Gum Disease Terms to Know from Your Encinitas Periodontist


Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease, or periodontal disease. One of the first signs of gingival infection that you may notice is bleeding during brushing. Contrary to popular belief, consistent gum bleeding when you brush your teeth is not normal. Other symptoms of gingivitis include inflamed or sensitive gum tissue, deep red or purple coloration of your gums, and foul breath.

Preventing Disease

A preventive dentistry measure, prophylaxis is a dental cleaning to help you avoid gum disease.  This term refers to therapy for a healthy person.  Supportive  Periodontal Therapy (SPT) is provided to patients that have a history of periodontal attachment loss.  Both thorough dental cleanings from our Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Kania, includes meticulously removing dental plaque. Since colonies of plaque collecting along your gum line are a main contributor to gum disease, disrupting this bacteria is imperative for preventing periodontal disease progression.

Periodontal Pockets

Ground zero for gum disease, periodontal pockets are a cesspool for the bacteria that perpetuates gingival infection. The pockets form in later stages of gum disease as the infection damages connective tissues between the teeth and gums. As the gum tissue separates from the teeth, periodontal pockets deepen, causing teeth to become loose and possibly fall out or require extraction. (more…)

Researchers Find Links to Gum Disease and Pancreatic Cancer

Did you know that the average survival rate for pancreatic cancer within five years of diagnosis is around 5%? This staggering statistic should not be taken lightly. That’s why Dr. Kania, our Encinitas periodontist, brings to your attention new research that suggests a connection between pancreatic cancer and gum disease.

Pancreatic Cancer and Gum Disease

Recently, the British Dental Health Foundation published their findings in the journal Gut, which describes a study concerning bacteria which causes gum disease, according to Medical News Today. They found that patients with such pathogens were two times as likely to develop pancreatic cancer. For patients without any harmful oral bacteria, their chances of pancreatic cancer were 45% less. Although the researchers cannot yet prove gum disease‘s exact relation to the causes of pancreatic cancer, the connection is significant.

Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer and Gum Disease

In fact, gum disease and pancreatic cancer have other connections. Your risk of both increases exponentially if you smoke or chew tobacco. One in four people with pancreatic cancer smoke. In addition, age heightens your risk of both gum disease and pancreatic cancer. Many patients diagnosed with periodontal disease are over 40, and the majority of those with pancreatic cancer are over 60. (more…)

Stem Cells Could Change the Face of Complex Dental Procedures

Your oral health consists of a complex combination of oral tissues and supporting structures that all depend on each other. Your teeth, for instance, are supported by your gums, periodontal ligaments and jawbone. If these supporting structures are compromised (by gum disease, for instance), they can no longer support your teeth, and tooth loss can follow. Consequently, losing a tooth can lead to the deterioration of your jawbone. Luckily, your Encinitas periodontist Dr. Ann Kania offers dental implants—the only dental prosthetic that replaces your entire tooth structure and helps prevent jawbone degradation. The success of an implant, however, depends on an adequate amount of jawbone for support. Patients who lack this support often have to undergo additional procedures to fortify their jaws, which can include bone grafts. New stem cell research, however, may some day help provide an innovative method for jawbone regeneration as an alternative to bone grafts.

Rebuilding Your Jawbone with Stem Cells

Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research recently conducted a clinical trial involving 24 participants. The patients all required jawbone reconstruction following tooth removal. Half of them received traditional guided bone regeneration, while the other half received experimental tissue repair stem cells. At six and twelve weeks, the patients received dental implants. Those who received the experimental cells had greater bone density and quicker bone repair than their counterparts. (more…)

A Mother’s Emotional Health can Affect Her Child’s Oral Health

There is an old saying that goes something like this:  “If mother isn’t happy, then nobody is happy”. Interesting idea, but it holds some truth. Traditionally, mother often plays the role of primary caregiver in raising children and overseeing the household. Mom’s emotional state can affect the mood of the entire family. According to research from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine, mom’s emotional health may also play a role in the state of her children’s oral health. Encinitas periodontist Dr. Ann Kania explores this research, and what it could mean for mothers and their children everywhere.

Lasting Effects

The oral health study involved 224 adolescent participants. The researchers examined the oral health of the young teenagers by counting the number of decayed, filled, or missing permanent teeth, and measured levels of dental plaque, which is a key indicator of poor oral health. The researchers gathered medical information from the children and their mothers to assess the children’s wellbeing at ages 3, 8, and currently, at age 14. The information revealed that even with dental insurance and preventive measures, including fluoride treatments and dental sealants, children were still susceptible to cavities by the age 14. A complicated statistical modeling program tracked the source of poor oral health to the mother’s emotional health, education level, and knowledge of oral health at children’s ages 3 and 8. Lead investigator Suchitra Nelson says it is important for mothers to care for themselves in order to care for their children. (more…)

Biomimetic Dentistry Develops New Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Our Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, is a strong proponent of caring for the whole patient. Our periodontal care focuses on minimally invasive, comfortable treatment that encourages complete health. Biomimetic dentistry subscribes to a similar philosophy of care that involves careful treatment planning and protection of healthy oral tissues. Most recently, some researchers have developed a biomimetic time-release capsule for treating and healing gum tissue from the ravages of periodontal disease.

The Progression of Gum Disease

For clarification on how the time-release capsule works, our Encinitas periodontist will explain how gum disease affects your oral health. Starting as colonies of plaque along the gum line, the bacteria that cause gum disease challenge the immune system and result in an infection. Gums become red and inflamed and eventually recede from the tooth as the infection spreads. The pocket formed between the tooth and gums is known as a periodontal pocket. These periodontal pockets contain the bacteria that perpetuate inflammation and disease. This is where the biomimetic capsules target gum disease.

How Biomimetic Capsules Work

According to Medical News Today, researcher Dr. Steven Little of the University of Pittsburgh calls the periodontal pockets “ground-zero for periodontal disease.” Injected into the periodontal pockets, the controlled-release capsules work to reduce inflammation and foster gum tissue healing. Since an inappropriate inflammatory reaction is one of the main perpetuating forces behind gum disease, researchers focused more on controlling the inflammatory aspect of the disease rather than the bacterial. In fact, the capsule releases a protein that encourages healthy inflammation, restoring an immune balance.

Time-Released Capsule Encourages Gum Healing

In clinical trials on animals, Dr. Little and his colleagues observed gum tissue healing and even re-growth as well as reduced symptoms of periodontal disease. In fact, the biomimetic capsules are suggested to help re-grow healthy gum tissue and even bone tissue that gum disease had previously deteriorated. (more…)

Encinitas Periodontist Explains How Seaweed Could Benefit Your Gums

An exciting new discovery by researchers from the Newcastle University’s School of Dental Sciences claims that seaweed may benefit your oral health. Interestingly enough, the research, in collaboration with the School of Marine Science and Technology, did not originally seek to address dental health. Our Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, will explain their findings and what this could mean for the future of your oral health.

How Gum Disease Forms

To explain how seaweed may benefit your gums, Dr. Kania will first explain how gum disease forms. Periodontal disease is a result of plaque buildup along the gum line. This filmy, clear layer of plaque holds bacteria against the teeth and gum tissue, allowing the pathogens to spread and grow. The plaque will begin to form colonies, creating an environment that can led to gingivitis and tooth decay.

Periodontal Disease Prevention

Preventing gum disease requires breaking up these colonies of plaque and bacteria to stop the spread of pathogens. Since oral hygiene routines cannot completely remove plaque, dental cleanings are necessary to address what is left behind. Our Encinitas dentist uses special techniques for periodontal care to keep your gums healthy and strong.

How Seaweed May Prevent Gum Disease

So what does seaweed have to do with plaque? Researchers from the School of Marine Science and Technology hoped to find an enzyme in the seaweed that could help break up microbes on the hulls of ships. What they found was that the enzyme could actually disperse the microbes in your mouth, plaque. This enzyme, bacillus licheniformis, can also be found in soil and bird feathers (especially aquatic birds). While the enzyme is still in testing for safety precautions, researchers hope their cavity-fighting seaweed will eventually be used in oral hygiene products like toothpastes and mouthwashes. (more…)

Encinitas Periodontist Offers Help to Quit Smoking

Did you know that under a microscope your mouth looks like a jungle? At least this is how microbiologists describe the microbial activity inside your oral cavity. You may be surprised to find that hundreds of species of bacteria not only live in your mouth, but choose specific environments over others. For example, the bacteria residing on the top of your tongue, is different from the bacteria that dwells underneath your tongue, and even on the sides. Our Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, will explain what this means for your oral health and how smoking can effect this veritable ecosystem.

Positive Bacteria Protects Your Mouth

Of these hundreds of species, most are bacteria biocompatible with health which protect your oral health. These positive bacteria form a blanket over the soft tissues of your mouth and your teeth. The thick carpet of positive bacteria blocks harmful pathogens from touching down and causing damage. According to microbiologists, Dr. Bruce Paster of the Forsyth Institute, these bacteria are fast-moving and spiral shaped. One of the most notorious bacteria which causes cavities is called S. mutans.  Numerous bacteria contribute to gum disease.

How Smoking Contributes to Gum Disease

What does this have to do with quitting smoking? Recently, Dr. Kumar of Professor of Periodontology at Ohio State University, produced evidence to suggest that smoker’s mouths actually kill the positive bacteria, making a more hospitable environment for pathogens. A metaphor for this phenomena is like that of the weed. Smoking chokes out the good bacteria, making more room for pathogens that contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.  Smoking increases your risk of periodontal disease, root canals, and oral cancer. (more…)

Stress-Free Periodontal Care from Encinitas Periodontist

Last week, our Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania, discussed how stress can contribute to bruxism and TMJ disorder. Both of these dental health issues can translate into symptoms like chronic headaches, earaches (especially in the morning), neck and shoulder pain, jaw popping, increased tooth sensitivity, and susceptibility to cavities. Since stress can trigger so many of these dental health difficulties, our periodontist, Dr. Kania, focuses on relaxing treatments that foster oral health and total wellbeing.

Comfortable Dental Treatment

In a spa-like atmosphere, our dental team will work diligently to make sure you receive the treatment you need comfortably. From gum disease therapy to dental checkups, we take extra steps to ensure you are informed of your procedure and feel comfortable with your treatment. We believe in educating our patients on our methods to help relieve anxiety and provide insight into their oral health.

Eliminate Stressful Dental Care

At your next stress-free visit to our dental office in Encinitas, we can help you relax with sedation dentistry. These sedation methods are available for patients who qualify with dental anxiety or fears. We offer nitrous oxide to help soothe our patients who would not otherwise feel relaxed enough to receive the dental care they need.

Safe Sedation Dentistry

Depending on your individual needs, we can determine the right type of sedation dentistry for you from IV sedation to nitrous oxide. Each of our dental treatments is backed by experience and attention to detail. You can rest assured that our dental team will take every precaution to ensure your safety during any procedures, especially treatments using sedation dentistry. (more…)

Feeling Stressed? Take Time to Relax for Your Dental Health

Did you know that stress can play a role in your dental health? Stress can contribute to conditions like bruxism, TMJ disorder, and high blood pressure can increase your risk of gum disease. Here are some tips from Dr. Ann Kania, our Encinitas periodontist, so that you can prevent stress from harming your oral health.

Stress Can Lead to Teeth Grinding

Next time you are on a hectic commute, instead of checking traffic updates, check your teeth. Are you clenching your teeth or grinding them together? Bruxers, or people with chronic teeth grinding, often clench their teeth together in stressful situations. While bruxism is most common during sleep, it can also occur when you are focused on other activities like driving, work, or typing. Check yourself periodically throughout the day to see if you are clenching your teeth.

This habit is harmful to your dental health because it wears away tooth enamel; the constant stress on your teeth erodes this protective barrier, making teeth more vulnerable to cavities and tooth sensitivity. Bruxism can also lead to other dental health conditions such as TMJ disorder.

TMJ Disorder Thrives on Stress

This jaw hinge joint complication can be caused by a number of other dental health issues such as misaligned bite and teeth grinding. Stress can also be a catalyst for TMJ disorder because of constant jaw muscle tension. Taking time to ease your stress with activities that relax you may help. Although reducing stress can help alleviate some symptoms of TMJ disorder, many of these subconscious habits are hard to break by simply finding time to relax. (more…)

Periodontist Explains Why Brushing Alone Is Not Enough to Prevent Gum Disease

When it comes to preventive oral care brushing and flossing are major components for keeping gum disease at bay. The American Dental Association recommends brushing at least twice daily with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing every night. This will disrupt colonies of plaque that build up along the gum line that contribute to periodontal infection. While daily oral hygiene is imperative to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, optimal oral health is not complete without professional care.

What is an oral porphylaxis?

An oral porphylaxis is preventive dental care. This includes dental cleanings for patients who do not have gum disease. The goal of dental cleanings is to prevent oral health problems, such as cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease. Our Encinitas periodontist offers dental cleanings that remove plaque both above and below the gum line. This is especially important for preventing gingival infection near the tooth root, and blocking the creation of periodontal pockets, where bacteria and plaque collect between the teeth and gums. In addition, Dr. Kania can use air abrasion methods to remove tooth stains, or recommend fluoride treatments to fight enamel erosion.  Supportive periodontal therapy (SPT) is provided as a dental cleaning in a patient that has a history of periodontal disease and / or treatment.  Many of our patients require this specialized care.

How often should I have a dental cleaning?

The American Dental Association recommends dental checkups and cleanings every six months. However, you may require therapy with our Encinitas periodontist, Dr. Kania every two to three months if you have a higher risk of periodontal disease. At times therapy is alternated between dentist and periodontist.  During these appointments, Dr. Kania can administer site-specific therapy or recommend prescription mouthwashes to help you keep disease at bay. These more frequent cleanings are generally recommended for periodontal patients who have had periodontal treatment, who smoke or use smokeless tobacco, as well as many patients over 40 years old.  (more…)