Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums – these are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also begin without any obvious symptoms. If left undiagnosed or untreated, you could be at risk for irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. In fact, one of the most effective tools for preventing the disease only takes a minute of your time each day.
Floss to the Rescue
Dental floss is an effective and easy to use tool that can be among your best defenses for preventing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Even if your daily oral hygiene routine already includes a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day, you should be flossing daily as well. Dental floss is highly effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris and sugars and acids from drinks all day long. Flossing helps to clean out these tough to reach spaces.
Facts Behind Flossing
According to a survey referenced by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans floss each day. The same study showed a clear link between regular intra-oral care and better oral health. Unfortunately, many people also lie about how frequently they clean between their teeth. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27% of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.
Tips for Flossing Correctly
It can be confusing to figure out the best way to use dental floss. Try cutting off about 18 inches of floss and wrapping most of it carefully around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to clean between each pair of teeth. Using your thumb and index finger, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Floss to your gumline, but be gentle. Avoid cutting your gums. Work your way through your 18 inches of floss by using a new, clean section between each pair of adjacent teeth.
It only takes about a minute to floss your teeth each day, but these minutes contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health. Floss is among the most effective tools at your disposal to keep your gums clean and healthy. Get into the habit of flossing your teeth regularly – your gums will thank you.
For seniors, it is imperative that gum health is a top priority. As you age, your risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease increases. Periodontal disease is both preventable, and in many cases, reversible. When left untreated, it can lead to more serious complications such as bloody or swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Even more alarming are the numerous studies connecting periodontal disease to other serious illnesses. Here’s what you need to know about gum health as you age.
Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health
Periodontal disease has been linked to serious health issues. In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of Southampton and King’s College London uncovered a link between periodontal disease and an increase in the rate of cognitive decline in those who suffer from early Alzheimer’s disease. In patients with periodontal disease, the study found cognitive decline underwent a rapid change, occurring six times as fast on average.
Periodontal disease has also been found to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Risk factors for these serious issues increase with age, among other causes, and it is especially important to limit potential risk factors where possible. This can be as easy as improving your gum health with a visit to our office.
The Numbers You Need to Know
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, moderate or severe periodontal disease was found in over 14% of seniors aged 65 to 74. The number increases to more than 20% for those over 75 years of age. Men were found to be more likely than women to have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Smoking was also found to have a significant impact. The same study showed 32% of current smokers had periodontal disease, compared to 14% for those who never smoked.|
Steps You Can Take
As you age, it is essential to keep up with your gum health. Doing so is an important link in lowering your risk factors for other serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, and the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease. You can keep your gums healthy by brushing twice each day for a full two minutes. Be sure to regularly floss your teeth as well. Flossing is an effective way to clean the hard-to-reach cracks and gaps where plaque builds up. Schedule a visit with our team for a complete gum evaluation. We can work with you to devise a course of action to ensure healthy gums.
Your smile is one of the first things a person will notice when you meet. If you would like to improve your smile with a simple procedure, teeth whitening may be a great option for you, especially if you have stained, dull or discolored teeth. Our dental office is providing teeth whitening services to new and existing patients.
Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, over time, discoloration will occur. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well. While preventing tooth discoloration is nearly impossible, our experienced team can help reverse the effects of discoloration by helping to create a whiter and brighter smile.
Whether it’s an in-office treatment or at-home treatment, the principles of teeth whitening are the same. A special whitening agent is applied to the teeth in order to bleach stains and brighten your smile. Our expert dentist will discuss your whitening needs and goals with you to determine which option is best for you.
In-office teeth whitening is the quickest method to a brighter, whiter smile. With the supervision of an experienced dental professional, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than with at-home kits. Optimal results are achieved much faster with the professional whitening treatment, and in many ways the results are much better given the nature of the bleaching agents that are used. On average, patients find they appear up to ten years younger just by restoring the bright, white smile of their youth.
During a professional teeth whitening treatment, we will first clean the teeth. They will apply a whitening agent to your teeth, carefully avoiding your gums and soft tissue. Once applied, a laser light will be directed at the teeth to expedite the process. For maximum results, the process may be repeated more than once.
If a visit to our office for professional whitening isn’t an option for you, at-home treatment may provide the whitening you need. While you will find a vast variety of at-home teeth whitening products on the market, including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, trays and more, we can fit you with custom-made whitening trays that will more accurately fit to your teeth for a more even whitening result.
At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist. While at-home teeth whitening is easy to use, it is not recommended if your teeth or gums are sensitive.
As a parent, the best way to help ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy teeth is to help them establish great dental hygiene habits as they grow.
Here are some useful tips for keeping your child engaged by making dental hygiene fun:
Pick out a special toothbrush.
One great way to keep your child excited about brushing is to allow him or her to choose their own toothbrush in a favorite color or branded with a favorite cartoon character. Child-size soft-bristled brushes come in a wide variety of options designed to make your child like their toothbrush.
Choose children’s toothpaste.
Another great option is to use a toothpaste that is designed for kids. While adults generally prefer the fresh mouth taste of a minty toothpaste, many children find mint to be too powerful a flavor. This can make brushing unpleasant or even painful to sensitive taste buds. Instead, let your child choose a children’s toothpaste. There are many options available in a variety of soft mint, fruity, and bubble gum flavors. It is much easier to keep your child brushing for a full two minutes when their toothpaste tastes good.
Use a timer.
Two minutes can seem like a long time to a child. It can be very difficult for your child to try to estimate or count how long to brush without some kind of visual aid. You can help your child stay more engaged and ensure a full two minutes of brushing by using a timer. Choices range from a small sand timer your child can flip over, to a manual stopwatch with buttons to press, or even an app on a phone or tablet to time digitally (if your child is old enough). By letting your child take control of the timer, they can be more confident and more engaged in their brushing.
A parent is the first and strongest role model for their child. Brushing together can help your child model your great brushing technique, which will improve their own. Additionally, brushing together emphasizes to your child that brushing is important. When your child sees that you take dental hygiene seriously, they are likely to follow suit.