Posts Under Gingivitis
How Fast Food
Impacts Your Dental Health
Fast food has become a staple of modern life. Busy schedules, long commutes and convenience make it easier to pick up something on the run versus preparing a meal at home. Unfortunately, fast food is not necessarily the healthiest option.
Can Rob You of Your Smile
One of the most common dental problems we see in our patients is gum disease. In most cases, gum disease develops slowly and without pain. Without regular dental checkups, it is possible to not really know how serious the disease is until your teeth and gums are severely damaged, resulting in teeth having to be extracted.
Gum disease affects people of all ages, not just the middle-aged or elderly.
The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. The cause: poor oral hygiene that fails in removing the germs and bacteria that build up on teeth every day. That’s why daily brushing and flossing are so important, as it helps remove this buildup.
Gums afflicted by gingivitis are often swollen, red and bleed easily. Remarkably there is often little pain or discomfort at this stage of the disease.
In addition to poor oral hygiene, factors that contribute to gingivitis include; smoking, stress, diabetes, aging, pregnancy, poor nutrition, hormonal fluctuations and certain medications.
If you’re told by your dentist that you have gingivitis, the good news is that it can be reversed with professional dental treatment and careful brushing and flossing by you at home.
The bad news, if untreated, gingivitis evolves into periodontitis, a much more serious form of gum disease.
Periodontitis is caused by a significant buildup of germs and bacteria which over time are not removed with daily brushing and flossing. Eventually, this plaque buildup turns into tartar. Plaque is hard and cannot be removed by brushing. Over time, the plaque and tartar spread below the gum line. There, sight unseen, bacteria produce toxins that irritate the gums. The toxins also cause inflammation and trigger the body’s immune system to turn on itself. The result, tissue and bone that hold teeth firmly in place are broken down and destroyed. Small pockets form as gums separate from teeth. These pockets in turn become infected resulting in more tissue and bone loss. As with gingivitis, there may be little or no pain or discomfort. Left untreated, teeth can become loose and may need to be removed. Serious gum disease results in losing teeth.
A 2010 study found that 47% of adults in the US suffer from mild to severe periodontitis. The numbers are similar in Canada.
There’s a good chance that if you haven’t been brushing and flossing regularly, you may have gingivitis or even periodontitis.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you Check Your Gums on a regular basis for gum disease.
- a change in the colour of your gums
- gums that are red around your teeth
- gums that bleed every time you brush or floss
- bad breath that will not go away
- a taste of metal in your mouth
- shiny, puffy or sore gums
- teeth that are sensitive for no reason
If you experience any of these symptoms, call to schedule a dental appointment. The good news is that proper dental treatment can help reverse the early stages of gum disease.
Every day, germs and bacteria build up on your teeth. We encourage you to brush and floss daily to remove the build-up of this invisible film that left untreated, over time will have a very negative impact on your dental health.
Are Whiter Teeth Possible?
Coffee. Tea. Red wine. Cranberry juice. Pasta sauce. Even blueberries. All of these common foods can stain your teeth. Brushing well will definitely help, but some of us are more prone to long term changes in the color of our teeth than others, even if we are good brushers. Also, as we age, the enamel of our teeth may get a little thinner allowing the darker colored dentin layer below to show through a little bit more giving our teeth a darker appearance.
What can we do about it?
First there are whitening toothpastes. You cannot go far in the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy without being bombarded with all sorts of speciality tooth pastes offering you a dazzling white smile if you use their product. Many of these products do work well to help breakdown and remove many surface stains that build up from the things we eat and drink. They do have much success at removing the deeper stains within the tooth that are often the reason for seeking whiter teeth.
Whitening gels are the most common form of what is referred to as “take home” bleaching. These are either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide based products that penetrate into the enamel and break down the stain molecules to remove them leaving your teeth a brighter color. These gels can be applied to your teeth either on a special strip such as Crest White Strips, or in a customized tray much like a sports mouth guard. This allows the bleaching gel to stay in contact with the enamel for the desired amount of time to allow the gel to whiten the teeth. Depending on the brand of product, these trays or strips will be applied for 30 to 60 minutes or in some cases overnight while you sleep. The advantage of the customized tray system is that it allows for a more accurate delivery of the gel to the tooth surface with less of the gel being wasted or spreading up onto the gums where it may cause the gums to be irritated.
Will all teeth whiten with equal success? Unfortunately the answer to this question is “no”.
Certain colors of teeth will whiten more successfully than others: Yellow teeth will brighten the best. Brown based stain will improve to a lesser extent and bluish grey teeth will show the least improvement.
Any tooth which has darkened as a result of medication taken during childhood or which have darkened following a trauma will not likely change color to a desired level. Any tooth that has a restoration on it such as a crown, veneer or basic filling will not change color because these materials are not susceptible to the bleaching process. This does not stop you from whitening your teeth, it just means that, once you are finished whitening, you will have to replace the restorations on these teeth to match the new color of the rest of your teeth.
For these reasons it is always best to discuss your individual case with your dentist before you start just to be sure that you are indeed a good candidate for whitening.
“In office” whitening is another option in which a bright light or laser is used to activate a special whitening gel that is applied to the teeth. While this provides an initial “jump start” to your whitening process, in most cases a follow-up treatment with take-home trays is necessary to achieve successful long-term results.
The process of whitening is best done under the supervision of your dentist so that if issues such as sensitivity of either the gums or the teeth develop, you will be in good hands to solve the problem.
The process of “take-home” whitening involves two short office visits. The first visit is when we assess your individual condition and discuss your expectations. Once it is determined that you are a good candidate for the procedure, we will take impressions of your mouth so that we can build a set of custom-made trays. On the second visit, three or four days later, your dentist will ensure the trays fit perfectly and then show you how to apply the gel in a predictable and safe manner. It’s easy and fast to learn how to apply the gel and insert the trays. Before you leave, we want to ensure you’re comfortable with how the trays feel and we’ll answer any questions you have about the whitening process.
After a week or so of home whitening we invite you to drop in so we can assess your short term results and be sure that you are following the steps properly.
If you think you would like a whiter, brighter smile and want to know if you are a good candidate, we welcome you to call our office at 514-484-0521 and set up a consultation appointment so that we can discuss your individual case.
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More Than Just a Black and White Image
Dental health includes not just your teeth, but also, the gums and jaw.
Since a dentist can only see the visible portion of your teeth, X-rays play an important role in helping to find hidden problems. Problems include:
• decay between teeth and under fillings;
• bone loss that cannot be seen during a visual examination;
• cysts (an infection)
• tumors and
• hidden wisdom teeth.
When your dentist recommends an X-ray it’s because additional information is needed on which to base a treatment. If you’ve had a dental X-ray at our clinic within the last 2 years, you likely noticed that we’ve left the world of film behind and gone digital. Digital X-rays provide an immense leap forward, providing a dentist with detail not possible with film. The result: a better treatment plan.
There are some procedures that can be treated without an X-ray. An example: certain types of cavities on the front teeth. In these cases, the dentist will not request an X-ray.
There are three different types of digital X-rays. The examination process determines what type of X-ray is required.
1. Bitewing radiograph
Taken every 18-24 months
To identify decay between the teeth and decay under old fillings.
Bitewing X- rays provide a detailed look at decay that would require a filling.
These radiographs also allow the dentist to monitor the level of the bone around the tooth. This is important in determining the health of the bone and gums should the patient be developing periodontitis (gum disease).
To take this X-ray, we place a sensor onto a holder that is then placed in your mouth beside the tooth to be X-rayed. This sensor is connected to the computer. The image appears immediately on the dentist's screen for diagnosing.
2. Periapical X-ray
Taken when required to provide a full Image of one or two teeth. A periapical X-ray takes an image of the top (crown) and roots as well as the bone around the tooth.
This X-ray is taken if a bitewing X-ray shows us any problems or a patient exhibits certain symptoms.
A sensor is placed in a holder and then placed in the mouth adjacent to the problem tooth. The holder is different from that used for bitewings. This holder allows us to position the sensor farther down on the tooth.
A Panorex is typically taken every 5-7 years. A Panorex image shows the full surfaces of all the teeth plus the upper and lower jaw, all in one image.
As a result of this technology, your dentist can find problems that are developing down in the roots of the teeth or in the jaw. Examples of problem areas only visible with a Panorex include: identifying cysts (an infection), tumours (cancerous and benign) and wisdom teeth. These types of issues cannot be seen with the other two types of X-rays.
As always we welcome your questions. When an X-ray is recommended feel free to ask your dentist about why a certain X-ray is being recommended.
By using the best in digital imaging technology, we are able to achieve accurate X-rays with the least possible dose of radiation.
We believe in educating our patients so that they can make informed decisions.
Be Proactive With Your Oral Health
Most of us realize that diet and exercise play an important part in keeping us healthy. But did you know that a healthy mouth is also an important part of a healthy body?
Poor oral health can affect a person's quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These oral health problems can reduce a person's quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being.
Oral disease, like any other disease, needs to be treated. A chronic infection, including one in the mouth, is a serious problem that should not be ignored. Yet bleeding or tender gums are often overlooked.
Research has shown there is an association between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, respiratory illness in older adults, as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies. Although researchers are just beginning to understand this relationship, evidence shows that oral disease can aggravate other health problems and that keeping a healthy mouth is an important part of leading a healthy life.
Be proactive with your oral health. It’s easy when you follow these 5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth, as put forward by the Canadian Dental Association.
1. Keep your mouth clean
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Wait at least 20–30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.
- Floss every day.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit foods and beverages containing sugar or carbohydrates.
- Ideal snack foods: cheese, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
- Look for oral care products with the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal.
2. Check your mouth regularly
Look for signs of gum disease:
- Red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Bad breath that won't go away
Look for signs of oral cancer:
- Bleeding or open sores that don't heal
- White or red patches
- Numbness or tingling
- Small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks, or on your gums
3. Eat well
- Good nutrition helps build strong teeth and gums.
- Munch on mouth healthy snacks like cheeses, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
4. See your dentist regularly
- 48% of Canadians who haven't seen a dentist in the past year have gum disease. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse. Has it been a while since you last saw a dentist?
- You can now schedule an appointment with one of the dentists at Dr. John Drummond & Associates online or call us at (514) 484-0521.
5. Don't smoke or chew tobacco
- Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer, heart disease, gum disease, and a variety of other cancers.
Source: Canadian Dental Association
The Surprising Impact Diabetes has on Dental Health
What do brushing and flossing have to do with diabetes? It’s easy to think they’re unrelated, but surprisingly diabetes has a big impact on dental health.
Diabetes affects your body’s ability to process sugar. In Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, a hormone that carries sugar from your blood to the cells that need it for energy. In Type 2 diabetes, the body stops responding to insulin. Both cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body including your mouth.
If you or a family member has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, managing blood sugar level is very important. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of:
- Tooth decay (cavities). Your mouth naturally contains many types of bacteria. When starches and sugars in food and beverages interact with these bacteria, a sticky film known as plaque forms on your teeth. The acids in the plaque attack the surface of your teeth and this can lead to cavities.
The higher your blood sugar level, the greater the supply of sugars and starches — resulting in more acid attacking your teeth.
- Early gum disease (gingivitis). Diabetes reduces your body’s ability to fight bacteria. If you don't remove plaque with regular brushing and flossing, it will harden onto your teeth into a substance called tartar (calculus). The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva — the part of your gums around the base of your teeth. In time, your gums will become swollen and bleed easily. This is gingivitis. Because swollen gums bleed easily when you brush, there is a tendency to brush less thoroughly and the problems will worsen.
- Advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis, which destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which in turn causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.
Periodontitis tends to be more severe among people who have diabetes because diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows healing. An infection such as periodontitis may also cause your blood sugar level to rise, which in turn makes your diabetes more difficult to control. Preventing and treating periodontitis can help improve blood sugar control.
The good news is that prevention is in your hands. Learn what you're up against, and then take charge of your dental health. To help prevent long term damage to your teeth and gums, you must take both your diabetes and your dental care seriously:
- Make a commitment to manage your diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor's instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush in the morning, at night and, ideally, after meals and snacks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums. Consider using a good electric toothbrush such as a Braun Oral B or a Sonicare. Be sure to change your toothbrush at least every three months or whenever the bristles are out of line.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline. If you have trouble getting floss down between your teeth, use the waxed variety as the extra lubrication allows it to slide in and out more easily.
- Schedule regular dental visits. Visit us at 12 Brock Avenue North at least twice a year for a thorough exam and a professional cleaning.
- Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes. Besides informing us of any changes in your medical conditions including the current state of your diabetes, make sure that we also have the contact information for your doctor who helps you manage your diabetes.
- Look for early signs of gum disease. Report any signs of gum disease — including redness, swelling and bleeding gums — to those of us on your dental team. Also mention any other signs and symptoms, such as dry mouth, loose teeth or mouth pain.
- Don't smoke. Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, including gum disease. If you smoke, ask your doctor about options to help you quit.
Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and that includes proper dental care. Your efforts will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. We are here to help you deal with the complications and side effects of your diabetes and to help educate you about what is involved with maintaining your mouth in a healthy state.
With help from the Mayo Clinic website