Gingivitis is a type of gum disease and is the mildest stage of gum disease. At its core, gingivitis means that there is an active infection in the gum tissue, but it can be treated and cured if it’s caught and treated by your dentist in Lawrenceville before it has a chance to progress into a more severe infection. If gingivitis is not treated, it can cause tooth loss and even increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor dental hygiene. When teeth aren’t thoroughly cleaned with daily brushing and flossing, plaque can build up on and in between teeth. Now, while plaque is completely normal, brushing and flossing typically remove it. But when plaque is left to build up, the bacteria in the plaque can cause problems. Not only can these bacteria cause an infection in the gum tissue, but they can also cause tooth decay and increase the risk of cavities. Additionally, plaque can also harden into tartar, which can only be removed by your dentist in Lawrenceville.
However, poor dental hygiene isn’t the only cause of gingivitis, and even those who take great care of their teeth may still develop it. Some other causes of gingivitis include:
- Hormonal changes that can occur during pregnancy, menopause, or puberty
- Some diseases such as cancer and diabetes
- Dry mouth, which can be caused by certain medications
- Tobacco use
Signs & Symptoms
One of the tough parts about gingivitis is that it can show no signs or symptoms until it develops into a more severe stage of gum disease. However, some of the early warning signs of gingivitis may include:
- Bright red gums
- Tender or painful gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Swelling of the gums
- Receding gums
If you notice any signs of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Lawrenceville as soon as possible.
Gingivitis will need to be treated by your dentist and may include a deep cleaning or the use of an antibiotic. Your dentist in Lawrenceville may also recommend that you come in for dental cleanings more than twice a year to keep your gums healthy. Additionally, treatment to fix hard-to-clean crooked teeth or poor-fitting dentures or restorations may be part of your treatment plan.
The best way to protect yourself against gingivitis is to take excellent care of your teeth by brushing and flossing every day. It’s also important to keep your dental appointments as scheduled so any problems can be caught early when treatment is often more successful.
If you’ve been putting off your dental appointments, do your health a favor and schedule a visit today.
Eating a well-balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, can go a long way in reducing the risk of serious health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Yet according to the CDC, less than 10% of American adults are getting enough vegetables and only 12% are eating the recommended amount of fruits. This is one reason why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month every March, and it’s an event also supported by your dentist in Lawrenceville. After all, nutrition doesn’t only affect whole-body health, it also affects oral health.
National Nutrition Month
The purpose of National Nutrition Month is to help raise awareness of how eating right can help fuel your body and protect your health. But is nutrition so complicated that it requires an entire 31 days and a whole awareness campaign? In short, yes, nutrition can be complicated, which may explain why many Americans don’t eat a well-balanced diet.
We know we should eat our vegetables. We know we should avoid high-fat foods. Yet many of us don’t get close to eating enough of what we should and eat more of what we shouldn’t. How can this be? Well, the truth is, nutrition is confusing. So much so that the Food Pyramid Guide from the United States Department of Agriculture has changed two times since it was originally created in 1992. Nutritional standards don’t fall into a one-size-fits-all recommendation, and food group intakes vary based on gender, age, height, weight, and activity level, among other things. This is where a site like MyPlate can help. Input your information and find your individual nutritional needs so you can start to find foods that fit your needs. Eating properly can help your body function well, protect your health, and, as your dentist in Lawrenceville knows, protect your smile.
Eat Well, Smile Well
Research shows a strong correlation between whole-body health and oral health. This connection extends to include what we eat. After all, those who eat a balanced diet are often healthier and also typically have better oral health. When choosing foods for you and your family, look to pick options that are both recommended in your MyPlate account and ones that can also help your smile. Some smile-friendly foods include:
- Fatty Fish
When in doubt, pick foods that you know are good for your body. Chances are, they’re also good for your teeth.
A Note About Sugar
It’s no secret that your dentist in Lawrenceville doesn’t like sugar, but you should know that sweet treats packed with sugar aren’t only dangerous to your teeth, they can also put your overall health at risk. Sugar is a high-calorie food, and when consumed in large amounts it can cause weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. However, it’s not only sweet foods that show a high sugar content on the label that are concerning. Foods that are high in carbohydrates can also affect your body and your teeth similarly to sugars. Try your best to limit the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in your diet.
Eating well is one of the best ways to protect your body from disease. It’s also one of the best ways to protect your teeth. So this National Nutrition Month, commit to finding your individual nutritional needs and stick to eating well.
Any type of ongoing tooth pain usually means something isn’t quite right. But does that mean every toothache requires a visit to your dentist in Lawrenceville? The short answer — probably. However, if your pain lasts for 2 or more days, isn’t reduced with painkillers, and is paired with swelling or a bad taste in your mouth, you need to get to a dentist.
Understanding Different Types of Tooth Pain
Different types of tooth pain could indicate different types of problems, and it’s important to know what various feelings could mean. Being able to explain your pain to your dentist in Lawrenceville can help find the underlying cause and get you treated and out of pain quickly. The following pain descriptors are to be used for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose any problem. Always see your dentist.
Dull, Chronic Ache
A constant, dull ache is the most common type of toothache and could be a sign of anything from a piece of food lodged in your gums or between your teeth to an abscess. This type of pain can also be a sign of tooth grinding. If not treated, grinding your teeth can lead to broken or chipped teeth and TMJ disorder. You may be able to get relief by gently flossing your teeth to remove a leftover food particle, but if that doesn’t work you should see your dentist for a more thorough evaluation.
A lot of people have sensitive teeth, and sometimes it’s managed well by using the right toothpaste and regular cleanings. But extreme sensitivity to hot or cold things may also be a sign of something more serious. Tooth sensitivity that doesn’t go away after about 30 seconds could indicate gum disease, tooth decay, worn enamel, or fractured teeth.
Constant throbbing tooth pain can be a major distraction and keep you from doing other things such as working productively and sleeping. If it doesn’t go away it may be a sign of a cracked tooth, dying nerve, abscess or other infection, or an oral lesion. Call your dentist to find out and get relief.
A sharp, stabbing pain always requires a visit to your dentist and will most likely require some sort of restorative dentistry treatment. Sharp pain could mean you have a cavity, a cracked or broken tooth, or you have an old dental restoration such as a crown or filling that needs attention.
As we mentioned before, any type of tooth pain typically means something isn’t right and you should see your dentist in Lawrenceville for an exam, diagnosis, and treatment plan sooner rather than later.
Over the past year, some dental offices have been reporting higher rates of cracked teeth than in years’ past. Take this dentist’s experience documented in the New York Times for example. So, is there some weird connection between COVID-19 and cracked teeth? Well, kind of. While cracked teeth are not directly related to the virus they can be an unwanted side effect of the stress caused by the pandemic. As we all know, stress can affect our health in many ways, and your dentist in Lawrenceville wants you to know that your oral health is no exception.
Stress can put us at increased risk for heart disease, digestive problems, and can even reduce the effectiveness of our immune systems, which is the opposite of what we want nowadays. When we are stressed out, our bodies also respond with subconscious reactions such as increased sweating, rapid heart rate, and the inability to concentrate. Another common reaction that many of us experience, but may not even be aware of, is clenching or grinding our teeth.
Repeatedly squeezing or grinding our top teeth against our bottom teeth puts unnatural pressure on the teeth themselves, as well as the jaw joint. When this happens a lot, like during periods when you’re more stressed than normal, it can increase the likelihood of tooth damage such as cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. It can also cause jaw muscles to become sore and may even lead to TMJ disorder, also known as TMD. While your dentist in Lawrenceville can help fix any tooth damage that may occur and may even be able to help relieve TMJ pain, it’s best to try to avoid those problems in the first place.
Gum disease is usually associated with poor oral health, ineffective oral hygiene habits, or a result of tobacco use. But long periods of high stress levels can also increase the risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that requires an early diagnosis and treatment to keep it from progressing into an irreversible problem. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and increase the risk of other whole-body health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, and some cancers. Keep an eye out for some of the common signs of gum disease including:
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Lawrenceville.
Keep Calm & Stay Healthy
It’s only natural to feel stressed out occasionally, and more so in today’s uncertain world. But to protect your health and smile, try to keep stress levels in check and use stress-reduction techniques such as:
- Sleeping. Getting 8 hours of sleep a night is an important part of staying healthy as it gives your body time to recover.
- Meditating. Mediating can lower heart rate and, in turn, stress levels. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and feel the stress melt away.
- Exercising. Increasing your heart rate (in a good way) through exercise can release endorphins and make you feel happier and less stressed out.
Finding the right stress-reduction technique can take some trial and error, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Whatever works for you, stick to it to help manage your stress and protect your health.
Even though 2020 is over and we can start to leave a lot of that crazy year behind us, one thing remains a constant in our everyday lives — face masks. Masks have become commonplace throughout the United States to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and are seen everywhere we go. From grocery stores to department stores, facemasks are here to stay (at least for a little while longer). But daily, long-term use of masks may cause some concerns for your dentist in Lawrenceville.
*An Important Note About Facemasks
Before we dive any further, we need to be clear that what we’re about to discuss does not outweigh the importance of continuing to wear a mask when in public or around other people. Please continue wearing masks when appropriate and use the provided tips to help combat any concerns we cover herein.
Most of us were not used to ever wearing a mask, let alone wearing them daily and for hours at a time. Because of this, some of our bodies needed to adjust to this new norm. One of the most common ways we adjusted was to start breathing out of our mouths instead of our noses. However, while this type of breathing may feel more comfortable, it is what concerns your dentist in Lawrenceville.
Mouth breathing, whether due to wearing a mask or for other reasons such as a stuffy nose, can quickly dry out saliva. This reduction in saliva will cause our mouths to dry out and feel uncomfortable. But the discomfort of dry mouth isn’t the only thing that’s concerning. Without saliva, bad bacteria and acids are left behind which can increase the risk of decay and other problems.
Bad Breath & Cavities
The bacteria and acid buildup that often occurs as a side effect of dry mouth puts our teeth at risk for decay and cavities. Since dangerous acid is left behind and not neutralized by saliva, the acid can wear away at the enamel, making it easy for bacteria to settle in and cause cavities. Additionally, these same bacteria will feed on anything left behind in the mouth and continue to produce even more acid, and the cycle continues. What’s more, is these bacteria will also produce a smelly byproduct and can cause bad breath.
Avoiding Dry Mouth
Now, while the above may seem concerning, the good news about all of this is that your dentist in Lawrenceville knows of some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of dry mouth and the concerns that go along with it including:
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated and moist.
- Sucking on sugar-free hard candies or chewing gum with Xylitol. Both of these tricks can stimulate saliva production.
- Brushing and flossing every day to help remove bacteria buildup.
Dry mouth can be more than uncomfortable, but there are ways your dentist in Lawrenceville can help. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to find the best dry mouth solution for you.
Everyone wants a bright, white smile. But everyday things can take their toll on teeth and cause staining or discoloration. From coffee to wine, to certain medications and beets, it seems that everything we consume can transform our pearly whites into dull, discolored teeth. But, as your dentist in Lawrenceville knows, we don’t need to sit back and simply accept a non-ideal smile. In fact, there are things you can do to protect against tooth staining.
- Use Straws
As wine or coffee passes over your teeth, it’s essentially bathing your teeth in staining agents. However, if you use straws instead of sipping directly out of a cup, the liquid bypasses teeth and doesn’t have a chance to stick around, soak in, and cause stains. You may want to consider buying a reusable straw that you can take anywhere. Some restaurants don’t hand out straws anymore, and reusable straws are more environmentally friendly.
- Switch Your Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Sometimes removing stains is as easy as using the right toothpaste and toothbrush. Whitening toothpaste can safely effectively remove surface stains caused by foods and drinks. Find a toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, so you know you’re buying a brand that’s not only safe but also works. Switching from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush can make brushing sessions more efficient and can help you brush each area of your smile for 30 seconds. We recommend talking with your dentist in Lawrenceville about which products are best for your teeth.
- Brush Your Teeth
You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time to remove bacteria and plaque buildup and to keep your teeth healthy. However, you should also try to brush your teeth after meals. Removing any staining foods or drinks that came in contact with your teeth during dinner quickly and efficiently can work wonders in reducing the likelihood and severity of stains. However, there are bound to be times when brushing your teeth after a meal isn’t possible. When that happens, rinsing your mouth out with water or chewing sugarless gum can also help.
- Dental Cleanings
Besides practicing good oral hygiene habits at home and after meals, it’s also crucial that you get professional dental cleanings twice a year. These cleanings can help remove surface stains and brighten your smile. They’re also a great time to talk with your dentist in Lawrenceville about any concerns you may have about the appearance or health of your smile so you can work together to find solutions that fit your wants and needs.
Tooth discoloration is almost inevitable, even if you follow the tips above perfectly. But we believe that nobody should have to live with a dull smile. Thankfully, there are plenty of cosmetic dentistry treatments available to fix anything that bothers you. From smile whitening to veneers, your ideal smile is possible. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
We all know that good dental care helps protect teeth against cavities. But did you know that maintaining good oral health can also help protect overall health? In fact, research continues to show us that dental care is key to a healthy body. Join your dentist in Lawrenceville as we take a look at some of the ways oral health is connected to overall health.
When many of us think about dental care we immediately think about teeth. However, we can’t ignore the gums. Gum pockets provide an ideal place for bacteria to hide, and while some of the bacteria found in the mouth are harmless, some can lead to some serious problems including gum disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, study upon study is showing a strong connection between gum disease and many whole-body issues such as:
- Heart Disease
- Low Birth Weight
- Premature Births
- Alzheimer’s Disease
How Does This Happen?
The mouth is the first part of both our digestive and respiratory systems, and when an infection such as gum disease affects the mouth, it can easily transfer throughout the body and increase the risk of some of the concerns above. This is why it’s so important to take care of your oral health. Proper brushing and flossing, as well as seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville regularly, can help remove dangerous bacteria and protect your overall health.
Teeth Matter, Too
While there’s a clear connection between gum disease and overall health problems, we can’t forget about our teeth. When you think about it, our teeth definitely play a role in our overall health, too. If we do not take care of our teeth, the plaque and bacteria buildup will lead to gum disease and increase the risk of those larger healthcare concerns. But that’s not all. Our teeth help us chew and allow us to eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition helps fuel our bodies and provides key nutrients we need to stay healthy and fight off germs and bacteria. Limiting the amount of sugar you consume, drinking plenty of water, and using the “Food Plate” guidelines are all good places to start.
Remember, your dentist in Lawrenceville is a key part of your healthcare team and can not only help keep your teeth healthy but can also help protect your overall health. Make sure to brush and floss every day and keep your dental appointments every six months.
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, an entire 31 days dedicated to our trusted and caring hygienists. This year, like most things, the celebration is a little bit different and has an appropriate theme — Faces of Courage. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate, National Dental Hygiene Month strives to spread thanks to all hygienists and praise their commitment to keeping patients healthy. To help celebrate, your dentist in Lawrenceville wants to share some of the things dental hygienists do and show just how important they are to our office.
What Do Dental Hygienists Do?
Many patients believe that hygienists only clean teeth. The truth is, they do so much more. In fact, it’s not uncommon for patients to see and spend more time with their hygienists than their dentist, they do that much! While laws and rules differ from state to state and a hygienist’s specific duties can vary accordingly, there are some common things that many hygienists do on a daily basis such as:
- Getting Personal – When you first start seeing a new dentist in Lawrenceville, your hygienist will usually start by reviewing some paperwork that includes your oral health history and overall health history. They will update this information at every visit to make sure they’re providing you the best care that’s appropriate for you and your mouth and body.
- Cleaning Teeth – Of course, we all know that a dental hygienist’s main job is to clean teeth and remove any plaque or tartar buildup. Many hygienists will also perform an oral cancer screening, take x-rays, and measure your gum pockets to check for gum disease.
- Preventing Problems – While cleaning your teeth, your hygienist is also paying close attention to any areas of your mouth that may require your dentist in Lawrenceville to take a closer look. Dental hygienists may also apply fluoride or sealants to teeth to help keep acids and bacteria from damaging teeth or to help with tooth sensitivity.
- Teaching Tips – Another thing that hygienists are really good at is teaching patients the best way to brush, floss, and care for their teeth. They may even offer nutrition tips to further protect oral health.
How Do You Become a Dental Hygienist?
To become a dental hygienist, one needs to receive training and get certified. Many hygienists attend a local community college, technical college, dental school, or university programs to complete the recommended courses and training. It usually takes around two years to become a licensed dental hygienist, and many students will receive an associate’s degree. But some universities even offer four-year degrees, along with master’s degree programs. After a degree is received, hygienists will then take a licensing exam on either the state, regional, or national level.
This month, and every month, take time to thank your dental hygienist for all they do to help keep you healthy. And if you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, call your dentist in Lawrenceville to schedule an appointment with a dental hygienist today!
Getting a cancer diagnosis can be understandably scary, and some cancer treatments can cause some unwanted and unpleasant side effects throughout your body. Your mouth is no exception. While we understand that seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville may not be at the top of your to-do list, especially if you’re preparing to begin cancer treatment, it’s important to know that these visits can be an important part of keeping your body healthy and strong through cancer treatment. In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, dental checkups before and during cancer treatment can prevent problems that may be serious enough to stop cancer treatment, which is the last thing you want to do.
- Decreased White Blood Cells
Cancer treatment can be really effective at killing cancer cells, but they can also damage or kill good, healthy, normal cells including white blood cells. White blood cells are important to help fight off infection. Without enough of them, the immune system is weakened. Why is this a concern for your dentist in Lawrenceville? Well, if you have a gum infection, for example, and then your immune system is weakened, the infection can cause complications to both your oral health and additional problems to your overall health.
- Calcium Reduction
If your oncologist recommends radiation therapy to your head or neck, it may also affect your dental health. These treatments tend to reduce calcium levels in the body, and since our tooth enamel consists of mainly calcium, this reduction can cause teeth to weaken, putting them at increased risk of cavities. But that’s not all. Radiation therapy may also damage salivary glands, reducing their ability to produce saliva. This results in dry mouth, which also puts your oral health at risk for additional problems, including cavities and gum disease. Your dentist in Lawrenceville may recommend fluoride to help strengthen enamel or a special rinse to help keep the mouth properly hydrated.
Many cancer treatments involve the use of chemotherapy, which can damage the mucosal tissues in the mouth. This may cause painful sores and a temporary condition called mucositis. Mucositis is the inflammation or ulceration of the mucus membranes anywhere along the digestive tract, from the mouth through the intestines, and can affect an estimated 40% of cancer patients. Your dentist in Lawrenceville may be able to help reduce discomfort caused by mucositis through laser dentistry or other treatments.
Your dentist is always an important part of your healthcare team, especially if you’re undergoing cancer treatment. Make sure to see your dentist at least every six months, and perhaps more during treatment, to help protect your oral health and, in turn, the rest of your body.
Our gums are an important part of our oral health. After all, they help hold our teeth in place and protect the tooth roots. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we want to see them when we smile, no matter how important they are. Nonetheless, there are some people whose gums show more prominently than others. This is known as a gummy smile. Now while there typically aren’t any problems associated with a gummy smile, they can make some feel self-conscious. When this is the case, your dentist in Lawrenceville has some options to help.
Causes of a Gummy Smile
Before we dive into some of the cosmetic dentistry options that can fix a gummy smile, it’s important to know what can cause it in the first place. Some of the most common causes of a gummy smile include:
- Abnormal Tooth Eruption
One of the most common causes behind a gummy smile is the way the teeth develop and erupt. When there’s too much growth in the gum tissue it can expand up and over, essentially hiding teeth. This can create the appearance of short teeth and a gummy smile. However, oftentimes the teeth are fully developed and can be uncovered. An abundance of gum tissue can be genetic or can be a result of medication of an infection in the gums.
- A Bad Bite
At your dental appointments, your dentist in Lawrenceville will ask you to bite down and touch your top teeth to your bottom teeth in order to check your bite alignment. This can help identify several things such as a potential problem with your jaw. A bad bite may also be the reason behind a gummy smile. For example, if the upper jaw protrudes too far outward can create a gummy appearance.
- Hyperactive Upper Lip
While something called a hyperactive upper lip may seem silly, it’s a very real thing. Sometimes the muscles in the upper lip and under the nose are too active. Over time, this overuse can bring the top lip up too high, exposing the gums. This cause of a gummy smile is often hereditary.
Your dentist in Lawrenceville will need to know the root cause of a gummy smile in order to recommend the best treatment for your specific situation.
Gummy Smile Treatment
Treatment of a gummy smile can vary greatly depending on the case. But some of the most common solutions are:
- Scaling & Root Planing
If the cause of a gummy smile is an infection, your dentist will probably recommend beginning with a scaling and root planing deep cleaning. This treatment can be very effective at removing infection and reducing inflammation that may make the gums appear larger than normal. If scaling and root planing treatment doesn’t give a patient the result they desire, there are additional treatments available.
- Crown Lengthening/Gum Recontouring
Other common and often successful treatments for a gummy smile are crown lengthening or gum recontouring, which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. These procedures remove excess tissue around the teeth and restructure the gum line allowing more of the white enamel to show.
A gummy smile caused by a bad bite may best be treated through orthodontics, including traditional braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Orthodontics can also help fix a bad bite in general and may relieve jaw pain or other oral health problems related to a bad bite.
If you notice more of your gums showing when you smile, laugh, or talk, and it bothers you, schedule a consultation with your dentist in Lawrenceville.