Littleton, CO dentist Dr. Guy Grabiak and team celebrate case study award for long-term healthy results with their patient.

Sleep Debt & Gum Disease Are Linked – Especially in Women

Jun 18, 2024 | Gum Disease / Periodontal Health

Not getting enough sleep has consequences beyond just feeling sluggish and out of sorts the next day. You may run a higher risk of gum disease, too. Especially if you’re female. In fact, a recent study of nearly 5500 people found that “severe periodontitis in women was found to be significantly associated with poor sleep quality, but not in men.”

Severe periodontitis is the advanced form of gum disease. It’s when tissue damage occurs. Periodontal pockets around the teeth deepen. Ligaments that secure the teeth to the underlying jawbone are destroyed. Bone is lost.

With less and less to support them, the teeth start to get wobbly in their sockets. Eventually, some may be recommended for extraction in order to improve the survival of the other teeth. Some may fall out on their own.

Periodontitis is the number one reason for adult tooth loss. Certainly, it’s treatable. It’s also preventable.

But back to the study.

To investigate the relationship between sleep debt and severe gum disease, researchers analyzed data from 5495 adult participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES. They took into account factors like age, sex, BMI, and smoking status. (Smoking is the number one risk factor for gum disease.) Importantly, they looked at potential differences between men and women.

Their results showed that women who got the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly had a lower risk of severe periodontitis compared to those who got less sleep.

Waking up frequently to urinate was likewise linked to a higher risk of severe gum disease – a link that was particularly notable for those who woke at least four times a night.

If Lack of Good Sleep Is a Problem for You…

If you’re not regularly getting enough of the good quality sleep you need, it’s important to identify what’s causing it. Is it just that you don’t prioritize sleep enough to get the full recommended amount each night? In that case, the sleep support tips noted in our most recent newsletter can help you out.

If you have symptoms such as heavy snoring or gasping through sleep – or if you wake up still tired after at least 7 hours of sleep – it’s imperative that you get tested for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you test positive, oral appliance therapy may be used to treat it and improve the quality of your sleep. Patients find appliances such as the Prosomnus and Vivos devices to be much more comfortable and convenient treatment than conventional CPAP, yet they’re just as effective, even in cases of severe apnea, ensuring that you keep breathing through the night.

Keeping Your Gums Healthy as You Work on Improving Your Sleep

All the while, it’s important to stay on top of your periodontal care.

When you’ve got active gum disease, we recommend more frequent professional cleanings in which we use an ultrasonic scaler to clean the teeth below the gumline and ozone to treat the infection. We may also use a laser to remove deeply diseased tissues while simultaneously disinfecting the surrounding areas or advise using a home treatment we offer called Perio Protect, which delivers a hydrogen peroxide solution under the gums to create a healthier microbial environment.

At home, you can take your oral hygiene beyond the usual brushing and flossing. Use a water flosser to flush the periodontal pockets where harmful bacteria can thrive. Add oil pulling with coconut oil to your daily routine. Use interdental brushes to apply ozone to your gums. Clean your tongue daily, with a dedicated scraper or just the textured pad on the back of a manual toothbrush’s bristle end.

Most importantly, look at ways of improving your diet. Research has shown that healthier eating can be enough to undo at least some of the damage that gum disease does. That means ditching sugars and other refined carbs for a less processed, more nutrient-dense diet. Key nutrients for gum health include omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants such as vitamin C, fiber, and CoQ10.

Gum disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your teeth, and good quality sleep is no pipe dream. Preventing the former and supporting the latter just takes action – YOUR action.

lizmar thurber

Noelle Jones

Office Manager

With a robust career spanning over 20 years in the dental sector, Noelle Jones has developed a profound expertise that blends technical proficiency with visionary leadership. Starting her journey as a dental assistant, Noelle has continually expanded her skill set and knowledge base. She pursued higher education at Georgia Perimeter College, where she completed programs in dental lab technology, chairside assisting, and business management. In 2024, Noelle found her perfect match in the professional world at Denver Dentistry, a practice that embraces the principles of biological dentistry. This role not only marks a significant step in her career but also profoundly shifts her perspective on the impact dental health has on the rest of the body. Beyond her professional endeavors, Noelle is an avid adventurer who loves exploring the natural beauty of Colorado. She is on a quest to hike all the "14ers" in the state. When not scaling peaks, she enjoys traveling and cherishing moments with her husband and their three beloved dogs. Noelle's dedication to dental excellence and her commitment to a holistic approach in her field make her a pivotal member of the Denver Dentistry team.

The foundation of providing safe and personalized holistic care begins by getting to know you and your goals for your oral health and overall health, both short term and long term. Dr. Grabiak will then learn about your family’s dental and medical history, along with your dental and medical history. Afterwards, we begin your exam by taking a sample of your saliva (Sillha), checking for seven different biomarkers. That same day, we will send you home with a report showing how you scored in those different biomarker categories.

The head and neck examination is often overlooked by busy clinicians but it is as crucial as an element of the oral cancer examination. Dr. Grabiak begins his exam outside of the mouth by starting with a soft tissue check of the neck and the jaw. A thorough head and neck examination is essential for detecting early skin cancers, any overdeveloped jaw muscles that may be contributing towards bruxism, and enlarged lymph nodes that may indicate an active virus or infection.

After the extraoral exam, Dr. Grabiak begins his extensive intraoral exam. During Dr. Grabiak’s exam he is evaluating the teeth, uvula, mucosal tissues, tongue, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and the oropharynx. Part of this exam includes taking high-definition photos of the mouth, all at different angles so you can see exactly what he is seeing. Our hygienist will then come in and complete a comprehensive periodontal assessment. In some cases, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist may recommend additional testing to get to the root cause of the evidence of symptoms they are seeing in your mouth. This entire process takes roughly an hour. In some cases, depending on what Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist had found during their exam we will invite you back for a follow-up appointment called review of findings.

In preparation for the review of findings, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist will take the time to evaluate all of the data that was collected from your examination and testing to determine your specific needs. At your review of findings appointment Dr. Grabiak will sit down with you one on one to review the data that was collected from your appointment, along with any recommendations. This allows you the time to ask Dr. Grabiak any questions that you may have about your treatment recommendations and expectations from treatment.

Jeromy Mulkey

Jeromy Mulkey

Operations Manager

Jeromy earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His journey in the dental field began when he moved to Colorado in 2015 from Hannibal, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse. Starting as a patient coordinator in corporate dental, Jeromy quickly advanced to office manager and eventually managed multiple offices for a DSO, including specialty practices over the next 4 years. In 2019, his transition to holistic dentistry at Denver Dentistry began. This transition brought new challenges and a renewed passion for learning about the latest sciences and technologies integrated into their practice. Since starting at Denver Dentistry, Jeromy has enjoyed learning about safe mercury removal (SMART Protocol), airway management, ozone, salivary testing, biocompatibility testing for materials, heavy metals testing, and the systemic and oral health connection. Jeromy currently resides in Littleton, enjoying the proximity to the mountains. Outside of work, he cherishes time spent with his wife and daughter and enjoys activities such as snowboarding, bouldering, paintball, soccer, basketball, camping, and hiking. Jeromy's dedication to delivering exceptional customer service and contributing to the team's mission of bringing more healthy smiles to satisfied patients is at the core of his professional ethos.
Chelsea White

Jazmin Contreras

Dental Hygiene Assistant

A native of Guatemala and raised in Carbondale, Colorado, Jazmin Contreras embarked on her medical journey with a degree in Kinesiology from Colorado Mesa University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2020. Her early professional life included a significant role in a chiropractic office, where she gained an appreciation for the interconnectedness of whole-body health. This experience laid the groundwork for her holistic view of healthcare. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jazmin leveraged her linguistic skills as a medical interpreter, greatly enhancing her communication capabilities and deepening her understanding of patient needs and concerns. This role proved essential in her development as a healthcare provider, enabling her to effectively bridge cultural and linguistic barriers in medical settings. Jazmin's career trajectory took a definitive turn when she joined Denver Dentistry. Under the guidance of Dr. Grabiak, she was introduced to an innovative holistic approach to dental care that aligned with her own values and aspirations. It was here that Jazmin found her calling, thriving in an environment that embraced both traditional and alternative medical philosophies. Known for her robust critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Jazmin is passionate about educating her patients on the nuances of holistic dentistry. She is dedicated to demystifying dental care, ensuring her patients not only receive top-notch treatment but also understand the broader implications of oral health on overall well-being. When not at the clinic, Jazmin and her husband indulge in the great outdoors, pursuing activities such as hiking, camping, and kayaking. These adventures not only satisfy their love for nature but also provide Jazmin with a refreshed perspective and renewed energy, which she brings back to her patients and her practice.
lizmar thurber

Lizmar Thurber

Expanded Duties Dental Assistant

Lizmar Thurber is a highly experienced Expanded Duties Dental Assistant, distinguished by her extensive background in both traditional and holistic dental practices. Her educational journey began at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry’s Division of Continuing Education, where she specialized in Expanded Duties of Dental Auxiliary Personnel, Radiological Health, and Safety in 2002. She further enhanced her credentials by earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. In her role, Lizmar leverages a robust skill set tailored to holistic dental care. She has a profound understanding of holistic health practices and is skilled in using biocompatible materials for dental procedures, such as fillings and crowns, to reduce toxicity. Her empathetic demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills are pivotal in alleviating patient fears, thereby creating a comforting and reassuring environment. Known for her bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, Lizmar effectively communicates with a diverse patient base, providing clear explanations of holistic dental treatments and procedures. Lizmar's exceptional communication abilities and her capacity to adapt to various treatment modalities are essential in navigating the unique aspects of holistic dental care. Her versatility and adaptability make her an invaluable asset to any dental team, enhancing patient care with a comprehensive, patient-centered approach. Beyond her professional endeavors, Lizmar cherishes the time spent with her family. Together with her husband, and their sons, she actively participates in various sports activities. They frequently travel for the Colorado Prospects baseball club and engage in other sports like basketball and soccer. Additionally, Lizmar serves her community as a worship pastor, where she shares her passion for music and guides others in their spiritual journey with Christ.

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