Morris Perio

Oral Health: All About Gums

Why should teeth get all the fame? Since the beginning of time, teeth have taken center stage in the oral health arena, while their close cousins, the gums, have occupied more of a back-seat role. So, we have decided to dedicate this article to gums! What makes them healthy, what makes them sick, and why they are so important for whole-body health?

Gingiva, or “gums”, are the mucosal tissue that cover the jaw and hold the teeth in place. When they are healthy and properly intact, they offer a protective barrier for the jaw and tooth roots against food and bacteria.

Healthy Gums:
Healthy gums typically are coral pink in color, and not recessed far above the tooth. They show a scalloped appearance over each tooth, are firm and resist movement. They take brushing and flossing well, usually with no reaction whatsoever.

Unhealthy Gums:
By contrast, unhealthy gums may exhibit red, white and even blue hues, have a puffy or orange peel texture and may bleed when brushed or flossed. Untreated periodontal disease can affect the whole body, as it is related to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Also, it can result in lost teeth and poor nutrition down the road.

Prevention is Key:
The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease are preventable. While we don’t know exactly what role genetics play in terms of periodontal health, we do know that practicing good oral health is the first step to preventing periodontal disease. Habits such as brushing twice and flossing once per day and regular exams and cleanings can help many people prevent or slow the progression of gum disease.

We hope you have learned something new about your gums!

If you have any questions about your gums, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Can You Whiten Teeth Naturally?

From powders to pastes, there are many ways people try to whiten their teeth. However, not every recipe we see online truly whitens correctly. It may be tempting to think ingredients in our own kitchens could hold the key to a brighter smile, but just because a method is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, DIY whitening may do more harm than good to your teeth.

With Fruits, like acid packed lemons and apple cider vinegar, you put your pearly whites at risk with prolonged contact. Using baking soda and lemons, for example, to scrub your teeth can wear away your enamel. Enamel is the thin outer coating of your teeth that protects you from tooth sensitivity and cavities. This enamel cannot be grown back, so it is very important to keep it in tip top shape.

With Scrubs like activated charcoal and baking soda mixes you may be using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth! This can end up actually making them look more yellow. Enamel is what you’re looking to whiten, but if you’re using a scrub that is too rough, you can wear it away. When that happens, the next layer of your tooth can become exposed – a softer, yellow tissue that’s called Dentin.

With Spices and Oils, like coconut oil and turmeric, there is really no evidence that these are helpful. Over using coconut oil has potential to be poor for your body, so using these strictly when cooking could be more beneficial than using them to whiten your teeth.

To best ways to whiten your teeth naturally is to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
• Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes
• Use a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance
• Cleaning between your teeth once a day
• Limiting foods that stain your teeth, like coffee, tea and red wine
• Not smoking or using tobacco
• Regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings

With these steps you should be well on your way to achieving that sparkling smile you are looking for, naturally! Call us today for more info, and to schedule an annual teeth cleaning Morris Periodontics, Lees Summit, MO Phone Number 816-554-2663

Flossing: Absolutely Necessary!

Yes, You Still Have to Floss. No, the dance move “flossing” does not count. The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health. Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed. The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course, the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. Gum disease is preventable by maintain great oral health habits for a long period of time. Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to. Using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

Oral hygiene is a long-term process and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the meantime, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well-being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today

Teeth Discoloration

What color are your teeth? Of course, there is no “right” answer. Teeth come in endless shades and ranges. When we talk about tooth color in our office, we try to break it down into no fewer than 40 shades (light to dark) and ranges (color). Everyone’s teeth are unique, and the possibilities are endless.

You may be wondering, what makes a tooth the color it is now or will be in the future? We all know about coffee and tobacco as being major culprits of stained teeth, but what else goes into the making of a tooth color?

Things We Can’t Control:
• Genetics – Inheriting your tooth color is a high possibility for your current color as well. You can also inherit your tooth’s propensity for staining.
• Aging – As we age, our teeth inevitably turn more yellow.
• Medicine Use – some medicines, such as certain antibiotics, can cause your tooth color to change.
• Injury – Traumatic tooth injuries can cause intrinsic discoloration of the inner part of the tooth, the “dentin”, which is difficult to remedy. Have you ever seen a tooth that looks “dead”? That gray tone has most likely been brought on by a traumatic tooth injury.

Things We Can Control:
• Food and Drinks – Certain foods and drinks, such as berries, sauces, coffee, dark soda, black tea and red wine, cause staining over time. Limit these foods and practice good oral hygiene habits!
• Over-fluoridation – Too much fluoride in children, while teeth are still developing, can cause tooth discoloration. Be sure to follow guidelines for safe fluoride use. Don’t abandon the use of fluoride altogether though. Fluoride offers numerous benefits such as: preventing tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks and reversing early tooth decay. But we’ve all heard that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!
• Tobacco Use – It is well known that cigarettes and other tobacco products turn teeth yellow and eventually brown. Don’t smoke or chew.

What can you do about stained teeth? We’re glad you asked! We offer professional teeth whitening options for the best and safest results. No matter what tooth shade you’ve inherited (or created), we can help make it whiter. Give us a call today to find out more!

3 Tips to Keep Your Gums Healthy and Happy

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Keeping your gums healthy is vital to ensuring that your mouth stays clean and your teeth stay intact and in pristine condition. Incorporating a few simple steps into your daily oral hygiene routine will keep your teeth and gums healthy, happy and your smile shining bright for years to come.

Floss Like a Boss

Flossing is one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to fight against gum disease and keep your gums healthy. Flossing once to twice a day helps to clean the hard to reach areas in-between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.

Keep ‘em Clean

Brushing twice a day is the most commonly preached method of keeping your mouth clean and cavities at bay. Be sure to brush with a fluoride based toothpaste to help to give you the best results when brushing. Next time you are shopping for toothpaste, look for the ADA seal of acceptance in order to ensure your toothpaste is backed by experts!

It is also beneficial to rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day in order to protect your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash is a great way to finish off thoroughly cleaning your mouth, because it reaches areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.

Stay Regular

Visiting your dentist twice a year is extremely important in preventing oral diseases and guaranteeing that your teeth stay in tip top shape.
Your dentist will perform a thorough cleaning and will show you the proper way to brush and floss if you need a bit of help!

These three steps can help you significantly improve the health of your gums and reduce your risk of developing gum disease. If you have any questions about how to keep your gums healthy and happy, give our office a call, today!

What the Fluoride?

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Fluoride is often called nature’s cavity fighter, and for good reason! Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities by making your enamel more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay.

Before teeth are fully grown, the fluoride taken in from foods and beverages help make tooth enamel stronger. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit. After teeth are grown, fluoride helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a “topical” benefit.

In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.

How Do You Get Fluoride?

#1 Drink Water with Fluoride
Fluoride is naturally found in most water sources. For the past 70 years, fluoride has been added to public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay. Studies show that water fluoridation continues to help prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in children and adults, even with fluoride available from other sources, such as toothpaste.

#2 Use Toothpaste and Mouthwash with Fluoride
Toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960. Make sure to look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to make sure it contains fluoride! Be sure to brush twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist and physician.
Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, by bathing your teeth and creating a topical benefit.

#3 Visit Your Dentist for a Professional Application
If you have a good chance of getting cavities, your dentist can apply fluoride directly to your teeth during your dental visit with a gel, foam or rinse.

These three steps in getting fluoride can help significantly fight against cavities and help keep your teeth strong and long lasting! If you have any more questions about the benefits of fluoride, give us a call today at Morris Periodontics, Lees Summit, MO Phone Number 816-554-2663 !

Stay Happier with Healthier Gums

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Keeping your gums healthy is vital to ensuring that your mouth stays happy and healthy too! To ensure this, what are some ways to make sure your gums stay healthy and keep your smile shining bright for years to come!?

Floss, Floss, Floss
Flossing is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can take to fight against gum disease. Keep your gums healthy by flossing once a day to clean those areas in between your teeth which may be hard for your toothbrush to reach.

Brush and Rinse
Brushing twice a day is the most common method of keeping your mouth fresh and clean. It is also a good idea to rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash twice a day too! It is a great way to make an extra step in protecting your gums.

Use the Right Toothpaste
Choosing the right toothpaste is important for keeping your gums healthy. Make sure to grab a toothpaste that contains fluoride in order to get the best results when brushing. Fluoride helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverse signs of tooth decay. Want to make sure you could get even better results? Grab a toothpaste backed by experts at the ADA!

Regular Dentist Checkups
Visiting your dentist twice a year is extremely important in ensuring that your teeth remain healthy and clean! Your dentist will be able to see early symptoms of gum disease, and will be able to get rid of tartar and plaque that may be stuck to your teeth. These bi-annual Check-ups will ensure that your teeth are in tip-top shape.

These four steps can help you significantly improve the health of your gums and reduce your risk of gum disease. If you have any more questions about how to keep your gums healthy, or how to prevent gum disease, give Morris Periodontics a call at Morris Periodontics, Lees Summit, MO Phone Number 816-554-2663 today!

The Dos and Don’ts of Good Dental Hygiene

do's and don'ts of oral healthDental Hygiene is important. Those who practice good oral habits reap the benefits, while the latter… not so much. Most of us have a great deal of control over whether or not we keep our teeth as we age. Those who don’t follow a proper routine, end up losing their teeth, thus requiring the need of tooth replacement (such as dentures, dental implants, etc.). If you want to achieve an optimal level of oral hygiene, all you have to do is follow these do’s and don’ts!

Do…
• Brush your teeth twice a day! Use a soft-bristled brush with a fluoride tooth paste and be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, even the hard to reach places.

• Floss your teeth every day! Floss removes food trapped between your teeth and the film of bacteria that forms before it turns into plaque.

• Visit your dentist every 6 months! Regular visits allow your dentist to discover early signs of cavities and gum disease.

• Eat a mouth healthy diet! Indulge yourself in foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and of course, water!

Don’t…

• Forget to replace your toothbrush! Tooth brushes should be replaced every 3 month—or after you recover from being sick. If you have an electric toothbrush, replace the head rather than purchasing a whole new one.

• Brush too soon after eating! Brushing immediately after eating acidic food can cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. To be safe, wait at least 1 hour.

• Go overboard with bleaching! Over-bleaching your teeth can make them very sensitive to hot and cold foods, thus causing a variety of other problems.

• Ignore pain or abnormalities! Toothaches can be a sign of a more serious dental issue. See your dentist as soon as you discover changes in your dental health.

• Consume lots of soft drinks and sugary foods! These foods are highly acidic, which wears away your enamel overtime. Frequent consumption of sugary substances allow plaque to grow more rapidly—thus the likelihood of cavities will increase substantially.

When it comes to your dental hygiene—you have the option between keeping your teeth or not. By starting to practice these dental do’s and don’ts, you will be on the right track to a long-lasting smile. Give us a call today Morris Periodontics, Lees Summit, MO Phone Number 816-554-2663!

Why You Should Choose Laser Therapy to Treat Gum Disease

laser therapyPeriodontal or gum disease is an infection of the supporting tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. The condition mainly affects adults in their 30s and 40s, and is usually caused by poor oral hygiene, smoking, chronic illnesses or genetic susceptibility. Believe it or not, half of Americans have periodontal (gum) disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. While mild gum disease can be corrected with proper oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing, severe periodontal disease normally requires more extensive treatment.
However, a new laser-technology, called PerioLase, offers a superior alternative to treating gum disease. According to the American Dental Association, many clinicians choose lasers over traditional treatment because they prefer non-surgical management of periodontal disease. In fact, laser treatment can have your gums healthy again within only a couple of visits. This method utilizes PerioLase technology.

Advantages of PerioLase treatment include:

1.No Incisions – With the use of PerioLase technology, your periodontist will be able to avoid cutting into your gums, which also removes the need for sutures, thus allows a faster recovery.

2. Less discomfort – Most patients find PerioLase to be far less painful – during and after the procedure – than your typical surgery. The procedure is so non-invasive that it only requires local anesthetics (numbing), as opposed to the general anesthetics (sleeping) associated with surgery.

3. Shorter procedure – PerioLase usually takes two, 2-hour visits to complete in addition to two follow-up appointments. Conversely, surgery generally requires four, 1-hour sessions along with subsequent visits for suture removal and additional check-ins.

4. Better results – Studies have shown that periodontal laser treatment creates longer-lasting results. In fact, 98 percent of patients remain stable at least five years after the procedure.

5. Few diet restrictions – A dentist may recommend a soft diet for a couple of days following PerioLase, but in most cases, patients feel comfortable enough to eat anything immediately after the procedure.

6. Short recovery time – Recovery from gum surgery can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks, and often includes considerable swelling and pain. PerioLase’s recovery time is less than 24 hours. Many patients report that they’re able to return to work immediately following the procedure.

7. Safe for all patients – PerioLase treatment is safe for all patients, including those with health concerns such as diabetes, HIV, hemophilia, or those taking medications such as aspirin or Plavix.

The American Dental Association is optimistic about the role of PerioLase technology in the field of dentistry. This treatment is also no more expensive than traditional procedures and is covered by most dental insurance plans. Give us a call to learn more about laser therapy for gum disease management at (PHONE)!

5 Mouth Healthy Snacks That Are Delicious Too!

healthy snacks Not all foods are created equal. Some can be good for you and some can cause detrimental damage to your teeth (EEK)! Below are a few snack ideas that are not only tasty and easy to whip up, but healthy for your mouth too.

1. Apple Cinnamon oatmeal:

Due to the high fiber and crunchy consistency, apples naturally clean your teeth. They can also help fight plaque buildup and remove surface stains from teeth. By removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue, apples also fight bad breath.
Cinnamon contains a natural plant oil, known as cinnamic aldehyde, that has shown abilities to destroy bacteria in your mouth. Coupled with the apples, cinnamon takes fighting bad oral bacteria to the next level.
Now for the oatmeal. Whole grains have been linked to a higher quality of periodontal health. This is why we recommend to load up on the oats! Whole grain foods, such as oats, barley, bran and brown rice, may indirectly improve oral health by improving the body’s ability to process blood sugar.

2. Carrots and celery snack pack:

Celery is nature’s toothbrush! It acts almost like a toothbrush by scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Dip in some ranch or spread on some low-sugar nut butter for a satisfying snack!

Like apples, carrots are crunchy and full of fiber. Eating a raw carrot at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Along with being high in fiber, carrots are a great source of vitamin A.

3.Yogurt parfait:

Studies have shown that yogurt reduces hydrogen sulfide, the chemical associated with bad breath! It also helps reduce plaque and gingivitis. Next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on some yogurt!

4.Green garden salad:

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel, making them strong. They also contain folic acid, a type of Vitamin B that has numerous health benefits, such as helping the body produce and maintain new cells.

5. Trail mix with almonds, raisins, and dried fruit:

Crunchy almonds are high in calcium and low in sugar. They’ve been shown to lower blood sugar while simultaneously increasing the production of saliva. On the other hand, raisins contain powerful phytochemicals that fight off the bacteria that can cause gum disease and cavities. Dried fruit, like Cranberries or dried plums, have a similar impact, as long as you brush your teeth after eating them as they still have quite a bit of sugar. Put all these together and mix them all up for a healthy power snack!

It’s easy to eat mouth healthy snacks when they taste good too! If you have any questions about foods that are good for your teeth, give our office a call today! Morris Periodontics, Lees Summit, MO Phone Number 816-554-2663