If you have red, swollen gums, receding gums or experience bleeding while brushing, you could be at risk for gum disease.
What is a Periodontal Pocket?
Periodontal pockets form along the gum line and are one of the major signs of gum disease. A healthy tooth will have gums that fit snug and are a light pink color with pockets no more than 3 millimeters in depth. If a tooth is suffering from gum disease, the gum begins to recede from the tooth and form a pocket. These periodontal pockets act as a place for more plaque and bacteria to collect, furthering the progression of the disease. If not treated, periodontal pockets can lead to further infection and could lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal Pocket Treatment
Treatment often begins with a periodontal cleaning which allows for thorough removal of infection and bacteria below the gum line. This keeps the disease from progressing.
Periodontal Pocket Prevention
Practicing optimal oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease and periodontal pockets. Using a soft bristled brush to gently clean along the gum line twice a day and flossing once a day, along with keeping regular professional dental care will help to prevent this disease.
Radiographs, or x-rays, provide important diagnostic information for your dentist, allowing for proper and accurate treatment. The technology behind radiographs has improved rapidly over the last few decades, becoming safer, more accurate, and easier to use. Read our guide on what makes dental radiographs an important step to protecting your oral health.
What exactly are dental radiographs?
Radiographs are a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to visible light or radio waves that can be used to map out the inside of your body. Soft tissue such as skin or muscle allow most rays to pass through, creating a darker image, while denser materials like your teeth and bone tissue cause a brighter image. These radiographs can be used to help diagnose and examine anything from tooth decay to broken bones.
Are they safe?
Radiographs are completely safe, exposing you to even less radiation than the average exposure you receive from your typical environment. In addition, digital x-rays require even less radiation than traditional film x-ray technology.
Why do I need them?
Using radiographs allows us to observe your oral health in ways that we cannot examine with the naked eye. Our team can check for tooth decay, bone damage, or endodontic issues in your mouth. We can observe the position of your teeth to determine if any are impacted or experiencing crowding. Deeper concerns that are difficult to otherwise notice such as cysts, tumors, or abscesses show up easily on radiographs. By seeing the internal state of your mouth, we can plan treatment that will ensure your oral health is optimal.
Radiographs are important tools to give us insight into your oral health, screen for oral cancer, and help us to recommend treatment plans. They allow us to serve you with accuracy and confidence in our work. To schedule your next dental visit with our team, contact our office today.
Are you a diligent brusher who grabs the toothbrush as soon as you finish each snack or meal? While there are significant benefits to regular brushing, hurrying your hygiene might be doing more harm than good. The key lies in understanding the effects different types of food and drinks have on your teeth.
The Dangers of Acidic Foods
Food and drinks that contain acids are particularly harmful to your teeth. Acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. As your enamel weakens, your risk for developing decay increases.
What Foods Should I Look Out For?
Fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit contain problematic acids that can cause damage to your enamel. Diet sodas and wines can be just as damaging, as can fruit juices such as orange juice. Tomato products and foods such as pizza, salsa, soups, and sauces also contain acids.
But Brushing My Teeth Helps, Right?
Not necessarily. The acids in these foods weaken the enamel on your teeth. After eating or drinking a highly acidic product, your teeth are in a particularly vulnerable state. Enamel protects your teeth, and it is the strongest mineral in your entire body. However, the layers of your teeth beneath the enamel are not as strong and resilient. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming something acidic, you can drive the acid further into your teeth. This speeds up the process of breaking down your enamel.
When Should I Brush?
Wait about 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth. While waiting, your mouth will produce saliva which helps to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. Drinking water, rinsing your mouth, or chewing sugarless gum can help neutralize acids more quickly.
Should I Always Wait to Brush My Teeth?
While you should not rush to brush after eating acidic foods, you should not wait long after eating foods that are extremely sticky and sugary. If you are eating candy, taffy, or another sticky treat, waiting is not the best option. The sooner you can clean these sugary substances off your teeth, the better.
Should I Just Stop Eating Acidic Foods?
Acidic foods such as fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that are an essential component to your diet. While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, you should be mindful of how they impact your teeth. Maintain a daily oral hygiene schedule that includes regular flossing and at least two rounds of brushing for two minutes.
For more dental health tips, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.
Poor oral health is usually linked with bad breath, and rightfully so. But as it turns out, keeping your gums healthy helps lower your risk for many diseases, including the following:
Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disorder where the gums become inflamed and the immune system starts to attack its own tissues. This is precisely what causes the pain that many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). There have been several studies done that show there is a link between RA and periodontal disease, but now there is some evidence that there may be a direct causation.
The European Congress of Rheumatology did a study on 636 patients with varying levels of teeth lost from gum disease. They found that the participants with 10 or fewer teeth were 8 times more likely to have arthritis than those who retained all of their original teeth (32, including wisdom teeth).
While more circumstantial, there is evidence to show that there is a strong link between good oral and heart health. Because periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, patients may be at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is hardening of arteries due to inflammation. Having healthy gums reduces your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Your mouth and lungs are both a part of respiratory system, so it is possible for the bacteria in the mouth to travel to the lungs.
Most types of bacteria in your mouth are benign and do nothing more than aid in digesting food particles in the mouth. However pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria can enter the mouth and, with poor oral care, may find a prime environment to thrive before spreading from the mouth into the lungs where they can cause health problems. The good news is that keeping your mouth clean with regular brushing and flossing lessens their impact, and helps keep the rest of you healthier, too!
Up to 70% of women develop gingivitis during their pregnancy, creatively referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Hormone levels change during the pregnancy which cause an inflammatory response that then can increase the risk of developing periodontal diseases.
Studies have shown a strong link of periodontal disease with preterm labor. In a normal pregnancy, a balance of inflammatory proteins is counterbalanced by anti-inflammatory proteins. However, when a pregnant woman has gum disease, the high levels of inflammation protein can induce preterm labor or other complications, putting the health of both the mother and the developing baby at risk.
A U.S. study found that people with severe gum disease are not only at risk of losing teeth, but also at a greater risk for cancer. The study found that those with healthy gums had a 24% less chance of having any kind of cancer, and a 50% less likelihood of developing lung cancer.
Fortunately, gum disease is highly preventable! For more information on how a healthy mouth makes for a healthy body or to make an appointment, call our office today!
The human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also effect the health and function of other areas. Recently, studies have highlighted evidence for links between gum disease and heart disease.
While the exact nature of the connection is still being researched, heart disease is almost twice as likely to occur in people who have gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, making it pertinent that you maintain a healthy heart. The first key to doing so might lie in keeping your gums healthy.
While gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease, it is not the only cause. It is essential that you maintain regular visits to your primary care physician as well to measure your overall health. Other factors and lifestyle choices can impact your heart health.
Diet and exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle with activities you enjoy, such as taking walks, riding bikes, playing sports, or doing yoga. Avoid foods high in starches and sugars, including carbonated soft drinks, as they can also damage your teeth.
Don’t smoke. Whether you’re smoking or vaping, nicotine has a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular system and can damage teeth, gums, and lungs. Recent studies have connected vaping to a rapid loss in healthy cells that line the top layer of your mouth. These cells play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy.
Brush your teeth. The most basic part of oral hygiene is also the most effective. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day.
By keeping a balanced, exercising regularly, and taking care of your teeth, you’re taking a holistic approach to your well-being and minimizing your risk of developing heart disease.
As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.
Little teeth will grow into a big smile. To ensure your child is on track for a lifetime of optimal oral health, it is important to instill good oral hygiene habits early in life. We understand that this can sometimes be a challenge. It’s hard to keep the interest of young children, which can make brushing twice a day for two minutes each time difficult to do. We’ve gathered a few pointers to help you and your child make brushing time a fun experience.
Choose a Cool Toothbrush and Great Tasting Toothpaste
Make your child part of the process by allowing them to select a cool toothbrush. By choosing one with a favorite color or neat character on it, selecting a toothbrush can be fun. When it comes time to choose a toothpaste, pick one that is palatable to your child. Not all children find the mint flavors often used in adult toothpastes to be appealing. Instead, go for one with a taste your child loves.
Timing is Everything
It is essential that your child brushes for a full two minutes, twice each day. Two minutes can feel like a long time. Allow your child to control a timer to better engage them in their brushing. Use a sand timer, egg timer, or even a timing app on your phone. Many children also find it helpful to visually see how long they have been brushing.
Children learn by example. You can set a great example for your child by being a brushing role model. Brush together with your child. This also gives you the opportunity to correct any improper brushing habits they may otherwise do on their own. By brushing together, you are also emphasizing the importance of regular brushing each day. Show your child that proper oral hygiene is important.
For most adults, brushing your teeth is second nature. For young children still learning, it can be challenging or boring. You can help your child prepare for a lifetime of optimal oral health by helping them feel comfortable brushing their teeth properly. Stick to cool toothbrush designs and fun flavors. Also try using a timer, and brushing together to further build good habits. Don’t forget that your child should visit us for regular examinations and professional cleanings.
“Tooth worms” are the cause of tooth decay. That was the headline of a Sumerian text from around 5,000 B.C.E. Fortunately, the dental industry has evolved since then and we know “tooth worms” don’t exist. Here’s how dentistry has evolved into the comfortable, safe, and beneficial science of today.
In the Beginning
Did you know that the ancient Egyptians had designated doctors for teeth? Evidence has been uncovered suggesting the Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E.
Additionally, in 500 B.C.E., Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth.
The Visionary Thoughts of the 1600s-1700s
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a gold mine of innovation in the dental world. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first ever English dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog’s teeth for transplants and even references wisdom teeth in his book.
In the 18th century, Pierre Fauchard was well ahead of his time in the medical practice when his master work The Surgeon Dentist was published. For the first time, dentistry was described as a modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being the cause of dental caries (cavities), braces being used to correct teeth position, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light.
The Progressive 1800s
The discoveries and inventions of the 1800s were significant. In 1816, Auguste Taveau developed the first form of dental fillings made out of silver coins and mercury. In 1840, Horace Wells demonstrated the use of nitrous oxide to sedate patients and Thomas Morton employed the use of ether anesthesia for surgery.
That same year, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctorate of dental surgery, and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented.
Scientific Advancement of the 1900s
The scientific development of the 1900s gave birth to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. Electric drills became available due to the invention of electricity. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill cavities, and Novocain was introduced into US dental offices.
In 1955, Michael Buonocore described the method of tooth bonding to repair cracked enamel on teeth. Years later, the first fully-reclining dental chair is introduced to put patients and dentists at ease. By the 1990s, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system.
What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold?
Today, dental professionals are investigating the links between oral health and overall health. The use of gene-mediated therapeutics to alter the genetic structure of teeth to increase resistance to tooth decay is receiving attention. Some researchers believe that there may be a way to grow a new tooth structure around weakened enamel. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise.
Schedule your visit to our office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.
Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that involves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gums. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is an infection of the structures around the teeth, which mainly includes the gums but also affects the ligaments and bones. Gum disease can have a negative impact on your life, but treatments are available.
Gum disease can exacerbate heart conditions. The bacteria found in gum disease travels through the bloodstream and can end up anywhere in your body, including your heart. Regular oral health examinations can detect gum disease before it significantly impacts your overall health.
Research has found gum disease can worsen the effects of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other respiratory problems. Bacteria from the mouth and throat can be inhaled into the lungs. These respiratory infections can be life threatening. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day are important steps to prevent infections from happening.
If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss. The body’s natural response to infections causes bone and tissue to break down over time. Deep cleanings and surgical procedures can help save your smile.
Periodontal disease is characterized by bleeding, painful, and swollen gums. Other symptoms include receding gum lines and sensitive teeth. If you suspect you might have periodontal disease, we recommend you schedule a visit with our team. Routine oral health examinations, twice-daily brushing, and regular flossing are your best defenses against periodontal disease.
Researchers say they’ve found more evidence linking bacteria found in a common type of gum disease to dementia. A new study, published in the journal Science Advances, found a key pathogen associated with chronic periodontal disease in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The study authors say these results, plus additional testing in mice, provide “solid evidence” of a link between the two diseases and may offer a potential new way to treat Alzheimer’s. The devastating illness affects 47 million people worldwide, and there is no cure.
However, Alzheimer’s experts not involved in the research caution that it is too early to tell how strong this association is, or whether it could lead to effective treatments.
What the new study found
Scientists from Cortexyme, Inc., a privately held, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, analyzed the brain tissues of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and found evidence of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bacteria associated with gum disease.
Further tests in mice found that this bacteria could travel from the mouth to the brain and increased production of amyloid beta, a protein strongly associated with Alzheimer’s.
In addition to the Porphyromonas gingivalis, the researchers found toxic enzymes produced by the bacteria called gingipains in the neurons of patients with Alzheimer’s. Higher levels gingipain were associated with tau and ubiquitin, two other proteins involved in the development of Alzheimer’s.
The team also tested drugs in mice aimed at clearing the harmful bacteria and blocking its toxic enzymes. In these lab experiments, scientists were able to reduce the number of Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria in the infected brains, block the production of toxic proteins, and halt degeneration in the brain.
The researchers hope this will provide the basis for developing a new therapy that could one day treat humans in a similar way.
“The findings of this study offer evidence that P. gingivalis and gingipains in the brain play a central role in the pathogenesis [development] of AD [Alzheimer’s disease], providing a new conceptual framework for disease treatment,” the study authors write.
Research on infections and Alzheimer’s disease
This is not the first study to show a relationship between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.
A 2017 study out of Taiwan found that people with chronic gum disease lasting 10 years had a 70 percent increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Another small study published in 2016 in the journal PLOS ONE found gum disease was associated with a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline in people with mild to moderate dementia.
Other research has looked at whether various bacterial, viral, or fungal infections may play a role in Alzheimer’s, but there is currently not enough evidence to say.
“The idea that bacteria and viruses may play a part in brain disease like Alzheimer’s is not necessarily new,” Rebecca Edelmayer, Ph.D., director of scientific engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association, told CBS News. “But what this paper suggests is really an association and not causation and that should be very clearly emphasized when we’re talking about studies like this. More research is needed to really identify a causative role for microbes.”
In other words, it’s unknown whether gum disease increases the risk of Alzheimer’s or if people with dementia have an increased risk of gum disease because of poor oral care.
Edelmayer also cautions not to put too much weight on drugs tested in mice. “It really will be important to see how this plays out in human randomized controlled trials, which is the gold standard for understanding whether a therapeutic targeting something like the P. gingivalis mechanism would actually be effective,” she said.
Could good oral care help prevent Alzheimer’s?
While taking care of your teeth and gums is an important part of healthy aging, Edelmayer says it’s too early to say if those steps could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
“We think a lot about things like diet, exercise, a good management of cardiovascular health, getting good sleep. All of these things could potentially play a role as a lifestyle intervention for decreasing your risk of developing cognitive decline,” Edelmayer said.
She notes that good oral health could one day fall into one of these categories if there’s more evidence to show that gum disease actually increases the risk for developing dementia.
Still, Edelmayer says with so much still unknown about the disease, studies like this are important for gaining a better understanding of Alzheimer’s.
“I think the research really reinforces the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease,” she said. “It highlights the importance of sharing information and experiments and data like this very freely and widely across the research community so this robust discussion about this kind of science takes place.”
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection in the gums that can impact the teeth and jawbone if left unchecked. About half of all children suffer from periodontal disease. Fortunately, if identified and treated early, its effects can be managed and even reversed to allow your child to return to optimal oral health through adolescence and beyond.
There are several factors that can lead to the onset of periodontal disease in children. Poor oral hygiene and untreated plaque are the most common, but diet, diabetes, hormonal changes, and even genetic predisposition can increase your child’s risk.
Your child should be screened for periodontal disease if their gums are:
Bleeding from brushing and/or flossing
If left unchecked, periodontal disease can cause your child’s gums to pull away from the teeth, affecting the structure of the bone beneath and potentially impacting their jaw alignment and bite. Over time, bone and tooth loss can occur.
Periodontal disease is preventable and highly treatable. Regular cleaning and exam appointments will help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. Teach your child about the importance of daily oral hygiene. If periodontal disease has begun, our doctor can help. Contact our office for your child’s periodontal screening today.
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Wake Forest, NC 27587
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