How to Cover Your Oral Health Care Basics

There’s more to your oral health than brushing and flossing. Consistent personal oral health care combined with dental checkups help assure that you’re covering all your bases.

Prevention is worth it. Once you require treatment you’ll understand the value of preventative dentistry.

Make it personal

Dental care starts at home. Protect your teeth and gums with consistent dental hygiene.

Realize that what you’re protecting is more than your oral health. Your mouth reveals much about the current and ongoing health of your entire body.

  • Watch your mouth. Lesions or other oral issues could reveal symptoms of deeper problems within your body.

This is why keeping tabs on your oral health starts at home regardless of your age. You’re never too young or too old to view your teeth as a barometer for your overall health.

  • Brush and floss your teeth daily. And when you do, be aware of any sensitivity in a particular tooth or area of your gums.

Flossing cleans the area between your teeth and into your gum line. If you’re new to flossing, some bleeding is natural but ongoing gum bleeding or sensitivity could indicate the beginning of gum disease.

Pay attention when practicing your daily oral hygiene. If something gets your attention take action.

Call a professional

The ADA (American Dental Association) says,  “100 million Americans fail to see the dentist each year.” This statistic is astounding since regular dental examinations and visits to a dental hygienist can help prevent dental disease.

Pain is a common motivator for a dental appointment. But waiting until your mouth pain is unbearable puts you at risk for more serious health problems and could lead to more costly dental treatment.

Your dentist and dental hygienist are an unbeatable team for helping prevent more serious oral health problems. They are trained to help you…

  • Maintain healthy teeth and gums

  • Provide a  treatment plan when necessary

  • Save you from further costly health issues – starting with your mouth.

Make an appointment

Schedule your teeth cleaning and dental examination  with a dental hygienist every six months. This habit and frequency will keep your oral health current and help prevent the need for dental treatment.

Your role is to cover the basics: brushing, flossing, and scheduling your teeth cleanings and dental exams. Our role – as your dental professional: assist your best efforts, spot potential or current oral health issues, prescribe a treatment plan, and provide dental treatment when necessary.

Working together as a team creates wins for your overall health. And remember: good health starts in your mouth.

Question: What helps you stay consistent with daily oral health care? Share with us.

Start Reducing Your Risk of Periodontal Disease

There’s a cause and effect for most occurrences in your life. The same applies to potential indicators of periodontal disease.

Standard wisdom says that regular brushing and flossing protects against many dental issues. And generally that’s the case.

In the process, you must spot and eliminate a common culprit. Unless you do it’s open season on your gum and bone tissue.

Periodontal disease sounds serious…and it is

Consistent and correct brushing and flossing is a start. These oral health habits are your first line of defense.

You leave yourself vulnerable to the many causes of periodontal disease if you don’t practice good oral hygiene. One cause, in particular, is its breeding-ground so to speak.

You hear a lot about dental plaque…but it’s what you may not have heard that leads to periodontal disease.

Dental plaque is the common build up on your tooth surface. It’s also where bacteria thrive and join forces.

Research reveals that there are currently over 600 species of bacteria known to exist in the mouth alone. Only 400 of those bacterial species are currently identified.

When enough bacteria team up your gums become the target. Expanding bacterial colonies find pockets deep in your gum and bone tissue.

Inside those pockets is where bacteria do damage. The impact zone between gum and bone tissue can result in periodontal disease.

Control dental plaque to reduce your risk of periodontal disease.

A dental hygienist is your ally in preventing periodontal disease. Regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings provide advance warning about plaque build-up.

Where there’s plaque there’s bacteria. Your hygienist will remove plaque from your teeth and check and clean the pockets between your teeth and gums where bacteria thrive.

Avoid the risk factors of periodontal disease with dental check-ups and cleanings every 6 months. More frequent appointments may be necessary if periodontal issues are present.

Control the causes and you reduce the risk of periodontal disease. Practice good oral health habits and stay current with in-office dental check-ups and teeth cleanings.

What new understanding do you have about periodontal disease?

Think of It as Your Mouth’s Eco-system – Periodontal treatment keeps your oral health in balance

Think of It as Your Mouth’s Eco-system – Periodontal treatment keeps your oral health in balance

Ecologists talk about the balance of nature. They have in mind the interdependent eco-system that exists between plants, trees, and their environment.

Think of your oral health as an eco-system. Periodontal treatment keeps your mouth’s ecology in balance.

Your teeth are the most visible feature of your dental environment. It makes sense to give them the most attention.

Brushing and flossing are, of course, the primary focus of maintaining good oral health. And flossing – commonly overlooked – is actually the most effective periodontal treatment you can do outside of a dental office appointment.

There’s more to your mouth than teeth.

Your mouth’s supportive elements are of equal and sometimes greater concern. Those elements include your gum tissue, tooth roots, and bone.

Periodontal treatment focuses there. Daily brushing and flossing help prevent most periodontal issues but regular checkups with a dental hygienist gives you advance protection.

Healthy gums promote a healthy mouth.

Your gums provide clues about the condition of your oral health. If your gums bleed consistently when brushing or flossing this could be an early sign of periodontal issues.

Communicate with your dental hygienist if bleeding occurs regularly. Your hygienist will check (or chart) the pockets around your teeth to determine the existence and severity of tissue and bone damage.

A periodontal treatment to help avoid periodontal disease

Early treatment of the periodontal areas of your mouth can prevent periodontal disease. And early treatment is the least invasive and most cost-effective.

Scaling and root planing carefully clean your tooth root surfaces. Removing plaque and tartar from the deeper pockets targets the bacteria and promotes periodontal health.

You may require ongoing periodontal maintenance to assure gum and tooth health. Scaling and root planing can help you avoid more comprehensive and costly periodontal treatment too.

Your teeth and gums are vital to your overall health. Keep your mouth’s eco-system in harmony with periodontal check-ups and treatment.

What’s your biggest challenge to maintaining healthy oral hygiene habits?

Think of It as a Warranty for Your Teeth

Product warranties take into consideration the long term value of a product. You must factor in usage and the ever present possibility of damage.Unfortunately, your teeth don’t come with a warranty. But you can restore years of neglect or sudden damage with restorative dental treatment.

Life is hard on your teeth.

Monitor your lifestyle for a few days. Certain habits will reveal whether you could potentially face the need for a full or partial dental restoration. Soft drinks and highly acidic foods can slowly damage your teeth. Inconsistent dental hygiene can also lead to a breakdown in your tooth strength.

Teeth are designed to last a lifetime.

Your habits can erode the original strength of your teeth. Most damage to your tooth structure is unintentional but nonetheless costly. Ongoing erosion causes damage to your gums, tooth roots, the surface enamel of your teeth, and overall tooth alignment.  Symptoms will appear and regular dental checkups are an effective way to monitor your needs.

The next best thing to a tooth warranty

The best warranty for your teeth is proper dental hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and a healthy diet and lifestyle. But you aren’t always consistent. Lack of consistency over time can lead to the need for restorative dental treatment.

Restoration can involve dental crowns or dental implants on one or more teeth. Or you may benefit from a fullmouth restoration.

A full mouth dental restoration is more comprehensive and can involve…

• Treating teeth with crowns,veneers, inlays, on lays, bridges, and dental implants.

• Periodontal (gum) tissues treated with scaling, root planing, bone and tissue grafts.

• Bite and alignment issues treated with orthodontics (braces and aligners) and night guards.

• Aesthetics that improve and repair the appearance of your teeth.

Your teeth are valuable assets. Treat them properly or be prepared to utilize the closest thing to a tooth warranty – restorative dental treatment.

What current tooth issues are you experiencing?

Preventive Dentistry: Periodontal Disease Rates Alarming

An alarming study that we just published indicates that 50% of Americans above the age of 30 have some peridontal disease. This is terrible news because periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, has been implicated as a risk factor in cardiac (heart) disease, and raises blood sugar levels (effecting diabetes). Constant screening, frequent cleanings and check-ups, great home care, and proper nutrition are the best defense to this problem. Read the study below for more information.

Half of U.S. adults have periodontal disease

By Kathy Kincade, Editor in Chief

August 30, 2012 — One out of every two American adults age 30 or older has periodontal disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of Dental Research.

The findings were collected as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the U.S.

The data indicate that 47.2%, or 64.7 million American adults, have some form of periodontal disease. In adults older than age 65, prevalence rates increase to 70.1%.

The 2009-2010 survey included, for the first time, a full-mouth periodontal examination. Previous NHANES estimates of periodontal disease relied on partial mouth periodontal examination (PMPE) protocols that collected measurements from two randomly selected quadrants of the mouth and assessed probing depth and attachment loss at two sites per tooth.

More comprehensive assessment

Because periodontal disease is not evenly distributed in the mouth, prevalence estimates from surveys using PMPE protocols may have underestimated the severity of the disease within the U.S. population by as much as 50%, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) noted in a press release. The 2009-2010 NHANES survey collected measurements from six sites per tooth for all teeth (except third molars) in U.S. adults.

The AAP has been working closely with the CDC since 2003 to determine the extent, severity, and prevalence of periodontal disease in the U.S.

“This is the most accurate picture of periodontal disease in the U.S. adult population we have ever had.” — Pamela McClain, DDS, president, American Academy of Periodontology

“We know that periodontal disease can be very site-specific, so unless you look at the entire mouth and assess each tooth, you could miss severe disease,” Pamela McClain, DDS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, CO, told “Unless you are doing a comprehensive exam where you are probing at least six sites on every tooth, you are not getting an accurate picture of that patient’s periodontal health.”

The AAP collaborated with the CDC to help the agency develop a more accurate assessment of periodontal disease, she added.

“We now have a precise measure of the prevalence of periodontal disease and can better understand the true severity and extent of periodontal disease in our country,” Dr. McClain said. “This is the most accurate picture of periodontal disease in the U.S. adult population we have ever had.”

Disparities among certain populations

The data in the JDR study indicate prevalence disparities among certain segments of the U.S. population. Periodontal disease is higher in men than women (56.4% versus 38.4%) and is highest in Mexican-Americans (66.7%) compared with other races. Other segments with high prevalence rates include current smokers (64.2%); those living below the federal poverty level (65.4%); and those with less than a high school education (66.9%).

“We have demonstrated a high burden of periodontal disease in the adult U.S. population, especially among adults 65 and older,” said lead study author Paul Eke, MPH, PhD, a CDC epidemiologist, in an AAP press release. “Periodontal disease is associated with age, and as Americans live longer and retain more of their natural teeth, periodontal disease may take on more prominence in the oral health of the U.S adult population.”

Co-author Robert Genco, DDS, PhD, a distinguished professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and past president of the American Association for Dental Research and the International Association for Dental Research, believes these findings elevate periodontal disease as a public health concern.

“We now know that periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent noncommunicable chronic diseases in our population, similar to cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” he said.

The 2009-2010 NHANES periodontal disease data support the need for comprehensive periodontal evaluations performed annually by a member of the dental team, including a dentist, dental hygienist, or periodontist, Dr. McClain added. This includes examining every tooth and measuring both attachment loss and probing depth to get the most accurate assessment of periodontal disease.

“Many of our patients have periodontal disease and do not know it,” she stated. “As dental professionals, it is more important than ever that we provide patients with a comprehensive periodontal evaluation annually to determine their disease status.”


Preventive Dentistry: Adult Fluoride

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true when we recommend fluoride. My goal, as your dentist, is to keep your teeth healthy and strong into very old age. Fluoride, because of its many benefits, can help us in achieving our goal.

What is fluoride? Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally occurring in drinking water in many areas. In these areas, a drastic reduction in dental disease was noted. That is how fluoride, as a treatment  modality, was born.

Adult fluoride is also called topical fluoride. Topical fluoride (fluoride that is applied directly to your teeth) works directly on the tooth surfaces most at risk of decay. Adults with gum recession, tooth sensitivity,  and existing dental restorations can greatly benefit from this treatment.

Areas on the tooth where the gums have receded is soft, susceptible to decay and can be sensitive. Fluoride incorporates into the outer layer of the tooth and helps to insulate and strengthen the tooth, making it more resistant to decay and much less sensitive. The junction of the tooth and a filling is another area where fluoride incorporates. This junction is the weakest part of the restoration and the place most susceptible to fracture and more decay. Fluoride helps to reinforce those areas and helps prevent decay from sneaking under the filling. This reduces the need for larger fillings, crowns, and root canals.

Adult fluoride is applied as a thin varnish. It is best placed after the teeth have been professionally cleaned. It is NOT like the large trays used during childhood. As an adjunct, a fluoride rinse after brushing at home is also helpful. Fluoride is the easiest and most cost effective preventive measure we have in dentistry and provides many benefits for adults.

There is a lot of great information available about the benefits of fluoride and I would be happy to discuss it at your next visit!


Here are the products that Dr. Spina is recommending for most adults as a supplement to professional fluoride varnish and regular 6 month check-ups.


ACT Fluoride Rinse –


Listerine Rinse –   


Lasers in Dentistry: Treating Dental Implants

We are using Dental Lasers and Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy (LAPT) to help more and more patients. Recently, we used our laser to treat periodontal disease around a dental implant.

 A patient was referred to our practice to evaluate a  dental implant that he was told needed to be replace. Dental implants can develop periodontal disease (a gum/bone infection), a condition know as peri-implantits. This type of infection around a dental implant significantly decreases the lifespan of the implant and can cause it to ultimately fail. Using the dental laser, we were able to  remove the harmful bacteria (decontaminate) from the bone and gums around the failing implant. This, in combination with antiseptic rinses, treated the infection. This allowed the gums to re-attach to the implant and increase the life of the implant. Most importantly, we were able to give the patient a viable option besides removing the implant and replacing it with a new one.

 This type of treatment is really exciting for both the patient and myself. It is just an extension of the developing field of LAPT.

Laser treatment of Periodontal Disease

As many of you know, I have become very involved with the use of the lasers in dentistry. Currently I am active in the Academy of Laser Dentistry as well as the World Clinical Laser Institute. Lasers have revolutionized the treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Patients that had been treated in the past with gum surgery and extractions can now be treated with laser energy.

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