Preventing Periodontal Disease

By: Sharon Bell
Do your gums bleed whenever you brush your teeth? See a dentist at once. You could be suffering from gingivitis - the first stage of periodontitis or periodontal disease.

In this condition, the gingiva or gums become soft and swollen as a result of the buildup of plaque, a sticky substance that irritates the gums. People have bouts of gingivitis throughout life but those at risk include pregnant women and those with diabetes. The problem can be aggravated by misaligned teeth, bad fillings and poor dental work that can make plaque removal difficult.

"One theory is that the condition begins with an accu?mulation of bacteria and food particles within tissues surrounding the teeth. These bacteria emit toxics (poi?sons) that cause gum tissues to swell, bleed and deterio?rate," according to the editors of Consumer Guide's "Family Health & Medical Guide."

People tend to overlook gingivitis because it is usually painless and produces no discomfort during the early stages. Bleeding gums, however, should alert you to the problem.

"Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. If you notice that your gums are swollen, very tender, and bleed easily, you may have gingivitis. Often, people first detect a change in their gums when they notice that the bristles of their toothbrushes are pink after brushing, a sign that their gums are bleeding even with the gentle pressure of bristles. Further examination usually reveals red, inflamed gums," said Dr. David E. Larson, editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book."

Untreated, gingivitis soon develops into periodontitis or pyorrhea. As plaque accumulates around the teeth, the inflamed gums gradually recede and pain is felt when eating hot, cold or sweet foods. In time, the teeth loosen and fall out.

"In periodontitis, plaque-filled pockets are fenced between the teeth and gums. The gums become inflamed, enlarging the pockets and trapping increasing amounts of plaque. The prolonged and increasing inflammation also damages the periodontal ligament of each effected tooth. Over time, the gums gradually detach from the teeth. Pus forms in response to infection from invading bacteria and may, in severe instances, ooze from around the teeth. The result of much long-term infection is an erosion of the bony socket housing the tooth. The tooth loosens and eventually falls out," Larson explained.

To prevent these problems, good oral hygiene is important. You must brush your teeth religiously and visit a dentist every six months for professional cleaning. Con?sult the latter for the proper toothbrushing and flossing techniques. Dental problems like misaligned and crowded teeth and bruxism (grinding or gnashing of the teeth while sleeping) may have to be corrected to enhance healing.

"Brush your teeth at least twice daily. Floss them once daily. Many dentists recommend brushing and flossing after every meal whenever possible. Be sure to brush at bedtime because the action of the plaque is most damaging at night when the amount of saliva in your mouth decreases," Larson said.

"At first, your gums may bleed after brushing. This should last only a couple of weeks. Soon your gums should be pink and firm, a sign of their improved health. The program must be followed indefinitely, however, for your gums to remain healthy," Larson said.

If the problem does not respond to these conservative measures, surgery may be required to remove tartar (calculus) and infected tissue. In gingivectomy, the gums are trimmed to decrease the depth of the plaque-filled pockets. In gingivoplasty, excessive gum tissue is removed and the gums are reshaped.

"In advanced cases, a dentist may scrape the affected tissue pockets and apply antiseptics (germ-killers) every few months in an effort to kill the bacteria. Should this procedure fail to check the spread of the disease, surgery may be needed to remove deep pockets in the gums. Once the bacteria have been eliminated, good oral hygiene should control the disease," said Consumer Guide's "Family Health & Medical Guide."

To complement your beautiful smile, use the Rejuvinol AM/PM Botox Alternative Age-Defying System to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. For more information, go to .

Top Searches on
Dental Surgery
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Dental Surgery
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles