What Causes Bad Breath? (It Could Be Gum Disease)

Has your spouse, partner, or a good friend ever given you a mint or stick of gum without you asking? Maybe they were just being nice or maybe they picked up on a little “funk” coming from your mouth during a conversation.

Like it or not, bad breath happens to all of us. For some people it’s just a temporary issue (such as immediately after drinking coffee or eating spicy food), but for others it’s a real battle they face each and every day (and have to take steps to combat the issue).

In this article, we’re going to share with you a few of the common causes of bad breath (including the signs and symptoms of gum disease), as well as a few possible treatment options.

Bacteria

Your mouth is the perfect natural breeding ground for many types of bacteria, and when tiny food particles are left in the crevices between your teeth and gums, the result can be a foul-smelling odor.

Gum disease

square-gum-disease1-300x300.jpg

Did you know that, according to the CDC, as many as half of American adults have some form of gum disease (you can read details on the study below):

https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm

Here are a few facts you should know regarding gum disease:

  • It impacts both your gums and the surrounding bone (which supports your teeth). As a result, gum disease can actually lead to tooth loss.

  • There is a correlation between individuals with periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases including diabetes and heart disease. The mouth is truly the gateway to the rest of the body. Keeping it clean, healthy, and disease free is essential to your overall health and wellness.

  • It’s estimated that 70.1% of adults ages 65 and older have some form of mild to moderate periodontal disease.

  • Periodontal disease is significantly higher in men (56.4%) vs. women (38.4%), and some researchers believe that the health concerns linked to periodontal disease may drive public health policy.

Smoking

While your parents or grandparents could claim they “didn’t know” the harmful effects of smoking, there is a myriad of information available in the 21st century that proves nothing good comes from smoking.

Not only can smoking lead to serious health issues (lung cancer, COPD, and more), it can also cause your teeth and gums to become dark, stained, and eventually decay.

Nothing good comes from smoking, so just don’t do it. If you’re already a smoker, we know how hard it can be to break the habit (it is an addiction after all). Here is a fantastic government resource that offers you tips, suggestions, goal setting ideas, and motivational text messages to help you stop smoking.

Dry mouth

While you may think of saliva as something dirty or unsanitary, your own saliva is actually “nature’s mouthwash,” as it works around the clock 24/7 to assist in keeping your mouth clean.

If you feel as if your mouth is always dry (that “cotton mouth” feeling), then you may not be making the amount of saliva your mouth needs to assist in the cleansing process. Try drinking more water or chewing sugar-free gum (xylitol is a common sugar substitute), which can increase your saliva production.

What Can You Do to Halt Your Halitosis?

Develop a Winning Oral Hygiene Routine

brushing-teeth-square-300x300.jpg

A healthy, daily oral hygiene routine should become a ritual; it’s that important for your overall health. Here are a few things you should do on a daily basis:
Brush your teeth twice daily (gently) for two minutes. You don’t want to brush too aggressively as this can lead to enamel abrasion. In addition, you want to make sure that you use a toothpaste that is not too abrasive staying below 70 on the RDA chart is ideal.

In addition to brushing twice daily, you’ll also want to floss every day and possibly even use a water flosser and a tongue scraper to remove some of the really stubborn bacteria from those tough-to-reach places.

A good rule of thumb is to always go to bed with your mouth clean and always leave the house with your mouth clean!

Limit Your Sugar Intake

Limiting your sugar intake is wise as the bacteria from sugary and acidic foods are perfect grounds for bacteria to grow and thrive. While a productive oral hygiene routine can take care of some of this, not letting it pass your teeth and gums in the first place is a great preventative measure.

There are also other health benefits to limiting sugar intake that can lower your blood pressure, help battle dementia, and even help you lose weight.

The best part? Once you give up sugar (or dramatically cut it from your diet), you’ll likely feel better!

Stop Smoking

We covered this earlier, but the bottom line is that if you’re smoking, nothing good is going to come of it. We know quitting may be the toughest thing you’ve ever tried to do in your life, but stay strong and seek out the help of a support group to help you along your journey.

Use Mouthwash Properly

While mouthwash should never replace brushing and flossing, it is a handy addition to any oral hygiene routine, when done correctly. Make sure the mouthwash is alcohol free and does not have an acidic pH.

Here is the best way to use mouthwash:

  • Use it when you need to freshen your breath. It’s not uncommon for many people to keep a small bottle of mouthwash in their purse, car, etc. as it can be that quick breath freshener you need.

  • Rinse for 30 seconds to one minute, and dilute if necessary. Some mouthwashes are highly concentrated. While it’s normal to feel a little bit of a tingling feeling while using mouthwash, you shouldn’t feel any real pain or discomfort. If you do, then you’re either using too much and/or not diluting, or there is an underlying issue (such as tooth sensitivity or gum issues) that need to be addressed.

Drink More Water

Hydration is good for the body…mouth included. As we discussed earlier, dry mouth can lead to bacteria growth and bad breath, so by drinking more water and keeping yourself hydrated, you’re really helping your mouth fight bacteria.

Visit a Dentist Who Focuses on Integrative Dentistry

dr-forester-square2-300x300.jpg

Taking care of your oral health should be a lot like changing your oil, keeping a check on your tires, etc. If you keep an eye on these things and maintain them, your vehicle should stay in good shape.

It’s the same with your mouth. At Lifetime Smiles, we take an integrative, preventative approach to dentistry. Our goal isn’t to fix your dental issues as much as it is to prevent them from becoming significant issues in the first place.

If you’re looking for a dentist in the Johns Creek area who can not only help you in your battle with bad breath and gum disease, but can also assist you in forming healthy habits and offer preventative dental maintenance, give our office a call today!

Dr. Forester has been practicing dentistry in Johns Creek since 1997 and looks forward to meeting you and your family.

How to Straighten Crowded Front Teeth Without Full Braces: Dr. Forester Explains

Are your front teeth crowding even though you had braces when you were younger?

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Or maybe you were “borderline” regarding whether you needed braces or not as a child, and as you get older your teeth are crowding more?

Wearing a retainer after your braces are removed is an important part of the process to ensure teeth don’t begin to crowd again. It isn’t a matter of if, but when teeth start to move again.

As an adult, if you want your front teeth straighter without full braces, we can possibly help.

Introducing the Inman Aligner

If you’ve done research on how to straighten your bottom or top front teeth that are crowded, you’ve likely come across a variety of options, such as full metal braces or Invisalign. These can certainly work, but at Lifetime Smiles in Johns Creek, there is another option that we have found works very well in many cases – without the expense and time component of the other options.

The Inman Aligner.

The Inman aligner is unique because it is designed to correct a very specific set of problems in a relatively short period of time. If either your top or bottom four front teeth are crowded, then you should consider the Inman Aligner.

Here’s how it works:

The Inman Aligner uses two coil springs that gently oppose each other. This creates a gentle pressure that gradually pushes teeth into their correct position.

The coils are made of a nickel titanium material, yet cause minimal discomfort during the alignment process. Because you only wear it 16 – 20 hours per day, you can easily remove it for an important meeting or phone call.

The Inman Aligner is best suited for patients whose primary problem is crowding of the front teeth (either upper or lower teeth) – especially for patients who had braces as a child but didn’t wear their retainer afterwards, or who have always had slightly crowded teeth and are finally ready to do something about it.

Here’s a brief overview of the process:

The first step is to have an impression of your teeth taken so that an Inman Aligner can be created that fits you perfectly. At Lifetime Smiles we digitally scan the teeth and upload the files to the laboratory to make the aligners.

Once the Inman Aligner is fabricated, Dr. Forester will place the aligner and ensure a proper fit.

A typical patient will wear their aligner 6-18 weeks (a much faster result than traditional braces or Invisalign).

After the Inman Aligner is removed, Dr. Forester will educate you on how to maintain your results with some form of retention (such as a retainer).

For more information on how the Inman Aligner can help align your overcrowded front teeth, read our page dedicated to the Inman Aligner.

It’s simple…really!

The Inman Aligner may not be as well known as some other methods for straightening crowded teeth, but at Lifetime Smiles we do things a bit differently.

At Lifetime Smiles, we’re all about helping you keep your teeth, gums, and smile healthy and happy – for a lifetime! To learn more about how Dr. Forester can correct your overcrowded front teeth with an Inman Aligner, give our Johns Creek dental practice a call today to schedule a complimentary evaluation.

What are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants? Our Johns Creek Dentist Explains

When researching dental implants, a lot of websites will simply tell you how great they are, painting a rosy picture that isn’t based in reality.

You see the guy biting the apple or the woman with a perfect smile after her implant restoration, all of which are designed to get you to buy into the idea that dental implants are the perfect restorative dental solution for everyone.

That’s not always the case because every patient is unique.

Don’t get me wrong, implants are a fantastic way to replace missing or severely damaged teeth and can certainly enable many patients to experience a higher quality of life. I’ve restored many smiles with dental implants and crowns.

However, since I’ve been practicing dentistry for over 30 years (and practicing in Johns Creek since 1997), I can give you insights on not only the pros of dental implants, but also the “cons.”

I think it’s important to be transparent and to educate patients on both the advantages and disadvantages of the dental implant procedure, which is what I’m going to do in this article.

The Cons of Dental Implants

Let’s start with the bad news first, shall we?

The three points below can all be considered disadvantages of getting implants to some people. For other patients, these aren’t cons per se, they are just part of the process and are accepted as such.

Either way you look at it, they are potential hurdles that you should be aware of before deciding to move forward with dental implants:

Dental implants can be expensive (and aren’t covered by insurance)

There’s no reason to skirt around this point; dental implants aren’t cheap. Being that the dental implant process can be very complex and involve multiple appointments, an implant restoration typically runs in the thousands of dollars.

That being said, many patients who have successfully received dental implants from Lifetime Smiles view them as an investment in their quality of life. While perceiving implants as a cost may be a con, looking at it from an investment perspective makes them seem worthwhile to most patients.

It’s also important to note that dental insurance won’t pay for dental implants. In fact, most dental insurance plans are outdated and don’t provide the coverage they really should, as I’ve outlined in this article.

A dental implant restoration is a surgery.

Make no mistake about it; a dental implant restoration is a surgical procedure. You will be sedated and surgery will be performed. Essentially, what we are doing is replacing your natural, damaged tooth roots with titanium screws that will adhere to your surrounding bone structure through a process known as osseointegration.

The entire process can take several months due to healing.

Since this is a surgery where titanium screws have to fuse with your bone to form a sturdy anchor, the entire process can take months due to the fact that bone simply heals slowly.

It’s not uncommon for the entire implant process to take somewhere between 3-12 months.

The Pros of Dental Implants

At Lifetime Smiles, our goal is to match each patient with the procedure that is right for them, which is why it’s so important to schedule your initial appointment.

If we believe you are a great candidate for dental implants, then these are a few of the advantages you have to look forward to:

Dental implants most closely mimic the functionality of your natural teeth.
Remember when you were younger and you didn’t have to worry so much about your teeth and could eat whatever you wanted? That’s the functionality that dental implants will bring back to your life.

While of course we recommend you eat healthy foods and practice good oral hygiene, you will have the ability to enjoy a lot of the advantages you probably took for granted before your teeth become damaged!

Dental implants with crowns can give you a beautiful smile.

A well done dental implant restoration with crowns will give you a very attractive smile. You’ll have the assurance of knowing your teeth are firmly in place, and you can smile big knowing that your crowns are made of a strong, natural-looking porcelain material that looks just like natural teeth.

Dental implants stay in place and don’t negatively impact your ability to eat or speak

Temporary, removable dentures affect your ability to smile big, eat what you want, and speak clearly. As mentioned earlier, dental implants will restore both aesthetics and functionality so that you can chew and speak confidently (without having to worry about your dentures moving around in your mouth).

Now that you know the pros and cons of dental implants, here’s the next step

dr-forester-square2-300x300.jpg

If you live anywhere in the Johns Creek area north of Atlanta, and are interested in learning more about dental implants, we encourage you to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Forester has been practicing in Johns Creek since 1997 and has helped thousands of patients achieve incredible results with dental implants. Give our office a call today, or contact us here to schedule your dental implants consultation.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Should You Use it on Your Teeth?

It seems like you can’t go very far these days (especially on social media) without hearing someone touting the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

The truth is, there actually are a lot of good uses for apple cider vinegar, and some of them are quite healthy and perfectly safe. But being healthy for the body and good for the teeth are two different things.

As a dental practice with an integrative approach, we oftentimes have patients ask us if using apple cider vinegar on their teeth is healthy.

After all, there are a lot of articles floating around the web touting apple cider vinegar as some sort of “miracle” treatment for whitening teeth or removing stubborn plaque.

In fact, a recent CNN article discussed the use of apple cider vinegar and whitening toothpaste, and we thought it would be a good idea to weigh in and give you our opinion as to why apple cider vinegar and whitening toothpastes aren’t ideal for your teeth and overall oral health.

The claims of apple cider vinegar (and the truth)

For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus just on the claims and suggestions that have been made specifically regarding teeth and oral health.

For starters, some people claim that putting a small amount of apple cider vinegar on your teeth can help remove stains. While that may be true, it’s not worth the risk, because you are putting acid on your teeth and taking off enamel with the stains!.

If you care at all about your dental health, you should avoid having your teeth come in contact with acids. Removing stains from your teeth won’t do a whole lot of good if you damage your teeth in the process! If you want the benefits of apple cider vinegar without damaging your teeth, use the capsule form.

If you are looking to maintain a bright white smile and healthy teeth, the best things you can do are: brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, and floss every day. Consistency is the key to avoiding plaque, gingivitis, and dental decay; not some “miracle” cure that is really just an acid that will harm your tooth enamel.

What about whitening toothpaste? Is that okay?

At Lifetime Smiles, we don’t just accept things at face value. Sure, whitening toothpastes are widely used, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be.

When choosing a toothpaste, it’s very important to make sure that it isn’t too abrasive. If a toothpaste is too abrasive, it can actually damage your teeth over time.

After doing a lot of our own research, we believe (and recommend to our patients) using a toothpaste with an RDA under 70. In a nutshell, this means use a toothpaste that is very low on the abrasiveness scale.

Here’s a link to a toothpaste chart that we’ve compiled for our patients:

Toothpaste Chart 

Also, if you would like to get more details on what you should be looking for when selecting a toothpaste, you may find this resource we’ve put together quite helpful:

What is the best toothpaste to use? 

The bottom line…

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy isn’t exactly rocket science, but what it does require is a consistent oral hygiene routine. Additionally, visit a dentist who regularly is focused, not just on fixing problems, but actually preventing them from ever occurring.

At Lifetime Smiles, our integrative approach is designed to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and avoid problems before they start.

You can think of it like preventative maintenance for your car. If you change the oil at the appropriate intervals as suggested by the manufacturer, and stay on top of all other issues that could potentially cause your vehicle to malfunction or breakdown, your chances of keeping your vehicle in great shape for many, many years to come are fantastic.

It’s much the same way with your mouth. While there are no guarantees, if you follow our advice and visit us regularly, you’ll be on the path to better oral health and a brighter, healthier smile for years to come.

If you’re in or around the Johns Creek area, and are interested in working with an integrative dentist, give our office a call today to schedule your appointment.

6 Warning Signs that Your Mouth Isn’t Healthy

Having a healthy mouth is essential to your overall health. It makes it easier to eat and enjoy food, ensures you don’t experience mouth pain, and even has positive benefits for your overall health. Despite this, many people live with warning signs that their mouth isn’t healthy, and yet, do nothing about it.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 different warning signs that your mouth isn’t healthy. Not only that, but we’ll look at their causes and explain why it is so important to treat these warning signs and not ignore them.

Bleeding Gums

One of the primary warning signs that your mouth isn’t healthy is bleeding. Imagine if every time you washed your hands, they bled. Or, what if your head started to bleed after you applied shampoo? You would immediately call the doctor, right?

And yet, many people experience bleeding gums when they brush or floss their teeth, and then never do anything about it.

Bleeding gums is a sign of inflammation, which underlies most diseases that occur in your mouth. Gum disease, like gingivitis or periodontitis, can cause serious problems in your mouth, such as

  • Persistent bad breath,

  • Teeth can become loose and fall out, and

  • Overly sensitive to hot and cold.

Not only that, but gum disease can affect your overall health and has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. When your mouth isn’t healthy, it could also be a warning sign for your overall health, and therefore it’s important to visit the dentist when your gums bleed.

Pain

tmj-jaw-pain-square-300x300.jpg

Pain is an obvious way to recognize that your mouth isn’t healthy. If something hurts, your body is saying that something is wrong. Unfortunately, mouth pain doesn’t always come until it is too late for simple fixes.

In other words, the longer you wait to address the pain, the harder it will be to fix it. A much better approach is prevention– to visit the dentist on a regular basis (the average person is about every 6 months) for a cleaning and checkup. That way, if your mouth starts to show signs of being unhealthy, we can make easier corrections before the pain begins.

Broken or Uneven Teeth

chipped-tooth-square-300x300.jpg

Despite what you might have experienced with your parents or grandparents, teeth should last a lifetime. If you have broken or uneven teeth, you should definitely visit your dentist. You may be tempted to think the damage is already done and nothing more can happen, or you might not care about the way uneven teeth look, but these things need to be addressed.

Broken or uneven teeth could be a sign of occlusal disease, grinding, clenching, GERD, eating disorders, or other issues. Rather than just repair the chipped tooth, here at Lifetime Smiles we want to identify and address the root cause of the problem. By correcting this, we can help ensure a healthy smile that will last a lifetime.

Bad Breath

Do you avoid talking directly to people because you fear they will smell your chronically bad breath? It could be a sign that your mouth is not healthy. Bad breath is typically caused by bacteria in the mouth, and could be a sign that you have periodontal (gum) disease.

There are other common causes for bad breath as well, such as your diet or even health issues in the rest of your body. Whatever the cause, a visit to the dentist can help clear things up. Not only can you prevent gum disease from becoming too serious, but you’ll also be able to speak to people face to face again!

Dry Mouth

Your mouth constantly produces saliva, and while that might sound gross, it’s actually important to a healthy mouth. Dry mouth is often caused by a disease or medications, and while it might only feel inconvenient, it also has negative affects on your oral health. A dry mouth is more acidic and prone to decay, which means you’re at greater risk of cavities or teeth loss.

If you’re experiencing a dry mouth, you might notice your lips cracking, sores forming at the corners of your mouth, your tongue becoming rough and dry, and difficulty swallowing and talking. Even food can begin to lose its taste!

Talk to your dentist about options to protect your smile, and improve the way you eat, speak, and swallow.

Sores

Sores, lesions or unusual patches in the mouth could be related to nutrition, stress, or even be oral cancer, which is one of the most common forms of cancer in the Unites States. It occurs most often with tobacco and alcohol users, and often starts as a small white or red spot or sore in the mouth.

It is nearly impossible for a patient to recognize the difference between a canker sore and cancer, but your dentist will know. At Lifetime Smiles, we use the Velscope as an aid in detection.

Regardless of the cause of your sores or lesions, it’s important to get them checked out. Whatever their cause, your dentist can help identify treatment plans. Once again, the sooner this gets checked by your dentist, the easier treatment will be, so don’t delay.

Concerned About Your Mouth’s Health?

forester-square-300x300.jpg

If you have read this article, then you’re probably concerned about your mouth’s health, which is great news! Taking care of your mouth is an important part of living and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re in the John’s Creek, GA area, then come visit us here at Lifetime Smiles. We’re passionate about listening to our patients, understanding your concerns, and treating mouth problems at the source. We can help improve your mouth’s health, and help ensure your smile remains healthy and lasts a lifetime.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Sources:
Oral Health
Dry Mouth

What are the Advantages of DURAthin Veneers vs. Regular Porcelain?

Have you ever wished you could improve the way your smile looks? Perhaps you’ve met someone whose smile seemed to transform overnight. Most likely, this wasn’t the work of a genie, but rather because they received veneers.

If you have chipped, cracked, broken, stained, or misshapen teeth, then we have great news for you: Veneers can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

Here at Lifetime Smiles, we offer both porcelain veneers and DURAthin® veneers. Both can help rejuvenate your smile, but they do have some important differences that we’ll explain in this article.

What is the purpose of veneers?

Dental veneers are thin pieces of tooth-like material that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They work like masks for your teeth, covering up the cosmetic issues and replacing them with a perfect smile. Although each veneer is very thin, once bonded they become quite durable and look very natural.

Although veneers cannot be used to treat more severe dental issues, they are a great option for solving the following problems:

  • Chipped or worn down teeth,

  • Stained teeth that can’t be helped by whitening or bleaching,

  • Misshapen teeth,

  • Large gaps in between your teeth.

Many people ask about how many veneers they will need, but it really depends on how many cosmetic issues you need to fix.

Veneers can be applied to all your visible teeth (the teeth that show when you smile), or simply the tooth that is chipped or misshapen. It’s helpful to know, however, they typically are not required for lower teeth.

Talk to your dentist to discuss your hopes for your smile, and they can make the best recommendation.

What are porcelain veneers?

durathin-veneer-square-300x300.jpg

Porcelain veneers are the most common type of veneer available today. Each veneer is custom-made in a dental lab to match the look of your natural smile and cover up any imperfections. Here are a few of the benefits of porcelain veneers:

  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant against dark-colored beverages (i.e. dark colas, dark tea, coffee, red wine, etc) and tobacco products.

  • They can last 15-20 years with proper care.

  • The porcelain material will make your new smile very attractive, realistic, and natural looking.

  • Porcelain veneers are customizable and can match your natural teeth in regards to size, shape, and color.

The biggest drawback with porcelain veneers is that we must remove some enamel from the front of your teeth before applying them.

This provides space for the veneers to sit flush on your teeth. It’s important for patients to realize that, because of this, receiving veneers is an irreversible process. Fortunately, most people love their veneers so this isn’t a problem.

What is a DURAthin® veneer?

DV__02.jpg

Just like porcelain veneers, DURAthin® veneers look natural and will greatly improve the look of your smile. They are custom made from cerinate material to match the look and feel of your natural smile.

The main difference between a DURAthin® veneer and a porcelain veneer is thickness. As you can probably guess from the name, at 0.3mm thick, DURAthin® are thinner than their 0.5mm porcelain counterparts. This might not seem like a big deal, but there are several real advantages to their thinner size:

  • Minor amounts of tooth may be removed.

  • The procedure is painless and no numbing is required.

  • Your teeth will look great.

  • DURAthin® veneers will work best for patients whose teeth already have nice shape and color. Since they are thinner (similar thickness to a contact lens), they are not ideal for patients who need to mask color or require significant changes in tooth shape.

DURAthin® veneers are a terrific option for some patients, but they certainly aren’t for everyone. If you’re looking to improve your smile, and believe veneers are an option for you, we encourage you to schedule your appointmentwith Dr. Forester.

Which is right for me?

Ultimately, both DURAthin® and porcelain veneers are great options for your smile. If you want a less invasive procedure, and your teeth already have good color and shape, then you may be a candidate for DURAthin® veneers. If you want a solution that is still simple, will last a bit longer, and you don’t mind having enamel removed from your teeth, then choose porcelain veneers.

Where can I get veneers?

forester-square-300x300.jpg

If you’re in or near John’s Creek, Georgia, then Lifetime Smiles is a great place to give your smile a makeover. Dr. Forester is trained, certified, and experienced to transform smiles using both DURAthin® and porcelain veneers.

We take the extra time and care required to understand our patient’s needs and wants, providing excellent smiles that can last a lifetime.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment. We’d love to meet you!

Sources:
DURAthin Veneers
Porcelain Veneers and DURAthin veneers
DURAthin Veneers
Dental Veneers – Making your Teeth Beautiful

How Do I Keep My Gums Healthy and Disease-Free?

When people think about dentists or healthy smiles, they often focus on teeth. But when it comes to oral health, you cannot forget about your gums. In this article, we will discuss the importance of keeping your gums healthy and disease-free, as well as provide several tips for taking care of them.

Why is Gum Health Important?

teeth-white-square-300x300.jpg

There are several reasons you should make gum health a priority. Unhealthy gums can lead to gum disease, of which there are two different stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is a more mild form of gum disease; It causes an inflammation of the gums and is caused by plaque and calculus buildup on teeth.

The second stage is periodontitis, and this disease infects the gum tissue more seriously. It creates pockets of space in the gums and causes infection and loss of the supporting bone tissue.

Gum disease can have several negative effects on your life:

  • Gum disease can lead to persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.

  • Teeth can become loose and fall out because of gum disease.

  • Teeth become overly sensitive to cold and hot.

  • Gums can become swollen, tender, or bleed often.

  • Gum disease can affect your overall health. The bacteria from your gums can get into your bloodstream, which can then travel to the arteries in the heart and cause them to harden. This can then decrease or even block blood flow to the rest of the body, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

How do You Keep Your Gums Healthy?

As you can see, gum health should be a priority. Not only does it affect your oral health, but it has serious implications for your overall health. Despite this, approximately 50% of American adults have gum disease. Here are some ways you can protect your gums from disease.

Floss Daily

Flossing might be the most important habit for keeping healthy gums, but it’s also the least popular. It’s important that you floss at least once per day. Despite what some trending media articles have said in the past, both the FDA and the ADA emphasize the importance of flossing every day. Flossing removes plaque and food around and under your gums that brushing cannot always reach.

Not only should you floss daily, but you should also make sure you floss properly. The floss should be inserted between your teeth and moved with gentle force. There is no need to force yourself to bleed! It is important to curve the floss in a “C” shape around each tooth, moving it against the tooth and below the gum line in an up-and-down motion.

Brush Twice Per Day

wisdom-teeth-square-300x300.jpg

Brushing is also important for your gum health. It removes plaque from your teeth, which is one of the primary causes of gum disease. For optimal gum care, an electronic toothbrush with soft bristles is recommended because it can gently reach under the gumlines. You should also use toothpaste that has fluoride. If you have questions about which toothpaste or toothbrush to use, look at our blog on toothpaste.

The proper way to brush your teeth is to place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline and brush the front and back surfaces of your teeth. Again, you should use a gentle motion as you go back and forth.

Consider What Goes in Your Mouth

Sugary and acidic foods can cause plaque to grow at a much quicker rate. Drinking soda and energy drinks, for instance, introduces significant amounts of acid and sugar to your teeth and gums that can sit in your mouth and cause significant decay. Sugary foods are also a problem, especially because the food can get stuck in and around your gums, holding the sugar close for extended periods of time.

Smoking and tobacco products are another big culprit. Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Not only that, but it weakens the immune system which makes it more difficult for your body to fight the infections that come with gum disease. So if you want healthy gums, then you need to stop smoking.

Regular Cleanings and Checkups at the Dentist

square-smile-300x300.jpg

Professional cleanings are an important part of gum health. Your dentist will have special tools for inspecting and cleaning the area around your gums. They will be able to remove calculus build-up that you could not with your toothbrush.

As long as you visit regularly (for most people it is every six months), they will also be able to recognize the early stages of gum disease before it becomes severe and more difficult to treat. And of course, your dentist can answer questions and assist you with changing habits that will lead to healthier gums.
If you’re in the Johns Creek, Georgia area and looking for a dentist who knows the importance of healthy gums, then look no further than Lifetime Smiles. Dr. Forester has over 35 years of experience, he is a self-professed continuing education junky, and provides state-of-the-art cosmetic and restorative dentistry.

Take the next step towards healthy gums and healthy overall health…contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Sources:
Healthy Gums a Key to Overall Health
6 Ways to Keep Your Gums Healthy
8 Ways to Keep your Mouth Healthy
Gum Disease Symptoms and What to do about them
Gum Disease

How Poor Oral Hygiene Affects Your Overall Health

teeth-white-square-300x300.jpg

For as long as you can remember, you’ve probably been told to brush and floss your teeth. Most people know that good oral hygiene is essential for preventing things like bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, and toothaches. But did you also know that oral hygiene is connected to your overall health?

In this article, we’ll explore several health problems that are related to poor oral hygiene, and provide some suggestions on how you can improve your personal dental care to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Endocarditis

Endocarditis is an infection of the heart’s valves or inner lining (known as the endocardium). Endocarditis can damage your heart and be very dangerous, and should be treated as soon as possible. It typically occurs when bacteria (or fungus) from another part of your body spreads through your bloodstream and attaches to your heart. Poor oral hygiene encourages bacteria growth and infection in your mouth, which can in turn be transferred from your mouth to the heart and cause endocarditis.

Cardiovascular disease

Poor oral hygiene can increase risk of Cardiovascular disease, more commonly referred to as heart disease. Like with Endocarditis, the bacteria from inflamed gums and periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream. It can then travel to the arteries in the heart and cause them to harden. This can then decrease or even block blood flow to the rest of the body, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Not only can bacteria from your mouth enter your heart, it can also enter your brain. The bacteria from gingivitis, for instance, can enter the brain through nerve channels or the bloodstream. A report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry showed that adults with gingivitis performed worse on tests of memory and cognitive skills than did those with better oral hygiene. But it can go even further as there are links between gingivitis and dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Diabetes

Both gum disease and diabetes affect each other negatively. Inflamed gums and periodontal disease make it more difficult for your body to control your blood sugar. Diabetes, in turn, reduces the body’s resistance to infection and puts the gums at greater risk for periodontal disease. Because of this, it’s very important to take good care of your gums to prevent gum disease.

Respiratory infections

Once again, bacteria from your mouth can affect other parts of the body. The Journal of Periodontology argues that gum disease can lead to infections in your lungs, including pneumonia. If you constantly breath in bacteria from infected teeth over long periods of time, then your lungs could be at risk.

AIDS/HIV

Although poor oral hygiene won’t give you AIDS/HIV, good oral hygiene is essential for patients with AIDS/HIV because they are more prone to oral health problems. If the bacteria from oral problems gets into the bloodstream, it is also more likely to cause problems. Typically, when bacteria from the mouth enters the body, your immune system quickly dispenses of them, preventing infection. A weakened immune system, from AIDS/HIV (or other causes, like cancer treatment), means oral bacteria from your mouth is much more likely to cause an infection.

How to support your Overall Health by caring for your Oral Health

smiling-kid-square-300x300.jpg

As you can see, it’s very important to take care of your mouth. Not only does it give you fresh breath and prevent tooth decay, it can help protect you from infections, memory loss, cardiovascular disease, and more. Here are a few easy things you can do to improve your oral hygiene:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

  • Avoid sugary drinks and treats, and reduce snacking throughout the day

  • Floss every day

  • Avoid all types of tobacco use

  • Replace your toothbrush head every 3-4 months

  • Visit your dentist for a cleaning and check-up every 6 months

We can help

If you’d like to learn more about how oral hygiene affects your overall health, or if you’d like to get your teeth cleaned to reduce the risk of the health problems described in this article, contact us today.

Located in the John’s Creek, GA area, Lifetime Smiles knows the importance of having a healthy mouth and healthy body. Not only can we clean and check your mouth, we can also look for symptoms of health problems that often reveal themselves in the mouth earlier than other parts of the body.

Dr. Forester loves to listen and support patients as they seek to achieve their health goals. We hope you’ll visit us soon!

Sources:
How Poor Dental care can affect your overall health
Oral Health: A window into your overall health
Oral Health And Overall Health: Why A Healthy Mouth Is Good For Your Body
The Mouth-Body Connection: 6 Ways Oral Hygiene Helps Keep You Well