Dental Tips Blog

Oct
17

Will Swollen Gums Go Away?

Posted in Gum Disease

Yes, you’ll be relieved to learn that swollen gums are reversible. Whether or not your gums get better, however, depends mainly on you.

Why Gums Swell

Swollen gums are marked by:

  • Puffiness
  • Tenderness
  • Itchiness
  • Bleeding

As you likely are experiencing, swollen gums can be quite uncomfortable. What’s causing this discomfort?

The tissues in your delicate gums are reacting to plaque bacteria left on your teeth. When these germs come in contact with your gums, they trigger an immune response that results in increased blood vessels and fluids in your gums.

If you have poor oral hygiene, then your gums may swell often from constantly being covered in plaque. At other times, hormone fluctuations in your body can make your gums more sensitive despite having great oral hygiene.

How to Reverse Gum Swelling Quickly

Swishing warm salt water around your mouth can give you instant relief from swollen gums. But the most effective step is to brush and floss thoroughly. Clean your teeth as best you can and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. The swelling should start to go down as soon as your teeth are cleaner.

Make a few small but important diet changes, as well. Malnutrition can cause gum swelling so it’s important to make sure you’re getting all your vitamins from a balanced diet.

Is it Time to See a Dentist for Gum Swelling?

If your gum swelling doesn’t improve within a week or two, it could be a sign of trouble. Chronic gum swelling may be due to a serious infection called periodontitis, commonly referred to as gum disease. Left untreated, this condition can lead to tooth loss.

Call your dentist for an appointment to learn more about preventative gum health.

Posted on behalf of:
Gilreath Dental Associates
200 White St NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 514-1224

Sep
13

Are Crooked Teeth Increasing Your Risk of Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Having a less-than-perfect smile may not be such a big deal. But having gum disease is.

Gum disease, also called periodontitis, leads to tooth loss and can even predispose you to other health complications.

Crooked teeth are far more than just a cosmetic issue. Having tipped or crowded teeth could actually put you at higher risk of gum disease. Here’s how.

The Dangers of Crooked Teeth

Your teeth are healthier when spaced out in even alignment than when they’re crammed together. Overlapping teeth trap plaque bacteria and food debris which lead to decay and gum irritation. Properly spaced teeth are easy to clean with a toothbrush or floss and are thus more likely to be healthy.

Crooked teeth also put uneven tension on your gums. This leads to gum recession which worsens the effects of gum disease.

Braces Can Lower Your Risk of Periodontitis

Orthodontic treatment frees up space between your teeth and reduces tension on the gums. Even a short treatment period can make a difference in your oral health. Wearing braces or an orthodontic retainer may seem uncomfortable or inconvenient at times. But it’ll all be worth it in the end when you have healthy teeth and gums that are easy to keep clean.

Can Braces Make Your Gums Healthier?

Your teeth and gums may stand to benefit from braces if in addition to crooked teeth you have:

  • Gum recession
  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Food constantly getting trapped between your teeth
  • Difficulty flossing between tight or overlapping teeth
  • Gums that bleed whenever you floss or brush

See a dentist in your area for a gum health and orthodontic evaluation to see if braces are right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Acworth
5552 Robin Road Suite A
Acworth, GA 30102
(678) 888-1554

Sep
13

7 Steps to Rebuilding Your Smile After Gum Disease Strikes

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease is serious but treatable. By following these seven steps under professional guidance, you can rebuild your smile and restore your oral health.

  1. See a Gum Health Professional

The very first thing you need to do if you suspect gum disease is to see a dentist or periodontist. A gum health professional will assess your gums for signs of disease and let you know exactly which steps to take next.

  1. Get a Deep Cleaning

Most treatment for gum disease involves a deep cleaning to remove tartar and bacteria from below the gum line. This step is crucial to controlling the infection.

  1. Try Antibiotic Therapy

Some patients benefit from antibiotic therapy to reduce the bacteria causing the inflammation. Your doctor may recommend local application around specific teeth, a therapeutic antimicrobial mouthwash, or a course of prescription pills.

  1. Cut Out Smoking

Smoking delays healing and makes gum tissue tough and inflexible. Cut back on the habit while your gums recover from treatment.

  1. Clean Your Teeth and Gums Well

Now that your gums are responding well to treatment, you must maintain the progress you’ve made. Brush and floss every day to prevent more germs from infecting your gums.

  1. Take Extra Vitamin C

An orange a day could boost your gums’ immune health. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

  1. Consider Gum Surgery and Other Restorative Treatment

Have your teeth lost support due to gum disease? You may need bone grafting, gum tissue grafting, or replacement teeth. Replacing these lost structures will keep your mouth healthy and prevent you from developing gum disease again.

Ready for healthier gums? Call your dentist to get started.

Posted on behalf of:
Smile Design Studios
6130 Highway 6
Missouri City, TX 77459
(281) 969-7388

Aug
5

Bleeding Gums—Are Your Hormones to Blame?

Posted in Gum Disease

Do your gums bleed in spite of your best efforts to keep them clean?

Women are subject to many body changes thanks to fluctuating hormones. Some of these changes are significant and some are so small that you barely notice them.

For example, hormones can have an impact even on small areas such as your gum tissue.

How Hormones Affect Gums

The surge or other sudden shift in the levels of hormones including estrogen and progesterone can trigger odd changes in the gingiva.

You may experience more gum sensitivity and gingivitis at times in your life when your body has heightened levels of these hormones.

Specifically, you might have tender swollen gums that bleed around events like:

  • Puberty
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking contraceptives
  • Menopause

If you develop gingivitis suddenly and around a few random teeth, then this is a sign that your gums may be suffering from hormonal changes. In contrast, gingivitis that develops gradually around large areas of your mouth and that lasts for weeks suggests that your oral hygiene could use some improvement.

Protect Your Gums During Hormonal Changes

Even if your gingivitis is a temporary result of hormone fluctuations, it can still provide a gateway for a more serious infection if you don’t treat it.

Oral hygiene prevents disease-causing plaque from building up and triggering gum inflammation. Keep your gums healthy at all times by brushing carefully along your gum line every day and flossing around each tooth daily, as well. An antimicrobial rinse can also help prevent gum disease by limiting bacteria growth around your gums.

See your dentist regularly for gum health checkups to learn more about keeping your gums healthy despite the influence of hormones.

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

Aug
5

5 Foods That Are Good for Your Oral Health

Posted in Gum Disease

Could you munch your way to a better smile? A diet low in sugars and acids will inhibit the growth of troublesome bacteria. Here are five foods that will improve your gum health, brighten teeth, and freshen breath.

Yogurt

Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium because human bodies absorb calcium better from dairy than from plant-based sources. Your body needs calcium to keep your bones strong and your teeth healthy and white. Yogurt is a great source of calcium. Plus, it’s loaded with bacteria-fighting probiotics that can freshen your breath.

Beans and Lentils

Legumes (wing beans, especially) are good sources of calcium if your health or personal values don’t allow you to consume dairy. Beans also contain fiber and protein, which will keep you feeling full and energized longer and thus minimize the urge to snack and graze on sugary junk food.

Celery

Celery is not only healthy for your body but it’s a perfect natural tooth cleanser. Its fibrous texture and high water content naturally clean your teeth of smelly and dangerous plaque bacteria.

Red Peppers

Sweet peppers are incredible sources of vitamin C, a nutrient essential for healthy gums. You can also get vitamin C in fruit sources such as guava, oranges, and strawberries. Peppers are lower in sugar, however.

Green Tea

Green tea (sugar-free, of course) holds out a lot of potential oral health benefits. Some studies indicate that people who regularly drink green tea are at a lower risk of gum disease. Additionally, tea is good for freshening breath and is also a natural source of enamel-strengthening fluoride.

How is your current diet affecting your oral health? Find out by scheduling a visit with your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Laguna West Dental Care
9098 Laguna Main St Ste 8
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 683-7300

Aug
1

When Was the Last Time You Had Your Gums “Charted?”

Posted in Gum Disease

If you’ve been faithful about visiting the dentist every six months for check-ups, then chances are you’ve had this special gum-charting procedure done before.

Gum (periodontal) charting is when the dental hygienist uses a small ruler-like probe to measure the depth of your gums all around each tooth. He or she documents the measurements in millimeters in a paper or digital chart.

What is the point of gum charting? And how often should you have it done?

Periodontal Charting Prevents Disease

Gum pocket measurements of 3-4 millimeters are considered healthy. Deeper readings can indicate inflamed gum tissue or the loss of bone around teeth due to gum disease.

By measuring your gums and tracking the depths from year to year, your dentist and hygienist can quickly identify areas that are starting to deteriorate. You’ll be alerted so you can take action to improve areas of concern, to avoid developing serious gum disease.

Dentists Recommend Charting Once a Year

Dentists, hygienists, and gum health specialists generally advise adults to have their periodontal charts updated on a yearly basis.

Naturally, each patient’s needs are different, so your hygienist may check your gum levels more or less often. If you’ve had perfectly healthy gums all of your life, you can probably wait a year or a little more between chartings. But if you have a history of periodontitis or are at high risk for periodontal disease then your hygienist may check your gums more often than once a year.

Periodontal charting can take several minutes, but it’s worth every second to know where your gum health is at! Contact your dentist today to make sure you’re up-to-date on this diagnostic procedure.

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

Jun
19

How Hormones Can Affect Your Oral Health

Posted in Gum Disease

Hormones can influence things like weight changes, sex drive, moods, and hair growth, to name a few. If you’re a woman, then none of this comes as a surprise.

One thing you might not have known is that hormones can also play a big role in your oral health.

Puberty and Oral Health in Girls

Hormones from puberty can cause gums to swell and overreact to the presence of plaque. Teenagers are highly prone to gingivitis. Even well into adulthood some women may discover that their gums become more tender and sensitive around the time of their period.

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy brings along a whole new set of hormones. Pregnant women are susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis as a result. Some women experience an increased risk in cavities during this time because of frequent vomiting, diet changes, or dry mouth, all of which can be linked to hormonal changes.

How Menopause Affects Oral Health

Menopause brings along changes such as a burning sensation in the mouth, dry mouth, and altered taste. Bone loss in the jaw is another serious concern. Women going through menopause may be at increased risk for decay and gum disease.

Combatting the Effects of Hormones on the Mouth

No matter which stage of life you’re currently in, proper dental hygiene will keep your mouth healthy. Hormones can cause unusual reactions in your gums and may even dry out your mouth. But the key is to do all you can to prevent and slow down the formation of plaque bacteria.

Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Floss daily. Visit your dentist regularly for checkups, dental cleanings, and other preventative treatments.

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

Jun
19

Why Do Dentists “Poke” Your Gums and Then Say You Need to Floss More?

Posted in Gum Disease

It’s ironic to be told you need to improve your oral hygiene while your dentist seemingly pokes and prods your gums with small metal instruments.

But everything makes sense once you understand how your gums work.

Get to Know Your Gums

Your gingiva is more than just a delicate layer of skin over your teeth. It contains a thick and complex network of blood vessels and ligaments.

Gum tissue is very susceptible to infection and inflammation from the presence of germs in your mouth. Your gums are essentially a gateway to the rest of your body and their health has a significant influence on your overall wellness.

What Your Dentist Is Looking For

As your dentist (or hygienist) is “poking” around your gums, they’re measuring them to determine whether there are any signs of tissue loss. Exploring with special tools also reveals the presence of tartar on teeth below the gum line.

Prodding your gums with an instrument may be uncomfortable and cause bleeding if your gums are already inflamed. However, healthy gum tissue is tight and doesn’t easily bleed even when bumped. That’s why your dentist may give you some oral hygiene advice after examining your gums and finding that they are, in fact,  infected.

Flossing Improves Your Periodontal Health

Flossing can also make tender, infected gums bleed at first if you aren’t in the habit of using floss regularly. But your dentist wants you to start flossing daily since this activity disrupts the growth of bacteria that cause gingivitis and gum disease.

So, when your dentist lectures you on flossing, it usually means there are signs your gums are unhealthy. Proper flossing can improve your condition. Contact your dentist to learn more about improving your gingival health.

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

Jun
18

What Makes a Periodontist Different from a Regular Dentist?

Posted in Gum Disease

Did you know that there are more than six to seven kinds of dentist? That’s right – there are dentists who focus on restoring teeth and others who focus on other structures in the mouth.

A periodontist is a dental specialist who specializes on everything below the gum line. He or she has several more years of education beyond basic dental school and uses their advanced training to make sure your teeth have a healthy foundation.

What Periodontists Do

Periodontists treat gum disease and provide therapy to gum and bone tissue in the jaw. They place implants and restore the smile by grafting new gum tissues on top of tooth roots.

Periodontists don’t treat teeth by placing fillings or crowns or performing root canals. Their focus is mainly on oral structures that you may otherwise take for granted.

When to See a Periodontist

If you have a specific concern about your gums or are curious about implants, then you should plan a visit with a periodontist. In general, however, you end up meeting a periodontist if your regular dentist refers you to one.

Visit Your Dentist to Keep Your Gums Healthy

Your gums and teeth are both extremely important to your smile’s health and beauty. Visiting your dentist at least once every six months will help you stay on top of your oral health. These maintenance appointments include exams, cleanings, and possibly x-rays that will help you avoid problems in the first place.

If you need specialized help in getting a gum infection under control or regenerating healthy gum tissue, then your dentist can refer you out.

Contact your dentist today to schedule a gum health checkup and find out whether or not you should see a periodontist.

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

May
18

Does Flossing Cause Gums to Bleed?

Posted in Gum Disease

When you bleed every time you run a thin thread of floss between your teeth, then it’s easy to assume that flossing is the problem.

Dentists don’t recommend doing something that will make your gums bleed or unhealthy, however. So why is this happening?

Flossing Does NOT Make Gums Bleed!

Done properly and regularly, flossing will not make gums bleed.

Your flossing technique, however, could pose a problem. Pulling the floss straight down between teeth can make it cut painfully into the tender gums underneath. Infrequent flossing is even more problematic, as gums become infected and bleed when touched.

How to Floss Properly 

Wrap the floss tautly around one side of a tooth in a C-shape. Wiggle it slowly down the side and pull it back and forth to work it through the tight point of contact between teeth.

Once through the tight spot, continue to hug one side of a tooth as you carefully slip the floss below the edge of the gums, cleaning where your brush doesn’t reach. Then, gently lift the floss out and switch to the other tooth before pulling the floss firmly out from between your teeth.

When Flossing Isn’t the Problem 

If even the gentlest flossing technique still bothers your gums, then your gums themselves are likely to blame.

Inflamed or infected gums will swell up. As they do, their skin thins out and the blood vessels inside the gums also expand and thin. This makes your gum tissue highly susceptible to bleeding if it’s bumped the tiniest bit.

Flossing Prevents Bleeding Gums

Regular flossing prevents the growth of bacteria that cause gum inflammation and gum disease. Bleeding gums are often, in fact, a sign that you aren’t flossing enough.

So floss your way to healthier gums! Ask your local dentist for more oral health tips.

Posted on behalf of:
Marietta Dental Professionals
550 Franklin Gateway SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 514-5055

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