When was the last time you thought about your teeth? This morning at the sink? Eating corn on the cob during July 4th festivities? But, when was the last time you really thought about the health of your teeth? When it hurt your molars drinking hot coffee the other day? When you had an uncomfortable twinge of pain from the shock of ice water while at the gym? Or when you rubbed your tongue over that fuzzy coating of plague this morning? Maybe you do think about the health of your teeth more often than you think… but what about your gums?
When was the last time you actually thought about your gums? I never think about mine unless they are bleeding from either being brushed too hard or from some overzealous flossing due to the aforementioned corn on the cob festivities.
Ironically enough, I had been shopping around for a dentist on ZocDoc.com, when a friend forwarded me some pretty scary information from The Diamond Schlesinger Group in NYC. Dr. Greg R. Diamond, DDS and Dr. Mark Schlesinger, DDS practice periodontics, laser and implant dentistry. That means they are really into your gums and the prevention of gum diseases like Gingivitis and Periodontitis. They recently surveyed over 100 clients at their practice, unveiling some pretty interesting findings. Out of the 100+ people polled…
- 45% said they do not brush their teeth twice a day WOW
- 39% failed to identify preventing gum disease as the main objective of brushing teeth YIKES
- 30% believed there is no genetic link to gum disease FALSE
- More than 50% of those who completed the survey mistakenly believed their risk of cavities decreases with age
- Only 18% were aware that there IS a strong connection between heart disease and gum disease
Now, I know we have all heard the commercials on TV talking about gum disease and Gingivitis and why it’s so bad and yadda, yadda. I’m sure, if you’re like me, you haven’t ever really given it much thought. So, let’s break it down:
- 4 out of 5 people in the U.S. have gum disease, or periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a mild form. Periodontitis is more severe; it can damage the bone and cause tooth loss.
- Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. At this stage, gums become red and inflamed and may bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be turned around with a regimen of daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups and cleanings — but it does need to be caught early.
- Periodontitis is a more serious stage of gum disease that can seriously damage the gums and structures that support the teeth. One of the hallmarks of Periodontitis is pockets that form when gums pull away from the teeth. The bone and ligament that support the tooth start to break down and over time, the tooth becomes loose in its socket. Without treatment, the tooth could eventually have to be removed.
Still not convinced your gums are important? Consider this…
- About 30% of people may be genetically predisposed to developing gum disease
- Diabetes increases the risk for gum disease, possibly because people with diabetes are more prone to infection. Gum disease also makes it harder to control diabetes.
- According to the American Dental Association, smoking may be the cause of almost 75% of periodontal diseases (source: WebMD)
… and the kicker: Studies show that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease aka heart disease.
Whoa. If that isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. That’s why I went to go see Dr. Diamond and Dr. Schlesinger last week to have my teeth AND gums looked at by the professionals. So I made an appointment and went over to The DS Group.
When I arrived, I was greeted by Star, the very friendly (and fashionable) office manager who had me fill out a quick form or two. Then I was off for a very through cleaning from dental hygienist, Grainne (pronounced Gron-ya), the most fabulous Irish women I have ever met.
She informed me that a cleaning at a periodontal office may be a little different than what I have had at other dentist offices. First, I’d be getting digital x-rays of my teeth to check for cavities. Then Grainne said, “I’ll be going under your gum today, looking for any pockets – one of the tell-tale signs of Periodontitis,” (right before the above snapshot). “It may be a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t hurt too much.”After the x-ray (pictures below and yes, those are cavities circled in red), I got the best, deepest clean of my life, with all the bells and whistles. I’ve had cleanings before, but this time, it just all felt so meticulous and full of genuine care for my mouth, gums and my health. I felt so relaxed because I could immediately tell I was in good hands.
After my cleaning and x-ray inspection. I was presented with a little gift… my vary own electric tooth brush, an Oral-B® Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuideTM and whitening treatment by Venus White Ultra! How awesome is that?! Then Dr. Diamond proceed to demonstrate how to use the new brush on a giant, Steven Tyler-set of fake teeth.
With material like that, I couldn’t pass up a good chuckle, so I asked Dr. Diamond to get a little goofy and don his trés fashionable riding goggles and pose with his kick-butt bicycle (which he rode to work that morning) and stand in front of my husband’s autographed picture, aka New York Yankee, Derek Jeter. Without a moment’s hesitation, Dr. Diamond was picture perfect…
… and this is the way we finished up the rest of our interview…
New Yorkers, if you are looking for boring, stuffy or stuck-up dentists who are too busy to give a you-know-what about you, these are not them! These two men are extremely educated, awarded and skilled smile doctors who actually practice what they preach… everything is better with a healthy smile and a good laugh.
… And now for the giveaway…
Manhattanites, we’re giving away a visit to The DS Group for your very own cleaning! Not in NYC, don’t worry. We’re also giving away a pearly whites prize package, including: Venus White Ultra whitening trays (quick, convenient, simple to use and disposable — Venus White Ultra whitening trays are pre-filled with mint-flavored gel. Made of an ultra thin material, they mold to each tooth formaximum comfort and effectiveness) and the Oral-B Pro Health Clinical Gingivitis System for one lucky US resident, which includes:
- Oral-B® Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuideTM
- Oral-B® Glide® PRO-HEALTH® Clinical Protection Floss
- Crest® PRO-HEALTH® Clinical Gum Protection Toothpaste
- Crest® PRO-HEALTH Multi-Protection Rinse