Dental Tips Blog

Dec
31

Is Scurvy Still A Thing?

Posted in Gum Disease

It’s not just pirate lingo – scurvy is a very real condition that still affects people even today. Scurvy isn’t a communicable disease like the common cold. Rather, it’s a deficiency of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. This vitamin is found in many fresh foods including:

  • Strawberries
  • Kiwis
  • Citrus fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Papaya

In times past, scurvy was common among seafarers (like pirates) who didn’t have access to such fresh foods for months at a time. Today the condition is actually very rare, but people in certain groups are at risk. The elderly, those with sensitive food allergies, anorexia sufferers, alcoholics, and people who can’t or won’t make fresh foods a part of their diet are prone to scurvy.

Symptoms of this condition include appetite loss, diarrhea, fever, irritability, odd skin markings, and puffy, bleeding gums. If allowed to progress, scurvy can result in the loss of teeth. There are even indications that a vitamin C deficiency in pregnant mothers can adversely affect brain development of the baby.

Treatment and prevention for scurvy are the same: plenty of vitamin C. Our bodies can’t make this vitamin on their own and neither can they store it for long. That’s why it’s so important to get a healthy dose of it every day via a balanced diet loaded with fresh foods.

Interestingly, vitamin C is also essential for disease prevention and healing in the gums. Talk with your dentist about increasing your intake if you have been diagnosed with any form of gum disease. A daily glass of orange juice may be all it takes to keep your gums and body healthy with sufficient vitamin C.

Posted on behalf of:
Park Slope Dental Arts
506 3rd St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 962-0300

Dec
19

How Often Should You Be Brushing?

Posted in Gum Disease

What do you think?

A.) Once a day is enough

B.) As often as I can fit in one day!

C.) Right before a special event

There are mixed opinions when it comes to oral hygiene. A lot of it boils down to how much people value their teeth. We also tend to follow whatever brushing habits we were raised with.

Caring for your teeth is very important. It’s not just a matter of vanity – some folks truly don’t care about whether or not they have teeth to smile with. But the issue goes deeper than that.

Chronic tooth decay or gum disease also affects the rest of your body. Diabetes, pneumonia, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more have all been connected to some oral health problem.

Brushing your teeth may be more important than you realized.

The minimum you should be brushing is two times a day. It’s important to brush in the morning to remove breakfast and whatever germs were cooking in your mouth the night before. Cleaning your teeth before bed is important so that your teeth don’t suffer by soaking in the acids and sugars of whatever you ate that day.

If you are able to brush after each meal, that’s great. Try not to brush directly after eating, however. That will only spread around the food acids. Rinse with water or wait about a half hour after eating before you brush.

It is possible to over-brush. Excessive or rough tooth-brushing can lead to worn spots in enamel and gum recession. So brush well, but don’t go crazy! Talk with your dentist for more tips on a healthy tooth-brushing routine.

Posted on behalf of:
Definition Dental
12850 SW Canyon Rd
Beaverton, OR 97005
(503) 644-8900

Nov
30

4, 2, 3…What Do All Those Numbers Mean?

Posted in Gum Disease

Your hygienist is looking intently at your teeth, like she’s trying to spot something that isn’t there. You hear her calling out a series of numbers (a secret code, maybe?) to the assistant next to her. 4, 2, 3…3, 2, 3…3, 2, 4…what do all of these numbers mean?

Measuring the Health of Your Smile

First off, any numbers that you hear which are three or below are good. It’s the numbers higher than a three that you need to be concerned with.

What your hygienist is doing is measuring the attachment levels of your gums around each tooth. There is a naturally occurring “pocket” under your gums, which is an area that can collect bacteria and become infected. If it is diseased, the gums start to detach from your tooth and make the pocket deeper, not to mention destroy bone structure during the process.

Healthy gum “pockets” are anywhere up to 3mm deep. Deeper pockets can’t be cleaned with oral hygiene aids like floss. Instead, special instruments must be used to clean them at your dentist’s office. The difficulty managing them can predispose you to getting even more severe infections or lose your teeth completely.

Treating Gum Disease

Usually, moderate periodontitis (gum disease) is treated with a series of deep cleanings. “Deep,” because they’re further below the pocket. This creates a clean space where healthier gums can potentially reattach to your tooth, shortening the depth of the pocket (and halting additional bone loss.)

Periodontal exams are the process of measuring six separate areas on each individual tooth. Ask your dentist or hygienist what the numbers on your periodontal chart mean!

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

Aug
30

No Bugs In Your Hair or Bed . . . But Have You Checked Your Gums?

Posted in Gum Disease

Okay, so this isn’t one of those urban myths about finding cockroaches in fast food. But sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.

Our society is paranoid of buggy infestations. We check our kids’ head for lice, we check hotel rooms for signs of pests before we sleep there, and we wash our hands like crazy during flu season.

Your gums are also prone to infection by tiny enemies. But because you don’t feel or see them, it’s easy to underestimate the damage they’re capable of.

What “Bugs” In The Gums?

“Bugs” is an oversimplification for bacteria. Their action is just as creepy, though!

Human mouths contain hundreds of species of bacteria. Some are perfectly harmless. But some individuals have high levels of dangerous germs. These bacteria trigger serious gum inflammation.

If those germs aren’t removed, your swelling gums will provide more hideouts for the bacteria to multiply in and will eventually result in gum disease.

As this process continues, your gums will start to pull away from your teeth forming “pockets.” These pockets, naturally, harbor more harmful bacteria in addition to plaque and tartar.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) a vicious cycle. In an effort to fight the infection, your gums will produce high levels of chemicals. Unfortunately, these substances only cause further breakdown of your gums. These chemicals and bacterial toxins can reach the bone, and next thing you know, your teeth are losing support fast.

Fight Gum Inflammation

Happily, you’ve got this! Your best defense starts simply with daily brushing and flossing to keep those germs from building up. A professional gum health assessment will give you an idea of what you’re up against so call your dentist to schedule.

Posted on behalf of:
Timber Springs Dental
5444 Atascocita Road Suite 100
Humble, TX 77346
(713) 244-8929

Jul
25

How to Reverse Gingivitis

Posted in Gum Disease

The good news here is that you CAN reverse gingivitis. You can’t say that of too many other dental diseases.

But “gingivitis” simply means gum inflammation. It’s not too serious in it’s early stages, so with a little extra effort, you can send it packing. But leave it be, and it could cause tooth loss!

Here are five ways you can nix the problem:

  1. Anti-Gingivitis Toothpaste

Most toothpastes that claim to fight gingivitis do just that with an ingredient called triclosan. This agent keeps germs from accumulating on teeth.

  1. Anti-Microbial Mouthwash

Swish twice a day with Listerine or some other antibacterial rinse. This will help to slow down the development of bacteria throughout the day between brushings.

  1. Boost Your Vitamin C Intake

Your gums often reflect the health of the rest of your body. In fact, they’re one of the first to suffer from a weakened immune system. Load up on vitamin C to beef up your gums’ germ-fighting power.

  1. Brush and Floss More

Yes, it’s that simple!

Regular, mechanical plaque removal is probably the best way you can keep your gums healthy at home and fight the signs of gingivitis.

  1. Visit Your Dentist For A Cleaning

A buildup of tartar, stain, and plaque will irritate your gums. If you’re overdue for a cleaning, then your gums will appreciate it if you make an appointment.

Gingivitis is reversible, but if you don’t stop it, it can progress to a much more serious disease: periodontitis. This advanced gum disease is not reversible and can be hard to stop. See your dentist at the first signs of bleeding or inflamed gums to stay on top of your periodontal health!

Posted on behalf of:
Lakewood Dental Trails
10252 W Adams Ave
Temple, TX 76502
(254) 434-4035

May
25

How Braces Affect Your Gums: The Good and the Bad

Posted in Braces

What should you do to keep your gums healthy while wearing braces?

Brush, Brush, Brush!

Your dentist and orthodontist can’t stress enough how important it is to brush your teeth frequently! Brackets are quick to collect plaque and food debris. You need to brush from all angles to make sure your orthodontia stays bacteria-free.

Some patients love to use a powered toothbrush or water flosser to blast away gum-irritating debris. It’s recommended to brush after each meal when wearing braces.

If you don’t brush (and floss and rinse) properly with braces, your gums will quickly react. All that gunk will cause them to get puffy and red. You might notice your gums swelling to the point that they start growing over the brackets. That’s a sign you need a dental checkup.

Braces and Gum Recession

Yes, braces have been known to cause a little gum recession, in some areas. It could be the result of tension on the teeth as they move into proper position. Or it could be your gums’ response to the presence of a bracket and dental plaque.

Your dentist or orthodontist can help you fight and slow down gum recession by giving you some helpful tips.

How Braces Help Your Gums

Crooked teeth are notorious for trapping gum disease-causing germs. It’s very hard to properly clean out those areas between overlapping teeth. By straightening out your teeth, you make it easier to remove plaque and tartar buildup. This reduces your chances for developing periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease that results in tooth loss.

How are your gums handling braces? Visit your local dentist for a gum evaluation.

Posted on behalf of:
East Cobb Orthodontics
2810 Lassiter Rd
Marietta, GA 30062
(770) 993-7118

Feb
6

Can Mouthwash Cure Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

If a rinse could eliminate gum disease, then why are 80% of adults in the U.S. still suffering from some form of it?

Simply the fact that dentists, hygienists, and gum specialists aren’t yet out of work shows that a mouthwash doesn’t make it that easy.

What’s Behind Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of soft tissue disease. It happens when your gums react to plaque on the teeth. They get inflamed, puffy, sensitive, and bleed if they’re bothered.

Go a little deeper, however, and your in for a lot more trouble.

Gum disease usually refers to periodontitis – inflammation of the tissues supporting the roots of teeth. This includes bone and ligaments. Periodontitis sets in when gingivitis isn’t cleared up for good.

Once bacteria colonize inside of the shallow pockets around gums, it is almost impossible to reach them. The longer they thrive in your mouth, the deeper they’ll go as they break down the structures that hold your teeth in place.

Your Best Solution for Gum Disease

To access these germs, you’ll need the help of specialized tools. Your dental hygienist is your first line of defense. He or she has instruments that can disrupt bacteria, removed infected tissue, and cleanse the roots of affected teeth.

What Does Mouthwash Do?

An antimicrobial rinse will help you control bacteria levels in your mouth before they cause problems. It’s a great idea to supplement your brushing and flossing with a mouthwash. But it isn’t enough to reach the deep pockets of bacteria involved in established gum disease.

Visit your dentist to learn more about your risk for gum disease and what you can do to prevent it.

Posted on behalf of:
Columbine Creek Dentistry
4760 W Mineral Ave #60
Littleton, CO 80128

Jan
21

What’s the Connection Between Your Gums and Your Heart?

Posted in Gum Disease

You may have heard that heart and gum health are closely related. Why are so many doctors and dentists talking about this link?

Emerging research strongly supports a direct connection between oral health and other problems in the body. In other words, your dental visits could be more essential than you think.

What the Research Shows

A specific cause-and-effect relationship between gum disease and heart disease has not yet been discovered. “Yet” is worth emphasizing because studies do show that there is definitely some type of a connection. People with gum disease (periodontitis) are at greater risk for developing heart problems.

Bacteria and inflammation seem to be the key players in the connection. Germs responsible for gum disease can travel through the bloodstream and cause a dangerous infection in the heart.

It seems that gum infection can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. When arteries become inflamed, they can build up the plaque responsible for forming blood clots.

Your gums are loaded with blood vessels, making them a gateway to your cardiovascular system. Thus, the connection between heart health and gum health is a strong one.

How to Promote Heart and Gum Health

Reduce harmful bacteria populations and inflammation in your mouth by:

  • Daily flossing and brushing
  • Visiting your dentist regularly
  • Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Giving up tobacco

Encourage heart and gum health through exercise, a nutritious diet, and plenty of rest. A preventative approach is far more cost-effective than treating heart and gum disease later on.

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in adults in the United States.

Can you lower your risk? Improving your oral health could be the key. Visit your dentist for a personalized consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Memorial Park Dental Spa
6010 Washington Ave Suite D
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 336-8478

Jan
9

Do You Really Need a Deep Cleaning?

Posted in Gum Disease

You could say that a normal dental cleaning is the car wash and a deep cleaning is the detailing procedure. However, when your dental health is involved, it’s a little more complicated than that.

What is a Deep Cleaning?

Medically-known as “scaling and root planing” or SRP, this treatment does more than simply get your teeth “extra clean.”

Scaling is the removal of tartar from teeth. Root planing means smoothing out the surface of tooth roots that are roughened with bacteria and tartar. These techniques are combined in a “deep cleaning” procedure. This treatment requires specialized dental tools and is often broken up into multiple appointments due to complexity.

Contrary to how it may sound, SRP is more of a medical treatment instead of a superficial, cosmetic one.

Understanding Gum Disease

Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, which is gum inflammation in response to bacteria. As the bacteria spread, the inflammation worsens. Combine this with tartar buildup at and below the gum line, and you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Without medical intervention, gum disease will lead to tooth-loss. A deep cleaning is the medical standard for stopping the infection right in its tracks.

A Regular Cleaning Won’t Cut It!

To really nip the problem in the bud, you need a deep cleaning. Gum disease creates deep pockets of infected and damaged tissue around teeth. You can’t access these pockets with a toothbrush and floss, alone.

A deep cleaning might sound like a luxury dental treatment. But it’s actually a procedure that’s essential for anyone suffering from gum disease. Contact your dentist to schedule a gum health assessment to find out whether a deep cleaning is right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Pristine Dental
555 Providence Hwy #2
Walpole, MA 02081
(508) 734-7056

Jan
8

Flossing and Gum Disease: The Connection

Posted in Gum Disease

Have you ever been told that you have gum disease?

Many Americans have been affected by gum disease at some point in their lives. So if you’ve had a run-in with gingivitis, you’ve got plenty of company!

Fortunately, this isn’t the end of the story for your teeth. With a routine of diligent flossing, you can keep your gums disease-free and happy. 

What Is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque.

Usually starting out as gingivitis, gum disease can progress to a serious form known specifically as periodontitis. Gingivitis is inflammation limited to the outer layer of gum tissue and is easily reversed. Periodontitis, on the other hand, affects deeper layers of ligaments and bone around the tooth roots. The damage caused by periodontitis cannot reverse itself.

How Flossing Helps

The spaces between your teeth are impossible to directly access with a toothbrush, alone. The problem is that those spots are where gum disease is likely to settle in first.

Here’s where flossing helps out.

A thin piece of floss or or even a water flosser can slip between teeth and break up the clusters of bacteria along the gum line. You need to physically remove the germs daily to keep them from triggering inflammation.

Because it’s the best way to prevent gum disease from developing between teeth, flossing is a pretty big deal! Cleaning your teeth doesn’t just help them look nice – it also helps you avoid expensive treatments or surgery later on.

To find out more about preventing gum disease, schedule your regular checkup every six months!

Posted on behalf of:
Timber Springs Dental
5444 Atascocita Road Suite 100
Humble, TX
(713) 244-8929

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