dental care


Gum Disease

by Zelda May

Gum disease is known in the medical world as periodontal disease. It is an affliction of the tissues and bone that holds down the teeth to our mouths. This disorder is often caused by sticky films of bacteria that accumulate in the mouth and later harden to form what we know as plaque. As these bacteria become attached to our gums, damaging toxins will irritate and attack the nerve tissues and bones, to cause us tooth pain that will eventually lead to tooth loss.

Time and again, we have been informed that hundreds of bacteria find their way into our mouths hence even from childhood, we have been taught to brush our teeth properly at least twice a day or ideally, every after meal.

Gum Disease and its Possible Causes

There are cases however, that people tend to develop gum disease more easily than the others. The differences in lifestyle, concerning eating and sleeping habits and other living conditions also contribute to the formation of plaque that cause gum disease in individuals:

1. Although some health experts say that it can be genetic, others contend that what was inherited is not the susceptibility to the formation of plaque. Instead, some teens tend to develop the same kind of eating habits as their parents, who are also sufferers of gum disease. The fondness for greasy and starchy foods, soda intakes instead of water, and other sugar based foods which produce acids that erode the teeth enamel, may have been inherited or adapted as part of their eating habits.

2. Children or adolescents who have braces find it difficult to remove all plaque causing germs and bacteria even if they brush their teeth regularly.

3. Certain health conditions such as diabetes or Down syndrome, require medicines that leave teeth eroding acids in their mouth.

4. Poor and unbalanced diet, few hours of sleep, and a stressful lifestyle weakens the body's immunity system and will allow bacteria to easily set in. Gums are composed of soft tissues that bacteria can easily penetrate and infect.

5. Girls reaching their stages of puberty begin to secrete female hormones that render their gums tender and sensitive. In fact there are even those who experience gum irritation and slight bleeding in the gum area, a few days before their monthly periods.

6. Tobacco, tobacco chewing and cigarette smoking are also main causes of gum disease. Nicotine promotes tartar build up which is an early indication that gum disease is taking place.

7. People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis also suffer gum disease. Clinical studies made to establish that there is a link between rheumatoid arthritis have shown results that the progression of the distress felt by the soft and hard tissues are almost similar.

Gum Disease Treatments

There are several ways dentists treat gum disease:

Antibiotics or antibacterial mouthwash will be recommended to lessen the swelling before any dental treatment is made. In worst cases, a periodontist or a dentist who specializes in gum disease will handle the series of treatments which may include the following procedures:

1. Scaling and scraping of the plaque and tartar.

2. Advanced cases of gum disease may require surgery, where antibiotic treatment has to reach inside the gum pocket. However, there are instances when surgery is not possible because the gums are too distressed to allow being sewn back together.

3. Gum grafting known as gingival grafting is also another of the remedies for gum disease.Healthy gum tissues will be taken from the mouth and will be used to replace the badly deteriorated and diseased gum tissues.

Gum Disease Prevention Tips

Regular visits to the dentist or dental hygienists will allow the early detection of gum disease; x-rays and thorough examinations will provide the lead as to the degree of damage the gum disease has begun to cause.

In addition, the following prevention tips can help you avoid the occurrence of gum disease in your oral makeup:

1. If you are wearing braces, seek advice from your dentist as to how you can properly clean your teeth aside from the twice daily ritual of brushing the teeth.

2. Use a tooth paste that has fluoride content; if necessary, rinse with a mouthwash that also contains fluoride.

3. Make sure that your toothbrush has soft bristles which are less likely to irritate and cause distress to your gums. Moreover, replace your toothbrush at least every 4 months since worn out toothbrushes can no longer clean your teeth properly.

4. Make it a point to eat well balanced meals and avoid plaque causing junk or snack foods.

5. Quit smoking and stop chewing tobacco since they are major causes of weakening your gum tissues.

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