Plaza Dental Group 515 612 7148  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 146 reviews
I’ve been so impressed and grateful for the care I’ve received at Plaza Dental! From cleanings to potential periodontal issues, Lacey and Dr. J have been on top of my progress. Highly educated, thorough, incredibly friendly, and patient-focused. I would highly recommend them!
Cynthia Shidler
Cynthia Shidler
The Plaza Dental staff is just the BEST! I always enjoy coming in for my cleanings and my Invisalign appointments. I always feel at home like I'm a part of the family. Thank you all for that. A big shoutout to Dr. Dietrich, Susan (Suzie), and Noel. I love you guys so much!!!! Thank you all for your contribution on this journey to a beautiful smile. Xoxo!!!!read more
Savion Solé
Savion Solé
My experience was amazing! Everyone was so kind and answered all my questions. I am usually one who has a fear of dentist, but I felt so comfortable and relaxed which I have never experienced at a dental office before.
Taylor Moore
Taylor Moore
My experience with the Plaza Dental Group has been amazing! The receptionist was delightful when I initially called to schedule my appointment. She had me laughing. I was warmly greeted and didn't have to wait long. They were non judgemental and thorough in my initial examination. I was given a detailed plan of action to address my issues. Today my appointment with Dr. Odland was excellent. He has the most gentle touch by the way. A must in a Dentist in my opinion. Aaron a future dentist helped make me comfortable and he assisted Dr. Odland perfectly while keeping me comfortable throughout the process. My overall experience has been wonderful. I highly recommend this experienced group of professionals. They've got a lifelong client with more
MS Cacklebottom
MS Cacklebottom
Lacey does an amazing job- highly recommend her for hygiene needs. Also- Dr. Jay is hands down the best dentist I’ve ever seen. These folks deal with your anxiety in a positive way, are supportive and helpful — and you leave there feeling better and definitely being a little more proud of your smile!read more
Nick Ryan
Nick Ryan
I always have THE best experiences at Plaza Dental. The entire staff is amazing and friendly. Especially Susie and Noel who are simply THE best! I highly recommend for regular dental visits and I was highly impressed with my Invisalign treatment. I actually look forward to going to the dentist now! Love it!read more
Jamie Petersen
Jamie Petersen
I recently had cosmetic surgery. Dr. Dietrich and her assistant Joel were so professional and did excellent work. I am beyond pleased with my new smile!
LR Meyer
LR Meyer
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
This place is amazing. I feel the most comfortable and at ease here over any dental office I've ever been to and I've been around the block. Lacey is best although one time she wore white after labor day, but I won't fault her for that.
David Prins
David Prins
My dental hygienist, Sara, is the kindest person to work with. She is honest with her overview and analysis. She is friendly and happy to talk to you. I’ve never had a bad experience at Plaza and would recommend anyone come in for a consult or to be a new client with the dental practice. Thank you Sara for all that you do!read more
Kevin Black
Kevin Black
I would recommend to anyone! Great and friendly staff.Really put me at ease.Kept me well informed during my visit as to what procedure was being done.Great experience overall.
Dave Gates
Dave Gates
Professional, really caring team!! It’s awesome to be able to receive such expert care and most procedures can be taken care of in one place. Highly recommend this great place!!!! So kind and helpful.
Amy Gionis
Amy Gionis
They are the best! I do not like going to the dentist. I think most people don't. My dental hygienists, Sara, is amazing! She very quick but very thorough. My teeth look great when I leave and I am in and out quickly, which I appreciate. The dentist are all wonderful and I trust them. They also have wonderful whitening options. Been going for several years now and I'm never more
Katie Petersen
Katie Petersen
I highly recommend! They have the friendliest staff and are so professional and seem very knowledgeable! I had the boost whitening done and loved the results.
Taylor Brummer
Taylor Brummer
Dr. Odland is the best dentist I've ever had! He was so comfortable and personable. He transformed my smile in just 30 minutes and I've never felt more confident. Thank you!!
Alexa Wolfe
Alexa Wolfe
The Staff and Doctors are friendly, courteous, and professional. I no longer have "Dentist" phobia. Early morning appointments are greatly appreciated.
Donald Ryan
Donald Ryan
They were great! I loved how the dentist came and discussed my options at length with me. Shared the truth about some of the challenges I would face with each option! It was the best dental office experience I have ever had!
Tom Byber
Tom Byber
This office was so beautiful and clean. The staff was friendly and warm. I never felt rushed and all my needs were addressed. The dentist had great bedside manner and was very informative. I would highly recommend!
Austin Fawler
Austin Fawler
I had to get fillings for the first time and I was nervous wreck. Noelle and Jennifer were talking the whole time about their lives and they kept me calm. Noelle's playlist was great and they were both professional! They made sure I was doing alright and not feeling anything every couple minutes or if I was wincing. They would stop immediately and asked if I needed a more
Nicole Jackson
Nicole Jackson
My experience at Ideal was awesome! The dental assistant Kevyon is always friendly and does a good job at calming me with great attitude and energy before my work is done. The dentist was very experienced and did each procedure without causing me any pain. Brooke Shields was very knowledgeable and answered all of my questions and concerns. Thank you all for another great more
John Farny
John Farny
My daughter has had a number of bad dental experiences and has become a challenging/anxious patient. She’s now had her first cleaning and a filling, all within a week. The staff was able to help her manage her anxiety and made it a great experience for both of us - something I didn’t think was more
Mikki Neff
Mikki Neff
Susan was absolutely phenomenal! I have a huge fear of anything doctor or dentist related and she made the trip so great! She explained as she went, she took the time to listen to me and she gave me great information to everything I asked. She was very thorough and knowledgeable. She was efficient, but I did not feel rushed at all. The entire office was very nice and friendly and so welcoming. And the extra things they offer to make sure you're comfortable (warm neck towel, paraffin wax hand dip, extra water, etc) made it the most relaxing trip to the dentist I've ever experienced. 100% recommending to everyone I know and will never go anywhere else! Thank you Susan and the entire office staff! I actually look forward to my next appointment!read more
Kathrina Petersen
Kathrina Petersen
Plaza Dental Group
Plaza Dental Group. 1089 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 100, West Des Moines, IA 50266

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