Regular dental hygiene visits are a great way to prevent gum problems.
In a healthy condition, the gums have a strong attachment to the root and underlying bone. Naturally there is a small space between the gum and the tooth called the sulcus. Every person has many different micro-organisms in the mouth. According to microbiologists we have around 400 different types of bacteria in the oral cavity. In a healthy condition, these bacteria are not destructive to our tissues, but live in harmony with us and help our digestive system. The gums are light pink, strong and don’t bleed with brushing.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums where they become red, swollen and bleed easily when brushed. Gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the periodontal tissues, that is, everything around the tooth: the gums, the ligaments, the bone. This happens when the balance between the 'good' bacteria and the destructive bacteria is disturbed. There are many reasons for this disruption like smoking, illness, diabetes, and especially stress. Pockets of infection form between the teeth and gums, out of reach of normal dental hygiene. Buried deep under the gums, aggressive bacteria produce chemicals that attack tissue and bone and they initiate an immune response and erode the connection between gum and the roots of teeth. The aggressive bacteria involved are mostly ‘anaerobic’, meaning they live in low-oxygen environments away from air. The immune system tries to attack these bacteria but it isn’t always able to fight back completely. As the gums, ligaments and bone detach from the teeth, the infection can spread and goes deeper, creating more pockets and the condition worsens. Gum disease has been related to other health problems like heart disease, strokes, infertility and osteoporosis.
Periodontal disease can be a slow process, which may accelerate from time to time. It is important to get it checked out by a dentist who can tell you if you have periodontal disease or not and how advanced it is.
Good oral health and hygiene is beneficial for general health. Gingivitis is reversible when treated promptly. Regular hygiene visits can help keep gums and teeth healthy.
Suzanne Roelofs has been a dentist for over 14 years and is also a nutritional therapist. She offers deep cleaning with hand instrumentation. The treatment is done on a relaxing treatment bed for extra comfort. The teeth are left very smooth to prevent bacterial adherence and tartar formation.
Local anaesthetics can be used where required.
Information about beneficial foods is given where needed.
Extensive gum problems might need further investigation with a bacterial DNA test. This can be discussed at the time of the hygiene visit.
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