What Are the Causes of and Treatments for Gum Disease?

When we think about taking care of our dental health, we often forget about the health of our gums in favor of preventing cavities and keeping our teeth white and shiny. However, even if your teeth are in peak condition, you might still be neglecting another equally important aspect of your dental health — your gums. Gum diseases such as gingivitis and the more severe periodontitis are often believed to be the most common disease affecting humans after the common cold.

 

The Symptoms

  • Swollen, Red Gums — Normal, healthy gums are typically not puffy and have a pink color. When your gums—especially in the area surrounding the gum line—are inflamed and more pinkish in color, you may be experiencing a mild form of gum disease.

  • Bleeding While Brushing/Flossing — Healthy gums won’t begin to bleed at the slightest signs of brushing or flossing. If you’re brushing and your gums begin to bleed you might have gum disease.

  • Receding Gums/Loose Teeth — The most problematic symptoms of gum disease are the possible receding of gums. As bacteria spreads into pockets between gums and teeth, gums react by receding and eventually wearing away at the “support system” of the tooth. With the weakened infrastructure supporting the tooth, your teeth may become loose and fall out or need to be removed.

 

What Can I Do?

 

  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Practices — The best tool in your arsenal to combat gum disease is to practice good, regular dental hygiene procedures. That includes flossing regularly and brushing at least twice a day. Gingivitis and less severe forms of gum disease can often be cured by better brushing and flossing habits before the disease progresses to Periodontitis.

  • If Applicable, Quit Smoking — Smoking has been directly linked to the health of patients’ gums (and teeth), quitting—while easier said than done—can be an effective way of cutting down on your risk of gum disease.

  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly — Scheduling regular appointments with your dentist is something you should always be doing, but in the case of gum disease, your dentist can help identify the early signs of gum disease and (if necessary) prescribe you a more professional treatment or refer you to a periodontist for more severe stages of gum disease.

If you have further questions regarding the causes, treatments or identification of gum disease, or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jahangiri, contact Noble Smile Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today.

Treatments for Receding Gums

When you look in the mirror each morning, are you noticing that your teeth are getting just a little bit longer? You’re not crazy. Many adults experience gum recession, a symptom of gingivitis. While you may not like how your new longer teeth look, gum recession is more than just a cosmetic concern. If you don’t treat your receding gums, you’ll be at greater risk for tooth decay, sore jaw, periodontal disease and even losing teeth. If you notice that your gums are receding, you should visit a dentist immediately to determine the cause and an appropriate course of treatment.

Treating your receding gums at home

  • If you and your dentist conclude that your receding gums are a symptom of too-vigorous brushing technique, try to brush a little lighter. If you haven’t already, this is the time to switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Get serious about flossing. Flossing helps keep your gums clean and stimulates them into regeneration. If you weren’t flossing once a day before this, you should start now.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking can exacerbate any oral health issues, so use this incident as motivation to finally quit.

Treating gum recession at the dentist’s office

In addition to lifestyle changes your dentist recommends, you may have to receive some treatment at the dentist’s office. You might need:

  • Pocket depth reduction surgery, in which the dentist removes the bacteria from your gums and secures your gums back over the root of your teeth.
  • Bone regeneration, which is important if you’ve lost bone and gum tissue from periodontal disease.
  • Soft tissue graft, which usually uses a piece of skin from the roof of your mouth to cover exposed roots.

Have more questions about these treatments? Contact Noble Smile Family and Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jahangiri today.

The Best Toothpastes for Better Breath

No one wants bad breath, but it can happen to the best of us. Sometimes it’s just because of an overly fragrant lunch, but sometimes it’s caused by something a little more permanent: gum disease. If your bad breath is caused by gum disease, you want to be sure to use a toothpaste that does more than just make your breath smell nice temporarily — you need a toothpaste that will treat the source of your halitosis. Here are some tips for picking a toothpaste to freshen your breath:

  • Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride, which will strengthen your tooth enamel and kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.
  • Try to find a toothpaste with triclosan, an antibiotic that can also fight bad-breath bacteria in your mouth, or zinc, which can reduce the amount of plaque in your mouth.
  • Don’t worry about finding toothpastes that boast cosmetic benefits while you’re trying to cure your gingivitis.

If you’re suffering from bad breath that just won’t go away, it might be a sign of something serious. Contact Noble Smile Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jahangiri. During your appointment, you can discuss the solutions available to you and learn about techniques that can make your bad breath disappear.

Can I Reverse Gingivitis?

 

Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, can indeed be reversed in a matter of weeks when proper care is taken. If gingivitis is not taken care of though, it will advance to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that will eventually shrink gums and loosen teeth.

Gingivitis is caused by the bacteria in our mouth that secrete a sticky white substance on our teeth and gums, known as plaque. Plaque breaks down gum tissue, and if left alone for a few days, will harden into tartar (which can only be removed by a professional). Tartar is the culprit that causes the inflammation, swelling, and bleeding of the gums when you have gingivitis.

To fight gingivitis, brushing will have to be increased to at least two or three times a day using toothpaste with fluoride. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to make sure you don’t damage gums further. Also be sure to brush your tongue and the sides of your oral cavity, to make sure you remove food debris and bacteria not on your teeth.

Flossing regularly becomes a must to eliminate gingivitis quickly by removing plaque from between your teeth and under the gumline.  Flossing before brushing also aids in allowing the fluoride from the toothpaste to get in between your teeth as well.

A diet rich in vitamin C and D can also help speed up the recovery process. Cranberry juice also is recommended, as it has antibacterial properties that benefit the mouth.

Again, tartar removal can only be done by a professional.

At Noble Smile, we offer comprehensive periodontal treatment to ensure your smile is as healthy as possible. Schedule your appointment online, or call our office if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Antioxidants & Gum Disease

Antioxidants have long been known to benefit overall health by fighting signs of premature aging as well as degenerative diseases. But now, research affirms the positive effects of antioxidants on oral health as well — especially as it relates to the onset of periodontal (gum) disease.

Antioxidants are natural compounds that fight free radicals — unstable molecules that damage tissue cells by “stealing” electrons from other molecules. It’s natural for the body to produce these free radicals, but when they go unchecked by antioxidants, they become harmful. We are also exposed to free radicals in everyday life through sunlight, pollution, food additives, pesticides, herbicides, medications and smoking, among others.

Antioxidants work by supplying damaging free radicals with the electrons they need, thus converting them back to harmless cells. An example of this process can be seen in the kitchen. Take an apple and slice it open. When left out, you can watch the apple tissue turn brown as enzymatic oxidation takes place (free radicals at work); but if you coat the apple in lemon juice (vitamin C, an antioxidant) the browning process is prevented.

How does this affect your teeth and gums, though? Gums are made of living tissue, susceptible to free radical damage like any other tissue in the body. Gums infected and inflamed from a build-up of bacteria are further attacked by free radicals, increasing the risk of tissue damage and even loss.

Dentists and researchers agree that it is in your best interest to increase your intake of antioxidants to help fight gum tissue inflammation. Studies have shown that antioxidants reduce bleeding gums and other signs of periodontal disease.

Thankfully, sources of antioxidants abound: High concentrations are found in dark-colored fruits and vegetables, green tea, dark chocolate and vitamin supplements like C, E, CoQ10. Just a little forethought could help you “radically” improve your overall health, including the health of your smile. So what are you waiting for?

Contact Noble Smile Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today if you have any questions about gum disease or to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Link Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s

Periodontal disease, a severe form of gum disease, is a common inflammatory condition which affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth. It is often preceded by a common bacterial infection of the gum tissue called gingivitis.

Aside from it being the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world, research now suggests there is a significant link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies show that periodontal disease increases the risk of developing the cognitive disorder linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that gum inflammation can lead to brain inflammation and neurodegeneration through infections caused by periodontal bacteria in otherwise healthy persons.

The patients in the study who had Alzheimer’s possessed significantly higher amounts of antibodies and inflammatory molecules associated with gum disease than those who did not have any sort of cognitive impairment.

With that in mind, any kind of inflammation in your youth, or any tooth loss before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as an adult. Two predominant causes of inflammation in young adulthood are poor diet (a lack of protein and/or calcium) and inactivity, as well as smoking.

If periodontal disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, usually one to two dental cleanings will be recommended. However, if periodontal disease is found in a more advanced stage, we recommend receiving professional periodontal treatment so your gum tissue can heal and pockets of inflammation can shrink.

If you are experiencing inflammation in your gums, or would like more information on our teeth cleaning procedures, contact Noble Smile today to set up an appointment with one of our Katy gum disease specialists.

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems experienced by patients. Symptoms of gum disease include bleeding from the gums during brushing, tender gums, receding gums, persistent bad breath, and loose teeth.

There are manyf factors that can contribute to the onset of gum disease. Below we’ve listed a few of the most common.

Poor Oral Hygiene. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is extremely important to the health of your gums. Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly will greatly reduce your chances of developing gingivitis or periodontitis.

Smoking. Smoking is a major contributing factor for periodontal disease and other oral health problems. Smoking decreases the gum tissue’s ability to repair itself and leaves the gums weak.

Medications. Many medications reduce the body’s production of saliva. Without saliva, your mouth has a harder time of fighting off harmful bacteria.

Illnesses. Some illnesses may play a role in the development of gum disease. Cancer and HIV weaken the body’s immune system. Likewise, diabetes renders the body more susceptible to infection.

Hormonal Changes. Hormonal changes such as those during pregnancy, puberty and menopause can make the gums sensitive.

Infrequent Professional Cleanings. For optimum disease prevention and dental health, it is wise to visit the dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning.

To make an appointment with an experienced Katy dentist, contact Noble Smile today.