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All Posts in Category: Gum Disease

What You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease and Treatment Options

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tooth’s structures. These include the ligaments, gums, bone and tissues that are necessary for good oral health. Bleeding and swollen gums are early signs of gums that have been infected with bacteria. According to a study by researchers at the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) performed in 1999, about half of Americans over the age of 30 experience bleeding gums. What’s even more surprising is the fact that many people think this occurrence is normal.

Stages of Gum Disease

In fact, the presence of bleeding and swollen gums is a sign that you could have the first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis. This is caused by a buildup of plaque that occurs at the gum line. Plaque is a sticky substance that can form on the teeth. If plaque isn’t removed regularly, the body’s immune system releases substances that are an attempt to oust the bacteria. This reaction from your body is what causes the bleeding and swollen gums that mark gingivitis. It’s at this earliest stage that gum disease can most easily be reversed.

Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease. It is at this stage that the bones, tissues and fibers that support your teeth are damaged. Periodontitis is marked by pockets that form below the gum line. Though gum disease cannot be reversed at this stage, there is much that a dentist can do for a patient with periodontitis. Improved oral care at home performed by the patient, as well as specialized dental treatment, can often help reduce further damage.

The final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. It is at this late stage that the other, supporting structures of the teeth are damaged. These bones, ligaments and fibers are destroyed which can lead to your teeth becoming loose or shifting in your mouth. Not only can this adversely affect your bite, it can also require that those teeth be removed.

Treatments for Periodontal Disease

For people who have gingivitis, there is still hope of reversing the disease. With good daily oral care at home in the form of proper brushing and flossing — as well as regular professional dental cleanings — gingivitis can be reversed.

Once gum disease reaches the periodontitis stage, though, professional intervention is necessary in order to save the teeth. Scaling and root planing is a treatment that is performed at the dentist office to scrape and remove the tartar and plaque from the root surfaces and the teeth. Afterward, these surfaces are smoothed to remove any roughness that can provide a welcoming place for bacteria to settle and flourish. Scaling and root planing is a procedure that could take more than one dentist visit to finish. Eventually, the gums heal and then reattach to the clean surfaces of your teeth.

There are other treatments available for advanced gum disease. Have you had a regular cleaning at Dupont Dental lately? Contact us today to make an appointment and to obtain an evaluation of your oral health!

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deep gum cleaning

Deep Gum Cleaning: When Do You Need It?

Regular brushing and flossing are essential to having good oral health, as are regular visits to the dentist. The professional cleanings you undergo during these visits can help stave off plaque, cavities, and many other dental issues. However, if you have not visited the dentist as often as you should, you may be due to have a deep gum cleaning.

What is Deep Gum Cleaning?

Deep gum cleaning is not the same as a regular cleaning. It is a dental procedure that is used to treat gum and periodontal diseases, and a dental hygienist typically conducts that. It is used to remove the bacteria that can settle below the gums and can cause the bone loss that contributes to the loosening of teeth and worsening existing medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.

The bacteria that are caught under the gumline cannot be removed with flossing, brushing or a regular cleaning. If it is left untreated, it can cause an immune response in the body, which can result in inflammation. The inflammation can progress deeper under the gumline and result in the loss bone, which can compromise your oral health.

The Deep Gum Cleaning Process

Deep gum cleaning, also referred to as scaling and root planning, involves using specialized dental tools to clean your mouth. During the scaling portion of the process, the bacteria, tartar, and plaque are removed from the surface of the teeth and from inside the pocket areas between the gums and teeth. Root planing involves removing any part of the tooth structure that is infected and smoothing the root surfaces.

The process typically requires at least two visits to the dentist to complete as well as a follow-up appointment to ensure that the state of your teeth and gums has improved and to determine whether the gum pockets around your teeth have deepened. Once you have undergone a deep gum cleaning and the bacteria that were hidden and multiplied in the pockets areas around the teeth have been removed, you should begin to see a noticeable improvement in the health of your gums within the next few weeks. This is as long as you adhere to a daily oral health routine that includes proper brushing and flossing.

When Do You Need Deep Gum Cleaning

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, adults should undergo a periodontal assessment every year to see if they require a deep gum cleaning. Individuals who haven’t had a professional cleaning at regular dental visits, usually every six months, will typically have to undergo this procedure. The dental hygienist will use a dental probe to measure the areas around your teeth to identify any pocketing. Normal pockets are no more than three millimeters deep. If the depth of the gum tissues between the gums and teeth is at least five millimeters, your dentist will likely recommend the procedure.

If you are overdue for a dental visit, you may be a good candidate for a deep gum cleaning. Don’t hesitate to speak with your dentist about having a comprehensive evaluation to determine the state of your oral health.

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closeup on perfect teeth

How to Reverse Gingivitis, Fast

Gingivitis is the first form of gum disease, and it’s true that it’s not quite as serious as periodontitis. However, gum disease is a progressive condition, so you absolutely should treat gingivitis as seriously as any other dental health problem. When you first notice early signs like a little blood when you brush your teeth and redness around the teeth, act immediately to reverse the problem while it’s still gingivitis.

Act Without Delay

Talk to your dentist as soon as you notice the first signs of gingivitis. By ignoring it, you’re allowing bacteria to become colonized in the space between your gums and your teeth. These bacteria are very destructive and will make large pockets around your teeth, down to the roots, as they spread and multiply. Loosening the gum tissue away from the tooth damages the root and eventually kills the tooth. Acting quickly stops this cycle before any damage is done to the gums or teeth.

Commit to a Daily Routine

No matter what your dentist wants to do in the office to clean under the gums and kill the bacteria, it’s all for nothing if you don’t keep up your end of the daily oral hygiene routine. Gingivitis comes from tartar forming at the edges of the teeth and hardening into plaque, which acts as a bridge to the space below the gum line. Brushing twice a daily and flossing once a day is essential for both preventing and reversing gingivitis. No amount of treatment from your dentist can compare to the power of improving your daily routine. Aside from what you’re doing daily, make a promise to yourself to visit for dental cleanings every six months no matter how much you’d rather skip the chore. Cleanings remove any tartar that is turning to plaque and gives the dentist a chance to catch early warning signs of hundreds of serious health problems, dental and otherwise.

Get Help from the Dentist

Follow the recommendations of the dentist even if they’re unpleasant. For example, a deep cleaning under the gum line causes a little residual soreness, but it also removes bacteria colonies and plaque in a way no amount of brushing and using medicated mouthwashes can accomplish. There are a handful of well-tested and proven techniques for managing gum disease, so it doesn’t progress and threaten the teeth, so take all treatments seriously and don’t skip them due to anxiety. Talk to your dentist about sedation options instead.

Change Your Diet

Finally, avoiding candy, sticky foods, and other sources of dental tartar can make a big difference in how fast you recover from gum disease. Reducing the amount of sugar in your mouth helps starve out the bacteria trying to colonize your gums. If you must enjoy your sweetened coffee or have a slice of cake after dinner, either brush or rinse your mouth out immediately to remove both lingering food particles and sugars. Don’t brush more than three times a day to avoid damage to the teeth and irritation of the gums which slows down your gingivitis recovery.

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Steps to reverse gingivitis

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet To Reversing Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common medical condition that dentists often diagnose each day. If that’s a diagnosis you’ve recently received, the news isn’t all bad. Did you know that there are plenty of practical ways you can fight back against gingivitis?

It’s important to remember that gingivitis is reversible. That means you can take actionable steps to restore your gums to their former healthy selves. Here is what you need to know about gingivitis and the steps you can take to reverse it:

What is Gingivitis?

Gum disease is an umbrella term that includes all kinds of specific issues. One of them is gingivitis, a mild form of bacterial infection of your gum tissue. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe form of gum disease. In those cases, you could end up with periodontal disease or “periodontitis.”

In a nutshell, gingivitis occurs because there is a build-up of bacteria in your mouth. It’s important to note that it’s not an overnight thing that happens. It is a medical condition where bacteria builds up over a period.

For most people, a regular oral hygiene regime will prevent gingivitis from occurring. When you stop taking care of your teeth, bacteria will start to build up in your mouth. The bacteria get stronger by feeding on small bits of food that stay in your mouth after eating.

If bacteria doesn’t get removed on a regular basis, your teeth start to have a build-up of plaque and tartar. In case you didn’t know, plaque is a sticky yellow substance. It forms due to a reaction between the bacteria and saliva in your mouth.

Over time, plaque can calcify and turn into tartar. When that happens, only a dentist can remove it.

What are the Signs of Gingivitis?

It’s quite easy to spot the symptoms of gingivitis. The most common ones are as follows:

Bleeding gums, usually after brushing your teeth;
Constant bad breath;
Receding gum lines;
Loose and wobbling teeth;
Changes to the way your teeth “bite” and how they sit together.

If you suspect that you’ve got gingivitis, it’s crucial to have a proper diagnosis done by a dentist. That’s because, in some cases, you could have already developed periodontitis.

How to Reverse Gingivitis

Now you know about gingivitis, what it does and how to spot it. But, how do you reverse it? The good news is there are several simple and actionable steps you can take.

The first is to ensure you have regular visits to your dentist. That way, you can take action on any dental problems before things get out of hand. It also means you are less likely to need any dental work including surgery.

The next step is to set up a good oral hygiene regime at home. Brushing your teeth each day is an important task. If possible, you should do so after each meal. But, brushing just twice a day (once in the morning and again before bed) is a good start. Consider using an electric toothbrush with an oscillating head for the best results.

Next, you need to make sure you get rid of food particles stuck between your teeth. You can do that by flossing. Last, but not least, rinse your mouth out with mouthwash to get rid of any remaining bacteria.

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8 things you need to know about bleeding gums

8 Things Many People Don’t Know About Bleeding Gums

It doesn’t matter whether you are disciplined with your teeth cleaning regime or not. Almost everyone will have bleeding gums once in a while. But, if that happens on a regular basis, it’s likely you may be suffering from gum disease.

Believe it or not, some people aren’t aware of gum disease, how it occurs, and what it can do. The good news is that it’s possible to do something about the problem. If you’re not sure why you’ve got bleeding gums, these eight reasons might be the cause:

1. Poor Oral Hygiene

It might sound like we are stating the obvious here. But, if your oral health is poor, you’re more likely to suffer from bleeding gums. There are many ways to reduce the likelihood of that happening. For instance, use an electric toothbrush for brushing. And use a water pick for flossing.

2. Unhealthy Food and Drinks

It’s both easy and convenient to eat and drink processed foods. Plus, there is an abundance of drinks with high sugar content in them. Apart from making you fat, they can also cause you to have bleeding gums. Why? Because you aren’t boosting your immune system with the right nutrients.

3. Smoking

We all know that smoking can cause all kinds of health problems, one of which is lung cancer. Smoking can also do bad things to your teeth too. It can cause fibrous and enlarged gums. And that allows bacteria to thrive and cause bleeding gums. What’s more, that bacteria can attack your body’s vital organs through the bloodstream.

4. Stress

We all know that stress can make us feel unproductive, depressed and exhausted. What you may not know about stress is that it can impact the health of your teeth too. Stress can prevent your immune system from being strong enough to fight gum disease.

5. Genetics

One fact that surprises many people is that genetics can play a part in people having bleeding gums. More than a third of us have a genetic “marker” that makes us predisposed to bleeding gums and gum disease. It’s possible to get DNA testing to check for that marker. And the good news is there are many treatments to lower the risk of bleeding gums.

6. Misaligned Teeth

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a strict teeth cleaning regime. Some things beyond your control can cause you to have bleeding gums. One of those is misaligned teeth. They can affect supporting gum tissue and bones, causing your gums to bleed.

7. Side Effects from Medicine

Have you ever looked at the notes that come with your medication? They will list a whole host of side effects that you could have. Some drugs can affect blood flow to tissue. As a result, it means your gums could have less protection against bacteria.

8. Gum Disease can get Transmitted through Saliva

Last, but not least, kissing someone with gum disease could cause you to have it too. That’s because the bacteria can get transmitted through saliva! Another way you could get infected saliva is if you share a toothbrush with someone.

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Close up of a healthy smile with great teeth and gums

How To Start Taking Better Care Of Your Gums

We are all told how important it is to look after our teeth. But not as much emphasis is put into caring for and maintaining our gums. Not many people realize the importance of this, which results in gum care often being overlooked. Gum disease is one of the main results of this lack of care. If left untreated, gum disease can worsen and lead to the removal or loss of your teeth. Therefore, it’s essential that you put just as much effort into maintaining healthy gums as you do your teeth. Use the instructions in this guide to help you get started today.

Brush Twice a Day

Your gums need to be brushed and cleaned just as regularly as your teeth. Use a soft bristled brush as this is much kinder to your teeth and gums. You need to make sure you are cleaning along the gumline as you brush. This removes food, plaque and bacteria from their surface and keeps them in top condition. Brush your teeth and gums for two minutes for a thorough clean. You should also use a dental mouthwash to remove any plaque and bacteria further. This should temporarily reduce the chances of you developing gum disease and plaque. Ask your dentist for their recommendations on mouthwash and toothbrushes you could use to keep your gums clean and healthy. You may also want to ask them to show you the correct brushing technique to refresh your memory.

Floss Every Day

Flossing allows us to access the areas in between our teeth that our toothbrushes cannot reach. Flossing every day is essential as it removes plaque and food, which could encourage the development of gum disease. You should do this at least one per day using dental floss, an interdental brush or a pre-threaded flosser. It can take some time to get used to if you have never done it before. But it’s the best way of caring for your gums. When you first start, your gums may be sensitive and bleed a little. This should stop as your gums get healthier, but if it doesn’t you need to see your dentist. You might be flossing incorrectly or have a dental issue that needs addressing. Your dentist can show you how to floss correctly and recommend which product you should use.

Visit Your Dentist Twice Per Year

To help you maintain your gums even further, you need to visit your dentist for a checkup and clean every six months. This allows them to prevent any issues with your teeth and gums before they become more severe. Getting your teeth scaled and polished also removes plaque and makes it harder for it to develop. This, in turn, makes it easier to maintain your oral hygiene and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Get in contact with your dentist to book an appointment to assess the condition of your oral health as soon as possible.

You can now introduce these methods into your oral care regime. They will keep your gums in fantastic condition while also improving the look of your teeth too.

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The Unique Challenges Women Face Regarding Oral Health

When it comes to oral health, women face unique challenges due to their hormonal cycles. Hormonal cycles in women affect how their bodies react to plaque and bacteria on their teeth and gums. It’s important for a woman to understand the relationships between hormones and her oral health so she can address any concerns before they develop into a serious dental issue.

Gums and Hormonal Cycles

During puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy, progesterone and estrogen levels increase and this can cause an increase in gum sensitivity. Some women experience swollen gums and bleeding right before menstruation, a condition called menstruation gingivitis. While this may clear up quickly, it may require additional oral health diligence. During pregnancy, some women experience more serious gingivitis that can lead to non-cancerous oral tumors. Pregnant women need to maintain regular dental appointments to treat any hormone related issues. Another factor that only women have to deal with is that oral contraceptives increase hormone levels and can lead to vulnerability to gum disease and tooth sensitivity. Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can cause oral health issues for women such as dry mouth that can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Additional Oral Health Issues Affecting Women

Temporomandibular Disorder, called TMD or TMJ Disorder, is something that women are twice as likely as men to suffer as it’s usually caused by teeth grinding or teeth clenching. TMJ Disorder can strain the jaw joint and damage teeth without treatment. Continued research suggests a potential link between HPV and oral cancer, and as women are the only ones with a test for HPV at this point, it’s important that they undergo regular oral cancer screenings. Women have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than their male counterparts, and this condition can lead to jawbone loss and periodontal disease issues.

The Good News

Despite the issues hormones can cause with women’s oral health, women are much better at taking care of their teeth and gums than men. Maintaining great dental health habits reduces the risk of teeth and gum issues and studies show that women:

  • Consistently have regular dental checkups
  • Have better attitude toward dental health
  • Have great personal dental habits

With a better awareness of the effects of hormones on their body, women can take a much more proactive role in maintaining the health of their teeth and gums. A great, healthy smile can be a woman’s best accessory, and it helps boost her mood while giving a positive first impression.

If you’re a woman with concerns about your dental health, contact our understanding professionals at Dupont Dental.

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Treat Gum Disease

Treating Periodontitis Can Save Your Teeth

It’s common for people to think that cavities are the biggest threat to their teeth, but cavities are actually unlikely to cause tooth loss. Cavities can lead to tooth infections that threaten the heath of a tooth, but the bigger cause of tooth loss is gum disease (periodontitis). The best way to keep teeth healthy and save teeth with gum disease is to consult a periodontal expert who understands all stages of periodontitis.

Gum disease more common than most believe

Gum disease presents a high risk for tooth loss because it’s more common than many believe and patients, therefore, may not be looking for signs of the disease. Periodontitis affects almost half of adults over 30 years old and of that half, 30% have moderate gum disease. Even moderate periodontitis can lead to bone loss around teeth and receding gums. In severe gum disease, there’s an increased danger of tooth loss. Knowing the signs of gum disease/periodontitis can help a person receive prompt treatment. These signs include:

  • Swollen, red gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Food debris between gums and teeth
  • Teeth appear longer than they used to
  • Dark areas around teeth
  • Teeth sensitivity, especially deep in the tooth root
  • Movement in teeth

For someone with one or more of these symptoms, it’s vital that they visit the dentist and begin treatment to reverse gum disease and avoid tooth loss.

Importance of periodontal expert

A periodontist has the experience and knowledge required to properly treat and reverse gum disease. As gum disease is so common, most dentists are periodontal specialists and have the proper dental training that focuses on tissues surrounding the teeth, bones and gums. Periodontists know the best options for treating gum disease and these can range from noninvasive treatments to surgery, and they work with their patients to find the best treatment to restore a healthy mouth and prevent tooth loss. An expert in treating periodontitis has the skill to prepare the mouth for whatever treatments are necessary and performs the procedures necessary to save teeth. If tooth loss does occur, a periodontist can place dental implants as needed to restore a patient’s smile and avoid the risk of bone loss from missing teeth.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to contact a qualified dentist right away to reverse the disease and restore your healthy mouth. Dupont Dental provides numerous dentistry services to protect and preserve your smile.

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myths about gum disease

Top 6 Myths About Gum Disease

Everyone has heard about gum disease, but not everyone understands exactly what it is. To put it simply, gum/periodontal disease occurs when a buildup of plaque creates an infection in the tissues surrounding and supporting teeth. Plaque is the sticky film made up of bacteria that forms on teeth and requires constant removal to keep teeth and gums healthy. Unfortunately, there are a few myths about gum disease that give patients the wrong impression about it, and this can lead to serious oral health problems.

Myth 1 – Gum disease is uncommon

This is a very harmful myth as it can result in people believing they’re safe from gum disease because it’s not very common. The truth is that gum disease is quite common and that over half of adults 30+ years suffer from some degree of periodontal disease.

Myth 2- No cavities equals no gum disease

A mouth without cavities can still have gum disease, despite what some people believe. Gum disease is often painless, which means a person may not know they have it. Signs of the earliest stage of gum disease called gingivitis include red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums. Gingivitis is the only reversible stage of gum disease as long as it’s caught early and treated with a professional dental cleaning with a follow-up of daily brushing and flossing.

Myth 3- Gum disease always results in tooth loss

Although advanced stages of gum disease that go untreated can result in tooth loss, when gum disease receives early treatment, tooth loss is preventable. Good oral hygiene including twice daily brushing, flossing, eating well and visiting the dentist regularly help prevent gum disease and make it easier to spot the early signs of the disease if it develops.

Myth 4 – Bleeding gums are normal during pregnancy

Although some pregnant women may experience bleeding gums during pregnancy, not all expecting mothers do. It’s possible to prevent and treat bleeding gums with proper brushing and flossing and more frequent dental cleanings.

Myth 5 – Having diabetes means having gum disease

Having diabetes can increase the risk of oral health issues such as gum disease, but that doesn’t mean that someone with diabetes will definitely develop gum disease. Someone with diabetes needs to be extra diligent with his or her oral hygiene and continue regular dental visits to avoid oral health problems that may complicate their diabetes.

Myth 6 – Bad breath is a definite sign of gum disease

Bad breath may indicate the presence of gum disease, but there are other causes of bad breath including a medical disorder. Chronic bad breath can indicate an oral health issue that may or may not relate to gum disease, and the only way to know is by visiting the dentist.

It’s possible to reduce your risk of developing oral health issues including gum disease with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Our experienced professionals at Dupont Dental are happy to dispel any myths about gum disease and answer your dental health questions.

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Bleeding Gums

Causes of and Treatments for Bleeding Gums

When someone notices bleeding gums during brushing and flossing, it can be cause for concern. Not all reasons for bleeding gums require dental treatments, but it’s a good idea to visit the dentist for an evaluation that can find the cause and address it as necessary. One of the top reasons for bleeding gums is gum disease, which is why this symptom should never be ignored.

Causes of bleeding gums

Although gum disease is a common cause for bleeding gums, it’s not the only cause. Other causes of bleeding, tender gums include:

Brushing incorrectly

If someone brushes too vigorously and uses too hard a toothbrush, this can lead to sensitive, bleeding and swollen gums. It’s always best to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and to use gentle circular motions to clean the teeth and massage the gums. For those who use an electric toothbrush, it’s important not to press the brush head too hard into the teeth and gums, which can lead to irritated gums that can bleed and may eventually recede.

Flossing incorrectly

Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene because it removes plaque where a toothbrush can’t reach, but flossing wrong can cause irritation and bleeding. Instead of forcing floss between teeth, sliding it gently up and down and following the curve of each tooth is the best technique.

Gum disease and bleeding gums

Research indicates that a majority of people suffer from gingivitis, which is one of the early stages of gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss so it’s important to discover and treat it quickly before it can progress into periodontitis that can lead to tooth loss. Bleeding gums can be an early indication of gum disease and often happens when a person doesn’t have good oral hygiene. Without good oral hygiene practices, bacteria build up in the mouth, forms plaque on the teeth and can irritate and inflame gums to the point where they’re swollen, red and bleeding. Catching gum disease early makes it possible to reverse it with proper oral hygiene, but without treatment, gingivitis grows worse. Even without any discomfort, a person experiencing any of the following symptoms should consult a dental professional promptly.

  • Bleeding gums during or after brushing teeth
  • Bad taste in the mouth or bad breath consistently
  • Gum recession
  • Swollen, tender and red gums
  • Deep gum pockets between teeth and gums
  • Shifting or loose teeth
  • Change in bite or fit of partial dentures

If allowed to progress, gingivitis develops into periodontitis where the bones and gums holding teeth in place become unhealthy and compromised. Bacteria on the teeth release toxins that damage gums, cause infection and inflammation and degrade bone and gums. This can cause bleeding and swelling and eventually lead to tooth loss.

Preventing bleeding gums

The best way to prevent bleeding gums is by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice daily and flossing at least once using the correct techniques. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is great for overall and oral health, especially when it includes proper amounts of calcium and Vitamin C for healthy teeth and gums. Drinking water during the day and after meals helps wash food off teeth and reduces bacteria formation. Avoiding or quitting tobacco use promotes better health in the body and mouth as tobacco inhibits the immune system and can lead to dry mouth. Stress can raise hormone levels that can lead to inflammation in the gums and rest of the body, so it’s important to find ways to relax and de-stress.

If you’re experiencing bleeding, tender or swollen gums, contact Dupont Dental immediately to set up an exam that can find the underlying cause and determine the best treatment.

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