How Can I Tell If I Have Gum Disease?

How Can I Tell If I Have Gum Disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all Americans over the age of 30 have gum disease. This condition is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease has strong links to other dangerous health conditions including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and premature birth.

The most interesting part? This disease is almost 100% preventable.

Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that few people know about but that many people are affected by. It’s considered one of the “silent killers” because of how quickly and quietly it progresses.

Gum disease is a serious matter. You can’t afford to not know your risk.

So how do you tell if you have gum disease or not? Your answers to the following questions can help you get an idea.

How Do Your Gums Look?

Healthy gums should be a uniform color with a smooth and tight texture. Depending upon your complexion, your normal gum color could be coral pink, brown, light pink, or even a purple tone. The most important thing is that there shouldn’t be any areas that look swollen, rolled, or darker red than the others.

Bright or dark red gums or tissue that’s spongy and tender is a sign of the chronic inflammation that comes along with gum disease.

Do Your Gums Easily Bleed?

Contrary to popular belief, activities like flossing and getting your teeth cleaned should not make your gums bleed. It’s one thing if you accidentally cut your gums. But if simply bumping them with a toothbrush makes them bleed, then that’s a sign that something is wrong.

When gums become inflamed due to periodontitis, they swell with enlarged blood vessels and the outer layer of tissue thins out. This makes them apt to bleed under very little provocation. Healthy gum tissue, on the other hand, is much tougher.

Are You Plagued by Bad Breath?

There’s the bad breath that strikes after eating a meal loaded with garlic. There’s the bad breath that comes when you forgot to brush your teeth one day after having your morning coffee. And then there’s the bad breath that accompanies gum disease.

Advanced gum disease causes your gums to swell to the point that they start pulling away from your tooth roots and open up pockets for bacteria to collect. As the germs continue to attack the bone and ligaments around your teeth, the tissues break down and give off a rotting odor.

Bad breath from periodontitis is almost impossible to mask and won’t go away until you treat the disease. So if you suffer from incurable halitosis, then you may have gum disease.

Do You Suffer from Gum Recession?

Receding gums make teeth look long, yellow, and aged. They also expose the sensitive roots of your teeth and make it very difficult to enjoy hot or cold drinks. If your gums have been pulling away from your teeth at a surprising rate, this could be due to them swelling up and breaking from periodontitis.

Are Any of Your Teeth Loose?

Advanced periodontitis eventually attacks the ligaments that hold teeth in place. As teeth lose this support, they become wiggly and can fall out. Permanent adult teeth are not supposed to get loose so if you can move any of your teeth with your finger or tongue, then they may be in need of gum treatment.

Fight Back Against Gum Disease

If you think that you notice some signs that you may have gum disease then it’s time to get professional help. A dental team can help you identify the signs of periodontitis and recommend effective therapies for reversing it.

Get the best gum treatment by scheduling a consultation with a family dentist in Tacoma, Dr. Duke Bui.

What Every Woman Needs to Know About Hormones and Her Dental Health

What Every Woman Needs to Know About Hormones and Her Dental Health

If your body produces female hormones, then you probably aren’t surprised by the havoc they can cause. You may be surprised, however, to learn that hormones can have a major impact on your oral health.

How Hormones Affect Your Mouth

The tissue and blood vessels in your gums are highly susceptible to the influence of hormones. Hormone fluctuations can increase the blood supply to your gums and heighten their sensitivity to toxins in dental plaque.

As a result, your gums may become more prone to swelling and bleeding at certain points in your life. This can be problematic because the inflammation can quickly turn into a chronic infection.

Puberty Onset and Menstruation Increase Your Risk of Gingivitis

Many women have sensitive gums around the time that they get their period. You may notice that your gums feel a bit tight or itchy in some parts of your mouth or look puffier than usual right around the time you get your period. This swelling means that your gums are overreacting to bacteria on your teeth.

The onset of puberty delivers an overwhelming rush of hormones that can make a young girl prone to a full-blown case of gingivitis.

Can Hormone Birth Control Affect Your Gums?

There are many individuals who have sensitive gums right about the time they start taking a birth control medication that contains progesterone. Some women suffer gum discomfort when they stop a hormonal birth control.

Gum Health During Pregnancy

Even if you don’t notice gum changes at any other point in your life, you will almost certainly have some if you become pregnant.

Pregnancy will send you on a hormonal roller coaster unlike any other and your gums will attest to that.

High progesterone levels will make your gums swell up quickly in response to the tiniest bits of plaque bacteria. They may be so swollen that even normal brushing and flossing activities make them bleed. The good news is that the so-called “pregnancy gingivitis” only lasts for a few months until your baby arrives.

Menopause and Your Oral Health

The gradual decrease in ovulation and estrogen production marks the onset of menopause. These hormonal changes can also affect the mouth. Here are a few oral health complications that are closely connected to menopause:

●    Dry mouth
●    Gum recession
●    Increased risk for decay and gum disease
●    Increased risk for TMJ problems
●    Lowered bone density in the jaw
●    Changes in taste perception

Protect Your Oral Health Despite Hormone Changes

Maintaining a good routine of oral hygiene will help you avoid many of the complications that accompany changes in your hormone levels. Brush and floss daily to reduce plaque in your mouth that can trigger gum inflammation. Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash and/or use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste to prohibit bacterial growth.

Despite the challenges of some hormonal changes such as those that happen with pregnancy, you still need to make time for dental checkups and cleanings. Professional dental care will help you keep the occasional bout of gingivitis from turning into something more serious.

Family Dentist in Tacoma

No matter what your age or gender is you can count on a Tacoma dentist to help you maintain the best oral health possible. Women, in particular, may need specially-tailored dental advice to help them stay on top of the changes in their oral health caused by hormone fluctuations.

The team here at Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry welcomes all members of your family to enjoy the best in preventative dental care. We’re passionate about helping everyone in our community to live their best life. Call us today to schedule your visit.

9 Possible Reasons for That Metallic Taste in Your Mouth

9 Possible Reasons for That Metallic Taste in Your Mouth

Does your mouth often feel like you’ve been sucking on a coin?

A metallic taste in the mouth is an unpleasant but common condition that almost everyone experiences at some point in their life.

Why might your tongue taste like it’s made of steel wool? There are several possible reasons.

1. Serious Disease or Disorder Side-Effect

A coppery-taste in the mouth could be due to neurological complications. A nervous system problem can affect the way your taste buds perceive flavors. Stroke, Bell’s Palsy, and dementia are neurological problems that impact taste perception.

Kidney or liver disease, undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, and middle ear surgery can also affect the way your mouth tastes.

Has your health checked-out at your last doctor’s appointment? There could be other less serious factors that cause a metallic taste.

2. Medication Side-Effect

Cancer medications and certain antibiotics may temporarily cause your mouth to taste metallic. Some osteoporosis, glaucoma, and blood pressure medications can have similar side-effects.

3. Pregnancy

Many women find that the hormones from pregnancy make them more sensitive to smells. This can make their sense of taste different and give foods a metallic flavor.

4. Zinc Imbalance

Too much or too little zinc in your system can cause make your mouth taste metallic.

5. Poor Oral Hygiene

If you have gum disease, heavy plaque buildup, or untreated tooth decay, then your sense of taste will be affected. Neglecting your oral health can lead to a metallic taste in your mouth.

6. Sinus Problems

Have you noticed that the bitter taste in your mouth shows up around allergy season? Any time your sinuses suffer infection or inflammation your ability to taste food properly will also suffer.

7. Vitamin Supplements

That metallic taste may be caused by your prenatal supplement or daily multivitamin. These supplements often contain high levels of metallic minerals that turn up in your saliva.

8. Food Allergies

Keep a food diary for a few days to see if the metallic taste in your mouth shows up after eating a particular food. It could signal an allergy or just a mild reaction to something like tree nuts or shellfish.

9. Exposure to Metallic Irritants

If you’ve been exposed to dangerous levels of metals such as lead or mercury, then a metallic taste is a common effect.

Metallic Taste in Your Mouth? What You Can Do

Visit a Tacoma dentist to find out what could be causing the metallic taste in your mouth. Try to improve your oral hygiene in the meantime. Keeping your mouth clean and hydrated can help you reduce unpleasant tastes.

To make your meals taste better, try new spices, herbs, and flavor combinations in your cooking. Use plastic plates and utensils for eating instead of metal ones.

Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free mints can also mask any coppery taste you experience. If you smoke, you may find that quitting improves your sense of taste, as well.

Contact Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry today to learn more about the potential causes for a metallic taste in your mouth.