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You are currently browsing: Gum Disease

Why You Should Pay Attention to Gum Health

examining gums with mirror

When many people think about their dental care they immediately think of teeth and smiles. But there’s another huge part of dentistry that can not only affect your oral health but your overall health, too — your gums. At our dental office in Buckhead, we take gum health seriously, and for good reason. Poor gum health can lead to gum disease which can be very serious.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, which can also be referred to as periodontal disease, is an infection in the gum tissue. There are different stages to gum disease that describe how severe the condition is. Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease and periodontitis is more severe, advanced gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.

Gum Disease and Overall Health

Your gums can tell your dentist in Buckhead all sorts of information about your oral health and they just may indicate other potential problems throughout the body. In fact, symptoms affecting the gums have been linked to several serious health concerns such as strokes, heart attacks, heart disease, and certain cancers.

Signs of Gum Disease

Catching and treating gum disease early is the best way to keep it from affecting the rest of the body. That’s one reason seeing your dentist at least every six months is so important. You should also be on the lookout for some of the most common signs of gum disease in-between visits. Some potential signs of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your dentist as soon as possible. Your dental team will see exactly what’s going on and make the best gum disease treatment recommendation for you.

Protect Yourself

There are things you can do to keep your gums healthy and protect yourself against gum disease.

  • Floss every day
  • Brush your teeth twice daily
  • Quit smoking
  • See your dentist regularly

It’s important to know that gum disease may not always show symptoms, so make sure you visit our Buckhead dental office twice a year to keep yourself protected. If it’s been longer than six months since your last appointment, call us to schedule one today.

Can Poor Oral Health Increase the Risk for Heart Problems?

heart health month

When it comes to dentistry and oral health, many people think of only the mouth itself. While dentistry is certainly about keeping teeth healthy and cavity-free, it’s also about caring for your gums and protecting your whole body. At our dental office in Buckhead, we not only focus on treating the mouth, but also understand that what happens in the mouth can affect the rest of the body. This February, in honor of American Heart Month, we want to talk about how poor oral health can increase your risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease Risks You May Not Know About

Everyone knows about the typical things that can increase our risk for heart disease such as a poor diet, smoking, obesity, and even genetics. While those risk factors are absolutely factors that can lead to heart problems, there’s another little-known culprit that many may never even consider — gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Many studies conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) have shown a positive link between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease. In fact, researchers concluded that those with gum disease are more likely to have a heart attack than those without it. But how does something in the mouth affect the heart?

Bacteria that live up under the gum line and cause gum disease have a direct pathway into the bloodstream. When these bacteria enter our blood supply, they can cause our bodies to increase the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP). When CRP levels are elevated it can cause:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Inflamed arteries
  • Heart attack

How to Know if You Have Gum Disease?

Gum disease needs to be diagnosed by your dentist in Buckhead. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye out for some early warning signs at home. Some signs of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Consistently bad breath
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, we recommend scheduling an appointment at our Buckhead dental office as soon as possible so we can check out what’s going on and treat anything that we find quickly.

The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the heart problems that can come with it is to see your Buckhead dentist regularly. Your dental team will not only remove any bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup that can increase your chances of developing gum disease if left alone, they’ll also be able to catch any potential problems early when treatment is often easier and more successful.

Protect your heart and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

What Vitamins Are Good for Oral Health?

vitamins in palm

Our bodies rely on the vitamins and minerals obtained through what we eat in order to function properly. Our mouth and teeth are no different. The truth is, in order to keep our oral health in good shape we need to make sure we’re getting enough of the right vitamins. In this blog, the team at our dental office in Buckhead cover the most important vitamins you need to maintain good oral health and protect your smile.

Calcium

We all know that bones need calcium in order to grow and remain strong. But getting enough calcium is also crucial for building strong teeth. Calcium helps strengthen enamel which protects teeth from bacteria and lowers the risk of decay. Some foods that are packed with calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important to oral health for several reasons, such as lowering the risk of infection and keeping enamel strong. Your body also needs vitamin D in order to properly absorb calcium. Find vitamin D in:

  • Canned tuna
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Egg yolks

Phosphorus

Similarly to vitamin D, phosphorus is also needed in order to give your body the biggest benefit from calcium. Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus are a strong triangle of needed vitamins that all work together. You can get phosphorus from:

  • Salmon
  • Lentil beans
  • Beef

Vitamin C

Besides boosting your immune system so you can more effectively fight off germs, vitamin C also protects your gums and reduces the risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection in the gum tissues that can lead to tooth loss. Protect your gums by eating:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins that keep you healthy is to eat a well-balanced diet and include all food groups. However, if it’s tough to get vitamins through your diet, you can consider a supplement or multivitamin if appropriate.

Fueling your body with the proper mix of vitamins is a great way to protect your oral health. Of course, you still need to brush and floss daily and maintain regular dental cleanings at our Buckhead dental office.  

3 Ways Stress Can Harm Your Oral Health

woman with stress

It’s no secret that high stress can negatively affect our health. Prolonged periods of too much stress has been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and difficulty in managing diabetes. But at our dental office in Buckhead, we know that increased stress can also harm your oral health.

Gum Disease

Since increased stress levels can actually make our immune systems less effective, it can greatly affect our health, including our mouths. An ineffective immune system means your body cannot deal appropriately with the bacteria in your mouth.  When this happens, the chance for developing gum disease increases. If not treated by a dentist in Buckhead, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, and a whole host of other health problems such as heart disease.   

TMJ

Everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Some people bite their nails, others sweat a lot, and many people clench their jaws. Oftentimes these responses to stress are done automatically and without thought or awareness. But when someone habitually clenches their jaw over and over it can lead to some serious problems. Not only can repeated clenching damage teeth, but it can also cause severe jaw pain. Occasionally the pain is temporary, but other times it gets worse and is partnered with clicking, popping, or a locked jaw. If this occurs, it could be a sign of TMJ (or TMD) and treatment will be recommended.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are a potential oral health side effect of too much stress. While they aren’t necessarily dangerous, they can certainly be annoying and often painful. Like stated previously, stress affects your immune system which allows for the virus that causes  canker sores to express itself. Treatment isn’t usually needed as canker sores should go away on their own and aren’t contagious.

Reduce Stress

To protect your overall health and oral health from the dangers of too much stress, practice lowering stress and anxiety by following a few key tips such as:

  • Eating Well. Following a well-balanced diet fuels our bodies to function properly, and when our bodies are working as they should, it may be easier to keep stress levels low.
  • Working Out. Being active releases “feel good” chemicals in our bodies that make us feel happier and less stressed. Find an exercise program that you enjoy and stick with it!
  • Sleeping Enough. Getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night can help your body relax and replenish, thus decreasing stress and preparing you to tackle another day.

If you feel that stress may be affecting your oral health, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We promise that a visit with us will be anything but stressful.

Diabetic Oral Health Care

Nearly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes. That’s 30 million people who have the added responsibility of working to maintain their blood glucose levels day in and day out. While it’s fairly well known that diabetes can lead to other health problems such as heart disease and kidney disease, it may be surprising to learn that diabetes can also affect oral health. In fact, the team at our dental office in Buckhead wants our patients to know that oral health can also, in turn, affect diabetes.

The Diabetes & Oral Health Connection

Research has suggested a connection between diabetes and gum disease, and vice versa. Studies have consistently shown that people who are diabetic are more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes. But that’s not all. If we look at the connection from the other direction, research supports that gum disease can also make it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels, leading to diabetic complications and perhaps a progression of the disease. To reduce the risk of gum disease and maintain proper blood glucose levels, consider trying the tips below…

Control Your Blood Sugar

This one is obvious for anyone with diabetes or for anyone whose loved one is diabetic. After all, keeping blood glucose levels within a healthy range is what diabetic maintenance is all about. Besides keeping your body healthy, controlled blood sugar levels reduce the risk of developing gum disease, which can lead to even more health problems such as heart disease.

Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Besides seeing your dentist in Buckhead regularly for a preventative exam and thorough dental cleaning, it’s also important to practice good oral hygiene at home. Regular, routine at-home care is a great way to ensure your teeth, gums, and even tongue stay healthy. To follow a proper oral hygiene routine, we recommend:

  • Using a fluoride toothpaste to protect against tooth decay
  • Brushing at least when you wake up and before you go to bed
  • Flossing at least once a day to clean all the areas that brushing can’t reach

Good Food is Good For You

Limiting how many sugar-packed foods you eat or drink is good practice for anyone, but especially for those living with diabetes. To help keep blood sugar regulated and support overall health, make sure to eat a well-balanced diet packed with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

The patients at our Buckhead dental office are our top priority and we’re committed to doing everything we can to keep not only their mouths healthy, but their bodies healthy, too. If you’re looking for a new dentist or have questions about your oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with our dedicated team today.

Are Gum Disease and Gingivitis the Same Thing?

concerned woman

At our dental office in Buckhead we’re often asked if gum disease and gingivitis are the same thing. It’s a common misconception regarding a serious disease that can have serious consequences if left untreated, and we’d like to clarify the difference.

Defining Gum Disease

Gum disease at its core is an infection in the gums that may also affect the bones and tissues that are holding your teeth in place. But gum disease has three different stages that are all treated a different way.

Gingivitis

The earliest form of gum disease is known as gingivitis and occurs when plaque build up creeps under the gum line and causes an infection. However, if gum disease is caught during this earliest stage it’s often successfully treated and any damage that may have occurred can even be reversed.

Periodontitis

If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly it can progress to the next stage of gum disease — periodontitis. During this stage of gum disease the body’s immune system response to the plaque build up and bacteria involved can damage the bones and the tissues that keep teeth secure. Treatment in this stage is focused more on reducing additional damage as the damage that’s already been done can’t be reversed.

Advanced Periodontitis

If plaque build up is still left alone the bone and tissues will continue to be damaged and  teeth may be lost. It’s also not uncommon to experience loose teeth or a shift in bite. Damage at this level is irreversible.

Recognizing Gum Disease

When gum disease is in its early stages, you might not even be aware that there’s a problem. In that case, your gum disease may go untreated and get progressively worse. Be aware of the most common signs of gum disease including:

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen, red gums

If gum disease is not treated it can not only lead to tooth loss but also some very serious whole-body diseases and concerns such as an increased risk for lung disease, cancer, heart attacks, and stroke.

Maintaining good gum health is an important part of keeping mouths and bodies in their best shape. You can help protect your oral health by quitting smoking, eating well, and brushing and flossing every day. Visiting your dentist in Buckhead can also go a long way in catching any oral health problems, including gum disease, early and while still treatable.

If you’re due for a regular visit, or have any questions or concerns, give us a call at our Buckhead dental office.

Oral Health Risks for Seniors

older gentleman

Our Buckhead dental office cares for patients throughout all stages of life and understands that patients of different ages have different needs. We also want our patients to know that oral health risks change with every birthday. Today, we focus on those risks that can affect the senior population.

  • Discolored Teeth – Teeth can begin to lose a bit of luster and take on a darkened appearance. This typically happens because the top protective layer of tooth enamel can become thinner as we age. With this layer gone, the insides of teeth become more visible. Since the color of the inner tooth is often dark and a bit yellow in color, teeth also look yellow or dark.
  • Dry Mouth – There are numerous things that can cause dry mouth, but the most common culprit for seniors is medication. Many medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter, list dry mouth as a potential side effect. When the mouth becomes dry there isn’t enough saliva to wash away decay-causing bacteria leaving teeth at risk for cavities, the need for a root canal, or even tooth loss if left untreated.  
  • Tooth Loss – It’s a common misconception that it’s inevitable that we’re all going to lose our teeth, or at least some of them, due to aging. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The best way to protect teeth and keep them strong and healthy is to brush and floss regularly and see the dentist in Buckhead twice a year.  
  • Gum Disease – Gum disease is basically an infection below the gum line that results in red, inflamed gums and can lead to tooth loss. However, gum disease can also increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and as recent research suggests, Alzheimer’s disease. While there’s still more work to be done before scientists can truly say if gum disease is related to Alzheimer’s, one study published in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy strongly correlates diseases with levels of inflammation, including gum disease, to Alzheimer’s.  

Protect Your Teeth, Lower the Risk

Even though there’s still nothing you can do to keep from getting older, there are ways you can protect your oral health and reduce the risk of developing some of the most common oral health problems that affect seniors.

  • Brush and floss every day
  • See your dentist at least bi-annually
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you have dry mouth
  • Talk with your dental team about any changes in your mouth

If it’s time to make your oral health a priority so you can have a strong, healthy smile for a lifetime, we welcome you to call our dental office in Buckhead to schedule an appointment.

What You Need to Know About Oral Health and Your Heart

heart health month

When you think about your oral health, you may only consider your teeth. But the bigger truth is that your oral health has a direct link to your overall health and even heart disease. As we begin the annual February celebration of American Heart Health Month, the team at our Buckhead dental office has a few important things you need know to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Untreated plaque buildup can harden into tartar which can only be removed during an appointment with your dentist in Buckhead. But if it’s not, the bacteria found in our mouths can infiltrate the gums and cause infection. This could eventually lead to gingivitis, periodontitis, and even tooth loss. But that’s not all. Mounds of research show a strong connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.

Heart Disease

When gum disease isn’t treated quickly and properly, it puts your heart in danger. The infection within the gums can move into the bloodstream, and that’s bad news. With the infection in your blood, your body will produce excess amounts of C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP is a known indicator of cardiovascular disease and can lead to serious conditions such as:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes  

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease can sneak up on people, and you may not realize anything is wrong if you aren’t aware of the typical early warning signs, including:

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Early treatment is crucial to treating gum disease before it has a chance to affect the rest of your body. If you’re aware of any of the signs above in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your Buckhead dentist as soon as you can.

Prevention

Preventing gum disease can be as easy as brushing properly twice a day, flossing once daily, and seeing your dentist bi-annually to remove any plaque and tartar buildup. You can take it one step further and avoid tobacco products and ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet.

Reduce your risk of gum disease and other whole-body problems. Schedule an appointment with us today.

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