Be Proactive Against Periodontal Disease

If you have found your smile becoming more sensitive recently, you should take it seriously because it could be a warning sign of periodontal disease. Tender, swollen, infected gums can wreak havoc on your smile and, if left unchecked, can force the need for extensive dental reconstruction. Dr. Robert Harrell and his staff at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne want you to be aware of the symptoms of periodontal disease so that you can avoid it altogether.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that supports your teeth. It attacks just below the gum line, where it causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down.

Warning Signs

  • Pain in the mouth
  • Gums bleed when brushing
  • Spaces develop between teeth
  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Receding gums (exposing the bottom of your teeth)
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Sores develop

Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use
  • Systemic diseases
  • Use of certain types of medicine
  • Bridges that no longer fit
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that have become defective
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral cancer Continue reading at Colgate
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Notice how the gum separates from the tooth as the disease progresses

Did You Know?

Oral Health May Affect Your Whole Body

When bacteria expand in the pockets of the gums, gingivitis results, triggering redness and inflammation, a warning sign for possible progression to periodontitis and the destruction of gum tissue. If periodontitis develops, some oral bacteria may enter the blood stream and, along with the potent chemicals they release and the body’s own immune response, circulate throughout the body. This event may contribute to processes that may compromise your overall health.4

A Pocket? A space that forms between the teeth and gums.

For example, not only can periodontal diseases cause bad breath and tooth loss, but they may contribute to a variety of serious life threatening systemic conditions including:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • diabetes

Researchers are now investigating the relationship between periodontitis and chronic systemic diseases. More details at Colgate

Regular Cleanings and Check-ups Made Simple

Dr. Harrell understands how tempting it can be to forego your regular check-ups if the potential for pain or discomfort exists, or if you experience general dental anxiety. Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne has a variety of solutions to ease your concerns, ranging from using the most advanced tools and technology all the way to offering full sedation dentistry.

The good news is that once the bacteria is removed and proper brushing and flossing is vigilantly applied, there should be noticeable improvement and less care required at the next appointment.

The experts at WebMD have the following to say about periodontal disease:

Mouthwash is a big help in treating the disease. Make sure you use one that’s labeled as antigingivitis, antibacterial, or antiseptic. If you can’t remember which kind to buy, ask a pharmacist for help.

If it’s been 6 months since you last saw the dentist, set up a cleaning to remove tartar and plaque buildup from your teeth. Ask your dentist about the proper way to brush — bearing down too hard or missing spots can lead to gingivitis. After a cleaning, your gums should get better within a week or so as long as you brush twice a day, and floss and rinse once a day. Additional info at WebMD

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Communication Is Essential

Just as you discuss your health concerns and seek care solutions from your regular family physician, it is equally important to communicate with your dentist. Dr. Harrell and his skilled staff are better able to address your smile issues and ease your anxiety when you communicate openly. Say how your teeth and gums are feeling, share what troubles you about your smile and mention any cosmetic procedures you may be interested in. We want you to be an active participant in your oral care.

Remember, periodontal disease is not something to ignore. If you suspect you may be in the early stages of gingivitis, now is the time to get your smile checked. Call Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne today at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to schedule your complete dental check-up and cleaning. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Valentine’s Sweets Can Sour Your Oral Health

Brushing, flossing and swishing need to be on everyone’s daily “To Do” list and, thankfully, many fit in all three tasks every day. However, too many people do not. While practicing excellent oral hygiene is a top priority anytime, it is essential to be especially proactive around holidays when treats abound. Valentine’s Day certainly fits the criteria, when consuming chocolates, candies and those deliciously sticky cinnamon hearts is commonplace.

Chocolate Candy and Tooth Decay

What’s really a concern in regards to protecting your teeth while eating chocolate or any other kind of candy is how sticky it is. When you have a sticky, sugary substance stuck to your teeth, your saliva can’t reach that part of your tooth to neutralize the acids. Also, the sugar is the food that the bacteria in your mouth use to produce the dangerous acids that cause tooth decay. Bacteria converts all sugars into acid, whether it’s fruit sugar or the refined sugar found in chocolate candy.

There is some good news, however. Dark chocolate actually contains tannins that help prevent cavities by interfering with acid production. So when you’re shopping for that box of chocolates, go for the dark chocolate variety that has at least 70% cocoa. Along with the tannins, the cocoa contains antioxidants that keep your body healthy on a cellular level, In fact, dark chocolate can contain up to four times the level found in green tea. See additional info at Smile Today

Proactive Oral Health

We love seeing our patients on a regular basis. Scheduled dental check-ups keep your teeth strong and healthy; enabling you to enjoy your sweet tooth responsibly. Allowing untreated decay or painful sensitivities to exist in your mouth can lead to much deeper issues that impact your teeth, gums and even bones. Experiencing dental pain of any kind is unnecessary and mostly avoidable. Dr. Robert Harrell and his skilled staff at ADOB want to help you keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape year-round. Protect your smile by maintaining a proactive approach to oral health care.

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Although Valentine’s Day originated way back in the Roman times, gifting candy on the holiday is a more recent addition. Whether it’s because of chocolate’s status as the go-to food of seduction or just a way for candy companies to sell more of the sugary stuff during the Christmas-Easter lull, there’s no denying that candy and Valentine’s Day are inseparable. In fact, almost 50 percent of Americans gift candy on Valentine’s day, totaling 1.7 billion dollars in sales and a whopping 53 million pounds of chocolate. And all this candy isn’t just for your sweetheart. With 838 million dollars expected to be spent on children’s classroom Valentine exchanges, this holiday is almost as candy-filled as Halloween. More details at Eat This

Valentine’s Treats to Avoid

Just remember as a general rule of thumb: The stickier and the crunchier the treat…the harder it will be on your teeth. With this in mind, the folks at Greenspoint Dental have compiled a list of five foods to avoid. Here’s an excerpt, followed by a link to the full list:

Caramel Popcorn

Unfortunately, popcorn in a Valentine’s-themed canister isn’t a good idea, especially the popular caramel popcorn.  Popcorn, like potato chips, get wedged in between teeth and allow a place for bacteria to grow. Caramel coated popcorn will stick more to your teeth than the buttered type.  Also note that chewing on popcorn kernels towards the end of a movie with your sweetheart can easily chip or break your teeth.

Chewy Candy & Dried Fruit

Chocolate-covered caramels may be delicious, but they are a source of tooth decay.  Chewy candy and sticky foods (like dried fruit) aren’t good for your teeth because they stick on your teeth for longer periods of time, making it much harder for saliva to wash away.  The longer the caramel sits on your teeth, the longer your teeth are exposed to sugar that leads to tooth decay. Read more at Greenspoint Dental

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Flossing Is Important Every Day

We hope that you are flossing every day; however, if you are not, now is the ideal time to start. Whenever there is a big sugar extravaganza (like Valentine’s Day) coming up, it’s wise to start beefing up your oral hygiene routine a few weeks in advance. This gives you time to determine if you have any oral pains or smile issues that need to be addressed.

Even if you don’t have any discomfort, if it has been a while since you’ve had a complete dental exam, it is still important for you to contact Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne for a thorough check-up. Dr. Harrell is recognized as one of the city’s top dentists year-after-year by <Charlotte Magazine>. Call Adult Dentistry now at 704-541-9888 or use the contact form on this page to make an appointment.

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