Category: Gum Disease

Gum Disease: What’s Below the Surface?

gum disease
If your gums aren’t healthy, neither is your mouth.

We spend most of our time talking about teeth. As dentists, we can’t avoid it – that’s just what we do. However, dentistry is about far more than just the 32-ish teeth that most of us have in our mouths.

Breaking News: Your gums are just as important! Healthy gums cushion teeth while chewing, and help protect against decay. But sometimes gum disease gets in the way of them doing their job. Usually, this is caused by built-up plaque resulting from poor dental hygiene. But in some cases, there is a genetic predisposition or an immune disorder behind it. Too often, though, gum disease is caused by smoking, which increases the risk by 100% in tobacco users, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.


The two main types of gum disease are:  


When plaque builds up, bacteria can flourish. And not the good bacteria we’ve told you about — this kind causes red and inflamed gums. Over time, this can lead to pain and bleeding during brushing, which prevents proper cleaning and compounds the problem. If left unchecked, gingivitis can potentially lead to the more-serious ailment below.



This condition is an infection within the gums, which can lead to tooth loss and even permanent damage to the jaw. The infection grows when gum and bone separate from teeth, creating pockets where toxins collect. The condition slowly erodes the tissue surrounding teeth, loosening the socket and eventually leading to tooth loss and possible bone damage.


A Pound of Cure

The best way to avoid these conditions is to brush and floss — regularly and effectively. Be sure to let us know if you have any prolonged redness or tenderness in your gums.


New Year’s Dental Resolutions That We WISH Everyone Made

Dental resolutions
Maybe your 2018 goals include eating healthier or exercising regularly. We have some resolution suggestions for your mouth.

As we begin the New Year, almost half of Americans will make a New Year’s Resolution. Unfortunately, 80 percent of those resolutions will fall by the wayside within six weeks, according to a U.S. News article.  But the good news is that for one out of every five people who make a positive change, they will stick with it long enough to become a habit.

The most common areas targeted for improvement are health-related and include weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and stopping smoking. But if Doctors Meyer and Johns could put together a list of resolutions for our patients, it would include:

Brush and floss daily

Sure, it’s a no-brainer. But we see a lot of patients who aren’t as consistent as they think they are. More than the occasional missed brushing can be the beginning of bad habits.

Pay attention to your gums

As we’ve mentioned, gum disease can be caused by a variety of factors. Make sure you to check for any discoloration or soreness, and point out any problem areas at your next appointment.

Cut the sugar

This may go hand-in-hand with one of your other resolutions. Limiting processed sugar intake is a simple way to improve overall health. Plus, reducing the number of sugary drinks (soda, sports drinks, sweetened/frozen coffees) positively impacts the overall amount of plaque that can accumulate between brushings.

Don’t ignore pain

If you have discomfort in a tooth, gum or jaw, call us! Sudden or persistent pain can be a sign of something seriously wrong in your mouth, so don’t wait to get it checked out.

Whatever your resolution, or even if you don’t make one at all, each of us at Meyer & Johns Dental wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Celebrate safely, and we’ll see you in 2018!


Can extra body weight lead to gum disease?

High blood sugar from diabetes harms teeth
Elevated blood sugar is NOT OK for your teeth!

Heart disease, joint problems, lack of energy – We hear a lot about the consequences from being overweight and inactive. Diabetes gets most of the attention, since the number of diabetic Americans has ballooned to 30 million in recent years. That’s nearly 10 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2017. That number represents a 400 percent increase in the disease prevalence in just the last 20 years.

Diabetes and your mouth

And now new research is showing that diabetes can also contribute to periodontal (gum) disease.  As reported in the journal Science Daily this month, a new University of Pennsylvania study found that diabetes causes changes in the oral microbiome, or the microscopic environment of the mouth and upper throat. The elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels common in diabetics also lead to glycemic imbalance inside the mouth. That disruption creates favorable conditions for gum inflammation, leading to infection (periodontitis), and enhanced risk of bone loss from the disease.

The study clinically affirmed a previously ignored link between diabetes and periodontal disease. However, the researchers noted that the risk to diabetic individuals is greatly reduced with effective glycemic control, either through diet and exercise, or supplemental insulin treatments. Also, the team specifically called out good oral hygiene as a tool to further reduce individual risk.

Effective Gum Care

As mentioned in our blog post from last year, gum health is a critical component of good overall oral health. Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums – is caused by a buildup of bacteria found in plaque, and can lead to periodontitis. The good news is that gum disease is preventable with regular check-ups, professional cleanings and good oral hygiene at home. This includes brushing and flossing daily, and telling your Meyer & Johns dental professional if you have any pain or bleeding in your gums.

If you experience these symptoms, let us know when you make your next appointment. We’ll make sure you’re armed with everything you need to make healthy choices for both your body and your mouth.