HOW GOOD ORAL ROUTINE HELP AND MAINTAIN HEALTHY GUMS
Dr Jyothi Y D
WHO (1982) defined oral health as the retention throughout life of a functional, aesthetic and natural dentition of not less than 20 teeth and not requiring a prosthesis. An individual is considered as healthy if he/she has no caries or gum disease However a large majority of the population would be considered unhealthy as oral disease are common and often untreated.
Maintaining healthy gums can be an important part of our overall oral health routine. When we have healthy gums, our teeth are well-supported by the tissue in gums and chances for long-term oral health are significantly increased. If we don’t maintain healthy gums, we are more likely to have gum disease, which can progress to a number of problems with teeth and oral health. Additionally, research suggests that other long-term, chronic health conditions (Diabetes, Chronic heart disease, Rheumatoid arthritis etc) can be associated with periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease.
WHAT CAUSES GUM DISEASE?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean this leads to gum disease, so gingivitis is a disease characterized by inflammation restricted to the gingival soft tissue, with no loss of alveolar bone or apical migration of the periodontal ligament along the root surface.
Gingival disease, if untreated or due to influence of environmental factors or host mediated products can transmit towards underlying periodontal tissues leading to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is defined as an inflammatory disease of the supporting tissues of the teeth caused by specific microorganism or groups of specific microorganism, resulting in progressive destruction of the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone with pocket formation, recession or both.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE GUM DISEASE?
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem, which should be checked by a dentist.
COMPLICATIONS OF GUM DISEASE
If you have untreated gum disease that develops into Periodontitis, it can lead to further complications such as:
- gum abscesses (painful collections of pus)
- damage to the periodontal ligament (the tissue that connects the tooth to the socket)
- damage to the alveolar bone (the bone in the jaw that contains the sockets of the teeth)
- receding gums
- loose teeth
CAN GUM DISEASE CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS BEYOND THE MOUTH?
Gum disease is a chronic ongoing infection in your mouth that spreads germs throughout your body. These germs and the inflammation they cause have been proven to result in increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and several forms of other diseases.
Gum disease and heart disease
Oral bacteria can affect the heart when they enter the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Recent studies suggest that people with gum disease may have nearly twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack as those without gum disease.
Gum disease and diabetes
Relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes goes both ways two way relation. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease itself may lead to diabetes. Happily, treatment of gum disease has been shown to improve blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, and may decrease their need for insulin.
Gum disease and pregnancy
Infection in the gums of a pregnant woman may lead to a more than sevenfold increase in her risk of delivering a premature baby of low birth weight. Infections release toxins that reaches placenta and disrupt fetal development.
Gum disease and arthritis
The bacteria caused by gum inflammation can spread throughout your system thus inflaming your arthritis even more. Now this connection can also work the other way around as well. Those who have arthritis are also generally more susceptible to getting gum disease if they don’t already have it for these same reasons. So if you have arthritis, or gum disease, you had better start taking your flossing and dental hygiene very seriously otherwise your condition may worsen causing a lot of pain in your body.
HOW CAN I KEEP MY TEETH AND GUMS HEALTHY?
Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent dental problems, most commonly, dental cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. There are also oral pathologic conditions in which good oral hygiene is required for healing and regeneration of the oral tissues. These conditions included gingivitis, periodontitis, and dental trauma, such as subluxation, oral cysts, and following wisdom tooth extraction. Teeth’s cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss.
Since before recorded history, a variety of oral hygiene measures have been used for teeth cleaning. This has been verified by various excavations done throughout the world, in which chew sticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered. Many people used different forms of teeth cleaning tools. Indian medicine (Ayurveda) has used the neem tree, or daatun, and its products to create teeth cleaning twigs and similar products; a person chews one end of the neem twig until it somewhat resembles the bristles of a toothbrush, and then uses it to brush the teeth. In the Muslim world, the miswak, or siwak, made from a twig or root, has antiseptic properties and has been widely used since the Islamic Golden Age. Rubbing baking soda or chalk against the teeth was also common.
Generally, dentists recommend that teeth be cleaned professionally at least twice per year. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling, tooth polishing, and, if tartar has accumulated, debridement; this is usually followed by a fluoride treatment.
Brushing the teeth with fluoride toothpaste is essential to good oral health. Not only does brushing the teeth help prevent tooth decay, it also helps prevent gum disease, which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults and has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. Removing tooth stains and avoiding bad breath are added benefits of brushing. Brushing the teeth properly removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth and flossing removes plaque from in between the teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that brushing the teeth at least twice a day for about two minutes, preferably after eating. Be sure to replace the toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months or sooner if the bristles start to fray or wear out.
The use of dental floss is an important element of oral hygiene, since it removes plaque and decaying food remaining stuck between the teeth. This food decay and plaque cause irritation to the gums, allowing the gum tissue to bleed more easily. Acidic foods left on the teeth can also demineralise teeth, eventually causing cavities. Flossing for a proper inter-dental cleaning is recommended at least once per day, preferably before brushing so fluoride toothpaste has better access between teeth to help remineralise teeth, prevent receding gums, gum disease, and cavities on the surfaces between the teeth.
An interdental brush, also called an interproximal brush or a proxy brush, is a small brush, typically disposable; either supplied with a reusable angled plastic handle or an integral handle, used for cleaning between teeth and between the wire of dental braces and the teeth.
Cleaning the tongue as part of daily oral hygiene is essential, since it removes the white/yellow bad-breath-generating coating of bacteria, decaying food particles, fungi (such as Candida), and dead cells from the dorsal area of the tongue. Tongue cleaning also removes some of the bacteria species which generate tooth decay and gum problems. Massaging the gums with toothbrush bristles is generally recommended for good oral health.
PROFESSIONAL TOOTH CLEANING
Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
Eat a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet, including plenty of vitamin C and calcium, may minimize the likelihood you’ll have gum problems.
SAY NO TO TOBACCO. Smoking cigarettes or use other tobacco products can cause harmful effects on our gums.
REGULAR DENTAL VISIT
Visit the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning.
Mouthwash or mouth rinse with saline (salty water), fluoridated solution or the antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate solution improve oral hygiene. Dental chewing gums claim to improve dental health. Retainers can be cleaned in mouthwash or denture cleaning fluid.
Dental braces may be recommended by a dentist for best oral hygiene and health. Dentures, retainers, and other appliances must be kept extremely clean. This includes regular brushing and may include soaking them in a cleansing solution such as a denture cleaner.
BENEFITS OF HEALTHY GUMS
Most of the recommendations for maintaining healthy gums are the same recommendations dentists offer for keeping your teeth and mouth in good health. That’s why by simply brushing, flossing and maintaining an effective oral hygiene routine, you can enjoy the following benefits.
- Avoid Pain and Discomfort: Maintaining healthy gums and teeth can help prevent the formation of plaque that can lead to painful tooth decay and cavities.
- Stay Healthy: Since advanced gum disease has been asuggested to be connected with serious medical conditions, it’s a good idea to focus on oral health and prevention in order to help maintain your long-term overall health.
- Nice Smile: Last but not least, following all of the recommendations for maintaining healthy gums will also help keep your teeth intact and your smile in good shape.
Gum disease accounts for a majority missing teeth in adults and results in tremendous economic and social burdens both to the individual and society. Gum disease is so prevalent that the only possible solution to the problem is “prevention”. Available data suggest that faithful adherence to proper oral hygiene practices should be at least as effective, in controlling gum disease as fluoride has been in controlling dental caries.
My clinical case patient with huge deposits of calculus and bleeding gums, just see the skill of PERIODONTIST after 2 weeks.