Monday, February 29, 2016

Why Use Mouthwash?

Mouthwash, or mouth rinse, can be effective for many reasons. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) mouthwashes are often relied upon to tackle bad breath, to reinforce brushing and flossing, and to help rid the mouth of harmful bacteria.

Mouthwash contains active ingredients, such as fluoride, which help reduce plaque and significantly delay the development of tartar. Although rinsing with a mouthwash can help remove debris from the mouth and reduce the risk of infection and cavities, mouthwash should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing teeth.

Mouthwash can:

  • Improve the freshness of your mouth: Bad breath is often caused by the accumulation of residue in tiny crevices and folds in the tongue and teeth/gum line, or the presence of bacterial infection. When bacteria breaks down the residue and is allowed to colonize, it produces sulfur compounds to include hydrogen sulfide, which is the same chemical that gives rotten eggs their nasty odor. Mouth rinses can work by masking the odor, or by neutralizing the bacteria. 
  • Fight gum disease: In many cases, the key to effectively preventing gum disease is to stay on top of your dental hygiene habits. That means brushing teeth twice a day, flossing daily to remove debris between the teeth and around the gum line, and keeping up with your regular dental visits. But, you can improve your chances of staying disease-free by using an antimicrobial mouthwash to remove or neutralize disease-causing bacteria. 
  • Prevent cavities: Mouthwash and rinses that contain fluoride offer a fantastic opportunity to help protect your teeth’s enamel from tooth decay. Fluoride strengthens the teeth’s enamel and delays the buildup of tartar that causes decay. 

Most mouthwash can be bought without a prescription. However, your dentist may prescribe a specific chemotherapeutic, or antibacterial mouth rinse to treat dental issues such as gingivitis, or advanced gum disease.

Caring for your teeth and gums should always include using dental floss and brushing your teeth. Dental well being can also be improved by keeping your tongue clean (gently brush it after brushing your teeth), drinking plenty of (sugarless) fluids, remaining tobacco-free, and maintaining a healthy diet.

Prevention is the key to long-term oral health. Contact Dr. Richard Stuart to schedule your next dental appointment.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Five Reasons Your Gums Bleed

Bleeding gums are usually a sign the soft tissue is damaged or inflamed. If you notice your gums are bleeding while brushing or flossing your teeth, it’s a good idea to take note and take action. The cause may be straight forward and temporary; however, even serious problems can be easily and effectively treated.

Why are my gums bleeding?

Here are five common reason why your gums bleed:

Gingivitis – The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It develops when the sticky bacterial film, known as plaque, is allowed to take up residence along the gum line, irritating the soft tissue, and potentially causing inflammation and swelling of the soft tissue. Gingivitis can be prevented and treated with regular and thorough brushing and flossing, and by going for regular dental cleanings.

Pregnancy Gingivitis – Hormonal changes during pregnancy can wreak havoc with your skin, hair, and yes, even teeth! Higher levels of progesterone actually diminish the pregnant woman’s ability to fight off disease-causing bacteria, and may make gum tissue more sensitive to the effect of plaque. Although this phenomena only lasts during the pregnancy, it must be treated by increasing oral hygiene and professional cleanings from a dentist to prevent long-term damage.

Medication – Some medications, such as blood thinners, can cause the gums to bleed. These medications prevent blood from clotting, which means gums can bleed more easily if scraped or punctured while brushing. By using a soft-bristled brush and a very soft floss, it is still possible to keep plaque at bay without causing yourself and your gums any further harm.

Poor Dental Hygiene Habits – the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and daily flossing will remove any bacterial buildup from between the teeth and along the gum line. The ADA also recommends visiting the dentist for regular cleanings. While many of us do try to stay the course, even a slight lapse can open the door to gum disease and inflammation.

The Tools – Selecting the right toothbrush and floss can make all the difference when it comes to gum health. For instance, switching to using a hard-bristled toothbrush after using a soft-bristled toothbrush can certainly hurt the gum and may cause it to bleed. The same is true with dental floss, which is available in many different forms. If your gums are bleeding when you floss, try using a softer thread or thinner floss designed for sensitive gums.

Bleeding gums can be an indicator that professional help is needed. If your gums bleed for more than a couple of days without any sign of improving, it is time to see your dentist. Contact our Indianapolis dental office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stuart. Prevention and early detection is the most comfortable way to maintaining a healthy smile.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Just Another Reason To Drink Wine!

Wine lovers everywhere, rejoice! Already known for its health benefits, research shows red wine protects against cavities, too! A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explores the effect a selection of red wines and grape-seed extract has on communities of disease-causing bacteria, called biofilms. Biofilms erode the teeth causing gum disease. Gum disease is a result of the build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, and in the soft tissue of the gums – pockets of infection cause inflammation and discomfort and pain. But some treatments can be abrasive, and side effects of some mouthwashes include discoloration of the gums, and altering taste.

In order to understand how effective red wine is in preventing the growth of biofilm, researchers developed a biofilm model of plaque that combined five types of bacteria most commonly found in gum disease and tooth decay. The biofilm cultures were then dipped in numerous varieties of wine – with and without alcohol – for a couple of minutes. The results showed that all red wine and red wine containing grape seed extract were more likely to get rid of the bacteria. Of course, the study wasn't designed with excessive drinking in mind; everything in moderation! Rather, as the researchers said, "these findings contribute to existing knowledge about the beneficial effect of red wines (one of the most important products of agriculture and food industries) on human health." We'll drink to that – cheers!