Dental Tips Blog

Nov
28

How Gum Disease Affects Your Health

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is serious business since that affects far more than just your gums.

Some of the direct consequences of this oral infection include:

  • Bleeding, sensitive gums
  • Gum recession
  • Bad breath
  • Loose and missing teeth

But there are other reasons you should be concerned with preventing periodontitis.

Increased Risk for Disease and Infection

Although research hasn’t yet identified a direct cause-and-effect relationship between gum health and overall health, the link is strong. Those with periodontitis are statistically at higher risk for complications such as:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes

Connections Between Periodontitis and the Body

There are a couple of theories as to why the rest of the body suffers from gum disease. One is that the bacteria involved in causing the infection spread to other areas, such as the heart. The other theory is that chemicals produced to fight the infection cause inflammation in arteries, joints, and so on.

Reduce Your Risk for Gum Disease

Preventing periodontitis isn’t something only dentists need to worry about. With nearly 80% of adults in the United States suffering from gum disease to some degree, everyone needs to be concerned.

You can reduce your chances of developing gum infections by brushing and flossing every day to reduces bacterial buildup. Cut down or cut out your smoking habit, since tobacco stops your gums’ natural healing process.

Equally as important is visiting a dentist regularly for gum health checkups and inquiring about periodontal treatments if necessary. Dental professionals can identify and explain signs that your gums are inflamed and infected with bacteria, as opposed to something else.

Stay on top of your gum and overall health by contacting your dentist to schedule an examination.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999

Nov
27

How Does Flossing Prevent Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is caused by bacteria that trigger gum inflammation and breakdown. If periodontitis isn’t prevented or treated, it can cause teeth to fall out.

So what role does flossing play in preventing gum inflammation and tooth loss?

Oral Hygiene and Gum Disease

Since periodontitis starts with a bacterial infection, the first line of defense should be preventing the bad germs from setting up camp.

Good oral hygiene is all about slowing and preventing bacterial growth in the mouth. Tooth brushing is an important way to remove the bacterial film called plaque from the gum line and other surfaces of the teeth.

But flossing is how you reach the spots between teeth that toothbrush bristles can’t access. Dental floss disrupts bacterial growth which would otherwise start irritating the gums.

Since the germs multiply on a daily basis, you need to floss on a daily basis to keep up. That’s why dentists stress regular flossing.

Other Factors Besides Oral Hygiene

Periodontitis is a complex disease that scientists are still working to explain. But there are several factors found to affect a person’s risk for gum disease.

  • Smoking
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Medication
  • Immune health
  • Underlying medical conditions

Work with your dentist to figure out if there’s anything you can do to change factors that may be putting you at risk for gum disease.

But one thing all gum health professionals agree helps lower the risk for periodontitis is flossing.

Flossing is the one thing you can do to limit plaque growth and gum inflammation, definitely lowering your chances for getting gum disease.

Schedule a gum health evaluation at your local dental office to find out other ways to prevent unwanted tooth loss.

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

Oct
22

What to Expect with Gum Surgery

Posted in Gum Disease

Having surgery on your gums may sound a little scary. But it won’t be as bad as you’re expecting!

You may need gum surgery for any of several reasons:

  • To graft new gum tissue in place
  • Scaling and root planing for teeth affected by gum disease
  • Make teeth look longer and more even
  • Treatment for tissue regeneration

Who Performs the Surgery? 

A periodontist (gum specialist) usually performs the procedure. Some oral surgeons also perform gum surgery, such as placing grafts. A general dentist can treat your teeth and perform basic gum therapy, but you need to see a specialist when it comes to gum surgery. 

Is Gum Surgery Painful?

Gum surgery is over very quickly and you’ll be numb the entire time, so you won’t have to feel anything. Once the anesthetic wears off, you may feel some discomfort. Most patients say that gum surgery on the roof of their mouth is the most uncomfortable. It’s said to feel like a burn from eating hot pizza.

Your recovery doesn’t have to be very painful. Taking over the counter pain relievers as your gum surgeon directs and sticking to a diet of cool soft foods will help you stay comfortable.

Does It Take Long to Heal?

Oral tissues heal faster than most others in the body. If you have stitches, they usually come out within a week after the surgery. Even if it takes as long as two weeks to heal completely, you can get back into your normal routine within a day of the procedure.

Contact a periodontist or dentist in your area to learn more about what’s involved in gum surgery and whether it’s right for you.

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

Oct
22

Can Gums Grow Back?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum loss is a pretty big deal, since gums are supposed to provide protection and support for tooth roots. Without them, teeth can develop cavities on their roots and become very sensitive.

So is there any chance of your gums growing back once a little bit is lost?

Unfortunately, no.

Gums grow to a set height in proportion with the underlying bone. If that bone is lost, the gums cannot reform all the way up to cover the tooth root. It would have nothing to attach to and be very floppy! Gingiva worn away from the front of teeth also cannot regrow. They’ve lost the elastic tissue that attaches them to root surfaces.

How to Restore Lost Gums

Your gums won’t grow back on their own once they’re lost. But there are a few ways you can prevent further damage and protect your teeth.

Get treatment for gum disease – Gum recession caused by infection will only continue to worsen. Ask your dentist for a gum health exam and gum disease treatment to stop the disease progression.

Switch toothbrushes – Go for a brush with soft bristles or even a powered toothbrush to reduce how hard you’re scrubbing.

Try gum or bone grafting – Some areas of your mouth can be repaired by grafting in tissue to serve as a scaffold to help new gingiva attach.

Have your teeth bonded – Dental bonding patches up exposed roots and fills in gaps between teeth with a tooth-colored filling. This protects roots exposed by gum loss and helps close empty spaces.

Visit your local dentist for help in identifying the cause behind your lost gums and to find out what treatment options are available.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Sep
19

If Your Gums Are Bleeding, It’s Probably for One of These Reasons

Posted in Gum Disease

Bleeding gums may come as a shock if you’ve never experienced it before. On the other hand, your gums may bleed so often that you feel it’s normal.

Bleeding gums are anything but normal, however.

Your dentist will help you figure out whether one of the following causes are behind your unhappy gum tissues.

Gum Disease

A bacterial infection in the gums called periodontitis is the most common cause of bleeding gingiva.

The infection starts out as gingivitis. But if not treated, it can move into the ligaments and bone below the gums.

Your body responds to the bacterial infection with an inflammatory response. This causes blood vessels to expand around the gum tissues. When the gums swell from the infection, those blood vessels are easily ruptured with brushing or flossing.

Gum disease typically begins with inadequate oral hygiene. It can flare up with changes like stress, smoking, and a poor diet.

Hectic Hormones

A sudden change in hormones can make gums overly sensitive to dental plaque. Pregnancy is notorious for causing bleeding gums.

Medication

If you’re on something like a blood-thinner, then your gums will easily bleed when disturbed. Something like taking aspirin on a regular basis may make your gums prone to bleeding more heavily.

Rough Flossing 

Pulling the floss too roughly between teeth can cut gums and make them bleed unnecessarily. Floss can cut soft gum tissue like a knife if you don’t learn how to maneuver it properly.

What if you’re confident you have your oral hygiene well under control but still suffer from sensitive or bleeding gums?

Schedule a visit with your local family dentist to find out what’s making your gums bleed.

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

Sep
17

Health Considerations for Oral Piercings

Posted in Gum Disease

Oral jewelry may look pretty, exotic, rebellious, or tough, but it can also be dangerous.

Here are a few things you should think about before you go ahead and get your lip, cheek, chin, or tongue pierced.

Infection

Even if your piercing was done with clean equipment, it’s still a hole in your mouth. Oral injuries are risky due to the high levels of bacteria found in your mouth. These germs can trigger an infection in a new piercing or an old one if it’s not kept clean.

Cleaning

Too many people neglect their piercings, not realizing how dirty they can get. You may find it’s a pain to regularly clean your accessory and make sure the pierced area is free of foreign debris.

Allergic Reaction

It’s one thing to have your earlobe swell up from a cheap piece of jewelry. But getting a tongue piercing is a bad time to discover you have an allergy. If your tongue or throat tissues swell up, you may have difficulty breathing and face a medical emergency.

Gum Recession

If a piercing constantly chafes against your gums when your cheeks or tongue move, that can trigger gums to recede. Sensitive tooth roots can be exposed to decay and require treatment such as gum grafts or gum recontouring.

Swallowing Risk

There’s always the chance that something doesn’t get screwed in right, and you accidentally swallow something sharp!

Before you get an oral piercing, carefully think about this: whether making a personal statement is worth destroying a free and healthy channel of expressing yourself – your smile!

If you’ve already made up your mind, talk to your dentist about how to safely care for the area to reduce your risk of gum damage and infection.

Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 651-8618

 

Sep
13

Could Flossing Be Bad for Your Gums?

Posted in Gum Disease

Flossing is important. Daily flossing helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, but did you know that improper flossing could be harmful to your gums?

Technique Matters!

When you floss, stay as close to your tooth as possible. Wrap the floss snugly around the crown in a C-shape before working it below the gums between teeth.

Scoot the floss up and down all the while keeping it pulled firmly against the tooth. You don’t need to pull so hard that your tooth hurts, but keep the floss thread taut enough that it stays on the tooth.

Don’t just randomly shove floss between two teeth. Pay attention to each side of every tooth. Also, avoid forcing the floss through tight spots; instead, see-saw it in gently.

Why It Matters

Your teeth are curved on the sides. Picture a row of eggs resting in a foam egg crate. The spaces between the eggs are kind of hourglass shaped. Neighboring teeth sitting in gums look similarly.

If you don’t hug the floss to the crown of the tooth, you’ll end up missing all the plaque packed in at the gum line. It’s key to follow the curve of the tooth as you scoot the floss down to ensure you reach all the plaque.

Not only will incorrect technique miss plaque, but it can hurt your gums. Simply jamming the floss straight down between your teeth can cut your soft tissue.

Signs of Incorrect Flossing

Do your gums bleed every time you floss despite the fact that you floss daily? Is there a cleft or slice mark on the gums between your teeth?

Rough flossing may be your problem.

Ask your dentist for tips on gentle flossing and alternatives to traditional floss.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

Sep
12

Does Your Child Have Gingivitis?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It’s a response to irritating plaque bacteria left on the teeth. When teeth aren’t brushed at least twice a day, the germs can cause gums to  become sensitive, swollen, and bleed easily.

Kids are just as prone to getting gingivitis as adults are. If not treated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis (gum disease) and eventually even tooth loss.

Fortunately, gum disease can be treated with periodontal therapy by your dentist or periodontist.  It’s important for you to recognize signs of gum problems in your kids to promote a healthy smile from a young age.

Signs of Gingivitis

Your child may be suffering from gingivitis if you notice that they have:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bright red puffy gums
  • Thick yellowish buildup on their teeth
  • Complaints of sore gums
  • Bleeding that’s spontaneous or triggered by brushing or flossing

Why Kids Are Prone to Gingivitis

You likely help your small children with their tooth brushing. But as kids get older, they crave more independence. They want to take care of their own hygiene needs and you’re happy to encourage them.

Just because kids can brush their teeth on their own doesn’t mean they’re good at doing it regularly. Children may slack off on brushing, only doing it once a day at the most. A lack of brushing and flossing is the primary cause of gingivitis.

Kids on the verge of puberty tend to have more sensitive gums that overreact to dental plaque. Hormones in the body can trigger chronic cases of gingivitis.

If You Suspect Gingivitis

Gingivitis isn’t something your child has to live with forever. In fact, you can easily treat and prevent gum inflammation with regular dental visits and a bit of extra help at home. Plan a checkup for every member of your family to keep gum disease from becoming a permanent resident in your house!

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Sep
9

Bad Breath? Your Gums May Be to Blame

Posted in Gum Disease

We all experience those occasional cases of halitosis.

It could be due to lots of garlic at dinner, or it could just be a morning thing.

But if you have bad breath that won’t go away, it may be time to put aside the mints and see a dentist for a gum check.

REALLY Bad Breath!

There is a difference between bad breath caused by food and that caused by a serious medical issue.

You might notice an unpleasant taste in your mouth, but there’s a good chance you don’t know you have a bad breath issue until someone tells you.

Bad breath associated with gum disease is described as something rotting. This kind of bad breath is hard for others to ignore and may even result in people avoiding you.

Why so much stink?

Periodontal Disease and Bad Breath

When gums get inflamed by bacteria, this is called gingivitis. It doesn’t usually stink, in itself. Mild bad breath may just result from the fact that plaque bacteria are left in the mouth too long.

Gingivitis, left untreated, can turn into something far worse.

Periodontitis (periodontal disease) is when the inflammation and infection spread far beyond the gums. The underlying ligaments and bone that support the teeth start to break down. This creates pockets around tooth roots that trap more bacteria.

That ever-accumulating mass of germs along with decaying ligaments create a powerful stench.

So if you notice persistent and very foul breath, it could be a sign that your gums are in trouble.

Get a diagnosis for the cause of your bad breath and get rid of it for good by seeing your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Aug
20

Can Gum Recession Cause Tooth Loss?

Posted in Gum Disease

You may have receding gums if you notice your teeth…

  • Are more temperature-sensitive than before
  • Are beginning to look longer and yellower
  • Feel an uncomfortable zing when you brush close to the gum line

Common causes of receding gums include rough tooth brushing, poor tooth alignment, smoking, gum disease, and excess tartar buildup.

Right now, you’re probably wondering what danger gum recession could pose for your teeth.

Why Gum Recession Is Bad News

Without gums to protect tooth roots, your teeth will be at increased risk for developing sensitivity and decay. They lack the protective enamel covering the upper part of teeth have.

Your gums are secured to the underlying bone that supports your teeth. If that bone disappears, then there’s nothing for the gums to grow onto. The gum line can’t grow any higher than the level of the bone.

This means that if your gums have receded far enough to expose the entire tooth root and risk it falling out, then you have a bigger problem with your bone than with your gums.

Bone-loss and accompanying severe gum recession can be caused by:

  • Trauma to jaw
  • A habit of teeth-clenching
  • Gum disease that has infected bone

Stop Gums from Receding

No matter how little gum recession you may have, do your teeth a favor and make it stop!

Ask your dentist whether a small change to your routine or habits can spare your gums any further damage. If your teeth have already lost a lot of gum and bone support, then you may be a candidate for tissue grafting to save your tooth.

Call your local dental office today to schedule a visit.

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

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