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13 Oct 2022
October 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

If your jaw clicks when it opens, or you can’t fully open it, or you have pain in your face and trouble chewing, then you’re among the 15% of Americans who have chronic jaw pain.

Your jaw joint is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. The name comes from the jaw’s role to connect your temporal bone in the skull with your mandible bone. Some people experience short-term pain that goes away with ice and over-the-counter medicine. But if you have chronic jaw pain or you can’t open your mouth, you might have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and it’s important to see your dentist right away to find relief.

Dr. David Case, Portland dentist explains more below about the causes and treatments of jaw pain.

Different Kinds of Jaw Pain

Pain in your jaw can feel different depending on what’s going on. In order to best understand what’s causing your pain, try to notice when you specifically feel the pain and what specifically it feels like. 

Do you have tightness, soreness, or clicking? Is the pain shooting sharp or a dull ache? Some jaw problems can also cause pain in your face, head, neck or shoulders. Many patients who have chronic migraines don’t realize it’s actually a dysfunction of their bite and TMJ. It’s important to see a dentist and explain what you’re feeling so that they can offer the best treatment options.

Causes of Jaw Pain 

Your jaw has multiple parts that work together. The temporal bone and mandible bone join together with a piece of cartilage and a shock-absorbing disk. Pain often results from the cartilage being worn down or the disk being dislodged.

Causes of jaw pain include:

  • Arthritis that inflames your joints
  • Genetics that cause your connective tissues (jaw cartilage) to wear down
  • Injury that dislodges the disk or just hurts your jaw
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth that puts stress your jaw and muscles (bruxism)
  • Headache or migraine that radiates pain down into your jaw (jaw pain can also cause headaches and create a bad cycle of pain)
  • Periodontal disease or gum disease
  • TMJ or temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Treating Jaw Pain

Only a professional medical provider can diagnose and treat TMD. Fixing your pain and treating it, in the long run, will all depend on what’s exactly causing the problem. If you’re suffering, we would love to help you. We will give you a full examination including watching and listening while you move your jaw and open your mouth. Sometimes dental x-rays and bite analysis are necessary to learn more.

To treat jaw pain, your Portland dentist might recommend:

  • Physical therapy
  • Avoiding chewing gum
  • A custom night guard or mouthguard
  • Stretching and massaging the muscle
  • Pain medication or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Orthodontics or restorative dentistry to correct bite alignment
  • Counseling to relieve the stress that might be causing you to clench your teeth
  • Corrective surgery performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon

If you have jaw pain or any other oral health questions, make an appointment at Family Dental Health today! Your oral health is key to taking care of yourself and enjoying your life.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Aug 2022
August 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Lemon Juice – The Good, The Bad, & The Sour

In a great tale of opposites, lemon juice can be both acidic and basic, or alkaline. Read on to find out why people are talking about this, and what it means for your oral and overall health.

What Is pH & Why Does It Matter?

Drinking lemon juice (usually diluted in a glass of water or added to a cup of tea) is a beloved health tonic among fans of natural medicine. Potential benefits include lower cholesterol, lower inflammation in the body, and increased metabolism and energy. Lemon also contains high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C that boost your immune system. 

On a scale of 0-14, a pH of 7 is neutral (pure water) while numbers below 7 are acidic (unhealthy), while numbers above 7 are basic or alkaline (healthy). Believers in holistic health blame many ailments on the body’s pH being too low or too acidic. Increasing your body’s pH is called “alkalizing.”

Lemon juice in its natural state is acidic with a pH of about 2, but once metabolized it actually becomes alkaline with a pH well above 7. So, outside the body, anyone can see that lemon juice is very acidic. However, once fully digested, its effect is proven to be alkalizing with many health benefits. So how does lemon juice or a daily glass of lemon water affect the health of your mouth and teeth?

Acidity & Oral Health

The bottom line here is that any time you encounter lemon juice, it’s likely to be in its acidic state. Lemons contain citric acid, which is corrosive and damaging to tooth enamel. It’s not until the lemon juice has been fully digested and metabolized that it becomes alkaline. So, it’s important to ingest lemon juice sparingly, assuming the acid can and will eventually affect your tooth enamel. 

Signs Tooth Enamel is Damaged:

Discoloration – The white enamel may wear out and look yellow because of exposed dentin. 

Transparency – Clearness in enamel means it’s not as strong.

Sensitivity – Enamel protects the dentin and deeper layers. When enamel is damaged, your teeth will be more sensitive to hot and cold. 

When it comes to deciding between lemon water and plain water, use your best judgment. A glass of lemon juice diluted in water is certainly not as damaging as sucking juice straight from a lemon wedge. (Now, if you added a load of sugar to that lemon water to make lemonade, you have a new and different problem for dental health!) 

If you’d like to make a refreshing glass of lemon water part of your daily routine, give it a try! You may notice some of the many health benefits and alkalizing effects on your overall health. We do suggest you wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth so as not to agitate your enamel even more with both the brushing motion and acid present in your mouth. Ingesting lemon juice is not recommended if you have acid indigestion or mouth ulcers.

Always consult with your Portland dentist for more personalized support for all things health and wellness. For more information, or to get a checkup on the current state of your enamel, contact Dr. Case at Family Dental Health to make an appointment.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Jul 2022
July 27, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Why Do We Have Baby Teeth?

Baby teeth, also called deciduous, primary, milk, or lacteal teeth, have many different purposes. Dr. Case at Family Dental Health is asked about the purpose of baby teeth often. So what’s the answer?

Tiny Teeth for Tiny Mouths

Child-sized mouths are not large enough to accommodate a full set of adult teeth, so the primary teeth become placeholders in the jaw, saving spaces for adult teeth to grow in as they begin to surface from under the gums. Baby teeth usually begin to erupt around 6 months of age, but may begin forming in the womb even before birth!

By the age of 3 years, children should have all 20 of their baby teeth, which remain in the mouth for the bulk of childhood—roughly 8-10 years. The presence of baby teeth allows children to eat solid foods and helps as they learn to speak clearly and quickly. 

They Grow Up So Fast

The first adult tooth erupts where the baby teeth have been lost around 6 years of age. By age 13, all permanent adult teeth—except wisdom teeth which tend to emerge between the ages of 17 and 21 years—will have taken up residence in the mouth.

Baby teeth are even more prone to cavities than adult teeth because small children lack the dexterity and knowledge to properly care for them. Statistics estimate that more than 50% of kids will be affected by tooth decay before the age of five years. So baby teeth can be very useful tools to educate kids about the importance of good oral hygiene. Premature baby tooth loss can allow permanent teeth to shift into available space in the jaw, causing improper placement and causing further dental problems down the road. 

Poor dental hygiene in childhood can lead to difficulty speaking and eating, infection, pain, and can affect their overall appearance and self-esteem. Baby teeth will be gone for good by age 12 or 13, but good dental hygiene habits formed in childhood will last a lifetime. 

If you have any questions about your child’s baby teeth or would like to schedule a hygiene appointment for your little one, please give us a call and schedule an appointment today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

19 Jul 2022
July 19, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

What Happens in Your Mouth While You Sleep?

Ah, nighttime… the end of the day, the ceasing of work, and hopefully a good night’s sleep. But did you know things are still happening in your mouth all night long, even if you’re blissfully unaware of it?  Portland dentist Dr. Case, sheds some light on the world of your mouth and everything going on inside of it while you catch some zzz’s.

Dry Mouth

You produce much less saliva overnight than you do during the day—your body’s way of minimizing the risk of choking. This leads to the common occurrence of dry mouth. Dry mouth can be a bit uncomfortable and lead to more cavities and bad breath. It’s perfectly fine and normal to have less saliva at night but to take care of your oral health, it’s important that you brush and floss before going to bed. 

Saliva usually rinses away the food debris that can stick around and cause plaque and bad breath, so it’s a good idea to head to bed with a blank canvas. Keeping a glass of water by your bed can relieve the pain in your mouth and throat from dry mouth.

Bruxism

If you wake up with a headache or jaw pain, or your teeth are noticeably ground down and fractured, you might have bruxism. Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism is an extremely common way that everyday stress gets expressed through the body. People grind their teeth for all sorts of reasons, such as:

You can prevent the side effects of bruxism by wearing a nightguard while you sleep.

Sleep Apnea & Snoring

Sleep apnea occurs when your breath is irregular or temporarily stops while you sleep. Sleep apnea can cause snoring, but not all cases are identical. Some cases of sleep apnea are a problem with your brain and its ability to regulate the vital function of breathing. 

Otherwise, sleep apnea can be caused by physical blockages of the airway such as:

  • Large tonsils
  • Collapsed soft tissues in your throat
  • Allergies clogging your sinuses

Being an older, overweight male increases your chances of developing sleep apnea. Whatever the cause of your sleep apnea, talk to your dentist or doctor. Sleep apnea can cause a host of other health issues such as fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and depression.

Solutions for sleep apnea include:

  • Changing your sleep position
  • A Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) device
  • Oral appliances that keep the airway open
  • Surgery to fix oral tissues and aid airflow

Morning Breath

Sadly, not everyone wants to have that Hollywood-worthy morning kiss with their partner when they first wake up. Bad breath (or halitosis) tends to be worse in the morning and it can be really unpleasant. Normal oral bacteria become more active overnight, eating and digesting proteins found in your mouth. 

Bacteria produce a sulfur gas while they digest that can smell like rotten eggs. Normally, saliva washes bacteria away and neutralizes the smell, but you make less saliva overnight, so the smell can really build up. This is why it’s essential that you brush, floss, and only drink water right before falling asleep.

Oral Health & Sleep

Did you know that regular visits to the dentist will improve your overall health and well-being, and can even improve your quality of sleep? If you’re looking for a medical professional to help you feel better across the board—with a beautiful smile to boot—come see us at Family Dental Health! Make an appointment to address any concerns and start taking care of your oral health today.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Jun 2022
June 27, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Are Baby Bottles Bad for Baby Teeth?

Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often called baby bottle tooth decay. This happens when liquids with natural or artificial sugars remain in an infant’s mouth for extended periods of time. Bacteria in the baby’s mouth thrive on these sugars, using them to produce acids that attack the teeth and gums. Today, Family Dental Health would like to share some information about baby bottle tooth decay and how to prevent it.

What Not to Do

Children whose pacifiers are dipped in sugar, honey, or syrup and those who are given bottles of sugary concoctions for naptime or bedtime comfort are at increased risk of tooth decay due to the decrease in natural saliva flow during sleep. Even fruit juice, milk, and formula contain natural sugars that can wreak havoc on tiny teeth while your little one slumbers. Here are some helpful “don’ts” for avoiding baby bottle tooth decay:

  • Don’t fill bottles with sugar water or soda. Bottles should only be for milk, water, formula, and pediatric electrolyte solutions.
  • Don’t allow them to go to sleep without wiping or brushing their gums and teeth.
  • Never give your child pacifiers dipped in anything sweet.
  • Reduce the sugar in your baby’s diet, especially between meals.

Baby Teeth Are Important

Although baby bottle tooth decay usually affects the upper front teeth the most, other teeth can be affected as well. Some folks underestimate the importance of baby teeth, but they are actually very important for children’s health and development. Not only are baby teeth necessary for chewing, speaking, and smiling, they serve as placeholders for permanent teeth that come later. Left untreated, baby bottle tooth decay can result in pain, infection, and premature tooth loss.

When children lose teeth prematurely because of baby bottle tooth decay, they may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth, and damaged permanent teeth. The chances that the permanent adult teeth will also be crooked and unhealthy are greatly increased by the presence of baby bottle tooth decay.

What to Do

Starting a good oral hygiene routine early can help keep baby bottle tooth decay at bay:

  • Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, warm washcloth after each feeding.
  • Begin brushing your baby’s teeth with a baby-sized toothbrush, without toothpaste as soon as they come in.
  • Clean and massage the gums in areas of your child’s mouth that do not have teeth.
  • Once baby teeth have come in, begin flossing between them.
  • Make sure your child is getting enough fluoride. You can begin using fluoridated toothpaste around age three. If your local water supply does not contain fluoride, ask your dentist or doctor if a supplement would be appropriate.
  • Start regular dental visits by your baby’s first birthday. If it seems necessary, ask about sealants, which can help prevent tooth decay.

How Do I Break Bad Habits?

It’s never too late to change those bad habits. Start today by:

  • Gradually diluting the contents of bottles with water over a period of 2-3 weeks.
  • After 2-3 weeks have passed, fill bottles with only water.
  • Switching from a bottle to a pacifier at night before bedtime.
  • Establishing a nightly oral hygiene routine so they never go to sleep with a sugary mouth.


Remember, the healthier your child’s baby teeth are, the more likely their permanent teeth will be healthy, too. If you have any questions about baby bottle tooth decay or would like to schedule a visit for your little bundle of joy, contact Family Dental Health today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 May 2022
May 27, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Finding Your Oasis: Food & Drinks for Dry Mouth

Xerostomia is the technical term for dry mouth, the condition that results from absent or reduced saliva flow. It is not a disease on its own, but it may be a side effect of medication or radiation treatments.  Xerostomia affects about 20% of the elderly population—not because of their age, but due to the increased likelihood of using medication or having radiation therapy that causes dry mouth. Family Dental Health is here to discuss some foods and beverages to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.

Food & Beverages that Help Dry Mouth

8-12 glasses of water per day are ideal to keep saliva production on track, so making a habit of carrying a water bottle with you is a great idea. Sugar-free juices, reduced-sugar sports drinks, club soda, and herbal tea with lemon are good beverage choices when you just can’t stand the idea of drinking any more water.

A soft, high-protein diet is recommended for people with dry mouth. Substitute moist fish, eggs, and cheese for red meat. Serving food lukewarm or at room temperature reduces the chances of burning the mouth with hot food. To make bread or rolls easier to eat with dry mouth, soak them in milk or your favorite sauce to soften them. Eat moist casseroles and other foods that incorporate gravy, sauce, or broth in their recipes. Make smoothies, slushies, or shakes in the blender that incorporate milk alternatives like soy, almond, or rice milk (consumption of cow’s milk often produces thicker saliva and can worsen dry mouth).  

More examples of soft natural foods that are helpful for people with dry mouth include tender meats like chicken and fish, smooth peanut butter, soups, canned fruits, soft-cooked/blended vegetables like carrots or celery, mashed potatoes, soft-cooked pasta, oatmeal, ice cream, pudding, and popsicles. Herbal flavor enhancers, condiments, and fruit extracts can be used to make food more flavorful, as the diet for dry mouth may seem bland to many.

There are also artificial saliva substitutes and stimulants that can help curb dry mouth, as can sugarless candies and chewing gums. Sucking on fruit pits from cherries or olives, and lemon rinds can help stimulate saliva flow, as do lemon drops and other hard candies, although be wary of excessive sugar intake. 

Food & Beverages to Avoid for Dry Mouth

Increased water and fluid intake are recommended, but caffeinated fluids such as tea, coffee, and cola act as diuretics and are not ideal for xerostomia sufferers. If you’re craving soda, let it go flat prior to indulging. Alcohol consumption should also be limited or avoided. 

Foods should not be excessively hot or cold, sugary, salty, spicy, or acidic, including citric fruits like tomato, grapefruit, orange, and pineapple and astringent foods like apple, pomegranate, pear, quinoa, legumes, tofu, sprouts, beans, and lentils. You should also avoid dry, crumbly foods like crackers, cereal, pastries, toast, and dry meat.  

If you have any questions or concerns about dry mouth, contact your Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health today and we’ll be happy to talk about solutions with you!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Apr 2022
April 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Pregnant Moms & Oral Health: Brushing & Flossing for Two

There are so many things to be concerned about when you find out you’re expecting. Eating right, taking enough vitamins, getting enough rest, telling your husband there is absolutely no way you are naming your firstborn son Bud Light… but what about your teeth? There’s an old saying—“you lose a tooth for every baby”—but those beliefs are outdated, thank goodness! Still, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health has some important information to share about pregnancy and oral health.


Taking Care of Yourself is Taking Care of Your Baby

Moms-to-be can become so focused on preparation for the new bundle of joy that they neglect their own health—but try to remember that taking care of yourself is taking care of your baby. If you are pregnant, remain proactive about your oral hygiene routine and don’t skip your regular dental visits. Your teeth and gums need special attention during this time, so be on the alert for symptoms like bleeding gums and dry mouth. 

 

Gingivitis & Gum Disease

Hormonal changes and diabetes during pregnancy can cause pregnancy gingivitis (inflamed, tender and irritated gums)—about 75% of pregnant women end up with it. Left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, an even more severe form of gum disease that leads to actual bone loss. Older mothers have a higher risk of gum disease in general, and research has linked preterm delivery and low birth weight to gingivitis—sufferers were seven times more likely to have either or both conditions. Researchers also estimate that advanced gum disease could be linked to about 18% of premature births in the United States.

Gum disease may also contribute to preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition that affects about 5% of pregnant women, leading to a sharp increase in blood pressure. The only cure for preeclampsia is giving birth, which can put the baby at risk if it happens prematurely. Additional potential complications of preeclampsia include hemorrhage, stroke, and kidney failure. A handful of studies have linked gum disease with preeclampsia, but more research is needed to show a true cause-and-effect relationship.

 

Acidity & Dry Mouth

Not every pregnant woman has morning sickness, but if you are one of the unlucky ones, keep in mind that along with nausea, stomach acid can make its way into the mouth and erode your teeth. Try rinsing your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash to help control the acidity level. This is not only a protective measure for your teeth but may help with nausea a bit as well.

Dry mouth during pregnancy can put pregnant women at higher risk for tooth decay and dental infections. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and chewing sugarless gum to enhance saliva production—try to find sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol, which has been shown to be effective in preventing cavities.

If you’re hungry a lot—which is not unheard of while pregnant—frequent snacking keeps teeth in constant contact with sugars. Bacteria feed on these sugars, speeding up acid production which creates more opportunities to weaken a pregnant mom’s tooth enamel. Be aware of your snacking habits and be sure to rinse your mouth frequently with water after eating or drinking.


How Does Mom’s Oral Health Affect Her Baby?

It’s quite simple: the bacteria in Mom’s mouth is the link to the baby’s health. When a pregnant woman has excessive oral bacteria, pathogens can enter the bloodstream via the gums, travel to the uterus, and trigger the production of chemicals suspected to induce preterm labor. After the baby is born, a mom in poor oral health can still pass harmful bacteria to her newborn in a process known as vertical transmission. This can lead to negative dental consequences down the road for the baby—no one wants to see an active toddler with cavities. 

Good oral hygiene—brushing at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing at least once each day—is your own insurance policy to reduce the risk of dental infection in your newborn baby. Good nutrition and balanced meals limiting acidity and sugar have the most benefits for both Mom and baby

Most important of all, don’t forget that when you’re brushing and flossing during pregnancy, you’re doing it for two! If you have any questions or concerns about pregnancy and your dental health, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Mar 2022
March 27, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

What Are Those Bumps? Oral Tori

Unusual shapes and growths can be alarming anywhere in the body. If you’ve noticed hard bumps growing in your mouth, you might have oral tori

What are Oral Tori?
Tori (or a single torus) are bumps in the mouth made of bone tissue covered by gum tissue. They grow slowly and some people have them without ever noticing them! There are three kinds of tori, each named differently based on their location:

  • Buccal exostoses: tori on the back, upper gums, on the cheek side
  • Maxillary/palatal tori: on the roof of the mouth
  • Mandibular lingual tori: on the lower jaw, under the tongue

Tori are more common among males than females. (Although palatal tori are twice as likely to occur in women than men.) They appear to be genetic. Tori can appear in groups of various shapes and sizes, or you can have just one torus. If you have a torus on one side of your mouth, it’s likely that you’ll also have another one on the other side.

Tori have been referenced and studied for at least 100 years, but truth be told, we don’t totally understand what causes them. Some dentists believe that people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw are more likely to develop tori. Others believe that tori result from facial or jaw injuries or trauma. 

Are Tori Dangerous?

Tori are considered normal and harmless. Phew! Tori may, however, get in the way of dentures or orthodontics in some cases. Or they may grow to a point and touch in the middle of the mouth. In these cases, your dentist may recommend treatment and removal to ensure optimum comfort and function. So long as they don’t interfere with your daily life and ability to eat, speak, or care for your oral health, tori are not a problem.

Tori should not hurt but they can get injured if you accidentally scrape them while eating. If this happens, keep the wound clean with mouthwash or a saline rinse to prevent infection.

Although they are extra growths, tori are not cancerous. Signs of oral cancer include sores, thickening oral tissues, unexplained bleeding or numbness, trouble swallowing, and a change in how your dentures fit. If you have any concerns about oral cancer, you should see us today for an oral cancer screening.

Treating Tori

Your Portland dentist will monitor the tori shape and size and how they affect your general health. In the rare case that you do need the tori to be removed, your dentist or oral surgeon will perform an oral surgery procedure. The oral surgeon will expose the bone tissue, remove it, and level the mouth surface. As with any surgery, you’ll be sore for a while afterward, and you’ll see the dentist about a week later for a post-op checkup.

If you need help living with tori, or you have any other oral health need, make an appointment to come in and see us today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

13 Mar 2022
March 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Biofilm: The Most Important Film of the Year

Biofilm is quite literally a “film” or layer of biological matter that forms on teeth, in sink pipes, on river rocks, and more. Biofilm is made of many different things. Think of it as concrete, which contains cement as well as a slew of other materials. It’s likely you’ve been aware of biofilm on your teeth when they feel slimy or fuzzy instead of smooth and clean. Dr. David Case, Portland dentist explains more below about biofilm and the role it plays in your oral wellness.

My Teeth Aren’t Cold, Why Do They Need Sweaters?

It’s true; the texture of biofilm can feel like fuzzy little sweaters on your teeth. Biofilm occurs when bacteria stick to a wet environment, creating a slimy layer of microorganisms and random debris. Biofilm is a diverse and highly organized group of biological matter all webbed together. Some of the microorganisms are neutral but some are pathogenic and cause a lot of problems for your oral and overall health.

This slimy layer includes multiple kinds of bacteria, fungi, and anything else that gets stuck in the stickiness such as plaque or leftover food particles. Usually, bacteria start off floating around on their own, but if they stick to a wet surface they can cause a microcolony and produce a lot of gunk. This can happen on your teeth as easily as down a water pipe.

The Effects of Biofilm

It’s proven that not all microorganisms in biofilm cause harm to your oral health. But the ones that do can cause inflammation and deterioration in the bones and tissues of your mouth and have a direct pathway through the gums and into the bloodstream.

Biofilm in your mouth can cause:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Cavities
  • Tooth loss

Dental plaque is a dangerous kind of biofilm. Without properly cleaning your teeth (brushing and flossing every day), the material can corrode your teeth and the bacteria can make you sick.

Gingivitis is a common and mild irritation of the gums. But even 30-40% of the population will have severe gum disease called periodontitis. A dentist can help you look for signs of gum disease or diagnose it.

Biofilm allowed to travel through the bloodstream to other parts of your body cause:

  • Ear infections
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cystic fibrosis (lung infection)
  • Legionnaire’s Disease

Treating Biofilm & Tooth Decay

The formation of biofilm actually protects the bacteria in it by keeping it attached to teeth and other debris. This makes the bacteria hard to clear and kill. Regular brushing and flossing are essential for your oral health to prevent bacteria and other microorganisms from building up on your teeth.

However, some buildup of plaque and tartar is common and can only be treated by a dental professional. This is why getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist twice a year is so important. Biofilm can also grow on oral appliances. So, if you use dentures, a mouthguard, or a removable bridge, ask your dentist how to best keep the appliance clean.

If biofilm causes excessive tartar buildup, your dentist may recommend special treatment to remove it and kill the bacteria such as prescription mouthwash or more advanced periodontal treatments. Unfortunately, oral infections are chronic because the bacteria can’t be completely killed by antibiotics. Oral infections must be inspected and treated on an ongoing basis. As always—prevention is the best medicine.

If you’re looking for a dental professional to keep your mouth and overall health in tiptop shape, Family Dental Health is accepting new patients. Contact us to make an appointment today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Feb 2022
February 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Gingivitis: Are Your Gums Trying to Tell You Something?

Gingivitis, very simply, is an inflammation of your gums. (Any time a medical term ends with “itis” it means inflammation.) Gingivitis varies in severity and can look a few different ways. Very bad gingivitis leads to periodontal (gum) disease

Gingivitis is common and affects many, rather, most adults. But with good oral hygiene and the care of Portland dentist Dr. David Case, you should be able to avoid any major problems and even prevent gingivitis before it begins! Family Dental Health shares some information below about what causes gingivitis, how to prevent it, and how to treat it if it happens to you!

Causes of Gingivitis
Plaque forms on your teeth and near your gums after you eat and drink. Regular brushing and flossing cleans your teeth and removes this plaque. But if you go too long without brushing and flossing, or you don’t do it well enough, the plaque can build up and harden in your mouth. At this point, the plaque becomes tartar that can only be removed by a dental professional. 

Gingivitis happens because:

  • Tartar builds up on the line where your teeth and gums meet, it sticks and hardens to your soft gum tissue. 
  • Tartar irritates your gums and makes them more sensitive to oral bacteria that normally aren’t a problem.
  • Your gums inflame in order to fight the bacteria and tartar. 
  • Inflammation causes gums to bleed easily during brushing and flossing.


Effects of Gingivitis

In most cases, gingivitis just means slightly swollen and sore gums. If this happens, call your dentist and definitely keep brushing and flossing your teeth. Try brushing lightly and using a soft toothbrush if your mouth is very sensitive. 

If your symptoms don’t go away, gingivitis can cause:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Gums bleed easily
  • Bad breath or taste
  • Sensitive or painful gums
  • Gums pull away from teeth and form pockets around teeth
  • Tooth loss caused by periodontitis


Preventing Gingivitis

Good oral hygiene is important for everyone and can do a lot to keep you and your mouth healthy. Still, some risk factors make you more likely to develop gingivitis:

  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes in women (pregnancy)
  • Diabetes
  • Diseases that lower your immune system
  • Dry mouth (sometimes caused by prescription medication)
  • Genetics
  • Being a male over 30 years old


Treating Gingivitis

As always, brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day is the best way to care for your teeth and gums. Flossing or cleaning between your teeth once a day is also very important. Make sure you curve the floss in a C-shape, around the tooth, and under the gumline. 

Next, be sure to get regular dental care from our team at Family Dental Health—about two visits per year is recommended. If you have gingivitis or gum disease, Dr. David Case will help remove tartar, control the infection, and might advise you to change some personal hygiene habits.  More advanced cases of gum disease may require more extensive treatment methods. 

If you’re looking for a Portland dentist to help you feel your best, Dr. David Case is taking new patients. Contact us to make an appointment at Family Dental Health today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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