On Thursday, we celebrate one of the favorite holidays for children: Halloween. Between trick-or-treating, classroom parties, and city-wide fall festivals, children are given access to an exorbitant amount of sugary sweets to eat over the course of the next few months. Parents know that eating assorted candies can be detrimental to oral health, as sugar damages teeth by causing cavities. Halloween is the perfect opportunity for parents to help their children learn healthy dental habits. Dr. Pate offers these practical tips for keeping your children’s mouths healthy on Halloween and year-round.
1. Teach Moderation
Deprivation makes candy seem more irresistible to children, which can encourage them to sneak candy later. On Halloween, allow your child to choose 5-10 small pieces of his favorite candy, and store the rest. Then, you can easily monitor the amount of candy your child eats in the weeks following. (more…)
October is an important month for more than just the ghouls and goblins that roam the street on Halloween. It is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to promote diligence and awareness of the most common cancer diagnosed among women. Studies conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate a strong connection between the presence of gum disease and the development of breast cancer. To help raise awareness of the epidemic, your Atlanta dentist, Dr. Peter Pate and his team share some facts about breast cancer while debunking some of the more popular myths surrounding the disease.
Breast Cancer—The Facts
MYTH: Breast cancer is not as deadly as most cancers, since it only affects the breasts.
TRUTH: Every year, over 220,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in America. Of those, over 40,000 cases will be fatal. Cancer, no matter what part of the body it affects, is a deadly disease and should never be underestimated.
MYTH: Men do not get breast cancer. It only affects women. (more…)
As a triathlete, Dr. Peter Pate knows the exhilaration of competing in endurance sports. As a dentist, he also understands that the lifestyle required of a dedicated athlete poses many risk factors for the development of tooth decay and other oral health issues. Although athletes are generally health-conscious individuals, many people are still unaware of the link between oral health and overall health. Even more individuals do not realize just how vulnerable oral health is to the destructive habits of daily life. Many dentists report that their athletic patients in particular have suffered extensive oral health issues, such as rampant tooth decay and even tooth loss. While some cases can be attributed to little more than poor oral hygiene, many are residual effects of the damage done by the necessities of an athletic lifestyle. Dr. Pate explains how athletic dedication can put you at higher risk for cavity development.
Athletic Diet Equals Greater Risk Factors for Tooth Decay
Endurance athletes place tremendous strain on their bodies. In order for the body to withstand this pressure, it must have enough energy; therefore, the endurance lifestyle requires an increase in caloric intake. On average, an athlete will consume 6-10g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight per day — an estimated 60% of their calories. Unfortunately, the same carbohydrates that fuel the body also fuel the bacterial plaque that coats the inside of the mouth. Malicious oral bacteria, mainly Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, have an insatiable appetite for refined sugars and carbohydrates. After greedily metabolizing carbs, bacteria excrete the by-product lactic acid onto the surfaces of the teeth. This acid attacks and weakens the tooth enamel while sapping minerals from your teeth. This makes it very easy for bacteria to slip past this protective layer into the more vulnerable parts of the tooth, causing the formation of dental caries (cavities). Your teeth are the most vulnerable during a race. Some events (like the Ironman triathlon, for instance) can last up to 17 hours. During this time, you must not only consume the necessary daily intake of carbs, but also maintain the energy supply your body will require to keep up with the demand placed on it. Experts suggest an intake of 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour during exercise to maintain blood glucose levels. With this steady intake of fuel, S. mutans and other harmful bacteria can produce an almost continuous supply of lactic acid on your teeth. (more…)
So you’ve discovered that your own little bundle of joy is on the way. Now that you are caring for yourself as well as your unborn child, you have additional responsibilities. One topic you may not consider in relation to your pregnancy is your oral health. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explains why you shouldn’t place your dental hygiene at the bottom of the list during your pregnancy.
Gum Disease and Your Pregnancy
Periodontal (gum) disease has a direct relation to many chronic inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It also has been linked to preterm and low-birth weight babies. The main culprit suspected in the link is the bacterium P. gingivalis, which induces your body’s inflammatory response. When gum disease causes your gums to swell and bleed, bacteria enters your bloodstream through the soft infected tissue. As P. gingivalis travels throughout your body, it can provoke the same inflammatory response as it did in your gums. When you are pregnant, this can mean abnormal conditions surrounding the birth of your child. (more…)
The next time you schedule your annual physical, make sure you have your regular dental visit on the calendar as well. To get an overall view of your health, it can be beneficial to start with the mouth. Current research shows that many systemic deficiencies or maladies are illustrated in the tissues of the oral cavity. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explains how he can ascertain details about your overall wellbeing by inspecting the health of your mouth.
The Connection Between Your Mouth and Your Body
The oral-systemic connection refers to the relationship between the health of your mouth and the overall health of your body. Over the last several decades, numerous studies have shown that the two are distinctly connected. For instance, the earliest signs of some potentially fatal systemic diseases appear as lesions in the mouth or other oral problems. This discovery has increased the importance of attending your regular dental checkup. Early detection vastly improves the chances of successful treatment.
Further Implications of the Oral-Systemic Connection
The oral-systemic connection has other important implications as well. Incidences of tooth decay and gum disease have been linked to specific malicious bacteria within the oral cavity (S. mutans and P. gingivalis, respectively). When you consume food and beverages that contain refined sugars and other fermentable carbohydrates, bacterial plaque (which is constantly present in your mouth) digests these substances. The by-product of this digestion is lactic acid, which plaque secretes over the surfaces of the teeth. When lactic acid attacks enamel, it also saps teeth of essential enamel-strengthening minerals (calcium and phosphate). Without these ingredients, the enamel is not able to remineralize and strengthen itself. Weakened enamel leaves teeth vulnerable to bacterial attack, which leads to tooth decay. The plaque under your gum line secretes acid, and attacks the connective tissue between the gums and teeth. This irritation causes the gums to recede from the teeth, increasing the chance of gum disease. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through diseased soft gum tissue and travel throughout the body, irritating body tissue cells along its journey. (more…)
Research shows that people who receive professional dental cleanings on a regular basis are 24% less likely to have a heart attack, and 13% less likely to have a stroke. Dr. Pate would like to explain how keeping your teeth clean can also help keep your heart healthy.
Oral Bacteria in the Bloodstream
Gum disease weakens your gum tissue and creates an opening for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. As these bacteria travel through your body, they can inflame other cells and tissues. In fact, patients who have heart attacks or strokes often have the same bacteria that cause gum disease accumulated in their arteries. Here are some ways that oral bacteria can contribute to a stroke as it travels through your bloodstream:
On average, a person could not survive more than five days without water. As the weather outside gets warmer, your need for water increases. Water keeps you energized, healthy, and strong. In honor of Drinking Water Week (May 6-12), Dr. Pate wants to make sure you’re drinking enough water to keep your body and mouth hydrated this summer.
The human body is made up of 55-75% water. Your body loses water through sweating, urination, and exhaling. When you don’t replace the water your body is losing, you may become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause muscle weakness, cramping, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and other body weaknesses. However, dehydration affects your mouth, too. A lack of moisture in your mouth can lead to dry mouth and dry lips.