Category Archives: bleeding gums

Marijuana Use May Increase Risk For Periodontal Disease

Cannabis or medical marijuana has been said to be a beneficial treatment for pain, seizures and spasms. As its use widens, researchers are finding new ways to utilize this now-legal substance in appropriately prescribed doses.

While there is a debate as to side effects of its use, many researchers feel there is too little data along those lines. For instance, insufficient data exists regarding some claims that cannabis exposure in children and adolescents may cause impaired brain development or lead to mental illness.

However, there are a number of studies showing undesirable side effects when it comes to the oral health of frequent marijuana users. In one, as part of the Centers for Disease Control’s 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, study participants who used cannabis one or more times for at least 12 months had more symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease than other participants. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170524152634.htm)

This increased propensity for gum disease has also been shown in a long-term study of nearly 1,000 New Zealanders. In that study, people who smoked marijuana for up to 20 years had more gum disease even though other health factors were no worse than those of non-smokers.

For decades, it has been known that the harmful chemicals of cigarette smoke were toxic to the soft tissues of the mouth. A study is also underway to determine the risk factors of e-cigs, or vaping, which users claim is a safer method of smoking. However, the argument has been that chemicals are easily absorbed by the moist tissues in the mouth and, therefore, the potential for detrimental side effects is greater.

Regardless of your use or non-use of cannabis, it is wise to know the signs and symptoms of gum disease. These include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, receded gums, gums that darken in color from a healthy pink to red, persistent bad breath, and pus pockets that form on gums at the base of some teeth.

Not only is gum disease the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, the bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to serious health problems. It has been shown that the infectious bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body.

The inflammatory triggers associated with gum disease bacteria have been linked to heart disease, stroke, memory loss, preterm babies, some cancers, impotency, diabetes and arthritis. As more research is being conducted, a growing number of health problems are showing links to this potent bacteria.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, seek treatment at your earliest convenience. Gum disease only worsens without treatment, resulting in more treatment time and expense. Call 586-739-2155 to schedule.

Vitamin C And Your Smile

I have always been health conscious and committed to a balanced diet. However, there was no other period in my life that I was more focused on what I put into my body than during my pregnancies,. Like most moms-to-be, I was very careful about my food choices and took a pre-natal vitamin to supplement what my diet may have lacked.

Today’s busy adults are not always diligent about eating a healthy diet that provides adequate fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Many eat too fast, not chewing our food properly for the digestive process to begin. Too, most of us do not drink enough water.

To supplement what we may not get in our diets, many adults take a multi-vitamin.  While vitamins bolster your overall health by making sure you’re getting the elements you need, remember that your smile needs an ample supply as well.

According to the Journal of Periodontology, consuming at least 180 mgs of vitamin C a day gives your gums and teeth a healthy boost. Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory that uses collagen to bind cells to build connective tissues – beneficial to gum tissues. Vitamin C has even been shown to increase bone regrowth, helping to restore healthy teeth.

Want to get your C the natural way? Good sources of vitamin C are coconut water, citrus fruits, broccoli, red peppers, brussel sprouts and tomatoes.

If you aren’t getting sufficient vitamin C through your diet, look for non-acidic alternatives available over-the-counter. These forms of vitamin C come in powder or chewing gum. We prefer you avoid most chewable vitamin C products, however, since they can be highly acidic. This level of acidity can damage tooth enamel, leaving you susceptible to decay.

Keeping your gums healthy is not only necessary for maintaining good oral health. Studies now show that the bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissues. As it travels throughout the body, it can trigger inflammatory reactions. This has been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis and impotency.

Signs of gum disease are tender gums that bleed when brushing, swollen gums, gums that deepen in color, receded gums and persistent bad breath. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment and is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Keeping your mouth healthy means you enjoy fresher breath and helps you avoid periodontal (gum) disease and cavities. In addition to a healthy, balanced diet and vitamin supplements, your 6-month dental cleanings and exams give you added support.

If you have symptoms of gum disease, call promptly so treatment can be scheduled without delay. Or, if you haven’t had regular dental cleanings, call 586-739-2155 to schedule.

Men’s Oral Health Can Impact Sex Life

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that men in their thirties with severe gum disease are 3 times more likely to have erection problems.

This comes after previous research revealed that periodontal disease may be linked to heart disease, which is a common cause of erectile dysfunction. Although there are no claims that one disease causes the other, the association is thought to be related to inflammation brought on by gum disease bacteria.

These findings are valid reasons that men should take an active role in the health of their teeth and gums before other areas of the body are affected. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that nearly half of American adults have periodontal disease. Of that, over 56% of men have periodontal disease, compared to just over 38% of women.

Periodontal health has also been associated with other areas of men’s health, including prostate health, heart disease, impotence and some cancers. For example, research has found that men with a history of gum disease are 14% more likely to develop cancer than men with healthy gums – 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 59% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer and 30% more likely to develop a blood cancer.

Men can help to protect their overall health by keeping their oral health at an excellent level. It is especially important to watch for symptoms of gum disease, which include gums that bleed when brushing, sore or swollen spots on gums, persistent bad breath, and gums that are red rather than a healthy pink color.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call toll free 866-9-Smiles for an examination as soon as possible. Gum disease does not improve without treatment.

How To Make Dental Implants Last A Lifetime

Of all implant-in-bone procedures performed today, Dental Implants hold the highest success rate of all – over 94%. That includes hips and knees. However, like any medical procedure, Dental Implants can fail. How can you help to ensure an optimal result and enjoy a confident smile for your lifetime?

One of the keys to the lasting success of implants begins with the Doctor you choose. An experienced and skilled implant Doctor will make a proper diagnosis, selecting the best implant system for your needs. The Doctor will also provide precision placement so the implanted portions are to a proper depth and angle.

The highest risk of implant failure actually occurs after an implant patient leaves the office. The implant recipient has a significant role in the life of their implants.

Fortunately, removing a dental implant is a rare occurrence. Most often, an implant has to be removed because of the onset of an infection that cannot be adequately treated while the implant remains.

Infection typically occurs when oral bacteria amasses and creates an inflammatory state. Once this inflammation penetrates the gum tissues and bone surrounding the implant’s post, it becomes more difficult to treat. With prompt treatment, some infections can be resolved without complications. However, at a certain level the implant must be removed.

What leads to the problems associated with inflammation caused by oral bacteria? After all, we all have bacteria in our mouths, don’t we? Yes, oral bacteria is a normal part of any mouth. The problems begin when too much bacteria develop and are not sufficiently removed on a daily basis. While the most common cause is poor oral hygiene, smoking (which is drying to oral tissues) and diabetes contribute as well.

Another lesser-known but significant reason for failure is teeth grinding. Bruxing (clenching and grinding teeth during sleep) contributes to implant failure in more cases than many realize. One study of dental implant recipients noted that 29% of patients who were teeth grinders had failed implants. Nearly the same number of patients with diabetes experienced implant failure.

Bruxing is as much of a problem for natural teeth as for teeth held by implants. The force of grinding is often so much that it wears the tops of teeth down, referred to as worn teeth. Not to be outdone, the force of clenching can be hard enough to crack a walnut. Grinding and clenching can cause teeth to chip, crack, break and even tilt out of position. These actions can also lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, ear ringing, dizziness, and sore facial and neck muscles.

Obviously, a newly-placed implant is not up for the challenges of bruxing. That’s why it is important to resolve the problem before implants are placed. However, bruxing should be corrected regardless of the situation.

Bruxing and clenching are the result of a misaligned bite in most cases. Once the misalignment has been pinpointed, mild cases may be corrected with simple reshaping of selected teeth. More severe misalignment may require the placement of crowns to adjust tooth height or even orthodontics.

Keeping a clean, healthy mouth and ensuring your teeth are in proper position will help in protecting the life of your implant, After placement, we will advise you on ways to avoid risks and potential failure. It is our goal for every patient to have a positive experience and successful outcome.

While not all aspects of after-treatment are within our control, I believe that thorough communication with patients is important. It is our belief that patients are able to increase their success potential when they understand the importance of their role.

To learn more about Dental Implants, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and make recommendations. If desired, we can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, most interest-free with no down payment required.

Pancreatic Cancer Research Shows Links To Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Over the past few decades, scientific studies have focused increased attention on how periodontal (gum) disease has connections to our whole health. And, rightly so.

As research has become more focused, links have been found between infectious oral bacteria and a growing list of serious health problems. These include heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and more.

The potent bacteria of gum disease can travel through the body by entering the bloodstream through tears in weakened tissues. It is now known that it can trigger inflammatory reactions that are related to the development of the conditions mentioned above.

Recently, studies have added to that list, revealing that periodontal disease bacteria is a risk factor in the development Microscopeof pancreatic cancer. While this has been suspected based on the results of previous studies, one particular, long-term study focused on how the risk exists.

The study included over 350 adults who had DNA analyzed (through saliva samples) and eventually developed pancreatic cancer. Researchers compared the saliva DNA samples of this group to a similar number of adults who remained healthy.

For true comparisons, adjustments were made in both groups for variations in age, race, sex, body mass, use of alcohol, smoking and being diabetic. To eliminate pre-existing factors that could influence statistical outcomes, participants who developed pancreatic cancer within two years or less from the time their DNA samples were taken were omitted.

Using findings from previous research along these lines, this particular study closely scrutinized two types of oral bacteria pathogens. Researchers found that one pathogen was far more prevalent in the saliva of participants who developed pancreatic cancer with a 59% increased risk of developing the deadly cancer. Just as alarming was that the second pathogen was shown to increase this risk by 50%.

Because pancreatic cancer is not commonly diagnosed until it is in advanced stages, it has a deadly track record. Of those who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, less than 10% will still be living in five years.

Obviously, this infectious oral bacteria is nothing to take lightly. When you consider its ability to create inflammation elsewhere in the body with devastating (and even deadly) results, the health of your gums should be a top priority.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include tender gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath, gums that are sore and swollen, gums that deepen in color and pus pockets that form at the base of teeth. In latter stages, teeth will loosen and require removal. Even though gum disease is the nation’s number one cause of adult tooth loss, still, nearly half of the adults in the U.S. have some form of it.

Periodontal disease begins without obvious warning signs. By the time symptoms begin, it is often well underway. Unfortunately, many people assume seeing blood in the sink is a sign that they are doing a good job when brushing. Too, because gum problems are not visible (being concealed inside the mouth), they are easier to ignore than conditions that can be easily seen.

When gum disease is not treated, it continually worsens. As research continues to reveal, however, the destruction of periodontal disease bacteria doesn’t just affect your smile. Your overall health and well-being are at risk as well.

What can you do to protect your smile AND your overall health? First, have a thorough examination to determine the presence of periodontal disease. If it exists, we’ll recommend treatment to restore your mouth to a healthy state. We will also create an effective regimen to follow at home to keep your smile healthy between visits.

You can also begin with a no-charge, no obligation consultation appointment. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and explain how you can enjoy a healthy, confident smile affordably and comfortably.

Moms-To-Be Should Read This!

Pregnant women have a long list of things to tend to for the health of their baby. Eating a healthy diet, taking vitamins, avoiding certain foods and medications, getting proper exercise and having regular visits with their OB-GYN are ways to ensure a healthy baby. However, an often overlooked component in the health of mom and baby is the mom’s oral health. Yet, it can play a significant role in a healthy pregnancy.

Pregnant women have elevated hormone levels that can cause greater vulnerability to gum disease. As a matter of fact, nearly half of pregnant women will experience a form of gum disease known as Pregnancy Gingivitis. Symptoms include swollen, red and tender gums that bleed while brushing.

It is estimated that about one-third of pregnant women have gum disease. Because pregnancy hormones make the gums more susceptible to inflammation, they are more susceptible to the potent bacteria of periodontal disease.

While the smile of the mother-to-be is at risk, oral bacteria can penetrate the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. This bacteria can trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body, including the placenta.

Studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk for preterm delivery (earlier than 37 weeks) and babies of low birth weight. Gum disease also increases the risk for poor obstetrical outcomes, late miscarriage and pre-eclampsia. Researchers have noted that the preterm birth rate for females without gum disease is approximately 11% compared to nearly 29% for women with moderate to severe gum disease.

The links between the oral health of the mother and babies prior to birth is becoming more profound as research continues. One study found that that blood from pregnant women who had higher levels of antibodies to oral bacteria also had higher incidences of preterm birth and low birth weight babies. These same elevated antibodies have been found in amniotic fluid and in fetal cord blood samples of infants delivered preterm or of low birth weight.

Studies also show that treating periodontal disease reduces the risk of preterm births, leading to a growing number of obstetricians who are advising pregnant patients to ensure their oral health is in good shape. Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, tender gums or gums that are red in color rather than a healthy pink.

Please don’t delay treatment. Gum disease continues to worsen without treatment. In our office, periodontal therapy is safe for pregnant women as well as for all patients.

With a healthy mouth, both mom and baby can have an added advantage for a healthy beginning. Begin by calling 1-866-9-Smiles for a free consultation.

 

A Must-Read If You Take Supplements For Osteoporosis

Many people are often surprised by the wide range of medications that affect their oral health. Some of these can cause complications during oral surgeries like extractions or dental implant placement. For example, people who take Coumadin, a commonly prescribed blood thinner, may experience more bleeding during these procedures. pillbottle

Certain drugs, however, create a much greater risk. The complication with bisphosphonates, often prescribed to treat osteoporosis, is a risk for jaw osteonecrosis. In simple terms, this is death of the jaw bone.

Jaw osteonecrosis occurs when the bone fails to heal after a surgery, even a minor procedure such as a tooth extraction. It results from obstruction of blood supply from the drug’s potential interference with the bone’s ability to repair itself.

Most who acquire osteonecrosis experience pain, swelling or infection of the gums and jaw, gums that don’t heal, and loose teeth. However, its onset can occur without obvious symptoms.

Bisphosphonates include trade names such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Reclast, Binosto, Prolia, Zometa and Xgeva. The most prescribed is Fosomax and ranks as one of the top 25 most prescribed drugs on the market. Fosamax was approved by the FDA in 1995 and reports began surfacing in 2003 that linked bisphosphonates with jaw osteonecrosis.

In addition to treating osteoporosis, bisphosphonates are also used to treat cancer that has spread to the bone. In these cases, bisphosphonates are given intravenously and in higher doses. This creates a much greater risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw than for individuals on the medication for osteoporosis.

Jaw osteonecrosis risk seems to increase with the amount of time biphosphonates are taken. However, researchers have determined that bisphosphonates can create a risk for necrosis with even short-term use of the oral medications for osteoporosis.

In a study of 208 participants who took Fosamax for varying durations, 4 percent acquired osteonecrosis. This finding was in contrast to the drug makers’ claims that bisphosphonate use only posed a noticeable risk for those who took the medication intravenously, such as cancer patients.

Not only did the study show that short-term usage can place the patient at risk, the drug can maintain a 10-year half-life in bone tissue. The risk for jaw necrosis is highest with procedures that directly expose the jaw bone, such as tooth extractions and other oral surgery.

Many physicians who prescribe bisphosphonates have relied on the drug makers’ stance of low risk typically prescribed for osteoporosis. This has left patients often unaware of the risks when they are scheduled for dental procedures.

This is why it is important to make us aware of all the drugs you take, including over-the-counter supplements. The goal is to provide a successful outcome for each procedure. Being familiar with your overall health enhances the potential for positive results.

If you have questions regarding the medications you are taking in regard to oral risks, call our office or ask at your next visit. Very importantly, keep us updated on your medications at every visit.

Can A Healthy Smile Protect Your Heart?

Bacteria in our bodies is not always a bad thing. For example, certain bacteria in the gut actually enhance the process of digestion and help to keep the digestive system operating efficiently.

However, some bacteria is not good. When too much bacteria invade the body, the immune system becomes overburdened. This is why an untreated cut can become infected.

The body’s natural defense response, white blood cells, aren’t always able to conquer infection at certain levels. This is when your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic – to give the immune system added reinforcements.

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection in the mouth. This is where oral bacteria have amassed to the point that the immune system cannot manage infectious growth. While gum disease destroys tissues in the mouth and the structures that support teeth, this infectious bacteria doesn’t always stay confined to the mouth.

The bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. As it travels throughout the body, it can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere. Over the years, the bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to everything from stroke to preterm babies to diabetes.

One of the first correlations between oral bacteria and other serious health problems was found in heart disease. An excellent explanation of how this occurs can be found in Harvard Medical School’s newsletter: Harvard Health Publications.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/heart-disease-oral-health

They explain the sequence of events as: “In people with periodontitis (erosion of tissue and bone that support the teeth), chewing and toothbrushing release bacteria into the bloodstream. Several species of bacteria that cause periodontitis have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in arteries in the heart and elsewhere. This plaque can lead to heart attack.

“Oral bacteria could also harm blood vessels or cause blood clots by releasing toxins that resemble proteins found in artery walls or the bloodstream. The immune system’s response to these toxins could harm vessel walls or make blood clot more easily. It is also possible that inflammation in the mouth revs up inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.”

Through numerous studies and years of research, we now know that your oral health is closely related to your overall health. By achieving and maintaining a healthy smile, you’ll be doing your body good!

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of gum disease, please know that it will only worsen without treatment. Common signs are: gums that bleed easily when brushing, tender gums, gum recession, frequent bad breath, gums that darken in color from a healthy pink to red, and pus pockets that form near the base of some teeth.

Gum disease is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. And, studies have shown that the loss of natural teeth compromises the digestive process, social confidence and one’s lifespan.

Don’t delay care. Make sure you are current on your twice-a-year dental exams and cleanings and be committed to your at-home oral hygiene regimen. Twice daily brushing and daily flossing is necessary to keep oral bacteria at a manageable level.

Ready for a clean mouth that supports your overall health? Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for more information about an examination and cleaning. Or, ask to begin with a no-cost consultation.

Be Fresh-Breath-Ready For Holiday Gatherings

As we enter the holiday season, many of us find it’s a busy time of gatherings with friends, family and co-workers. These events provide wonderful opportunities to catch up in close conversations we often don’t have a chance to enjoy at other times of the year.

We’ve all been in these situations where we wondered if our breath was fresh. And, most of us have also been in conversations where the other party was in dire need of a Tic Tac!

While none of us want to be remembered for bad breath, having fresh breath all the time can be a challenge. A tuna salad sandwich at lunch, several cups of morning coffee, or waking up in the morning aren’t breath-friendly. However, with some proactive measures, you can find yourself with far less anxiety in close conversations.

In a nutshell, bad breath occurs due to oral bacteria. Bacteria are living organisms that thrive on food particles in the mouth and bits stuck between teeth. As bacteria reproduce and accumulate, they form a sticky film known as plaque that coats the teeth and gums. If not removed through brushing, plaque hardens into calculus, a cement-like mass of bacteria that attacks tender gum tissues.

As oral bacteria growth progresses, the gums become inflamed. They are tender and bleed easily when brushing.  One of the symptoms of gum disease is persistent bad breath. Brushing, chewing gum and using breath mints will mask it for very brief periods. However, the odor exists because oral tissues are being destroyed in the mouth. Until this ceases, having fresh breath is a fruitless battle.

Dry mouth is another factor when it comes to bad breath. Saliva is your mouth’s natural rinsing agent and washes bacteria away on a continual basis. Without adequate saliva flow, oral bacteria are able to reproduce at a more rapid rate.

Causes for dry mouth include smoking, certain medications, some health conditions, snoring, and breathing through the mouth. Saliva flow is also reduced by the aging process. Consuming alcohol and caffeinated beverages also have drying effects on oral tissues.

When you feel your mouth is dry, the ideal response is to drink water. Not only does water support your oral health, it helps keep your body hydrated so it can function more efficiently. Chewing sugarless gum can also trigger saliva flow. Oral rinses are also available over-the-counter, which help replenish oral moisture.

tongueA tremendous source of oral bacteria is actually the tongue. With millions of tiny grooves, oral bacteria take up residence in the warm, moist haven the tongue offers. Consider using a tongue scraper or brushing the tongue with your tooth brush to lower the bacteria levels in your mouth. Be sure to reach the back of the tongue where the majority of oral bacteria exist.

The best way to ensure your breath is fresh as often as possible is to begin with a clean slate. Schedule an exam and cleanings so we can remove buildup in the mouth and reduce the bacteria levels to a minimum. We will also check for signs of gum disease and make recommendations to halt its progress if found.

Once your mouth is ‘dental office clean,’ your at-home care will help you keep it in great shape. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes, floss daily, and use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugar-laden foods and beverages. Swish after eating or drinking (especially coffee, colas or wine) to counteract drying effects.

Go into this holiday season with a confident smile and fresh breath. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for an appointment. In addition to feeling comfortable in close conversations, you’ll also be helping to prevent problems in your mouth brought on by oral bacteria overload.

Smoke? Lecture-Free Ways To Keep Your Smile Healthy

If you smoke, the last thing you probably want to hear is a lecture on why you should quit. Chances are, you know a number of reasons why. We understand that smoking is addictive and not easy to quit. As a matter of fact, it’s very difficult.

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that “more people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.”

The majority of smokers who try to quit do so without assistance, though only 3 – 6% of attempts to quit without assistance are successful. So, whether you plan to quit or are content with your habit, we want your smile to stay in good condition. And, it can with proper care and regular check-ups.

First, let’s deal with a dire issue. Because smoking (as well as smokeless tobacco) is responsible for nearly 90% of oral cancers (lips, mouth and throat), it is paramount that you have an annual oral cancer exam. We do these as part of your six-month cleaning and exam appointments.

Oral cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers because symptoms rarely emerge until it is at rampant stages. Before symptoms are obvious to you, we may be able to detect signs of oral cancer visually and by touch.

Smoking is drying to oral tissues, which creates an environment where oral bacteria are able to actively thrive and reproduce. Periodontal (gum disease) begins with persistent bad breath, tender gums and gums that bleed easily when brushing.

As gum disease progresses, pus pockets form at the base of teeth. Teeth loosen as oral bacteria attack the bone and tissues that support tooth roots. Eventually, these teeth will require removal.

The bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers and impotency. This occurs because the potent bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues, causing inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body.

Smoking also gives you an increased risk of bad breath, increased plaque and stained teeth. By keeping oral bacteria in your mouth under control, you can avoid the treatment time and expense for gum disease, cavities and whitening. (Our Zoom WhiteninZoom_Logo copyg system works wonders for our smoking patients, by the way!)

Be aware that smokers have longer healing times following extractions, gum treatment and oral surgery. When healing takes longer, there is a higher risk of bacteria settling into incised tissues. It is a fact that smokers have a higher risk of implant failure.

The best way to avoid many of the problems mentioned above is to keep oral bacteria under control. How do you do that?

First, be very committed to your at-home oral hygiene routine. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a fluoridated toothpaste and soft to medium bristle tooth brush.

Brush your tongue after your teeth. This dislodges a vast amount of bacteria from the tongue. Be sure to get to the back area of the tongue, where most bacteria are embedded. Gently run the brush over the roof of the mouth, under the tongue and inside of the cheeks before rinsing.

If you use a mouthwash, check the label to make sure yours contains no alcohol. Alcohol dries out oral tissues, which makes bacterial growth easier. And, to combat dry mouth, consider using a mouthwash especially formulated to replenish oral moisture. These are available over-the-counter at most drug stores. Be consistent in using these products.

Floss daily. I can’t stress this enough. If flossing seems awkward, ask our hygienists to help you with your technique. We have a flossing video on our web site you may want to check out: http://www.banrbarbatdds.com/videos.php#flossing_tips

You may want to try one of the water or electronic flossers now available. There are also floss holders that make the process easier for some people. Just be sure to avoid ‘popping’ the floss between the teeth onto tender gum tissues. This can cut into the gums, leaving them vulnerable to oral bacteria.

Be sure to keep your 6-month check-ups. These cleanings and exams remove buildup that can occur between visits and help you avoid problems before they occur or catch others while still small.

Drink lots of water — not coffee, tea, colas, sports drinks or energy drinks — most contain caffeine, which is very drying to the mouth.

Limit sugar and carbohydrates. These are oral bacteria super boosters. Instead, opt for crunchy fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and cheese.

We don’t lecture our patients. It is our job to help patients have the very best smile they can regardless of our own preferences and opinions. If you smoke, we care just as much about your smile as our patients who do not. Know that we are here for you regardless of your needs or goals.

If you’re past due for a dental check-up and cleaning, call 586-739-2155. Let’s get you in so you can have a clean slate with your renewed commitment to a healthy smile!