Do Nice Dentists Finish Last? – Do Dentists Have to be Cruel to be Kind?

dental care for periodontal diseaseEver heard the phrase, “you’ve gotta be cruel to be kind?” It has never been truer than when referring to gum disease treatments. Periodontal disease affects as much as 80% of US adults, but the way dental practitioners handle periodontal treatments may be part of the problem. Patients avoid periodontal treatment due to lack of treatment urgency, not fully understanding necessary treatments, and money. Many dentists hesitate to fully explain and recommend periodontal therapy because they fear patients will simply cancel appointments due to the added cost. Instead, dentists tend to try the “nice” approach – recommending periodontal appointments every three months but billing them as regular dental cleanings during six month checkups. However, by changing the focus of periodontal disease treatment to communicating clearly, emphasizing assessment and prevention, and working with patients to maximize insurance benefits, dentists can better equip patients to receive the dental care they need.
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Don’t Just Brush Your Teeth… Brush Your Teeth Correctly

brushingMost people know that good oral hygiene includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day. And for most, those two times are usually in the morning—as you’re rushing to work or getting the kids off to school—and at night, when you’re fighting to keep your eyes open before falling into bed. Regardless of whether your day is beginning, ending or somewhere in between, proper brushing is worth the time and effort for good oral health.

First off all, did you know that proper brushing requires at least two minutes? Most adults spend a fraction of that time brushing their teeth every morning and night. Try looking at the clock when you start brushing, then brush normally and check the time when you’re finished. Chances are you didn’t spend enough time to thoroughly clean your teeth. To really do a good job and ensure better oral hygiene, spend two minutes brushing.

What is the Best Technique for Brushing Teeth?

When brushing your teeth, it’s important to hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against the gum line and sweep or roll the brush away from your gums. Don’t brush side to side, which can scrape your gums. And be sure to use short strokes as you brush away from your gums.

Start out cleaning the outer surface of your upper teeth and then your lower teeth. Continue by brushing the inner surface of upper and lower teeth. Then, brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth, concentrating on your molars. Finally, be sure to brush your tongue, too.

Tools for Proper Brushing

Always choose a soft brush with round-ended bristles. Stiff bristles can hurt your gums. A powered toothbrush can be a good choice, too, especially if you have difficulty brushing because of limited manual dexterity. The type of toothpaste you choose is an individual matter. There are a variety of toothpastes to address a variety of concerns from teeth whitening and cavity prevention to eliminating tartar and reducing teeth sensitivity. Talk with your local dentist about which toothpaste is best for you.


Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health: The Mouth-Body Link

Shutterstock Periodontal Health BodyMost 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
  • Stroke
  • 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.

Losing Weight has Surprising Benefits for Your Smile

837375_98129162SmThe health benefits of weight loss are many. Being overweight can contribute to heart disease, heart attack, joint pain, and diabetes. And now, research shows that being overweight can put you at risk for another type of health problem: gum disease. You may not connect your weight with your oral health, but the truth is that your smile can benefit from you maintaining a healthy weight.

How does your weight affect your risk of gum disease? Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums, and cytokines are proteins produced by the body that have inflammatory properties. Overweight individuals produce more cytokines, which can then cause gum disease. With a third of Americans suffering with weight problems and over half experiencing gum disease, getting a handle on these two health risks is a big goal for dentists and other health professionals.

How can you lower your risk of gum disease? Here are a few simple steps you can take that will make a big difference.

Brushing and Flossing

The single best thing you can do to lower your risk of gum disease is to brush twice a day and floss once a day. Many people skip the flossing, but this is an essential part of your gum disease prevention routine. Brushing alone cannot get below the gum line or between teeth, and it’s below the gum line that gum disease flourishes. When you floss, you can remove the plaque and bacteria that hides in the gum pockets and inflames the soft tissues of your mouth. Don’t skimp on the flossing; make sure to floss once every 24 hours.

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5 Tips for Tip-Top Teeth

child_brushingDental caries (cavities) is the most prevalent childhood disease, and 90% of adults have had a cavity. Gum disease is responsible for 70% of adult tooth loss. A few simple habits could help you reduce your risk for cavities and gum disease – and improve your potential for keeping natural teeth long into your golden years. Kids and adults alike can benefit from these 5 quick and easy oral health tips. Some you’ve known since kindergarten, while others may be news. Continue reading 5 Tips for Tip-Top Teeth