50% of Americans have this disease

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study in 2009 and 2010 that measured the prevalence of periodontitis, familiarly known as gum disease, in American adults. The study CDCestimates that 47.2%, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe gum disease. For adults over the age of 65, rates increase to 70.1%.

Conclusion: Nearly half of American adults have gum disease.

How can gum disease affect you?
Gum disease can do irreversible damage if not treated and maintained. The plaque that that builds up between teeth and gums creates pockets that bacteria can get into, causing an infection in the gums. The infection can damage the bone and periodontal ligaments (PDL) that hold teeth in place and gums may begin to pull away from teeth. At the advanced stage of gum disease, teeth begin to shift, loosen and fall out because the PDL and bone that usually support the teeth are destroyed.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?Gum Disease

  • Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender
  • Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Pus that appears between your teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

At every check-up and cleaning, the hygienist and doctor measures the bone level and inspects gums for any pus, bleeding or inflammation.

How is gum disease treated?
The doctor or hygienist recommends a deep-cleaning to patients with gum disease. The hygienist scales the teeth by cleaning off the plaque above and below the gum surface and root planing which smoothes out the rough layers of the teeth. For two weeks after a deep cleaning, chlorhexidine mouth wash is used to kill bacteria so sensitive gums will heal. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease it is important to follow the recommendations of your hygienist. She may recommend one to two additional cleanings per year.

shutterstock_2243118-(Medium)-732845Prevent gum disease from affecting you.

  • There are simple steps that you can take to avoid developing gum disease.
  • Brush and clean between teeth with floss
  • Eat a well balanced diet and avoid sugary snacks

Get regular check-ups and cleanings. They are the best way to discover and treat early gum disease before it leads to a more serious problem.

Do you still have questions about gum disease? Contact our Sacramento Dentist.

Q & A with the Dental Hygienist: Eight Ways to a Healthier Smile

Cosmetic Dentist Sacramento

1. What’s the biggest problem that you see with patients who come in terms of oral hygiene?

Most patients do not like to floss and think that it is no big deal.

2. How often should I brush and floss?

In an ideal world you should floss after every meal or snack. But, at least twice a day at morning and at night when that is not possible. The best time to loss is at night if morning is not possible because you do not want to leave remnants of food in between teeth to rot.

3. What are the benefits of flossing regularly?

Healthy gums, helps keep the teeth’s foundation of bone level, no bleeding, fresh breath, good check-ups, less cavities, less money to be spent on treatment because teeth are healthy, improves overall health of the body because the bacteria content that can cause heart problems is significantly decreased, decreased chance of bacteria between teeth being passed from mother to unborn child which leads to low-term newborns.

4. What are the dangers of not flossing on a regular basis?

I just mentioned that bacteria found in plaque can be passed from expectant mothers to their fetus. But there are studies that show a strong link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Not to mention that not flossing can lead to the loss of your teeth which could mean periodontal surgery and that costs money.

5. What is a deep cleaning and why would I have to get one?

A deep cleaning involves scraping the crown and root of the tooth to get rid of built up calculus and debris. Someone would need one if there are deep pockets between the gums and teeth and there is calculus present on the roots of the teeth.

6. What percentage of new patients that you see need a deep cleaning? Is it expensive?

Approximately 30-40% of the new patients that I see a month need a deep cleaning. It is expensive. But, have normal cleanings on a regular basis will eliminate the need for this type of invasive cleaning.

7. Why is flossing painful for patients? Will it always be painful?

Flossing is only painful for patients who have swollen gums, periodontal disease, or who only floss sometimes. Healthy gums do not hurt when flossed unless one is flossing incorrectly. Your hygienist can show you how to floss correctly.

8. Any other tips or products that you have for patients?

For patients who don’t like to floss with the string I highly recommend the Reach Flosser, it has a big handle so you don’t have to stick your hand in your mouth. At $3 a piece it is really affordable. The Air Flosser is a new device that can be used to floss. It costs about $70. Things like waters picks are good at removing plaque but does not replace flossing.

I Hate Flossing! Part II

A former flossing procrastinator turned flossing advocate; why to floss, how to floss, and the dangers of not flossing.

Sacramento DentistDid you know that if you lose five or more teeth to gum disease your odds at having a heart attack increase by 26%? If you are predetermined to have heart disease or diabetes you might want to think twice about flossing. Studies definitely show a strong link between poor oral health and heart disease.

Okay, well, I didn’t know this before. I was one of those “sometimes” flossers. You know what I’m talking about. When the dentist asked me how often I flossed my response was a sheepish “sometimes”. Then, I realized that my paternal grandmother died from heart disease. To add insult to injury, my father received a quadruple bypass at 46 and I lost an uncle to diabetes. Keep in mind that at that time it had been a few years since my last dentist appointment. Like many people it really hurt to floss my teeth and it was uncomfortable. I really didn’t want to do it. Really.

I guess you could say that skies parted one day when I stumbled upon some reading material reminding me that I was predisposed to horrible health issues (my grandmother’s heart disease, my dad’s clogged arteries, my uncle’s diabetes) and that not flossing could come back to haunt me with a vengeance. Now I’m a flossing advocator. And I put down the french fries. Win-win.

Now, working in a dental office provides me with more of an affinity towards taking care of my teeth. And all the compliments I get on my pretty teeth are just icing on the cake.  I promise that I am a modest person. I am! But I constantly receive compliments on my teeth. People comment on how straight they are to how white they are (thanks for braces mom and dad!). It’s those compliments that make me take pride in my teeth.

Think about it, when you work hard for your toned body and people take notice it only makes you work harder, right? My teeth are the same thing to me. That’s why I floss.

Everyone hates to floss. I hate to floss. But at the end of the day I’m healthier for it. You will be, too. Did you know that even the girls in the office hate to floss? That’s two Registered Dental Hygienists, four dental assistants!

Top 5 Reasons We Hate to Floss!

  1. It’s uncomfortable to stick whole hand in mouth
  2. “It’s gross!”
  3. Food flies around
  4. When floss gets stuck in the teeth
  5. Messes up lipstick

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