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Causes of bleeding gums and when to see your dentist

Seeing blood after you brush your teeth can be alarming, but don't panic! You may be able to cure your bleeding gums without having to go to the dentist, depending on the situation. Let's talk about what causes bleeding gums and when you should see your dentist about it.

They may be tiny, but your gums have a big job.

They protect the roots and neck of your teeth from bacteria.Without healthy gums, bacteria can sneak beneath your teeth and cause tissue damage. Eventually, the tissues become too damaged to hold your teeth, thus leading to loose teeth that can even fall out.

 

What causes bleeding gums?

1. Gingivitis (gum disease)

If you don't brush or floss regularly, plaque builds up in the groove around your teeth. Sometimes you can see the plaque as white or yellowish marks by your gums. As it grows and moves, they irritate your gums causing gingivitis. It's the early stage of gum disease, and its most common symptom is bleeding gums. Other symptoms are red gums, sensitive gums, and bad breath. Luckily this stage is reversible. Your dentist can help scrape away plaque and bacteria. Brushing and flossing keep the bacteria way for good. However, if gingivitis gets worse, your gums may start to pull away from your teeth, leaving space for bacteria to travel into tissues below your teeth. The longer bacteria lives in your tissue, the worse your dental health gets. 

 

2. Pregnancy

Pregnancy changes your hormones that affect your entire body. Hormone changes can cause "pregnancy gingivitis". Your gums may swell up and become sensitive, causing bleeding when you brush or floss. To avoid oral health issues, talk to your dentist about how to care for your teeth when you're pregnant.

 

3. Medicines

The medicine you take can make your gums more likely to bleed, even if you have excellent brushing and flossing habits. Blood thinners and aspirin keep your blood from clotting. These medicines especially increase your risk of bleeding gums and may cause your gums to bleed for a long time after brushing. You should tell your dentist if you're taking these medicines. 

 

4. A new oral health routine

If you started a new oral health routine, such as brushing or flossing more often, your gums may bleed until your mouth gets used to the new habits. Brushing and flossing clear away bacteria and plaque from your gums. As you practice these good habits, your gums should bleed less until it eventually stops altogether. Also, brushing too hard can irritate your gums and cause them to bleed. Always use a gentle motion when brushing and consider getting a brush with soft bristles. 

 

When to see your dentist...

Sometimes if you practice good habits, your gums will get better without a visit to the dentist. But if your gums bleed regularly, such as every time you brush your teeth for a few weeks, I encourage you to make an appointment! You should also call your dentist if your gums bleed for a long time after you have stopped brushing or flossing. I also recommend that you see your dentist if you experience these symptoms:

  • red/swollen gums
  • sensitive gums
  • gums that seem to be separating from teeth -- leaving a gap between the gum and the tooth
  • frequent bad breath or taste in your mouth
  • loose teeth as an adult
  • changes in the way your top and bottom teeth align

The sooner you see your dentist about signs of gum disease, the more likely you'll be able to reverse the condition.

 

-- Jackie

A Brief History of Floss

Healthy Clean White Smile Floss

Humans have been treating their mouth related ailments for at least 10,000 years. Some of the earliest evidence of direct intervention of caries includes bow drills and accompanying dental abrasions in the archaeological catalog of the Indus Valley Civilizations dating back to 7,000 BC.  Early forms of the toothbrush have been attributed to Chinese civilization back in 3,000 BC.  Surely, pieces of string have been used to remove detritus from people’s teeth for as long as string has been around.  But invention of modern dental floss occurred much more recently in 1815 by New Orleans dentist Levi Spear Parmly.  In his book A Practical Guide to the Management of the Teeth, Parmly described a waxed string he developed to be used as a device to remove harmful debris from between the teeth and gum line as a way to prevent oral disease.   It is a simple concept and application, but since its initial inception dental floss has undergone numerous transformations over the years.

 

Levi Parmly’s promotion of his dental floss caused it to become widely accepted across the field of dentistry.  But it took nearly 70 years for it to reach the homes of the everyday consumer.  That’s when in 1882 Codman and Shurtlefelt started marketing the first mass available, non-waxed silk string floss.  From there it was only a matter of time before dental floss would become the staple of your daily oral care routine it is today.

 

The silk-based floss remained relatively unchanged until the 1940s and 50s.  Dr. Charles C Bass created a floss using nylon instead of silk, for its better elasticity and less fraying.  Within the same decade, dental tape came onto the scene offering a more comfortable feel between users’ teeth and greater tooth surface area covered.

 

Over the years, companies have developed floss and flossing technologies more and more to help accommodate an activity many people agree is not their favorite part of the day.  Floss today comes in many variations including waxed and unwaxed, mono- and multi-filaments, threaded and tape styles, various thicknesses, and picks and wands for easier handling.  The latest trend that is truly changing the game of cleaning between teeth is the interdental brush.  Very thin brushes used to get between teeth are shown to be more efficient at removing plaque than their flossing string counterparts. 

 

Of course, no discussion of reaching tight places between teeth and along gum lines would be complete without mentioning Doctor Plotka’s antimicrobial toothbrushes with flossing bristles!  The technology has come full circle where you now have a toothbrush with the unique ability to reach deep between teeth and into grooves to provide a superior cleaning experience.  Our brushes are not designed to replace flossing but are the perfect complement, and fill-in where flossing and brushing with the traditional tools fall short.

-Tim Mavroules

 

Sources:

http://www.historyofdentistry.net/dentistry-history/history-of-dental-floss/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_floss

History of Toothpaste

Oral hygiene has always been a top priority in society as far as we can remember. Although the toothpaste that we have available today seem to be more effective in preventing oral disease, the ones created in the past weren't too different!
Take a look at this brief timeline:
4th century AD: The Egyptians created the oldest known formula. It was a mixture of crushed rock salt, dried iris flowers and pepper. Even though this was known to create bleeding gums, researchers suggested that it was most effective compared to most toothpastes used as recently as a century ago.
1780: It was known that people were scrubbing their teeth with a powder mainly made of burnt bread. 
1824: A dentist (named Peabody) added soap to toothpaste for added cleanliness. However, later on, it was replaced by sodium lauryn sulfate to create a smooth paste.
1873: Colgate produced and launched their nice-smelling toothpaste and it was sold in a jar.
1892: Dr. Sheffield was the first person to put toothpaste in a collapsible tube -- it's been suggested that his version is the most similar to today's version.
1914: Fluoride was added to toothpastes after it was discovered that it significantly decreased dental cavities.
1975: Herbal toothpastes, like Tom's, became an alternative to cleaning teeth without fluoride. It contained ingredients like peppermint oil, myrrh and plant extracts.
1987: Edible toothpaste was invented. It was mainly used by children who were learning to brush their teeth, but it was invented by NASA so astronauts could brush their teeth without spitting into a zero-gravity abyss. 
1989: Rembrandt invented the first toothpaste that claimed to "whiten and brighten your smile". 
The world of dentistry is always evolving! I wonder what other milestones we'll reach today. 
-- Jackie

Mouth and Heart...A love-hate story by V.

Besides hurtful words that can make your heart bleed,

Or warm kisses that make its wounds heal,
Did you know that mouth and heart are closely linked?
In fact, periodontal disease and heart disease are intertwined.

I might be a -bad- Poet and certainly no Doctor, but I work in the dental field, read the news and keep myself fairly informed, and it is no news that oral care is linked to diseases and health issues, such as diabetes, Alzheimers, and even breast cancer, just to name a few.

Studies have shown a direct link between the frequency and length of brushing as well as flossing and the risk of having a heart attack, failure or stroke. And it is for this reason patients with gum disease cannot undergo brain surgeries!

This is how I explain it with my bad-Poet-no-Doctor words:

-         Some bad bacteria live in the mouth.

And those are not simply linked to badmouth.

-         If not eliminated by proper oral care, they harden into dental plaque.

Almost as hard but definitely not as pretty as your Shellac ;)

-         Plaque is in direct contact with the gum.

And here begins all the fun…

-         Gum are tissues with tons of blood vessels, that connect to more blood vessels…

That’s why they should be treated like little Angels…

-         Vessels transport blood to and from the Heart.
Sooooooo smart.

-         The Heart pumps bacteria-filled blood.

Now I’m gonna throw-up.

-         Bacteria cause blood clots, leading to hear attack or stroke.

And don’t pretend you are choked.

-         Death.
=> AVOIDABLE WITH GOOD ORAL HEALTH!

Alright, the last one is a bit dramatic, but I wish more people would understand and take seriously the impact of poor oral care on their heart. In conclusion: <3 Happy Teeth , Happy Heart <3

 

-V.

What I love most about Thanksgiving 🦃

Good morning y'all!

It's Jackie reporting in, and I hope you're all having a smooth week! We are just DAYS away from one of my favorite days of the year, and I'm sure yours too! That's right... THANKSGIVING. This is one of the warmest and heartfelt holidays of the season, and I'm happy this is a short week for everyone to enjoy!

I just wanted to jump right in to today's blog and talk about some of my favorite things about Thanksgiving:

1. Traveling 🚘

Now it would be nice if I meant traveling to a different state/country for a vacation, but I think traveling to see your family/friends comes close to beating that! Personally, traveling isn't something I do during the holidays because I don't live too far from my family or my friends, but I'm still just as eager to see them (as if I didn't see them the other week, lol!). So I can only imagine the feeling of excitement for those who don't really get to see their loved ones as often.

2. Quality time ☺️

You know I had to slide in some quality time in this blog. I am very family oriented; I grew up with a HUGE family. I was always told "family is everything" while growing up, but I think I really started to grasp that concept on my own when I started college (and that was only a few years ago!) I came to the realization that not only are we getting older, but so are our loved ones around us. So definitely cherish the times you have with them now! ❤️

3. The FOOD 🍽️

A girl loves to eat, ha! I'm happy that I did not grow up a picky eater at all. I'll eat anything as long as it's edible lol. I think my all time favorite thing on the table has to be MASHED POTATOES. Second best would be cranberry anything. Not sure why I love cranberries so much, but also not complaining!

4. Black Friday Sales‼️

I know we all like to look for some deals while we're shopping, but how nice is it to have one day where every store has a sale going on! Don't get me wrong, Black Friday shopping is very hectic but a lot of online stores are holding a sale on their website as well! So you get to save money from the comfort of your home. An example being... US 😉

Make sure to check out our Black Friday sale: Buy 1 Get 1 FREE on Manual and Travel Brushes/Packs! Just make sure to add the extra item(s) to your cart! 

I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it makes you just as excited for the holidays as I am! Talk to y'all soon 👋 -- Jackie

My Top 5 Holiday Travel Essentials!

Hi All!

The holidays are just around the corner, which is crazy! Time seems to fly as soon as October ends, and then it’s a mad dash to the end of the year.

I don’t know about you, but I no longer live near home—I’m about 2.5 hours north of where my parents live—so the holiday season means traveling back and forth throughout the next few weeks. Since traveling can be a pain (+ we often have our brains scrambled/occupied by so many other things), I’ve compiled a list of my Top 5 essentials for traveling this time of year! I hope this list is helpful (and keeps you from forgetting any important things while packing!)

1. A foldable hair brush

I am very low maintenance with my hair, but a hair brush is still essential! No matter what kind of hair you have, it’s important to get all snags and tangles out a couple times per day, plus it’s good for your scalp to brush your hair, as the contact of the bristles encourages circulation! I don’t like packing heavy when I travel, so a must-have for me is the Wet Brush Foldable Hair Brush

2. Comfy Socks

Travel (for me) means lots of driving, and my feet can get sore from the hours spent on the road—not to mention that the holiday season here in New England means brisk, chilly weather! A comfortable and warm pair of socks is a necessity for me. My favorite ones are Bombas! They support your arches and also give pairs to those in need when you purchase.

3. A Portable Face Toner

I’m a skincare junkie! I often have breakouts, plus when the cold weather rolls around your skin can get dry so easily. When I’m tuckered out from travel I don’t always want to go through a whole extensive skincare regime, so having a quick, easy, and portable option helps a bunch. I’ve been loving the Neogen Real Cica Pads—They have a smooth side and a more exfoliating side, so you can really get a good clean/scrub if you’ve decided to slack on cleansing, etc and just want to get to bed.

4. A Great Travel Toothbrush

Traveling is no excuse for slacking on dental hygiene! During the holiday season, people are always taking pictures, so you want your smile to be in tip top shape. I always make sure that I have my Dr. Plotka’s travel toothbrush!!! The flossing bristles make sure every spot gets a thorough clean, and the antimicrobial properties of the brush are even more necessary during travel—I can rest assured knowing that my toothbrush is clean and bacteria-free even after bouncing from my travel bag to various bathrooms/hotels back to home. I never travel without it!

5. A Good Neck Pillow

Most folks associate neck pillows with traveling on airplanes, but when you drive (or maintain any posture) for a long amount of time it can strain your neck! When I drive I have a very “forward” posture, so once I’ve arrived at my destination, relaxing with a good neck pillow really helps to ease the muscles and get everything back into position. My favorite neck pillow is memory foam!

 

I hope this list was informative and helps you piece together your packing list for wherever the holiday traveling season may take you!

 

Best,

 

~Meg

How to Keep Your Gums and Teeth Healthy

Gum disease is caused by bacteria found in plaque and tartar. Plaque is mostly made up of bacteria, mucus, food, and other particles. When it’s not removed, it hardens into tartar, giving the bacteria a home.

Gum disease has 3 stages:

  • Gingivitis —> This is the early stage where the gums are red, swollen, and tender (can easily bleed). If the condition is caught early, it can often be reversed on its own with correct brushing and flossing.
  • Mild/Moderate Periodontitis —> In this next stage, there is increased inflammation and bleeding around the tooth. This happens when bacterial poisons in plaque and your body’s defenses start to break down the gum attachment to the tooth. The gums start to pull away from the teeth and forms pockets of infected material. Treatment at this stage is critical to prevent further loss of bone and loosening of teeth.
  • Advanced Periodontitis —> This stage has further deepening of gum pockets and heavy destruction of bone that holds teeth in place. The teeth may become so loose that they need to be removed if treatment doesn’t restore bone support. 

Symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bad breath that lasts
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pain when chewing

The following risks put a person at more risk for developing gum disease:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • Hormonal changes in girls/women
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medicines
  • Heredity

How to Avoid Gum Disease:

Having good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing twice a day) can help prevent gum infections, cavities, and tooth loss. Also having your teeth cleaned and checked by a dentist or dental hygienist at least once a year is important.

To brush correctly:

  • Brush in the morning and before you go to sleep.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against your gums and brush each tooth 15-20 times. 
  • Move your toothbrush gently, using short strokes. Do not scrub!
  • Brush vertically in short, downward strokes against your inner upper-front teeth; short, upward strokes for lower inside teeth. 
  • Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth with short, back and forth strokes.
  • Replace your toothbrush about every 3-4 months.
  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or store it in a closed container as this can encourage growth of microorganisms.

Floss like you care!

Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth and under your gums 

  • Cut off about 18 inches of floss and hold it tightly between your thumb and forefingers. Place it between your teeth and gently slide it up and down. 
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it around 1 tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss up and down, making sure to go below the gumline. Repeat method on the rest of your teeth, and also flossing the back side of your teeth!

Your teeth and your gums will thank you once you get into the habit of good oral hygiene. Do everything in your power to preserve that great smile!