Your pearly whites get a lot of attention, but when was the last time you thought about the health of your gums? Your gums play a vital role in your beautiful smile and your overall health. When you brush and floss your teeth you’re not just preventing cavities, you’re also protecting your gums from developing gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, it is the leading cause of tooth loss, impacts your overall health, and as we’ve discussed on the blog before, has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. So what are the ways you can improve the health of your gums? Here are 5 tips to help keep your gums healthy:
1. Brush Properly
A proper brushing technique is essential to preventing gum disease. Start with a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. Use short strokes and make sure you get all surfaces of your teeth. You should spend 2 minutes, twice a day on brushing. When you’re done with your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue, too! If you have questions about your brushing technique, don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist for a quick demonstration at your next appointment…our hygiene team loves to help and share their knowledge!
2. Floss Daily
An important part of your oral health care regimen, flossing helps remove food and plaque from between the teeth. We know flossing can be a hard habit to stick with so if you’re looking for other ways to clean between your teeth, check out our blog post on alternatives to traditional flossing. If you notice any bleeding when you floss let us know at your next visit–this can be an early sign of periodontal disease. Find a method that works for you and stick with it!
3. Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health! People who smoke cigarettes are four times as likely to have periodontal disease, and smoking makes it harder to manage treatments. Let us know if you have questions about smoking and oral health care or if you need help quitting…we want to support you!
4. Eat Your Fruits, Veggies, and Nuts
Eating a diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables is good for your body, good for your teeth, and good for your gums. By incorporating foods that are rich in Omega-3s, vitamin C, and fiber you are not only getting essential nutrients, you are reducing inflammation and boosting your immune system, and in the process supporting the health of your gums as well. Snack on some almonds, bell peppers, and leafy greens for the win!
5. Schedule Regular Visits to Falmouth Dental Arts
Coming in for regular check-ups with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos is an important part of your oral health care. Seeing us regularly helps us monitor the health of your gums and teeth and notice if there are early signs of gum disease we can help you reverse. We are your partners in oral health care and want to help you have effective dental care for a healthy mouth and a healthy life!
If you have questions about the health of your gums or need to schedule your next appointment, please call us at 207.781.5900. We are working diligently to schedule patients with our new safety protocols, and appreciate your patience. We look forward to seeing you!
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Floss your teeth! It’s just as important as brushing and crucial to preventing gum disease. And yet, only about 30% of Americans floss daily. We understand that it can be a hard habit to fit into your daily oral health routine–the floss gets stuck in your teeth, sometimes your gums bleed, and it feels like it takes forever! We are often asked if there are any alternatives to flossing and the answer is…yes! Let’s look at what other options you have for cleaning those hard to reach places between your teeth.
Water Flossing is a way to clean around and between your teeth with a pressurized steady stream of water. Perhaps you’ve seen or experienced the device in our office. Water Flossers can be particularly helpful for patients with braces, dental bridges, dental implants, or gum pocketing. You can find a Water Flosser with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. While more expensive than traditional floss, it is a helpful tool for reaching areas that are hard to access with floss and a great option if you find flossing difficult or painful. This is also a great alternative if you are concerned about little plastic floss containers ending up in the landfill.
Another easy and practical option is an interdental brush. Studies have shown that when used in combination with regular tooth brushing, an interdental brush can be more effective than floss in removing plaque from between your teeth. These small, cone-shaped brushes are designed to be inserted gently between your teeth and can be rinsed and reused a few times. Patients with braces, food traps, dental bridges, or mobility issues may find this a good alternative. It’s also less of an investment than a Water Flosser.
As the name suggests, these are small wooden or plastic picks that can be used to remove plaque from between teeth and gums. Picks aren’t quite as effective as floss and you risk moving bacteria around your mouth unless you use a new pick for each tooth, but they allow for better maneuverability for patients who have braces and thus some hard to reach areas. Again, it’s always important to look for a product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Whichever option you choose, the most important thing about cleaning your teeth is to do it! Find a routine that works for you and stick with it…your teeth and your gums will thank you! Also, if you experience bleeding gums from flossing this may be an early sign of periodontal disease–please be sure to inform us of any bleeding at your next visit to our office. If you have any questions about whether flossing or one of these alternatives is right for you, let us know. We are here to support you and provide you with the best oral health care!
Also, please note, our office opened on June 1 with new protocols and procedures in place to keep you and our staff safe. You can also read the full list of these updates on our COVID Protocol Page, easily found in the top menu bar of our website, so you know what to expect before your next appointment. If you are overdue for your appointment, rest assured we will be in touch soon as we catch up with our backlog. We do look forward to seeing you again. Thank you for being our patient!
The sign in our office is true: “Those teeth aren’t going to brush themselves.” Your teeth need you to brush and floss daily, and they need you to get regular check-ups with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. However, 100 million Americans fail to see a dentist each year. Whether it’s a busy schedule, dental anxiety, or lack of insurance, professional oral health care should not be avoided. Seeing a dentist regularly is a great way to support your oral health and can help prevent small issues from becoming big dental problems. By catching problems early on, you can save yourself time, money, and pain. Here are five signs it’s time to make an appointment with us:
You have pain.
A toothache is the classic reason to come to our office and should not be ignored. There are many possible causes for a toothache such as a cavity or broken tooth. Either way, a toothache should be evaluated by Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos right away to determine the cause and prevent the tooth from dying. Jaw pain can also be a sign of a dental issue such as bruxism or teeth grinding. Whatever pain you’re experiencing in your mouth, Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos can diagnose and address the issue, as well as help you avoid future issues.
You try to hide your smile.
What if you could have the smile of your dreams in just one or two dental visits? If you’re self-conscious about your smile, it can affect your confidence and prevent you from living your life to the fullest. Whether you’re missing a tooth or wish your teeth were whiter, many dental issues can be corrected through cosmetic dentistry. Building a relationship with us so we can understand your goals and needs is a great way to not just take care of your health, but also to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.
You notice blood when you brush or floss.
There are several reasons for bleeding gums, one of them being gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease. If your gums bleed easily, it’s time to talk with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. Gingivitis is reversible and preventable and we can help you get on the right path to better oral health. Bleeding and swollen gums could also be a sign that something else is wrong, another important reason to involve us in your health care.
Coming in for a check-up should be on every mom-to-be’s checklist. As we’ve said before, oral health is directly related to overall health, and regular dental check-ups and a good oral health routine will help keep you and baby healthy. Pregnancy hormones can also cause changes in your mouth. For example, many women develop pregnancy gingivitis, or swollen gums, which can be helped with extra dental cleanings. Some women also develop overgrowths in their mouth called “pregnancy tumors,” which can be uncomfortable. Mostly, these growths go away on their own, but if you have discomfort or concerns, come in and see us.
It’s time for a check-up.
If it’s been over 6 months since you last visited, then it’s time to come in for a cleaning and exam. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, regular dental check-ups can help prevent problems from developing and treat symptoms (like those in the list above) before they advance. Regular visits to our office are just as important as brushing and flossing your teeth daily. Plus, we always love to see you!
It you’re experiencing symptoms or if it’s time for your next appointment, give us a call at 207.781.5900. Our team of knowledgeable and compassionate professionals are here to make your dental care as effective and comfortable as possible.
Can you handle the truth? Good, because we are here to set the record straight on oral health care! There are some widely held, but false, ideas about dental health out there. Some are silly, but some could lead to potential problems down the road. We decided to debunk five common dental myths and discuss the right way to keep your teeth clean and healthy.
Myth: The harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be.
Brushing your teeth regularly is important–twice a day for two minutes–however brushing harder doesn’t mean you’re brushing better. In fact, brushing too hard with an abrasive brush or toothpaste can erode enamel and push back the gums. That’s why we recommend using a soft-bristled electric toothbrush.
A quick refresher on proper brushing technique: move the toothbrush with short strokes and a polishing motion and use the full two minutes to make sure you’ve thoroughly and gently brushed all your teeth surfaces. A good rule of thumb: if you’re squashing your toothbrush bristles into your teeth and gums, you’re pushing too hard.
Myth: Tooth decay is caused mostly by sugar.
While too much sugar can lead to cavities, it isn’t the only culprit. Starchy carbohydrates like chips and crackers are just as harmful to your teeth as candy. These carbohydrates also have sugars which can break down the teeth. It’s even worse for your teeth when starchy snacks stick to the teeth as this creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Follow a healthy diet where you eat lots of fruits and veggies and protein and your teeth will be happy. For more tips, see our blog post from last November for foods and drinks that can benefit your teeth!
Myth: Gum disease is only a problem for your teeth.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, your oral health is an important part of your overall health. As Dr. Brunacini discussed on the blog last month, the health of your mouth can affect your body’s other systems. Case in point, gum disease has been linked to diabetes and hypertension. In fact, research has shown that when people with diabetes keep their blood sugar under control, their gum disease symptoms improve as well. It’s important to have your dentist be a part of your healthcare team and come in for regular cleanings and checkups. We believe in a holistic approach to dentistry with the whole body and whole person in mind. Here’s to happy smiles and healthy bodies!
Myth: If your gums bleed when you floss, you should leave them alone.
Bleeding is a sign of inflammation and that your gums need attention. If you’re experiencing this symptom, come in for a checkup and cleaning. We can help determine if you have gum disease or a more serious condition that requires more attention. For most minor bleeding, daily flossing and proper brushing can help improve the health of your gums and the bleeding will eventually go away.
Myth: If you brush and floss regularly, and nothing is bothering you, then you don’t need to see the dentist.
Regular dental check-ups are an important part of oral health care. Often dentists can help prevent problems before you have painful symptoms. For example, if you wait until a cavity hurts, you may then need a root canal or extraction rather than a simple filling. With regular check-ups, we can help patients maintain their good oral health, as well as screen for early signs of problems such as cavities and oral cancer. Our mission is to build partnership with all our patients so they are connected to quality dental care and compassionate dental professionals. Let’s work together to keep you smiling and healthy!
If you need a possible dental myth busted or have questions about dental best practices, give us a call at 207.781.5900. We’ll always give you the facts and provide the best oral health care possible!
*Image courtesy of www.pctechmag.com
New year…new you! New Year’s resolutions are a great way to get back on track with some healthy habits. As you gear up to get more exercise and eat more vegetables in 2019, don’t forget about your teeth! Improving your oral health habits not only helps your smile, but can help your overall health as well (remember our post on dental health during pregnancy and on diabetes?). We know that sticking to your New Year’s resolutions can be overwhelming and challenging so we decided to share three easy oral health resolutions that will make a difference.
1. Buy a new toothbrush.
Twice daily toothbrushing puts some wear and tear on those bristles and if you notice your toothbrush looking frayed and worn it’s definitely time for a new one. Also, with cold and flu season in full swing, it’s a good idea to replace your family’s toothbrushes if anyone has been sick. At FDA, we recommend electric toothbrushes to make brushing more effective and those need replacing periodically as well. Fresh bristles are more effective at cleaning your teeth and the ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Put a reminder in your calendar and keep your toothbrush and your teeth fresh!
We know, we know…you’ve heard about the importance of flossing a million times and yet only about 30% of American floss their teeth daily. This can be a hard habit to incorporate into your routine, but it has incredible benefits for your mouth and your overall health. If you are having trouble incorporating flossing into your oral health care regimen, here are some tips:
- Switch up the time of day. If you’re always too tired to floss at the end of the day, try flossing in the morning or mid-day. It’s not important when you clean between your teeth, it’s just important that you do it.
- Talk to your dentist about alternatives to floss. Dental picks or water flossing, which works in the shower, might be easier options for you to use regularly.
3. Visit the Dentist!
Have you been meaning to make an appointment with us for some time? Now is a great time to give us a call and schedule a check-up! We are here to help you develop healthy habits and inform you about the best oral care options available. We recommend that you come see us for cleanings and checkups twice a year. If you are nervous about coming to the dentist, we are happy to discuss our oral sedation options. We love helping you have a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth! Give us a call at 207.781.5900 today!
***Image courtesy of www.harvard.edu