When it comes to oral health, we focus on the state of our teeth – brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist in Douglasville regularly. However, another crucial aspect of oral hygiene that deserves attention is the health of our gums. Dentists use specific measurements to assess the condition of your gums, providing valuable insights into your overall oral health. Let’s delve into what these measurements mean and why they are essential for maintaining a healthy smile.
Understanding Periodontal Health
The health of your gums is a key indicator of your overall oral health. Periodontal health refers to the condition of the supporting structures around your teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligament, and bone. Periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, can have a significant impact on these structures.
Dentists use a periodontal probe to measure the depth of spaces, or pockets, between your teeth and gums. This measurement is called probing depth and is a crucial factor in assessing gingival health. Healthy gums typically have shallow pockets, while deeper pockets may indicate gum disease.
- Normal Pocket Depth
Healthy gums usually have pocket depths of 1 to 3 millimeters. This range suggests that the gums are firmly attached to the teeth and provide effective protection against bacteria.
- Increased Pocket Depth
Pockets measuring 4 millimeters or more may indicate the presence of gingivitis or periodontitis. Deeper pockets allow bacteria to accumulate, leading to inflammation and potential damage to the supporting structures.
- Bleeding When Probing
Bleeding during probing is a sign of inflammation and is commonly associated with gingivitis. It indicates that the gums are reacting to the presence of bacteria, and early intervention is crucial to prevent the progression of the disease.
Your dentist in Douglasville will use a periodontal chart to record these measurements and track changes in your gum health over time. Regular periodontal charting is a valuable tool for monitoring and managing gum diseases. It helps dentists identify areas of concern, track the effectiveness of treatment, and make informed decisions about oral care.
The Importance of Gum Health
- Preventing Gum Disease
Regular monitoring of gum measurements allows for early detection of gingivitis and periodontitis. Timely intervention, such as professional cleanings and improved oral hygiene practices, can prevent the progression of gum disease.
- Preserving Tooth Support
Healthy gums are crucial for supporting your teeth. As gum disease advances, it can lead to the destruction of the bone and connective tissues that support your teeth, potentially resulting in tooth loss
- Systemic Health Connection
Research suggests a link between gum health and overall systemic health. Chronic inflammation from gum disease may contribute to the development of other health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Paying attention to the measurements of your gums is paramount to protecting your teeth and overall oral health. These measurements serve as a window into the state of your gum health, providing valuable information about the condition of your gums and the potential presence of gum disease. Regular dental check-ups, professional cleanings, and a diligent oral hygiene routine are essential components of maintaining healthy gums. By understanding and monitoring your gum measurements, you can take proactive steps to preserve your oral health and contribute to your overall well-being. Remember, a healthy smile starts with healthy gums!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and when most people think about reducing the risk of breast cancer, they think about maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and routine breast examinations. However, your dentist in Douglasville has some news about how taking care of your teeth may reduce the risk of breast cancer. In fact, recent research has suggested a strong link between oral health and breast cancer risk.
How Can Oral Health Affect Overall Health?
There’s a concept called the oral-systemic connection that has gained significant attention in the medical field in recent years. It refers to the intricate and interesting relationship between oral health and the overall health of the body. It’s no longer a secret that poor oral health can contribute to various whole-health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. Now, emerging research is shedding light on the connection between oral health and breast cancer.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Breast Cancer
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence linking oral health to breast cancer risk is the association between gum disease (periodontal disease) and breast cancer. Multiple studies have indicated that women with gum disease have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than those with healthy gums.
Researchers believe that the inflammation caused by gum disease may be a significant contributing factor. Chronic inflammation is known to play a crucial role in the development and progression of various cancers, including breast cancer. When the gums are infected and inflamed, the body’s immune response is activated, releasing inflammatory molecules into the bloodstream. These molecules can potentially reach breast tissue and promote the growth of cancer cells.
The Role of Oral Bacteria
Another intriguing aspect of the oral-breast cancer connection involves the role of specific oral bacteria. Some studies have identified certain types of bacteria that are more prevalent in the mouths of women with breast cancer. These bacteria produce enzymes that can modify estrogen, a hormone associated with breast cancer development.
Maintaining Good Dental Habits
Maintaining good dental habits is wise for various reasons, but knowing that it may help reduce the risk of breast cancer makes it crucial. Make sure you’re:
- Brushing and Flossing
Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily can help keep your gums healthy and reduce the risk of gum disease and therefore the risk of cancers, including breast cancer.
- Limiting Sugar Intake
Sugary foods and drinks can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Reducing sugar consumption can improve your oral health and overall health.
- Quitting Smoking
Smoking is a significant risk factor for gum disease and various cancers, including breast cancer. Quitting smoking is a crucial step in improving both your oral and overall health.
- Eating a Balanced Diet
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential nutrients for gum health. Additionally, antioxidants found in these foods may help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Seeing Your Dentist Regularly
Visiting your dentist in Douglasville for regular checkups and cleanings is essential. Dentists can detect gum disease early and provide treatment to prevent its progression. Make sure to schedule an appointment every six months.
While more research is needed to fully understand the complex relationship between oral health and breast cancer, the evidence so far suggests that good dental habits can play a role in reducing the risk of this prevalent cancer. Taking care of your oral health by practicing good dental hygiene, visiting your dentist regularly, and making healthy lifestyle choices can contribute to a healthier overall well-being.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common infection that affects the gum tissue. It’s so common, in fact, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of the disease. In the early stages, gum disease can often be treated successfully by your dentist in Douglasville. However, if the disease progresses, it could mean serious trouble.
Stage 1: Gingivitis
The least severe stage of gum disease is gingivitis. During this stage, the infection only affects the gum tissue, and treatment can help reverse the disease.
Stage 2: Early Periodontitis
If gingivitis isn’t treated it can progress into the initial stages of periodontitis. When this happens, the infection starts to spread into the areas where tissues connect teeth to bone.
Stage 3: Mild Periodontitis
Following early periodontitis is mild or moderate periodontitis. It’s during this stage when a patient can experience significant bone loss.
Stage 4: Advanced Periodontitis
The most severe case of gum disease is advanced periodontitis where there is more than 50% bone loss.
Signs of Gum Disease
Signs and symptoms of gum disease can vary depending on the stage of infection and can range from:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose teeth
How is Gum Disease Treated?
There are a number of ways that your dentist can treat gum disease. Again, it depends on each individual situation. Some of the common treatments for gum disease include:
- Deep Cleaning – A deep cleaning will clean up under the gum line and not just above it like a traditional dental cleaning. This can help remove the infection at the source.
- Antibiotics – Just like when you’re sick, taking antibiotics for gum disease can help fight off bacteria and the infection.
- Surgery – In more serious cases, your dentist may recommend gum surgery such as a gum graft.
How to Lower Your Risk of Gum Disease
The best way to ensure your gums stay healthy is to brush and floss twice daily. Getting into this habit will help remove plaque buildup. Allowing plaque to accumulate on the teeth is what ultimately leads to gum disease in the first place. There are also other ways you can lower your risk of gum disease.
- Stop smoking or using tobacco products
- Replace your toothbrush often – no toothbrush should be used for longer than 3 months
- See your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year
Don’t let gum disease affect your oral health or your teeth. Keep your biannual dental appointments for regular preventive care so your dentist can detect and treat any problems early.
Your dentist in Douglasville has known for quite some time that there is a strong link between gum disease and other whole-body concerns, such as an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. But recent research by the American Academy for Cancer Research has also shown a connection between gum disease and the development of colon cancer. During this Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, we want to share the findings so our patients can do everything possible to protect themselves from gum disease and the potential negative side effects.
This new long-term study followed the health of 42,486 Americans, both men, and women, for several decades. The goal was to monitor the health, diet, and results of colonoscopies to determine if there was any possible link between gum disease and colon cancer. While the results did support the theory, researchers say more studies are needed to back up these findings.
Scientists were interested in looking at two particular types of intestinal lesions that often precede colon cancer — serrated polyps and conventional adenomas — as well as participants’ history of gum disease. They found that those patients who had a history of gum also had:
- A 17% increased risk of having a serrated polyp
- An 11% increased risk of having a conventional adenoma
- A 20% increased risk of having a serrated polyp if the participant had lost four or more teeth
6 Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease can present itself in a number of ways, but there are some signs that are more common such as:
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
- Pain when chewing
- If you recognize any of these signs of gum disease, call your dentist in Douglasville to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. When gum disease is caught in its earliest stages it can often be treated successfully. However, when gum disease becomes more serious, it can become irreversible.
Reduce Your Risk of Gum Disease
It’s important to remember that uncontrollable factors such as age and genetics can increase someone’s chances of getting gum disease. But there are also habits and lifestyle factors that we can control that can also increase the risk. Following these tips from your dentist in Douglasville can reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease:
- Follow a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Stop using tobacco products
- Keep seeing your dentist for bi-annual checkups and cleanings
Gum disease isn’t something to take lightly, and it’s crucial to monitor any changes that occur in the mouth to catch problems before they have a chance to become bigger concerns and cause health problems. If you notice any of the signs of gum disease or it’s been longer than six months since your last visit, schedule a dental appointment today.
As we head into the one-year mark of this pandemic, there are still several unknowns. But one thing has remained constant the whole time — stress levels are high, and rightfully so. Stress isn’t the best thing for health, especially at times like these. Prolonged periods of high stress can put us at increased risk for heart disease, actually make our immune systems less effective, and cause some unwanted gut problems. That’s not all. Dentists have also noticed an increase in oral health problems the past year, including this dentist featured in the New York Times. In today’s blog, your dentist in Douglasville explores some ways how stress can affect your oral health.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
You know how your body reacts kind of automatically when you’re stressed out? Maybe you start to sweat even though you’re not hot. Or perhaps your heart starts beating so fast it’s all you can hear. These and other subconscious reactions happen, and they’re not always so obvious. In fact, sometimes we don’t even notice that our body reacted at all. One great example of this is when we grind or clench our teeth. Many times we’re not even aware that we’re doing it, but it can certainly cause trouble. The constant pressure of teeth on teeth during clenching or grinding can cause tooth damage such as chips, cracks, or breaks and will require treatment from your dentist in Douglasville.
Unfortunately, the problems with clenching and grinding don’t end with damaged teeth. These repeated motions over and over again can start to cause jaw pain as the muscles in the jaw joint are overworked. If this happens over a long period of time, this can develop into TMJ disorder, and the pain can become severe and lead to other problems such as headaches, neck pain, and difficulty chewing.
Now, besides the problems associated with clenching and grinding, there’s also the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissue and is usually caused by poor dental hygiene or tobacco use. However, stress may also increase the risk of developing gum disease. Your dentist in Douglasville can treat gum disease if it’s caught early, but if the disease becomes more severe it also becomes irreversible. Untreated advanced gum disease can cause tooth loss and increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and some cancers.
It’s important to note that scientists have yet to determine one absolute cause of canker sores. But research conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry suggests a possible correlation between high levels of stress and the development of canker sores. Even though these painful bumps may be a little bit painful and a lot bit annoying, they’re not contagious or dangerous and should go away on their own.
Lower Your Stress, Lower Your Risk
We know it’s hard to lower your stress levels, especially nowadays, but we can’t stress enough just how important it is to try different ways to live as stress-free of a life as possible to lower your risk of health problems. Some ways to reduce stress include:
- Getting Enough Sleep. We need to sleep in order to recover and keep our bodies functioning properly. Aim for 8 hours a day and follow a regular routine of waking up at the same time every day.
- Exercising Every Day. Whatever your exercise of choice is, try to do it every day. Hop on a bike. Go for a walk. Do some high-intensity interval training. Just get sweating. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins which can decrease stress and keep us healthy.
- Breathing It Out. Meditation has been used for centuries as a stress-reduction tactic. Find a quiet space, focus on your breath, and clear your mind to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and help you relax.
Everyone is different, but try to find a stress-reduction technique that works for you and practice it every day. Your body, mind, and overall health will thank you for it.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and strives to raise awareness of a chronic disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans. But what does this have to do with your dentist in Douglasville? Well, the truth is, there is a strong connection between oral health and diabetes, and it’s ever more important for diabetics to take care of their teeth. In fact, research shows that diabetes can result in complications throughout the body including heart, kidney, nerve, eye, and gum disease. Here are a few easy ways to protect your teeth and your overall health.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
One of the best ways for diabetics and non-diabetics to reduce their risk of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day, gently brushing your tongue, and flossing daily. However, just quickly brushing or using the wrong tools won’t do much to protect your teeth. Make sure you brush for two minutes, use fluoride toothpaste to protect teeth against decay, and use gentle circular motions to effectively remove plaque and bacteria without damaging your enamel.
Additionally, it’s also incredibly important to see your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months for a deeper professional cleaning that will remove plaque buildup that at-home brushing alone won’t touch.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Diabetics know just how important it is to choose healthy foods to maintain their blood sugar levels. But eating a well-balanced diet can also help protect oral and overall health. Fresh crunchy fruits and crisp vegetables can fuel your body with essential nutrients and can also help gently scrub bacteria off of your teeth in between brushings. And of course, your dentist in Douglasville would caution anyone, especially diabetics, of eating too much sugar. This includes hidden sugars that are often found in foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Make sure to work with your doctor to find a dietary plan that works for you and your body.
Check Your Blood Sugar Regularly
While this is a regular part of every diabetic’s life, checking and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is crucial to protecting your health. This is true for oral health, too. If your numbers are not controlled properly, you can experience loose teeth, gum disease, and other issues. But that’s not all. If there is an infection such as gum disease in the body, blood glucose levels will become elevated and can be difficult to control.
Our dental office in Douglasville is dedicated to doing our part to help raise awareness about how diabetes can affect oral health during Diabetes Awareness Month and all year long. To help us better care for you, make sure to share your health history with your dental team and discuss any changes in your mouth or overall health with your dentist at each visit.
If you have gum pain, swollen gums, or increased tooth sensitivity, particularly along the gum line, you may be experiencing gum recession. This oral health problem can lead to other issues down the road, including increased tooth decay, sensitive teeth, and even tooth loss. So what exactly causes receding gums, and how is it treated? Your dentist in Douglasville is here to help.
Gum Recession: 101
Let’s first dive into what gum recession is so we can better understand how it affects oral health, what can cause it, and how it’s treated. Gum recession occurs when gum tissue starts to pull away from teeth, exposing teeth roots. Without this protection covering the roots and the inner workings of the teeth, it’s highly likely that tooth sensitivity will increase. Additionally, teeth are at greater risk for decay, cavities, and eventual tooth loss. But that’s not all. Once gum tissue is gone, it’s gone, and there’s no growing it back. However, your dentist may have treatment options available to help with gum recession.
Gum Recession Causes
There are a whole host of things that can cause gums to recede, and the cause can vary from person to person and include:
- Gum Disease
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
- Grinding and Clenching
It’s best to talk with your dentist in Douglasville to determine the main cause of your specific case so they can recommend the best gum recession treatment for you.
Treating Gum Recession
Just like there is no singular cause of gum recession, there’s also no singular treatment that’s right for everyone. Your treatment plan will be custom created just for you based on how severe your recession is. Treatment options can include:
- Scaling & Root Planing: The most common type of gum recession treatment is done right in your dentist’s office and is called scaling and root planing. This procedure is similar to a dental cleaning, but the difference is both the tooth and the roots are cleaned during a scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from up under the gums and from the roots of teeth. You will most likely be numbed for this treatment to help keep you comfortable and relaxed.
- Antibiotics: Another treatment option that is often paired with scaling and root planing is the use of an antibiotic. The antibiotic helps remove any bacteria that may still be hanging around.
- Surgical Treatment: More advanced gum recession may require more advanced dental treatment. Thankfully, there are several surgical techniques that dentists can use to help combat gum recession. This treatment option is not appropriate for everyone, and it’s important to note that just because you have gum recession, it doesn’t mean you’ll need surgery. The best to find out how to treat gum recession is to talk with your dentist in Douglasville.
Receding gums may sound scary, but try not to worry. Besides having several treatment options to choose from, there are also things you can do to prevent gum recession from happening in the first place, and most of them are easy. Make sure you brush and floss every day and make sure you’re brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, small circles. Lastly, see your dentist in Douglasville twice a year to further protect your oral health.
Every February seems to bring out the love in people, and there are hearts everywhere we look. From heart candy and heart decorations, we’re surrounded by bright, red hearts. But we’re not here to talk about those kinds of hearts. Today, we want to focus on your heart and how your oral health can actually affect heart health.
Heart Health Month
Another holiday that happens in February besides Valentine’s Day is one that’s really important to your dentist in Douglasville. It’s Heart Health Month, which strives to raise awareness of what increases our risk of developing heart disease and what we can do to help lower that risk. But what does this have to do with your dentist? We’re glad you asked.
The Connection Between Oral Health & Heart Health
When we talk about oral health as it relates to heart health, we want to put the focus on gum disease. Even though gum disease is an infection that originates in the mouth, it doesn’t mean that it can’t affect other areas of the body. The truth is, gum disease has been linked to a whole list of health concerns outside of the mouth including diabetic complications, lung conditions, and heart disease. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people with gum disease are at increased risk for a heart attack. But how does an infection in the mouth cause problems elsewhere in the body?
As it turns out, our gums have a direct connection to our bloodstream, and when an infection occurs in our gums, it can also easily enter the bloodstream. When this happens, your body produces too much of something called C-Reactive Protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause:
- inflamed arteries
- blood clots
- heart attacks
Elevated CRP levels can also be a warning sign before you may even know a problem is lurking in your body. The New England Journal of Medicine states that high CRP levels may be a top indicator of someone’s risk of a heart attack — more so than high cholesterol!
Know the Signs to Protect Yourself
Oftentimes symptoms of gum disease go unnoticed or people think they’re normal. However, being able to recognize when there may be a problem can mean the difference between successful treatment and bigger problems. Some common symptoms of gum disease include:
- 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’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville as soon as you can.
The best way to protect yourself against gum disease is to make sure you brush and floss your teeth every single day. Proper at-home oral hygiene will remove plaque and bacteria buildup before it has a chance to infect the gums. It’s also crucial to maintain regular checkups with your dentist in Douglasville at least every six months. Not only do these appointments help remove buildup that regular brushing just can’t get, but they also help your dental team keep an eye on your oral health so any problems are caught and treated early before they have a chance to affect the rest of the body.
The Great American Smokeout is hosted on the third Thursday of every November. Its purpose is to help smokers set a day to work towards a smoke-free life. As you probably know, quitting smoking can help you get healthier, but it can also protect your children’s health, too. The truth is, those who live with smokers, including children, are at risk for similar health concerns as the actual smoker. To help celebrate the Great American Smokeout and raise awareness of the importance of quitting, our dental office in Douglasville is sharing some ways smoking can put others living with you at risk, even if they aren’t smokers themselves.
Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cavities
You may already be aware of the oral health complications that tend to affect smokers, such as bad breath and an increased risk of gum disease. But one thing you may not know is that secondhand smoke can also carry oral health risks. A study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed a potential link between secondhand smoke and the prevalence of cavities in children’s baby teeth. But that’s not all. There are several reasons smokers should avoid lighting up when children are around.
Children of Smokers are at Risk
An increased risk of developing more cavities is certainly something that worries your Douglasville dentist. However, children of smokers have even more risks that go beyond oral health alone. In fact, children of smokers tend to get more ear infections, more colds that last longer, and are at greater risk of bronchitis than children of non-smokers. The risks of secondhand smoke can even go beyond childhood if kids are continuously exposed to it. Constant exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to underdeveloped lungs and even heart disease and lung cancer. Unfortunately, the risks don’t end there. Children of smokers are nearly 4 times more likely to start smoking than those with non-smoking parents. Once someone starts the habit, it’s more likely that they themselves will become addicted and their risk of serious health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, will drastically increase.
Smoking During Pregnancy
Both smoking while pregnant and smoking around a pregnant woman carry risks to the unborn baby. Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause serious concerns including:
- Low birth weight and perhaps an unhealthy baby
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Premature birth
Even though our Douglasville dental office supports the Great American Smokeout, we aren’t here to lecture or judge anyone for smoking. Instead, we’re here to support our community in their journey to quit — which is exactly the mission behind the Great American Smokeout. Quitting smoking can not only help you live a longer, healthier life, it can also help protect your children.
If you’re trying to quit smoking, there are various resources you can use both online and in person. Try a few different things to find what’s best for you and always remember to never quit trying to quit.
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.