What Can Your Dental Cleaning Do For You?

modest smileIf you’re confident in your smile, then chances are you show it often. There is also a good chance that you take care of your smile by brushing and flossing your teeth every day, at least twice a day. While daily hygiene is vital, however, maintaining your smile’s good health also requires the touch of a professional. Learn the value of regularly-scheduled dental cleanings and professional maintenance by reading on as San Diego Periodontist, Dr. Kania, explains.

A Thorough Surface Scrub

There’s more than one way to clean a smile. The most common cleaning, also called a prophylaxis, enhances the effectiveness of your daily hygiene routine. The point of brushing and flossing is to control the accumulation of dental plaque, which contains hundreds of different oral bacteria types, some of which release toxins to destroy your oral tissues. Unfortunately, even the best routine may miss a spot now and then, and when plaque remains for too long, it becomes tartar; a calcified substance that is more stubborn than plaque and requires professional assistance to remove. Your regular cleaning also involves removing plaque from the gum line, where bacteria are fond of collecting. (more…)

Surprising Sources of Malodorous Breath

pretty embarrassed woman covering mouthThe severity of some dental issues may be relevant to the patient. For instance, tooth loss can be a devastating issue for some people, while others may laugh it off and continue about their daily lives, confidence unaffected (it should be noted that if you ignore tooth loss, your oral health can continue to suffer the consequences, even if your confidence doesn’t). Offensive breath, however, is an issue that most people would agree needs to be addressed. Brushing and flossing your teeth can typically eliminate the foul odors that can emanate from your mouth, but in some cases, dental hygiene alone may not suffice to combat the problem. To help you defeat bad breath and restore your confidence, Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Kania, explains some of the lesser-known causes behind chronic bad breath, or halitosis.

Bad Bacteria

If you are a patient or regular reader of ours, then you should know that the majority of oral health issues, including periodontal disease, begin with the excessive accumulation of bacteria. With over 600 different kinds of bacteria in your mouth, some of these germs do more than infect your oral tissues; some of them emit foul-smelling sulfur compounds that can seriously taint your exhalations. Many of these germs rest on your tongue, so be sure to scrub your tongue with a toothbrush, or preferably a tongue-scraper, while brushing and flossing your teeth. (more…)

Encinitas Periodontist Discusses Comprehensive Tooth Replacement

older woman deep in thoughtYou have options when facing the prospect of significant tooth loss and replacement. Typically, for severe cases of tooth loss that involve most or all of the teeth on a single dental ridge, a partial or full denture is the most conservative option. As if an incomplete smile and a diminished ability to eat, chew, and speak were not worrisome enough, however, there are profound and long-reaching consequences of tooth loss that must be taken into consideration when pondering treatment. The loss of a tooth’s root affects more than your smile’s appearance; it can affect the health of your jaw, which naturally begins to deteriorate (atrophy) when it loses one or more of the roots embedded in it. In time, this deterioration can lead to further tooth loss, as well as the shrunken-jaw appearance of facial collapse. By securing your dentures to strategically placed dental implants, however, you can help stave off the continuing damage of tooth loss, helping restore and maintain your smile’s beauty and function in the more immediate future. Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, explores the various advantages that implant-supported dentures have over their traditional counter part. (more…)

A Discussion on Periodontal Health and Heart Disease

girl listeningNot a lot of media attention is given to periodontal (gum) disease, but the chronic illness affects nearly 80% of America’s adult population and is the number one cause of permanent tooth loss. You may have diligently brushed and flossed your teeth for as long as you can remember, but you may still be vulnerable to this disease. Destruction from periodontal disease can effect far beyond your teeth and gums, and may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and other systemic illnesses. To help exemplify the importance of preventing and treating periodontal disease, your Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, explores the connection between the dental malady and your risk of potentially fatal heart disease.

The Humble Beginnings of a Serious Problem

One of the pillars of the oral-systemic connection lies in the humble beginnings of dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Have you ever run your tongue over your teeth, only to grimace at the sticky, uncomfortable mass that covered their surfaces? That substance is dental plaque, which consists mostly of the bacteria that reside in your mouth and is largely responsible for the development of major oral health issues. (more…)

What Could Make a Dental Bridge Better?

woman with crossed armsLosing a tooth can be a traumatic blow to both your oral health and your confidence. Replacing it, therefore, can be vital to your self-esteem, as well as to protecting your mouth from further damage and loss. Although the idea of a dental bridge is not a new one, it remains a popular and effective method for replacing a single lost tooth, although the materials and anchoring apparatus have improved greatly over time. A conventional dental bridge consists of one or more false teeth, or pontics, with crowns on either side of the device. The outside crowns are placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap, called anchor teeth, to hold the bridge in place. As efficient as a dental bridge is, however, it is not always an ideal solution when considering every consequence of tooth loss. Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, explains how securing your replacement tooth to a dental implant can address the loss of your tooth root as well as the visible crown.

Another Option

Because the outside crowns of a traditional bridge must be placed on your natural teeth, those anchor teeth must be recontoured by removing a small portion of enamel. While the amount removed is carefully calculated to disturb as little of your tooth as possible, most dentists would agree that leaving healthy teeth undisturbed is preferable whenever possible. A dental implant, on the other hand, serves as a prosthetic tooth root and offers a base for your restoration that is fused to your jawbone.   (more…)

Why Your Smile Needs a Solid Foundation

thoughtful smileLast week, we discussed the various stages of gum disease and how it can destroy your smile as the disease progresses. Unlike tooth decay, gum disease does not directly attack your tooth structure, but rather it slowly erodes the foundation that holds your teeth in place and nourishes them. To underscore the importance of preventing and controlling gum disease, Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, explains why a strong and healthy foundation is important to your smile.

Jawbone–Like Soil for Your Teeth

The lower portion of your teeth extend into one, two, or three roots (on average), depending on the tooth. The roots are embedded in your jawbone via ligaments, which anchors your teeth in place and provides them nutrients through their roots. When periodontitis (severe gum disease) advances past your periodontal tissue, this supporting structure of jawbone is its next target.

When your roots are stimulated by biting or chewing, your body knows to send your jaw a certain allotment of nutrients to support them. If one or more of these teeth are lost, your jaw receives fewer nutrients and begins to atrophy,this may result in a lack of support for your remaining teeth and lead to further tooth loss. Gum disease, which is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America, can work in tandem with nutrient-deficiency to render your jawbone unable to perform its duties. (more…)

Encinitas Periodontist Explores the Stages of Gum Disease

girl with her hand over her mouthPeriodontal (gum) disease is complicated, and treating it can be just as much so. Depending on what stage the disease is in by the time it’s detected, treatment can range from a deep cleaning and improved dental hygiene to invasive surgery to repair damaged or missing gum tissue. As a periodontist in Encinitas, Dr. Ann Kania has extensive experience diagnosing and treating periodontal disease in all of its forms and restoring excellent periodontal health to her patients.

A Growing Problem

Many people may not consider periodontal disease a serious concern, but it affects over 80% of adults in America under the age of 60. The disease is progressive and will continue its destructive course until you take action to stop it. The two main stages of periodontal disease are: (more…)

Why Your Mouth Hates Cigarette Smoke

stop smokingThere was a time when the dangers of cigarette smoke were debatable, and the act of smoking was nowhere near controversial. Today, however, modern science and medicine have done away with the veil by providing irrefutable evidence of tobacco smoke’s detrimental effects on your physical health. Similarly, tobacco smoke can also devastate your oral health, causing or exacerbating destructive dental disease like gum disease and, in extreme cases, oral cancer. To help raise awareness of the dangers that smoking can pose to your teeth and gums, Encinitas periodontist Dr. Ann Kania explores how tobacco smoke interacts with the tissues in your mouth.

Cigarettes and Oral Health

Studies have shown that people who smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or any other form of tobacco are more likely to develop periodontal disease. There are various theories concerning the exact mechanisms that account for the increased risk, many of which involve smoking’s tendency to cause your blood vessels to constrict, inhibiting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your periodontal tissue (gums) and stunting its ability to heal. Consequently, many harmful oral bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they thrive in the lack of oxygen and can attack your gum tissue more effectively. (more…)

A Two-Sided Debate on Coffee

coffee beansIf you’re an avid coffee drinker, then chances are that you’re familiar with the many warnings that are often spouted about coffee’s damaging effects to your smile. Some reports have even claimed that drinking coffee can increase your risk of certain health conditions, including bad nerves and heart troubles. While over-indulging can most certainly cause more harm than good, more recent studies suggest that drinking a moderate amount of coffee (one or two cups a day) can actually prove beneficial to your health. To help clarify, Encinitas periodontist Dr. Ann Kania discusses both sides of the coffee debate and how the beverage really interacts with your teeth and health.

The Good: Reduced Oral Health Risk

Although experts are not exactly sure how, studies suggest that participants who consistently drank a moderate amount of coffee every day were significantly less likely to develop heart disease or other chronic illnesses. Along with the study, conducted by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, other research also suggests that ritual coffee consumption helped increase participants’ defense against oral health issues, including gum disease. According to the authors of the more recent studies, previous reports about coffee’s damaging effects did not take into account other habits commonly practiced by coffee drinkers at the time, including smoking cigarettes and habitual inactivity.  (more…)

Encinitas Periodontist Explores Vitamin D and Periodontal Health

vitamin dVitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because of our ability to synthesize the vitamin when ultraviolet B rays stimulate the skin. Its purposes are diverse, but vitamin D’s importance is clear; numerous reports have shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with many illnesses, including some cancers, inflammatory diseases, and poor periodontal health. To help highlight this importance, Encinitas periodontist Dr. Ann Kania explores vitamin D’s benefits to your oral health.

Periodontal Benefits of Vitamin D

One of vitamin D’s most beneficial properties to your physical health is the role that it plays in helping to mediate bone health. While keeping your jawbone strong is essential to maintaining your dental health, emerging research also suggests that the vitamin may also serve as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation is the mechanism by which your immune system fights off unwanted biological invaders. It is also the mechanism that oral bacteria utilize to progress the damage of periodontal disease, which attacks your supporting dental structures (i.e., periodontal tissue (gums), jawbone, etc.). Controlling inflammation with an adequate supply of vitamin D helps reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease, or increase your chances of successfully treating it. (more…)