How Does Gingivitis Develop?

Gums that are pink in color and do not bleed when brushing or flossing are considered by dentists as healthy. If your gums feel swollen, are colored red, and bleed whenever you brush and floss, it is best to consult your dentist immediately since you may already have gingivitis. 

Gingivitis refers to the inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is the initial stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat.

Causes, Signs and Symptoms

How does gingivitis develop? The development of this gum disease is typically attributed to poor dental hygiene.

The primary cause of gingivitis is plaque, a colorless biofilm of bacteria that is commonly found on one’s teeth and gums. Proper and regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque, but failure to practice good dental care habits means the bacteria remains on your teeth. This biofilm soon produces toxins which irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. During this stage, damage can still be reversed because the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected. Untreated gingivitis, however, can become periodontitis and cause permanent damage to a person’s teeth and jaw.

Aside from poor dental hygiene, the following can also cause gingivitis:

  • Persons with crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth are more prone to developing gingivitis since they are harder to keep clean; consequently, there will be more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate.
  • Poor immune system. Gingivitis is also a body’s inflammatory system’s response to bacteria in an area of the mouth where it should not be. Alcohol, smoking and chewing tobacco, and stress affect a person’s oral defense mechanisms and prevent the gum tissue from being able to heal. Persons suffering from cancer and undergoing cancer treatment are also more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Poor nutrition. Persons who consume high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates with low water intake are prone to developing plaque and possible gum disease. This will increase the formation of plaque. Deficiency in certain important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair gum repair.
  • Diabetes mellitus. This disease will also impair circulation and the gums’ ability to heal.
  • Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause also typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. This hormonal imbalance can cause the blood vessels in the gums to become more susceptible to a bacterial and chemical attack.

The usual signs and symptoms that a person has gingivitis include:

  • Bleeding gums when brushing and flossing

  • Red or purple colored gums

  • Tender and swollen gums

  • Receding gums or the appearance that they have been pulled away from the teeth, giving the teeth an elongated look.

Advanced gum disease can cause pockets to form between the teeth and gums which can collect plaque and food debris. Because of this, some people may experience recurring bad breath or a bad taste in their mouth.

Gingivitis Prevention

Brushing properly at least twice a day and flossing once will help you get rid of plaque. Gargling with mouthwash can help as well. Your dental (and overall) health will also improve if you start eating a balanced diet and avoid smoking or tobacco.

Regular dental checkups can also help you detect and avoid the onset of any gum disease. If you’re in Maryland, you can consult the dental professionals of Nicholas Dental Care.

What do swollen gums around my teeth mean?

Swollen Gums Around Teeth: Causes and Tips for Quick Relief

No one is immune to dental problems. Even with good at-home oral care routines, there are instances wherein dental issues can happen unnoticed. All of a sudden, you may experience swollen gums around tooth areas. Here are some causes and tips for relieving this dental problem.

Causes

Improper Dental Hygiene – Incorrect brushing or flossing is the common culprit of swollen gums because this can leave food debris behind, causing tooth decay and inflammation in the neglected area. Eventually, inadequate oral hygiene can result in gum disease. As such, you must always be on the lookout for red, pale or swollen gums each time you brush and floss.

Abscessed Tooth – This indicates an infection in or around the tooth. Often, this is the result of an untreated cavity causing bacteria to spread through the entire tooth and infect it. When left untreated, this will cost you the tooth. Signs to look out for will include swollen and red gums, a salty taste in the mouth, throbbing pain, and fever.

Canker Sores – These are small, round or oval and shallow lesions with a red border and yellow/white center found inside of the mouth, under or on the tongue, on the soft palate, inside the lips or cheeks, or at the gums’ base. A minor injury from improper dental work, sports mishaps, obsessive brushing, or an accidental cheek bite can trigger canker sores.

An Erupting Tooth – Swollen gums around a tooth can happen to children whose permanent teeth are erupting or to adults whose wisdom tooth is about to erupt. If there is insufficient room for an erupting tooth, this can result in inflamed gums around the teeth.

Allergies – Allergies to coffee, chocolate, spicy foods, cheese, nuts, eggs, or strawberries can cause swollen gums. As much as possible, avoid eating foods that will irritate the gums. Moreover, avoid gum irritants such as tobacco and betel nut.

How to Relieve Swollen Gums

1. Proper Oral Care

Brush your teeth using circular movements with a soft bristle toothbrush for 2 minutes after every meal. To prevent early tooth decay, use fluoride toothpaste. Rinsing your mouth with an anti-microbial mouthwash can also help.

2. Proper Sanitation

Always wash your hands before eating or touching your gums and teeth. Also, guard your tooth against germs and dirt by using a brush cover and changing your toothbrush every 3 months or earlier if the bristles are already worn out.

3. Cold/Hot Compress

A cold compress will constrict the blood vessels, thereby reducing the swelling. A hot compress, on the other hand, will relieve pain efficiently.

If the inflamed gum around your tooth does not get better after doing these tips, visit your dentist right away. He will definitely provide you with further advice. With excellent oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings, you have nothing to worry about.

Looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD? Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today!

Denture Care – A Few Important Tips

If you have chosen dentures for teeth replacement, it is crucial that you learn proper denture care in order to get more out of your investment.

How do you take proper care of your dentures?

Handle them with care

Dentures can be easily damaged when you accidentally drop them. Before you remove them, make sure that you put something beneath you, like a towel, that will serve as a cushion if your dentures fall accidentally.

Brush and rinse your dentures properly

Like regular teeth, dentures need to be cleaned in order to remove food debris and the plaque that may have built up. Regular cleaning can also prevent permanent stains from developing.

Dentures should be cleaned every day using a brush with soft bristles. However, do not use regular toothpaste. Regular toothpaste and other household cleaners can damage your dentures so avoid using these. Instead, use recommended denture cleaners. Make sure that you gently brush all the surfaces of your dentures.

If you cannot brush your dentures, you can rinse them after eating.

Keep your dentures moist

If you are not going to wear your dentures, you will need to soak them in either water or a denture cleanser solution. Avoid soaking your dentures in hot water as this can damage them.

Repairs and adjustments

If you break your dentures or if your gums and mouth become irritated due to improper fit, schedule a visit to your dentist. Under no circumstance should you attempt to adjust or repair your own dentures as you can damage them.

Taking care of your remaining teeth and gums

Even if you have lost some teeth, it is important that you take care of your remaining teeth as well as your gums.

If you are wearing full dentures, make sure that you brush your gums and tongues, especially in the morning before you wear your dentures. This will help keep plaque at bay and help improve the circulation in your mouth.

If you are wearing partial dentures, you will need to remove these before brushing your teeth and gums. Pay special attention to the areas where the dentures’ clasps fit as plaque can build up in these areas.

Visit your dentist regularly

After getting your dentures, your dentist will tell you how often you will need to visit the dental clinic. Typically, those visits are scheduled six months apart.

Apart from checking the fit and condition of your dentures, your dentist will also examine your overall oral health and clean your teeth professionally.

If you are currently looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today!

Are Old Silver Fillings Safe?

There’s no controversy that has plagued the dental world more than the issue about the safety of dental amalgam. When studies from long ago established a relationship between thyroid problems, neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, and mercury in amalgam, people just went on panic mode. Since silver fillings were popular for preventing the spread of cavities due to their impressive durability, many grew greatly concerned that the restorative dentistry procedure they had was “killing” them.

Do people really need to be worried?

After all, fillings are so small.  “Are old silver fillings safe or are they making patients highly prone to everything from neurological issues, autoimmune disease, chronic illnesses, to mental disorders?”

Here are the facts that everybody concerned about this issue should understand:

 

  • It’s true that amalgams are 50 percent mercury but they were always considered inert (chemically inactive) so the likelihood or mercury release was none to very minimal.
  • When it comes to mercury leaking from amalgams and producing a toxic effect on the body, different variables come into play (like the age of the fillings, one’s diet, the tendency to grind teeth, and number of fillings one has). It’s never just a matter of “having” silver fillings.
  • More studies are being carried out in order to fully establish the impact of mercury in silver fillings on people’s wellness. So far, findings have been inconclusive.
  • The current ADA and FDA position (because of all the inconclusive results) is that amalgam is a safe restorative material. Therefore, any dentist who recommends removing amalgams due to health concerns from mercury vapor is deemed unethical and could have their license revoked.
  • If you’re concerned about mercury release from your old dental fillings, a lot of dental professionals have advanced detection techniques that can measure mercury release. Hence, they can establish if your health is truly at risk.
  • The highest amount of mercury exposure from silver fillings occurs when they are placed and when they are removed from our mouths. So, if you’re worried about exposure, the smartest thing to do is to have a highly experienced dental team inspect your fillings to see if they’re still structurally intact, instead of just rushing to have them taken out.

It’s only natural to look after your health. Whether you want to have your old silver fillings removed just to be safe or not is completely up to you. Now, if you need to have some cavities filled, there are other filling options to choose from and you won’t have to worry about mercury exposure.

If you want to have your silver filling examined by a highly experienced dentist in Burtonsville MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, our head dentist can take care of that. Contact us today to set your appointment!

Oil Pulling – Is It Good For Your Oral Health?

To ensure good oral health, the ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Also, you must clean between teeth once a day with interdental cleaner or floss. Doing this practice on a daily basis will keep your gums healthy and prevent cavities. You can also use ADA-Accepted mouth rinses as this reduces gingivitis and plaque formation.

It helps to be discriminating when choosing a mouth rinse to reduce gingivitis and plaque. Look for essential ingredients such as methyl salicylate, thymol, menthol and eucalyptol as these can prevent gingivitis and the formation of plaque. The ADA Seal you see on over-the-counter oral care products gives assurance that such products have been evaluated by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, which is an independent group of experts. Most importantly, this seal guarantees that it does what it claims to do.

Recently, the practice of oil pulling or swishing oil in the mouth is making a buzz. Websites supporting natural therapies are hopeful about this practice since it claims that it can whiten teeth, enhance oral health, and boost overall health and well-being. But due to the lack of solid proof, oil pulling is not yet recommended.

A Closer Look at Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been practiced for centuries in India and southern Asia. This is a traditional folk remedy and a holistic Ayurvedic technique. This practice will involve placing a spoonful of edible oil like sunflower, coconut, olive and sesame oil inside the mouth, and swishing the oil through the teeth and oral cavity for around one to five minutes or longer.

A study about the use of a chlorhexidine rinse versus oil pulling showed that chlorhexidine is more effective when it comes to reducing S. mutans levels in saliva and plaque. But the same study has not looked at whether the reduction in S. mutans prevented cavities.

There are limitations on the potential health benefits of oil pulling.

Current studies are unreliable for several reasons such as the misrepresentation of results because of lack of demographic information, the absence of negative controls and small sample size. Today, there is still no clinical evidence confirming that oil pulling whitens teeth, decreases the incidence of dental caries, and enhances overall health.

There are plenty of over-the-counter products promising therapeutic effects when used. But it is only through in-depth scientific analysis that the dental profession can be assured of the effectiveness and safety of a certain product or therapy. After all, the ADA policy statement on unconventional dentistry emphasized that the provision of dental care must only be based on rigorous scientific principles.

To know more about science-based care for your teeth, look for a reputable dentist in Burtonsville, MD. Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our team will be happy to help you. Contact us today!

Understanding the Prevalence of Periodontal Disease in Adults

Having healthy teeth is an important part of overall good health. A great smile does not only improve physical appearance. It also helps you speak properly and of course, help you chew your food properly. For this, toothache should not be taken for granted. Pain in a tooth is a sure sign that there’s something wrong, most especially when your gums are swelling or bleeding. Teeth problem may also come with age like the periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis or pyorrhea, causes inflammation of the gums and deterioration of the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth. It is often the main cause of bad breath in adults. It is also responsible for most of the teeth lost as people age.

As a matter of fact, a research study from the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that almost 64 percent of adults 65 years and above have moderate to severe forms of periodontitis. Findings from the same study have shown that more than 47 percent of the adult population in the U.S. who are 30 years and above suffer from mild to moderate or severe periodontitis. And between men and women, periodontitis tends to be more prevalent among men.

Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes a person has such minor symptoms that he or she may not realize that periodontal disease is present. As the disease progresses, symptoms include pain, bleeding of gums, swollen gums, and a foul taste in the mouth.

The Primary Cause Of Periodontal Disease

The main culprit behind developing periodontitis is the buildup of dental plaque, which is a thin film of bacteria that sticks to the gum line of the teeth. If this plaque is not removed, it can cause the tissues and bone to break down, leading to tooth loss.

Prevention and Treatment of Periodontal Disease

As recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), periodontal disease in adults can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular dental care such as brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.

When visiting the dentist for regular checkups, the clinical examination must also include a periodontal assessment, particularly among middle-aged and elderly. To accurately assess the burden of periodontitis, using a full-mouth periodontal exams (FMPE), which was also cited in the CDC study, proves to gain better results.

It is also important to discuss with your dentist the risk factors that may possibly lead to periodontitis. Reputable dentists would definitely evaluate patients for oral diseases and would provide helpful solutions to prevent them or refer appropriate therapy when there is a need.

For severe cases, the disease can be treated by specialized plaque removal techniques and also by surgery on the gums and bones in the mouth.

If you are currently looking for Dentist in Burtonsville MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today!

What Causes Periodontal Disease in Adults?

Dental professionals can never stress enough the importance of keeping teeth and gums in good condition in order to ensure overall physical health. Every year, countless campaigns are launched for the purpose of encouraging everyone, young and old, to take oral health seriously.

For older folks, however, dental professionals are no longer just encouraging good oral care practices; they are compelling adults to consistently implement proper dental hygiene. This is mainly due to the fact that numerous studies have proven the direct relationship between periodontal disease and life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes and liver ailment. Researchers discovered that even mild periodontal disease such as gingivitis aggravates these serious health woes.

What causes periodontal disease in adults anyway?

First of all, it’s important to establish that bacteria are always present in people’s mouth that’s why consistent proper oral care is a must. You’ll definitely have more if you smoke and have other unhealthy habits.

These bacteria, along with mucus, food debris and other particles, if not brushed and flossed away form plaque (a sticky, colorless film) on teeth. If plaque is allowed to build up, it will harden and turn into tartar – that hard, yellowish buildup at the base of teeth and down beneath the gums that tooth brushing and flossing cannot remove.

The longer plaque stays on the teeth and beneath the gums, the more harmful it actually becomes. Not only will it lead to cavities, but also the bacteria present in it can cause infection and inflammation. When gums become inflamed, they become prone to bleeding and swelling – this is gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal diseases.

Now, if gingivitis is not treated right away, it can worsen and turn into periodontitis. With this condition, tooth loss is highly likely because the gums will start to pull away from the teeth. This isn’t the only risk. There’s also a higher likelihood of developing other complications because the pockets created by the pulling away of the gums will allow bacteria to further breed.

How do you know if you have periodontal disease?

  • You’ll have halitosis (bad breath)

  • Red, swollen gums

  • Sensitive gums prone to bleeding

  • Chewing food is painful

  • Your teeth are loose

  • Your gums recede

How is gum disease treated?

Treatment always starts with a visit to the dentist. The dentist will properly assess the situation and determine the most appropriate treatment program. Treatment always includes deep dental cleaning to get rid of plaque and determine the gravity of the disease. Medication is also prescribed to treat the infection. There may be other procedures necessary (such as surgery) but all these depend on how serious the disease is.

Periodontal disease is no light matter so if you’re concerned about it, want to prevent it, or if you wish to be treated for it, our Dentist in Burtonsville MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today for an appointment and consultation.

The Top 4 Myths and Facts About Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure recommended by dentists when there is trauma or infection in the nerve or pulp found in a tooth’s canal. The trauma or infection can be caused by various reasons or factors, which include the following:

  • The presence of abscess or decay, also known as an infection, on a tooth.
  • Trauma or injury on the tooth, such as a chipped or broken tooth, which results in the exposure of the nerve.
  • The slow death of a tooth due to aging or previous trauma which was not treated immediately.

Root Canal Therapy Myths and Facts

A leading Laurel, MD dentist says that root canal therapy is widely regarded as the most feared dental procedure. However, this is mainly due to the inaccurate information many people have about this treatment.

Below are some of the most common root canal therapy myths and the truth behind them:

  • Myth: Root canal therapy is painful.

Fact: According to a study published by the American Association of Endodontists, the perception that people have about root canal therapy being painful comes from the early treatment methods used to perform this procedure. Dental experts also say that if you are already suffering from pain on the day of your treatment, your apprehension and fear may heighten the sensations you feel during the procedure.

In actuality, root canal therapy is done to provide pain relief to patients. The majority of people who undergo this dental procedure admit they did not experience any pain during the treatment and that they felt better afterwards.

  • Myth: Your tooth has to hurt really bad before you can undergo root canal therapy. 

Fact: You don’t have to be suffering from a really bad toothache for a dentist to recommend root canal therapy. In many cases, teeth that are already dead but are not at all painful may require root canal treatment to prevent the tooth from becoming further infected.

  • Myth: There is no immediate need to undergo root canal therapy since the tooth will be taken out eventually. 

Fact: There is no correct reason to assume that the treated tooth will still be extracted in the future. In general, most root canal treatments are successful and will result in the tooth being saved.

  • Myth: You will have to visit your dentist several times to complete the therapy. 

Fact: Your dentist can complete the therapy in one to two appointments. However, there are various factors that have to be considered to determine the number of appointments needed to complete a root canal procedure. These include the extent of the infection and the difficulty of the procedure. Also, tooth restoration is essential after the procedure to make it functional again. Leading dentists say that the appointments needed to completely restore the tooth should not be considered part of the root canal procedure.

What to Do If Your Gums Are Bleeding

Bleeding gums can be caused by a variety of reasons. It can be as simple as changing up your oral hygiene habits or as serious as gum disease.

Whatever the reason may be for bleeding gums, you have to take note of your problem and be extra attentive to other warning signs which may indicate a larger problem.

Here’s what to do if your gums are bleeding.

Pay extra attention to your oral hygiene

One of the leading cause of bleeding gums is the buildup of plaque, especially along the gum line. When you fail to remove plaque, it can harden and turn into tartar which can attach to your teeth and irritate your gums. Eventually, the buildup of plaque and tartar can lead to bleeding gums and progress to gum disease.

In order to promptly remove plaque, you need to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.

Paying extra attention to oral hygiene can often stop bleeding of the gums.

Check your toothbrush

Some people mistakenly believe that toothbrushes with medium to hard bristles are better at cleaning the teeth. However, hard bristles can irritate the gums and cause gum bleeding.

But apart from checking your toothbrush, you may also have to evaluate the way you brush and floss your teeth. If you have been brushing and flossing your teeth vigorously, you can cause your gums to bleed.

Eat healthy

Another thing that you should check is your diet. If you have been consuming foods high in sugar and carbohydrates lately, you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to dental problems. The reason behind this is that sugar found in these foods help create the right environment for the bacteria which cause plaque.

Consider changing up your diet and minimizing or totally eliminating foods loaded with sugars and carbohydrates. If it is not possible to eliminate these from your diet, eat these foods sparingly and make sure that you brush your teeth as soon as possible.

Talk to your doctor about your medication

Some medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) can increase your risk for gum bleeding.

Over-the-counter pain relievers can thin the blood and can cause gum bleeding. On the other hand, if you suspect that the medicine prescribed by your doctor is the main culprit, schedule a visit. He may either change the dosage or prescribe a different medicine.

Visit a professional

If none of these actions improved your condition, you will need to see a dentist.

Your dentist will evaluate your teeth and gums and determine if the underlying cause is a serious condition like gum disease.

Treatment for gum disease can be as simple as deep cleaning or as complex as gum surgery. Either way, visiting your dentist as soon as you can will help prevent your bleeding gums from progressing into something worse.

What Does Gum Bleeding Around One Tooth Mean?

Bleeding gums are one of the most common conditions that affect people. But what if the bleeding is confined to just one tooth? What does gum bleeding around one tooth mean?

If the bleeding or swelling is confined around one tooth, there are a few reasons behind that. The most common causes of this dental problem are improper brushing and/or flossing, gum disease, and an abscessed tooth.

Improper brushing and flossing

Simply brushing and flossing your teeth won’t be enough. You also need to do these vital tasks regularly and properly.

If the bleeding is confined around one tooth, it is possible that you have not been brushing or flossing in the correct manner. This will lead to your teeth and gums not being cleaned the way they should be and food debris being left on your teeth.

In turn, this can cause both decay and inflammation in the areas that have not been properly cleaned. Gum disease can also become a problem as a result of this.

Check your gums. If these are swollen or red, if there is pus coming out from the affected tooth, if your gums bleed after brushing, or if you have been experiencing bad breath and taste lately, you will need to visit your dentist.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the leading cause of bleeding and swollen gums. In fact, according to some studies, about half of the adult American population 30 years old and above are affected by gum disease in varying degrees.

One of the initial signs of gum disease is the swelling and reddening of the gums. If you notice these symptoms, you have to consult your dentist to prevent your conditioning from worsening.

Abscessed tooth

Another leading cause of swelling and bleeding around one tooth is an abscessed tooth.

An abscessed tooth is an indication of an infection of a tooth. This often occurs when a cavity is left untreated and the bacteria that caused the decay spread in the different parts of the tooth and infect it.

Apart from redness and swelling of the gums, other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include swelling of the jaw, tenderness or soreness on the affected tooth, throbbing pain, fever, and a salty taste in the mouth.

In order to treat an abscessed tooth, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to contain the infection. Your dentist may also recommend a root canal treatment or tooth extraction, depending on the severity of the condition.

Preventing bleeding and swollen gums

The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be over stressed. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and properly can help prevent a diverse array of teeth and gum problems.

It is also of utmost importance that you visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning and to identify and treat potential problems before these worsen.

If you are currently looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today.