July 17th, 2019
Recently, multiple studies have concluded that people with sleep apnea, a disorder that causes snoring, fatigue, and dangerous gaps in breathing at night due to throat muscles collapsing, are five times more likely to develop cancer. In fact, one of the studies found that people with the most severe forms of sleep apnea had a 65 percent greater risk of developing cancer of any kind.
Researchers believe this could be due to the body lacking enough oxygen, a condition known as hypoxemia. When people are deprived of oxygen, their bodies react by producing more blood vessels, which can feed cancer cells, and as a result cause tumors to grow and spread.
Approximately 28 million North Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with many cases going undiagnosed. This is due to most cancer patients not mentioning any sleep problems they experience unless their physician asks them.
Patients at Effingham Dental Associates who suffer from sleep apnea can be treated using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which produces a stream of air to keep the upper airways open while you sleep. An oral appliance may be another option if CPAP therapy isn’t an option. If you have sleep apnea, Drs. Donald and Robert Nelson and our team will help you understand all of your treatment options, finding one that suits your needs.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, please give us a call at our Springfield office to schedule an appointment.
July 16th, 2019
Kids are constantly active and constantly growing. No wonder they’re constantly hungry! When it’s time for a snack, here are some tips to make between meal treats timely, tasty, and tooth-friendly.
Keep snacks to a minimum
Every time we eat, we’re also providing food for the bacteria in our mouths. Bacteria use sugars to produce acids. These acids weaken our enamel and can lead to cavities. Luckily, we have a natural way of protecting our teeth. Saliva washes away food particles and bacteria, and even provides substances that strengthen our teeth in the hours between meals.
When we eat throughout the day, there is no chance for this recovery period to take place. Small children aren’t usually able to get through the day without a few snack periods, which is perfectly normal. Just try to make sure that snacking doesn’t become all-day grazing!
Avoid foods that contain sugar and carbohydrates at snack time
We know that sugar leads to an increased chance of cavities because bacteria convert this sugar into acids that damage our enamel. But carbohydrates should also be in the no-snack zone. Why? Because carbohydrates break down into sugar very quickly. So while you wouldn’t offer your child a daily mid-afternoon snack of sodas and chocolate bars, those muffins, doughnuts, chips, and bagels should be on the “special treat” list as well.
Luckily, we are left with many healthy and convenient choices when your child needs a nibble.
- Crunchy, crisp fresh fruits and vegetables provide vitamins as well as a gentle scrubbing action to help clean teeth. They are also rich in water, which helps us produce the saliva that naturally washes away food particles and bacteria.
- Low-fat yogurts and cheeses provide essential calcium for strong teeth and the vitamin D that helps us absorb calcium.
- Whole grain breads, cereals, and crackers are healthier than products made only with white flour because they retain valuable vitamins and minerals that have been removed from refined grains.
- Lean meats, peas, legumes, and eggs provide protein that helps build connective tissue and maintain tooth structure.
- Water helps stimulate saliva production and provides cavity-fighting fluoride. Win/win!
You are constantly looking for ways to make your children’s lives better. Mix and match any of these foods for a snack that’s not only good for their teeth, but rich in the proteins, vitamins, and minerals needed to keep them active and growing throughout their school years. If you have questions about your child’s dietary needs, feel free to ask Drs. Donald and Robert Nelson at our Springfield office.
July 10th, 2019
If you or your children suffer from dental anxiety, you aren’t alone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, between nine and 15 percent of Americans admit to feeling sufficiently afraid of going to the dentist to avoid making an appointment. The potential consequences of dental anxiety extend beyond poor oral health. Lack of dental care can cause serious but easily preventable medical conditions.
Dental Anxiety versus Dental Phobia
Dental anxiety provokes a sense of fear in people, typically before they arrive at Effingham Dental Associates. Those fears or worries are often exaggerated. Dental phobia shares many of the symptoms that characterize dental anxiety. It is a much more serious manifestation of that anxiety, and may provoke a sense of panic or terror in people. While people who suffer from dental phobias know that their feelings are irrational, they are unable to control, stop, or change those thoughts.
People who have dental phobias often avoid going to the dentist, and they come up with every possible excuse to justify not going. The only time a person who suffers from a dental phobia will go to the dentist is when he or she is forced to do so, or because of intense tooth pain. People who have dental anxiety don’t go to such extremes to avoid going to the dentist; anxiety usually begins in anticipation of the appointment.
What We Do to Ease Patient Anxiety
Drs. Donald and Robert Nelson and our staff have many techniques we can use to help patients feel more comfortable at their appointments. Dental Fear Central gives some simple suggestions to help children and adults who are apprehensive about going to the dentist, even if they suffer from the more severe form of anxiety: full-blown dental phobia.
- The Tell-Show-Do Approach: We help our patients relax by making sure they understand what is involved in the exam and any procedure they may undergo. We tell patients about the procedure, show them the tools and equipment we intend to use, and answer questions before actually performing the procedure. This is helpful for patients who don’t know what to expect.
- Distraction: We offer personal music players and a collection of CDs that patients can listen to. The relaxing qualities of music may help distract a patient enough to make the process less stressful. In-office televisions allow you to watch TV while waiting for your appointment.
Drs. Donald and Robert Nelson and our staff know that some patients are anxious about dental treatment, and we go to great lengths to make you feel more comfortable. Good oral health is very important, and when your mouth isn’t healthy, you can suffer from many other easily preventable medical problems.
July 9th, 2019
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly throughout the night. It’s most common among middle-aged adults, and the most prevalent symptom is loud snoring.
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax to the point where they inhibit your natural breathing. It can cause your breathing to stop for anywhere from ten to twenty seconds. In the worst cases, it can even stop your breathing for up to a few minutes.
In addition, people who suffer from sleep apnea wake up feeling tired and unrested. The condition may even lead to depression, high blood pressure, irritability, and memory loss. It puts you at a greater risk for heart attack and lowers oxygen levels in your brain.
All of this sounds scary, but the good news is that sleep apnea can be treated! One of the most common ways Drs. Donald and Robert Nelson can treat sleep apnea is by creating an oral device for you to wear while you sleep.
The device brings your jaw forward, which keeps the airway open and lowers the incidence of snoring. Another method is to use a continuous positive airway mask, often referred to as a CPAP. The mask fits over the mouth and forces oxygen through the throat while you sleep.
If you’re unsure about whether you may suffer from sleep apnea, visit our Springfield office and let Drs. Donald and Robert Nelson know. We can determine the appropriate treatment if any is needed. Don’t risk losing another night’s sleep over something we can easily treat!