John D. Luker, DDS
997 Clocktower Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62704
(217) 546-8330



Posts for: April, 2018


“No man is an island….” So wrote the poet John Donne four centuries ago. And while he meant the unity of humanity, the metaphor could equally apply to the interdependence of the various parts of the human body, including the mouth. According to recent scientific research, your mouth isn’t an “island” either.

Much of this research has focused on periodontal (gum) disease, an infection most often caused by bacterial plaque that triggers inflammation in the gum tissues. Although an important part of the body’s defenses, if the inflammation becomes chronic it can damage the gums and weaken their attachment to the teeth. Supporting bone may also deteriorate leading eventually to tooth loss.

Avoiding that outcome is good reason alone for treating and controlling gum disease.  But there’s another reason—the possible effect the infection may have on the rest of the body, especially if you have one or more systemic health issues. It may be possible for bacteria to enter the bloodstream through the diseased gum tissues to affect other parts of the body or possibly make other inflammatory conditions worse.

One such condition is diabetes, a disease which affects nearly one person in ten. Normally the hormone insulin helps turn dietary sugars into energy for the body’s cells. But with diabetes either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the available insulin can’t metabolize sugar effectively. The disease can cause or complicate many other serious health situations.

There appears to be some links between diabetes and gum disease, including that they both fuel chronic inflammation. This may explain why diabetics with uncontrolled gum disease also often have poor blood sugar levels. Conversely, diabetics often have an exaggerated inflammatory response to gum disease bacteria compared to someone without diabetes.

The good news, though, is that bringing systemic diseases like diabetes under control may have a positive effect on the treatment of gum disease. It may also mean that properly treating gum disease could also help you manage not only diabetes, but also other conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Taking care of your teeth and gums may not only bring greater health to your mouth, but to the rest of your body as well.

If you would like more information on treating dental diseases like gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”

By Luker Dental Care
April 23, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

What your dentist in Springfield wants you to knoworal hygiene

Do you want to enjoy a healthy smile for life? Do you want to avoid tooth decay, gum disease, and periodontal disease? If you answered yes to these questions, you need to make sure you are keeping good oral hygiene habits. Dr. John Luker at Luker Dental Care in Springfield, IL wants to share the facts on how to make sure your smile stays healthy.

Keeping good oral hygiene habits means keeping plaque accumulation to a minimum. That’s because dental plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria that can destroy your mouth. The destruction occurs in a few ways. For example:

Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria forming an acid when it mixes with the sugars in the foods you eat. This acid eats through tooth enamel, causing a cavity.

The plaque also works to inflame and infect your gum tissue, causing gum disease. It can also cause the destruction of the bone that supports your teeth, causing periodontal disease.

So, now that you know WHY it’s important to practice good oral hygiene, you need to know HOW to keep good oral hygiene habits. Fortunately, an excellent oral hygiene regimen doesn’t take a lot of time, and it’s easier than you think. You need to:

Brush after every meal and before you go to bed. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing fluoride. Use a gentle, circular motion to cover the surfaces of your teeth and along the gumline.

Floss every day. Brushing can’t reach in between your teeth and that’s where flossing comes in. Many cavities and gum and periodontal disease begin in between your teeth, so flossing is critical. Wrap around the wide part of your tooth as you go down in between the teeth. The wrapping technique helps the floss to adhere to your tooth surface.

Keeping good oral hygiene habits also means visiting your dentist at least once each year for an exam and x-rays. You should also schedule a professional dental cleaning every six months to thoroughly clean away all hard deposits and stains on your teeth, and to monitor the health of your gums.

To find out more about additional preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental services call Dr. Luker at Luker Dental Care in Springfield, IL. Keep your mouth healthy by calling today!


Dentures can be an effective and affordable solution for people who've lost all their teeth. With them a person can once again eat nutritiously, speak clearly and smile confidently — and with regular care they can last for years.

As part of that ongoing care, be sure you consider one important thing with your dentures: you may want to take them out at night while you sleep. If you do you'll lessen your chances of developing these 4 health problems.

Accelerated bone loss. Traditional dentures are fitted to rest securely on the gums. This, however, creates pressure on the gums and the bony ridges beneath them that can contribute to bone loss. Wearing dentures around the clock usually accelerates this process, which could eventually lead to among other problems looser denture fit and discomfort.

Bacterial and fungal growth. Microorganisms that cause oral diseases find conducive breeding spots on the underside of dentures while they're worn in the mouth. Studies have found that people who continuously wear their dentures are more likely to have bacterial plaque and oral yeast than those that don't.

Potentially dangerous infections. Bacterial and fungal growth increases your risk of oral infections that could affect more than your mouth. A recent study of elderly nursing home residents found those who wore their dentures during sleep were over twice as likely to develop serious cases of pneumonia requiring hospitalization. It's believed bacteria harbored on the dentures can pass from the mouth to the lungs as a person breathes over them while they sleep.

Blocked salivary flow. During the night our salivary flow naturally ebbs; wearing dentures while we sleep could cause denture stomatitis, in which the tissues covered by a denture (particularly along the roof of the mouth) become inflamed and infected with yeast. It's often accompanied by angular cheilitis or cracking at the corners of the mouth that becomes infected by the same yeast.

Wearing your dentures while you sleep contributes to conditions ranging from irritating to life-threatening. To prevent such problems clean your dentures as well as the rest of your mouth regularly — and talk to your dentist whether you should leave them out when you go to bed.

If you would like more information on denture care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sleeping in Dentures.”