How does my oral health affect my overall health?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

It is easy to think of your dental health and overall health as two different things. You visit the dentist for your teeth and oral health, and you visit your doctor for the rest of your body. However, it is important to keep in mind that your oral health impacts your overall health, and vice versa.

Your mouth has saliva which is your body’s first defense against bacteria and viruses. However, if your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly it is likely that you have a plaque build up. Bacteria clings to plaque, and plaque feeds the bacteria causing it to grow and multiply.

Periodontal disease (bone loss of teeth)  is caused by calculus building up around the teeth. Periodontal disease causes bone loss over time. Calculus harbors minerals, bacteria and food particles. The bacteria that is around your teeth have direct access to your blood stream via the capillaries in your gums. Medical research has shown that the same bacteria in the calculus in your teeth travels and build ups in the arteries in your heart.

Many systemic diseases show their first symptoms in the mouth. These include cancers, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Your dentist may notice these changes and refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Overall it is important to monitor your oral health, and overall health. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes and visit your dentist and doctor regularly.

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Why Do My Gums Bleed?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

When you think of oral hygiene, your initial thoughts may be about your teeth. However, your gums play a huge part in your mouth’s health. In some cases, bleeding gums can be the first sign of gum disease. However, there are a few other reasons why your gums may bleed.

It may feel like you need to brush hard to get your teeth clean. However, you should brush gently in small, circular motions. If you are brushing hard, this may be a cause for bleeding gums.

Another reason is that food buildup in your mouth causes plaque (mixture of food debris, bacteria & minerals) and  which hardens and turns into tartar/ calculus. Calculus irritates your gums, causing swelling and bleeding. The best way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup is to brush and floss at least twice a day. It is also important to attend your biannual dental check up.

Your diet may also be to blame for your bleeding gums. Diets high in sugar or simple carbohydrates increase the likelihood for dental problems, as sugar creates a breeding ground for the bacteria that is one of the components of plaque.

Other bad habits, such as smoking, can increase your risk for gum disease. Smoking causes gum inflammation. Smoking also lowers your immune response, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and bacteria.

Bleeding gums can also occur during pregnancy, due to pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is partly caused by hormonal changes in the body which occur during pregnancy. After giving birth the gingivitis may dissipate.

Common Myths About Dental Hygiene

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Myth #1: White teeth equal healthy teeth. Even though your teeth may be white, you can still have cavities on different surfaces of your teeth. These surfaces aren’t seen when you are smiling. For example, cavities can form in-between your teeth or on the gum line. You dentist may only be able to see these by x-ray. These cavities may be caused by plaque (food particles, bacteria and minerals) getting stuck in-between your teeth, gum line or the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your tooth.

Myth #2: Gum disease isn’t common. Gum disease is extremely common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease is called periodontal disease which in layman’s term means bone loss. You can have bone loss and not even know it. It can be diagnosed by dental xrays and a clinical exam by your dentist.

Myth #3: It is ok to drink soda as long as it doesn’t contain sugar. You may think that diet sodas without sugar are the way to go, however all sodas are extremely acidic. Acid weakens your enamel which puts you at risk for cavities. Here is a video of what happens if you leave a tooth in soda.

Myth #4: Brushing your teeth harder will clean them faster and better. Brushing your teeth hard will do more harm than good. Doing this can cause your gums to recede, and can also cause your teeth to be more sensitive. Brushing in a gentle circular motion is the ideal way to brush.

Myth #5: If your gums bleed, you should stop flossing. Bleeding gums can be a warning sign of gingivitis or  periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease.  If you notice your gums bleeding, you should see your dentist for an accurate diagnosis.

Pros and Cons of Veneer Treatment

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures. Veneers are a great way to transform your smile, they work for people with crooked, stained or missing teeth. You can also fill a gap with veneers. Veneers are a great option to fix dental imperfections large and small.

One benefit of veneers is that they are bonded to your natural teeth. This means they require little to no maintenance and you can continue to brush and floss as you normally would.

Something to keep in mind is that veneers are an irreversible procedure. To place a veneer, the a top layer of the tooth is removed. This top layer is the enamel layer. The shape created by the dentist holds the veneer in place, and also gives a natural look to the veneer.

Veneers are also resistant to staining, meaning your teeth will remain white and shiny. This is a great option for anyone who has stained teeth from drinking coffee or tea and does not want to constantly whiten their teeth.

Although veneers are an attractive option, they might not be right for everyone. This includes people who grind their teeth and those with high decay rate, aka constantly getting cavities. Sometimes, the best option may be to get braces or Invisalign to correct the alignment of the teeth. Your dentist will decide which is the best option for you.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Invisalign Over Traditional Metal Braces?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Paramount Dental Care is an Invisalign certified dental practice in Secaucus, NJ. Many of my patients ask me about the benefits of Invisalign when compared to traditional metal braces.

The most attractive advantage to Invisalign patients is that no one can tell you are wearing them. With metal braces, you may feel embarrassed to talk or smile. This is especially common for adults with braces.

One advantage of Invisalign is that you remove the aligners when you eat. While wearing metal braces you must cut out certain sticky or chewy foods that can get caught on the metal braces and damage them. You also run the risk of food getting stuck in the braces with out getting cleaned out, causing decay and bad breath. With Invisalign, you can eat what you wish, brush and floss as you normally would, and reapply your aligners.

Metal braces have brackets that may cause pain/sensitivity to those who wear them. Invisalign has a smooth surface that feels similar to your natural teeth.