In recent years, bacterial inflammation involving gum disease has been linked to chronic health problems like stroke, coronary artery disease, and premature or low birth-weight babies. Our doctors and hygienists take great care to identify and treat gum disease early to keep you and your mouth healthy.
Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. While caries might not endanger your life, they may negatively impact your quality of life.
When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large quantities of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. Plaque then forms acids in these deposits that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, resulting in decay.
Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede, or teeth may develop microscopic cracks that expose the interior of the tooth and irritate nerve endings. Just breathing in very cold air can be painful enough for those with extremely sensitive teeth to feel discomfort.
Gum, or periodontal disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss, and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen.
As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
Periodontal simply means: “the tissue around the teeth.” Periodontists specialize in the treatment of this area, which is often characterized by gum disease. Plaque is the most common element causing gum disease in Americans with periodontitis.
Unfortunately, periodontal-related problems are often discovered after they have persisted for an extended period of time. Proper oral hygiene, daily dental care, and regular dental checkups will minimize the risk of gum disease. Gum disease ranges from mild gingivitis to moderate and severe periodontitis. Treatments are available at our practice for every case of gum disease.
Common problems associated with gum disease:
- "Long" teeth caused by receding gum lines exposing the root portions of your teeth.
- Discolored or deteriorating tooth structure.
- Gum depressions or holes in between the teeth in the gum tissue.
- Infected gum line or discoloration or inflammation of the gum tissue.
- Tooth loss or tooth movement.
The effects of gum disease can be damaging to your dental health. However, through proper preventive care with our practice and good oral hygiene, you can avoid problems associated with gum disease.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the build-up of food particles, plaque, and bacteria in your mouth. Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. While certain foods such as garlic or anchovies may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem.
Canker sores or aphthous ulcers are small sores inside the mouth that occur in most people. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. A white or gray base surrounded by a red border characterizes the canker sore.
A bite that does not meet properly is referred to as a malocclusion, and can be inherited or acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth, or a misaligned jaw. Accidents or developmental issues such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time may cause malocclusions.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When brushing your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth.
It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth, and the outside, inside, and chewing surface of all of your front and back teeth. Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Patients should brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast.
- After lunch or right after school.
- After dinner.
- At bedtime.
As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean in between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day for the best results.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Be sure to also floss behind all of your back teeth.
Flossing at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed is important. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little bit. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment with us, and we will be happy to address it.