portale post It’s Time to Save Your Own Life W e Americans are funny people. We know everything about everything, but we like to do what we please in spite of the knowledge. For instance, everyone knows
smoking is bad, but many still smoke. “I’m fine; it’s too hard to quit!” We hear it all the time. But when the doctor finds a “spot,” suddenly we become the perfect patient and throw away the packs cold turkey! The same is true with teeth and gums. We know we must floss and have preventive visits with a hygienist twice a year, but we are often too busy. But when that toothache explodes and our face swells up, our schedules so easily change! The latest example of “head in the sand” behavior is this sleep apnea condition you’ve read about so much recently. The more we learn about this medical threat, the more we hide from the facts. Currently, the experts claim nearly 25 percent of the American population has measurable sleep apnea. That’s nearly 100 million of us, but people resist getting screened or tested. Even when the effects of apnea are explained, the common response is “I feel fine, I don’t need a test” or “I’ll just lose a few pounds and be okay.” Funny people we are. Apnea is a fancy word that describes a cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more while sleeping. No big deal, everyone can hold their breath for 10 seconds. This may occur up to five times an hour and still be considered “normal.” For patients with apnea, this can happen for 10 or more seconds and 50–60 times an hour. Let’s see, that’s nearly 10 minutes each hour. So, try holding your breath for 10 minutes! You can feel the effect on your body. It’s real, and it’s serious. When the oxygen flow is reduced, we see elevations in blood pressure and heart rate as the body attempts to compensate for the missing oxygen. The heart can become unstable and produce arrhythmias, which may progress into a heart attack. Normal metabolism slows down because oxygen is needed to digest food, and the body stores the excess food as fat leading to obesity. Low oxygen affects the brain causing drowsiness, fatigue,
headache, confusion, memory loss, dementia, stroke, or premature death. Other conditions include diabetes, eye disorders, glaucoma, general job impairment, motor vehicle accidents, and, yes, even impotence. Don’t you know somebody with one or more of these conditions? Getting screened takes 10 minutes. Having a home sleep test in your own bed with a simple recording device is easy. Remember, snoring is only a clue, and carrying a few extra pounds is not the cause of apnea. In fact, it may be quite the opposite. Why die a “natural death” in your sleep when you can treat apnea with a small intra-oral appliance you can carry in your pocket?
Don’t be like Justice Scalia, Carrie Fisher, Ron White, or other apnea patients who have died due to conditions directly related to sleep apnea. Stop being funny, and call for your screening. It could save your life! – Dr. Portale
Call to meet the doctor and discuss treatment options.
The Many Faces of Periodontitis
Which Flossing Method Should You Use? Water Flossers vs. Dental Floss
If you’ve ever visited the dentist, it’s more than likely you’ve been asked how frequently you floss. Truthfully, many people choose not to floss — in fact, only about 4 in 10 Americans do. The act of flossing can be difficult for some people, but it’s one of the most important daily habits you can develop to sustain overall health. The Importance of Flossing Flossing is a vital part of maintaining oral health because it removes food, bacteria, and plaque that toothbrushes can’t reach. A person who brushes their teeth but doesn’t floss is more likely to suffer from poor oral health than someone who flosses once a day. And in the dental world, there are two popular methods of flossing: water flossers and dental floss. Water Flossers Water flossers shoot out a jet of water that flows between the teeth as its nozzle moves along the gum line. The pressurized water blasts your gums and the hard-to-reach places, removing food, debris, plaque, and bacteria in pulsating bursts. Although these devices can be expensive, many people prefer the water flosser since it’s easier to use, especially if you have braces, dental implants, or nonremovable bridgework. Dental Floss Floss has been around for about 200 years, but it didn’t become popular until after WWII. Dental floss functions similarly to a water flosser, except that instead of using a stream of water, you manually floss between your teeth and along your gums to remove debris, bacteria, and tartar. Many individuals prefer to use dental floss because it allows you to have more control when you floss. However, it can sometimes cause the gums to bleed, which is why many prefer water flossers. Dentists recommend that, whichever method you choose, you should floss at least once a day for optimal teeth and gum health. To get into the habit of flossing more regularly, try to floss before you brush your teeth. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, that’s the “ideal sequence for the most thorough removal of dental plaque.”
How to Identify 3 Common Forms of Gum Disease
You may not realize it, but gingivitis is one of the mildest forms of gum disease. However, if left untreated, it can get worse and lead to further complications. Let’s take a look at a few of the common forms, and the progression, of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is easy to identity. Many people experience bad breath, and their gums become inflamed, red and swollen, and sensitive to touch. Ordinary brushing and flossing can cause gums to bleed. When that happens, people with gingivitis feel discouraged to regularly brush and floss, or may brush more delicately, leaving behind the biofilm and bacteria that cause gum diseases. Chronic periodontitis is essentially the progression of gingivitis if it’s not properly treated. In addition to inflamed and sensitive gums, the gum line may begin to recede, and pocketing may occur. When that happens, the gums start to pull away from the teeth. This is caused by enzymes known as collagenases, which break down collagen structure, leading to softer gums. At the same time, teeth may start to feel loose. Aggressive periodontitis isn’t as common as either gingivitis or chronic periodontitis, but when it does take hold, it usually appears in people under the age of 30. It also comes in two forms: localized aggressive periodontitis, or LAP, and generalized aggressive periodontitis, or GAP. Many of the same symptoms carry over from other forms of the disease, but they may be more destructive to both the gum and underlying bone. When you know the early signs of periodontal disease, you can address the cause right then and there, saving you a lot of trouble down the road in treatment costs and your general health. It’s always good to ask your dentist about periodontal disease so you can stop it in its tracks before it becomes an issue.
The Stress Connection
HOW STRESS CAN IMPACT THE HEALTH OF YOUR TEETH
Stress affects us in many different ways, such as physically and emotionally, but it can also take a significant toll on our teeth. When you experience stress, your muscles respond. This includes the muscles in your head, neck, and jaw. The muscles tense up, and it can lead to clenching or grinding, otherwise known as bruxism. In many cases, bruxism occurs without you realizing it. While most instances of bruxism occur during sleep, many people also clench their jaw during the day. They may do it as they work, run errands, or any number of daily activities.
If you are dealing with tension through your neck, shoulders, and jaw, there are initial steps you can take to ease that tension. Here are two examples. Jaw Exercise Open your mouth as wide as you can without causing any discomfort. With your mouth open, touch the tip of your tongue to the back of your front upper teeth. Hold for five seconds and repeat several times. Neck Massage Request a massage specifically for your neck and shoulders from a massage therapist. This will help you ease your stress overall while also loosening the muscles that cause your jaw to tighten, leading to clenching or grinding.
Symptoms of bruxism manifest in several ways. You may wake up
with a headache, with tension in your neck, shoulders, jaw, or all of the above. You may also experience discomfort in your teeth, particularly if you are grinding. Over time, this will wear down your enamel and this can lead to tooth sensitivity if not addressed quickly.
If these steps do not work — or you find the aches or pains in your jaw and neck difficult to manage — let us know. We can help you determine the next steps you can take to reduce discomfort and restore your peace of mind.
Hate your CPAP? Read this! Testimonial to the Positive Results Achieved With a Dental Appliance for Sleep Apnea by Jack’s Personal Friend & Caretaker
Jack was scheduled for an overnight at-home sleep test for sleep apnea. Several years ago, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was prescribed a CPAP. After three nights, he gave up. Jack is currently diagnosed with dementia, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and depression. He decided to try the oral device. His at-home sleep study test showed 137 apnea episodes per hour with his oxygen rate going down to the low 70s. After being fitted with the device, Jack wore it every night. He found it very easy to wear. Four weeks later, he had lost 15 pounds, and his numbers for glaucoma and blood pressure were down to normal. After eight weeks, Jack had lost a total of 25 pounds, mostly in the belly area. His primary care physician stated he appeared much better, his color improved, and, most importantly, he was more engaged in the present. Relatives and friends all commented on howmuch his memory had improved and that he was engaging
in lucid conversation, both on the phone and in person. Presently, Jack is off his blood pressure medication. His spirits are high, and he is more confident in social settings. There is no question these improvements are attributable to his improved sleep and increased oxygen intake from using the oral device designed by Dr. Portale. He is very grateful and sees that the device has helped him in many ways. He rarely forgets to wear it!
Call to meet the doctor and discuss treatment options.
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INSIDE This Issue
Do You Really Feel Fine?
How Often Do You Floss? 3 Types of Gum Disease
Stress and the Health of Your Teeth Sleep Apnea Testimonial
Wants vs. Needs
Wants vs. Needs
Here is something we can all agree on: We usually buy what we want, not always what we need. Needs are lower on the totem pole of value-driven decisions than wants. We all can relate to an example of this. Recently been in the market for a car because the old one made a funny noise? Felt drawn to the “ultimate driving experience” when a used Chevy ride would do? You’re not alone. Whether it’s Nike versus Converse or top sirloin versus Hamburger Helper, we’ve all felt the draw. Affordability sometimes dictates the choice, but the draw is undeniable!
taking care of their teeth should be a “want,” shouldn’t it?
There are three resistors to taking care of teeth: money, time, and fear. So with money, the answer is prevention. Routine cleanings and fixing small problems is so much more inexpensive than waiting for something to hurt. Even most insurance companies recognize this and pay a benefit for prevention. Of course, cost escalates with prolonged neglect. Guess who’s responsible for that choice? To save time, we can perform all routine dental treatment efficiently with just one visit.
Are teeth important to you? Do you want them to last a lifetime? Do you need them? I often hear the rationale that teeth in the back are not that important. When they hurt, just take them out …
Lastly, fear or anxiety because of past bad dental experiences can be addressed by “sleep dentistry.” Pills work for some patients, while a dose of IV sedation works for others. Wake up and your teeth are healthy and strong again!
However, the researchers at Mayo Clinic claim people with teeth live 10 years longer on average than people without. Most people want to live longer, so
So, call today and put healthy teeth in your “want” column.
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