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.

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!

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.

The Importance of Senior Dental Health Care

Some elderly people view dental problems as a consequence of aging. But the truth is that oral health is important, whatever your age is.

Senior Dental Health CareIf you are a senior or someone who cares for one, you need to be aware of a few alarming statistics. For one, more than 30% of older adults have cavities which are left untreated. About 25% of seniors have a periodontal disease which has been associated with a few chronic health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory problems. Finally, around 30% of the elderly lose their teeth due to different factors.
 

Why is senior dental health care important?

The most important reason why the elderly should pay careful attention to their dental health is because they do not need to lose their teeth while they age.

On top of that, the human mouth changes over time. And if you do not pay close attention to this and your overall dental health, you could face serious consequences related to your health.

As you age, you can become vulnerable to different dental problems brought about by different factors. For example, some medications have been known to cause dry mouth as a side effect. Low levels of saliva can make you vulnerable to bacteria and other microorganisms which can cause issues like gum disease and cavities.

Also, a person’s diet can also negatively impact one’s health. For example, if you consume too many hard and sticky treats, starchy foods, and drinks and foods that dry your mouth, you risk facing problems like difficulty in chewing your food as well as having a dull sense of taste.

Other problems associated with poor oral health in seniors include pneumonia, heart disease, and oral health.

Fortunately, seniors can improve their oral health and keep these aforementioned problems at bay through good oral hygiene.

Ideally, elderly people should continue brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day.

If you are wearing dentures, remember to clean these once a day and remove from your mouth for at least four hours.

Drink lots of water as this can help keep tooth decay at bay. And if you have not stopped smoking, consider kicking this habit from your life.

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.

The Connection Between Healthy Teeth and a Healthy Body

Healthy Teeth and a Healthy BodyThe Connection Between Healthy Teeth and a Healthy Body

Why do you take care of your teeth?

Some people will say they take good care of their teeth because they want a bright, confident smile. Others will say that they want to avoid dental problems like cavities and tooth loss.

Rarely will you hear people say that they take care of their teeth because they want to be healthy.

What exactly is the correlation between your oral and overall health?

According to Dr. Aaron Nicholas, a dentist in Burtonsville, many people are not aware of the fact that many medical problems can be attributed, to some degree, to mouth infections. Left untreated, these mouth infections can lead to diseases in other body parts.

Take gum disease, for example. Many studies indicate that this oral health problem is connected to chronic illnesses like heart disease, lung infections and problems related to diabetes and pregnancy.

But why do some people (medical and dental practitioners, included) choose to think of oral and overall health as two distinct concepts?

Some experts believe that there is no acceptable reason to view dental and overall health as two different concepts. But the sad fact is that dental coverage from government-sponsored insurance programs think otherwise, as evidenced by the reduced dental benefits for adults.

Some insurance companies do not cover dental care and patients rarely purchase dental insurance. It also does not help that some people are turned off by what they perceive is a steep price tag for dental coverage.

How dental care impacts your overall health 

But various initiatives from around the country show that putting an emphasis on dental care does have a positive impact on overall health.

For example, the University of Pennsylvania collaborated with a dental insurance firm to integrate medical and dental insurance. Later on, it was revealed that making dental examinations accessible reduced annual medical care costs by as much as 40 percent for patients with diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, hospital admissions for patients with type 2 diabetes dropped by 40 percent.

In order to change the perception of dental health as a separate concept from overall health, there are a few key things that need to happen.

First, medical practitioners must move away from the old tradition of keeping dental and physical health separate.

Second, insurance companies must pave the way toward making dental care accessible to a broader number of people.

Third, people must recognize and understand the importance of dental health in one’s overall health. Healthy teeth and a healthy body can bring happiness to your life.

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 to further discuss how to have healthy teeth and a healthy body. .

A Dentist in Burtonsville Shares Dental Care Tips for Parents

Dental Care Tips for ParentsDental Care Tips for Parents

Why do you need to take care of your children’s teeth? Aren’t these going to fall out later on, to be replaced by permanent teeth?

According to Dr. Aaron Nicholas, a trusted dentist in Burtonsville, it is essential to take care of your child’s teeth (and teach him good oral hygiene habits) for two key reasons.

First, your child’s baby teeth are the natural placeholders for his permanent teeth. True, his baby teeth will be soon replaced by permanent teeth. However, if he encounters dental issues while he still has baby teeth or loses these prematurely, these can create dental problems later on.

Second, caring for your child’s teeth and teaching him good oral hygiene underscores the importance of dental care. The habits that your child forms during his younger years will benefit him later in life, well into adulthood.

Here are a few essential dental care tips for parents in order to better care for their young one’s teeth.

You may not readily see your child’s first set of teeth, but they are there. In fact, when a child is born, he already has a set of 20 teeth that can be found below the gums. The first ones usually erupt between the ages of six months and one year old. By the age of three, your child will already have a complete set of teeth.

One thing that parents should be vigilant about is tooth decay. Tooth decay can occur as soon as your little one’s teeth have erupted. If you notice that your baby’s teeth are starting to peek out, you can start brushing his teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.

Brush 

Ideally, you should brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day using an appropriate-sized toothbrush. You do not have to use much toothpaste. For children three years old and younger, the amount of toothpaste you use should be roughly the size of a grain of rice. Once he gets older, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Floss

Children should also have their teeth flossed, either before or after they have their teeth brushed. For children, it is highly recommended that they use a child-friendly plastic flossing tool until they can perform the task on their own.

Regular Dental Visits 

Schedule a child’s first visit to the dentist after his first tooth erupts, but no later than his first birthday. This visit may seem too early but is recommended for a variety of reasons. For one, his dentist can keep his teeth and gums healthy. Parents, on the other hand, can learn invaluable lessons from the dentist. Finally, visiting the dentist as soon as possible will allow your child to gain confidence during his succeeding visits to the dentist.

Lastly, parents should make sure that their young ones drink plenty of water. Water can help reduce cavities.

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

Mercury Free Dentistry | Replacing Old Amalgam Fillings

Mercury Free DentistryEducating Patients on Mercury Free Dentistry

A person’s exposure to environmental toxins increases each year. There is, however, one area where you can control your exposure to these toxins and the dangers they pose to your health – by getting rid of your current mercury amalgam fillings.

Traditional dentists use regular silver fillings. These silver fillings usually contain at least 50% mercury and other metals such as copper, zinc, and tin, and the final product created is called an amalgam. Unfortunately, even the smallest traces of mercury in your dental restorations can be exceptionally harmful to your health. This is because mercury is one of the most toxic naturally occurring substances on earth.

Dangers of Mercury

According to the World Health Organization, silver fillings contribute more mercury to a person’s body than all other sources of mercury combined.  Because of its poisonous characteristic, this dangerous substance can adversely affect a person’s immune, cardiac, respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems. Different studies conducted under laboratory conditions also show that mercury can produce brain cell deterioration identical to the conditions seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Safe Removal of Amalgam

To avoid prolonged mercury exposure and the dangers this substance poses, it is crucial to have your silver fillings removed by experts. Practitioners of mercury free dentistry can safely remove old amalgam and properly perform the replacement procedure.

According to a trusted Burtonsville, MD Dentist, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, the right and safest silver filling removal method should include extracting old fillings in large chunks to reduce the risk of trace mercury contamination, using high-volume suction systems and sterilized water, and the isolation of teeth with a non-latex rubber dam.

Mercury-Free Dental Filling Options

Once the old amalgam has been removed, the dentist will thoroughly clean and carefully inspect your teeth to ensure that any lingering residue or debris is eradicated.

To replace your old fillings, you can choose between composite resin and porcelain inlays. These options not only look natural and more attractive, but they also add strength to a natural tooth. Traditional silver fillings tend to weaken over time and often break easily. Both porcelain inlays and composite resin are also non-toxic; they do not contain mercury and are thus not hazardous to your health, even if they stay in your teeth for a long time.

It is possible to possess a beautiful smile while not contributing to or being exposed to environmental toxins. You can do this by consulting mercury-free dentistry practitioners, who are also called holistic dental specialists. They provide dental treatments and services that will enable you to have a beautiful smile which are also safe for one’s health and do not have any negative impact on the environment.

Contact your local dentist in Burtonsville at Nicholas Dental Care to discuss additional mercury free dentistry options.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Prevent Gum DiseaseHow You Can Prevent Gum Disease

There’s no doubt about it – when you invest in your dental health, you also invest in your total health and well-being, personal relationships, career growth, and the ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

When you take care of your family’s teeth and gums, you are also saving them from the pain and repercussions of acquiring one of the most dreaded consequences of dental health neglect: gum disease.

Plaque Buildup

Also called periodontal disease, gum disease stems from plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria found on the teeth. It forms constantly, thus it needs to be removed regularly through brushing, flossing and professional dental cleaning.

Without proper and consistent oral care, plaque becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, causing infections and inflammation in the gums. This leads to bleeding, weakening of the tooth structure, tooth decay, bad breath, tooth gaps, and eventually, permanent tooth loss.

Preventing gum disease effectively requires a personal commitment to good dental hygiene, and at the same time, investment in quality professional dental care. The following are important steps to keeping yourself and your loved ones away from gum disease.

Be on the lookout for early symptoms

There is a chance for gingivitis, or early stage gum disease, to still be reversed if addressed promptly. So keep an eye out for early signs such as puffy gums and bleeding while brushing. However, in some cases there are no obvious symptoms – you may not be able to see or feel anything at all. That’s why regular dental checkups are important, so the dentist can detect the symptoms that may be seemingly invisible to you.

Brush and floss religiously

The recommendation is to brush at least two times a day and to use floss or interdental cleaners. Dentists often advise patients to go beyond the recommended minimum, especially on the days when you are eating sugary food and beverages.

Make sure you are brushing properly

Incorrect brushing techniques may not be able to do a thorough clean and might leave food particles still stuck in between the teeth. Your dental team can show you the proper brushing angles, movements and timing to make sure you are cleaning your teeth and gums well.

Avoid smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco

Studies have shown that nicotine consumption or exposure can increase the risk of periodontal disease.

Have your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular basis

Do this to deep clean hard-to-reach areas and to eliminate hardened plaque that can’t be removed with regular brushing.

To learn more about how to prevent gum disease, contact your trusted Laurel, MD dentist at Nicholas Dental Care.

Dry Mouth | Facts, Causes & Treatment Options

Dry MouthImportant Facts About Dry Mouth

While it may seem like dry mouth is not that big of an issue, it actually is one of the common reasons for a variety of dental problems. As such, there are various products on the market specifically formulated to treat it.

But what really is the issue and why must people be concerned if they have it? Here are some important facts about dry mouth that will help explain why it requires immediate treatment:

  • Decreased saliva production allows bacteria in the mouth to proliferate so much faster. Due to this, the risk of tooth decay, fungal and viral infections can increase automatically. Saliva is over 99% water, and other components such as proteins and electrolytes provide antimicrobial properties that keep the mouth healthy.
  • About 40% of the adult population over the age of 55 suffers from dry mouth and the majority of them are women. According to a Laurel, MD dentist, women are prone to dry mouth because of frequent hormonal changes.

The following are the most common conditions that result in dry mouth:

  • Aging
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Pregnancy

Serious health conditions that also result in reduced saliva production are the following:

  • Chronic Active Hepatitis
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • HIV
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome

Regularly taking medication is another common reason. Studies reveal that 64% of all episodes are associated with medication use. Currently, there are over 400 medications that are known to adversely impact saliva production.

You know you have dry mouth if you experience any or a combination of the following:

  • Altered or diminished sense of taste
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing (especially in the morning, after a long night of slumber)
  • Difficulty wearing dentures
  • Gingivitis or bad breath
  • Inability to eat certain types of food
  • Increased need to sip or drink fluids when swallowing
  • Oral yeast infections
  • Sleep interruptions because of great thirst
  • Tooth decay

There are foods and beverages that promote this condition. Anything with caffeine or that is a natural diuretic can aggravate dry mouth.

  • Non-acidic candies and sugar-free gum are some of the easiest solutions because they can stimulate saliva production.
  • Smoking is one of the leading causes of reduced saliva production; people with dry mouth are advised to put an end to the habit as part of the treatment.

This condition is no light matter since it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Therefore, if you believe you have dry mouth, consult your Burtonsville dentist and learn what you must do in order to restore the good health of your mouth.