Plaza Dental Group +15152245999  1089 Jordan Creek Pkwy #100, West Des Moines, IA 50266
Gum Disease and Other Ailments: What Is the Common Connection?

Gum Disease and Other Ailments: What Is the Common Connection?

Gum Disease and Other Ailments: What Is the Common Connection?

Researchers have explored the link between gum disease and health complications. Gum disease, the inflammation of the gums, starts when dental plaque builds around teeth. There are over 1000 bacteria in dental plaque, which, if left to breed, can cause cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, in turn, can cause health complications, such as:

Blood Vessel Disease

A different type of plaque, made of cholesterol, calcium, fat, and other blood substances, can build up inside arteries, known as atherosclerosis. This fatty plaque can cause coronary artery disease, narrowing or limiting blood flow to the heart. 

Heart Attacks 

People with gum disease are 2 to 3 times more likely to have a heart attack and other serious cardiovascular diseases. Not everyone with gum disease has heart problems, and many people with heart disease have healthy gums.

Periodontal disease, the inflammation in the gums and bacteria, can cause narrowing of essential arteries, increasing heart disease risk. To date, there is no evidence that treating gum disease will prevent heart disease and its complications, but the link between the two conditions is compelling enough. 

Practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing twice and flossing once a day can reverse an early stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, causing receding gums and eventually make the tooth loosen and fall out.


The research abstracts given at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference prove that periodontal disease heightens the threat of strokes. This is a result of the hardening of the brain’s large arteries and severe asymptomatic artery blockages.


The research found that:

  • The risk of having a stroke relating to blood vessels in the back of the brain that controls coordination, vision, and other vital bodily functions was tripled in people with gum disease as compared to those without it.  
  • The threat of having moderately acute narrowed brain arteries caused due to plaque buildup was doubled in people with gingivitis or gum inflammation than those without gum disease.
  • The risk of having severely blocked brain arteries was 2.4 times more in people with gingivitis as compared to those without it.

Research states that people with gum disease had a higher risk of stroke due to intracranial atherosclerosis than those without gum disease. The research concluded that gum disease treatment could reduce your risk of developing stroke by improving control over its risk factors such as diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. 

Alzheimer‘s Disease

Research has found that people aged over 70 with chronic gum disease were 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those without periodontitis. The study concluded that chronic periodontitis might play a crucial role in developing Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, it is essential to prevent the progression of periodontal disease to maintain your physical health. Lately, studies have also connected periodontal disease to a reduction in cognitive ability.

Poor oral hygiene is the major risk factor for periodontal disease. Schedule an appointment with our dentist in West Des Moines to learn more about what you can do to practice good oral hygiene. Our periodontist can help you identify early signs of gum disease and treat them accordingly.


Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!


Sleep Apnea and Weight Gain: Facts That You Need to Know

Sleep Apnea and Weight Gain: Facts That You Need to Know

We all know that quality sleep is necessary for good health. A good night’s rest keeps your hormones in check and maintains your body’s overall health and function. When a problem like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) gets in the way, it can harm your body in many ways. Sleep apnea produces a variety of hormonal responses that can raise your risk of gaining weight, worsening the primary OSA, and more. In addition, it’s also understood that obesity can trigger sleep apnea. Many researches are discovering a link between sleep apnea and weight gain.

Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain?

There are 18 million adults in the US living with sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Moreover, it’s estimated that about 70% of adult OSA patients are overweight or obese. The close link between the two is the outcome of side effects of both disorders that feed into one another, including some endocrinological issues.

While your body weight is not the only reason why you may develop sleep apnea, but being obese puts you at a higher considerable risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea(OSA). Carrying additional weight can cause troubled breathing during sleep. In contrast, someone who isn’t obese but has a non-treated sleep-breathing disorder may start gaining weight as a consequence. Unfortunately, you may find it challenging to lose weight in this situation because typical daytime fatigue due to OSA may keep you from exercising.

Link Between Your Sleep Cycle and Hunger

Exactly how sleep deprivation affects your ability to control weight has much to do with your hormones. Three significant hormonal responses that are discussed concerning weight gain and that are considered to be closely related to sleep are ghrelin, leptin, and insulin.


Two critical hormones involved are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a “go” hormone. It tells you to eat.  Research has discovered that when we are sleep-deprived, our bodies produce more ghrelin.


It is a “stop” hormone. It informs us that you are full and that you can stop eating.  When you are sleep-deprived, you make less leptin.

Therefore, more ghrelin and less leptin produce weight gain. This can eventually result in sleep apnea, which steals away even more sleep, which can cause even more weight gain.


It is another hormone which is affected by sleep disorders, as suggested by some studies.  When we don’t sleep properly, our cells stop or block insulin’s efforts to carry glucose into our cells. You can consider it as if lack of sleep is leading us to diabetes.

In addition to the above fact, insulin is known to promote the release of leptin, the “stop eating” hormone, so when we’re sleep deprived, and our cells are rejecting insulin, our bodies make less leptin, which means more eating, and more weight gain.

The Bottom Line

The vicious poor diet/poor sleep cycle, in short, can be transformed into the perfect circle: Eat well to sleep well, to eat and sleep well again. A good night’s sleep is likely also dependent on a healthy diet, as reported by newly published research. When we eat healthy food during the day, we get better sleep at night. The converse is also true: poor diets generates poor sleep. Proper diet, along with regular exercise, has been shown to fight epidemic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, and also appears to promote good sleep patterns to assist in the fight.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

How Does Sugar Destroy Your Teeth?

How Does Sugar Destroy Your Teeth?

How Does Sugar Destroy Your Teeth?

We all know that eating too many sugary foods can harm your teeth and cause tooth decay. However, sugar alone does not cause much damage. Instead, the chain of events that follow is what deals the most harm to your teeth. Read on to see how the process works.

The starting point is the mouth

There are tons of harmless and harmful bacteria present in your mouth. Certain oral bacteria feed on the sugars you eat and create acids that can destroy tooth enamel. This process is called demineralization.

Minerals in your saliva, like phosphate and calcium, help enamel repair itself. However, repeated acid attacks eventually cause mineral losses in the enamel, which eventually weakens the enamel and creates cavities.

In short, tooth decay causes cavities, which result in harmful bacteria digesting the food sugars and producing acids. If left unattended, the cavity can spread into deep layers of the tooth, causing pain and tooth loss.

By limiting your sugar intake, you can give your mouth a chance to fix the damage.

Sugar is a magnet for harmful bacteria 

The two types of harmful bacteria found in the mouth are Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus. Both feed on sugar and form dental plaque, a colorless, sticky film that builds around the surface of the teeth.

If the plaque is not washed away while brushing or with saliva, the mouth becomes more acidic, which causes cavities.
The pH scale is used to measure acidic levels in a solution. The neutral pH level is 7. If the pH of plaque drops below normal or is lesser than 5.5, the acid levels cause minerals to dissolve and eventually destroy the tooth’s enamel. This process leads to small erosions, and over time they become larger, creating deeper holes or cavities.

Habits that cause tooth decay

  1. Sticky candies – Caramels, lollipops, and cough drops contain refined sugar and tend to stick to your teeth longer. These foods gradually release sugar and give ample time for harmful bacteria to digest sugar and produce more acid. 
  2. Starchy food – Potato chips, bread, tortilla chips, and flavored crackers get trapped in your teeth and cause tooth decay. Frequent snacking on these sugar-rich foods can harm your teeth extensively. 
  3. Sugar-heavy beverages – There are high chances of increasing cavities if you constantly sip on beverages high in sugar, as the prolonged exposure to sugar is the prime opportunity for harmful bacteria to damage your teeth. 
  4.  Soft drinks – Think twice before you grab your favorite sports drink to feel energized. All energy drinks, sports drinks, and juices contain high sugar levels, which can destroy your teeth to a great extent. Additionally, these drinks have high amounts of acids that can cause tooth decay.
  5. Alcohol and tobacco – Any substances that dry your mouth can also destroy your teeth as a dry mouth increases the chances of producing harmful bacteria. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking as they are common substances that cause your mouth to dry.  

Ways to fight tooth decay

Here are some tips to fight tooth decay

  • Have a balanced diet. Eat whole grains, vegetables, dairy products, and fresh fruits.
  • Use a straw while drinking sugary or acidic drinks to lessen your teeth’s exposure.
  • Eat enough cheese, yogurt, and similar dairy products daily as they contain calcium and phosphate, which will strengthen your teeth.
  • Sip on green or black teas to help suppress harmful oral bacteria.
  • Drink plenty of fluoridated water.

Practicing good oral health is very important to keep tooth decay away.

  • Brush and floss twice a day, especially after meals.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production and prevent plaque build-up. 

Eat a balanced diet, drink water instead of sugar-heavy drinks, maintain good oral hygiene, and visit your dentist in West Des Moines for regular dental check-ups every six months.

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!


What Should I Do If a Molar has Broken Off at the Gum Line?

What should I do if a molar has broken off at the gum line?

A broken molar is a dental emergency, as it has the potential to cause severe pain, small chips, and fractures. Therefore, visit your dentist immediately if a molar has broken off at or under your gum line. 

Read more to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of a broken molar.

Causes of a Broken Molar

Factors contributing to a broken molar are:

  • Weakness caused by filling
  • Aging teeth
  • Accidentally biting something hard
    Tooth decay caused by untreated cavities 
  • Chronic teeth grinding
  • Recurrent cavities
  • Sudden changes in the mouth temperature
  • Facial trauma from sports injuries and accidents 

Symptoms of a Broken Molar

A broken molar at your gum line will cause you to:

  • Sense the missing or broken part of your tooth with your tongue.
  • See the broken tooth appearing pink or yellow. If the tooth appears dark brown or black, it may indicate tooth decay.
  • Feel the sharp and jagged edge of the remaining fragment in your gum, which can cause inflammation.
  • Bleed from broken blood vessels.
  • Experience pain from exposed nerve roots or while consuming cold or sweet foods or beverages.

Complications of a Broken Molar

If not treated, a broken molar can cause:

  • Tooth decay due to the lack of enamel to cover blood vessels and nerves 
  • Abscess 
  • Nerve damage 
  • Infection, which may spread to your jaw bone

Treatment for Broken Molar

Many factors, including the depth of the break and how quickly you act, will help your dentist determine the available options for broken molars. These may include:

  • Reattaching Bone Fragment

    Your dentist will use bonding agents to reattach the broken tooth if your tooth is not deeply broken. They may combine this procedure with a root canal if the tooth pulp is exposed. 

  • Root Canal 

    When your tooth’s inside is inflamed or infected, a root canal is performed to remove the pulp (containing nerves and blood vessels) from your tooth’s center and replace it with rubbery filling. 

  • Extrusion

    When a molar is broken below your gum line, you will be asked to wear aligners or braces on the fractured tooth for some weeks to pull it above your gum line.

  • Filling or Crown

    If the damage is minor, your dentist may use a filling to fix your broken molar or crown to cover it. They may perform a crown lengthening procedure if not enough tooth is exposed to hold the crown.

  • Tooth Extraction or Replacement

    If your tooth cannot be restored, your dentist will extract it and replace it with a denture, endosteal implant, or dental bridge.  

How Long Is the Recovery?

Your recovery can take a few days to a few weeks depending on the procedure performed to fix your broken molar. Follow the after-care instructions recommended by your dentist including, avoiding sticky or crunchy foods, chewing with the broken tooth, and drinking using a straw.   

How to Prevent a Broken Molar?

  • Do not use your teeth to break or cut anything.
  • Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods.
  • Reduce consuming foods and beverages high in sugar. 
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports. 

Fractured teeth are vulnerable to decay and infection because they lack protective enamel, which covers the nerves and blood vessels inside. Untreated broken molars can cause infection, abscess, and nerve damage. Bacteria from this contamination can also infect your jaw bone, surrounding teeth, and gums. 

If you need to fix your broken molar, schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist in West Des Moines today!  

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

Elderly Dental Problems: How to Address and Prevent Them

Elderly Dental Problems: How to Address and Prevent Them

Elderly Dental Problems: How to Address and Prevent Them

As you grow old, you may face a few challenges in maintaining a healthy smile. This is because aging makes you more susceptible to many oral health problems. However, dental health among seniors has greatly improved in recent years. Advanced dentistry makes it possible to address and prevent elderly dental problems effectively.

Common Elderly Dental Problems

Aging puts many older adults at risk for several oral health problems including:

1. Darkened Teeth

With age, the bone-like tissue (the dentin) that lies beneath the tooth enamel changes due to the beverage and foods consumed by us. In addition to teeth discoloration, the diminishing outer enamel layer allows the yellow dentin to become visible, causing darkened teeth.

2. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common condition among elderly patients which frequently leads to cavities. The problem is not age related, but the dry mouth has been listed as a side effect by some prescription medications used to treat diseases including depression, pain, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

3. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a major problem among the elderly. Plaque buildup and tartar mostly contribute to tooth decay. Over time, gum recession can take place, exposing the roots of the tooth. Tooth decay results in cavities that cause pain, inflammation, infection, and even tooth loss. 

4. Gum Disease

Gum disease in the elderly is a frequent occurrence. Since gum disease develops over a longer period of time, older citizens are more likely to experience problems with gum disease than younger people.

5. Tooth Loss

Tooth loss in seniors is a common issue. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 27.27% of elders over the age of 65 have their remaining teeth missing. Smoking and poor dental hygiene mainly contribute to tooth loss among seniors.

6. Bad Breath

Older adults often suffer from bad breath. However, bad breath isn’t a stand-alone symptom as it is linked to underlying problems such as the dry mouth and periodontal disease. Poor dental hygiene can also lead to bad breath. 

Tips to Address and Prevent Dental Problems in the Elderly

As a senior citizen, you can enjoy good oral health by making informed decisions and taking proper care of your teeth and gums. Here are some oral care tips to preserve good oral hygiene:

  • Brush twice daily with a toothpaste that has fluoride in it.
  • Floss once a day
  • Pay regular visits to your dentist for a dental cleaning and oral exam
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash to rinse off bacteria to prevent the plaque buildup and gum disease
  • Change your toothbrush every 3 -4 months, or earlier if the bristles become tattered
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit consumption of highly sugary food and beverages
  • Increase your calcium intake to strengthen your teeth
  • Clean your dentures regularly with denture cleaners
  • Remove your dentures from your mouth every four hours to maintain your mouth health

As you age, it’s essential to remember these potential risks and act accordingly. You can enjoy a sparkling, healthy smile with the help of your dentist and the right dental care. 

Contact us to learn how to maintain excellent oral health even in your senior years. Schedule your dental appointment with one of our Des Moines dentists today!

Plaza Dental Group

Plaza Dental Group is a leading group of dentists in Des Moines, IA that provides high-quality dentistry in a comfortable and stress-free environment. We have a team of caring and highly-skilled professionals that uses state-of-the-art technology and delivers excellent service to the patients. Request an appointment today!

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Based on 205 reviews
I have used Plaza Dental Group since I moved to West Des Moines in 2009. The welcoming staff, clean pleasant surroundings. and competent providers have served me well. My experiences have been pleasant, productive outings I approach with gratefulness at the service my mouth and teeth will receive. Thank you, wonderful Dental more
Phyllis Newton
Phyllis Newton
I had an amazing experience at Plaza Dental! Sara my dental hygienist made it even spectacular. I felt comfortable around her. She was very personable and professional. She took the time to explain the whole process and very thorough with the whole process of taking X-ray and cleaning my teeth. I was impressed by her expertise and most of all I felt as if I’d known her for years because she made me feel comfortable! Thank you Sara and the rest of the team for an amazing first time experience!read more
Winnie Lee
Winnie Lee
I finally found my dental home. I had my first consultation with Dr Dietrich today, she is genuinely nice as well as her assistant . I felt welcomed , they care about me and my dental health . I'm looking forward to my first visit in a few weeks!!!!
Cheryl Santee
Cheryl Santee
My experience is just starting but yesterday was my first day and I was treated with so much care, love & respect. They made me feel as if I was at home it was a wonderful feeling. Mind you I am terrified of dentist and here I felt so welcomed with open arms . I will be continuing to go here. So far the best place I highly recommendread more
Danielle Ceballos
Danielle Ceballos
The staff at Plaza Dental are the best. Dr. Odland and his assistant, Becca, have been amazing to work with. They have always been patient, kind, and compassionate. I was always kept comfortable during my procedures and have always had a great experience. I look forward to working with them in the more
Erika Sieren
Erika Sieren
Today I had my first appointment at Plaza Dental. I am one of those patients who is extremely anxious about dental visits and I had avoided getting dental care for awhile .My hygienist Hilary was AMAZING! I'm so happy that I made the appointment and that i am on my way to wanting to show my smile again .read more
Pam Gronewold
Pam Gronewold
Dr. Dietrich is so easy to work with. She's very skilled and her assistants are always able to explain every step of the way. My implant feels great!!
Amanda Godfrey
Amanda Godfrey
I moved to Iowa at the end Of February, and have been looking for a dentist that cared about their patients. When I found Plaza Dental Group, they were able to get me right in, and my experience from the when I walked in to the office, to the time I walked out after my first visit was beyond what I could have hoped for. Dr.Odland and his staff are incredible and made me feel comfortable from start to finish. They explained the next steps regarding my next appointments, and everything that was going to take place. I feel at ease knowing that I am being taken care of. All of my appointments have been great. The front staff is great as well! I can not say enough great things about this office!read more
Jessica Ford
Jessica Ford
Thank you so much got me in fast and great help very nice staff and helped me with a problem that another dentist caused and helping me get the proper care 😁
Rachel Hinrichs
Rachel Hinrichs
My hygienist rocks, love Sarah. We have become friends through the years, she is just too sweet. But there are many great hygienists and Dr. Odland and his team took such good care of me when i broke my jaw and several teeth.
Amanda Westerhold
Amanda Westerhold
Hands down the BEST dentist I’ve ever been to. I have severe anxiety when it comes to the dentist and they were SO sweet/accommodating. Only place I will be going to for my dental needs going forward.
Breanna Bedford
Breanna Bedford
To the whole plaza dental family you guys are the best I strongly recommend you guys to every one🙂🙂🙂 really kind nice people and do the best job EVER!!! Doctor JAY JENSEN you rock and congratulations on your move,also to all the staff you ladies made me feel very comfortable thank you thank you god bless.Doctor Jay Jensen keep doing your thing🙂 and the ladies up front you guys double rock🙂🙂 thanks for opening the door for me Lol, Alvin Thanks Plaza!!!!read more
Alvin Lee
Alvin Lee
As usual, I only waited a few minutes until Talia came to bring me to the back. The treatment itself was pleasant and efficient and everybody was very friendly and helpful. I definitely recommend this place!
Martina Walther
Martina Walther
This place is the BEST. I cannot say enough about how great Lacey is and the job she does! I was so impressed by Plaza Dental Group compared to previous dentists I've visited that I won't be going anywhere else. Highly recommend Lacey, Dr. Odland, and Dr. Dietrich - they are highly educated and knowledgeable, very thorough with their care and listening to your needs, inform/explain things every step of the way, and are so enjoyable and fun to be around. Wish I could give more than 5 stars!read more
Jasenn Greiner
Jasenn Greiner
Dr Colin Odland is the best! He is very knowledgeable, patient, kind and makes sure you are doing ok as he works. I highly recommend him, especially patients that have had bad experiences with dentists in the past.
Debora Lynn
Debora Lynn
I just switched to Plaza because it’s closer to my work/home and I’d give them 100 stars if I could! My hygienist Talia had amazing attention to detail (and I’m known to be very particular) and Dr. Odland’s chairside manner was amazing. I don’t know why I didn’t come here sooner!
Derek Zarn
Derek Zarn
Plaza Dental Group
Plaza Dental Group. 1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

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