When Good Gums Go Bad

When Good Gums Go Bad

When good gums go bad, Periodontitis…

Logic tells you that you can’t have healthy teeth without first having healthy gums. Our gums serve to protect the base of the teeth, where connective tissue anchors them to jawbone. Left untreated, gum problems can lead to tooth and bone loss. Knowing what you can do to keep your gums healthy will help you preserve not only your smile, but your overall good health as well.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis occurs in the mouth as bacteria begin to build up in tiny pockets along the gum line, resulting inflammation. Early symptoms include bleeding when brushing and persistent bad breath. Gingivitis, which, in most cases, is treatable and managed with good oral care practices, accounts for about 70 percent of gum disease, while the more persistent form called periodontitis makes up the remaining 30 percent.

The warning signs of gum disease can include:

  • tooth brushing causes bleeding gums
  • gums are red, swollen or tender to the touch
  • gums appear to be pulled away from the teeth
  • bad breath
  • pus between the teeth and gums
  • teeth appear to be loosening
  • a change in your bite

Gingivitis happens when teeth are neglected, causing a buildup of oral plaque. This thin, sticky film is primarily made up of bacteria. Plaque that remains on the surface of teeth for prolonged periods without being brushed away will then harden under the gum line turning into what dentists call tartar or calculus. At this stage the buildup is much more difficult – if not impossible – to brush away, ultimately creating a closed environment under the gums in which bacteria can thrive.

Plaque leads to gingivitis, gingivitis leads to periodontitis

The plaque that causes gingivitis lies at or above the gum line is called supragingival plaque. This type of plaque can become covered by inflamed gum tissue or otherwise spread below the gum line and once that happens it is called subgingival plaque. Once tartar has formed below the gum line the only effective way to remove it is through a technique called scaling, scale, or planing using an instrument to clean under the gum margins – (where a dental healthcare provider works to remove the tartar by scraping it away with specially designed instruments). However, if dental plaque and tartar remain untreated at this point, the gums will become progressively more irritated and inflamed, resulting in the more serious condition called periodontitis.

Ugly periodontitis

Periodontitis happens when oral bacteria have built up over time and begun to invade the underlying bone that normally anchors the teeth in place. At this point, the gums may recede, exposing the delicate root surfaces, causing increasing sensitivity to heat and cold at the least, and tooth and bone loss at the most.

Symptoms of periodontitis may include:

  • Receding gums
  • Visible pockets of inflammation at the gum line
  • Gum soreness and pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature changes

By the time people have begun to notice any of the warning signs of periodontitis, it is often too late to reverse the damage. That’s why regular dental checkups are so important. During routine exams dentists are able to spot pockets of inflammation or places where gum tissue has become damaged, exposing the root of the tooth. Dental X-rays can also reveal early signs of gum disease.

Stopping gum disease early may be more important than you think

According to a growing body of clinical research trials and studies, catching signs of gum disease early and effectively treating it, may be far more important than you might imagine as these studies indicate that advanced periodontal disease can cause other, even more serious chronic health problems as well.

Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease

Some of the well-known basics of good oral healthcare include;

  • Brushing least twice a day
  • Rinsing vigorously (with water) after each meal
  • Floss daily
  • Don’t smoke

Managing Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a condition that needs to be managed carefully due to the inflammation that has already invaded below the gum line which, of course requires immediate care from a dentist followed by aggressive and consistent home care. Once treatment has begun, committing to a practice of good dental care will help reduce your risk of further inflammation and damage. Your dentist may also recommend more frequent checkups to monitor and ensure future gum health.

Following a healthy diet can also help create a healthy oral environment and maintain healthy gums. New research suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish (herring, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna,) fish oil and flaxseed helps to reduces inflammation. Adopting a practice of oil pulling using coconut oil may also lead to long term healthy gums. Supplements that support oral health can also be suggested by your dentist.

More information:

What Is Gum Disease? What Is Gingivitis? What Causes Gingivitis? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/167727.php

Periodontitis http://www.healthcentral.com/encyclopedia/408/254.html & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodontitis

Preventing and Treating Gum Problems http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/gums-problems-gingivitis?page=2

Oral health hygiene linked to heart disease and oral and throat cancer

Heart Disease Linked to Poor Oral Hygiene

This year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is estimated to claim 600,000 lives.  That, easily, makes heart disease America’s number one killer!
Right now you are wondering why in the heck I am talking to you about heart disease. What could I possibly be thinking, you might even wonder if I hit my head or have heatstroke. After all a Dental Expert spouting off statistics about heart disease is a bit strange. Here’s the surprising thing: It’s not. Did you know that heart disease and poor oral hygiene are linked?

Our mouths are a pathway into our body, the bacteria and viruses that we are exposed to, or that are growing in our mouth, can pass into our bloodstream. That is true particularly when there is significant inflammation and disease in and around our gums.  There can be between 500 and 1000 DIFFERENT types of bacteria in the average mouth.  Every surface in your mouth grows bacteria. Some are beneficial, some are really dangerous. A clean and healthy mouth is likely to have 100,000 to 500,000 bacteria swimming around, a mouth that is not well taken care of, a dirty mouth, it can have over a million bacteria just hanging out causing inflammation and gingivitis and rot.

What we know definitively is that the more bacteria you have in your mouth the higher the likelihood you are going to have more bad bacteria than good ones. We also know that bacteria in the bloodstream can stick to heart valves as well as cause blood clots. Bacteria sticking to heart valves can damage and even destroy the valves. Additionally the bacteria in the bloodstream can attach to the walls of blood vessels increasing the chance to create clots.


Cancer and Oral Hygiene

There are undisputed and definitive links between throat cancer and oral health and hygiene.  In one study patients who rated their oral health as “poor” were at an over all at a higher risk for testing positive for precancerous cells.  Cells that can eventually lead to cancer.  It’s already known that poor oral hygiene is tied to a heightened risk of oropharyngeal cancer. With just under 12,000 cases of oropharyngeal cancer that occur among Americans each year, it’s a safe assumption that if you could drastically reduce your risk with good oral hygiene you would.


Prevention

Your Healthy Mouth Keeps the Rest of You Healthy.

Science hasn’t yet answered all the questions about how the health of our mouth will and can affect our overall health, but as a medical professional I feel compelled to advocate and educate so that we can each make choices that give the biggest positive impact to our bodies.

It’s Prevention Medicine at its Best!

Good habits of brushing and flossing might be the most basic route to reduce these risks.  Two simple things, yet fundamental, that get rid of bacteria trying to stick to the surfaces in our mouth, eventually forming plaque.  Every time you skip brushing or flossing you give bacteria a better environment to grow in and for plaque.  Plaque that can cause inflammation, inflammation that is believed to be linked to the root of other serious health issues.

Eat a healthy diet and stay away from excess sugar and starchy carbs as these feed the bacteria the sugars they need to thrive. All kinds of things we eat can impact how clean and healthy our mouths stay here are some great tips on foods that are especially good.

As always if you have questions we would love to hear schedule a visit or a consultation and help you get the healthiest mouth possible.

 

Oil Pulling – A New Approach to Removing Oral Toxins

Oil Pulling – A New Approach to Removing Oral Toxins

A simple practice known as ‘oil pulling’ may be one of the very best ways to prevent or treat mouth and gum disease. It has been a popular and practical exercise of Ayurvedic medicine for ages and was more recently introduced to Western cultures by a Dr. F. Karach, M.D. in the early 90s. Karach advocated oil pulling due to the results he detailed in the treatment of a variety of of illnesses including everything from migraine headaches and bronchitis, to gum disease, leukemia and heart disease – just to name a few.

A 2009 study conducted by researchers Asokan, Emmadi, Chamundeswari seemed to back up earlier claims and highlight the effectiveness of oil pulling on the treatment of gum disease. This trial involved swishing sesame oil to test it against plaque-induced gingivitis in 20 test subjects, and to compare its efficacy with chlorhexidine mouthwash. Results concluded that there was a significant reduction in “… the plaque index, modified gingival scores and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.”

How oil pulling works

Longtime practitioners of oil pulling recommend using sesame, safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil but recently the anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties of coconut oil has made it the preferred go-to oil to use. Practicing oil pulling is a simple process that starts with swishing a tablespoon of your preferred oil back, forth and around the mouth and teeth for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes –followed by a thorough rinse and routine brushing. By adopting this practice into your oral care routine – and doing it first thing in the morning, you may begin to reap some of the benefits including:

• Healthier gums
• Whiter teeth
• A significant reduction of plaque and tartar
• Fresher breath

Killing bacteria with oil pulling

At any given moment, the human mouth contains an assortment of active microbes, with bacteria being the most prolific. Experts estimate that more than 100 million microbes thrive in every milliliter of saliva – containing upwards of 600 different species of bacteria — some beneficial, others harmful. Without following a regime of proper oral hygiene, the nastier bacteria will eventually collect and form a sticky film on teeth and tongue. Left untreated plaque and other bacteria can flow into the digestive tract and potentially cause, or aggravate, a wide variety of chronic health issues.

The enzymes naturally found in food grade oils are thought to help pull toxins, pus and mucus away from not only teeth, gums and tongue, but also from the body’s cells, blood and digestive tract. Ayurveda suggests that oil pulling works by purifying, cleansing and detoxifying the entire system by removing harmful toxins. In Ayurveda each section of the human tongue is connected to corresponding vital organs of the body such as lungs, kidneys, stomach, colon, liver, spine, heart and small intestines. By keeping the teeth and tongue free of toxic buildup through the practice of oil pulling, you’re actually helping to keep the whole body healthy.

Conclusion

Proper dental hygiene is not only important for oral health, it is essential to all aspects of wellness. Adding oil pulling to already established oral care techniques including brushing and flossing and avoiding sugars and processed foods, it is even more possible to maintain a healthier mouth and body.

More Information:

http://www.jaim.in/article.asp?issn=0975-9476;year=2011;volume=2;issue=2;spage=64;epage=68;aulast=Singh#ref19

http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article%20oil%20pulling.htm
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/08/coconut-oil-combats-tooth-decay.aspx
http://www.oilpulling.com/
http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/oil_pulling.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Health_Benefits_of_Oil_Pulling_
http://www.homemadebodycleanse.com/cleanse-recipes/sunflower-oil-pull.htm
http://www.jonbarron.org/article/oil-pulling-detoxing

And — How Coconut Oil Can Be Used As A Mouthwash (VIDEO)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/coconut-oil-mouthwash-video_n_2375038.html

Resources: Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. – Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:47-51.

 

Importance Of Regular Dental Checkups

dental-checkupHow Important Are Regular Dental Checkups?

Living in Houston there is probably not one person you know that doesn’t own a motor vehicle. Cars are literally the only form of transportation in this big city. A person without a car is completely stranded, not being able to go about their daily activities such as: work, school, shopping, and eating. If your car were to break down one fine day, would you be upset or what? That is the exact reason people have their cars checked almost every month when they go in for an oil change, to make sure everything is fine and smooth. That is why we go in to see our family physician periodically to make sure that our bodies are functioning in the right manner. And that is the exact reason the importance of regular dental checkups in imminent.

Just like how our cars and bodies need to be checked for anything wrong or irregular, our teeth need to be checked in the same. There is no doubt that most of you take care of your teeth very competently, but there are some of you who don’t even do that. Statistics show that up to 25% of Americans have bad breath and a great percentage of that 25% actually take care of their teeth on a regular basis. But taking of your teeth yourself just doesn’t cut it. Tons of things have to be done yearly to your teeth to make sure that you are good and healthy with nothing to worry about. The regular cleaning of teeth should be done at least 1-2 times per year. This is the cleaning besides the two times a day you are supposed to brush your teeth. Simple brushing of the teeth does not have the same effect as when you professionally have your teeth cleaned to remove all the plaque that is caught up around the teeth.

Don’t fall victim to bad habits by not coming and getting your routine dental checkup. With the great staff that Dr. Marilyn K Jones has at her office you will feel right at home. Dr. Jones is one of the top dentists in the Houston area and has an immaculate track record in the health field to support her cause of making sure that you have the best and healthiest teeth possible. Regular checkups are very important for the well-being of your teeth, pick up the phone and call Dr. Jones office to know for yourself.

Call our office today to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to meeting you and earning your trust (713) 785-7767