Bleeding Gums: What It Means and When to See Your Dentist

Bleeding Gums: What It Means and When to See Your Dentist

Seeing blood in your sink after you brush your teeth can be alarming, but there’s no need to panic. You may be able to cure your bleeding gums without even seeing a dentist, depending on the situation. In this article, I’ll explain the common causes of bleeding gums, what you can do to stop the bleeding and how to know when it’s time to see the dentist.

How Your Gums Work

If you examine your gums, they should be a healthy shade of pink, not red. You can notice they make a C shape around the neck of the tooth (where your tooth begins to get skinnier). Where they touch your teeth, they form a small groove, like a collar around the tooth.

Though they are a tiny part of your body, gums have a big job. They protect the neck and roots of your teeth from bacteria. Without healthy gums guarding your teeth, bacteria can sneak beneath your teeth, damaging tissues. Over time, the tissues become too damaged to hold your teeth, leading to loose teeth that can even fall out.

What Causes Bleeding Gums
Gums usually bleed becomes something irritates them. Here are common reasons gums get irritated:

Gingivitis (Gum Disease)
If you don’t floss or brush regularly, bacteria (also called plaque) builds up in the groove around your teeth. Sometimes you can even see the plaque as white or yellowish marks by your gums.

As bacteria grow and move, they irritate your gums, causing gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, and its most common symptom is bleeding gums. Besides bleeding gums, you could also have gingivitis symptoms like red gums, sensitive gums and bad breath.

Luckily, this stage of gum disease is reversible. Your dentist can help scrape away plaque and bacteria. Brushing and flossing keeps the bacteria away for good so you can enjoy healthy gums.

However, if gingivitis gets worse, your gums may start to pull away from your teeth, leaving space for bacteria to travel into tissues below your teeth. The longer bacteria live in your tissues, the worse your dental health gets.

Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, changes in your hormones affect your entire body. Your gums are no exception. Hormone changes can cause “pregnancy gingivitis.” Your gums may swell up and become sensitive, causing bleeding when your brush or floss. To avoid oral health issues, talk to your dentist about how to care for your teeth when you are pregnant.

Medicines
The medicines you take can make your gums more likely to bleed even if you have excellent brushing and flossing habits. Blood thinners and aspirin keep your blood from clots that stop bleeding. These medicines especially increase your risk of bleeding gums and may cause your gums to bleed for a long time after brushing.

You should tell your dentist if you are taking these medicines. We dentists want to help your mouth be as healthy as possible, but if we don’t know about your general health, we can’t give you the right care.

A New Oral Health Routine
If you have just started a new oral health routine, such as brushing or flossing more often, your gums may bleed until your mouth gets used to the new habits. Brushing and flossing clears away bacteria and plaque from your gums. As you practice these good habits, you gums should bleed less and less and eventually stop altogether.

Keep in mind that brushing too hard can also irritate your gums and cause them to bleed. Always use a gentle motion when brushing and consider getting a brush with soft bristles.

When to See Your Dentist About Bleeding Gums
So do you need to see your dentist? Maybe.

Sometimes, if you practice good habits, your gums will get better without a visit to the dentist.

But if your gums bleed regularly, such as every time you brush your teeth for a few weeks, I encourage you to make an appointment to see your dentist soon. You should also call your dentist if your gums bleed for a long time after you have stopped brushing or flossing.

I also recommend that you see your dentist if you experience other symptoms of gum disease, such as:

Red or swollen gums
Sensitive gums, especially to hot or cold temperatures
Gums seem to be separating from teeth, leaving a gap between the gum and the tooth
Frequent bad breath or taste in your mouth
Loose teeth as an adult
Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align
The sooner you see your dentist about signs of gum disease, the more likely you’ll be able to reverse the condition.

What to Consider if You Have Bleeding Gums
While bleeding gums aren’t a cause for panic, they are a sign that you need to make positive changes to your oral health routine. I would encourage everyone to improve their gum health with these tips.

Brush and floss twice a day. Flossing pulls bacteria out of the grooves around your teeth and prevents plaque from building up. Brushing also removes the layer of bacteria on your teeth. If you bleed when you brush or floss, it does not mean that you should back off. Remember, healthy gums don’t bleed when brushed. So it’s not the brushing, it’s the inflammation, or state of disease that makes them bleed. In dentistry we call this “bleeding upon provocation”.
Use an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can remove plaque and bacteria around your gums more effectively than regular toothbrushes. These brushes move faster than you ever could move a brush while still providing a gentle clean.
See your dentist regularly. You should see your dentist for a cleaning at least every six months or more often as your dentist suggests. During cleanings, your dentist removes plaque build-up on your teeth. Your dentist can also answer questions about bleeding gums or other oral health issues.
Avoid tobacco. Tobacco products, including cigarettes and chewing tobacco, hurt all aspects of your health, including your oral health. Tobacco destroys your teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay and loss of teeth.
Eat a healthy diet. The foods you eat impact the health of your mouth. Sugars and starches provide food for bacteria, helping them grow. Eating throughout the day also can increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Reduce how many carbohydrates and snacks you eat to experience better oral health.
Nose breathe at night and during the day. If you are a mouth breather, find a solution (your dentist can help). Even healthy gums will change color and will be more likely to bleed as a dry mouth changes pH and allows the wrong bacteria to become dominant. If you see that mostly you anterior gums are swollen and red, and not the posterior gums, this could be a result of as simple as mouth breathing. Try mouth taping when you go to bed tonight to see if that helps!
So many of us find it easy to ignore the presence of blood in our mouth. We see at the dentist when we get our teeth cleaned.It’s routine, right? Remember It’s important to realize that gum disease has greater ramifications to the rest of the body. Gum disease is actually a greater predictor of morbidity than heart disease is. Next time you see blood on your floss you should think of this fact. The only real good solution to fixing those bleeding gums, ultimately, is a trip to the dentist. I hope this post has convinced you of that.

Source: askadentist.com

Complete Guide to Sugar

As a dentist, I get asked a lot about sugar. But as it turns out, sugar isn’t actually the worst thing for your teeth. Sugar also isn’t the cause of tooth decay; acid is. The most cavity-causing food is crackers and breads, not candy.

As someone with a major sweet tooth myself, I’ve wondered many of the same things: How bad is sugar, really? How much sugar can we get away with?

Sugar also doesn’t just impact oral health; it impacts overall health too. New research is starting to find that our levels of sugar consumption are making sugar a toxin that could be a driving force behind many diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and breast, endometrial, and colon cancers.

I aim to answer all of your questions about sugar in this blog post, as well as share my tips for how to indulge a sweet tooth healthily and safely. If you still have a question by the end of this blog post, let me know in the comments and I’ll be glad to answer it! I read each and every one.

How does sugar cause cavities?

This is actually a myth. Acid causes cavities. When you eat something with sugar, bacteria that naturally reside in your mouth consume this sugar as well. Bacteria’s waste product is acid, so after they have a meal, they excrete acid. Acid is what causes problems for teeth. Enamel is strong, but not strong enough to resist acid. Acid decalcifies or demineralizes tooth enamel by taking away its structure, creating decay.

My pediatric patients are very impressed when I tell them that cavities are caused by bacteria “pooping” in their mouth. Whatever helps you remember!

Is sugar the only cause of cavities?

No! In fact, the number one most cavity-causing food is crackers. Goldfish and saltine crackers are the worst. That’s because they’re fermentable carbohydrates. What does that mean? It means foods that are easily broken down in the mouth, instead of later on down the digestive tract. Fermentable carbohydrates allow the bacteria in your mouth to have a feast, and thus, increase the acid attack on your teeth more than other foods.

How can I minimize the effect of sugar?

Optimize remineralization. Teeth don’t just sit there and dissolve; there’s an ongoing process of a tooth losing minerals and regaining minerals. You prevent tooth decay when the tooth regains minerals more than it loses minerals. How does a tooth regain minerals? This is a process called remineralization and it happens naturally in your mouth. You can optimize this process by having a good pH in your mouth and plenty of saliva (no dry mouth). Fluoride, vitamin D, and dark chocolate (yes, you read that correctly!) all encourage remineralization as well.

Stick to a grain-free diet. Some studies show that this is one of the best preventive strategies for reducing cavities.

Get orthodontic treatment. Having straight teeth can also help minimize tooth decay since straight teeth make for fewer nooks and crannies where sticky foods can get stuck. People with a proper bite have far fewer cavities than those with crooked teeth.

Eat what you like, but keep it to mealtime. If you sip soda or sweetened coffee throughout the day, snack, or suck on hard candies, you’re providing your mouth bacteria with a steady food supply to produce acid nearly constantly. Studies show that people who snack have more cavities than those who eat the same amount of sweets, but keep it to mealtime.

Have cheese for dessert. The Europeans have cheese for dessert, which is a great way to buffer the acids in your mouth after a meal. Acids have a low pH, so you can neutralize them with things with a higher pH. Water, cheese, and vegetables all have a neutral to basic pH that can help neutralize acid and lesson the attack on your teeth.

Chew gum with xylitol. Choose a gum that’s sugarless and that contains xylitol, which has been shown to reduce mouth bacteria and help buffer acids in the mouth to protect from tooth decay. Chewing on gum also produces more saliva in your mouth, which neutralizes acids as well. Just be careful with gum since it can easily bring on jaw pain and TMD symptoms.

Swish with water after sticky foods. The longer food stays stuck in your teeth, the longer bacteria can feast and the more acids will be produced. This is why dried fruit and Goldfish crackers are the worst; they get stuck in your teeth. After you eat something sticky, swish vigorously with water to try to dislodge as much of the food from your teeth as possible before your next floss and brush session.

drink water to neutralize acid in the mouth

Help your kids develop their taste buds. Would you believe they even add sugar to baby food now? Help your kids appreciate the delicious natural sweetness of sugar snap peas and carrots. Get rid of the Goldfish, fruit juice, saltine crackers, and sugary cereals.

Eat it, don’t drink it. Soda and special Starbucks drinks often contain as much, if not more sugar than a slice of cake. I’d much rather have the cake and at least feel satiated! Some of my favorite indulgences: chocolate sacher torte, chocolate bars, and milkshakes. These are a rare treat, they make me feel satiated, and they don’t sneak their way into my day-to-day diet.  It’s also hard to go overboard on natural sugars present in apples, bananas, and some veggies. Orange juice will spike your blood sugar and won’t make you feel satiated, but eating a real orange will.

Avoid foods where sugar is listed as one of the first five ingredients. Ingredients in the packaging are listed in order from greatest quantity to smallest quantity, so if sugar is listed in the first five, I’d recommend avoiding it, at least for something you eat frequently. You’d be amazed at how many tomato sauces, “healthy” cereals, and energy bars have sugar as one of the first five ingredients.

Limit the frequency. When it comes to dental health, having your sweets all in one sitting is better than spreading it out by sipping a soda all morning or snacking throughout the day.

Don’t brush right afterward. After a sugary meal, wait thirty minutes to one hour before flossing and brushing. Otherwise, with all that acid present in your mouth, you risk etching away enamel.

Make a habit of limiting it. Use as little sugar as you can possibly get away with, and try to ween yourself off of it. By training your brain and your tastebuds, you protect yourself from getting addicted. A recent study suggests that sugary cookies could be as addictive as cocaine or morphine. Eating high-sugar foods lights up the same part of the brain as when a person shoots heroin. Excess sugar can cause changes in the brain and leave you feeling lethargic, anxious, and irritable. For more reading on sugar addiction and the brain, check out Dr. Nicole Avena’s book, Why Diets Fail.

harmful effects of sugar

Can I spread out my sugar consumption to reduce tooth decay?

It’s actually much better to eat a large quantity of candy all at once rather than spreading it out with a little piece here, and then another piece a half hour later. Frequency is the thing to worry more about than quantity, when it comes to your dental health at least.

How much sugar can I have?

To avoid cavities, the recommended level for sugar consumption is less than 40 grams per day, according to studies, but I would recommend aiming for less than 20 grams. The latest recommendation is that sugar be no more than 5% of your diet. That’s between 6 and 9 teaspoons, which is about the amount of sugar in half a cup of raisins!

Why do we like it so much?

We’ve only had processed sugar in our diets for a few hundred years. For most of human history, sugar was scarce, and usually meant something nutritious like berries or fruits, so we are programmed to like it and crave it. There was very little sugar in our ancestors’ diets, but this helped them stay disease-free for longer and square their life curves.

What does sugar do to our health?

Let’s shift from cavities to the rest of the body for a moment. Sugar can act like poison in high doses, according to Robert Lustig, M.D., a neuroendocrinologist at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, and the amount of sugar in the typical processed food diet is beyond toxic.

How excess sugar wreaks havoc on the body:

  • Excess sugar can lead to high levels of insulin, making you feel hungry even when you’re full and triggering your brain to store glucose as belly fat.
  • Surges in insulin can eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease, and at the very least, open the door for cravings and addiction-like neurochemistry in the brain.
  • If your cells become resistant to all this insulin production, you’re left with prediabetes or full-blown diabetes.
  • Excess sugar can also put extra load on the liver, over time, causing globules of fat to grow in the liver, which is the precursor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Excess sugar can also lower your “good” cholesterol and spur a type of fat called triglycerides which can migrate from the liver to the arteries, raising your risk for heart attack or stroke.
  • Your liver sends an S.O.S. for extra insulin (yep, the multi-tasker also aids liver function). Overwhelmed, your pancreas is now in overdrive, which can result in total-body inflammation that, in turn, puts you at even higher risk for obesity and diabetes.

Are certain sugars better than others?

Table sugar is sucrose, while other kinds of sugars are usually a mixture of glucose and fructose. This difference is largely irrelevant, because sucrose is converted to glucose and fructose in your stomach within minutes.

dangers of artificial sweeteners

How about artificial sweeteners like Sweet’N Low, Splenda and Equal?

Artificial sweeteners could be worse than sugar, due to the way they disrupt the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that are the first step toward diabetes.

Until recently, it was thought that artificial (no-calorie) sweeteners passed through the body without doing anything. Many diet foods, from soft drinks to desserts, are sweetened with these substances with the thought that they provide the sweet without any calories.

When mice were given water with Sweet’N Low, Splenda, or Equal, they developed intolerance to glucose. Mice given sugar water and regular water remained healthy. Glucose intolerance is when the body is less able to cope with large amounts of sugar and is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic syndromes.

The researchers believe this is all due to changes in the intestinal bacteria since they took intestinal bacteria from the mice that drank the water with artificial sweetener in it and injected it into the guts of healthy mice and those healthy mice developed the same glucose intolerance. DNA sequencing showed that Sweet’N Low had markedly changed the variety of bacteria in the guts of the mice that had it in their water.

Artificial sweeteners also seem to be more addictive than sugar and even hard drugs like cocaine. In another study, it was found that rats given a choice between cocaine and aspartame always chose aspartame. Even the rats programmed to be cocaine addicts chose aspartame over cocaine.

In human studies, people who normally did not use artificial sweeteners were given the maximum amount recommended by the FDA. In four of the seven volunteers, blood sugar levels were disrupted in the same way as in the mice. In another study of 381 non-diabetic participants, researchers found a correlation between use of artificial sweeteners and glucose intolerance. The gut bacteria of those who used artificial sweeteners were different from those who did not.

If you do use artificial sweeteners, I recommend you look into using probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your health and studies suggest they could be used to shift your gut bacteria to a population that reverses glucose intolerance. These are some great tips for boosting the good bacteria in your gut.

So, artificial sweeteners might not have any calories, but they will alter your intestinal bacteria in dangerous ways. If you have artificial sweeteners in your home, toss them; I’d much rather you add a little bit of sugar to your coffee and slowly get used to adding less and less.

Here’s a list of the most common artificial sweeteners to avoid:

Splenda

  • Sucralose
  • 1′,4,6′-Trichlorogalactosucrose
  • Trichlorosucrose
  • Equal Sucralose
  • NatraTaste Gold

Sweet’N Low

  • Saccharin
  • Acid saccharin
  • Equal Saccharin
  • Necta Sweet
  • Sodium Saccharin
  • Sweet Twin

Equal

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame
  • TwinSweet (Europe only)
  • APM
  • AminoSweet
  • Aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester
  • Canderel
  • Equal Classic
  • NatraTaste Blue
  • NutraSweet

Is natural sugar better than processed sugar?

Barely. Sugar is sugar, and the body doesn’t care where it came from. Using the word “natural” is a marketing gimmick by the food industry to, ahem, sweet-talk you into overlooking sugar’s harmful effects on health.

The main difference between natural sugars and processed sugar is that natural sugars often have other components which might be good for you, like vitamins, minerals or antioxidants. But, and this is very, very important: this doesn’t make natural sugars good for you! It just makes them marginally less bad. You are far, far better off getting your vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from other, non-sweet sources.

What are the different names for sugar?

There are lots of different names for sugar!

Table sugar: this can come from sugar cane or sugar beet (which is a different plant from regular beets). Either way, it’s 99.95% pure sucrose.

Beet sugar: this is table sugar. There are a few trace compounds that are different from sugar cane-derived table sugar, but your body will not know the difference.

Brown sugar: this is also table sugar, with some molasses (sugar that’s been caramelized to have a higher carbon content). Either way, the benefits of using brown sugar instead of table sugar are negligible.

Fructose: Once touted for its low glycemic index (about 19 as opposed to 65 for table sugar and 100 for glucose), studies have linked it to increased insulin resistance, obesity, elevated LDL and triglycerides, and in extreme cases, liver disease and gout.

Honey: The ancient egyptians used honey to disinfect wounds, but its antibacterial properties don’t work after you eat it. Honey is mostly a mixture of glucose and fructose, and excess fructose is bad. One important warning: in rare cases, honey can be contaminated with a small amount of botulism, so it should not be given to infants, who do not yet have a fully functional immune system.

Maple syrup: It’s got minerals and antioxidants, but maple syrup is mostly sucrose, so it’s slightly less harmful than table sugar. I used to add just a teaspoon on top of our daughters’ oatmeal when they were young. A little goes a long way!

Cane juice: Manufacturers love this stuff, because it’s sugar, but it doesn’t have the word “sugar” in it.

High-fructose corn syrup: No digestion is required for the body to process high fructose corn syrup — it goes right to the liver and triggers the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol, making it a major cause of liver damage in the United States. It also triggers big spikes in insulin, leading to metabolic changes that increase appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. For more information about HFCS, I highly recommend Dr. Hyman’s “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You.”

Brown rice syrup: Often found at Chinese markets, this is almost pure glucose, with a high glycemic index of 98.

Agave sweetener: Agave used to be thought of as the best “natural” sweetener thanks to its low glycemic index and is now widely used “health” products from teas to nutrition bars to energy drinks. The problem with agave is that it has even more fructose by weight than high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose is a major culprit in the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.  It may also increase risks of heart disease and cancer. This is why I recommend avoiding agave nectar.

Other synonyms for sugar to watch out for on ingredient labels

Watch out for these. Some sound scientific, some almost healthy, but in the end, they all mean “sugar.”

  • Barbados Sugar
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Cane Crystals
  • Cane Juice Crystals
  • Castor Sugar
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Crystalline Fructose
  • Date Sugar
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Florida Crystals
  • Fructose
  • Fruit Juice
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose Solids
  • Golden Sugar
  • Golden Syrup
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Grape Juice Concentrate
  • Grape Sugar
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing Sugar
  • Invert Sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado Syrup
  • Organic Raw Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Raw Sugar
  • Refiners’ Syrup
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Table Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Yellow Sugar

Which sweeteners are safest?

The research on the safety and health benefits of these alternative sweeteners is very promising:

Xylitol: This is a naturally occurring modified sugar alcohol. It’s sweet, has a low glycemic index of around 11, and has been used in chewing gum lately. Some studies have found xylitol to be more effective at preventing cavities than fluoride and others have found that replacing sucrose with xylitol in the diet reduces cavities. Xylitol isn’t highly fermentable, so it doesn’t provide a food source to bacteria. Xylitol also actively inhibits the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Xylitol forms complexes with calcium, which may aid in teeth remineralization. One word of warning for dog owners: xylitol can be toxic for canines.

Stevia: This sweetener comes from a plant, and numerous studies have shown no adverse side effects, so the FDA has given it a rating of GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). It has been used since pre-Columbian times in Brazil and Paraguay. It tastes sweet because it’s a glycoside, meaning it has the same shape as sugar, and your tongue can’t tell the difference.

Monk fruit: Rich in antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits, one study indicated that monk fruit may offer anti-cancer and anti-diabetic benefits. This is a newcomer to the world of sweeteners (in the West, at least), and I’m confident you’ll hear much more about it in the near future. Used since at least the 13th century in Thailand and China (where it’s known as luo han guo), monk fruit is a gourd that contains a glycoside (like Stevia) and is also classified as GRAS by the FDA. Splenda sells their version of monk fruit sweetener, Nectresse, but it has sugar and molasses added. Look for pure lo han sweetener with no additives.

Erythritol: Erythritol is a virtually non-caloric, aftertaste-free sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in fruits such as melons, pears, and grapes. About 70 percent as sweet as table sugar, whose taste it resembles, erythritol comes in white crystalline powder form and is a common ingredient in foods, especially baked goods, labeled as “light” and “low-calorie.” Studies show that up to 90 percent of erythritol is excreted unchanged in human urine within 24 hours of consumption, thus it’s not absorbed into the body, and that, like stevia, it does not harm teeth.

How can I bake with less sugar?

In recipes calling for white sugar, try substituting some applesauce or mashed ripe banana, puréed dates, raisins or prunes. They’ll add fiber and create a delicious, moist texture.

 

Sources

Mark Burhenne DDS

R. Ehrenberg. “Artificial sweeteners may tip scales toward metabolic problems.” Science News. Sept. 17, 2014.

T. Hampton. “Sugar Substitutes Linked to Weight Gain.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. May 14, 2008.

Suez, Jonathan. “Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota.” Nature. 17 September 2014

Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH (2007) “Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward.” PLoS ONE 2(8): e698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000698

Are you brushing correctly?

Brushing your teeth is an important part of your dental care routine. For a healthy mouth and smile the ADA recommends you:

* Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush    should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
* Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
* A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
* Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

The proper brushing technique is to:

* Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
* Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
* Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
* To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
* Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

Anti-Halloween Giveaway

As much as we love to dress up and celebrate Halloween, we don’t love the over indulgence of sweet treats and the effects of those treats on your teeth. To help give your teeth a fighting chance we are giving away our Anti-Halloween gift basket with over $700 dollars of dental care products. To enter you need to come visit us in person or send and email to albiondentalcenter@gmail.com. You must be a patient or have an appointment as a new patient. Good luck and Happy Halloween!

 

 

Halloween Buy Back

For the 5th year, Albion Dental Center is hosting our annual Candy Buy Back program. We are paying you $ for your candy and donating it to our troops over seas. Working with Operation Gratitude, all the candy collected will be sent in care packages to out troops currently serving overseas. Bring all your candy to our office during regular business hours, November 3rd to November 6th and we will buy your candy for cash.

Gums Bleeding and Flossing

Last night I watched a movie, ate some popcorn, and got one of those pesky kernels stuck in my teeth. After aggressively fishing it out, I noticed my gum was bleeding a bit. That got me thinking about one of our most common questions from patients: “Why does flossing make my gums bleed?”
Generally, flossing should not cause your gum to bleed. If it does, consider it an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease and get yourself to a hygienist.
Flossing is important. When you brush and skip flossing, you miss cleaning 35% of your teeth. The harmful bacteria that is left behind causes irritation and inflammation. If left untreated, the bacteria can get into your bloodstream or cause irreversible jaw bone damage.
So the short answer is “No”. Flossing does not make your gums bleed. Bacteria and infection does.

If you have any questions about flossing or your oral health, we are happy to answer them. Call our office at (435) 940-9900

It’s time to get a new Toothbrush

With so many exotic diseases floating around these days, it’s only natural to wonder if your toothbrush is harboring bacteria. Maria Lopez Howell, a dentist and spokeswoman for the American Dental Association, comes clean.

Once a toothbrush turns furry, it’s less effective at removing plaque.

Brush Buying

Common sense suggests when a toothbrush starts to look frayed and worn, it is time to invest in a new one. But, says Dr. Howell, a clinical professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School, that may be too late. “Don’t wait until your toothbrush is furry to toss it out,” she says. As bristles wear down, they lose their effectiveness, and won’t scrape off plaque and calculus from the teeth and gum line easily.

Dr. Howell recommends replacing the brush every three to four months as a guideline. “I like to mark my new brushes with a date,” she says. On the flip side, if your brush isn’t looking used in four months, you may not be brushing long enough. Two minutes is the recommended time for a thorough cleaning and for fluoride uptake by enamel. Children, who seem to abuse these oral tools, may need their brushes changed more frequently.

Going Viral

Even an old fuzzy toothbrush won’t be a nesting ground for infectious bugs. Studies from the ADA haven’t shown evidence to support that a toothbrush can harbor harmful germs and reinfect a person, even after he or she has suffered a severe cold or flu. According to ADA studies, a toothbrush can carry germs from the moment it comes out of the package. But, says Dr. Howell, “Bacteria is a part of our lives,” and we have natural mechanisms to fight them, including enzymes in our mouths.

To Disinfect or Not to Disinfect

Some people heat a brush every now and then to kill lingering germs. But boiling water can destroy the bristles, as will putting a toothbrush in the microwave or dishwasher.

Boiling a brush is a no-no.

“People think that something hot will make something cleaner, but in this case, nice straight bristles will be most effective in cleaning the teeth and gums, not warped ones,” she says. As long as you rinse the toothpaste off and let the brush air dry, it will be clean. “Don’t cover it with a cap, which can maintain a moist environment and potentially breed bacteria, until it’s bone dry.” And don’t bother with products that claim to kill germs on your brush. No toothbrush-cleaning product has been shown to be fully sterilizing, according to the ADA.

The Right Fit

Dr. Howell jokes that the toothbrush area of the drugstore has been called the “aisle of confusion” among some of her fellow dental professionals. Ultimately, a good new toothbrush has the ADA seal of approval, it is soft, and it fits your preference. “Electric or with lines that show that it’s time to change your brush—it doesn’t matter, as long as you feel comfortable enough to brush properly with it,” says Dr. Howell.

Semiannual checkups with your dentist will confirm if you’re brushing properly. And often will provide you with two of the four toothbrushes you should be using each year, free.

—Heidi Mitchell WSJ

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324073504578109253734465538.html

 

Better to Floss Before or After Brushing?

Did you know that taking good care of your teeth and gums can not only add years to your life, but also lowers risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes—and even memory-robbing disorders like Alzheimer’s disease? A new study of nearly 5,000 older adults found that those who brushed their teeth less than once a day were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed daily.

And here’s even more motivation to brush and floss: A new CDC study reports that nearly 65 million Americans—one out every two adults ages 30 and older—have gum disease, a far higher rate than has previously been reported. That’s dangerous, since a 2012 American Heart Association scientific statement reports that periodontal (gum) disease is a strong, independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and stroke).

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A Surprising Dental Controversy

What’s the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy? While everyone agrees that brushing at least twice a day is crucial, there’s hot debate online right now about whether it’s preferable to floss before you brush (as I do) or afterwards. Here’s a look at surprising flossing recommendations from five leading dentists:

“I’ve always advised patients to floss before they brush to break up and remove the plaque matrix between the teeth before going in with the toothbrush to sweep away the bacteria and debris they’ve dislodged with flossing.”–Mark Barry, DDS, associate dean for clinical affairs and professor, division of oral medicine, Medical University of South Carolina.

“It makes more sense, particularly for kids, to floss after brushing so you can see what you’ve missed with the toothbrush. Also, if you floss first, debris might get pushed back between the gums when you brush. It’s also important to use the right flossing technique: make a C-shape with the floss and wrap it around each tooth to clean the surface, rather than just snapping the floss up and down, which doesn’t clean the structures properly.”–Mary Hayes, DDS, American Dental Association spokesperson.

“It doesn’t matter whether you floss first or brush first, because you are cleaning different surfaces of the teeth. That’s why flossing is crucial: It’s the only way to clean between the teeth, since a toothbrush can’t reach these crevices.”–Ruchi Sahala, DDS, American Dental Association spokesperson and general dentist in Freemont, CA

“The biggest thing is to remember to brush twice a day and floss once, spending several minutes removing plaque and debris between the teeth. It takes 24 to 48 hours for oral bacteria to organize into plaque, so as long as you dislodge the plaque at least once a day by flossing, you’re protecting your oral health.”–Ron Burakoff, DDM, MPH, DMD, MPH, Chair & Professor, Department of Dental Medicine, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

“Either order is OK. My recommendation is to floss at night, before you go to bed. When you’re sleeping, you produce less saliva to clean your teeth and gums, so oral bacteria are free to do more damage. Therefore, it’s important to brush, floss and scrape your tongue every night to get rid of bacteria and go to bed with your mouth as clean as possible.”–Ronald M. Goodlin, DDS, President, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

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What’s the Bottom Line on Flossing?

The American Dental Association reports brushing or flossing first are both fine, as long as you do a thorough job. However, the ADA adds that a benefit of flossing first is that fluoride from toothpaste is more likely to reach between your teeth when you brush, which may help reduce cavities.

As all of the dentists interviewed for this article agree, flossing once a day is crucial to avoid having the film of bacteria between the teeth harden into plaque and then tartar, a hard mineral deposit that can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, leading to the earliest stage of gum disease: gingivitis.

For more tips on flossing—including a how-to video from the ADA—click here.

Who wants to regrow your worn out teeth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Combat Cavities By Re-Growing Your Decaying Teeth
A team of researchers at the University of Leeds’ School of Chemistry is developing a pain-free method to combat cavities.

The technique uses a fluid called P 11-4 that has a fiber-like peptide. When the fluid is applied to a damaged tooth, it fills the tooth’s cavities and forms a gel matrix that attracts calcium.

Slowly, this matrix will rebuild the damaged part of the tooth. Best of all, there’s no Novocaine, no drilling involved.