Posts Tagged ‘periodontal disease’

Gum Disease

Friday, August 14th, 2009

What Is Gum Disease? 

Gum disease, also known was periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues and bones surrounding and supporting the teeth.  The shallow v-shaped crevice between the tooth and the gums is called a sulcus, and gum diseases attack right below the gum line in the sulcus, where it causes the tissues to break down.  The sulcus can develop into a pocket as the tissues break down.

There are two stages.  Gingivitis is reversible and milder than the periodontitis stage, since it only affects the gums.  Gingivitis generally involves having swollen, red gums that bleed easily when one flosses/brushes.  Generally it does not cause pain.  Gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which is a much serious and destructive version of periodontal disease.  Periodontitis involves the gums pulling away from the teeth, leaving deep pockets where the bacteria can grow and damage the bone that supports the teeth.  The gums also shrink back from the teeth, and the teeth may need to be pulled out, or may become loose and fall out. 

Gum Disease Causes

People’s mouths are always creating plaque, which is a clear and sticky substance that contains bacteria.  The bacteria contains toxins that can irritate the gums and cause gum infection.  It is necessary to remove plaque from one’s teeth regularly otherwise the plaque can spread below the gums and damage the tooth-supporting bone.  Hardened plaque is known as tartar and has to be removed by a dentist/dental hygienist. 

Here are some factors that increase the risk of gum disease occurring:

–          Chewing or smoking tobacco
–          Certain medications (Steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives)
–          Uneven teeth
–          Bridges that do not fit properly
–          Pregnancy/hormonal changes
–          Defective fillings
–          Poor oral hygiene
–          Genetic predisposition
–          Weak immunity system, possibly caused by:
            *Excessive amounts of stress
            *Poor diet
            *Diabetes and/or other systemic diseases

Gum Disease Warning Signs

Gingivitis Symptoms

-          Gums that easily bleed
–          Tender/bright  red/swollen gums

Periodontitis Symptoms

–          Pus between teeth and gums
–          Gums pulling away from the teeth
–          Chronic bad breath/foul tastes
–          Permanent teeth that are becoming loose/separating
–          Change in the way that one’s dentures fit
–          Change in the way one’s teeth fit together when biting

How is Gum Disease Diagnosed?

An oral care expert will know to look for the following:

–          Bleeding gums
–          Plaque/tartar buildup above and below the gum line
–          Areas where the gum tissue is pulling away from the teeth
–          Growing pockets between the gums and teeth

Gum Disease Treatment

If the gum disease is mild, simply brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist regularly should be enough to get rid of it.

If the gum disease becomes worse and one has periodontitis, root planing and scaling may be in order.  This rids the mouth of plaque and tartar buildup.  Antibiotics might be recommended, and surgery could be necessary depending on how severe the disease is.

One can have periodontal disease without having any symptoms.  This makes dental visits and examinations important.  The type of treatment one should get depends on the type and severity of gum disease.  Good dental hygiene should be practiced in order to prevent the disease from occurring, becoming worse, or recurring.  Periodontal disease does not mean you will lose your teeth.  In order to maintain good oral hygiene, one should brush, floss, use mouthwash, eat a healthy diet, and schedule regular dental examinations.

Source: ADA, Web MD 

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What Are Receding Gums and What Causes Them?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Receding gums (commonly misspelled as receeding gums), also known as gingival recession, describes the loss of gum tissue, potentially exposing the roots of one’s teeth. It generally happens the most to people in their 40s and older, but can sometimes start in the teen years. It is one of the main indicators of periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis, gingivitis, or gum disease).

Some causes of receding gums include:

– Brushing too hard with a toothbrush that has hard bristles. This causes the enamel by the gum line to erode.
– Periodontal disease
– Lack of adequate flossing and/or brushing. This allows bacteria / tartar buildup, which results in enzymes eating away the bone of your teeth
– Chewing tobacco. This affects the mucus membrane lining in the oral cavity and causes receding gums over a certain amount of time
– Bruxism (teeth grinding)
– Adult orthodontic moving of the teeth
– Lip or tongue piercings can wear away the part of the gum that rubs against them
– Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), an ingredient that is in most toothpastes
– An uncommon cause is an adult tooth not growing out of the right place in the gum

It usually takes time for the gums to recede, and can often remain unnoticed. Some receding gums symptoms include the following:

– The teeth may be sensitive to hot, cold, sweet, sour, and spicy sensations. This is possibly because the dentin tubules might be exposed to external stimuli.
– Teeth may look longer than normal.
– Roots of the teeth may be seen.
– Tooth may feel notched at the gum line
– Teeth discoloration (due to the difference between the color of the enamel and cementum)
– Spaces appear between teeth due to the gums not being there anymore
– Cavities below gum line

NOTE: If receding gums are caused by gingivitis, you may also have these symptoms:
- Swollen/inflamed, red, or puffy gums
– Gum bleeding while brushing or flossing
– Bad breath

If you are having the aforementioned problems, you should try the PerioTherapy product line!

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Is Gingivitis Contagious?

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Is Gingivitis Contagious?

Gum disease / periodontal disease is a bacteria infection in the gums and bone area around your teeth.  Researchers have employed DNA techniques to track the path of infection between people.  How contagious it is depends on how susceptible a person is to getting the disease. 

Saliva contact is possible in settings like kissing, coughing, sneezing, sharing food (a cup, glass, etc.).

Studies by Canadian scientists showed that gingivitis is contagious with a transmission rate of between 30-70%.  It is believed that the periodontal bacteria can be transferred between partners during a kiss.  However, just because the bacteria is transmitted, does not mean that gum disease will occur, based on each individual’s immune systems.   It also depends on how often the person is exposed to infected saliva. 

Periodontal infections can be a serious problem because they are responsible for 75% of all adult tooth loss.  Unfortunately, peridontal disease also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteroporosis, respiratory diseases, and pre-term low birth weight infants.

How do you avoid catching or spreading gingivitis?

  1. Complete recommended periodontal treatments.  This destroys or reduces the bacteria causing the disease.
  2. Frequent periodontal cleaning dental visits.  This reduces the risk of being re-infected.
  3. Have everyone in your family screened if there is a genetic predisposition to getting the disease.
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The Link Between Cognitive Impairment and Dental Health

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The National Institutes of Health have given a $1.3 million grant to a doctor to research how cognitive decline and dental health are linked together in elderly people.

Older adults commonly have poor oral health as well as cognitive decline, such as extreme cases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  With more information on these health conditions, people can improve their oral and cognitive health.

In previous research, people found that there are links between gum disease, tooth loss and a decline in cognitive function and memory.  Thus far, it is not clear what the specific underlying factors of this link are.   If you do have gum disease, receding gums, bleeding gums, and so on, you should check out PerioTherapy to help solve your problem. 

Dentists have been recommended to inform patients with severe gum (periodontal) disease that there is a strong correlation between below par dental health and a higher risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.  These patients should be directed to see a doctor, since the proof of the relationship between overall health and dental health is increasing.

Source:  Brafton Inc.

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Pregnancy and Gum Disease

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

http://www.periotherapy.com   Make sure to keep your gums and teeth healthy during pregnancy. If gingivitis is left unchecked, it may lead to more serious gum disease.

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