8 Reasons You May Be at Risk for Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, periodontitis, or gingivitis is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone that support your teeth.

Believe us. You really don’t want it. It is the number one cause of tooth loss and the bacteria can wreck havoc on your medical health as well. Periodontal disease has been linked to conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many more.

Could you be at risk? Primary risk factors for gum disease include:

  1. Smoking
  2. Diabetes
  3. Hormonal changes
  4. Stress
  5. Medications or illness
  6. Not brushing and flossing regularly
  7. Genetic predisposition
  8. Not seeing the dentist or having a professional teeth cleaning in the last year

If you are concerned about periodontal disease and it’s potential consequences for you or someone you love, we would be happy to help.

Give us a call at (865) 922-1613. We promise we won’t bite. Knoxville, TN

Inflammation: The Link Between Gum Disease & Heart Disease

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Current research is focusing on chronic inflammation as one of the key contributing factors for heart disease.  Patients with high levels of inflammation are more likely to develop the disease, have recurrent coronary events, and less chance of survival when they happen.  They are also more susceptible to other conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer, which are also linked to inflammation.

Why are you reading about this in a dental blog?  Periodontal gum disease is one of the most common sources of chronic inflammation.  It is a bacterial infection that is present in almost 80% of the population.  Gum disease and other oral infections get into your blood stream easily through the thin tissues of your mouth and swallowing.  It is now clear why taking good care of your teeth and gums is an important step in caring for your overall health as well.

How can you minimize the effects of inflammation?

  • Brush and floss regularly.
  • Consider an anti-inflammation diet.
  • See your dentist and hygienist several times a year.
  • Let your medical doctor know if you have periodontal disease and keep your dentist informed about your health issues.  Taking care of your health is a team effort.

If you are concerned about periodontal gum disease and are in the Knoxville area, we would be happy to help. (865) 922-1613

Choosing and Caring for Your Toothbrush

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Have you tried to buy a toothbrush lately?  The choices are endless. There are electric brushes, hand brushes, hard, medium, and soft bristles, and a multitude of head and handle shapes. How can you tell which one is right for you? Following these tips from Dr. Smith can help.

Choosing a Toothbrush

  • We recommend soft bristles as they clean effectively while being gentle to your gums and tooth enamel.
  • Consider a professional level power toothbrush. They are easier and do a better job than hand brushing. We have them available at our office.
  • The right head or handle shape is the one that fits in your mouth and works best for you.  There is not a lot of difference in how they function.
  • Select different colors for each member of the family to avoid confusion.

Caring for Your Toothbrush

  • Rinse your brush clean after each use.
  • Do not store it with a cap or seal as this creates a moist environment that bacteria love.
  • Keep it away from toilet flush spray (about 6 to 8 feet).
  • Replace or sterilize it after a cold or flu.
  • Replace your toothbrush when the bristles start to wear or every three months.

We will provide you with a free toothbrush when you come in for a professional teeth cleaning. If you would like to learn more or upgrade to a power brush or oral irrigator, our hygienist will help you choose what is best for your specific needs.

Ron Smith DDS – Knoxville – (865) 922-1613

Give the Gift of a Smile

It’s December and most of us are focused on what to give our family and friends for holiday gifts.  Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to get it right that we lose sight of the meaning behind the season.

Instead of rushing around madly to all the stores you can, buying the same things everyone else does, we have some more unique and special ideas for gifts for your loved ones.

Teeth Whitening – this gift of an enhanced smile can also be a gift of self-confidence or help someone feel good before an event or job interview.

Dental Gift Certificate – ideal for someone who can’t afford treatment or needs a little incentive.

The Gift of You – instead of focusing all of your energy on shopping, cleaning, and cooking, remember to allow time to join in the celebration and really be with the people you love. This is likely what they want and will remember most.

Pay Off a Bill – many people carry a burden of debt for unexpected dental, medical, or even auto care.  Making a payment toward these bills is a gift they won’t forget.

The Gift of Time – you can create gift certificates good for time with you  or specific favors like house cleaning, babysitting, going to the movies together, or anything they would appreciate.

Cosmetic Dentistry – help someone you love feel more beautiful and confident with a new smile.  This is a gift that will last a lifetime.

Share Your Smile with the World – genuine smiles for others who are often feeling stress during this holiday season can lift their mood. Smiles are free and usually come back to you, so you can give as many as you want.

Senior Dental Care: Keeping Teeth and Health for a Lifetime

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Losing teeth is not a natural part of the aging process. We lose teeth due to wear, injury, or poor oral health. We all have the potential to keep our teeth for our lifetimes with proper dental care.

Today, seniors are living longer and healthier lives, but commonly delay going to the dentist. Many of them stop caring or take it for granted that they will lose their teeth. Others may start to have difficulty handling a toothbrush and floss, especially if they have tremors or arthritis in their hands. It is important for their families to encourage them and find support when they need it.

Our older population is at high risk for dental disease as they tend to take more medications that diminish saliva. This creates a dry mouth condition that can impact how well they digest food and cause multiple serious cavities in a short period of time. Seniors that feel like their mouth is dry most of  the time should talk to their doctor and dentist.

Another serious concern is periodontal disease. This condition, also known as gum disease, is an infection that can drain the immune system and cause other dental and medical problems. There is a growing body of research  that says it can contribute to or worsen major medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.

Dental care is even more important as we age. In addition to health consequences and tooth loss, the financial expense of having dental emergencies can be very challenging in our later years.

To protect their teeth and health, seniors should:

  • Brush their teeth twice a day
  • Floss once per day
  • See the dentist and hygienist at least twice a year, more often if recommended
  • Limit sugary snacks
  • Talk to their doctor and dentist if their mouth feels chronically dry
  • Ask about fluoride treatments if they are prone to cavities
  • Keep both their doctor and dentist informed of all dental and medical conditions and medications

If you or someone you love are having trouble caring for your teeth, having dental problems, or would like a dentist who understands the challenges of getting older, give us a call. We would love to help.  (865) 922-1613 Knoxville TN

The Link Between Gum Disease & Dangerous Medical Conditions

You can have periodontal gum disease and not even know it.  Not everyone has symptoms like bleeding gums, tooth loss, or bad breath.

While you may be aware that gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss and dentists treat it to protect your teeth, there is a lot more you need to know.

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and one of the primary sources of chronic inflammation in your body. Not only can this inflammation deplete your immune system, but it has been linked to many major medical diseases, as well. Conditions like:

Allergies, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Cancer, Depression, Diabetes, Digestive disorders, Fibromyalgia, Heart disease, Heart valve problems, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Pancreatitis, Parkinson’s, Psoriasis, Stroke, and more….

Taking care of your dental health is not just about teeth anymore. Preventing and treating bacteria related conditions in your mouth can protect your health too.

You can do this by brushing and flossing every day and seeing your dentist and hygienist at recommended intervals (minimum of twice a year). Some people, especially those with a history of gum disease, need to see their dentist more often.

If you are due or past due for a dental visit, we encourage you to come in. We will do our best to support you in staying healthy and keeping your smile healthy and happy.

Knoxville Family Dentistry (865) 922-1613

The Link Between Stress, Gum Disease & Damaged Teeth

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Recent studies are showing a link between stress and gum disease. It is not yet known how this happens, but many believe stress limits the ability of the immune system to function fully and control the gum disease bacteria. There is also evidence that patients who are stressed develop more plaque than the average person.

Another concern is that people who have a lot of stress in their lives tend to clench or grind their teeth, especially at night. This can lead to extensive tooth damage as well as sensitivity.  In severe cases teeth can even be lost.

From what we see, most people have a lot of stress in their lives.  Here are a few tips that we hope will help you get yours under control.

Make a Choice – in stressful situations you generally have three options – avoid it, accept it, or change it. Understanding your choices and moving forward with one of them will help put you back in control.

Learn to Say No – a lot of stress is caused by having too many things to do. You will feel less stressed when you say yes to the priorities and filter out the things that are not that important.

Adopt a Stress Reducing Habit – exercise, yoga, meditation, relaxation exercises, and even listening to calming music at the end of the day are all great ways to release stressful tension and relax.

It is also important to talk to your dentist. If you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, especially at night, you may be a candidate for a nightguard appliance that will protect them from extra wear and tear. Your dentist can also support you in preventing or treating gum disease, the primary cause of adult tooth loss.

Stress is dangerous for your health and your teeth and we hope that you take it seriously. If you have any concerns about the impact it is having on your oral health or are looking for a new dentist, give us a call.  

Knoxville Family & Sedation Dentistry  (865) 922-1613

We promise to take great care of you!