Often we think of a healthy mouth as straight, white teeth. But the truth is, a healthy mouth goes beyond our smiles. Our gums are easily overlooked when it comes to talking about our oral health. However, our gums are crucial to not only our mouths but to our overall health. At our dental office in Douglasville, we strive to educate our patients about the importance of healthy gums, so in this blog, we’re going to talk about just how serious of a role our gums play in our bodies.
When we don’t take care of our gums, we can develop a serious condition called gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Plaque is loaded with dangerous bacteria that if not removed, can lead to infection of the gums. This infection is gum disease. There are three stages of gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated.
Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis when the disease starts to affect the bones holding our teeth in place.
Advanced Periodontitis – As periodontitis gets worse, it can turn into advanced periodontitis. If this happens, the bones supporting our teeth are beginning to break down, and we may experience tooth loss.
Gum Disease & Your Body
The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to other serious problems in the body. In fact, many research studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and several health conditions, such as:
Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
In the early stages, gum disease may not necessarily show any signs. This is why appointments with your dentist in Douglasville every six months are so important. Your dental team is trained to look for early warning signs of gum disease so they can recommend treatment quickly. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
If it’s been more than six months since your last visit or you notice any signs of gum disease, call our dental office in Douglasville to schedule a visit.
February marks the beginning of a month-long dedication to heart health. It’s officially known as American Heart Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness of the risks associated with heart disease. Many people know that things like smoking and a poor diet can cause troubles with the heart, but at our dental office in Douglasville, we also know that your oral health can affect your heart health.
The Mouth is the Window to Whole-Body Health
You may have heard the expression that the eyes are the window to the soul, and while that may be true, another part of your body can tell you a lot about your overall wellbeing. The truth is, your mouth can give your dentist in Douglasville insight to other problems that may be going on in the rest of your body. More specifically, researchers have found a connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.
More About Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious dental problem that requires early treatment to resolve. Without proper intervention, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health concerns throughout the body. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has concluded that people who have gum disease are at increased risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. This happens because the bacteria that cause gum disease have a pretty easy path into the bloodstream and can raise the levels of something called C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP can cause some scary problems such as:
- Blood clots
- Inflamed arteries
- Heart attack
Signs of Gum Disease
Some of the most common signs of gum disease are easy to explain away and some may think they’re actually normal. However, any of the following signs could mean that you may have gum disease.
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
If you notice any of the signs of gum disease, it’s important to see your Douglasville dentist as soon as possible.
The team at our Douglasville dental office wants to encourage all of our patients and neighbors to practice a good oral hygiene routine at home as well as get professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups at least twice a year. These appointments can help catch and treat gum disease before it has a chance to cause bigger, more serious complications.
Don’t leave your heart at risk, call to schedule an appointment today.
Even though the craziness of the holidays is behind us, it doesn’t necessarily mean our stress levels have decreased. Everyday life can certainly cause anxiety and contribute to more stress. As many people know, stress can impact our health and overall well-being, but did you know stress can also contribute to oral health problems? Today, the team at our Douglasville dental office will cover some ways your oral health may be affected by stress.
Increased Jaw Pain
When we’re overly stressed, our bodies respond in different ways. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how our bodies are reacting. One common side effect of high stress that can go unnoticed is tooth clenching and grinding. When we continuously grind or clench, we place unnatural, increased force on our teeth and our jaw joints. Not only can this cause teeth to break or chip, but it can also increase jaw pain. If left untreated and clenching and grinding continues, you could develop TMD (also known as TMJ).
Gum disease is often caused by poor dental hygiene, but there are other factors that can put you more at risk for developing it. Stress just so happens to be one of those things. Studies show a positive link between prolonged exposure to high levels of stress and a greater risk for gum disease. If not treated promptly by your dentist in Douglasville, gum disease can contribute to concerns throughout the body such as heart disease and tooth loss.
These annoying and often painful sores can seem to pop up out of nowhere, and the truth is nobody truly knows what causes them. However, research has concluded that canker sores seem to have some sort of correlation with both certain foods and also high stress. Unlike cold sores, canker sores aren’t contagious, just annoying, and should go away on their own.
Relax & Protect
The best way to protect your oral health against the damaging effects of stress is to find ways to relax and lower stress levels. Some healthy relaxation methods include:
- Eating. Giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly can help fight off stress. Balance your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Sleeping. Many Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly, and when we’re tired our bodies aren’t able to adapt and overcome stressful situations as easily. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.
- Moving. Exercising helps our bodies release more endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone, all of which help make us feel happy and good and lower stress. Go for a walk, hop on a treadmill, or take a yoga class.
As you embark on a new year, make a commitment to yourself to keep stress low. Your body and your mouth will thank you.
November is recognized as National Diabetes Awareness Month and serves to raise awareness of diabetes, other health problems associated with the disease, and the importance of regulation. In fact, one of the little-known facts about diabetes is that it directly relates to oral health. Our dental office in Douglasville wants to help do our part this month and let our patients know all about the importance of sharing a diabetes diagnosis with your dentist.
“How Does Diabetes Affect My Oral Health?”
One of the most important parts of managing diabetes is keeping blood glucose levels stable and within a healthy range. Properly managing diabetes can reduce the risk of complications or other health problems such as heart disease. But healthy blood glucose levels can also keep mouths healthy too. Recent research has shown a strong connection to diabetes and gum disease. In fact, studies show that this connection may go two ways. For example, people who have diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease but at the same time, gum disease can make diabetes difficult to regulate, causing it to progress more rapidly.
“What Information Should I Tell My Dentist About My Diabetes?”
Your Douglasville dentist will start each new patient appointment by getting to know the person behind the patient. They’ll ask questions about health history, oral health goals, and any problems patients are worried about. Dental teams do this to better diagnose, treat, and prevent any problems that may arise. If you have diabetes, it’s important to share that with your dentist along with the following things:
- Results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose)
- Information about any prescriptions
- Your need for antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes
“Does My Oral Hygiene Routine Need to Change?”
We always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day, whether they have diabetes or not. Following this proper at-home oral hygiene routine will not only keep teeth clean, but can help reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease and, in turn, protect against the progression of diabetes or unwanted spikes in blood glucose.
The team at our Douglasville dental office is committed to protecting the health and smiles of all of our patients. Knowing all about any disease or health problem you have, including diabetes, can help us provide you with better care catered to your individual situation. If you have questions about how diabetes can affect your oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help.
Gum disease is often one term used to describe what are actually three different things. While each level of infection is recognized by a medical term all its own, they are all in fact an infection of the gums. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to help our neighbors identify each level of gum disease, educate them on the risk factors, and talk about the complications that may result if gum disease is left untreated.
Different Stages of Gum Disease
Let’s start with the mildest form of gum disease — gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is classified by gum inflammation, redness, or maybe some bleeding while brushing and flossing. It’s caused when too much plaque builds up under the gum line. When caught before it has a chance to progress gingivitis can be treated and reversed.
The next stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. When gingivitis isn’t treated, the plaque buildup can start to affect the bone and tissues that are responsible for keeping the teeth sturdy and in place. If this occurs, it usually can’t be undone and recommended treatment is more about limiting any more damage.
The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. During this stage, bones and tissues are seriously weakened which can cause teeth to shift, become loose, or fall out. While treatment may help stop any damage from progressing, the damage that has already occurred is irreversible.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
There are several factors that may put someone at greater risk for developing gum disease. Some of these risk factors are controllable while others are not. For example, genetics are thought to play a role in the development of gum disease, and we can’t do much about the way we’re built. However, we can reduce our risk by not smoking, brushing and flossing regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet.
Signs of Gum Disease
You may have heard gum disease described as a silent disease, but what does that mean? In the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), a person may have little to no symptoms and never suspect a problem. But knowing what to keep an eye out for can help you identify gum disease early and while it’s still treatable.
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Receding gums
- Swollen, red gums
Gum Disease & Overall Health
If not treated early gum disease can lead to tooth loss and some other serious whole-body concerns. Numerous studies have shown that gum disease has been linked to serious medical conditions and diseases including:
- Lung disease
- Heart attacks
The best way to protect your smile from gum disease is to brushing and floss everyday and make sure to visit your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year.
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental check, give our Douglasville dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Oral healthcare needs vary from person to person and even between age groups. That’s one reason our dental office in Douglasville believes that individualized dental care is the best approach to keeping our neighbors healthy. And while several common dental concerns remain consistent through every stage of life, there are some unique ailments that tend to specifically affect the senior population. Join us as we take a closer look at some of them.
Discolored Teeth – Many things from coffee to wine or cigarettes can cause tooth discoloration at any point throughout our lives. However, seniors in particular may notice a darkening or yellowing of teeth without any explanation at all. But the truth is this discoloration is typically a result of the outer white tooth enamel slowly wearing away and becoming thinner. When teeth become more transparent, we’re able to see more of the inside color of them, and it just so happens that the inner tooth isn’t as white as the outside. In fact, it’s often yellow or dark in color and what gives teeth a darker appearance.
Dry Mouth – Even though dry mouth can also affect anyone at any time and can be caused by a number of things, it does tend to be more common in seniors. One cause of dry mouth is medication. Prescription medication and even over-the-counter options often list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down, the mouth becomes dry, and teeth put at risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, sensitivity pain, or even tooth loss.
Tooth Loss – Many people believe that as we get older, we’re surely going to lose our teeth, or at least one or two of them. But this isn’t always true. It’s absolutely possible for people to keep their natural teeth for their entire lives, especially if they take proper care of them. This means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist in Douglasville every six months. However, several things can increase the likelihood of tooth loss in seniors including a history of smoking, dry mouth, untreated decay, and gum disease.
Gum Disease – When bacteria isn’t removed from the mouth it can wiggle up under the gum line and become difficult to remove. If it’s not treated it may lead to infection and cause gum disease. Usually categorized by red, bleeding, inflamed gums, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even affect the rest of the body. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and according to recent studies, Alzheimer’s disease. It should be noted that researchers have not necessarily found a definite correlation between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but one study found in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy notes a strong link between diseases that cause increased inflammation, including gum disease, and Alzheimer’s.
While we can’t stop ourselves from aging, we can take preventive steps to protect our oral health and bodies. Make sure you always brush twice a day and floss once a day, no matter how old or young you may be, and be sure to get a professional dental cleaning and check up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Douglasville dental office to schedule a visit with us today.
February is nationally recognized as Heart Health Month. Every year the American Heart Association and medical professionals across the country join together to publicize the seriousness of heart disease and educate the population on how to reduce your risk. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to help do our part and bring awareness to how your oral health is directly linked to your heart health.
The Oral Health, Heart Health Connection
It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, another phrase we should be promoting is that your mouth is the window to your overall health. Throughout the years, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, including its link to heart disease.
It’s All About the Gums
When you come to see your dentist in Douglasville, your dental team is looking at more than just your teeth. We’re also taking an incredibly close look at the health of your gums. Your gums play an important role not only in your oral health and keeping your teeth in place, but also in the health of your heart. If gum disease is present and left untreated, the infection can transfer into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body responds by producing more C-reactive protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause some serious health issues including:
- Inflamed arteries
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
Signs of Gum Disease
Since gum disease can develop quickly, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs so that you can get it treated immediately. Early intervention is the key to a easier and more successful treatment. If you notice any of the signs below, contact your Douglasville dentist as soon as possible.
Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Heart
Prevention of gum disease is one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you brush your teeth, floss every day, and maintain visits to our Douglasville dental office at least twice a year. These bi-annual appointments help remove buildup on teeth that, if left alone, could develop into gum disease or other oral health problems.
Don’t put yourself at risk to the seriousness of heart disease. Schedule an appointment with us today.
Every year around this time, we begin the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Coordinating schedules, braving the crowds at the grocery store and in the mall, cooking meals, and all the craziness that comes along with preparing for the holidays is bound to increase stress levels. But during a time when we’re supposed to be enjoying friends and family, stress is that last thing we want to get in the way. After all, as everyone at our dental office in Douglasville knows, stress can wreak havoc on not only our overall health, but oral health as well.
A Little Clench & Grind
During times of increased stress, we tend to subconsciously clench our teeth tightly together or grind them against each other. While this may seem like no big deal, if done repeatedly over a long period of time, grinding and clenching can cause damage to both the teeth as well as the jaw joint. Putting constant force on the teeth can lead to chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth, while habitually engaging jaw muscles may cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can be painful and may lead to long term problems. So if you’re experiencing any popping, clicking, or locking in the jaw joint, we recommend contacting your Douglasville dentist.
Usually we talk about gum disease being caused by an improper hygiene routine or missing regular visits with your dentist. However, recent research has also shown a positive link between stress and the development of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth, but your whole body as well. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and pregnancy complications, along with a host of other health problems.
Take It Easy for Health’s Sake
To help protect your body and oral health during the stressful holiday season, we encourage you find ways to help yourself relax. Check out the following tips for a few things to try.
- Breath it Out. Something as simple as setting aside a few moments to take a few deep breaths can really help lower stress. Practicing deep breathing exercises has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce overall anxiety levels.
- Work it Out. Hit the gym, go for a walk, do some yoga. Whatever you choose to do, just get your heart pumping and sweat it out. Physical exercise can do wonders to decrease stress, and all the other health benefits don’t hurt either.
- Sleep it Off. It can be difficult to get enough sleep during non-crazy times of the year. And during the holidays it can be even harder. Remember to schedule in time to make sure you’re catching enough zzz’s. Giving your body a chance to relax can keep you healthy so you can actually enjoy everything the holidays have to offer.
From all of us at our Douglasville dental office, we hope you have a great holiday season with limited stress and anxiety and packed full of friends, family, laughs, and great memories.