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4 Reasons Your Gums May Be Itching

Itchy gums may sound like a strange symptom to have, but if you’ve ever experienced them, you know how annoying and uncomfortable they can be. What causes gums to itch, however, is a little less clear. We’ve rounded up the top 4 reasons you may be feeling that tingle near your teeth, and some actions you can take to get rid of it!

Allergies

Do you ever feel an itchy or fuzzy feeling in your mouth after eating certain raw fruits and vegetables? You may have oral allergy syndrome (OAS). It’s generally mild, and can be cleared up with an antihistamine, but if it doesn’t clear up or is impeding your breathing or eating, best to consult a doctor immediately.

Dry Mouth

As simple as it sounds, just making sure there’s enough saliva in your mouth is a simple solution to a host of oral health concerns, from halitosis to gum disease to, you guessed it, itchy gums! If you’re feeling a little dry due to medications you’re taking or just general dehydration, be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to keep saliva flowing.

Hormonal Changes

Women and girls going through puberty, menopause, pregnancy, or any other dramatic shift in hormones (like starting or stopping birth control), may experience itchy gums as a side effect. As your hormones begin to regulate, this symptom should go away on its own, but if not, consult your doctor.

Gum Disease

You hear us say it all the time, but brushing and flossing for two minutes twice a day is really the best thing you can do for your mouth. If you’ve been a little lax about your oral health routine lately, and are experiencing itchy gums, it could be a symptom of plaque and tartar buildup. If you’ve got lots of tartar, you’ll need a dentist to remove it for you. They can also help you determine if you’re at risk for periodontal disease, and give you advice on how best to combat it.

If you’re experiencing itchy gums or any other strange sensations in your mouth, as always, your best bet is to contact us and set up an appointment!

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Meth Mouth

It is widely known that drug use, especially hard drug use, can cause tooth decay. The worst drug offender in ruining teeth, however, is methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, or ‘Meth’ is known as a powerfully addictive drug that can harm overall health, but it can also seriously affect oral health. According to the American Dental Association, Meth use can both destroy a person’s smile and their ability to chew foods.

A 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 1.2 million Americans had tried methamphetamines in the last year and 440,000 reported using meth in the last month. These numbers have been on the rise since the early 2000s, especially in people between the ages of 18 to 34 years old.

Meth use causes permanent brain damage and also causes the salivary glands to stop producing saliva. This dries out the mouth and allows the acid in the mouth to run rampant, destroying teeth. The lack of saliva in the mouth allows for cavities to form, and these cavities will likely be left untreated, as meth becomes the sole purpose of the users life. As meth use continues, total tooth decay occurs.

Dentists can often times see the beginning signs of meth use in the oral health of teenagers. Teens who suddenly have teeth riddled with cavities is often a red flag to dentists.

Meth use will decimate your natural smile and negatively affects your overall physical and mental health. A quality dentist will see the signs and possibly recommend or call a treatment center for help when noticing signs of meth use.

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Let’s Talk Gingivitis

Header Image Fiorillo Dental lets talk gingivitis

When we think about oral health, one of the major parts of our mouth that can cause problems is the gum. If gums become red and often bleed, it may be an indication of gum disease. There are two different types of gum disease. One is called gingivitis and the other, periodontitis. Periodontitis is the result of untreated gingivitis, and it is a serious condition. Without proper treatment, gingivitis (and subsequent periodontitis) could potentially lead to tooth loss and damage to the jawbone.

Trying to determine if this is what’s causing your mouth issues? Some of the symptoms associated with gingivitis include: bleeding gums, bad breath, swelling, frequent mouth sores, tender or painful gums, or loose teeth. It’s important to note that there are other causes of gingivitis not limited to poor oral hygiene. Ill-fitting braces or dentures, improperly aligned teeth, tobacco use, pregnancy, and even certain medications can cause gingivitis.

So if you have some of the symptoms, where do you go from there? After going to see your dentist and confirming that you indeed have this issue, the dentist will clean your teeth in order to attack the bacteria and reduce inflammation. And how to prevent yourself from ending up in the dentist’s chair like this? Thoroughly brush and floss every day. Eat a healthy diet, watch your sugars, and schedule regular dental cleanings!

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Activated Charcoal: Hot or Hazardous?

Header Image Fiorillo Dental lets talk gingivitis

You’ve probably seen this new dental trend on your social media feeds: beauty influencers sporting pitch black smiles and swearing the result is cleaner, whiter teeth. The product? Activated charcoal powders, applied and brushed onto teeth in lieu of toothpaste. No one can deny its popularity, but is this craze hot, or hazardous?

Activated charcoal has long been used medicinally thanks to its absorbency. In fact, hospitals usually have the black stuff on hand to soak up poisonous substances a patient may have accidentally ingested. The idea behind using charcoal in your mouth is similar; if it can absorb poison, surely it can absorb stains and bacteria from teeth, right? Not necessarily. The mixture is so gritty, it can actually erode enamel, leading to a greater risk of tooth decay and cavities.

In addition to being uncomfortable and hazardous, the erosion of enamel can have another side effect: darker colored teeth! Your enamel is the part of the tooth that’s actually white, so the more you wear it away, the dingier your teeth will be.

Rather than risk permanent damage to your teeth for counterproductive results, contact your dentist today for information about safe whitening treatments. Your mouth will thank you!

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DIY Whitening: What You Should Know

Header Image Fiorillo Dental lets talk gingivitis

Whitening products that can be purchased online or at the drugstore have become ubiquitous. You’ve probably seen ads on magazines or social media for easily obtainable whitening products that promise pearlier whites after one use. The appeal is obvious. After all, everyone wants shiny, white teeth! But do these products really work, and more importantly, are they safe?

The good news is that these products will typically give you some results, to an extent. The ingredients that actually do the whitening—usually carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide—are present in many over-the-counter (OTC) whitening options, but in much weaker concentrations than what you’d receive in the dentist’s office. This means that you can’t receive the same results as quickly or effectively as you would from a professional treatment.

The bad news? Sometimes DIY whitening products, particularly those indie brands you may have seen advertised on Facebook or Instagram, are completely unregulated. They may not even have active whitening ingredients in their formulas, or may use a “magic light” that doesn’t do anything. Conversely, the active ingredients can be too strong, and dangerous to use and ingest.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, easily accessible whitening product, Crest Whitestrips are probably the best, safest option. They are regulated and accepted by the American Dental Association, and will give you some small improvement in the whiteness of your teeth. But for long-lasting, dazzling results, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Consult your dentist today about which whitening option is best for you, and get ready to show off a beautiful, whiter smile!

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Fluoride Facts

Header Image Fiorillo Dental lets talk gingivitis

Many people have confusion or misinformation about fluoride and what exactly it does for dental health. Between fluoridated water, fluoride toothpaste, and in-office treatments, there’s a lot to unpack! Luckily, we’re here to help you understand everything about this useful addition to your oral care routine.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring cavity fighting agent. It’s often present in natural bodies of water such as rivers and lakes, or is added to products such as toothpaste and mouthwashes. Fluoride works by rebuilding decaying enamel, keeping teeth strong and resistant to cavities and erosion.

Is it safe?

Studies have been done for over 70 years in the United States on the effects of fluoride and fluoridated water on the teeth. Not only is it completely safe for both children and adults, studies have shown that fluoride can help reduce the risk of cavities and decay by at least 25%!

What is the benefit of fluoridated water?

When you drink water with fluoride in it, it becomes part of the saliva. Because saliva is in our mouths all the time, it’s essentially washing our teeth with a tiny bit of fluoride constantly, allowing for consistent protection. As of 2012, almost 75% of the United States population lives in a community where the public water (the stuff that comes out of your tap!) is fluoridated.

My community doesn’t have fluoridated water. What should I do?

There are many fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes on the market that can help strengthen your enamel little by little every day. Your dentist can also do fluoride treatments in-office, with either a fluoride foam or a varnish. Whichever fluoride you use, it’s easy, pain-free, and beneficial.

Much like anything else, moderation is key in terms of fluoride use. Too much and you’re at risk of fluorosis (a pain-free and functionally harmless discoloration of the enamel), or too little and you won’t get the benefits. Talk to your dentist to determine how much and which methods of fluoride are best for you.

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