Don’t Have a Stroke – Your Dentist Can Help

Brandon dentists Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr of Walker – Barr DMD explain the connection between oral wellness and stroke, and how you can increase your protection.You might be surprised to hear that the state of your oral health has a lot to do with preventing a stroke. There’s a certain kind of bad oral bacteria that cause gum disease, travel to other parts of your body, and cause harm.

A stroke is a common but dangerous medical condition that causes a lack of blood in the brain. The effects of a stroke can be long-term and life-changing. People of any age can experience a stroke, but it’s most common in adults 40 years and older. 

Oral Wellness
The Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center lists favorable oral health among its top five factors that prevent stroke, and a growing number of studies are finding the link between certain kinds of oral bacteria and the harm they cause to your brain. For example, these bacteria can travel into your head through your bloodstream, causing brain bleeding and dementia. This sounds scary—and it certainly can be. But with good, simple oral hygiene, you can take care of your mouth and prevent a lot of other overall health issues. There are also a number of companies that provide testing for these bacteria using saliva samples.

Gum disease is incredibly common and can range anywhere from slightly tender and red gums to a mouth full of discolored, receding gums. Adults over 30 years old have a 50/50 chance of developing gum disease. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it or live with the consequences. 

You can prevent gum disease (and many other oral and systemic health problems) by:

The Stroke Connection

Not all oral bacteria are bad-in fact, some are necessary for digestion and immunity-but research continues to prove some bacteria are especially harmful. Cardiovascular disease is just one condition that can be deeply affected by your oral health. Others include mental health, diabetes, pregnancy, and arthritis. There are three main links between “bad” oral bacteria and heart health:

  • Cholesterol: gum disease increases your risk of developing bad cholesterol (LDL) and its buildup in blood arteries.
  • Chemicals: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become thin and more vulnerable to cholesterol.
  • Stickiness: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become very sticky, which attracts more plaque and cholesterol buildup.

You can see how each of these three circumstances has the potential to put your health at risk, especially in combination; they can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  When this kind of buildup happens in your brain, blood flow slows or stops.  The brain becomes starved of blood, causing a stroke.  Brain cells without blood can die within minutes and prove fatal – or cause lifelong health problems to stroke survivors. 

The good news is that science is getting better at finding the dangerous bacteria that cause these problems. If you have signs or a diagnosis of gum disease, ask your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Your Dentist is Your Partner

Dentists are medical professionals who can do a lot to save your health and even your life. If you have any concerns about your oral health, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr in Brandon, Florida can answer your questions and help you start taking better care of your overall wellness. Make an appointment at Walker – Barr DMD 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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Is Your Lipstick Aging You?

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker – Barr DMD shares how to pick the right lipstick shades for whiter teeth.Walker – Barr DMD believes that natural beauty comes first. Our priority is for you to feel comfortable in your smile, and nothing should hold you back from laughing and grinning each day. Many different dental treatments can bring you this lifelong confidence. 

But we also know that the right makeup can enhance your natural beauty. It’s amazing what different products and colors can do to give you a different look and style. So, what shades of lipstick do we recommend to go with your healthy, beautiful smile? Read more below from Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr, to learn what lipstick shades will make your teeth appear whiter, and which shades to avoid.

What Colors & Why
Fashion trends will come and go. But how do you pick a lipstick color that will improve your smile and make your teeth instantly appear whiter? 

The answer is to pick lipstick with blue undertones, instead of orange. Blue is the opposite of yellow-orange on the color wheel. Whereas orange-hued lipstick can bring out the yellow in your teeth, blue will balance it out and make your teeth appear whiter. 

You might be thinking, “blue lipstick?”…”orange lipstick?” Not exactly. Every shade of red and pink can be a warmer or cooler shade. So another way to say it is to pick lipstick with cooler undertones. Here are some examples:

  • When looking for classic red lipstick, look for blue undertones instead of orange undertones. 
  • When looking for pink lipstick, whether light or dark, pick berry colors instead of coral.
  • When looking for dark lipstick, pick a purple instead of a brown. The high-contrast of dark lipstick usually makes teeth appear whiter, but brown will only bring out any yellow and staining.
  • When looking for a nude lipstick, pick one with a little gloss instead of something matte.

Some lipsticks are formulated to make teeth look whiter, such as Apa® Blue Lip Shine.

The Impact of White Teeth

A study commissioned by Crest® found remarkable results that whiter teeth improved a person’s career and dating opportunities. It’s pretty obvious that white teeth just look healthier and happier, which translates to the person as a whole, not just their smile. 

You can get professional teeth whitening treatments at home or at Walker – Barr DMD for real, long-lasting results. And you can maintain whiter teeth with everyday whitening toothpaste. 

If you have additional questions about whitening your teeth, make an appointment to see us soon! We’ll help you look your best for every occasion. 

 

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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Hate Flossing? – 5 Flossing Alternatives

Brandon dentist, Dr. Walker and Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD gives patients who hate to floss some simple flossing alternatives that are just as effective.There are two kinds of people in this world: those who floss, and those who don’t. Diligent flossers everywhere inspire those of us who live with them or know them. Flossing may not be a philosophical virtue but it’s certainly high on the list of qualities amongst people who “have it together.” Read more below about why flossing is so important and what alternatives you have if you don’t like traditional floss.

The Point of Flossing
After you eat, tiny pieces of food are left everywhere in your mouth. Even though your saliva does a good job of rinsing a lot of food debris away, some leftovers stay stuck on and between your teeth and gums and must be brushed and flossed to get rid of it. You do have tons of natural bacteria in your mouth that help break down food buildup, but the bacteria leave behind a sticky film on your teeth called plaque that needs to be removed.

Everyone (even young kids) should brush for two minutes, twice a day, and floss once a day to remove food buildup and plaque from the places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. If you don’t stay on top of it, food buildup and plaque can quickly turn into bigger problems that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and inflammation in your mouth.

Flossing Alternatives

The American Dental Association (ADA) says it doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing your teeth, or if you floss in the morning or at night. What’s most important is that you do it every day. But what if traditional flossing is difficult for you, or you’re traveling, or if you have braces? Thankfully, you have some options that the ADA approves.

Here are some of the flossing alternatives and their uses:

  • Interdental Brushes: Like tiny toothbrushes, specially designed to clean between your teeth, these brushes are a great alternative to flossing. Interdental brushes are usually easier to use than a thread of floss, are just as effective as floss, and are probably your best option if you have braces.
  • Water Flossing: Approved by the ADA as a floss alternative, water flossing is just what it sounds like. Instead of a thread, water flossing uses a steady stream of water, aimed between the teeth, to clear away plaque. Water flossing uses a small, hand-held appliance that might be more physically comfortable for you.
  • Dental Pick: Made of plastic or wood, these tiny sticks can help remove plaque from your teeth and gums. If you use a wooden pick, the ADA recommends getting the pick wet first to soften it. Picks aren’t quite as effective as floss, and you risk moving bacteria around in your mouth unless you use a new pick for each tooth.
  • Pre-Threaded Floss: For some people, the hardest part of flossing is actually reaching the floss into the mouth and effectively moving it between the teeth. Thankfully, a pre-threaded flosser is the simple answer to this problem. You can buy these in packets and use one with one hand. Use pre-threaded floss to more easily reach in your mouth and (like regular floss) throw it away after each use.
  • Soft-Picks by GUM®: A favorite of the dental community, Soft-Picks are sort of an interdental brush/dental pick hybrid. Soft-Picks are small, disposable plastic picks with a soft tip and rubbery bristles that fit comfortably between teeth and do minimal damage to the gum tissue. 

A word about mouthwash: while it’s a great option for freshness and does help kill the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease in the rest of the mouth, mouthwash is not a good replacement for brushing or flossing. Mouthwash is best used in combination with these methods for optimum oral health.

Flossing & Your Health

Your daily brushing and flossing routine is the foundation of good oral hygiene and health. Remember also to see your dentist for a professional cleaning twice per year. Some plaque and buildup (like tartar) can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. Plus, proactive oral care goes a long way toward your overall health and seeing the dentist is just as important as seeing your doctor! 

If you’re looking for a Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker and Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD are always welcoming new patients. We’d love to see you for any and all of your dental health needs.

 

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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Stop Brushing After You Eat – Do This Instead

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker - Barr DMD explains why you should rinse with water instead of brushing after you eat to avoid enamel damage.For a long time, we’ve been told to brush our teeth right after we eat, but conventional wisdom might be changing on that. Thanks to your mouth’s powerful and natural ability to clean itself, rinsing with water might actually be the best way to freshen your breath and prevent cavities after you eat. 

In addition to your everyday hygiene routine, rinsing with water is a free, easy way to maintain oral health throughout the day. To understand this, read below about what happens in your mouth after you eat and why water is so great for your teeth. 

Digestion Begins in Your Mouth
You might think that digestion starts in your stomach, but it actually starts in your mouth! The combination of chewing your food and the special bacteria in your mouth are essential to swallowing and digesting your food. Probiotics are specific bacteria that live in your mouth every day and begin the whole process of digestion by breaking down your food on a microscopic level.

In our world today, we’re trained to think of bacteria as all bad and dangerous, but that’s simply not the case. Oral bacteria are natural and important for your health. Of course, bad bacteria do exist (pathogens), but you’d be lost without the help of probiotics that break down food and help keep your mouth clean. After you eat, these bacteria get their own meal from the tiny leftovers of food on your teeth and gums. The byproduct of this bacterial feast is acid, which can damage your enamel and cause tooth decay.

Cavities

It’s normal for some amount of food to be left behind in your mouth after eating, but frequent snacking and foods high in sugar put you at extra risk for cavities. The constant presence of food on your teeth—especially sugar—makes the bacteria and plaque in your mouth produce too much acid. Acid can break down your enamel, especially when combined with the force of brushing.

Cavities are holes in your tooth enamel that threaten your tooth and oral health. The enamel protects and strengthens your tooth and it can’t be rebuilt once it starts to decay. Kids and adults of any age can develop a cavity. Cavities can cause pain and inflammation and usually need a filling to restore the tooth to health

You can prevent cavities with good oral hygiene. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice per day, for two minutes at a time
  • Flossing once per day
  • Rinsing with mouthwash or water between meals
  • Seeing the dentist twice every year

Rinsing with Water Fights Cavities

A quick rinse with water in your mouth will boost your body’s natural ability to clean itself after a meal. Rinsing with water protects your enamel by removing food and sugar left over, and about 30% of oral bacteria without the forces of brushing that—when combined with acid—can damage your enamel. Just be sure to spit out the water when you’re done, as swallowing will only introduce the bacteria into your body further and cause problems for your systemic health.

Some people may prefer the minty flavors of mouthwash, and some people are prescribed a special mouthwash for infections (gum disease) or sensitivity. But if you’re out and about, or just don’t have any mouthwash on hand, water is a great alternative for keeping your mouth clean between brushing. 

So after you eat anything, it’s a good idea to quickly rinse out your mouth with water. It’s an easy and free way to instantly boost your oral health. Rinsing with water is better for your teeth than brushing them right after you eat if you wish to avoid damage to your enamel.

Drinking Water

Drinking water is also a great way to maintain oral and overall health. Saliva naturally protects your mouth by maintaining a proper pH balance that minimizes bacterial growth, and staying hydrated ensures you have healthy saliva levels. When your mouth is dry, your pH becomes acidic, and disease, decay, and bacteria can thrive. Keep your mouth and body functioning at peak performance by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.

If you have more questions or any oral health need, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker – Barr DMD in Brandon is taking new patients. Make an appointment today and let our professional team give you a smile you love!

 

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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Brushing Your Teeth – Are You Doing It Wrong?

Did you know that certain times of day might be better for brushing than others? While it’s always recommended to brush your teeth twice per day, and floss once per day, your timing is also important. 

If you love your pearly whites and want to keep them around as long as possible (because face it, life would be pretty difficult without your teeth), read more to improve your tooth brushing game. 

The Acid in Your Mouth
Some level of acid in your mouth is normal, especially after you eat. After you eat, the healthy bacteria in your mouth go to work to break down microscopic bits of food leftover (yum!) and they produce acid as a result. However, consuming too much sugar increases acid production beyond a healthy level. Snacking all day also keeps those bacteria working and producing more acid than your teeth can handle. 

Why does this matter? Because long-term exposure to acid can erode your enamel, causing your teeth to become weak and decayed. Enamel is the hard, white, outer layer of your teeth and it’s essential for keeping your teeth strong, healthy, and decay- and pain-free. It’s important to understand the effects of acid on your teeth so that you can brush your teeth at the healthiest time of day.

Brushing After Eating

Highly acidic foods like citrus fruits can really take a toll on your tooth enamel even without the help of bacteria, and brushing too soon after eating can make matters worse. You want to protect your tooth enamel because it can’t ever be replaced once it’s gone.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you eat something highly acidic, you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. It’s best to rinse out your mouth with water after eating instead. Be sure to spit the water out, don’t swallow it, and you can chew sugarless gum with xylitol if you really need to freshen your breath (hello, 2 o’clock meeting).

We know people have their preferences and routines, and people are usually firmly in one camp or the other when it comes to the habit of brushing either before breakfast or after. This information might make the case for brushing your teeth first thing in the morning (before breakfast), instead of after—especially if you’re going to have oranges, lemons, grapefruit, or coffee with breakfast.

Brushing does a world of good for your teeth in the morning, even before you’ve eaten. This is because you produce less saliva overnight, and saliva is very important for keeping your teeth clean and healthy!

The one time this rule doesn’t apply is right before bed. Having a midnight snack without brushing after is linked to increased tooth loss and tooth decay. No matter what you ate, you should always brush your teeth right before bed, just be sure to rinse your mouth with water first to minimize acidity and enamel damage.

The Importance of Brushing

Brushing your teeth properly is the foundation for oral health. Anything else you do would be pointless without brushing. Use fluoride toothpaste, a toothbrush that’s no more than three months old, and brush for two whole minutes twice a day. Brushing and flossing gently clean your teeth and prevents many potential problems that can develop if your oral care isn’t managed.

If you have questions about acid, enamel, or how to brush properly, make an appointment at Walker and Barr DMD in Brandon today! Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr is a professional dentist who can help your smile look and feel its best.

 

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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Can I Recycle My Toothbrush?

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD shares how to recycle your toothbrush for a clean mouth and a clean planet!Take a look around your bathroom and you’re likely to see a lot of products in plastic packaging. Paper boxes and toilet paper rolls are easily recycled in your bin at home, but what about the tricky stuff like toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes? Your Brandon dentist Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr has the answers!

Toothbrush Recycling

That’s right, you CAN recycle your toothbrush! (As well as old tubes of toothpaste.) The plastic in toothbrushes can be reused in nearly anything from lawn furniture to plastic containers. The hard part is separating the different materials in the toothbrush – plastic handles, nylon bristles, and metal to hold the bristles in place.

Why Recycle?

We recommend you switch out your old toothbrush every three months or after an illness. This ensures your toothbrush is clean and bacteria free, and that the bristles are in the best shape to actually clean your teeth.

While good for your oral health, consuming four toothbrushes every year is not great for our limited resources on this beautiful planet we call Earth. You don’t have to be a total hippie to care about reducing waste, and thoughtfully getting rid of ANYTHING, including old toothbrushes or toothpaste tubes, can be really simple and make an impact on sustainability.

How to Recycle

There are a number of ways you can go green with your oral hygiene routine. First and foremost, consider buying toothbrushes already made of recycled materials. Buying products made from recycled materials is an important part of the recycling cycle. You can easily recycle the simple stuff like cardboard boxes and plastic mouthwash bottles right from home.

As for recycling your toothbrush or tricky toothpaste tubes, you either need to disassemble and clean them yourself before dropping them off at a center, or you can mail them to a company that will prepare them for you. Be sure to check the packaging to see what kind of plastic they are made of. You can find recycling centers by searching online, Earth911.com is a helpful resource. Call your local center to make sure they accept the kind of plastic you have.

Companies that take toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes in the mail include Colgate, Tom’s of Maine, and Preserve (though Preserve only accepts their own toothbrushes). Both Colgate and Tom’s of Maine partner with a larger company called TerraCycle which recycles nearly everything.

Your Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr believes in caring for your oral health as well as the environment. Contact Walker and Barr DMD today for an appointment if you’re looking for a professional local dentist to take care of your smile!

 

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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Can Dry Socket Be Deadly?

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD explains how tooth extractions can cause dry socket. What is dry socket? How can we prevent it?The dreaded words of warning for anyone who has a tooth extraction: dry socket. A dry socket is a painful complication after a routine treatment like an extraction, but it can be avoided if you’re careful, and it definitely won’t kill you. Read more below from Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr, on what a dry socket is, how to avoid it, and how to treat it if it happens to you.

What is a Dry Socket?
Like any part of your body, your mouth has its own way to heal and recover itself after accidents or treatments. If you have a tooth removed, your gums will make a blood clot over the hole where the tooth was. The spot in your gums where the tooth once was is called the socket. This clot, like a scab, protects the vulnerable tissues underneath and aids healing. 

If the blood clot gets removed (usually by accident), it leaves a painful and fresh wound. Where the tooth once was is now bare bone and nerves, and it hurts when they are exposed. Dry sockets increase your chance of infection and will increase your pain and prolong your healing after surgery.

Symptoms & Causes of Dry Socket

A dry socket is the most common complication following oral surgery such as tooth extraction. If you have had an extraction, the symptoms of dry socket include:

  • Losing some or all of the blood clot from the socket
  • Intense pain in the socket, as well as pain radiating up into other parts of your mouth and face
  • Visible bone in the socket
  • Unpleasant taste and odor

Things that put you at risk for developing a dry socket include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use (both the chemicals and the physical process are likely to compromise the blood clot on the socket)
  • Drinking through a straw (this action causes a suction in the mouth that can loosen the blood clot)
  • Oral contraceptives (high estrogen level may delay the healing process of the first blood clot)
  • Tooth or gum infection (infection around the socket can delay healing)
  • Failure to care for the wound after surgery (be careful to follow your dentist’s instructions once you return home)
  • If you’ve had a dry socket in the past

Treating a Dry Socket

Dry sockets can be very painful and will prolong your healing process. Some amount of pain is to be expected after tooth removal, but if you’re in serious pain and/or experiencing any of the symptoms of a dry socket, you should call us immediately. 

The dentist can treat your dry socket by:

  • Cleaning the wound 
  • Applying topical numbing medicine for instant relief
  • Applying medical bandages to protect the socket
  • Prescribing pain medication
  • Giving you clear instructions on cleaning and dressing the socket at home

Pain from the dry socket will likely subside within a few days, but the dry socket will take some time to fully heal. Be sure to drink lots of water in the days following surgery to help yourself recover and eat only soft food per your dentist’s instructions. Continue to brush your teeth after tooth removal, even with a dry socket, but be very careful around the socket area.

Your Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD is here to help with any dental needs you have. Make an appointment today if you have more questions about dry socket or any other oral health concern.

 

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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Could Brushing & Flossing Prevent a Heart Attack?

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD explains the connection between poor oral hygiene and heart attacks.A lot of healthy lifestyle choices benefit more than one system within your body. Eating well, exercising, good sleep, and fresh air all support a lot of your physical needs. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that what hurts one area of your health can easily hurt another area, too. An important (though less known) connection in your health systems is the connection between oral hygiene and heart health

Heart Disease

Your mouth is home to countless kinds of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are normal and good, but some may put you at a higher risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease. Heart disease is an umbrella term that covers a wide array of less-than-desirable conditions in your heart and its connecting vessels. Your heart muscle, valves, and rhythm can all be affected by heart disease.

If something prevents your heart and blood vessels from working properly, the consequences can be devastating. That’s why it’s important to know how your oral health and other lifestyle factors can support (or hurt) your heart health. If you have gum disease or dental plaque, you are at an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Gum disease isn’t always obvious, though somewhere around 50% of all adults will get it. Warning signs include redness, swollen, and receding gums. The same bacteria that cause these problems also put your heart at risk.

Science shows that some bad oral bacteria can travel through your bloodstream and harm not only other parts of your body but the arteries they travel through. 

Harmful oral bacteria can cause:

  • Increased cholesterol buildup in your arteries
  • Arterial walls to thin and become more vulnerable
  • Arterial walls to become sticky and attract more cholesterol and other pathogens
  • The buildup in your arteries blocks your blood flow and can cause a heart attack or stroke

You can see how keeping a close eye on your oral health can compound positive effects. And the good news is that oral hygiene is simple and anyone can do it. (Even children need daily oral hygiene habits and should be taught how to care for their mouths.)

Prevent oral problems and heart disease by:

  • Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Getting routine dental cleanings and check-ups
  • Eating a balanced diet with limited snacking between meals

Bonus: eating a diet rich in unprocessed foods and vegetables supports heart health, too! See, everything really is connected.

Healthy Lifestyle for a Healthy Life

The health of your mouth can affect countless other health concerns and desires you might have. Oral health supports your sleep, heart, digestion, immune system, brain, and pregnancy.

The field of research that studies these kinds of connections is called the oral-systemic link. As research grows, we know a few things for sure. Prevention is everything, and knowing your risk factors is always important. Having relationships with a doctor and a dentist you trust can help give you the life satisfaction you desire.

Your health is truly a tightly woven map of interconnected parts and systems. Don’t be overwhelmed by everything there is to know, but find the right health care providers, and definitely make use of all the simple ways you can take care of yourself.

Dentists are Doctors 

Dentists are medical professionals who can take care of a wide range of health and wellness needs. If you are looking for a Brandon dentist who can get you on the right track, come to see Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD. Make an appointment and let our team of caring, knowledgeable staff give you the smile and the life you want.

 

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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Gingivitis: Are Your Gums Trying to Tell You Something?

Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD tells patients about gingivitis—causes, symptoms, and treatments to help get your gums healthy.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 Brandon dentists Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr, you should be able to avoid any major problems and even prevent gingivitis before it begins! Walker and Barr DMD 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 Walker and Barr DMD—about two visits per year is recommended. If you have gingivitis or gum disease, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr 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 Brandon dentist to help you feel your best, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr is taking new patients. Contact us to make an appointment at Walker and Barr DMD 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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Feeling Worn Down?

Walker Barr DMD discuss the impact severe tooth wear can have on your oral healthAs people get older, the body naturally begins the process of breaking down—and unfortunately, that includes our teeth. Worn teeth are somewhat inevitable, but diligent oral hygiene and quality dental care from Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr can help save as much of your natural teeth as possible.

It is extremely common for adults to have tooth wear beyond the degree that is healthy for their age, and unfortunately, severe tooth wear ages them as well.

Some of the problems caused by worn-down teeth include:

  • Temperature-sensitive teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Chipped teeth
  • Fractured teeth
  • Bite-related problems
  • Headaches
  • TMJ and jaw joint issues
  • Nerve exposure, leading to severe toothache

If you suffer from bruxism (grinding and clenching teeth), some tooth wear may be alleviated by using a nightguard while you sleep, but there are other causes for tooth wear:

  • Malocclusion (teeth and bite misalignment)
  • Abrasion (external forces on teeth including hard bristle toothbrushes or teeth whiteners)
  • Erosion (chemical or acid breaking down of teeth)

Restorative dentistry may be recommended in cases of severe tooth wear, particularly if significant tooth damage should occur. However, it is important to identify the cause of tooth wear before undergoing treatment—and Walker – Barr DMD can help! Saving your teeth is the most important thing to your Brandon, FL dentist—and for your health in the long run.

If you’re concerned about tooth wear, please make an appointment with 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.

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