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.

If You Love Coffee, There’s Something You Should Know | Northridge Dentist

There is always a line at your favorite coffee shop, so you know aren’t the only one that needs their cup of joe in the morning. But if this is your caffeine form of choice, you need to be extra careful. Not only does coffee stain your teeth, but it can also contribute to the buildup of plaque and tartar, while accelerating the progression of periodontal disease.

Firstly, you should know the two forms of periodontal disease. Gingivitis, or an inflammation of your gums caused by plaque, and periodontitis, a more advanced version of gingivitis that results in a gap between your teeth and your gums. When caught in the beginning gingivitis stage, it can be treated and, hopefully preventable in the future. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is more difficult to treat and, due to the gap between the teeth and gums, may cause your teeth to become loose and fall out.

Now, coffee affects your mouth in two ways: it lowers the temperature of your mouth and gums, and reduces the blood flow to your gums. This does not allow your gums to get all of the necessary oxygen they need to continue functioning properly.

When it comes to gum disease, saliva plays a major role in prevention. It contains oxygen and specialized enzymes which help prevent gum disease by killing the unnecessary bacteria in your mouth. However, drinking coffee can cause dehydration and reduce the amount of saliva you produce, thus increasing your chances of developing gum disease.

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.

A Is for Autumn…and Apples | Northridge Dentist

Parents Giving Children Piggyback Ride On Walk In WoodsNow that we are smack dab in the middle of Autumn, I think that it’s time to talk about one of our mouth’s very best friends – the apple. Autumn is apple season and it is key to many of our autumnal celebrations. The kiddies are back to school; you send them with an apple for the teacher. The leaves change from bright, vivid greens to more rust-like, “apple-y” colorations. It is getting chilly and it’s time to break out the cinnamon sticks for our apple cider. Yes, ‘tis the season of the apple and we are here to help you celebrate this tooth-friendly food properly.

Apples aren’t only a fruit used to sweet talk the teachers or keep away the doctors. They also help keep our smiles strong and bright. Apples are naturally full of vitamins A and C, key to keeping our gums nice and healthy. There is also a small amount of acid in the apple that acts as an astringent on your teeth when you bite into it. Just make sure to keep the peel on the apple. It needs the crunchiness of the skin to help clean your teeth. And that is why they are also known as nature’s toothbrush. When you crunch into this delicious fruit, you are releasing an ambush on the bacteria in your mouth plotting your future cavities. As it scrubs your teeth as you chew, the juiciness of the apple causes you to produce saliva. That saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against cavity-causing bacteria. The more saliva you have going on, the less chance the bacteria has to bury itself in your mouth, wreaking havoc on your mouth.

Apples are just good for us, but they also keep an eye on our snacking habits. There is a snacking theory I recently heard that really clicked for me: if you feel like snacking but don’t want an apple, you are just bored. And when I actually thought about it, it’s completely true. An apple is an ideal snack. The fiber makes me fuller than something bad for me, and will have less sugar (and calories) than what I would snack on I had a choice. The apple is not only making me healthy, but also thinner. That’s a snack I can get behind!

Just because the apple is now our favorite go-to snack, please remember that these sweet fruits do have sugar content, so be sure to brush afterwards to make sure you get rid of the loosened plaque left behind by your apple. If you don’t have a toothbrush handy, do a quick rinse with some water. The more your mouth is rinsed, the less chance that plaque can become re-attached to your teeth.

So stock up on those amazing apples. Not only are they great at keeping us healthy, they are also great in lots of healthy autumnal recipes!

For more information on oral health care, contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website davidluntdds.com.

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

Why Should I Get My Teeth Professionally Cleaned? | Northridge Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669You know the drill when it comes to your teeth. You brush, floss and rinse your mouth twice a day at home, the same way you have been for as long as you can remember. So what is stopping you from going the extra mile for regular teeth cleanings, the same way you did as a kid? Teeth cleanings with your dentist are more thorough than the type of cleaning you do at home. They can get into smallest of crevices a normal toothbrush and floss just can’t. But more than a shiny set of pearly whites, dental cleanings also help to prevent many other health problems. Still not convinced? Here are just a handful of reasons you should really reconsider and that decision:

Gum disease is an infection in your gums that breaks down the bone and soft tissue in your mouth that leads to tooth loss. But it doesn’t only affect your smile. In fact, gum disease has been proved to cause heart disease, stroke and even a low birth rate. Keeping a bi-yearly dental checkup and cleaning will help to prevent all of these health issues.

When it comes to the detection of oral cancers, you can never be too proactive. And when you get your teeth cleaned, you are screened for oral cancer. Like any health issue, early detection is extremely important and getting your teeth cleaned is an easy way to kill two birds with one dental stone. No matter how often you do it, visiting your dentist regularly helps them keep track of your oral health and any problems you have had in the past or are currently experiencing.

When your teeth are healthy and clean and white and you have a beautiful smile, you are more confident and happy. Confidence leads to improved social life and career possibilities. It’s important that you see your dentist every six months and that they give you routine examination and cleaning. Remember, by seeing your dentist on a regular basis and following daily good oral hygiene practices at home, you are more likely to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Don’t skip those teeth cleanings, 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.

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.

The Different Stages of Gum Disease

The stages of periodontal diseaseGum disease is a term used to describe the inflammation of the gums. It is also a form of bacterial infection that, if left unchecked, can and will progress to the point where it can spread to the bones surrounding and supporting teeth.

The infection is often the result of letting the bacteria, which comes with the sticky and colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth known as plaque, build up. The buildup is the result of not taking proper care of the teeth and gums, which then results to gum disease.

While it is true that plaque is always present in the teeth, it is possible to prevent plaque and bacteria build up through daily brushing, flossing and periodical maintenance from the dentist.

To further prevent gum disease, it’s important to educate yourself about the basics of what it is and its different stages.

Stage 1 – Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and causes inflammation, as well as bleeding, in the gums. The inflammation and the resulting bleeding are often caused by the plaque buildup that’s still currently limited at the gumline.

In this early stage, it is still highly possible to reverse the effects. This is because the infection has yet to affect the bone and the connective tissues. However, the only way to do that is to practice proper oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing. It’s also necessary to have the teeth checked and cleaned by the dentist for a more thorough clean and for the patient to receive tips for further care or maintenance.

Stage 2 – Periodontitis

This stage is sometimes split into slight and moderate periodontal disease. However, for the purpose of this article, both will only be referred to as periodontitis.

During periodontitis, the plaque and bacteria have spread to the bones and fibers responsible for holding the teeth in place, causing irreversible damage. Bad breath, though also a sign of gingivitis, may worsen. Also, the gums may appear redder or more inflamed than before.

Pain is rarely felt during this stage, which is both a bad thing since it’s usually why many people tend to disregard periodontitis as something “minor”. The effects, however, are far from what you’d consider as minor.

For example, periodontitis can cause tooth loosening, gum recession, pockets or holes below the gum line, even more bleeding, shifting of the teeth and other dental problems.

Treatment often starts at the dental office where the patient is advised to follow a strict oral home care regimen to prevent further damage. By this stage, reversing the effects is highly unlikely.

Stage 3 – Advanced Periodontitis

The final stage of gum disease is where the damage done by the infection is the worst. Case in point, the fibers and bone supporting the teeth have been damaged to the point that the teeth may have to be removed.

Treatment for advanced periodontitis is even more aggressive and maintenance medication may have to be prescribed to prevent the disease from progressing even further.

Treating Gum Disease

The best treatment for gum disease is prevention, and this is best done through proper oral care in the form of proper brushing and flossing. Doing both can help prevent plaque from building up and possibly causing irreversible damage.

In its later stages, professional cleaning and other dental treatments will have to be utilized to rid the teeth of plaque buildup and contain the infection.

It’s important to know that recent researches have shown that the bacteria from gum disease can travel through the bloodstream and cause complications in other places of the body. This means that while gum disease certainly starts in the mouth, its repercussions could affect the brain, heart and other important organs.

Thus, make it a point to take better care of your teeth and gums starting today. This includes not just flossing and brushing, but also rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash and scheduling regular checkups, as well as cleanings with your dentist.

If you feel that you may be suffering from gum disease, contact Dr. David Lunt, DDS at 818-885-7230 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.davidluntdds.com for additional information.