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.
Every time you visit your dentist in Lawrenceville you will most likely review your health history and discuss any changes that may have happened since your last appointment. This is an important part of making sure you get the best dental care, but why? Your dentist needs to know what may be going on in other areas of your body because sometimes whole-body problems such as diabetes can increase your risk of dental problems. During this Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to share a few reasons why diabetics may need more dental care than non-diabetics.
Diabetes & Gum Disease
One of the main reasons diabetics may need more dental care is because of the strong link between diabetes and gum disease. In fact, diabetics are at greater risk for gum disease than those without diabetes. Gum disease is an infection that affects the gum tissues. It’s caused by an increase in bacteria that have worked their way up under the gum line. Gum disease can put someone at risk for tooth loss and whole-body problems such as heart disease. But that’s not all. Gum disease, like any infection, can also cause blood sugar levels to increase, making diabetes more difficult to manage.
Caring for Your Oral Health
Because of the increased risk of gum disease, your dentist in Lawrenceville recommends that diabetics commit to following good oral hygiene habits. The best way to protect your teeth is to brush for two minutes every day and gently scrub your tongue to remove bacteria. Additionally, make sure you floss daily. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride for added defense, brush in gentle circles, and use a brush with soft bristles. This will help thoroughly clean your teeth without damaging them. And as always, make sure you also see your dentist every six months.
Measure Blood Glucose
The 30 million Americans living with diabetes know just how important it is to measure their blood sugar regularly. They also know that keeping blood glucose levels in check is crucial to protecting their health. Your dentist in Lawrenceville encourages all diabetics to measure and record their blood sugar levels daily. Your dental team may even ask for the results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose) or about your need for antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes.
Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy
Avoiding or limiting sugary foods is an everyday part of a diabetic’s life, and it should come as no surprise that this can help protect your teeth, too. But eating healthy goes beyond restricting sugar. Diabetics can benefit from choosing fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Of course, we always recommend working with your doctor to find a diet plan that’s right for you.
The team at our dental office in Lawrenceville believes in caring for our patients’ overall health. This means asking for health history, changes in health, and changes in medication. If you’re diabetic, sharing this information can help us better protect your oral and overall health.
When it comes to your oral health, it’s no surprise that your dentist in Lawrenceville puts so much importance on taking proper care of your teeth. But did you know that your gums are another crucial aspect to overall oral health? In fact, our gums are just as important to take care of as our teeth. They help hold our teeth steady and firmly in our mouths, protecting the roots and helping teeth last a lifetime. However, it’s not uncommon to experience something called gum recession.
What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue begins to pull away from teeth, leaving tooth roots exposed and increasing the risk for tooth loss, increased sensitivity, and decay. What’s even worse is that once gums recede, you can’t grow it back. However, your dentist in Lawrenceville may be able to help with a variety of gum recession treatments. It’s best to talk with your dentist to find out the best way to fix receding gums.
Gum Recession Treatment
Effect treatment of receding gums depends on the root cause and overall oral health. Some of the most common treatment options are:
- Scaling & Root Planing: This type of gum recession treatment is usually the first one suggested by dentists. It’s similar to a dental cleaning, but instead of focusing on the surfaces of teeth only, your dental team will clean up under the gum line to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth. This procedure is usually done with a numbing anesthetic for increased comfort.
- Antibiotics: Following a scaling root planing, which also helps smooth out roots to make it difficult for bacteria to cling to them, your dentist may also choose to use a temporary antibiotic to kill off any bacteria that may still be lingering around.
- Surgical Techniques: Advancements in dental technology have included several updated surgical techniques to help combat gum recession. To find out if gum recession surgery is right for you, and to determine which one would be most effective, schedule a visit with your dentist in Lawrenceville.
What Causes Receding Gums?
There’s not one singular underlying cause behind gum recession. Each individual is different, and your cause may be different than someone else’s. Some of the causes of gum recession are:
Preventing Gum Recession
Gum recession is an incredibly common dental concern that we encounter every day. While it may seem like a minor thing, receding gums can lead to some serious complications and even become pretty painful if left untreated. There are ways you can help prevent your gums from receding such as:
- Brushing properly using a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and move it around in small, gentle circles on each surface of each tooth.
- Practicing a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing every day.
- Seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville at least every six months.
If you notice any of the common signs of gum recession, including swollen, red gums, chronic bad breath, pain along the gum line, exposed tooth roots and the accompanying sensitivity, or visibility shrinking gums, schedule a dental appointment today.
Seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville in order to protect your heart may seem like strange advice, but in fact, there is a strong connection between oral health and heart health. To help celebrate Heart Health Month this February, we’d like to educate our patients and neighbors on just how important regular dental care is to protect not only your mouth but also your heart.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease
The main connection between oral health and heart health lies in the gums. Years of research support a positive correlation between gum disease and the increased risk for complications with heart health. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry states that those with gum disease are more likely to suffer a heart attack than those without gum disease. But how does gum health directly affect heart health? It all has to do with the way gum inflammation and infection can affect your heart.
How Can Gum Infections Give You a Heart Attack?
Even though infection of the gums may seem like no cause for concern, nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only does gum disease put your whole body at risk for problems such as diabetic complications and lung conditions, but it can also directly affect your heart health. When gums become infected, the bacteria that caused the infection in the first place aren’t isolated to just the mouth. They can easily enter the bloodstream and cause your body to over-produce something called C-reactive protein (CRP). Increased levels of CRP is a known precursor to heart attacks. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, elevated CRP levels can be more accurate at predicting a heart attack than high cholesterol.
Signs of Gum Disease
Knowing the signs of gum disease can go a long way in getting it treated early before your risk of other health concerns increases. Some common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
What You Do to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home as well as visit your dentist in Lawrenceville at least twice a year for regular checkups. Make sure to brush and floss every single day to remove bacteria and plaque buildup, try to eat a well-balanced diet with limited sugary and acidic foods, and of course, avoid tobacco. It’s also important to share any health problems, changes in your health history, and medications with your dentist at each visit.
This Heart Health Month, and every month, take the steps to protect your oral health. It may just save your life.
Every November, the American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to quit. As we all know, smoking can lead to serious health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Your dentist in Lawrenceville also wants you to know that smoking can have a negative effect on your oral health, too. Let’s take a look at some of the ways smoking can cause problems in your mouth.
One of the most serious ways smoking can affect your oral health is by increasing your risk of developing oral cancer. While oral cancer doesn’t only occur in smokers, smoking does greatly increase the chances. In fact, smokers are six times more likely to get oral cancer than non-smokers. Like any cancer, oral cancer can be deadly if not caught and treated quickly and appropriately. This is one reason why seeing your Lawrenceville dentist at least twice a year is so important. Your dental team will check for signs of oral cancer at every appointment so if something suspicious does show up, you’d catch it early and when treatment is often more successful.
Another serious oral health problem that oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with smoking is gum disease. Gum disease can affect anyone but smokers are 50% more likely to get it than non-smokers. It’s a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and even other health are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Bad Breath & Discolored Teeth
Smokers often have a clear giveaway that they smoke — their breath. Smokers’ breath isn’t something that goes away easily and it can linger around for quite a while. Bad breath may seem like no big deal but it can affect relationships and health. What’s more, the ingredients in cigarettes (such as tar and nicotine) can easily stick to any plaque that may be on your teeth, gums, or tongue. When too much of these sticky substances are introduced to the mouth, they can actually change the color of your teeth into a dull, dingy yellow. These stains are also tough to remove and sometimes even professional tooth whitening isn’t enough to get rid of them.
Smokers may experience the discomfort of dry mouth more often than non-smokers. While dry mouth may seem like simply an annoyance, the truth is, it’s actually pretty bad for oral health. In order to stay healthy, your mouth needs to produce enough saliva to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids that would otherwise lead to decay and cavities. But when the mouth is dry there isn’t enough saliva to do its job correctly, leaving your teeth exposed to all of the dangerous bacteria and plaque acid.
As you can see, the risks of smoking go well beyond the commonly known risks and can certainly take its toll on oral health. But there’s hope. Your dentist in Lawrenceville wants to encourage all smokers to pick a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. We understand quitting smoking can be very difficult, and it may take a few tries to finally kick it. Don’t give up. Quitting smoking now can save your smile and your life.
Often we think of a healthy mouth as straight, white teeth. But the truth is, a healthy mouth goes beyond our smiles. Our gums are easily overlooked when it comes to talking about our oral health. However, our gums are crucial to not only our mouths but to our overall health. At our dental office in Lawrenceville, we strive to educate our patients about the importance of healthy gums, so in this blog, we’re going to talk about just how serious of a role our gums play in our bodies.
When we don’t take care of our gums, we can develop a serious condition called gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Plaque is loaded with dangerous bacteria that if not removed, can lead to infection of the gums. This infection is gum disease. There are three stages of gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated.
Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis when the disease starts to affect the bones holding our teeth in place.
Advanced Periodontitis – As periodontitis gets worse, it can turn into advanced periodontitis. If this happens, the bones supporting our teeth are beginning to break down, and we may experience tooth loss.
Gum Disease & Your Body
The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to other serious problems in the body. In fact, many research studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and several health conditions, such as:
Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
In the early stages, gum disease may not necessarily show any signs. This is why appointments with your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months are so important. Your dental team is trained to look for early warning signs of gum disease so they can recommend treatment quickly. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
If it’s been more than six months since your last visit or you notice any signs of gum disease, call our dental office in Lawrenceville to schedule a visit.
We all know that it’s important to brush and floss regularly in order to protect our smiles from decay and cavities. But did you know that taking care of your oral health can also help protect your heart too? To celebrate American Heart Month, our dental office in Lawrenceville wants to share some information about just how regular dental care can help your heart.
Oral Health & Heart Health Connection
Keeping your oral health in tip-top shape isn’t just about the mouth itself. In fact, many whole-body concerns including diabetes, kidney disease, certain types of cancer, and heart disease have been linked to oral health, and more specifically, gum health. For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to talk about heart disease.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), gum disease has a direct connection to an increased risk for heart disease. But how can something that originates in the mouth find its way down to the heart? It’s pretty easy actually. When there’s a buildup of bacteria in the gums (gum disease) it has a direct route to the bloodstream. As the bacteria infiltrate the blood supply they can cause a surge in the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) present. This is when the problems start. Too much CRP can cause:
- Blood clots
- Inflamed arteries
- Heart attack
Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious health problem that requires a diagnosis from your dentist in Lawrenceville. If caught early, gum disease can be treated successfully before it has a chance to put the rest of your body at risk. Being able to recognize the signs of gum disease quickly can make all the difference. Some common signs of gum disease include:
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
Any of these symptoms may be cause for concern, so if you notice any of these, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
The best way to protect yourself from gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it is to practice good oral hygiene habits and see your Lawrenceville dentist regularly. Dental cleanings and checkups every six months can help remove plaque and bacteria that your toothbrush alone can’t touch, which will reduce your risk of gum disease.
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, we welcome you to call our Lawrenceville dental office to schedule an appointment today.
Being stressed out is stressful enough, but knowing that constant or repeated high levels of stress can actually affect your health and make you sick certainly doesn’t help either. Too much stress can cause serious health issues throughout the body including heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and obesity. But the concerns don’t end there. Our dental office in Lawrenceville also wants our patients to know that high stress can also affect oral health.
Clenching & Grinding
During periods of increased stress, a common and automatic response may be to clench our teeth together or even grind them against each other. If either of these habits is done too often, it could result in chipped, broken, or cracked teeth as well as damage to the jaw joint. The constant force put on the jaw joint during repeated clenching can make the muscles sore and eventually cause TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder, or TMD, tends to be painful and may also cause popping, clicking, or a locked joint. In order to get relief, your dentist in Lawrenceville will need to find the best TMJ treatment for your individual case.
When many people think of gum disease they often immediately assume it was caused by poor dental hygiene. But there are several other factors that can put you at increased risk including smoking, medications, clenching or grinding your teeth, and stress. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects your mouth but also your whole body. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, heart disease, and increase the risk for stroke.
Lower Your Stress & Protect Your Health
Stress is a natural part of life, but there are things you can do to help protect your health against the negative side effects of too much of it.
- Take a Deep Breath. Believe it or not, sometimes all you need to reduce stress is a few minutes of deep breathing. Focusing on your breath can lower your heart rate and help you feel more relaxed almost instantly.
- Work up a Sweat. Exercising regularly increases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone. These chemicals are known to help make us feel good and combat anxiety and stress. Go for a walk, do some yoga, swim some laps. Whatever you do… just get moving.
- Sleep it Off. It’s recommended that adults get 7-9 hours a sleep every night, but many of us don’t. A thorough night’s sleep can reboot your body, lower stress, and give your body a chance to recover.
Nobody likes feeling stressed, and nobody wants to put their health at risk because of it. Commit to finding ways to help you relax, handle stress better, and keep anxiety low.
Nearly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes. That’s 30 million people who have the added responsibility of working to maintain their blood glucose levels day in and day out. While it’s fairly well known that diabetes can lead to other health problems such as heart disease and kidney disease, it may be surprising to learn that diabetes can also affect oral health. In fact, the team at our dental office in Lawrenceville wants our patients to know that oral health can also, in turn, affect diabetes.
The Diabetes & Oral Health Connection
Research has suggested a connection between diabetes and gum disease, and vice versa. Studies have consistently shown that people who are diabetic are more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes. But that’s not all. If we look at the connection from the other direction, research supports that gum disease can also make it more difficult to manage blood sugar levels, leading to diabetic complications and perhaps a progression of the disease. To reduce the risk of gum disease and maintain proper blood glucose levels, consider trying the tips below…
Control Your Blood Sugar
This one is obvious for anyone with diabetes or for anyone whose loved one is diabetic. After all, keeping blood glucose levels within a healthy range is what diabetic maintenance is all about. Besides keeping your body healthy, controlled blood sugar levels reduce the risk of developing gum disease, which can lead to even more health problems such as heart disease.
Keep Your Mouth Healthy
Besides seeing your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months for a preventative exam and thorough dental cleaning, it’s also important to practice good oral hygiene at home. Regular, routine at-home care is a great way to ensure your teeth, gums, and even tongue stay healthy. To follow a proper oral hygiene routine, we recommend:
- Using a fluoride toothpaste to protect against tooth decay
- Brushing both when you wake up before you go to bed
- Flossing at least once a day to clean all the areas that brushing can’t reach
Good Food is Good For You
Limiting how many sugar-packed foods you eat or drink is good practice for anyone, but especially for those living with diabetes. To help keep blood sugar regulated and support overall health, make sure to eat a well-balanced diet packed with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
The patients at our Lawrenceville dental office are our top priority and we’re committed to doing everything we can to keep not only their mouths healthy, but their bodies healthy, too. If you’re looking for a new dentist or have questions about your oral health, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with our dedicated team today.
At our dental office in Lawrenceville we’re often asked if gum disease and gingivitis are the same thing. It’s a common misconception regarding a serious disease that can have serious consequences if left untreated, and we’d like to clarify the difference.
Defining Gum Disease
Gum disease at its core is an infection in the gums that may also affect the bones and tissues that are holding your teeth in place. But gum disease has three different stages that are all treated a different way.
The earliest form of gum disease is known as gingivitis and occurs when plaque build up creeps under the gum line and causes an infection. However, if gum disease is caught during this earliest stage it’s often successfully treated and any damage that may have occurred can even be reversed.
If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly it can progress to the next stage of gum disease — periodontitis. During this stage of gum disease the plaque build up can weaken the bones and the tissues that keep teeth secure. Treatment in this stage is focused more on reducing additional damage as the damage that’s already been done can’t be reversed.
If plaque build up is still left alone the bone and tissues will continue weaken and even teeth may even fall out. It’s also not uncommon to experience loose teeth or a shift in bite. Damage at this level is irreversible.
Recognizing Gum Disease
When gum disease is in its early stages, you might not even be aware that there’s a problem. In that case, your gum disease may go untreated and get progressively worse. Be aware of the most common signs of gum disease including:
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Receding gums
- Swollen, red gums
If gum disease is not treated it can not only lead to tooth loss but also some very serious whole-body diseases and concerns such as an increased risk for lung disease, cancer, heart attacks, and stroke.
Maintaining good gum health is an important part of keeping mouths and bodies in their best shape. You can help protect your oral health by quitting smoking, eating well, and brushing and flossing every day. Visiting your dentist in Lawrenceville every six months can also go a long way in catching any oral health problems, including gum disease, early and while still treatable.
If you’re due for a regular visit, or have any questions or concerns, give us a call at our Lawrenceville dental office.