Periodontal Disease: Don’t Wait Until it Hurts

You’ve probably heard of the term gum disease before. Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease, which is an infection and inflammation that affects the tissues and bone that support your teeth. Treating gum disease in the early stages is very important and can help prevent tooth loss. Inflammation and infection in your mouth can be correlated to your whole-body health. Gum disease has been linked to other diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, and can be associated with strokes and high stress. Your mouth is the first pathway to your entire body, so it is very important to maintain great oral health!

Warning signs of gum disease include, but are not limited to:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Gums that are red, swollen, puffy or tender
  • Gums that no longer tightly hug your teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Feeling that your teeth are loose

Are you at risk?

Anyone can get gum disease, but there are factors that can increase your risks of getting it:

  • Poor homecare – not brushing two times a day and flossing once daily
  • Tobacco use – both smoking and smokeless
  • Gums that no longer tightly hug your teeth
  • Diseases that affect the whole body such as diabetes, HIV, heart disease
  • Medications
  • Teens, pregnant women, women on birth control pills
  • Family history of tooth loss
  • Bacteria that causes gum disease can be passed from person to person through saliva

You may not have any signs of gum disease at all, so that is why it’s important to see your dental hygienist and dentist on a regular basis. Together we can work together to get rid of the bacteria that is fighting against your overall health.

Chelsie, RDH

Preventing Decay

Did you know you can protect the chewing surface of your tooth with sealants?  The chewing surface of your tooth has indentations called pits and fissure.  These pits and fissure collect food and bacteria making them more prone to tooth decay.  Your toothbrush bristles can’t reach into the grooves eventually this results in tooth decay.  The good news is that sealants can be applied to protect these grooves.   Sealants are easy to apply and it takes only a few minutes.  First, the teeth are cleaned and prepared to accept the sealant.  The flow able material called sealant is painted on the tooth.  Then a special curing light is used to harden the sealant.  Sealants are generally clear or white. You can’t see them when you smile but they are there protecting the chewing surface of your tooth.  It is important to avoid chewing ice or hard candy because it can chip the sealants off.  As long as the sealant is remains intact the surface will be protected from food and plaque.  Sealants will last a few years before they have to be done again.  Lastly, it is important to see a dentist regularly so he or she can check the sealants remains intact.

Janine Park

May 2017 – Oil Pulling….”Pulling your Leg!”

This is a misunderstood topic for the general public and extremely frustrating topic for dental professionals. I recently was on a social media site..ahem… Facebook, and noticed comments on oil pulling being a miracle cure, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! While studies have shown coconut oil reduces the bacterial load in a person’s mouth, it is not significant enough to stop decay. Oil pulling does not deplete bacterial causing decay either. The best thing to do to prevent decay is: mouth washes, flossing, brushing, and toothpaste containing fluoride and of course a fun meeting with your dental hygienist every 6 months.

Laura G. CDA, CPT, CNA

Cited Source:
Beck, Julie. The Atlantic. “Swishing With Oil for Oral Health: Not Recommended.” March 19th, 2014.

April 2017 – Oral Cancer

Spring at last! Now into April, two important topics take the spotlight in dentistry.

The first topic is oral cancer. Early detection and treatment is key to increasing survival. Do you know the signs?

Some Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

  • difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • ear pain
  • difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • hoarseness
  • numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth
  • swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable
  • soreness or a feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • lump or thickening of tissues inside mouth
  • red and/or white lesions that do not heal anywhere in the mouth or throat
  • sore or irregular moles on lips that do not resolve

Especially with the wonderful weather around the corner, be aware of the terrible triad!
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and sun exposure (especially done at the same time) greatly increase your chances of developing oral cancer.

It is recommended to have an annual exam and screening with your dentist to check for any abnormalities, but first line of defense often lies with you taking note of any changes or unusual findings. When in doubt, call your dentist or doctor to be checked.
More good information and support can be found on

The second topic is mouth guards. Sports are a great way for our children and us to stay healthy and socially involved, and they are tons of fun. Why let a mouth injury ruin that?

Mouth guards are an easy way to prevent serious injuries to the mouth and teeth. They help cushion a blow to the face decreasing risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face and jaw.

Custom fit sports guards made by your dental office are superior for fit, comfort, and quality protection, but the over the counter guards also provide protection if cost is a factor. So, protect that smile, and make sure to put in that sports guard!

Christina Smith, RDH

March 2017 – Healthy pH

Balancing the pH of the mouth may be one efficient way to reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay. There are several ways to balance pH including consumption of alkalosis foods, reducing consumption of foods that lower the pH of the mouth, and of course regular dental care.

A healthy pH in saliva is between a 5.6 -7.9. A pH level of less than 5.5 can put a person at risk of tooth enamel erosion that can cause cavities. A higher pH can reduce the risk. A standard neutral pH is 7, the balanced pH level found in water.

Bacteria feed off of sugars commonly found in foods including sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose, lactose and cooked starches. Foods such as candies, sodas, pastas, animal proteins and breads, as well as many natural fruits, provide oral bacteria with fuel to produce the lactic acid that causes tooth decay. Reducing consumption of these sugary foods is one method of controlling the growth of bad bacteria and production of acid.

Consuming foods that balance the alkalinity of saliva may be a method for creating an unfavorable environment for bacteria to thrive. When pH drops, bacteria that produce lactic acid thrive. Try consuming foods that have a higher pH value, and are higher on the alkaline spectrum. At the high end of the spectrum are spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, onion, sweet potatoes, green beans, blueberries, mangos, avocados and peas. Some surprisingly alkaline fruits also include lemons and limes, which despite their acidic taste are alkaline for the body. On the highly acidic, low pH end of the spectrum lie sodas and energy drinks, beef, bread, nuts, artificial sweeteners, pasta, pork and coffee.

Balance is important when deciding on foods for regulating the pH of the mouth. While having a mouth that is too low on the pH scale can put one at a higher risk for cavities, consuming only foods with only high pH can be too much of a good thing. Consumption of the proper vitamins and nutrients required for good health, and good oral health, is most important.

It is important to brush, floss and rinse twice daily, as well as visit the dentist every six months for exams and cleanings. Talk to your dentist about your oral health and any concerns you may have. Paired with a good dental health routine, balancing the pH of the mouth can be one method to keep the mouth healthy and reduce cavities.


February 2017 – New Year

2017- Wow! The New Year is here and a month gone!

Many New Years resolutions that we make concern improving our health, and trying to stick to it. Think about making part of your New Years Resolution to improve or maintain your oral health—it’s never too late to start this. In doing so, you may very well be improving you total overall health.

Bacterial infections in the mouth can be related to other health issues such as:

  • Heart Disease, Diabetes, Premature/low birth weight babies.
  • Or mouths are connected to the rest of our bodies after all!

So, come in to Grand Avenue Dental Care on a regular basis for your routine cleaning/perio evaluation, exam/cancer screening and x- rays- as needed.
Let us help you to achieve Oral health and overall body health.

Keep going in 2017!


January 2017 – Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene begins with parents at an early age. For instance, teething usually begins around six months and it is not uncommon for teething to begin as early as three months. It is important for parents to clean their infant’s teeth after every nursing or bottle feeding. Parents should not put milk or sugary drinks in their infants bottle at night time.

Parents can use a soft bristle toothbrush or a warm wash clothe to gently wipe the teeth clean. When infants become toddlers and then school age, parents will need to teach them to floss and brush correctly. Younger children do not have the manual dexterity; therefore, they need more assistance. In addition, parents can promote good oral hygiene by monitoring how much their children consume sugar. Children who consume lots of processed, sugary foods rather than healthy fruits and vegetables in their diets are more prone to tooth decay. Overall, children who learn from their moms and dads with assistance will develop healthy oral hygiene habits as well as healthy teeth and gums.

Hygiene Coordinator

November 2016

The importance of Flossing

Flossing is one of, if not, the most important at home routine maintenance care you can do. Recently there was an article in the New York Times released showing a study done in which flossing is not necessary. The study was very short term, done on healthy adults and not in a controlled environment—which in turn is leaving out realistic facts as to why flossing is very beneficial to overall health. Any dentist can tell you the benefits of flossing that were not directed in this study. I have listed 5 basic facts as to why you should be flossing daily;

  1. The human mouth has 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected. Flossing removes bacteria/plaque buildup between the teeth, in the soft tissue, that brushing alone cannot reach.
  2. Halitosis (bad breath) is directly related to not flossing. If bacteria is left to fester between the teeth crevasses it will over time turn into tartar that cannot be removed by regular brushing or flossing. This also breaks down the tooth’s enamel and heightens the risk of tooth decay.
  3. Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums. Flossing lessens the likelihood of this happening and promotes healthy gum tissue around the tooth enamel. Flossing also minimizes the bleeding of gum tissue.
  4. If bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease enter into your circulatory system, it can cause the liver to release C-reactive proteins. These proteins have inflammatory effects on your entire circulatory system, therefore affecting your entire body.
  5. There is a higher percentage of type 2 diabetes among those with gum disease, due to the inflammatory effects of unbalanced microflora in your mouth. Flossing helps balance detrimental bacteria’s in your mouth that affect overall health.

These listed effects are just a few items that are directly related to oral hygiene. We strongly suggest flossing and maintaining good home care and using quality oral techniques. Contact our office if you have questions about technique, effects and longer term health. Your mouth is the window to your body—treat it well!