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

Beauty Sleep For Your Teeth

Beauty Sleep For Your Teeth

Can not getting enough sleep really be hurting your teeth?

They call it beauty sleep but getting a good night’s rest can do a lot more than preserve your good looks.

Research proves a relationship between sleep deprivation and the onset of many health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Now we can add periodontitis–or gum disease– to that list.

The Link Between Sleep and Oral Health

The amount of sleep you get per night is related to the onset of periodontitis–a disease in which deep pockets form between the teeth and gums, leading to loose and shifting teeth, and the destruction of the bone and connective tissue which hold teeth in place.

A study at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine examined over 200 factory workers to assess whether various lifestyle factors (i.e. exercise, diet, stress) had an effect on periodontitis. Throughout the four year-study, researchers used periodontal probes to monitor any changes in the pockets between teeth and gums.

According to the findings, workers who slept seven to eight hours per night were had a lower risk for periodontitis than those who slept less than six hours per night.  In fact, sleep deprivation was the second most influential factor associated with the onset of periodontitis, right behind smoking.

Lack of Sleep and Inflammation

The root of this association is most likely inflammation. Sleep deprivation is a known cause of increased inflammation, which in turn is a risk factor for other serious diseases like heart disease and stroke.

Research at the Emory University School of Medicine found that, when you are sleep deprived, there is an increased production of inflammatory hormones.  One such inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, was 25% higher in subjects who had less than six hours of sleep per night.

In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, inflammation is also a sign of gingivitis, the mild form of gum disease that can lead to periodontitis.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

It’s not how long, but how well you sleep that counts too.  Even if you get a full eight hours each night, you don’t get the same health benefits if you wake up often.

A few tips for those that have trouble getting a good night’s rest:

Routine: Your body clock wants to adjust to your needs, but it cannot adjust if those needs are always changing. Establishing a routine alerts the body that this is the time you need to go to sleep.

Wind-down without your electronics: Giving yourself time to wind-down before you sleep helps your mind relax. There are many different ways to wind-down, whether it’s reading, yoga, or sipping a cup of hot tea. Just be sure not to use electronics. The latest research shows that artificial light from laptops, TV’s, and iPhones suppress the hormone which regulates sleep, melatonin.

Get up instead of tossing and turning: You want to keep your bedroom associated with sleep rather than being awake. So if you are tossing and turning, get up and do a relaxing activity until you feel tired again. Then try and go back to sleep.

To offset some of the inevitable lack of sleep when things get way too busy and remember to:

Can Working Out Cause Tooth Decay?

Are Strong Muscles Related to Tooth Decay

Can working out cause tooth decay? In recent oral health news a study about the relationship between working out and tooth decay has been making all the headlines.  Researchers in a German study have linked a higher incidence of gum disease and tooth decay to a correlation in extended workouts. This isn’t new news in and of itself, for decades dentist and scientist have been aware of a higher incidence of oral disease, and tooth decay in athletes. The cause was long thought to be linked solely to sugary drinks consumed in excess by the athlete pre and post workout.

While there is still a potential link between the sugar and foods consumed by an athlete the new research indicates that changes in saliva during a workout are significant enough and consistent enough that the likelihood is that the physical activity itself plays the bigger role in athletes with oral health disease. The scientist tested individual athletes before, during and after strenuous, extended workouts and found that saliva got increasingly less acidic throughout the activity. (Many popular sports drinks and sugary drinks are acidic.) Athletes also produced less saliva while working out than they did when at rest. All of these factors are thought to contribute in some way to instability in the mouth, ultimately leaving teeth and gums vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.

So should you give up your daily workout to save your teeth? First of all, bear in mind that physical activity reduces stress, and depression, can aid in better sleep, reduces the incidence and severity of joint pain related to arthritis, helps maintain ideal body weight, combats fatigue and is linked to a myriad of age fighting benefits, not to mention the effects of exercise to regulate and eliminate symptoms of type II diabetes.

The athletes included in the German study all had very strenuous training regimens and worked out for nine or more hours per week.  For most of us, even those who are able to fit in lots of hours at the gym, or track–or where ever you find to sweat it out–there may be some simple, proactive, steps to include in your daily routine reducing the chances of a workout negatively impacting your oral health or causing tooth decay.

What Can You Do

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day–staying hydrated is one of the biggest factors to keeping saliva flowing and ph balanced. Saliva is the body’s best defense against tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Get your 7 to 8 hours of sleep–inadequate sleep has been shown to be a bigger factor in gum disease, periodontal disease and tooth decay than smoking.
  • A pre-workout toothbrushing–while there are not yet studies on weather or not a pre-workout brushing will remedy the incidence of tooth decay related to exercise, it can’t hurt, and getting all the bacteria and pathogens cleared out before you stress the environment is likely to be beneficial.
  • Pay close attention to your diet before, during and at recovery. If you workout for an extended amount of time, the foods you consume to fuel and recover from your workout can still contribute to your oral health. Many athletes choose high-carb diets. Carbohydrates easily convert to sugars and this is true even of the tiny particles left behind in the mouth. Sugars feed the bacteria that cause erosion and tooth decay, and infect the soft-tissues in the mouth causing periodontal disease.

Call us Today to get more information and set up your consultation.

Marilyn K Jones DDS

Address: 800 Bering Dr Suite 204 , Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (713) 785-7767
Email: mjones@hal-pc.org

 

There’s gum disease, and then there’s Gum Disease

Clearly you can’t have healthy teeth without first having healthy gums. 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