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007. Failing to Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums may Lead to Disease in Other Parts of the Body

Our conversation today is with Dr. Sheri Nike Audu, DDS. Dr. Audu is a dentist and owner of Museum Smiles in Fort Worth, TX. Her interest in health care and the art of a beautiful smile led her to dentistry. She finds great joy in empowering her community.  

Dr Audu says “Our diet is changing… we are using our teeth in ways that we never used them in the past. Our sugar consumption has increased significantly… so with our changing diet, it requires our teeth to last longer, and there is no replacement for natural teeth”

You’ll want to watch the show till the end because she drops some more value bombs towards the end of the show. Enjoy!

Episode Highlights with Dr. Sheri Nike Audu

  • The effect of oral health on the body
  • A message for people that feel that seeing a dentist is a luxury
  • How to make dental care more affordable
  • We discuss what the dentist checks for from inflammation of the teeth and gums to oral cancer
  • We discuss home care prevention/maintenance strategies for oral health

Connect with Dr. Sheri Nike Audu at Museum Smiles in Fort Worth, TX, www.museumsmilesdentistry.com/

Show Transcript

Introduction (1s):
Welcome to the Wellness Surge Podcast with Dr. Adeola Oke. Each week we discuss our wellness journey with real people like you and me. We have conversations about food, fitness, mental health, financial wellness, and much more. So you can get back to the real you to make sure that you’re up to date with this and other wellness topics. Visit wellnesssurge.com. Information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of the information presented here without first speaking with your primary care provider.

Introduction (31s):
Now let’s head onto the show.

Dr. Adeola Oke (35s):
Hello everybody. Welcome to the Wellness Surge Podcast. My name is Dr. Adeola Oke, and today we have with us, the awesome. Dr. Sheri Nike Audu, and she’s going to be talking to us about failing to take care of your teeth, how that can affect other parts of your body. Alright, so Dr. Sheri Nike Audu is a dentist and owner of Museum Smiles in Fort worth, Texas. When she’s not practicing dentistry, she’s spending time with her husband and her three year old daughter, Her interest in healthcare and the art of a beautiful smile led her to dentistry.

Dr. Adeola Oke (1m 9s):
In summary, she finds joy in empowering her community. So Dr. Sheri, can you take it away for us please, explain to us the effect of failing to take care of your teeth and gums, how that leads to disease in other body parts.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (1m 27s):
Great, great. So what I found over the years is a lot of people tend to think ‘my grandparents or my parents never had to go to the dentist and they’re just fine’. And what I usually tell patients is we don’t know if some of their other systemic health conditions resulted from them not taking care of their teeth and gums. And in addition to that, we have a population that is living longer.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (1m 59s):
So we’re seeing more conditions that we didn’t see before. It’s best to go in for routine visit and have the dentist give you an evaluation check. So if they tell you you’re your dental health, your oral health is fair. They may put you on a once a year checkup schedule or twice a year. This is how we know if everything that we look for is on the right path.

Dr. Adeola Oke (2m 30s):
Okay. Alrighty. So that’s what you look for, but in terms of other body parts, right? So like, I feel like some people feel that, like you said, dental health is a luxury, right? But if you kind of start thinking about it, if you don’t take care of your teeth, can you affect your heart? Can you affect your lungs? Can it cause pneumonia? Do you- are there any insights on that?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (2m 51s):
Yeah, so we do see there’s a condition called periodontal inflammation, periodontitis. And-

Dr. Adeola Oke (2m 59s):
So what is that? Please BREAK that down..

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (3m 1s):
Periodontal- periodontal diseases, inflammation of the gums. And we often ignore it when our gum start bleeding everyone… 50% of the us population, half of us adults have periodontal disease. It’s inflammation of the gums. It starts with just bleeding, gingivitis, and then it leads to the breakdown of the gum tissue and then bone tissue. And that’s when teeth get loose. So sometimes when people have loose teeth and they try to bite into hard foods, it causes pain.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (3m 33s):
There’s a C reactive protein that we find that increases with periodontal disease. And it also is linked to heart conditions. It’s linked to heart disease and we found that increased inflammation in the mouth can cause bacterial endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the hearts tissue. So some people are more prone to heart conditions than others, and it is good to identify what can be increasing their propensity for heart disease.

Dr. Adeola Oke (4m 8s):
Okay. Alrighty. So just make sure that I got this right. Right. So C reactive protein is like an it’s, like one of those lab works. Like when would you go to the lab with something they check, right. And it’s a form of, it just is a measure of inflammation. It shows that there’s some inflammation going on in the body. And so for people that have like inflammation in their gums, right in their teeth, and you’re starting to notice that they have a lot of this little marker that shows a bit of inflammation going in the body. This  inflammatory C-reactive protein, some big words, right, it’s also been associated with like inflammation in the heart. Right. And that’s what you call endocarditis.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (4m 52s):
Specific bacteria that we isolate and identify yeah. Gum disease that leads to, that can increase the risk for bacterial endocarditis.

Dr. Adeola Oke (5m 3s):
And it makes sense. Right. It just travels boom

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (5m 6s):
Into the bloodstream.

Dr. Adeola Oke (5m 7s):
Yes. From the mouth. Yes. It makes so much sense. It is so close. Right. So yeah, because they’re near the body part like the lungs

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (5m 17s):
I would say it’s, it’s mainly the heart. However, we do see that there’s something called a dental abscess and a dental abscess is when a cavity, the tooth opens up and our teeth have blood tissue, blood tissue, and nerve tissue inside our teeth. It connects through the roots of our teeth into the bloodstream. When we have bacteria and, or a cavity, that’s an opening for more to enter into the tooth, through to the bloodstream.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (5m 51s):
So when someone has an abscess, it’s basically where a part of their face swells up when a part of a face swells up. It’s the body’s mechanism for isolating where the bacteria is. So there’s a huge bump under the mouth chin area, or there’s a huge bump in the cheek area. The nerve tissue that we have close to our nose under the floor of our brain, the maxillary sinus, and then the, the link of the blood tissue that we have in that area.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (6m 28s):
It can take bacteria or infection that’s in the mouth area to the floor of the brain. So it’s very rare, but there have been unfortunate incidents where people have passed due to, a dental infection because it crosses over into the floor of a brain area, or it causes a floor of the mouth to swell up and they cannot breathe.

Dr. Adeola Oke (6m 53s):
Wow! Oh my gosh!

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (6m 55s):
So that is all because of an absence. So earlier we talked about bacteria endocarditis, which is heart disease because of periodontal disease that is more chronic. That’s something that takes place over a longer duration of time. However, with a cavity and an abscess that is a short term, acute reaction that we see that has hurt even children before.

Dr. Adeola Oke (7m 22s):
Wow. Well, and you know what I think most people don’t know from my experience…Most people don’t know that they have cavities unless they go to a dentist and they tell them you’ve got a cavity. And then you’re like, WHAT!

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (7m 34s):
Yeah, no two cavities are the same too. So if a dentist says you have a cavity, it could be a millimeter, or it could be two millimeters. It could be four. So when we start getting into this Area where it can result in an abscess by then, the cavity is five millimeters deep, and people don’t know they have a cavity until it’s about five millimeters deep. Oh, my, my reaction when a patient says I have a cavity is- that’s usually an emergency. When a patient says, I have a cleaning by then as usually I need a cleaning.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (8m 4s):
There’s usually periodontal disease. So it’s usually more pronounced by the time a person notices it for themselves.

Dr. Adeola Oke (8m 12s):
Okay. So what I’m getting is this right? When you say, Oh, maybe I was starting to feel something here, let me go to the dentist. It’s probably already a big deal by then.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (8m 22s):
It’s already advanced.

Dr. Adeola Oke (8m 24s):
Yes as opposed to like, if you had gone for a checkup monitoring you all the time, that’s what I’m getting from all of this.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (8m 32s):
Yes. Yes. And I have to, we have to mention the elephant in the room, which is a lot of people don’t trust dentist. So by the time you get there, you’re already thinking they just want my money. And I don’t take trust lightly because I’ve been a patient in many different clinics where I have to develop trust with the doctor. So I would recommend, if you don’t feel that you can trust the information you’re getting about your health, look for word of mouth referral.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (9m 5s):
Who treats your family members? Who treats people in your community? Who’s involved in your place of worship? Who’s involved with your children’s school? That way when you go in, you have you feel they have a vested interest in you. Or you can visit on a day where you’re not going to be a patient that day, that takes the pressure off. And you can just observe, you can go in with a family member that has a dentist and just greet them and ask them what they look for.

Dr. Adeola Oke (9m 31s):
And so not even that people don’t trust dentists. I had a friend and , she was like a really educated and all that, but she was just scared to go to the dentist. You would think of something so trivial, but you know, she kept postponing her dental appointment in the past just because she just didn’t want to go there. You know, in the past we have this view that they’re going to be using sharp objects and this and that. And initially it took me some time. Right. Initially I should think that too. But then now that I feel like it’s, it’s so much better, like compared to what we used to think about.

Dr. Adeola Oke (10m 5s):
So can you talk about that?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (10m 7s):
We have different levels of sedatives. We have everything from laughing gas, which is Nitrous oxide to-

Dr. Adeola Oke (10m 15s):
So what does the laughing gas do? Right? What does it mean gas?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (10m 18s):
Laughing gas is a nose mask that you wear over your nose and mouth, and it’s just this type of air that you breathe in. They use it in the operating room and it makes you relaxed. It removes the anxiety, the edge, it takes the edge off. So you’re awake. And after the laughing gas is off, you can drive yourself home. So laughing gas is the first level for mild anxiety. People often enjoy getting laughing gas. So the next level is you may use diazepam Valium, which is a pill, the little pill that you take 30 minutes to an hour before your appointment.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (10m 54s):
So you can use that level. And then we get into the IV range where it’s IV, the sedation and, and yeah. And then the patient is in the Twilight zone. They’re very drowsy. They cannot drive themselves home if they get IV sedation or even some tablets for sedation.

Dr. Adeola Oke (11m 15s):
Okay. So just summarize in here. Right? So, you know, laughing gas. I know my kids have used that. So that’s like noninvasive, it’s just something you put on your nose. And so he just calms you relaxes you. And so it goes from the nose, you can use a tablet, right. So yeah. Okay. What I’m getting is people should not be so scared. And so apart from that, so like, people are scared of, they don’t trust dentists. They just want to get their money. Right. That’s all the negative connotations we have.

Dr. Adeola Oke (11m 47s):
The other is I’m scared. I don’t want to go. They’re going to poke and prod with some sharp objects but you know what, there are things to take the edge off and there are other ways to like, keep you calm and pain-free too. And then the third is, this is the big one for me. Okay. I feel dentists are expensive. I feel they are expensive. So yeah. How can we make it more affordable? I think I’m like, gosh, man, how much did they just charge me? I have dental insurance?!

Dr. Adeola Oke (12m 18s):
Come on people!! So how can people look at it as more affordable?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (12m 25s):
So I think people should look at their dental insurance plans, because sometimes we have patients who come in for a consultation without dental insurance and when, they don’t have dental insurance. They look at their plan and go and sign up for a plan, an insurance plan that doesn’t cover much. So I usually say this is a very technical part. When you sign up for dental insurance, make sure they cover at least a hundred percent of your preventive services. Make sure they cover about 80% of base basic services because you have some insurance plans that may cover 50% of preventive services or 25%.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (13m 1s):
So look for something that covers a higher percentage of what you need regularly. And then after that check for deductibles, if your dental insurance plan is great and you’re not interested in changing it, the other thing to ask the dental offices, if they have any participation plans, discount plans for families that know they’re going to be coming to that office yearly and then there’s care credit. But we often don’t like…

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (13m 33s):
Many people don’t like using care credit to cover healthcare expenses.

Dr. Adeola Oke (-):
What is that?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (13m 38s):
So those are studies that care credit is a credit card that you can use at a vet office, optometry office, and any person in the family can use it. So it really is a credit card, but it’s meant to be used in only healthcare offices for any type of physician that the member, a member of the household needs. So the care credit is often more useful for people who have an emergency procedure that they need, and they cannot wait or have the luxury of planning to pay for the treatment that they’re getting.

Dr. Adeola Oke (14m 15s):
Okay. So just, I like to summarize, to make sure I got it. Cause I’m thinking about myself too, cause I’m like, how much did they just charge me? So look on my, make sure they cover a hundred percent of my preventative services. So if I have insurance, yeah, she’ll be covering a hundred percent of my preventative services and then 80% of basic services. Right. And also look at deductible. So what if you don’t have insurance and you want to make sure you don’t get an abscess on end up in the morgue.

Dr. Adeola Oke (14m 47s):
What can you do if you don’t have dental insurance?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (14m 52s):
Insurance, you can look for an off that you want to be a part of, and ask them if they have a member, patient participation plan. Usually you can get this for a few hundred a year and they’ll cover you.

Dr. Adeola Oke (15m 7s):
You can call you can pay in like monthly right. Kind of thing.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (15m 10s):
Or you just pay once for the year, what you normally pay your dental insurance over two months, you pay the office once for the year and then they allow you to come in twice a year at no cost. So that takes away the copay. It takes away the-

Dr. Adeola Oke (15m 27s):
How much is that usually?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (15m 31s):
Offices can do that for anywhere from 250, a year to 500 a year. Okay. And in many parts of the country, this is what patients pay for two months of dental insurance.

Dr. Adeola Oke (15m 43s):
Okay. Okay. Alright. So that sounds fair. Right? And yeah, you can’t, I guess it’s so part of like dental health is part of general health care, and I guess we need to-

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (15m 54s):
Our diet is changing. We’re using our teeth in ways. We’ve never used them in the past. Our sugar consumption has increased significantly. So with our changing diet, it requires our body, our teeth to last longer. And there was no replacement for natural teeth. There’s just a replacement for missing teeth.

Dr. Adeola Oke (16m 16s):
*laughs*I have this coworker. I just remember he talks about metallic teeth. Like, can I go change all my teeth to get some bionic teeth? So we don’t have to deal with this, but we can’t. Right.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (16m 26s):
Yeah. There’s no replacement for, for natural teeth and the way they feel. So the replacement wants teeth are gone and includes implants, dentures, and it’s, it’s near just as great, but it doesn’t work in the exact same capacity.

Dr. Adeola Oke (16m 44s):
Okay. Okay. Alright. You also, that’s some great insight right there. Okay. Alrighty. So we’ve talked about a lot today, right? We’ve gotten some good insight, like, you know, at teats and they need to last for a long time. Yeah. We don’t want to have a copy D that blows up into an abscess, right? Yeah. And so what is

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (17m 5s):
Periodontal disease..

Dr. Adeola Oke (17m 5s):
Perio..peri… oh yeah all these big words!

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (17m 5s):
Periodontal disease and how it’s linked to heart conditions as well.

Dr. Adeola Oke (17m 5s):
Okay. So likely inflammation in the gums, right? That’s the periodontal disease.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (17m 5s):
Ah yes, inflammation in the gums that affects the bone around the teeth and eventually can loosen up teeth.

Dr. Adeola Oke (17m 5s):
Mm.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (17m 5s):
So those are the two main types of dental health conditions. The, the rare condition that we look for, which is part of a comprehensive head and neck oral examination is oral cancer.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (17m 40s):
Oral cancer is also a rare diagnosis and it’s, we, we have to check for it when do our oral examination, because by the time it’s found, it’s often also very pronounced

Dr. Adeola Oke (17m 58s):
So that’s another reason why you want to get a dental checkup. And so it’s like every six months, right? Generally, if it’s just for like a basic it’s every six months, right?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (18m 8s):
Yes. For basic it’s every six months. And there’s some people who can get away with once a year visit. And those patients often know who they are and based on their, what their dentist is telling them from the evaluation and the feedback they’re getting.

Dr. Adeola Oke (18m 24s):
Okay, awesome. You know, I wish I was one of those. I just had to go in once a year, but you know, if you grew up eating chocolate for breakfast, whatever, I wasn’t so good now I’m like, okay, I need to take care of my health. I’m on this health journey. So yes, I’m paying for the sins of the past. What can I do?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (18m 24s):
And prevention too and we can talk about home care prevention too. So there’s water.

Dr. Adeola Oke (18m 24s):
Oh yeah!! Okay.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (18m 24s):
The frequency of water intake. So it’s not the quantity of sugar that hurts teeth. It’s the frequency of sugar intake. And the summary is that when we’re done eating something acidic our the pH in our mouth is what causes cavities

Dr. Adeola Oke (19m 8s):
On. Hold on, hold on, hold on. So it’s not the quantity of sugar…

Both (19m 8s):
It’s the frequency frequency of the sugar.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (19m 8s):
So when we’re done eating the pH in our mouth, we’ll get, let’s say you just had an orange. The pH in our mouth is lower.

Dr. Adeola Oke (19m 8s):
So it’s acidic.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (19m 8s):
It’s acidic.

Dr. Adeola Oke (19m 8s):
Okay.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (19m 8s):
Anytime the pH gets below 5.1. That’s when our teeth start, demineralizing losing mineral. Okay. But when it gets above 5.5, our teeth can start to remineralize again. So we got done eating a really sweet snack or having a fruit snack.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (19m 46s):
We can drink some water and have our mouth come back up to the right pH where our teeth can get stronger and harder in remineralized.

Dr. Adeola Oke (19m 46s):
Oh.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (19m 46s):
But if every time our mouth bounces back to a normal pH where our teeth are remineralizing we consume again, another acidic beverage or snack than whenever, really in the repair part of the pH scale.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (20m 17s):
we stay more in the demineralization part of the pH scale.

Dr. Adeola Oke (20m 22s):
Okay. Every time we’re eating a malt is getting more acidic. And then as we drink water, right, it becomes more alkaline, right. He helps be able to rebuild and to teeth and stuff like that. I’m just trying to get it and understand better. That’s good stuff right there. So you have to eat. You have to drink water every time you

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (20m 42s):
Exactly. So when people have a Coke, the best thing to do is drink that Coke as quickly as possible and let your mouth rest. What if you sip Coke throughout the day? Because you know, some people sip lemon water throughout the day and lemon water is great free, but so drink that through a straw to drink this quickly, as you can. Sipping lemon water sipping Coke is what hurts teeth.

Dr. Adeola Oke (21m 11s):
I did not know this. Wow. That is like, that is a golden nugget right there. You know, like, seriously, we need to pay you big bucks for this information. Seriously, man. This is really that. Wow. Wow. Wow. Okay. So drink your Coke as quickly as possible. Don’t be sipping lemon water all day. Do that, use a straw. So the straw protect you teeth.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (21m 34s):
Your front teeth. Anyway, the back teeth will still wear down. And I’ve seen cases where just from lemon water, which is great for us, just from lemon water, people have had their teeth wear down so much from acidic erosion that they couldn’t keep those teeth.

Dr. Adeola Oke (21m 52s):
Oh my gosh. I love apple cider vinegar in my, and I drink it a lot!

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (21m 52s):
Sucking on lemons. And you know, those are habits that wear down our teeth.

Dr. Adeola Oke (21m 52s):
Okay. So drink it really quickly and then drink water to clean up with people. Oh goodness. This is like golden nugget right there. This is big. Okay. So this is really good. Thank you. Thank you. So is that says that the one thing you want people to make sure they take away, like drink?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (22m 20s):
In addition to that, you can look for a fluoride mouth rinse at a store near you, any pharmacy near you ACT act, they have a mouth rinse that has fluoride in it in fluoride helps remineralize our teeth and actually replaces the ions and the teeth. And there are many families, many professionals who don’t want to use fluoride.

Dr. Adeola Oke (22m 43s):
I was going to go there cause my toothpaste does not have fluoride in it. Yeah. There’s,

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (22m 49s):
There’s another past that’s sold online. It’s called MI paste and it has, has a milk protein in it called casein phosphate. So the active ingredient that helps you remineralized your teeth is not necessarily fluoride. It’s more of the milk protein that it has in it. There’s some studies of iodine as well, but I don’t know the concentrations that help teeth remineralize.

Dr. Adeola Oke (22m 49s):
Okay. So would you say that the MI paste is, that has the case in, it will be better for people that don’t want to get like the extra full ride and the other garbage that comes with?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (23m 25s):
Yes. Yes. Am I paste with the casein phosphate? Yes.

Dr. Adeola Oke (23m 29s):
So you said like a paste, so is it like a tooth paste?

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (23m 29s):
It doesn’t foam. It just helps the teeth get harder. It can help reverse cavities and stuff.

Dr. Adeola Oke (23m 40s):
Are you serious? I need to get some!

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (23m 40s):
Yeah. I, I have some here and

Dr. Adeola Oke (23m 46s):
Okay.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (23m 46s):
I have patients that I just recommend for them to use that around the year.

Dr. Adeola Oke (23m 50s):
Oh wow. MI paste? I’m going to look for it. Okay. That’s awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much, Dr. Sheri Nike Audu. So how can people get a hold of you after the show? If they have questions or say they want to use you as their dentist.

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (24m 5s):
So I’m located in Fort worth Texas. You can find me by emailing us at Museum Smiles Office. Website is museumssmiles.com. We’re located in the Museum district where all the museums are in Fort worth. So it’s really easy to find this off West seventh.

Dr. Adeola Oke (24m 22s):
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I really enjoyed this chat. I learned a lot, so I hope you did too so well, I hope you’ll have a wonderful week and enjoy the rest of your day and

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (24m 32s):
Thank you very much, and glad we got to have a chat and have a great weekend.

Dr. Adeola Oke (24m 32s):
You too. Bye Bye

Dr. Sheri Nike Audu (24m 32s):
Bye.

Ending (24m 45s):
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