Dental Tips Blog

May
20

What Are Periodontal Pockets?

Posted in Gum Disease

You may have heard the term “periodontal pockets” thrown around once or twice by a dental hygienist during your cleaning.

What exactly are they?

How Periodontitis Affects Your Teeth

Gum disease (periodontitis) starts out as an accumulation of bacterial plaque on teeth. If this plaque isn’t removed, it causes inflammation in the gum line. If this swelling isn’t reversed, it can spread and involve the ligaments that anchor teeth in place (periodontal tissues).

Your body reacts to the infection by sending out chemicals. Unfortunately, this reaction causes more damage to ligaments. Eventually, the gums pull away from your tooth roots entirely.

The bacteria multiply and invade the new empty space and the process continues. As things progress, even the bone surrounding teeth can start to break down. This results in a distinct gap, or “pocket,” between the tooth and your tissues.

Periodontal pockets are bad news. Not only do these gaps signify a loss of attachment for your tooth, but they are nearly impossible to keep clean. You’ll never be able to control the bacteria and tartar settling into those pockets with a toothbrush and floss, alone.

Do You Have Periodontal Pockets?

Your dental hygienist will do routine gum measurements to see whether any of your teeth have lost their gum and tooth support.

These measurements are recorded in millimeters on a chart. Measurements of 3mm or less are within the healthy range of snug gum tissue. A few 4mm areas suggest some gum inflammation. But areas higher than 5mm are a definite sign that your mouth needs periodontal treatment.

Call your local dentist to schedule a gum health evaluation and find out how you can prevent gum disease.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

May
13

Is Your Bad Breath a Sign of Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Having a bout of bad breath is embarrassing enough. But it gets even more frustrating when it won’t go away no matter what you do.

Your chronic halitosis could actually be a sign of a very serious issue like gum disease.

Why Gum Disease Causes Bad Breath

Gum disease, also called periodontitis, is an infection in the gums. Bacterial overgrowth trigger inflammation and the ligaments and bone around teeth start to break down. These decaying tissues give off quite a foul odor.

If you have gum disease, you may notice a strange taste in your mouth or others may comment on your foul breath.

Signs You Might Have Gum Disease

Bad breath is one indicator of periodontitis, but it’s not the only one. You may have gum disease if you also notice:

  • Puffy, swollen, red gums
  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around the gumline
  • Plaque and tartar buildup

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath Cause by Periodontitis

If you struggle with bad breath, then popping a piece of mint gum may not be enough to mask the smell. Proper oral hygiene is essential for preventing both halitosis and the gum infections that may cause it.

Maintain fresh breath by cleaning your tongue, flossing every day, and brushing at least twice a day. Use toothpastes and mouthwashes that target gingivitis and plaque. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water is also effective in keeping breath sweet.

To get rid of the stench, you’ll have to treat the cause of your bad breath. A periodontist or general dentist can examine your gums for signs of disease and let you know what treatment is necessary.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

May
6

Can You Just Take an Antibiotic to Get Rid of Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is triggered by bacteria.

If gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gums, why can’t you just take an antibiotic to treat it?

Why Antibiotics Aren’t Recommended

In some emergency situations where a patient comes in with an abscess, a dentist will most likely prescribe an antibiotic before doing anything else.

But if you just popped a pill to deal with a typical case of periodontitis, you’d actually risk antibiotic resistance. This happens when the medication isn’t strong enough to kill off all the bacteria, but it temporarily weakens the infection. The germs can then come back “bigger and badder” and tougher to fight off.

Frequent antibiotic use can also disrupt the bacterial balance in other parts of your body, leading to more problems.

Best Way to Treat Gum Disease

Periodontitis usually responds best to special dental cleanings followed up by antibiotic medication, if necessary.

As a similar example, let’s imagine you got something like a splinter or metal nail stuck in your hand. You’d definitely need an antibiotic for an infected wound, and possibly even a tetanus booster. But would that make it okay to just leave the debris in your hand? Of course not! You also need to have the object removed.

Gum disease is aggravated by collections of bacteria that live in dense gooey plaque and tough dental calculus. Unless you get rid of that debris, your gums will always be ripe for infection.

There’s no replacement for trusted periodontal therapies and a great flossing routine!

Schedule a gum health evaluation with your dentist if you suspect that you may have periodontal disease. You’ll then find out which treatment options are best for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill,  South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

Mar
31

What Your Gums Reveal About Your Risk for Alzheimer’s

Posted in Gum Disease

Brushing your teeth isn’t just good for your mouth. It could even have a beneficial effect on your long term memory, according to one study.

Researchers in Taiwan have recently made an interesting observation about gum disease and Alzheimer’s.

While we can’t say for sure that there is a direct link between the two conditions, there’s a definite pattern. Statistics show that older adults who have lived with gum disease for ten years or more were 70% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

This figure already accounts for other factors known to contribute towards Alzheimer’s such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Does this mean that if you have gum disease you’ll develop Alzheimer’s?

Not necessarily. In fact, for all we know, a genetic inclination towards Alzheimer’s may be what predisposes someone to periodontitis.

But some experts suggest that having a chronic low-grade inflammation – like gum disease – raging in your body may play a role in the onset of other serious conditions.

Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to predict and prevent and impossible to reverse. But gum disease, on the other hand, is highly preventable. It usually responds well to straightforward treatment right in your local dental office.

As more research unfolds on the connection between gum disease and other illnesses, now is the best time to get your gum health under control.

Get started by:

  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein and vitamin C
  • Brushing and flossing daily
  • Visiting a dentist for a gum health assessment

As your local dentist to evaluate the condition of your gums. Keeping them healthy is a great way to lower your risk for many other potential problems.

Posted on behalf of:
Manhattan Dental Design
315 W 57th St Suite 206
New York, NY 10019
(646) 504-4377

Mar
30

Older Women with Gum Disease May Be at Higher Risk for Cancer, Study Finds

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease has been associated with conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, heart disease, and erectile dysfunction, just to name a few. But now researchers are wondering about how chronic gum disease could affect a person’s cancer risk.

What the Study Found

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo took a look at medical data collected over the course of eight years. The subjects of the data were postmenopausal women, most of them white.

The research findings showed an interesting pattern: women with periodontal disease (gum disease) were 14% more likely to develop cancer than those without gum disease. Whether the women smoked or not didn’t make a difference.

Site-specific cancers noted in these women’s health histories included lung, breast, skin, and gallbladder cancer. But the highest risk was for esophageal cancer.

What This Could Mean

Since gum disease has established links to other health problems, there may be some connection to cancer risk. Scientists have to study further what those connections may be and who are really at risk.

What This Doesn’t Mean

Not all older women with dental problems will develop cancer. This study was limited in scope. All though the finding was significant, it proved no direct connection between gum disease and cancer.

Keep Your Gums Healthy!

Good oral hygiene doesn’t just prevent tooth – loss; it could lower your cancer risk. A healthy diet rich in vitamins is also key to gum health. Lower your chancer further by reducing stress and avoiding tobacco use.

No matter age or gender, gum health is important to all. Regular gum health evaluations are an important part of oral hygiene. Schedule a checkup with a dentist near you.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Mar
30

Are Braces Making Your Gums Swell? What it Could Mean

Posted in Gum Disease

Gums are touchy and sensitive. They can even be a little moody. They don’t like sharing their space with anything.

When new braces come into town, gums can overreact by swelling beyond their normal size.

Some people’s gums are more sensitive than others. For the most part, however, you may be able to pin your swollen gums on a specific cause.

Put a Little More Work into Your Brushing!

Braces provide more surface area for plaque bacteria to collect on. These germs cause gum irritation (gingivitis), so getting braces increases your chances of angering your soft tissues.

This situation is easily remedied by taking your tooth-brushing game to the next level.

Your gums could benefit greatly from:

  • Extra brushing during the day
  • Brushing with a powered toothbrush
  • Using a water flosser
  • Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash

Hormones Turning Up the Volume on Gum Inflammation

In some instances, you aren’t entirely at fault for swollen gums. Sometimes it can be your hormones.

People usually get braces while in their teens. This is a time when hormones wreak havoc all over the body. It can be the same when you’re expecting; if you’re pregnant, you might see the same effects of how your situation starts to affect your gums.

Those picky gums respond in dramatic fashion to hormones with swelling and bleeding. Even so, this is still a good time to improve your oral hygiene.

Swollen gums can lead to serious gum disease later on, but they don’t have to, as long as you practice diligent oral hygiene. You can keep wearing your braces by doing your best to keep your teeth – and gums – clean. If swelling has you nervous about your braces, talk with your dentist or orthodontist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gwinnett Family Dental Care
3455 Lawrenceville Hwy
Lawrenceville, GA 30044
(770) 921-1115

Mar
6

Get Rid of Gingivitis At Home with These 4 Easy Steps

Posted in Gum Disease

Gingivitis is inflammation of your gums. It’s a very common condition affecting people of all ages. If you’re dealing with it now, then you want to know how to get rid of it before it turns into something worse.

Fortunately, you can take measures here and now to start reducing the inflammation.

  1. Change Your Brush

It’s as simple as getting a more effective toothbrush. Look for one with soft bristles and a head that’s small enough to access all of your teeth. Many people with gingivitis like a powered brush because it’s good at removing the bacterial plaque that causes inflammation.

  1. Floss Daily

Flossing is good for preventing cavities. But it’s also essential for removing the plaque in between teeth that trigger gum inflammation. Flossing every day should eventually help your gums to bleed less.

  1. Antimicrobial Rinse

Look for an ADA-approved mouthwash that claims to kill bacteria. When used along with brushing and flossing, a rinse can prevent plaque buildup from recurring for long periods throughout the day.

  1. Vitamin C

Your gums can benefit a lot from just a little extra vitamin C in your diet. A strong immune system empowers your gums to fight off bacterial infections. Get lots of this water-soluble vitamin in strawberries, oranges, red peppers, kale, and other vegetables.

Fighting gingivitis is important because it can advance to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease. Periodontitis attacks the bone and ligaments that keep your teeth in place. It can also increase your risk of developing other health problems.

After doing what you can at home, make sure to schedule a checkup with your local dentist. Professional dental cleanings will help you maintain the best gum health possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518
678.730.2005

Feb
13

Gum Disease – Is It Written in Your Genes?

Posted in Gum Disease

If you don’t floss and brush regularly, your teeth will fall out from periodontitis.

Well, that’s only part of the story.

From what we do know about gum disease, there are a few thoroughly-understood risk factors:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Stress
  • Compromised immune system
  • Smoking

For the most part, these are controllable. They affect how the gums react to plaque bacteria that cause gum disease.

But why is it that some folks with terrible oral hygiene never suffer more than a mild case of gingivitis while some avid flossers can’t kick periodontitis?

Research suggests that the presence of disease-causing bacteria isn’t enough to trigger the problem. Rather, the way your body responds to them may be more important.

A genetic marker has been cautiously pegged as an indicator of being prone to gum disease. It needs to be studied more, but it lines up with other research and observations indicating that there is some hereditary factor.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that smoking in itself has proven to be a far bigger risk factor in gum disease than the presence of that marker. Smoking ups your risk so much that it doesn’t matter whether gum disease runs in your family or not.

What’s the takeaway here?

While there appears to be a genetic factor at play in the risk for periodontal disease, there is not yet a sure way to predict your individual chances. The best you can do for now is lower your risk with great oral hygiene and not smoking. Your local dental team can help you develop a personalized preventative plan.

Posted on behalf of:
Feather Touch Dental Care
1175 Peachtree St. NW Ste 1204
Atlanta, GA 30361
(404) 892-2097

Jan
29

Do Your Gums Bleed When You Brush? Something Could Be Very Wrong, Dentists Warn

Posted in Gum Disease

“My gums always bleed when I brush.”

“Flossing cuts my gums so I just don’t floss.”

“I never seem to have problems until the hygienist cleans my teeth.”

Don’t think we don’t know about those memes picking on dental professionals for making the patient bleed during treatment.

They are universal myths – bleeding gums are normal and dentists take delight in purposely irritating them during your appointment. Is that so? The truth just might surprise you.

Gums are very sensitive and complex tissues. They respond to things like hormones, infections, irritants, and medications. They even respond differently based upon genetics. Your gums are an extremely close reflection of the functionality of your immune system.

Like other body tissues that respond to infection, your gums can swell with disease-fighting agents and extra blood vessels to deliver them there. This inflammation stretches the thin skin on the surface and makes it more prone to damage.

It’s as simple as that. Sick gums are weak gums. If your gums bleed easily, 9 times out of 10 it’s because they are already suffering an infection. If not cared for, your gums can be the portal for bacteria to enter your body. Not only this, but your teeth can lose the support of gum tissue entirely and fall out.

If you take away nothing else from this post, remember this: your gums should not bleed at the dentist’s any more than your hands should bleed when you get a manicure. The same can be said of cleaning them. If your hands bled when you washed them, you might be a little concerned. Bleeding gums can be a sign of periodontal disease (gum disease) or other health concerns.

So why ignore gums that bleed? Do your gums a favor and visit your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Crabapple Dental
12670 Crabapple Rd #110
Alpharetta, GA 30004
(678) 319-0123

Jan
10

Could There Be a Connection Between Arthritis and Your Gums?

Posted in Gum Disease

The potential connection between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis has been a topic of interest all around the world.

While we’ve known for some time that there must be some kind of link between the two conditions, we still don’t know exactly what it is. We do know that both are inflammatory diseases. It definitely seems that having one of the two issues puts you at risk for the other.

Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Gum Disease . . . ?

Some studies suggest that people with rheumatoid arthritis are up to five times more like to develop serious gum disease than those who don’t have arthritis.

A study in Germany also found that when cases of gum disease showed up among rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, it was more severe and aggressive than usual.

Could the two conditions share an even deeper relationship?

Genetics could have something to do with it. According to one study in Israel, a genetic marker (HLA-DR4) linked to rheumatoid arthritis was also found in 80% of study subjects with gum disease.

. . . Or Does Gum Disease Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Another possible theory points to the fact that gum disease can make people up to four times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. It’s widely suggested that bacteria from the gum infection travel via the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in other areas of the body. This would directly contribute to a systemic condition like rheumatoid arthritis.

Are You At Risk?

Your local dentist can help you find out what your gum disease risk is. You can lower your chances by practicing excellent oral hygiene.

Posted on behalf of:
Bear Valley Dental Care
137 Montgomery Ave, Suite 200
Boyertown, PA 19512
610-473-0717

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