My dentist told me to back off of booze so I won’t need dental implants


My dentist told me to back off of booze. I have some perio issues with loose teeth and she said that my drinking habits can be a contributing factor. Yes she told, not asked me to cut back on booze. I was almost going to be insulted but I figured if she is right, she is saving me money on dentures or dental implants. Then the thought occurred to me that she might have just been getting to try me to stop drinking so much because a few times she asked me if she smelled alcohol on my breath. Does alcohol have anything to do with gum disease? Thanks. Ron


Ron – Your dentist is looking out for your best interests. A recent (September 2015) article in the Journal of Periodontology Online, Alcohol Consumption and Periodontitis: Quantification of Periodontal Pathogens and Cytokines, reports the findings in a study that included non-drinkers, occasional drinkers, and regular drinkers.

Among regular drinkers, there were more instances of sensitive gums that bleed easily, and the need for periodontal (gum) disease care. Another symptom of periodontal disease is that gums start to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets between the gums and teeth. Even regular drinkers without periodontal disease exhibited deeper pockets than occasional drinkers and non-drinkers.

Why the difference between regular drinkers and occasional or non-drinkers? Alcohol consumption dries the mouth. A dry mouth contributes to plaque buildup, which inflames the gum tissue. Sensitive, inflamed gums bleed, and if left untreated, can separate from the teeth and in time result in full-blown gum disease.

If gums don’t properly adhere to your teeth, the teeth lack support and can loosen. Left untreated, loose teeth will eventually fall out, and yes, some form of tooth replacement, perhaps dental implants, will be recommended.

If you are a regular alcohol drinker, your dentist’s recommendation is correct. Consuming less alcohol can improve the situation.

It’s important for all patients to speak openly about their drinking habits with their dentist. This will help your dentist correctly advise you and assist you with preventive dental care and help you avoid the need for tooth replacement.

This post is sponsored by Lowell dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Bleeding gums


There are several reasons that your gums might bleed. A new flossing routing can cause your gums to bleed until they adjust to the routine. Aggressive tooth brushing might be the problem.

Gingivitis, the beginning stage of periodontal disease, can also cause your gums to bleed. You might notice this when you brush your teeth, even if you don’t brush them aggressively. If you don’t floss, or if you have teeth that are difficult to floss, plaque can build up and make gums swell and bleed. People with a dental bridge should take extra care to floss around and beneath the bridge to keep food from getting trapped and irritating the gums.

Pregnancy gingivitis results from hormonal changes during pregnancy and can cause gums to swell and bleed. Also, certain medications, such as blood thinners can make gums bleed.

If your gums are persistently bleeding, make an appointment with your dentist. Early detection of a problem can make treatment easier.

This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Does a tongue scraper help bad breath?


Does a tongue scraper help bad breath? – Eddie

Eddie – Although a tongue scraper will not eliminate bad breath, it may reduce it. Tongue scrapers reduce the bacteria that can cause bad breath.

If you are unable to eliminate bad breath after regularly brush and flossing your teeth, using a mouth rinse specifically for neutralizing odor, and using a tongue scraper, see your dentist. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can cause bad breath. Bacteria from your gums can cause bad breath when sulfur compounds from the bacteria are released.

Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to help determine the source of the odor. If you have periodontal disease, it will be promptly treated to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.

This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Gum disease after not seeing a dentist for years


When I was a kid my parents made me to go the dentist. That went on until about the 10th grade. I moved out early and since then I have taken care of my teeth myself. I brush one or two times a day and floss pretty regular. So I guess maybe its been about 7 yrs since my last dental appointment but I really did a good job on my own. No cavities it feels like and my teeth are perfectly straight but since the past few months I started to notice that my gums are sensitive and painful and swollen. Last week a couple of my teeth started feeling lose and since last Monday I haven’t eaten on that side of my mouth because it feels like the teeth are going to fall out. This is getting scary and I am wondering how bad I have messed up by not going to the dentist. – Chris T from Delaware


You didn’t tell us your age, but based on the time you stopped going to the dentist and how long you said it’s been since you’ve seen a dentist, you’re likely in your mid- to late twenties. Your age will help your treatment to be less expensive, and give you a good chance to recover. Although you definitely need an examination by a dentist to confirm it, it sounds as if you have gum disease, and it’s serious. You should see a dentist promptly.

When your teeth are not cleaned professionally, you are not able to control the buildup of tartar on your own. A dentist is able to give your teeth the deep cleaning that they need, or gum disease is very likely to occur.

Gum disease often doesn’t cause pain. Teeth can get loose, spread apart, and fall out without warning signs. You are fortunate that the pain and swelling alerted you to the problem. If you ignore it, your teeth can fall out or need to be extracted. The gum disease will continue to spread and affect more teeth. If all of your teeth fall out dentures or dental implants will be the solution. Letting the problem progress will be very costly. Don’t put off getting help.

This blog post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.