National Dental Hygiene Month Is This October and Our Dental Hygienists Have Some Fang-tastic Tips!

A healthy, appealing smile starts with a clean mouth. October is National Dental Hygiene Month, where we honor our hard-working, dedicated dental hygienists and the care they provide to protect your smile! Their goal is simple: helping you achieve greater oral health by helping you keep away cavities and gum disease.

A Dental Hygienist’s Typical Day

A typical day in the life of a dental hygienist may involve any of the following:

Perform dental cleanings: When you come in for your routine dental cleaning, we will clear away harmful dental plaque containing bacterial toxins, including tartar (hardened plaque). If you are having a deep cleaning done, we will smooth the rough areas on your root surfaces to prevent plaque and tartar formation under the gum line. A deep cleaning helps affected gums to heal and will also check for sores, lumps, or swelling in your oral tissue.

Take dental X-rays: We may use X-rays of your teeth, bones, and soft tissues to spot potential dental issues like tooth decay and bone loss. For growing teens, these X-rays can track their jaw and tooth formation to also spot problems early. If you come in experiencing pain, these radiographs can help us see if wisdom teeth might be the issue.

Take dental impressions: We can create impressions of your teeth as models (casts) for our dentist to asses what dental treatments you might need for optimal oral health.

National Dental Hygiene Month

As you can see, our dental hygienists aren’t just here to clean your teeth and make them shine; they are part of your dental team that routinely monitors your dental health to spot developing problems. So what can you do to observe National Dental Hygiene Month? We have some ideas to help you keep your smile on track!

    1. Floss daily. Not just once in a while and especially not just when you have your next dental visit (you know we can tell if you are not flossing regularly)! Flossing is important because it cleans the parts of your teeth that your toothbrush can’t, namely, between teeth and below the gum line. You would never just brush your teeth before a visit to our team, so don’t do that with flossing either! Your teeth, gums and pocketbook may pay the price.

    2. Brush long enough. Two solid minutes of brushing per session are ideal, not too much, not too little, a strategy Goldilocks would approve! A clean mouth means brighter teeth, healthier gums and better breath!

    3. Don’t skip an oral rinse. Rinsing with an ADA-approved antibacterial mouthwash is a great way to wash away lingering oral bacteria that are destructive to your smile while freshening your breath.

Practice Proper Brushing

One of the things our hygienist can do for you is to help you brush up on your brushing proficiency. First, you want to aim the soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to clean the most effectively. Move the brush gently back and forth in short, tooth-wide strokes. Clean all tooth surfaces: top, bottom, inside and outside surfaces. Your flossing tool will brush away food particles and plaque between teeth and the gumline. Finally, complete your brushing session with a gentle cleaning of your tongue, where bacteria like to collect.

Treat Your Smile Every Day

If you want to recreate the amazing feeling of smooth teeth at home, brush your teeth twice a day following these tips (your “fangs” will thank you). While our hygienists can give you a fresh start during your regular cleanings, the best way to treat your toothy grin is to clean your teeth and gums every day, twice a day. Trust us, you’ll notice the difference at your next dental cleaning, and so will we!

September Is National Gum Care Month and a Great Time To Evaluate Your Gum Health!

September is National Gum Care Month, and we’re excited to share some tips to keep your smile healthy and strong. Most people think of tooth loss as a result of tooth decay, but did you know that losing teeth is often a result of gum disease? Brushing and flossing daily as well as regularly seeing your dentist can stop cavities and gum disease in their tracks.

What Gum Disease Looks Like

The early phase of gum disease is called gingivitis, and it happens when your gums have a bacterial infection, leaving gums red and bleeding. Unless your dentist catches it early and addresses the problem, this harmful bacterial infection will continue to worsen until it turns into periodontitis (incidentally, the main cause of tooth loss), as the gums can no longer hold the teeth in place. If you notice any signs of problems with your gums, it’s time to visit our dentist for an intervention! Need more convincing? Take a look at the stages of gum disease to see where your smile could be.

Gum Disease Phases

-Gingivitis: In this phase, you’ll notice bleeding and occasionally inflammation and discomfort in your gums along with a buildup of plaque and tartar. Gingivitis can be reversed by scaling and root planing, followed with routine at-home oral hygiene care, and a healthy diet that supports gum health (foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids). Eat plenty of citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens for vitamin C. Consume milk, eggs, meat, and certain breads, pastas, and cereals fortified with B12. You can add flaxseed oil and fish to get enough omega-3 fatty acids.

-Mild-to-moderate periodontitis: This phase of gum disease stems from untreated gingivitis. It allows periodontal pockets to develop around the tooth, causing vital bone and tissue to diminish. You will see chronic bleeding and pain around the teeth along with gum recession, and the infected areas can cause an inflammatory response throughout your body.

-Severe periodontitis: This is the phase of gum disease you want to avoid at all costs as it is the most advanced. It manifests as extensive bone and tissue loss where teeth will loosen and need replacing.

Poor gum health doesn’t just affect your oral health; it also affects your looks and, consequently, your self-esteem and self-confidence as it causes you to look older than you are. But also keeping teeth healthy is less costly than replacing those lost teeth. And as we already mentioned, gum disease affects your overall health by causing systemic inflammatory conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, and even autoimmune problems.

Caring for Your Gums

Healthy gums come from maintaining healthy dental hygiene habits like brushing (at least twice a day) and flossing daily to get rid of harmful plaque and prevent the formation of tartar. When flossing, don’t force the floss down hard on your gums. Instead, gently pass the floss down your teeth and swipe the side of each tooth down the gums to lift plaque, bits of food, and stray bacteria. When cleaning your mouth, remember to brush your tongue, too, because bacteria love to gather there. Drink lots of water to flush away bacteria and bits of food particles and replenish your saliva production to protect your teeth and gums.

Dental Checkup

Following a healthy diet that supports gum health will also go a long way to improving your smile. If you have gone a long time without good dental care, you may need multiple visits to get your gum disease under control, so don’t delay, call today! Since this is National Gum Care month, why not schedule your next visit?

Tips To Help You Feel Calm and Relaxed at Your Next Dental Appointment

Do you put off routine dental care or much-needed dental work because of anxiety? Anxiety is how your body reacts to what you perceive to be stressful or unfamiliar situations. So that sense of distress or dread you have before an event manifests itself as anxiety. While a bit of anxiety can be useful, keeping us alert and aware in certain situations, it can also be debilitating when you are in need of dental care and delaying treatment.

Routine dental appointments allow us to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy, and avoiding this treatment can cause small problems to deteriorate your oral health, leaving you with bigger problems to deal with later.

Signs of Dental Anxiety

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Crying
  • Extreme sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Panic attacks

Dental anxiety is hard to ignore, so it’s important to recognize and address it. While dental anxiety impacts around 36 percent of the population, we can work together to make your dental visit comfortable and pleasant so you get the care you need!

Working Together

    1. Schedule your visit in the morning as it tends to be the least busy time in the office. Fewer patients being treated mean less noise in the background and spending less time stressing over your upcoming appointment time.

    2. Communicate with our dental team in advance about your dental anxiety. We can make your visit easier, whether by explaining what you can expect during your treatment or discussing dental sedation.

    3. Bring a friend or family member with you to support and distract you and elevate your mood. They can even drive you home afterward so you can decompress and bask in the aftermath of completing a successful dental visit!

    4. Relax when you get here by using noise-canceling headphones (or earbuds) to block out unnecessary stimulation. Listening to music, your favorite podcast or a meditation app can also destress you while you are here.

    5. Speaking of a meditation app, listen to your favorite calming meditation while you wait in the dental chair. Beginning with your head, relax your muscles, one body part at a time, slowly moving down your body until you reach your feet.

    6. Do some slow, deep breathing. Those calming breaths help ease your mind, so you feel more relaxed. Block out external stimulation by closing your eyes, then breathing in slowly through your nose, holding, and slowly breathing out through your mouth. Repeat until you feel the difference.

    7. Practice some guided imagery. It is a good time to picture happy thoughts as you lie back in the dentist’s chair. Enjoy your favorite or funniest memories. Reminiscing about those wonderful moments feels like you’re reliving those moments all over again!

    8. Request a break during your treatment. Work out a signal with our dentist and assistant that means “pause” so you can catch your breath and calm yourself for a moment. Knowing this can help you feel more empowered instead of helpless.

Don’t Delay, Call Today

Dental anxiety interferes with getting the dental care your teeth and gums need to thrive. Whether you’re anxious because of a past traumatic dental experience, fear a loss of control as someone is working over you, or you’re scared it will be painful, we can work together to make your dental visit great. We welcome you to call our team to address your concerns and take a confident leap by scheduling your next dental visit! Your smile will look and feel better, and you’ll be glad you did!

Floss Your Way to a Healthier Mouth and a Healthier Body!

If you are brushing your teeth twice a day as recommended but not flossing between them, it’s not just your smile that will pay the price. Your toothbrush can’t reach in between teeth to remove dental plaque (a sticky bacterial biofilm). That’s where flossing comes in, because it can reach between teeth and below the gum line where bacteria accumulates to stop it in its tracks.

Dental Plaque

This harmful bacteria leads to cavities and periodontitis (inflamed, bleeding and receding gums) from bacterial infection. Without flossing those crucial areas around your teeth, your toothbrush will only be cleaning three out of five tooth surfaces! Brushing and flossing work together to clean all tooth surfaces and flossing is the only way to actually scrape plaque away from the teeth.

Bacterial Infection

If you have an infection inside your mouth, it will spread to the rest of your body through your bloodstream. Your teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue are all connected to your bloodstream where they can spread to your organs, potentially leading to diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

Flossing is a key part of your daily oral hygiene routine that helps keep your smile and your body healthy. Flossing only needs to take around a minute of your time, so all you need to do is find a flossing tool that you like using and then just do it every day. Here are some flossing ideas to help you make the most out of your flossing efforts.

Flossing with Dental Floss

Take out about 18 to 24 inches of floss and wind it around your middle fingers. Take 1 to 2 inches and hold the floss taut between your thumbs and your index fingers. Next, slide the floss gently between each tooth. Be gentle while flossing to protect your gums. Keep sliding the floss up and down to clean plaque out of those areas. Floss right below your gum line in an up-and-down movement, rubbing it against both sides of each tooth. Avoid gliding the floss into your gums, and after you have cleaned one side of your mouth, pull out a new section of floss so you can clean the other side of your mouth.

Flossing Options

If working with dental floss isn’t your thing, you still have flossing options to choose from!

  • Tiny interdental brushes clean between your teeth and work really well on removing plaque from dental bridges and are great for people with joint issues or mobility issues.
  • Pointed rubber tips or wooden plaque removers that you slide back and forth to loosen debris.
  • Water flossers/irrigators that shoot a thin, pressurized stream of water between your teeth and at the gum line.
  • Pre-threaded flossing picks to help you scrape away food particles and plaque.

Who Should Floss?

Everyone! But flossing every day is especially important if you have abnormally tight spaces in between your teeth or you have individual dental prostheses like dental implants, bridges, crowns, dentures or dental veneers. Getting your teeth straightened with an orthodontic appliance, whether it’s braces or a clear aligner, also requires diligent flossing. You want to make sure dental plaque doesn’t build up and leave you with tooth and gum issues when the orthodontic treatment is complete.

When to Floss

Ideally, you want to floss before brushing your teeth because flossing helps pick up and release food and plaque that is stuck in between your teeth, while brushing removes these particles from your mouth. If you brush first and floss afterward, the food particles and plaque will remain until your next brushing session.

The American Dental Association encourages everyone to floss at least once a day and brush twice a day. Follow these flossing tips and the next time you come in for a routine dental cleaning and exam, your hygienist will be proud! We look forward to helping you have better oral for better overall health!

June 17th Is National Teeth Whitening Day, and We Are Here for It!

Join us in celebrating National Teeth Whitening Day on June 17th! We are tempted to observe this innovative dental treatment for the entire month because when it comes to boosting your smile, one of the quickest and easiest ways to accomplish this is through teeth whitening! And while there are a lot of over-the-counter teeth whitening options out there, we are solid proponents of professional teeth whitening for those who love having whiter, brighter teeth. It is mainly because of the effectiveness and safety of the product being used.

Why Whiten Your Teeth?

You might consider whitening your teeth for a variety of reasons:

  • Attending a wedding, honeymoon or graduation
  • Going on a summer vacation
  • Wanting to boost your self-confidence and dating life
  • Having professional portraits done
  • Have a job interview coming up and want to make the best first impression
  • Wanting to put your best face forward every day

Tooth Staining Culprits

Maybe your teeth are less than stellar because it has been a while since you have gotten your teeth cleaned. Perhaps it is from your daily coffee, tea, or wine habit. These beverages can refresh our mood, help us relax, or keep us powering through a busy day, but they can also take a toll on your teeth’s appearance. While tooth enamel is strong and protects your dentin and tooth chambers below it, it is also porous, making it vulnerable to tooth staining agents like chromogens.

These pigment-creating substances are found in red wine along with staining tannins in red wine, coffee and tea. Chromogens are highly pigmented compounds that cling to tooth enamel when they mix with similar stain-causing agents like tannins. Tannins in black tea stain teeth even more than coffee and, to a lesser extent, in white, green, and herbal teas. But even your favorite soda, sports drink, and alcohol are highly acidic, eroding tooth enamel and leading to discoloration. The same goes for the tooth-staining foods you love, like marinara sauce, balsamic vinegar, berries, curry, and citrus.

Your teeth can also stain because of frequent tobacco use, whether it is cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or chewing tobacco. Or maybe you took antibiotics like tetracycline that discolored your teeth with unsightly gray or brown stains. There is also wear and tear on tooth enamel from brushing harshly over the years.

Tip: Brush gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Your teeth and gums will thank you!

Cosmetic Dentistry and Teeth Whitening

So, what can a person do without giving up their favorite foods and beverages? Professional teeth whitening can quickly and effectively get rid of unsightly tooth stains and discoloration. It safely bleaches teeth by targeting the enamel and the dentin layer underneath it. The results are often immediate and dramatic, making your smile look brighter and better than ever.

One of the first things teeth whitening can do is make you feel better about showing off your smile. You will feel like smiling more as whiter-looking teeth make your self-confidence skyrocket! And the more you smile around others, the greater your success. Teeth whitening can even boost your mental health because smiling releases your brain’s endorphins! Teeth whitening makes you want to smile more, so you will likely feel more committed to brushing and flossing diligently. Good oral hygiene habits are a great way to keep your smile healthier and more appealing!

Celebrate Teeth Whitening Day

Now that you know how great your smile can look with professional teeth whitening, you will want to keep them nice after you do. It means getting rid of your worn-out toothbrush (once the bristles fray, it is time to replace it!). Limit the foods and drinks that stain your teeth, and keep up on all routine dental checkups and exams! And if you are inspired to brighten your smile with professional teeth whitening, call to schedule an appointment with our dental team!

Smiling and Laughing Are Good for Your Mouth, Mood, and Body!

Between May 16 and June 16, the Oral Health Foundation raises awareness of important health concerns by celebrating National Smile Month, and our dental team is here for it! We invite you to join us in making a positive difference in the oral health of the people around you. Everyone deserves the chance at a healthy smile, especially since dental health is a crucial part of good overall health. Here are the basic but essential strategies for creating healthy teeth and gums:

  • Brush teeth for two minutes twice a day using an ADA-approved toothpaste.
  • Floss between teeth daily to remove cavity-causing dental plaque.
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks that feed harmful bacteria.
  • See your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and dental cleanings.

Five Mood Lifting Smile Facts

    1. It takes 62 muscles to frown but only 26 muscles to smile, so enjoy this relaxing and wrinkle-reducing habit!

    2. Babies flash their smiles around 400 times a day, while grown-ups typically smile only around 20 times.

    3. Smiling does so much for your wellbeing; it helps you relax, boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure, releases endorphins, and relieves stress.

    4. Smiles are contagious, and that’s one contagion you don’t want to hide!

    5. Workers who cheerfully spread smiles are more likely to get a promotion, and if that doesn’t make you want to smile, we don’t know what will!

National Smile Day on May 31

On National Smile Day (celebrated annually on May 31), smile your brightest while boosting your serotonin (a natural stress reliever) and spread good cheer to help those around you smile! Tell jokes, volunteer at your favorite charity and take a moment to feel deep gratitude for something in your life. These are all ways to bring a smile to your face and those around you. Protect your dental health by coming in routinely for cleanings and checkups. Your routine visits make us smile because we love helping you get a healthier, more beautiful smile you will love spreading!

Smiling makes you and those around you feel good. If you’re at work, smiling can increase productivity and creativity in you and your colleagues while making you look more competent and trustworthy. Enjoy the health benefits of smiling, which makes your brain healthier by lowering stress, blood pressure, heart rate, and pain. Smiling also increases endurance, strengthens your immune system and even helps keep the cells in your body healthy. Some might even say a smile is your best accessory and doesn’t cost a cent! Do you feel moody? Try a smile. You will not only feel happier but more confident, too!

World Laughter Day on May 1, 2022

Smiling isn’t the only way to feel better. Did you know that both spontaneous and self-induced laughter increases your body chemistry and brain function? Laughing more can help you live longer by boosting your immune system while reducing stress, anxiety and brain fog.

Boost Your Smile

By taking good care of your smile, you can improve your dental health. This month, we encourage you to make the most of your dental and overall health with good oral health habits. If you feel self-conscious about your teeth, our dental team is always here to help you create your best smile! Give us a call to schedule a visit to care for your smile, so you can laugh and smile more!

Spring Is a Great Time To Replace Missing Teeth With Dental Implants and Complete Your Smile

If you have missing teeth or tooth issues, opting for a dental implant is one of the best tooth replacement options you can choose – whether you have lost teeth due to tooth decay, periodontal disease, or injury. Now is a great time to spring into action with a dental implant restoration to complete your smile and put your tax refund to good use!

Bridges and Dentures Make Way for Dental Implants

Before implants, bridges and dentures were the only tooth restoration choices you had. Thanks to today’s advances in dental technology and techniques, you can opt for a dental implant restoration to complete your smile! Did we mention that dental implants generally have a success rate of up to 98%?

One of the biggest dental implant advantages is it becomes a part of you. It replaces not just the top of the tooth (crown) but your tooth roots as well. It means you get a solid foundation to hold your fixed (permanent) tooth or removable tooth replacement that blends in naturally with your teeth.

Why Choose Dental Implants

    Aesthetics: They look and feel like your natural teeth in size, shape, and color and work the same way, being fused within your bone to give you exceptional strength and sturdiness.

    Better speech: If you wear dentures and they constantly shift when you speak, that worry will be eliminated with a dental implant.

    Comfortable: Once your implant has fused in your mouth, you will never need to worry again about uncomfortable removable dentures, feel embarrassed about removing your dentures, or apply messy denture adhesives to hold them in place.

    Easy to chew: Your implant works like the rest of your natural teeth, so it doesn’t slide around like dentures often do. Your implants allow you to bite and chew your favorite foods without worrying about slippage.

    Greater self-confidence: With dental implants, you can, once again, smile with confidence!

    Better dental health: With bridges, you tend to need to have some surrounding teeth worn down, but with implants, you don’t. Instead, the teeth can stay the same size, and the dental implant allows access between your teeth so you can floss them more easily.

    Longevity: Your implants can last many years (sometimes a lifetime) if you take proper care of them like you do your own and keep gum disease away.

What To Expect With a Dental Implant

  • Once approved for an implant, your treatment plan will be created involving oral surgery and restorative dentistry.
  • Next comes the biocompatible titanium tooth root implant that is surgically placed into the bone socket of your former tooth.
  • Then, healing must take place in a process called osseointegration. It can take up to three months while the jawbone fuses with the metal implant post so it will sit solidly in your jaw, just like your natural teeth.
  • After that, an abutment (or small connector post) will be attached to the post, anchoring the new tooth securely.
  • Impressions will then be made to create your new tooth (or teeth) with a model of your bite so the tooth replacement can be created.
  • Finally, your replacement tooth or crown will be attached to the abutment, and the tooth will be made to match your surrounding teeth.

Call for Consultation

Once your dental implants are in place, taking good care of them is no different than your usual daily oral hygiene to protect your natural teeth. Simply brush, floss, rinse with a good antibacterial mouthwash and see our dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. If you are thinking about replacing a tooth with a dental implant, there’s no better time than tax season if you’re expecting a refund! Give us a call to learn more!

March Is National Dentist Day and Dental Assistants Recognition Week

Taking the time to recognize your dental team once a year is important because they seek to go above and beyond to take the best care possible of you and your family’s smiles. Our dentist works hard all year to improve your quality of life so you can eat, smile and speak with confidence.

Recognizing Dentists

March 6 is National Dentist’s Day, a day we celebrate these dedicated dental professionals whose goal is to protect your smile and help it flourish. We love raising awareness about how important it is to practice better daily oral hygiene for healthy teeth and gums in-between routine dental cleanings and exams!

The Origin of Dentists

There is a rich history of when dentists started to be acknowledged. The first recognized dentist was Hesy-Re, an Egyptian scribe who lived around 2600 B.C. While Chinese dentists were the first to use fillings made of amalgam as early as 700 A.D., it was in medieval Europe that texts on performing and regulating dental surgery were first identified. By 1210 in France, dental surgeries were fairly routine. In 1859, 26 dentists officially formed the ADA and had developed anesthesia for oral surgery. Dr. Lucy Beaman Hobbs became the first woman to graduate from an American dental school in 1866. In 1869, Dr. Robert Tanner Freeman was the first African American man to earn a dental degree.

Dentists Today

Today’s dentists work hard all year round to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy and strong. They help you prevent smile-destroying cavities and gum disease, fix or replace problem teeth, check for developing conditions to treat early, and generally give you things to smile about when you are in treatment. We not only do our best to help your chairside experience be as positive as possible, but we also protect your general health. It is because oral health is closely tied to the rest of your body. Thanks to oral bacteria, untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease can lead to serious health issues like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Celebrate Your Dentist

You can celebrate National Dentist’s Day with us by sending a thank you note to our dentist or taking a photo with them to post on your social media with the #NationalDentistsDay hashtag. You can also recommit to better dental habits like brushing at least two minutes twice a day, flossing daily, consuming a balanced diet and scheduling your next dental check-up. These would all make our dentist smile for days!

Recognizing Dental Assistants

March 6-12 is Dental Assistants Recognition Week (or DARW) and is celebrated annually during the first full week in March. This year’s theme is Dental Assistants: Passionate About Our Patients, Dedicated to Our Profession. The American Dental Assistants Association encourages everyone to acknowledge and recognize their hardworking dental assistants! They come in every day ready to perform a variety of duties to help patients get the quality care they deserve for a healthier, more attractive smile.

Our dental assistants support the practice by helping you improve your oral daily hygiene habits, preparing you for your dental treatment, taking dental impressions and X-rays, maintaining infection control, recording patient notes, and scheduling your next appointment. That is a lot of responsibility, and they work hard to make sure you get the quality care your smile deserves!

The Origin of Dental Assistants

Historically, dental assistants officially date back to 1885, when Dr. Edmund Kells, a dentist in New Orleans, pioneered the dental assistant profession by having his wife assist him. He then expanded his practice by hiring another woman, Malvina Cueria, as a full-time assistant. By 1917, the first dental assistant society was founded in Nebraska, and another was established in New York in 1921. The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) was founded in 1925. Eventually, the ADAA created Dental Assistants Recognition Week, proudly recognizing the contributions of dental assistants to dentistry and the health of people’s smiles!

Celebrate Your Dental Assistants

Help your dental assistants feel valued the next time you come in by telling them how well you practice your oral hygiene routine. It helps them know you listen to their advice when you come in for cleanings. You can also thank them for their diligent help and advice on how to keep your smile healthy in between visits! We welcome you to celebrate our dental assistants! We are thankful for the vital role they play in supporting our practice and helping us better patient satisfaction. Call us today to schedule your next visit!

Why You Should Tune Into Gum Disease Awareness Month This February

The purpose of Gum Disease Awareness Month in February is to raise awareness of what causes it and to encourage you to adhere to better oral health habits to keep it from developing in your smile. Sadly, periodontal disease affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the U.S. and at an even higher rate (70.1%) for adults over 65 years! Gum disease doesn’t just affect your smile; it can also impact your general health. It can link to health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature births or low-birth-weight babies.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of your soft oral tissues that become inflamed. Often this is caused by poor oral hygiene care. You want to brush and floss your teeth and gumline each day to remove harmful dental plaque. While gum disease typically starts slow, if the conditions causing are not addressed, it will generally worsen over time.

In the beginning, you may notice red, swollen gums, but unless treated, it can eventually cause the gums to pull away from your teeth. When this happens, you have advanced gum disease (periodontitis). At this stage, vital bone is lost, making your teeth become loose and even fall out!

The problem with poor oral hygiene habits is that plaque quickly hardens and spreads underneath your gums, where you can’t easily remove it. This is when our dental team has to remove this tartar accumulation and take additional steps to keep periodontitis from permanently damaging your smile.

What You Can Do to Keep Gum Disease Away

Like most things, the best approach is prevention and then tackling gum disease in the early stage (gingivitis). All you need to do is brush and floss consistently every day as recommended by our dentist and follow up with our office for routine dental cleanings and exams. Once the disease has progressed to periodontitis, you will need more invasive treatments like cleaning the tooth roots under the gums (scaling) and root planing. Sometimes medication or gum surgery can help with treatment.

Recognizing the Stages of Gum Disease

  • Stage 1: It is easy to spot because your gums will look red, swollen, and inflamed, often bleeding when you brush and floss your teeth.
  • Stage 2: You start to lose bone density around the teeth.
  • Stage 3: Untreated, advancing periodontitis results in further bone loss and diminishing gum tissue (receding gums) and damage connective tissue around teeth, causing the teeth to feel loose.
  • Stage 4: If you ignore periodontitis, your symptoms worsen as well. Your teeth feel loose, and it might hurt to bite and chew your food. You may have the loose teeth extracted and replaced with a dental restoration at this stage.

Preventing gum disease is essential to keeping your smile healthy and beautiful! Thankfully, treating gum disease in the early stage can often reverse gingivitis altogether! Once it progresses, however, it won’t be reversible. Be sure to brush and floss every day as recommended by our dentist and hygienist, and stay on top of your routine dental cleanings and exams. Delaying professional dental care invites trouble with your teeth and gums and potentially harms your overall health.

Call Our Team Today!

Our team is ready to help you keep your teeth and gums as healthy as can be! We welcome you to join us in recognizing Gum disease awareness on social media and by helping your family realize how important daily dental care is to their confident smile and oral health. Call us today to schedule dental cleanings and exams for your best gum health!

Start Your New Year Off With Transformational Dental Goals!

If you are like many folks this time of year, making resolutions is probably foremost on your mind. Those resolutions likely have something to do with promoting health and prosperity while giving up unhealthy habits. This year, our dental team highly recommends making some powerful changes to your dental health by implementing healthier dental goals!

Day-to-Day Actions

Remember, it’s important to implement changes and stick to them every day. New habits work as you consistently work them! View your new habits as a positive by changing how you feel about your day-to-day dental care. Instead of thinking of it as another chore, focus on the clean and fresh way your mouth will feel and look after brushing and flossing.

  • Brush every day with a soft-bristled toothbrush so your enamel stays healthy and your gums stay strong. Brush gently; there’s no need to scour your pearly whites while brushing all of your tooth surfaces and around the gum line.
  • Boost your brushing power with toothpaste tailored to your needs. Your toothpaste can prevent decay, fight plaque and gingivitis, whiten teeth, and even desensitize them by reducing tooth sensitivity.
  • Floss once a day using your favorite flossing tool to make the job quick and easy. Check out flossing tapes, oral irrigators, interdental brushes, whatever makes it easy and fun for you.
  • Swish your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash after cleaning to boost your cavity-preventing efforts.

Prevent Dry Mouth

Healthy saliva flow is essential when it comes to creating an oral environment that helps teeth, gums and oral tissue to thrive. Saliva protects tooth enamel by coating it with minerals, rinsing away oral residue and food particles as well as neutralizing your pH levels (so there’s less acidity to weaken tooth enamel). Insufficient saliva levels lead to dry mouth, a condition called xerostomia.

Staying hydrated is good for your body as well as your mouth! Along with drinking plenty of water throughout your day, consider increasing dairy products as those also help. Chewing sugar-free gum is another way to keep your salivary glands active. If your mouth is constantly dry, you may also check with your doctor or dentist to see if your over-the-counter or prescription medications cause dry mouth as a side effect.

Say No to Tobacco

This time of year is a busy one for those wanting to give up their tobacco habit, including smoking or chewing it. Tobacco is bad for your lungs and oral tissues, throat, etc., and stains teeth and dries out the mouth. Fortunately, there are a variety of tobacco cessation programs that can help you quit.

Improve Your Diet

A healthy diet can fuel your body while keeping your mouth vibrant and healthy. Did you know that the food you eat can either feed the bad bacteria in your mouth or support your teeth and gums? You can get essential vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and dairy. Commit to limiting your sugar intake as well as the acidic foods and drinks you indulge in (better choices are water and calcium-rich milk). Limit snacking and brush after meals and when you can’t brush after eating, rinse well with water until you can get to a toothbrush!

Get Necessary Dental Treatments

It’s not just your routine dental visits that maintain healthy teeth and gums. It’s about getting cavities treated with fillings to support your teeth, getting a root canal and or crown to save a tooth, and getting periodontal treatment if you have receding gums or gum pockets that can leave teeth loose. Remember, filling in gaps left behind from missing teeth is vital if you want to keep surrounding teeth from shifting and ruining your bite alignment. Whether you need restorative or cosmetic treatments, our dental team has what your smile needs for an amazing year ahead!