Dental Tips Blog


4 Diseases Linked with Periodontitis

Posted in Gum Disease

If you didn’t think flossing was important – then it’s time to listen up. Gum disease can quickly develop if you don’t clean between your teeth or along your gums regularly. Yes, it can cause swollen gums, bleeding, and bad breath – but it’s also linked with serious health conditions.

Premature Labor

Premature birth (and low birth weight infants) is more likely in women with gum disease than women with healthy mouths. Not only that, but women trying to conceive may have to wait several months longer for a successful conception compared to women with healthy mouths. 

Cardiovascular Disease

Stroke, high blood pressure and heart attacks may be more likely when you have gum disease. In fact, the oral bacteria can sometimes dislodge and travel through infected gum tissues into your blood vessels. The body’s inflammatory response complicates the situation, especially when oral bacteria lodge inside of your cardiovascular system. 


Elevated bacteria inside of the mouth has a direct correlation with elevated blood glucose levels. In fact, treating your periodontal disease can help you improve your blood sugar levels by up to 3 months after each professional dental cleaning.


Did you know that people in hospitals and nursing homes who have gum disease are at a significantly increased risk of developing pneumonia? It’s believed that the oral bacteria are aspirated into the airway, causing them to harbor within the lungs. It also increases the risk of COPD. 

Managing your gum disease is one of the best ways to take proactive steps toward living a healthier lifestyle. If you have questions about how to erase gum disease from your smile – call your dentist today.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699


Medications and Gum Disease

Posted in Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common, but almost always preventable, problem that occurs in adults.  Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the number one reason why adults lose their teeth as they age.  Unfortunately, as we age, we also may begin to take some medications that may increase our risks of developing gum disease.  This article will discuss some common medications that are associated with gum disease, and steps you can take to help limit your gum disease risk.

One of the most common drugs associated with development of gum disease is Dilantin (phenytoin). Dilantin, and other anti-seizure / anti-epileptic medications can cause gum hyperplasia.  Gum hyperplasia is a term that refers to developing excessive and tender gum tissue.  This tender gum tissue is more likely to allow plaque to thrive, and be more susceptible to bleeding and wounds.  If you, or a family member, take any medications to control seizures, be sure to let your dentist know.  Your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination, and may recommend that you have your teeth cleaned more frequently.  Additionally, your dentist can talk to your provider about any side-effects noticed during your oral examinations.

Another common medication that may lead to or increase the risk of gum disease includes steroids.  Many individuals take steroids such as prednisone for arthritis, asthma, or after an organ transplant.  Prednisone is an important medication, but it can cause gum hyperplasia. Just as you would with Dilantin, make sure your dentist is aware that you take prednisone or other steroids, and follow his or her advice on appointments, cleanings, and special cleaning devices to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Sometimes certain heart medications, especially calcium channel blockers, may also cause gum disease.  If you are taking a calcium channel blocker, such as Cardizem (diltiazam), make sure your dentist is aware of this and follow his or her instructions carefully to help keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible.

In no case should you ever suddenly stop a prescribed medication. Always consult with the provider who ordered the medication, and have your health care team work together to find the best possible fit for you.  Working with all members of your health care team, all parts of you will remain healthy!


Risk Factors for Developing Periodontal Disease

Posted in Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the number one reason a person may suffer tooth loss as an adult.  Common early signs of gum disease include gums that bleed or are swollen and tender. Certain factors increase the risk of someone developing gum disease.  This article will discuss some of the risk factors associated with gum disease, and ways to help limit your risk of tooth loss.

One of the most common reasons people develop periodontal disease is from poor oral hygiene.  Every child and adult should brush their teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day.  It is not normal for gums to bleed during brushing or flossing, and if this occurs when you brush or floss, you should contact your dentist for an examination.

Other risk factors include smoking or chewing tobacco (chewing snuff).  The products in tobacco, including nicotines, tars, and by-products not only cause cancer, but also cause gum disease, increase tooth decay, and decrease the ability of the mouth to fight off infection.  If you are a smoker, or use chewing tobacco products of any sort, you should make sure you visit your dentist on a regular basis.  If possible, consider quitting your smoking habit.  Talk to your dentist or health care provider about strategies to help you stop smoking.  It is important to note that chewing tobacco or chewing snuff is not safer in anyway, and should not be used as a substitute for smoking cigarettes.

A final common risk factor for gum disease is diabetes.  If you have diabetes, include your dentist and dental hygienist in your treatment team.  Your dentist may recommend more frequent dental examinations. Controlling your blood sugar readings will help limit the risk of developing gum disease from diabetes.

If you have any of these risk factors, make an appointment as soon as possible to see your dentist for a check-up. Working together, you and your dentist can develop a plan to help limit your risks of developing periodontal disease. Keeping gum disease away will help you keep your natural teeth for your entire lifetime!


Deep Cleanings

Posted in Gum Disease

Deep cleanings, also called “scaling and root planing” procedures, are a type of periodontal disease treatment that is an essential care step for dental patients that suffer from moderate or more severe gum disease. They are typically performed on patients who have gone an extended amount of time between dental cleanings, thus developing large amounts of tartar buildup and tissue detachment.

During a deep cleaning, your hygienist will remove calcified deposits from above and below the gumline. This creates a clean, healthier environment that inhibits the development of gum disease. Both electric and hand instruments are used to remove this buildup. Most patients will have their gum tissue desensitized or anesthetized prior to the procedure in order to allow comfort throughout the entire visit.

A deep cleaning is more invasive than a routine preventive cleaning, because it removes buildup and debris that has lodged deep under the gumlines. If your dental professional does not remove these deposits, they encourage further gum detachment and bone loss around your teeth. Ultimately these conditions can lead to tooth mobility or tooth loss if left untreated.

There may be some tenderness after a deep cleaning. The use of ibuprophen and a warm salt-water rinse for the next 24 hours is typically the only pain management needed for the irritation. When combined with improved oral hygiene practices, deep cleanings help reverse active gum disease.

Following your deep cleaning you will most likely see your hygienist for more frequent preventive care visits until all of the symptoms have subsided. When you would typically see the dentist every 6 months, patients who suffer from active gum disease will see their hygienist every 3-4 months for maintenance visits. As symptoms subside, appointments are then spread out further.


Water Flossing

Posted in Gum Disease

What is water flossing?

Water flossing uses appliances such as the commonly known Waterpik, Water jet or other water flossing device to deliver a steady stream of water between the teeth and under the gums to remove bacteria that contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease or gum disease. Because the unit is self-contained, patients can use whatever temperature of water they like, as well as adjust the pressure to a comfortable level.

Why is flossing such a big deal?

When plaque and bacteria are not removed on a regular basis, gum detachment occurs, bone loss develops, and decay forms between the teeth. Simple, efficient toothbrushing does not reach these areas in the mouth. The long-term effects of not flossing can lead to bone loss around the teeth, causing mobility or even loss of the teeth. When the bacteria in these areas are removed on a regular basis, bleeding and swelling discontinue, and the teeth are retained for up to a lifetime. Healthy gums do not bleed, and when bleeding exists it means there is some type of gum disease developing in your mouth. Routine flossing usually causes most gingivitis symptoms to stop after two weeks.

What makes water flossing so efficient?

With water flossing, patients are much more compliant because it is so easy to perform. There is no need to mess with floss, threaders or try to fit your hands into your mouth. Water flossing reaches areas up to 7mm deep under the gumlines…normal floss can’t do that! Because it flushes out plaque biofilm so easily, it is ideal for all patients including those with bridges, implants, crowns, braces, gum disease or even healthy teeth. It has even been shown to be more effective at bacteria removal than traditional flossing.


Oral Health For Seniors

More than 40 million Americans are over age 65 and the number is expected to double by 2050.  As the American population ages, health care issues become increasingly important, including oral and dental health.  Maintaining good oral health habits can help older Americans lead healthy, active lives.

It is estimated that about 25 percent of Americans over the age of 60 have no natural teeth left.  Most of this tooth loss can be attributed to gum disease and tooth decay.  Missing teeth can negatively affect the diet and nutrition of older Americans because people with no teeth or who use dentures tend to prefer soft, easily chewable foods and may avoid fresh fruits and vegetables.

In addition, oral cancers are more prevalent in older Americans.  Over 40,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year and about 8,000 people die annually from the disease.  Survival rates are good with early detection, but most oral cancers are not discovered until they are in the later stages and the prognosis is poor.

By following good oral health habits, older Americans can live happier, healthier, more comfortable lives.  Good oral health habits start with twice daily tooth brushing and regular flossing to control plaque, the primary cause of gum disease.

In addition, twice yearly dental cleanings and check-ups will help prevent gum disease and allow for the early detection and treatment of gum disease and oral cancers. Even seniors who no longer have any natural teeth should see their dentist regularly to help maintain overall oral health and be screened for oral cancers.

Finally, avoid tobacco use and drink alcohol in moderation.  In addition to the other known hazards from tobacco use, it poses an increased risk for oral cancer and gum disease.  Alcohol consumption and tobacco use together are one of the primary risk factors for oral cancers.

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