Why Gums Hurt: A Case of Hygiene

Gum Pain: Reasons and Tips

Many patients ask why their gums hurt when they’re brushing their teeth. They feel some degree of discomfort and/or pain in their gums while doing their oral hygiene routine. In some instances, they have never yet experienced this reaction before. If it happens to you, should you be alarmed?

Sometimes our gums hurt and the most common cause for this is a chronic inflammation of the gums. This is a result of a chronic infection of the gums. Know that after eating, it only takes about 12 to 24 hours for plaques to form. Plaques are sites for bacteria to grow and multiply, and we know that there are hundreds of different bacteria residing in our oral cavities. If we do not brush our teeth regularly and properly, bacteria can multiply and result in infection. The risk is higher if food intake is mostly sugary. In other words, now, gums hurt usually due to poor oral hygiene.

Gums also hurt if you use hard bristle toothbrushes; likewise, if you use harsh brush strokes. These habits can scrape the soft gum tissue as well as erode enamel. Similarly, old brushes with worn out bristles do not clean the teeth properly and are a risk factor for causing infection.

Gums hurt, too, due to the loss of dental enamel, that first outer layer of teeth. Strong as it is, constant exposure to acid, for example, can weaken it and cause it to become sensitive. Enamel loss can be brought about by high starch and sugary food and drinks, energy drinks, drugs like tetracycline, reflux disease, and conditions like teeth grinding. They can all result to chronic inflammation and infection of the gums.

Teeth and gum problems cause pain and increased sensitivity of the gums, and in many cases, tooth loss. They can also cause systemic infections, like heart problems, hence, should not be ignored.

So, what must one do when gums hurt? Improve hygiene of the teeth and gums. Brush teeth every morning and before going to bed at night or after every meal. If not, at least have a mouth rinse after meals or drink lots of water after drinking soda. Use also an antiseptic mouthwash. Change your hard bristle toothbrush to a soft one and replace as soon as the bristles start to wear out. Floss daily. Avoid taking sugary foods and drinks. Lastly, have a professional cleaning regularly, which also means you will be visiting your dentist and have an oral examination.

Treating Gums in Bellevue

Do you experience pain or discomfort in your gums? Learn what’s wrong by visiting your Bellevue dentist, Dr. Lee, here at Overlake Dental.

Bacteria In Your Mouth: A Small Ecosystem

The Good and The Bad Bacteria

There’s a natural balance of good and bad bacteria in our oral cavity. The balance is offset if poor dental hygiene is neglected and bad bacteria take over, growing and accumulating. Did you know that there are about 700 different types of bacteria in the mouth, most are naturally occurring and doing no harm? Probiotics are examples of good bacteria that support overall health as well as oral wellness. Each of us ingest bacteria daily in the form of probiotics, either unintentionally as contaminants of food, or intentionally, in processed foods such as yogurt, fermented milk or cheese.

On the other hand, there are bacteria that can contribute to dental decay and gum disease. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria identified the most with tooth decay. It lives in your mouth and feeds on the sugars and starches that you eat. It can cause bad breath, as a result of tooth decay that is allowed to progress.

So when the wrong types of bacteria are ones proliferating in the mouth, bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease are the natural consequences. These conditions are the result of poor oral hygiene; incorrect and insufficient tooth brushing and flossing and not using mouthwashes – allow food debris and bacterial plaque to advance on the teeth and the tongue. Thick bacteria can also cling to gums, when unattended can lead to gingivitis and over time, to its more serious form, periodontitis.

So how do you combat bacteria, the hidden culprit?

Brush and floss daily. It takes 12-24 hours for plaque to gather in your mouth to support bacteria. Brushing and flossing at least once a day can remove most of this build up.
Rinse your mouth daily. Brushing alone only reaches 25% of your mouth, while a mouthwash fights the remaining bacteria in your whole mouth, teeth and gums. Research shows that some antimicrobial mouthwashes can kill oral bacteria in 30 seconds.

Cut back on sweets. Harmful bacteria like Streptococcus mutans love sugar. The more sugar and other carbohydrates they feast on, the more they produce acid that will build up on your teeth. Acid can cause enamel weakening and make teeth prone to cavities and decay. With proper and consistent oral hygiene, no bacteria is beyond your control.

Guarding Against Bad Bacteria in Bellevue

When you visit us at Overlake Dental regularly, you’ll know more about how to combat harmful bacteria that can lead to dental woes. See us today for a consultation.

Bad Breath: The Reasons You’re Struggling

Why Do I Have Foul-Smelling Breath?

Bad breath. This is probably the one thing you don’t want people to remember you by. You don’t want to be told you’ve got bad breath; definitely to be the last to know you’re breath is foul is most embarrassing. So why not do a breath check and see for yourself before anyone else tells you so. Here are some of the top reasons why you might be struggling with bad breath.

You might not be cleaning your mouth the right way. Bad dental hygiene is the most likely cause of bad breath. It is a sign of poor oral hygiene that may eventually lead to periodontal problems. It is not enough that you are only tooth brushing; that’s just 25% cleaning. Be sure you are brushing twice a day, using floss daily, and rinsing with mouthwash. This routine cleans and freshens your mouth by killing bacteria.

You’re not drinking enough water. Lack of fluids in the mouth can cause halitosis because a dry mouth is haven for bacteria to live and multiply. And did you know that saliva fights bacteria? A decrease in the production of saliva also leads to mouth dehydration leading to bacterial growth. Just drink more water.

You’re drinking the wrong fluids. You might think that because you’re drinking lots of alcohol or caffeine, you’re hydrating your mouth. Wrong! These beverages lead to a condition called xerostomia, which is defined as dry mouth resulting from reduced or absent saliva flow. Xerostomia is not a disease, but it may be a symptom of several conditions, like chemotherapy, periods of anxiety, radiation, mouth breathing, drinking acidic beverages, among others.

You’re not eating the right foods. Eat plenty of vegetables and herbs, while avoiding foods that contribute to bad breath like those high in sugar or with particularly potent flavours. Avoid spicy, odorous foods like garlic and onions. If you find that you can’t avoid them, try eating an apple or yogurt afterwards to help fight the compounds released. Also rinse with a strong mouthwash after eating strong flavored foods.

You have a sore throat or post-nasal drip. A small percentage of bad breath issues originate in the nose or sinuses, some from the tonsils. The same bacteria giving you bad breath are the ones that also infect your throat and tonsils. Post-nasal drip can accumulate at the back of the mouth and on the tongue, so this area should be gently cleaned with a tongue scraper.
You might have an underlying health problem. Bad breath can sometimes be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. If your breath has a distinctive smell, it can indicate a disease, like cancers, liver failure, and other metabolic diseases due to the specific mixes of chemicals that they produce.

Bad Breath Treatment in Bellevue

Don’t delay seeing your dentist in Bellevue if you are bothered by bad breath. In many cases the situation is treatable. So come by for a consult and let’s see how we can make your breath smelling fresh again.

Things You Shouldn’t Be Putting In Your Mouth

Don’t Put These In Your Mouth

There are some everyday things, including certain foods, that could be harmful to teeth and gums, and therefore, have no place inside your mouth. Or you shouldn’t be using your mouth, your teeth for that matter, to perform anything with them. Let’s look at these no-no items to think about.

Lemons. These fruits are delicious and nutritious snacks and you wonder what harm they can do. Lemons are highly acidic and people have a habit of sucking on them and keeping them in their mouth for longer periods of time than they would food. Sucking on lemons can lead to enamel erosion and disrupts the acidic and basal balance in the mouth.

Ice. Many of us love to chew on ice or ice chips. Though natural teeth are strong, subjecting them to habitual ice crunching can cause fractures, cracks or chips, and can certainly damage synthetic crowns. It can also affect the stability of teeth in their sockets or filling material on a tooth. They may not be visible to the naked eye but cracks may soon harbor bacteria and lead to tooth decay.

Can bottle caps and Plastic bottle tops. Some people use their teeth to open can bottle tops and those made of plastics. Can bottle tops can cause a tooth or two to split down the middle. You may lose the tooth entirely and need an implant and implant crown. Plastic caps can not only cause teeth fractures but muscle and temporomandibular joint pain and problems. That twist of the head and jaw can put a strain on chewing muscles and joints.

Nails. The habit of nail-biting can flatten the edges of your front teeth. Over time, teeth can wear faster and cracks on the enamel can appear, until they become hypersensitive. The biting action also puts the jaw in an unnatural position that can stress your joints, can cause grinding and clenching – and this prolonged pressure and friction can cause pain in your teeth, ears, and jaw.

Hard candy and Potato Chips. Hard candy lingers in the mouth and takes a long time to dissolve, maybe up to ten minutes. It’s high in sugar and there are no health benefits associated with hard candy. Sometimes candy is chewed and that can lead to cracked teeth and cuts on the inside of the mouth. Potato chips are no good either; they’re loaded with starch, which becomes sugar that can get trapped in and between the teeth and feed bacteria. The acid in chips can linger and lasts a while.

Great Teeth-Sparing Ideas in Bellevue

Know more about everyday items, including foods, that you may not have any idea about being harmful to oral health. Come by Overlake Dental in Bellevue and have a consult with your Bellevue dentist.


Canker Sores and Helpful Home Remedies

Easy Ways To Keep Pain Down

Canker sores are small, white or grey ulcers on the soft parts of the mouth, such as the tongue, inside of the cheeks, and just inside the lips. They have redness around the edges and can be irritating and sometimes painful. They reappear again and again over time, though they are not contagious. What causes these ulcers to appear is not really clear, but they are associated with a weakened immune system, stress, or an allergy to a certain food.

Though canker sores can heal on their own, you would not want them to stay around. Here are some tips for you so they can disappear much faster and not cause infection.

You can use a topical gel to apply directly on the sore to prevent them from getting irritated. Special patches or bandages are also available to be placed over the canker sore. You can also mouth-rinse to provide relief. Mouthwashes have antiseptic properties to prevent infection and to numb the inside of the mouth. And to promote healing, use a salt rinse.

Take vitamin B12 supplements that reduce pain from the canker sores, the number of ulcers and outbreaks. Drink chamomile tea which is said to have anti-inflammatory qualities, or rinse the mouth with it, or place a chamomile tea bag that has been soaked in warm water over the sore. You can also combine the tea with honey, drinking both for a synergistic effect as honey has some known antiseptic properties.

Using aloe vera gel directly onto the canker sore may help to soothe irritation, as well as reduce pain and inflammation. Likewise, clove oil, one of the most popular, historic remedies for mouth sores, can also be applied by soaking it in a piece of cotton wool and place directly over the sore for a while.

It’s true that canker sores will go away without treatment but the aforementioned home remedies can diminish the pain and irritation. However, if you note the sores have been bothering you for 3 or so weeks, it’s time to see your dentist or your doctor. It can be a sign of an underlying condition, like gastrointestinal disease. See your specialist right away if you have stomach pain, unexplained tiredness for more than a few days, a rash or sore on another part of the body, a fever and irritated eyes.

Home remedies may not work for all. Please ask your dentist or doctor for professional advice.

Dealing with Mouth Sores in Bellevue

Know more about mouth sores when you pay Overlake Dental a visit. Keeping regular appointments with your dentist keeps you well updated about your state of oral health, and needless to say, catches early signs of dental problems.