What is Gum Disease and How Do You Treat It?

Gum Disease TreatmentGum disease is one of the most common dental problems in adults today, causing more tooth loss than even the dreaded decay and cavities. While it’s a condition that most of the population will suffer from at some stage, treatment is highly effective, and so long as the problem is caught fairly early on, it can be dealt with before major damage or tooth loss occurs.

Two Types of Gum Disease and Their Symptoms

The two main conditions that come under the banner of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontal disease, which are both results of the same overall problem. Gingivitis is the earlier stage of the complaint, where the gums become inflamed, sore, and swollen. This often makes them bleed, especially during brushing or when eating. Gingivitis can also be accompanied by bad breath, although this can also be caused by many other complaints and on its own is not a reliable symptom.

If gingivitis is left unchecked, it can develop into the much more serious periodontal disease which is where the risk of tooth loss really begins. With this condition, the inflammation can move down into the teeth roots and even the jawbone, where it can often lie undetected and symptom-free.

Sometimes periodontal disease shows itself through a pus discharge coming from the gums, or by the appearance of abscesses, but for many sufferers the first real sign is when the damage has progressed far enough to cause loose or wobbly teeth. This means that any symptoms of gum disease should be taken very seriously, even if they may only signify the less damaging gingivitis, so that the condition can be caught early.

Gum Disease Treatment

The underlying cause of gum disease is poor dental hygiene. If your brushing and flossing regime doesn’t remove enough of the natural plaque build up from your teeth, some of the bacteria that it contains can begin to cause gum irritation which is the first step towards full gum disease. Even once gum disease has started, an improvement in plaque removal will stop gingivitis from progressing and in most cases will begin to clear the symptoms.

If you’re afflicted by gingivitis, your dentist will give your teeth a thorough clean to completely remove the plaque, and advise you on the best ways to improve your dental hygiene in future.

Periodontal disease is more difficult to treat as the problem has already gone deeper into your dental structures. In many cases, your dentist will need to carry out a procedure known as ‘root planing’ to clear the deep bacterial infection. This will normally be carried out under a local anesthetic and will leave the treated areas feeling a little tender for a few days, although the success levels of the treatment are very high.

After the Treatment

As stated, the main cause of gum disease is a build-up of plaque and certain types of the bacteria it contains, and so proper oral hygiene will prevent gingivitis returning and progressing into periodontal disease. This will include thorough brushing, flossing, and the use of an antibacterial mouthwash on a regular basis, upon all of which your dental surgeon will be an excellent source of advice.

The most important thing with gum disease is to catch it early, before it causes any real damage. If you spot any of the signs, no matter how minor, you should arrange a visit to your dental surgery as soon as possible.

5 Things You Need to Stop Doing to Your Teeth

Tooth brushing techniqueIt’s surprising how many people are committing dental infractions without knowing it. You might think you’re taking relatively good care of your teeth, but chances are good you’re doing at least a couple of things wrong. If you want to prevent stern looks at your next dental check-up, you might want to stop doing the following five things:

  1. If you’re brushing your teeth in a back-and-forth motion, you’re doing it wrong. Teeth should always be brushed in a smooth, circular motion.
  2. Flossing your teeth after brushing makes no sense. The whole point of brushing your teeth is to clean away debris and surface gunk. If you’re flossing your teeth after brushing, you’re just dislodging more debris.
  3. For those of you who hold your toothbrush flat against your teeth, your brushing technique needs an upgrade. Your toothbrush should be held at an angle so the bristles aren’t flat against your teeth.
  4. Speaking of bristles, if you use a firm toothbrush you could be causing damage to your gums. Opt for a medium or soft-bristled brush to keep your gums in optimal condition.
  5. Neglecting to brush your teeth before bed is a big mistake. Brushing and gargling in the morning is great; it helps you to face your day feeling fresh. Choosing to go to bed without clearing the day’s debris off your teeth is like eating a meal off of dirty dishes from the day before.

Paying attention to the basics of mouth maintenance will help you keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. Visits to your dentist every six months can help with things like teeth cleanings and gum disease prevention. Will you be adjusting the way you take care of your teeth based upon the above-listed dental don’ts?

At-Home Dental Cleaning Tips

Woman Flossing TeethEveryone knows that a visit to the dentist can help to keep your teeth cleaner, but it certainly isn’t enough to prevent tooth decay or gum disease. The first step to a healthy, functional mouth and a beautiful smile that glistens with natural whiteness is to follow several important at-home dental cleaning strategies.

Rinse after Every Meal, Snack, or Sugary Beverage

While most people won’t think about rinsing the mouth after meals, it is one of the best at-home dental cleaning strategies. Rinsing your mouth with water helps to remove food particles and sugary residue that can eat away at tooth enamel. While brushing is important, most people eat/drink more than three times a day, so rinsing can help prevent decay.

Brush Your Teeth after Meals

While the best strategy is to simply brush your teeth after every meal, it simply isn’t possible for most people. Nonetheless, it is essential that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, while also following the remaining at-home dental cleaning strategies.

Choose the Right Kind of Toothpaste

It is really important that you pick quality toothpaste made by a reputable brand. You want toothpaste that is going to work well not only in cleaning food debris from your teeth, but also in offering your teeth extra benefits such as fluoride protection or tartar control. No matter how many at-home dental cleaning strategies you intend to use, this one is critical if you want your teeth to last throughout your entire lifetime.

Floss Every Day

Brushing your teeth is a great way to remove food particles on the exposed surfaces of your teeth. However, the places in between your teeth meet are usually impossible to reach with your toothbrush, so you need to use floss to remove food that becomes trapped there. If you don’t floss, plaque can build up in between your teeth, spreading to the gum line as well as to other surfaces of the teeth. Flossing daily is a great at-home dental cleaning tip that can help to save your teeth from decay.

Should I Use Fluoridated Toothpaste for My Child?

Fluoridated Toothpaste and ChildrenProtecting your teeth against decay is a task that requires brushing, flossing, rinsing, and visiting a dental provider on an annual basis. Many municipalities provide fluoridated drinking water in order to help strengthen the teeth of the residents. Unfortunately, fluoridated drinking water alone isn’t enough to keep the teeth healthy and strong. A good diet that is low in sugars, starches, and acids is important too. Plus, there’s children’s fluoridated toothpaste and mouth washes to consider for an extra advantage against cavities. Nonetheless, fluoridated toothpaste for children should be used in moderation in order to prevent dental fluorosis, a particularly painful condition.

When Should You Begin to Use Fluoridated Toothpaste for Children?

Most guidelines suggest that you begin to use fluoridated toothpaste for your children between the ages of three and six. It is not recommended for use at an earlier age primarily because toddlers have a tendency to swallow toothpaste. Even at the ages of 3, 4, 5, and 6, parents should continue to assist their children with brushing their teeth in order to minimize the risk of having them swallow it.

Can Fluoridated Toothpaste Cause Dental Fluorosis or Is That a Myth?

The use of fluoridated toothpaste for children can lead to dental fluorosis. It’s not a myth. It does happen. In fact, the possibility of having your child develop dental fluorosis increases with each swallow of children’s fluoridated toothpaste. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use this type of toothpaste with your child. It only means that you should monitor its use in order to ensure that your child doesn’t swallow it.

Why Are My Teeth Yellow Even Though I Keep Them Clean?

Yellow Teeth from SmokingIt can be disheartening to watch your teeth slowly turning yellow even though you brush them every day. Fortunately, there are both lifestyle changes and dental treatments that can help to restore the color of your smile. Follow the three steps given below to address the causes of yellow teeth and start to recover your bright white smile.

Stop Smoking

If you smoke, then you will have a difficult struggle on your hands to try to keep your teeth white. Even if you have your teeth professionally whitened, they will gradually regain their yellow stains if you continue to smoke. Kicking the habit, or at least cutting down the number of cigarettes that you smoke, is one of the best ways to address the problem of yellow teeth.

Choose Your Drinks Carefully

Certain beverages can have a very negative impact on the color of your teeth. The three liquids that cause the most staining are black tea, coffee and red wine. These beverages contain chemicals known as tannins, which provide their rich flavor. However, tannins also cause significant tooth staining.

You can dampen down the staining power of coffee and tea by adding a splash of milk. Meanwhile, white wine could be a good alternative to red wine as it causes less staining.

Consuming a lot of carbonated drinks such as cola can also cause teeth to appear yellow. The acids in these soft drinks erode the protective enamel that covers teeth, allowing the underlying dentin to show through. Cutting down on these drinks is important to prevent enamel erosion and keep your teeth healthy and white.

Speak to Your Dentist

Your dentist can advise you about how to improve the color of your teeth, whether the discoloration is caused by staining or by thin enamel. For many people, a simple cosmetic whitening procedure can dramatically improve the color of their teeth. Book an appointment with a dentist to find out what the best options are for you.

East Charlotte Dental’s Holiday Hours

East Charlotte Dental Holiday HoursWe wanted to let you know our hours for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Christmas Hours

We will be closing on December 23rd at 3:00 P.M. and will be closed all day December 24th and 25th for the Christmas holiday. We will reopen on December 28th for regular business hours.

New Year’s Hours

For the New Year’s holiday we will close at Noon on December 31st and will open on January 4th for regular hours.

Please give us a call with any questions. We wish you all a very joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

How to Feel More Confident About Your Teeth

How to Feel More Confident about Your TeethYour smile is one of the most important assets that you have. In fact, confidence in your teeth is as important for your level of self-esteem as it is for how you feel about your smile and the way that you look. Having a great smile becomes more difficult as time passes, so it is important to keep up with all of the available strategies for keeping your teeth looking wonderfully bright and straight.

Get Whitening Treatments for Greater Confidence in Your Teeth

Foods and beverages can stain your teeth so much that they lose their natural whiteness and beauty. Brushing harder won’t solve the problem either. If you brush too hard, you might even wear off some of your tooth enamel. Instead, why not visit a dentist who offers teeth whitening treatments? Your smile will regain its natural beauty, and you will have confidence in your teeth once again.

Do a Better Job Brushing for Greater Confidence in Your Teeth

Whether you are in a hurry to get someplace or not, it is extremely important not to rush through the task of brushing your teeth. Brushing eliminates food and beverage residue as well as the plaque that can lead to tooth decay. If you want to have more confidence in your teeth, then you better keep them clean!

Visit Your Dental Provider and Develop Greater Confidence in Your Teeth

If you attend regular dental visits, you can have problems taken care of while they are still small and relatively affordable to remedy. Your dentist will help you keep your teeth clean and healthy, and this will increase your confidence in your teeth. Coming away from your dentist’s office with a good report is going to make you feel great about your teeth as well as in general.

Get Braces or Invisalign for Greater Confidence in Your Teeth

Who wants to smile when your teeth are crooked? People notice things like crooked teeth right away. Instead of hiding your teeth behind your hands, go see an orthodontist about getting braces or Invisalign. After as little as a year and a half, you might feel more confidence in your teeth. After all, they won’t be crooked anymore.

The Importance of a Dental Hygienist for Your Dental Health

Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist is an essential part of the smooth running of a dental practice. While most people imagine a hygienist to be the person who assists the dentist during a check-up or surgery, taking notes and handing over tools, there’s much more to the role than that. A wise dental patient will make full use of a dental hygienist’s services if the prospect of dental health problems in the future is to be minimized.

The Value of a Good Dental Hygienist

As with so much on the topic of health, in dental care prevention is better than cure, and it’s in this field that a good dental hygienist can be so valuable to both the patient and the practice. They can offer solid advice on effective dental care, on the best way to floss and brush, and on which foods and snacks are the least damaging to teeth. They can also advise on the best way to recover after dental surgery, and on how to prevent the original problem from recurring.

What a Dental Hygienist Does

Dental hygienists are qualified to do more than advise though, no matter how useful that function may be. Although they can only work under the auspices of a fully qualified dentist, good hygienists can greatly lighten the load on the practice by taking on routine work and dental health assessments. They can carry out minor procedures, including tooth polishing, stains and tartar removal, and also conduct general dental inspections before surgery to ensure the dentist is aware of any special requirements or possible complications. A qualified hygienist can also carry out the preliminary work for fitting braces, and take molds of the teeth before straightening or reconstructive surgery is carried out.

Appointments with Dental Hygienists

There is also one other function that a dental hygienist can carry out very well. Many people are extremely nervous about visiting the dentist, but an appointment with a hygienist for a simple tooth polishing or thorough cleaning is much less intimidating, and can be carried out in between scheduled check-ups. Many people find that after a few regular sessions with a hygienist, their wariness starts to recede, making a full dental appointment less of an ordeal.

Getting Regular Dental Check-ups

There’s no substitute for regular dental check-ups and maintenance if you want to avoid long term dental problems, but fitting in shorter visits to a qualified dental hygienist can help keep your teeth in optimal condition, and spot any potential problems before they escalate and require expensive and possibly painful remedial work.

8 Tips for Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is something you probably learned to do as a young child, and because of this, it is unlikely you have stopped to evaluate how you brush your teeth. By now, the techniques you use are very much second nature. Unfortunately, many people are not brushing their teeth as well as they should be.

Since oral health is directly related to overall health, taking care of your teeth is extremely important. To improve your experience and results, try incorporating these eight tips into your oral hygiene routine.

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth

1) Use the right toothbrush

Picking a toothbrush should be a ‘Goldilocks moment’. You don’t want a handle that is too long or too short; you don’t want a head that is too big or too small; and you don’t want bristles that are too hard or too soft. You want a toothbrush that is “just right”.

If you need assistance in determining what toothbrush is right for you, talk to your dentist.

2) Keep your toothbrush clean

Setting your toothbrush on your bathroom counter or on the edge of your sink between uses is a great way to pick up bacteria. Instead, store your toothbrush upright using a toothbrush holder or a cup.

In addition to rinsing your toothbrush thoroughly after each use, you can also soak your toothbrush in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water or an anti-bacterial mouthwash. Some people even clean their toothbrush once or twice a month in the dishwasher.

3) Replace your toothbrush regularly

Over time, bacteria grows on your toothbrush, not only in the bristles but on the handle. Bristles also become damaged which makes them less effective.

For best results, replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

4) Be gentle with your toothbrush

Vigorous brushing can be harsh on your teeth and gums, so be gentle.

5) Don’t start brushing in the same place

When you brush your teeth, try to start in a different area of your mouth each time. The area you brush first tends to get more attention that the area you end with, so choosing your starting point at random can help ensure that all of your teeth get equal attention.

6) Don’t forget to brush inner sides, chewing surfaces and molars

Many people focus on the front of teeth and give minimal attention to the inner sides, chewing surfaces and molars. Even though these parts of your teeth may not be visible, it is essential to give them just as much attention as you give your front teeth, if not more, when brushing.

7) Floss before or after brushing

The bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach between your teeth where food, bacteria and tartar are often found. It does not matter if you floss before or after you brush your teeth so long as you are flossing on a daily basis.

After flossing, use water or mouthwash to rinse away anything that the floss dislodged.

8) Don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating

As tempting as it may be to brush your teeth immediately after eating, many dentists recommend waiting at least thirty minutes before you brush your teeth after eating or drinking.

Remember, it is never to late to improve your oral hygiene routine.

Tips to Avoid Zombie Mouth Syndrome this Halloween

Avoid Zombie Mouth this HalloweenWhile your children may be excited about the entire Halloween tradition, from picking out a costume to organizing parties, many parents forget about the feeding frenzy of sugar overload that follows days after the holiday hoopla. According to Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, pediatric dentistry spokesman for the American Dental Association, only 44 percent of children brush their teeth twice a day. While Dr. Shenkin considers this a public health failure, trick-or-treating only adds to the increasing rise of children’s tooth decay, which has seen it’s biggest increase within the last decade.

In an attempt to get parents and children more aware of “zombie mouth” this Halloween season, we’re introducing the concept to children and how to prevent it from ruining what should be a fun and healthy activity. Sugar or candy in moderation is fine, but Halloween can sometimes bring out the glutton in both children and adults. Children can literally bring home pounds and pounds of candy, and it’s up to parents to provide boundaries and limits to its consumption. Some of the things parents can do include:

  • If, at all possible, limit or avoid the chewy, sticky candies, that tend to take longer to clear the mouth.  The longer candy is exposed to all surfaces of the mouth the more likely cavity-causing damage can occur.
  • Limit the overall consumption of Halloween candy.  Halloween candy has a tendency to hang around for months after.  Parents can do their part by distributing the candy in small quantities and preventing children from snacking on candy in between meals.
  • Monitor and manage the amount of sugar your children eat.  It’s not the quantity of sugar that children consume that poses the most danger, but the increased frequency of sugar consumption throughout the day that puts children at a higher risk.  The more they reach for sweet snacks the more likely sugar will attach to the surface of teeth.   It’s important to know if brushing is impossible that children can rinse and swish with water to reduce the effects.
  • It’s recommended to give children the sugary “treat” after a regular meal.  If parents commit to having their children brush after meals, they can reduce the damage since good dental health begins with brushing after a meal.
  • Due to the increased use of sugar in many foods, from breakfast cereal to juice to salad dressings, it’s up to parents as consumers to read labels, and provide balanced and nutritional meals that offset sugar consumption.

Other tips from dentists include drinking water after consuming surgery treats to balance the PH levels found in the mouth, and chewing sugarless gum which helps with saliva production to wash away accumulated sugars.   With a little planning and designated boundaries, you and your children can avoid zombie mouth this Halloween.