our blog

Heart Disease and Oral Health

November 20th, 2019

Is there a link between oral health and heart health? This is a question that has been receiving a lot of attention in recent studies. While as yet there is no definitive study that proves oral health has an effect on overall heart health, there is also no definitive proof that oral health doesn’t affect heart health. So, what do we know, and, just as important, what should we do?

What do we know? One clear connection exists between gum disease and endocarditis, a rare, but potentially very serious, infection. When we neglect our gums, they bleed more easily. When gum disease advances, the gums pull away from the teeth. This creates pockets which can harbor more bacteria and plaque, leading to infection and even tooth and bone loss. And this bleeding and infection can be serious not only as a matter of dental health, but for your heart as well.

Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart and the heart valves. When bacteria from other parts of the body, including your mouth, make their way into the blood stream, they can attach themselves to damaged areas of the heart. The resulting infection can become very serious, very quickly. If you have damaged heart valves or artificial valves, have an artificial heart, or have any type of heart defect, it is especially important to prevent gum disease from developing. Regular dental care will help prevent bleeding gums and infections, and reduce the danger of oral bacteria entering the bloodstream. Always let us know if you have any issues with heart health, and we will tailor our treatment for all of your procedures accordingly.

What else might link oral health and heart disease? Because an increased risk of heart disease has been found in patients with moderate or severe gum disease, there has been much speculation as to a possible cause-and-effect connection. For example, the plaque inside arteries which leads to heart attacks has been found to contain certain strains of periodontal bacteria. Other studies have searched for a causal relationship between inflammation resulting from gum disease and inflammation leading to heart disease.  The body’s immune response to periodontitis and its potential consequences for heart health have also been examined. So far, there has been no clear evidence that treating gum disease prevents the occurrence or recurrence of heart disease.

So what should we do? This is the easy part. Keeping your gums and teeth healthy will increase your quality of life in immeasurable ways. And it’s not difficult! Regular brushing, flossing, and dental exams and cleanings at our St. Petersburg, Florida office are the key to lasting oral health. If this also keeps your heart healthy, that’s the best possible side effect.

What is a cavity?

November 13th, 2019

Cavities are the reason why most people fear going to the dentist. But they’re also the reason you should be visiting Jeffery Spilman on a regular basis.

Specifically, cavities are the breakdown of teeth caused by acid from food, bacteria, and plaque that inhabit the inside of the mouth. While many people simply think that cavities only form on top of a tooth, Jeffery Spilman and our team at Spilman Dentistry want you to know they can actually form on the sides along the gum line and between the teeth, too. This acid will eat away at the tooth, forming a soft hole.

Anybody, either children and adults, can get cavities. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. alone about 16 percent of all children ages six to 19 have untreated cavities, and about 24 percent of adults 20 to 64 years old have them. This is detrimental to overall oral health, because cavities have a tendency to grow over time, potentially spreading to other teeth and causing increased oral pain, possibly even affecting the nerve.

That's why it's important to ensure that you're visiting Spilman Dentistry at least once every six months, so that cavities can be found and filled before they become too problematic and painful. Typically, they're found by doing a routine teeth cleaning, though X-rays or further examination may be necessary to determine the full extent of a cavity. Cavities are treated by removing the area of the tooth where decay has set in and rebuilding the tooth with a metal filling. If the cavity is too large, however, more extreme measures may be necessary, such as placing a crown or performing a root canal.

As we noted above, cavities are why people dread going to the dentist, but also the reason everyone should see the dentist every six months. Additionally, brushing twice daily, flossing, and cutting down on sugar-packed foods can reduce the risk of developing cavities.

For more information on how to best care for your teeth and why it's important to visit the dentist twice a year, please give us a call at our convenient St. Petersburg, Florida office today!

November Marks National Diabetes Awareness Month

November 6th, 2019

Diabetes is a chronic disease that increases the risk for many serious health problems, including severe gum disease. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and it’s a great time for us at Spilman Dentistry to remind our patients that the way you care for your teeth at home doesn’t just affect your oral health; keeping your mouth healthy is vital to your overall health, too.

Diabetes is the result of a deficiency, or lack of the hormone insulin to properly transport glucose (blood sugar) to the cells throughout the body. According to the American Diabetes Association, the most common types of diabetes are Type One (90-95 percent of cases), Type Two (five percent), and gestational or pregnancy diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35 to 60 percent chance of developing diabetes, mostly Type Two, in the ten to 20 years following their pregnancy.

In the past decade, researchers have found links between periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes. Not only are people with diabetes more vulnerable to gum disease, but diabetes may also have the potential to affect blood glucose control, as well as contribute to the advancement of diabetes.

Nearly 26 million Americans currently live with the disease, with an additional 79 million in the pre-diabetes stage. There is some good news we want you to know, however; you can protect your gums and teeth from the effects of diabetes by visiting our St. Petersburg, Florida office for an exam. Patients who are living with diabetes may require more often visits to ensure their dental health remains in tip-top shape. Many insurance plans provide expanded benefits for diabetic patients, and Jeffery Spilman can tell you how often you need to come in for an appointment.

For more information on how we can help, please do not hesitate to give us a call at our St. Petersburg, Florida office.

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2019

October has finally arrived for Spilman Dentistry and Dr. Spilman and his team can’t wait to get into the Halloween spirit. One of the best parts about this time of year is the transition to the holiday season. It’s also a wake-up call for Dr. Spilman to start getting organized for an insanely busy two months both at home and in the office! We will have spooky, yet tasteful, Halloween decorations around our office. 

Even though we care deeply about dental hygiene, it’s always good to indulge (a little) in some delicious candy. Without a doubt, Reese’s peanut butter cups are our favorite sweet treat. 

Some of Dr. Spilman’s treasured Halloween memories involve the costumes he dresses up in.  The very first costume he remembers was dressing up as a Tiger! In elementary school, his mom would make all of his costumes. One year he went as “the Big Fig Newton” from the TV commercials! Heather and Dr. Spilman dress up as the Spartan Cheerleaders from Saturday Night Live. They have the whole routine down and crush it every single time!

In addition to the costumes, the candy, and the decor, there are so many great movies, too. Dr. Spilman likes to keep it scary so his go-to Halloween movie is the original Halloween.   It was the first “R” rated movie that Dr. Spilman had ever been to and it still terrifies him to this day!

On Halloween, Dr. Spilman will attend his annual neighborhood Hallow Wine where they all drink wine and hand out candy together!

It’s a great time to remind our patients that their dental benefits will be ending at the end of the year and they should schedule their appointments now because we get so busy towards the end of the year! We hope to see you in our office soon! 

Jeffery Spilman, DDS
4899 5th Ave N
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
(727) 321-1427
Saturday hours and Emergency
Same-Day Appointments Available