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How to Take Care of Your Gums
How to Take Care of Your Gums

When it comes to keeping your mouth healthy, it’s not only about how straight or white or cavity-free your teeth are. Your gums are equally important!

Even if you have a perfect set of teeth, this doesn’t mean you’re immune to gum disease. Most people with gum disease don’t realize that anything is wrong with their gums, since it’s usually painless and not very obvious.

How Does Gum Disease Develop?

Gum disease starts when plaque (the sticky stuff that forms when bacteria collects on the surface of the teeth) builds up under and along the gum line. The bacteria in the plaque can cause infections that hurt the gum and bone, and it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

The plaque can also harden into tartar if left untreated. Unlike plaque, which is sticky, tartar is rough and porous and can lead to receding gums and gum disease.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The initial symptoms of gum disease are usually red and swollen gums which are prone to bleeding after brushing or flossing. This stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.

If gingivitis is left untreated, the other tissues and bone that support the teeth can also become affected. This is known as periodontitis – and symptoms include an unpleasant taste in your mouth, bad breath, loose teeth, and gums that are tender, red, or swollen.

Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene every day. This involves the following:

Brush

Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day – especially last thing at night before you go to bed. Brushing helps to remove the plaque trapped between your teeth and gums.

Use Fluoride Toothpaste

There are lots of different toothpastes on the market today, but using a toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride is what is important. Fluoride is a natural mineral that effectively protects against tooth decay and gum disease.

Rinse

Using mouthwash can help reduce plaque and remove food particles and debris from your mouth, including from your gums. Just keep in mind that it is to be in addition to, not instead of, brushing and flossing.

Floss

Floss your teeth at least once a day. This helps to remove the plaque and any food debris that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is strongly associated with the onset of gum disease. Studies have shown that smokers have more tartar buildup than nonsmokers, which may be the result of a decreased flow of saliva.

Smokers also tend to have more severe bone loss and are much more likely to suffer gum destruction than nonsmokers. Not only does smoking increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, but it makes treatment much more difficult because smoking weakens your immune system – making it more difficult for damaged gums to heal.

Get Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings

Regularly visiting your dentist ensures that any early symptoms of gum disease are detected. That way, they can be treated before they get more serious.

A professional cleaning helps to remove any plaque you have missed when brushing or flossing, and it is the only way to remove tartar effectively. If you have gingivitis, regular dental cleanings can help reverse it.

Family Dentist in Merced, CA

Whether you have symptoms of gum disease, have concerns about your teeth or gums, or are just looking for an excellent dentist, our friendly staff at El Portal Dental Group welcomes your call and looks forward to serving you.

We offer general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and orthodontic dentistry services of all kinds. If you would like to schedule an appointment or consultation, please call our office today at (209) 385-1479 or fill out our appointment request form. Let us help you enjoy excellent oral health for a lifetime.


What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?
What Dental Procedures will Leave My Teeth Sensitive?

Some people have tooth sensitivity when they eat or drink cold, hot, sweet, or acidic foods or drinks. Sensitivity most often means that the root area is exposed somewhere in your mouth. However, tooth sensitivity can also happen after a dental procedure; usually, the symptoms go away on their own as the mouth heals after the procedure. Here are some dental procedures that may leave your teeth feeling sensitive.

Root canals

A root canal involves removal of infected pulp from inside the tooth to prevent further infection.  The area where the root is located contains nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells.  A root canal removes all of this, leaving the inside of the tooth hollow.  During the root canal, the dentist will clean out all contamination and then fill the void with a temporary, then permanent filling.  With root canals, the pain is temporary and over the counter, painkillers are generally good enough to deal with the pain. Your dentist can also prescribe medication to help deal with the pain.

Crowns

Dental crowns are needed if you have a cracked, decaying, or broken tooth. The crown is sort of a manmade tooth that covers an implant or is cemented to part of a broken tooth. When the crown is put in, it can irritate the nearby nerves and gums and cause some pain. It is common to feel pain after a crown is put in because of the inflammation. Fortunately, this pain is temporary and will go away on its own. You can control the pain symptoms through over the counter painkillers. If there is rubbing or sharp pains, see your dentist immediately; an improperly placed or jagged crown can irritate the gums and cause infection.

Tooth Extraction

You may need to get a tooth removed for any number of reasons – from tooth decay, crowded teeth, gum disease, and painful wisdom teeth to a baby tooth that refused to come out on its own.  Pain after an extraction is expected as it leaves nerves and the pulp under the tooth exposed. Dentists generally prescribe pain medication to control the pain and to prevent infection.

Gum tissue grafts

Gum tissue grafts are used to fix roots that have been exposed due to receding gums. You are more likely to feel pain and sensitivity while the wound heals. Your dentist or periodontist may prescribe pain medication as well as antibiotics to prevent infection.

If you recently have undergone one of these procedures will be getting one done soon, you should expect pain and sensitivity. However, if your symptoms last longer than a few days or get worse over time, it’s important to seek medical attention. Finally, there are many other dental procedures that can cause tooth sensitivity. If you are about to get any dental procedure done, make sure to talk to your doctor about what symptoms to expect and what you can do to reduce them.

Braces

Getting braces can result in sensitivity. After all, you are applying hardware to reform the placement of your teeth. Pain and sensitivity are to be expected as your teeth shift; if the pain comes from sharp wires or rough edges, see your dentist or orthodontist immediately to repair the wire or bracket.

At El Portal Dental Group in Merced, California, Dr. Khang Nguyen and his staff provide state-of-the-art dental care for you and your family. Dr. Nguyen offers general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, and emergency dentistry services to adults and children in Merced, California in a comfortable and caring environment. In addition, we speak English, Spanish, Hmong, and Vietnamese. Dr. Nguyen can create beautiful, confident smiles that are as healthy as they are functional. Come and discover dental excellence at El Portal Dental Group. Request an appointment with Dr. Nguyen, cosmetic and family dentist in Merced, California. Call (209) 385-1479 today. Same-day emergency and weekend dental appointments are available.


The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health
The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Health

Want to know if you’re at risk for heart disease? Check out your oral hygiene.

Research shows that people with periodontal disease (serious gum infection) are almost twice as likely to have heart disease – and their risk could be greater than those with high cholesterol.

What’s the connection? In a word, bacteria.

In periodontal disease, the bacteria festering in infected gum tissue around your teeth break down the barrier between your gums and the underlying connective tissue, causing inflammation or swelling.  When you chew your food or brush your teeth, bacteria can enter your bloodstream, where it moves to other parts of your circulatory system. Ultimately, they attach to fatty deposits in the heart’s blood vessels, leading to the formation of arterial plaque and the onset of atherosclerosis. These deposits can narrow your arteries or break loose and clog them entirely, causing blood clots that can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Clearly, there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. To help protect your gums – and potentially your heart – look out for these warning signs of periodontal disease:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums or other painful conditions in your mouth.
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, or when you eat hard or tough food.
  • Gums that are receding from your teeth, causing them to look longer than before.
  • Loose or separating teeth.
  • Pus deposits between your gums and teeth.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • A change in the way your teeth meet when you bite down.
  • A change in the fit of your partial dentures.

Getting to the heart of the matter

It’s easy to ignore these indicators of periodontal disease, which is why it’s important to maintain your oral health – especially if you already have or have a family history of heart disease. Here’s what doctors and dentists recommend:

·       Brush and floss your teeth daily and consider rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash to rid your mouth of bacteria.

·       If you have an existing heart problem, make sure your dentist is aware of it.

·       Conscientiously follow your doctor’s and dentist’s instructions, and use prescribed medications, such as antibiotics, as directed.

·       Keep clear of sugary or acidic foods that encourage bacteria to thrive.

Most importantly, maintain regular check-ups with your dentist.  Depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, your dentist will decide the best way to treat your condition. It may merely require a professional cleaning. However, if your condition is more serious and has already progressed to periodontitis, more aggressive treatment may be required. The most effective will probably involve scaling and planning, a procedure that cleans between the teeth and gums to remove the infection. Your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic to help eliminate the infection.

If you suspect you may or a loved one may have gum disease – even if you are a conscientious brusher and flosser – don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for an assessment as promptly as possible. Both your oral health and heart health may be at stake.

If you live in the greater Merced area, contact El Portal Dental Group at (209) 385-1479.  Our dental health experts are here to help you keep your mouth and your smile healthy and bright all year long.