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What is gum disease?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 15:05 PM

 

 

 

Gum disease

 

 

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal an alarming truth: By the time you’re 30, you stand a 50 percent chance of developing periodontal disease. The risk increases with age; in adults 65 or older, the rate rises to almost 70 percent. If you crunch the numbers, you’ll realize that periodontal disease is dangerously prevalent. Periodontal disease will eventually destroy the connective tissue, bone and gums in the mouth, leading to the loss of teeth. What can you do to stop periodontal disease in its track? Get rid of habits that promote periodontal disease. Here are five habits that can put you at risks or aggravate the condition.

Does smoking cause gum disease?

If you smoke, you’re more likely to develop periodontal disease. Tobacco impairs blood supply to gums and reduces inflammatory and immune responses to toxins generated by periodontal disease. Result? Bacteria multiply and speed up the progress of periodontal disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, smoking increases pocket formation (a symptom of periodontal disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth) and promotes attachment loss. So what type of smoking is detrimental to periodontal disease? Cigar, pipe, water-pipe and cannabis smoking have similar effects on periodontal disease as cigarette smoking. To make matters worse, smoking also interferes with non-surgical and surgical treatments of periodontal disease. To improve your odds of preventing periodontal disease, it’s imperative to quit smoking.

How does sugar hurt my teeth?

Have a sweet tooth? If you enjoy eating foods high in sugar content, you may be doing your teeth a disservice. Much has been said about sugar and dental caries, but a sweet mouth environment may fuel bacteria activity linked to periodontal disease. Bacteria feast off the sugar and multiply. They interact with the mucus in the mouth to create plaque. When plaque is not brushed away, it hardens into tartar and tartar is known for destroying the connective tissue in the mouth. The ensuing scenario is not pretty—once the connective tissue is destroyed, tooth loss may result.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If there’s one overriding habit that encourages periodontal disease, it is poor oral hygiene. Oral neglect over time can negatively impact dental health. Bacteria flourish, plaque forms, tartar builds up and these factors work to destroy the gums and connective tissue. To fight periodontal disease on the frontline, brush and floss twice daily and rinse your mouth after meals to flush out any sugary residue. Dentists also recommend regular professional cleaning and routine checkups.

What diseases affect gums?

While the studies are still inconclusive, there is some evidence that certain diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular health can increase the risks of periodontal disease and vice versa. While the cause and effect are hard to pinpoint, one thing is certain—it’s crucial to maintain good general health to increase your chance of fighting periodontal disease.

These are just a few habits that can increase risk of periodontal disease. For more information on how you can prevent periodontal disease, contact us.

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Gum disease and diabetes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 @ 18:04 PM

 

Gum disease and diabetes

On their own, gum disease and diabetes are pretty serious conditions. When they go hand in hand, they're even worse. But what is the connection? How does one relate to the other?

Gingival disease is considered a potential complication of diabetes. If your blood sugar is not controlled, you are at a greater risk for gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In turn, tooth loss causes the jaw bone to shrink. This can throw your whole bite off, called malocclusion, and that can open up a whole host of problems ranging from the merely uncomfortable to the downright painful.

Diabetes can cause a thickening of the blood vessels. This hampers the body's ability to get the necessary nutrients to the right places. It also restricts the flushing out of natural waste material in the blood, which greatly reduces your gums' ability to fight off infection.

Sugar is a great attractant for bacteria. Glucose in particular is a big breeding ground for bacteria. As a diabetic, your body is a haven as the bacteria will be attracted to the glucose in your body. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria builds up on your teeth and gums and look for any way in. A weakened defense system will let them in quite handily.

Finally, if you have diabetes and you smoke, you're hitting your poor gums with a double-whammy. As well as the weakening of the gums from diabetes-related complications, smoking further weakens the body's defense systems. The accelerated build-up of tartar combines with the destruction of gum tissue and leaves your mouth open to bacteria and other infections.

The best way to mitigate this damage is to follow your doctor's instructions about your diabetes and your dentist's instructions on your oral care. Though you may not think about your gums much, any compromising of your gums' health can lead to worse conditions that could include heart disease. To maintain healthy gums, brush and floss twice daily and see your dentist regularly. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Periodontal Disease, Dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist Discusses the History of Toothpaste

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 17:02 PM

 

Gettysburg Dentist


 

Way before there were dentists or dental hygienists, people found a need to keep their teeth clean. Dental hygiene may have been crude, but not without some degree of ingenuity. As always, the focus on preventive dental hygiene remains paramount. The history of toothpaste revealed some interesting developments as mankind searched for the ultimate toothpaste to banish stain, toothaches and bad breath.

The oldest record of toothpaste was found written on a piece of dusty papyrus in a Viennese museum, dating as  far back as 300-500 B.C. An ancient Egyptian scribe recorded the formula for a “powder for white and perfect teeth.” The list of ingredients included rock salt, mint, dried iris flower and pepper, all crushed together for that magic effect. Other accounts detailed the use of less savory ingredients such as oxen hooves, egg shells, pumice and myrrh (thrown in to offset the smell, for sure).

Separate records dating back to more than 6,000 years ago reveal interesting development in the quest for better oral health in various cultures. In China, they utilized an assortment of twigs and bones, mashed and then mixed with water, salt and flower petals to form a thick paste. They used the sharp edge of bamboo leaf to apply paste to the teeth.

In India, they drew upon their strong Ayurvedic background and came out with a clever way of sprucing up their dental health—they used special twigs filled with sweet nectar. They figured that by chewing on these “tasty” twigs, the abrasive nature of the twigs would clean the teeth and dislodge any unwelcome food particles.

In Greece and Rome, they also found the need for abrasive ingredients, using crushed bones and oyster shells. They also used various flavorings to freshen up breath such as charcoal and bark.

As ingenious as these powders and pastes were, they remained crude and the abrasive ingredients may not be very friendly to tooth enamel and gums. In the 1800’s, soap was used to try to mitigate some of the abrasive nature of these pastes.  An actual paste sold in jar became commercially available and, in 1873, Colgate decided to mass produce the toothpaste, as we know today.

Over the years, with research and experimentation, toothpaste has become less abrasive. More synthetic ingredients were added such as sodium lauryl sulfate as a foaming agent and sweeteners to make tooth brushing a more pleasant experience. The 1950’s and 1960’s saw the addition of fluoride for better dental health and from then on, toothpaste took on more sophistication with the use of additives such as gels and whitening agents. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth, toothpaste to whiten and brighten teeth, and toothpaste to strengthen enamel, the choices are as varied as the needs of the populace.

Toothpaste will continue to evolve, with more emphasis on preventing dental decline. To keep your dental health in optimal condition, it is important to get regular checkups and professional cleaning. Contact us today for all your dental needs. 

 

Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry, dentist, Dental Hygiene, Dentist in Gettysburg, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

A visit to the dentist or dental hygienist; it could help spare you a heart attack

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 @ 10:11 AM

   

Scientists and physicians are beginning to change their minds about what’s most likely to put patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease. For some time now, the key factors were believed to be things like heredity, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle, age and obesity. But now a new component is beginning to emerge as possibly the most critical of them all: inflammation.

Inflammation can be the result of an infected wound. But a more common—and more persistent form—originates not on the skin but inside the mouth. Dentists call this periodontitis, perio, or simply, gum disease.

While periodontitis may result in tooth loss—which is bad enough—we’re discovering apparent links between perio and problems in other parts of the body including diabetes, heart disease, and complications of pregnancy like low-birth weight babies.

Although the jury is still out and the relationships are complex, the essence of the problem is this: periodontitis is an infection that can be picked up by the blood in the gums (and there’s plenty there) and spread where it can do additional dirty work. That’s why stopping the spread of perio—or better, preventing it in the first place—is important for reasons that go way beyond saving teeth.

 

Perio and the Heart

 

Studies in Finland noted that heart attack patients tended to have more severe oral infections like tooth decay and gum disease. Another study, following healthy patients over an 18-year period, suggested gum disease sufferers were twice as likely to die of a heart attack and nearly three times as likely to die of stroke. Other studies suggest that periodontitis is associated not only with heart attack and stroke, but is linked to a thickening of the artery wall, which typically hastens heart attack.

 

Protect Your Gums

 

Recently, oral biologists at the University of Buffalo have shown that levels of two inflammatory proteins known to raise the risk of heart disease can be reduced substantially by regularly treating inflamed gums. Blood samples drawn from patients with high levels of C-reactive protein (a known heart disease risk) and fibrinogen (which can promote blood clotting) were observed and reduced over 12 months simply through aggressive treatment of gum disease. This is exciting news!

                We’re learning more about the relationship between inflammation, sore gums, teeth, heart disease, and other ailments every single day. We’re also learning what an additionally harmful effect tobacco use has on these relationships.

 

Gum Disease plus Smoking

 

Within the past few years, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D., issued a report which, in part, concluded “evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between smoking and periodontitis”—not to mention cancer of the oral cavity.

                Do you smoke? Do you have sore, inflamed gums? Are you worried about your heart’s health, and how much time may still be available to enjoy your life and family?

 

What to Do

 

Fighting periodontal disease through outstanding daily hygiene and regular dental appointments is a three-for-the-price-of-one proposition: protect your gums, protect your teeth, and protect your health in general. If it’s been a while since your last dental examination, let the dentists and hygienists at Samuels Dental Arts P.C. help you!  Give one of our friendly ladies a call at 717-778-4268.

 

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

Flossing: Are You Guilty of Ignoring It?

Posted by Julie Berger on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 @ 15:07 PM

Recent studies have shown that a great many Americans are ignoring a simple activity that will keep their smiles looking gorgeous, help prevent cavities, reduce tooth loss, and – as many dentists and physicians believe – significantly reduce the chances of heart disease and strokes.

Though a large majority of patients swear they do this simple activity, according to the American Dental Association, more than 90% of Americans don’t!  What is that simple activity?  That’s easy – it’s flossing your teeth!  And just remember, a quick and strenuous attempt to floss right before your visit to our office doesn’t fool us!  Please continue reading – it can change your life!

Flossing is the absolute best method of cleaning bacteria and debris from the spaces in between your teeth and underneath your gums.  Left alone, that harmful film can cause cavities and gum disease, as it eats away at the bone that actually holds your teeth in place and causes your teeth to loosen and, sooner or later, be lost.  What’s worse, recent research has linked gum disease to heart disease and strokes.   But there’s hope for everyone!

Most activities require practice and patience.  You couldn’t play a musical instrument without practice and, more often than not, academic or professional tutelage.  You probably never solved a complex puzzle the very first time you sat down to try it.  And though flossing is certainly much easier than either of the aforementioned activities, far too many people try it just a few times and then give up in frustration believing that they can’t, and never will, do it correctly. But with a little patience and practice you definitely can!  And some of the better flosses in stores today make it so much easier than it has ever been in the past.

We at Samuels Dental Arts want you to keep your beautiful teeth for the rest of your life and maintain the best overall good health possible. Doing so involves flossing – remember, that simple activity – every day. We’re here to help you! Feel free to call us at (717) 778-4268 and we will arrange for one of our friendly, professional dental team members to give you a personal lesson. Or simply ask during one of your regular appointments.  We know that flossing correctly takes practice. But with the proper technique and commitment you’ll be a pro – and maintaining your beautiful smile and overall good health. Don’t wait another day! Call us today for more information. Your life and your smile are worth it!

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Flossing, General Dentistry, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

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