A strong relationship between stress and periodontal disease was recently studied and 57% of the study showed a postitive relationship between periodontal disease and psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

How do the two correlate? Researchers think the hormone cortisol may play a role in the connection between stress and periodontal disease. Increased levels of cortisol can lead to the degeneration of gums and supporting bone due to the disease. We already know if left untreated, it can lead to bone loss or tooth loss.

Some people who experience high stress levels tend to have bad habits. They seem to be less attentive to their oral hygiene, be smokers, drink alcohol excessively or even use drugs.

Patients should seek healthy ways to handle stress. Such things as exercise, healthy eating habits, sleep, and keeping a positive attitude.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, it is important to see your dentist regularly to keep your teeth and gums in check.

Ever wonder how birds navigate their way home? After reading a short, interesting article in the May issue of Smithsonian magazine we thought we would share the fun facts.

After being released in an unfamiliar location, homing pigeons use the sun as a compass. Knowing the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

They also use the earth’s magnetic field. Birds can see it but what it looks like to them nobody knows. Birds can detect something happening at a subatomic level. A chemical reaction from light striking the retina causes certain quantum properties telling the bird which way is north.

Along the way they will use visual clues such as highways or railroad tracks. Some also can use their sense of smell to find their way home. Once they are close to home they use landmarks to finish the journey.

While ‘homing’ is still a mystery, no mistake should be made that we live in the same sensory world as other animals.

Proper hydration is essential for everyone. Whether you are a professional athlete or someone who does the occasional workout.

Water is the most important nutrient for life. It has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients throughout the body.

During exercise, it is particularly important to stay hydrated. Proper fluid intake is essential to comfort, performance and safety. The more intense and longer exercise you do, the more important it is to drink the right fluids.

Dehydration can happen through loss of sweat leading to a drop in blood volume which in turn causes the heart to work harder to circulate blood. A drop in blood volume can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue. All counter productive to an athlete in training or someone who is working at getting in shape.

So how do you find the right amount? While it is nearly impossible to provide specific recommendations, there are two simple methods for estimating adequate hydration that everyone can use.

1. Monitoring urine volume, output and color. Light colored/diluted urine and going frequently are signs you are hydrated. Dark colored and concentrated urine most likely means you are dehydrated.

2. Weighing yourself before and after exercise. Any weight loss is likely from fluid, dry to drink more to replenish. Any weight gain could mean you are drinking more than you need.

Living in high altitude increases fluid losses and ‘up’s’ the need for fluid replacement. Exercising in the heat, excessive sweating, duration and intensity also need to be taken into consideration to prevent dehydration.

Here are some guidelines on getting hydrated before, during and after exercise. Before your workout, weigh yourself and drink between 15 and 20 fluid ounces 2-3 hours before beginning. During your workout, drink 8-10 ounces every 10-15 minutes. After your workout, weigh yourself again and for every pound lost drink 20-24 fluid ounces.

Regardless if you are an professional athelete or the casual exerciser, use this information as a guideline to cater to your individual workout regimen.

Stains on teeth are generally of two varieties, “extrinsic” and “intrinsic”. They are generally considered to be of cosmetic significance only; however, a single “dark” tooth may indicate the tooth is dead (necrotic), particularly if it has a history of trauma and/or infection. It should be evaluated by a dentist, who may perform vital testing to determine if it requires endodontic treatment (“root canal therapy”).

Extrinsic stains are generally superficial, and result from consumption of foods and beverages containing pigments (such as coffee, tea, caramel coloring); and from smoking (tar stain). Most often, extrinsic staining can be polished and/or bleached away. Demineralization from ingestion of acidic foods, and poor oral hygiene can roughen tooth enamel and make it stain easier. It can also make the stains harder to remove.

Common treatment options:

Removing extrinsic stain can be done through prophylaxis and/or bleaching of the teeth (“tooth whitening”). Frequently, dentists will photograph a patient’s teeth before and after tooth whitening is performed to record the progress of whitening.