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Archive for March, 2015

My Gums Bleed When I Brush: Should I be concerned?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

dentist 60616Have you noticed blood on your toothbrush? Do your gums hurt after brushing and flossing? If you have experienced these symptoms, you might have gum disease. Gum disease affects about 80% of the population in the United States and if left untreated, can have disastrous effects on your oral health. If you have noticed that your gums bleed during flossing or brushing, we urge you to schedule a checkup with our one of our dentists. Our team offers insight on gum disease and tips for preventing it.

Gum Disease and Your Oral Health

Bleeding gums is one of the most common symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease. Your gums are an integral part of the oral health system. They help support your teeth and protect the roots of your teeth from plaque and tartar. Gum disease occurs when gingival tissue becomes irritated or inflamed. Most patients with gum disease do not practice proper oral hygiene. While improper oral hygiene accounts for many cases of gum disease, other factors contribute to this condition. For example, hormonal fluctuations and common health conditions like diabetes are also factors in the development of gum disease.

Infected and inflamed gums can wreck your oral health if left untreated. As the gums become irritated and infected, they will pull away from teeth. This is known as gum recession, and with time, the bond between teeth and gums will weaken. Eventually teeth will become lose and fall out. Advanced gum disease may affect general health, too, since the infection becomes widespread and chronic.

Preventing and Treating Gum Disease

Preventing gum disease starts with patients committing to regular cleanings, checkups, and proper oral hygiene. Cleanings remove substances that irritate gingival tissue and checkups aid in the early diagnosis of gum disease. As with any other health condition, early detection is best for conservative treatment. Adopting a proper oral hygiene regimen is also important since brushing and flossing help prevent the accumulation of plaque and tartar. Our dentists offer treatment for patients with gum disease that include deep periodontal cleanings and medication, if necessary.

To schedule an appointment with our gentle and caring staff, call Ora Dental Studio today.

What causes white spots on my teeth?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

dentist South LoopAre your teeth discolored? Do you have white patches or spots along your teeth? You might be wondering if this discoloration is a symptom of a dental condition. In some cases, this discoloration is benign and normally forms in childhood as a result of a disruption in the development of tooth enamel or excessive use of fluoride. Newly formed white spots among children, teenagers, and adults can signify tooth decay and/or tooth enamel erosion. Fortunately, our dentist can help determine the cause of these discolorations and provide treatment, if necessary, to improve oral health.

Tooth Discoloration in Childhood

If you have had white spots on your teeth since childhood, it is likely due to a few common causes. The first cause, enamel hypoplasia, is due to the disruption of enamel development. Enamel hypoplasia is very common when teeth are forming. Another common cause of white discoloration is overuse of fluoride. A natural mineral, fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel and is therefore used in many oral health products like toothpaste. Fluoride also naturally occurs in some foods. While fluoride is very beneficial to protecting teeth against decay, too much fluoride can cause hyperfluorosis, a benign discoloration of teeth.

Other Causes of White Spots

In addition to common causes during childhood, white spots can be attributed to plaque buildup and tooth decay. Unlike enamel hypoplasia and hyperfluorosis, plaque buildup and tooth decay are not benign symptoms and should be treated by our staff as soon as possible. Plaque buildup is a translucent substance full of bacteria that hardens into tartar when it calcifies. This substance contributes to cavities and gum disease. Receiving regular cleanings is important to keeping plaque and tartar buildup in check.

White discolorations can also be a symptom of tooth decay. As bacteria eats through tooth structure, enamel is thinned and teeth will appear whiter at the site of decay. When cavities form, it is important to treat them as soon as possible so that decay does not worsen. Small decay is usually treated by placing a filling, a common restoration that protects teeth from further damage.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning, checkup, or restoration with our experienced dental team.

Beware of an Acidic Diet

Friday, March 6th, 2015

dentist 60611Are you unknowingly damaging your teeth with an acidic diet? Did you know that exposing teeth to acid leads to cavities? By limiting or avoiding acidic foods and beverages, you can protect your teeth from damage and disease. Our dentist explains how acid affects tooth anatomy and how you can protect your teeth by choosing healthier alternatives.

The Danger of Acids

Tooth enamel, the outer layer around a tooth’s crown, protects teeth from the oral bacteria that cause cavities. Enamel is a mineralized barrier around teeth but although it is very strong, it can be damaged by exposure to acidic foods. Acid exposure strips away minerals within enamel and eventually weakens it with time. Once enamel is damaged, the underlying structure of teeth is left unprotected and exposed to cavity-causing bacteria. Enamel damage is permanent and therefore preventing enamel loss with proper oral hygiene and diet is important for maintaining good oral health.

Foods to Limit

When it comes to reducing acid in one’s diet, there are obvious foods and drinks to limit or eliminate. Citrus is a common culprit behind enamel erosion—especially lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Carbonated beverages like energy drinks and soda often contain multiple varieties of acid and should be avoided as much as possible. Other foods and drinks to watch out for include:

  • Coffee
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tea
  • Tomatoes

Tips for Protecting Tooth Enamel

Acids cannot always be avoided. To limit exposure of acid to teeth, consider drinking with a straw. After consuming acidic foods or beverages, rinse your mouth with clear water as soon as possible. In fact, drinking water throughout the day will help keep a healthy Ph level in your mouth. Remember to schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups so that our team can detect and treat enamel loss and cavities.

We are currently accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, contact Ora Dental Studio at your convenience.