Most people know that gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) can cause major problems like bleeding gums, tenderness, and even eventual tooth loss. The more serious complications associated with this common disease, however, are not as readily recognizable. Keeping your gums free of infection can actually help you avoid a variety of other health problems now and in the future.
Oral Health and Your Future
When your gums are infected, the bacteria that flourish there can easily travel through your body to other tissues and organs. Because this process takes time, you may not even realize that you are at risk until more pressing symptoms arise. Medical problems that have been linked to untreated gum disease include the following:
- Complications in pregnant women, including pre-mature birth and low birth weight infants
- Dementia in older patients
- Pancreatic cancer
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other bone/joint problems
- Complications in the treatment of diabetes
Treating periodontal disease now is one of the first lines of defense against these and other medical conditions. Your dentist can discuss with you the periodontal therapy process, providing you with all the information you need to make a decision regarding your oral health and your systemic well-being.
Healthy Gums, Healthy Body
If you have noticed the tell-tale signs of gum disease (including bleeding gums, sensitivity, redness, and a receding gum line), it is imperative that you make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Early treatment of gum disease helps ensure a faster recovery, thereby reducing your risk of developing diseases and health conditions like those listed above. Call your local dentist today and take the first step toward a healthier body and a happier smile with periodontal therapy.
The temperature is on the rise and school’s letting out for summer. Everywhere you look, people are heading out to the pool, to the beach, and to summertime parties with friends and family. Make sure that your smile is ready for summer with these top tips!
Keeping Your Smile Healthy All Summer Long
While you maintain your oral health at home with daily flossing and brushing, it’s still important to visit your dentist twice per year for a thorough exam and cleaning. Summer is a great time to schedule these general dentistry checkups for kids because now they won’t have to miss school for their appointment! Also, because many popular summertime beverages contain added sugar and citric acid (think lemonade, sports drinks, sodas, and wine spritzers), it is important to rinse your mouth often with a little water after sipping on these types of drinks. Be careful not to brush for at least an hour after your last beverage, though, because the substances within them can actually cause your enamel to become temporarily more susceptible to erosion.
Perhaps you’re not comfortable with the state of your smile due to cosmetic flaws. Before summer is officially in full swing, why not treat yourself to one of the many cosmetic dentistry procedures offered at your dentist’s office? Whether you opt for professional teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, or a full smile makeover, you’ll be glad you did when you’re finally able to smile with complete confidence.
Unexpected Causes of a Dingy Smile
Naturally, you’d love it if your teeth stayed radiantly white all summer long, allowing you to show off your smile freely whenever and wherever you’d like. Unfortunately, many of the activities in which we engage during the summer season can harm our smiles, including going to the pool frequently. How can going to the pool damage your teeth? If you go swimming every day and the pH balance of a swimming pool isn’t just right, it can actually cause teeth to become yellow over the course of just a few weeks. Just remember to brush at least twice per day, or preferably after each meal!
The months before you welcome a new member to your family will be some of the most exciting months in your life. But those nine months also come with changes, and not just the most obvious one.
For instance, studies have shown that pregnant women are more vulnerable to gum disease than women who aren’t pregnant. Studies have also shown that there’s a link between gum disease and certain complications, like preterm birth or low-birth weight.
All of which means that if you’re currently pregnant, you need to make your oral health a priority.
It’s common for pregnant women to experience the swollen, bleeding gums associated with mild gum disease. Why? Because of the increased amount of hormones in the body. As your hormones increase, your gums become more prone to irritation from plaque, potentially leading to gingivitis.
So what steps can you take to protect your smile? Here are three to consider:
- Pay special attention to your gumline when you brush
- Avoid starchy or sugary foods and instead stick to a diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Talk to your dentist about extra appointments or home care tips
As a mom-to-be, you want to give your little one the best possible start in life. Making your oral health a priority during the nine months of your pregnancy are one way you can do that. If you haven’t visited your local dentist recently, call them today to reserve an appointment. Working side-by-side with your dentist, a healthy smile during pregnancy is possible.
St. Patrick’s Day presents a great opportunity to celebrate with friends and family in true Irish fashion – with amazing food, freely flowing beverages, and festive clothing in every shade of green imaginable. As you gear up to join in on the merrymaking, keep these handy oral health and hygiene tips in mind for a truly happy holiday.
Everything in moderation. It’s entirely expected that millions will enjoy a couple of pints at their nearest pub or a few beers at home to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, but now is as good a time as ever to remember what alcohol can do to your oral health. Too much to drink can contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Enjoy yourself, but not to excess!
Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water during the course of your holiday revelry to maintain your mouth’s healthy pH balance. This will also help your head and body feel better in the morning, so it’s worth remembering.
No matter how late you get home…Be sure to brush and floss as usual. The acid in beer, ale, and other alcoholic beverages can be severely damaging to tooth enamel. Just a few minutes of preventative maintenance to save your smile, and then you can climb into bed. Your teeth will thank you!
And of course, if you are lucky enough on St. Patty’s Day to receive a kiss (Irish or not), make sure to brush and/or use a good mouthwash after all of that delicious corned beef and cabbage! If you have any questions or concerns about your overall oral health, on St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, contact your local dentist’s office today.
For some patients, bad breath is something that only happens occasionally, after a meal heavy on garlic, for instance. For others, though, it’s a daily struggle caused by the accumulation and breakdown of bacteria in the mouth. That’s why frequent bad breath–also known as halitosis–is also a sign of early-stage gum disease.
The good news for patients who struggle daily with bad breath is that managing the condition is possible. By following these five helpful steps, patients with halitosis can experience relief and live more confidently.
Brush and floss regularly
Brushing and flossing are the first steps for anyone struggling with bad breath. These simple actions will help you control the amount of bacteria in your mouth by clearing away leftover food particles that contribute to the production and buildup of bacteria. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.
Rinse with a mouthwash
Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash is the second step for patients who struggle with bad breath. Antibacterial mouthwashes kill bacteria before they have a chance to accumulate and they simultaneously freshen breath.
Scrape or brush your tongue
In addition to accumulating around the gum line, bacteria can also hide on tongue. Using a tongue scraper–or even your toothbrush–to clean your tongue will do a lot to hold bad breath at bay.
Change your toothbrush
Your toothbrush is another place bacteria can hide. That’s why we recommend switching to a new one about every three months. With a new toothbrush, you can be sure that you’re cleaning your teeth with a bacteria-free brush.
What you drink can have a big impact on your oral health. Sugary or acidic drinks can be damaging, while drinking water throughout the day will help you control the buildup of bacteria and wash food particles away.
Do you have questions about what causes bad breath and how it can be treated? Call your local dental office with your questions or to schedule an appointment.
This February, it may be hard to resist the urge to snack on your favorite candy. You might not want to wreck your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but there might be a compromise!
Did you know that chocolate is good for your teeth?
Recent studies by Tulane University have shown that antioxidants, which occur naturally in dark chocolate, promote dental health by fighting cavities in addition to combating plaque. This means that your “guilty pleasure” sweet is actually actively fighting gum disease while you snack. Dark chocolate substances work to harden the enamel of your teeth. It’s even more effective than fluoride! You can strengthen your teeth and oral health as you eat.
And that’s not all!
Whether you’re enjoying a sweet Valentine’s Day treat or indulging in your favorite candy, you’re even fighting heart disease. Because gum disease has been linked to the development of cardiovascular problems, consuming your daily allowance of chocolate can even protect your heart! Keep in mind that the recommended amount of dark chocolate averages one ounce a day, because everything is better in moderation.
Some experts recommend the raw form of dark chocolate for the most health benefits. This type is less processed, and therefore contains more of the beneficial antioxidants! As always, remember to brush and floss properly after you eat. That way, your smile can shine brightly.
When most people consider the topic of good oral hygiene, the first thing they think about is teeth. You brush and floss your teeth to keep them white and cavity-free, but how much do you think about your gums? Often overlooked, the importance of healthy gums goes beyond the matter of a pretty smile. In fact, gums that are allowed to become infected can actually make you seriously ill.
While the initial effects of gingivitis and periodontitis are severe enough on their own – bleeding gums, inflammation, redness and eventual tooth loss, to name a few – the complications of untreated gum disease can be far more serious. When the bacteria from infected gums is inhaled or released into the bloodstream, it can travel throughout the body, wreaking havoc on other organs and tissues.
The most common systemic complications associated with periodontal disease are coronary artery disease, respiratory issues, diabetes and arthritis. In addition to addressing the gum disease itself, patients must take special care to treat any other conditions that arise because of it.
Some problems associated with chronic periodontal disease affect not only the individual patient, but others as well. Pregnant women with gum disease, for example, are significantly more likely to give birth to underweight babies. Infants who begin life at a low birth weight can suffer from a number of potentially serious complications, including respiratory distress shortly after birth. This is why proper oral health care is so crucial for women, especially when they are pregnant.
If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or show any signs of redness and swelling, it’s time to see your dentist for periodontal treatment. In most cases, the damage caused by plaque and tartar buildup can be reversed with consistent professional care. Talk to your oral care professional to find out how you can protect yourself and lower your risk of serious infection and illness associated with gum disease.
For most of us, gift-giving is just a holiday thing. Every year, we spend the time between Thanksgiving and December 25 looking for the perfect gift for those who are most special to us. But did you know there’s a very simple gift you can give your loved ones, and even strangers, any time you want? It’s your smile!
Believe it or not, smiling can have a remarkable impact on you and those around you. According to scientific studies, it can improve one’s mood and even relieve stress.
Here’s how it works. When you smile, particular muscles in your face are stimulated. These muscles will, in turn, stimulate the part of the brain responsible for creating warm and pleasant feelings. Meanwhile, for those around you, a smile is simply hard to resist. Smiling at someone who’s having a hard day may inspire them to smile back, triggering those same pleasant feelings in them. That’s how smiling can easily become a gift you give someone else.
So, is the busy holiday season starting to wear you down? Practice your smiling. You may find that you start feeling better in no time. And why not make a New Year’s resolution to smile more throughout 2014. Just like regular brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups, committing to smiling throughout the year will help you enjoy better overall wellbeing and confidence.
For those trying to stay healthy around the holidays, you may have already sworn off second or even first helpings from the dessert table. However, there are still plenty of dishes that can cause damage to your waistline and your smile. Many main-course Thanksgiving foods contain high levels of sugar and fat. However, there is some confusion about one in particular.
The Cranberry Sauce Debacle
Research from Rutgers University has shown that cranberries are extremely beneficial in fighting plaque thanks to proanthocyanidine, a natural chemical compound found in the fruit. You may know that a buildup of plaque can lead to cavities and gum disease, an incurable condition which affects the entire mouth, but you may not know that standard cranberry-based holiday fare probably won’t help your smile.
Cranberry sauce, a popular holiday dish, usually contains large amounts of sugar to balance the tartness of the cranberries. Most of the many benefits of cranberries can only be reaped in the natural state, without additives. Sugar plays an active role in deteriorating enamel and increases the production of plaque. In fact, a single serving of cranberry sauce can easily contain over 20 grams of sugar, which is comparable to a bar of milk chocolate!
Are you responsible for making the cranberry sauce? Try tinkering with the recipe to reduce or substitute the sugar to reduce the overall content. If you truly enjoy this condiment in its traditional state, immediately brush and floss after your dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!
Research has shown a link between gum disease and a number of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers have also long known about a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, but they haven’t known why the two were linked. New research is showing why these two inflammatory problems might be connected.
The research, carried out by University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases researcher Jan Potempa, PhD, DSc, shows that the bacteria that causes gum disease can worsen rheumatoid arthritis, leading to early onset and speeding up progression. This means increased damage to bone and cartilage. Gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation and destruction of the cartilage in the joints.
Studies have also shown that people with gum disease experience higher rates of rheumatoid arthritis.
This is just one more reason that you need to take extra care to prevent and fight against gum disease. The best way to protect yourself from the ill effects of gum disease is through a combination of regular visits twice a year to the dentist and daily brushing and flossing. Many people neglect to floss regularly. It is recommended that you floss once a day, which allows you to sweep away the bacteria that causes gum disease from below the gum line. Brushing alone cannot adequately protect you from gum disease. And gum disease isn’t just linked to rheumatoid arthritis. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss as well, and contributes to a variety of other systemic diseases.
So if it’s been a while since your last visit to the dentist, make sure to make an appointment soon to find out about your gum disease status and any other oral health problems that might be threatening your overall health and wellbeing!