Archive for February, 2014
A simple blood pressure check could reveal a health problem you didn’t even know about. It also helps us provide you with better and safer dental hygiene care.
For those of you that don’t quite understand how to interpret a blood pressure reading let’s start by defining what the numbers of your blood pressure refer to.
• The top number or systolic pressure is the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle.
• The bottom number or diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure in an artery in the moments between beats when the heart is resting.
Note that blood pressure readings are expressed as “millimeters of mercury,” which is abbreviated as “mm Hg.” So a reading would be xxx/xx mm Hg.
Now that we know what the numbers mean, what is considered normal?
In order for the reading to be considered normal the top number should be lower than 120 and the bottom number should be lower than 80.
When should you worry?
Any numbers higher than 120/80 should be a red flag that perhaps your habits should be adjusted to be more “heart-healthy”. The severity depends on which stage you fall under.
120-139 systolic AND/OR 80-89 diastolic – Prehypertension
Although technically not considered high blood pressure you’ve definitely moved out of the normal range. In this stage it is important to change dietary and exercise habits to lower the numbers.
140-159 systolic AND/OR 90-99 diastolic – Hypertension Stage 1
In this range you will probably be diagnosed with high blood pressure and may be placed on a prescription and lifestyle change regime to help control it.
160-179 systolic AND/OR 100-109 diastolic – Hypertension Stage 2
At this stage there is a high chance that your doctor will be recommending one or more medications to control your blood pressure.
180+ systolic AND/OR 110+ diastolic – Hypertensive Crisis AKA: Danger Zone
If your blood pressure measures at this level your Dental Hygienist will likely take a second reading after a few minutes. If the next reading is high you require emergency treatment as it could be an indication of heart attack, or some type of cardiac episode.
So why should your Dental Hygienist take your blood pressure at every visit?
The reason we take your blood pressure is simple, it’s because blood pressure is related to your health and we are health professionals.
Your oral health is directly related to your overall health and we have an obligation as part of your healthcare team to do our best for you.
As Registered Dental Hygienists we are trained to include blood pressure screening as part of our assessment. It is imperative that it is not omitted as we are one of the health care professionals that you may see the most often. Because we see many of you 2-4 times per year we are in the optimal position to screen for hypertension and other general health problems.
Here at The Dental Hygiene Group we believe that in order to provide comprehensive treatment, monitoring of blood pressure and referrals to other health care provider when appropriate is the only way to function. The mouth is not a separate entity and the connection it has to the rest of the body is both dynamic and important. Also, if we are not addressing symptoms of possible systemic complications then we cannot fully treat the oral condition(s) as well.
Blood pressure changes during the day. It is lowest when you sleep and rises when you get up. It also can rise when you are excited, nervous, or active. There is also what is known as “white coat syndrome”. We understand these elements and take all of the factors into account, we also realize that one elevated reading is not a diagnosis of a problem but multiple high readings are worth seeing a physician about.
At the same time, hypertension is an important factor in dental care, especially if you are on regulating medication. Many anti-hypertensive drugs have side effects, such as dry mouth, that can affect your oral health.
Your readings may have an immediate effect on your appointment
If your blood pressure readings are in stage 1, we will proceed with your regular scheduled dental hygiene appointment, but we will also be asking to recheck the readings throughout your visit.
In stage 2, we will asking you to reschedule your dental hygiene appointment until you have followed up with your medical doctor and your blood pressure is stabilized.
If at your appointment your blood pressure is reading in stage 3, we will not only be asking you to reschedule your dental hygiene appointment but we will also be insisting that you seek emergency treatment as this may be a sign of a cardiac episode.
We hope that you find value in this service and have a better understanding of the importance of regular blood pressure screenings.
National Dental Hygiene Week may not be until the week of April 6th, but the excitement is already palpable!
Last years coloring contest, sponsored by the Canadian Dental Hygienist Association was such a huge success that they decided to do it again!
Entering is easy, just download the coloring sheet from the link below and color it! Have fun and be creative. Check out last years winners:
There are some great prizes to be won, including Toys R Us gift cards and kids oral health prize packs from Sunstar G•U•M.
Once your child has completed the coloring sheet, follow the instructions on the sheet to deliver the entry directly to the CDHA, or if you prefer send it to us via email or mail and we will ensure that it reaches the CDHA office.
We would love to have a picture of your child working on the sheet or the completed sheet for our gallery, so please send us any images you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org, don’t forget to include yours and your childs name in the email.
But don’t delay! The CDHA requires all entries to be in their office no later than May 1, 2014.
Good luck and have fun!!
For full contest rules please visit the CDHA
In case you missed all the hype across all of our social media platforms over the past month, we participated in the Gift From The Heart for the first time this past February 8, 2014.
I am so happy to report that the event was a huge success! It felt incredible to give back to the community and do something that I know people will remember for a long time to come.
The demand was more than we anticipated, we had 9 bookings of people ranging in ages from 20 – 70. We had 5 people on our waiting list and had to start referring people to the GFTH website to check for other clinics that might have openings. This is reassurance that what we are doing is truly needed and there are many people who understand the importance but cannot afford the service.
Our volunteers for the day included myself, as well as 2 other Registered Dental Hygienists, Leanne and Alicja, and 2 administrative volunteers, Bev and Krista. This day would not have been possible without the hard work from all the volunteers that allowed us to see as many clients as we did.
Also, a big thank you to all of our generous partners who donated supplies and marketing materials for the day; gang&lani productions, Wicked White, Maxill, Sunstar, Crest/OralB, and K-Dental.
As a small business here in Etobicoke, I am happy that such an event exists as it allows me to give back directly into the community that supports me.
Stay tuned for next years event as it will no doubt be bigger and better! We always look forward to any feedback you may have for us!
If you are in the area be sure to stop by for a visit!
If you want to have a look at the media coverage please check out the following posts:
With the Olympics underway CBC is swamped trying to cover this huge event, but they did spare a few seconds of air time to talk about our Gift From The Heart event on February 8, 2014.
Be sure to fast forward to 51:07 and don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
All joking aside it was a great day and we are so happy for any coverage we can get to raise awareness about Independent Dental Hygiene!
You can see it here:
As you are all aware we participated in the Gift From The Heart for the first time this year, and it was a huge success!!
We wanted to share with you some awesome news coverage that we received on Global News Toronto on Saturday, February 8, 2014.
Click on the following link to check it out!
Even more media exposure for The Dental Hygiene Group and Independent Dental Hygienists everywhere!!
I spent some time speaking with Cynthia Reason about the Gift From The Heart event that we were involved with on February 8, 2014, but also about the emergence of Independent Dental Hygienists and what that means for the community.
Cynthia did a wonderful job relaying the importance of increasing access of care and explaining the role that Dental Hygienists play in this.
I am very grateful for all of the media attention that was received as a result of the Gift From The Heart day, but this article in particular was my favorite.
I hope you enjoy it, have a read here:
With January behind us and February almost a thing of the past, we are well into the New Year, hopefully you have not already given up on your resolutions. For many of us these resolutions include exercise, eating well, and aiming for an overall healthier lifestyle, but does this include amping up your oral health regime? If not, it should.
Healthier mouths lead to healthier bodies.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “oral diseases share common risk factors with the four leading chronic diseases—cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes”. More recently, oral diseases have also been linked to Alzheimer. But since February is Heart Month, we will be focusing on the link between gum disease and heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease claim over 49,000 lives per year here in Canada, so it is should not be taken lightly. There are different diseases that are included within the “cardiovascular disease” definition, these include; heart attacks, stroke, circulation problems, bacterial endocarditis, congenital or birth defects, and heart failure.
Gum diseases afflict over 70% of the Canadian population, often times going undiagnosed until there is a more serious problem. Gum diseases encompass both gingivitis and periodontitis. Both are bacterial infections affecting the tissue that surrounds the tooth. Most of the bacteria are housed in the plaque that sits at or below the gum line. Gingivitis is normally characterized by red, inflamed, bleeding gums, once this infection progresses it will attack the bone and ligaments that support the teeth which begins the periodontal disease process.
Periodontal disease is a progressive inflammatory condition, often times this disease progresses painlessly without any warning signs. Some signs of periodontal disease may include:
• Bleeding gums • Sore or swollen gums
• Loose teeth
• Gum recession
• Chronic bad breath
• Pus around teeth
• Pain upon chewing
• Recent bite change
• Spaces between teeth
• Food accumulation in gums
Although there has not been a causative connection found between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, there is research to support that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease. There has been strong links between the “bad” bacteria present in periodontal disease; it’s initiation of an inflammatory response, and many heart related problems.
Here’s how that works: your immune system tries to remove the bacteria and their byproducts through inflammation, this is your body’s way of attacking substances that shouldn’t be there (such as bacteria). However, long-term inflammation can be harmful to the tissues and ligaments that hold your teeth in place.
Studies have suggested that the inflammatory response to the bacteria found in the mouth contributes to the formation of plaque found in the arteries. This may contribute to the causes of heart attacks or strokes. Bacteria originating from the mouth may also stick to the inner heart lining, and may cause infective endocarditis.
Therefore, preventing or treating periodontal disease may reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases.
For a long time it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other disease in the body; however, more recent research is suggesting that inflammation may in fact be responsible for the association. The good news is that gingivitis is preventable and reversible and depending on the stage of the periodontal disease it can quite often be managed.
Prevention and management of these diseases comes from finding the right balance between your home care and you professional care.
At home it is imperative to:
• Brush after meals
• Floss before bed
• Rinse with an antibacterial mouthrinse
• Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months or after an illness
• Use additional tools as recommended by your oral health partner
Professionally it is important to:
• Develop a comfortable rapport and sense of trust with your Registered Dental Hygienist
• Follow through with recommended treatment
• Maintain regular professional cleanings as recommended
• Ask questions
Maintaining your oral health can be equated to maintaining your general health in many ways. Consider your Registered Dental Hygienist as your oral “personal trainer”. It may take some extra work to get to a point of health, but it’s worth it once you are there and should be relatively easy to maintain with all the tools you learn along the way!
So if you are striving to be healthier this year remember that everything is connected and if one part of the system is not properly cared for it puts all your hard work at risk. The body must work together to create balance and health.
If you feel you may be suffering from periodontal disease and you are concerned about its effect on your overall health
please contact us to discuss your options.
More information can be found at: