Everything You Need to Know About Gingivitis | Northridge Dentist

The stages of periodontal disease

Many people suffer from some form of gum disease, or gingivitis. Its most common cause is straightforward: poor oral hygiene. Unlike periodontal disease, which impacts the bone within the gums, gingivitis is inflammation within the gum tissue itself. While oral hygiene deficiencies are the culprit, there are many factors that can increase your risk of developing gingivitis, including:

  • Smoking and chewing tobacco make it more difficult for damaged tissue to heal
  • Crooked teeth allow plaque and tartar to accumulate
  • Stress lowers your body’s immune response to the bacteria
  • Mouth breathing allows your gums to dry out, causing inflammation and irritation

Besides red, swollen, bleeding gums, one of the other likely signs of gum disease is chronic bad breath. As the infection within the gums spreads, the bacteria release an odor that is noticeable to others. Beyond traditional oral hygiene, there are a few other things you can do to treat and help prevent gum disease:

  • Drink tea. Green tea contains antioxidants that help reduce inflammation.
  • Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash. It kills bacteria in your mouth.
  • Warm saltwater rinses. A combination of the two, this rinse can both reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, but should not be used every day.
  • Baking soda. Baking soda neutralizes acid within your mouth that can contribute to gum disease

If you have, or believe you have, gum disease, be sure to attend your regular dentist appointments. Treating it early, before the bacteria spread to the bone beneath the teeth, greatly improves your chance of recovery without tooth loss or surgery.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Tooth Abscesses: Not a Laughing Matter | Northridge Dentist

When we develop pain in our mouths, it is something that can turn a nuisance into incredible pain relatively easily. One of the main causes of this is an abscessed tooth. Thankfully, it is something that is completely preventable by following simple oral health steps.

Firstly, an abscessed tooth is an infection at the root of a tooth or between gums caused by decay, trauma to the tooth, gingivitis or other gum diseases. It begins when bacteria infect the core of a tooth, through a cavity or cracked tooth, and progressing until pockets of pus begin to form at the root.  Symptoms include toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, a bitter taste in mouth, bad breath, swollen glands at the neck or jaw and painful chewing, the severity depending on the patient. Some patients feel excruciating pain right away, while others do not know they have an abscessed tooth until they go in for a routine dental exam.

An abscessed tooth can become very dangerous if left untreated. It can spread infections to other areas of the mouth that may cause loss of teeth, facial disfigurement due to rotting facial bones, while putting your immune system at risk of developing other health problems. If an abscess isn’t treated, it will continue to grow and spread through tissue, causing outward facial swelling called cellulitis, and in rare cases, death.

In order to prevent a tooth abscess, it is important that you follow a daily dental routine to ensure that your mouth remains healthy and your smile bright and clean. If you feel an abscess may be forming, see your dental professional immediately.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Worried About Bad Breath? Northridge, CA

untitledAs a dental hygienist, the most common question I hear from my patients is, “How do I get rid of my bad breath?”  or “How do I prevent bad breath?”  Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by different things, such as:

1.  Bacteria.  Bacteria is the most common reason for bad breath.  Bacteria breed inside your mouth. These micro organisms lurk between your teeth and cover your tongue. When bacteria stagnate, they multiply and give off toxins and stinky odors.

2.  Tonsils.  The deep holes in your tonsils, called crypts, are a common cause of halitosis. If your tonsils are too wide and pitted, a cheese-like smelly substance collects in these holes. These nuggets sometimes smell, and may cause bad breath.

3.  Certain foods.  Foods such as onion, garlic, and fish can cause bad breath — even hours after you brush your teeth.

4.  Tummy Problems.  Sometimes GI problems such as GERD or an ulcer can cause bad breath when you burp and gas is released. Also blame low-carb diets, which cause ketosis, a fat-burning state in the body that produces dragon breath.

5.  Bad Habits.  Any type of smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipe) or chewing tobacco can leave you with a really nasty taste — and smell — in your mouth.

Now that we know what causes bad breath, here are some suggestions to help you achieve kissably fresh breath:

1.  Brush your teeth — and tongue — twice a day to banish bad breath. While you’re brushing your teeth, brush your tongue – especially the back of the tongue. Brushing your tongue will remove smelly bacteria that cause bad breath.

2.  Floss once a day for fresh breath. Flossing is must-do. Flossing gets out hidden food particles and removes plaque. Flossing also helps prevent periodontal disease — another common cause of bad breath.

3.  Drink lots of water to avert bad breath. Lack of fluids can lead to dry mouth and cause bad breath. Dry mouth or reduced saliva can be the result of not drinking enough liquids, mouth breathing, or medications like antihistamines.

4.  Check your sinuses; infections cause bad breath. Bad breath is often a clue to an underlying sinus infection.  Post-nasal drip is most noticeable after sleeping at night, which is why many people rush to brush their teeth first thing in the morning.

5.  Chew gum with xylitol to banish bad breath. Chewing gum makes you salivate if your mouth is dry and causing bad breath. Saliva is what washes away the bacteria in your mouth.

6.  See your dentist. At least every six months, see Dr. David Lunt for teeth cleaning and an oral exam. Dr. David Lunt can check your mouth and teeth for open cavities and gum disease that cause bad breath.

If these tips don’t work to stop your bad breath, see Dr. David Lunt. Occasionally bad breath is a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.

For more information on bad breath and how to treat it, contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura, CSUN, Cal State Northridge, and all surrounding areas.

How Saliva Can Help Your Oral Health | Northridge Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-80707547We have been taught since we were kids that keeping your smile pretty means you have to brush, floss and rinse every day. In fact, we’ve also been told we should do it after every meal. As a child, it’s incredibly difficult to keep up that tall order. What kid keeps a toothbrush with them? But keeping it to twice a day was a bit more feasible with mom’s constant reminders. What you don’t know is that we are given a natural tooth decaying weapon – saliva.

That’s right. The answer is already inside of your mouth. See, tooth decay is something that happens when bacteria feeds off the sugars we consume through food and drink. This plaque latches on to your teeth and begins to eat through the enamel. Generally, we are under the impression that by brushing our teeth after every meal, there isn’t much time for this oral menace to do a whole lot of damage. But even more than that, when the saliva glands are activated in our mouths, it actually helps rinse off the bacteria naturally.

So what causes us to create saliva? Chewing. Every meal and every snack you eat, every piece of bubble gum you chew is all helping to create the saliva that fights against germs and bad breath. But keep in mind, it takes 20 minutes for sugar to be cleared from your mouth after its consumption. The more often you are chewing on something sugary, the more often you are exposing your teeth to more bacteria, so try to keep the things you consume less sugary and more healthy. Sugar-free gum & candy is great, but so is a simple bottle of water. Keeping a nice balance will not only get those salivary glands working, but will also help out when you don’t have a toothbrush handy.

Unfortunately, there are some conditions that prevent a healthy amount of saliva to produce in our mouths. Certain medications or diseases can also affect the way your body produces saliva. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is more likely to develop conditions like rapid tooth decay, gum disease, cavities or even bad breath. This may be able to be cured naturally by drinking lots of water and chewing on sugar-free gum or candy, but you should have a medical professional give you their opinion, just in case it is preventable.

If you are on the other side of the spectrum, you are producing too much saliva. Overactive glands could be affected by something as simple as taste buds reacting to spicy foods, to something much more serious, like poisoning or stroke. And while it is generally fixable, you may need a doctor to prescribe you something if it is an actual health condition causing the excessive saliva.

Saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. It is nature’s disinfecting cavity fighter. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your teeth healthy, both at home and when visiting a dental professional. You don’t have to brush your teeth…Just the ones you want to keep!

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Why You Can’t Hide Anything from Your Dentist | Northridge Dentist

494183909While cavities and plaque build-up may be what’s on your mind before a teeth cleaning, your dentist is looking for a whole lot more. One might say the mouth is the window to the body! Often, diseases like cancer, anemia and diabetes will first be identified by the dentist in a regular examination, and this can save lives. It’s not just diseases—dentists can discover everything from your bad habits to your favorite beverages simply by asking you to say, “Ahh!”. So before you try to think that you can pull a fast one on your dentist, think again…

You flossed right before your appointment—and that’s the only time. Sorry, but you can’t fool your dentist into thinking you floss daily by doing so the night before or morning of your visit.

You’re pregnant. Nearly 40% of women will develop gingivitis during their pregnancy. This is caused by increased progesterone, which facilitates the growth of bacteria, causing gingivitis. Some women will develop a deep red lump on their gums called a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma. This type of tumor is completely benign and will go away after the pregnancy is over. Most women are typically pretty far along before their gums start bleeding, so it’s not as though a dentist will “discover” that a patient is pregnant.

You sucked your thumb as a child. Most children that suck their thumbs or a finger have no long-term effects from the habit. Those who did so past the age of seven or eight may show significant changes to their bite or the position of their teeth. Much of that can be corrected through orthodontic treatment, but some telltale signs can remain.

Your bad breath may mean something. General bad breath is categorized as halitosis. But dentists are also trained to identify “fruity” smells and “fishy” smells, which can mean numerous things. ‘Fruity’ breath could indicate uncontrolled diabetes or a dietary fast that has gone too far, while ‘fishy’ breath could be a sign of kidney or liver failure. If the smell is very foul it could be anything from gastroesophageal reflux to other underlying problems.

You may have an eating disorder. Many patients are surprised that their dentist is the first one to ask about eating disorders. Bulimia exhibits a very distinct pattern of tooth wear that your dentist can easily identify. Other possibilities include acid reflux and the use of antidepressants or mood-elevating drugs, both of which reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, thereby upping the odds of acid damage.

You have oral cancer. The first signs of oral cancer can be seen from the following: unexplained bleeding in the mouth, white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, a change in the way your teeth fit together, swellings, thickenings, lumps or bumps or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth. An oral surgeon should be consulted for a biopsy of any suspicious tissue.

You love soda & energy drinks. You may know why you chipped your tooth and even though the cause may be apparent, there could be underlying factors that weakened the tooth and made it susceptible to being chipped in the first place. He explains that teeth can be softened by sodas and other sugary beverages over time, which may make a tooth more susceptible to chipping. Energy drinks, which tend to be even more acidic than soft drinks, may cause even more damage to tooth enamel.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Reasons You Should Quit Smoking | Northridge Dentist

No_smoking_symbol_svgWe all know that smoking is bad. Lung cancer, heart disease, premature wrinkles are just a few of the results taking up smoking will do to someone. But how bad it is for your mouth? Turns out, pretty bad. In the beginning the effects are fairly minor. But bad breath & yellowing teeth are just the tip of the iceberg. Soon you will have a build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth, which can lead to gum disease and even tooth loss. From there it just sort of spirals down. Healing from tooth loss will take longer to heal. The dental implant used to replace the tooth have a lower success rate due to bone loss in the jaw. So, in actuality, smoking is a catalyst for a ton of dental issues, the most harmful being gum disease.

When you smoke, the smoke you inhale interferes with the normal function of your gum tissue. When infected, you are more susceptible to periodontal disease. The more your blood flow is impaired, the longer it takes to heal. As you lose more alveolar bone, or the bones that anchor your teeth in your mouth, the easier it is for them to fall out.

Now you may be thinking, “I smoke cigars so I don’t inhale. How bad can smoking be for me?” The truth is, it really doesn’t matter which version of tobacco you use. Cigars, pipes, even chewing tobacco are bad for your mouth in the same exact way cigarettes are. So if you are thinking about changing methods, it really isn’t going to help prevent dental issues from arising. No, the best thing you can do to prevent dental issues from arising is to quit smoking altogether.

But is it worth quitting your tobacco habit? After all, you’ve been smoking for years. It is. Quitting will benefit your health tremendously, no matter how long you’ve been smoking. Studies show that those who quit can eventually have the same odds of getting oral disease that nonsmokers do! A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that mouth lesion leukoplakia completely healed in 97.5% of patients just after 6 weeks of quitting. The American Cancer Society states smokers are 6 times more likely to contract cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat than those who do not. And say you do get one of these cancers, but you cure it. If you go back to smoking, you have a 37% chance of getting cancer again. If you stop, that stat drops to 6%. Doesn’t that make quitting so worth it? So grab yourself some nicotine gum, join a support group, or try acupuncture or hypnosis. There are lots of ways you can rid yourself of this bad habit and ensure you stay healthy for a long time to come.

If you’re a smoker and would like to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. David Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com for additional information regarding dental care while on vacation.

David P. Lunt proudly serves Northridge, Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka and all surrounding areas.

Vacations Are No Reason to Say ‘Bon Voyage!’ to Your Dental Health | Northridge Dentist

480865629If there is any word that goes hand in hand with the word summertime, that word would be vacation. The weather is glorious and the kiddies are off school; it’s time to make a mad dash out of the house for a few days. The destination doesn’t really matter. All that matters are making a few memories with the ones you love most during this deliciously delightful time of year. So we pack a few things and off we go…off to spend a few days being carefree. The world is our oyster!

But before you hit the road, take a few moments to prepare for an emergency we never really think about: an oral one. Vacations are all about fun, and the last thing we want to think about is our teeth. Tis the season for ice cream & other amazing summertime treats. From BBQs to travel plans, summertime is definitely a time of year we throw caution to the wind and devour anything that tickles our fancy. Be cognizant of the amount of sugars you intake (carbs and alcohol are also sugars!), also drink lots of water to stay hydrated and keep saliva production active. The more saliva you produce, the more protection you’re giving your mouth from cavity-forming bacteria and bad breath. And while it can easily to slip your mind, make sure you pack your dental kit in with your things. Practicing your oral hygiene daily is a top priority when tasting all the delicious goodies at your disposal. No one wants to come home to a mouth full of cavities after a wonderful time away.

If you are more of an active vacationer, you know that keeping protected from the sun is a must, but did you know your lips are even more sensitive to the sun’s rays? Keep some type of lip balm handy for those outdoor adventures. Being active also leads to a lot more accidental mishaps, so be aware of your surroundings at all times. Cracking a tooth on a swimming pool or some other dental emergency could spoil the fun if you aren’t careful. Carrying a dental first aid kit is a pretty smart idea if you are planning to spend lots of time outdoors. It’s also a great idea to have a local dental contact handy in case something major happens and immediate action is necessary. Being proactive on a vacation saves a lot of stress, and isn’t that exactly what you’re there to do?

When you get back from your lovely holiday, make an appointment with your dentist for a quick check-up and cleaning if you didn’t get a chance do it before. Having someone take a look at your teeth after a vacation is always a good idea. Have a great summer!

If you’re considering a vacation and would like to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. David Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com for additional information regarding dental care while on vacation.

David P. Lunt proudly serves Northridge, Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka and all surrounding areas.

What Does Your bad Breath Mean? Northridge, Ca Dentist

479931319No one likes to hear it, but it’s worse not to know it: You have bad breath. A quick breath check can save you from more than just an awkward social situation — it could tell you if you’ve got an underlying dental problem. While poor dental hygiene accounts for most cases of halitosis, bad breath can sometimes signal another underlying medical condition. If you are experiencing bad breath start with a visit to your dentist. If you are only suffering from bad breath from either an internal or oral problem fortunately for you this problem is often easy to fix. What helps: Good oral hygiene, regular visits to your dentist, and ruling out any underlying conditions or other factors (such as some medications, diets, and foods) that could make your breath less than pleasant.

When the enamel on your teeth erodes, food particles can get deposited in those holes, called dental caries. Because brushing your teeth can’t remove these food deposits, they can eventually grow bacteria, which produces a bad smell. Gingivitis is another medical condition that may cause bad breath. When the gum becomes inflamed with bacteria, it can result in severe pain and foul smelling discharge.

Studies show that about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles; cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.

Several internal medical conditions also can cause your breath to go downhill fast. They include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, and chronic bronchitis. Again you’ll want to see your doctor to rule out things like acid reflux, postnasal drip, and other causes of chronic dry mouth.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is important in keeping bad breath away. Make sure you keep up your oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes, followed, by a thorough flossing session, and then a rinse with some mouth wash to seal in the cleanliness and fresh breath!

Don’t skip your regular dental visit, your health depends on it! Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt DDS Restorative, Preventive and General Dentistry by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Accepting patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Flossing: Killing Your Bad Breath | Northridge, CA

flossing

Did you know that one of the biggest removers of bad breath particles is daily flossing? Keeping up your flossing routine is not only vital to maintaining a healthy mouth, but it plays a huge part in the overall appearance of your teeth.

Flossing daily helps improve bad breath by effectively removing the food particles and bacteria that contribute to it. When food particles aren’t removed, bacteria starts to build up, which ultimately causes bad breath in the end.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is important in keeping bad breath away. Flossing is just one of the many factors that contributes to an individual’s oral health. Make sure you keep up your oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes, followed, by a thorough flossing session, and then a rinse with some mouth wash to seal in the cleanliness and fresh breath!

For more information about good oral hygiene call Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com.

Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA proudly accepts patients from Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka, and surrounding areas.

Tobacco: Killing Your Teeth | Northridge, CA

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It is no secret that tobacco has been one of the most detrimental ideals regarding one’s health. Aside from risk of heart attack, lung cancer, and a multitude of other internal issues, did you know that tobacco is also detrimental to your teeth?

Tobacco use and smoking can cause a multitude of oral health issues starting from oral cancer to discolored teeth. Over the past decade the amount of individuals facing oral cancer due to smoking has increased from 40 to 50 percent. The American Cancer Society believes that 90 percent of the individuals currently suffering from oral cancer have used tobacco.

While smoking tobacco isn’t a main cause of dental decay, it does have the capacity to cause periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease may result in a case of bone loss. While there are surgical and nonsurgical treatments and therapies related to helping those with periodontal disease, it has become one of the most difficult issues to overcome because of the addictive qualities of tobacco.

Individuals who smoke compromise not only their oral health, but their overall health in ways that some treatments cannot fix. If you need help overcoming your oral issues due to smoking or tobacco use, consult your dentist today!

For more information about good oral hygiene call Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com.

Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA proudly accepts patients from Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka, and surrounding areas.