Dental Tips Blog

Jan
28

What’s Causing That Strange Taste in Your Mouth? 9 Possibilities

Posted in Gum Disease

Your nose and taste buds work together to help you enjoy the experience of eating. But they can work against you when you start randomly experiencing an foul taste or odor coming from your mouth.

What’s behind that bitter, salty, or metallic taste? Here are nine possibilities to discuss with your dentist.

Inadequate Home Care

Improper brushing and flossing could accidentally allow smelly bacteria and food debris to accumulate into a film you can literally taste.

Dry Mouth

Saliva naturally cleanses your mouth and reduces acidity. But if you’re suffering from xerostomia (dry mouth,) your mouth may taste unpleasant.

Dental Infections

Bacteria can infect teeth and gums to the point of releasing odors that both taste and smell bad. These symptoms could indicate tooth decay, a dental abscess, or gum disease.

Hormone Changes

Pregnant women and women experiencing menopause often complain of a bitter or metallic taste in their mouth.

Medications

A wide range of prescription medications can be to blame for a strange taste that just doesn’t go away.

Sinus Infections and Allergies

Sinus (and even respiratory) infections can cause a temporary unpleasant taste.

Acid Reflux

Suffer from GERD? When acid from the stomach makes its way to your mouth, you’ll notice a bitter aftertaste. This condition often causes a bad taste in the mouth when you wake up in the morning.

Yeast Infection

Thrush is a common type of yeast infection affecting denture wearers and people with compromised immune systems. The fungal growth will alter your taste until the infection clears up.

Stress

High levels of anxiety can cause unexpected changes in the way you taste things.

Still not sure what could be causing an odd taste in your mouth? Contact your dentist for a consultation.

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

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
8

How Is a Periodontist Different from a Regular Dentist?

Posted in Periodontics

All periodontists go to dental school. Afterwards, they return for a few more years of study with a focus on the gum and bone tissues. The word “periodont-” literally means “around tooth.” So, a periodontist is someone who treats the structures around teeth.

Here are some of the differences between general dentists and periodontists.

What Dentists Treat That Periodontists Don’t

General dentists tend to treat just the teeth themselves. They aim to prevent decay, repair cavities, and rebuild teeth into a functional and beautiful smile. Some procedures done by dentists that you won’t likely find in a periodontist’s office include:

  • Fillings
  • Root canals
  • Dental crowns
  • Fluoride and sealants
  • Teeth whitening

What Periodontists Do That Dentists Don’t

When you visit a periodontist, you’ll have your gum health assessed via x-rays and an examination. Most likely, you’d be there because your gums need specialized treatment, cleaning, or reconstruction.

Some periodontal procedures include:

  • Deep cleaning for severe periodontitis
  • Gum surgery
  • Gum and bone grafting
  • Implant placement

Many dentists don’t place dental implants. They may restore an implant after it’s in, fitting it for a crown, bridge, or denture and so on. But the task of placing the actual screw in the bone under the gums is often referred out to a periodontist.

Even if your gums are in great shape, you may go see a periodontist for an implant if your local dentist doesn’t place them.

Do You Need to See a Periodontist?

Talk with your dentist about a referral to a periodontist. If you feel that your gums are showing signs of disease such as bleeding, recession, loose teeth, and bad breath, then you can feel free to contact a local periodontist yourself for an appointment.

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

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

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

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