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.

How Salt Water Rinses Help Your Oral Health | Northridge Dentist

Man SmilingWe all have our daily dental routines – brush, floss and rinse. There isn’t a whole lot of variation to this and by doing this daily, we assume that we are going to prevent dental issues from happening. While mouthwash tends to have a minty flavor, there is actually another oral rinse that works wonders. That rinse is warm salt water. Yes, not the most delicious of things you’d ever want to gargle, but there are many benefits to the method. Because of the preserving and antibacterial properties in salt, it has tremendous effects on microbes when diluted and dissolved in water. It’s more than just a disinfectant; it also helps in removing swelling of oral tissues. Therefore, using salt water for a few weeks following any dental procedure works very well as a treatment, for short-term. These are a few of the medical conditions that can benefit from using a salt water rinse:

Halitosis: Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath. It is an uncomfortable condition that happens to people for various reasons. While poor oral hygiene is generally the cause, even washing your mouth out several times may still fail to beat halitosis. Rinsing your mouth with salt water can prevent bacterial growth and infection, which often causes halitosis.

Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a typical condition characterized by swelling, inflammation and bleeding gums due to growth of bacteria that coats teeth naturally. Bacteria proliferation forms a sticky and whitish film, called plaque. Rinsing the mouth with salt water solution daily can help in soothing inflamed gums and wiping out cavity-causing bacteria.

Toothache: Toothaches can happen to anyone; it is a common complication caused by several reasons. While bacteria is one of the main causes, sometimes weak roots or open nerve endings can also lead to sensitivity and throbbing in teeth. Gargling regularly with salt water can offer some pain relief.

Sore Throat: Sore throat causing cough and pain is common and a seasonal condition. Salt water gargle can help in relieving soreness.

Salt water changes the pH of the mouth, which deters the reproduction of many microorganisms, but it doesn’t outright kill everything. At the very least, salt water is soothing to the mucous membranes of your mouth, but it should not be swallowed in quantity. Talk to your dentist about the benefits of using a salt water rinse.

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 Dental Cleanings Are Always a Good Idea | Northridge Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-464323669Twice a year, we make that appointment to see the dentist. We generally know what to expect. A quick exam, sometimes including an x-ray, a good cleaning and off we go. Unless there is something going on, it’s a pretty painless event. But have you ever wondered why we clean our teeth professionally when we brush and floss on a daily. It actually goes beyond just having clean teeth.

Studies show that over 50 percent of individuals are unaware that they are suffering from some sort of dental problem including gum disease, root canal infection, or tooth decay. Studies have also proved that the number one way individuals find out about their dental problems is by going to the dentist for dental exams and cleanings.

When an individual is experiencing symptoms such as red or swollen gums or tooth sensitivity, they usually avoid these problematic indicators. The only way individuals will truly realize that their symptoms could be serious dental issues is through dental exams. Dental cleanings will allow your dental professional to determine whether or not your gums are in good condition. If not done regularly, there is a chance that you could develop periodontal disease, making dental restorations necessary to repair tooth decay.

But what exactly does a thorough tooth cleaning entail? As far as your cleaning goes, your dentist, or dental hygienist will focus on plaque and tartar build up and work hard to remove it before any extra bacteria builds up. They’ll be thoroughly cleaned and sometimes polished, especially if your teeth are worn down from daily use. You will be flossed, and then your dentist will recommend any cleaning techniques that will suit your teeth.

Once your teeth are shiny and bright, your dentist should emphasize the importance of these dental exams and cleanings because they are measures that ensure your teeth remain healthy and strong. After your examination, your dentist will go over what exactly the condition your teeth are in. They will then tell you about any procedures you might have to undergo. If your teeth are healthy, you will be scheduled for another appointment in six months, and sent on your way with a bag of dental goodies that should help you maintain your oral health until your next visit! All that for taking a little bit of time out of your day to take care of your teeth. Isn’t it worth it?

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.

Pediatric Dental Care Starts from Birth | Northridge Dentist

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Halloween is a sweet time of year for your child. Sometimes it is difficult to be a parent when there is sweet treats everywhere your little one turns. But protecting their dental health at home is easy to do. Here are just a few little tips to keep in mind when it seems like keeping their smile bright is an impossible feat, and it starts from infancy. Yes, even little ones without teeth can start becoming accustomed to dental health care. The sooner you get them into a good routine, the easier it will be when this holiday rolls around every year.

Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding. As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water.  If you are considering using toothpaste before your child’s second birthday, ask your dentist first.

To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off of the breast and bottle by one year of age, and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime.

Help a young child brush at night, the most important time to brush, due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then the parent can follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. Usually by age 5 or so, the child can learn to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction.

The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene. Have them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Children love to feel like they’re doing adult things and it will help them feel responsible for their teeth.

In addition, preventative routine dental checkups ensure your child has healthy teeth and gums. Don’t wait. Schedule your child’s next pediatric dental visit with Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or online at davidluntdds.com.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka and 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.

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.