Have you heard? February is Gum Disease Awareness Month. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, may be a familiar term for you, while for others it may sound a bit scary. An infection of the tissue and bones that support your teeth, gum disease impacts nearly 85% of adults in the U.S. The good news is that it is quite treatable, especially when caught early. Preventative care can be as simple as choosing the right toothbrush, brushing twice and flossing once daily, monitoring sugar intake, and keeping up with regular dental check ups. Left unchecked, however, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health complications. If you are experiencing bleeding when brushing or flossing, it’s crucial that you mention that to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They will have a treatment plan for you to take care of your gums while you take care of your teeth. And while we are on the topic, when was the last time you truly appreciated your gums? Since February is also when another holiday takes place…perhaps you’ve heard of this one…Valentine’s Day? We decided it was time to share the love with your gums!
It hurts to chew and my breath stinks!
Why do I ignore you when I’m not at the sink?
I vow that I will brush and floss every day.
Oh gums, please do not take my teeth away!
I love you!
The red I see, it must mean true love.
Oh dear, I think it is actually blood.
I must call Dr. K and Dr. B at FDA, quick!
With their compassionate care, they will know just the trick.
Phew! Thank goodness, I still have a chance,
to treat you right, gums, and continue this dance.
Thank you, Gums!
Diabetes and heart disease…oh my!
I didn’t know you were with those guys.
When I neglect you, I see it impacts my health.
Not just my teeth, but my whole body’s wealth.
I promise to be tender, I promise to be true.
I’ll eat more apples, I do love to chew.
I quit smoking, and now I know what to drink:
Water! To hydrate and to help me think.
Being healthy, that’s what I’m all about.
Oral care, it’s about more than just my mouth.
Gums, let’s go steady!
This February, show your gums the love they deserve! Keep up with your oral health care routine of brushing twice a day and flossing daily, and come see us for your regular check ups. Our line is always open for questions, concerns, or to schedule an appointment – 207.781.5900. Our mission is to give you the best dental care possible so your beautiful teeth and gums shine! Because we love to make you smile! XOXO 🙂
Images courtesy of 123RF.com, virtualvocations.com, webmd.com
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!
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
Did you know that 1 in 5 cases of tooth loss is linked to diabetes? Here at FDA we believe that good oral hygiene is an important part of maintaining your overall health and this is especially true for our patients with diabetes. Many people don’t know about the link between oral hygiene and diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of dental diseases and has symptoms that impact your mouth. While there is no cure for diabetes, you can take steps to manage the disease by maintaining your health–including your oral health. In this month’s article, we look into the correlation between diabetes and oral health and talk about some best practices to help keep your diabetes under control.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when you have blood sugar levels that are too high. In diabetics, the insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) cannot convert the blood sugar into energy for the body to use. The blood sugar, or glucose, stays in the blood and over time these increased levels of glucose in the blood can cause some serious health problems such as stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage. The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Diabetes is always a serious condition and it is estimated that there are 8.1 million people living with diabetes who have yet to be diagnosed.
Diabetes Symptoms in Your Mouth
One place you may experience symptoms is in your mouth. Here are some of the most common oral symptoms:
- Dry mouth. People with diabetes often have less saliva in their mouth so you may find yourself being parched. A good fix is drinking lots of water and eating healthy, crunchy foods to get the saliva flowing. This is extra important because having less saliva to wash away sugars can lead to cavities.
- Gum disease. If you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, you may have gum disease. If gum disease goes unchecked it can lead to tooth loss. Research shows keeping your blood sugar under control can help improve gum disease.
- Problems with taste. You may begin to notice that food tastes differently from the way you remember, particularly sweet foods. If you have a persistent bad taste in your mouth, please come see us.
- Delayed wound healing. Diabetes impacts your immune system and if you have increased blood sugar in your mouth it can slow down the healing process. If you notice a cold sore or cut in your mouth that doesn’t seem to go away, make sure you mention this to us at your next check up.
- Periodontal disease. Nearly 22% of all diabetics develop this dental disease. It is a chronic, inflammatory condition that can destroy your gums and bone, and can also lead to increased blood sugar levels. Early signs includes bad breath, swollen gums, and painful chewing.
Your Dental Action Plan
If you have diabetes, working with a team of healthcare professionals including your dentist is paramount. Here at FDA, we are committed to giving you the best care possible and will work with you to make sure your mouth is healthy and supporting your overall health needs. As with all our patients, people with diabetes should avoid smoking, brush twice a day, floss daily, and come in for regular dental cleanings and checkups.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or need to schedule your next checkup, please give us a call at 207.781.5900 today. Let us help you keep your health at its best!
Image courtesy of www.niddk.nih.gov
As a child, you may have disliked the constant reminders from mom and dad to brush your teeth before bed, but as we get older, we realize more and more how beneficial healthy oral hygiene is to the longevity of our pearly whites, and just how right mom and dad were.
With each meal, we invite sugars and starches to engage with the natural bacteria that exists within our mouths. This combination of bacteria is the sticky film we all know as plaque. When we brush our teeth, we’re cleaning the plaque from our teeth which in turn minimizes the likelihood of developing cavities and gum disease.
What’s the difference between a cavity and gum disease? A cavity is the result of tooth decay, and gum disease is when there’s an infection in the tissues that surround and support our teeth. The term gum disease can sound pretty scary to some, but it’s actually a condition that can be very subtle and easily treatable in its early stages. Let’s review the three stages of gum disease and their side effects.
This is the earliest stage of gum disease, and is best defined as inflammation of the gums. If you’re experiencing gum line inflammation, that may be a strong indicator that there is plaque buildup within the actual gums. A side effect to gingivitis (if inflammation is not prominent) is bleeding of the gums while brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is nothing to be too shook up about if caught in early stages, as the tissue and bone have yet to be affected.
If gingivitis goes untreated the infection can begin to progress into a more moderate case. Periodontitis can destroy the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Side effects in addition to those of gingivitis are receding gum lines, spaces forming between teeth, an unpleasant mouth odor or taste, and a pus between the teeth and gums. Real tooth and gum damage are a concern with periodontitis, so treatment to prevent any further damage is highly recommended at this stage.
This stage can bring an abnormally rapid deterioration of the teeth and gums. In this acute case of gum disease, tooth loss becomes an actual concern. A visit to the dentist is necessary in an effort to save the teeth and the function of chewing.
As you can see, gum disease can go from being something as mild as gum tenderness to a larger oral condition in just a few stages; however, prevention is simple and treatment options are available. Preventative care is as easy as (1) choosing the right toothbrush for your gums, (2) brushing twice a day, (3) flossing once a day, (4) monitoring sugar intake, and (5) keeping up with routine cleanings.
We understand oral health is a sensitive matter, so if after reading this you have questions regarding gum disease, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos are here to help you. Please do not hesitate to call our office to schedule an appointment at 207-781-5900.