Friday, January 29, 2016

Periodontal diseases can strike the young as well as the old! What you need to know about protecting your child's periodontal health!

Periodontal Health in Children and Adolescents

Periodontitis is thought of as an adult problem as the result of aging. But, did you know that gingivitis, a mild form of periodontitis, is often found in both children and adolescents? Additionally, research shows that more advanced, harmful forms of periodontal disease can occur in these younger age groups. The good news a few easy steps can help prevent periodontal diseases.

There are three types of periodontal diseases found in children and adolescents.
1. Chronic gingivitis causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Left untreated, chronic gingivitis can eventually lead to more serious forms of periodontal disease.
2. Aggressive periodontitis affects the first molars and incisors. It can include bone loss and patients may form very little dental plaque.
3. Generalized aggressive periodontitis involves the entire mouth. Patients have heavy accumulations of plaque, calculus and inflammation of the gums.

Eventually, periodontitis can cause the teeth to become loose and possibly to fall out.

For your teen, hormonal changes due to puberty can put them at risk for periodontal disease. During puberty, an increased level of hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, cause increased blood circulation to the gums. This may increase the gum's sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.

As your teen gets older, the tendency for the gums to swell in response to irritants will lessen. However, during puberty, it is very important to follow a good dental hygiene regimen, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental visits. In some cases, a dental professional may recommend periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.

Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment of periodontal diseases. Therefore, it is important that children and teens receive a comprehensive periodontal examination as part of their routine dental visits.

The most important preventive step against periodontal disease is to establish good oral health habits with your child. There are basic preventive steps to help your child maintain good oral health:

 Establish good dental hygiene habits early. When your child is 12 months old, you can begin using toothpaste when brushing his or her teeth. When the gaps between your child's teeth close, it's important to start flossing.

 Set an example. Serve as a good role model by practicing good dental hygiene habits yourself.

 Make time. Schedule regular dental visits for family checkups, periodontal evaluations and cleanings bi-annually.

 Check your child's mouth for the signs of periodontal disease. Symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums, gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath.

 Early diagnosis ensures the greatest change for successful treatment. It is important that children receive a periodontal examination as part of their routine dental visits.

Healthy Gums Tips

The key to good oral health is an at-home routine consisting of brushing and flossing and seeing your dental professional twice a year for a check-up. Get them in the habit of flossing even when there are spaces between the teeth. It becomes necessary when the gaps begin to close, but getting the routine down before is helpful. Brush your teeth together in the morning and before bed so the process becomes a routine for both of you.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Important Information for the Aging and their Caretakers

A Lifetime of Healthy Teeth and Gums

People are now living longer and healthier lives, and older adults are more likely than ever before
to keep their teeth for a lifetime. However, research has shown that older people also have the
highest rates of periodontal disease. In fact, at least half of people over age 55 have some
form of periodontal disease, and almost one out of four people over 65 have lost all their teeth.

No matter what your age, it is important to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you’ve
succeeded in avoiding periodontal disease as you age, it is especially important to continue
to maintain your oral care routine. Be sure to brush and floss daily, and see a dental
professional, such as a periodontist, regularly. You should also receive a  comprehensive periodontal exam each year. This will ensure that your oral health (and possibly even your overall health) stays at its best. If you have dexterity problems or a physical disability and are finding it difficult to    properly brush or floss your teeth, your dentist or periodontist can suggest options such as an electric toothbrush or floss holder.

Research has shown that periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that may
put you at a higher risk for other diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and
Alzheimer’s disease. During your regular visits with your dentist or periodontist, be sure to let him or
her know if you have any of these medical conditions or if you have a family history of disease.
Likewise, if you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, it’s a good idea to share
this information with your physician to ensure that you’re receiving appropriate care.

You should also tell your dentist or periodontist about any medications you are taking,
because many medications can impact your oral health and therefore affect your dental
treatment. Hundreds of common medications - including antihistamines and high blood
pressure medications - can cause side effects such as soft tissue changes, taste changes, and gum
overgrowth. Another possible side effect of some medications is dry mouth, a condition that
leaves the mouth without enough saliva to wash away food from your teeth. This may leave you
more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and can cause sore throat, problems with
speaking, and difficulty swallowing.

Maintaining your oral health should be a priority at any age. As you get older, be sure to
continue to take care of your teeth and gums to ensure that they’ll stay healthy and strong for

Special Concerns for Women 

Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may experience changes in their mouth including
dry mouth, pain or burning sensations in the gum tissue, and altered taste due to hormonal
changes. Additionally, menopausal women should be concerned about osteoporosis, which can
lead to tooth loss if the density of the bone that supports the teeth has decreased. Talk to your doctor
about hormone replacement therapy or estrogen supplements, which may help symptoms of

Friday, January 15, 2016

Smoking and it's devastating affect in the oral cavity!!!!!

You are probably aware of the devastating effects that smoking and tobacco use can have on your heart, lungs, and other organs. However, you might not be familiar with the whole other “mouthful” of problems caused by tobacco use. For example, tobacco use is a significant risk factor in the development and progression of periodontal disease, which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
The sooner you take aim at your tobacco use and quit, the closer you will be to healthy teeth and gums!

Tobacco users are more likely to have calculus, dental plaque that hardens on your teeth and can only
be removed during professional cleanings. If this calculus is not removed and it remains below the
gum line, the bacteria in the calculus will infect the gums causing redness and swelling, otherwise known as inflammation. This inflammation damages the tissues that support the teeth, including the bone. When this happens, the gums can separate from the teeth, forming pockets. Tobacco users often have deeper pockets than people who do not use tobacco. These pockets can then fill with more bacteria, which leads to more inflammation. If the infected pockets are left untreated, the gums
may shrink away from the teeth, making teeth appear longer and possibly causing them to become
loose and fall out.

The detection of periodontal disease is often more difficult in tobacco users. This is because the nicotine and other chemicals found in tobacco products can hide the symptoms  commonly associated with periodontal disease, such as bleeding gums. Since the detection of periodontal disease in tobacco users can be difficult, necessary treatment is sometimes delayed.

Treating periodontal disease in tobacco users can be a difficult task, but not an impossible one. Smoking and tobacco use reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gingival tissues, weakening the body’s defense mechanisms. This can slow down the healing process and make periodontal treatment results less predictable. For example, dental implants that are placed in a tobacco user’s mouth fail more often than they would in a patient who does not use tobacco. Additionally, the actual treatment of periodontal disease can vary widely depending on how far the disease has progressed. If caught in the early stages, simple nonsurgical periodontal therapy may be used.

Because the treatment of periodontal diseases can be more difficult in tobacco users, your periodontist will urge you to quit your tobacco use. Quitting seems to gradually erase the
harmful effects of tobacco use on periodontal health. One study showed that 11 years after quitting,
a former smoker’s likelihood of developing periodontal diseases was not much different from one who had never smoked. And with the increasing amount of research indicating that periodontal health
may be related to overall health, reducing your risk of periodontal disease is more important than ever. Start taking aim at quitting your tobacco use today and move one step closer to a lifetime of
periodontal health and happy smiles!

Tips To Help You Quit

• Try to pick a stress-free time to quit
• Ask for support from friends and family
• Start to exercise to relieve stress and improve health
• Get plenty of rest
• Eat a well-balanced diet
• Join a support group
• Brush your teeth often
• Spend more time in places where smoking is prohibited
• Find a substitute, such as sugarless gum

Friday, January 8, 2016

Relationship between gum disease and heart disease: how your periodontist can help

Working Together for Healthy Gums and a Healthy Heart

Gum disease and cardiovascular disease are both major public health issues that impact a large
number of Americans every day. While these two diseases impact separate areas of the body,
research indicates that periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are connected; having one disease may actually increase your risk of developing the other. Inflammation’s Role
Periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are both considered chronic inflammatory
conditions. Inflammation is the body’s instinctive reaction to fight off infection. Inflammation is
initially good for your body because it helps in the healing process. However, chronic and
prolonged inflammation can lead to severe health complications. Researchers believe that
inflammation provides the basis for the connection between gum disease and heart disease. And
now, periodontists and those who treat cardiovascular disease are working together to provide the
best care to patients.

The Perio-Cardio Connection 

In July 2009, a consensus paper was published in both the Journal of Periodontology and The American Journal of Cardiology. The paper was jointly developed by periodontists and cardiologists. Periodontists are dentists with advanced training in the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease, and cardiologists are doctors who specialize in treating diseases of the heart. The paper summarizes the evidence that links periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, and  provides clinical recommendations for periodontists and cardiologists to use in managing their patients living with, or at risk for, either disease.  

What does this Mean for You?

You might be surprised when your periodontist now asks even more questions about your medical
history, especially questions about your family history of heart disease and any behaviors that
may affect your heart health such as smoking. Your cardiologist may start to ask you about your dental history and might even look in your mouth to evaluate your teeth and gums! These new
recommendations are intended to help periodontist and cardiologists better manage your risk factors for future disease progression, and ensure your wellbeing. Hopefully by working together with your periodontist to ensure healthy teeth and gums, you will also ensure a healthy heart throughout your entire life.

Since several studies have suggested a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, it is more important than ever to take care of your teeth and gums! Brush your teeth twice each day, as well as floss once each day. It is also important to  see your dental professional for routine check-ups. To learn more about gum disease, visit

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