How are Your Gums?

Do you suffer from sore, swollen or bleeding gums? This could be a sign of a more serious condition.

According to caring.com, swollen, sore, or bleeding gums are symptoms not only of periodontal disease — in which exposure to bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth — but also a possible early sign of underlying cardiovascular disease. A 2010 study by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimated that the prevalence of periodontal disease may be underestimated by as much as 50 percent.

Can your heart be a cause of periodontal disease?

Experts believe that poor circulation due to heart disease could be an underlying cause of periodontal disease. Researchers are also studying whether a common bacteria is involved in both gum disease and plaque buildup inside coronary arteries. The link may also have something to do with the body’s response to prolonged inflammation.

A recent article in huffingtonpost.com states, “A study presented in 2011 at a meeting of the American Heart Association, for instance, showed that getting your teeth professionally cleaned even just once in your life is associated with a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke. (though the association is strongest among people who get yearly cleanings).”

If you are having problems with your gums or you are concerned about the relationship between heart disease and gum disease give Dr. Brogdon a call.  We can treat your gum disease and thus help prevent the presence of bacteria. You should consider gum disease a red flag for inflammation and circulatory problems. Ask your doctor if you need to set up an appointment with us. Your gums and your heart will thank you!

 

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Healthy Gums and Your Heart?

Can brushing your teeth help save your heart?  Studies show that improved gum health can reduce the risk of harmful plaque buildup in neck arteries.

According to US News, researchers found that as people’s gum health improved, the buildup of plaque in their arteries slowed. This narrowing of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and death.

The study included 420 adults who underwent tests to assess their gum health and plaque buildup in their neck (carotid) arteries. Over a follow-up of roughly three years, improvements in gum health and a reduction in the proportion of bacteria linked with gum infection (periodontal disease) was associated with a slower rate of plaque accumulation in the neck arteries.

Gum disease-related bacteria may contribute to atherosclerosis in a number of ways. For example, animal studies suggest that these bacteria may trigger inflammation associated with atherosclerosis.

In order to reduce the risk of gum disease, daily dental care and regular visits to your dentist are recommended.  If you need to have your teeth or gums checked or if you are concerned about your heart in relation to your dental care, give Dr Brogdon a call.  Our office would be glad to set up an appointment to discuss your dental needs.

Your heart might depend on it.

 

Receding Gums

Receding gums happen when the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away or pulls back, exposing the root or more of the tooth. This can be one of the first signs of gum disease.  If not treated, it can lead to further problems and even the loss of the tooth.

According to WebMD there are a number of factors that can cause your gums to recede, including:

Periodontal diseases. These are bacterial gum infections that destroy gum tissue and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.

Your genes. Some people may be more susceptible to gum disease. In fact, studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth.

Aggressive tooth brushing. If you brush your teeth too hard or the wrong way, it can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede.

Insufficient dental care. Inadequate brushing and flossing makes it easy for plaque to turn into calculus (tartar) — a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning — and build up on and in between your teeth, causing gum recession.

Hormonal changes. Fluctuations in female hormone levels during a woman’s lifetime, such as in puberty, pregnancy,  and menopause, can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco products. Tobacco users are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth that is difficult to remove, which can cause gum recession.

Grinding and clenching your teeth. Clenching or grinding your teeth can put too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede. 

Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. When teeth do not come together evenly, too much force can be placed on the gums and bone, allowing gums to recede.

Body piercing of the lip or tongue. Jewelry can rub the gums and irritate them to the point that gum tissue is worn away.

Although gum recession is a common problem, many people don’t realize they are suffering from it because it comes on gradually. You might notice more tooth sensitivity or your teeth may appear longer.  If you are having these problems it is important that you contact our office as there are treatments that can be done to help prevent further damage. This is something you don’t want to ignore. The best way you can prevent your gums from receding is to take good care of your mouth.

PREVENTATIVE TIPS

  • Brush your teeth daily preferably with a soft bristled toothbrush.
  • Floss your teeth every day.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Monitor any changes you see or feel in your mouth.
  • Most importantly, keep your appointments to see Dr. Brogdon twice a year for cleanings and to check up.

Your smile is the only one you have. Take care of it by following these preventative tips.

Sensitive Teeth

Do cold or hot foods or liquids such as ice cream or coffee cause you pain?  Do you have trouble sometimes with brushing or flossing? If so you may be experiencing a problem that affect many people, sensitive teeth.

Possible causes for sensitive teeth can include cavities, a fractured tooth, worn fillings and or tooth enamel, gum disease or an exposed tooth root.

According to mouthhealthy.org there is a layer of enamel that protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin. Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals).

“When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.”

The treatment recommended depends on what is causing your sensitivity problem. Listed below are a variety of treatments from mouthhealthy.org:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
  • A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.

The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated!  Ask Dr. Brogdon if you have any questions about your oral hygiene or any issues you may be experiencing with tooth sensitivity.  Don’t continue to suffer, we’re here to help.

To Floss or Not to Floss

If you are not flossing on a daily basis, maybe you should consider adding flossing to your dental routine.

According to mouthhealthy.org: “Flossing helps remove plaque from between your teeth, in areas that the toothbrush can’t reach, and it helps prevent gum disease and dental decay.”

Plaque not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into unsightly tartar (also called calculus).  This crusty deposit creates a cohesive bond that can only be removed by a dentist or a hygienist.  Tartar formation may also make it more difficult for you to remove new plaque and bacteria.  The prevention of tartar buildup above the gum line has been shown to have a therapeutic effect on gum disease.

If you have difficulty in handling dental floss or not sure how to use it effectively, talk to us.  You may also prefer to use another kind of interdental cleaner. These include special brushes, picks or sticks. Dr. Brogdon and our hygienists can instruct you in the proper use of dental floss as well as these additional aids and help you to be more comfortable with their use.

Smoking and Dental Care

You probably know that smoking can raise your risk of lung cancer, emphysema, heart problems and a host of other serious disease, but did you realize that it can also affect your oral health?  The use of tobacco can cause gum disease, oral cancer, and other dental problems.  Besides affecting your health, smoking can discolor your teeth and even you tongue.

According to everydayhealth.com:

“It’s hard to say what percentage of people who smoke will get mouth cancer, but the death rate of those who do get it is high — between 40 and 50 percent of all cases, and that hasn’t changed over the last few decades.”

The American Cancer Society estimates that 90 percent of people with oral cancer (cancer affecting the lips, tongue, throat, and mouth) have used tobacco in some form. Likewise, the risk of oral cancer is six times higher among smokers relative to non-smokers. Your individual risk of oral cancer depends on how long you’ve been using tobacco — the longer you use it, the greater your risk.

And people who use smokeless (chewing) tobacco are at a four to six time greater risk of oral cancer than people who don’t use tobacco at all. People who use smokeless tobacco are also at higher risk of tooth decay and cavities because some varieties of chewing tobacco contain sugar for a sweeter taste, and sugar is a primary cause of tooth decay.

At Brogdon Dental we are here to help you.  Regular dental visits can help with early detection of gum disease and precancereous mouth sores.  The sooner you get treatment, the better your odds are.  Call us today to set up a screening.

Are You Brushing your Teeth too Often or Hard?

Are you brushing your teeth too often or too hard?  According to WebMD you could be damaging your teeth if you do either one.

“While brushing your teeth three times a day is ideal, more may not be, says Michael Sesemann, DDS, president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. “More than four toothbrushings a day would begin to seem compulsive,” he says.

Excessive brushing could expose the root of the tooth to irritation, and that could in turn irritate the gums. Brushing vigorously can also erode tooth enamel. The trick is to brush very gently for two to three minutes.”

Softly brushing your teeth at least twice a day is recommended, ”Three times a day is best,” Sesemann says. With too much time between brushings, he says, bacterial plaque will build up, boosting the risk of gum inflammation and other problems.”

Check back for more “tooth brushing mistakes” and how to correct them.