Recognizing and Treating Gingivitis

When we think about oral health, one of the major parts of our mouth that can cause problems is the gum. If gums become red and often bleed, it may be an indication of gum disease. There are two different types of gum disease. One is called gingivitis and the other, periodontitis. Periodontitis is the result of untreated gingivitis, and it is a serious condition. Without proper treatment, gingivitis (and subsequent periodontitis) could potentially lead to tooth loss and damage to the jawbone.

Trying to determine if this is what’s causing your mouth issues? Some of the symptoms associated with gingivitis include: bleeding gums, bad breath, swelling, frequent mouth sores, tender or painful gums, or loose teeth. It’s important to note that there are other causes of gingivitis not limited to poor oral hygiene. Ill-fitting braces or dentures, improperly aligned teeth, tobacco use, pregnancy, and even certain medications can cause gingivitis.

So if you have some of the symptoms, where do you go from there? After going to see your dentist and confirming that you indeed have this issue, the dentist will clean your teeth in order to attack the bacteria and reduce inflammation. And how to prevent yourself from ending up in the dentist’s chair like this? Thoroughly brush and floss every day. Eat a healthy diet, watch your sugars, and schedule regular dental cleanings!

Saliva: The True Mouth Guard

Saliva is a big deal, especially when it comes to oral health. Saliva serves as a neutralizer in your mouth, it quiets enamel-eroding acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. It is your best line of defense against acids, sugars, and bacteria that aim to wear away your enamel.

What you might not have known about saliva is that there are two types of saliva. The first type of saliva is stimulated saliva, it appears in your mouth when you smell French fries or when you bite into a cheeseburger. It makes up 70-90 percent of the two to three pints of saliva that we each generate daily. It looks like water and helps to break down starches and balance the pH in your mouth.

The brother of stimulated saliva is unstimulated saliva. It is the saliva that is always in your mouth, keeping it from drying out and wrapping itself protectively around the surfaces of teeth. It is also necessary for our mouths and while it may be less glamorous that the saliva that arrives when our favorite dinner is headed our way, it is just as needed.

Saliva is vital to keeping teeth and gums happy and healthy. Lack of saliva could result in tooth decay and loss of taste. Talk to your dentist about a treatment plan if you experience dry mouth.

Watch Out For Fluoride

Fluoride is a must if you want healthy, strong, cavity-free teeth. Fluoride hardens enamel, which helps prevent your teeth from decaying. But fluoride, which can often be found in your town’s drinking supply, may suddenly be harder to find.

Many towns nationwide have decided to stop fluoridating the water to save money. Some towns have opted out of adding fluoride because they produce enough naturally, but in many towns and cities this is not the case. Many Americans cannot afford dental care, and need the help of fluoride to keep their teeth healthy. If your town has announced that the water will no longer have added fluoride, then you need to know other sources where you can get fluoride.

Check for fluoride in your toothpaste, your mouthwash, and in bottled water to keep your teeth strong. Also, talk to your dentist about ways that you can add fluoride to your daily routine. It is important to tell your dentist about the lack of fluoride in your town’s water so that they can alter your treatment plan accordingly.

A Whistling Sound Could Be a Bad Sign

Whether you are getting a root canal, a cosmetic procedure, or a cap, there are risks associated with every dental treatment. For dentists, any procedure that deals with the contour or position of the front teeth could affect the sounds a patient makes, in other terms; changes to the front teeth could alter how a patient speaks.

If teeth are not the correct distance apart then a whistling sound can occur when a patient says a word with an “s” in it. This is called a sibilant sound and it is made when air is forced through the teeth’s biting edges. This speech impediment is most common in people with dentures, but people who have had alterations to their front teeth are also at risk.

A whistling sound can happen after braces come off, when dentures go in, or when veneers are placed. If veneers are too long or too thick then they can cause a whistling sound that can really bother patients. It can be difficult to fix this speech impediment.

One way to fix the issue is to try thinning and polishing the teeth’s biting edges or by adding bonding. The issue is that the inside of the teeth are where linguistics lie, so the issue must be addressed there as well.

Make sure to address this potential side effect with your dentist before you have any work completed on your front teeth. Ask multiple people after your procedure if they can hear a change in the way that you talk, if they can then go back to your dentist and ask for them to retreat your teeth.

Don't chew on this: The hazards of ice are crystal clear

Ever have a bad habit that you just can't break? Chewing on ice may be a habit that can break your teeth. Before you start crunching on the last bits of cubes left in your glass or reaching for ice chips to busy your mouth, there are a few things you should know:

1. Teeth need enamel When you chew on ice, the enamel on your teeth wears down and the dentin becomes exposed. This puts your teeth at risk for decay and damage, not to mention uncomfortable sensitivity.

2. Icy hot cycles Changing the environment in your mouth from a cold to hot temperature can cause fillings to expand, shortening their lifespan. This means an additional visit to the dentist, additional cost, and discomfort beforehand.

3. Puncture-free zone, please Pieces of ice can have sharp edges, which can easily puncture soft gum tissue. Your gums are exposed to enough abrasion, without having to dodge sharp, icy-cold bits!

4. Toothache, headache, brain freeze! Chomping on ice involves severe movements with your jaw, which can easily lead to a headache, or a toothache if the soft tissue within your teeth becomes irritated. And the flash exposure to cold can definitely initiate the onset of a brain freeze.

Ice is not meant to be snack food, regardless of what weight-loss proponents may recommend. Chew on this information before mindlessly biting down on the next piece of ice.