Waterford, MI Dentist
Lloyd H. Alpert, D.D.S.
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Waterford, MI 48328
(248) 682-6010

Posts for category: Dental News

Oral health: A window to your overall health

Your oral health is more important than you might realize. Get the facts about how the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Did you know that your oral health can offer clues about your overall health — or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Understand the intimate connection between oral health and overall health and what you can do to protect yourself.

What's the connection between oral health and overall health?

Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

In addition, certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers and diuretics — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.

Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — might play a role in some diseases. In addition, certain diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body's resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe.

What conditions may be linked to oral health?

Your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

•Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.

•Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

•Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

•Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.

•HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.

•Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.

•Alzheimer's disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

•Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth — and eating disorders.

Because of these potential links, be sure to tell your dentist if you're taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you've had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes.

How can I protect my oral health?

To protect your oral health, practice good oral hygiene every day. For example:

•Brush your teeth at least twice a day.

•Floss daily.

•Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.

•Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.

•Schedule regular dental checkups.

Also, contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

Press Releases


PARSIPPANY, N.J. (September. 26, 2012) – Delta Dental of New Jersey, a dental benefits company serving New Jersey and Connecticut, is reminding parents to pack an apple instead of a sugary snack in a child’s lunch box this fall to help improve their child’s oral health and educational performance. The company recently added a video to their Dental Connections YouTube series: Eat Right for Healthy Teeth that’s full of easy-to-use ideas just right for back-to-school time. After all, children eat more than 20 percent of their meals at school during the academic year.

“Kids should be focused on learning, not on being hungry or feeling tired and sluggish all afternoon” said Douglas B. Keck, D.M.D., M.S.H.Ed., a Connecticut-based pediatric dentist. “Limit high sugar drinks and snacks, which are bad for the teeth as well as the rest of the body.”

The fact that children in America (especially those from lower income families) suffer from poor nutritional habits is no real surprise. However, children of all income levels tend to choose fast food and sugary snacks over more nutritious options. A report from the USDA Economic Research Service claimed that the average child under the age of 12 consumes 49 pounds of sugar per year!1

Overconsumption of sugar harms a child’s oral and overall health, according to New Jersey pediatric dentist Suzy Press, D.D.S., M.S. “Snacks like cookies, candy, and chewy fruit snacks mix with bacteria in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth to generate acid, which can wear away enamel and cause tooth decay,” she said. “While sweets may provide a temporary jolt for kids, that sugar rush soon turns into a crash and kids are left feeling lethargic. That is not the kind of mental state kids need to prepare for an afternoon of classes.”

Instead, Delta Dental recommends these top five oral health best practices:

After breakfast, before leaving for school, make sure your child brushes well with a fluoridated toothpaste. Brushing immediately following a meal helps clean teeth and eliminates halitosis (bad breath).

Fill a child’s lunch box with healthy lunch food and snacks such as lean meats, whole grain breads, low-fat yogurt or cheeses, apples, bite-size carrots and baked chips or whole-grain crackers. Besides being packed with nutrients, certain fruits and veggies can even help clean the teeth and gums. Make treats a treat. Serve sugary sticky snacks like cookies, cake, brownies, and candy only in moderation. Class mothers (or fathers) should discuss bringing in healthy snacks along with sugary treats for birthdays and other classroom parties.

If a child chews gum and the school allows it, chewing sugar-free gum for a few minutes in between lunch and afternoon classes can help stimulate saliva to buffer the acid and help dislodge food particles from the mouth. Gum containing the natural sweetener, Xylitol, is a particularly good option since studies have shown that consistent exposure to Xylitol can reduce cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.

If children have braces, have them brush or rinse well with water after lunch. If they wear a removable retainer, they should clean it well after each meal and rinse their mouth.

Before the school year starts, schedule a dental visit to make sure there are no problems to distract a child during the school year. Ask the dentist about sealants as a way to protect children's teeth from cavities. Sealants – a thin coating of bonding material applied over the chewing surface of molar teeth – act as a barrier to cavity-causing bacteria.

About Delta Dental
Delta Dental of New Jersey Inc. is New Jersey’s leading dental benefits company, providing or administering coverage to more than 1.5 million people through contracts with employers in New Jersey and Connecticut. The Delta Dental system offers seamless dental benefits administration for employer groups throughout the country and has the largest network of dentists in the nation. For more information, visit www.deltadentalnj.com.

About Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation
Delta Dental established the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation in 1986. Its mission includes promoting and assisting educational projects devoted to the enhancement of dental health, providing research programs designed to increase public awareness of the general benefits of good health, and improving dental health through the science of dentistry. Each year the foundation provides financial support to various organizations throughout the state.

Keep your teeth safe this summer: Avoid dental injuries when playing sports

Summer is the time for enjoying the great outdoors. However, some popular summer sports – such as swimming and softball – can expose your teeth to danger. Here are several seasonal activities that could lead to dental injuries and ways to keep your smile safe:


Frequent swimmers may be at risk for developing yellowish-brown or dark brown stains on their teeth.

Those who swim more than six hours a week continually expose their teeth to chemically treated water. Pool water contains chemical additives, which give the water a higher pH than saliva. As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on teeth. These hard, brown deposits, known as "swimmers' calculus," appear most frequently on the front teeth.

Swimmers' calculus can normally be removed by a professional dental cleaning.


Scuba diving, a sport enjoyed by more than 4 million people in the U.S., can lead to jaw joint pain, gum tissue problems or "tooth squeeze" – pain in the center of the tooth.

All of these symptoms add up to what's called "diver's mouth syndrome" (also called barodontalgia), a condition caused by the air pressure change involved in scuba diving and by divers biting too hard on their scuba air regulators. Tooth squeeze is caused by the change in air pressure, particularly if a diver has a big cavity, a temporary filling, gum disease, periodontal abscess or incomplete root canal therapy.

The best way to avoid these problems is to visit your dentist before scuba diving and make sure your dental health is tip-top. Ask your dentist's advice about fitting the mouthpiece of an air regulator. Sometimes dentures can be inadvertently swallowed during a dive, so denture-wearers should consult with dentists before diving to discuss any potential problems.

Contact sports (soccer, softball, basketball, etc.)

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), soccer players are more likely than football players to sustain a dental-related injury – and these statistics do not include people playing pick-up games with friends.

Soccer is a sport where mouthguards and face masks are not mandatory, upping the odds for mouth and face injuries. Softball, basketball and pick-up games of touch football involve similar risks. In addition to causing injuries during contact, these sports also may be costly for people who have had extensive dental work, especially people who wear braces.

When participating in such sports, a mouthguard is your best ally. The AGD estimates that mouthguards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year. Using a mouthguard can prevent damage to braces or other orthodontic work, as well as prevent mouth cuts, jaw injuries and tooth damage.

There are several types of mouthguards. Ask your dentist for advice about which mouthguard solution is best for you.

  • Stock mouthguard: The lowest cost option is an item that can be bought "off the shelf" from a drug or sporting goods store. This type of mouthguard offers the least protection because the fit adjustment is limited. While better than nothing, a stock mouthguard is not considered acceptable as a facial protective device.
  • Mouth-formed protectors: These mouthguards come as a shell-liner and "boil-and-bite" product from sporting goods stores. The shell is lined with acrylic or rubber. When placed in an athlete's mouth, the protector's lining material molds to the teeth and is allowed to set.
  • Custom-made mouth protectors: The best choice is a customized mouthguard made by your dentist. This is the most expensive option (and may not be covered by your dental plan – check your Evidence of Coverage booklet), but a custom mouthguard offers the best protection, fit and comfort level because it is made from a cast to fit your teeth.

Some information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry.Some information courtesy of the American Dental Association..

Too much stress affects your whole body, including your mouth, teeth, and gums.

The potential impact includes:

  • Mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sores
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Not taking care of your teeth
  • Eating a bad diet
  • Gum (periodontal) disease or worsening of existing periodontal disease
  • Bad habits like chewing your nails, ice, pencils, or other objects
  • Depression

You can prevent these oral health problems, if you know what to do.

Call for your appointment today!

October 29, 2014
Category: Dental News
Tags: Oral Cancer  

More than 34,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or
pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing
roughly one person every hour, every day. Of those 34,000 newly
diagnosed individuals, only half will be alive in 5 years.
The two most common pathways by which most people develop oral
cancer is through tobacco and alcohol use and through exposure to
the human papilloma virus (HPV) – the same virus responsible for the
majority of cervical cancers in women.
Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or
sore somewhere in the mouth and often goes unnoticed until it has
metastasized (spread) into another part of the body. It can affect any
area of the mouth including the lips, gums, cheek lining, tongue, and
the hard or soft palate. When found early, oral cancers have an
80 to 90 % survival rate. Dental professionals can act as a first line
of defense in the early detection of oral cancer. Your CDA member
dentist includes oral cancer screening as part of a routine oral exam. 



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