Dental Tips Blog

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

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

Dec
12

Do You Need Gum Therapy?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum therapy isn’t exactly something you opt for, like some kind of spa treatment. But it can rejuvenate your gums in way you never knew you needed!

What Is It?

Any procedure with the aim of improving your gum health can be considered therapeutic for your mouth. Most often, the term refers to a specialized cleaning that removes calcified buildup from below the gum-line. This treatment may include minor surgery, laser therapy, cleansing rinses, or topical antibiotics to fight the disease that undermines the health and structure of the gums.

Who Needs Gum Therapy?

Virtually anyone with periodontal disease is a candidate for gum therapy.

Diseased gums range from skin-deep gingivitis to the more serious periodontitis. When gums are exposed to certain bacteria for too long, they become inflamed. Inflammation can trigger a process that breaks down tissues that anchor your teeth to the bone. The longer gums are inflamed, the more teeth and surrounding bone are at risk for permanent damage.

So how about you? Could your gums be affected by disease without your knowledge?

Do You Qualify?

Gum disease tends to set in and progress very subtly. Most people aren’t aware of the change as it’s happening. It’s usually painless and advances in places you can’t see. You may first become aware of an infection through signs such as:

  • Lots of plaque and tartar buildup
  • Bleeding while flossing or brushing
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

The only way to know for sure? Schedule a visit with your local dental hygienist. He or she will evaluate your gums with clinical tools and x-rays to determine the need for gum therapy.

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

Aug
7

Does Bad Breath Mean You’re At Risk for Heart Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Bad breath and heart disease? That escalated quickly.

Let’s clarify one thing: when we say “bad breath,” we’re not referring to the garlic bread you had at lunch today.

The odor you need to be concerned about is connected to something far more serious.

Your Heart And Your Gums

Gum disease starts out small, usually in the form of gingivitis.

Gingivitis is reversible gum inflammation triggered by plaque bacteria. If it chronically persists, then it can worsen into periodontitis, a much deeper infection affecting ligaments and bone beneath the gums.

Growing research indicates that there is a strong connection between your gum and heart health. High levels of gum inflammation are associated with arterial plaque deposits and inflammation that can lead to blood clots. These clots, in turn, put you at risk for heart attack and stroke.

Periodontal Disease – Do You Know The Signs?

Periodontal disease is a common but silent disease. Most adults are affected by it at some point in their lives but don’t realize it. This is because your teeth and gums don’t usually feel any different, at first.

Look out for these classic tell-tale signs of periodontal disease:

  • Bleeding on brushing and flossing
  • Gum recession
  • Teeth feeling loose
  • Swollen gum line
  • Bad breath

Yes, bad breath could indicate that you have a chronic gum infection going on. Periodontitis can cause a powerfully offensive odor because of the raging inflammation and dying gum tissues going on around your teeth.

If you (or others close to you) have complaints of bad breath despite your best efforts to mask it, there could be something very serious to blame. Call your local dentist to plan a gum evaluation.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

Aug
3

Fight Gum Disease with Mouthwash? Here’s How

Posted in Gum Disease

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: there is no mouthwash that can cure gum disease…no matter how great the commercial looks!

But with the help of the right kind of rinse, you can be successful in preventing bacterial buildup that contributes to gum infections.

Your Local Drugstore

Generic over-the-counter rinses that boast anti-microbial properties are very effective in limiting plaque buildup.

Look for something like Listerine that states it’s “anti-plaque” or “anti-gingivitis.” You need more than a minty fresh rinse, here. These formulations contain essential oils which prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth and gums.

Using use a mouthwash like this once or twice a day, in addition to brushing and flossing to keep your gums in great shape.

Prescription-Strength Mouthwash

If you are battling ongoing infection or have just had periodontal therapy, your dentist may prescribe a medicated rinse called chlorhexidine gluconate. As a powerful antibacterial rinse, it helps you avoid plaque development, giving your gums a jump-start toward healing.

The Most Reliable Way To Beat Gum Disease

Periodontitis is a very tricky infection. It’s often chronic and rages below the gum line where toothbrush, floss, and even a rinse can’t access. Inflamed gum tissues and pieces of tartar shelter bacteria that produce the irritating toxins.

Physical mechanical removal is still the best way to get rid of the culprits. This means a professional deep cleaning to scoop out tartar, plaque, and germs from pockets around teeth. Afterwards, your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic and/or an anti-bacterial rinse to wrap things up.

There are plenty of herbal and other natural supplements out there which may claim to fight gum disease. Just make sure to check these with your dentist to make sure you get the fullest benefit.

Posted on behalf of:
Les Belles NYC Dentistry
420 Lexington Ave #228
New York, NY 10170
212-804-8884

Jun
20

Natural Remedies for Gum Disease – Do They Work?

Posted in Gum Disease

Many of the modern methods used to treat gum disease include natural remedies. Do any of these actually work? Before giving them a try, here’s what you need to think about.

Gum Disease – The Deeper Issue

Periodontitis (gum disease) is often painless, silent, and causes unseen damage. You may or may not actually have gum disease but there’s no way to tell until you see a dentist. This is because tissue inflammation can cause deep pockets around tooth roots that shelter bacteria beyond the reach of a toothbrush and floss.

Simply swishing oils and rubbing pastes onto the surface of your gums isn’t enough to affect what’s going on deeper down. In fact, some natural remedies can be counterproductive to your oral health.

No matter which natural techniques you attempt, your gums will need the help only a professional cleaning can provide.

A Holistic Approach

Your dentist and hygienist will also recommend a holistic approach in treating your gum disease. There are scientifically-measurable methods for treating periodontitis such as:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Reducing stress
  • Cutting out tobacco use
  • Eating a healthy diet high in vitamin C

Are You Wasting Valuable Time?

You could be losing time by trying countless natural remedies. While it’s fine to use some natural gum care methods, make sure you get a professional gum assessment to help you identify what’s actually going on.

At every dental visit, update your dentist on all the medications and supplements you are taking, prescription and otherwise.

In the end, the choice to incorporate natural remedies into your health routine is a personal one. Check with your dentist for guidance in making smile-friendly choices.

Posted on behalf of:
Gordon Dental of Leawood
11401 Nall Ave #102
Leawood, KS 66211
(913) 649-5017

May
1

4 Ways Gum Disease Impacts Your Health

Posted in Periodontics

When it comes to gum disease, there’s far more at risk than just your gums.

This infection isn’t even just limited to your gums. The inflammation can quickly spread to undermine bone and ligaments. Once those supporting tissues are gone, your teeth lose critical support.

  1. Diabetes and Periodontitis

There is a definite link between gum disease (periodontitis) and a systemic condition such as diabetes. In either case, one condition will make the other worse if not controlled. Inflammation in the gums tends to cause a spike in blood sugar and vice versa.

Letting a gum problem go unchecked will make it much harder to live with diabetes.

  1. Heart – Gums Connection

Bacteria responsible for gum disease have been discovered in infections of the heart and blood vessels. Uncontrolled periodontitis has also been linked to other issues like stroke and Alzheimer’s.

  1. Placing Unborn Babies and Mothers at Risk

Studies indicate that chemicals produced by infected gums could play a role in inducing premature labor. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should make sure that their gums are in excellent condition.

  1. Nutritional Issues

Some people aren’t too worried about losing teeth to gum disease. What they fail to realize is just how important their teeth are. Without plenty of natural teeth, you can’t chew the foods that contain the nutrients your body needs.

Do you suspect that your gums show signs of infection?  Bleeding while brushing or flossing, puffy gums, and bad breath are all red flags. Don’t wait any longer to take action. Visit your local dentist to get a professional periodontal evaluation.

Posted on behalf of:
Elegant Smiles
1955 Cliff Valley Way NE #100
Brookhaven, GA 30329
404-634-4224

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
7

How Antibiotic Therapy Can Treat Gum Disease

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease (periodontal disease) happens when several factors coincide, such as:

  • Plaque buildup
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Compromised immune system
  • Concentration of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth
  • Poor oral hygiene

If gum disease is affecting your life, then you’re probably looking for a solution.

The surest method to-date is that of mechanically removing the bacteria through a deep cleaning.

Antibiotic Adjuncts

But isn’t there just some rinse you can swish to kill the bacteria? Actually, this won’t work. Bacteria protect themselves in a slimy coating that they produce. Rinses can’t penetrate this layer to remove it from your teeth.

However, a concentrated antibiotic just might.

After a deep cleaning, your dentist may prescribe a local antibiotic. It’s a small dose of powder or microscopic capsules that’s placed directly next to a badly infected site. The antibiotic should not be disturbed for several days to allow it to take effect.

Can you just choose to have an antibiotic instead of other treatments? No. It’s something your dentist will provide only after you’ve had all the other possible irritants removed. Otherwise, it likely won’t be as effective. And if given too often, you run the risk of building antibiotic resistance – creating more trouble!

Prevention – The Very Best Treatment

Preventing gum disease in the first place is the ideal solution. Brush at least twice a day and keep flossing a part of your daily routine. Use an antimicrobial rinse to help slow down plaque development, if your dentist feels it’s okay for you.

If you need treatment for gum disease, your dentist may recommend antibiotic therapy in addition to a deep cleaning. To find out which procedure is best, you need a full gum examination. Schedule yours today.

Posted on behalf of:
Pacific Sky Dental
6433 Mission St
Daly City, CA 94014
(650) 353-3130

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