are also the most obvious:

  • Visit your dentist on schedule, ideally every six months, for routine cleanings
  • Brush twice a day and floss daily

With care, knowledge, and a bit of luck, you can keep your entire mouth feeling healthy and looking fantastic no matter your age!

Adamsville Family Dentistry
518 East Main
Adamsville, TN 38310
Phone: (731) 632-3371

   Matters of the Heart! and Tips to De-Stress

 It’s that time of year… love and happiness is in the air! It’s also a month that brings awareness to big topics. February is Children’s Dental Health Month and American Heart Month (AHM). While many of us have kids, we all have hearts, so let’s talk about that. Our heart is the most vital muscle in our body and can become quite vulnerable.

    One main topic that we can focus on during this month is the battle against heart disease. Heart disease doesn’t have a clear definition because there are different forms. It is a range of conditions and disorders that affect the heart. The most common form in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD). This is when arteries that supply the blood to the heart start becoming hardened and narrow due to a buildup of cholesterol, which is also known as plaque. If CAD is not treated, it can lead to major health issues like heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and an irregular heartbeat.

    Some of the most common risk factors for heart disease include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

    While there are many different forms of heart disease, they all share common symptoms, and the warning signs are all the same. It’s very important that we are aware of these symptoms in case of an emergency or much-needed treatment. Symptoms that we should be aware of include:

  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating, cold sweats
  • Pain in the upper body, arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach
  • Fatigue
  • An irregular heartbeat or increased heart rate

    Sounds scary, but it’s only scary if we do not take care of ourselves. Either preventing the occurrence, or for many of us, acting as soon as we become aware of the signs. For a lot of people, risk factors can develop because of our environment and family history. For example, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are the two most widespread health concerns that we have in America. Those are the two big factors that will increase the chances of having a stroke or developing heart disease.

    Statistics show that heart disease risks do increase as we get older, which means that our loved ones who are a lot older than us could be more at risk. Starting from an early age, we can try to keep our hearts healthy in a lot of ways. But here we are now! We need to start making changes in our everyday lives. Here are examples of real actions to get us started:  

  • Move Around (exercise): Physical activity is a great way to improve heart health. The American Heart Association recommends that we should exercise for at least 2.5 hours per week to meet the basic requirements. Uncomfortable jogging the neighborhood? Don’t want to go to the gym? Pace your hallway, take extra trips up and down the stairs, you can do this!
  • Quit Vaping (quit smoking): It’s time. There are a lot of benefits to living a smoke-free life, such as reducing the risks of developing certain types of cancers and improvements in circulation. For chronic smokers, you can expect to see an increase in your lung capacity in as little as two weeks!
  • Eat Healthy (whole foods, limit sugar): Limiting ourselves from eating saturated fats, salt, and food that has high cholesterol will do our hearts a big favor. Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is your best bet for keeping your fridge stocked with fresh, healthy ingredients. Pro Tip: frozen veggies are a great time saver!
  • Watch Your Numbers: Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that could affect your heart like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Sleep: Sleep is very beneficial as we all know. Always getting a good night’s rest helps the brain and immune functionality, metabolism, and emotional well-being. Pro Tip: set an alarm… to go to bed.
  • De-Stress: A lot of stress will eventually affect the heart in a negative way, which can result in heart disease. To combat stress, find healthy outlets to relieve it, that will lower the risks of getting heart disease. Some of our favorites include reading, walking the dog, taking a long bath, stretching on the floor while binge watching old TV shows. 

    For the month of February, let’s try to focus more on our hearts, not just for Valentine’s Day but for our overall health. American Heart Month should be used as a reminder for us to take care of our bodies and our health as we age, to reduce the risks of developing heart disease or any other health conditions. It’s never too late to start taking care of our bodies the right way, let’s start today!  

Adamsville Family Dentistry
518 East Main
Adamsville, TN 38310
Phone: (731) 632-3371

Warning Signs & Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses

August is here! This means it’s time for the kids to prepare to go back to school and it is also the last call for any summer vacations! This summer has been one for the books with record-breaking heat temperatures. Whenever this season comes back around, we all must make sure that we stay safe because extreme heat can cause an array of health problems. Let’s dive into the possibilities that could happen if we are not careful with the warm weather we’re having.

  • Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion happens when your body starts to overheat and can’t cool itself down. Heat exhaustion is more common than we think. It can be more common during any physical activity, like exercise. During physical activity, our bodies start to lose fluids when we sweat and if we don’t replace those fluids, dehydration could happen. Some examples of heat exhaustion symptoms are dizziness, fever, excessive sweating, and fatigue. 
  • Heatstroke: Heatstroke is a condition that is caused by the body overheating, kind of like heat exhaustion. Long exposure to the sun can cause a heat stroke, and it can also be life-threatening if a person stays outside for too long. Usually, we can cool ourselves down by sweating, but in extreme heat, our cooling systems could fail, and heat will start to build up. Some examples of heatstroke symptoms are headaches, dizziness, disorientation, and even seizures. 
  • Dehydration: Dehydration happens when we lose more fluids than what we take in. If our bodies don’t have enough water or any other fluids, it can stop functioning. When a person becomes sick with a fever, starts to vomit, or has diarrhea, that could cause dehydration. It can also occur if the person has been outside in the sun and they’re not drinking enough water. Everyone is different and everyone may experience symptoms differently. Some symptoms of dehydration might include fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, and confusion. 

While we are looking out for ourselves this summer with the heat, we also must look out for our pets too! Pets can experience heat stroke just like we can. Pets can usually cool themselves off by panting, but they only have a few sweat glands and can’t cool themselves off by sweating like we do, so they can overheat more easily. Heatstroke can also be very common for pets if they’re left outside during hot days, but other factors can cause pets to have heatstroke as well. Some of the factors include high humidity, no access to water, and if pets are stuck in a house or car with no ventilation or air conditioning. 

Since we’ve talked about the dangers of extreme heat and how the consequences of that can affect us in different ways, now let’s talk about how we can avoid dehydration and any other heat-related illnesses. It’s very simple really. 

  • Drinking water: The best way to avoid dehydration and other heat-related illnesses is to drink plenty of fluids. Drinking enough water every day is very important for our health. Our bodies are made up of 60% water and making sure to stay hydrated is very beneficial. When we’re out in the hot sun or exercising, it is very important to drink enough water to keep up with what our bodies are getting rid of. Water helps our bodies keep a normal temperature, lubricates our joints, and gets rid of wastes through urination, bowel movements, and sweating. 

Sometimes we find ourselves forgetting to drink enough water throughout the day. Here are some tips so we can remember to drink enough:

  • Always carry a water bottle with us and remember to refill it periodically.
  • Start choosing water instead of sugary drinks, especially when we’re eating meals.
  • Add some flavor to our water. We can add a wedge of lemon or limes to our water to help improve the taste and it can help us drink more water than we usually do.

Believe it or not, drinking water is good for our teeth as well, especially if it’s with fluoride! Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities. Here are some other ways that drinking water is beneficial to our teeth: 

  • It keeps our mouths clean: When we’re eating meals, it is very easy for us to want to pick up a soda to wash down whatever we were eating, but that can also leave unwanted sugar in our teeth. The bacteria in our mouths would love to eat the sugar and produce acid that can break down our enamel. Water washes away any left-over food in our mouths, which means the bacteria can’t find any sugar to break down. Drinking water throughout the day can keep our mouths cavity-free, and always brushing our teeth two times a day. 
  • It fights dry mouth: Our mouths are filled with saliva. Saliva is our mouth’s defense against tooth decay. It washes away leftover food just like water and it keeps our teeth strong by washing them with calcium, fluoride, and phosphate. 

Who knew that drinking water can be very beneficial to our health and even help save our teeth in the process? This summer has been a hot one and it’ll keep getting hotter. While we are all outside in the sun having the most fun as we can, it is very important to drink enough water as we can throughout the day. Have fun and stay safe out there! 

Dr. Randall Deaton

Adamsville Family Dentistry
518 East Main
Adamsville, TN 38310
Phone: (731) 632-3371

The Truth About Bad Posture and Tooth Fractures

It’s officially March 2021, and one of the lesser-known impacts brought on by the pandemic is the rise of tooth fractures. Our dental practice would normally see a small number of fractures from ice chewing or biting into a rogue popcorn kernel; however, that is no longer the case. As more people than ever before working from their sofas and hastily thrown together home offices, ergonomics has gone out the window. A large part of ergonomics in the workplace revolves around posture, which plays heavily into stress induced tooth fractures and other jaw-related issues such as TMJ.

While broken bones can heal, it is important to note that a tooth fracture never will. The cure, rather treatment, will depend on the severity of the crack and location. This is why an early diagnosis can be essential to saving your tooth. Treatment can be as simple as a crown or require a root canal if the fracture is below the gum line. As with all dental issues, avoiding treatment as things progressively worsen and can lead to tooth loss.

Now, let us revisit posture. The average person tends to not consider their posture and how it deeply affects their bodies and overall long-term health. Having poor posture places stress on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Practicing good posture is one of the simplest and easiest ways to keep the spine healthy and improve blood flow. Most people sit slumped, curve their spine, lean forward on the edge of their seat, or sit leaning more to the left or right. All these positions can affect our spine, neck, nerves, and shoulder muscles which can all translate into possible TMJ problems!

Ever wonder the kind of effect stress can have on the body and everyday life? It is another factor that negatively impacts our bodies. Chronic stress is also linked to the six leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide). Of course, stress is probably on the top of everyone’s lists, along with poor sleeping habits. These two things combined, cause us to clench our jaw and grind our teeth at night while sleeping. Clenching and grinding of the teeth and jaws contribute greatly to tooth fractures, chipped teeth, and wearing down the surfaces of your teeth (short teeth). All of which is an obvious reason to schedule a dental visit.

It is important to be mindful of these things, at least as much as we can. Let us all try to make sure that we check-in with ourselves by asking daily:

  • How have I been feeling?
  • Am I anxious about anything particular?
  • What am I stressing about?
  • Have I been sleeping well?

The first step is at least being aware. If we can catch ourselves when we are stressing, we can prevent those long-term issues that creep up on us down the road. For example, sometimes we notice our fists are clenched. Maybe not because we are angry, but because that is where our stress accumulates. Our stress can also accumulate while we are sleeping. You see, stress comes out in different ways and often unconsciously. After thinking about all these factors, realization hits and we start thinking about all the things that we can do to improve ourselves and our health. We do find ourselves in a constant state of stress, even if nothing major is going on, there is constantly something on our mind. Our health is finite and requires regular attention and maintenance. Be mindful of what your body is saying to you and take action.

Taking action is as easy as catching ourselves slumped in front of our computers rather than sitting upright with our feet on the floor. There are loads of options on Amazon designed to help reinforce healthy posture. For your workspace, be sure your computer monitors are at eye level, and your keyboard and mouse accessible while your arms are at a 90-degree angle. This should allow your elbows and forearms to rest on the arms of your chair.

Try and get relaxed before going to bed. Stop thinking about work. Stop thinking about what we did and did not get accomplished. Try taking a bath or hot shower. Unwind. Drink some chamomile tea. Anything to put you in a calm state-of-mind before dozing off. And, if you have trouble falling asleep, focus on clearing your mind and concentrate on breathing deeply.

If you are a teeth grinder or a jaw clencher, ask us about a mouthguard or sleep options to help prevent grinding and ease those achy jaws from clenching.

We know this will not solve a pandemic, but it will help to avoid a nasty dental visit, TMJ problems, or having to repair fractured or chipped teeth!

Dr. Randall Deaton

Adamsville Family Dentistry
518 East Main
Adamsville, TN 38310
Phone: (731) 632-3371

New Beginnings

Happy New Year everyone! We FINALLY made it out of 2020 and coming into 2021 full steam ahead!

Now, we all realize that just because we are starting a fresh new year, doesn’t mean all the COVID craziness will magically disappear (we all wish, right?). However, this is the perfect time to reminisce and start the new year off in a positive and optimistic direction.

As 2021 begins, we all feel like at least a bit compelled to start making changes in our lives. Whether it’s starting new things, letting go of old habits, or setting new goals to achieve. A new year feels like someone hit a reset button and we can all restart. So, take some time to reflect on all joy and struggle you experienced in 2020, and think about what you’ll do differently over the next few months ahead. Even with the uncertainty, we will all continue to do our part by limiting our bubble interactions, BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve great things this year. If you’re still playing with the idea of creating new habits or (gasp!) even calling them resolutions, here are four simple ideas to commit to.

  • Drink more water. Try starting off small. Drink 2 cups of water every morning. Maybe even replace one of your many cups of coffee for water. If drinking water is just too bland, try add ins like fresh lemons, fruit, or cucumber or Propel flavored electrolyte water packets.

  • Cooking. Since it looks like we’re still staying indoors for who knows how long, try out a new weekly recipe. Pinterest offers a smorgasbord of inspiration for every picky eater imaginable!
  • Hobbies. Finding a new hobby can be greatly beneficial for your mental wellbeing. Hobbies give you something to look forward to. Find something that sounds fun and give it a go, because doing new things solo or with your immediate people is always an adventure!

  • Exercise. Exercising or any physical activity improves your muscle strength and works to create long-term health benefits. Exercise is good for your health, body, and mood so try out new exercises or activities to get you in a good mindset for 2021! YouTube offers a plethora of workouts for anything that takes your fancy, AND don’t undercut yourself! Even a daily stroll to the mailbox or around the block counts.

Now, resolutions tend to be easier said than done. So, start by simply trying out something new. Set small milestones, and once you have that habit built up, set a bigger one to accomplish something challenging. Now is the time, after everything we’ve been through this past year, GO FOR IT! Happy New Year! Let us know how you’re doing. Take 2021 by the reins, you’re a boss!

Dr. Randall Deaton

Adamsville Family Dentistry
518 East Main
Adamsville, TN 38310
Phone: (731) 632-3371