Dental Tips Blog

Oct
8

How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is one of those conditions that can be considered a “silent killer” for your smile.

Gum disease is not likely to be deadly in the way that heart disease or cancer can be. But it is connected to serious ailments such as pneumonia and stroke. That’s because the gums are a gateway to the rest of your body. A chronic infection in your mouth can negatively impact other areas.

How do you know if you’re susceptible to this underestimated yet common disease?

Your Gums Easily Bleed

Contrary to popular belief, your gums don’t bleed because your hygienist “stabs” them. Neither is it normal for gums to bleed when you floss. Inflamed gum tissue is loaded with blood vessels that are easily damaged. So, if you notice pink in the sink, that could be a sign of infection.

Your Bad Breath Just Won’t Go Away

Not all kinds of halitosis can be masked with a breath mint. Chronic gum disease can leave a frustrating odor on your breath that causes people to keep their distance.

Gum Recession Is Driving Your Crazy

Do your teeth look a little long? Gums will shrink away from teeth as a result of inflammation from periodontitis. If you notice that more of your tooth roots are exposed, then it’s worth seeing a dentist to find out whether gum disease is to blame.

Don’t wait much longer if any of these signs are plaguing your smile! Taking quick action to treat or prevent gum disease could save not just your teeth but possibly lower your risk for other serious health problems.

Posted on behalf of:
Moores Chapel Dentistry
9115 Samlen Lane #105
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 389-9299

Sep
19

Nearly 1 Out of 2 People Have This Disease – Are You At Risk?

Posted in Gum Disease

According to a CDC study, some 47% of Americans have this disease…

…It’s bacterial in origin.

…It’s contagious.

…It’s connected to other diseases like stroke, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

…Untreated, it will lead to tooth loss.

Can you guess what it is?

Also called periodontal disease or periodontitis, we’re talking about none other than simple gum disease.

The Ever-Present Threat Of Gum Disease

You might have been surprised to learn that periodontitis is so prevalent. Gum disease occurs in varying stages and affects people differently depending on their oral hygiene, health, and even genetics. Still, it may be closer to home than you may realize.

Gum disease starts out as gingivitis – uncomplicated gum inflammation. But inflamed gums pull away from teeth and create pockets which shelter greater numbers of harmful bacteria. The more bacteria show up, the more your body has to fight against.

Gingivitis left untreated will advance to a more complex infection. Your gums and the ligament and bone underneath can break down. This is how teeth lose support and eventually fall out.

The bacteria that trigger gum inflammation are so common that everyone picks them up over the course of their lifetime. Given the opportunity to flourish, those germs will do so.

How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?

While there’s no practical way to eliminate the germs from your mouth altogether, you can still keep them from accumulating.

How?

Efficient, daily tooth brushing and flossing.

A solid daily regimen of oral hygiene, coupled with routine cleanings, good nutrition, and healthy lifestyle choices is the most important way to keep gum disease at bay.

Consult your dentist for a gum health evaluation to find out your risk.

Posted on behalf of:
Hudson Oaks Family Dentistry
200 S Oakridge Dr #106
Hudson Oaks, TX 76087
(817) 857-6790

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
31

Should You See a Periodontist?

Posted in Gum Disease

A periodontist is a dentist with extra training and experience in gum health issues.

There’s a lot more to your gums than meets the eye. What you might not realize is there are layers of complex ligaments beneath the pinkish skin you can see on your gums. These tissues make up what’s called the “periodontium.”

The ligaments strengthen and nourish teeth, anchor them in their sockets, and act like shock absorbers to cushion your teeth when you bite. Your periodontium is so important that there are dental specialists who focus on that alone!

Why Your Gums Need Attention

Your periodontium can start to break down if it gets inflamed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t simply grow back. What starts as gingivitis on the surface of the gums can progress to gum disease and eventually cause the periodontal ligaments to pull away from the tooth, creating pockets.

As the pockets fill with bacteria or tartar and don’t get cleaned, they’ll get deeper and deeper. Ultimately, the bone can break down, too. Teeth will thus lose support and start to loosen. What’s more, your gums are a portal between your mouth and the rest of your body. So, an infection there can trigger inflammation or even another infection elsewhere.

Time To Take Action

Your dentist and hygienists will do their best to treat your case. But if your situation goes beyond what their office is equipped to handle, they will likely refer you to a gum specialist.

A periodontist will give you more varied and thorough treatment options for stopping gum disease and repairing the damage.

To start with, consult your dentist for a periodontal assessment. Charting and x-rays will help determine the seriousness of your case and what the next step is.

Posted on behalf of:
Edward Gardner, DDS
8133 Forest Hill Ave, Suite 201
Richmond, VA 23235
(804) 409-7963

Jul
17

Will My Periodontal Cleaning Hurt?

Posted in Gum Disease

Have you been told that you need a periodontal cleaning?    You probably have a million questions zipping through your head!

Periodontal cleaning is a type of gum disease therapy that removes plaque and bacteria below the gums and provides a smooth surface for the gums to heal up against. This deep cleaning (also called root planing) is your first line of defense in preventing periodontal pockets from getting any deeper.

But will it hurt?

What Root Planing Feels Like

During regular dental cleanings, your hygienist scales tartar off the crown of the tooth (above your gumlines.)

Go a little deeper, and the tooth root (which has no enamel) might to be carefully smoothed to get rid of rough tartar deposits. Below the gum line, teeth can pick up heavy layers of tartar which irritates the gums, harbors bacteria, and only makes the pockets deeper. The germs are usually embedded in the surface of the tooth root.

Your hygienist will use a variety of slim tools to carefully plane the roots of your teeth. You may feel a rough sensation, a slight pressure on your tooth, and a little sensitivity in the gums.

Most patients report very little or no discomfort during or after the procedure. To help you feel better, a numbing jelly or anesthetic shot is available on request. If needed, you can even break up your cleaning over the course of separate appointments.

Rest assured that a periodontal cleaning does not hurt as badly as you think it might. Any discomfort you do experience is worth getting your healthy gums back!

Ask you dentist about what else can be done to make your cleaning session as comfortable as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Enamel Dentistry
2717 S Lamar Blvd #1086
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 717-5315

Jun
28

What Are “Gum Pockets?”

Posted in Gum Disease

Has your dental hygienist ever checked your gums for “pockets?”

Most routine dental checkups include charting the depth of your gums. If you’ve always managed to pass that part of the exam with flying colors, then you might be wondering what these pockets are.

How Attached Are You To Your Gums?

There’s more to your gums than what you see when you smile. Below the outer layer of pink gum tissue lies a complex network of ligaments. These strong and flexible fibers cushion your tooth in the socket and hold it in place. This is called the “periodontium” or periodontal ligament.

When your gums get inflamed with gingivitis or gum disease, they swell and puff out a bit. This causes them to pull away from the tooth and create a slight gap. Healthy gum tissue should be taut and snug against a tooth.

If this inflammation rages unchecked, it will infect the deeper periodontal layers. As the ligaments break down from inflammation, your tooth loses that attachment. This is what creates gaps or “pockets” in the gums around your teeth.

Why Gum Health Matters

When your dental hygienist measures your gums with a mini ruler, he or she is checking for signs that the periodontal ligament below your gum line has broken down.

Once that normally attached tissue is lost, it doesn’t usually grow back. Over time, teeth can fall out completely if the inflammation isn’t treated.

What causes gum inflammation and pocketing? It all comes down to bacteria in plaque and how your body responds to it. Controlling plaque buildup is important to keeping your gums healthy.

If you suspect that your gums may be suffering from inflammation, contact your dentist for professional help.

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

Dec
23

The Cause of Gum Disease

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is the leading cause of tooth-loss in adults. It’s not one of those things you can blame on that yucky burger you had at a questionable restaurant last week. And it doesn’t just strike you out of the blue like a common cold, either…

Just what is gum disease? Understanding it’s cause is the key to preventing it.

Gum Disease is a What?

Periodontitis means inflammation of the tissues supporting teeth. This includes the gums and ligaments that cushion and anchor teeth into your bone. When these get inflamed, they break down, and your teeth lose that support.

This inflammation is your body’ response to the presence of aggressive bacteria.

Yes, gum disease is a bacterial infection.

Bacteria thrive in cozy dark pockets in the gums around teeth. They release substances that irritate the gums, and the gums in turn release compounds that break down tissue.

How do plaque and tartar figure in?

Plaque is made up of bacteria. Some plaque is more dangerous than others, with a higher number of destructive bacteria. Calculus (tartar) is calcified plaque. Although not harmful in itself, it does harbor harmful bacteria. If calculus forms on a tooth root, the infection can extend farther below the gum line.

Predisposing Factors

Some existing conditions and lifestyle choices can increase your chances of getting gum disease. Several of these include:

  • Age
  • Oral hygiene
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • CV disease
  • Genetics
  • Poor nutrition

As you might have noticed, some of these factors are beyond anybody’s control. But others can be prevented!

If you wonder how the above conditions relate to your current gum health, then contact your dentist for a periodontal health assessment to assess your risk for the disease.

Posted on behalf of:
Smile Avenue Family Dentistry
9212 Fry Rd #120
Cypress, TX 77433
(281) 656-1503

Apr
5

LANAP Periodontal Therapy: What is it?

Posted in Gum Disease

In the past, patients with advanced gum disease faced only one option: surgery. If a deep cleaning or rehabilitative treatments in the family dental office didn’t work, it would mean seeing a periodontal specialist for a flap procedure. As intimidating as this seems, it was usually the only choice left if someone wanted to save their natural teeth.

Thankfully, LANAP is changing that. The laser periodontal treatment can help patients with gum disease in just a couple of visits to their dentist’s office.

After a deep cleaning, LANAP eliminates any residual bacteria along the tooth surface as well as the outer layers of soft tissues that are adjacent to the tooth. It also creates a new connection between the gums and sterile tooth root, allowing reattachment to take place. Consequently, most LANAP patients see drastic improvements in their gum treatment and are able to avoid having surgeries later on.

LANAP is a fairly straightforward process, although it can take a bit of time due to the number of sites requiring treatment. A thin laser is placed into the gum pocket along the tooth, and the tip treats a specific area. Gradually, it is walked around the entire pocket until the entire circumference of the tooth has been addressed. Your dentist may want to break your visit up into two or 4 visits, depending on how much of your mouth is impacted by the disease.

Most LANAP patients see a significant improvement in their gum pockets after the laser treatment. Be sure to follow your home care instructions carefully, as they impact the successful healing of your surgical site.

Posted on behalf of:
Springhurst Hills Dentistry
10494 Westport Rd Suite 107
Louisville, KY 40241
(502) 791-8358

Dec
28

How Does Periodontal Disease Impact My Health?

Posted in Gum Disease

Did you know that gum disease could do more damage than just tooth loss? In fact, it’s a serious condition that is linked to many medical problems. The severity of your gum disease has a direct impact on how severe or at-risk you are for other types of problems, like:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Premature labor / low birth weight infants

…And many more!

Bacteria Spread Through the Body 

How can gum disease impact other parts of your body? To put it plainly, the mouth is the entryway to the rest of your body. Active infections and bacteria around the teeth can enter directly into the bloodstream due to detachment of the gums. Once the bacteria do so, they can become lodged within the blood vessels throughout your body.

Immune Systems are Weakened

It is hard enough for your body to fight off an infection. Add additional infections, and it becomes even more difficult. When your immune system is strained due to consecutive infections and bacteria throughout the body, it does not work as efficiently.

What You Can do to Help

The best way to improve your health and limit the risk of other health conditions is to implement preventive dental care. Removing bacteria from your smile through brushing, flossing, and regular trips to the dentist will give your immune system the extra “boost” that it needs to help you better manage other health conditions. Some studies even show that gum treatments can provide patients with up to 3 months of improvement in conditions like diabetes and erectile dysfunction.

Are you struggling with health problems that you just can’t seem to get a grasp on? Then you might need to see your dentist!

Posted on behalf of:
Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
2627 Peachtree Pkwy #440
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 888-3384

Oct
25

Is Gum Disease Dangerous to My Health?

Posted in Gum Disease

In a word, YES! Gum disease has the potential to increase the effect of some serious health issues. Before you conclude that flossing is only something you should do to impress the dental hygienist, consider some important facts about gum health.

Your Gums Are a Living Part of Your Body

Your gums have sensation – you can feel the bristles of the toothbrush when you brush, and you can sense temperature changes, as well. Your gums are very much alive and fed by a network of blood vessels, just like your skin and muscle. Like other parts of your body, they need maintenance and protection to stay healthy.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease can be defined as any degree of inflammation in the gum tissue caused by harmful bacteria. Gum disease, when untreated, can easily advance to affect the underlying bone. This breakdown can lead to tooth loss.

Also Connected to the Mouth…

…is the rest of your body! Chemicals produced by the body to fight off gum disease can upset the balance of other health conditions. Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between the presence of gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease and uncontrolled diabetes. Pregnant women with uncontrolled gum disease have been shown to be at high risk for delivering low birth-weight preterm babies. Other clinical studies have suggested a strong connection between gum disease and respiratory infections, particularly among residents of long-term care facilities. This suggests that pathogens in the mouth can affect the rest of your body simply by inhaling them.

Ask your dentist about the status of your gum health and how you can lower your risk for gum disease.

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

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