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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.

Savvy Strategies to Cut the Cost of Dental Care

Everybody wants a beautiful smile or event just to be free from common dental issues. The problem is regular dental care often creates a huge dent on the finances, particularly for those who do not have dental insurance.

If you’re committed to good oral health but you find regular trips to the dentist too big a burden for your budget, don’t worry. You can still get dental treatments without spending too much money. Dental professionals say there are strategies you can try to reduce the cost of dental care or to make it easier to accommodate in your tight budget, and they are the following:

  • Stay informed about health drives in your community.  Oftentimes, health missions conducted by non-profit organizations include basic professional dental care, such as oral prophylaxis, filling, and even tooth extraction. All these special services will not cost you, but make sure you get to the venue early because a lot of people also look forward to these special events.
  • Check your community health centers. Many of these cover low-cost dental care; they usually just cover basic dental services but for oral health, these are usually all you need.
  • Get free dental care from university dental schools. While “greenhorns” will treat you, the dental treatments they provide are supervised by dental experts so you don’t have to worry about your safety. You can get as much as 40 percent discount for dental treatments.
  • Check top e-commerce sites for deals on dental treatments. Some sites are known to include discounted dental treatments in their line-up of offerings. A lot of dental clinics these days are partnering with e-commerce sites to market their services effectively and they are offering everything from teeth whitening deals to orthodontic braces for a much lower price.
  • Consider dental savings plans. You just need to pay an annual fee of $80 to $200 in order to access a large network of dental clinics that offer up to 50 percent discount for those who are members of these dental savings plans
  • Consider dental HMOs as well. These are available in huge urban locations and they only charge $200 to $300 a year for their services, which include oral prophylaxis (twice a year), fillings, root canals and crowns.
  • Have a consultation at your local dental office and inquire which insurance policies you have can cover dental treatments. You may be surprised to know that you already have the means to pay for professional dental services.

If you’re looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you especially if you have concerns about the cost of dental care. We are ready to help in any way we can so contact us today!

Daily Oral Care: A Toothbrush Buying Guide

With all kinds of toothbrushes available in the market today, most people either just get the first one they could find or something from a familiar brand. While choosing one should not take too much of your time, it’s also important to scrutinize the features and design of the toothbrush before making a purchase.

As important as choosing the right toothbrush is, knowing how to use it properly is just as important. No matter how great your brush is, you are still going to have dental problems if you do not know the right brushing techniques that will allow you to clean your teeth well. Having a good toothbrush and using it properly will keep your teeth relatively safe from cavities.

Follow our toothbrush buying guide the next time you buy a toothbrush for yourself or family:

1. Yes, size matters.

The bigger the head of the toothbrush, the more difficult it is to maneuver inside the mouth, plus you will not be able to clean areas that are hard to reach like the molars. It is recommended that you buy a toothbrush with a head that is half an inch wide and one inch tall. Also, go with a brush with a handle that you are comfortable holding.

2. Go for the right type of bristles.

We all brush our teeth differently. For instance, some people may need more careful brushing due to teeth or gum sensitivities. Generally, it is recommended that you use a soft bristled toothbrush because you can actually do some damage to your gums and root surface over time especially if you brush too hard. Also, brushes with round tips are the best ones.

3. The choice between manual or electric toothbrush depends on personal preference.

The truth is, it all boils down to what you are comfortable with and the money you are willing to spend on a toothbrush. If you are comfortable with having a toothbrush that vibrates in your mouth, then you should go for it. There was a study that was conducted if there was any significant difference between a manual and electric toothbrush. The results were almost the same save for an electric toothbrush called the rotation oscillation. It has been found that this type of electric toothbrush is more effective than a manual toothbrush.

4. Look for industry approval.

When it comes to safety, you should always look for the seal that indicates it has been tested and approved by authority dental associations.

If you are in Maryland and have dental concerns, do not hesitate to contact us at Nicholas Dental Care. Call us today and set an appointment.


Quick Tips on How to Diagnose a Toothache

It is important to know how to diagnose a toothache in order to avoid it or treat it.

Maintaining the good health of your teeth is not the easiest task in the world. It may seem simple, but there are various dental care tasks that must be done every day to keep your teeth protected and pearly-white.

However, some people are not aware of proper dental hygiene habits; some do not even realize their significance, thus failing to prevent toothaches and other dental disorders. Here are some signs to look out for.

Determine if your teeth are sensitive to cold or hot food

First, identify whether the pain is intermittent or not. If the pain comes and goes, it does not really indicate a major problem as it is a normal reaction to hot or cold foods or beverages. Extreme temperatures affect the nerves that go under the teeth, allowing you to feel a bit of a sting when biting into or chewing food or drinking beverages that are too cold or hot.

If you have recently gone to the dentist to have dental reconstruction done, on the other hand, there is a very good chance that you might have loose porcelain veneers or fillings in between your teeth.

Conduct x-ray and percussion tests

Visiting your dentist is one of the quickest and most accurate ways to obtain an accurate diagnosis of your toothache. When dentists check your teeth, they will be inspecting your mouth for abscesses, cavities, and other hidden oral problems. Dentists typically take x-rays of their patient’s teeth to detect fractures as well. Cracks on the teeth usually cause extreme pain because they let bacteria and other foreign organisms into the sensitive part of the teeth.

The percussion testing, on the other hand, involves lightly tapping the surface of your teeth. This allows dentists to know which teeth are fragile and which teeth have hollow insides. Thus, extra care is applied to those that require more care.

Chronic pain in the head, neck, and ears

More often than not, teeth with damaged pulp affect not just the teeth themselves but everything that surrounds the infected area as well. Damaged, inflamed, or irritated pulp can affect the gums, bones, and tissue that surround them. The condition often reaches even other parts of the body, such as the head, neck, and ears. Usually, this kind of toothache is caused by a dental abscess, but there are also cases wherein other dental problems are involved.

The dental procedures mentioned above may prove to be very delicate, which is why it is highly advisable to consult professionals such as the Nicholas Dental Care team. To know more about the services we offer, contact us today.


You’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis

The main question on your mind is this: “Can gum disease go away?”

When gingivitis is diagnosed and treated early on, and if the patient closely follows a dentist’s instructions, it can still be reversed. However, when gum disease is left unchecked, it can worsen and progress into periodontal disease.

Usually, gum disease does not require professional intervention. Instead, a patient is asked to practice good oral hygiene habits. In fact, poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of gingivitis.

However, there are some dentists who argue that gum disease is not really reversible. Instead, these dentists say that like periodontal disease, gingivitis can only be controlled.

In order to better understand that argument, here are a few important facts that you should know.

First, periodontitis is a non-curable bacterial infection

Periodontitis damages gum tissues as a result of the body’s immune system fighting off bacteria. Now, if a patient with periodontal disease responds well to the treatment for the disease, he is said to be cured, but not healed.


When the periodontal disease has been stabilized, bone loss stops. However, the damage on the bones can no longer be repaired. Patients who are healed of their periodontitis will notice a marked improvement in the swelling, bleeding, redness, and pocket depth of their gums. Now, if the patient fails to follow through with the treatment, periodontal disease can return.

How is that related to gingivitis?

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that elicits an immune response from the body. Patients with gingivitis experience bleeding, swelling and redness of the gums as a result of the immune system responding to the attack of the bacteria. However, gingivitis does not involve the development of pockets in the gums or bone loss.

Gingivitis and periodontitis share a few similarities. For one, both are bacterial infections that cause damage to tissues. Second, both respond well to the reduction of biofilm control (good oral hygiene). Finally, both diseases can return if the patient fails to practice good oral hygiene and to go for follow-up visits with the dentist.

However, the two also have a few key differences. Although both diseases are caused by a bacterial infection, the bacteria involved in gingivitis are considered to be less harmful. Second, gingivitis can be managed by good oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning. Periodontitis, on the other hand, needs to be managed for a whole lifetime. Patients also need to visit their dentists every three months.

But if there is one key difference that patients should be aware of, that is the fact that periodontitis has been linked to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke.

If you want to learn more about how you can take better care of your teeth and gums and stave off diseases like gingivitis, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, and his team can provide you with invaluable tips. Contact us today.

5 Health Problems Your Dentist Can Predict

You probably think your dentist focuses solely on your oral health, but whenever he inspects your mouth, he’s actually looking after your overall health. The reality is that the condition of your mouth is one of the most reliable indicators of your actual well-being.

Numerous studies have proven that many dental problems are directly linked to serious health woes. They are often manifestations of abnormalities in your system, or they serve as tell-tale signs that you are at high risk of developing serious medical problems. For example, cavities or signs of tooth decay do not only indicate poor oral hygiene practice; they also indicate your unhealthy consumption of sugary or starchy foods that can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Meanwhile, yellowish, brittle teeth can indicate malnutrition (common among people who are always dieting) and being prone to kidney disease.

When you have a dental appointment, a good dentist doesn’t just see the condition of your mouth. Listed below are the five health problems your dentist can predict just from your check-up.

Cardiovascular disease

Whenever your dentist spots new cavities on your teeth, he knows right away that you’ve been eating too many snacks with trans fatty acids. Through trans fatty acids do not really cause cavities, they are, however, always present with ingredients such as fermentable carbs that do lead to cavities. High amounts of trans fatty acids and fermentable carbs are known to lead to heart disease.


Cavities are also indicators of unhealthy eating habits that cause diabetes to flare up. Frequent consumption of sugary drinks and foods tends to create calcular deposits that can lead to tooth decay, and at the same time, raise blood glucose, which is dangerous for people who are genetically prone to developing diabetes.


Your dentist knows if you’re a smoker or drinker – the color of your teeth and gums are dead giveaways, along with other factors. If you have these unhealthy habits, your dentist can actually tell how seriously they’ve affected your health and how susceptible you are to developing cancer by the condition of your mouth.


The dental situation that indicates susceptibility to heart disease and diabetes applies to obesity as well.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Studies have already established the link between dementia problems such as Alzheimer’s and loss of teeth. Dentists these days don’t rule out the possibility of people with periodontal disease developing Alzheimer’s.

If you want a dentist who will not only look after your oral health but your overall well-being as well, our dentist in Burtonsville, MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, is the man for the job. Contact us today and set up your first appointment!