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All Posts in Category: Oral Health Basics

A healthy woman with a great oral health

Improve Your Overall Health by Improving Oral Health

The benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene with twice daily brushing and flossing at least once a day extend beyond just helping your teeth and gums. Improving your oral health has a positive impact on your overall health as everything within the body is connected. As research continues to reveal a link between gum disease and other health issues including heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, it’s more important than ever to take care of your oral health.

Connection between heart disease and oral health

Research continues into the connection between heart disease and gum disease, and although nothing is 100% certain yet, there’s evidence linking the two. A person with gum disease is two times more likely to have heart disease than someone who doesn’t have gum disease. Having a high level of bacteria in the mouth from gum disease may also cause clogging in the arteries that can lead to stroke. The bacteria from bleeding gums can enter the bloodstream, forming clots that stick to blood platelets and this can lead to clogged arteries too. When inflammatory substances enter the bloodstream, it can complicate chronic health conditions including diabetes and heart disease. By practicing and improving daily oral hygiene, you can help protect your body from these health issues.

Connection between Alzheimer’s disease and oral health

Scientific studies continue to find probable links between gum disease and cognitive health. The NYU College of Dentistry ran a study that discovered that gum disease could increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction, not just in a healthy individual but also in those who already had cognitive impairment. A study in the United Kingdom uncovered bacterium associated with gum disease in brain samples of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease. There was no evidence of the bacterium in healthy brain samples. This indicates that bacteria moves through the body via nerves from tooth roots or through the bloodstream directly.

Prevention the best medicine

Preventing gum disease is the best way to avoid it leading to complications with heart disease, diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease. Improving oral health makes your body healthier too, and it’s easy to do by practicing good dental hygiene including:

  • Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day
  • Eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods with minimally processed foods
  • Visiting the dentist at least every six months for an exam and cleaning
  • Having routine annual checkups with a primary care doctor to look for issues such as heart disease and diabetes

It’s easiest to treat gum disease when the dentist finds it in its early stages, so it’s vital that you schedule and keep your regular dental visits with Dupont Dental. For help on further ways to improve your oral and overall health, contact our offices today.

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Man brushing his teeth

Men Are More Likely to Ignore Oral Health

A variety of survey and studies reveal that men are less likely than women to attend to their physical and oral health. Having good oral health is tied to overall good health, and it’s hard to believe that a common factor among those that don’t have regular dental checkups is that they’re men. It’s not unusual for a man to avoid the dentist for years until a problem arises, which may contribute to the fact that men can lose 5.4 teeth for non-smokers and 12 teeth for smokers by the age of 72. Without proper dental exams, men have a higher risk of developing oral cancer, throat cancer and gum disease. For men and the people that care about them, it’s essential that this trend is reversed immediately!

Gum disease and heart health

Men are more likely than women to suffer a heart attack and have a higher likelihood of being on medications that can lead to dry mouth, which increases their risk of developing gum disease. Research indicates a link between cardiovascular disease and gum disease and this can increase the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. That’s reason enough for men to visit the dentist regularly instead of waiting until they’re experiencing pain or other worrisome oral health issues.

Tobacco use

Men are affected by oral cancer and gum disease twice as often as women, and 95% of cases of oral cancer happen in people over 40. Tobacco use can increase the risk of oral cancer and gum disease. Without early diagnosis and treatment, oral cancer can lead to facial and oral disfigurement, chronic pain, loss of function and death. Anyone who uses tobacco should visit the dentist regularly for cleanings, exams and screenings for oral cancer.

Playing sports

Both men and women who play sports have an increased risk of suffering trauma to the face, mouth and teeth. Primarily male contact sports such a football and hockey are especially dangerous for oral health, and it’s vital that athletes wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth and gums.

Proper oral hygiene

Statistics show that many men only brush their teeth 1.9 times a day and some men even less than that. Practicing proper oral hygiene with twice daily brushing, daily flossing and seeing the dentist at least twice a year is the best way to protect teeth and gums and prevent oral health issues.

With all the advances in dental practices and treatments, there’s no reason for any man or woman to avoid visiting the dentist as often as they should. Contact Dupont Dental today to set up an exam and get back on the road to great oral health.


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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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Woman experiencing tooth sensitivity

Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity

The main cause of tooth sensitivity is fluid movement within the small tubes of the dentin, which is the layer of tissue beneath the top layer of enamel. The result of this movement in the dentin is nerve irritation/tooth sensitivity. Exposure of the dentin tubes is the result of worn down enamel, leaving the tooth more susceptible to the temperature changes of consuming cold and hot food and drink. Consuming acid-containing foods and drink wear down enamel as does acid reflux and bulimia that expose the teeth to stomach acids. Tooth sensitivity is a common condition that at least 40 million adults experience at some time, but thankfully, there are various ways to treat and reduce tooth sensitivity.

Simple treatments for tooth sensitivity

Patients with sensitive teeth may want to rethink their choice of toothpaste, as some contain abrasive ingredients. Whitening toothpaste and tartar-control kinds of toothpaste also contain ingredients that can increase tooth sensitivity. Switching to desensitizing toothpaste can help if there’s no other dental issue causing the discomfort, but it can take a month of regular use for them to alleviate pain. Dentists can treat sensitive teeth with dental sealants or fluoride and recommend reducing the number of foods that contain acid. Changing to a soft bristle brush and not brushing as hard can reduce sensitivity as hard bristles and brushing can wear down enamel and expose sensitive dentin.

Visiting the dentist

When a tooth or teeth become highly sensitive for several days and causes discomfort when exposed to hot and cold foods, it’s time to visit the dentist to find out what’s going on. Anyone experiencing tooth sensitivity should consult with their dentist first before trying treatments on their own, as they may not be effective in addressing the problem. Abscesses or cavities patients can’t see yet, but that a dentist can find during an exam, can cause tooth sensitivity.

Describing symptoms to the dentist

Tooth sensitivity can feel like a sharp pain followed by an aching and patients need to explain exactly what they’re feeling and what brought it on to their dentist. Patients should share what happens when they eat or drink hot or cold foods and what if anything helps ease the pain and sensitivity. Communicating symptoms with the dentist can help them make an accurate diagnosis.

Dental treatments for sensitive teeth

Dental treatments for sensitive teeth can include in-office treatments and products the patient applies at home. For patients diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, the dentist can apply a protective coating or desensitizing agent. Dentists also sometimes recommend desensitizing toothpaste or prescribe a stannous fluoride gel. If a dentist applies a desensitizing agent as treatment, the patient should avoid eating or drinking for a short period to eliminate irritation sources, and the dentist may recommend changing oral hygiene habits to prevent tooth abrasion.

It’s important to pay attention to any oral discomfort or pain as it can indicate a deeper problem that requires dental attention. Contact Dupont Dental to set up a regular exam and discuss any issues you’re experiencing.

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is oil pulling good

Is Oil Pulling Beneficial to Oral Health?

Although the practice of oil pulling existed as an Indian folk remedy for thousands of years, it’s recently grown in popularity in the United States and other countries. Many wonder if the practice of swishing coconut or sesame oil in the mouth is truly beneficial to oral health. If you’re considering taking up this practice, there are some important things you need to know.

Potential benefits

Swishing, pulling or sloshing the right type of oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes helps to eliminate bacteria in the mouth and can, therefore, improve overall health. A large majority of those who practice oil pulling also claim that their overall health has benefited along with their oral health. Improvements oil pullers have claimed include reductions in:

  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Infections
  • Liver issues
  • Asthma
  • Acne breakouts

Reported dental improvements from oil pulling include whiter teeth, gingivitis prevention, and plaque elimination. When people practice oil pulling using high-quality oils, the procedure is completely natural.

Theory behind oil pulling

The theory behind oil pulling is that swishing the oil around for 20 minutes pulls bacteria out of the mouth. Proponents recommend using coconut oil or sesame oil because they contain antibacterial properties and only pulling for 20 minutes because any longer and the body can reabsorb the oil. Removing bacteria from the mouth is beneficial because many harmful infections and bacteria can penetrate the blood through the mouth. By eliminating that bacteria before it reaches the bloodstream, people can potentially prevent or improve specific health conditions. Although not everyone experiences overall health improvements, even seeing dental health improvements can be beneficial.

Dental perspective

Dental professionals remind patients that no current scientific research supports the claimed benefits of oil pulling, but that doesn’t mean they recommend against the practice. People should consult with their dentist to gain his or her perspective. Oil pulling has no known side effects and the potential to make patients more interested in their oral health, which is a good thing, but it’s important to remember that oil pulling is not a substitution for thorough dental exams, cleanings, and treatments.

There’s nothing wrong with pursuing more homeopathic ways to promote good oral health, but it’s a good idea to consult with a dentist first to ensure you’re not risking damage to your teeth. Contact Dupont Dental today to find out more great ways to protect and improve the health of your teeth and gums.

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Tips for healthy gums

Maintaining Healthy Gums

When most people think about dental health, they may focus mostly on preventing decay and cavities in their teeth, but having healthy gums is just as important as having healthy teeth. Healthy gums are vital for your overall well-being and dental health and quite often give early indications of a problem in your mouth. Bleeding and swollen gums are often a sign of gum disease, but other issues that require attention and treatment can also cause such irritation. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize the discomfort and potential damage to sore, painful gums.

Brushing correctly

Brushing your teeth too vigorously can damage the delicate tissue of your gums, so it’s important that you brush properly. Always choose a soft toothbrush with blunt end nylon bristles because the medium or hard bristled toothbrushes can damage enamel and lead to swollen, red gums. Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, move the brush with gentle, circular motions that massage the gums and clean teeth without furious scrubbing. Avoid back and forth motion as this can damage and irritate gums causing gum recession, soreness, and bleeding.

Flossing correctly

Flossing is an essential part of proper oral hygiene, and a step many people avoid or do incorrectly. Flossing removes plaque where your toothbrush can’t reach, and this is vital because built-up plaque can irritate gums and lead to more severe issues. When you floss, work gently to avoid causing bleeding swollen gums. Don’t force the floss between teeth, but slide it carefully up and down along the curve of each tooth.

Signs of unhealthy gums

Without practicing proper oral hygiene, you increase the risk of having gum disease. Gum disease has different severities from mild gingivitis to the most serious type called periodontitis. One of the main causes of gum disease is improper oral hygiene, which leads to the formation of plaque on the teeth from built up bacteria. The bacteria can lead to inflamed gums that are swollen, red and may bleed. Gingivitis isn’t always painful, but that doesn’t make it harmless. Early treatment of gingivitis helps reverse it and can restore good oral health. Without treatment, gingivitis can get worse, progress to periodontitis and even lead to tooth loss. There are several signs of unhealthy gums including:

  • Bleeding gums during and after brushing
  • Tender, swollen or red gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Deep pockets between gums and teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Shifted or loose teeth
  • Changes in bite or alignment of teeth
  • Change in fit of partial dentures or bridge

Tobacco use and gum health

It isn’t just smoking that’s bad for your gums and oral health; any tobacco use has detrimental effects on your dental and overall health. Smokers are at a higher risk to develop gum disease, and tobacco use can lead to bleeding, sensitive gums, and mouth sores.

Prevent gum issues

To prevent gum issues such as bleeding, swelling or soreness, maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Eating a well-balanced diet with ample calcium and Vitamin C can help minimize the potential for gum issues. Drink adequate water, especially after meals to help wash food particles from your teeth and prevent the development of bacteria that leads to plaque. If you’re a smoker or use other tobacco products, look into ways to quit to improve your oral and overall health. Relax and try to keep your stress levels low because high stress raises the hormone cortisol in your body, which can cause inflammation in your entire body, including your gums.

If you experience any swelling, bleeding or soreness in your gums, contact Dupont Dental to set up a professional dental exam and cleaning to help improve and protect your oral health.

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eCigs and Oral Health

Are eCigarettes Better than Regular Cigarettes for your Oral Health?

Although eCigarettes have become a popular alternative to traditional cigarettes, their lack of smoke doesn’t mean that they’re any better for your teeth and gums than normal cigarettes. If you’re trying to improve your oral health, the best thing to do is to quit any nicotine or tobacco use, but if you’re using eCigarettes, there are some important facts you should know.

Unhealthy even without smoke

ECs or e-Cigarettes don’t give off traditional cigarette smoke. Instead, they deliver a mix of chemicals to users and an additional blend of aerosols. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has started conducting research on ECs due to their rapid growth and popularity. The purpose of the research and study is to discover the physiological and biological effects of the chemical components in ECs. Until this research is complete, it’s not entirely understood how ECs specifically affect oral health.

How eCigarettess work

With a more technical name for electronic nicotine delivery systems, ECs heat a metal element using a battery charge. The metal element vaporizes a chemical mix of nicotine, formaldehyde and other unhealthy chemicals through water vapor that the gum tissues absorb easily.

Nicotine’s effect on oral health

Nicotine is extremely drying to oral tissues, which depletes saliva. Saliva is the oral cleanser in your mouth that removes bacteria and food particles and without enough of it, bacteria growth increases. A dry mouth without sufficient saliva increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. No matter how people introduce nicotine into their system, it constricts blood vessels in the mouth, which inhibits the oral tissues ability to heal properly. This is why dentists advise patients considering dental implants stop tobacco use or decrease usage significantly.

Further research required

With the current limited scientific evidence regarding ECs, there’s a strong concern that they could be detrimental to the health of smokers and nonsmokers. Further research into the effects of the ECs aerosol mixtures on tissues, cells, and the oral cavity will give better insight and evidence on the potentially harmful effects of these devices. Research is set to begin by February 2016 and will focus on the effects of the aerosol mixture instead of the effects of nicotine because researchers already know that information. By gauging the impact of the vaporized chemical delivery to oral tissues, lung tissues, and airway structures, researchers can gain a better understanding of the effects of long-term exposure to ECs.

No type of cigarette or tobacco use comes without risks, and the misconceptions that eCigarettes are somehow healthier can ruin your smile and overall health. If you’re a smoker, we want to make sure we help with your specific oral care needs so you can have a healthy mouth and improved smile. Contact Dupont Dental for information about our dental treatments and to learn more about the benefits of quitting tobacco and nicotine use.

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Toothaches aren’t only caused by cavities

The most common cause of a toothache is usually a cavity, but there are other lesser-known causes that patients need to know about. Along with impacted wisdom teeth, infections, and cracked or chipped teeth, gum recession can also cause a toothache. Gum recession exposes highly sensitive areas of the teeth, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

Evidence of gum recession

Gum recession occurs when the gums pull away (recede) from the enamel area of the tooth. Darker areas at the base of teeth can be evidence of gum recession as the tooth root becomes exposed. Exposed areas become sensitive without the enamel outer coat and gum recession causes aching, throbbing and/or shooting pains when consuming hot or cold food or drink. Along with sensitivity and discomfort, gum recession can increase the risk of gum disease.

Causes of gum recession

Causes of gum recession include brush too hard, eating too many sugary or acidic foods, using tobacco, and frequent use of teeth whitening products. Exposing gum tissues to irritants or treating them roughly, can cause gums to pull away. An additional cause of gum recession leading to tooth pain is teeth grinding or clenching that can move teeth out of alignment and strain gum tissue.

Gingivitis and tooth pain

The buildup of oral bacteria that occurs with gingivitis can lead to tooth pain and/or aching. This sore feeling occurs particularly around the back teeth and bleeding gums can also occur during brushing. It’s important to detect and treat gingivitis early to resolve it with a professional dental cleaning followed by guidelines for a successful at-home oral health care procedure. Without treatment, gingivitis can lead to gum disease.

Finding the cause of toothaches

The only way to know what’s causing a toothache is for the patient to visit their dentist for a thorough examination of teeth and gums. If the examination doesn’t show any visible problems with the teeth and gums, then the dentist may take X-rays to look for potential tooth damage. Once the dentist determines the exact cause of the toothache, they can treat it appropriately. In the case of gum recession, treatment can involve something simple like brushing less aggressively or require more involved procedures such as root planing and scaling, which is also a treatment used for gingivitis.

When you’re suffering tooth pain or sensitivity, it’s vital that you visit the dentist promptly to treat any oral health issues before they progress. Contact Dupont Dental today to set up an appointment and discuss treatment options.

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Man brushing teeth after learning about oral health tips

Tips for Better Oral Health

You’ve been taking care of your oral health for most of your life and there’s a good chance it’s become such a habit that you’re just going through the motions. However, you might not be using the best oral hygiene techniques, which means you’re not spending your time as efficiently as you thought. Brush up on your dental health with some tips and you’ll enjoy the results.

Proper brushing technique

While you may know about and practice brushing your teeth twice a day, are you sure you’re doing it right? You need to brush for at least two minutes to do an effective job keeping your teeth and gums clean and preventing cavities and gum disease. Here are some other basic brushing guidelines from the American Dental Association:

  • Proper tools – Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste when you brush. Make sure the toothbrush fits your mouth comfortably and consider using a power toothbrush than can help reduce plaque better than a manual brush.
  • Good technique – When you hold your toothbrush, use an angle that aims the bristles where your teeth meet your gums, then gently brush back and forth on the inside and outside of chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too.
  • Clean equipment – Rinse your toothbrush with water after using and store it upright so it can dry. Avoid storing toothbrushes in closed containers because that encourages bacteria growth.
  • Regular replacement – Replace your toothbrush or the head on your power toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you’ve been sick or if the bristles are fraying.

Proper flossing procedure

No matter how you brush (and brushing harder isn’t recommended) you can’t reach the spaces between your teeth and below the gum line without flossing. Flossing daily is a chore many people don’t do, but it’s important for great oral health. To get the most out of flossing, follow these helpful tips.

  • Adequate floss – Pull out and break off a piece of floss 18 inches long, wind most of it around the middle finger on one hand and the rest around the middle finger on your other hand. Hold the floss securely between your forefingers and thumbs so it’s easier to guide.
  • Work gently – Gently and carefully guide the floss between your teeth with a rubbing motion down to the gumline, then curve it against a tooth and rub the side up and down. Pull out fresh floss for each tooth.
  • Persevere – If it’s difficult to floss with normal floss, try an interdental cleaner, waxed floss, or oral irrigator to clean between your teeth.

Whether you brush or floss first is a matter of preference but flossing first can help more fluoride from your toothpaste reach in between your teeth. Along with brushing and flossing, consider adding an antimicrobial mouthwash to help remove more bacteria from your entire mouth.

Signs that you need to visit the dentist

Along with regular brushing and flossing, you also need to have dental exams and cleanings to promote great oral health. If you notice any of the following signs of trouble, contact your dentist immediately to seek treatment.

  • New sensitivity to cold or hot
  • Tender, swollen, or red gums
  • Bleeding gums while flossing or brushing
  • Permanent teeth that are loose
  • Constant bad breath or unusual taste in mouth
  • Changes in bite
  • Receding gums

By following these basic oral health care tips, seeing your dentist regularly, and addressing any problems quickly, you can protect your teeth and gums and enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. Contact Dupont Dental today to set up an exam and cleaning.

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