Dental Care Information

Healthy Mouth Healthy Body

The Mouth Body Association

Brushing your teeth may be more important than you think. Gingivitis, an early phase of gum disease, is inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque and bacteria above the gumline. If left untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious and damaging stage of infection and resulting gum inflammation. Recent studies have demonstrated there is an association between periodontitis and certain systemic diseases, such as stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, which remains a leading cause of death in both men and women. More research is needed and is underway to better understand the exact nature of this association and the potential impact serious gum disease may be having on these systemic conditions.

Healthy Mouth Healthy Body

Inflammation and Gum Disease

Did you know that over 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease? It's more common than you think!

Gum Disease and Gingivitis — What are They?
Gum disease — also known as periodontal disease — is a form of inflammation and infection that occurs in the mouth.

Gingivitis — an early phase of gum disease and the easiest to treat — is an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of plaque, a soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria above the gumline.

Plaque provides a shelter for over 400 species of bacteria and other microorganisms to grow and proliferate. If not routinely removed by proper brushing and flossing, plaque can build up on teeth and gums and lead to gingivitis. Fortunately, gingivitis can be treated, which can help prevent it from developing into periodontitis, a more serious and damaging stage of gum disease.

How Do I Know if I Have Gingivitis?
Classic signs of gingivitis include red, swollen and tender gums that may bleed when you brush. It is important to remember that only a dental professional can thoroughly assess your dental health and determine whether you have gum disease, including gingivitis. Since some symptoms of gingivitis are not painful, the disease may remain untreated for many years unless diagnosed by a dental professional.

Signs of periodontitis, a more advanced stage of chronic gum disease, include the presence of gum ulceration, gums that have receded or pulled away from your teeth, permanent teeth that are loose or separating, any change in the fit of your teeth when biting, any change in the fit of partial dentures, and recurring bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Regular visits to your dental professional can help to prevent periodontitis from developing.

How Can I Help Prevent Gingivitis?
The key to preventing gingivitis is to remove the plaque and bacteria that accumulate on your teeth. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are extremely important. Good at-home oral hygiene is also crucial.

You can help stop gingivitis before it develops by:

  • Brushing and flossing to remove plaque and debris
  • Eating right to ensure proper nutrition for your jawbone and teeth
  • Avoiding cigarettes and other forms of tobacco
  • Scheduling regular checkups with your dentist

You can help protect yourself against gingivitis by brushing with Colgate Total®. It has a patented formula that attaches to teeth to form a 12-hour protective shield that is clinically proven to help reduce gingivitis. Studies show that Colgate Total reduces gingivitis more effectively than regular fluoride toothpaste. .

Can Medications Have an Effect on My Oral Health?
Can Medication Have an Effect on My Oral Health?  Yes, medications can have oral side effects — dry mouth being the most common. Be sure to tell your dentist about any medications that you're taking, even medicines that you purchase without a prescription.

These are the types of medications that will often produce dry mouth:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Pain Killers
  • Diuretics
  • High Blood Pressure Medications
  • Antidepressants

Other medications may cause abnormal bleeding when brushing or flossing, inflamed or ulcerated tissues, mouth burning, numbness or tingling, movement disorders and taste alteration. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your dentist or physician.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Seven Steps to a Bright Smile

Follow these easy steps to keep teeth and gums strong and healthy.

  1. Brush teeth and gums with fluoride foothpaste at least twice a day, especially after eating breakfast and before bedtime.
  2. Visit the dentist regularly.
  3. Floss your teeth daily.
  4. Use fluoride rinse for strong, healthy teeth and gums.
  5. Limit the number of times you eat snacks each day... and remember to practice healthy eating and get plenty of calcium.
  6. Wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
  7. Ask your dental professional about dental sealants.
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