Dental Tips Blog

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

May
13

Is Your Bad Breath a Sign of Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Having a bout of bad breath is embarrassing enough. But it gets even more frustrating when it won’t go away no matter what you do.

Your chronic halitosis could actually be a sign of a very serious issue like gum disease.

Why Gum Disease Causes Bad Breath

Gum disease, also called periodontitis, is an infection in the gums. Bacterial overgrowth trigger inflammation and the ligaments and bone around teeth start to break down. These decaying tissues give off quite a foul odor.

If you have gum disease, you may notice a strange taste in your mouth or others may comment on your foul breath.

Signs You Might Have Gum Disease

Bad breath is one indicator of periodontitis, but it’s not the only one. You may have gum disease if you also notice:

  • Puffy, swollen, red gums
  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around the gumline
  • Plaque and tartar buildup

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath Cause by Periodontitis

If you struggle with bad breath, then popping a piece of mint gum may not be enough to mask the smell. Proper oral hygiene is essential for preventing both halitosis and the gum infections that may cause it.

Maintain fresh breath by cleaning your tongue, flossing every day, and brushing at least twice a day. Use toothpastes and mouthwashes that target gingivitis and plaque. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water is also effective in keeping breath sweet.

To get rid of the stench, you’ll have to treat the cause of your bad breath. A periodontist or general dentist can examine your gums for signs of disease and let you know what treatment is necessary.

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

May
6

Can You Just Take an Antibiotic to Get Rid of Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is triggered by bacteria.

If gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gums, why can’t you just take an antibiotic to treat it?

Why Antibiotics Aren’t Recommended

In some emergency situations where a patient comes in with an abscess, a dentist will most likely prescribe an antibiotic before doing anything else.

But if you just popped a pill to deal with a typical case of periodontitis, you’d actually risk antibiotic resistance. This happens when the medication isn’t strong enough to kill off all the bacteria, but it temporarily weakens the infection. The germs can then come back “bigger and badder” and tougher to fight off.

Frequent antibiotic use can also disrupt the bacterial balance in other parts of your body, leading to more problems.

Best Way to Treat Gum Disease

Periodontitis usually responds best to special dental cleanings followed up by antibiotic medication, if necessary.

As a similar example, let’s imagine you got something like a splinter or metal nail stuck in your hand. You’d definitely need an antibiotic for an infected wound, and possibly even a tetanus booster. But would that make it okay to just leave the debris in your hand? Of course not! You also need to have the object removed.

Gum disease is aggravated by collections of bacteria that live in dense gooey plaque and tough dental calculus. Unless you get rid of that debris, your gums will always be ripe for infection.

There’s no replacement for trusted periodontal therapies and a great flossing routine!

Schedule a gum health evaluation with your dentist if you suspect that you may have periodontal disease. You’ll then find out which treatment options are best for you.

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

Mar
30

Are Braces Making Your Gums Swell? What it Could Mean

Posted in Gum Disease

Gums are touchy and sensitive. They can even be a little moody. They don’t like sharing their space with anything.

When new braces come into town, gums can overreact by swelling beyond their normal size.

Some people’s gums are more sensitive than others. For the most part, however, you may be able to pin your swollen gums on a specific cause.

Put a Little More Work into Your Brushing!

Braces provide more surface area for plaque bacteria to collect on. These germs cause gum irritation (gingivitis), so getting braces increases your chances of angering your soft tissues.

This situation is easily remedied by taking your tooth-brushing game to the next level.

Your gums could benefit greatly from:

  • Extra brushing during the day
  • Brushing with a powered toothbrush
  • Using a water flosser
  • Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash

Hormones Turning Up the Volume on Gum Inflammation

In some instances, you aren’t entirely at fault for swollen gums. Sometimes it can be your hormones.

People usually get braces while in their teens. This is a time when hormones wreak havoc all over the body. It can be the same when you’re expecting; if you’re pregnant, you might see the same effects of how your situation starts to affect your gums.

Those picky gums respond in dramatic fashion to hormones with swelling and bleeding. Even so, this is still a good time to improve your oral hygiene.

Swollen gums can lead to serious gum disease later on, but they don’t have to, as long as you practice diligent oral hygiene. You can keep wearing your braces by doing your best to keep your teeth – and gums – clean. If swelling has you nervous about your braces, talk with your dentist or orthodontist.

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

Mar
6

Get Rid of Gingivitis At Home with These 4 Easy Steps

Posted in Gum Disease

Gingivitis is inflammation of your gums. It’s a very common condition affecting people of all ages. If you’re dealing with it now, then you want to know how to get rid of it before it turns into something worse.

Fortunately, you can take measures here and now to start reducing the inflammation.

  1. Change Your Brush

It’s as simple as getting a more effective toothbrush. Look for one with soft bristles and a head that’s small enough to access all of your teeth. Many people with gingivitis like a powered brush because it’s good at removing the bacterial plaque that causes inflammation.

  1. Floss Daily

Flossing is good for preventing cavities. But it’s also essential for removing the plaque in between teeth that trigger gum inflammation. Flossing every day should eventually help your gums to bleed less.

  1. Antimicrobial Rinse

Look for an ADA-approved mouthwash that claims to kill bacteria. When used along with brushing and flossing, a rinse can prevent plaque buildup from recurring for long periods throughout the day.

  1. Vitamin C

Your gums can benefit a lot from just a little extra vitamin C in your diet. A strong immune system empowers your gums to fight off bacterial infections. Get lots of this water-soluble vitamin in strawberries, oranges, red peppers, kale, and other vegetables.

Fighting gingivitis is important because it can advance to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease. Periodontitis attacks the bone and ligaments that keep your teeth in place. It can also increase your risk of developing other health problems.

After doing what you can at home, make sure to schedule a checkup with your local dentist. Professional dental cleanings will help you maintain the best gum health possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Buford Family Dental
4700 Nelson Grogdon Blvd. NE #210
Buford, GA 30518
678.730.2005

Oct
8

How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?

Posted in Gum Disease

Also known as gum disease, periodontitis is one of those conditions that can be considered a “silent killer” for your smile.

Gum disease is not likely to be deadly in the way that heart disease or cancer can be. But it is connected to serious ailments such as pneumonia and stroke. That’s because the gums are a gateway to the rest of your body. A chronic infection in your mouth can negatively impact other areas.

How do you know if you’re susceptible to this underestimated yet common disease?

Your Gums Easily Bleed

Contrary to popular belief, your gums don’t bleed because your hygienist “stabs” them. Neither is it normal for gums to bleed when you floss. Inflamed gum tissue is loaded with blood vessels that are easily damaged. So, if you notice pink in the sink, that could be a sign of infection.

Your Bad Breath Just Won’t Go Away

Not all kinds of halitosis can be masked with a breath mint. Chronic gum disease can leave a frustrating odor on your breath that causes people to keep their distance.

Gum Recession Is Driving Your Crazy

Do your teeth look a little long? Gums will shrink away from teeth as a result of inflammation from periodontitis. If you notice that more of your tooth roots are exposed, then it’s worth seeing a dentist to find out whether gum disease is to blame.

Don’t wait much longer if any of these signs are plaguing your smile! Taking quick action to treat or prevent gum disease could save not just your teeth but possibly lower your risk for other serious health problems.

Posted on behalf of:
Moores Chapel Dentistry
9115 Samlen Lane #105
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 389-9299

Sep
22

It’s Just Gingivitis – What’s the Big Deal?

Posted in Gum Disease

Discolored teeth and gingivitis can’t do that much harm, right?

“Dirty” teeth aren’t just stained. They also host lots of bacterial species, both good and bad. Leave those bacteria on your teeth long enough, however, and some will start to cause trouble.

Some germs, for example, cause cavities. Others, when left in contact with the gums for more than a day, will trigger a case of gingivitis.

What Is Gingivitis?

Your gums react to bacteria the way your skin reacts to a splinter.

Irritants trigger an automatic immune response. Gum tissues swell to allow more pathogen-fighting agents to get to the site of infection. As a result, your gums will start to look puffy and redder than usual.

This is gingivitis – the first stage in the process of gum inflammation.

Why Gingivitis Means Trouble

If those germs that caused the inflammation don’t go away, neither will the swelling.

More plaque bacteria can sneak into the tight space between tooth and gum as the gums swell and pull back from the teeth. Over time, this space can widen and allow more debris to slip in and aggravate the infection.

Your body will step up its disease-fighting game, but this process also damages gum tissues and bone. You could be left with a vicious cycle in which the bacteria multiply and your gums continue to break down. The end result is a destructive condition called periodontitis.

Periodontitis causes bad breath and gum recession and can lead to tooth-loss and other health issues.

So don’t brush off a mild case of gingivitis as nothing. Ask your dentist for periodontal treatment options to reverse the inflammation while you still can!

Posted on behalf of:
Meridian Campus Family Dental
3201 Willamette DR NE
Lacey, WA 98516
(360) 200-5505

Aug
29

How Gum Inflammation Affects Your Body

Posted in Gum Disease

Inflammation is a normal reaction and usually one of your body’s best friends.

It’s how your immune system gets rid of unwanted guests. Everything from viruses to bad foods to a little wooden splinter in your finger can trigger an inflammatory reaction.

What Happens During Inflammation?

Your body will flood the compromised site with tons of white blood cells and proteins to kill the invader. Tissues swell with the increased blood flow, making them warm and tender.

This is the same thing that happens to your gums in the case of gum disease.

How Gum Inflammation Happens

Periodontitis, also call periodontal disease or gum disease, is chronic inflammation in response to bacteria living deep in gum pockets around teeth. Because most people don’t feel or notice anything different when they have this disease, they conclude nothing is wrong.

Whether you’re bothered by gum inflammation or not, you have good reason to get your gums checked out. Periodontal disease doesn’t just jeopardize your gums and teeth. The chronic inflammation can tax your system in other ways.

Mouth-Body Connection

Growing research shows that there is some connection between inflamed gums and health problems such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

One reason for this could be that inflammatory chemicals released in your gums to fight bacteria trigger the buildup of plaque in arteries. This puts you at risk for blood clots.

If you already have a condition like diabetes, then it’s even more important that you keep your gums healthy. Don’t let gum inflammation rage unchecked!

Talk with your dentist for more information on how to treat and prevent gum disease. Your body will thank you!

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Jul
31

Should You See a Periodontist?

Posted in Gum Disease

A periodontist is a dentist with extra training and experience in gum health issues.

There’s a lot more to your gums than meets the eye. What you might not realize is there are layers of complex ligaments beneath the pinkish skin you can see on your gums. These tissues make up what’s called the “periodontium.”

The ligaments strengthen and nourish teeth, anchor them in their sockets, and act like shock absorbers to cushion your teeth when you bite. Your periodontium is so important that there are dental specialists who focus on that alone!

Why Your Gums Need Attention

Your periodontium can start to break down if it gets inflamed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t simply grow back. What starts as gingivitis on the surface of the gums can progress to gum disease and eventually cause the periodontal ligaments to pull away from the tooth, creating pockets.

As the pockets fill with bacteria or tartar and don’t get cleaned, they’ll get deeper and deeper. Ultimately, the bone can break down, too. Teeth will thus lose support and start to loosen. What’s more, your gums are a portal between your mouth and the rest of your body. So, an infection there can trigger inflammation or even another infection elsewhere.

Time To Take Action

Your dentist and hygienists will do their best to treat your case. But if your situation goes beyond what their office is equipped to handle, they will likely refer you to a gum specialist.

A periodontist will give you more varied and thorough treatment options for stopping gum disease and repairing the damage.

To start with, consult your dentist for a periodontal assessment. Charting and x-rays will help determine the seriousness of your case and what the next step is.

Posted on behalf of:
Edward Gardner, DDS
8133 Forest Hill Ave, Suite 201
Richmond, VA 23235
(804) 409-7963

Jul
25

How to Reverse Gingivitis

Posted in Gum Disease

The good news here is that you CAN reverse gingivitis. You can’t say that of too many other dental diseases.

But “gingivitis” simply means gum inflammation. It’s not too serious in it’s early stages, so with a little extra effort, you can send it packing. But leave it be, and it could cause tooth loss!

Here are five ways you can nix the problem:

  1. Anti-Gingivitis Toothpaste

Most toothpastes that claim to fight gingivitis do just that with an ingredient called triclosan. This agent keeps germs from accumulating on teeth.

  1. Anti-Microbial Mouthwash

Swish twice a day with Listerine or some other antibacterial rinse. This will help to slow down the development of bacteria throughout the day between brushings.

  1. Boost Your Vitamin C Intake

Your gums often reflect the health of the rest of your body. In fact, they’re one of the first to suffer from a weakened immune system. Load up on vitamin C to beef up your gums’ germ-fighting power.

  1. Brush and Floss More

Yes, it’s that simple!

Regular, mechanical plaque removal is probably the best way you can keep your gums healthy at home and fight the signs of gingivitis.

  1. Visit Your Dentist For A Cleaning

A buildup of tartar, stain, and plaque will irritate your gums. If you’re overdue for a cleaning, then your gums will appreciate it if you make an appointment.

Gingivitis is reversible, but if you don’t stop it, it can progress to a much more serious disease: periodontitis. This advanced gum disease is not reversible and can be hard to stop. See your dentist at the first signs of bleeding or inflamed gums to stay on top of your periodontal health!

Posted on behalf of:
Lakewood Dental Trails
10252 W Adams Ave
Temple, TX 76502
(254) 434-4035

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