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 Gregory C. Dilger D.D.S.           General Dentist            1353 Edgewater St.          West Salem          (503) 378-0466   

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Dental-Systemic Diseases and Oral Health Related to Diet

Recent studies show that our modern diet has a lot do to with whole-body aliments like heart disease and diabetes, as well as dental problems such as decay and gum disease.

The cause in both cases is fermentable carbohydrates forming the foundation of the average American diet. These include sugars and starchy foods, as well as tropical fruits and other dried fruits.  These all easily break down into sugars in the mouth.

Dr. Phillippe P. Hujoel of the University of Washington School of Dentistry suggest that gum disease and tooth decay should be seen as early markers, or alarms.  These signs and symptoms indicate a person is at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems. And in the case of a person who already suffers from these aliments it should be viewed as an indicator that their systemic disease is progressing.

In recent years fat has replaced fermentable carbohydrates as the perceived enemy in food, which has led to increased consumption of carbohydrates, and in turn the need for increased dental interventions like sealant and fluoride to prevent Tooth decay.

Studies have also shown development of gum disease within days of a person increasing their sugar consumption. Within weeks of a person eliminating their consumption of fermentable carbohydrates, significant improvement is seen in the health of the gum tissues. If high-fermentable carbohydrate diets continue, the dental disease continues to worsen, and their related chronic illnesses progress.

Further research is in the process to establish dental disease as an indicator for other systemic diseases. This will help with the understanding of other diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

This is a review of an article by Dr. Philippe P. Hujoel, University of Washington School of Dentistry.  Originally published in the Journal of Dental Research, July 1, 2009 "Dietary Carbohydrates and Dental-Systemic Diseases"

 August 4, 2009

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Dear Dr. Dilger:


It all started with my initial phone call to Dr. Dilger's office. I felt so comfortable from the start and after I came in for my first visit it's been all about what I want and what Dr. Dilger and his staff recommends for me. All around, it's been the best dental experience I've ever had.


Al P.




Going to the dentist used to be a nightmare experience for me. That's all changed when I came to Dr. Dilger. Dr. Dilger's office staff are so warm and welcoming. Visiting them is like going home. Dr. Dilger's calm and caring manner erased all my dental anxiety and for the first time in my life I found myself relaxed in a dental chair. Dr. Dilger and his staff really took the time to get to know me and my concerns. They talked with me about my fears and helped me address my anxiety. Now I visit the dentist and I'm not afraid. I can not express the difference Dr. Dilger has made in my dental life! Thanks so much Dr. D.


Molly F.




I love my new smile.  It was so easy too.  Nearly pain free.  I am considering my lower teeth at a later date.


Debbie E.