Tag Archives: gum disease

The Daily Dentist: Oral Hygiene is a Big Deal

The Little Things

As busy people and productive members of society, most of us have a daily routine that we follow to keep our lives on track. While we often do these things without thinking, its important to do them correctly and not completely overlook them as so called “little things”. Sometimes they’re much more important then they seem.

Like many people, it’s probably somewhere between a morning shower and hustling off to work that you took the time to brush your teeth, or did you? Much like other seemingly small aspects of our daily routine, we may find ourselves brushing our teeth without giving it much consideration; however, its it important to remember oral hygiene is much more important than it may appear.

Oral Hygiene: More Important than it Appears

So maybe you were running late and forgot to brush your teeth, or maybe you did remember to brush but you didn’t take the time to make sure you were getting all your teeth.

Oral Hygiene is No Big Deal… Right?!?!

Wrong!!!

Oral hygiene is very important, and while your smile may be able to withstand a minor oversight or two, it’s a slippery slope. As it can be extremely easy to get into the habit of providing your teeth with inadequate care and setting yourself up for inevitable oral health issues.

Sadly, this has been the case for many people in the past, as progressive diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease typically manifest slowly over several years, and rarely display any obvious symptoms until their latter stages.

Unfortunately, if such conditions have progressed to an advanced stage, the damage at that point may be irreversible and could in fact, stir up a hornet’s nest of additional health problems as well! Whether it be gum disease, tooth decay, or other related complications, the consequences of improper or inadequate oral hygiene are never pretty!

Poor Dental Hygiene: The Consequences

Tooth Decay

As you may already know, tooth decay is a condition in which harmful acidic particles build up in a person’s mouth over a prolonged period, slowly eroding the tooth’s protective outer layer and rendering it vulnerable to outside agents. Unprotected, bacteria descend upon the tooth causing it to rapidly decay. Once a tooth has fallen into a state of decay, you are likely to experience increased tooth sensitivity, as well as the appearance of cavities and eventual breakage.

Related Article: Tooth Decay: A Sticky, Sweet Dilemma

Gum Disease

Although gum disease is a relatively familiar term to many people, the condition is often misunderstood and simply written off as little more than a minor nuisance. However, the truth is that gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue caused by excess plaque/bacteria build up around the teeth and gumline. When the gum tissue has become infected, inflammation of tissue surrounding the teeth will occur. Your gums may bleed while eating or brushing, this is often a tell-tale sign of gingivitis, or an early stage of gum disease.

Once gingivitis has been detected, we highly recommend that you visit your dentist (if you haven’t already) and begin taking a proactive role in treating the condition before it can spread any further. If the infection is allowed to progress further, it will continue to spread throughout the mouth, eventually affecting the teeth and jawbone. This is what’s known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, which is a later stage of gum disease, and unquestionably when the disease is at its worst.

Periodontal disease causes irreversible damage to the mouth and may destroy the entire jaw of its host if severe enough. Perhaps most troubling of all is periodontal disease’s uncanny tendency to spread to other regions of the body or interact with other preexisting conditions, which could pose serious problems!

Related Article: Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Complications

While tooth decay and gum disease may not sound all that scary at first, the complications of either condition can truly be a nightmare! As alluded to earlier, if the bacteria produced by either condition enters the bloodstream it may likely travel to other areas of the body, spreading and worsening the infection.

If the infectious bacteria reach the heart of its host, it will inflame the heart’s vessels, resulting in the formation of numerous blood clots. These blood clots will slowly begin to cut off the flow of blood, thereby choking the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less and less efficiently.

As a result of this, individuals suffering from severe tooth decay or periodontal disease, (or both) have a three times higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular-based complications. Additionally, tooth decay and more particularly gum disease, can also lead to the worsening of other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or various types of cancer, which is likely to have serious if not fatal results.

Prevention: The Daily Dentist

When it comes to issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, prevention is always the best route, therefore Dr. Kimes and his staff at Overland Park Dentistry are more than happy to provide you with the best guidance and treatment to address all your oral hygienic concerns or needs.

However, despite the various quality services that are available, it’s important to remember that the determining factor between good oral health and poor oral health always comes back basic oral hygiene. By taking the time to make sure you are correctly brushing, flossing, and caring for your teeth on a daily basis you are taking a crucial step in preventing such oral health issues before they occur.

Remember consistency is key! By taking a few extra minutes each day to ensure you’re practicing proper oral hygiene and incorporating this into your daily routine until it becomes a habit, in sense you are acting as your own daily dentist! However, while daily hygienic consistency is in your hands, you should still make a point to schedule a routine dental checkup twice a year to make sure that your hygiene efforts are paying off and your teeth are strong and healthy.

Related Article: Schedule Your Summer Dental Appointment

Remember, although taking a few minutes each day to correctly care for your teeth may just seem like a little thing, sometimes the little things can make a very big difference!


Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

New Year’s Resolution: Stop Smoking

stop-smoking

The Dawn of a New Day

2019 is here and it’s the start of a new year! Like many people, you’ve probably given the upcoming year a certain matter of thought, and perhaps you’ve asked yourself if there are any specific goals you have or any changes that you’d like to make. Certainly, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set about accomplishing worthy goals for yourself and as a means of self-improvement.

Some of the more common resolutions involve weight loss, exercise, and financial improvement. However, for some people a very serious personal concern that is always brought up around this time of year is smoking, and their resolution to stop smoking. While the dangers of smoking have been well publicized and are certainly no secret among the general public, tobacco smoking remains a persistent issue that continues to plague people from all walks of life. If you’re a smoker, please consider putting “Stop Smoking” at the top of your New Year’s resolution list this year!

 

Smoking: Your Body’s Worst Nightmare

Simply put, tobacco products (particularly cigarettes) ruin your body. Although the damage takes a number of years to fully progress, smoking will slowly begin to attack your body in a variety of different ways, effectively decimating your overall health and ultimately resulting in death.

While this may sound a bit melodramatic, as of January 2018 The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that an estimated 480,000 deaths in the United States occur each year as a result of cigarette smoking. Therefore, this habit is causing more deaths annually than HIV, drug and alcohol use, and automotive accidents combined! As the culprit behind these staggering statistics, cigarettes are without question the most dangerous of tobacco products due to their highly addictive nature in addition to the numerous cancer-causing substances they contain. With users addicted to cigarettes, consistently exposing themselves to harmful substances, the occurrences of eventual health problems are inevitable.

Smoking and Your Oral Health

While many people are aware of the adverse effects smoking has on your respiratory and cardiovascular health, the effect it has on your oral health often remains overlooked. Unfortunately, this is often a costly mistake, as smoking can have a major impact on your teeth and gums and can even trigger some serious illnesses.

While certainly cigarette smoke can cause significant staining and discoloration of your teeth due to the vast quantities of nicotine and tar in each cigarette (usually giving your teeth a sickly yellowish hue) smoking also triggers and exacerbates a condition known as periodontal disease. Periodontal or gum disease is an infection that originates within the gum line and spreads throughout the mouth irreversibly damaging the gum tissue and teeth. In turn, the damage caused by periodontal disease may result in bone loss or even cause the infection to spread.

Related Article: Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

In addition to gum disease, tobacco smoke can also trigger mouth cancer, which like any form of cancer, wreaks havoc on the afflicted area while always presenting the threat of metastasizing into other regions of the body.

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening: Prevention Saves Lives

As a longtime practitioner in professional dentistry, Dr. Kimes echoed much of this when asked about the subject.

“A person’s mouth is not meant to be ingesting smoke, it damages the gums, the teeth, the tongue, the jawbone; everything! I’ve had a several patients over the years who wanted to quit but just weren’t able to, it was very sad to see” he said solemnly.

Indeed, the residual affects on the lives of those impacted by smoking is a very sad and very real consequence of smoking, and perhaps underlines the true importance to stop smoking more than anything.

Stop Smoking: Tips for Quitting

Finding the best way to stop smoking is always a tricky subject as there is no magic formula or fool-proof plan to ensure this happens. However, there are plenty of resources and different methods to assist you in the process of quitting!

  1. Make a Plan: If you are serious about wanting to stop smoking, it’s a wise idea to have a sort of game plan in mind to assist you and anticipate any difficulty that lay ahead. Quitting can be tricky so you might try asking someone else who has quit smoking for advice.
  2. Use Resources: Although there are those who attempt to quit cold turkey, (without any assistance) approximately only 7% are successful in doing so, often with much difficulty. Fortunately, there is no need for such difficulty today as numerous products exist that can be used as effective tools in curtailing your cravings. Known as nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine patches, gums, and other nicotine substitutes can play a major part in slowly diminishing the powerful dependence instilled by cigarette smoking.
  3. Ask Others for Help: Please don’t be afraid to ask for help, as support from friends and family often plays a vital role in the success of quitting. Additionally, it may also help to consult your physician, dentist, or psychologist as they may be able to help advise you during the process, and better your chances of success.
  4. Know Your Triggers: On the road to quitting this unhealthy habit, you will probably encounter certain situations or circumstances that will give you the urge to smoke, these are your triggers and it’s important to recognize them, so you are able to refrain from smoking if or when they appear. Perhaps one of the most common triggers among smokers is the fact that they are surrounded by other smokers. If this is the case and you have friends and family who smoke, you might want to limit your time with them or make a point to avoid them if they are smoking. This can be tricky but it’s certainly worth it.
  5. Stay Busy: By keeping yourself distracted and your mind off smoking, you might find things go smoother. Put smoking on the back burner for a while and take the time to do something different. Perhaps there is a project you need to get started on or something new that you’ve always wanted to try. Starting a project or new hobby are great ways to change things up and get your mind on other things.
  6. Don’t Give Up: Quitting smoking is a long and winding road and there is always a chance of relapsing and slipping back into old habits. While this may be discouraging, it’s imperative that you not give up; even if you do have a slip-up or two (or more). By remaining consistent and continuing to fight the urge, it will get easier, you will break the habit and eventually stop smoking.

The Road to a Better Tomorrow!

The road to a better tomorrow starts today and with a brand-new year in full swing, the time for a healthier life is now! If “Stop Smoking” is on your New Year’s resolution list, then much like 2018 its time to make that issue a thing of the past. We hope the information above was useful for you and our staff at Overland Park Dentistry wish you a happy and healthy new year!

 

Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry options for you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at 913-341-2380.

Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

dental-health-awareness

Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease: A Dangerous Duo

A little-known fact…

When someone is stricken with an illness, they often feel as though they are “fighting” the illness, and while it has become something of a cliché way of describing it, indeed “fighting it” is actually a quite accurate way of putting it. Fighting a disease is essentially like fighting an enemy within your own body and while fighting one disease at a time can be very tough, fighting two different diseases at one is a harrowing experience to say the least!

Unfortunately, this has been the case for many people, as not having accurate dental health awareness, overlooking routine oral hygiene procedures or improperly preforming them can lead to the condition known as Periodontal Disease!

Periodontal Disease: A Deceptive Enemy

Whether known as Periodontal Disease, or more formally as Periodontitis, or even simply as gum disease, this progressive illness should not be taken lightly! While initially considered to be more of a cosmetic issue, periodontal disease has in many cases been thought of as little more than a nuisance that merely discolors your teeth and gives you bad breath. However, this is a gross misconception. In reality, gum disease is a progressive infection that while beginning in the gumline, eventually spreads throughout the mouth, often damaging everything it reaches. In some of the more severe cases, gum disease has been known to entirely destroy a sufferer’s jawbone, or even spread into other regions of body. Once periodontal disease has reached this stage, the likelihood of it triggering additional illnesses or interacting with pre-existing ones becomes a serious concern, that may even prove to be life-threatening.

 

Dental Health Awareness: The Interaction

While periodontal disease can affect a person’s health in a number of different ways, the link between periodontitis and a person’s cardiovascular health is perhaps the most prominent. As something of an umbrella term, cardiovascular or heart disease pertains to any such conditions that may block the heart’s valves or restrict its blood flow in anyway. As mentioned previously, in severe cases of gum disease once the excess bacteria enter the body’s blood vessels, it will begin to travel throughout the body. If the periodontal bacteria reach the heart, it will likely inflame vessels causing blood clots to develop and damage to occur. This damage will slowly began restricting the flow of blood, effectively choking the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less and less.

Given this data, skeptics in both the dental and medical fields are quick to point out that despite the previous information, periodontal disease still does not guarantee an eventual heart attack. While this is certainly true, according to a recent study conducted by Harvard University, individuals afflicted with gum disease have at least a two to three times higher probability of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other sort of cardiovascular-based issue; alas, proving the correlation to be self-evident.

 

Dental Health Awareness: What to look for

Along with the clear link to cardiovascular illness, periodontal disease can also play a major role in the onset of or worsening of diabetes mellitus, which if mismanaged may wreak havoc on a person’s health and overall quality of life.  With so many hazards and associated issues, you’re probably wondering what exactly can be done to stop gum disease? Odd as it may sound, the key to preventing periodontal disease from appearing in your life is prevention itself. Much like a large hornet’s nest that has been left to grow and prosper, (thereby becoming a problem) gum disease is a progressive illness that will only become an issue if it is neglected, improperly managed, and ultimately allowed to thrive. This is one of the main reasons we talk so much about dental health awareness.

Learning and familiarizing yourself the signs and symptoms of gum disease is a crucial first step in preventing periodontal disease from becoming an issue in the first place. Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Bleeding or noticeably swollen gums
  • Excess pus buildup around gums and teeth
  • Hard brownish deposits that accumulate along the gum line
  • Chronic foul breath
  • Newly formed gaps between teeth or teeth that appear loose
  • Alterations in bite / changes in chewing habits

Related Article: Diabetes and Oral Health: The Link to Gum Disease

 

Dental Health Awareness: Risk Factors

As you can imagine, there are multiple factors such as; lifestyle habits or underlining issues that can play a major role in the development or worsening of periodontal disease which is why your dental health awareness is important to our team.

Such risk factors may include:

  • Smoking or any tobacco use
  • Genetic disposition / history of dental problems
  • Poor or improper oral hygiene
  • Preexisting health issues such as diabetes or hormonal disorders
  • Prescription or recreational drug use
  • Bruxism / clenching and grinding your teeth
  • Excess stress or a weakened immune system
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Previously damaged or misaligned teeth

 

Don’t Fight Alone!

As mentioned previously, what truly makes a disease like Periodontitis so dangerous is its uncanny ability to trigger additional issues such as heart disease. While fighting this gruesome twosome of periodontal disease and heart disease is certainly an uphill battle, you don’t have to fight alone! At Overland Park Dentistry, Dr. Kimes and his wonderful staff are here to help you in this battle by providing you with some of the highest quality dental care in the Kansas City area.

Related Article: Your Overland Park Dentist: Charles R. Kimes, DDS

Make no mistake, gum disease is very dangerous and if left untreated the consequences could be dire. So, please don’t let this happen to you, come see us at Overland Park Dentistry and let’s fight periodontal disease together!

Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment or whitening consultation with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.