Every part of your mouth affects the rest. It is a moist, warm space that is perfect for growing bacteria (and developing infection) if not properly cared for. Some patients may not have a problem with periodontal (gum) disease at all, and others may struggle with gum health for their entire lives. Different people may have more – or different kinds of – bacteria in the mouth, putting them at increased risk for gum disease, which puts their tooth health at risk as well.
The Effects of Gum Disease
Many people may go years never realizing they have a gum problem. Too many go without regular checkups that would indicate there is a problem, and still more think it’s no big deal. Periodontal health is a big deal! Your gums and your jaw hold your teeth in your mouth. The gums protect the fragile intersection of teeth and jaw — not to mention the pain that can come from untreated gum disease.
Signs you may have gum disease:
- Gum recession and/or gaps between teeth
- Bleeding gums, especially when flossing, brushing, or chewing
- Red, sore, or swollen gums
- Bad breath that is persistent despite brushing, mouthwash, etc.
- Loose teeth
The spaces that are between teeth and gums, as well as created by swollen gums, are the perfect place for bacteria to grow. This type of open space in the mouth, as well as infection caused by gum disease, can change the atmosphere in the mouth. In turn, this can raise the pH level and increase the rate of tooth decay. It is important to treat gum disease as it occurs. It can be tempting to only go to the dentist when there is a problem and pay for expensive appointments when absolutely necessary, but routine dental visits are preventative. They prevent pain, lost time at work, and expensive treatments later.
Prevent Gum Disease
Your dentist cannot prevent gum disease, but you can. Maintaining oral and dental health at home is your first defense against periodontal disease and tooth decay (cavities).
- Brush twice daily
- Floss once daily
- Use a daily mouthwash or fluoride rinse
- Eat a balanced diet
- Sip on water throughout the day instead of sugary drinks
- Avoid bedtime snacks
- Reduce stress at home, school, and work
- Avoid clenching or grinding teeth
- Limit or remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your life
What Legacy Hill Can Do for Your Gums
At Legacy Hill, we encourage our patients to keep annual and semi-annual dental checkups. At these appointments, we give your teeth a thorough cleaning and examine the teeth and gums. If you show signs of periodontal disease, we will complete a more advanced cleaning procedure that will promote healing. Scaling and root planing means we will numb the area, scrape away plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line, and smooth the surface of the teeth so that the gums are better able to attach to the teeth as they should. If this process doesn’t solve your gum issue, surgery may be necessary.
Gum disease is not a prejudiced disease. It affects all ages, genders, and lifestyles. If you have new symptoms or pain in your teeth or gums, do not wait to call your dentist. Call Legacy Hill at 615-459-8050 and ask about periodontal therapy today.
Our teeth are there, have always been there, and most of us take them for granted. We forget to take care of them, and the result is serious: infection, decay, pain, and tooth loss–not to mention the cost of dental care.
Your teeth are affected by many things, but none more than the food you take in. No matter what you eat, it changes the pH level in your mouth, leading to plaque and decay. Your saliva naturally neutralizes the pH level in your mouth, preventing issues with your teeth and gums. In fact, your saliva works extra hard following a meal (or snack, soda, or sweet) to neutralize the acids in your mouth and restore the minerals that strengthen the enamel. The enamel is the hard surface of the teeth. It protects the dentin and pulp from bacteria and trauma that can cause severe infection and tooth loss. Once a cavity affects the enamel, and reaches dentin and pulp, it should be treated by a dentist, will cost more money than regular preventative care, and will change your smile.
Preventing Damage to the Enamel
The best way to preserve your teeth is by diligent care and maintenance! Once bacteria grows in one tooth, causing cavities, it is easier for the pH level to become unbalanced, for infection to set in, and for other teeth to become damaged as well. When a tooth needs extraction, leaving a space in the mouth, it also leads to more tooth damage. The best way to have a healthy smile for the longest time is to preserve the natural teeth. This is why a dentist would like to treat a cavity with a filling or root canal, rather than extraction. The natural teeth are the best for preserving your smile. Despite various preventative treatments, like sealing, the enamel is the best protection against cavities, so it’s important to protect the enamel.
Healthy Habits – The best way to preserve the enamel on your teeth is to brush your teeth twice daily, floss daily, and use a fluoride treatment (either a fluoride wash or fluoride toothpaste).
Balanced Diet – Taking in too much sugary food and drink can definitely lead to enamel problems. This sugar turns directly into acid that corrodes the enamel (especially if it isn’t cleaned away with brushing and flossing). It’s also important to drink adequate water and to avoid sipping on sugary drinks and snacking on sugary or bready foods throughout the day. Chewing a sugar-free gum, and sipping on water through the day will help your mouth produce saliva and fight plaque.
Brushing Habits Matter – Wait 60 minutes after eating to brush your teeth. This allows the enamel time to restore the pH level to the mouth, and re-mineralize the enamel. Do not brush more than twice per day unless directed by your doctor, and avoid using a firm bristle toothbrush.
Schedule Routine Dental Appointments – Your dentist can help you preserve your enamel with sealant, caps (often used in children), and new products available to dentists.
At Legacy Hill Dentistry, we make our patients a priority and give you all the tools necessary to make your teeth a priority. Start preserving your teeth now, by preserving your enamel.
Call 615-459-8050 and schedule preventative care today.
Before a big date, most people pick out a nice outfit to look their best, women may have their hair or nails done, men may shine their shoes (do men still do that?), and a nice restaurant or date is planned. It’s rarely thrown together, and rarely last-minute. When you’re talking about a date night that comes around only once every year, you put some thought into it, right down to the movie and the menu. Don’t leave anything to chance this year—not even your smile.
Your Smile and Your Health
Your oral health affects your overall health from your physical to your mental. A healthy smile will give you confidence that not even designer make-up or an expensive dress will. Smile, speak and kiss with confidence when you have a healthy smile. You can avoid bad breath, bleeding gums, pain, and more when you have a regular habit of taking care of your teeth.
- Brush twice per day. Choose a soft bristled brush, a comfortable size, and pick a time that works for you. Brush for two minutes twice every day.
- Floss once per day. Whether you choose flosser sticks, spools of floss, or a water pick flosser, do it once per day. Cleaning in between your teeth will bring down the level of acid in the mouth and prevent or slow decay.
- Drink adequate water. Drinking or sipping on water throughout the day will help neutralize acid in the mouth that leads to plaque and decay. Drinking water rinses sugars out of the mouth and promotes health in general.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Your insurance probably limits cleanings to every 6 months, but your dentist may need to see you more regularly due to your specific dental needs. Find a dentist you trust, and keep your appointments.
- Get prompt dental care. When you wait to take care of a minor dental problem, it may become a major dental problem—maybe even an emergency. The price of delayed dental care may be expensive repairs, pain, even tooth loss. Don’t take the chance. Take care of your teeth and gums now.
Your Valentine’s Menu
There are some ingredients that people avoid on date night. Heavy garlic or onions can cause bad breath, spinach or broccoli can get stuck in the teeth. What we don’t always consider, however, is what our meal can do to our teeth in the long run. Valentine’s Day means candies, desserts, and wines. Chewy candies can become stuck on, in, and between the teeth. Chocolate and other sugary treats and drinks do the same thing and the residue can affect the mouth for hours. If you’re planning on consuming a lot of sweets for Valentine’s Day, finish it off with some water. For good measure, you can even slip a toothbrush into your purse and give them a brush after your meal. Cleaning your teeth after drinking red wines can reduce staining as well. You can’t go wrong with brushing.
If you haven’t brushed your teeth today, do it now. If you don’t remember the last time you brushed your teeth, call and make a dental appointment now! Call Legacy Hill Dentistry at 615-459-8050.
There is a reason that children should be seen at a dentist when their first tooth appears. Tooth health starts with the first tooth. In order to maintain the healthiest mouth possible, the natural teeth must be preserved. The teeth keep each other in line. The gums, teeth, and jaw work together, and when the teeth leave the equation through trauma or extraction, the mouth is never the same. Maintaining regular dental checkups is essential for preventing irreparable damage to the mouth. A dentist can restore your smile, yes, but it will never be as healthy as it is with the original teeth in place.
Bad Habits Lead to Decay
When you forget to brush and floss daily, whether you take in a lot of sugar or not, your teeth suffer. Your oral health is a product of your oral care. Brushing, flossing, rinsing with water throughout the day and drinking adequate amounts of water on a regular basis will lead to healthy teeth for longer. When you fail to make good habits a priority, the acid in your mouth will lead to damage to the teeth. The plaque will corrode the enamel and dentin that makes up your teeth, leading to decay, or cavities.
Decay Leads to Problems
If the cavities reach the pulp, or soft tissue (the root) of your tooth, you will have pain when you chew, when you breathe cold air, or when you eat or drink cold food and drink. Eventually, this decay will become infected, leading to expensive medical and dental care and time lost from work or school. It’s not only painful, but tooth decay can become an unsightly problem. Dark colored portions of your teeth from cavities and stains from failing to brush will change your smile. Your poor habits will eventually lead to “bad breath”, and may affect your work and relationships.
Prevention and Care
Good dental hygiene is essential for great health and confidence. By scheduling regular dental appointments and remembering your oral hygiene at home, you can avoid tooth and gum problems. When you have regular appointments with your dentist, problems are caught in time to treat them and restore the teeth to health before it’s too late to save them.
When it’s Too Late
If you wait until your face is swollen with a tooth infection, you may need an extraction. Many extractions require an oral surgeon and will cost more out-of-pocket, as well as with insurance. When you need an extraction, you will need a prosthetic to put in place of the tooth (also at a high cost). If you choose to leave the space empty, the rest of the teeth will shift, the gum will be exposed and susceptible to bacteria and infection. You will likely find yourself in the dental chair in no time, having an expensive repair done again.
Don’t wait. Schedule dental care when you need it. Legacy Hill Dentistry provides dental care to patients of all ages with a professional hand, but a personal touch. We will preserve your smile with routine care, and give you the tools and knowledge to take care of your smile at home. Nervous about your dental visit? Visit MouthHealthy.org for information about dental visits. Call Legacy Hill at 615-459-8050 and talk to our friendly staff.
People all over the globe have spent this week attempting to beat old habits, start new diets, and stick with resolutions. As a whole, we often choose a lofty dream for our New Year’s Resolution instead of manageable goals. Many focus on their health, on weight management, healthy eating, and being more active. It’s rare that you hear of a resolution to take care of your teeth.
Starting the New Year Off with a Smile
Your dentist wants your smile to last, to be natural, and to be brilliant. The best way to maintain oral health is to keep your natural teeth in your mouth as long as possible. This is why a dentist would rather drill and fill a cavity, perform root canals, and install bridges before extracting teeth. If you lose a tooth, the rest of the teeth shift. They wear differently, the jaw is affected, and mouth health is compromised. Save your teeth and save your smile by putting your dental care first this New Year.
Manageable Goals and Habits
Step 1. Schedule an exam with a dentist.
January is a great time to schedule teeth cleaning. Many dental clinics will have a wait for new patients, so if you call now, you can get on the schedule for an upcoming appointment.
Step 2. Buy a new toothbrush.
Find a toothbrush that you like, one that fits your hand well, that has a soft bristle, and a nice toothpaste to go with it.
Step 3. Brush daily.
If you currently brush your teeth once per day, increase it to twice per day. If you don’t brush at all, now is the time to start! For maximum tooth health, brush for 2 minutes, 2 times per day.
Step 4: Floss daily.
You don’t have to use the string floss (although you’ll probably get it from the dentist). In order to keep up with flossing, you may prefer flossers or interdental brushes. Both are easy to hold, easy to use, and clean in between your teeth.
The more you brush your teeth, the easier it will become to keep up with the habit throughout the New Year. Once you’ve brushed twice daily for several days, you won’t like dirty teeth! What better motivation? Because you’ll be more aware of how your teeth feel throughout the day, you may also drink less soft drinks or eat candies that will stick in between your teeth. That brings us to our final step.
Step 5: Drink more water, eat less garbage.
Water will promote the natural production of saliva, which is your mouth’s self-cleaning system all day long in between brushing. You can help out the process by drinking water throughout the day, and rinse your mouth out after eating something sugary, bready, or sticky.
Be sure to share your New Year’s resolution with your friends and your dentist.
For more information about tooth health, visit Mouth Healthy, or talk with a Legacy Hill Dentist today. Call 615-459-8050 today.