PHARMACY NEWS

Fight against gum disease

2019-04-10 04:40:48

Chances are high that you will have periodontal disease or gum disease in your lifetime. Over 80% of adults do. With those odds, it may seem inevitable that you will have it, but why not be in the 20% that don’t? You can, all it takes is diligent, thorough and proper oral care.

 


 

First – THE DESCRIPTION: periodontal disease is the chronic infection of the soft tissue around the teeth caused by plaque producing bacteria. The gums hold the teeth in place. As the gums become infected, they loosen their hold on the teeth and pockets are formed.
These pockets collect debris and cause more infection and bone loss to the tooth. Imagine the tooth as a fence post in the ground, cemented in place. The post starts out sturdy and strong with no movement. The cement is doing its job. Now imagine that chemicals (from acid rain or blowing debris or winter salt trucks) start to erode the cement. Soon the post becomes wobbly and the wood under the ground starts to rot. The cement in this example is the gum tissue and the post is the tooth. Unfortunately, gum disease is worse than one rotting fence post. It is infectious and contagious. It can spread from tooth to tooth in the mouth and from one person’s mouth to another through saliva.
 
Second - THE SYMPTOMS: This is not so easy. Often gum disease has no symptoms so it is left untreated until it becomes so bad irreparable bone loss occurs. Outward signs of periodontitis are:
•    Bad breath that won’t go away
•    Red or swollen gums
•    Bleeding gums especially after tooth brushing
•    Tender or sore gums
•    Loose teeth
•    Receding gums
 
Third - THE DIAGNOSIS: During regular six month cleanings, a dentist can diagnose periodontal disease in its very early stages. Xrays determine if any bone loss has occurred. Periodontal probing determines the depth of the pockets or space that the gums have loosened around the tooth. High levels of plaque or tartar build up that have spread to below the gum line is another indication.
 
Fourth - THE TREATMENT: If you have perio issues, there are several steps that a dentist may recommend depending on the severity of the case. The most important action is meticulous at home daily oral care. Teeth must be brushed twice or more times each day for at least two minutes and flossed at least once per day. Other treatments include prescription oral rinses, three month perio cleanings, scaling and root planing (SRP) and surgery.
 
Last but not least – PREVENTION: The most important preventative measure to avoid the insidious gum disease is to take excellent care of your teeth. Proper cleaning at least twice a day is imperative. The goal is to keep the bacteria that cause the plaque at very low levels.