- Twice Daily Dental Home Care Routine
- Gum Disease
- Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health
Twice Daily Dental Home Care Routine
To clean in between your teeth use either a proxa brush and or floss. A proxa brush is a very efficient way to clean medium to large spaces between the teeth, use it everywhere it fits. Insert the brush tip into the space between the teeth until you can feel the tip on the other side with your tongue. You can use it from the cheek side toward your tongue and from the tongue side toward your cheek for total cleaning. If the proxa brush does not fit, use waxed floss in these areas in between. Drug stores and most stores that have a dental care isle carry replacement brush tips, floss and all that you need for daily care.
Brush with toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth (We recommend Sensodyne and Sensodyne ProNamel). Always use a soft brush.
Aim the bristles right at the gum line and brush small circular motions making sure the bristles stimulate the gum and clean the tooth. Then, brush the tops of the teeth. Scrub for two and a half minutes. Additionally, the use of an rechargeable tooth brush has the advantage of a built in timer and a proven efficiency over a manual brush, interchangeable heads makes it great for the entire family.(We recommend a Philips Sonicare)
Use the face of a spoon to scrape your tongue - scrape as far back as possible. The tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria. If you prefer, drugstores carry a variety of tongue scrapers.
Rinse with water to remove any toothpaste residue. Rinse with a capful of mouthwash for 60 seconds, then spit. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after using mouthwash. It is especially important to do this routine before bedtime as the mouth dries out while sleeping, making it vulnerable to bacterial attack.
Gum disease is a low-grade chronic bacterial infection also called periodontal disease or pyorrhea. While everyone has bacteria in their mouths, not everyone develops gum disease. There are identifiable risk factors that can make it more likely for the bacteria in your mouth to result in destructive gum disease. We now know that due to these risk factors some patients can clean their teeth and visit the dentist religiously and still have gum problems.
Over time, food and bacteria tend to collect between the teeth and gum. If this debris is not adequately removed, the bacteria migrate deeper under the gum line. In a susceptible patient, a space or "pocket" forms between the tooth and gum. Once these pockets of bacteria form below the gum line, you can not reach them even with good tooth brushing and flossing. The bacteria multiply and cause the gum cells to release a variety of substances that aggravate and inflame the gum tissues. The gum tissue and then the supporting bone are slowly destroyed. If enough bone tissue is destroyed, the teeth loosen and are eventually lost.
Gum disease rarely causes pain or any symptoms since the infection readily drains up through the gum. Often you can not tell if you even have gum disease until the gum is inspected and checked for pockets. It's like having termites in your house. Above the ground the house looks fine, but the foundation is slowly being destroyed without you even knowing it. It's the same way with gum disease. Just because it doesn't hurt doesn't mean all is well. Unlike looking for termites, we do not need to wait until damage has been done to tell if you have gum disease. We can detect gum disease early and prevent or repair its damage. You can keep watch also. Bleeding is a strong indicator of gum inflammation. Healthy gums do not bleed at all when brushed or flossed. If you have any gum bleeding when you clean your teeth, your gums are inflamed.
We now know that this ongoing bacterial infection in your mouth can have far reaching effects elsewhere in your body. When the gums are chronically inflamed, these bacteria can gain entrance into your bloodstream and spread to other parts of your body. Gum disease increases your risk for heart disease. Gum disease has been linked to pulmonary infections and gastric ulcer reinfection. Gum disease in diabetics makes control of blood sugar more difficult. Gum disease during pregnancy increases the risk for a pre-term, low birth weight baby. The American Academy of Periodontology's website (www.Perio.org) has patient-oriented information concerning the increased risk for other health problems when gum disease is allowed to persist.
The progression of gum disease can be halted if the bacteria and debris are removed from these pockets. Traditionally, gum treatment consisted of cutting the diseased gum away with the hope that what would remain would heal and be healthy. Fortunately, a variety of new techniques has allowed us to successfully treat chronic gum infections much more conservatively. Removing large amounts of diseased gum and then "packing" the gums is a thing of the past. That's a welcome relief to patients.
We are innovative in our gum disease treatment protocols. Our foundational approach is to use aggressive, but non-surgical or minimally invasive procedures to help you achieve and then maintain a preferred level of oral health.
Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health
We are doing things differently at the Glenmont Dental when talking and treating Periodontal Disease. In the past, we never got too excited about the presence of gum disease unless it started to destroy the supporting bone around the teeth. There is now strong evidence that the toxins and inflammatory mediators that are released by the gum cells in response to bacteria can get into the bloodstream daily. These toxins can then go anywhere the blood flows. We are now aware of a strong link between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.
We know that eliminating gum inflammation can reduce your risk for heart disease. We are no longer content saying, "Well if it doesn't hurt, let's just keep an eye on it." Since we now know that your overall health is affected, we are taking a more aggressive approach. By eliminating any gum inflammation, we can help your teeth and your overall health as well.
The whole idea of "deep cleaning" (root scraping or root planing) was based on the assumption that bacteria which migrate under the gum line can calcify and form tartar. Tartar was thought to be the main culprit in causing gum disease. The intent with deep cleaning was to get as much of the tartar off of the roots as possible. It turns out that tartar is only part of the story.
Bacteria in the mouth are in the form of a biofilm. Biofilm is a term that describes the microscopic arrangement of bacteria when it gets below the gum line. When biofilm grows on a root surface, not all of it calcifies and forms tartar. You can remove all the tartar and still have biofilm present.
Gum disease rarely causes symptoms. Most people have it and do not even know it. Often only a dentist or hygienist can tell if you have any gum inflammation. We used to think that untreated gum disease leads to jaw bone deterioration and tooth loss. While that's still true, we now know that the problem is more serious than that. Ongoing gum disease significantly increases your risk for more serious chronic diseases of aging.
Inflamed gums are not an effective barrier to the penetration of bacteria into your blood stream. When your gums are inflamed bacteria from the mouth can easily pass through the inflamed gums and get directly into your blood stream daily. Some of those bacteria can adversely affect other disease processes. People walking around without any tooth or mouth pain, but with ongoing gum disease, are at an increased risk for heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and even some types of cancers.
To eliminate gum disease all of the bacterial biofilm has to be removed from root surfaces. Removing the tartar that is visible is easy. Removal of the remaining disease-causing biofilm bacteria, while completely painless to the patient, requires considerable expertise, experience and skill.
The ideal approach to treating gum disease is to use well-honed diagnostic skills to map out exactly where in your mouth (in the gum adjacent to which teeth), gum disease is present. Then, the most appropriate method for effective interruption of the bacterial biofilm should be selected. Fortunately, there are newer innovative treatments, all of which can be accomplished without any discomfort.
Simply putting the instrument against the tooth giving it a few good scrapes doesn't cut it anymore. If you have had deep cleaning in the past you may still need further treatment to eliminate any persistent gum disease. Your oral and overall health will benefit. Find out if you have gum disease. It's more important than you think. The first step is to make a full diagnosis of your mouth so that treatment, if needed, can be started as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to call today.