Submitted by: Dr. Scott Reader, DMD, PA, Your Hometown Dentist, One Senior Place Resident Business

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums.  Films of bacteria accumulate on the teeth, which is plaque and causes this dental problem.  Gingivitis is a non- destructive type of periodontal gum disease.  However, if left untreated it can progress to periodontitis.  That condition can lead to a more serious situation of loss of teeth.

A patient with gingivitis will have red and puffy gums, which will most likely will bleed when brushing teeth.  Most of the time this dental condition can easily be resolved with frequent brushing and flossing, and of course by seeing a dental professional for a cleaning.  Often an advanced deeper type of dental cleaning is needed so the gums can be restored to a healthy condition.  The usual six month check up and cleaning are usually not enough at first, and a patient needs to visit the dentist as often as every three months until the gingivitis improves.

Many times patients come into my office and want to receive a regular cleaning.  I need to explain to them through appropriate X-Rays, an exam, diagnosis and periodontal probing of the gums by measuring pocket depths of the gingivitis, that a deep cleaning is necessary.

Tartar and plaque must be removed by a dental professional called a hygienist. Tartar is a hard substance that coats the teeth when plaque builds up over time.  After the plaque is removed gums can be sensitive for a few days.  An antiseptic mouth rinse can help control bacteria.

When the gums become healthy they will be pink and will no longer bleed when the teeth are brushed and flossed twice a day.  The healthier a person keeps their gums, the longer they will keep their teeth healthy and in their mouth.

Bad breath can result from oral hygiene or gastrointestinal health. Basically this means that bad breath odors originate not just inside the mouth but also from the digestive tract. The culprit in both cases is mostly bacteria. Doctors will tell patients that if you have bad breath, you should first make sure you are eating right. A balanced diet of protein, carbs, and lots of fruit and veggies, with plenty of fluids help keep the GI tract healthy. Brushing and flossing after every meal is essential to healthier teeth and controlling bad breath.

There are preventative measures one can take to control bad breath so if you chew on these suggestions, perhaps people will be less offended when conversing with each other. Parsley is an herb fighting for halitosis. By chewing on certain fresh herbs, or making tonics by steeping them in hot water such as tea. These herbs make an excellent digestive benefit for ending a meal. Another suggestion for preventing bad breath is yogurt. This active culture reduces the level of odor causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Apparently, it also cuts back on bacteria in the mouth where plaque and gum disease were reduced. The ADA, American Dental Association recommends getting enough vitamin D from yogurt, cheese, and milk, as this vitamin creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth.

Apples, carrots, celery and other fiber rich fruits and vegetable also help fight halitosis. Eating foods that increase saliva production keep the mouth moist and rinsed out. Sugarless gum can mask the odor of brad breath, but shouldn’t replace brushing your teeth. The gum does freshen breath and is another way to increase salvia production to rinse away plaque and bacteria. Mints mask foul odors of the mouth as well but only briefly. Mints should always be sugarless, as sugar creates plaque. Berries, citrus fruit, melons and other vitamin C rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. A diet also rich in vitamin C is important for preventing gum disease and gingivitis, which are both major causes of halitosis. Get vitamin C in food, not supplements, which can cause gastrointestinal upset exacerbating bad breath.


Dr. Scott Reader is a family and cosmetic dentist, specializing in Lumineers and the revolutionary Snap-On Smile.  His office is located at 7185 Murrell Road in Viera.  All seniors may schedule for a complimentary consultation by calling the office at 321-253-9588 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reader.

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