Tag Archives: periodontal disease

Avoid Gum Disease: What You Need to Know

You may not have heard of Periodontal Disease, if you visit your dentist regularly and you haven’t – that’s probably a good sign! Poor dental hygiene can lead to problems that are more severe than the average cavity or case of bad breath. Periodontal Disease is also known as Gum Disease and almost 50% of adults have some form it.

Gum disease is most commonly the result of poor dental hygiene and is the inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, according to www.medicinenet.com. Here’s the scary part – if left untreated, it can lead to even more serious problems, ranging from tooth loss to heart disease. Knowing the signs, symptoms, and treatment for various stages of gum disease can set you on a proactive path to avoid gum disease and a disappointing trip to the dentist.

Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease

Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? If so, you can assume your gums are sick. Symptoms are key … if you are experiencing ANY gum bleeding, notice any gum pain or mouth sores, and/or pick up on a sour taste in your mouth, do not hesitate – it’s time to schedule a visit to your dentist! Remember, you can avoid gum disease and even reverse the early stages of Gum Disease, but the only way to keep Gingivitis from progressing into Periodontal Disease and other problems is dental treatment.

Someone with gum disease may have the following symptoms/signs:

  • White spots on the gums
  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth or receding gums
  • Painful to chew
  • Sensitive teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Bright red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that bleed easily – even during normal daily cleaning
  • You may have a bad taste in your mouth or bad breath
  • Uneven bite
  • Ill-fitting dentures

If you are unsure if your symptoms are caused by gum disease, consult your dentist for clarification and make sure to stay on top of regular scheduled professional dental cleanings to reduce your risks.

Related Article: The Dangers of Gum Disease

Stages of Gum Disease

  • Early Stage: Gingivitis – this early stage of gum disease is characterized by the inflammation of the gums and is usually caused by an abundance of tartar or plaque in the mouth. Often, swollen gums bleed easily when brushing or flossing and this beginning stage of the disease is a warning sign to a more serious condition, Periodontitis.
  • Progressed Stage: Periodontitis – If Gingivitis progresses, plaque will extend from the gums to the bone. Once the bone gets the infection, they can form deep gum pockets and collect even more bacteria and plaque and can lead to bone loss or even tooth loss. However, there are different forms of Periodontitis and it is more serious than it may seem at first.
    • Aggressive Periodontitis:
      • rapid gum recession
      • occurring during a period of growth in young people
      • due to vitamin depletion, not bacteria
    • Chronic Periodontitis: 
      • periods of rapid progression and then periods of remission 
      • can happen on its own or in response to dental treatment

Periodontal disease starts with a sticky film of plaque bacteria that forms on your teeth, just like tooth decay (when you’re getting a cavity). If plaque is not removed, it will collect around your gum line and they’ll become inflamed and irritated. This early stage of gum disease is called Gingivitis. The good news is that you can avoid gum disease and it can be reversed easily with consistent and thorough brushing and flossing.

However, if it is not removed regularly, this plaque will harden into tartar. Your gums become increasingly red, swollen, and inflamed as tartar builds up around the gum line and they will eventually pull away from the tooth, forming a loose pocket. As more bacteria and tarter accumulate in these “pockets”, the destructive toxins begin to infect and destroy the gums, bone and ligaments that support your teeth. This advanced phase of Gum Disease is called Periodontitis, or Periodontal Disease. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, because the gums can no longer hold your teeth in place.

Tooth Loss Statistics

Here are a few staggering statistics we’d like to share with you:

  • Missing 1 tooth: the average person age 20-39
  • Missing 3+ teeth: the average 40-49-year old
  • Missing 8 teeth: the average 60+ person

We know what you’re thinking … I had my 4 wisdom teeth pulled!! No wonder these numbers are so high!!

Bad News: These statistics do NOT include wisdom teeth that have been removed AND this tooth loss is typically caused by gum disease. Now you understand why it’s our goal to help you AVOID Gum Disease!

Related Article: Tooth Replacement: Are You a Dental Implant Candidate?

Prevention Methods and Treatment

Gum disease is extremely common among adults, but the good news is that it can be easily prevented with good, daily dental care. Hygiene within your mouth is linked to your overall wellbeing, so the importance of preventing gum disease is high. You can avoid gum disease by simply brushing and flossing daily, as well as getting regular professional cleanings from your dentist are all it takes to heavily reduce your risk for gum disease.

However, if gum disease is found, usually the treatment method is simple and your dentist will usually recommend upping your normal hygiene routine at home; making sure you are following the recommended daily guidelines. If Periodontitis is found, a deeper cleaning may be needed to remove the high levels of plaque and bacteria that has infiltrated your gums and bone. This treatment is often called Scaling or Root Planing.

Related Article: Gum Disease Treatments by WebMD

Gum Disease Can Affect More Than Your Smile

Cosmetic: It’s a well-known fact that people with a healthy smile tend to look younger. However, Periodontitis affects much more than the aesthetic look of your pearly white smile and is important for more than cosmetic reasons.

Function: It’s also easy to understand that it’s easier to talk and chew when your teeth are functional and it’s less costly to keep all of your own teeth.

Overall Health: Gum disease is also a systemic disease that is related to the body’s reaction to bacteria that can have far-reaching effects on your overall health. By completely avoiding periodontal disease or treating it, you’re helping to protect your body from other systemic inflammatory conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions. As well as, osteoporosis, respiratory disease, and cancer.

Gum Disease and Stress: You may think about stress being a factor behind many health problems, but the truth is, stress can also have a negative effect on your oral health as well. Stress can make it harder for our bodies to fight viruses and other harmful bacteria in the body, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. This means that if you’re dealing with gum disease, your body will have a harder time dealing with it and healing.

Teeth grinding, gum disease, and bruxism can all be results from too much stress in your life. Also, if stress is causing you to grind your teeth, smoke cigarettes, or clench your jaw, then it could contribute to gum disease as well. Stress can also make us forget to brush and floss as often as needed, so remember to stay on top of your oral health and self-care routines at home.

Related Article: Mental Health Awareness: There is an Oral and Mental Health Link

What do Healthy Gums Look Like?

Healthy gums are pink, firm, and they do not bleed.

Avoid gum disease by keeping your gums firm, pink and healthy isn’t difficult, but it does require consistent healthy oral care habits. Your main focus is to always keep the harmful oral bacteria to a minimum!

Daily Tips & Tricks for Healthy Gums:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush thoroughly at least twice a day.
  • Replace toothbrushes every 3 months; frayed bristles don’t clean as well (and old toothbrushes can store bacteria).
  • Flossing once a day is a must.
  • Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce bacteria in the mouth.
  • Fight dry mouth by sipping water throughout the day, chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless lozenges. Dry mouth creates an environment where bacteria can thrive. Numerous medications and certain illnesses can cause dry mouth.
  • Schedule routine dental appointments every 6 months that include a professional cleaning.
  • Stop Smoking! Tobacco, of any kind, increases the risk of gum disease and makes it harder for gums to heal.
  • DO NOT VAPE! Vaping is not an alternative, even if you’re not using nicotine.
  • If you are Diabetic, you need to be diligent about keeping your diabetes under control, since high sugar levels can increase your risk for gum disease.
  • Opt for healthy snacks. Healthy foods can help lower the risk of gum disease. Bacteria love sugar, so as an alternative, consume water, milk, yogurts, apples, and other healthy options.

If you have children, take this opportunity to review their dental care routines and emphasize the importance of daily tooth care. A clean mouth can´t get sick!

Related Article: Boost Your Immune System through Oral Care and Gum Health

When almost half of Americans suffer some form of gum disease, why wait?

Now you understand why keeping your gums healthy is such an important task – they keep your teeth in place! AND you know what to do to help keep you and your smile in the best possible health and avoid Gum Disease.

At GPS Dental, we take your oral health seriously and want to help you avoid gum disease by checking your oral health and every scheduled cleaning. We are also happy to answer any gum disease questions you have. Take the time to be extra diligent in your normal oral health routine to reduce your risk for gum disease.

If you have questions or concerns about your gum health, please give us a call, Dr. Skrobanek and his experienced team at GPS Dental in San Antonio will be happy to schedule your dental appointment and help you keep your gums, teeth and mouth healthy. Please call our office at 210-633-3477 to schedule your dental appointment.

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers affordable dental care for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at 210-633-3477 to make an appointment.

Thyroid Disease: Link Between Hashimoto’s and Gum Disease

Link between thyroid disease, Hashimotos, and Gum Disease

You may have heard the common phrase, “all disease starts in the gut.” A phrase that was coined over 2,000 years ago, which has been attributed to Hippocrates, the Greek founder of medicine. While that phrase is true, it’s also true that the mouth is often the window to the entire body. Meaning that if something isn’t right in your system, it’ll show signs in your mouth.

This means that your mouth is connected to more than just your teeth or even your gut – it’s connected to your thyroid, liver, kidneys, and all other parts of your body. In the past few years, the scientific community has determined the link between thyroid disease, and Hashimoto’s, with gum disease. According to Dr. Izabella Wentz, a doctor of pharmacy, “the same bacteria that contribute to gum disease or periodontitis produce an inflammatory response associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis—the underlying cause of hypothyroidism.”

Learn more from Dr. Wentz: Periodontitis, a Trigger for Hashimoto’s?

Gum Disease/Periodontitis

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, happens when your gums become inflamed from bacteria in the mouth. This can lead to:

  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gum line
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Tooth loss

Gum disease is common and effects up to half of Americans over the age of 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If you’re seeing blood when brushing or flossing your teeth, it could be the first sign of gum disease, so it’s important to stay on top of your oral health routine and to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. So, what’s the link between Hashimoto’s and gum disease? The proof is in the bacteria.

Case Study:

Please read the below clinical case report of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and its impact on the treatment of chronic periodontitis (link below):


Linking Bacteria to Thyroid Disease and Hashimoto’s

According to Dr. Wentz, the link is in molecular mimicry. While that may sound confusing, let’s break down the basics of it all:

  • The bacteria in our mouth, which is causing gum disease, is also causing inflammation in the rest of our body.
  • People with Hashimoto’s often have gum disease. When they experience flare-ups in their disease, they also experience flare-ups in their gums – showing a connection.

“Molecular mimicry is an autoimmune theory suggesting that bacterial cells or other proteins (such as food proteins) have a similar appearance to the cells that make up parts of the human body, or “self-antigens.”, says Dr. Mentz.

So, when bacteria are around, our body is not only attacking the bacteria, but also parts of our body that have similar proteins. Meaning our body could be attacking the bacteria in our gums, and also the proteins in our thyroid.

The relationship from the National Library of Medicine: Relationship between hypothyroidism and periodontitis: A scoping review

Gum Disease is linked to other diseases. Learn more:

Protect Your Thyroid and Your Mouth

The evidence for good dental hygiene is stronger than ever. Regular brushing and flossing are essential for not only good oral health, but good overall health. The thyroid can have huge impacts on all aspects of your body, and your mouth could very well be impacted through gum disease. If you’re concerned about signs of thyroid or Hashimoto’s, speak with your doctor about testing your thyroid.

GPS Dental Offers Help

Now that you understand a little more about the link between Hashimoto’s and Gum Disease, GPS Dental can help. At GPS Dental, we offer treatment for our patients with Gum Disease with thorough dental cleanings that you may not find through other dental offices. Call 210-633-3477 to schedule your dental exam and cleaning, remember it can lead to early detection and diagnosis of disease. Make sure to mention any changes in your health, new medications, and especially if you are seeing blood after brushing or flossing your teeth.

Dr. Skrobanek and his team at GPS Dental are accepting new patients and look forward to meeting you and your family.

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek is a dental implant dentist and his experienced, friendly team at GPS Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.

Is there a link between Pneumonia and Poor Oral Health?

Anyone and everyone can get pneumonia. In fact, according to a study by Science Daily, over 1 million Americans are infected with pneumonia every year. Furthermore, studies have also shown that there is a link between oral health and your risk for getting pneumonia – with people who never get dental checkups having an 86 percent higher risk of getting pneumonia.

More information about geriatric oral health and pneumonia risk HERE.

Pneumonia & Poor Oral Health: Pneumonia Prevention

Knowing that there is a link between pneumonia and poor oral health, one can assume that good oral health can help prevent pneumonia. According to scholar, Koichiro UEDA, “In recent years, the need for oral care in preventing aspiration pneumonia has been recognized across the academic disciplines.”

Pneumonia prevention consists of:

Regular Dental Cleanings

Regular cleanings and visits to the dentist will greatly reduce the number of harmful bacteria and plaque in the mouth. This keeps your mouth healthy and less at risk. On the flip side, when dental cleanings are ignored, there is a much greater risk for bacterial pneumonia because the bacteria are thriving in your mouth. According to Michelle Doll, MD, “In the case of bacteria that cause pneumonia, for example, they have to be inhaled to cause an infection. Getting regular cleanings and check-ups may reduce the amount of these bacteria.”

Read more on the importance of dental cleanings from Health.com HERE.

Related Articles:

Clean Teeth and Clean Lungs

Did you know that dental cleanings do much more than just clean your teeth and improve your oral health? They’re also beneficial for your lungs!

Here’s the basic rundown.

  • Dental cleanings reduce bacteria in the mouth.
  • When bacteria are reduced in the mouth, it doesn’t get into the lungs.
  • This also reduces your risk for lung infection and helps keep your lungs bacteria free.

Learn more from WebMD about oral health and lung health HERE.

As you can see the link between pneumonia and poor oral health is a true concern, especially for our older dental patients. It’s clear that oral health is connected to your overall health, so remember to take care of your smile and your body will thank you!

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers affordable dental care for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at 210-633-3477 to make an appointment.