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.
IS A KILLER HIDING RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE ??
Each year in the U.S. alone, approximately 48,250 individuals are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. Unfortunately at this time the majority are found as late-stage disease. This accounts for the very high death rate; about half those diagnosed will not survive more than five years. The Oral Cancer Foundations says that “while smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, heathy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus. The good news is that a dentist or hygienist can see or feel the precancerous tissue changes which might lead to a cancer. The examination will only take 3 to 7 minutes of your time and is always done as part of a comprehensive, routine dental visit. Everyone over the age of 18 should be screened annually. The visual and tactile exam is inexpensive, painless and quick.
Who should get screened?
Every adult. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Make them part of your annual health check-ups.
What are the risk factors?
There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which is now the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers in the US, and the same one, which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women.
Signs & Symptoms:
* RED AND/OR WHITE DISCOLORATIONS OF THE SOFT TISSUE OF THE MOUTH
* ANY SORE WHICH DOES NOT HEAL WITHIN 14 DAYS
* HOARSENESS WHICH LASTS FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME
* A SENSATION THAT SOMETHING IS STUCK IN YOUR THROAT WHEN SWALLOWING
* UNEXPLAINED NUMBNESS IN THE MOUTH
* EAR PAIN THAT OCCURS ON ONE SIDE ONLY
* A SORE UNDER A DENTURE, WHICH EVEN AFTER ADJUSTMENT OF THE DENTURE, STILL DOES NOT HEAL
* A LUMP OR THICKENING THAT DEVELOPS IN THE MOUTH OR ON THE NECK
Early Detection Saves Lives
Your dentist is your number one chance for early diagnosis of oral cancers. At each routine dental exam, we perform an oral cancer screening, looking for any suspicious lesions or melanomas. In the event we discover an area of concern, we will refer you to a surgeon for a biopsy to rule out cancer.
In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Gargano Family Dentistry will be offering free oral cancer screenings during the month of April. If you have any questions about oral cancer or you have not had a recent dental exam, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Call 203-239-2356 or 203-239-0678 to make an appointment for your complimentary screening or to schedule your next comprehensive dental exam.
For more information about oral cancer, please log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at www.oralcancer.org.
Dental crowns can help you in several ways. They can be used to conceal cosmetic imperfections, such as stains or discolorations. They also protect cracked or chipped teeth from worsening. Dental crowns even strengthen teeth that are damaged, weak, or worn down, and restore normal biting and chewing functions in those teeth. At Gargano Family Dentistry, Dr. Joseph Gargano and Dr. Theodore Gargano are your North Haven, CT, dentists for installation of dental crowns.
What are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns protect and restore damaged teeth. They are placed over the problem tooth like a protective outer shell and restore the tooth’s ability to perform normal functions, such as biting and chewing food. Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, ceramic, resin, and porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain is commonly used because it closely resembles the appearance of natural tooth enamel. Once placed, dental crowns look and function just like natural teeth.
Dental crowns are used for several restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. They are often placed over a tooth following root canal therapy to ensure the tooth remains strong. Crowns are also placed over teeth with extensive areas of decay when significant portions of a tooth needs to be removed. The crown allows the natural tooth to remain in place, but strengthens and restores it to normal functioning.
When teeth are missing, crowns are used as replacement teeth in conjunction with dental implants. Crowns can also hold bridgework securely in place. A dental crown at each end of the bridge holds it firmly in place so there is no worry about your bridgework falling out. Cosmetically, dental crowns can conceal such imperfections as chips, cracks, stains, or discolorations.
Benefits of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns offer multiple protective, restorative, and cosmetic benefits. Your North Haven, CT, dentist can help you decide if dental crowns are the right choice for addressing your dental concerns. Benefits of dental crowns include:
- Replacing missing teeth when placed over a dental implant
- Protecting damaged and weakened teeth
- Concealing cosmetic imperfections
- Restoring normal tooth functioning
- Holding bridgework securely in place
- Looking and functioning like natural teeth
Whether your specific dental concern is to protect, restore, or improve the appearance of your teeth, dental crowns can help. To schedule an appointment with either of the Dr. Garganos, your dentists in North Haven, CT, call Gargano Family Dentistry at (203) 239-2356 for the Elm St. office or (203) 239-0678 for the St. John St. office.
Getting your teeth whitened professionally can be a life-changing experience. Whiter teeth are associated with youth, health, vitality and even your level of professionalism in the workplace. Your dentist have the ability to improve the appearance of your teeth by up to eight shades in one short visit. Explore the following FAQs about teeth whitening so that you can decide if this cosmetic treatment is right for you.
Why is Professional Teeth Whitening the Best Option?
Over the counter whitening products are convenient but problematic for a number of reasons. For one, they take a long time to show results (sometimes weeks or months), if they ever do. Whitening kits that come with trays are ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. When you have your teeth whitened professionally, the treatment is finished within one day, in one appointment. There’s no need to disrupt your schedule by wearing a tray every day and little to no concerns about irritation of the gums since the procedure will be handled by a skilled dentist.
Who Is a Candidate?
Any patient with generally good dental health may be a candidate for professional teeth whitening. Keep in mind that some patients aren’t eligible for this treatment because they have stains that can’t be cleared with whitening gels. This is the case when the stain is “intrinsic,” which means the discoloration is at the inner layer of the tooth. You dentist can tell you if your teeth can be successfully whitened at your initial consultation.
What Will Happen at the Whitening Appointment?
Set aside at least an hour of your time for your teeth whitening appointment. You’ll sit back in your chair as the dentist inserts a device to keep your lips separate from your teeth then applies the gel. You’ll wait for anywhere between 60-90 minutes until the whitening effect has set in. Many patients choose to have this treatment performed on a lunch hour.
How Long Will the Teeth Stay White?
You can expect to enjoy your new whiter smile for about one to two years or longer. The length of time your smile will last depends on you and your dental habits. If you go back to eating the same foods and drinking the same beverages that stained your teeth in the past, the problem is likely to return more quickly. Use a straw, brush regularly and see your dentist for cleanings twice per year.
Contact Your Dentist
You will be happy with the way that your smile looks after going to your dentist for a teeth whitening treatment. If you have more questions, call for an appointment today.
Article Published October 4, 2017 Ted Gargano: Helping Smiles in Many Places Matthew DaCorte, Staff Reporter
With his father, Joseph, working as a dentist in North Haven for many years, Dr. Theodore “Ted” Gargano says he learned at an early age that being a dentist is what he wanted to do. With his goal achieved, it hasn’t just been people in North Haven that he’s helped. Ted says he saw how being a dentist allowed his father to spend time with the family, and it was a lifestyle that Ted wanted to lead himself. He says he also enjoyed building models and Legos as a kid, and enjoyed working with his hands. “I put two and two together and decided that dentistry was going to be the right choice for me, and I made that decision basically before I even started high school,” Ted says. When he went to college as an undergraduate, Ted says he became fascinated by the science of dentistry, and the aspects of patient care. It was also during college where he took his first dental mission trip to Ecuador while he was studying for the Dental Admission Test. Ted says through serving those in need, “That’s where I developed a true passion for helping others.” In dental school, Ted says third year dental students had the option of going on a service trip to a foreign country to provide free dental services. There weren’t enough spots available for the number of students, so Ted started a new trip through UConn, opening a chance for everyone to go on a trip. “I spearheaded the Ecuador trip for the UConn dental school,” Ted says. Ted and five other students went to Ecuador and provided services including fillings, extractions, and root canals to people there. During the four clinic days, Ted and the group saw about 100 to 150 patients. Most of the people they saw in Ecuador were in pain or knew they had dental needs, and Ted says some of the people had never seen a dentist in their lives. “The experience is very similar [to dentistry here], it’s just the need is much greater down there,” Ted says. Everyone he helped in Ecuador was “extremely thankful” for the services (and says his patients here are thankful as well), and called the experience “very rewarding.” After graduating from the UConn School of Dental Medicine in 2015, he spent 12 months in Denver, Colorado at the Denver Health Medical Center for his general practice residency, which Ted says helped him hone his skills as a dentist and learn more about the connection between physicians and dentists. “It also exposed me to learn how to treat severely medically compromised individuals,” Ted says. Returning home to Connecticut, he began working at his father’s office in July 2016, and says he’s been privileged to provided his services and knowledge to those in North Haven. This is where he plans to practice for the rest of his career. “I’m very excited to be a part of the community my dad has been a part of for so long,” Ted says. Saying that his dad has been active in the community with dental education, Ted is looking to follow in his footsteps with that as well. Starting around January this year, he visited local a few local daycares, nursery schools, and elementary schools and gave a brief lesson about what it’s like to visit a dentist and keeping up with daily oral hygiene. He’s also a participant in the Connecticut Mission of Mercy, a two-day clinic that provides free dental care to underserved and uninsured individuals. Ted says the clinic takes place over a weekend in larger cities in Connecticut and sees around 2,000 patients. With the month of October being National Dental Hygiene month, Ted will be going back to elementary schools to continue to educate kids about dental health. “They’re fun, it’s a lot of fun to do that,” Ted says.
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