Posts for category: Health and Wellness
As health care professionals, the staff at Gargano Family Dentistry not only cares about your smile; we are dedicated to providing our patients with health care information for the whole person and encouraging our patients to be as healthy as they can be. That is why it is important to remind everyone that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. Cancer screening saves lives. Screening can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) that can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening also helps finds this cancer early, when treatment works best. However, about one-third of adults aged 50 or older (about 22 million people)—the age group at greatest risk of developing colorectal cancer—have not been screened as recommended. If you are 50 years old or older, get screened now. If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, speak with your doctor about when to begin screening, which test is right for you, and how often to get tested.
Questions to ask your health care professional:
- Do I need to get a screening test for colorectal cancer?
- What screening test(s) do you recommend for me? Why?
- How do I prepare? Do I need to change my diet or my usual medication before taking the test?
- What’s involved in the test? Will it be uncomfortable or painful?
- Is there any risk involved?
- When and from whom will I get results?*
We encourage all our patients to talk with their physician about age appropriate screening for all cancers.
For more information on colorectal cancer visit: www.cdc.gov/screenforlife or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) For TTY, call 1-888-232-6348.
*information courtesy cdc.gov.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for! And of course, indulge in lots of yummy foods! Unfortunately, holiday feasts can expose your teeth to lots of sugary foods that are damaging to your dental health. Here are a few tips to keep your smile healthy throughout the entire holiday season!
- Drink LOTS of water! Not only is it great for overall health, studies show drinking water before meals helps you eat less. Staying hydrated will support healthy saliva flow to wash away food from the teeth preventing rapid plaque accumulation.
- Thanksgiving meals are known for being large but also lengthy. Exposure time is perhaps the most damaging aspect of a holiday feast. Try to avoid snacking all day and save your appetite (and teeth) for the main meal!
- Use a bottle opener or a nut cracker! Holidays seem to be a target time for something to go wrong, and the last thing you want during the holiday season is a cracked tooth! Avoid crunching on ice, cracking nuts, or opening food wrappers or bottles with your teeth.
- Brush and Floss! Sticky, sugary foods are in abundance on holiday tables. After indulging, it is especially important to make sure you brush and floss all of the acid-producing sugar and carbs off of your teeth.
- Make a Post-Holiday Cleaning Appointment! It is common knowledge that the holiday season can be bad for your weight, but the desserts and long meals are also tough on your teeth. If you’re concerned about cavities or gum disease, this winter is the perfect time to schedule a cleaning appointment. One of our hygienists will clean your teeth and Dr. Ted or Dr. Joe will check your mouth for any signs of disease. Regular dental cleanings help prevent issues before they become uncomfortable. We can also perform cosmetic treatments such as whitening to give you a brighter smile for holiday photos or celebrations. Call us at (203)239-2356 or visit us on the web at www.garganofamilydentistry.com to make an appointment today.
May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month
Have you checked your blood pressure recently?
In the spirit of raising awareness for what is considered one of the leading causes of death in our society, we're here to explain what blood pressure is, what causes high blood pressure, and how to combat the severe health risks associated with high blood pressure. Checking blood pressure regularly is an important part of keeping high blood pressure controlled. Also, many people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. That’s why we want to persuade as many people as possible to get a blood pressure check this May.
What is Blood Pressure?
The easiest way to define blood pressure is by noting that it's the force that pushes blood throughout our bodies via our circulatory system. The force is created by our hearts expelling blood when it contracts during each heartbeat, and then gradually traveling through the smaller branches of arteries before returning.
Measuring Blood Pressure
Anyone who has ever been to a doctor's appointment before is more than likely familiar with having their blood pressure checked via the blood pressure "cuff" that is fastened around the upper arm of the patient and then tightened. Doing so allows a medical professional to accurately identify whether your levels are within a normal range or not. Your blood pressure reading will consist of both a systolic number and a diastolic number. Systolic pressure is the first number and the highest, and measures the contractions of the heart, while the diastolic pressure measures the pressure inside of the arteries during the pause between heartbeats.
Combating High Blood Pressure
While the risks associated with high blood pressure are certainly a cause for concern, there are many ways to keep your levels under control and your health in a positive state. Keeping your body weight at a suitable and healthy range for your height and age is a large factor, as is ensuring that you practice a diet that is rich in produce and low-fat protein. Regularly monitor your sodium intake levels to keep them as low as possible and be aware of how much alcohol you consume on a regular basis. Be sure to also engage in regular exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, as even a simple walk around the block every evening is enough to drastically reduce your overall risk levels.
High Blood Pressure Medications and Oral Health
Some high blood pressure medications interrupt normal saliva flow and cause a chronic dry mouth. Dry mouth is responsible for halitosis an increase in mouth lesions (canker sores) and oral fungal infections. Dry mouth also encourages growth of anaerobic bacteria, the primary cause of cavities and gum disease. We know the medication is imperative to your health and if you take medications for high blood pressure, the dentist or hygienist may recommend more preventive and frequent maintenance appointments to ensure that you are in good oral and physical health.
High blood pressure is often symptomless and can be a “silent killer” at any age — and the only way to know your risk is to have your blood pressure checked. This May, during National High Blood Pressure Education Month, do yourself and your family a favor:
1. Have your blood pressure checked and review the categories at www.heart.org/bplevels to understand what your numbers mean.
2. Be counted as someone who knows their numbers at www.heart.org/bplevels . Click on the “I’ve Checked My Blood Pressure” button!
3. Encourage the people you care about to know their numbers, too.
4. Visit www.heart.org/ccc to sign up for the CCC Tracker. All you’ll need is an email address and a campaign code: CHKCT.
For more information on high blood pressure go to www.heart.org/hbp or contact our office.