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Periodontal disease is a slow, progressive disease that can destroy you oral and systemic health. Many of the hallmark symptoms of periodontal disease sneak up on us and are often ignored at least initially. It is important not to ignore these signs and symptoms as periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss. Periodontal disease comes in many different forms including aggressive, chronic, necrotizing periodontitis, and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases.  Each of these types of periodontal disease has its own distinct characteristics and symptoms, and all require prompt treatment by a dentist to help halt subsequent bone and gum tissue loss. Risk of periodontal disease increases with age. For younger people, dental caries are a more important risk for tooth loss, while for older people, periodontal disease is the more important risk factor.

Risk Factors Of Periodontal Disease

-Age. Studies have shown that over 70% of all Americans aged 65 and older have some form of periodontal disease.

-Tobacco Use (including smoking). We are well aware of the health effects of smoking on our overall health. These diseases include various types of cancer, lung disease, and cardiovascular (heart) disease. Research has also shown that tobacco use also increases a persons risk for periodontal disease.

-Family History (Genetics). Some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease than others. This is because of our genetic makeup.

-Stress. Studies have shown that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, this includes periodontal diseases.

Prescription Drugs (Medications). Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dentist.

-Bruxism (Teeth Grinding). Bruxism can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

-Presence Of Systemic Disease. Many systemic diseases can interfere with the inflammatory process. These include cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

-Poor Diet/ Nutrition. A diet low in important, essential nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums.

Periodontal Disease Signs And Symptoms

Bleeding Upon Brushing, Flossing, Or Even Eating. This is one of the most common signs that periodontal disease is active. It is often overlooked as not a big deal. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. As the bacteria and toxins build up in the mouth, the body responds by activating the inflammatory process, rushing our cells to stop the attack. This will cause the gum tissues to become inflamed and red. It is important to also note that bleeding gums can also be the sign of something more sinister like leukemia and blood platelet disorders.

Unexplained Pain Or Swelling. Periodontal infections present in this manner. When an oral infection occurs, it is essential that you get to a dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment. If the infection is left unchecked it will cause damage to the gum tissues and the bone supporting your teeth. It can also be carried to other parts of the body through the blood stream affecting your overall health.

-Persistent Halitosis (Bad Breath). Bad breath can occur from many things but peristent bad breath can mean progressive periodontal disease . As the gum tissues are destroyed, the areas where the oral bacteria can flourish will increase causing a foul odor in the mouth. There are other causes of chronic halitosis that should also be ruled out by your dentist prior to treatment.

-Change In Your Smile Or Loose Teeth. As periodontal disease progresses, your teeth will loosen and move out of position. This will effect the way your teeth fit together and even alter your smile.

-Teeth Become Longer In Appearance. As periodontal disease progresses it will lead to destruction of the bone and gum tissues. This will show up as gum recession. Once the gum tissues pull back they expose more of the tooth and root, making them appear longer than before.

Pus Drainage. This goes along with the periodontal infection mentioned previously. An active periodontal infection will create pus which can ooze out from between the teeth and gums causing a bad taste and bad breath (malodor).

Periodontal Disease Prevention

Dental and Periodontal Examinations

Your dentist will complete a thorough examination with x-rays and periodontal charting. Notations about the visual condition of the gum tissue will also be recorded. In its earliest stages the gum tissue is usually red, puffy, and painless or slightly tender at this point. Plaque and tartar will more than likely be present to some degree. A periodontal probe will be used to measure around the teeth to see if your periodontal disease has progressed and to what degree. It is important to note that once bone loss has occurred you now have a more advanced form of periodontal disease.

Following the examination, your dentist will recommend a course of treatment for your periodontal disease. This will include a professional cleaning along with extra home care instructions. The goal in treatment is to reduce the inflammation and not allow progression of the disease. An antibacterial rinse (example, Listerine) may also be recommended for at home use. Your dentist may also recommend repair of misaligned or crooked teeth to aid you in your home care efforts. Your dentist may also recommend a more frequent schedule(every 4-6 months) to control your periodontal disease.

Following removal of plaque and tartar, bleeding and tenderness of the gums should begin to subside within 1-2 weeks after professional cleaning and careful dental hygiene. Warm salt water or antibacterial rinses can also reduce gum inflammation. Taking an over the counter anti inflammatory medication can also aid in pain and inflammation reduction.

Healthy gums should look pink and firm with no bleeding upon brushing, flossing, or eating. Good oral hygiene must be maintained for your whole life, or periodontal disease will come back and possibly advance past the gingivitis form into advanced periodontal disease (also called periodontitis).

Steps to prevent periodontal disease should include:

-Routine dental visits. Usually recommended every 3- 6 months for examination and professional cleaning.

-Maintain At Home Dental Care. Brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.

-Rinsing with an antiseptic rinse as recommended by your dentist. Choose one with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.

Consult your physician if the bleeding is severe or chronic, gums continue to bleed even after dental treatment, or you have other unexplained symptoms along with the bleeding from your gums. These could all be the sign of a more serious condition than periodontal disease and should be checked out as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Preventing periodontal disease is up to the patient. Luckily, it is preventable with diligence and effort. Maintaining good dental hygiene and seeing your dentist regularly will lead to a lifetime of healthy smiles.



Summer is just around the corner which means school is out and traveling for many families. It is easy to overlook dental hygiene when on the road and forget to pack the essentials to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Below you will find some essentials to pack to ensure you keep up your dental hygiene while having fun on the road.

Dental Hygiene Essentials To Pack

New Toothbrush. Start fresh and bring a new toothbrush on your trip. Then simply throw it out at the end of the vacation.

Toothbrush Holder. This is a simple and cheap way to maintain a sanitary environment for your toothbrush.

Travel Sized Mouthwash and Toothpaste. Not only will these follow the newer TSA regulations for air travel, they will make it easier to pack as well.

Sugar Free Gum (preferably one with Xylitol). Being on the road it is not always easy to brush after meals or snacks. Keeping gum with you will allow you to freshen your breath and keep your mouth as clean as possible.

Pain Medication. This can include Motrin or Aleve. Nice to have in case of a dental emergency while on vacation.

Wax. Another good item to have in case of a dental emergency. If you accidentally chip a tooth, the wax can be used to cover the jagged edge of the tooth.

Floss. Do not forget to floss at least once per day.

Package of Colgate Wisps. This handy dental hygiene tool acts as toothbrush as well as a toothpick. These can help remove foreign objects lodged between your teeth.

Plastic sandwich or freezer bag. Ever open your suitcase to find a tube of toothpaste or mouthwas exploded all over your clothes? It’s not a pleasant surprise. This can be prevented by putting your dental hygiene products in a sealed plastic bag.

Electric Toothbrush/Charger. If you use an electric toothbrush make sure to pack the entire kit including the charger so you do not run out of juice while traveling.

-Waterpik Flosser Travel Size. The waterpik is an excellent adjunct to any dental hygiene program. If this is a product you use at home, then you would not want to leave without it.

Dental Hygiene Tips While Traveling

-Do not forget to brush after every meal. If you are unable to brush immediately, rinse with water after every meal.

-Limit snacking.

-Carry sugar free gum with xylitol to chew if you are unable to brush.

-Always brush and floss before bed.

Dental Hygiene Conclusion

Maintaining dental hygiene on the road can be quite challenging. Carrying your routine on the road is essential to stave off any dental issues down the road.



A good oral hygiene regimen often includes tooth brushing multiple times a day along with flossing but did you know there is more you could be doing? While brushing and flossing are very effective adding tongue brushing to your regimen can kick your dental hygiene into high gear. Neglecting to brush your tongue at least once per day can leave behind a lot of harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even bad breath. Our tongues provide a perfect environment for bacteria to live and grow. It has a rough surface allowing the bacteria to hide and prosper. This bacteria if left alone will spread throughout your mouth even if you constantly brush.

Will Tongue Cleaning Improve Our Breath?

Tongue brushing will be an effective way to maintain clean, fresh breath. Gum, mints, and mouthwashes only mask or hide our bad breath for a short period of time. The key to eliminating bad breath (halitosis) is to eliminate the oral bacteria causing it.

The correct steps for tongue cleaning include:

-Choosing The Right Tool For The Job. You have three choices for cleaning your tongue.

1. Tongue Scraper. A tongue scraper is the traditional method for properly cleaning the tongue. Tongue scrapers can be made from plastic or metal. Simple to use, place the edge of the tool on the back of your tongue, and gently pull the scraper forward gently removing bacteria and food debris.

2. Standard Toothbrush. The disadvantage of using a regular toothbrush on the tongue is that the bristles are designed to clean the smooth surfaces of your teeth. Your tongue is a rough surface with many tiny crevices, and regular toothbrush bristles may not do a thorough cleaning job. Recent research studies have shown that a standard toothbrush reduced bad breath by 45 % while a tongue scraper reduced it by almost 75 % The study measured levels of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth).

3. Tongue Brush with bristles designed to clean out the crevices of the tongue.

Using Your Tongue Cleaner

Tongue cleaning can be done before or after brushing. It is important to be gentle as our tongues can be quite sensitive. Steps should include:

-Begin by cleaning the back of your tongue, and work your way forward.

-Scrape and clean the entire top and side surfaces of your tongue, not just the center.

-If you use a tongue brush, move it the same way you moved the tongue cleaner from the back of the tongue to the front of the tongue. You may have to use this method a few times in order to adequately clean your entire tongue.

-Rinse the tongue brush or tongue scraper off after each use it to remove bacteria and any food debris from the areas of the tongue you cleaned.

-Rinse your mouth after cleaning (preferably an antibacterial mouthwash like Listerine) your tongue.

Tongue Cleaning Conclusion

Maintaining good oral hygiene can have long lasting health effects. Adding tongue cleaning to this regimen will only improve your oral hygiene as well as freshen your breath. Speak to your dentist if you need any further tongue cleaning tips.




Dental implants have been long advocated to replace missing teeth but a more recent dental implant technique can help even more people in a cost effective way. For those patients with no teeth or failing teeth, the traditional treatment has been placement of a full removable denture. These removable dentures came with many compromises like poor fit, denture sores, and inability to enjoy the foods we know and love. A newer technique has been developed using only 4 dental implants strategically placed to give support and stability to a traditional removable denture. This procedure is known as all on 4 dental implants.

What Is The All On 4 Dental Implant Procedure?

The All on 4 Dental Implants procedure was developed in the 1990′s by Nobel Biocare. The all on 4 dental implants system has allowed for a variety of patients who, for various reasons, were not considered good candidates for traditional dental implants to now become candidates.

The All on 4 Dental Implants technique uses 4 dental implants per arch (upper or lower).  The dental implants in the back are placed on an angle to take maximum advantage of the existing bone structure. Specially designed dental implants were created that could support the immediate fitting of replacement teeth. This treatment is attractive to those with loose dentures or those in need of full upper and/or lower restorations. With the All on 4 dental implants procedure, qualified patients receive just four dental implants and a full set of new upper or lower replacement teeth in just one appointment. This usually able to be done without the need for dental bone grafts.  The real attraction to the all on 4 dental implants procedure is how quickly permanent dental implants can be placed. This allows patients the ability to leave the same day with a denture that is fixed in place and stabilized by the dental implants.

Traditionally, the  approach to restoring a full arch of teeth (either upper or lower) usually involved dental bone grafts, six or more dental implants, and as much as 18 months of treatment. In that time, the patient would be wearing an interim denture while the dental bone grafts and dental implants heal and integrate into the bone. This can be very expensive, time consuming, and uncomfortable for a patient to continuously go back for treatment.

Dental Implants Explained

Dental implants are an artificial tooth root (usually made of titanium) that a periodontist or oral surgeon places into your jaw to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, support  a bridge, or support a denture (making it more comfortable and secure).

Dental implants are an ideal option for people in generally good oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, fracture or decay. Dental implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not cut down healthy teeth or rely on adjacent teeth for support.

Adequate bone, and good overall health will give you the ideal prognosis for ideal oseointegration, (the way bone attaches and fills in around the dental implant for strength and stability). Dental implants are intimately connected with the underlying bone and gum tissues in the mouth. So, proper fit, good occlusion, and excellent oral hygiene are necessary for long term success. With technique and material advances, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone. Periodontal diseasediabetes, bleeding problems, etc. can cause difficulty in placement, healing and longevity of the dental implants. Be upfront with your dentist regarding health issues so that the proper steps can be taken to give you the highest chance of success. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who are smokers. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has stopped smoking.

Benefits Of All On 4 Dental Implants

The benefits include the following:

-Immediate results. Patients experience a dramatic improvement in chewing ability, teeth stability and overall comfort right away.

-Improve your cosmetic appearance.

-Renewed Lease On Life. You’ll have greater comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking, and eating. You will look better. You will feel better.

-Ability to eat the foods you enjoy again without worry. An all on 4 denture will increse biting force by as much as 70% or more over a traditional removable denture.

-Allow you to taste your foods properly. You can enjoy food again, and not be fearful of losing your denture when you eat.

-Get a long lasting smile.

-Eliminate possible future health issues from teeth that are failing.

Dental hygiene becomes much easier with fewer areas to keep clean. Just brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist for routine dental cleanings. Simply treat them like regular, natural teeth.

-No need for denture adhesives to keep your denture in place.

-Prevent future bone deterioration.

-Ability to restore your facial features and remove some wrinkles around the mouth.

All On 4 Dental Implants Conclusion

All dentistry is done on the basis of helping the patient function and smile fully without worry. The all on 4 dental implants technique does that and more. For many with failing teeth or already in dentures it can open a whole new world for them that they did not believe could ever exist again. If you are considering this procedure, contact your dentist for a full evaluation and chances are your new smile is closer to reality than you think.