Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What is gum disease, also known as gingivitis?

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is an infection of the gums. It is caused by PLAQUE, a sticky film that collects on teeth and gums. Plaque makes acids and toxins that can make gums red, puffy, or bleed.

Over time, gum disease can cause gums to pull away from the teeth. This can form pockets between the teeth and gums. Germs can become trapped in these POCKETS, causing the BONE around the teeth to weaken.

Here are some tips to help prevent gum disease:

·         Brush teeth and gums 2 x day morning and night after meals (pay special attention to your back teeth. They are likely to have more plaque on them because they are hard to reach)

·         Floss between teeth before going to sleep

·         Brush your tongue every day

·         Change your toothbrush every 3 months – bristles that are worn remove less plaque

·         Visit your dental hygienist regularly for teeth cleanings and gum assessments

·         If your gums bleed, don’t stop brushing and flossing (use a toothbrush with soft bristles so you don’t hurt your gums. See your hygienist if the bleeding continues)

Here are some signs of gum disease:

·         Gums that are red or puffy or bleed when you brush or floss

·         Tooth pain or sensitivity

·         Persistent bad breath

·         Adult teeth that are loose or develop gaps; changes in the  way your teeth fit when you bite down – This is the most serious form of gum disease, called periodontitis (bone loss)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Your visit to a dental hygienist can be a lifesaver

Did you know that Oral Cancer kills more people Nationwide than either Skin cancer or Cervical Cancer?

Fortunately, most oral (mouth) sores or lesions are not harmful. But a small number are dangerous, and if not identified early, they may progress to a more advanced stage.

Good News: When Oral Cancer is detected early, it can be completely cured.

Oral Cancer is a devastating disease when detected in its later stages. Late stage treatment usually involves major facial surgery with only half of such patients surviving past 5 years. Therefore, it is important to see your hygienist regularly so that dangerous oral lesions can be detected at an early, easily curable stage.

Oral Cancer occurs more often in those who use tobacco in any form including: cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, and cigars; or those who consume large amounts of alcohol. But oral cancer can and does develop in people of all ages, races, and lifestyle habits.

Over 25% of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and who only drink alcohol socially.

When a client comes in for a regular dental hygiene visit I make sure that I take an extra look in all parts of the mouth: tongue, gums, hard and soft palate, cheeks, throat.

If something in your mouth looks suspicious I take no chances of guessing. I take a note of it and I ask you to come back in 2 weeks. If the suspected area is still there than I'll refer you out to an oral pathologist that can do a test that will confirm either your lesion cancerous, precancerous, or noncancerous. It's better to be safe than sorry.

On that note: I hope that those of you that didn't have a dental check-up in a while will call your dental office now and book an appointment if at least not for dental cleaning but for oral cancer examination.

Stay on top of things! It's your body; your health!