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What's up with my Gums?

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

 

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Periodontal disease or periodontitis is a condition involving the infection of the gums. It can destroy the soft tissue attachments around teeth and, ultimately, cause the supporting bone to melt away. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and may place you at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

What are the symptoms of periodontitis?

Periodontitis can make itself known by swollen, tender, bleeding, reddish or purplish gums. Gums infected with the disease can seem to recede, causing the teeth to seem more prominent than normal. Spaces can also appear between the teeth. In some some cases changes in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together can occur. Pus may ooze between the teeth and gum. People with periodontitis can also have a bad taste in their mouths and bad breath.

What causes periodontitis?

Periodontitis is caused when plaque (the sticky film of bacteria) is left on teeth for too long. The plaque, in due course, gets between the teeth and gums and hardens in the form of tartar. Everyone has some plaque, but plaque can build up quickly from sugary foods and drinks.  At this point, the mildest form of the disease, caused gingivitis, begins to irritate and inflame the part of the gum that is around the base of the teeth. If left unchecked, gingivitis becomes full-bore periodontitis as more plaque, tartar, and bacteria forms in pockets between the gum and teeth. At this point, the soft tissue and bone begin to be destroyed, resulting in possible loss of teeth.

How does one prevent periodontitis?

It seems like a cliché imparted in every dentist’s office on the planet, but regular brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent any kind of disease of the teeth and gums. Plaque constantly builds up, so it constantly needs to be brushed and flossed away.

Why are people who have periodontitis more at risk for heart disease and strokes?

Researchers have noted that periodontitis makes one more prone to heart disease and strokes. The theory is that the same bacteria that destroys the gums and underlying bones can travel through the bloodstream and attach themselves on the plaque in blood vessels. This, in turn, causes inflammation and the creation of clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. Also, people with periodontitis may have compromised immune systems that can also lead to cardiovascular disease.

How is periodontitis treated?

Your dentist will perform the diagnosis based evaluation of pockets between the gums and the teeth and bone level on x-rays. If it is determined you have periodontitis, you may be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) or if the disease has not progressed too far, you may be treated conservatively.

Scaling and root planing will be used to remove plaque and tartar from beneath the gums. You may be prescribed a course of antibiotics.

If your periodontitis is advanced, a number of surgical procedures are available to reduce the pockets where bacteria have grown and to restore, to some extent, the soft tissue and bone that have been destroyed by the disease.

Whatever your dentist recommends, you will be advised to begin a rigorous regimen of tooth brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal. Periodontal disease often cannot be cured, but, just like high blood pressure, it can usually be controlled through excellent home care and professional periodontal cleanings three or four times a year.

 

Peter J. Samuels is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.

717-334-0555   GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Periodontal Disease

Health Risks Related to Gum Disease

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

 

 

Gum Disease Dentist

 

Often times when we think of a healthy mouth, the first thing that springs to mind is a sparkling, white smile. What we might not consider, however, is the role our gums play in our oral health. Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is linked to a host of other health concerns. In fact, increasingly more research shows that the inflammation and bacteria associated with gum disease is likely related to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. In short, poor oral health can jeopardize your overall health. Below we will discuss some of the health risks relating to gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Although a cause and effect relationship has yet to be established, there's a growing body of evidence suggesting the two are linked. People who have gum disease are more likely to have heart problems, including heart attacks. The common denominator, experts believe, is inflammation. In 2009, the American Academy of Periodontology and The American Journal of Cardiology released a paper suggesting that cardiologists ask their patients about prior gum disease and that periodontists gather patients' family heart history.

Periodontal Disease and Dementia

It may seem like an odd association, but researchers have also found a link between gum disease and dementia. Individuals who suffer from gum disease may have an increased risk of dementia later in life. 

Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Those who suffer from diabetes are more likely to have gum disease. Inflammation is probably at least partly to blame for the connection. Additionally, individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to infections in general, including periodontal disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

At first glance, it might seem strange to link an oral disease to a type of arthritis. However, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by painful joints-- and inflammation. In fact, chronic inflammation is a common denominator in both rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease. People with RA may be more likely to also suffer from gum disease than the general population.

 

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.  He may be contacted at 717-334-0555. GettysburgFamilyDentist.com

Topics: Diabetes and dentistry, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease

Save Money on your Dental Treatment!

Posted by Peter Samuels on Fri, Jul 4, 2014 @ 19:07 PM

 Affordable dental care

Dental bills can add up, especially if you don’t have a good benefit plan. But fret not, there are ways to reduce your dental bills. If prevention is better than cure, than taking preventive measures while you can is better than fixing poor oral health. Fixing dental caries, periodontal disease, gum disease, chipped or neglected teeth can be expensive. But you don’t have to put yourself in that position; the truth is most oral problems are preventable. Here are some simple yet smart ways to save on dental treatment.

Good Oral Hygiene

Keeping a clean mouth is possible with some due diligence. A mouth given to neglect will encourage bacteria growth, plaque buildup and tartar on the gum line. Ask any dentist (or your mother) and they’ll tell you that oral hygiene is the first line of defense against poor oral health. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily.  It’s really that simple!

Use Fluoride

Many municipal water supplies add fluoride to help oral health. Fluoride works to prevent tooth decay and strengthen developing teeth in children. Using a toothpaste or mouth rinse with fluoride is highly beneficial. Talk to your dentist about your fluoride needs – whether you need fluoride supplements or prescription fluoride products to protect your teeth since everyone is different in their dental needs.

Healthy Lifestyle

Is your lifestyle ruining your teeth? Do you smoke? Drink too much alcohol? Use chewing tobacco? Sip cola drinks during the day? These unhealthy habits can put your oral health at risks. For instance, tobacco products increase the risks of oral cancer, gum disease, bad breath and tooth discoloration. Too much sugar in the mouth encourages the production of acids and, together with the bacteria in the mouth, they may trigger tooth decay and the beginning of gum disease. Cola drinks are highly acidic and will break down the tooth enamel.   The better alternative and the cheaper route to go? Eat a balanced diet, focusing on plenty of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and limit snacking.

Regular Checkups

Have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist at least twice a year.  Personally, this Gettysburg dentist has his teeth cleaned 4 times a year and so, probably, should many adults!   Because tartar buildup cannot be removed with regular brushing, professional cleaning is imperative to prevent gum disease. Regular checkups with occasional, digital, cavity detecting  X-rays will reveal any beginning dental problems and help the dentist prescribe easy proactive action.Research has shown that poor dental health may be linked to various diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dentists are trained to spot early signs in the mouth that may indicate disease elsewhere.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure is the takeaway lesson. Invest your time and money to maintain good oral health and you’ll never have to worry about spending big bucks in the long run. For more information on maintaining oral health, contact us. If you don't have insurance, we offer an in-house dental plan with significant savings.

Peter Samuels, DDS is a local Gettysburg dentist and a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School.

Topics: Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist

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 Periodontal Disease and your heart

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 @ 16:03 PM

 

 

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Can your mouth tell on you? An eye doctor can effectively look inside the eye and tell what health conditions you have. Can your Gettysburg dentist look inside your mouth and warn you of certain health risks? Recent studies suggest that common problems such as cavities, missing teeth and periodontal disease may be linked to heart disease. The American Academy of Periodontology warned that people with periodontal disease may be twice as likely to have heart disease complications.

If you crunch some numbers--heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women, claiming as many as one million lives annually-- this piece of enlightenment may have far-reaching implications. Can periodontal disease increase risks of heart disease and will preventing or treating periodontal disease help to reduce risks of heart disease? While the answer is not as simple as stating it in an equation, here are some information to consider.

Oral Bacteria May Cause Narrowing of arteries

Periodontal disease results from unchecked bacterial activity in the mouth. Neglect or poor oral hygiene cause plaque (a sticky clear residue of bacteria, acid and food particles) to build up around the gums surrounding the teeth, causing inflammation and eventually destroying the structure that holds up the teeth. The bacteria don't just stay in the mouth, they may enter the blood stream through the gums. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria may deposit themselves on the fatty plaque already in the bloodstream, narrowing and hardening the blood vessels. This buildup will eventually block the flow of blood, increasing risks of heart attack or stroke.

Oral Bacteria May Trigger Inflammation

Inflammation has been blamed for a number of diseases, including heart disease, arthritis and periodontal disease. When the body fights against invading bacteria, inflammation (together with swelling) often results. Applies this logic to oral bacteria traveling through the body—they trigger inflammation, causing the blood cells to swell and clog the arteries. Narrowing of the arteries increases cardiovascular risks.

Although the exact dynamics of the connection need more investigation, the correlation is still important in the overall health picture. Since the symptoms of heart disease don’t necessarily show up in the early stages, such as the hardening and narrowing of arteries, any other telltale signs help. For instance, it's easier to spot bleeding gums and check for other related health risks, including heart disease.

If keeping your mouth healthy may reduce risks of heart disease, contact us at Samuels Dental Arts P.C.
 
for a comprehensive oral exam to determine the state of your oral health.

Topics: Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg, holistic dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Gum Disease and Diabetes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 @ 14:02 PM

Gettysburg Dentist Gum Disease

 


 

Various population studies indicate a strong relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. These two chronic and highly prevalent diseases work like a tandem bicycle, one affects the other and vice versa. People with periodontal disease have a harder time controlling their blood glucose level and, conversely, patients with diabetes are more susceptible to infection, which can further complicate periodontal disease. In recent years, researchers and dentists have been able to understand a little more of the complicated puzzle to better treat periodontal disease. Recent development may shed more light on how to manage periodontal disease and in so doing, keep diabetes in check.

Nonsurgical Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease (due to unchecked oral bacteria) that works to destroy the tissues and bones that support the teeth. If left unattended, the disease can inflict eventual tooth loss. In the early stages of periodontal disease, nonsurgical treatments are used for damage control and to prevent progression. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, basic nonsurgical procedures did not improve the glycemic control of patients with type-2 diabetes. However, there is evidence that more proactive intensive periodontal treatment may be effective in glycemic control.

In the above research, 500 patients were divided into two groups. One group had basic periodontal treatments done such as scaling, root planing and an oral rinse, followed by further periodontal treatment after three and six months. The other group received no treatment at all. After six months, the group receiving treatment showed improvement in the gum disease, but no visible improvement in their blood-sugar control.

In the light of recent developments, one thing remains constant: prevention is better than cure. The perennial, old fashioned method of diligent oral care remains your best defense against periodontal disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommend daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and quitting tobacco use.Patients with diabetes should also receive annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation (includes thorough assessment of periodontal health and any other risk factors).

Do your body a favor.  Keep your teeth and gums healthy.  Call us today for a visit with a Gettysburg hygienist.

Topics: Dentist in Gettysburg, Gum Disease, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

Gum Disease May Increase Certain Health Risks

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 @ 14:01 PM

Gettysburg dentist gum disease


 

Gum disease is the result of unchecked bacterial activities in the mouth causing inflammation of the gums and tissues that surround and support the teeth resulting in eventual tooth loss. But its devastating effects are not just confined to the mouth. Various studies reveal a frightening correlation: a number of health risks may be related to gum disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. 

Endocarditis

The bacteria in the mouth don’t just stay in the mouth cavity. Bacteria may enter the blood stream via the infected gum and attached themselves to the damaged areas of the heart. When that happens, the inner lining of the heart becomes infected resulting in endocarditis. If it's left untreated, it may cause damage or destroy the heart value. 

Cardiovascular Disease

Those suffering from gum disease are twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease because bacteria in the mouth may cause the hardening of arteries. There are two possibilities. In the first possibility,  the bacteria traveling through the blood stream may stick to the fatty plaques already in the blood stream, bulking it up and narrowing the arteries in the process. The other possibility, and the more current of the two, has to do with the body’s response to invading bacteria in the blood stream. It triggers inflammation, thereby causing the blood cells to swell and narrow the arteries.

Diabetes

Does gum disease compound diabetes or does diabetes contribute to gum disease? The chicken-and-egg question remains open to debate but one thing is clear: research shows that gum disease and diabetes are closely linked. Those with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar level, which may lead to more diabetes complications. Conversely, diabetes makes the body more susceptible to infection, gum included.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, the disease that leads to bone loss, may also affect the bone in the jaw. When the density of the bone in the jaw decreases, it becomes unstable and loses its ability to support the teeth.

Respiratory Disease

People with gum disease are also more susceptible to respiratory disease as bacteria in the oral cavity may be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory complications and chronic lung conditions such as emphysema.

Other Diseases

Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Sjogren's syndrome (an immune disorder), complications in people suffering from HIV/AIDS, even premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to gum disease.

If gum disease increases certain health risks, it is paramount to maintain good oral health by exercising oral hygiene and having regular dental checkups. Call us today for a comprehensive exam. 

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, Dentist in Gettysburg, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

What You Should Know About Periodontal Disease Before It's Too Late

Posted by Peter Samuels on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

gum disease Gettysburg

 

Periodontal disease affects the gum and compromises the bone supporting the teeth. In full-blown cases, this silent but insidious disease may lead to eventual tooth loss. One out of two Americans, aged 30 and older, suffer from some form of periodontal disease, according to the Center for Disease Control. Given the preponderance of periodontal cases, how can you prevent periodontal disease? If knowledge is power, knowing how periodontal disease comes about and how you can prevent it is key to keeping it at bay. Let’s find out:

How It All Started

Just like a few little termites can eventually bring down the house by reproducing more termites to eat at the foundation of the house, periodontal disease begins small too. First, poor oral hygiene may give it fuel. Bacteria (together with food particles) in the mouth deposit a clear, slimy layer on the teeth, called plaque. If it’s not removed by tooth brushing or flossing, they hardened and form tartar (not the cream of tartar, but nasty gum-ruining tartar). Tartar can be stubborn and can only be removed with the help of professional cleaning.

Progression to Gingivitis

If plaque is left to fester, it wrecks damage. The bacteria inherent in plaque may cause gum inflammation, causing the gum to become red, swollen and to bleed easily. The dentist refers to this mild form of periodontal disease as gingivitis. It’s the beginning of the slide, unless you seek dental treatment right away.

Periodontal Disease

Unless gingivitis is taken care of, the plaque will continue its sure and sly work, causing the gum to pull away from the teeth, leaving “pockets” between the gum and the teeth, opening it up to infection. As the body tries to fight off these bacterial invasion of the gums, bacteria toxins formed and they break down the bone and connective tissue in the process. If it’s left unchecked, they will gradually destroy the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth. The sad result? Loss of teeth.

How can you make sure you’re not a victim of periodontal disease?

Watch out for these telltale signs: perpetual bad breath, red, swollen gums that bleed easily, receding gums, longer-looking teeth, loose or sensitive teeth. If you’ve any of these symptoms, a visit to the dentist is necessary, even crucial.

Because periodontal disease can inflict serious damage in the long run, nipping it in the bud is your best bet. Call us today for a comprehensive dental exam.

Peter J. Samuels, DDS is a an instructor at the University of Maryland Dental School and a local Gettysburg dentist.  GettysburgFamilyDentist.com  334-0555

Submitted by Peter J. Samuels, DDS

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, Dentist in Gettysburg, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Periodontal Disease

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 @ 14:12 PM

Gettysburg dentist gum disease

 


 

Periodontal disease affects gum tissue and bone supporting the teeth, resulting in red and swollen gums, bad breath, receding gums and loose teeth. Left untreated, it is the major cause of tooth loss. An increasing body of studies reveal that periodontal disease may be linked to a number of major diseases including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis and cancer. Considering that one out of two American adults, aged 30 and over, suffer from some form of periodontal disease, understanding how periodontal disease is related to other health risks  is crucial.

Diabetes

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, diabetes increases the risk of periodontal disease. Impaired blood flow that comes with diabetes may weaken gums and bone and make them more susceptible to infection. In addition, higher glucose levels in the mouth fluids make it ideal for bacteria to flourish, further encouraging gum disease. The reverse may be true as well. Research has also shown that periodontal disease may also complicate diabetes, making it difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

Heart Disease

Evidence suggests that people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. While the cause and effect is still unclear, scientists believe that inflammation may be blamed for the strong correlation. Bacteria from the mouth may enter the blood stream and deposit in the arteries, thereby blocking blood flow. Another possibility is that the bacteria may trigger the body’s natural defense mechanism to kick in, resulting in inflammation and blocking of blood arteries.

Osteoporosis

Bone loss associated with osteoporosis is often blamed for diminished stature or hip fracture but it is also linked to bone loss in the jaw. The National Institutes of Health revealed a greater propensity to lose jaw bone if you have osteoporosis.

Respiratory Disease

Bacteria in the oral cavity may be aspirated into the lungs and cause complications such as pneumonia and pulmonary embolism.

Cancer

Yes, it’s linked to the dreaded disease as well. Men with advanced periodontal disease have a 63% higher incidence of pancreatic cancer. Even moderate periodontal disease may increase lung, kidney and blood cancer by 14%.

If periodontal disease is linked to major systemic diseases, it’s paramount to maintain good oral health. Visit your dentist regularly for periodic checkup and routine cleaning. Keeping periodontal disease at arm’s length will greatly improve your overall health.

 

Topics: dentist, Dentist in Gettysburg, Periodontal Disease, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

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