3 Main Stages of Periodontal Disease: Warning Signs, Preventative Methods and More

Do you know if you have gum disease?

Odds are you do.

In fact, 3 out of 4 people will get gum disease in their lifetime. The good news is most people only experience the disease in its most premature form.

While gum disease is reversible in its earliest stage, it can’t be cured once the infection spreads and the disease advances. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, serious infection and even bone damage.

Since this condition is extremely common, it’s important to understand the warning signs and know what to do if you exhibit symptoms.

facts about gum disease

After reading this article, you will know…

  • What gum disease actually is.
  • The 3 main stages of gum disease.
  • Warning signs you should look for.
  • How you can prevent gum disease from happening to you.
  • How to treat gum disease and keep it from progressing.

And much more.

First, let’s take a look at what gum disease really is.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a common infection in the tissues that line the mouth, otherwise known as the gums. Since the gums support your teeth and keep them in place, gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss. When left untreated, it can also cause serious infection and bone damage.

Are you exhibiting signs of gum disease? Let’s find out. Read on to learn the 3 main stages of gum disease.

The 3 Main Stages of Gum Disease

As you now know, gum disease presents itself in 3 main stages. If left untreated, it gradually becomes more serious over time. Read on to find out how it forms, what it can progress to, and what could happen to you if you don’t treat it.

stages of periodontal disease

Gum Disease Stage #1: Gingivitis

The first and most common stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. You’ve probably heard of gingivitis before — it makes an appearance in almost every TV commercial for toothpaste.

But, what exactly is gingivitis and how does it affect you?

Gingivitis results when plaque builds up around the gums, causing inflammation. During this preliminary phase, gums swell and bleed.

If you are experiencing gingivitis, the good news for you is that it doesn’t have to be permanent. This is the only stage of gum disease that you can reverse. Sometimes all you need to do is practice proper oral care, which includes regular brushing and flossing.

At times, gingivitis presents itself subtly. It may not be painful or apparent to you at all. Because of this, it’s important to visit the dentist every 6-12 months to make sure your gums are in good health.

Gum Disease Stage #2: Periodontitis  

As gingivitis grows in severity, it advances to early periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection in the mouth that threatens the gums, the jawbone, and other surrounding bones.

During this phase, even more, plaque accumulates. This causes gum recession, which puts your teeth at risk of falling out.

To accommodate all the plaque buildup, gums may even develop small pockets to store the bacteria. At this point, the surrounding bones in your mouth become jeopardized.

Damage at this stage is irreversible, but your dentist will give helpful tips to keep the disease from progressing even further.

periodontal dentist corpus
Periodontitis, Inflammation of Gums Periodontal Dental Loss. Infection Pulpitis with Plaque

Gum Disease Stage #3: Advanced Periodontal Disease

At the most serious phase of gum disease, you run the risk of losing your teeth and diminishing the bones and fibers that support them. This is often the most painful and uncomfortable stage of gum disease.

Advanced periodontal disease can result in…

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Severe toothaches
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Bone loss

And more!

During this stage, the plaque pockets that formed underneath the gums increase in size. Gum recession grows in intensity. Teeth may become loose and fall out on their own.

People with advanced periodontal disease also report a persistent bad taste in their mouth along with pain while eating.

If you reach this stage of gum disease, you might need to have compromised teeth extracted. Reach out to your dentist to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Did you know… chronically bad breath could be a sign of advanced periodontal disease. See a dentist if you think your bad breath might be part of a bigger problem.

gum disease versus healthy gum

The Warning Signs of Gum Disease

So, how can you tell if you have gum disease?

Depending on the severity of the case, gum disease presents itself in different ways. If you have gingivitis, you’re probably experiencing some inflammation and occasional bleeding around the gumline.

If your case is more advanced, you could lose teeth or even bone mass.

But in many cases, gum disease is not painful, and you might not even know you have it. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for when checking your gums.

Look out for these warning signs…

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding while brushing
  • Loose teeth or tooth loss
  • Pain in your teeth, gums and surrounding bones

Now that you know what to look for, let’s talk about how you can keep gum disease from affecting you and your teeth.

steps to prevent gum disease

How You Can Prevent Gum Disease from Happening To You

Whether you already have gum disease or if you just want to keep it from developing, prevention is possible. Remember you can even reverse gum disease if you catch it in its earliest stage.

To reverse it or keep it from developing, brush your teeth 2-3 times per day. For even more protection, it’s best to brush after eating foods in high sugar since these are the culprits that cause plaque. Also, remember to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis.

In addition to brushing, be sure to floss on a regular basis. This will further break down plaque, thus protecting your gums from buildup. Dentists usually recommend flossing once per day.

While at-home oral care is a great preventative method, it’s also extremely important to see a dentist on a regular basis. Dental professionals have special tools that get into the deep crevices your toothbrush can’t get to.

Depending on your teeth, it’s recommended to see a dental professional every 6-12 months.

During your visit, your dentist will evaluate your teeth, clean them thoroughly, and provide you with helpful pointers to keep them healthy for the years to come.

Stop Bleeding Gum Disease Before It’s Too Late

As a reminder, gum disease affects 75% of people. Even if you aren’t experiencing pain, you could still be suffering from gum disease.

Ready to protect your gums and keep your mouth healthy?

The dental experts at Dr. Derek J. Chang’s Family Dentistry will help you…

  • Eliminate harmful plaque around the gums
  • Keep early signs of gum disease from progressing
  • Maintain a vibrant smile free of infection and disease

And much, much more.

Dr. Chang’s Family Dentistry serves Corpus Christi, Texas and the surrounding areas. Click here or call 361-992-7631 to schedule your next dental appointment right now.

Oral Cancer: Its Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Prevention

Oral cancer, also known as oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer, is a common disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people every year in the United States alone. Each year, over 450,000 people across the globe are diagnosed with the disease.

This serious oral disease primarily affects adults ranging in age from 40 to 60 years old, but anyone can develop symptoms of oral cancer.

While oral cancer isn’t necessarily difficult to treat or detect, it is unfortunate that most people don’t realize they have it until it’s too late. As a result, the death rate for this specific cancer is significantly high.

Are you at risk of developing oral cancer?

Certain lifestyle choices can heighten your risk of developing the disease. Keep reading to find out what they are.

reduce risk of oral cancer

Oral Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

While oral cancer can happen to anyone, there are definitely factors that increase your likelihood of contracting the disease.

If you smoke, drink or have unprotected sex, you’re at risk for oral cancer.

The main oral cancer risk factors involve drinking heavily, smoking cigarettes or tobacco, and contracting a common sexually transmitted disease known as human papillomavirus (HPV).

But, you don’t have to smoke, drink or have unprotected sex to get oral cancer.

On top of these risk factors, there are two genetic diseases that can drastically increase your susceptibility to oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Genetic Disorders That Can Cause Oral Cancer:

  • Fanconi anemia is a disorder caused by defective genes. It affects a person’s bone marrow and reduces the production of healthy blood cells. It also greatly increases the risk of developing cancer in the throat or mouth.
  • Dyskeratosis congenita is another genetic disorder that visibly affects the skin and nails. People with this condition may have irregular skin pigmentation or distorted nails. They’re also more likely to prematurely develop oral cancer.

But, the risk factors don’t stop there. Sun exposure and eating poorly can both put you at risk of oral cancer. And, gender is definitely a factor. Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer than women.

The good news is that being exposed to these risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will ever get oral cancer.

But, are you worried you might have it?

Read on to discover common symptoms associated with cancer of the mouth, tongue, and throat.

Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer

 

tongue cancer symptoms

Do you have chronic bad breath? This could be a warning sign of a much bigger problem. Sometimes bad breath is a key indicator that you may have oral cancer.

But there are many other symptoms that show up with the disease.

Here are some other symptoms commonly associated with oral cancer:

  • Excessive coughing
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Red or white patches on the tongue
  • Sores, lumps or ulcers in the mouth and throat
  • Pain in your ears, mouth, throat and around the face

And more.

Did you know… tongue cancer is a common type of oral cancer. In its early stages, oral cancer of the tongue may look like a canker sore. In later stages, patients often develop lesions and tumors.

Learn how your dentist can screen you for oral cancer, but first who should get screened. 

Who Should Get Screened for Oral Cancer? 

According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, they recommend adults age 18 and older get tested for oral cancer once a year.

At one point it was much easier to identify the factors that would make someone more susceptible to oral cancer. Now as much as 40 percent of oral cancer patients have NONE of the traditional risk factors, such as: 

  • Previous history of oral cancer
  • 45 years of age or older
  • Heavy use of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Use of smokeless tobacco

What To Expect At Your Oral Cancer Screening

Most oral cancer patients find out when it’s already too late. If you’re concerned you may have it, don’t wait to visit your trusted dentist.

During your visit, your dentist can perform a screening to determine whether you show signs of oral cancer.

Here’s what your dentist will do through each step of your oral cancer screening.

8 step oral screening process

The 8-Step Oral Cancer Screening Process

Step 1) Look underneath your upper lip and inspect the gums and tissue

Step 2) Feel around your lip and check for any questionable spots

Step 3) Check your tongue for mucous, lesions and other warning signs

Step 4) Inspect the tissue behind the bottom lip and the surrounding gums

Step 5) Look at your bottom palate and test for softness

Step 6) Check your top palate and tonsils for any irregularities

Step 7) Inspect underneath the tongue and around the floor of the mouth

Step 8) Feel around the side of the tongue and look for warning spots

Note: Dr. Chang’s Family Dentistry in Corpus Christi, Texas is known for their oral cancer expertise. At this dental office, you will get screened for oral cancer and find out how you can prevent it from progressing.

Oral Cancer Diagnosis & Stages of Oral Cancer

Like most cancers, oral cancer presents itself in different stages. When diagnosing oral cancer and its progression, doctors will first look at 3 main factors.

The 3 Main Factors of Your Oral Cancer Diagnosis

  1. Tumor — oncologists evaluate the size of the tumor, ulcer or mass
  2. Node — doctors check whether the cancer is present in the lymph nodes
  3. Metastasis — doctors determine whether cancer has spread to other parts or systems of the body

Once doctors look at these 3 things, then they give each a score of 0-4 or X. The lower the number, the slower the development of cancer. While 0 means there is no presence of cancer, X means data is inconclusive.

For late-stage oral tumors, the diagnosis is broken into 2 parts:

  1. T4a — the cancer is “moderately advanced,” meaning it has progressed and grown into other areas
  2. T4b — the cancer is “very advanced,” meaning it has not only grown into other areas, but it has also spread deeper into tissues and organs

An example of an early stage oral cancer diagnosis: T1 N0 M0

This means there is a small mass present (around 2 centimeters), but cancer hasn’t reached the lymph nodes, and it has not spread to other parts of the body.

An example of a late-stage oral cancer diagnosis: T4b N3 M1

This means the tumor is larger than 6 centimeters, and it is present in the lymph nodes. On top of that, the cancer is now affecting other parts of the body.

oral cancer diagnosis

Note: when your cancer reaches the later stages, your oncologist will likely recommend chemotherapy. Keep reading to discover other treatment methods commonly associated with oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Treatment Methods

Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend surgery, radiation or chemotherapy as a treatment method. Here’s a little more information about each oral cancer treatment method.

The 3 Main Medical Treatments for Oral Cancer

  • Surgery — In its early stages, before cancer spreads, doctors can surgically remove the affected area. Popular oral cancer surgeries include complete removal of the larynx (voice box), lymph nodes or a section of your tongue
  • Radiation — This treatment method uses x-rays and lasers to stop abnormal cells from metastasizing
  • Chemotherapy — In advanced cases, chemotherapy is performed to kill cancerous cells and prevent them from multiplying

Now that you know how to treat oral cancer, let’s take a look at oral cancer survival rates.

Oral Cancer Survival Rates

If you catch oral cancer in its early stages, you are likely to recover from it and continue to live your everyday life. On the other hand, if your oral cancer spreads to other parts of the body, your chance of survival diminishes considerably.

As you can see in the graph below, the 5-year survival rate for stages 1 and 2 is very high (83%) while it drastically lowers as cancer progresses to stages 3 (56%) and 4 (34%).

oral cancer survival rates

One of the main problems related to oral cancer is that cases often go undiagnosed until cancer progresses to stage 3 or 4.

Whether you think you may be experiencing oral cancer in its early or late stages, don’t wait to contact a medical professional. You can start by visiting your dentist.

If your dentist’s oral screening concludes you might have oral cancer, you will be referred to an otolaryngologist, otherwise known as an ear, nose and throat doctor. Your dentist may also recommend you visit an oncologist who specializes in cancer treatment and prevention.

Oral Cancer Prevention

The best way to prevent oral cancer from happening to you is to eliminate unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking and having unprotected sex.

It’s also important to stay on top of your oral health. Brush and floss your teeth routinely, and visit your dentist on a regular basis. This way, you can ensure everything looks normal and healthy.

Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Now

Ready to gain peace of mind and find out whether what you’re experiencing is oral cancer?

The dental professionals at Dr. Chang’s Family Dentistry can help.

Click here or call 361-992-7631 to schedule your dental visit now.

Located in Corpus Christi, Dr. Chang’s Family Dentistry helps Texas patients maintain a healthy smile for years to come. Derek J. Chang, DDS, and his team of dentistry experts provide a clean and comfortable experience every time.

Dental services available at Dr. Chang’s Family Dentistry in Corpus Christi, Texas

  • Tooth cleaning
  • Tooth extraction
  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Sleep apnea and TMJ
  • Emergency dental services
  • Fillings, crowns and root canals

And much, much more

To schedule a dental appointment with your trusted Corpus Christi dentist, click here or call 361-992-7631 right now.

Oral Health Benefits of Ginger: How Ginger Can Help Strengthen Your Teeth & Gums

Did you know ginger does so much more than add zest to a dish?

Ginger is a healing root commonly used in Asian cuisine.

Ginger is an affordable, widely available ingredient that you can find in the produce section of your local grocery store.

With hints of capsaicin and other pepper-like seasonings, ginger naturally spices up any meal. It can even add a little something extra to your smoothies. All you need is a little bit of ginger for a whole lot of flavor.

oral health benefits ginger

Ginger’s Healing Properties

Ginger root is a nature-made treatment for your everyday health and wellness battles. Similar to its strong taste, you only need a fraction of the root to experience its powerful healing properties.

Ginger can literally make you feel better from the inside out. Its anti-inflammatory nature combined with its antibacterial properties make it a powerful remedy to many medicinal ailments.

Consuming fresh ginger regularly can help you fight bacterial infections, reduce swelling and improve overall health and well-being.

Health Benefits of Ginger

Here are just a handful of benefits….

  • Makes you feel better when you’re experiencing stomach pain
  • Improves digestion and reduces the persistence of nausea
  • Alleviates morning sickness and menstrual cramps
  • Reduces muscle pain, tension, and tenderness
  • Fights the flu and reduces flu-like symptoms
  • Lowers your risk of heart disease
  • Fights bacterial infections
  • Brightens your smile

And more!

Wait? Ginger can brighten my smile.

Yes!

Ginger can – among other health benefits – brighten your smile. Ginger is a super-root, superfood, which can actually help whiten and strengthen your teeth and your gum line.

ginger toothache remedy

Ginger’s antibacterial properties keep plaque and bacterial buildup at bay. And, its anti-inflammatory features can make your next toothache a lot more tolerable. Some even say ginger can even reduce your risk of gingivitis, gum disease, and oral cancers.

Key Oral Health Benefits of Ginger

The oral health benefits of ginger are multifold. Ginger serves as a wonderful preventative method to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Also, it’s also a quick and easy treatment for many oral and dental issues.

Consuming ginger can help you…

  • Remove plaque.
  • Keep cavities away.
  • Strengthen your gum tissue.
  • Temporarily relieve toothaches and oral pain.
  • Prevent inflammatory oral diseases.
  • Reduce your risk of gingivitis and gum disease.
  • Protect you from serious oral infections, diseases, and cancers.

Ginger Can Help Fight Against Gingivitis and Gum Disease

ginger fights gum disease

Now you know ginger can protect you from serious oral health issues.

But, how exactly does it do this?

Ginger contains multiple active ingredients that stimulate health and healing in your mouth. The most notable are Raffinose and Gingerol.

Active Ingredient #1: Raffinose for Plaque Defense

Raffinose, one of the key active ingredients in ginger, helps prevent bacterial buildup around your teeth and gums.

This robust ingredient found in ginger fights sugar formation around the teeth, therefore keeping biofilm from developing. A biofilm is a stubborn form of bacteria that sticks to surfaces. It is the primary cause of plaque accumulation and can ultimately lead to cavities and overall decay.

The ingredient, Raffinose, further:

  • Relieves pain, swelling, and infections related to toothaches.
  • Reduces biofilm and other bacterial accumulation on teeth and gums.
  • Prevents inflammatory diseases like periodontal disease, which diminishes bone and tissue in your mouth.

And much, much more.

Active Ingredient #2: Gingerol for Fighting Infection

Gingerol is the main ingredient that gives ginger its spice.

But it doesn’t just create spice – it has the gusto to fight infections, kill bacteria and bring swelling to a minimum.

And, that’s not all…

Multiple scientific studies found ingesting Gingerol can be a successful way to fight various cancers.

In fact, this super ingredient actually stopped cancerous cells from metastasizing. The same ingredient that adds spice to your meals can possibly also stop cancer from spreading.

How to Consume Ginger for Your Oral Health

Ready to experience all the oral healing benefits of ginger? Here’s how you can consume it for optimal results.

Ginger in the Raw

To get the most out of ginger’s healing properties, be sure to consume it fresh and raw. Like most vegetables, roots, and herbs, ginger loses some of its vitamins and nutrients when cooked or processed.

For instance, the level of Gingerol found in cooked ginger is significantly lower than the amount found in fresh ginger. While you can consume it cooked or dried, you miss out on all the cancer-fighting benefits of the root.

When you consume fresh ginger, you truly absorb all the healing benefits of the root.

Ginger Tea Recipe

One of the most popular ways to consume raw ginger is by brewing a ginger tea.

Here’s the recipe:

  1.  Take a small slice of ginger and hot water.
  2.  Cut a thin slice from the root and remove the outside skin.
  3.  Place the piece of ginger in your favorite mug.
  4.  Then, pour hot water over the ginger slice.
  5.  Add any additional flavors and enjoy.

Your healthier teeth will thank you.

 

Chewing Ginger

If you’ve ever experienced a toothache, you’ll want to read this.

All you need to reduce the pain is a small slice of fresh ginger. Bite down on the ginger slice nearby the affected tooth.

Allow the ginger juice to swish around your mouth, coating the tooth in question. To get the most out of this method, continue chewing for about 5 minutes. It’s okay if you swallow the excess ginger. You should start to feel relief as soon as just a few minutes later.

Add Fresh Ginger to Your Meals

If ginger isn’t your favorite flavor, you can add it to your food for a more subtle experience.

Ginger goes well in stir-fry, soups, and smoothies. If you incorporate ginger into your meals on a regular basis, you will begin to prevent toothaches and oral health issues before they start.

Add Powdered Ginger to Your Meals

If fresh ginger just doesn’t do it for you, you can try adding powdered ginger to your meals.

While powdered ginger lacks some powerful ingredients, you will still get many of its healing benefits.

Ginger is NOT an Alternative to Professional Oral Care

Ginger is in no way an alternative to professional oral care.

Ginger should only be used as a holistic method in conjunction with professional care.

You should never use ginger to replace medicine you’re currently prescribed. If you are still experiencing serious pain after trying ginger-related treatments, be sure to visit your dentist or oral healthcare provider.

Find an Oral Care Professional In Corpus Christi

In need of a dentist to further discuss your oral health?

Dr. Derek Chang and his team of dental care professionals in Corpus Christi can help you get all your questions answered.

It’s by far the best dental office in Corpus Christi, Texas and coastal areas. Call now 361-992-7631 or click here to schedule your appointment now.

Corpus Christi dental care

References:
https://www.livestrong.com/article/238140-how-to-use-ginger-root-for-a-toothache/

http://www.fairfielddentalassociates.com/blog/ginger-could-prevent-cavities

https://sazperio.com/blog/antibacterial-foods-eat-treated-gum-disease/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger

Here’s How Astronauts Clean Their Teeth In Outer Space!

Here’s How Astronauts Clean Their Teeth In Outer Space!

Becoming an astronaut: it’s a childhood dream for many, but only a handful of the very best and brightest ever make it into space. At any given time, there are less than a dozen people in Space.

However, once you’ve made it out of the stratosphere, that’s not the end of the story.

Up in Space, astronauts have to live just like the rest of us. The only difference is that they don’t have gravity to fall back on.

Since everything is literally turned on its head while you are floating about, even the tiniest of everyday tasks become a challenge that needs to be solved.

Astronauts need to stay clean, but how they go about that is a lot different to the way we do things here on Earth. Even brushing your teeth in space is turned into an incredibly precise process- so let’s take a look at how astronauts do it!

The first thing that they need to think about is water. When you’re up in space, you cannot just turn on a faucet, since the water droplets would fly everywhere.

Moreover, every resource is incredibly valuable when inside a space station, and water is the essential commodity for survival after air.

For that reason, every drop of water is treated like solid gold, and none of it is wasted.

Astronauts get around the problem of zero-gravity by drinking water from bags with a straw. They have to carefully use a sip of this water to moisten their toothbrush, and then suck up any excess to stop the drops floating away.

Just like that episode of The Simpsons, any floating debris could “clog the instruments,” so it’s vital that the astronauts don’t leave water floating about around them. It might only take you a second to moisten your toothbrush here on Earth, but you can’t accept anything for granted when you’re up in space!

As for the toothbrushes themselves, we’re sad to say that there’s no such thing as a space-age toothbrush- even outer space adventurers use the same sort of toothbrushes as you or I do. The toothpaste tube is a different matter, altogether.

You couldn’t just leave the cap on the sink while you squirt the paste onto your brush since it would just float away, and you’d have to chase after it. Instead, only toothpaste tubes with an attached cap are allowed in space. While astronauts are free to choose their preferred brand of toothpaste, NASA has created their own, foamless blend that’s easier to ingest, and which produces less waste. It has the imaginative name “NASAdent,” and most astronauts choose this option because it helps them to keep their water consumption down.

Once they’ve finally got the toothpaste onto their brush and captured any stray drops of water, astronauts then brush their teeth, as usual, making sure to clean the whole surface of their teeth. They then take a sip of water to wash the pastedown, rinse off their brushes with one more sip and then suck the water up off them.

Their toothbrush is then stored carefully in their hygiene kits, ready for next time. So next time you go to brush your teeth, be thankful you have a more comfortable job of it than them- now there’s no excuse not to keep your teeth nice and clean!

Can Dental Problems Affect Your Heart Health?

Can Poor Oral Health Lead To Other More Serious Health Problems?

Generally, most everyone is aware that regular brushing and flossing is the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

However, what you might not know, is some recent studies suggest there now may be a direct link between poor oral hygiene and a whole host of other health issues, namely heart disease.

If you have ever wondered or are concerned about the connection between your oral health and your heart health, then read on.

We’ll do our best to clear up the subject as well as give you some pointers on how you can keep both your mouth and your heart health in tip-top shape.

oral health and heart health

The Theory of How Oral Health and Heart Disease Are Connected

First, let’s look at the theory of how oral health and heart disease may be connected.

On the surface, it might seem strange to link the two, since your heart is located quite a distance away from your mouth. However, the key to this theory lies in your bloodstream.

If you don’t keep your mouth clean and healthy,  over time a significant amount of bacteria will start to build up in and around your teeth and gums.

If left unchecked, these bacteria can work their way into your bloodstream. In fact, those who don’t take care of their oral health often develop gum problems, giving these bacteria the perfect opportunity to get into your blood and spread through the rest of your body.

Ultimately, everything in your bloodstream works its way back to one place: The Heart!

There, the bacteria can attach themselves to any weak or damaged tissue, and cause inflammation or infection. Any heart infections can quickly develop into much more severe issues, so you certainly want to avoid these wherever possible.

What’s more, this could also lead to clogged arteries or even strokes, making this a very worrying trend indeed.

If this theory is correct, people may be putting themselves at a much higher risk of heart disease by not taking care of their teeth and gums.

Unfortunately, though, things aren’t quite as simple as that.

The Connection Between Oral Health and Heart Health

For many years now, doctors and scientists have been trying to determine whether there is a direct or indirect link between oral hygiene and heart disease.

gum health heart health

There does seem to be some connection, but how much remains to be revealed in the scientific and clinical literature.

Roughly six years ago, the American Heart Association looked at all the available evidence available at the time and concluded there wasn’t enough to definitively prove a link between poor oral and heart disease.

That said, they also noted that the existing evidence doesn’t disprove a link either.

While there’s not a link between actually treating gum disease and lowering the risk of heart disease, it could well be that the underlying issues are indeed connected.

If we look at things a bit closer, though, we see that there’s a lot of research that does show that periodontitis (the medical term for gum disease) does tend to put you at higher risk of multiple medical problems, including cardiovascular disease.

In particular, those suffering from periodontitis tend to have thicker blood vessels in their neck, caused by inflammation. These blood vessels feed directly into the gums, so it would be fair to conclude that the two are linked.

Thicker blood vessels mean that it’s much harder for your blood to flow properly. Since all your veins and arteries are ultimately connected, a blockage even in one place can have a significant effect on your whole circulatory system- so this inflammation will end up having an impact on your heart, too.

Another possible connection lies in the fact that people with diabetes tend to have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, too.

This point is agreed on by everyone – those with diabetes can improve their condition via regular teeth cleaning.

That’s not to say that it will eliminate all risk, but it still shows that if you keep your mouth clean and healthy, you could well be helping your heart, too.

While there’s not enough evidence right now to definitively say that poor oral hygiene puts you at higher risk of heart disease, there does seem to be a link between these two conditions.

Take Treating Gum Disease and Prevention Seriously

In particular, those who don’t take gum disease seriously, don’t have it diagnosed, and take steps to heal reverse the problem, are putting themselves at more risk than those who keep their teeth and gums beautiful and healthy.

The problem with this is that a lot of people with gum disease don’t even realize that they have it- and therefore put off visiting the dentist for as long as possible. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the different symptoms of gum disease, so you can ensure you get it treated should you develop it.

The most obvious symptom of periodontitis is inflammation of the gums. Just how inflamed your gums become can vary depending on the type of infection, but generally, they will become red, swollen, and sore to the touch.

If your gums constantly ache, or they only hurt when you eat, either sign, may point to an underlying problem. Another worrying sign is if your gums start bleeding, especially when you eat or brush your teeth.

Don’t just shrug off these symptoms as common. After all, you wouldn’t ignore any other part of your body started bleeding for no reason.

If you spot either of these signs, you should immediately make an appointment with your dentist to get the problem checked.

Systemic Bad Breath May Point To A Deeper Underlying Health Issue – Ignore At Your Own Risk

Another sign of gum disease and one that many people miss is systemic bad breath, or always having a bad taste in your mouth.

This is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth – and as with any living organism, those bacteria excrete waste after they’ve eaten.

This fact alone should be enough to have you reaching for the mouthwash, but again, make sure you visit the dentist to tackle the cause of the issue.

While we may not be able to definitively say that dental problems can lead to trouble with your heart, the evidence is enough to convince a lot of people- we included.

In our opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health, so you should do all you can to keep your mouth nice and clean.

After all, ignored or untreated dental problems can cause a whole heap of other health issues. Why take the risk, especially if they could wind up having an impact on your heart, too?

Instead of just letting things slide, and allowing bacteria to turn your mouth into their private party, make sure you brush and floss twice a day at a minimum and regularly schedule check-ups with your dentist.

Your whole body will thank you in the long run! 🙂

Tooth Sensitivity: Its Causes and Remedies

How To Deal With Tooth Sensitivity

Cronic tooth sensitivity can be one of the worst things you can experience.

If you are struggling with sensitive teeth, you are not alone.

Tooth sensitivity affects at least 40 million adults, and the problem can manifest at any point, even suddenly.

Although most people associate having sensitive teeth with the pain, one gets when drinking beverages that are too hot or cold, teeth sensitivity can mean anything from getting a mild twinge to experiencing severe discomfort for hours on end.

More commonly, tooth sensitivity affects individuals aged between 20 and 40 years even though it has also been known to affect children in their early teens.

Teeth sensitivity also affects women more than it does men. When left to persist, teeth sensitivity can point to signs of more serious dental concerns.

Sensitive Teeth Causes

In many instances, when individuals suffer from teeth sensitivity, it is often because the protective layer that covers the enamel has become worn out or is in the process of eroding away.

When this occurs, the dentin, which is the area of the tooth that is filled with all those painful nerve endings, can become exposed.

Upon exposure, conditions such as spicy, hot or cold, acidic or sticky food can reach the nerve endings located in the tooth, causing extreme pain.

Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

Other conditions that can cause the dentin to crack include cracked teeth, root and enamel erosion, as well as gum recession. Other factors that may cause you to have tooth sensitivity include:

Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

Brushing your teeth with too much gusto might be what is causing your teeth sensitivity issues.

This cause of teeth sensitivity might seem counterintuitive at first.

However, the pressure and the stiffness of your bristles may be wearing down the protective layers of the teeth. Thus, effectively exposing the canals that lead to your dental nerves.

Although the dentin may not have become exposed yet, extreme temperatures, as well as acid or sweet food can cause distress.

Over Indulging In Acidic Foods

Foods that contain high amounts of acidity such as tomato sauce, grapefruit, pickles, kiwi, and lemon can also cause the upper protective later to become eroded.

When the pathways to your nerves are exposed, it can cause sensitivity in your tooth.

Here is a sample list of acidic foods. For a full list of acidic foods, visit https://nutrineat.com/list-of-acidic-foods

* White flour

* Sugar

* Artificial sweeteners

* Ready-made meals

* processed meats

* Alcohol, Beer & Wine

* Carbonated drinks

* Coffee

* Cakes

* Cheese

* Ice cream

* Milk

* MSG

teeth sensitivity acidic foods

Grinding Your Teeth

Even though the enamel is one of the strongest materials in your body, continually grinding your teeth can put you at risk of suffering from teeth sensitivity.

Teeth grinding will expose not only your dentin but also the middle layer of the tooth.

Individuals who grind their teeth can wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth.

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash

A lot of tooth whitening products are manufactured using harsh chemical formulas that promise to make your teeth whiter.

Some over the counter mouth rinses and washes also contain chemicals that make your teeth sensitive.

Rather than rely on such whitening agents,  consider sticking with neutral fluoride rinses or rely on regular flossing and brushing to keep your teeth pearly white.

Plaque Buildup

An excessive buildup of plaque can cause your enamel to become eroded. The weaker your enamel becomes, the less protection against the elements that can it can provide you. As such, to avoid teeth sensitivity all together, the solution lies in practicing daily dental care.

Decay Around Your Fillings

If you have fillings, the longer that you have them on, the more they are bound to weaken, leak, or fracture near the edges. Bacteria can accumulate around the fillings causing a buildup of acid, as well as the deterioration of the enamel. A professional can replace filings easily just as long as the individual remains vigilant and consistent with dentist checkups.

How To Deal With Tooth Sensitivity

How to Deal with Tooth Sensitivity
Invest in The Right Toothpaste

There are many different types of toothpaste today, all which promise to deliver the best results.

If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, you should talk to your doctor about recommending toothpaste explicitly manufactured to help people with teeth sensitivity. Such desensitizing toothpaste contains potassium nitrate that blocks the nerve endings in your dentin.

Brush Your Teeth Correctly

Try to apply just the right amount of pressure whenever you are scrubbing your teeth.

Brush your teeth correctly using a soft bristle toothbrush and apply a gentle side to side motion to keep the protective layer intact.

Avoid Bad Foods That Lead To Teeth Sensitivity

Sometimes taking care of your teeth sensitivity issue is just as easy as avoiding bad foods such as candy and foods that have high concentrations of acidity which can easily attack your enamel.

Instead, you should consume foods that are high in fiber such as fruits and veggies as well as protein to keep your enamel strong and healthy. If acidity is affecting your teeth, try a desensitizing gel that can increase your resistance to acidic bacterial and food.

Chew Sugarless Gum

When you chew sugarless gum, it stimulates your body to produce more saliva, which works to make the enamel harder and stronger. Do not chew sugary gum, as it will inevitably worsen your sensitive tooth condition.

See a Dentist For Help

Dentists have the skills and the experience to handle sensitive teeth through a range of medical treatments and procedures.

Doctors can talk to you about installing protective barriers made from a variety of materials over your sensitive teeth. These barriers can last anywhere from months to years depending on the construction material utilized.

Please note that when you go to see your dentist, he or she will offer suggestions that will work for you because there is no one size fits all approach to dealing with tooth sensitivity.

Proper diagnosis by a trained professional is essential for finding the right solution. There are some treatments available, and each dentist has their favorites.

Proper Nutrition And Oral Health: A Guide For Beginners

Let’s face it!

Although scientific advancements may change this in the future, as of right now, you only get one set of adult teeth. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to do ALL you can to protect them and keep them healthy.

You have been led to believe brushing, flossing, and mouth washing is all there is to protect your pearly whites and your gums.

But, in fact, it’s only part of the story. Continue reading

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea Go Way Beyond Your Teeth… Must Read!

I don’t snore… I just dream of being a motorcycle! Instant Classic!

 

The more research that comes out, the more we are finding a link between sleep apnea and oral conditions. Basically, with a few simple questions and by looking in your mouth, I can screen you for sleep apnea!

We used to think that most Apnea patients are overweight middle age males that snore. We’re finding this is not the case. Continue reading

Kids and Sports Guards

Summer is quickly drawing to a close. What that means for some families is back to school and back to sports!

Lets use August’s Smile Blog to talk about protecting your teeth and your kids teeth during sports activity!

Did you know that 5 Million teeth are injured or knocked out every year! This leads to about 500 million dollars a year spent on replacement or fixes. About 40% of these are sports related! Continue reading

Get Wise about Wisdom Teeth

Its summer! Time for the kids to relax, swim, and generally relax. For teenagers and young adults, summer is a great time to take care of their wisdom teeth. My mom was the original person who told me that my wisdom teeth coming in does NOT actually impart any wisdom on me or mean that I was getting any wiser… thanks mom. Regardless, wisdom teeth can cause a whole host of issues and we’ll discuss the ins and outs of wisdom teeth here.

Continue reading