Gum disease is a relatively common condition that begins with mild symptoms such as red swollen gums and bad breath. In its earliest stage, it is referred to as gingivitis.
However, if left untreated it can progress to a stage, where it is known as periodontal disease. At this point it can affect the structures around the teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligament and jaw bone, and cause the sufferer a wide range of dental problems.
Causes of gum disease
The main cause of gum disease is an accumulation of sticky, bacteria-laden plaque on the teeth. These bacteria produce acid which eats away at your teeth, causing decay and damage. It can also trap stains, causing your teeth to become discolored.
Plaque can begin forming in as little as 4 to 12 hours after brushing. This means that brushing at least twice a day, ideally after meals, is crucial to preventing plaque from causing gum disease and turning to tartar. This is a hardened form of plaque that can only be removed by a professional clean.
The effects of periodontal disease
Periodontal disease can have a number of undesirable consequences, which include:
- Severe pain and swelling
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Gum abscesses
- Receding gums
- Teeth that are so badly decayed that they require extraction
- Teeth that appear loose in their sockets
- Teeth that fall out of their own accord
Tips for treating periodontal disease
Before you become alarmed, there are things that you can do to prevent and treat periodontal disease.
Robust dental cleaning routine
By far the most important thing that you can do prevent and treat periodontal disease is follow a robust dental cleaning routine. Most plaque can be removed with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, and using a fluoride mouthwash.
Get professional cleans
Professional cleans by your dentist or hygienist can help to remove any stubborn areas of plaque that simply refuse to budge. This is because professional cleans combine the benefits of unrestricted access to all parts of our mouths with specialist cleaning tools.
Not only is smoking catastrophic for your overall health and wellbeing, but it is a leading contributor of gum disease. Ditch the nicotine today and start feeling the benefits immediately.
We all like a sweet treat, but too much sugar spells disaster for your teeth. Cut right back on calorific sodas, swapping for water wherever possible. Limit how much candy and chocolate you consumed, and try and follow a well-balanced diet. Foods that are rich in calcium can help to strengthen your teeth, so there is no harm in stocking up on some dairy too.
If you are concerned that you may have any stage of gum disease, contact our dental office in Arlington today. Dr. Joseph Khalil and Dr. Ray Cho will be happy to examine your teeth and give you further tips for preventing and treating periodontal disease.
Dr. Joseph Khalil
To many people, a beautiful smile means teeth that are straight and perfectly aligned. Unfortunately, this is a feature that very few of us are naturally born with. Instead, teeth that are twisted, gapped and crooked are extremely common, and so dentists across the country are regularly inundated with requests for cosmetic orthodontic treatment to give patients a straighter, more desirable smile.
However, it may surprise you to know that the appearance of your smile is not the only thing affected by crooked teeth. Studies undertaken by the American Dental Association (ADA) have shown that crooked teeth can have a seriously detrimental impact on your dental and overall health and wellbeing.
What causes crooked teeth?
The alignment of teeth is largely down to genetics. People who have small jaws often find that they simply don’t have enough space to accommodate all their teeth. Teeth naturally shift to take up the space available to them. This means that while the earliest ones to erupt may come through straight, later teeth may come through twisted or crooked, fitting into any gap that they can find. Sometimes teeth even grow behind one another because there simply isn’t room for them!
Habits can also play a large part in the development of teeth. Thumb-sucking, lip sucking, excessive pacifier use and chewing objects can all affect the growth of your teeth, which can cause teeth to shift inaccurately and become crooked.
Problems caused by crooked teeth
Crooked teeth can impact on the health of your teeth and mouth, as well as having an effect on your overall wellbeing. Let’s take a look at three of the problems caused or contributed to by crooked teeth.
Gum disease is caused by the bacteria on our teeth forming plaque, which begins along the gum line. When this happens, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed. Without treatment, the gums can pull away from the teeth creating more room for bacteria to grow.
Gum disease is substantially more common in patients who have crooked teeth.
Poor dental health
One of the reasons that gum disease is more prevalent in patients with crooked teeth is because their positioning makes them much harder to clean. Even the best toothbrushes and most careful flossing can miss the tiny gaps and crevices caused by crooked teeth, and havens for bacteria growth.
In some cases, crooked teeth cause such extensive decay that extracting the affected teeth is the best solution to preserve the patient’s overall oral health.
Poor cleaning can result in lingering, smelly bacteria in the mouth, giving the patient unsavoury smelling breath. This can be extremely unpleasant and affect the taste of the food and drink that the patient consumes.
How can crooked teeth affect my overall health?
As we have discovered, crooked teeth dramatically impact upon a person’s ability to care for their teeth and gums. Invariably this means that some bacteria will accumulate over time, and this can cause a whole range of dental problems from gum disease to serious infections.
Studies undertaken by the ADA have shown undisputable evidence linking oral infections caused by increased levels of oral bacteria may lead to serious general health problems, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers.
How can I treat my crooked teeth?
There are several different treatment options that can correct crooked teeth and save your smile. Which is right for you will be determined by attending a consultation appointment with your dentist.
Conventional teeth straightening methods required the patient to wear an orthodontic brace. These devices, attached to your teeth, use a combination of wires and bands to gently guide the patient’s teeth to the desired position. While orthodontic braces are still available today, many patients are now opting for a revolutionary new treatment known as Invisalign®.
The Invisalign® treatment program is a series of clear, plastic aligners which are worn over the patient’s teeth to guide them to their new position. Invisalign® is a highly successful alternative to traditional orthodontic braces, and has a number of unique benefits.
Dr. Joseph Khalil and Dr. Ray Cho will be happy to discuss both Invisalign® and orthodontic braces with you to find the best solution for your crooked teeth.
The number one rule of dental care, and something that is drummed into many of us from an early age, is to brush our teeth twice a day. Brushing has shown to be one of the most effective defences against plaque and gum disease as it removes the majority of bacteria and food debris from teeth. This helps to keep teeth clean and free from problems.
Tooth decay is a major worldwide concern. Not only does it affect the function and appearance of your mouth, but it can also lead to number of serious medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers.
However, brushing with water alone isn’t sufficient. Dental experts have found that certain combinations of minerals can help to prevent tooth decay and prolong our oral health. One of the primary ingredients used in the majority of toothpastes on the market today is fluoride.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and the 13th most abundant material in the earth’s crust. It can be found in soil, foods and water supplies. It is also sometimes added to drinking water. This is because it has been found to be beneficial for oral health by helping protect teeth from decay. All water (whether from the faucet or bottled), contains some level of fluoride and more than 300 million people drink fluoridated water supplies each day.
How does fluoride help to prevent tooth decay?
The main way in which fluoride can support the prevention of tooth decay is because it strengthens the natural enamel of teeth, making it more resistant to decay. This makes it much harder for the bacteria in plaque and tartar to penetrate through the enamel of the tooth and attack the more sensitive parts of the tooth.
Fluoride also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on your teeth produce. This means that the PH balance of your much is more balanced, and it will take longer for decay to develop.
If fluoride can be found in my drinking water, so I still need to use a fluoride toothpaste?
Although all water contains some level of fluoride, it can vary from area to area. The best way of ensuring that you get the recommended amount each day is to use a fluoride toothpaste. If you live in an area where there is a reasonable amount of fluoride in the natural water supply, choosing a fluoride toothpaste can give patients a little extra protection from tooth decay.
With hundreds of different toothpastes available, choosing the right one can seem like an impossible battle. However, you can be certain that by choosing a fluoride toothpaste, you are taking positive steps towards maintain the appearance, function and longevity of your smile.