Dietrich & Hilliard Orthodontics

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periodontal disease

October is also National Dental Hygiene Month!

October 8th, 2010


In addition to October being National Orthodontic Health Month, as we discussed last week, did you know that October is also National Dental Hygiene Month? Fall is here, and Halloween is coming soon, but now it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment at Hilliard Orthodontics.

Drs. Hilliard and Dietrich will tell you that while all those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, these treats can damage your teeth and braces as well! Sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them - this can cause tooth decay and cavities! After eating these candies, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These will help neutralize the acid in your mouth.

Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health too - research has discovered the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease! Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine: see your dentist here in Lakeland every six months, brush and floss daily and use an antibacterial mouthwash.

Hope this helps!

- Dr. Hilliard and Dr. Dietrich

Dr. Keith Hilliard, supporting National Nutrition Month

March 5th, 2010

March has arrived, and that can only mean one thing: it’s National Nutrition Month. Every March, Dr. Keith Hilliard and thousands of dentists and orthodontists around the country celebrate National Nutrition Month. This March, Dr. Hilliard and our staff want you to think diabetes, obesity and periodontal disease, and how healthful eating and physical activity may improve periodontal health.

Dr. Hilliard knows small changes really can make a big difference, and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has some advice on ways to start improving your diet this March:

Focus on fruits and vegetables: Add a serving each day to one meal and increase it every few weeks. Adding more of these foods into your diet is important whether you buy frozen, fresh or organic.

Think fresh, think local: From farmer’s markets to community-supported agriculture, you have many options to find new, fresh foods here in Lakeland and surrounding communities.

Make every calorie count: When you are choosing between options, focus instead on the one with more of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. Sometimes, foods with fewer calories aren’t always the healthiest options.

It’s tempting, but…: If you have a sweet tooth, have fruit and yogurt for dessert. If you crave a snack in the afternoon, enjoy some trail mix or nuts.

Expand your horizons: Try a fish you’ve never eaten before or find a new vegetable recipe. By testing yourself, you might find new healthy favorites to add to your regular grocery list.

If you have additional questions about periodontal disease or keeping yourself and your mouth healthy, please give us a call!

Cardiodontics: The Heart Mouth Connection from Dr. Hilliard

June 29th, 2009


If you have been told you have periodontal disease (also known as gum disease or periodontitis), you're not alone. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of the disease! Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.

Gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Research is also pointing to health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth. So we at Dr. Hilliard want to let you know some interesting facts and ways to treat the disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

"Perio" means around, and "dontal" refers to teeth. Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures around the teeth, including the gums and the bones that hold the teeth. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis – an infection of the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the tissues are involved, including the bone. Bacteria that live and reproduce on the teeth and gums cause periodontal disease.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Symptoms may include the following:
--redness or bleeding of gums while brushing teeth or using dental floss
--halitosis, or bad breath
--gum recession, resulting in apparent lengthening of teeth
--"pockets" between the teeth and gums indicating that the bone which holds the teeth in the mouth is dissolving
--loose teeth
Gum inflammation and bone destruction are largely painless. Hence, people may wrongly assume that painless bleeding after teeth cleaning is insignificant, although this may be a symptom of progressing periodontitis. If your hands bled when you washed them, you would be concerned. Yet, many people think it's normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss.

Periodontal Disease Affects Your Health

Periodontal disease is a putrid, festering infection of the mouth. Bacteria and inflammatory particles can enter the bloodstream through ulcerated and bleeding gums and travel to the heart and other organs. In recent years, gum disease has been linked to a number of health problems. Researchers are studying possible connections between gum disease and:
--Heart disease: Gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease. Gum disease also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
--Stroke: Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke caused by blocked arteries
--Diabetes: People with diabetes and periodontal disease may be more likely to have trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetics with healthy gums.
--Premature births: A woman who has gum diseases during pregnancy may be more likely deliver her baby too early and the infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.

Combating Periodontal Disease

--See your dentist! See your dentist every six months for a checkup! Regular professional cleanings and checkups make you feel good, look good, and could be a lifesaver!
--Brush and floss daily. Take your time and do it right!
--Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash. Daily use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash helps to disinfect the teeth and gums, and reduces the number of bacteria.
--Straighten your teeth. Crowded teeth are nearly impossible to keep clean. Orthodontic treatment can greatly reduce inflammation and periodontal disease.

--Dr. Hilliard

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