PERIODONTAL DISEASE

Did you know that almost half of the U.S. population aged 30 years and older have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis (gum disease)?  According to new research from the Featured imageJournal of Dental Research in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) periodontitis is prominent.  Nearly two-thirds of adults over age 65 have moderate to severe forms of periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?  It is an inflammatory disease characterized by loss of connective tissue between the teeth and gums.  It is the number-one cause of tooth loss in adults as bacteria growth in the mouth can destroy the tissue that surrounds your teeth.  Gingivitis (gum inflammation) usually precedes gum disease.  Bacteria in the plaque build up and cause the gums to become inflamed and to bleed easily during tooth brushing.  In the early stages of gingivitis, the gums may be irritated, but the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets.  If gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontal disease.  When this happens the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets.  These small spaces between the teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected.  Your body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows beneath the gum line.  As the disease progresses, gum tissue and bone are destroyed.  When this happens the teeth become loose and tooth loss occurs.

Although plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, other contributors include: hormonal changes, illnesses, medications, tobacco use, poor oral hygiene habits and family history of dental disease. Pay attention to the warning signs of gum disease and ask us about any questions that you may have.  The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during or after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down or in the fit of partial dentures

Periodontal disease is a condition that can be successfully treated and managed.  Remember to brush, floss and rinse your teeth.  Never share your toothbrush and replace it regularly.  Oral bacteria can be passed to others, which can spread bacteria and potentially lead to periodontal disease.

Dr. Terry Hunt
River Dental Arts
1690 Wright Ave
Rocky River, OH 44116
Phone: (440) 331-7380

Common Dental Myths Debunked

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Facts About Dental Myths

With the magnitude of information available to us these days, it’s harder than ever to separate facts from myths; especially when it comes to your health. There are a million dental related myths that might steer you in the wrong direction when it comes to a healthy smile. It’s important to be informed and know the facts. Here are a few common dental myths, followed by the facts.

Oral Hygiene Only Affects Your Teeth

Many people hear the phrase “oral hygiene” and they think of the simple act of brushing or flossing. While oral hygiene is important for keeping your teeth healthy, poor oral hygiene can be linked to several other health problems- including heart disease. Taking care of your mouth actually means taking care of a lot of things within your body. Untreated periodontal disease contributes to more low birth weight babies than both drinking and smoking combined.  Having poor oral hygiene can cause a multitude of problems- not all of them related to your teeth.

You Shouldn’t Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out Until They Start to Hurt

Typically, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and your dentist will generally advise you of the same. If you wait for your wisdom teeth to become painful, they might have already done other damage to your gums or teeth. Many people believe that as long as they have no pain, there’s no reason to have an unnecessary surgery. In rare cases, wisdom teeth can stay intact as long as they are not interfering or causing damage. One of the most common reasons to remove wisdom teeth is because they are so difficult to keep clean and rather than incurring costly repairs to those teeth many dentists will suggest having them removed.  Frequent exams are necessary in this case to monitor and maintain your health. It’s generally better to have your wisdom teeth removed before any pain, rather than take the gamble.

White Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Teeth are actually not meant to be pure white. Tooth color can vary widely, for example, depending on your race, pigmentation varies greatly.  Also, as you get older, your teeth will naturally take on a more faded color as things do with time, however they can still be perfectly healthy. A color beyond a light yellow could be cause for concern, but generally the pinkness of your gums is a better indication of oral health as opposed to how white your teeth are.

If Teeth Look Healthy, and Are Not Hurting, There is No Reason to Visit a Dentist

The most common mistake people make regarding their dental health is skipping regular preventive visits because they do not see or feel any problems. Even in the absence of a visible problem or discomfort, regular visits for x-ray exams, cleaning and necessary restorative care are necessary to maintain your teeth and gums for life. Discovering diseases in the mouth earlier rather than later will typically reduce cost, recovery time and severity of dental treatment that may need to be performed.

It’s important to educate yourself on the facts surrounding whole body health and well-being. Muddled information and common misperceptions can leave people confused. The best way to combat myths and augment dental health is to see and speak with your dentist regularly. Have open dialogue and productive conversations about what is and is not true. Being informed, savvy and educated will keep you and your dentist smiling.

Dr. Terry Hunt
River Dental Arts
1690 Wright Ave
Rocky River, OH 44116

The Value of Mouthguards

shutterstock_131180210Are your kids playing sports? Whether it’s football, basketball, or water polo, mouth guards are necessary and extremely important to prevent injury to teeth from either teeth grinding or sporting injuries.  Every season I see patients in my office who have suffered trauma from a sporting event accident.  The most common athletic dental injuries that I see in my office are a result of a basketball or soccer injury.

In order to protect your teeth during athletic activities, a mouth guard is crucial.  A properly fitted mouth guard will help cushion an impact to the mouth.  Mouth guards can also help protect you from chipped or broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip and tongue.  We can fabricate a mouth guard for you or your child in our office.  Many of our patients prefer custom mouth guards to the over-the-counter mouth guards that you boil at home as they fit significantly better.  We find that patients are more likely to wear our mouth guards as they are less likely to restrict breathing and speech, more comfortable, less likely to fall out, more resistant to tears, durable and easy to clean.

So, whatever sport you play, be safe and stop by our office to get fitted for a high quality mouth guard!

Dr. Terry Hunt
River Dental Arts
1690 Wright Ave
Rocky River, OH 44116