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Tag: gums

oral health burnaby
FAQ

Burnaby Dentist Addresses Oral Health Education

Besides brushing and flossing, what else can we do to optimize oral health? This is a great question and while not every dentist, or dental hygienist, may agree on what else is needed to get and keep your gums and teeth healthy I feel you should know about the other oral hygiene tools that are available. That way you can make up your own mind.

First, you must be aware that everyone is different in regard to the state of their oral health and even within one’s mouth there will exist different conditions, requiring different dental tools. Thus, in some parts of your mouth, a toothbrush may be all you will need to keep that part healthy. Yet in another area, you will need to floss regularly to keep it disease free. And in some areas, you will need to use the toothbrush, floss, water irrigator and other unique dental tools to maintain optimal oral health.

But before I get into the various ‘preventive dental tools’ that are available you will need to be aware of the fact that regardless of the tools that are available you must first know why you are using them, what they do, when to use them, how to use them, and be committed to being responsible for your own oral health. As I like to say, ‘it isn’t the brush, it’s the brusher’ and ‘it isn’t the floss, it’s the flosser’! While treatment is something that is done to you, prevention is something that is done by you! So when it comes to achieving and maintaining optimal oral health you, and you alone, will determine how successful you will be – not the tools you use.

How to Know What Tools to Use

If, when you were 6 years old, you learned everything you needed to know about taking care of your teeth and did what you needed to do – the only dental tool you would ever need would be the toothbrush. If you didn’t learn that lesson and later found that you had the early stages of gum disease and some decay, you could add dental floss to the toothbrush and if you knew when and how to use it, those two dental tools would be adequate to keep your gums and teeth healthy. But, if over time you didn’t know what you needed to do, or just got lazy and didn’t do it, and eventually progressed to moderate or advanced gum disease (which a high percentage of the population has) – those two dental tools would no longer be sufficient.

Anyone who has had bone loss and gum recession, or have periodontal (gum) pockets of 4mm or more, will need to add other tools to their dental arsenal – if they want to keep their teeth that is. The key to understanding this is to realize that every dental tool available does something that the others do not. Another way to put it is: the toothbrush doesn’t do what the floss does; floss won’t do what a toothbrush does; and the water irrigator can’t do what the floss and brush do. They all overlap to some degree but make no mistake about it; once your gums deteriorate to the state I mentioned above you will have to use all three of those tools and possibly more – to get and keep your gums healthy.

The Dental Tools

Aside from the toothbrush, floss and water irrigator, there are many preventive dental tools that weren’t available 20 years ago and all have some value in the right situation. I’ll list some of the more common ones.

There isn’t the space to go into each of the above supportive dental tools and if you are interested in them you can search the Internet and ask your dentist and hygienist to explain them to you.

Suffice to say that if you are motivated and have learned how, when and why to use the toothbrush, floss and water irrigator – most people will have no need for other tools.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t give additional support to your oral hygiene program. But the most important thing you can do is to consult with your dental hygienist and learn what preventive tools you’ll need for your own unique oral situation. But remember, if you don’t use them properly, and at the right time, it won’t matter if you have 100 of the best toothbrushes, or 5 superior water irrigators – because your gums won’t get and stay healthy by wishing them to be.

Regardless of the dental tools, you also need the support of your dental professionals, especially if you have, or had more serious gum disease. Your dentist can be of immense value to you in supporting and monitoring your oral hygiene program so don’t forget to enlist his/her support.

There two very important preventive dental tools that I haven’t mentioned and if you take advantage of them your oral hygiene program will have a much better chance of being successful. The first is a good, healthy, natural diet and one that eliminates or reduces refined sugar and refined food consumption. This is a separate topic but the more natural your diet is, the more raw fruits and vegetables it contains the easier it will be to keep your gums and teeth healthy. The second is to supplement your diet with adequate amounts of vitamins and natural supplements. These are big subjects and cannot be adequately dealt with here but supplementing your diet with good multiple vitamins, multiple minerals, and vitamin C is essential.

FAQ

Receding Gums: Causes, Treatment, Surgery, and Prevention

Gum recession is the process in which the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth’s root. When gum recession occurs, “pockets,” or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged, and may ultimately result in tooth loss.

Gum recession is a common dental problem. Most people don’t know they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, or you may notice a tooth looks longer than normal. Typically, a notch can be felt near the gum line.

Gum recession is not something you want to ignore. If you think your gums are receding, make an appointment with your dentist. There are treatments that can repair the gum and prevent further damage.

Why Do Gums Recede?

There are a number of factors that can cause your gums to recede, including:

Periodontal diseases. These are bacterial gum infections that destroy gum tissue and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.

Your genes. Some people may be more susceptible to gum disease. In fact, studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed 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, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash makes it easy for plaque to turn into calculus (tartar) — a hard substance that builds on and between your teeth and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. It can lead to gum recession.

Hormonal changes. Fluctuations in female hormone levels during a woman’s lifetime, such as in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco products. 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. Clenching or grinding your teeth can put too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede.

Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. When teeth do not come together evenly, too much force can be placed on the gums and bone, allowing gums to recede.

Body piercing of the lip or tongue. Jewelry can rub the gums and irritate them to the point that gum tissue is worn away.

Do these apply to you? These dental clinics has several options to prevent receeding gums!

How Is Gum Recession Treated?

Mild gum recession may be able to be treated by your dentist by deep cleaning the affected area. During the deep cleaning — also called tooth scaling and root planing — plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth and root surfaces below the gum line is carefully removed and the exposed root area is smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria to attach itself. Antibiotics also may be given to get rid of any remaining harmful bacteria.

If your gum recession cannot be treated with deep cleaning because of excess loss of bone and pockets that are too deep, gum surgery may be required to repair the damage caused by gum recession.

What Type of Surgery Is Used to Treat Gum Recession?

The following surgical procedures are used to treat gum recession:

Open flap scaling and root planing: During this procedure, the dentist or periodontist (gum doctor) folds back the affected gum tissue, removes the harmful bacteria from the pockets, and then snugly secures the gum tissue in place over the tooth root, thus eliminating the pockets or reducing their size.

Regeneration: If the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed as a result of gum recession, a procedure to regenerate lost bone and tissue may be recommended. As in pocket depth reduction, your dentist will fold back the gum tissue and remove the bacteria. A regenerative material, such as a membrane, graft tissue, or tissue-stimulating protein, will then be applied to encourage your body to naturally regenerate bone and tissue in that area. After the regenerative material is put in place, the gum tissue is secured over the root of the tooth or teeth.

Soft tissue graft: There are several types of gum tissue graft procedures, but the most commonly used one is called a connective tissue graft. In this procedure, a flap of skin is cut at the roof of your mouth (palate) and tissue from under the flap, called subepithelial connective tissue, is removed and then stitched to the gum tissue surrounding the exposed root. After the connective tissue — the graft — has been removed from under the flap, the flap is stitched back down. During another type of graft, called free gingival graft, tissue is taken directly from the roof of the mouth instead of under the skin. Sometimes, if you have enough gum tissue surrounding the affected teeth, the dentist is able to graft gum from near the tooth and not remove tissue from the palate. This is called a pedicle graft.

Your dentist can determine the best type of procedure to use on you based on your individual needs.

How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?

The best way to prevent gum recession is to take good care of your mouth. Brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist or periodontist at least twice a year, or as recommended. If you have gum recession, your dentist may want to see you more often. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and ask your dentist to show you the proper way to brush your teeth. If a misaligned bite or teeth grinding is the cause of gum recession, talk to your dentist about how to correct the problem. Other ways to prevent gum recession include:

  • Quit smoking if you smoke.
  • Eat a well balanced and healthy diet.
  • Monitor changes that may occur in your mouth.
  • By taking good care of your teeth, you can have a healthy smile forever.