You know what to do for heartburn: pop a couple of antacids after dinner, avoid common triggers like fatty, greasy, or spicy foods, and hope it goes away quickly. Right? Well, not necessarily. If you have regular heartburn—two or more times a week—and haven't notified your doctor, you're ignoring one of the BIGGEST RISK FACTORS FOR ESOPHAGEAL CANCER!!! And even if you had heartburn problems years ago and they seem to have gone away, this is one health issue you shouldn't ignore 1 ! N!!! People usually feel heartburn as a burning sensation or pain behind the breastbone, neck, throat or mouth. Often, regurgitation of bitter-tasting stomach acid accompanies heartburn, which can be extremely harmful to tooth enamel. An antacid or milk is only a temporary relief.
Esophageal cancer is more common in men than women by about a three-to-one ratio, and most common for both sexes after the age of 55. An estimated 17,460 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, according to the American Cancer Society, making it relatively rare among cancers (by comparison, about 226,870 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer). Unfortunately, the survival rates for esophageal cancer are grimmer than many other types: only about 15 to 20% of patients will survive for more than 5 years after diagnosis.
Why Does Heartburn Occur?
A sphincter (specialized muscle) is located at the end of the esophagus. It is known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES muscle should only open when food or liquid is passed into the stomach. However, the LES muscle does not always work perfectly. Sometimes it is too weak to stay completely closed, and stomach juices seep back into the esophagus. There are certain factors that contribute to acid reflux. The most common is eating a large meal whiich may cause pressure in the stomach to rise, and overpowers the LES muscle. The following are other factors that may cause reflux:
- Nicotine (any tobacco product)
- Fried or fatty foods
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate)
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Peppermint and Spearmint
- Lying flat
- Hiatus hernia
- Certain prescription medicines
Complications of GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease)
In some people, acid in the lower esophagus actually causes tissue damage. Certain complications can then result:
- Weakening of tooth enamel.
- Chronic bleeding and anemia.
- Scar formation and narrowing of the lower esophagus.
- Barrett’s esophagus can occur when reflux irritates the lower esophagus over a long period of time. The stomach lining then actually grows into the esophagus. In these cases, there is a slight, but definite, risk of cancer developing.
- Lung problems can develop when reflux results in stomach fluid trickling into the breathing tubes. It often occurs at night and may cause wheezing, bronchitis, and even pneumonia.
Treatment of GERD
There are general measures the patient can take to reduce reflux:
- Eat smaller and more frequent meals.
- Do not lie down immediately after eating, and avoid eating for several hours before going to bed.
- Excessive bending, lifting, abdominal exercises, girdles, and tight belts all increase abdominal pressure and provoke reflux.
- If overweight, lose weight. Being overweight promotes reflux.
- Stop using all tobacco; nicotine weakens the LES.
- Avoid fatty foods, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, and peppermint.
- Elevate the head of the bed 8″ to 10″ so gravity keeps stomach juices out of the esophagus while the patient sleeps.
- Certain prescription or over-the-counter medications can weaken the LES or aggravate reflux. Review all medications you are taking with the physician.
Other treatments include:
- OTC Antacids offer temporary relief.
- Drugs — Medicines are now available that effectively reduce and even eliminate the secretion of stomach acid and increase the strength of the LES muscle. The most potent of these are called proton pump inhibitors.
- Surgery — Surgery is rarely required in treating reflux. A newer method of performing anti-reflux surgery is by laparoscopic technique. Surgery, however, is not always permanently successful and there can be complications.
- Heartburn occurs so commonly that people think it is normal to experience it at some time. However, when heartburn is persistent, it needs to be evaluated, and long-term follow-up care is often required. Medical treatment is usually very effective and can prevent complications. For the few patients who are not helped by medical treatment, surgery offers a viable and usually successful alternative.
- Almost everyone has experienced heartburn. About 25 million American adults suffer daily from heartburn. It is that burning sensation felt behind the breastbone and sometimes in the neck, throat and mouth. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid refluxing or splashing up into the esophagus. Anyone who has heartburn on a regular basis should consult a physician. Constant exposure to stomach acid can irritate the lining of the esophagus and cause other medical and dental problems.
Salivary Diagnostics: How Spit Can Save Your Life
After watching this video, do you now agree with us that drool is cool?
Dig deeper into the world of salivary diagnostics by checking out these frequently asked questions.
Your spit is important
Did you know that saliva is one of the most versatile, but under appreciated substances out there? For decades, people have been using it for all sorts of everyday tasks. Delta Dental has discovered that saliva can do more than shine shoes and clean a dirty face—it can save your life. Watch the video to learn more.
What Is Biofilm?
You may not be familiar with the term biofilm, but it is something that you come into contact with every day. The plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay and periodontal disease is a type of biofilm. Clogged drains also are caused by biofilm, and you may have encountered biofilm-coated rocks when walking into a river or stream. Biofilms form when bacteria adhere to surfaces in some form of watery environment and begin to excrete a slimy, gluelike substance that can stick to all kinds of surfaces–metals, plastics, soil particles, medical implant materials and oral tissues. Biofilms can be formed by a single bacterial species, but biofilms more often consist of many species of bacteria, as well as fungi, algae, protozoa, debris, and corrosion products. Essentially, a biofilm may form on any surface exposed to bacteria and some amount of water.
Dental Plaque Biofilm
Dental plaque is a yellowish biofilm that builds up on the teeth. Biofilms contain communities of disease-causing bacteria and their uncontrolled accumulation has been associated with cavities and gum disease (both gingivitis and periodontitis). In the past, scientists studied bacteria by looking through a microscope at cells suspended in a water droplet. Today, scientists believe that the disease-causing bacteria do not exist as isolated cells, such as in the water droplet, but rather they adhere to various wetted surfaces in organized colonies that form diverse communities–biofilms. Dry Mouth (from medications and reduced saliva) greatly increases biofilm growth.
How Biofilms Form
- Free-swimming bacterial cells land on a surface, arrange themselves in clusters, and attach.
- The cells begin producing a gooey matrix.
- The cells signal one another to multiply and form a microcolony.
- The microcolony promotes the co-existence of many different bacterial species in all stages of growth.
- Some cells escape to their freeliving form and perhaps to form new biofilms.
Antibiotic Control of Biofilm
Although gum disease can be controlled by proper oral hygiene (toothbrushing, flossing, rinsing), gingivitis is present in almost all of the US population at some point in life. Treatment of oral infections requires removal of the biofilm and calculus (tartar) from the teeth and gums by surgical or nonsurgical procedures, sometimes followed by antibiotic therapy. Unfortunately, these infections are not completely responsive to antibiotics. For this reason, oral infections are chronic diseases that require ongoing treatment and daily care by proper oral hygiene measures. Prevention is the best strategy.
Chemical Control of Biofilm
When good oral hygiene practices fail to prevent the development of biofilms, toothpastes and mouthwashes with chemotherapeutic agents can be used. As well as Xylitol, Waterpiks and electric tooth brushes like Sonicare. Some rinses can help kill microorganisms in the biofilm. Chlorhexidine, triclosan, and essential oils and minerals–agents proven to kill the harmful bacteria–can reduce the degree of plaque and gingivitis, while not allowing disease-causing microorganisms to colonize. Xylitol slows the reproduction of strep bacteria as well as reduces the adhesive capability of the bactieria making it hard for them to 'stick'.
Biofilm and Your Health
Biofilms are highly resistant to antibiotics. Consequently, very high and/or long-term doses are often required to eradicate biofilm-related infections. Biofilms are responsible for diseases, such as:
- Otitis media the most common acute ear infection in US children
- Bacterial endocarditis infection of the inner surface of the heart and its valves
- Cystic fibrosis a chronic disorder resulting in increased susceptibility to serious lung infections
- Legionnaire's disease an acute respiratory infection resulting from the aspiration of clumps of Legionnella biofilms detached from air and water heating/cooling and distribution systems
- Hospital-acquired infections infections acquired from the surfaces of catheters, medical implants, wound dressing, or other medical devices
Call us for you maintenance appointment today!!!
Has your child been to the dentist yet?
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first dental visit takes place when the first tooth appears or by his or her first birthday.
- Clean your baby’s gums with plain water and a small, soft-bristled toothbrush designed for infants.
- Start using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on your child’s brush at age 2 to 3. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste.
- Baby teeth are important. Not only do they help children learn to speak and chew naturally, they hold the place for permanent teeth until they are ready to erupt.
- Children should not fall asleep with a bottle. Juice and other high sugar beverages should be given in a cup, never from a bottle.
- Let children brush under your supervision and assistance until they can brush by themselves—generally around age 7.
- Encourage children to chew sugarless gum and stay away from sticky candy.
- If your child plays sports, make sure he or she always wears a mouth guard.
WATCH THIS video and learn that taking care of your childrens health is key to their long term general health.
1. You probably aren't seeing the dentist enough.
The standard twice-a-year visit (covered by most dental plans) is only half enough. Adults should see the dentist every 90 days. We know it sounds like a lot but, after just three months, the bacteria we clean out of your mouth during your check-up -- is all recolonized! We know it can seem expensive, especially if you have to pay for the additional visits out of pocket, but it's well worth it from a health perspective. If you think about what you might spend on regularly cutting or coloring your hair, it's really not far off from that.
2. If you're scared of the dentist because you think it's going to hurt, you're not seeing the right dentist.
Today we can manage discomfort with the right medications, handle the annoyance of keeping your mouth open for a long period of time, or use anesthesia for more extensive procedures. And most times by using the Laser or Microabrasion we can avoid pain and anesthetic altogether!
3. If you wait until you feel pain, it's way too late.
Know this: Most dental issues don't cause pain at first. Cavities- before they become deep, are painless. Gum disease -- also silent. But once you're feeling pain, that means there's probably already an infection or the pockets of your gums have become riddled with bacteria. Bottom line: Make frequent check-up appointments to nip tooth problems in the bud,
4. There are so many ways to floss now, so try one!
You MUST clean in between the teeth! Where tooth surfaces touch one another, you're toothbruch can't reach. This is the spot where some of the worst bacteria hide. The truth is, brushing only gets about 50% of the nasty stuff off of your teeth. Floss is the only thing that can attack the other half. No matter how fantastically high-tech your brush is or how thoroughly you go over each tooth, you still need to floss. So try floss picks, proxy brushes, an air flosser or a water flosser to clean the breeding colonies of germs from the hard to reach places.
5. Seeing the dentist may save your life.
People are slowly realizing that gum disease might be a sign of heart disease. Some germs may increase your risk for other systemic issues. It's all about inflammation -- if it's in the gums its probably in the rest of the body. Some studies show that bacteria in gum disease is also in plaques in heart arteries. Seeing the dentist can benefit not only your smile and the whiteness of your teeth, but also your overall health.
6. The mouth is the window to the body.
We can tell so much about a person just peering into their mouth. We can see if they have certain habits or issues -- whether they drink a lot of pop or coffee or have acid reflux. If they are experiencing a lot of stress, they may grind or clench their teeth, leading to recession of the gums or telltale wear patterns. Bad breath may indicate diabetes. You just can't hide these things once you open your mouth.
DONT DELAY, CALL US TODAY!
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