Gum Disease Signs, Symptoms And Stages

A combination of signs and symptoms may be present, depending on what severity of gum disease you have. Typically the early signs of gingivitis involve minor irritation such as bleeding or swelling of your gums.

Bleeding

Healthy gums should not bleed. If you floss regularly and brush along the gum lines, bleeding is not normal. However, infrequent flossing may always result in your gums bleeding due to the development of gingivitis.

Swollen Red Gums

Gums that are red, puffy or swollen are a sign of infection. Just as if you had another area on your body that was infected, swelling and redness would occur, alerting you to the condition.

Bad Breath

A bad taste in your mouth or bad breath may be a sign that there is biofilm or food lodged deep under your gums.

Gum Recession

The loss of your gum attachment causes the gums to creep slowly down the root of the teeth.

Tooth Mobility

As gum and bone loss occurs, your tooth has less stability. This may cause your teeth to shift into other positions or make them mobile.

Sore Teeth

When limited support structures are all that is holding your teeth into place, the delicate ligaments around your teeth can become strained.

Pus

Clear, white or yellow pus may begin to drain between your teeth and along the gum lines.

Stages Of Gum Disease

Gum disease starts out as mild gingivitis and progresses to different levels of periodontitis or periodontal disease. While all stages are part of the same disease condition, knowing how to identify gum disease developing in your mouth can allow you to be proactive about the treatment earlier on.

Gingivitis

The beginning stage of gum disease manifests itself as gingivitis. This is when you notice your gums bleeding during flossing and may have swollen or red gums just near the borders. Because gingivitis is just the initial inflammation of gums, it can easily be reversed within about two weeks.

Early Periodontal Disease

When gingivitis goes untreated, your gums begin to break down around the teeth. Early symptoms will include persistent inflammation, bleeding, and bone loss seen on your dental X-rays. You may also start to see mild gum recession in some areas. Early periodontal disease starts out localized, but if left untreated becomes more generalized throughout the mouth.

Moderate Periodontal Disease

This more advanced stage of gum disease is easier to spot. If you haven’t dedicated a lot of preventive care to your teeth, or do not see your dentist regularly, it may have allowed your condition to worsen without you realizing it. By the time you have developed moderate periodontal disease, gum recession is evident and there may be signs of tooth mobility. You may also start to notice dark areas between the teeth, where the gums have faded away.

Advanced Periodontal Disease

The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontal disease. Once you have lost several millimeters of bone around the teeth, your teeth become mobile, show severe signs of recession, and may even fall out. Specialized professional care is needed to delay tooth loss.

As if having different severities of gum disease were not enough, there are also variations to further describe the classification of your gum disease:

 

  • Localized Gum Disease – Restricted to a limited number of teeth in the mouth without having spread to surrounding teeth. Abnormal areas of bone loss are present in up to a few areas.
  • Generalized Gum Disease– Affecting most of the teeth in the mouth with generalized loss of surrounding bone structure throughout the entire mouth.
  • Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis– An ulcerative condition that involves necrotic “punched out” tissue, combined with swelling of the lymph nodes.
  • Hyperplasia– Thickness of gums associated with causes such as trauma, medication or irritation.
  • Pregnancy Gingivitis– Some women experience hormonal imbalances during their pregnancy, which results in the inflammation and bleeding of their gum tissues. This is usually atypical of their normal oral health, and it subsides after the birth of their baby.

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Periodontitis Stages And Types

While periodontitis is a specific condition, there are various periodontitis classification categories that help identify the type of infection when being described among dental professionals. These classifications usually describe to what degree the infection has advanced, and how much of the mouth has been affected.

Mild Periodontitis/Early Periodontitis
This is the earliest form of periodontitis. Clinical findings show mild gum detachment with mild bleeding. There may be minimal bone loss evident on dental X-rays.

Moderate Periodontitis 
Moderate periodontitis exists when gum pockets measure between four and six millimeters in depth and there is clinical evidence of bone loss evident on the X-rays.

Severe Periodontitis
Severe periodontitis involves advanced bone loss with gum pockets deeper than six millimeters found during a dental examination. Bone has often receded so much that the furcation – division – of the back molar teeth are involved.

Chronic Periodontitis
This is the most common form of periodontitis. It is related to the amount of bacterial biofilm and calculus on the tooth surfaces.

Acute Periodontitis
Acute infections may affect only a localized area, but are often painful and quickly advanced. Acute infections may also involve periapical abscess – around the apex of the root – of the tooth due to the invasive condition.

Localized Periodontitis
When periodontitis is limited to just a few teeth in the mouth without having spread to other teeth it is considered localized. You can still have localized aggressive periodontitis, so being localized doesn’t simply mean it is minor.

Generalized Periodontitis
Generalized periodontitis affects several areas throughout the mouth. It may be a more mild form or can be generalized aggressive periodontitis.

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How To Prevent Gum Infections

Gum infections can be a sign that you are not effectively removing plaque and biofilm as efficiently as you thought you were. Even a small amount of plaque residue left along or under the gums and between the teeth can cause the onset of a gum infection.

The best way to prevent gum infections is to have exceptional oral hygiene practices. These include:

Cleaning Between Your Teeth

Be it with floss, a toothpick, or a water flosser, cleaning between your teeth is almost, if not, more important than brushing your teeth. The majority of gum diseases and infections originate between the teeth, where brushing does not reach. Be sure to clean the area at least once each day.

Brushing Effectively

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and angle the bristles toward your gums. Sweep the brush side to side in small motions, focusing on one or two teeth at a time. Be patient and spend at least two minutes during a single brushing, focusing at the gum lines.

Use Pure, Proven Ingredients

The best way to prevent infections is to kill the major cause – bad bacteria. A University of Kentucky study has shown three 100% pure ingredients kill the bacteria that lead to gum infection and other problems.

Try the all-natural liquid toothpaste with a handcrafted blend of 100% pure cold pressed botanical almond, spearmint and carefully-aged peppermint oils. It naturally helps clean your teeth and gums by eliminating bacteria-causing germs and plaque while leaving you with fresh breath. Click here

 

How To Prevent Gingivitis

The good news is that gingivitis is very easy to prevent! Most of the time, gingivitis symptoms occur in areas that need more thorough oral hygiene. While you might think you’re already practicing great oral hygiene, you might want to review the following tips to ensure you’re cleaning your teeth as well as you actually think you are. Because the bacteria under the gums in gingivitis is anaerobic – meaning that it lives in the absence of oxygen – getting oxygen into the area literally destroys the bacteria and helps halt the infection.

Brushing

Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Many people use a medium to stiff bristled brush, but these can actually cause more harm than good. Too much pressure during brushing can cause gum recession and enamel abrasion, leaving large wedges in the roots of the teeth.

Consider an electric toothbrushHigh-quality electric brushes have soft bristles that are not only gentle on your teeth, but they also remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, allowing you to clean your teeth and gums more efficiently. Many electric toothbrushes also create a foaming action that helps penetrate areas under the gums and between the teeth, flushing out some of the bacteria.

Reassess your brushing method. Angle your toothbrush bristles at 45 degrees toward the gumlines. Focus on just two teeth at a time, and make short sweeping strokes back and forth. Only apply as much pressure as you need to cause the gums to slightly blanch. Too much pressure or the wrong angulation will not target gumline plaque and could cause gum recession.

Use a pure, anti-bacteria toothpaste. Conventional toothpastes are filled with potentially harmful ingredients. Even “natural” toothpastes have abrasives and other additives. The best choice is to use a 100% pure botanical toothpaste that is proven to kill the bacteria that lead to gum problems like gingivitis, without any of the harsh chemicals.

Flossing

Check your flossing technique. Flossing should not be simply taking a piece of floss and sliding up and down between the teeth several times. This can cause gum damage and does not target the plaque biofilm under the gums. Instead, wrap your floss in a “C” shape against each tooth, sliding up and down two to three times under the gumlines. This method protects the gums as well as helps remove debris that collects along the gum margin.

Think about using a water flosser. Water flossers are able to remove plaque deeply below the gums, between the teeth, and under hard to reach areas such as bridges or rough restorations that you might have problems cleaning with normal floss. Water flossers are great for people with limited dexterity or simply don’t want to mess with floss in the first place. They are shown to reduce symptoms of gingivitis even more than some electric toothbrushes.

Lifestyle Choices

Eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. Eating the right foods, staying active and taking nutritional supplements can help strengthen your cardiovascular and immune systems, making it easier for your body to fight any infectious conditions.

Avoid tobaccoIf you smoke, you are more likely to suffer from untreatable gum disease. Conditions like gingivitis may not be evident because the cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to atrophy, so you may never even be aware that you have a problem to begin with. Once the gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease it is nearly impossible to reverse unless you give up smoking.

Receive routine preventive care from your dentist. Having routine cleanings can remove any calcified bacterial deposits that would otherwise harbor conditions that encourage gingivitis. Your dentist can also identify any problem areas that may be susceptible to gingivitis, such as aging dental work or fillings with rough margins. If you have crowded teeth your dentist may recommend orthodontic therapy, which makes it easier to keep teeth clean and healthy.

Rinse with a pure mouthwash. When your mouth is trying to heal, it needs all the extra help it can get. Rinsing is one of the best ways to kill excess bacteria and help promote a healthy environment in your mouth. It’s best to rinse twice per day, after brushing and/or flossing. Be sure to swish and gargle thoroughly to help kill the bacteria in the entire mouth including the back of the tongue. It’s best to avoid alcohol-containing mouthwashes, because they can try out the mouth. A dry mouth is a breeding ground for bad bacteria, which cause gingivitis and other gum problems.

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Mapping A Path To Better Oral Health

Dentists aren’t the only people who influence how we take care of our teeth; our friends and family play a big role, too. That is the conclusion of Brenda Heaton, an assistant professor of health policy and health services research at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, who presented her research recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Boston.

Heaton specializes in social epidemiology with a focus on oral health. In 2008, she, along with other members of BU’s Center for Research to Evaluate & Eliminate Dental Disparities, began a new line of research, focused on understanding oral health and disease among residents in Boston public housing. The majority of the work to date has focused on whether or not “motivational interviewing” can influence how women care for their children’s diet and oral health – specifically, the impact on kids with dental caries – also known as tooth decay.

There is mounting evidence that one-on-one behavioral interventions, like motivational interviewing, may change short-term behavior, but the effects don’t last long. “We started to get a sense that there may be more influences that we need to acknowledge beyond just the individual,” says Heaton. She found that social networks – not Facebook and Twitter, but networks of friends, family, and acquaintances – may play an overlooked role in oral health care.

Some women Heaton interviewed “had been born and raised in the unit that they were living in, and were now raising their own child in that unit,” she says, “so we had grandmother, mother, and child in one unit.” Those close connections influenced how people behaved, and to make significant progress against diseases like tooth decay, Heaton had to tap into those networks herself.

That is not easy, but it is important, says Thomas Valente, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California and an expert in social networks in health care. People believe information more when it comes from someone they know or respect, and evidence suggests that people are more willing to trust people who are like them. All too often, says Valente, who was not involved in this study, health information is handed to a community by people on the outside, and it is less impactful. “It’s like West Side Story,” says Valente. “It’s like being a Shark and having a Jet come up to you and tell you to do something. It is just not going to happen.”

Oral Health Resources

Heaton wants to spread resources about good oral health, not only to combat tooth decay but also because oral health is intertwined with other health concerns. “Sugar-sweetened beverage [consumption is] something that we are very interested in, not only because it is a huge risk factor for oral health outcomes, but it is also a huge risk factor for obesity and other obesity-related health conditions,” she says.

To understand the connections that already existed within the community, Heaton needed to draw a social map. Since 2008, her team has interviewed close to 200 women living in Boston public housing and identified nearly 1,000 individuals who were influential. Heaton is using those network maps to find similarities about how information flows through these communities. The ultimate goal, she says, is to use the map to introduce health information and resources into a community in ways that change long-term behaviors.

“You can’t design those interventions until you actually have a really strong grasp of the network structure,” says Heaton. For instance, if you want to make an impact, should you look for community members with the most personal connections or for people with large influence but fewer personal ties? Should you take advantage of existing connections or seed new ones?

The power of this approach is that it focuses on prevention rather than cures, says Heaton. It might take a village, but tooth decay “is an entirely preventable health outcome.”

Poor Oral Health And Food Scarcity Major Contributors To Malnutrition In Older Adults

UNC School of Medicine researchers led a study to determine risk factors associated with malnutrition among older adults receiving care in the emergency department. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, suggests that food scarcity and poor oral health are major risk factors for malnutrition that leads an older adult – already at high risk of functional decline, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality – to land in the emergency department.

Tim Platts-Mills, MD, senior author of the study, said, “For patients who don’t have enough food at home, the solution is pretty obvious and likely much less expensive than paying for the medical care that results from malnutrition: there is an existing national system of food assistance programs, such as Meals on Wheels, and we believe we can use the emergency department to link patients in need to those programs.”

“Even though such programs are relatively inexpensive – about $6 per individual per day – many programs are underutilized and under-funded. We need to link patients to these programs and fund these programs,” added Platts-Mills, who is also co-director of the Division of Geriatric Emergency Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.

The study included 252 patients age 65 and older seeking treatment in emergency departments in North Carolina, Michigan, and New Jersey. Participants were screened for malnutrition and then asked about the presence of risk factors.

The overall prevalence of malnutrition in the study sample was 12 percent, which is consistent with previous estimates from U.S. emergency departments and about double the prevalence in community-dwelling adults – those who are not hospitalized and do not live in an assisted-living facility. Of the three sites, patients receiving care in the North Carolina emergency department had the highest rate of malnutrition, 15 percent. The researchers note that North Carolina also has one of the highest rates of older adults living below the poverty line – ranked third out of 50 states.

Dental Problems And Poor Oral Health

Of the risk factors studied, poor oral health was found to have the largest impact on malnutrition. More than half of the patients in the study had some dental problems, and patients with dental problems were three times as likely to suffer from malnutrition as those without dental problems. Ten percent of patients experienced food insecurity – the definition of which was based on responses to questions regarding not having enough food, eating fewer meals, and going to bed hungry.

Food insecurity was also strongly associated with malnutrition. Other factors associated with malnutrition that may contribute to the problem include social isolation, depression, medication side effects, and limited mobility.

Collin Burks, a UNC medical student and the study’s lead author, said, “Improving oral health in older adults will be more challenging but also important. Medicare does not cover dental care. Fixing dental problems not only makes it easier for these individuals to eat but also can improve their self-esteem, quality of life, and overall health. We need affordable methods of providing dental care for older adults.”

Platts-Mills’s research group is now developing and testing interventions to link malnourished older patients identified in the emergency department to food assistance programs in the community.

 

Signs And Symptoms Of Receding Gums

Receding gums can really sneak up on you if you are not careful. Typically gum recession is a very slow process that may not be noticeable at first, until you begin to see the roots of the teeth. Your dentist measures gum recession in millimeters and even two millimeters of attachment loss is significant. Here are some typical signs that you may be suffering from receded gums.

Sensitivity
When you have receded gums, a portion of the root is exposed to outside elements. They were not meant to be exposed and often respond with hypersensitivity. Even simple tooth brushing along the gum lines can cause an intense pain that feels as if the nerve has been exposed.

Sensitivity is due to the exposed pores on the root surfaces. These pores have nerve endings that extend from inside of the tooth to the outside of the tooth. When gums recede, stimulation can reach the pores and send jolting signals toward the nerve.

Exposed Root Surfaces
The portion of tooth anatomy that is under enamel is called dentin. Dentin appears yellow next to the white tooth enamel and is exposed when the gums recede. When you see this yellow area next to a defined white crown, you will know that recession has occurred.

Redness And Swelling
If your gum recession is related to gum disease or periodontitis, there will be some inflammation and swelling associated with the area of gum recession. When plaque biofilm, tartar and other bacteria thrive near and under the gum lines, the body’s natural response is to destroy the attachment of the gums in the area. This causes infection and receding gums.

Teeth That Appear Longer Than Normal
When gums recede, the root of the tooth is exposed between the dental crown and the gum lines. The result is the appearance of a long tooth. Only one tooth may appear long or your entire smile may seem to be made up of long teeth. This appearance is due to receded gums.

Spaces Between Teeth
The appearance of dark spaces between your teeth near the gum lines is due to the loss of the gum “papilla” between the teeth. As gums recede, this sharp point of gum tissue is lost, as it creeps away with the other supporting gum tissue. The result is dark spaces between the teeth that were formerly covered with gum tissue.

Food Packing
As the gums recede and cause spaces between the teeth to be exposed, food easily becomes packed and lodged in these areas. Typically you will find one or more particular spaces that food packs in the majority of the time. Naturally these areas should be covered by gums and prevent food from lodging in the space. When food packs in problem areas it tends to compound and cause a consistent area of irritation and infection when not completely removed. This leads to further gum recession.

Association With Gum Disease
Food packs between the teeth but especially in the gum pockets that are formed beneath the gum lines against the teeth. As gums recede it also causes less tissue to be attached to the root of the tooth. Gums with natural healthy pockets measure up to two or three millimeters deep. As gums become diseased and lose attachment, the pockets become deeper.

If you have gum recession that measures a significant five or six millimeters, it can be very serious because even with an area of no infection there will be an additional two to three millimeters of unattached gums within the pocket. If infection does exist, the pocket could be four millimeters or deeper. When combined with deep gum disease pockets, gum recession can be very serious and evidence of possible future tooth loss.

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Gum Disease Causes

Do you know what causes gum disease? In order to understand the factors that contribute to gum disease, it is important to first understand the anatomy of the tooth, and how the gums relate to it.

Tooth Anatomy
Each of your teeth is designed to have a natural, shallow gum pocket surrounding it. This area is called the sulcus – pocket – or if disease is present a periodontal pocket. At the base of this pocket lies connective tissue including ligaments and bone. These structures adhere to the tooth, holding it into the socket. A healthy pocket will be no deeper than three millimeters.

The Invasion Of Bacteria
Plaque biofilm is a byproduct naturally produced by our bodies. As we consume food, that food mixes with our saliva and breaks down into smaller particles. Biofilm then begins to develop and deposit itself onto the surfaces of teeth, and along the gum lines. Plaque biofilm enters into the gum pocket during chewing or by accumulation in the absence of good oral hygiene.

The Destruction Of Gum Attachment And Bone Structure
When plaque is not removed efficiently through careful flossing or brushing, your body’s own immune system begins to attack the bacteria. As the blood supply brings antibodies to attack the biofilm under your gum lines, it destroys the attached gum around the tooth in order to access the area of infection. As this attachment is lost it causes your gum pocket to deepen, destroying bone along with it. After a certain point these pockets become too deep for you to efficiently care for them through normal brushing and flossing.

Heightened Risk Factors
Certain risk factors and health conditions can also contribute to the development and severity of your gum disease.  Some of these risk factors may include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular disease

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How To Treat And Prevent Oral Thrush

Practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to prevent oral thrush or yeast infections. Some simple ways to prevent oral thrush include:

  • Practice good oral hygiene every day – brush, rinse, and floss
  • Use pure botanical ingredients to kill the bad bacteria that lead to oral health problems
  • Limit the use of antibiotic or steroid medication
  • Give up smoking
  • Replace your toothbrush frequently or after illnesses
  • Remove dentures and clean them thoroughly each day
  • Manage blood sugar levels

Oral thrush treatment can be handled through conventional or home remedies. Natural, over-the-counter treatments to get rid of oral thrush are typically successful but professional intervention may be needed if the infection is too severe.

Conventional Treatment

Your dentist will most likely recommend that you use preventive home remedies to help clear up your fungal thrush infection. For severe cases of oral thrush, your dentist or doctor may recommend:

  • Prescription antifungal medication
  • Topical medication in the form of a mouth rinse

Home Remedies

Home remedies for oral thrush include:

  • The use of essential oils
  • Decreased sugar intake (yeast thrives on sugar)
  • Increased intake of yogurt or acidophilus
  • Giving up smoking

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Loose Teeth Causes, Signs And Symptoms

Loose teeth are the result of chronic gum disease, gum recession and bone loss. As plaque and bacteria invade the area around the teeth, it destroys the attachment between the teeth and the surrounding support structures. Once gum disease becomes active and remains untreated, teeth become mobile. If mobility is severe enough it ultimately results in loss of teeth.

Causes

What causes loose teeth? Loose teeth are caused by the presence of bacteria and periodontal disease under the gums around the teeth. As the disease worsens, the gum pockets deepen due to loss of attachment structure. The bacteria from gingivitis and gum disease cause the body to destroy bone and gum tissue around the teeth, which are meant to hold the teeth in place.

Signs And Symptoms

Loose teeth typically have other signs and symptoms associated with the condition. These include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Sore gums
  • Swollen, purple or red gums
  • Bleeding during brushing or flossing
  • Pus around the tooth
  • Food packing between the teeth or under the gums
  • Gum recession

Many of these symptoms accompany loose teeth and are typical of active, severe gum disease. It’s important to identify loose teeth as soon as possible so that treatment can be completed before it is too late.

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Gum Boil Treatments

Depending on what type of infection is causing your gum boil there are a variety of home remedies and professional treatments available.

Improved Oral Hygiene

Thorough removal of plaque through using electric toothbrushes, oral irrigation devices or flossing aids can reduce the levels of plaque biofilm in the mouth, decrease the rates of tooth decay, and reverse overgrowth of gum tissue. Using a pure botanical toothpaste and mouth rinse will kill the bad bacteria that lead to common gum problems. This will also create a clean and healthy environment in the mouth.

Essential Oil Application

In addition to improved oral hygiene, the use of essential oils for topical application as part of a mouth rinse can improve bacteria levels in the mouth and improve tissue health. Be sure to use pure botanical oils while brushing and rinsing in order to kill the bad bacteria that cause gum problems.

Periodontal Therapy

If active gum disease or periodontal disease is causing the gum boil, a deep cleaning can remove the active bacteria from your mouth. Full mouth deep cleanings typically cost several hundred dollars and require frequent maintenance visits to keep oral health in check.

Root Canal Therapy

Gum boils caused from dental abscesses require root canal therapy and complete removal of the bacteria and decayed enamel from the tooth. A root canal and crown seal the tooth off from further infection. Complete treatment costs are generally over one thousand dollars.

Surgical Removal Or Drainage

Chronic gum boils, which are uncomfortable or cosmetically displeasing, may require surgical intervention. Draining the boil or surgically removing it can sometimes correct the problem. There is a chance of the boil returning in some cases. Surgically draining the boil is relatively affordable, but invasive surgical needs may cost a few hundred dollars.

Denture Realigning

If the overgrowth of tissue is due to ill-fitting dentures, your denture may need to be realigned professionally to prevent friction or abnormal rubbing of the gums.

More Gum Boil Facts

Gum boils are typically not contagious. However, if the boil is present due to the presence of severe gum disease, it is possible to spread the disease bacteria through kissing or salivary transmission such as when sharing food.

Treating the gum boil through optimal oral hygiene practices should show some improvement or reversal in the area within two weeks. If the area does not improve or worsens after dedicated home hygiene you may need to see a professional for treatment.

Most gum boils usually do not hurt. If the boil is due to infection and is a dental abscess there may be pain present until root canal therapy can be performed. Depending on what type of infection is causing the gum boil, you may be able to heal it on your own at home. Dedicated oral hygiene that removes all plaque from the area on a routine basis may be all you need. If the boil persists you may need professional treatment.

Try the all-natural liquid toothpaste with a handcrafted blend of 100% pure cold pressed botanical almond, spearmint and carefully-aged peppermint oils. It naturally helps clean your teeth and gums by eliminating bacteria-causing germs and plaque while leaving you with fresh breath. Click here.

Children’s Oral Health Disparities Persist Despite Equal Dental Care Access

Oral health of children who receive dental care through Medicaid lags behind their privately insured peers, even though the children receive the same amount of dental care, according to a study from the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. The study was released recently by Health Affairs.
“If poor and low-income children now enjoy equal access to dental care but do not have equal oral health, then the remedy should focus more tightly on the day-to-day factors that put them at higher risk for dental problems,” said lead author Burton L. Edelstein, DDS, MPH, chair of the Section of Population Oral Health, professor of dental medicine at the College of Dental Medicine (CDM), and professor of health policy and management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. “Low-income families often face income, housing, employment, and food insecurities that constrain their ability to engage in healthy eating and oral hygiene practices,” he noted.

The study considered data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, which included parent reports of oral health and use of dental care for 79,815 children and adolescents (age 1 to 17 years) of all social strata. No differences were found between Medicaid-insured and commercially-insured children in the odds of their having a dental visit, preventive or otherwise. However, parents of children enrolled in Medicaid were 25 percent more likely to report that their child did not have an “excellent or very good” dental condition and were 21 percent more likely to report that their child had a dental problem within the last year than were parents of commercially-insured children.

“Because we found that low-income kids are seeing dentists at similar rates as privately insured children, we believe that other issues may negatively impact low income children’s oral health. Addressing this would require attention from those currently outside the dental profession, such as social workers, health educators, nutritionists, and community health workers,” said Jaffer A. Shariff, DDS, MPH, a research associate in the Section of Population Oral Health, a periodontal resident at CDM, and co-author of the study. “We need to develop an oral health promotion system that complements traditional dental care.”

Medicaid’s Equal Access Provision mandates that Medicaid beneficiaries have access to equivalent health services as the general population. While the study confirms that the mandate is being followed, it also shows that, “equal access to dental care does not ensure that low-income children obtain and maintain oral health at the same levels as other children,” Dr. Edelstein said.

Dentists need to “rethink the nature of oral health care by seeing it as part of a child’s total health care and by treating tooth decay as the chronic disease that it is. We can’t segregate oral health from overall health,” Dr. Edelstein cautioned. “Evolving health systems that bring teams of providers together to promote healthy behaviors can address common risk factors that benefit a child’s overall and oral health. But if you segregate dentistry, especially for Medicaid kids, then you lose that opportunity.”

New Cavity Treatment Offers No Drilling, No Filling

A new clinical trial at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry is offering patients with cavities in between teeth a new, less painful treatment option.

The new treatment, called resin infiltration, is a way to treat small cavities in between teeth. Normally, the only way to access these cavities is by numbing a patient with a shot and drilling away tooth structure to access the cavity. Resin infiltration allows the dentist to slide a plastic perforated sheet between the teeth with the cavities.

“When we develop cavities between teeth, sometimes we have to go through the tooth, and we end up damaging healthy tooth structure,” said Augusto Robles, DDS, assistant professor and director of Operative Dentistry Curriculum. “This new system allows us to skip the drilling and helps us preserve that structure.”

The cavity is first cleaned by pushing a gel that prepares the surface to accept the resin infiltrant through the perforated sheet. The tooth is then filled by pushing a liquid resin through the perforated sheet. A dental curing light is then applied to the tooth to cure the resin, and the treatment is complete. There is no drilling necessary, and the procedure is typically completed without any anesthesia.

“Since this is a no-shot and no-drill treatment, it is popular with patients,” said Nathaniel Lawson, DMD, School of Dentistry Division Director of Biomaterials. “And since no tooth is removed, it is a very conservative procedure.”

The resin infiltration is one of a kind, and it is an FDA-approved, commercially available product made in Germany, but mostly is being used only in clinical trials in the United States. The UAB Clinical Research Center is conducting the largest U.S. clinical trial of this product, enrolling 150 patients in the study.

Both Robles and Lawson agree that this new system, if adopted nationally by practicing dentists, could be a game-changer for the future of dentistry.

“I never thought this would be possible for dentistry,” Robles said. “In my 24 years of practicing, this changes everything we’ve done so far. It’s marvelous.”

Although this new system helps restore teeth, there are a few prerequisites for patients looking to dodge the drill. This treatment works only in between teeth or on smooth surfaces where there are small cavities. Some cavities that are large or are on top of teeth are not suited for this kind of system because the liquid resin used cannot build up shapes.

“The resin has to be liquid to be able to be absorbed into the cavities in between teeth,” Robles said. “So at this point, the application is pretty specific.”

The UAB School of Dentistry continues to be at the forefront of innovation and patient care. It is clinical trials like this one that give dentists and researchers much to look forward to.

“I’m so proud to be a member of UAB, where I can be a part of a center that is testing new and innovative products,” Lawson said. “This is one of the most innovative products in dentistry I’ve seen in a while.”

How To Prevent Sore Gums

If sore gums are due to gingivitis and bacteria:

Brush the gum lines twice each day with your toothbrush angled 45 degrees toward the margin of the gums. Focus on two teeth at a time, making short strokes back and forth.

Apply just enough pressure to make the tissue blanch – no more, no less.

Floss daily by wrapping the floss tightly around each tooth and sliding up and down under the gums as far as it will go. This is usually two or three millimeters.

Have your teeth cleaned regularly at the dentist to prevent excess tartar buildup.

Consider using a mouth rinse after brushing to help eliminate any other bacteria, especially if you are prone to gum infections or have a history of gingivitis. Be sure to avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol, as it can actually contribute to more bacterial growth in the long run. This is due to the fact that alcohol can dry out the mouth, and a dry mouth is a preferred breeding ground for harmful oral bacteria. Instead, use a 100% pure botanical mouthwash that is proven to kill the harmful bacteria that cause gum problems.

Do you know the benefits of fluoride-free toothpaste?

Preventing other factors that can cause sore gums:

  • Clean oral appliances such as retainers and dentures daily.
  • Remove dentures or partials every night.
  • Have necessary dental treatment completed in a timely manner.

Try the all-natural liquid toothpaste with a handcrafted blend of 100% pure cold pressed botanical almond, spearmint and carefully-aged peppermint oils. It naturally helps clean your teeth and gums by eliminating bacteria-causing germs and plaque while leaving you with fresh breath. Click here

Gingivitis Dangers And Progression

Gingivitis doesn’t just affect the appearance or discomfort of your gums, it can also greatly affect your entire body.

Links To Other Diseases And Conditions

Gingivitis, gum disease and periodontal disease are all caused by your body’s immune response to infection in the area. When your immune system is strained by infection, it also makes it difficult to fight other conditions that you may be suffering from. The more severe your gum infection is, the more likely you are to suffer from severe health problems. By treating or preventing gum infections like gingivitis, you can increase your body’s ability to recover from conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arterial plaque
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Premature labor
  • Obesity
  • Erectile dysfunction

Progression Into Periodontitis

Because the beginning stages of periodontitis (periodontal disease) evolve from gingivitis, it is extremely important to tackle your symptoms before they can cause irreversible problems. If gingivitis is allowed to persist and goes untreated, the area becomes so infected that destruction of gum attachment and bone levels occur around your teeth. This attachment loss starts out small, allowing food to pack under your gums as well as tartar to build up on the root of your teeth. Ultimately the infection becomes worse and worse until you reach the point where there is so much bone loss that your teeth become mobile and may possibly fall out.

Once you have lost teeth due to periodontal disease it makes everyday things like talking, chewing and swallowing more difficult to do. Even with tooth replacement options there is never anything quite like having your natural teeth, and you may have some problems adjusting. Bone loss from gum disease is irreversible, so it is important to prevent periodontitis by treating your gingivitis as soon as you begin to experience symptoms.

Try the all-natural liquid toothpaste with a handcrafted blend of 100% pure cold pressed botanical almond, spearmint and carefully-aged peppermint oils. It naturally helps clean your teeth and gums by eliminating bacteria-causing germs and plaque while leaving you with fresh breath. Click here.