Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Coping With Gingivitis

Discovery Health has a great article providing tips about Gingivitis. The great news about Gingivitis is that something can be done to stop it from getting worse and progressing into painful periodontal disease.  

(Dr. Clark's comments are inserted in red.)

Gingivitis Tips

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible, and better oral hygiene is the solution. Here are some tips to prevent gingivitis and, if you already have it, to "clean it up."
Use the "three-three" rule. The American Dental Association says that most people spend less than one minute per day on dental hygiene. That's far from adequate, say dentists. Here' s a good rule of thumb: Brush your teeth three times a day for at least three minutes each time. That may seem like a lot of brushing--not to mention the flossing that should follow -- but those nine minutes each day could spare you a great deal of oral distress.
Try brushing dry. "Dry" brushing -- or brushing without toothpaste -- while doing other activities such as watching television can help remove dental plaque.
Be consistent. You will be less likely to miss teeth as you brush if you develop a routine and stick with it. Start with the same part of your mouth every time you brush, always moving from one section to the next in the same order.
Lighten up. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they brush is pushing too hard with the toothbrush. Try the following experiment: Apply the bristles of your toothbrush to the back of your hand. Push as hard as you normally would for toothbrushing, and try to move the brush around. Then apply only a tiny amount of pressure and move the brush. You'll find that the hard pressure doesn't allow the tips of the bristles -- the part of the brush that cleans the teeth -- to move.
In addition, avoid a "traveling" stroke. Instead of moving the brush up and down and traveling rapidly over several teeth, brush a couple of teeth at a time, holding the brush in one place.
Use a softie. Using a toothbrush with stiff bristles can damage the sensitive tissue in your mouth and even cause gingivitis. Always use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Brush your tongue and palate. Many dentists advise patients to brush the tongue and the roof of the mouth when they clean their teeth, which will cut down on the amount of bacteria present and increase circulation in the tissue.
Electrify 'em. Okay, so you hate to brush. It's awkward and boring, or maybe it's too difficult because you don't have as much dexterity as you used to. Try a "rotary" electric toothbrush. Beware, however, that not all electric toothbrushes are created equal. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.  Dr. Clark recommends the Braun OralB rotary brush.
Floss, and floss again. Toothbrush bristles are not designed to clean between teeth. That's a job for dental floss, which -- despite what you might think -- is not optional. Use a waxed floss (it's easier to move between the teeth without getting hung up), and whenever possible, floss at least twice a day. If flossing is difficult for you, try other tools to clean between the teeth. Any tool you can easily and effectively use is the best tool for you.
Irrigate it. While water irrigation devices like the Waterpik don't take the place of flossing, they do clean debris out from pockets in the gums and from between teeth. They also massage the gums.
Use tartar-control toothpaste. Tartar is a hardened material that often contains bacterial debris and sometimes even plaque. Brushing with the right toothpaste can help prevent plaque from hardening into tartar. Look for a tartar-control toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance or Recognition, an indication that the product has been properly tested.
Dr. Clark also suggests to brush with baking soda. To help prevent cavities dip your tooth brush in baking soda and then add tooth paste and brush as usual. Baking soda will help neutralize acidic foods and  bacterial wastes, deodorize, and polish your teeth.
Which Mouthwash is better? Our office offers a new no alcohol rinse which is better than mouthwashes (such as Listerine) which contain alcohol.  Smart Mouth kills bacteria in the mouth, freshens your breath for 12 hours and even has a slight whitening effect. However, rinsing your mouth is not a substitute for regular, thorough brushing and flossing.
Bring on the salt water. Try rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution (half a teaspoon salt to eight ounces warm water). Swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit (don't swallow). The salty solution will soothe your inflamed gums; as a bonus, it will also wipe out some bacteria.
Try hydrogen peroxide. If the bleeding persists when you brush your teeth, try an oral 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution (not the 20 percent hydrogen peroxide used for cuts). It's available without a prescription at pharmacies and in the dental section of some stores. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, rinse with it for 30 seconds, then spit (don't swallow).
Eat a carrot. Any time you can't brush after eating, you're giving bacteria in your mouth the opportunity to cause gingivitis. But face it, sometimes you just can't brush. When you can't brush, try to end your meal with an abrasive food, such as a raw carrot or even popcorn, which will scrape some of the plaque from your teeth and stimulate the gums. Dr. Clark suggest any crunchy vegetable or fruit can help in decreasing bacteria in your mouth.
Swish. If you can't brush right after eating, at least rinse your mouth out thoroughly with water. A little H2O therapy can wash away (food) debris dilute bacterial products that can contribute to oral diseases and provide some relief if your gums are inflamed.

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we urge you to call us today!  This is one health condition you 

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Oral Health and Premature Births

Is there a correlation with premature births and oral health?  The answer is yes. Expectant mothers who have gum disease are at a greater risk of having a preterm birth.  Educating yourself about this risk can make a vast difference in how your baby's life begins.

What is the public health issue?

Oral health is integral to general health. There is now evidence suggesting that oral health, particularly gum disease, may have an impact on the occurrence of preterm births, resulting in low birth weight babies. Pregnant women with periodontal (gum) disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that’s born too early and too small. The exact connection between poor oral health and preterm birth is unknown. It is thought that periodontal disease may lead to premature birth by the bacteria in the mouth spreading to the placenta or amniotic fluid, and also that systemic inflammation caused by periodontitis may lead to preterm labor and membrane rupture. The likely problem is a chemical found in oral bacteria called prostaglandin, which can induce labor and which occurs in very high levels in severe cases of periodontal disease. Additionally, there are certain oral problems that affect pregnant women specifically. About half of women experience pregnancy gingivitis, beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy that increases in severity throughout the eighth month. This condition can be uncomfortable and cause swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue. In some cases, gums swollen by pregnancy gingivitis can react strongly to irritants and form large growths, called “pregnancy tumors”, which are not cancerous and are generally painless. If a tumor persists, it may require removal by a dentist. It is very important for pregnant women to maintain their oral health.

What is the impact of premature birth in the U.S.?

Births are considered preterm when they occur before 37 weeks gestation.  Preterm births can result in both low birth weight (LBW), less then 2,500 grams or 5.5 pounds, and very low birth weight (VLBW) babies, a weight of less than 1,500 grams or 3.3 pounds.  Premature birth and low birthweight babies significantly contribute to the incidence of infant mortality, accounting for 70% of prenatal deaths in the U.S.  Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight were the second leading cause of infant death in 2004, affecting 4.6% of babies. Premature births have soared to become the number one obstetric problem in the United States, and the percentage of LBW infants has increased by 36% since 1990 when it was 5.8%.  Many premature babies come into the world with serious health problems, and those who survive may suffer life-long consequences.  Moreover, LBW infants suffer from numerous health complications.

Improving Oral Health Before and During Pregnancy

* Drink fluoridated water.
* Brush your teeth and gums twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss each day.
* Make an appointment with a dental provider.
* Make good nutritional choices; limit sweet drinks and avoid refined sugar.
* Include Vitamin C and Calcium in your daily diet.
* Quit smoking.
* Get plenty of rest.
* Learn how to take care of the baby’s gums and teeth now.

Article Source:

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • gums that bleed easily
  • red, swollen, tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:

  • poor oral hygiene
  • smoking or chewing tobacco
  • genetics
  • crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean 
  • pregnancy 
  • diabetes 
  • medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.

Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles. 

Source: by the American Dental Association.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oops Did You Forget Something?

You do everything you can to keep your child protected sun up to sun down.  You serve them healthy food, make sure they wear their seat belt, help them cross the street carefully, but what about protecting their teeth?  Does your child participate in sports?  Have you considered a mouthguard as an important part of keeping your child safe on the playing field?

The American Dental Association has a great article on the types and importance of mouthguards. Your child is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to their mouth if they do not wear a mouthguard consistently while playing sports. 

Take a minute to read the ADA's suggestions, the information is very valuable.

Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected.

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Knowing how to prevent injuries like these is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. In fact, studies show that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouthguard. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, you can experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

There are three types of mouthguards: 

  • Custom-fitted. These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.
  • Stock. These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
  • Boil and bite. These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.
The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-fitted mouthguard, you should still wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard from the drugstore. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.

A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the best protection. Although mouthguards typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.

If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

Some tips for caring for your mouthguard:

  • rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste
  • occasionally clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
  • transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents
  • never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water
  • check for wear and tear to see if it needs replacing

We are so pleased to be part of your healthcare team! Please feel free to call if you have any questions or concerns at any time.  The right information arms you with the power to make informative decisions for you and your loved ones.

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