Dental Tips Blog

Jan
28

Swollen Gums? What You Can Do

Posted in Gum Disease

Gums usually swell up in response to irritation. Everyone has to deal with swollen gums at some point in their lives – whether it’s due to a piece of popcorn stuck along your gums or skipping a few days of flossing – if you currently have gum inflammation throughout your mouth, then these steps provide some relief.

Rinse with Warm Salt Water

For swollen gums that are tender and sore, a warm salt water rinse is a good thing to start with. Rinsing gently can bring down the inflammation and soothe painful tissues. Use about ½ teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water.

Brush and Floss

The next step is to physically remove any plaque or debris that could be contributing to the inflammation. You can do this best by brushing with a soft toothbrush and flossing, paying special attention to cleaning just under the gumlines. Daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent swollen gums before they start.

Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash

Mouth rinses containing ingredients like essential oils or cetylpyridinium chloride inhibit bacterial growth. Using these mouthwashes can prevent plaque from growing between tooth brushing sessions, giving your swollen gums a better chance to heal.

Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin C

Your body need lots of vitamin C to stay healthy. Gums may quickly swell up if your diet has been low in fruits and vegetables, lately. Load up on vitamin-rich fresh foods to boost your gum health.

See Your Dentist

Swollen gums can be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease that leads to tooth loss. Don’t just ignore swelling; if it doesn’t respond to improved oral hygiene measures, then it’s time to periodontal treatment.

Contact a dentist or periodontist in your area if you have any other questions about your gum health.

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

Jan
26

The 6 Main Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Posted in Gum Disease

Also known as periodontitis, gum disease is a serious condition that most people know little about. If not treated, this chronic infection can lead to tooth loss. It also negatively impacts overall health.

Are you at risk for gum disease?

Here are the six main risk factors for developing periodontitis.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Bacteria found in plaque biofilm is the primary cause of gum disease. Some bacteria species are more dangerous than others and you can’t always control which kind of germs you have in your mouth. Even so, brushing and flossing to get rid of plaque will slow down bacterial growth. If you don’t have good oral hygiene, you are at risk for periodontitis.

Smoking

Tobacco use is a major contributor of gum disease. Smoking slows down healing and blood circulation which are necessary to fight off bacterial infections. When you smoke, you make it easier for bacteria to infect and destroy your tissues.

Diabetes

Diabetes and periodontitis go hand-in-hand. Uncontrolled diabetes makes it almost impossible to control a gum infection because the body can’t heal itself very well. High blood sugar levels may also contribute to greater tissue destruction in the gums.

Age

Poor gum health is common for older adults. With advancing age comes an increased risk for gum disease (especially if flossing wasn’t a habit.)

Stress

Stress releases chemicals that can actually speed up the breakdown of gum tissue and impair the body’s ability to heal. Stress may also cause you to neglect your oral hygiene.

Genetics

If someone in your family had gum disease, odds are good that you’re at risk, too.

Schedule a gum health evaluation with a dentist near you and learn how you can lower your risk for gum disease induced tooth loss.

Posted on behalf of:
Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
1816 Independence Square, Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 399-9199

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

Is Tartar Really Bad for Teeth?

Posted in Laser Dentistry

You hear lots about dental products that prevent plaque and tartar. Not to mention your hygienist telling you to brush and floss to fight the buildup.

But do you know what’s so bad about having tartar in the first place?

What Is Tartar?

Tartar is a term for dental “calculus.” Calculus isn’t the math course you took in high school. In this case, it refers to a substance that naturally grows on teeth over time.

Calculus is a rock-like gritty deposit. It occurs when minerals in saliva mix with plaque that contains bacteria and food debris. How fast you develop tartar depends on the minerals in your saliva and how much plaque is on your teeth.

Typically, tartar forms in small amounts within a matter of weeks. Several months after a dental cleaning you may notice the pale rough calculus developing along your gum line.

What’s So Bad About Calculus?

Dental calculus is just a collection of minerals and dead germs. It’s also porous, which allows it to absorb stains from smoking and dark-colored foods. So for one thing, it makes teeth look gross.

Although it’s sometimes a protective defense against damage to the underlying enamel, it can harbor live bacteria. This tends to irritate gums and triggers recession. It also serves as the perfect platform for another kind of bacteria – the one responsible for periodontal disease and bad breath. If you let calculus develop freely for long enough, you won’t even be able to floss anymore since it would fill in the gaps between teeth.

Fight that tartar! Visit your dentist for regular checkups to avoid unhealthy dental calculus.

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

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

Jul
13

Why You Still Need to See a Dentist Even Though Your Teeth Feel Fine

Posted in Gum Disease

So you’re one of the lucky few who’ve never had a dental filling.

Whether you attribute your stellar teeth to diet, genetics, or a great flossing routine, you’re grateful you don’t have steep dental bills.

But your dentist still wants to see you on a regular basis. That’s because white teeth are nothing without strong gums to hold them in place.

The Role Gums Play

Your gums protect sensitive tooth roots, but they also are unique in their ability to nourish and cushion teeth. They contain a rich network of blood vessels, nerves, and ligaments. Tooth roots connect to the gums at special junctures which help anchor teeth in place.

Gums are irreplaceable. If something happens to them, your teeth lose valuable support.

How Is Your Periodontal Health?

Your gums and the ligaments that lie beneath are classified as periodontal tissues.

Periodontal damage often happens gradually and it’s usually painless.

Some signs of gum disease are easy to pick up on:

  • Chronic bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

But if periodontal disease sets in, it destroys those ligaments long before you’d notice any of these signs.

Here’s where your dentist comes in.

Only a dental professional can detect and measure periodontal damage before you notice the signs. X-rays and other tools can determine the level of healthy gum tissue you have left.

Regular dental visits aren’t just for the benefit of your teeth. A checkup at the dentist’s is also a chance to find out how your gums are doing.

Besides that, you’ll also get valuable tips from your dentist on how to treat or even avoid gum disease.

Don’t wait! Call today to schedule your periodontal health evaluation.

Posted on behalf of:
Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
1816 Independence Square, Suite B
Dunwoody, GA 30338
(770) 399-9199

May
20

What Are Periodontal Pockets?

Posted in Gum Disease

You may have heard the term “periodontal pockets” thrown around once or twice by a dental hygienist during your cleaning.

What exactly are they?

How Periodontitis Affects Your Teeth

Gum disease (periodontitis) starts out as an accumulation of bacterial plaque on teeth. If this plaque isn’t removed, it causes inflammation in the gum line. If this swelling isn’t reversed, it can spread and involve the ligaments that anchor teeth in place (periodontal tissues).

Your body reacts to the infection by sending out chemicals. Unfortunately, this reaction causes more damage to ligaments. Eventually, the gums pull away from your tooth roots entirely.

The bacteria multiply and invade the new empty space and the process continues. As things progress, even the bone surrounding teeth can start to break down. This results in a distinct gap, or “pocket,” between the tooth and your tissues.

Periodontal pockets are bad news. Not only do these gaps signify a loss of attachment for your tooth, but they are nearly impossible to keep clean. You’ll never be able to control the bacteria and tartar settling into those pockets with a toothbrush and floss, alone.

Do You Have Periodontal Pockets?

Your dental hygienist will do routine gum measurements to see whether any of your teeth have lost their gum and tooth support.

These measurements are recorded in millimeters on a chart. Measurements of 3mm or less are within the healthy range of snug gum tissue. A few 4mm areas suggest some gum inflammation. But areas higher than 5mm are a definite sign that your mouth needs periodontal treatment.

Call your local dentist to schedule a gum health evaluation and find out how you can prevent gum disease.

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

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