Archive for August, 2019

How Alcohol Affects Your Oral Health

People generally expect that their primary care physicians will ask questions about their alcohol consumption. But what about your dentist? While it’s often thought that alcohol doesn’t have a significant effect on one’s oral health, the truth is quite different. In fact, alcohol consumption may also prompt you to visit your dentist for sleep apnea treatment, as it can increase the risk of this chronic sleep disorder.

Alcohol is a major risk factor of oral cancer.

It’s true that tobacco is the No. 1 risk factor of oral cancer, but heavy alcohol consumption is right behind it. People who smoke and drink are at an even greater risk of this deadly disease. Oral cancer is a devastating disease that causes facial disfigurement and death. While abstaining from alcohol entirely is the only way to eliminate this particular risk factor, it may be possible to control the risk by avoiding excessive consumption. Experts generally recommend that women consume no more than one alcoholic beverage daily. For men, the daily limit is two.

Alcohol increases the risk of tooth decay.

If you frequently drink alcohol, your dentist is more likely to find cavities during your check-up. There are a few reasons for this.

  • Alcohol contains sugar, which feeds bacteria and leads to tooth decay.
  • People who drink alcohol heavily are more likely to neglect oral hygiene at night.
  • Alcohol dries out the mouth, which increases the risk of cavities.
  • Heavy drinking can lead to vomiting, which exposes the teeth to enamel-damaging acids.

Alcohol causes bad breath. 

It’s common knowledge that it’s easy to detect alcohol on someone’s breath, and yes, it stinks. But did you know that alcohol can cause bad breath even after it’s left the person’s system? That’s because it dries out the mouth. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, results in bad breath.
At the Tucson dental office of John R. Carson, DDS, it’s our mission to help each patient become healthier and enjoy better quality of life. If you have sleep apnea, perhaps related to alcohol consumption, we can help you get it under control by partnering your MD to determine if an oral appliance for sleep apnea is appropriate for your sleep apnea.. New and current patients can request an appointment at (520) 514-7203.

FAQs and Answers About Bruxism

FAQs and Answers About Bruxism

Bruxism is the clinical term for chronic teeth grinding. It’s a movement disorder that can cause serious health complications, including dental problems. It’s possible to have bruxism without realizing it. In fact, some people are unaware that they have this disorder until they visit their dentist for a routine check-up. Dentists can easily spot the signs of bruxism in the mouth.

Is bruxism the same as TMJ disorder?

Both bruxism and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder involve the jaw. However, they aren’t the same thing. Bruxism involves gnashing, grinding, or clenching the teeth in an involuntary or habitual fashion. TMJ disorder occurs when there is a misalignment or malfunction with the jaw joints. The imbalance between the jaw and the skull, and the muscular malfunctions that can occur, can result in severe jaw pain and stiffness, and changes of the teeth. It’s possible to have both bruxism and TMJ disorder.

Are there different types of bruxism?

Yes, there are two types. Sleep bruxism occurs when a person clenches or grinds the teeth during sleep. Patients are typically unaware that this is occurring, although the grinding may be significant enough to cause awakening. The other type, awake bruxism, happens when the patient is awake. Although awake bruxism occurs during waking hours, it’s important to note that it’s still involuntary or due to habitual mannerisms. Patients don’t intend to clench and grind their teeth—it just happens.

Is bruxism a serious problem?

Bruxism is definitely a serious problem. When left unmanaged, bruxism can cause the wearing away of the enamel on the teeth, which increases the risk of tooth sensitivity and cavities. It can also cause chipped teeth and contribute to gum recession. Some patients may grind the teeth so severely that a tooth can sustain a major fracture, requiring a root canal and crown or an extraction.
Whether you have bruxism or TMJ disorder—or both—you can find the expert help you need at the dental office of John R. Carson, DDS. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic technologies to help our patients reclaim their oral health. New and current patients in the Tucson area can reach us at (520) 514-7203 to request an appointment.

Can Sleep Apnea Develop Later in Life?


Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder in which breathing temporarily ceases during sleep. When the brain senses the plummeting oxygen levels, it rouses the person from sleep and restarts breathing. Often, the patient is unaware that he or she stopped breathing and woke up. This cycle can happen dozens or even hundreds of times in one night, and the lower oxygen levels can lead to serious health problems. Patients with untreated sleep apnea may be at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, for instance.

When Sleep Apnea Develops

There are several risk factors for developing sleep apnea, and one of them is age. People are at a higher risk of developing this condition when they reach their 40th birthday, although it can develop earlier. However, some patients may not develop this disorder until they reach their senior years. Some research suggests that seniors over the age of 60 have a much higher risk of developing sleep apnea.

How Older Adults Can Reduce the Risk

Age-related sleep apnea may be influenced by the weakening muscles and a collapse-prone airway later in life. Plus, it’s thought that the communication between the brain and the upper airway isn’t quite as effective in a person’s senior years. While there may be nothing that patients can do about that, there are other ways of reducing the risk of sleep apnea. One of the most significant risk factors of this condition is weight. It’s important for seniors to eat a healthy, low-calorie diet and to enjoy safe exercise on a daily or almost-daily basis.

What Symptoms to Watch Out For

Older adults and their caregivers should be on the lookout for possible signs of sleep apnea. They can include the following:

  • Loud, excessive snoring
  • Snorting or choking noises during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Sudden decline in cognitive function
  • Poorly controlled blood pressure

For safe and effective sleep apnea treatment at any stage in life, you can turn to the dental office of John R. Carson, DDS. Dr. Carson partners with his patients physicians ensure the best possible treatment following the AADSM and AASM guidelines.  Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of serious health complications, so don’t delay visiting our Tucson practice. You can reach a friendly team member at (520) 514-7203.