Many people believe that mouth breathing isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just the way they have learned to breathe. But after years of study and research, mouth breathing have been linked to several other conditions as well.
Mouth breathing usually occurs due to 5 factors:
Thumb or finger sucking habit
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
Chronic nasal congestion
These factors make it physically challenging for someone to breath through their nose, so the natural reaction is to start breathing through their mouth. Mouth breathing can cause a few things to happen in the mouth: it can change the way your shape of your face, you can develop a tongue thrust affecting your speech, swallowing and breathing, you can develop gingivitis or gum disease and gums will bleed easily, sore throats, halitosis (bad breath), poor sleep or sleep apnea, and digestive disturbances (upset stomach, acid reflux, etc.) Mouth breathing stops our bodies from getting good oxygenated blood to the circulation system and can affect the whole body.
It’s not easy to just change the way you breathe. You have to retrain your brain and muscles to breathe normally again. A myofunctional therapist can be valuable by giving you tactics to retrain your muscles associated with mouth breathing. You can also have your tonsils evaluated to see if they need to be removed or see an orthodontist to evaluated your bite and if the teeth are obstructing you from closing properly. Or you may try a humidifier at night or rub vitamin E oil or vasoline over the gums before bedtime to help them from drying out.
Hopefully you can find some relief from this condition! If you need more tips or tricks, don’t be afraid to ask your lovely hygienist or dentist at your next appointment!
Many of you know two questions that your Dental Hygienist will inevitably asked you when you go in for your regular check-up visit: “Are you brushing two times a day?” and “How is your flossing going?”
As an Hygienist, we do not asked these questions to get after you. We promise we do not love nagging you to floss. We do it because we genuinely care for your health and helping our patients understand how brushing and flossing can keep you healthy is one of our professional goals.
Most of you know the guidelines. For optimum dental health, you should brushing two times a day for two minutes, and floss one time a day. We know that is what we are supposed to do. But do we know why?
Plaque (that soft, filmy, white stuff that grows on our teeth) accumulates constantly. 24/7. It never stops growing. Even if you do not eat food, it grows (common misconception that plaque only grows when you eat). Inside plaque lives bacteria. This is the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. It is recommended that we brush two times a day to remove the plaque and disrupt the bacteria’s harm on our mouth. If we do not remove the plaque, then we are allowing the bacteria to start creating cavities and cause inflammation and infection in our gums.
If the plaque is left in an area for a while then it will harden and calcify. This is what we can tartar build-up, or you may even hear us refer to it as calculus. While plaque is soft and can be removed with a toothbrush and floss, tartar is like a rock cemented onto your tooth. You can brush and floss all day long, once it’s turned into calculus, it’s not going any where. The biggest down side of that is that it still has the bacteria inside of it. Now it’s stuck on your tooth, not going anywhere, with all this bacteria. Even better for gum infections and things to occur.
Don’t worry, your awesome Hygienist will save you. We have the tools and know-how to remove that calculus and get your mouth back to health! But, so do you! You can brush and floss every day, remove that plaque, and prevent that calculus from even forming!
Now many of you do brush your teeth. Which is fantastic! We love when you do that! However, not as many of you floss. I’m not sure why. It’s just as important, and doesn’t really take that long. Here’s something to remember when you want to skip flossing tonight… You can be THE most amazing brusher in the whole world, but you will never be able to clean between your teeth with just a toothbrush. It’s a fact. The best technique will not maneuver those toothbrush bristle to places they cannot physically reach. Floss is the only way to clean the remaining 35% of your tooth that the brush did not get. Floss is a toothbrush’s best friend. They go hand in hand. One just as important as the other.
I hope this helped you understand a bit more why we always ask these two simple questions. If you have any other questions, we are here for you! Just ask!
What is calculus and what dangers does it cause to the health of your mouth.
Calculus or tartar, same thing is calcified plaque. Plaque is the soft sticky film that will start to form twenty minutes after you brush your teeth. Another name for the soft sticky plaque is biofilm. This is basically a bacteria that grows in your mouth, a “slime layer”. Plaque is white or pale yellow soft, sticky, slimy stuff. This is what makes your teeth feel “fuzzy” when you first wake up and at the end of a long day. So do all these pleasant descriptions make you want to go brush your teeth yet?
So where does calculus come from? Calculus is calcified plaque. When plaque is allowed to stay hiding in your mouth for twenty-four hours or more is has the opportunity to harden and turn into tartar. Calculus/Tartar, same thing, this is calcified plaque. Once this soft sticky substance (biofilm) becomes hard it will attach itself to the tooth surface, then you will not be able to remove it yourself with your tooth brush or your floss. Calculus will form above and below your gum tissue.
The calculus will be a physical irritant to your gum tissue, causing inflammation. The calculus also becomes a source that harbors bacteria that causes harm to the tissue and bone around the teeth. This aggressive bacteria may lead to periodontal disease. What is periodontal disease? In short, it is bone loss around the teeth. This bone loss may range from slight to moderate, to severe. Some people will build up tartar more quickly than others, and some people are more prone to the bacteria that causes periodontal disease (bone loss).
So this brings the questions; What can I do to prevent calculus build up?
USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH: electric tooth brushes have been proven to be more effective at cleaning than manual brushes. Use the rechargeable electric brushes, not the battery spin brushes.
CHANGE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH EVERY THREE MONTHS: Do not go longer than three months with the same tooth brush or tooth brush head. Once the bristles start to wear out they cannot do a good job for you.
TIME YOUR BRUSHING ROUTINE: Brush for at least two minutes, preferably two to three minutes. Sometimes just adding more time to your routine can make a big difference, most people will brush for only forty to sixty seconds. So try timing yourself, you will be surprised. Two minutes feels like forever when you are brushing.
FLOSS DAILY: You don’t have to floss two times daily, once a day is sufficient. Make flossing part of your nightly routine. Flossing techniques are important, because some techniques are more effective than others. It is important to floss under the gum tissue where everything likes to hide, not just in between the teeth.
As a part of a regular preventive or periodontal maintenance visit with your dental hygienist, the topic of flossing usually comes up. Most people have at least heard of flossing, and while some people floss regularly, most patients I see report flossing less than the ADA recommended once per day. More often, people fall into the categories of flossing “once in a while” or “once in a blue moon.” While some people are embarrassed to admit this to their dental hygienist, the condition and health of your gums reveal a lot about your oral hygiene practices at home without you saying a word. (We can also read minds…just kidding.)
So, if most people have heard about flossing, and are reminded of it semi-annually by their dental hygienist, what is preventing them from actually cleaning between their teeth on a regular basis?
Maybe they don’t realize the impact that flossing has on the health of their gums and prevention of early tooth loss. Maybe it’s difficult for them to manipulate string floss (it’s harder than it looks). Maybe they are super busy (who isn’t?) and can’t find time to track down some floss and use it between their teeth. Maybe they ran out of the sample-size floss their hygienist gave them a their last visit. Maybe it hurts when they floss because their gums are inflamed, so they avoid the pain. Maybe they are really committed and diligent for the first while, and then life gets in the way and they fall out of the habit. All of these are totally understandable reasons, and I’ve been there. (Hygienists are human, too!)
The good news is, your dental hygienist is interested in helping you to keep your mouth and gums healthy, and offers a judgment-free-zone to learn how to properly perform oral hygiene techniques, like flossing, and to help you come up with some ways to integrate flossing into your daily routine. (Floss in the shower, floss while watching the intro to your show on Netflix, floss while on Facebook or scrolling through Pinterest, floss while at a red light on your commute, etc.)
The other awesome thing your dental hygienist does for you, is giving you a clean slate to work with! When your dental hygienist cleans your teeth by removing the plaque and calculus (calcified plaque) from your teeth, they are removing the bacteria that are causing the inflammation, pain, and bleeding in your gums. (Hooray!) Once these irritations are removed, the gums have a chance to heal, and by properly cleaning your teeth at home (brushing and flossing), you can keep them healthy. When the gums are healthy, they don’t hurt, they don’t bleed, they are easier to floss, and you have a faster, easier dental hygiene appointments. (Even when your hygienist is gentle, nobody enjoys being in that chair.)
If you’re still reading, check out this video my former classmates and I produced that demonstrates proper flossing technique and briefly explains why flossing is important. It’s a little cheesy, but definitely educational. Make sure your sound is on, there’s some great instruction and music.
After watching this video and practicing at home, if you’re still having difficulty with string floss, try some other interdental cleaners! Here’s a great article that talks about lots of interdental cleaners and how to use them (scroll about halfway down).
Remember, the best interdental cleaning tool is the one that you actually use consistently; if string floss just isn’t your thing, talk to your hygienist at your next visit, and we’ll be happy to give you some samples to try. Happy flossing!
Our dental practice has more over 50 year olds than under 50. As aging adults, we need to be aware of certain things that can keep us from retaining our teeth our entire lives.
Judith Ann Jones, DDS, a spokesman on elder care for the American Dental Association and director of The Center for Clinical Research at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine spoke about 5 things that are especially important to the over 50 crowd.
Tooth Decay: Contrary to what many people believe, adults keep getting cavities! I’m always surprised when people are stunned to learn they have a cavity as an adult. Areas of the teeth that have never had a cavity can decay, but areas where we see more problems are where an old filling is leaking and at the base of an older crown. The best prevention is brushing well each day along the gumline. An electric toothbrush is very helpful in accomplishing this as well as the use of fluoride. An over the counter fluoride rinse nightly is great and in our office we have special prescription strength fluoride that is wonderful for cavity prevention as well as help with sensitivity.
Dry Mouth: Keeping Your Teeth For a Lifetime We see so many people with this problem. “Saliva protects our teeth. The calcium and phosphate present in saliva prevent demineralization of your teeth”, Jones says. Many drugs cause dry mouth as well as some diseases and as we get older, we are on more medications thus we see this commonly in older adults. This is a difficult one to deal with for those affected. The best thing is to drink lots of water, use saliva substitute and try xylitol products. Also, if you smoke, stop, it just makes your mouth drier.
Gum Disease: If your gums are swollen, red, or bleed easily, you have gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease (gingivitis) will become more serious and will cause deterioration of the bone that holds the teeth, we call this periodontitis. If this condition continues without treatment, it can cause the loss of the teeth. The best way to prevent gum disease is to clean your teeth well each day with brushing, flossing, and use of interdental cleaners like soft picks or go betweens. And of course, seeing your friendly dental hygienist as often as recommended. We can remove the mineralized bacteria from your teeth that you can’t remove with brushing.
Tooth Crowding: “As you age, your teeth shift”, according to Lee W. Graber, D.D.S., M.S, Ph.D., Past President of the American Association of Orthodontists. And “that can be problematic, not because you’ll look different, but because it can make your teeth more difficult to clean, leading to more decay. It’s also of concern because misaligned teeth can lead to teeth erosion and damage to the supporting tissue and bone”, Graber says. “Add to that the tendency of older adults to have periodontal disease, and you could end up losing your teeth even faster.” If your teeth have really shifted, and you find you are having a difficult time keeping your teeth clean and food keeps getting caught in certain areas, ask our doctors about orthodontics. We offer Invisalign to our patients and we’ve had patients in their later years choose to straighten their teeth. I just finished with my invisalign treatment. I had braces when I was a teenager but my teeth had shifted and I was experiencing these problems I just mentioned. I decided to do Invisalign. It’s easy to do and my teeth are so much straighter. They are now in the correct alignment and my teeth and gums will be healthier. If you choose not to do orthodontics, more frequently exams and cleanings may be necessary.
Oral Cancer: According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year, and more than 8,000 will die from it. “Oral cancer incidence definitely increases as you get older”, Jones says, and “is very often linked to smoking and heavy alcohol use.” Jones also said, “Only about half of people who develop oral cancer survive the disease.” If discovered early, there is an 80 percent chance of surviving for five years. When we do your periodic exams when you come in for your cleaning, you will be checked for oral cancer. We also offer Velscope, Identafi, or Oral ID technologies to help in finding oral cancer earlier.
Keep brushing, flossing and smiling! We want to help you keep your teeth healthy your entire lives!
Many people are realizing that there is a direct connection between oral health and total body health. It is finally being generally accepted that oral health and general health are to be interpreted as one entity, not separate as has been the view in the past. Dentists has been saying this for years, and finally science is proving them right! You cannot be healthy without good oral health.
“The mouth can act as a portal of entry for infection, ” says Salomon Amar, DMD, PhD, Professor and Director at the Center for Anti-Inflammatory Therapeutics at Boston University School of Dental Medicine. “Ongoing inflammation in your mouth can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which may lead to more inflammation in other parts of your body, such as the heart.”
What conditions may be linked to oral health?
Your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
In 2005, the NIH funded a study on this topic. They randomly selected 1,056 participants with no prior heart attacks or strokes. All were evaluated for levels of periodontal bacteria. After removing the effects of the other risk factors of age, gender, and smoking, Moise Desvarieux, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School and lead author of the study stated, “It was found that there was an independent relationship between gum disease and heart disease.” One theory about why this may occur is that small amounts of bacteria enter your bloodstream while you’re chewing. “Bad” bacteria from an infected mouth may lodge itself inside blood vessels, ultimately causing dangerous blockages. Strengthening his theory is the fact that when scientists have looked at atherosclerotic blood vessels, they have sometimes found fragments of periodontal bacteria. Meanwhile, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007, established that aggressive treatment of gum disease reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis within six months.
It has been found that up to 91% of patients with heart disease have periodontitis. “The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels,” says Sally Cram, DDS, PC, Consumer Adviser for the American Dental Association. “This can increase the risk for heart attack in a number of ways. Inflamed blood vessels allow less blood to travel between the heart and the rest of the body, raising blood pressure. There’s also a greater risk that fatty plaque will break off the wall of a blood vessel and travel to the heart or the brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.”
Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Scientists believe that gum disease or inflammation in the mouth possibly triggers an increase in a chemical compound called prostaglandin, which induces early labor. While this theory has not yet been confirmed, a 2001 study found that pregnant women who develop gum disease between weeks 21 and 24 of their pregnancy are four to seven times more likely to give birth before week 37. There is evidence that poor gum health in the extreme can lead to low birth weight as well.
Babies born too early or at a low birth weight often have significant health problems, including lung conditions, heart conditions, and learning disorders. While many factors can contribute to premature or low birth weight deliveries, infection and inflammation in general seem to interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb.
Though men have periodontitis more often than women do, hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk. For the best chance of a healthy pregnancy, Pamela McClain, DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology, recommends a comprehensive periodontal exam, “If you’re pregnant or before you become pregnant, identify whether or not you’re at risk.”
Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection which puts the gums at risk.
Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health followed 9,296 non-diabetic participants, measuring their level of periodontic bacteria over the course of 20 years. “We found that people who had higher levels of periodontal disease had a two-fold risk of developing type 2 diabetes over that time period compared to people with low levels or no gum disease,” explains Ryan Demmer, PhD, Associate Researcher at the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School and the lead author. There are a few theories about why this might be the case. One proposes that when infections in your mouth get bad enough, it can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body, which in turn wreaks havoc on your sugar-processing abilities. “There are all kinds of inflammatory molecules,” says Dr. Demmer, “and it’s believed that maybe some attach to insulin receptors and prevent the body’s cells from using the insulin to get glucose into the cell.”
It has also been noted that inflammation that starts in the mouth seems to weaken the body’s ability to control blood sugar. People with diabetes have trouble processing sugar because of a lack of insulin, the hormone that converts sugar into energy. “Periodontal disease further complicates diabetes because the inflammation impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin,” says Dr McClain. Diabetes and periodontitis have a two-way relationship. High blood sugar provides ideal conditions for infection to grow, including gum infections. Diabetes can also slow the healing process and lower resistance to infections, including oral infections. Fortunately you can use the gum disease-diabetes relationship to your favor: managing one can help bring the other under control.
HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS. Studies suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases. Certain diseases, such HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe.
Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle, might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Osteoporosis and periodontitis have an important thing in common, bone loss. Researchers are testing the theory that inflammation triggered by periodontitis could weaken bone in other parts of the body.
Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
–Dementia: The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream, that might even lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Pneumonia. A 2008 study of elderly participants found that the number who developed pneumonia was 3.9 times higher in patients with periodontal infection than in those free from it. “The lungs are very close to the mouth,” says Marsha Rubin, DDS, practicing Diplomat of Special-care Dentistry at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. “Even in a healthy mouth there is lot of bacteria, but bacteria in a not-healthy mouth can get aspirated into the lungs, causing pneumonia or aggravating COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.” Several intervention studies cited by the CDC show that an improvement in oral health can lead to a reduction in respiratory infection. Periodontal disease may make pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder worse, possibly by increasing the amount of bacteria in the lungs.
Pancreatic Cancer. A study published in 2007 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute surveyed 51,529 American men about their health every two years between 1986 and 2002. Of the 216 participants who developed pancreatic cancer, 67 of them also had periodontal disease. Independent of the participants’ smoking status, the study found that having a history of periodontal disease was associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. This, according to the study, could be because of systemic inflammation or increased levels of carcinogenic compounds produced in the infected mouth. Interestingly, another viable theory about why gum disease may cause type 2 diabetes points to damage to the pancreas as well. “With the pancreatic cancer study, we thought it was very interesting that you have this localized infection that has an impact on a systemic organ that is very intimately tied to the pathophysiology of diabetes,” says Dr. Desvarieux.
Cancer. Your dentist and hygienist should screen for oral cancer and other cancers of the head and neck, including skin cancer, cancer of the jaw bone, and thyroid cancer, during routine checkups. He or she feels for lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity, and thoroughly examines the soft tissues in your mouth, specifically looking for any sores or discolored tissues. Survival rates greatly increase the earlier oral cancer is discovered and treated. During your next dental visit, ask your dentist to do an oral cancer screening. See your dentist immediately if you observe:
Any sore that persists longer than two weeks
A swelling, growth, or lump anywhere in around the mouth or neck
White or red patches in the mouth or on the lips
Repeated bleeding from the mouth or throat
Difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness
Scientists aren’t sure of the exact cause of oral cancer. However, the carcinogens in tobacco products, alcohol and certain foods, HPV infections, as well as excessive exposure to the sun, have been found to increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Risk factors for oral cancer may also be genetically inherited. You can help prevent oral cancer by:
Not smoking or using spit tobacco
Limiting your alcohol intake
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
Also, periodic self-examinations can increase your chances of detecting oral cancer, so be sure to examine your face, cheeks, jaw and neck regularly for any changes or lumps.
Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome, an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth, and eating disorders.
Because of these potential links, be sure to tell your dentist if you’re taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health, especially if you’ve had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes.
How can I protect my oral health?
To protect your oral health, practice good oral hygiene every day. For example:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
Schedule regular dental checkups.
Also, contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. It is important to let your dentist know your full family medical history. If you have periodontal disease, make sure you see your dentist frequently and get it treated promptly, before it progresses to the point where you begin losing teeth or it starts to affect your overall health. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
One thing is clear: the body and mouth are not separate. Your body can affect your mouth and likewise, your mouth can affect your body. Taking good care of your teeth and gums can really help you live well longer.
Recently much has come to light regarding oral health and its impact on systemic health and disease. While I’ve always been borderline fanatic about oral health and have been aware of some of these relationships, the recent research connecting oral health to systemic health has helped to make my daily work much more relevant and interesting.
Presently there are 18 million diabetic patients in the U.S. and 171 million diabetic patients worldwide. Diabetes is characterized by increased susceptibility to infection, poor wound healing, and a number of complications that can affect quality of life and length of life. Diabetes is also a risk factor for severe periodontal disease (the destruction of tissues and bone that support the teeth). It’s critically important to realize that diabetics who have periodontal or gum disease have two chronic conditions, each of which affect the other.
While we have long known that diabetes can predispose one to periodontal disease, research now suggests that treatment of periodontal disease can have a positive impact on the diabetic condition. Patients with periodontal disease have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar. Patients who have treatment and gain control of their gum disease have been shown to require less insulin and have a decreased hemoglobin A1c level. (A1c denotes a patients average blood sugar level over the past 3 months). In other words, periodontal disease and diabetes is a two-way street with each disease having a potential impact on the other, either positively or negatively.
Management of gum disease in patients with diabetes involves removal of plaque and calculus both at home and professionally, and maintenance of glycemic control. Nearly all diabetics respond to treatment and maintenance, therefore treatment of periodontal disease should be done as soon as possible. Both conditions require frequent professional evaluations, patient-self monitoring, daily brushing and flossing, approved antibacterial mouth rinses, and good blood glucose control.
Mealey, B.L. ,(2006).Periodontal disease and diabetes: A two-way street. Journal of American Dental Association. Oct.137 suppl:26S-31S. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
Mirza,B.A., Syed A., Izhar F., Ali Khan. (2001). Bidirectional relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease: Review of evidence. J Pak Med Assoc. Retrieved from http: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21381588
John, the patient, is taken back to the dental operatory for his dental cleaning appointment. The dental hygienist reviews John’s chart, his medical history, and John addresses any concerns he has in his mouth. The hygienist lays John back in the chair. John cringes, as he sees the hygienist holding a pointy tool in her hand. She informs him, “John, I am going to take a few measurements around each tooth, to assess how healthy your gums, and bone levels are.” John opens his mouth, and thinks to himself “I wonder if this going to hurt?” “What is she even doing with that tool anyways?”
Prior to becoming a dental hygienist, I too was like John. I did not understand what that “pointy” tool was, or why it needed to be used. With this blog post, I would like to briefly educate my dental patients of what a periodontal probe is, and why it is utilized in the dental office.
That pointy tool the hygienist uses at the beginning of a dental appointment is called a periodontal probe. The periodontal probe is marked in millimeter increments, which is used to evaluate the health of the patient’s gum, and surrounding bone levels of the jaw, with little to NO discomfort!
Each of your teeth are sitting in jawbone. Additionally, each tooth is surrounded by gum tissue (gingiva). To simplify this concept, your gums surround each tooth like a turtleneck sweater.
There is a natural space of pocket between the gum and tooth. The periodontal probe is used to measure this pocket depth, at each dental appointment.
In health, the tooth is surrounded by a gum pocket depth of 1-3 mm (No bone loss of the jaw bone).
If gingivitis is present (Swollen gums-no bone loss of the jaw bone) the tooth is surrounded by a 4 mm. pocket depth.
A periodontal pocket (Mild-Advanced periodontitis) is present when the space between the tooth and gum has been deepened by disease and bone loss. A 5-12 mm pocket depth surround the tooth or teeth.
The next time you are in the dental chair, feel free to ask your dentist or dental hygienist your latest periodontal probing scores. If you have never had these measurements taken before, call our office today and schedule a new patient exam, to determine the health of your mouth!