Many patients have similar questions about general dental procedures, oral hygiene, and basic terminology. Following are a few of the common questions we hear, along with the answers. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any additional questions you may have.


How often should I see the dentist for a checkup and cleaning?
Most children and adults should see their dentist for a regular cleaning and checkup every six months. People at a greater risk for oral diseases should have dental check-ups more than twice a year. Tobacco and alcohol use, diabetes, pregnancy, periodontal and gum disease, poor oral hygiene, and certain medical conditions are some of the many factors that your dentist takes into consideration when deciding how often you need your dental cleaning and checkup. Your regular checkups will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy, as well as detect any problems such as gum disease, oral cancer, and cavities earlier.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease occurs in two major stages, gingivitis and periodontitis. The early stage is called gingivitis, which is treatable and can be reversed if caught early enough. The more advanced and serious stage of gum disease is called periodontitis, and this stage includes bone loss and is irreversible. Failure to properly care for the teeth and gums is the most frequent cause of periodontitis. Some of the symptoms to look for are red and swollen gums that bleed easily, a change in your bite, receding gums, loose teeth and bad breath.
What causes tooth decay?
Decay occurs when plaque (the sticky substance that forms on teeth) combines with the sugars and/or starches of the food that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.
What is the relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease?
Periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, causes the liver to secrete a protein called C-reactive protein. This protein causes the body to fight the periodontal infection by producing inflammation (swelling). The C-reactive protein doesn’t just go to the gums; it goes everywhere including the coronary (heart) arteries. The C-reactive protein becomes lodged in the walls of the arteries, causing the walls to be rough and inflamed. Other proteins collect on the roughened walls and the arteries get narrower. This is coronary artery disease.

What’s interesting is that when periodontitis is treated, there is less C-reactive protein circulating around the body and less in the coronary arteries.

The other finding is that the specific bacteria associated with periodontal disease has been found in the heart. There’s only one place that bacteria could have come from, and that’s the periodontal pocket – a key reason to maintain your oral health.

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Healthy Smiles Blog

In addition to regular dental appointments, being armed with knowledge can provide you with all the support you need to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Explore our posts to arm yourself.