gum disease

Simple Facts on Gum Disease and Smoking

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a type of infection considered to be opportunistic by nature. This is the result of the interaction between a host’s (patient)ability to fight infection and bacteria in dental plaque. The ability of the host to fight infection can also be affected by some factors including genetics, environment and acquired risk factors.

One of the most common acquired risk factors is smoking tobacco. Various studies have proven that smoking has a direct link to certain diseases such as, pneumonia, cardiovascular disease, cancer and the list goes on and on and on.

In comparison to a non-smoker, a patient who smokes has a 2.5-3.5 % chance of developing gum disease. According to recent clinical studies, 40% of patients with gum disease may be attributed to smoking. Evidence shows that loss of supporting structures of the teeth (gums and jaw bone) tend to be greater in smokers, therefore resulting in increased risk of tooth mobility and tooth loss.

So how does smoking increase the severity of gum disease?

Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide which has a direct impact on blood oxygen in healthy gums. This type of oral environment encourages the growth of anaerobic bacteria causing gum disease. As the anaerobic bacteria presence increases, the severity of gum disease also increases. Nicotine in tobacco smoke is known to be vasoconstrictive (stops bleeding via compression of blood vessels). This vasoconstrictive effect prevents blood from flowing around the gums. As a result, cells that fight bacteria-causing gum disease cannot effectively reach the site of infection.

The most important thing to remember is that smoking alters how our body responds tofight infection in the supporting tissues (gums and jaw bone) of our teeth. Prevention of gum disease is the overall key.

If you have any further concerns about the effects of smoking, gum disease and its potential detrimental effect on your overall oral health and quality of life, our dentists, Dr. Rouel Vergara and Dr. Ben Barrera will be happy to discuss this with you.



Dentine Hypersensitivity: Simple solutions for a common dental problem

Do you get short sharp pain every time you have hot or cold food or beverages, such as

coffee or ice cream?  Does tooth brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally?

If you answered YES to these 2 questions, you may be suffering from a common problem called

Dentine hypersensitivity

~ also known as tooth sensitivity.


Tooth Sensitivity is one of the most common dental problems in our society.

Even though varying data exists regarding the occurrence of dentine hypersensitivity globally, clinical findings demonstrate that 1 in 5 people suffer from this dental condition.  There are many factors why patients suffer from this.  Some of the common causes of tooth sensitivity include tooth decay, worn out tooth enamel, cracked tooth, exposed root surface of the tooth due to gum disease or aggressive tooth brushing techniques leading to gum recession.  Proper diagnosis of dentine hypersensitivity is the first step in addressing this common dental issue.

What are the simple solutions to treat dentine hypersensitivity?

1.  Get your teeth checked!  As mentioned earlier, proper diagnosis of this dental condition is the first step.

2. Your dentist may recommend a specially formulated toothpaste (e.g. Sensodyne) for use twice daily.  Its active ingredients have dual action:  primarily to provide a nerve calming effect, as well as initiate tooth protection through surface re-mineralization.

3. Dentist-supervised in-office dental products (e.g. high concentrated fluoride gel, varnish, mousse or desensitizers) can be applied by a dental health care professional.

4. If the conservative approach does not work, your dentist may recommend other treatment options depending on the cause of tooth sensitivity.

If you are suffering from this condition and have concerns about its possible cause/s and treatment options, you are more than welcome to call our clinic here at Erina to book a consultation with any of our dentists.

Til next time!  

Dr. Rouel Vergara DMD


The Importance of Optimum Oral Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting moments in a woman’s life. I personally can attest to this fact as I was able to experience my wife’s excitement and joy during all her 3 pregnancies. 

But did you know that pregnancy could lead to dental problems in some women? One of the most commonly overlooked pre-natal assessments is oral health. Based on recent studies, it was estimated that only between 22-34% of women consult a dentist during pregnancy. Just for the record, pregnancy itself doesn’t damage your teeth automatically. 

So what are the most common oral health problems during pregnancy? 

Pregnancy Gingivitis

This is considered as the most common oral disease in pregnancy. About 60-75% of pregnant women develop this condition. It is also estimated that half of these figures are pre-existing. During pregnancy, the combination of changes in oral environment and levels of female hormones can lead to decrease in immune system in the mouth leading to redness and swelling of the gums.

Periodontitis (Gum Disease)

Periodontitis is an irreversible condition that affects both jawbone and gums. This oral disease is more destructive compared to gingivitis. Additionally, this disease affects approximately 30% of women of childbearing age. Recent studies have also shown a direct link between gum disease and pre-term birth as well as low birth weight.

Dental Decay

Changes in female hormones and oral environment can result in increased acidity in the mouth. This can lead to demineralization (softening) of the tooth surface and resulting in cavitation (holes).

Pregnancy Oral Tumor

Pregnancy oral tumors are localized infection caused by increased levels of hormone (progesterone) and irritants (e.g. plaque, bacteria, etc.).  Although this oral disease is not as common as gingivitis, pregnancy oral tumor can affect 5% of pregnant women.

So if you are an expecting mum or if you are planning on getting pregnant, here are my top 5 professional recommendations:

1.    Prevention is better than cure. Include “Visit the dentist” on your to do list. It is more ideal to do dental elective procedures before getting pregnant.

2.    Make sure you have an excellent oral hygiene regimen. You are less likely to have dental problems if you already have good oral hygiene. 

 3.    Minimize high sugar food intake and consider a low-sugar diet instead. This will decrease the risk of dental decay.

 4.    Increase your Calcium and Vitamin D intake during pregnancy. These will assist in protecting your bone mass and provide nutritional needs to your developing baby.

 5.    Quit Smoking! Smoking will increase the risks of oral diseases such as gum disease. In addition, smoking also has a direct negative impact on your baby’s health.

If you have any additional queries and have concerns about pregnancy and oral health, it is highly recommended that you seek professional dental advice as soon as possible.