Monthly Archives: June 2015

Periodontitis: Its Causes & Prevention

Periodontitis is a gum disease caused by the growth of bacteria in your mouth. It may lead to loss of tooth if left untreated. It destroys the tissue that surrounds your teeth. The basic difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that the former (gum inflammation) precedes the later (gum disease).

It all starts by inflammation of gums which happens due to the build up of plaque. It also causes the gums to bleed. Even though the teeth get irritated, they are planted firmly and no tissue damage occurs in this stage.

But when you keep gingivitis untreated, it progresses to periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the inner layer of bone and gums to pull away from the teeth to form pockets. These small spaces between gums and teeth can get infected. The toxins produced by the bacteria along with the body’s enzymes start breaking the bone and connective tissues that hold teeth in place.

With the progression of the disease, the pockets deepen and no longer stay in the same place. They tend to become loose and eventually lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.

What are the Symptoms of Periodontitis?

1. Swollen and tender gums
2. Bad breath
3. Loose Teeth
4. Bad taste in mouth
5. Spaces between teeth

What Causes Periodontitis?

The primary cause of periodontitis is plaque. However there are other factors too that contribute to this disease. They are as follows:

1. Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause etc can make gums sensitive enough to develop gingivitis.

2. Medication

Certain medication can affect oral health. This happens because some medicines interrupt the supply of saliva which is very important for having healthy gums.

3. Illnesses

Various illnesses can affect the condition of your gums. Diseases like cancer and HIV can hamper gums. Patients with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing gum diseases since it interferes with the body’s ability to use sugar.

4. Tobacco consumption

Consumption of tobacco and smoking affects oral health in lot of ways. It makes it harder for gum tissue to repair itself.

5. Poor oral Hygiene

Not brushing and flossing your teeth properly triggers the development of plaque and gum disease.

6. Genetics

Sometimes family history of dental disease can also be the main reason for the development of gingivitis.

How to Prevent Periodontitis?

The best way to prevent periodontitis is by practising good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily. Flossing is equally important as it removes the food particles stuck in between teeth. It should be done at least once a day. Visiting your dentist to clean the plaque and tartar every 6 months is advisable. Your dentist is in a better position to guide you about your dental issues.

Symptoms & Treatment Of Gum Disease

Our mouth is full of bacteria and it forms sticky plaque on teeth by constant exposure to mucus and other particles. If left untreated it can harden and form tartar. This can be cleaned only by dentist; brushing and flossing won’t help. This gives rise to poor oral hygiene. Gum disease may not show symptoms soon and they develop without any pain. There are certain symptoms which occur when you have gum disease.

The symptoms of gum disease include

1. Red, Swollen and Tender gums
2. Receding gums
3. Bleeding gums while brushing
4. Constant bad breath and bad taste in mouth
5. Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
6. Loose teeth
You might be infected by gum disease even if your mouth doesn’t show any symptoms. In some cases gum disease only affect certain teeth. Only a dentist can understand its progression.

Following are the ways how dentist can diagnose gum disease:

When you visit a dentist for diagnosis he checks for,
• Bleeding gums, firmness, swelling and pocket depth. Pocket depth is the space between the gum and tooth. If the pocket is larger and deeper, the disease is more severe.
Teeth sensitivity and teeth movement
• Alignment of teeth
• Jawbone to detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth.

Treatment for gum disease

The main way to treat gum disease is by reducing the swelling, promoting attachment of healthy gums, reducing the depth of pockets, risk of infections and stopping the progression of disease. The stage of disease determines the options for treatment. Your dentist will also check the response of your earlier treatment and overall health. Treatment can be done in various ways. The options range from non surgical therapies that control the growth of bacteria to surgery that restores the supportive tissues.

Prevention of gum disease

It is not impossible to treat gum disease. It can be treated in all the cases if the person learns to control the development of plaque. To control plaque you need to practise good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily. Brushing and flossing helps preventing the growth of plaque in a great way. You can also use antibacterial mouth rinse which helps in preventing the development of bacteria. Visiting your dentist twice a year is also recommended. Dentist not only cleans your teeth but also gives you advice for dental care.

How is Plaque Dangerous to Your Health

Plaque is the sticky yellow substance that accumulates on your teeth. It not only looks disgusting but also has various hazards attached to it. Along with dental health, your heart and overall health is also at risk. Bacteria and inflammation in your mouth are linked to health issues. Poor oral hygiene greatly affects overall health.

Effects of Plaque on Dental Health

A thin layer of plaque known as biofilm forms on teeth, gum tissue and crowns. It develops on your teeth constantly. This happens because the bacteria release acids that attack your enamel when you consume food and beverages with starch and sugar. The plaque is very sticky and causes the tooth to decay.
The build up of plaque can also cause gum disease i.e. gingivitis which leads to tender and swollen gums. If it is more severe it can cause bleeding in gums and can develop periodontal disease too. The tissues of gums pull away from the teeth and allow the bacteria to destroy the bone which supports the teeth.
Along with dental disease, scientists have also found a link between plaque and other disease.

Following is the list of Periodontal and other diseases.

•   Diabetes
•   Dementia
•   Heart Disease
•   Premature birth
•   Rheumatoid arthritis

This happens because the oral bacteria flow into the bloodstream and injure major organs of the body. Inflammation is very common denominator. Periodontal disease increases inflammation in the body and this is an underlying problem in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.
Research has found a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. It is found that people with poor oral hygiene are prone to other dreaded diseases, including heart attack.

How to prevent plaque:

Preventing the formation of plaque on teeth is no big deal. You need to follow good oral hygiene. To ensure that there is no build up of plaque in your teeth, you should do the following:
1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day daily. You should brush it as soon as you wake up and before going to bed. You need to use a suitable toothbrush and toothpaste.
2. Floss your teeth once a day. It helps in removing the food particles that are stuck in your teeth.
3. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after consuming food and beverages that can stain your teeth.
4. Finally, it is always recommended to visit a dentist twice a year. Teeth cleaning, teeth whitening can be done if needed.

Tips To Floss And Brush Properly

Maintaining a good oral hygiene is must. There are certain practices you must follow to keep your teeth healthy and shiny. We all love to have perfect smile with shiny white teeth. Brushing and flossing are the most important aspects in having a good dental health. But what is the correct way to floss and brush? Here are a few tips:

Flossing

Flossing is as important as brushing. It should be done daily to remove the bits of food stuck between your teeth. It reaches all the places where a toothbrush can’t. If you floss properly half your oral hygiene job is done as it helps in preventing plaque.

Here is a quick guide on how to floss:

- Break off approx 16 inches of floss and wrap it around one of your fingers and the rest around the other hand’s finger. Tightly hold the floss amidst your index finger and thumb. Never snap the floss into the gums instead use gentle motions to floss between your teeth.

- While flossing, curve the floss into C shape against one tooth. To remove the plaque, rub properly on the sides of each tooth. When the floss turns dirty, switch to the cleaner section and then continue flossing. Backside of your rear teeth is equally important so do not forget to floss there.

- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after flossing. A floss holder will be useful if you have trouble moving your hands and fingers or in case of bridgework in your mouth. Your dentist can recommend an appropriate tool for you.

Brushing

Brushing is an important part of everyday routine. It should be done twice a day without fail. To clean your teeth well you should brush for about 5 minutes. While brushing, always use a soft bristled toothbrush since they are gentle on your gums. Angle the brush against the gum line. Give short and gentle strokes while brushing. Brush the outer as well as inner surface of the teeth.

To freshen your breath, brush the surface of your tongue. It helps in removing the germs and prevents the growth of bacteria. Also remember to change your toothbrush every 3 months.

Conclusion

It may seem very easy but people still make mistakes while brushing and flossing. Negligence in dental hygiene can lead you to lot of dental issues. To prevent these damages it is very important for you to pay heed to your dental health. The painful root canal treatment will surely not excite you. Thus it is always said, prevention is better than cure.

5 Dental Habits to Break

Everyone needs to practice good dental habits to avoid deteriorating our teeth. Nowadays our lifestyle is such that we end up unknowingly harming our overall health. Same applies for dental health. Certain dental habits are worse and can harm you in the long run. Before things get worse, you need to get rid of all such bad dental habits.

Following is the list of five dental habits you need to stop:

1. Not Brushing and Flossing Properly

People brush and floss regularly. But most of us brush just once a day. You should break this practise and nurture the habit of brushing twice a day. Also make sure you floss once a day daily. The toothbrush that you use should be replaced every three months, because lot of germs accumulate on toothbrush. If you do not replace it, chances are they might harm your mouth.

If you are unsure about how to floss properly, you can always ask your dentist to guide you. Along with brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth at regular intervals is equally important. At times we consume foods that stain our teeth, so it is necessary you get rid of that stain.

If you have kids, ensure that you take proper care of their oral health too. Buy them a kid’s toothbrush of soft bristles and help them in brushing.

2. Crunching and Sipping

We have the bad habit of slurping ice and crunching it without realising its consequences. The cold temperature and brittleness of ice cubes can lead to the fracture of teeth. They can cause cracks on the surface of the enamel. Over the time they can turn into bigger dental problems. Popcorn kernel is another stuff that causes tooth to fracture.

Along with crunching, sipping sugary soda all through the day is a bad habit that you should break. The regular exposure to acidic and sweet beverages can lead to tooth decay.

3. Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding teeth is another bad habit which will harm your teeth. It causes them to wear off. Research says that teeth grinding happens due to anxiety and stress. It is also caused by crooked or missing teeth.

To prevent teeth grinding at night, your dentist might suggest you to wear a mouth guard. Custom made model fits better. You may practise certain exercises or undergo counselling to get rid of stress and nervousness. Also cut down on alcohol and foods that contain caffeine. Avoid chewing on pens and pencils or anything that is not food.

4. Using Teeth as Opener

It is found that for number of odd jobs people rely on their teeth. These jobs include opening a bottle, tearing bags, uncapping the bottles etc. This can traumatize your teeth and weaken them. They can even chip off and get fractured.

It is always advisable to use scissors and knife to cut and open things. Have some mercy on your teeth and let them do their work of chewing only.

5. Using Hard Bristled Toothbrush

People have the misconception that hard bristled toothbrush cleans teeth better. There are certain toothbrush mistakes that you should fix. You should always prefer soft bristled toothbrush. Especially for older people it is advised to avoid hard bristles since they can damage their gums. Such toothbrushes can even irritate the gums and cause tooth sensitivity. You can always take your dentist advice to know which toothbrush suits you the best.

If you want your gums to stay healthy and avoid the painful root canal treatments, it is essential for you to get rid of all these habits. Also visit your dentist at least twice a year.