Dental Tips Blog


Why Dental Plaque Is Bad for Gums

Plaque is the word you hear every time you get your teeth cleaned or see a toothpaste commercial.

What exactly is plaque, though?

Dental plaque is a natural film that grows on your teeth, gums, and tongue. It’s mainly made up of bacteria that mix with a fluid produced by your gums. Plaque also contains traces of the food you eat. The germs surround themselves in a protective slime layer and feed off the food remnants.

All of that gunk combines into a thin and invisible film called plaque.

If that plaque isn’t frequently removed, the layers will thicken and turn more yellow and cloudy. So if you can see a thick layer of “gunk” on your teeth, that’s a germ metropolis!

Why is plaque bad news?

Besides the obvious fact that plaque makes teeth look dirty and dull, it also poses some serious risks to your gum health.

Bacteria in dental plaque include those responsible for triggering gum inflammation. How severely gums respond to the presence of plaque varies from person to person. But plaque almost always causes gums to swell and become more sensitive.

A little gum inflammation is called “gingivitis.” But if not treated, gingivitis can advance to a serious disease called periodontitis. That’s when the swelling and infection infect bone and ligaments around teeth.

On top of all this, when plaque calcifies with minerals in your saliva, it hardens into that ugly tartar. There’s no way you’re getting that off with a toothbrush! Tartar, or dental calculus, needs professional dental tools to remove it.

Clearly, controlling plaque is important to having healthy gums. Contact your dentist for a gum health evaluation to learn more.

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


What’s the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

Posted in Gum Disease

Toothpaste advertising often touts anti-gingivitis benefits. Your dentist talks about preventing periodontitis.

Is there a difference between these two words… or are they the same thing?

Gingivitis: The Beginning

Gingivitis is inflammation of gum tissues. Your gums should hug your teeth tightly, but they get rolled, puffy, and red when you develop gingivitis. This inflammatory process is an immune response to plaque bacteria near the gums. You can develop mild gingivitis within a couple weeks of inadequate brushing and flossing.

The good news is that gingivitis is reversible within about 10-14 days with good oral hygiene.

For some people, they never experience anything worse than a little gingivitis. But inflamed gums can also open the door for a much more serious infection.

The Dangers of Periodontitis

Periodontitis refers to the inflammation and immune response in the bone and deeper gum tissues around your teeth. There’s a network of ligaments that attach your gums and teeth to the bone in your mouth. Bacteria can cause them to detach, with the bone shrinking away during the process; unfortunately, the damage is often permanent.

Untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. When periodontitis is left unchecked, it can cause tooth loss.

Do You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis?

Gingivitis and periodontitis can share some of the same symptoms:

  • Smelly breath (periodontitis is often worse)
  • Bleeding on brushing and flossing
  • Tender, swollen gums
  • Teeth yellowed from plaque and tartar buildup

Gingivitis may be a less serious infection, but the symptoms are often so similar that you can’t afford to ignore any sign of gum inflammation.

Get to a dentist right away if you notice any signs of bleeding, swollen gums. A periodontal evaluation may be just what you need to prevent the consequences of gum disease.

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


Why You Can’t Ignore Bleeding Gums

Posted in Gum Disease

If you see pink in the sink, it’s worse than you think!

That may sound a little silly, but it’s true. If you see blood when you brush, that’s usually a sign that you have a serious problem with your gums.

Is Bleeding Normal?

Some people conclude that flossing is pointless and painful because it causes their gums to bleed.

But if you ask those same people, they probably don’t floss everyday!

It’s possible to floss only just enough to hate it. Clean healthy gums should NOT bleed during gentle flossing. When your gums become inflamed from a bacterial infection (gingivitis), they become sensitive to disruptions, like flossing.

But flossing is essential because it removes the bacteria that cause inflammation. So although it may seem counterintuitive, flossing more should help your gums heal and bleed less!

Why You Shouldn’t Wait

Bleeding gums could be a sign of reversible gum inflammation such as gingivitis, or it could indicate a more serious gum condition. In any case, gingivitis can progress to a more serious form of gum disease if it is not treated.

What You Can Do

  • Brush at least twice daily for two minutes at a time
  • Use “antigingivitis” rinses and toothpastes
  • Floss daily
  • Keep regular dental appointments

Schedule a visit with your dentist or dental hygienist as soon as possible. A routine dental examination may be all that’s needed to determine the cause of your bleeding gums. And a professional dental cleaning will get your gums back to a clean slate. Your hygienist will provide you with tailored instructions for reducing gum inflammation and preventing plaque buildup. Call today to schedule your appointment!

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


Essential Oils and Oral Health

Posted in Gum Disease

Essential oil use isn’t a new fad. In fact, essential oils have been used in oral care products for years. Some very common over the counter mouthwashes include oils as part of their key active ingredients.

Some dental patients find that using a drop or two of essential oil on their toothbrush, or rinsing with a few drops in a cup of water can greatly affect their oral health as well as give them fresher breath. The effects of the natural oils help kill odor causing bacteria, as well as harmful plaque that leads to gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease). Using concentrated essential oils as directed can help you have fresher breath for as long as 2 or 3 hours after using them. Rather than covering up bacteria that causes odors, essential oils help eliminate the bacteria altogether.

Patients that suffer from gingivitis or gum inflammation may find that using essential oils along with a modified brushing technique can reverse the inflammatory process. Patients with orthodontics who experience gingivitis and bleeding and then rinse with an essential oil mouthwash find that areas of bleeding are improved.  Other dental patients can benefit as well, and essential oils can be a part of your comprehensive home oral care plan. Simply adding this ingredient to your toothbrush in the morning can aid in faster gum healing, healthier oral tissues, and fresher breath.

There are products available through retailers, which formulate specific blends of essential oils for home oral hygiene. Some of the common oils that are used depending on specific needs include tea tree, rosemary, lemon, cypress, eucalyptus, mint and lavender. Too much oil could cause irritation or an unpleasant taste, so always use the product as directed.

Posted on behalf of Springhill Dental Health Center


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