You take the time to brush and floss your teeth because you want a brighter smile. But how often do you think about ways to improve the health of your gums? Most people don’t realize that their gums play a vital role in the beauty of their smile.
If you don’t take care of your gums, several conditions could cause problems that will affect the look and feel of your entire mouth. Learn why gum health is so important and how to make your gums healthier in 5 minutes or less.
Why Do Gums Matter?
You’ve probably heard of gum disease, but do you really know what it is? This annoying infection can affect your teeth and all the surrounding tissues in your mouth. Because the disease doesn’t cause pain, many people don’t know they have it. So why does it matter? Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Gum disease occurs when plaque is not removed through proper brushing and flossing. You won’t feel any pain when you have gum disease so make sure you recognize the warning signs and get help if needed. The most common and well known form of gum disease is gingivitis. The condition involves the inflammation of the gingiva or gums surrounding the necks of the teeth, and is caused by plaque developing along the gumline. Symptoms include red and swollen gums, as well as gum bleeding, which can be seen on your toothbrush or at a dental exam.
The second-most common periodontal disease is “periodontitis.” Like gingivitis, it is caused by bacterial plaque, but it can cause loss of bone support within the teeth. It can be treated or prevented, but rarely can the damage be reversed. Periodontitis can occur if gingivitis is left untreated. Signs of periodontitis, like gingivitis, include red and swollen gums, and bleeding. The formation of gum pockets around the teeth may also occur, which is defined by an opening around the gum tissue of the teeth. This allows bacteria and the formation of tartar to get deeper under the gum line. This deepening of the pocket is associated with bone loss, and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
Talk to Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa Nepean dentist or one of our fantastic dental hygienists during you visit about the presence of:
- Bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums (gums that are pulling away from your teeth)
When gum disease becomes more advanced, it is called periodontitis. This condition can result in the development of periodontal pockets, swollen gum tissue, lose of bone that could lead to tooth loss.
Improve Gum Health
You can prevent gum disease with simple steps that take just a few minutes. Proper brushing and flossing techniques are essential. After you floss, follow these steps to brush both your teeth and your gums:
- Proper angle – Make sure you hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline.
- Short strokes – Move the brush back and forth in short gentle strokes brushing both the front and back of your teeth and gums.
- Use the tip – To get behind your front teeth, use the tip of the brush on the top and on the bottom teeth.
- Brush your tongue – Keep your mouth fresh by brushing your tongue.
And lastly, improve gum health and prevent tooth decay with regular visits to Dr. Jaleel!
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We lose teeth for many reasons: gum (periodontal) disease, tooth decay and trauma — falls, accidents and sports related injuries. Adult teeth begin to form around birth. Anything happening to the body during the time of tooth formation can be disruptive. If you are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, one of the side-effects may be a premature loss of teeth. As well, infections can result in damage to adult teeth or their early loss. And some people have missing teeth because they never developed. Dental implants and dentures can be the answer to such problems. Missing teeth can result in a loss of self confidence and lower self-esteem. If you have several missing teeth and difficulty chewing, this could lead to digestive and nutritional problems. Your other teeth may start to shift or over-erupt to compensate for the missing teeth, upsetting the relationship between teeth, muscles and joints. Loss of many posterior teeth can affect your ability to chew and may also contribute to temporomandibular joint problems. Getting your implants or dentures early can prevent the occurrence of many of the issues mentioned above. Luckily, Dr. Jaleel is your Ottawa dentist and is here to help.
Implants or Dentures?
Keep all factors, not just cost, in mind. For example, implants are a good bet for those who like hard, crunchy foods such as carrots and apples. For those who prefer softer foods like pasta, another option might be preferable. And other factors such as bite or joint problems or some diseases should also be considered. On the blog today, we will break down the various restorative options for you.
Retained and supported by oral tissues, and retention and comfort can be an issue. Dentures can last up to 10 years, but an annual relining of the denture to maintain a good fit is recommended.
- Least-expensive option
- No surgery
- Can be made quickly
- Look good.
- Uncomfortable if not properly fitted
- Patients may develop sore spots
- Gums and bones shrink as we age and dentures accelerate that process.
Removable Partial Dentures
Supported and held by both tissues and teeth. Metal clasps wrap around various teeth, retaining the partial denture or, in some cases, attachments can be made to implants instead of teeth, which look better esthetically, as metal clasps are eliminated. Last up to 10 years, unless you need a crown or lose teeth.
- Last long
- Relatively cheap
- Relining required to avoid clasps damaging teeth
- Can contribute to bone loss.
Typically the teeth (or implants if there are not enough natural teeth) on either side act as anchors via crowns to support and retain an artificial tooth or teeth in between; hence, the term “bridge.” Can last 10 years or longer;
- Feels natural
- Very slim compared to a denture; looks great (which is a great psychological advantage)
- Food tastes better since the roof of the mouth isn’t covered (where the taste buds are).
- More expensive than dentures
- Cost increases if more implants needed to hold the prosthesis
- Need to reduce tooth size, which may weaken the tooth.
A tooth is attached to an “artificial root” made from titanium or titanium alloy, which is surgically placed in the jawbone, lasting up to 10 years or more.
- Tremendous psychological advantage
- Feels like your own teeth
- Nothing removable in the mouth
- No damage to other teeth
- No associated bone loss.
- Most expensive option
- Surgery is necessary.
How to take care of your dentures or implants?
Dentures: Remove dentures and soak overnight in denture cleanser, warm water or in a mix of warm water and vinegar (half and half). If your denture has metal clasps, use warm water only for soaking. Brush with a denture brush and rinse.
Implants and Bridge: Gently brush and floss daily. These can be treated more like natural teeth, but they are not as strong, so be gentle when brushing and flossing. If you have implants, be especially careful when flossing where the implant meets the gum. Talk to Dr. Jaleel about using specific cleaners, if necessary.
A dental examination is the foundation for optimal oral health
A dental exam is not just a checkup — it is a comprehensive assessment that can identify problems at the start, before they become serious. Prevention and early detection are the key components for good dental health. The most important sensation our teeth detect is pain. Often, when a patient experiences pain, the cause may be a variety of conditions. When pain appears, it may be too late for conservative treatment. By then, instead of just a cavity, for instance, you may need a root canal or even a tooth extraction. A dental exam is the greatest way to save money and protect your health.
Why is a complete dental exam important?
Regular brushing, flossing, good nutrition, not smoking and healthy behaviours are all important in reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease. But a dental exam can identify and diagnose problems early, before they become more serious and even irreversible. A dental exam encompasses a x-ray and clinical exam, including assessing your teeth, gums and other oral soft tissues, and a visual and palpation exam of the head and neck to detect dental decay, gum disease and other oral conditions, including dry mouth, and oral cancer assessments. We examine all of our patients for oral cancer; early detection can make a huge difference in treatment outcomes. Your dentist may also provide advice and assistance that will help you reduce or eliminate lifestyle risk factors such as smoking. At the very least, Dr. Jaleel recommends a dental exam at least once a year.
What you need to tell Dr. Jaleel
Each patient is different, of course, so the specific components of the dental examination will vary based on your specific concerns, your current oral and general health, lifestyle factors and frequency of professional dental cleanings. First of all, however, you need to be open with Dr. Jaleel and the rest of the staff, informing them of any medical conditions, medications, including any vitamin supplements and herbal ones, and the use of tobacco products. Remember to mention anything unusual such as any soreness, sensitivity to heat or cold or any loose teeth. Tellus when you are booking the appointment if you’re anxious when you visit. Talking over your concerns may help you feel more at ease, and new technologies and procedures can make some treatments more comfortable
The dental exam and your overall health
There are more than a hundred systemic medical conditions that can be detected orally. Many of them are conditions that we are trained to observe. For example, a sudden onset of chronic bleeding gums, despite excellent oral hygiene, could be a sign of leukemia. In the future, a dental examination may become even more important as newer tests are developed and we gain improved knowledge of the links between oral health and overall health. This is all very exciting, as we always knew the oral cavity is a gateway to our overall health. But, the best overall benefit to seeing a dentist regularly is maintaining your oral health.
We all like to eat, taste and socialize, but when our oral health is impaired, some of the things we enjoy doing can be quickly taken away due to pain, loss of teeth, poor-fitting dentures, dry mouth or taste change. And that can truly alter your quality of life.
Your child’s first dental visit
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that infants see a dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age. The first visit is also your opportunity to ask questions about anything you are unsure about. Some children get anxious, as they don’t know what to expect. Read our previous blog where Dr. Jaleel offers valuable tips on taking your child to the dentist for the first time.
What is gum disease/periodontal disease?
Approximately one third of Canadians have reported to have, or have had, a moderate to a severe periodontal problem. In the broadest terms, a periodontal disease refers to bacterial growth around the tooth. “Periodontal” means “around the tooth”. In the earliest forms, the gums might swell and easily bleed, and at worst, it may cause teeth to fall out. Therefore, in order to preserve a healthy smile, the gums must be taken care of.
What causes gum disease?
Like the rest of the body, the mouth is a very busy place, home to an uncountable amount of bacteria on the go. Like all bacteria, some are completely harmless whereas others can be detrimental to the teeth and the gums. The harmful bacteria group together in a sticky film that is known as plaque, the cause behind gum diseases. If left unchecked, it destroys the bone and the connective tissue and causes the teeth to loosen, and eventually leads to teeth removal.
The progression of gum disease.
The Advancement of Gum Diseases
Gum diseases, such as periodontitis and gingivitis begin with an excessive accumulation of plaque, causing it to harden and become a substance called tartar, which creates irritation for the gums and results in bleeding. Tartar is extremely tightly bound to the teeth, such that it requires professional cleaning.
Gingivitis, an early stage of gum diseases, precedes periodontitis. At the early stages of gingivitis, the gums are visibly swollen and have a tendency to bleed easily while tooth brushing. Regardless of the fact that bleeding does not always indicate gingivitis, it is an indication of the fact that the gums are losing their health and need attention. At this stage, no bone or tissue damage has taken place, and the teeth are still firmly in place despite the gum irritation.
However, when gingivitis is left untreated, it advances to periodontitis. At this stage, the inner layers of the gum recede from the teeth and form pockets. The resulting small spaces become infected as a result of debris accumulation. As the immune system of the body tries and fights the bacteria, the plaque continues to spread under the gum line. The bacterial toxins and the bodily enzymes eventually start to break down the bone and the connective tissues holding the teeth in place. As the disease advances, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue as well as the bone tissue is being destroyed. At this point, since there is no anchor holding the teeth in place, they gradually loosen and eventually fall.
Periodontal Disease: prevention and treatment:
Fortunately, this can be prevented through regular trips to your Ottawa dentist, Dr. Jaleel, as symptoms such as bleeding gums, red or tender gums, persistent bad breath, receding gums can be used in order to diagnose and treat a potential worsening gum condition. During a dental exam, the gums will be checked for bleeding, swelling and firmness. Aside from the gums, the bite is also assessed and full mouth x-rays are taken.
The treatment for gum diseases may vary from improving regular day to day activities such as regular brushing to the application of a non-surgical method called scaling and root planning. Scaling scrapes and removes the plaque while root planning smoothes the rough spots on the tooth where germs once collected, allowing the gums to reconnect with the teeth. These conditions, as can be seen, are treatable and eventually curable.
Before and after gum disease treatment. Book an appointment today with Dr. Jaleel!
Don’t procrastinate if any of these signs seem to be bothering your everyday brushing routine. Gum diseases can be detected at a very early stage and can be treated. Pick up the phone and make an appointment with Dr. Jaleel, the friendliest and most knowledgeable dentist in Ottawa! Our dental clinic is located across from the Carlingwood Shopping Centre in Ottawa, easily accessible by bus or car.
2194 Carling Avenue, Unit 1
Ottawa, ON K2A 1H3
We’re all familiar with it. You’re at your regular dental check-up appointment, and with a scrutinous raised eyebrow, the dentist asks you, “Have you been flossing?” Most of us, unfortunately, avoid eye contact as we mutter a response that is either a guilty exaggeration of your actual habits or a quiet confession that no, likely not as often as your dentist would like you to.
You return home from your Ottawa dentist with your complimentary floss (maybe even in an enticing flavour) and vow to change your ways – only to be met with bleeding gums that further discourage you from making the habit stick. The unfortunate paradox is that when you try to do your gums right, they retaliate, so after time what seemed like a simple task becomes overlooked and under-prioritized. For that reason of itself too, you might justify skipping the floss after brushing your teeth. Besides, how much of a difference can sliding some string between your teeth really do?
Well, the answer is a lot. And the implications might surprise you since the benefits of regularly flossing go beyond just your dental hygiene.
Brushing your teeth only cleans the outer surfaces, and even adding an antibacterial mouthwash may only rinse away some bacteria that cause plaque. Flossing is the only method to clean the tight spaces between teeth and gums.
Halitosis is one of the first indications that someone might not be flossing – and depending on the severity it may be an indication you can notice from a distance, since halitosis is just the medical term for bad breath. Periodontal disease is another term that, by the sounds of it, would intimidate anyone into flossing. Periodontal diseases refer to any disease that affects tissues that support your teeth. Gingivitis is one such cause of the disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums caused by the accumulation of plaque – another term we hear in the dentist chair or on toothpaste commercials. Besides the unattractive yellowing appearance it gives to your teeth, gingivitis causes sensitivities, worsens halitosis, and hardens into tartar – which can then only be removed in the dental chair. Worst of all, these bacterial accumulations can lead to eventual tooth loss.
A case of gingivitis.
The American Academy of Periodontology now say that there are studies that suggest a correlation between failing to floss and heart disease. Since the bacteria from plaque can enter the bloodstream via your gums, the manifestation of cavities, missing teeth, or gum disease can be as accurate for predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.
Moral of the story, if you ignore your teeth, they will go away. So don’t wait any longer – your health is hanging by a thread! Grab a hold and get flossing – ensuring your future and smile will be a bright one,