Gum recession is a common dental problem. Gum recession is the process in which the tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, exposing more of the tooth. Most people don’t notice recession until they experience tooth sensitivity or you may notice your teeth look longer than normal.
Receding gums may be one of the first signs of gum disease. Gum recession is not something you want to ignore. There are treatments that can help repair the gum and prevent further damage.
Why do gums recede?
These are bacterial gum infections that destroy gum tissue and supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.
Some people are more susceptible to gum disease. Studies show that 30% of the population may be pre-disposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth.
Aggressive tooth brushing.
If you brush your teeth too hard, or the wrong way, it can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede.
Insufficient dental care.
Inadequate brushing and flossing make it easy for plaque to turn into calculus (tartar) which can only be removed by having a professional dental cleaning. When tartar builds up on and in between your teeth, gum recession can occur.
Fluctuations in female hormone levels during a woman’s lifetime can make gums more sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.
Tobacco users are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth that is difficult to remove and can cause gum recession.
Grinding and clenching your teeth.
Grinding and clenching can put too much stress on your teeth and cause gums to recede.
Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite.
When teeth do not fit together evenly, too much force can be placed on the bone, allowing gums to recede.
Body piercing of the lip or tongue.
Jewelry can rub the gums and irritate them to the point that the gum tissue is worn away.
If any of these issues may be a concern for you, you are probably wondering if gum recession can be treated and if so, what’s next? In a future blog we’ll talk about treatment options. Remember, by taking good care of your teeth, you can have a healthy smile forever!
Over 80% of adults have some form of periodontal disease and 90% of those have no signs to indicate they have a problem. Your mouth is a portal to your body. Bleeding gums is a symptom. It may be your first clue to alert you, it’s time to see your Farmington Area Family Dentist Dr. Roman Shlafer.
The first line of defense is proper oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth after every meal.
- Bleeding gums may alert you to floss more often, or that it is time for a professional cleaning.
- Decrease the quantity and frequency of your sugar consumption. Sugar helps plaque grow.
- Schedule regular dental cleanings.
- Use a high quality electric tooth brush such as Oral B or Sonicare.
The control of plaque is the key to maintaining healthy gums.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums around the teeth due to improper cleaning of the teeth. Gingivitis is nearly always reversible. The usual signs of gingivitis are gums which are swollen and bleed during brushing. Failure to rinse your mouth, or brush your teeth after meals can result in a thin layer of food and bacteria covering the tooth surface. This bacteria is the chief culprit behind the inflammation known as gingivitis. The gums during this stage of infection become soft, spongy, and swollen.
Are bleeding gums a serious problem?
Yes. bleeding gums are a serious problem. It is either indicating the beginning of the destructive process involving the supporting tissue around the tooth, or some serious underlying systemic problem. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. These bacteria create toxins that damage the gums. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This long term infection can eventually cause the loss of your teeth. Gum disease—not decay— is the #1 cause of tooth loss. Gum disease generally doesn’t hurt, you may have it for years before you feel any discomfort. Don’t wait until you feel the pain! Stay on track with your dental check-ups. Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent bleeding gums, gingivitis and periodontitis.
What about mouth rinses for gum disease?
For reducing plaque and gingivitis, mouth rinses such as Peridex and Perioguard appear to be the most effective. These mouth-rinses are available by prescription only. There are some drawbacks with the use of these rinses: it may stain your teeth, or cause a change in taste. This is something to discuss your hygienist and Dr.Shlafer.
Gum disease and Illness.
The bacteria in gum disease can enter your bloodstream through damaged blood vessels which run through the gums. This can increase the toxin load in your bloodstream which increases your risk of:
- Stomach ulcers
- Lung Disease
- Low birth weight babies and increase in premature delivery
- Heart attacks
- Insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels
Harvard Medical School researchers studied longevity and found that one of the most important contributing factors was daily flossing. Because it removes bacteria from teeth and gums, flossing helps prevent periodontal disease and gingivitis. Bleeding gums? Check it out.
Periodontal Disease and Other Medical Conditions:
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gum and tissues that surround and support the teeth. More than 75% of American adults have some form of gum disease, but are unaware of it. Risk factors for periodontal disease include:
1. Lack of proper oral hygiene
2. Sugar and acid in your diet
3. Poorly contoured restorations. (fillings or crowns that are food traps)
4. Tooth abnormalities.
5. Wisdom teeth still present.
7. Family history
8. Lifestyle factors (smoking, diet, or stress)
The Mouth & Body Connection:
The American Academy of Periodontology launched an effort to educate the public about new findings which support what dental professionals had long suspected: infections in the mouth can play havoc elsewhere in the body.
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and all infections are cause for concern. Periodontal bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research suggest that this may :
1. Contribute to the development of heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death
2. Increase the risk of stroke.
3. Increase a woman’s risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby.
4. Pose a serious threat to people whose health is compromised by diabetes, respiratory diseases, or osteoporosis.
Treatment of periodontal disease could range from multiple scaling and root planning appointments (deep cleaning) to traditional periodontal surgery (which can be quite painful) or a new revolutionary treatment for gum disease—PerioLase, where the patient experiences little to no pain, and with little disruption in a patient’s daily activities.
If you are wondering if you have periodontal disease or are a candidate for the Laser Periodontal Therapy http://www.lanap.com/periolase.php surgery, let us know, we can schedule a complimentary evaluation with Dr.Shlafer.
Besides poor oral hygiene, several factors raise the risk of periodontal disease.
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Medication use, such as oral contraceptives, steroids, such as those used for asthma medications
- Poor nutrition
- Diseases that affect multiple organs, such as diabetes
- Pregnancy and puberty
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Defective fillings
What goes wrong in the mouth?
Preventing periodontal disease may have benefits besides keeping gums and teeth healthy. In gum disease, bacteria can harm the rest of the body, bacteria breaks down the tissues around the tooth. The resulting space becomes a niche where periodontal bacteria can breed. The gums them become inflamed and bleed in an attempt to fight the infection. Yet the greater the swelling and the deeper the space between the teeth and gums, the easier it is for the periodontal bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
Inflamed arteries and blood clots are the hallmarks of heart disease. People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease. At the same time, drugs intended to control blood pressure, regulate heart rhythm, and reduce cholesterol levels may make gums more swollen. Gum disease also creates problems for people with diabetes, who are twice as likely to develop the condition. Once they have it, periodontal bacteria makes its way into the bloodstream through tooth brushing and chewing can make it harder to regulate blood sugar levels. When you have a chronic infection in your mouth, it certainly can put you at high risk for infections elsewhere in the body.
Keeping the mouth healthy may indeed, be a worthwhile investment in overall good health.
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Clean between teeth daily and floss
- Eat a balanced mix of foods and limit in between meal snacks
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams.
- Avoid sharing toothbrushes and change brushes often
Only brush the teeth you want to keep!
GUM DISEASE DOES MORE THAN ENDANGER YOUR TEETH AND GUMS.
The eyes are said to be the windows to the soul. Growing research suggests your mouth maybe a window to much of what happens to the rest of your body.
How exactly does the mouth reveal and even influence overall health and well being? First, the condition of the teeth, tongue, and lips can determine how we talk, how we eat, what we eat, and how we go about our daily lives. There may be children at school who cannot concentrate on what the teacher is talking about because they have a nagging toothache. Maybe someone at work is not functioning as well as they could for the same reason.
Sally Cram DDS, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association cites research that links gum disease with heart disease, diabetes, lung problems, and premature and low birth weight babies. In bulimic patients, you can see acid wearing away the inner surfaces of their teeth. You can also pick up osteoporosis in dental x-rays.
What goes wrong in the mouth?
Many people worry about cavities, but periodontal disease can be a big problem for people with poor oral hygiene. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues supporting the teeth.When plaque develops, bacteria irritates the gums and causes them to swell. In the beginning the disease is called gingivitis and only affect the gums. In the more advanced stages, the disease is known as periodontitis. The bacteria goes under the gum line, eventually attacking the tissues and bone around the teeth. This can lead to tooth loss.
Nearly 75% of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. The symptoms of gum disease can be so mild that some people dont’t know the have it. Warning signs include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red,swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth
- Permanent teeth that are loose
- Persistent bad breath
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partials dentures.
Most people want to keep their teeth for a lifetime, so if you have noticed any of these symptoms be sure to get them checked out.
” Just as white, straight teeth convey youth, a smile with crooked, discolored, worn or missing teeth is associated with an aged look. The adage “long in the tooth ” is sometimes used to describe older persons and reflects the fact that gum disease causes gums to recede and teeth to appear longer as a result.” says a professor of restorative dentistry at UCLA’s School of Dentistry.
Keeping a youthful smile comes down to 2 simple, proven, and practical steps: Brush and floss daily and see your dentist every 6 months.
What’s stopping you? Perhaps some folks just don’t take oral health seriously. However, many people take their looks very seriously. While keeping a beautiful smile is a priority for most, some people may not think about their gums. Brushing takes time and flossing can be a difficult habit for people to acquire. Only 25% of people floss their teeth.
Inflammation, Periodontal Disease. Inflammation can happen when bacteria and debris, such as food particles, enter the blood vessels around the teeth. Inflammation is your body’s response to such invaders. The mouth is one of the major contributors to high levels of inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Then there is periodontal disease, which affects 80% of Americans. It’s caused by extensive bacterial buildup along the gums and teeth. Periodontal disease is the top cause for tooth loss.
Stained teeth. Smoking and drinking, particularly red wine and coffee, can stain your teeth and affect how old you look. Teeth whitening in the dental office has become increasingly popular and a great way to look and feel younger.
Of course you need to do more than brush, floss and see your dentist to stay young. Your entire lifestyle matters. If you want to slow down the aging clock, make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, make time for exercise and keep down your levels of inflammation by taking care of your teeth and gums. The fact remains, there are no shortcuts to getting and staying healthy.
Many of the most common symptoms are red, swollen, tender gums; bleeding while brushing or flossing; persistent bad breath or loose teeth will alert a patient that something is wrong. Dr.Shlafer offers the opportunity for patients to schedule a complimentary evaluation, where he can determine if you are a candidate for LASER PERIODONTAL THERAPY. Patient’s may be interested in how the laser works, Dr.Shlafer can show you the tiny laser fiber and give you a short demonstration of how it is used.
Why is LASER PERIODONTAL THERAPY better for the treatment of gum disease?
- No cutting or sutures
- Significantly less discomfort with greatly reduced recovery time.
- It takes less time than traditional surgery.
- Better, longer lasting results. In fact, 98% of LASER PERIODONTAL THERAPY treated patients remain stable after 5 years, while only 5% reportedly remain stable after surgery.
- Dr.Shlafer will likely recommend a soft diet for a day or two, but in most cases patients feel good enough to eat anything they want after the procedure.
- With less than a 24 hour recovery period, so you won’t lose time from work. Following traditional surgery, recovery can take 2-4 weeks, during which patients experience pain and swelling.
- LASER PERIODONTAL THERAPY is safe for patients with health concerns such as diabetes, HIV,or those taking medications such as Plavix and aspirin.
The good news is LASER PERIODONTAL THERAPY is a patient friendly, minimally invasive procedure that is a fantastic alternative to traditional gum surgery. Call for your complimentary consultation today!
If you or someone you know have been told that you need the traditional scalpel and suture gum surgery, there is a laser alternative you need to know more about. It’s called LASER PERIODONTAL THERAPY. This procedure allows Dr.Shlafer to treat your periodontal condition with very little discomfort and most patient’s return to work right afterwards. If you are like 100 million other Americans you could be one of the 50% who have periodontal disease, this breakthrough is something to seriously consider.
What is periodontitis? Periodontitis means inflammation around the tooth. When you have periodontal disease your gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called pockets) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed.
Some risk factors:
- Smoking–Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease.
- Diabetes—People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.
- Medications—There are hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth becomes vulnerable to infections such as gum disease.
- Illness–Diseases like cancer of AIDS and their treatments can also negatively affect the health of your gums.
- Genetic susceptibility—Some people are more prone to severe gum disease than others. Tomorrow we’ll discuss symptoms, prevention, and treatment.
There are several dental concerns that seniors may want to be aware of:
Do you still need to be concerned about cavities? Yes! Cavities can be more frequent in older adults for a number of reasons. Life long exposure to fluoride through community water supplies and toothpaste may not have been possible—it simply wasn’t available. Senior adults may be at risk for decay around older fillings.
Sensitivity: Receding gums could be the cause of sensitivity. As the gum tissue pulls back away from teeth, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. Dr.Shlafer would make a diagnosis so that the sensitivity can be treated properly.
Are you more at risk for oral cancer? The risk or oral cancer does increase with age. Any lesion found on the tongue or anywhere in the mouth needs to be examined.
What about loose teeth from periodontal disease? Some teeth that have become loose may be holding a partial or be part of a bridge, periodontal disease can cause these teeth to fail. It is important to have the soft tissue of the mouth (the gums) and the supporting structure (the bone) examined by Dr.Shlafer to review your condition and discuss possible solutions.
Stay tuned—-we will discuss other common problems, such as ill-fitting dentures, difficulty chewing, effects of medications on your teeth, dental implants, and help for arthritic patients.